Monday, May 30, 2005

The best days of our lives

My parents chose the blue pill for me, and I was left where everybody else was. When the competition was over and my parents were satisfied I turned to look over my shoulder and found my friends missing. I was now part of a bigger crowd, a different crowd who spoke a different language. I nodded and murmered. I adjusted. Sometimes but I also suffocated.
If you are at a party and you turn towards the corners of wherever that party is happening, you will see them. The ones who are lost, with or without an invitation. Extrapolate this into any scenario and you'll find all the lost in the world. And there are a lot of them, the dance floor may be empty, but the corners never are. And they make a good team together. They laugh and joke louder than the people who belong. But beneath that veneer of mirth there lies a troubled soul searching to understand something about himself that he knows nobody else can.. longing for something that he knows he can't find here, and in all probabilities anywhere else too. I belong to the corner. I get nostalgic pretty easily. Good times are not easily forgotten. So in an attempt to recreate my childhood and teen years I will start writing about my good old days as an ode to my old friends long out of touch but never forgotten. Hope you all are doing well buddies.
The first time I admitted I was turning into a loner was to A when I borrowed his bike for a long midnight ride. He was surprised 'Kya ho raha hai tereko? Tu badal raha hai.' He was right. I wasn't like this always. I really blended in well at school.
They say school is cruel on children. They exaggerate. Girls in the first bench giggling when I enter the class late was but a momentory torment happily avenged through derogatory notes circulated for the amusement of us guys. The giggles continued particularly as my pants were perpetually short for my fast growing legs, but the notes seemed meaningless after sometime. One started sympathising with objects of continuous derision. Tables have been turned in the years gone by, the ducklings has undergone mass transformation into beautiful swans with hearts turned avengefully cold.
The nerds have taken the world by storm, slick hair, mom woven half-sweaters and all. Perhaps I have outrun all of them. But I always liked the company of the funny guys. The funny guys are still funny. The mom-and-dad corner shops, run by their moms or dads are still the hangout for some of us. I joined them with P, who's now heading a comp sci department in one of the local colleges last time I went home. The laughter was still as infectious as in school when some of us in the back bench would snicker at length leaving the rest of the class in unscratchable curiosity as to whom the joke was on. But somehow, behind all these regales and laughter is a implicit common longing of those who have been left behind to get out. The one bully of our class now drives the cab beautifully. He joins us for our afternoon tea and gives us free cab rides sometimes to the market. The tables have turned, the balance has tilted and those on the wrong side of the fulcrum have found themselves hurled unforgivingly into the everyday churn of purposeless tasks. The ones on the right side at least have more to show for it.
Most of the girls who would still talk to us are married. I guess the rest are married too. B too went to Delhi and got married to a nerd from another town. I wonder if she remembers me. I guess she will, she was my first crush and she knew it. The prettiest swan in the first bench.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Did you ask me how I was?

You usually won't associate me with a sunny disposition, but neither am I really gloomy until somebody asks me the question 'How are you?'. Then I feel an obligation to be depressed. I never knew why, until today when I drew up a list of circumstantial evidence to substantiate and corroborate my claim to being dull and dreary.

My laugh lines are fast dissapearing and I'm not happy about it.
I look down when I walk and talk.
I stare aimlessly down the road as I puff into my cigarette.
I would rather sleep than go out.
I can't read anymore.
More often than not, I don't complete a movie, or a book. I've started reading comics.
I've stopped calling my friends, and they've stopped calling me.
I've stopped playing football, only watch it these days.
My eyebags are larger than my eyes and I've got pretty big eyes to start with.
I hate work..... still.
Hey in case you're wondering, I'm still sexy, but I don't feel that way anymore too...

They're writing songs of love..
But not for me.
A lucky star's above..
But not for me...

Boo Hoo Hoo!!!!!


Friday, May 13, 2005

Books people read

And what is good Phaedrus,
And what is not good –
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?
It is just unsafe to wander out alone in the deserted streets of Delhi at 2 AM in the morning, especially if you a girl who belongs to a clan which people feel radiate an aura of looseness and availability.
I am desperately trying to move beyond the third page of 'Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance'. But for that I'll have to find some time to start reading again. The book has been lying unopened since the day I bought it. I read the book earlier, at least part of it. This was years ago, when the primary thrill I sought from books was excitement, and this book seemed terribly slow paced, sermonizing and directionless.
Although I could not complete the book, I did toil with it. I persisted, maintained some inertia no matter how slow, and took help of occasional breaks where I took the help of a rich assortment of Archer, Grisham and Forsyth to reanimate my interest in reading. But whenever there was nothing to read, I came back to Pirsig, like an erring husband comes back to his wife. And ‘Z n d rt of MM’ took me back, each time. But it was a more of a boring wife, with whom you struggle to make a living. But I carried on; my own unprecedented tenacity amazed me. Maybe the sweltering heat of Allahabad, when loo looms large and you go out under threat to your sanity, helped me. But still I struggled to capture the essence of the book, or to make something up for my own comfort.
There were good times, especially his descriptions of things around him and Pirsig’s devotion to his bike. My interest in IC engines grew as a result, to better understand the portions when he describes the maintenance of his bike. Or maybe it was the other way round, I don’t know.
Our affair lasted for a month and a half. But then the dichotomy between the message in the book and my lifestyle struck in, and I threw in my towel. The book was discarded into the dark corners of my tin trunk where it found its way next to a discarded study lamp, which I felt was an apt union. Several migrations across Allahabad, Shillong, Bangalore and Chennai later, I can’t find the old book anymore.
They say, you are what you read. My Engineering and MBA books earn my living and decide my designation, but I don’t think that’s exactly what the phrase meant. Maybe we should take the opinion of Heller, Lee, Adams, Wodehouse, Kafka, Salinger et all. Have they been able to undo the damage inflicted by Sheldon and his clan? And what about the Anderson brothers, Blyton, Stan Lee, Herge, Uncle Pai etc? Do they still influence my flighty imagination, or is its reinvigoration the sole contribution of Tolkien? Do Doyle and Agatha still feel let down by me?
I go back to Pirsig because I think he was trying to say something that will mean something to me at this phase of life. In ‘That 70s show’ the curly haired dude, tells that bitchy chick, who by the way I think will easily qualify for Bluebird’s harem, that Zen is being cool. I’m cool, but I don’t know if Zen means only that. Maybe Pirsig will throw some more light.


Monday, May 02, 2005

Can't keep a good man down

The heat is unbearable. I'm cool. The good man was down, but now no longer.
I was the fool's thinker and the philosopher's fool. But now I am .. happy. And I don't allude to Snow White's favorite here. I should have been earlier, but I am now.
I have now no desire to discover how others attained bliss, neither am I inclined to search deep within. Momentarily wayward, I care not now, like I cared not earlier.
The thrill of discovery overwhelms the panic of change.

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