Monday, April 30, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
“No, it won’t,” I said, although I’d lost this fight hours ago, and I knew it.
“It’ll be brilliant,” said Vic, for the hundredth time. “Girls! Girls! Girls!” He grinned with white teeth.
We both attended an all- boys’ school in south London. While it would be a lie to say that we had no experience with girls—Vic seemed to have had many girlfriends, while I had kissed three of my sister’s friends—it would, I think, be perfectly true to say that we both chiefly spoke to, interacted with, and only truly understood, other boys. Well, I did, anyway. It’s hard to speak for someone else, and I’ve not seen Vic for thirty years. I’m not sure that I would know what to say to him now if I did.
We were walking the backstreets that used to twine in a grimy maze behind East Croydon station—a friend had told Vic about a party, and Vic was determined to go whether I liked it or not, and I didn’t. But my parents were away that week at a conference, and I was Vic’s guest at his house, so I was trailing along beside him.
“It’ll be the same as it always is,” I said. “After an hour you’ll be off somewhere snogging the prettiest girl at the party, and I’ll be in the kitchen listening to somebody’s mum going on about politics or poetry or something.”
“You just have to talk to them,” he said. “I think it’s probably that road at the end here.” He gestured cheerfully, swinging the bag with the bottle in it.
“Don’t you know?”
“Alison gave me directions and I wrote them on a bit of paper, but I left it on the hall table. S’okay. I can find it.”
To read Neil Gaiman's full story click here
Picture credit whistlercornucopia
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
They still do, except that the peddler has forgotten to speak and his eyes only share the emotion, in parts. A lot of questions emerge from this unnerving silence that in turn, stems from a passive reception of the worldly events. I set out to discover the man's past and what makes him the recluse today. As the story unfolded, I learnt that with time, he became a very social animal. The one that managed the two-face syndrome brilliantly. The internal scare of getting intimate with anyone from his species kept him a little awake during discourses of the heart. He enjoyed every moment around, and made efforts so that everyone around him feels the same. His humour oscillated between slapstick to a roadside variety of tongue-in-cheek. For he had envisaged the lunacy that had dawned upon him and how he must keep it alive in order to be one among them. He didn't want them to even try and understand his brand of humour, as it was just so good.
Few saw it as a desperate attempt, others dismissed it as a mask that — though he kept it on immaculately — should be ripped off sooner or later. All this while, peddler argued that he is just being a normal person and that he is not the only one wearing these masks. If he can not be frank with A, and pour the heart out to B, he would have different two faces that is not a deliberate action but pure instinct. But soon, things changed.
He avoided digressions which were imposed on him, ignored anyone who made a face at him for being a wannabe and stayed away from people that he felt would never provide an enjoyable company. He had forgiven those who had left him scarred for life, despite knowing that he would never get over it and 'move on'. There was always a tear of happiness in his eye while present at those eves' weddings who were once a part of him and with whom he had great times. Somehow, this man could never think ill of anyone. He respected others' spaces while his was trampled on; he promptly moved somewhere else.
I could have carried the discovery forward but my heart stopped my feet. For there was this rage inside me that wanted to do something for him. That is an ordinary human being, who is exercising his brain to become extraordinary or different, without harming anyone else. In a world where ideas are the by-product of a capitalist-driven society, he sought to free the mind. And he did, he succeeded in doing so vis-à-vis himself. But then, he was told to go sit in a corner and fret and fume if he wishes to. He gladly went away for even his confidantes had deserted him.
Some time later, what he challenged in terms of societal norms, traditions and hollow ideals, came in a new form in front of him. “Kirit, do you believe that the man in front of you actually wishes to do what he is doing? Look at the poor soul, a mind driven by the gloss of his car, a character that comes out of his clothes, eyes that are no longer allowed to speak the language of the heart and intelligence that has been beaten to death. He accepts what the fuckin’ American bastard tells him. He thinks fame is a make-up kit that enables him to appear in front of the crowd. As a kid, he would have tried to fight these silly thoughts, but soon the demons took over. He, his friends and family, the ones around him, all of them are now slaves, of pigs who determine the fate. They walk like zombies, do their work as if they have been programmed to do, react a certain way and accept in only one. What do you think should happen to mankind?”
