Friday, August 31, 2012

Mandala finished - I'm no wiser

Two consecutive days of facepalm. Yesterday it was the incident with the Army guys. The day before was when I finished with Jamyang Norbu's "Mandala of  Sherlock Holmes" in the last hours in Gethia (Nainital). Oh, I'd - so eagerly - ordered it from Flipkart to wrap myself in a beautiful lingering memory...

The novel went from exciting to a pulp fiction by the last chapters - I was eagerly finishing my chapters in the first couple of reads, but on this last read I was praying for it to stop; the incredulous moments and illogical subplots took me off balance. There was a Jung's UFO-Mandala essay (for effect to something like a digestif) that seemed either misplaced or misprinted.

The book, though less on imagination, is soaked in some very interesting trivia - I loved the descriptive settings, objects, and customs around the middle of 19th century. If I ever try this book again, I'd need to sit with two dictionaries - a regular one, and one for the 'quot erat...' type latin phrases.
There's a hunch that I might give it away by the next time I feel like having it... any takers?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fight for Your Right

By the time I'd left the office, it was dark, and I was tired. Another inconvenient Tuk Tuk ride followed, and I was at Sikandarpur Metro station. That is when another tiring incident took place.

As I was standing along the platform balcony, watching the Gurgaon skyline and my office buildings visible in the distance, a security guard accosted me - these are CISF jawans (NCOs) on duty protecting this valuable commuter service, in the lingering threat of female emancipation and terrorism. I turned around to find three of them surrounding me. To lend from Ignatius Reilly, “Like a bitch in heat, I seem to attract a coterie of policemen and sanitation officials. ”

It seemed casual. I should've known that a facepalm moment was in the coming.

"आप काफी देर से खड़े हो..."
"हाँ, तो?"
"ट्रेन भी छोड़ दी अपपने, दो तीन..."
"हाँ, मैं देख रहा था "
[in reality, i only skipped one train, which too wasnt bound for my destination, which I tried to clarify]
"एक ही ट्रेन छोड़ी है, Sir, वो भी सुल्तानपुर वाली "
"जो भी है, आप साइड से हट जाइये "
[what they were upto was herding bystanders towards the platform, at their personal whim, in the name of security]
"क्यों? मैंने क्या किया?"

At my protest, all three of them jawans grouped ganged up, and asked me to move away, as if their job was making collective strategies to abuse civilians and countering accountability. I asked them for names, but they were more insistent on bossing around. It was annoying, and annoyance is easy to read from my face - always look for that expression of 'ludicrous' on my face and a narrowing of eye slits and a confusion in tone (as a civil society in the urban world is one place I can't do with irrational argumentation - the truckers & hoteliers & dhaba owners & taxiwallahs & prostitutes & peddlers & pimps & the odd traveler, are few of those I've managed in the Himalayan outbacks - but never carry that expectation in the city).

Ultimately one nudged me from the right. It felt demeaning, and I demanded his name, but neither did he tell it, nor could I read his identity from his badge that his bulletproof vest shielded alongside his life. Some folks must have taken notice - of this young rebel, who stood not upto a mere tank which was lacking short range capability, but 3 Indian jawans which were getting as absurd as Monty Python Flying Circus (except that their manifestation in the real world is virally destructive) - coz after the next coupla' minutes of explosive confrontation when I looked around, there was a crowd around us, albeit one which dispersed as quickly on arrival of the next train (which demonstrates the great apathy Dilliwalas are known for).

Meanwhile, those 2 minutes... the guy to my left - the original accoster but the most understanding of them all and coincidentally the youngest, too - then called for a break in their BS, and 'informed' me about some girl's suicide from Metro stn a coupla' days back. Now this news I neither had knowledge of, nor I see why I should, since it holds no relevance into our ongoing conversation of why I shouldn't be standing at some particular public spot. Its no secret that someone committing a suicide is as random as it gets (had it been that girls wearing a chrome turban on their heads and a silken florescent scarf around their waists with a folded paper in one hand and a male iguana in another are jumping off gray-colored buildings fitted with marble tiles, then I could've understood targeting certain people with chrome turbans or silk flourescent scarves or male iguanas).
He also explained me a "profiling" process they use to choose their suspects. Bloody Morgan Freeman wannabes. I could reason me being taken for a suicide "suspect" (again its a random evaluation), but not why they had continued to harass me after having cleared their doubts. Suspects are prone to questioning, not harassment and ego exercises.

