Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Blog Link Cleverly Camouflaged by Series of Digressions.

I've made peace with Wordpress; at least, that's what we're telling the curious neighbours. Wordpress and I can still barely stand each other, but Cosmo says passion keeps a marriage alive so we are hoping for the best.

Speaking of blog hosts, Xanga is extremely weird and almost equally funny and Typepad is full of celebrity blogs; one makes you want to be a Japanese middleschooler with gender-identity issues and the other makes you feel terribly outphallused, what with no ad revenue in sight. Everyone knows baby blogs need a no-pressure environment to be happy, so of course, it had to be Wordpress.

(It could have been Angelfire but I remember having an Angelfire homepage in middle school and I'd like to believe I've grown as a person since then.)

Anyway, I just want to record that the Wordpress Dashboard layout makes me contemplate violence, and not in an awesome way.

(Is there an awesome way?)

In the spirit of the title of this post, I love Jeeves and Wooster!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'll Sing It One Last Time For You

When I started blogging, almost exactly four years back, blogging was already a 'thing', but I may as well have been Amish for all I knew about it. My first blog host was so tiny, it imploded in on itself a few months after I left it, and is now a cobweb on the ceiling of the Internet. I shifted to blogspot and began to record the whiny saga of my life for the benefit of those who did not have the privilege of ring-side seats in real life.

Staying in one place too long makes me fidgety; I've felt the urge to cut and run many times, but in the end, seduced by the sheer span, depth and vintage of the inside jokes and memories on this blog, I've made the decision to stay 'just a little longer', choosing to quell my boredom for the moment with template changes and spandy new blogrolls.

My mother is fond of conferring the title of 'lambi race ka ghoda' on people who gain her approval. I'd be hard put to think of a more depressing fate for myself. As horses go, I'd class myself as more a Mollie than a Boxer, and this ghodi's in the mood to defect.

(Displaying an unexpected sense of humour here, Microsoft Word corrected 'defect' to 'defecate'. Nice try, Word, but not really.)

Long story short, this blog's finished. It's been four years of a good run. I always wrote for an audience, but it never really stopped surprising me that people actually wanted to read me, so thank you, all. The Daily Mail tells me the Internet = creeps with no life (there's a point in there somewhere - 4chan, anyone? (I'm kidding, 4chan, don't kill me!)) , but at least we're creeps who can spell well. That has to count for something, right?




Saturday, September 4, 2010

Love Song with Unimaginative Rhyme Scheme.

Now you've given me a ring, and asked to be hitchin',
May I never have to enter a kitchen,
May we never fight more than a titch ('n'
May my rhyme scheme always be bitchin');

Love- may you never be heartless;
May our pairing forever be partless;
May your digestion always be fartless;
(Note how I am endearingly artless.)

Listen well! My name is Spaz,
Not to be confused with Cameron Diaz;
Indeed, I has far more pizzazz;
(Think I googled for rhyming words? I haz.)

I am the Copa to your Cabana,
I am the tobacco in your Havana,
I am awesomer than your grandma;
(Yes. Lame is an understate-mah.)


This is undoubtedly the lowest point of my blogging career.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

An Excellent Argument for One Paracetamol and Eight Hours.

The nights are too warm. It sounds like Mister Jaipur-wala DJ is playing Justin Beiber feat Imran Khan and one, two, five, twenty, fifty five people are dancing dancing dancing to it. I look up and the sky is orange. They say there's no pollution here, but I do believe that half the Indian desert is suspended in the air. Red sand, red moon, dark blue sky. And I look down and it's Justin Beiber. A night like this and it should be Yann Tiersen. But law school is never what is should be, law school is always inappropriate; you sit back and laugh in disbelief and affection - if you are old - and simply in disbelief - if you are new. Old, young, young, old.

Never is the line between youth and cynicism so obvious as on Freshers' Party Night. First come the young ones, the fresh ones. Their faces are washed and their moustaches are bleached, so cute. Their ties are tied. Eight o' clock, nine o' clock, ten o' clock and the dance floor is filled with the cream of joyous undergraduate youth dancing away, powered by little more than alcohol and optimism, although I'm feeling kindly tonight, so it'll be only optimism then.

Law school parties are a cheap investment; the rich harvest of gossip that they produce is well worth the cost of a Jaipuri DJ and a sound system. The posters and other fripperies are probably best appreciated by those not contributing to the making of such gossip. Sometimes I seriously consider abandoning all pretence and converting this blog wholesale into an anonymous law school gossip blog. Perhaps throw in something about myself as well, which is the closest I'm ever going to get to being a Bad Girl. A gossip blog, yay!

But if you follow that thought to its logical end, you'll wish you hadn't followed that thought to its logical end, for all gossip has at its crux either lust or alcohol, and usually alcohol fueled lust. One libidinous misadventure in the shadows on that side, and the awkward initiations of a first romance on this side. But tonight, here in this sweaty neon Daler Mehndi-themed moment, how is one to tell the difference? How?

Even in gossip, one must be fair.

