Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ai Bang Mai Ni

It was the year of the hidden tiger and the crouching dragon, and as the Japanese saying goes, 'Ai Bang Mai Ni'. Yes, yes... it was a Japanese haiku moment; pure poetry, in 3 lines, with its 12 phonetic units and that huge leap after the second line, where the mind must catch up, creating a sensation of space. And then that zen-like realization of the ultimate truth!!!!!! that Aha moment!!! that moment's experience with God!!!! A Zen master has said that if you write 5 haiku in your life you are a haiku writer, and if you write 10 you are a master. My first humble attempt is below.

Hao Yu Dry Wing
Ai Bang Mai Ni
Dum Gai

It was both our faults, for which I took the brunt of the impact. He turned suddenly without giving an indication as a bit of speed and a wet road made my impulses try to avoid him, turn sideways and skid. My knee was swollen, with a purple haze; and so I got a bit worried as my mountain biking expedition is approaching. I visited the orthopedic the next day as he poked and pulled for 3.1415926535897932384 minutes; charged me a humongous amount and then broke the news to me in haiku form

It Wa King Fine
No Pah Blem
Yu Go Nao

Yippieee, I jumped with glee as they poked me with a tetanus injection.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The House that Roby and Bindu built

Roby is a techie, with a lot of mountain climbing and trekking under his belt. Bindu, his wife, is an architect. They took 2 and a 1/2 years to build their home, Bindu spending 12 hours a day and Roby putting in 4 hours on weekdays and full time on weekends.

The backyard wall has stones jutting out for climbing practice. Even inside the house they have a removable hatch in their kids room with a pulley and the rope drops down into the drawing room, with a rugged surface to rappel down. They also have an open air bath so that they can see the stars at night and the sun shining on their face in the morning. They designed the grills and the curtain hanger covers. The full house is filled with littles things here and there to increase the inflow of sunlight; slabs of glass in the walls, overturned glasses cemented into the ceiling in certain places. It has a very warm earthen look.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Return of the 'Tooth Fairy'

Part Deux: The sequel to its prequel.
A short time ago, in a mouth close close by....

Wisdom was skewed, in congruence with the way some of his plans were going. So to get it fixed he set out on a journey along the black tar road, to solicit an audience with the lady with the pliers. The needle was pierced and the small tongue dropped dead. A gag, a yank and a crunch later, it glistened in all its bloody glory, like a naughty tooth brandishing its enamel. "So did the tooth fairy give you any money the last time", she queried. "Nope", he answered, wondering if he would have to part with some of the booty if he had managed to get any, "Maybe I'll have better luck this time". She shook her head to acknowledge his loss of wisdom and wondered what would happen when he lost all of it.

The next day he met Michael; a carpenter in transit; an old man who had shown him his work a couple of times before. "Can I see it", his eyes queried, glistening with curiosity. "Well I've not worked on it for a long time", said the old man. "Why", he questioned himself, rhetoric taking the sidelines, as he knew what he was about to hear. "Nobody would appreciate what I make, besides I don't have the energy as I'm overwhelmed with other things.", said the old man in pensive overtones. "But you really wanted to complete it. You wanted to do it for yourself. No one else but yourself.", he tried to reassure those overtones, trying to convince himself and the old man. "I'll try", they both said and smiled. That night the tooth fairy returned to find another tooth under the pillow as she tried to decipher the dreams of old men.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Art of Letting Go

I met this lady over the weekend, a stranger who emanated nostalgic vibes cached in a friendly persona. "I'm an atheist", she stressed in a previous phone conversation, to which I shrugged; our beliefs are our religion and I knew atheists with a religion I admired. When I finally met her she seemed her friendly self but drifted into another world every now and then. She told me she had lost her eighteen year old son last year in an accident. "He was the pillion rider. The rider had a couple of bruises", she tried to battle with the sequence of events. "Thats him in the picture on my 50th b'day. Thats the last b'day I will celebrate", and then she smiled. I did not know what to say. I stood there as a silent observer and exchanged a smile, as time and space shrank simultaneously from a three dimensional world to a one dimensional sphere.

