Thursday, 31 May 2007

A Million and One Memories


I realise I don't have photos to capture everything... but nevertheless... here is a feeble attempt! More to follow... As many as I can. This post will be updated soon!

Monday, 28 May 2007

To Do or Not To Do?

Hamlet once asked a similar question. And though mine is not as existential a question, I feel something akin to the emotion that Shakespeare must have had in mind when he wrote that famous line.

It is a rather small thing that is bothering me, a simple matter really. But then again it is not so simple. I feel like an infant who refuses to walk for fear of getting hurt or falling. And then there is my humungous ego. Howmuch ever I try not to, I can't help getting a little egotistic at times.

The confusion at times is grave enough to drive me to tearing my hair out or other such foolish nonsense. Then i take hold of myself firmly and set myself some highly idiotic deadlines. I admit they do work, albeit for a short while. And there are distractions - neither powerful enough nor attractive enough. But mulling over them serves a temporary purpose - it keeps my mind occupied. I count the days to 22nd June.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

My Tara




In a few short months, I will no longer call that flat home. It is time to say another goodbye. My parents get ready to move out of Delhi for good. Not me yet. I cannot live without breathing that air, seeing those sights. The city is what is home to me, not just the house my parents live in. My heart is still there in more ways than one. Much still pulls me back, too many strings bind me to the only city that will ever truly be home. I find so much peace there, such belonging and a love that warms my blood. To the city that has given me happiness and memories that I will cherish forever I can only say I feel like Scarlett O'Hara and that Delhi is my Tara!

P.S: Thanks to dips for the polaroid collage idea!


Tuesday, 22 May 2007

A Rainy Day

The sky turned a deathly black. At 4 in the afternoon it seemed like midnight. If this were a mystery or thriller, the sky would be the perfect way to begin it. Inside the cooped up, centrally air conditioned office, there’s not much else you can experience anyway, other than marvel at the absolute blackness of the clouds. For a moment, I wanted to grab them and prick them with a pin so they would burst!

I stepped out to the terrace nearby. A crowd stood there. I wriggled my way to the front; felt the wind blow at my top and my hair, drops of rain reaching the covered alcove between the office and the terrace. The drops wanted to fall somewhere, they fell somewhere else, skidding in the wind. A pot lay on its side, its leafless stalk long dead and now battered by the rain. A coconut tree sways in the distance, defying its weight and bowing to the fearsome wind. I clutch the bottom of my top, lest it fly too high. In the midst of all this a little pink flower blossoms, delicate, innocent, beautiful.

The lights go on, throwing their warm yellow light on cream coloured walls, giving them a welcoming glow. The chill wind seems even more welcome.

The earth smells fresh, as though it is beginning anew, giving life to all that it can. The trees seem greener, the undergrowth more lush. There is music in every sound including the cab horns; the rumble of the thunder; the soft music in the distance. I want to sing. I sit in the cab, windows rolled down, humming to myself, at one with the world, a soft smile on my lips.

It is the perfect evening to sit by the window, feeling the wind and the water, a cup of hot coffee in hand, music in the room, blending with nature’s song.

PS: I wrote this yesterday. It could just as well have been today.


Love & Hate

Love. A year ago, I would have followed it up with peace, happiness, contentment, smiles and a few more adjectives of a similar kind. Now I also add to that list restlessness, a constant curiosity, insecurity, and occassional irritation.

Before I am accussed of pessimism, let me clarify. Love is never only about beaming at the ceiling. So much more accomapnies it. So much that I at least did not expect. It is a wonderful journey, it is something I would love to repeat (now that my first trip is finally over!). But it is not without its bumps and potholes.

Often, Love and Hate (oxymoronic as they sound) collide even today. I feign indifference often. I only fool the others. I can never fool myself into it. They are two sides of the same coin and the complete blank that is indifference I will never achieve (nor do I want to. I have cared too much to throw it all away.)

