Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What I'm doing:
http://www.utexas.edu/law/academics/centers/humanrights/adjudicating
(The talk is available in WMV format)

What I should be doing:
http://www.nsf.gov/funding/

Critical disconnect, wouldn't you say?
Or maybe not...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Somebody somewhere out there is going to be very proud of me today:).
I took most of the morning off, played cricket and downloaded cheap Hindi songs!

Check out my playlist:
1. rules-pyar ka superhit formula - pyaar ke naam pe
2. zor - main apna naam bhula
3. Oh carol jahveena
4. judwaa - oonchi hai building
5. judwaa - chalti hai kya nau se barah
6. aila re ladki mast mast
7. asoka - aa taiyar ho jaa
8. hata saawan ki ghata
9. jeene ke hain chaar din
and the icing!
10. Aaja meri gaadi mein baith jaa!

And now back to work!
Time, I have realized, is redundant. And yet, such a predator.
I could stay stuck to this seat, this laptop on my lap, this tea to my left, this radio on my desk...and never want or need the tribulations of time...ever...
And NPR is having authors read out Christmas stories of not-so-much-cheer. It is such a relief for a change. And it so much fun to have stories read out loud.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I do not know how to grieve. It’s obvious that I cannot. I can perform grief, I can perform acts of control over the performance of grief. I can even outperform my performance in sleep and wakefulness. But I cannot grieve.

And this much is surely required to be given. A certain amount of pain is required to be visceral. Unworded, unmanned and untamed. I don’t know how to do this.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's the middle of the night; that time of the day when I'm at my neurotic best, churning sentence after sentence in a proposal that has ceased to make sense. And clearly, I need to be stealing words to make up for inexcusable paucity of intellectual worth. So here goes...

There are still too many "adolescents who find pleasure in raping the fresh cadavers of beautiful, dead women" (Lautrémont), who do not take into account that it would be more marvelous to rape them alive.

- Alejo Carpentier (On the Marvelous Real in America, 1949)

And no, this is not yet misogyny and no, it is not yet, grotesquely anti-feminist. And yes, it could be all of those things. But right now, it is Carpentier lamenting the imitators of the 'real' magic realists...and wondering if the ones who can't see, think of those who can.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Guess who was at the Paramount Theater today?



And in case you're wondering...yes, I was there...third row, aisle seat.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My class on Garcia Marquez had a very interesting question to deal with.
What is over when the book is over?
I guess I am asking myself the question in other ways.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

How does the miasma inside the head work? Does it convert life into small fragments to assemble at will, allowing us to maintain equal internal and external pressure? Does it maintain the illusion and transparency of beauty while masking the certainty of destruction? Does it bounce us around at will and yet make believe about the ultimate possibility that will make light of all sorrow, here and henceforth? Or like the wind that blows the bubble that I allude at the end of line 2, starting with ‘does’...is everything that I want to know waiting outside where I need to go play?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I have discovered that anger may not be too productive. Especially when one is forever at the lower end of the hierarchy. But then is that the order of cause and effect? Or is the refusal to vent fire the reason why one is forever trapped at this end? Is the simulation of power the same as having any? Does form lead to content or the other way round?

And what would I do if I could be angry? Scream sans implication, fume sans regard?

Disgusting.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Re-building possibilities. And not even a day after declaring the end of humanity and sanity as we have never known:). Sometimes, I have no respect for my sense of mortality; it won't even last a friggin' day!

Here are the options:
1. More funding avenues
2. Temp jobs
3. Permanent job! (what am I doing to do with a PhD anyway?)
4. Hash in the Himalayas
5. Read Ulysses end-to-end without a pause
6. Movie and bad food

How does that list look to you?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

This is not the ways things are supposed to be. And yes, I know the 'supposed to be' is an egoistic enterprise; and yes, ultimately life will self-destruct; and yes, there are troubles far worse than these...and yet...