I was casual till this point, border line irritated, and arguing rationally against a rising barrage of nonsense. That is when the center jawan tried to use force against reason, grabbing me by the throat. I immediately pulled myself out from his grip, and began to billow in anger - it wasn't seething in anger types, but more of a disappointed anger ("why did I even start politely with these guys?" types). I demanded his (the middle guy) name, but again thanks to his bulletproof vest... But I still hadn't come to threatening them with a demotion, or Court Marshall, or an arrest for assaulting an officer (I was slowly being goaded into that), but with a more vehement, primal plea to respect the civilians who they can't push around like 'भेड़ बकरी'. There was also a line about me having spent enough time with Army, CISF, BRO, etc to know mutual respect. One of the bystanders also came forward to defuse the situation, calling me to calm down and the jawans to let peace be.

Dunno which of the features of the post-throat-choke argument it was, but the jawans soon relented, and didn't seem like they were gonna assault me. The left guy, again, was the most conversant (notice that the 'argument' had toned down into a 'conversation' now). We bullshitted a few lines - me against having to allay their deep fear of suicidal youth jumping from all metro stations [to think of it, I should've reasoned with, "सर, हाथ में ऑफिस का काम लेकर कौन ऊपर जाना चाहता है?] - which might've won me a round on dark comedy] - until the next train arrived.

As I parted their circle, they asked me my name, which I arrogantly refused to tell, starting at them again with an intimidating "क्यों?" and ready to face another round of bullying, but luckily civility seemed to have won, and it was the jawans who first game me their names, in response to which I went "Prashant, Deepak, Prabhat Bhaiyya,..." and shared my name. I then turned and shuffled into the train. As I left - and so did they alongside - the same guy who informally adopted the role of a PR Officer and saved CISF some grace - waved me, and I waved him back.

Let us see if we ever cross paths again, and how we reason.

"तू कूदेगा क्या?" ("are you gonna jump?")
"क्यों, आप पैसा दे रहे हो?" ("why, are you paying me for it?")
"दूंगा तो फिर कूद जायेगा क्या?" ("if given, would you jump?")
"कूद तो जाऊँगा, मगर पैराशूट के साथ" ("i could, but with a parachute")
[WTF expression on the jawan's face - priceless]

Nightly ghoom for food in Delhi

I had alighted at Anand Vihar from my 6 hour journey back: Gethia - Kathgodam - Delhi. Shiv was to pick me from Saket Metro, and we were to head to PVR for dinner. Hunger wasn't my priority - I was already bloated on preparations by IRCTC crew onboard Shatabdi.

As I climbed up the stairs at Saket stn, a redrafting of food plans transpired in my head. Shiv arrived, but instead of a minor loop that he expected, I drove out far, seemingly directionless.

To solve the situation of hunger, we first drove to USO house... closed. Then to Indira Market(?) in RKP to Al-Kauser... where they tried passing us the leftovers (a bastardization of Kathi rolls for INR540) which we refused. Then to another of Al-Kausers, the one behind Assam Bhawan for better (and cheaper) food, which I trusted would be open... closed. I realized it was a Tuesday, when the meat becomes a sacred entity for a day in the name of a God, and Delhi doesn't eat out.

Then we changed directions to South Campus, the hotbed of student crowd, which surely would have some late-night eateries... all closed, merely minutes prior to our arrival. Its hard to believe that there is no option for the nightly (to say, it wasn't even midnight) mobile crowd in Delhi (or whatever large tract we covered). Delhi really sucks. I had an innocent assumption that even outside of our originally planned destination, we could find food. Blame it on my concern that I wanted to put freshly-prepared warm food on table at my friend's place, which was a part of the redrafted plan.

Driving a bit ahead, we found a yogurt shop with lights on, which turned out to be open. Something, finally. We had a coupla’ bowls of yogurt (priced so extravagantly for the college crowd - and even for a working professional like moi - that I can’t believe this business still sustains in this locality). Yogurt isn't a meal, but sadly there was no other option. So, finally, the food that made it to the table was freezing cold anyways.

That I'm Not Here

And what exactly is a dream
And what exactly is a joke.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wrong Shoe Size

A cicada sets off in the willow above me, and its song travels through such a wide tonal range that I momentarily mistake it for a jet either raiding or surveying the skies
(with the recent (re)viewing of Grave of the Fireflies, it doesn't take long to figure out my delusion).