Kirit: I can’t make out the sense, given that I am one of them. Since childhood, I have been driven there but now I try to make a conscious effort to get out of it and work towards myself. There is a strong urge inside that tells me to discover…. Life, knowledge…. To test myself and understand the power of courage.
As I look bewildered, the peddler gets up and gives me a tight hug. “Let Luna bestow upon you emotions, the tide shall be your ship, the sea, in its various forms, shall teach you the meanings, take you to destinations known and unknown, you will have to fight the monsters and overcome them, and with a dedicated effort you will. You will excite your mind and impulse, which will push your intelligence to its maximum creative power. A maniacal rage will decide the course, which will make your anger uncontrollable and crazy – there will be a new side to you. Remember, never to let go of the light in the sky. That is your mirror, your guide, best friend. And as long as these two souls work in sync, words will flow that will influence the ones present and the ones to come.”
With this the peddler vanished, and soon I realised one of my alter egos entered me, forever.
Moonstruck Maniac was born shortly thereafter.
POST SCRIPT: The drug peddler is one of the various characters I imagine. It could be from me, or a totally different entity. In reality, he is Siddhartha, a man I met on one of these cycle-trips in Khajuraho. A looney, he was blind too, who used to sing praises outside the Kandarya Mahadeva Temple. I saw him in the morning, afternoon, and till the late evening. When I asked him what brought him here, he said that the world turned away from him. And he, a man driven by emotions, surrendered to God in the land of the moon’s daughter. (Khajuraho was the kingdom of Chandela kings who, as per the legend, were moon’s daughter’s children)
But isn’t it difficult being blind and not getting anything in life when we still have time. “Jiske dil mein bhakti ka chirag jal raha ho, voh kabhi andha nahee ho sakta. Maybe, I committed sins in the past lives and this is my penance. I sing bhakti songs from the old ages and no body realises that these are authentic devotion songs. I don’t feel bad, as it is something not even worth ignoring. Find knowledge Kirit, for it will give you nirvana. Work your brain, because then you will write your destiny. Let emotions rule you, and not the head, because that will spoil you. Chaand kee dheemi roshni mein jo chamke usse hum sitara kehte hain. Be that or just gaze at the moon, it is hypnotic.”
In one of my daydreams, I imagined him to be a character in the story above. And now you know the origin of the name and the person inside me.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Monica had a small 'bachelorette' party without telling CHandler and when Phoebe finally blurts it out, the married man is in a fix. He didn't have one as they had mutually agreed on the idiocy of such things. So, to make it up, she decides to throw him a bachelor party. Some goof up happens and a hooker lands at their pad. Welcoming are the surprised ex-roomies, Joey and CHandler. Totally flummoxed, they decide to toss their old ways and J remarks how he misses all of this. And in less than 1 minute, the viewer learns that these two buddies miss out on each other a lot and finally decide to work out a plan to hang out more often. "I am really happy for you but it is just that things have changed and that you are married and we dont get to do those things that we once did," says JOey.
I then visit Saumya's profile on orkut and discover that an old friend of hers (married) has contacted her. I somehow can't come to terms with this fact of life where I would lose all my friends to the 'institution' called marriage.
I am not against it; I am against myself getting married. Things have changed in the past few years and no longer do we marry at the 'prescribed' age, well not all of us. But in the next five or six years, I would have all couples around me. THis freaks me out.
The happy thought was about my Goa trip where I would be catching up with my graduation buddies, who are dying to see each other. Those days, we didn't care what the world was like. Today all of us, with the exception of me, are busy with their respective tech jobs. It feels so great just to hear their voice, even if it is once a month. And then.....
