Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reflections in a Puddle of Vodka

When I was going through all the junk I brought back from the campus where I got a diploma in the abstract globe that is called management, I came across a sheet of paper on which I had scribbled some gibberish that I realized was written in a drunken fit on one of the many days I was lost to the spirits. I have reproduced the same in near-verbatim (“near” because I have chosen to leave out the more colourful adjectives, and have replaced some of the nouns with “relevant people”). One of the happiest moments I had on campus was when one of the professors noted that I wasn’t the “IIM type”…I forget the context. I also realized that the exclusion I felt from the general junta is manifest in the third person narrative I had written in.
Smiles plastered on their faces. Firm handshakes. Flat hi-fi’s. Hugs for the ladies. Furtive glances, with tinges of lust, at the more beautiful ones. Constellations of friends revolving in the space of life. But are they friends, or just friendly people? These are the people who speak of “RG” as if it is a joke, but practice it religiously. These are the people who take an oath of ethics and don’t flinch when they see their friends and “leaders” happily transgress them. Everybody is a fucking hypocrite. They know what visage to wear with whom and they always carry their wardrobe of masks wherever they go. And everybody is supposed to trust these poltus and look up to them as leaders and pay them tons of money to take care of everything.
The biggest lesson anyone learns here is how to recognize the relevant toes in the crowded bus that is this life, and how not to step on them, while trampling on the not-so-relevant ones. What a shame it is that the same people who are supposed to uphold everything ethical and good are the bane of it. One can’t help but wonder if this is a reflection of the real society. Is the human sentiment hurtling towards a black hole of practiced ignorance? Is what is transpiring in this institution, which is supposed to be the “factory of future leaders”, an indication of what is to come?
Everybody changes here. It is not the system or the place. It is the people. Even the not-so-bad characters automatically transform into spineless, ass-licking automatons posing as someone who can tell an expert that they know the stuff better than them. And these experts keep buying the lies of the hypocrites. It is always about your CGPA, which is about how well lubricated you keep the relevant peoples’ behinds, while trampling on the others you smile at and dance with.
Can one make a leader? Can character be taught? Can’t the corp-kanths see that they are only adding fire to this inferno by paying obscene salaries that the sly-kanths don’t deserve, thus hurtling the whole system into a vicious cycle? Is this blindness contagious? We go from one framework to another, one stereotype to another. Why can’t one hear anyone shouting out about this pakeshed ajjjjuuuufffffff-ness?
And in all this confusion, those who come here continue to become what they shouldn’t be. They are told that nothing is black and white, and they are told to be gray. It is understood that they should lead many lives. It is understood that none of these lives would be like anything in the Panchatantras. Yet, children who loved the Panchatantra stories become idiots who detest them because they are so removed from the reality. They hate themselves for loving to be idealists who wanted to transform the world into a better place for everyone they loved. Instead, they become realists who create the image that they can transform the world for the idealist who still dream, or for the corp fat-cats who want more jingle in the pockets. So, these children begin to live many lives that end in cul-de-sacs.
What if we live only once and our ancestors were more prophets than mystics? So, when they were talking of the janumas, were they predicting that all of us will go through many roles and live as many people in one lifetime? Doesn’t that make death nirvana? I am afraid that I will end up on the spaceship that left in the Hitchhikers. I don’t fit in here. I’m not panicking. I can live with that. The problem is that others can’t…they are trying to turn me into their reflections, when they themselves are reflections. I yearn for my nirvana.

PS: Second year was much better :)

PPS: I have included some pics of the campus because other than a select few people, that was the best thing about the place, and I had to show something positive, right?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Love - Kal, Aaj

The Sky was blue. The air tasted salty and felt sticky as the turquoise ocean roared beside. The sand grains tickled with every step – the effect heightened by the waves crashing on the feet and receding from below the sand itself. The fronds of the coconut trees tried, as they always had, to make music that doesn’t conform to any scales, but was music nevertheless. The breeze was thick. It made walking in a straight line difficult. Everything appeared so much more beautiful, with you there.