A murmur set up in the leaves of a Poplar tree behind me by its swaying branches also raises an alarm, as if something's slowly rumbling in.

Through these distractions, I am actually being solicited by nature to see the dreamy rustic scene of the valley - soaked in rains, lush flora carpets the chain of hills in all directions; the flat monochrome walls of homes bear a saturation and sheen (also thanks to the zero haze) one finds - if at all - in paintings (and photoshopped flickr pics); the clouds mesh a dreadful fiber above that will tear open to surprise meeklings anytime; the sun works in installments, much annoyed by the train of traveling clouds; orange, black, blue, and white beaks shuffle among the branches, landing blows on tree bark and earth to knock out some unlucky worm, and they also fill the noisescape with a cheery honey trill; ants march under by boots (and some even make through alive) savouring breadcrumbs from the last of my lot that I just finished.

I feel so badly hooked to this scene that to get out of these I won't without mutilating myself. I realize a lot more things await me to the city I will land back into later tonight, but its like stepping out of your good shoes into something 3 sizes smaller.

Your ayyashi, my music

I could be complicit in your ayyashi but not in your music. that is why, despite the experimentations of the weekend, now is when I find my high, in the music of pink floyd coming from the speakers indoors off my own playlist. There's nothing to complain about the adventure and ayyashi with my Nawabi amigos that just parted ways, but as much as I start to miss them, there's a feeling of relief in parallel, as I can plug into my own music - I walked back home listening to orchestral pieces, and to follow PF right now is wobbly Persian music.

I have these friends, however, to thank for a great musical (mis)education.

I'm sexy and I show it

S and T must presently be LKO-bound, and probably rolling into HLD in their 21:55 Bag Express. We parted ways ~1930 in a shared Innova being in front of Modern Hairdresser (Tallital), following which I walked across the rd. to get a haircut, following which I purchased food supplies (for survival in the following 17 hrs) and walked back to G. listening to music on my PMX680s, with the song on pause at the void zones (regions void of human/civilizational presence, say, a barren chain of hills) to soak in the jungle.

The joyride (aka ultimate मुंहचोदी) is over now, but I'm on a lingering high, nonetheless, for the 3 days spent with these guys was an alt. and exciting experience. It was, unbelievabingly, my first visit to Mukteshwar (and I boast my Kumaon lineage as if the region leaves me no unexplored destinations); I have been lazy as the locals are, which I can blame upon human nature. Reading from the milestones, the names in Corbett's accounts came flashing back... Mukteshwar, Devidhura, Mornaula - brings back memories of a teenager nervously leafing through his books and discovering the ways of handling fear. I felt a lot wiser by end of this trip (than what I was anticipating in the comfort of my loneliness until S called me up) and also feel like a fool for being ignorant of travel in this region and travel in the monsoons.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Lady in Blue

C, you did it. You aren't D, anymore. You now have the distinction of being among my seducers. Not that it really was an act of seduction, or the appropriate setting for it, or the intended mood graph (against a time axis).

You shouldn't have come. You shouldn't have stayed. You shouldn't have stepped back out of your car. You shouldn't have come back running. And you - as hell sure - shouldn't have reciprocated.

Let me restate - consciously or subconsciously - I do not see you that way. All we are is just - to quote Pink Floyd (whom you don't seem to appreciate) - 'two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl'; two ramblers going in opposite directions running into each other. I feel trapped in "the web" of words we weaved that night, words from under our blankets - though you are the one originally afraid of spiders and webs.

PS: You look ridiculous draped in blue

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My 3 meals

Last evening, I munched on a coupla' packets of Chocos and a same number for peanuts. That was complemented with dark (56% dark) chocolate from The Choco Cafe bought earlier. There was also Pepsi and Limca, one bottle each, downed. My dinner.

This morning I accidentally ran into a guava seller and had my fix of 4 to start the day with. Then I had shortlisted a chhole-bhature candidate on my morning recce who didn't disappoint - great experience, and a shaky after-experience. My breakfast.


Night, I strolled out, after my Elaichi milk. An omlette-bread, and two bhuttas (roasted corn stalk), which I felt was perfect to my regimen. I've consumed two mishti doi since. A pack of peanuts, too. Brushing to kill the munchies. My dinner.