I used to want to play the part of the ideological rebel and dis parties as part of that plan, when I realised that I did not have an ideology to go with the plan of dissing parties. I simply do not like parties for no fancy reason, and there is no getting around that. So I am doing what I like to do and sitting on the off side of the dance floor, inconspicuously eating boiled corn and watching the parade of high heels trip down the sand and lodge themselves in sticky mud. The zenith of a college romance is having your boyfriend pull your heel out of sludge, aw, so cute.

I feel nothing.

Come, rest your feet, collapse on the grass, the food is bad. But that's okay because no one is really tasting it tonight. The move from smoky shadows to harsh tubelights is a little disorienting. The chowmein is hosting a housefly dinner party. The bhaji has congealed but the pao is still fried and crisp. Come to me, fatty goodness. Come to mama.

It's past midnight and the sky is so black it's purple. Shoes are coming off and feet are slowing down. Foundation has caked on your face; I must say the middle of your forehead is positively glowing tonight, darling. Lipstick has left the corners of your mouth and oddly stains just the middle of your lower lip - you, do you know you look like a burlesque star? Dita von Teese, tadka laga ke. Tee hee, tee hee.

Everything is just so funny tonight. I play act, I am commentator to my own life - Spaz Kumari sharing the box with Nameless Mangy Cur:

SK: The air is charged with anticipation! Will the creepy seniors make a move on unsuspecting freshers or won't they?

NMC: roots about energetically in the dustbin

SK: The creepy seniors are leading by an advantage of several years! What chances do you give the young 'uns, Cur?

NMC - gets head stuck in a cardboard box and falls about confusedly


I'm suddenly tired. Off to bed.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Confident Faffings on Stuff I Know Nothing About.

This is a super self-obsessed post. It is on my sins against gender stereotypes.

I am of the school of thought that believes that to acknowledge stereotypes is to perpetuate them, so I've been sitting really quietly in a corner and hoping this tag will pass me by, but mera bad luck hi kharaab hai and she thinks I should do this tag, so here it is.

1. I cannot dance. I will not dance. I do not like situations where I am expected to dance, and I will shamelessly sit at the corner table, eat everyone's food and drink all the Pepsi while they are living their brief alcohol-fueled Hrithik Roshan delusions. If you try to force me to dance, I will not like it, and then I will get agitated and then I will pass out.

2. I do not wear makeup because I hate how it feels like a plastic raincoat on my skin. I began wearing kohl a few months back, so on a good day I'll be wearing earrings and kohl. On a regular day I will be wearing neither.

3. I have a very dirty mind and a a huge appetite for off-colour jokes. I swear a lot in ordinary conversation and I love learning to swear authentically in different languages. I am an equal opportunity letch; I letch at men and women of all ages. I regularly objectify people and I rather enjoy it.

4. I am a very focused, very quick shopper. I love my friends, but I will never accompany the more finicky ones on a shopping trip because I enjoy the glow that comes with not having killed anyone.

5. I have a very literal mind and I usually do not 'get' hints. If someone wants me to do something, their best bet is to ask me directly, otherwise it will never happen.

6. I do not remember birthdays. I have on occasion, forgotten my own birthday, and having been reminded of it by a friend, acknowledged it and proceeded to ignore it. It's a birthday, it's no big deal.

7. I can't cook. I can't even boil water without help. However I can make very decent tea, and a passable maggi. I have a theory that the Food Pyramid requirements are covered by tea and maggi. If they are not, I'm going to have a very short life.

8. My deepest desires are to go paragliding, parasailing, waterskiing and bungee jumping. I also really, really REALLY want to learn to shoot, in pursuit of which desire I have spent two whole days taking buses from dingy office to dingy office in Madras, only to have an assortment of moustachioed idiots tell me that there are, of course, places to learn to shoot in Madras, but I probably can't because I'm too skinny and too female. To these men I offer the one-fingered salute, and the privilege of being my first targets when I DO learn to shoot.

9. I do not like newborn babies. To call them ugly is to downplay the sheer animal STRANGENESS of their faces. They can't focus their eyes, and their irises simply bounce randomly about in the sockets. Their mouths are shapeless and lipless and always open in some silent primal scream. Their heads are constantly lolling about. They look like miniatures of the grandfather who had a stroke in Thevar Magan. There is nothing charming about that. Nothing.

This list stops at nine because it will pain me to stop at an even number.

Now, why I don't know if this tag is a good idea:

I've read many many blogposts by many different women who have done this tag, and I find the gratuitously self-congratulatory tone of most of them somewhat self-defeating. Acknowledging the breaking of a(n alleged) stereotype as a 'big deal', simply attributes legitimacy to that stereotype where none may really exist. I must confess that stereotypically 'womanly' women have been the exception in my life, and most women I know straddle gender roles with ease and display no special sense of accomplishment for having done so. So forgive me for suspecting that the 'womanly' stereotype is simply some highly fictionalised, excessively romanticised construct that may at some point in time have had a strong basis in reality, but which no longer has that.

In other words, it's no big deal to sin against this stereotype, because no one really fulfils it to begin with.