There are some things which we can never let go of, and its no use even trying. Cause its not about letting go of someone or something but letting go of a part of you, and thats not worth letting go of. Sometimes you are told that you can't do much, but as Jack Kerouac notes down as some of the essentials of Spontaneous Prose below; can you actually let go.

  1. Accept loss forever
  2. Be submissive to everything, open, listening
  3. No fear or shame in the dignity of your experience, language & knowledge
  4. Something that you feel will find its own form
  5. Telling the true story of the world in interior monologue
  6. Blow as deep as you want to blow
  7. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  8. Be in love with your life

Monday, August 20, 2007

Breaking News!!! One small step for man, one giant leap for some

I have been dilly dallying for a couple of years now.... my mother and sisters have been telling me for a long time, "You know so many girls. What’s wrong, don't you like anyone"... well nothing is wrong I keep assuring them. Then my mother would tell me that she is gonna lookout and then she would pause, and would say, "You can easily do it on your own. Now go out there and get your act together". After a couple of failed pep talks and finally convinced of my abilities she started looking and then I let her in on my intricate thought process (with a by-product of world peace and all that) of how its better for me to search on my own.

However seeing my starting problems some friends have been talking to me about process... "Don't tell a girl you write poetry." But I am who I am I retorted, there is nothing wrong in that. Then his wife pointed out how he told her about his hobby of photography and when she asked him to show her some, he showed her a picture of a monkey and she burst out laughing. We were digressing from the grave issue at hand he reminded all of us, and then he turned on some more lights and started to point out the advantages, "When you get married see how the hair on your head grows." I can't fight gravity I shrugged. "Well gravity or no gravity; before marriage my chest was bare. Now look!!!!!!". After we warned him never to do that again, he calmed down and started giving more ideas.

On another front, this friend who is also currently playing Clint Eastwood in the wild wild west, and with who I am pretty generous with theoritical advice in this regard, told me that he has an aunt (a family friend) in bangalore who will inject me into the mainstream; lead the horse to the water; list my stocks on Dalal Street for crying out loud. Stocks that seem to be fast depreciating in value I am told. The real market value is what I call it. "ok", I said, and called her up. She asked me about what kind of a girl I was looking for and then I think I gave some very vague, unsure, cryptic, undecipherable answer. "Profession ?". "Skin colour ?". "Religion ?". "Looks ?", she tried again. To which I replied in a candid monotonic altruistic rhetoric,"There are a lot of other things to consider". "Well it seems like you should meet me in person and then we can discuss", she said.

That was more than a month back. Finally I managed to synchronize a time with her and decided to meet her at her place this sunday, ‘to discuss’ things. I arrived and she turned out to be this very sweet lady. Then her husband came up to me with a laptop and gave it to me and said, "That’s her picture". Huh I looked up wondering what he was saying. "She lives close by, we can go and meet the family". 'Meet the family!! Now!!', I thought and wondered what I was going to do, and went into hyper mode. And then I gobbled whatever came in my path, my homeland security being recommissioned to different fronts. I never expected to be meeting anyone besides them today. I mean I have never really gone and 'met a family' before so to speak. I have spoken to a few but this was totally out of chronological order, like distinguishable 'chronological epochs' if you know what I mean. Besides I was totally unaware of protocol, if there was any.

"Well lets go", he said. And so I went with them looking at the slippers that partially covered my dirty feet, my shirt dangling out shabbily, my hair all messy and unkempt. So there I was sitting amongst people who I was meeting for the first time in my life. Nobody knew me and I didn't know them. The clock ticked its tocks like clockwork, as I felt a lot of eyes on me. Feeling conscious and wondering where to look, my eyes started to wander. "So talk to her. Ask her what you want". Well frankly speaking I didn't know what to ask, I had never thought about what to ask before. Perspiration forced itself out to have a glimpse of my situation. And then everyone except the girl went to the kitchen. There was a bit of silence but then we spoke a bit. And then everyone came back and trying not to make her conscious I looked elsewhere and noticed she was doing the same :-) "So you want to ask her something more before you decide". 'Decide', those syllables in a state of thought motion were gulped down with air, chronological epochs and a couple of other compounds. On the way out I apprised my friend's aunt of my lengthy process and the phenomenon of the 'click', to which she smiled a comforting smile.