I don't like being upset and I don't like being sorrowful and I don't like being morose. But I am. For what is ultimately so 'not worth it'! But this then is the microcosmic representation of all that can be sorrowful and not right. Of things that were never meant to be the way they are.

I hate making things bigger than they are. And I wish my friends were here and not so far away. If only K weren't so inattentive, if only Anna was around, if only I could talk to F everyday. Is this then a regression to all things pitiful and adolescent? What happened to the years inbetween?
One down...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Research proposals are dancing in my head as I write; seems like all I have been doing for the past fifteen days is write, write and write. I have a sneaking suspicion I have managed to deromanticize my own research just by writing incessantly about it. This is hard work!!! Who would have thought?

I have lost all semblance of objectivity and am ready to call the whole thing off. But of course I won't. Silly illusions of immortality.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I am in the middle of a fight to retract my will from the world. And I admit that it's much harder to retract than impose.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

This is what I am right now. And let's not get into a debate about gender alright? Cause I am about to claw the next person who asks me about radical constructivism vs. instrumental positivism!

Friday, September 02, 2005

How does one resolve a fundamental divide?

Co-existence? Tolerance? Acceptance? Acknowledgement? Incorporation?

How does one resolve outside of the position of self?

Why must one resolve?

Can I run?

Monday, August 22, 2005

My phone has numbers on it and every number has a name assigned to it. And the appearance of the number shows as the flashing of a name that translates into the possibility of a person. Is this what they call a proxy world?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Before the rains...
Right below news on the Colombian plane crash in Venezuela

Ads by Google
Fear of Flying?
Beat your fear of F
Success!

???

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's Monday morning and it's time to whine. I've been at work forever and it's not going to change. Am juggling twenty seven deadlines and I do love it, I admit...but it sends me into regular bouts of panic and cluelessness. Spoke to A for an hour day before night and woke up having little recollection of it...all I remembered was a dreamlike sequence of things I couldn't remember. Reminds me of the time I used to have daily nightmares where my client would keep rejecting all our campaign designs and scream endlessly about how we were getting the corporate color all wrong...after everything had gone into print. To the lay reader, this might not seem like much....but to the minion on the lowest rung of the corporate ladder, it is no less than a call to harakiri...

Those days are a far cry from now, but this addiction to stimlus seems to be leading me down some strange paths everytime I begin to think that I'm over it...strange...and X is back on the radar....to my detriment and his ignorance...let the games begin.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Time to get started on the book review...

Basic impressions:

1. Why must we study technology as embedded in society when the fact is clearly acknowledged? What does ethnography do for theory that theory cannot do for itself?
2. What can be uncovered in the separation of technology as discourse from technology as act?
3.There is the attempt to politicize technology in a sense, to remove it from its sacrosanct chapel and move it down to where it is sullied and applied, sometimes in ways that it was not originally intended to. But that cannot be right... because that assumes that there is such a subject as technology that can be separated from the process of its use. If the premise is that technology is embedded, then it must remain amorphous just so that it can be understood as inextricable.
4. The essays are very interesting in the varied perspectives that they present and it is perhaps both the failure and the success of the book that they do not always come together. Failure because the avowed intent of the book is to present a united front; success because this very failure preserves the process instead of the thesis.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I don't want to write, I don't want to work, I don't want to read, I don't want to eat, I don't want to sleep and I don't want to want.
Can I go home now?

Monday, August 08, 2005

To go or not to go...can I not have more options? Where the hell are all those in-between thingies when you need them?
After a very long time, my weeks have begun to separate out into days and ends...like weekdays and weekends. Enforced separation is sometimes not a bad thing. And all I am trying to say in the usual, convoluted, involuted jargon that has become part of everything that I think and do, is that I have a job.
What I would like to be: your private memory...
What not: your public find.
Okay?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The week threatens to be overwhelming. Things have to go into print, travel plans must be made and grant proposals attempted. Which is why all I did all weekend was cook and clean. House, hearth, kitchen and bathtub. It's all sparkling clean now and my refrigerator has food. Now if only there were a dog too...