This details on my 3 recent meals.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dilliwala chronicles

Jackpot. Managed to get (tear away) not a couple, but a bumper 8 double-sided sheets from the hotel manager's notebook - The Bombay Palace - which now gives me 16 pages to scribble on. He (the manager) seemed drunk, exceedingly so by the time of my return from dinner, and since he'd already proved himself a man of verbiage, I decide to ignore whatever rant of his followed my return and quickly made my escape into my room. It is past midnight, and I need to get my tiny share of whatever sleep I can, so that I could begin the most action-packed in my recent history of living in this urban space.

I don't know where to begin with. Being happy, unconfrontational, unjudgemental, and of a shy reserve - though some would condensely label it to their convenience as "being a dick" - has its own headaches, and there are people who feel a license to pile a lot of shit on your back is their prerogative. But, anyways, at the end of the day, its me lying in this seedy 8x5 ft walled spot (its called a 'room' in common parlance, albeit I'm afraid if it even qualifies for that) in Pahraganj, to the accompaniment of the noisy metal grind of the fan, and askance attraction/distraction of the dancing brown curtains with paisley and flower petal designs. The wall's dotted with a few Paan spits around the base, and a strange rainbow of red splatter much high up which reminds me of the gory scenes in Korean movies - to talk about movies, this room is exactly like the one which Philippe Nahon (in Gaspar Noe's "Seul Contre Tous") fucks a crackhead prostitute in. I could be anything but your regular Dilliwala tonight - a tramp, a traveler, a fugitive, a refugee, a madcap. Nobody decides to experience Paharganj for the kicks. Seul Contre Tous, after all.

It is just another 5 hours to survive here; after emptying my bowels in the most repulsive of toilets (huh, as if I'm not getting used to it) I think I will.

To draw a sharp contrast, just yesterday evening I was at the Hauz Khas Village, in a rooftop resto overlooking a lake (teeming with ducks) surrounded by a lush green scape and remnants of Mughal architecture, eating Naga cuisine of beef shreds and pork ribs, in the company of my brother, marveling at the cones of light filtering through clouds (that had the potential of 10000 faves on flickr) and discussing a lifestyle to look forward to. Right now, I just had my only meal of the day (by the end of it) - of North Indian flavor of Dum Aloo and Matar Paneer - in a shabby dhaba called Swagat (near Imperial Theatre) sitting adjacent to rickshaw-wallahs, coolies, and the lower rung clerks, where one would find it easier to prepare a list of things to NOT complain about - that sole entry on the list being an absence of rodents. That, when a coupla' hours back, I'd almost decided for a scrumptious South Indian thali at Karnataka Bhawan. Talk about life...

I'm very tired tonight. I wish I could dive straight into Stage N3 sleep for the next 4 hrs-or-so I'm left with. Will update more on a new dawn.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Velvety Morn

Did I forget to mention the time when I came across these? - yeah, and I held them in my hands, too. Thought they were spiders, but not. They are a species of arachnids, though - scientifically christened Trombidiidae, and more commonly, Red Velvet Mite. Apparently many mistake them for spiders at the first review. What they are is a highly magnified version of the same mites we so detest in our home. This page (this too) explains them really well - especially interesting is the stages of growth.

These mites splurge out into the open during rainy season. Later they very viciously party on invertebrates, but let's overlook that... they're just so - cushy. I stalked a few to hold them on my palm, the sensation of their coat felt amazing. There were a dozens of them loitering about near the tennis courts of JNU, where I happened to be that morning playing tennis (and not really focusing on the game). These things should have plush toys designed after them - hello, the world, take cues.

I'm surprised to learn that the species is endemic to the Northern Plains of India, since I've never come across these before this monsoon! They're colloquially referred to as "Rani Keeda" my side of the language segment, but never have I heard that utterance from anybody in my circles. I should probably ask some biology masters from DU for more info.

Spiti on the Rooftop

Set out cleaning my bike yesterday - to tend to its injuries after those 5 days of agony in the distant tracts of Himachal the week before. After a late inspiration in the evening to do so, and finding my portable tube-lamp non-functional (damn you, Philips), I managed in the narrow white cone of my bike light. The Rohtang/Spiti dust was everywhere to see; I brushed away loads of it - from the tires, the spokes, the brakes, the chainring, the cassette, the derailleurs, and not to forget the frame itself. Clearly when the trip was over a week back, it wasn't really over.

There's still some more dismantling-and-cleaning to do. I already replaced the troublesome rear tube which expelled air faster than someone under the influence of Rajmah. There's the entire crankset-and-casette assembly to disassemble and fix, the chain to clean, the disc brakes to tweak, and also the rear derailleur to realign. That's for this evening, probably consuming the entirety of it, but which is good - lately, making my unpresence felt in the place of my dwelling has been the least offensive thing I can do.

