Thursday, August 29, 2002

She traipsed along the muddy path, speckles of slush all along the tiny ankles, stinging and slapping the red shoes. Singing in a high voice all her own, hands flapping in staccato rhythm. You could see her head bobbing, keeping time with the baby voice.

The evening drawing to a silent end, solitary lamps popping up in kid-dream splendour. Down the path, to the right and up the slope.

And the voice sloped down to an anti-crescendo and wrapped itself up into a sulky mouth. Voices drowning the silence. Voice. Loud and angry. And loud.

They saw her at the door and lowered the anger. It just stood there, suspended with the moths that the rains brought in. The muddy shoes came off on the rubber mat with the blunt spokes. The smile lay suspended on the path behind, waiting to be claimed by another kid, running from loud voices.
And she walked in. On a straight line. Like a drunkard in a calm frenzy. The eyes glassed and the words came.
And they all walked their paths.Characters in a demonstration, "How to Walk and Not Bump Into People".

Eyes up, eyes down, feet down, hands down.1,2,3,check. Sleep.

And she slept with teddy. She didn't like being touched. The wall was as good for the hands as for the voices.
But teddy was alright. He didn't scream.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Is it ok to be me?
Unfettered and cornered. Scared and powerful. Chained and released.
Chains with flowers, they look good and photograph well.

I walked ahead and looked back.

I sit in a house with four walls and twenty books and glide over a tar walkway in unsoled shoes. When I look at the sky, I cry.
I do not want any rules but mine. But my words are not always of my own making. They talk in voices I don't like and use tongues I've never heard.
Conflict is undesirable. It makes me look at things I don't want to see and takes away my will to will.

God in Heaven and I'm under a canopy. You can only see one of us at a time.
Choose my friend. He and I are on the same side, but you don't have that luxury.

Monday, August 26, 2002

It's been a week of non-activity, the busiest of all times...when I'm dying to figure out what it is that I can possibly do that is not this. Read between the lines, makes perfect sense.

There I was, on somebody else's balcony, thinking somebody else's thoughts, worrying about a life not my own. And it helped. To think without responsibility and involvement and the stakes. To just think.
Wonder what it would be like to have the water in the sky fall into my thoughts and let them trickle into somebody else's consciousness. To step into a puddle and dirty borrowed clothes. To smash your car and eat your food. To steal your money and live your fears. To be not me.

Will you be me for a day and a life?

Friday, August 23, 2002

Did I go somewhere?
Nah, I just came back...never know when and if I'm coming or going, picked that one up from 'The Shadow Lines'.

Picked up a number of books from the exhibition at J.M, dirt cheap prices...Am back and things are happening like in the eye of a whirlwind, everything's moving but I seem to be at a standstill, feeling like a soothsayer, something's wrong here...never mind, no point transmitting impending doom onto the blog of all places.

I have an interview for a random scholarship in an hour and will probably get to do an Anthropology project at the University of Pune.That should hopefully keep me going for a week at least. Been under the weather all of this week.
Terribly stifled...

Will write better in seemingly better times...

Saturday, August 17, 2002

Bags packed and ready to go.
To routine and mayhem.
Confusing confidence.
Mask upfront.

I hate transition. As a concept. It ricochets off the insides of my head and wears out all the padding.
Of course, I reconcile myself pretty well when I have to. Just that tiny gap in the hedge I have difficulty jumping over. One leap and there we go...

Flying in mid-air, pray gravity doesn’t fail me. One more time, just this once…

Friday, August 16, 2002

I want the right to be reckless…

To throw stones into brooks and pebbles into oceans,
To walk through thoroughfares, water-hose in hand,
To jump on the sofa,
To make faces at guppies in the aquarium.
To eat cotton-candy…
Not as reckless as downright goofy…

I’m going to go up on the roof tonight and sit and stare at the sky. A firefly or two should be coming my way and we’ll all sit and watch the silence glow.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The Marche Slav burns my insides on a slow fire. Roasts the entrails till they are soft as marshmallows, easy target to every passerby’s two-penny ballad.
The first I heard this was as part of a music appreciation workshop. Just about figured out the pronunciation of a fugue and a Tchaikovsky, before Parag Trivedi threw this right in my unsuspecting, hard-as-nails countenance.