But aspirational 'life would be complete if' images aside, I have a book to review. And I am not sure if I understand what 'New Technologies at Work' is seeking to theorize. I will...eventually... and I do have to read all of it, truth be told. But so far, it seems that the essays are trying to place technology in continuity with social practice and reconcile how talk about something threatens to run its course into what that things will eventually become (almost oracular and I will have more to say about that in the near future) with the lived practices of individuals using or being made to use that thing. In a reductive argument, all of it is but a way to ask, how do we live? Do we abandon old ways and rush headlong into anything new that comes along, adaptation fiends par excellence or are we but tricksters in the twilight zone between the then and the now or to use Levi-Strauss permanently embedded in bricolage? My answer would be a little bit of this and a little bit of that. In short, I don't know. And more importantly, what's theory got to do with it?
Why does one write? And I must warn you that my posts that start with a 'why' never go anywhere...if anything they go everywhere that you might not want to go. So getting back to the question, is it one of the many ways to pretend the ability to create or in the inverse, a way to stave of the eventuality of extinction? Is it communication or self-aggrandization or the aesthetic determinism of ' I have something to say that must be said'? Is it an entity with a life unto itself that must have a medium? Is it random and proababilistic or is it a necessary corollary to society and culture and historical continuity? As in did somebody show you how to write? Or do you write because you wanted to be somebody that did?

Next question: Why we we need to reproduce?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thank you all...you know who you are and you know you make me happy...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Time for the 'Oh I have a blog,so maybe I should ramble' update. Work goes on, life goes on and not a field-mouse shakes the grass. I have a job and I have two pending book reviews which will hopefully plump up my currently sparse résumé with appropriate publications.

Last week was a scare with my father driving through the torrents in B'bay. I have been constantly on the phone and mailing people hoping as hell that things are closer to normalcy than the headlines seem to indicate....fat chance though! The distance makes it easier to consider catastrophe as a 'faraway' occurence, but it only intensifies feelings of complete and total mis/ dis'connection'. Fingers and toes in permanent calisthenics.

On other fronts, have been kayaking every weekend and it definitely helps relieve stress, academic and otherwise. I live right by the lake and it's generally pleasant weather in the mornings. Watching ducks, turtles and good looking men sculling is probably an improvement over hegemonic panopticons.

On that note, it's time to get back to them...hasta mañana and happy living.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Metaphorically speaking, are my life-choices sustained by the inadequacy of yours?
Is this the fundamental Mobius strip that serves as the general disciplinary apparatus for ambition and movement?

Monday, July 25, 2005

2 bunches spinach, rinsed & drained
12 oz. shells (or pasta of choice)
1/3 c. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed dried hot red chilies
1/3 - 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Remove and discard spinach stems; chop coarsely and set aside. Cook pasta. Just before pasta is done, stir in spinach. Cook uncovered, stirring to distribute spinach; just until water returns to a full boil. Drain pasta and spinach.
While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic and chilies. Cook, uncovered, until garlic turns opaque (about 2 minutes).Add pasta and spinach to pan; mix. Mix in Parmesan cheese. Serve.

What are you having for dinner tonight?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My posts are getting longer as the frequency reduces. Am I falling into the description trap; that which must never be fallen into just like the one who must not be named? And yes, my roommate bought a copy of the Half-Blood Prince and no, I haven't read it yet. Am queuing it for the weekend, right behind Foucault and Ghosh. Also finished reading Saffran-Foer's book today. The second one, 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'. He's inventive, I must give you that. Even his treatment of grief is sufficiently novel without taking away from its visceral, selfish, experience. But beyond that, can he be a story-teller? I don't think so...somehow I seem to have developed a taste for the wide-angle lens and Foer opens a lens only to fold it inwards into unending involution. His prose is beautiful in parts and sentences sometime strike you out of the blue with their uncanny precocious cleverness. But the story? No, nada, nyet....I have been spoiled by the maestros, I don't understand this...and yet, maybe this is here to stay...so all I can do is count myself among the geriatrics and entomb that which I think to be good and true ....and stay there....