The blue of the vast sky was deep only because I saw it fleetingly behind you…framing your face. The salt in the air didn’t matter; neither did the far stink of the fishes, as they were clouded by the faint smell of your scent. The roar of the ocean and the disharmonious notes of the coconut trees were but shadows of the music of your laughter. The waves that crashed on my feet, attempting to drown me in the receding sands drew not my attention, as all I could feel was the softness of your hand and the whip of your tresses, as we walked close together, hand-in-hand. You, trying to make sure that only you feet got wet, and emitting peals of soft laughter whenever the waves won the battle, without noticing that I was knee-deep in the water. And I, lost in you.

Then, life happened.

You went away. I didn’t want to let you go. You told me that you would be much happier and everything would be much easier if I wasn’t there. I understood. I tried to remove myself from your reality. Twice. I failed because I couldn’t bear to think of any existence, in this world or elsewhere, without you. Or maybe because I was afraid to stop being. By then, you had found a “nice guy” whom your parents liked. I was alone. I was miserable. I was afraid to smile. I couldn’t tell music apart from cacophony. I couldn’t see colours. I hated myself. I hated everyone around me. I lost my friends. I lost my family. I lost myself. I realized how hard it is to fall out of love.


The large, gray clouds rumbled threateningly. The stink hung so thick in the air that it was overpowering. A pico-second of silence was sorely missed – the noise forming a thick, heavy blanket that caused the very earth to shake. Every muscle in my body was taut, waiting to guide the hunk of a metal I was in whenever a femto-meter of opportunity presented itself. It was war. And I was alone.

Then, I caught your eyes. The breeze from your hand, as you tucked the stray strands of hair behind your ear, seemed to cast off the noise. The imagined whiff of your perfume, highlighted by the barely noticeable goose-bumps on the back of your neck, drained away the stink. The flutter of your eyelashes teased my hunger for the ocean of your eyes. I lost my fight with my muscles, and a smile formed. You were stronger…you smiled only with your eyes. I was no longer an only…and neither were you.

Then, life happened.

The light had turned green. The over-eager bikers rushing by broke the connect first. The new wave of horns was loud enough to make you squirm. I craved not to look away, but I couldn’t ignore the anger of those behind me, manifest as swear words that included everybody’s family members, as they egged me on to move forward by that one millimeter. The circle of life was in motion, but we had defied the world for those fleeting few seconds. We had even managed to prove Einstein wrong, by stretching those meager seconds into a lifetime. I knew it. I knew that you knew it. I didn’t have to look at you to confirm this. I didn’t stop smiling. I knew that you hadn’t either. I realized how easy it is to fall in love.

PS: Jammy, thank you for reading whatever crap I write here. Methinks you are in a one-man club :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Woooooooooooo uuuuu ooooooooooo uu woooooo uuuuuuuuu oooooooooooooo

This is definitely not a technically right account of what I saw, because whatever I saw lasted a few seconds in between my switching channels, as I gorged on the tasty and crispy rava dosa that Avva had prepared *Slurp Yummmmmm* and as such, wasn't concentrating on what I was seeing on the not-too-intelligent box.

The first thing I noticed was the soulful singing of a familiar voice, someone I couldn't really place, which made me look up, to notice the beautiful kajra-laden eyes of a burqua-clad lavvvleeee lady as she gyrated to her own singing. Then, she lost the translucent (It took sometime for this fact to register) black garment, and she was now a madran, semi-clad woman in an arbit aqua colored piece of cloth, still singing with a voice that pulled at the strings of the heart. Oh, this was good, believe me. With all honesty, it is usually the eyes that draw my attention when a maiden is concerned, and I was literally drowning in my own drool, what with the slurping over the dosa and the effect of those big, seductive eyes. "Mind-wait-for-it-Blowing!", I was about to say...

As it always happens with me, there is always a negative conjunction around the corner, waiting to beat me up with my own umbrella, whenever I go singing in the rain like Gene Kelly (Yes yes, figuratively wonly). And the "But" kicked my butt, as the very next second, there seemed to be an attack, the nature of which was impossible to comprehend. It was almost like the "Brown noise" that Cartman discovered,  but it was only worse. The mind-blower was forgotten, as was *her* voice. Was it some secret acoustic weapon that our ever-so-friendly-neighbours-with-amazingly-hot-chicks-who-they-force-to-wear-burquas-while-they-steal-our-big-breasted-failed-athletes had unleashed on us, I wondered, as I tried hard to keep from throwing up.