"The journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step", laughed a confusing Confucius, in all his posthumous realization. After a few years of dilly dallying I officially welcomed myself to the world of pre-marriage processes with all its 'huh' moments.

PS: Please pray for the people that experience my being in all its weirdness. They need it!

--- Author Unknown (in fear of being burnt at the stake).

Friday, August 17, 2007

The chicken and the egg

[a friend forwarded me this]

So this Chicken and this Egg are going at it pretty fast and furious in bed and suddenly the chicken groans, rolls over and lights up a ciggy, looking very content.

The egg rolls to the other side, looking disgruntled and says "Well, that answers that question".

cluck cluck!!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Tooth Fairy

A long time ago, in a mouth far far away.....

Wisdom was growing at a slant, demanding an audience from the lady with the pliers. Gone were the days of doors tied to strings, or heavy stones tied to strings and thrown down wells (not sure if anyone really does that). A flash and a look later a date was set. The brave knight arrived on his blue bird and parked his derriere in the hot seat. A piece of cake he thought; oblivious to the fact that this cake had a totally different recipe. He was thinking about happy thoughts and was babbling away and then the needle was shown; to which he gasped, 'Yikes. I forgot about that' and then he went silent. The lady with the pliers reveled at that contrast. A couple of tools, some hardcore pulling and some bone crunching sounds later it was separated from its skeleton. In all his amusement, amongst the gurgling of blood, he yelped, "Can I have it. I want to put it under my pillow".

His diction resembled 'The Godfather' and so lacking some wisdom he called his GodSon and mumbled,"Never take sides with anyone against the family again....Ever". To which he got a reply,"Booooo Weeeeee Wuuuuu", which were replicated at his end and were followed by giggles. People on the road wondered if he was talking in tongues and they reveled. Realizing his plight he rode away, with tooth in pocket, into the sunlight sky.

And so it was put under the pillow as its outcome was mid-life-crisisly pushed into the back burner of the labyrinth of that vast Sargasso sea. In an epoch of a parallel dimension its outcome was queried, with a realization of its fate; it was gone, vamooshed into thin air. Or maybe it was the tooth fairy! There was no hard cash under the pillow but then again that was not the intent. As his head slowly sank into the pillow, voices were heard by that little thinghy that spits out, "Put your lights on". The lights are still off though.

Maybe when another chunk of wisdom is yanked, the tooth fairy will return. Either that or the royal domestic help. But he put his money on the tooth fairy, cause we all remember fairy tales in our own way. Don't we.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Locked out

I had this roomie for two months. Well he is a nice chap, he does have some nice things about him. But he has his shortcomings too, like all of us. During his stay with Dhruv and me he somehow never found the will to get a duplicate key. One week passed, then two weeks but still he never got a key. He would sometimes have to wait outside for us to return and at other times would be frantically calling us to co-ordinate our arrival for the grand 'door opening'. The third week I got a bit bugged, I mean it did start to get a bit irritating. So I had a nice long talk with him, about what he wants out of life and all that. During those cliched questions I slipped in a couple about the key and asked him what his plan was or if he had a plan in the first place. I won't mention what he told me cause it was a personal conversation but then I told him that his reasoning was causing issues to others which was not a nice thing. I told him that I could very well get the key done for him but I wouldn't do it as he had to do it for himself. After 3-4 weeks he got finally got a key. But it didn't work and then till the end of his two months stay he never got another key. He would wait for us and call us frantically to try and co-ordinate the grand 'door opening'.

This is another incident with this cop at a traffic signal. It happened a couple of months back. Bangalore has a lot of rash drivers. Our side of the traffic had been given the green signal and then suddenly from the other side two guys on a bike zoomed past breaking the signal and in th bargain a lady who was on she vehicle lost balance an fell off he vehicle. As usual all people came around to see what was happening. The guys knew that they had cause the female to fall but then just zoomed off. I told the cop to hop on and we would chase the guys who broke the signal. But the cop gave me this senile look as if it was not his job and he just walked by me. They have been times before this where I have chased autowallahs, and cool biker dudes on snazzy bikes who cause an accident and decide to zoom off. And when I catch them I ask them,"Don't you even care if that person is dead or alive". In a shaky voice they reply that there were afraid and fear made them run.

