Monday, April 25, 2011

Death Magnetic

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Mahatma Gandhi

On Mar 24, people in an Uttarakhand village gheraoed, then set afire the caged leopard that was a suspect maneater-in-waiting, and had been caught by the forest department on the villagers' request. The police, the forest officials couldn't do anything; there were no activists around who could do anything worth. To boast of their achievement, the crowds opened up to the tv cameras that were there.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

House Arrest

I plan my escape early in the morning. Its 0530, when things still blend into the consistent gray haze smeared across the landscape. Distant cawing of Himalayan crows pipes through the air, but nothing besides that; the branches still droop in complete silence. In haste I progress through my morning rituals – estimating the hour, loitering about the kitchen purposelessly, rubbing and scratching several body parts to confirm and stir my anatomy, obsess about my cold feet, decide against brushing teeth, a quick splash of water across the face, a quick bite, change of clothes. By the time I’m done, there’s a pale glow in the air, but there’s still hope that I might go unnoticed.

Friday, April 22, 2011


The yellow Bulbul that'll never come back
the way it was this morning,
ballet-dancing among the gardens and kyaaris
sending the flowers and shrubs themselves in a joyous dance - but nothing that would catch the eye of Grandmaster Mithun.
Lush breeze adds to the happiness
and the entire flora dances in sync,
to same tune
of the ocean and mother Earth.

A cicada chirps on by,
his lament out there for a lover to pick;
in short quivering replies she replies back and now
the lonesome cicada slips into morning bliss.

The sparrow flits by
between the strikingly odd - like the few strands of hair on a bald man odd - branches,
and puff and swell in the chase and run game they play in the morning.
It is nice to see the sparrow return,
much like somebody's younger sister that I knew.
And so I also wish that the T-rex may return back b'coz tat would be fucken cool.

Love statistics

Dear girl,


Things I talk with my new-gen Bhabhis

FIrst sensations of being back

I find a cool spot under the shade of one of the few young pines dotting Montpellier, overlooking the entire chain of this sinusoidal mountainside, then the road snaking down to Gethia, the blue tin roof of my home at the edge of the hillside that further opens into valeys void of settlements and finally ending into a flourish of the Gaula plains at Kgm and Hld.
This is my first appropriation of Alookhet's geography, and also an exploration to what really was 'up there' - the narrow track climbing up along one of the bends shortly after Alookhet. What really is up here surprised me, as I carefully studied the Kumaoni gentleman garlanding and lighting incense sticks at what appeared a Mazaar - these are shrines typical to Islam. Next to this Mazaar was a small walled chamber decked with bells and strange earthenware, typical of Hindu temples. My inquiry met with an affirmation - that this really is a Mandir and a Mazaar together; the gentleman had no reservations declaring himself a 'Kumaoni Hindu', but that this observance dated so far back into their culture that they didn't see any religious divide in the dual worship... he put it to the days of his Ma, when he wasn't even born, to something around 80 years ("हम तो कुमाऊनी ब्राह्मण ठहरे, यहीं आलूखेत के, मगर ये तो हमारे माँ के टाइम से चला आ रहा है")

As I now sit watching a radiant nimbus tumor towards the South, likely over the hill of Hanuman Garhi, a brilliant orange - imagine lifejacket flourescent orange - drongo (?) flits across my panoramic horizon; I'm mesmerised at what should be put at extreme end of the brilliance scale. Sooting breeze continues to lap my face and arms. Its 1400, when v illages have retreated into their customary midday slumber. Only cows dot the hillside; now they too do a vanishing act. Even the highway lays barren of transport, same as the Gethia-Ntl road. The foxes on the adjacent hillock - not far from where I am - probably also sleep, they would step out by the evening and contrinute their high pitched harmony to the setting sun, which is when I expect to be on my return as well, and catch their glimpse.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Film rolls

Finished with a roll of FSA200. Last shot of chacha-chachi in PD's bedroom against the setting sun. I was later appalled of the brain stroke that prevented me from composing it in a better way - against the bed with some curtains and rolling windows and the weapon stash, for example. The penultimate shot, and a couple preceding, were spent on the rooftops in the panoramic view of filth and downtrodden living that has come to represent Mumbai in the international stereotype of all the Slumdog Millionaires.
This roll debuted on Kashid trip, day 2, when the village girl summoned me to my art; I had been dying to get it over with. In the span of a couple of months it gathered broken fragments of my history at Kashid, Mumbai, Lucknow, and Mumbai again.
This baby sure needs Mahatta treatment for all that its been through.

