Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It is a new year a'rite!

My disappearance from this weblog is now synonymous with my physical presence in this world. It has always been like this; sometimes it has been an imbalance between mental and physical existence. To be honest, I had not realised how big this gap has been until Sur pointed out to me. I had no answer back them and the case is pretty much the same as of now.

During this while, I was juggling with the idea of being 26 (yes, that is my official age even though I look and talk much older) and a few offers that were great but dropped dead the moment they were reaching finalisation. I had moved into my new house, which turned out to be as serene as I needed. The landlord and his family are few of the nicest and sweetest people around. Every morning Anete, my landlady, bids goodbye with a full-throated cheer to her husband and son as they make their way out for their offices. The routine is repeated in the evenings as they are greeted with a great warm welcome. If she misses out on meeting her son when he is back home because of her work then she comes up to his room (right next to mine) and talks to him for at least fifteen minutes. There is Freddy, the cat, who has now taken a liking to me. In fact more than him, it is his chum from the neighbouring house who loves rubbing himself on the surface of my trousers/jeans/tracksuit. No sense of fabric! Oh there is a fox who recently devoured one of the many pigeons that this family feeds religiously. This, after we keep food every night for the devilish canine. I must confess it is a great room/house to live in under 350 pounds a month. The rent is just one of the good factors. :)

Then India happened. I set off for a 10-day trip during which I had to attend Ashima's wedding and reception, Vidyashree Didi's wedding and reception and the mega function of my Nana-Nani's 50th wedding anniversary in Jaipur. That was a spectacle, a celebration of togetherness like I had never seen in my life. I got a taste of it when it was my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. There were like three times the number of relatives that had flocked to Jaipur for the grand occasion. In between, I was lucky and unlucky to catch up and lose out on a lot of friends. That I did manage to see a lot of them is just pure luck and effective time-management.
I, for some odd reason, could neither understand nor condense the gravity of this visit. Do I love England now? How was it to visit India after fifteen months? I have no answers. I think it has something to do with my anger issues.
Anyhow...

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The last one year has seen a steep rise in the number of people succumbing to marital desires. A record of sorts! The astrologers, and, relatives alike proposed, advised and inquired about my marital status, which was just one of the amusing encounters for me. I informed them, with utmost delight, that it would take at least 10 years. They were not amused for some reason.
At one point of time, I did however, in a fit of unemployed time, thought about it. I was not amused either.
You see, the trouble is not in the fact that I am still looking for a job but the whole concept sounds too (im)mature for me. Maybe it is not the right time. What, then, is the right time?
When you find a possible love interest or when you start discovering the increase in the hair loss? In my humble opinion, and in the interest of my thick hair, my interest in the institution called marriage is limited. Some make it work, others fall out, while the majority just goes on with it. Yes, there are psychological reasons for my behaviour and thought-process and I have been to a lot of dark, Freudian hallways to discover the same. I choose to continue smoking pot.

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Oh, one new thing 2008 taught me was poker. I am, and my family will agree hands down, possibly the worst person to play with cards. Actually I just fiddle and the only cards I ever understood and played brilliantly were WWF trump cards. Kids now won't understand even if educated in graphic detail, but back then they were like a status symbol. Owning a deck assured your place in the cool people category; I had four out of which all but one survive. One of them has 3 Hulk Hogans, 2 Bret 'The Hitman' Hart and 3 people with the different names and statistics but same face. I could kill any player opposite me because I could remember the cards very well. For instance, if my opponent had Undertaker, I was most likely to successfully recollect the cards before and after complete with every statistic, giving me the complete freedom to kill his/her happiness even if they had better cards.
I did not have any instinctive dislike for cards; it can be attributed to my lack of understanding and the utter confusion as to what card works how and when. For long, I did not even understand the suits. So, the Diwali 'flash' game seemed as silly and irrelevant an activity like applying oil to your hair. Or the last time you went for a Karan Johar film.
Vedant took the initiative and without any pestering, taught me poker. I was too reluctant to try even practice my skills for long until one fine evening in November I was all into it. My journey since then has been that of a poker scholar. A lot of my time is spent in reading, watching poker and doing funny odds calculations in my head. According to two players, Dawg himself (the mentor) and Aseem, I am a pretty scary player. That is probably because I am quiet and hardly talk during any hand. It could also mean that I lack confidence, which is true, and, often get flustered with good or bad hands alike, which is something only practice can cure... I am somehow drawn to the idea of practicing.
For some strange reason, I think a lot about poker as a game of skills. It is out and out gambling. But it is not that only luck counts like in flash, where the space for any kind of skill is limited. In fact, at times, not even present. A good poker play could be like waiting for the right hand, and the right time, and then maximising your profit - same as life!

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I have decided and this is going to be the course for my life. I love fame, money and power and to achieve them all together, I'll have to walk this way. One of the reasons I gave for the absence of any marital thought is my constant hopping different career lines/lanes. The last year gave to me the gift of knowing myself to a large extent. In the words of Cobain (who I have rechristened Colin Farrell for the uncanny resemblance):

You were cynical but hopeful. Now you are hopeful, but cynical.
And now you have a little anger.


I guess it was necesssary, which is probably the reason I thank my course and strengthen the belief that coming here was, indeed, a good decision. One strange thing though - I have been so lost during this period that I blinked and missed the year. Or maybe the year missed me.

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And so the new year started with me running to the immigration office of a country that once ruled us. The positions change so fast in the world and look at us daft human beings who are caught up in stupid power games. I don't think anything else has ever amused me this much. I am aware of the truth that it - the coming time - is going to be one big bumpy ride, for it is going to be the most unpredictable journey for me. What gives me hope and the necessary drive is the fact that it will work out. Not in the placid manner as Mulk Raj Anand puts it here, but in a confirmative way.
Being out of context is my biggest advantage for there are benchmarks or odious comparisons to deal with. There are however a lot of other problems. For instance, I was denied the chance of working for an Indian media house here in London because I can not speak English in a British accent!
I remember clearly during my family function in Jaipur that one of my (educated) aunts asked me about my encounters with racism. I wonder, now, what to tell her. The funny thing about this place is that when you enter the office, the place greets you in its typical Indian manner: the magazines on the desk in the reception area are old and irrelevant for any guest of any kind; the receptionist appears to be a lost puppy who knows the mandatory five sentences by heart; and while I was waiting for my interviewer, a lot of big utensils (pateelas) carried Indian food inside. Oh yes, and out of the two clocks, one was not working, while the functioning timepiece was in a direction that you'll be given two lollipops for finding the camouflaged ticker. After a lot of useless banter, it was down to my ethnicity and nationality, and in that order. Since I was unclear about the confusion over my recruitment, the verdict came out clear - I had to be British-born, or impersonate the accent, either of which does not interest me. You know, if you are in London, or any other part of England, I can guarantee that the accent and weather are equally unpredictable. The parameters for accent - geographical location, society, and ethnicity; so far, I have encountered nine different African English language accents. I do not remember any of them except when I have to crack a joke. So the whole charade pointed out that in a city with over two-dozen accents, I was not given the job of a journalist for my linguistic skills lacked the twang. It is that shtupid, mayyte!

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And so the new year begins... Good luck to all!
(Do click the links, they are all for your knowledge.)