Let's see, in the coming future, all my good friends would have tied the knot. Marriage is a wonderful thing. It is a whole new world all together, the reason for our existence and the cradle of life in one way. There were times when you were totally reckless and didnt give a shit to anything and now you have got to be responsible. THe days of the college, hang out trips etc etc was one phase, marriage marks a new one, where I think, we evolve. And that is the mantra of life, to live every phase happily. You can't deny the movement of the species, the code of the civilisation because it is beautiful. The first anniversary, the first big buy, creating a home out of a house, the child, the various emotions that are brought into your life and you realise that hey, this is also good.
And I think everyone should do it.
Everyone, but ME!
I find it hard; from what I have seen of these coupledoms and a troubled childhood that was spoilt by time majorly, it is not a great picture before me. Asif, Prachir, Vivek, Sid, Pankaj, Shaile, Noopur, Namee, Prachi, Rohit, Varun (this is another sample like me, i dont know if he would marry ever), Sidhartha, Lavanya, Ankur, Roman, Garima, Shivani, Ashima, Susmita, AKshay, A, etc etc etc all of these would have been happily married by the time I am 30.
Varun can actually be excluded because I dont know, he doesnt know and no one knows. My closest buddy Kris and I would be left looking everywhere. I dont know about his views on marriage but being die-hard romantics, I really hope the two of us find someone to love. He would settle down and look for a new morning, where as I would be left denying the very idea of it. And this whole thing would leave me alone. OH, there would be Reeti, but I hope she gets a guy. She is such a sweetheart!
There would be no more 'just chilling out' times. There would always be a second thought before calling up and askin', 'hey, where it is tonight man!' SUndays would be different, and ditto about the saturdays. (Why didn't I say weekends?) A good night out will carry the title 'Wife vacationing, guys night out, bring more beers. BURRRRRRRRRRPPPP'. Then every get-to-gather time would have to be planned in advance. Plan and me???? You could no longer eye some nice asses, well not in the presence of the wives or husbands, given they would always be present. And as the 'hangout time' gets over, everyone would retreat to their double beds.
I love the morning discussions with momma. She is the only woman on the planet who has the patience to listen to me and go on talking for hours. One such talk had me telling her that I am so scared of marriage and the perils associated with it that it makes me deliberately throw it out of my life. Even though I would love to be in that position, I dont want to be. ANd that I would rather be with her and work within our NGO, the ranch and our aashram, all throughout my life. As I see my cousins knocked out one by one, there would never be a feeling inside me to embrace the same. She knows the exact root of this fear inside me and what makes me a confused sample regarding such things. I am not commitment-phobic at all. This is just a scary situation, thats it. I don't shirk off responsiblities but this whole ordeal is too painful, in some way.
I hope I make the most of my Goa trip and lose my nerves at the Big Chill. Who knows when do we get to see each other next, while we are still single? Prachir would marry in the next two years most definitely. And then another, another and soon the frame of the picture would be made double. Pata nahee meraaa kya hogaa life mein? And what the fuck am I going to do?
Here, I am still confused about my life when others are busy walking up the ladder in their respective profiles. I dont know whether this course is going to see me settling down in some way (this paves way for the next post). So much to say, so much to do, so much to say......
Sexual desire. The phrase alone holds such loaded, voluptuous power that the mere expression of it sounds like a come-on — a little pungent, a little smutty, a little comical and possibly indictable.
Everybody with a pair of currently or formerly active gonads knows about sexual desire. It is a near-universal experience, the invisible clause on one’s birth certificate stipulating that one will, upon reaching maturity, feel the urge to engage in activities often associated with the issuance of more birth certificates.
Yet universal does not mean uniform, and the definitions of sexual desire can be as quirky and personalized as the very chromosomal combinations that sexual reproduction will yield. Ask an assortment of men and women, “What is sexual desire, and how do you know you’re feeling it?” and after some initial embarrassed mutterings and demands for anonymity, they answer as follows:
“There’s a little bit of adrenaline, a puffing of the chest, a bit of anticipatory tongue motion,” said a divorced lawyer in his late 40s.To read the complete story, log onto http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/index.html
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Anyhow, off to Buzz in my ramshackled Mercedes.