When will I take responsibility for my actions and their side effects.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Happiness takes the cake

Reema's article in DNA with the same title. It says, "Happiness lies in indulging in random acts of beauty and senseless acts of kindness." One of those clich├ęs, she remarked. Little did she know. Well little did I know. Little did we all know.

the 4 mindless minstrels involved in the article above... Goli, Reema, Mad Angel and moi.

Some poetry about the wandering minstrels...

The pic above is a caricature of Reema that came in the newspaper with the article... Reema and Mad Angel are journalists...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Break the Mould

An article by Reema about breaking the mould. Contains some pics I've taken out.

Monday, August 06, 2007

'Phone'y Toons

I called up a friend a couple of days back. He just had a baby and was naturally pretty excited about it. I was talking to him about the baby and then we started talking about a project for AID and some code that had to be written for it... suddenly I abruptly cut the flow and said, "What about the name?". And then I think I heard him say 'Minnette' or 'Minute' at the other end... I'm not sure how the name 'Nilay' was perceived as 'Minute'... well lets just blame the rain... it was raining and I was outside the the front door :-) yes thats it... so I wondered how to react and thought he had mentioned the project's name and so I went, "[Ha Ha Ha] not the name of the project". And he went,"I was talking about the baby's name". Then in those milliseconds that followed, I went into collateral embarrassed mode and immediately unplugged some synapses at random places and hoped things stopped functioning...

come to think of it I had got a missed call on the 26th of July, which happened to be my b'day... and then I looked at the name on the phone and somehow felt it was from my cousin's aunt in kolkata... I talk to my cousin in pune every week... so I return the missed call and start talking to this aunt about things and the weather in kolkata... and when my cousin will be going there for a visit... and how she is doing in her studies; always mentioning my cousin in the third person... and then I said something and a voice from the other end said,"Alistair!!! you're joking right. Are you alright. This in Janelle.. From Pune"... and I wondered what to say and went "Yeah I'm joking..."

this was when I was back at home studying hard for some exams and my sense of night and day had gone for a toss... I was sleeping and then the phone rings... I jump out of bed to realize that blood is not flowing properly in one leg and I fall down and then with the other leg I get up and hop to the phone... They tell me they are from MSEB and are checking the phone connection. Then they ask me if the voice quality is ok and tell me to blow into the phone...
I go "phuuuuuuu"
"Blow Louder"...
then I hear some giggles at the other end and I decide to hit the bed again, realizing that MSEB is the State Electricity Board !!! I guess blood had not reached my brain either :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Volver (Return)

Music by Carlos Gardel
Lyrics by Alfredo Le Pera
Translation by Coby Lubliner
Title song of the Movie Volver
Click here to see the video

I can almost see the flicker
Of the lights that in the distance
Mark the way of my returning…
They’re the very ones that lit up,
Their reflections pale and misted,
Many hours of deep pain.
Though it was not what I wanted,
First love makes one always come back again.
The quiet [age-old] street where once the echo told me:
Her life is yours, her love is yours to earn,
Under the stars that mockingly look on me,
And now in their indifference see me return.

Return… with my forehead all wrinkled,
My temples turned silver by time’s falling snow…
To feel… that one’s life is a twinkle,
Twenty years hardly reckon,
And two fevered eyes beckon,
In shadows forestall you
And seek you and call you.
To live… with the soul firmly clinging
To one sweet remembrance
That makes me weep so.

I am frightened of the meeting
With the past that is returning
To confront my life all over.
I am frightened of the nighttimes
When my dreams are linked and fleeting
And old mem’ries come to stay.
And yet the trav’ler who’s fleeing
Sooner or later must stop on the way…
And though oblivion, which destroys all being,
Has killed my old hopes, ripping them apart,
Yet I keep hidden a humble hopeful glimmer
That is the only fortune there is in my heart.