Bootstrap Music - Leider Geil

Robbie Williams entering my head this morning was unexpected; it also reminded me of my silly musical meanderings - he was one of the first faves to claim of, and there is a surviving photograph somewhere of a school picnic with me listening to an album of his (in cassette form) on my walkman. The music I bootstrapped my musical existence with makes for a curious narrative.

Childhood was in a void of international artists. We only had Doordarshan, you see, and on it there was Chitrahaar (and later Sueprhit Muqabala) to look forward to - no Billboard Top 100 until much later when cable television made entry into the household. A friend of mine did have Cable TV, but I would be more keen on scheming a plot that will have his old gnarly aging uncle leave me with half his inheritance, or ended in a peek of her sister Jessica's tits, or sourcing the latest scraps of pornographic paper of human forms I'd never imagined before - oh, the wankers that we were back then. But I still managed to know about Stereo Nation (if you count that as international; they still maintain annoying site) and Shaggy (garbled enough to be hip).

At this time, my cousin sis - who is a year younger to me, btw - could claim to be my leading authority on music. She had cable, yes. She had a VCR, yes. She had a coterie of uptown friends (who, behind locked doors, cried their teenage hearts out thinking of a sinking Leo while listening to My Heart Will Go On). And the most influential of all, a trio of wannabe hipsters in the form of her cousins (from her dad's side) in varying age brackets. It was through her influence that I heard of names like Spice Girls and Whigfield.

In 'those' days, this 'modern' music wasn't available, or if it was then it would cost thrice my pocket-money, so visiting a music shop was more like visiting a museum - can only see and not buy. The way over this obstacle was to record your compilations. The way for that was to either have a dual-cassette-deck tape recorder at home and a sea of cassettes to record from, or asking the music shop owner to do it for a negligible feasible charge.
Since Pa had, ages ago, brought home a behemoth Panasonic dual-deck player/recorder, I tried my hand at making my own compilations, with albums (cassettes) sourced from rich and hip friends. I didn't do too well. So, going for the alternative, I approached a trusted music shop in Kamla Nagar near Delhi University.

The modus operandi was: to buy blank cassettes/tapes - preferably Sony or Panasonic (and understandably 90-min tapes over the 60-min ones) - then prepare a list of songs to record which would total upto the recording time on the tape, then hand it over to the music store guy, alongwith half the nett charges for the recording (for the charge of Rs5 per song), then come back a couple of days later to get your bliss. [Yes, I've always been a pirate, but the lengths we'd go to back then, compared to today, is an amusing reflection]

Here's some contents of my first compilation (I eventually didn't include Shaggy, as it was too scandalous to be listening in front of parents):
  • Whigfield - Sexy Eyes
  • Whigfield - Saturday Night
  • Spice Girls - Wannabe
  • Stereo Nation - Baby Don't Break My Heart
  • No Mercy - Where Do You Go
  • Los del Rio - Macarena
  • ...

I would probably vomit if I come across such a compilation in the future. Back then, it was the coolest audio recording I had in my possession. Leider Geil.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fundamental Units

Can you name the fundamental units of measurement....
did you get all the 7 of them correct? Yes, 7, there are 7 of those. And its one for each, so, of meters and kilometers, only one survives - the meter.
Now that I'm certain that you didn't, and that a many majora won't, consider that the world isn't even dealing with 7 quantities, as of yet, and we already call it so complex. There's some relief to know its not so complex, but there's the climb upto complexity that both scares as well as elates us.

For mirth, I could add that money being a most fundamental benchmark for life, should be adopted among those fundamentals as well. Then there'll be m/kg/s/A/C/mol/cd/$. Money would be the only unit with an entropy, lifelike. That would give us a great snapshot of the history of humankind then.

Too bad that even though money is so engrained into our lives, yet among our core insecurities is so far fetched a fear in the mind (to the unshrewd mind) that it isn't realized as one. Probably that is what people define 'maturity' as, honing that sense which makes us believe in something [wait, wasn't that religion's role?] I can see myself being uncomfortable with it, so by deduction I can assume myself immature.... which is what I surely am.
That means my theory works! - if you want proof then flip the screen around and try typing "You're the DUDE §"

The desktop climber

And someday the owner of this synthetic lumbering man would be with a snow axe knotted to a spool of rope in hand, climbing towards a formidable summit probably between 7-10AM, and about to make it there to do a handstand in borat thong.