But then, I saw it...the phenomenon that has the potential to raze entire populaces by forcing them to commit suicide. The one source that issues the only sound more horrible than the brown noise. There was the face that never smiles for a picture. There was the voice that could wilt the life-force of any human soul. There was no cap. But I knew who it was.

"Oh Fish! He's back!", was all I could muster before passing out.

PS: Here is avails.

PPS: How trippy is the name of the chick!?! Whattaayyy it ees!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Venkateshwaralu Kathri-Hastha

R.T.Nagar, as I remember it, has never ever been a destination for anybody who doesn’t live here. Yes, there were the rare flashes-in-the-pan for a while when the first go-karting track in the city was opened at Patel’s Inn, and when the only place people could eat Chocolate Cheese Cake was on the 80 feet road. And there used to be many miniscule flashes when the Romeos realized that most of MCC was filled with the populace of the area which didn’t have anything to do with Tagore.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when junta told me that they had been travelling from various corners of the city once every 2 months or so to get their hair cut by a certain “Aunty”. They said that they couldn’t tell why they were doing that because the experience of this hair cut was an indescribable pleasure in itself, and that to understand it, they said, “You should see it for yourself”(sic).

But I’m the kind of guy who thinks twice before buying a packet of 3 Ferrero Roches as I know that he can get a few huge bars of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk for the same amount; the kind of guy who wonders if it is worth to ask a super chick out (knowing that he might have a chance, given that nobody else seems to be asking her as she’s so damn cute that she seems out of anybody’s league), not because she might turn me down, but because if she doesn’t, I might have to spend my money taking her out to CCDs and Mochas. So, there was no way I was going to pay for a haircut in dollar value…that too when I was in India!

But it is not only about the money…its about memories too. I still remember how, as a kid, I used to sit on a plank, which was barely enough to hold my weight, while my grandpa barked instructions on which style to cut and trim my already-receding hair-line. As I grew older, I started to both dread and respect the skills of these keratin butchers when they slew all those unruly masses while appreciating the graceful moves of the likes of Jayamalini and Silku-Smitha on the television that were mounted precariously over the chair farthest from the door. I also came to realize that all the barbers that I had come across were gults. Somehow, I never bothered wondering why that was so. Anyway, I was at the barbers’ last week and I was reminded why someone like me wouldn’t want to go to “Aunty” to “experience” the butchery of something I treasure, and also, pay for the bleddy massacre!

One wouldn’t get to hear how intricately and awesomely the reigning Ringa-Ringa girl maybe connected to the upcoming poltu who’s been in the news, as explained by an uncle who has momentarily stopped leching at the photos in the seedy tabloid (which normally ends up attracting squatters, rather than assuaging the waiting junta’s impatience), as the item song belts at full volume (Something not even Headlines Yesterday and TV Ombood wouldn’t cover). Also, one wouldn’t get to witness auto-drivers admonish the barber in the most colorful potpourri of languages for cutting the side-locks *oh so short* that it would make all the police-mamas to stop him and demand bribe everyday till he grows back his side-locks, only to cool down the next minute as he gets a free bleach as a compensation, and then, *blushes* for the next ten minutes when people waiting for their turn tell him how his chances of getting hit on by phigures have improved astronomically, now that he’s “white”. There is also the uncle who has been checking out his newly acquired cut and clean-shaven look for the last few minutes, and suddenly asks your barber to shave his arm-pits…that’s when you wake up and squeal to indicate that the blade that the barber has picked up is the one that he has been using on you.

I might be mistaken, but I’m sure that a cut at “Aunty” wouldn’t offer such intermittent opportunities of adrenaline rush, combined with a fresh perspective on everything lustful and sundry. Given his background and his target customers, “Venkateshwaralu” might not have the capital to setup a swanky, 2nd floor shop to over-charge his customers, but he still has the acumen to slyly enquire about your salary, and hence deter any protests from you when he mentions that his charge has gone up to Rs. 30 now. All you can do at that time is glare at him and inform him that you will most probably go to “Aunty” from next time, only to see him snigger and get on with his job. For he knows…you will be back.