Feel free to call bullshit, I have no training in sociology.

Monday, August 2, 2010

That's Why This Lady is a Tramp.

Two beady black eyes on a six inch high body, staring you down. You are armed with a jhadoo and your opponent is armed (toothed?) with teeth. You are poised like a ninja. Your jhadoo shivers in the breeze. Six inches of bottlebrush tail bristle in response. You are evenly matched and the world stands still to watch the Battle of the Balcony.

My jhadoo, your tail. My jhadoo, your teeth.

There were a few tense moments there, I can tell you.

So what I have learnt from Glee, is that Lea Michele needs to shut up. I suspect there were many more important life lessons (shrinkwrapped in Autotune), but my comprehension of them was punctuated - eventually overshadowed - by the desperate desire to get Lea Michele to shut up. Also, the Great Internet and my friend in the Yoo Yess inform me that jocks and cheerleaders are no longer the Aryans of high schools, but Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield told me otherwise ten years ago, and I am loath to unlearn the lessons of my youth. New tricks, meet old dog.

Old age is coming upon me with the speed of the bus in Speed. Yesterday my sister informed me that "in those days", there were no CDs or DVDs, and people recorded things on cassettes, how funny! Oh ye child! - said I, stung - What knowest thee of the modest appeal of an unlabeled cassette tape! Of the prospect of uncovering untold delights hidden within a squat black clumsiness of form! Of the exquisite agonies of desire as one waited for it to unstick itself inside a dusty VCR! What knowest thee of the romance of anticipation? Ye worshipper of the pagan Gods of Instant Gratification, what knowest thee of such subtle joys? Said I in passion.

And then she said "........OOOOOOOkay..?"

And then I went quietly to a corner, braided my grey hair, beaded my chin hair, tallied up all my wrinkles and bawled like Kapil Dev after the matchfixing thing (which again only I remember because the demon sibling was at the time mere demon spawn, with a jurisdiction of terror spanning only her kindergarten class.)

As I casually skim through my dose of tabloids for the day, I eyeball many stories of women stabbing significant others (of course, now significantly dead others) in the eyes with stilettos, and young children with faces like dessert killing other littler children with faces equally angelic, and I wonder, what makes human life special? Is human life really special or it the idea simply a vast joke engineered by the evil West, like fat-free cheese?

Oh, and fat-free cheese is a joke. Trust me on that one. It is, however, not a joke everyone finds funny, and a fantastic illustration of why Europeans are more evolved than Americans is in how Walmart has aisles full of fat-free food brands, but France will likely revoke your citizenship for eating fat-free cheese. I'm pretty sure the only way you'll ever eat fat-free cheese in Paris, is if you have it made from a fat-free cow.

Of course, if you can find yourself an unclaimed cow wandering the roads of Paris, then you deserve to eat whatever the hell you want. If the cow aforementioned is clad in jeans and a sweatshirt, you may want to return her to the US Embassy instead, to avoid regrettable - but almost inevitable - political outrage, in the alternative.


And that right there, ladies and gentlemen, is your racist, weight-ist and misogynist comment of the day! Be warned that the sachharine content of Glee marathons may produce similar compensatory reactions in the best of you. Quell now your outrage, and proceed with me to...

Chuck Palahniuk.

I've been re-reading me some Chuck Palahniuk recently, and I note with pleasure that initial impressions aside, that man is full of Teh Bullshit. Aside from the sniffy pleasures of a critic watching an Establishment crumble, I also experienced amazement at the sheer bravado with which he has hitched together a (half-decent) plot with not a lot more than gimmickry. I speak only of Diary here, so narrow your aim as you converge upon me in righteous anger.

I deny your Palahniuk! I deny your God!

And now I get some sleep, goodnight.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rainy Days and Broken Professorial Spirits.

You fondly watch his eyes glaze over, and you sigh proudly as he shouts ineffectually above the cacophony. You are delighted when he decides to throw a chalk, and you blink back tears of affection as he threatens to withhold attendance. His voice eventually peters away and he is a shadow of his confident self. He finally decides to ignore the rest of the class and teach only the three people in the first row. When the bell rings, he slinks quietly away.

You look around at your class with an unmistakable sense of brotherhood and pride; in the grand tradition of things, another new teacher has been successfully broken in.

But it takes so long to train them, and before you know it they are gone. It is a thankless job, but well. Sunrise, sunset.

It rained today and the earth smells new again. There is a quiet, gentle romance about the rain in the desert. There is no lush greenery that follows it, just the opening of tiny star shaped flowers, gaudy in their colouring and few in their number, blooming between tiles and pushing up stubbornly through cracks. We step on them all the time, but they persist. The people here are exactly the same. Proud, hardy and coloured like tropical birds.

People are prettier in the rain too. Umbrellas fly away, hairpins are lost and clothing sticks in funny places. This makes people awkward, so they laugh for no reason and the cold brings out the pink in their cheeks and the whites of their teeth and melts their makeup and the walls they construct around themselves. It's nice to watch the death-metal fanatic smile stupidly in the rain.