The journey is over and I am finally home. The memories like a photo album tucked away in a corner... a small, dark corner. Sometimes I switch on the light and I stare in hope for a richer, fuller album; something I can put in a frame on my desk. Sometimes I go so far as to fetch it out and turn the first few pages. Then I feel like the man in White Nights, living half a fantasy. So I shake my head and bring myself back to my world. Sometimes I feel like tearing it, but I cannot bring myself to do so. Someday, I might yet laugh when I see those photographs. For now, I lock the cupboard, pack my bags, and get ready for a new journey.

Note:
This was written about a month ago. I chose not to put it up then. I do now, for while I am not indifferent, I am less restless and more at peace today.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

The Best Within Us

This train of thought has been started off by reading the first post on my brother's new blog. Why do we need to believe in a superior being and how do we explain this to our rational selves (forgive me for paraphrasing)?

Any discussion on God always sets me thinking. Let me explain why. I don't like going to temples, I don't pray and I positively detest religious rituals. Part of this aversion is due to the religious intolerance that I have seen and read about. I don't think "God" meant for any of this to happen in his/her name. The other part of this aversion comes from the discomfiture that rituals cause me - hot, sweaty, noisy rooms is not my idea of spirituality or inner peace.

When most people ask me, I say I am atheistic because God is commonly associated with religion. I find atheistic an easy way to explain the above. But in actuality I think God is a matter of perspective. Whether one believes in God or not depends on what one defines as God. If God were to be, carte blanche, defined as a supernatural being, then yes I am atheistic.

In his post, my brother offers a slightly different definition. I am going to take the liberty of twisting it around a little. Throughout history, prophets of different faiths, have demonstrated the ability to rise above their peers in their outlook towards human civilization and individuals. To me it is this ability that is God. For it is this that makes civilization possible. The ability that each of us have to better ourselves, to reach beyond the given, has been the foundation of progress. It has allowed the human race to evolve instead of stagnating in the caves. This quest to resolve the unknown, to accept, embrace and better.

And that is why we need to believe. We need to believe that we can move beyond, and surpass our ancestors. Learn from them and take that knowledge further. To me it is the best within us that is God. And yes, to believe in the best within us is not so much a question of faith but an act of necessity and human nature.

P.S: I seem to be blogging with a vengeance today

Reflection

There's a distinct difference in writing for yourself and writing when you know that other people will read (however few, or close they might be). I see the change in myself, the things I choose to write about. And it does not exactly make me happy.

There was a time, a better part of the last year, when I chose to write truthfully about myself, my feelings and my experiences. I posted some of that on this blog in my earlier entries. But ever since I have begun to write on the blog directly (instead of in my diary), I see a distinct change in what I choose to write about - taxis, trams, food, movies, the internet. Each an impersonal observation. Yes, it reflects on me in its own way, but it is not my reflection of myself.

And so I consider going back to my diary. To being honest with myself... and giving the blog a few glimpses of that reflection. It will serve my purpose better.

In the meantime, I shall continue to write about random things that tickle my grey cells or my taste buds!

An Inititation into a New Way of Life

We arrived in MICA a year and two days ago. 94 strangers who have come to share so much in the last one year. We have become confidantes, friends, and lovers. Shared our pain and joy.

Today 120 more have arrived. They too will seek friends in the next 21 days. They will grapple with the same confusions that we have in a place that is nothing like the India outside. How can I explain to those who have never been there what MICA is and why there can never be a place like it anywhere. We've a culture of our own, something each of us have come to accept in our own way.
Today 120 more people will discover that culture and will find their own space in it.

As for me, my eyes dance with glee at the thought of my room betis and betas, the assignments I will hand out to them, my own contribution to their initiation into the MICA way of life.

Yes, one would colloquially call it ragging. But somehow, I wouldn't use that word for what happens at MICA. Maybe the more euphemistic "campus orientation" is really more appropriate. An orientation to the late nights, sudden assignments, a way to find out about your seniors, a way to find out how enterprising you really can be and a period in which you learn some of the most important skills of surviving academics at MICA (like making presentations and formatting word docs).

At the end of the day campus orientation is about fun, about getting to know each other, about doing ridiculous things that strip you of your inhibitions and prepare you for the two years ahead.