Indian SciFi

To note is Aishwarya Rai's toupee - see the cooling fan mounted on her head... epic.
Nobody could guess that Rajnikanth (staring vacantly into her plastic head mounts) is the actual robot in the movie.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rats and reds

A haggardly object the size of a Coke can shuffling across my cone of sight. I realize what it is; a repulsive rodent. Could be hiding in any nook of this house - in the shoes, in the helmets, under the boxes, inside the boxes, under the bed, inside the carry bags, under the fridge, in the almirah, hanging to the bedsheet, crawling up the book rack. Even though you anticipate your enemy now, it's still as much a shock-and-awe moment when it comes out in the open.

And the day goes in rodent elimination tactics; not a kill, FYI, since kills make one a murderer and also a lesser man - there's nothing swell in cornering and pulping a creature with confused eyes till the last breath. You plan good in alternate ways, laying out no traps but a cookie trail, and finally when it walks out in the open on the trail, you fright it into flight with a trekking pole - best alternate use of this device. A girly scream also rends the air, but luckily there's nobody else to notice that.

The day dons a red tint with passing - the red of ants, and the red of the stings that bloom all over the stomach and hands. So it happens that when the queen of ants decides to take a flight, she finds the sleeve of your tee to take refuse, and then her troop of soldiers follow her trail to clamor all over your body; those nihilists then gracefully bite all over, as if that rat had paid them to, and force you to quit your science of sleep and the dal chawal to take a frantic bath.

Sting sting sting
They make me sing

Sunday, August 12, 2012

liveblogging wrestling

Congrats to Sushil Kumar who ended with a 66kg wrestling bronze in the Olympics. The match just ended, and it'll be hard to get the image of the Japanese wrestler rocketslamming our Indian guy into the floor, a moment which pretty much announced the result. Sad to realise that the most-watched match of our greatest wrestler would be the one where he lost. Surprised to see talent surviving in these ancient arts of India, which exist in rare pockets, like the one in Najafgarh where Sushil came from, or one in Bhiwani where Geeta Phogat came from (regardless that she didn't win anything). India still needs a lot of discipline.

I hope the terrorists of Haryana and Punjab, who terrorise Dilliwala youth like me whenever we drive into the suburbs, or enter clubs, or hang out in the company of the female gender, or got out with a fancy camera into fields, or with a shiny bike into the grimy offroads, would learn from the likes of Sushil Kumar and love to keep their aggression for their country than to the satisfaction of their dicks (for those guys everything is hardwired to their dicks, trust me).

LOL I'm liveblogging, which is rare. Also that I'm giving a damn about Olympics, which is rarer. [Last I remember going live during the Higgs Boson's announcement]

Learnt its the last day of the Olympics. I was there during the first week, and then vanished into thin air (of 14000ft) in the second, and returned to be oblivious to another disaster story they'd turned out to be in the third week. Today, I learn, that its all gonna be over. I'll probably miss the closing ceremony as well. Gah, where's my lympics love potion?

Mageirics diaries

Here's to a bowlful of beans just bursting to jump into my caring arms that will first kill them then turn them into the most delicious instances of eating pahari rajmah known to humans.

It has been a well kept secret among us few friends, but that it will remain since I hate feeding too many maws at a time. Last evening had it not been for my bros unannounced presence, my roomie K would've made love with my preparation of rajmah on his jute mattress. Tonight it's gonna be a repeat preparation but I hope he won't make such a mess.

Here's (not) to Chiwda

I shouldn't have laid my hands on the packet of LaxmiNarayan Yaancha Best Chiwda and sat musing over the processing that goes into making the oh-so-tasty overfried coconut strips (much to rival bacon strips). That distracts me from blogging, and hence demands more short-term retention from my memory, so later when I can sit down - like now - I could vomit recall out more.

To really nail the blame, we should go back to hunger stimulants (or their corresponding inhibitors), and wish that our body would never demand so much of energy, which means it'll have to be a system of selfless organs demanding energy in the form of oxygen in the form of blood for mere survival and never more, living on the edge, making us prone to any failure at any wrong moment - this makes asceticism look like an inward process of convincing the organs to live inside a really narrow probability cone -- On these musings, suddenly I'm left in awe of the poor who have traveled through a much narrower probability cone than we have; at the end of the day, when survival is all that counts, these people rival any of us. It is also the civilization to commend that allows an environment for such a wide range of cones to exist - you would think there is some upper or lower threshold, but no, be as rich (as you can be) or as poor (as you are left), you will find yourself living, with your cone spectrum a non-determinant of your longevity.