The rain in the south is so different from the rain in the north. The rain in Chennai is warm and grubby and the roads fill with grey sludgewater, with an enthusiasm that is only matched by the people who wade through them, nodding joyfully to each other, saying aiyoo every year the rains come earlier, this global warming also no, god only knows what will happen to our weather now, the last time it rained like this it was in 1958 and my auntie was pregnant with chinna, you know chinna? chinna's son is doing yem yess in yoo yess, and how old is your daughter now?

In Bangalore the rain is cold and clear and people do not comment on the rain because rain of course a part of Bangalore's weather, and no Bangalorean worth his Bhagyalakshmi Butter Gulkand would dare to insinuate that he is surprised by the fabulousness of the weather. But everyone is happier, and if you are very shortsighted like I am, you should sit on a bench in Cubbon park with your spectacles off, and watch the rain come through the fuzzy canopy in fat crystal drops magnified by the aquarium light and your faulty eyesight. And you can watch the lazy pie dogs settle themselves in puddles and bark with anger and suspicion at the drops bouncing off their noses. And you can drink your excellent hot coffee and think, perhaps I should have brought a book? And you can be happy.

The rain in Cochin is the cleanest, friendliest rain I've ever seen. The rain comes in a wave of water and washes through the whole city. Crowds of women with purple-black curls, chitter excitedly like birds and disappear under communal umbrellas. You take your glass of pink water and stand outside your restaurant to watch as a gaggle of nuns in white sarees tumbles confusedly out of a tiny matador van and splashes energetically to safety. And as suddenly as it came, the rain is gone. The sky, the trees, the roads and the white houses with colourful roofs look scrubbed clean. People pause at the sudden absence of pattering raindrops and juddering traffic. Someone laughs, a child jumps tentatively in a puddle. The pause is broken, and Cochin is on the move again.

In Jodhpur, of course, drama is two for a penny, so we don't just have rains, no sirree, for how would that please the foreigner tourists? No, the droplets are icy bullets and they swirl in the midst of a dramatic sandstorm. The air is red and the sky is purple. There is thunder and there is lightning, and in the best tradition of all bars of lightning, trees will be struck and burnt to black skeletons. Occassionally there are hailstones. These storms come prettily accessorised with fallen buildings, flooding dams and dead pedestrians. O, you white man who has come from Yoo Kay, are your pitiful London rains anything like this? Are they?? Huh?? HUH?? Yeah, I thought not. See why National Geographic loves us so much!

Perhaps this is unnecessary to say, but I love the rains.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Books and Birthday Blatherings.

This post is arranged in order of importance, so first, here is my birthday wishlist. (Why is this up here? Why not?)


The Sandman novels

(and the rest, sorted by author)

Kurt Vonnegut -

Breakfast of Champions (because I think it'd be nice to compare with Joseph Heller's Something Happened)
Slaughterhouse Five
Mother Night.

Stephen Fry -

Moab is my Washpot,
The Hippopotamus
Making History

Terry Pratchett

it's alllll good.

J G Ballard -


[Music] or the players thereof)

Any good mp3 player of a capacity between 8 and 16GB (I'm a little iffy about iPods)


I want to read the Time Traveler's Wife; it has been variously described to me as "sooo romantic!" and "hardcore sci fi", but has universally been praised to the skies. This is suspect, and I intend to make investigations.

In other news, I am halfway through Amartya Sen's The Idea of Justice , which is a confident, lucid, unceasingly rational series of arguments towards a practical end. Individual sentences are constructed with a spare elegance that is wonderfully appealing to the eye, not least the mind. I am tempted to re-read some paragraphs simply because of the beautiful relentlessness with which they march to a conclusion. I read The Argumentative Indian just prior to this, and it's a nice amousebouche before the meaty stuff.

I gave Haruki Murakami a shot and I know I won't be going back there; minimalism can be taken too far for too long and I was bored to distraction. I read Satyajit Ray's The Chess Players, and I think this is one of those few stories that the film told better. Either that or it was written in Bengali and I have a crappy translation, and if this true, I deserve it for expecting great things from a copy sold for fifteen bucks.

In still other news, I wish to rhapsodise - Worli Seaface on a cloudy monsoon afternoon. The pillion seat on a bike makes an excellent vantage point, especially if said bike is moving at what feels like 80kmph. Language cannot describe that explosion of joy, so I ask instead that you look up and shut your eyes,and imagine the golden lightness you see as the sun shines down upon them. And then I ask that you draw breath in, and you imagine the taste of salt on your tongue, and the warm, sticky wind whipping your hair about your face and condensing it into stiff curly clumps encrusted with salt and sand; I ask this of you, and I ask you to open your eyes, and if you are not smiling, you have surrendered your humanity somewhere along the way, and I am sorry for you.

I admit that litchis are perhaps not all bad. It is a grudging admission. I have the folks at Naturals to credit for this unexpected change of(in?) opinion.



PS - Who will watch Rajneeti with me? On a weekday, evening show?

PPS - Mr S Bhehnchod and Miss A G Glass are highly recommended as companions of a Saturday night. Thank you for the excellent weekend!

