Monday, September 29, 2003

It wasn't me that did it, it wasn't me that fell...
It was impulse and longing, the need for belonging
Irrationality and lust, the fear of biting dust,
Do not I beg you sound my death-knell...

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Can I write you a letter? A sparkling, incandescent, shimmering, fly-by-nighter?

I promise you it will make sense. It will talk in grammatically correct sentences and weave prose in aestheticaly pleasing constructs. It will not hold back or tip-toe around your well-shod presence. It will neither scream nor whisper or maneouvre and manipulate for time and space.

It will tell you about the city I live in, its sights and sounds and smells. The fountain on the way to school, the skateboarder on the curb, the fire-engine screeching on the road...the fat squirrels and their bushy tails...the bells of the clock in the tower.

It will sit there crouching on handmade paper, shining in blue ink encased and awaiting your discernment.

And maybe it might not even get to you and even if it did, you might not get it. It is a monologue after all. My contribution to the throng of voices in the air, suspended till retrieval...

And I wonder if you would write back...

Saturday, September 27, 2003

There is something astir here. The memory of feeling and familiar subterfuge.
Have I played this game before?

Years at a stretch, playing the cards...
Good hand, bad hand, old hand, new hand; same game, same plot, same odds.

In the quiet of twilight, I have begun to settle into the front-row. Some or the other entertainment is bound to stage a show. And so I shut my phone, shove my bag under the seat and sink into the velvet. The lights are dim and the smells musty. The stillness of anticipation. An almost feline pleasure to it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

You are the music while the music lasts

T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

There are no rickshaws in Austin!!!
And I haven't even been watching Hindi movies....
Pray how do I fire the imagination?

It's the same thing....rickshawwallahs, script writers...same thing!If I ever wrote a bunch of short stories based on all those I have heard from intrepid,directionally challenged, near-alcoholic, schizophrenic rickshawwallahs... I would have been able to say,'Monica Ali, here I come!'

But I haven't...

And now there are no rickshaws in Austin!!!
Do I classify as a social fact or an ideal type?
I obviously need to sleep.
Resurrection is a few hours away.
Hasta manana...

Monday, September 22, 2003

Every once in a while, I allow myself the luxury of random thought. And it all seems so far away. Different names. Unpronounceable places. Syllables that have difficulty rolling off my tongue. This then is the function of memory. Dramatisation of life. Alienation of experience. False consciousness.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Like in a convenience store...
Easy, quick, hassle-free...
No premediation and no aftermath...
A beautiful fall morning and a random conversation on a bus...
Someone seems to be sending a few spare showers my way...

I just figured out a way to contact him (bless the net; a few random facts, a few focussed search options and voila, stalking in its new avataar)...
Question now being, what do I say?

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Do not ask of me, my love,
that love I once had for you...
How lovely you are still, my love,
but I am helpless too;
for the world has sorrows other than love,
and other pleasures, too.
Do not ask of me, my love,
that love I once had for you.

- Faiz Ahmed Faiz (translated from the Urdu)

Been thinking about Goa all day.
The skies and the water and the whiff of pervading inertia.
The sun and the daiquiris and multiple tongues cruising along the waterfront.
The mass of kaleidoscopical humanity and the slow rush of blood.
I'm going back.

Friday, September 12, 2003

It's raining here!!! Hallelujah! Pray the fair weather plays hookey all weekend;)
Do I love the rains or do I love the rains?
What's a few thousand miles when it's raining like at home?

The same water that muddies the same streets, we of that time don't have gumboots anymore;)!

Blame the water folks, my brains have turned to mush!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

All of a sudden I know a ton of people doing their own thing.
Giving up cushy, regular, well-paid jobs to find elusive contentment.
Has the satisfaction quotient taken a sharp dip or are we just a generation in an unmediated hurry?

Never mind the's just fun to watch the world dip into its litter of idiosyncracies...
I have to do an abstract for this. Any ideas?
Rajabathar's got a new blog here.
Don't ask me who he/she/it is and why I am taking on the mantle of publicist...I guess I'm just feeling exceptionally generous;)

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

The appearance of working hard is not necessarily the equivalent of the real thing.
And when did I not know that???
Roll up sleeves, hitch up shorts!
Time to shake some earth here!