Also have this roll of ILP100 (2014/07) waiting to be developed. It saw its end on Kashid trip, day 1, with me lying on the beach sands against the last pasty rays of a vivid sunset. I forget where all it has been to - I suppose I had it in KQ when last there in the penultimate week of 2010. Aditi was yet to arrive from Canada. Mostly shot the dogs, and a family shot which I expect to come out special. I forget all the other shots from this one. Time will tell. Mahatta will tell.

A third - if memory serves me right its a FNP100 (2009/09) - already lies at Mahatta, developed. Blackrat has been very sincere in keeping me bleeding and begging to pick it up and send me the scans. However, moving to Delhi would simplify things. I might be moving back just for Mahatta.

So three rolls - 108 frames - of memories await.

Add that any more that I spend at Ratnagiri, which is on cards for the weekend, right before I leave for Lucknow, back for good. By calculations, I would have 24 hours of sightseeing, counting out the 16 hours on the road, and 8 hours of Saturday night's anticipatedly-invigorating sleep. My arsenal has been decided more by the urgency of decay - 1x Sensia 100 (2009/04), 1x Kodak BW400CN (2008/02), and 1x Fujicolor Superia 200 (2011/07).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

work acidity

While being employed in cities, I almost picked up several bad habits - like excessive reliance on antibiotics, eating unhealthy food, not paying attention to my scalp, watching Roadies, shaving armpits, work. Work refers to what we do without a cause or or a great war or a celebration. As I think about work, the ghost stench of vodka fills my nose, which is also a byproduct of finding no purpose in things and trying to sell yourself to the corporate pimps. They pitch you, you pitch them back. Ringa ringa roses. Oops. We all fall down.
Bad habits give you acidity and heartburn. Then you spend the rest of your life on Rantac 150mg - that causes loss of apetite, low fever, and dark stool. Antibiotics are not good, as I said.

I should linger on, perhaps if I want to reassure myself of what is NOT to be. That kinda has been my strategy all along; always know what you aren't supposed to have. All along, I have probably not known what I am supposed to have. I've to be leading, with assault, if I want to see where I should be, with what, with whom.

If you think there are any other bad habits I could be into, let me know. Let me assure you that you are wrong about... their label of 'bad'. If you'd say 'lusting for wilderness', I would probably agree, but nothing much besides.

the sport of long jump

Feel great gravity pulling me down and away from the 'board. Slow soft hymnal Gladiator music floats me up for a while. Then the bright fluorescent light enters my consciousness and freezes my posture. Even the tongue crosses its slurping threshold and now that the roasted kaju crumbs are cleaned up it slaps in desperation and rolls up blanks. The head slowly empties out of the unnecessary, and now I lift up from my mask of abstraction and reveal the actual self to no other audience but myself. Rivers break out, golden pagodas spring up, and Odissi dancer girls decked in more gold dance on the staircase that lead to somebody - probably you. 'You' completely change the context.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


The whole day feels ridiculous. It was badly planned, for one, and a meaty subset of my narrow set of friends overlaps with the ‘asshole’ subset. This is another day of failed commitments to my schoolmates, much due to geographical boundaries, and occupational inconveniences – it is like we were destined to be mutually disinterested, especially seeing the way one or the other among us has been canceling each time.

Yesterday was fruitful, and fruitier as well, compared to the literal dust that I’ve been chewing on this entire day. Had plans to hook up with schoolmates at Yogesh’s in JNU, but had to cancel that at the last moment - Yogi was uncertain if his plc wud be all to us tonite, plus Ghoru wont come, plus Parth canceled out as well, and Anu wont respond. Horrible, horrible.
To top that, my ongoing binge with a couple of friends – Shaurya and Anubha – came to a premature end when their sincerities and realities got lost in translation. I sat there, observing both one deep gaze at a time, preparing my commentary in my head (which now lies lost in my mental maze), and occasionally saying things that I thought were wise as well as sentimental/distracting. They broke up by the third shot; only two for me as I was supposed to be the designated driver who was to first ferry Anubha home, then maybe Shaurya as well, then meself get to JNU on the motorbike. Now they both must be halfway passed out, halfway chuffed out, and at their respective homes. I wish they’d have lingered on till the main course, for we weren’t even halfway with the starters… this poor guy munched on a Mc Aloo Tikki later to sublimate his horror that stemmed from the situation.

Back in the bastion, too, more misfortune awaited as this guy loitered about the campus due to miscommunication that had him locked out for a while. Looking back, all the aggression and haste that went into the transit back from CP was flushed away in the hours of annoying wait. More of the misfortune, when he found about the sad shit that Vodafone’s 3G is. More of it, when he could only locate fakes for “The Fighter” floating among the torrents. Frailty ensues.