PPPS - I am not going to thank Suk and Divi because nothing less was expected of them ;)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Carpet.

I work in an office with an unhappy carpet.

Never before have I seen a carpet that that is so obviously not a Carpet, but a carpet. It is a carpet in what I have suddenly realised is my least favourite colour ever, which is pale beige. Pale beige is not so much a colour as what is left when you scrub colour away and leave behind only musty memories of spilt coffees and free weekends.

A pale, watery dirt coloured carpet watching us all, accounting for every coffee spilt and plotting revenge for every stab by an Aldo-heel attached to a Performance-Bonus-shoe.

A foreshadowing over all who walk over it.

I do love to be dramatic to no purpose at all.

I spent one entire evening sitting by myself at M.Drive. I was not sitting there alone by design - although it strikes me now that it would be infinitely cooler to claim as much - but by compulsion. I was critically contemplating my abnormal toes and eating a bad batch of masala peanuts, and I was sulking that I had no company. Company was either working in Bangalore, or holidaying in Bangalore, and Company that was not orbiting Bangalore was not prepared to fulfil its duty as Company, because apparently, it wanted to sleep (I'm looking at you.)

If anyone wants to meet me on Sundays, please do. I will eat at my cost and talk for free. If you are rich, please considering sponsoring the accommodation and education of an overworked and underfed Cog in a corporate Wheel. At least until she figures out a method to get to her home that does not involve taxis.

In other words, I was abandoned, and in line with glorious tradition, I was fully prepared to revel gloriously in selfpity, and so I did. I revelled in a bed of peanuts and sticky candy, and then I took a bus home.

I like the Mumbai I see when I walk towards Churchgate station at night. I like the long stretches of empty Marine Drive and the tired men walking out of Nariman Point with the day's BSE/Nifty high marked in their eyes and the lines on their foreheads. I like the sliver of warm yellow light I can see peeking from behind the door at Not Just Jazz By the Bay, hinting deliciously at crowds of mildly drunk friends making lovely double-visioned memories behind it. I like every single cab driver whose cab I have ever been in, and I know, without exception, the why-I-came-to-Mumbai story of each one of them.

I'm almost afraid to admit it, but I think I detect just the faintest beginning of a like for the local trains also. I think. Colour me shocked.

Bombay makes me happy, and I don't even like wearing skirts, but I'm wearing them just because I can, because it's Bombay. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

For the Moral Benefit of Genda Phool Jr.

In that parallel universe that flowers live in, where flowers watch movies starring flowers, you think that just at the moment the guy flower and the girl flower are going to do the dirty, the scene cuts away to two humans having sex?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Appa, My Father.

(Note: This was meant to be published on May 2. Adjust maadi.)

My dad was never around when I was little. I saw very little of him and I did not like much of what I saw. He was always curt, unfailingly grumpy, and seemed to turn up for the express purpose of telling me to get into bed, quit sitting joblessly on my fat arse, wash my neck properly or eat the tomatoes in my rasam. (*vomit*)

He was my mother's secret weapon at the Daily Battle of the Bath, otherwise known as Rowdy Reveille. My parents made an incredibly efficient army. My mother would mount the first offensive by informing me of the time (6.30am), and my father would bring up the rear by picking mine up and making off to the wash basin. He brushed my teeth for me until I was five years old. I did not like waking up and I liked brushing my teeth even less. Being the angel (idiot) child that I was, I made my opinion known fairly regularly. I inevitably threatened to bite his finger if he dared to stick it in my mouth, and I was inevitably hung, drawn, smacked on the butt and frogmarched into the Tower of Shower. I would emerge from the bathroom in a delicate mist of flowery scents and in possession of most of the dirt I went in with. I would be sent back in with (O, Ignominy!) a bucket, a mug, and threats of bloodthirsty violence. I would emerge again in a while- cleaner, pinker, humbler.

Our rather colourful, if somewhat one-dimensional relationship evolved quickly into a strictly commands (him) and strictly monosyllabic answers (me) dynamic. Amongst other things, I disliked mathematics, I disliked him for being good at it, and I disliked the thinly veiled pity he displayed when I questioned the intelligence behind the manufacture of bathtubs with pipes simultaneously filling and emptying them. This was made worse by sundry grandaunts and their voluble daughters who would pop up like fungus everywhere, refer to my blushing father as the 'family genius' (I kid you not) and ask for my report card in the same breath.

I have a creative soul! I wanted to cry dramatically to the Universe. I never want to go to IIM! I never want to learn accountancy! And by God, I never want to wear high-waisted pants!!!!!

(...high waisted pants!)

(...high waisted pants!)

(...high waisted pants!)

(silence..crickets chirping)

(That was the dramatic echo, dumbasses. I SAID the cry was dramatic. I warned you.)

Anyway. My cry reverberated through the Universe, and someone, somewhere, heard it. I have, by the Grace of Superman, never yet had to suffer accountancy, management, or chest pants.