Monday, September 08, 2003

Excerpts from a letter I wrote what seems like a hell of a long time back...

'And then sometimes, I look at the rain pouring through my window and it seems like all that time never went by, like I could still trudge through to school and it would all come back on its non-complicated single TV channel limited joy route...and I wonder what I want..and I wonder what it is that we think so loud and work so hard for....and it never makes sense..and all I do is draw a few more furrows on my forehead...'
I am falling behind on my updates...
As also on my paper deadlines...
And my task list...
And my budgets...
And my readings.....

And having a great time to boot...

I like what I'm reading; if only I didn't have to pontificate and elucidate and expound on them as well! I do not have an ability to polemic criticism....the art of random bitching does not necessarily make for an A on the paper.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

It doesn't get funnier than's amazing to be audience, it's even better to play audience..
And what is the name of this game?

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Have been browsing lyrics all morning. All the solutions of my life are embedded in pop culture.
Every day is a new one. Mine didn't begin too well today. But it got better.
And I am beginning to wonder if I prize consistency over spectacular secrets of life and living.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

These are strange times. I struggle in vain to achieve consistency while in constant flux. One a roller-coaster in 'repeat'. It seems like the same patterns on a faster rhythm. Seems like the older I grow, the easier I screw up. The bigger the risk, the smaller the pay-off. If, of course, there's a payoff to begin with.

An empty house and a cluttered mind. All in good time, but it seems like time's running out. Running out on the streets and seeping into the cracks on the road. Downward, out of sight, out of reach. And no precipitation, no reverse osmosis, is ever going to fill this empty house.

My head's heavy and I have these articles to read. Also a paper to write. And I don't have anything important enough to say. Except of course, that life's getting interesting. No wonder the old Chinese curse that goes, 'May you live in interesting times'.
But those things which have no significance of their own are interwoven for the sake of the things which are significant.
- Saint Augustine, the City of God

While on the subject of cultural theory, the above seems to be the defining element in the choice of information and patterns for consideration. The entire history of theory as also its evolution seems to be nothing but an elaboration, explanation and internalization of otherness or that which we are not. This, in consequence leads to the greater subject of identity politics, and reason why our being in the way we perceive it, is justified.

Over ages, our others have changed and molded to the needs of the times. The objectivity of the sightings of these others is definitely of consequence, but of more importance is the consideration as to what these others signified to the supposed mainstream. The continuous and contiguous lines in the readings trace the genealogy of wildness, otherness and difference through the classical, medieval and modern times, elaborating common links as to their treatment and their construction.

Otherness , thus, beginning with the original concept of the wild man and progressing to that of the noble savage before heading towards the modern concept of the cyborg is that which challenges all that is sacred and potentially fragile if questioned. To encompass all of the above under a single terminology, otherness is the chink in the armour of faith. It is that which does not fit and hence interferes in the perceived order of things and their functions. Consequently, reactions to the various forms take on the likeness of a fetish oscillating between extreme revulsion and overriding awe. These are either, that which we aspire to be as an unattainable ideal or that which we steer clear of and repudiate in no uncertain terms. Only through permanent preservation in either the negativity or the Eden of the times can society and culture hope to preserve contemporary form. Otherness is as important for convenience of classification as it is for maintenance of homogeneity.

The wild man and the noble savage are extreme ends of the oscillation, one serving to signify what society stresses on as right, acceptable and important and the other serving as a reminder of what has gone wrong while in cultural breakdown and societal disillusionment. Thus, the significance of these metaphors is in different times, the former in stability and the latter in breakdown. In either case, the signifier is but an indicator to manage instability or explain away elements that do not fit into the overall scheme of things. Thus, the power equation is never tilted on the side of those thus signified. It is rather, an instrument to steer society towards that which is viewed by those in power as acceptable.

Make any sense?