On other fronts, have a million different things to write on and some clear thinking to do. This month needs to be decisive in so many ways. And no, it's not a big thing. Just a clearer understanding of academic goals for the year and travel plans for the semester and other such. Hocus-focus and may the rain fall and the stars shine...I have to get back to work...
But last scavenging words, check...

"The Miss World pageant, as one of the most watched, if not the most watched televised event in the world, suggests that, when it comes to popular culture, at the very least, a more nuanced figuring of temporality than globalization is needed. In terms of the pageant's flexible and hybrid production, its massive and culturally diverse audience, it is clearly globalized. In terms of its rules of competition, its reliance on the nation-state for its organization of representation, it is postcolonial. In terms of the race and gender norms it celebrates and inculcates, it is modern and colonial. It can perhaps teach us that Raymond Williams's configuration of the temporal terrain of a periodizing impulse remains indispensable, as globalization moves from the emergent to the dominant, holding the colonial and postcolonial as the vestigial and the residual, struggling to read the resistant (Williams 1977, 129-35; and Williams 1980)."
World Piece - What the Miss World Pageant Can Teach about Globalization, Neville Hoad
(Cultural Critique 58 (2004) 56-81)

if that whets your appetite, the article is available online...
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/cultural_critique/v058/58.1hoad.html

I need to take a class with this guy!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future; not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness...

- A.F.G.Bell

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I am engineered to be slightly dissatisfied with everything around me...
And on other fronts, I'd rather a musician than an anthropologist be....
Fact of the matter is....I am bored. Halpppp!!!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It is time to recover this space again. I almost said renovate, but ah well... Am back back back. Back from India and NYC, back from abrasion and noise and the metaphysics of quality to silence, heat, sanitation and straight lines. Blah! Don't mind me, this is just the whining of the first week, shall soon pass.

India was hot for the first fifteen days that I was there and unrelentingly precipitous for the next. The heavens poured down, the lights went out and I ate and slept and stared at the invisible sea. T'was beautiful beyond compare. Also shopped, visited friends in Pune and Bombay and bought tons of useless stuff at Bandra and Sohrab Hall. And visited all the physicians that I cannot afford here on the paltry insurance they offer underpaid overqualified teaching assistants. Watched Bunty& Babli and other such mindless entertainment and so so so LOVED it. My goal for this year is to achieve the perfect state of near-mindlessness, near because I need that thin gap to be able to laugh at it. Imagine not only being blank, but also having the distance to appreciate blankness, like being in and out of a Mondrian at the same time...from colors to monochromes and from grids to spaces...fun eh?

And Abhishek Bachchan by the way, is so definitely the MAN! Caveat: Aforementioned movie recommended only for those who understand, appreciate and are devoted to the fine art of preserving dheet sadak chaap humor.
For example:
Makkha aur makkhi theater se nikalte hain...makkhi kehti hai "main bahut thak gayee"....makkha kehta hai, "kutta kar lein?"
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!
(Was even conned into a B&B bag incidentally; yes I know, I suck)

Stopped over in NYC on the way back and had the most wonderful time ever. Walked around, saw the Max Ernst and Matisse retrospectives at the Met and watched life unfold in billboards and musicals. Stayed with a dear friend who was kind enough to put me up, take me around and in general make me feel like the world when it manages to preen is not such a bad thing after all. He lives in West New York and I met some of his family and friends and they are all wonderfully warm, open souls. Evidence of beauty is always a relief and yes, the sun came out. In so many ways.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Did I say I would be back in better times? Note to self: Never EVER say that again! And may I remind all you wonderful folks out there that the skies may erupt any moment right now? Keep your raincoats and humour intact, never know when you may need either; both actually...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Fitting that the nosedive should come right after the ascent. People are dying, people are leaving. Guard your lives well, they're a little fragile and the cracks sometimes stand up in bas-relief...not that I wish you that; anything but...but guard them nevertheless. I am off tomorrow and I know there will be better times. But the people I love are leaving this week and my world is a little cracked...a little. And I'm being selfish and I know this is important to them and I know it's not about me and I know this is how life moves. I know and I do not feel. And I love them. I do I do I do. Doesn't that amount to anything?