So, here's welcoming 120 new MICANS!

PS: I look forward with anticipation to daily reports from the campus... after all orientation is an organised process and not a bunch of over enthusiastic seniors hell bent on creating chaos!

Friday, 18 May 2007

A chng in da lang

As life gets faster, da words grow shorter. With gr8 thks 2 sms & im, a new eng vocab emerges. Purists would be turning in their grave as they must've when victorian eng was abandoned. But purists be damned, my you's r becoming u's even as I type formal emails & reports.

So maybe an universal language shall come into being where spellings will no longer confuse the confunded, words will be written as they are spoken and much paper and consequently trees will be saved as unnecessary verbosity is done away with. English may yet cease to be the funny language where pneumonia is spelt with a 'p' for god alone knows what reason.

Then again in a spurt of nostalgic recollection, "you" does look more complete than 'u' or is that just me?

PS: Dips in response to your comment, I heartily agree. The "da" in the title is to drive home the point!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

G-Talk - Taglines and more

craptastic life
available...very available
in waiting line...
in office
do geese see god?
when did reality become TV?

From the mundane to the obscure to the profound. Reading other people's g-talk taglines has become quite a hobby of mine. People put up everything from poetry to abuses. And surprisingly most if it is very honest and hence, rather illuminating. They reflect moods, desires, and everyone's own private reality in a very public domain.

I read somewhere the other day that the Internet has changed our generation, our notions of private and public. We put in the virtual world, things we would never say or show face to face. The neon stripping away veils that shroud the private in the harsh glare of sunshine. Virtuality mirroring reality far more than reality itself, opening windows, giving glimpses.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

In a struggle to rebel


A man is standing on a crowded platform at a local railway station in Mumbai waiting to see if the woman he loves will come. At last, weary with waiting, he gets up to leave. She walks in. His eyes light up. So do mine. A moment later, everything has changed. "I'll miss you... best of luck," she says. His eyes mist over. I shake my head in disgust.

This is the last scene of the movie Life In A Metro. A film on love affairs - love in marriage, outside marriage, before marriage, in old age. In the 21st century, I must admit I expected a bolder ending.

However, some things seldom do change I guess! A woman must still accept her husband, even though he has been cheating on her for two years. She cannot fall in love even though she is in love. She must be the forgiving, husband worshiping wife. This is all that society gives its women at the end of the day. We kid ourselves about being liberal and open. And that's all that it is - a joke. Women continue to battle every monster that they have for centuries.

New age cinema, however bold it may get, finds it difficult to cross that frontier!

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Gastronomique!!!

Kolkata they say is the foodie's paradise - from fish to sandesh to puchkas. Everyday I walk back from my office breathing in the overpowering smells of streetfood, frying eggs, fresh foods and more. Sweet shops punctuate the Gariahat shopping area at every yard or so. This being Kolkata, it would be unfair of me to neglect food.

Flury's

After much ado and a cabbie who didn't know this famous bakery, mom and I managed to find it on our second day in the city. Having spent a baking afternoon checking out the touristy places on May Day, we decided to treat ourselves to some delicious baking as well.

Pink. That's the first thing that will strike you about Flury's. Pink lettering on a huge glass door on Park Street. Pink like a little girl's ribbon. I must also admit, the pink took my by surprise partly because of the Chokola experience. After a warm, brown place full of delights that would make anyone's taste buds dance, i hardly expected pink in a similar place. Their bags are white and pink too... bringing to mind a little girl, which is just what you become when you enter.

So opening the glass door and entering, the smells drive away any vestige of exhaustion, inducing hunger pangs in the fullest of stomachs. A huge cake in the shape of a coal iron greeted me leading me to wonder at the total quantity of chocolate in the bakery. YUMMM!!!

On we went to the counter. And for a day the sin of gluttony would have to be risked for a more immediate heaven. Tarts, cakes, cookies, shortbread, pastries and more. Two tired women decided to indulge themselves and settled down to a sumptuous high tea.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

After a sabbatical owing to the fact that my office does not allow me to use the net on my laptop I am back! My office has finally decided to give me an ancient terminal with an internet connection. Flipside: till june 22nd, this blog shall exclusively carry text only! Pics are just not happening.