And I sat there, hurt, killed, wounded, bleeding.
Desperate, penniless, hopeless and dying.
Plodding, falling, screaming and stopping.
A Russian soldier marching home in defeat, the winter tugging at his bodily remains.

But then, this is all but a fitting background to what I figured is the love of my life.
Yep, all 24 carats of it.
Drenched in unsung tears and soaking cold, that is how I like the image of life to appear.

I love Raga Todi and its komal swaras.
I adore Talat Mahmood and voices that lament over imminent disaster and ruin.
Heathcliff is mah guy and I love rooms with the curtains drawn.
I will create ‘hero with daaru’ frames.
And gift away my entire non-existent inheritance to Kabban Mirza.
My best dreams are of lost loves and Taj Mahals.

We all have our mechanisms to elevate this life to one less ordinary.
This is mine.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Why can’t men dance?

Is not a judgement or a bias…just plain, simple fact.

There are very few men I have come across, who even in an inebriated state beyond redemption can move. Move like their bodies have the ability to and move like the music is part of them. There is an innate rejection of grace and an unconscious blinking in the spotlight. Women dance like they were born to. Sashay, wink, whisper, undulate.

Chatting with an old friend today. Currently in Mauritius. She and I used to absolutely love grooving on the floor. And we loved discotheques with mirrors. We loved dancing with ourselves, watching the motion and the mayhem.
When the music and the lights took over till the point when we stepped out and let our bodies do the talking.
An extremely demanding, heady place to be.

I repeat, very few men I know who can dance.

Philip John, definitely. Like a panther in motion. What a performer!
Motive power of course being, the audience. More the women, sexier his moves;)
But what a mover…
Rahul Sethi…mah guy for adrenalin…all ‘masti’ and abandon…we danced the ‘bhangra’ to every other rhythm in the world. And audience be damned.
Durlov’s another league altogether, an absolute artist; until of course, drunk when he begins sparring with his own shadow, partner be damned.
VKG invents his moves as they come, GM’s awesome when he’s drunk and Handa is a phenomenon.
Pretty limited sample size come to think of it.

Quite paradoxically, in most dances, it is the men that lead. Set the motion, form the choreography and orchestrate the body. What a phenomenal waste.

I remember dancing with a guy called Noy and thinking, if only his patterns could be superimposed onto the entire male population.
It is a joy to dance with the right kind of partner…where the body takes over and all you’re required to do is freefall.
I can watch ‘Dance with me’ ten times over and Al Pacino totally rocks my floor.
And reel life is seldom real..

Monday, August 12, 2002

Times few and far between when I wish I were anywhere but here (remember the shitty movie?).
I left home when I was 17, pretty late actually, I wanted to leave much before. Audience assumed the obvious, studies, career, a better life. They watched me walk. But I remember seeing me run. Run with a desperation that overwrote all transitionary problems and culture shocks.
I remember inhaling trouble, worries and potholes along with the heartache, loneliness and uncertainty. I remember learning to live with the constant indecision and the responsibility. I remember feeling me.

And I remember the heady rush of space. My own bubble and the breaking of that nagging lump. And all the growing-up. I remember arguing without the fear of not being understood and I remember walking tall, without wondering who was watching.

I remember flirting and sashaying and talking to strangers in the street.

It’s been a wonderful life.

Yet, remnants come back with the guilt and the nagging feeling that something somewhere shouldn’t have been this way. That home does stuff for you and you do nothing for it. And you do nothing because it does not accept anything done for it. And your way is not necessarily always the right way. And sometimes it’s better to turn your head than watch the ruin.The cracks run deeper than the surface and you have learnt to walk around them, but some are lodged permanently in the security of erosion.

And I cannot watch, so I’ll run again. It works wonderfully with practice.
Anywhere but here.

In the midst of a tantrum!

Saturday, August 10, 2002

A bead of sweat glistens, marches down the arm onto the outer ridge of the elbow;
Holds for a second partly in air, before falling off in rhythm with the motion of the muscle..
And they call it a sexy body...

Subconscious artifice...the human body, controlled by the human mind..
This guy is so sexy

Absolutely, unbelieveably, irresistably droolicious.
Check him out here, here, and here..

As your superior powers of observation must by now have gently insinuated, I'm well and truly mesmerised, stupefied, bedazzled and's that damned wordlist again!