Soon after I reached class seven, my father stopped teaching me math as well. The immediate effects included a drastic improvement in my marks, a drastic drop in his blood pressure, a visible spring in my step and twinkle in my eye, and in my father, the wearing of button-down shirts in the(by my father's standards) exciting, borderline racy shade of maroon... *GASP*. He must have been truly ecstatic. God knows I was.

[ Remind me to tell you one day of my father's extensive collection of shirts, encompassing a dazzling plethora of shades from Pale Blue to Pale Blue. ]

So the elimination of math from our lives reduced the tension between us a little bit. We never spoke casually and I did not have an easy relationship with him. I always felt I was a delinquent child, and a little bit of an academic disappointment. While I grew up kicking and screaming against his authority and his IIM-ness, I did, reluctantly grow to admire and respect him very much. No one has the quiet charisma, the work ethic or the intelligence of my father, and no one's standards will ever be higher than his, to me. As I grew older and calmed down, and he did likewise, I came to see my father as a person wholly apart from his job description as My Father.

I was never a remotely sentimental child, but in my old age I am surprised to learn that as little as I know you, I love you appa.

Have a happy forty ninth birthday; for both our awkward sakes, I hope you never have to read this, and if you do, by God, I never want to know.
(Umm. Dad, if you really are reading this - please don't read the last few blogposts. I say 'fuck' a lot. And by 'fuck' I mean 'shit'. And by 'shit' I mean 'ayyo'. Of course.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Metathinking and Other Indulgences.

I haven't been writing because I thought I had nothing to say. This is not true. It turns out that I had - have - things to say, but nothing that I thought was fit to post here.

And why not? I OWN this blog, after all. But the problem with being slightly paranoid about the nature of the information one wishes to make public, is that it results in the construction of a blog with a distinct personality; my blog has gone from being a benign white template accepting of posts of EVERY description with loving, open arms, to a snarky, judge-y Cruella de Blog. Everytime I would approach her with a nebulous idea for a post, she would raise one skinny eyebrow.

Awww, shawty be intellectual and shit, y'all. Ain't that cute.

And while 'intellectual' is a word that will never be associated with me, it is true that I am in a little bit of a think-ey mood these days (hold the derisive laughter). Right now I don't want to be flippant, I want to be earnest, and really, who likes earnest? Flippant is snark and cigarettes, earnest is chest pants.

I'm not doing a lot these days except thinking about thinking; specifically about the way I think, the assumptions I rely on and the validity of those assumptions. The idea is to treat nothing as sacred... once you put your life deliberately on shaky ground, interesting results emerge. I'm still playing with the idea of starting a separate blog that will be for these things alone. To be honest it probably won't materialise, but it's worth a thought.

There are very few songs I know all the words to, and they are all either by the Killers or The Who. What does this say about me?

I'm reading the Bhagavad Gita, if an English translation alongside a mishmash of commentaries is 'reading'. I was simultaneously slightly icked out and intimidated by it. A few days down, the ick is gone. It's early days yet, but I'm beginning to understand why some people read this book every day of their lives.

I've hit that phase again where this blog, this template, this text, this font, they've all begun feeling constrictive. It's time for a change I think, so suggestions for a new blog-host are solicited.

Kindly do not suggest Wordpress, however. Wordpress makes me want to stab nuns. I cannot code to save my life and something very fundamental in me is deeply annoyed that I can't upload templates of my choice. Livejournal is a little..odd..and typepad is... middle aged? Shit, the politics of bloghosting.

Where do I go from here?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Sum of My Farts.

The first time I ever heard Daniel Powter's Bad Day, I was struck by the absolute wrongness of the phrase 'blue sky holiday'; it was an instinctive no-no-no response. I don't want me no blue sky holiday. I think this comes out of the summer afternoons I use to lie spread eagled with my eyes shut on the open-air stage in college, wondering what the fuck I was doing here.

(Free Advice - When you're contemplating existential dilemmas and you're located in a desert, it's probably not the best idea to pick a summer afternoon to do it.)

Kolkata was a nice surprise. I am seduced by the absolute lack of ambition that this city seems to possess. The city stumbles along in a comfortable sort of stupor... warm muggy days coalesce into warm muggy nights coalesce into warm muggy days and time doesn't tick by briskly as much as drip stickily, slowly, like honey; hesitating just a little bit before it goes plop. Everyone always has the time for one more tea, one more conversation, one more pakora. The malls seem to be the only real concession to Modernity (as defined by my beloved Bombay), the rest of the city seems perfectly happy to preserve the Great Colonial Hangover. Not even the malls are MALLS, like the ones in Delhi or Gurgaon. The malls in Kolkata are not as shiny, their displays not as snazzy, their paintwork definitely more on the side of 'grubby' than fresh; even the new ones seem faintly apologetic about their newness. You will note that this is in sharp contrast to the I AM SHINY MALL, HEAR ME ROAR attitude of the Delhi/Gurgaon malls.