Hmmmm...

Booze n smoke... they define this city as much as yellow taxis n trams! The smoke flows through the AC vents in my office and the head of JWT Kolkata has moved out of the main office suite into an alcove. Talk about insubordination. The employees refuse to budge and the vents remain clogged, as do my lungs!!!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Someplace Else

Don't wonder at the title. I am not wishing I was somewhere other than where I am. That quite simply is the name of the pub at the Park Hotel here in Kolkata. I went there yesterday night with one of my room-mates to hear my pg owner's Son-In-Law play with his band. For information, it was the 10th anniversary of their playing at the Park.

At 9, one and a half an hour before the show was due to begin, there was not an empty table in sight. Regulars waiting for the Hip Pockets to begin. In the next 90 minutes, the place filled up to the extent that it was nearly impossible to even move to the music.

What was even more amazing was the eclectic mixture of people. Standing right next to the speakers in the front left corner of the pub was an old gentleman. I would guess his age to be around 60. A glass of vodka and a plate of sandwiches stood at the bar right in front of him. And boy was he grooving to the music! In fact, there seemed to be no shortage of what I would call old people in that room. And for me, on a night of classic rock music, it was rather amazing to see them groove to the music and put the so called youth to shame!

Entire families were gathered as fathers introduced their daughters to the pleasure of live rock in that little, dimly lit room. Smokers aplenty, boozers too many to count. But no one was there for the smoke or the booze. They were all there for the love of music. To see that kind of love in a pub is to be Someplace Else.

Disguised Unemployment

A person who sits in front of the TV all the time's a couch potato. Now having stated that well known fact, I wonder what I am. For all I do all day (for the last two days) is stare pointlessly at the computer screen, wreak my eyes and my back and wonder what to do with all the time that I have.

The irony of it all is, there was a time just two months ago when I did not even have the time to sleep. The pity of it all is that I can't store this time in a box, nor can I enjoy it. People around me envy me. I envy them. The jobless envy the busy and vice-versa.

This chair potato (as I have elected to call myself in my new capacity as a jobless with a job) finally understands whatever economists meant when they coined the term disguised unemployment.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Seemingly Busy

So here I am. After disappearing from the virtual world for more than a couple of days, this feels almost like home... just almost.

OK. I have erased this line three times now... hopefully there will not be a fourth... if there is, you will not be reading about it anyway!

Kolkatta

I've been here four days now... seen the usual tourist sights - Victoria Memorial et. al. The two things that have formed what I presume will be enduring images are the bright yellow taxis and the trams. They are both an integral part of the identity of this city, marking it with a distinctiveness that hits you the minute you step onto the roads of this seemingly busy city.

The Trams are a relic of a time gone by, preserved to date probably only because no other city has trams! They lumber along with the traffic leaving me rather amused. What is even more amusing is the fact that you will probaly risk your life getting onto and off a tram as the tracks are on the right hand corner of the road!

Nevertheless, I took this huge risk and hopped onto one of these contraptions on my very first evening in this city. Then again... one could probably just walk. Then again... there is still a quaint charm... in the old cars, the worn of paint and the huge fans inside the tram cars. There is a charm in the way they weave in and out of the traffic, in the way the traffic steps aside to accomodate them.

And then of course are the bright yellow taxis. Ambassadors painted a yellow that is so bright that you possibly cannot miss even if you were blind. Taxis that will make anyone who comes from Delhi heave a uhge sigh of relief for sparing them the necessity to argue and bargain. Taxis that will soon break your back for they seem to drive without paying heed to ditches and speedbreakers in the road.

Seemingly Busy

The sun here rises before it is 5 in the morning. By 7, it is more like 10am in any other city, cars and buses galore on the roads. The shops however open at 11 (and shut at 1 pm for afternoon siesta), no office starts before 10 am. And yet the roads are abuzz with activity. Activity and Inactivity juxtaposed!
 

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