A slight problem from the cops forced us to move out of the joint at around 2, which is not the time by which we all would have been drunk. So, what to do? A freckle-face friend of Kanishka suggests that Mojos is where we all should be headed to. Ok! Off to Mojos only to be thrown out in half an hour. Considerably high, we decide to pass some time in the corridors of the mall cracking some odd jokes at Lavanya like always. Suddenly Varun notices that the bouncer is calling all of us inside again. YIPPPEEE, more alcohol. It is a feeling beyond any rationale - fresh drops of rum sotthing a thirsty throat and giving the desired power for a little hipshakin' mayynnn!!!
This was one of those rare nights, where even after 12 pegs down, there was a mild high and we were raring to gulp down more. Oh god, such madness it turned out as we all were dancing in four different directions. Not to mention the original Dickso Dancer Abhijeet and Bladdy Dericks with his ex. On the way back, Kanishka decided it is time for him to sing as my car doesn't have an audio system. 'When I saw, I got this feel darling, Love is such a looney thing!' WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT DUDE? Oh senors and senorita, that is Tujhe Dekha to ye jaanaa sanam from DDLJ in English. Get the fuck out bozo, stop fucking our heads.
Anyway, at the end of it and on the following Sunday, there was a happy thought inside that said, well done dude, no hangover tomorrow. And in reality, there wasn't. I was feeling so tired from all the 'booty-moving', which ended the prospect of a nice time with Garima. Poor girl, I had promised to see her for nice sunday lunch time coffee. There were reasons for her to be pissed and I being the person I am, resigned from the situation not even bothering to call her. Thankfully in the next two days, things improved between the two of us.
During this time, there came a call from my boss. He wanted me to speak with the Second Top Boss regarding a promotion and transfer to the Metro desk. Now that is something lucrative. It is a new challenge for me, a place where I can't predict myself. Today I am on world, next stop India then Business, anything under the sun for me. But I have a problem.
I may come across as someone who will never give a flying fuck to the old school thoughts; in reality that is what makes me the man I am. When I entered HT Next, I had promised myself that I would devote two full years to this place. Promotion or no promotion, and I have done that. I don't know what the future holds for me, and that bothers me regarding this.
People have been saying that 'Alright Kirit, you are going away for studies and that you only have four months. Just think that you'd be going there at a higher position than this'. Well said, my close people, but I only got 4 months. That is it. By the time I get in the groove, it will be time for me to resign. I cant do that man, I dont like doing that.
And I am standing on this superdark road that leads to some place, I cant decode the destination. My tarot card reader said that Kirit, learn to be focussed in life, even though you hate it. My rising star is Neptune, and in accordance with astrology this dude is apparently headless. Needless to speak the reason for not having a focus or whatever shit that means.
I had to tell TSB about this and I had given a go-ahead for the same, then Yashwant talked to me and I said the same thing to him as well. But now the confusion is really getting to my nerves and the only reason I see this as a good opportunity is because I feel this to be a testing ground. But 4 months man, 4 months.
So, I gather all the courage and come to office on a SAturday. Oh before that, I was happy to see two stories of mine in the Saturday edition. This is a good thing, given the hollow elitism in newspapers that tries to dwarf people like me. As I inform Vipul, my boss, about this whole thing, there is a thought ringing in my head - do you think what you are doing is right? IGNORED!!!! Vipul is of the opinion that I should make my stand clear to all the bosses before advancing. And that it is not that wrong if I were to leave them in this small a time.
FIne I am waiting for this to happen.
After the talks, it is time for a play. Dario Fo's 'Cant Pay, Wont Pay' would be performed at IHC and I ask my colleague Aparajita if she is interested. She jumps on the offer and is like raring to go. We reach, a little late but right in time, and are so bloody disappointed man. This was like such a loose play and the adaptation was not done properly. So we left and wasted some 100 bucks, which is well ok.
Varun calls me to inform that Mona, Ankur's girlfriend has invited us for 'dinner'. I was in my worst attire and together with Varun, it looks like two hippies just walked in. Anyway, me in the crumpled shirt and him in chappals drive down through the crazy traffic to make it in time for Mona's place.