One happy discovery I made was that Kolkata is full of sexy smokers. As I have previously described in gratuitous detail, my physical intolerance for cigarette smoke is only matched by my fascination for people who smoke sexily. Somewhere at the beginning of my walk (along Esplanade) I discovered that I was apparently in the middle of the annual meetup of the Sexy Smokers Society, Kolkata Chapter, and for the next twenty odd minutes, I could barely walk straight. Everywhere I turned there was a someone lighting up in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. By the end of my walk I had 1. asthma and 2. whiplash.

And of course, I was DELIGHTED with the Metro, a little bit because of the nice Tagore poetry (translated!) in squiggly text on the walls, but primarily because of the HUNDREDS of weighing machines on the platforms! People who know me know that there are few things I love as much as a weighing machine that has a glass case with shiny glass spinning awesome thingies inside it (you know what I mean), and a slot for coins and another slot that spits out a ticket with your weight in the front and a tactless judgment on your life, on the back. I literally cannot resist these machines, I am helpless in front of them. I only have to look at one and I am a drooling idiot. I have to physically prevent myself from walking over in a hypnotic daze and surrendering all my loose change at its altar. That shit is IRRESISTIBLE.

My most recently obtained ticket has '54.5 kg' on the front and 'Expediency is not an excuse for Falsehood' on the back. I laughed till I cried.

A good friend matter-of-factly refers to my blogposts as 'farts'; there has never been any preliminary or any explanation for this . I am struck anew by the uncanny accuracy of her observation every time I think about it. In any case, I am more than the sum of my blogposts, as of my farts.

I hope.

Which brings us to the last and the most important question - Asterix or Tintin?
(Hint: The correct answer is Asterix. Seriously, what is the appeal of Tintin?)


(PS - To JD and anyone else who cares - I have not forgotten about a follow-up to the last post, it's planned for a later time.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Where We Interrupt Regular Programming to Kick Our Own Ass.

I've forgotten what it feels like to be proud of the work I do. There used to be a time when I would vouch for my work in absolute confidence of its kickassawesomeness as a reflection of my own competence.

Not anymore.

There are more excuses than there is proof, and I am tired of trying to prove desperately to myself that this is not true, by taking on more work than I can deal with and letting it all settle down into an incoherent, incomplete, heartbreakingly average mess. Such a deep sense of shame, that sinking, dull feeling in your stomach when you hand your work in and you look up to see first incomprehension, then understanding, then - and this is the absolute, punch-in-the-gut worst of all - pity.

I am being pitied. I can see it.

I've had enough.

Tomorrow onwards I kick ass again. Nothing leaves my hands without being up to my standards. I am not going to get through college feeling sorry for myself, I am going to make other people sorry they aren't me.



PS - While I do not put up anything intensely personal here, as a rule, I need to see this on a regular basis to shame myself into doing something about it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lips of a Scumbag.

So, WTF Song of the Moment - Hinder's Lips of an Angel. Why was this song such a hit? What could possibly be remotely appealing about a whiny man-child who whines to his ex on the phone in between nookie with his current girlfriend, in HER HOUSE? The mind boggles.

Nickelback is an equally infuriating band. I may be bizarre, but I even I have limits, and one of those limits is a stringy-blond man with no balls and a fake growl. And I am not even sure whether the worst part of that is the fake growl or the lack of testicles.

(I could be wrong about the no-balls bit, of course; maybe they just retract back into him in shame when he sings things like look at this photograph, everytime I do it makes me laugh )

I think I'll go with the fake growl. Either you've got a creepy-but-hot voice or you haven't, and everytime you put your fake bedroom voice on, I run screaming out of my door and kill a small animal. (Hear that, Chad? Every time you sing 'Photograph', a kitten dies. Think about that.)

Since I am on the topic of music, let me say I enjoy lots of music. I am not barbaric. I even like classical music, though as a dyed-in-the-wool Tam Bram, I was brought up on a wholesome diet of curd rice, rasam rice, fried papad and Hindustani-music-is-NOT-classical, with a healthy side order of HA-HA-those-deluded-Naarth-Indians. But I am sophisticated. I like qawwals (Altaf Raja) and Sufi music, though I draw the line at A R Rahman's heartfelt but indisputably Tamil-accented 'kwaaja jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee'. It's supposed to be a cry from the heart, but I always snort.

And by snort, of course, I mean laugh delicately but cuttingly. Derisively.

Anyway, winter is over. Or that's what it looks like from inside the cave I'm in, which consists of two sweaters, a sweatshirt, a muffler, a scarf, two pairs of socks, leg warmers and two pairs of track pants, two woollen blankets, a fleece blanket and a bunch of pillows. My pillows wear sweaters because I find that they get really cold otherwise, and I hate the feeling of cold cotton on my neck. All this warmth makes it difficult to haul myself out of bed early in the morning. I start out grimly determined, but the inevitable happens.

So, a couple of things to be noted here -

1. I am too cool for Photoshop.
2. I think I may be too cool for MSPaint also. :( alternatively,
3. Don'tcha love my mad MSPaint skillz? :)

Ahem. Moving on.