Okay, finally some update. I'm kinda ticked off that my long-term retention is weak - can't recall anything of what my track of personal journey 7 years back. But I'm happy to find that cDc is still alive so I can revisit my past (not amounting to inducing nostalgia). The above observation is doubly-valid, if we recall that I haven't even retained much of the programmer's manual in this passage of years, and have tiredly walked down from the pedestal of a geek to a wannabe. But "that begs the question" (to remind myself of the debate culture at school, where a lot of similar verbiage was thrown about): If I really will forget everything I think or say 7 years from now, how crazy does that make me about the future? Maybe one day I have progeny, and then 7 yrs later I can't even remember for sure if I did, so I make another one? Maybe I graduate thrice?

I've been feeling lazy. Lazy means mostly keeping indoors, but physical inaction doesn't necessarily mean a mental equivalent - the mind can still be rife (on reef). The Big Lebowski last evening has been a historic landmark in movie watching. Right now I'm culturally re-shocking myself and enjoying it all the more on a re-viewing of Lost in Translation; the portrayal of Scarlett is almost tangible, and now I like her all the more.

Checked out the weather:

Delhi isn't too good. It shows a rainless cloud, but in real, right now, its sunny outside. Such weather is only encouragement to foolish things - like consuming items of leavened wheat flour, or pretending to find refuge in humans. Blech... I can trust that it'll be pouring buckets in Ntl, so is that where i should be heading to?

Friday, August 10, 2012

I'll have the Mandala

Inadvertently, I step into the genre of mystery writing again. Last, it was The Mystery of Suspect X. Now, its The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes (by Jamyang Norbu), a novel that I had no knowledge of until I just unwrapped it in the office, then turned to Amazon to trace the breadcrumb to [Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery]. Three days back, I'd blindly ordered this book from Flipkart.

You can guess that the book is a recommendation. It is, and a subconscious one at that. I'm always chasing recommendations ("Listens to: Others' recommendations"), however, this one is slightly convoluted:

So I'd met this girl - a Czech, whom I could claim the most beautiful girl on this planet with the most creative dreadlocks - onboard a rickety HRTC bus enroute to Manali. She was coming from Leh. The crowd in the bus consisted of me and C, an army guy, and about half a dozen of foreigners (whom I assumed to be a cohesive group).

Not far beyond Marhi, we got talking [me adoring her tanned nose and forehand alongside] - she was traveling in a duo with another Czech girl; and along the way they'd made friends with a German guy with impressive Rastafari credentials. So this Rasta guy carried this book with him, whose cover was decorated enough to make the title illegible for most of the angles. When I finally did get the title, it felt an achievement. Moreover, with the added sweetness of the most beautiful girl I'd met, I decided to seal the memory of the moment, and in a Harry-Met-Sally-esque fashion, went "I'll read whatever he's reading" (note-to-self: what'd be the Bollywood parallel to 'When Harry Met Sally?' - 'When Harish Met Sneha').

I don't remember if I ever heard a mention of this one from any of my friends. I generally borrow in cases where a book is already available on somebody's bookshelf. But any-which-ways, now I have something to consume my weekend.

[One unwanted memory I ended sealing alongside was of the bus almost toppling down the valley trying to save a head-on collision]
[PS: Czech girl if you're reading this - marry me?]

His Disappearance

He disappeared exactly 5 years ago. He was gregarious, wide-eyed, spirited, and anything but astute. He just disappeared. What filled the space he left was a silence; one that he tried to make a return to and replace, but only making it as far as to the point of disappearing again. He probably plans to send a string of communications to everybody and everything he held so close, to make for the silence - one for each day of the silence. These, he intends, will be the maps to his 'erred' path; maps with hints to find him who feels lost even to himself.

To you whose flame ever mingled with his, you'll know him better than words can express. When burning, he never flinched. When drowning, he did so without regrets. Even ones who ever held his hands or shared a smile or a kiss will know him better than these words.

He had once tried telling me a story, but he was getting late for other things. Now his narratives choke with the dust that has collected with times. He has grown forgetful, and experience has almost withered away. There are trees in dense forests, swaying in peace, thanks to his 'unpresence' in these years, yet those swaying trees wish he were there in all his menacing presence.