The first thing I noticed as we walked in was that all the girls were wearing black. 'Was there a dress code' I ask. No! The first person I am introduced is with a girl who.. well was his wife and that was evident in her wrist accessories. Some chudas as they call it in punjabi. It was so funny to catch her reaction as she took a good look at both of us. Before I could ask, pat she introduced by saying 'I am his wife'. OKKKK!!!
There was Mona, looking sweet like always, Ankur, looking.. well.. the same.., his sister who looks just like him, Cheryl and Smita, who are from Nigeria originally but Indians at heart and this couple. Oh, there was this engineer too who was quiet reserved. But I liked his company. I must admit, this house is just so comfortable and simple. It is not flashy, like any other girls' house but neatly done. There is a landscape picture of the Pushkar sarovar shot in four frames in sepia tinge. In the corner under this filmstrip are two small bookshelves (put on the floor) in worm style and really add to the shade of yellow on the walls. The living room is big and has seating arrangement in the form of cushions and one beanbag. Colours are bright but in dark shades. There is a dark red, orange and a green one too. In the balcony, there are few plants that are well maintained and see the world of in a parabola. The image of the horizon is constructed partly by the curve in the balcony railing. It looks beautiful and the eighth floor takes care of the air circulation. The kitchen is simple with woodwork all around that is well sorted out and in right dimensions. On the entrance there is a buddhist Om Mani Padme Hum. Oh I forgot, the cute picture of the couple beside the mattress and under the lamp that shows us the Ankur with short hair. Varun and I just burst out laughing coz we have never seeen this guy in a crew cut mop. Food was nice and tasty, catering to the veggies and carnivores alike. I had little of it as first we had drinks and then more drinks.
Everyone seemed comfortable with each other, and this was despite the reason that not all of us were acquainted with everyone else. First stop – a joint that was rolled by Cobain that surprised a lot of people. These two nigerians were like what is this all about and the married girl looked shocked and tried hard not to react. We learnt how the Nigerians talk English through Cheryl's wonderful impersonation. Now, once there was comfort all around, it was time for some boogie!
Cheryl is a wonderful salsa dancer and she showed her moves that.. well.. looked really sexy in a couple of parts. Since no one else was on the floor, Mona, the host performed a song that they once had few years ago. Then Smita with Cheryl and a song that I dont like – Scatman. But the moves were nice.
Finally everyone is like Kirit, Kirit, Kirit. Varun thinks I am a mad dancer and he repeatedly announced that. So it was down to Cheryl, who is great at belly dancing too and moi who was taught Salsa steps with comfort and ease. Then everyone got into the groove and Ankur, me, Varun started jiving on Sexy Eyes, an old AIESEC jive. It was so fuckin hilarious but enjoyable.
Finally it was me and Cheryl on Chaiyya Chaiyya. I was a little too hesitant and the drunk Smita on hammock was pushing me like anything to get there and tell her the steps. Fuck Man, I was so surprised that I knew all the steps. Did I do it well or not, I don't know, the point was it was enjoyment to the core. Last but not the least, the entire group on Kajrare Re. I hate that song too, but what the heck, it is party time.
Soon, we realised that all of us are too tired to even finish our drinks and everyone is looking at me and varun saying "when the fuck will these two junkies get out!" We drove out like mad assholes and dude was really scared because of my driving.
Next day he announces that come what may, he is not sitting with me in the car when I am drunk. I realised this much later when there was no memory of what happened last night after Kajra re. He He!
Lavanya greeted me on Sunday morning. Fresh from her Turkey vacation, she was all eager to show me the Kaftan she got for me. Yay, I now also have a turkish attire.
So back here on Monday night, as I type this, there are happy memories, including the ones I dont remember but my friends do, anticipation for future and a dull present day.
Since I can not be promoted given the confusion, there is a chance that I will move to Metro certainly. And if by some chance, I hope it doesn't happen, I dont get the admission, the promotion and hike is ready in my name. I thank Mona for calling me to a beautiful house party, I loved meeting new people that were so different and embraced my presence and a great night out that left us all smiling. Well, at least I am smiling.