Wearing too many warm clothes makes you physically schizophrenic; wherever you're covered, it's the Bahamas, but where you're not, it's Siberia. What I mean is, I remember a couple of weeks back, I was typing out something pointless and formatting it perfectly, when I realised that my fingers and nose-tip were freezing, but I was probably reading a 103 degrees Fahrenheit on my tummy. There is something truly creepy about that.

In other news, I am in love with Amy Winehouse. Such an amber honey, midnight sky voice. A shiny crimson pointy nail stroking black velvet voice. A smoky nightclub, beaded dress, flapper party voice. A voice to fall in love with for a few hours and then go home alone to a cold bed. She says she's trouble, she's no good, but she's lazy drawling like she knows you'll follow her anywhere.

And you could follow her anywhere, if you wanted to. She's orange, and her implants look like they'd glow in the dark. She's a little hard to miss. Such is the magic of fake tan and silicone. Things like this are the reason that I hate watching music videos of the songs I fall in love with. You should form your own fucking images and never let anyone else's images mess yours up.

These days I like music that makes me unhappy. It's almost as though I don't know how to unlock all the sadness inside me unless the right song comes along, and then all is sweet release.

And so it is

Just like you said it would be

Life goes easy on me

Most of the time.

And so it is

The shorter story

No love, no glory

No hero in her skies..

I'm entirely aware that this blog is one Dashboard Confessional lyric away from being an emo blog.

But life has to get better than this. I am too awesome to be sad.


(P.S. - Please send me icecream.)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Confederacy of Idiots.

So I watched 3 Idiots, and it was shall I put this? 'Terrible' sounds like it would fit, but 'saddening' sounds closer to what I'm feeling.

An IIT-graduate is the Indian Elvis-cum-pornstar. I know that. I grew up in Tamil Nadu, for Christ's sake. I was interested in this movie because I thought the story had a fertile premise; three young men make it to an institution that everyone and their brother wants to go to. They all have their issues and they deal with them. Eventually they learn that happiness is when you do what you enjoy. And of course, there is an endearingly awkward romance alongside the main story. I thought it would make for a good movie, because of all the above, and also, um, because of the inexplicable crush I have on Sharman Joshi. Ahem.

But it wasn't a good movie. It wasn't even an indifferent movie. It was a ridiculously bad movie, and a large part of the problem was the shallow characterisation.

I mean, who was that shifty-eyed guy with the permanently guilty expression of a four year old caught with its fist in a jam jar? I've never seen a seventeen year old with that expression, and it annoyed me because it was clearly meant to be 'cute'. I am not a fan of 'cute', especially when the allegedly 'cute' person is employing said 'cuteness' to come off as childlike and endearingly naughty. I also intensely dislike it when the whole deal has the 'Look at me! Aren't I cutely childlike and cutely naughty? Aren't I just so irresistibly cute?' vibe about it.

Along with being cute, Aamir also multitasks as a saint. He has no flaw. Not one. He never gets angry, impatient, tired or frustrated, would risk his career for his friends, who, incidentally, he neither ever fights with nor grows impatient with, and is basically a ray of freaking sunshine. He eats rainbows and shits butterflies. He divides all of his time between being -

1. cute
2. shiny
3. a genius, and;
2. preachy

Which brings us to another itchy spot; isn't it enough being a genius these days? Or is there a group of critics somewhere complaining that they're tired of plain ol' geniuses, and that geniuses who are also saints are the new in-things?

My point is, Mahatma Gandhi wasn't a playback singer, a gymnast, an Olympic gold-medallist and a mathematician alongside being a political activist. He was just a political activist. And he was a genius. And that should be enough for us, unless we plan to convert the IIT-JEE into a qualifying paper for the priesthood. Which we haven't, so there's no need to be this creepily saintly.

As for the preachiness, my God, seriously. It's almost as though the moviemakers are telling us, "See, here is the point!Have you got the point?" And then they pick up the point and hit us on the head with it multiple times, just to make sure we've got the bloody point. What happened to subtlety in filmmaking? Perhaps more importantly, what is this precious point?

Who knows? It's there somewhere, suffocated under all the rubbish that was put in to, I don't know, accessorise it? But seriously, why disguise the perfectly simple and interesting point of the movie with a stormy-night-childbirth, a runaway bride, Ladakh, Shimla, 400 patents, an identity-swap and Javed Jaffrey's father's ashes in a toilet bowl? Why was there so. much. clutter?!

Th clutter really really annoyed me.

But what annoyed me even more than all of the above multiplied by 100000, was fellow movie-goers admitting that perhaps the central character was ridiculously saintly, the principal cartoonishly evil, and movie clumsily made, but it was a brilliant movie nevertheless because it had a message.

Now the above statement is so very WTF that it is difficult to immediately respond to it.

The message - howsoever goodhearted - of a movie, can never excuse bad execution. Especially when the message is nothing original; that is not to say that all good messages are original. I firmly believe that the education system in India requires some serious reconsideration.

However that is not the message in this movie. The only message in this movie is that you could die from peeing on a spoon. (Corollary - Spoons are potentially evil.)

And that, my friends, is simply not good enough.

Badly played, gentlemen.