Endless pages remain blank in anticipation of some lofty narrative, which a sad impulse tells might never come.

Deriving from Nightmares

Ideally, the word 'scared' shouldn't feature in the dictionary of adventure, yet, I did start with bits of it in my psyche as I left for my latest adventure. However, that which just happened - even before the adventure could begin - to leave me shaking, was outside my expectations.

It is a dream nightmare I talk about - In my hours of wakeful dreaming, I have been 'dreaming big' (as they teach you to), and trying to represent myself in guidance of this (juvenile) framework as well, but in my hours under free reign of the subconscious - where there are no boundaries - the plot twists and constructs itself as one of the most detailed an saddening experience I've ever "felt". For one brief moment, I was convinced I was staring into the real face of humanity.

Interpret me the dream that goes like this.

I was in this expansive hill town (Manali itself?), and out to see a friend, who arrives in a Jeep to pick me up, alongwith a handful of other buddies of his. As we drive across the town, I meet eyes with one of my newer acquaintances; we wave to each other silently.

Soon our jeep stops somewhere - but its not where it was supposed to. I get a hunch that there's something wrong. I try to flee, but face resistance. A cop arrives with an electric baton and starts at me; the hits are painful, as electricity numbs my feet. I don't give up and fight hard, but ultimately am overpowered and taken a captive.

Next I wake up in a private estate of sorts. I'm told that there's no way to escape.
I'm also told that I will have to fight for survival - there will be one challenge after another. However, there's a creative twist - that failing to win my challenges will lead me to a life like "this"... my eyes come to stop at a sprawling garden, reminding me of Eden, and inside there are a lot of people, in their abandon, naked, living a life of luxury, sipping beverage from their colorful glasses, enjoying saunas, swimming pools.
If I continue fighting and winning my challenges, I'm told, I don't get any of this. But there was no further explanation of this road forward. No ultimate destiny of a winner was explained.

So I'm locked in these confines forever - a kind of everted Battle Royale format.

All I could comment is, that nearing Manali, at the gates of the big adventure, I met my demons.

The New Champion

A rib-tickling (you can actually see their ribs) moment from the Olympics 2012.

It is also a larger-than-life moment. What makes it so, is the pursuit these guys must have undertaken to be the best. Generally, excellence in any sport comes with a complimentary physique. That way, every great sportsperson expects to look great.
But no, not these guys. The domain of athletics is curious. These guys have to starve their normal bodies to see improvements in terms of a single stride or a single second. They need to give all the love (aka nutrition) to the muscle sets which make them the fastest (across a span of several hours) and kill every pocket of extra flab everywhere else on their bodies. Competitive running is the most demanding and disciplined of sports.

You don't even need to know their names. Just know that _this_ is how a champion looks like.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Me eat

My sweet tooth is having something akin to its PMS. I started my day at the office with cookies at the Subway downstairs - not one, but four of those large calorie-packed cookies; they were finished by the time somebody else had arrived in the office. Before that, I left the home loaded on too sweet a cuppa coffee, complemented with a couple of toasts layered with marmalade and mixed fruit jam (so intense was my sugar drive that - as my roomie informs - I even left the stove working in the kitchen in the hurry to spread all that jam).

The sweet tooth aside, I think all of my "tooths" - maggi tooth, eggyolk tooth, masala chai tooth, rajmah tooth - are highly active right now. For I just got done with a serving of Stuffed Garlic Breadsticks. Last evening I went through Maggi noodles mixed with whatever else I could forage in the kitchen (potato, ladyfinger, chopped onions) and lots of curd.

Nobody could guess that my past week was spent in a made that is the exact opposite of the that I'm in right now. I have been on an eating spree, which might come as a compensation to the strict regime of the previous week, or as an effect of the substance abuse in the ongoing week.

A Note about a Goat

Go Goat

fresh memories from a world of incomprehensible concerns upon return from Battal in Spiti, HP. lemme know how worthwhile it is?

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Not much to do, but this one's gonna be for the keeps. My big adventure. My therapy session, so to say. Being away from civilization might probably bring me closer to it - I can already feel it, can't say why. Life was too less of surprises, so here's this - for all those who didn't like me, and those who further would like me even less.

Borat equivalent

If you could translate the scene four days back, with Y trying to teach me how to swim, into a cricket context, this would be it. I'm the aquatic version of Borat. I sink faster in water than art-house movies in the box office.