Friday, August 09, 2002

It’s a beautiful day, been raining all morning, there’s a large ugly frog on the porch, beady eyes et al. The grass needs trimming, the colony’s going to ruin.
Not like earlier. When I was a kid here, everything used to be in landscaped order. It’s a beautiful colony, some five lawns and huge trees. Clusters of bougainvillea and periwinkles. Drainage canals run next to the houses, overflowing in the monsoon. The kids don’t run paper boats in the brown waters though. We used to make tunnels and rivers on the sandy bed in the playground and drag the main pipe off the large lawn to fill it up. We could race cycles through the roughest paths and skate through the steepest roads.

My BMX lasted through school.
Wonder when I gave it away.
I still have my roller-skates, though I only use them in the house now. Too scared of falling on the roads.
Wonder when I learnt fear?

Every age has had its pleasures, some more debauched than the rest…
Darn right, I’m going to write.
All these logistical constraints over the last few days, not the least of which being, blogger overturning my carefully constructed verbal context, have taken away the scarce kegs of creative juices I strain to possess.

‘Tis the old argument all over again. Safety versus impulse, with the two not necessarily being mututally exclusive domains.
Of course, only in hindsight will the ‘intersperse’ show. So what the hell do I do?
All signs point to the obvious, anthropology it is, with the future carefully chalked out and direction signs mapped to scale.
But the motive power behind quitting was the ‘write’. And hence the MFA and all resultant jubilation. Doesn’t seem to be the safest option actually. Check the shelves at Crossword, overflowing with confetti and packing paper. Signs of a healthy, wholesome industry with unhealthy component parts. Writers starved for words, epicurean audience with the freedom to pontificate and reject. I can make a better career writing Hindi film lyrics.

Still figuring out the whole mess, slowly, surely…

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

And now I sit, staring at the rain curtains stretching from my doorstep to the end of the road. Rows and rows of harem beads. It rains in whiplashes down here.
It’s pouring cats and dogs outside. Long day today.
Was up at a quarter to five and ended up missing the train at 6 anyway….

Finally found place in some vague Hyderabad Express at 9 and home at 12.
Fed and put to sleep by 1.
And now I can’t seem to get any sleep at all, have exhausted all the music that I can stand for the day, rushed through a bunch of comics from the attic, watched all the stoopid TV I can stand and here I am…

The journey through Lonavla was awesome. Brooks and streams careening down jagged stone at every corner. That obscene green that follows heavy showers and the mist in limbo, like time under repair.
And garam chai. Not to mention chillies and wada-pav. I bought random stuff off every hawker that bothered to come through the compartment. Cucumbers and jelly sweets and chocolates and chikki.
High point of the day, this close to 60-year-old woman threatened to throw my stuff off the train if I didn’t clear her space. Not an inch above five feet with all the sinews of long years in her veins. Needless to say, I did.

Monday, August 05, 2002


He swung me up, then brought me down...
Then kicked me up all over again...
I can see the ground coming up faster and faster...

Thud, thud, thud
Up all over again

Freeze shot, enlarge and frame.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Is there a purpose to life as we know it?

How many lives before I learn to ignore that question? The only solace I ever find in times of eternal doubt is in somebody else's words. In knowing that someone, somewhere knows. Maybe. A faint halogen glow at the end of the railway tracks. Somebody will wake up tommorow morning and tell me the secret of existence. And I wonder what I will have to offer in return.

And it is this that plagues, pulls and worries. What is that particular skill or talent by which I have the means to create value in this world? And what value to date have I? I don't know. I can't see much for which I would pay with for the secret of existence. Maybe most have given up because there is no such thing.

I think. At least I think I think. But it's getting to be quite an ordeal of late. The conditions do not permit excessive usage of the grey cells. And I am nothing if not an atmospheric child. They call it situational management, escapism, mediocrity, the middle path and various such. The terminology is of no consequence. If there weren't a non-existent moral fibre to contend with.

Looking for a value structure. The shelves are loaded.
How many for sale? How many worth bidding for?
I have nothing to say..and I don't want to say the things that I would otherwise have.
I don't want to tell you what I did today and yesterday and the day before that...because I did nothing...

The city is empty. I don't know anybody here even when I thought I did.Their heads are in caverns in the Amazon jungle and now it seems like mine's going to roll off in a day.Something's got to give.