Don't take the lament too seriously, is the old whiny voice making a tentative comeback. But I don't feel so good. Will be back in better times.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Tonight I will write...an ode to satisaction...a paean to temporary utopia...a preamble to permanent dystopia...'tis true...in the words of Ethan Hawke in what will soon be an eminently forgettable movie, 'I am engineered to be slightly dissatisfied with everything around me'...and not that tonight I am completely satisfied. 'Tis more like I am wearing a permanent shrug, who cares, how does it matter and can I bloody keep what I have? And what do I have? Books, words, friends, family and sight...and yes, it is one of those times when I am tempted to call my own bluff...tonight I can write and tomorrow I will wake up...but till then, raise the glass for tonight is a rare sight.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Joyce and Uchenna won!!!
And now, after a long time, something to aspire to...

A Story

Monday, May 09, 2005

I am writing in new places, which is why this baby here is receiving secondhand treatment. But I'm back for a bit and I much prefer this space anyway. That other is but an empty exercise of a pretend ego. And I can't wait to get done with this semester, go home and come back for the summer. Life is slowly but surely beginning to pose critical questions all over again, the academic vacation is at an ebb. I have enjoyed this and am very much at the beginning of all the places that I need to go, but the ambiguity needs to be put to rest, soon.

And things, as I have always maintained, change...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

If words were co-terminus with meaning...would I ever write?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Why is working with the mind valued more than working with the body?
Will the answer be about power, visibility or erasure?
Will it be a natural progression or an unnatural history?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

And now, as promised, the critique...(refer below)...

And in the manner of everything else that has ever been written on this blog as also everything that will be, this is but a rant and a translation and an interpretation, all from a particular vantage point, masquerading as critique. It is in a sense, a 'reading aloud' session, tempered by voice, mood and stance.

The article is a four page diary-style entry outlining for the reader, the experience of selling-out and the process of strategic choice. Or so I garner.It is told through the narrative of the author, an aspiring writer of short stories leaving behind a spartan lifestyle to confront the possibilities of language manipulation and law school. The questions that the author puts forward are two, viz. 'how is our sense of self preserved?' and 'Is our sense of self effaced with unuse?'. The language is poignant and the placement of self in the narrative instructive. It is a very well-written account of personal angst and the project of keeping the so-called self alive, kicking and hopeful.

Instructive is of course as instructive goes. My objective is to see what can be done with the narrative. I understand polyphonicity but believe that the written word is only as transparent as the borders of the social structure that it finds itself negotiating with. This is not to subscribe to an uncritical structuralism but to call it the way I say it. Weak, dramatic and incoherent. The romanticism although temperamental, I sympathize with. What I fail to understand is the almost apologetic, passive-aggressive stance to make what is in essence a no-brainer.Yes, it is a strategic choice but I do not know what sense to make out of it outside the category of personal growth and movement. If emotion is the discursive choice,then it must at least be able to present its own possibilities. Language as a showcase I have complete empathy with, but badly performed emotion is a crime unto itself. I cannot engage with this maybe because it is not built to be engaged with. In which case I agree that the needs are mine and the article, maybe, is not designed to cater to them.

Leading then to my last few questions:
What does effacement mean? Who effaces?
What is 'self'?
What is this article meant to do?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

It is time to quit reading when one begins to see subversion and quasi-protest and fake revolution everywhere. But do check out what made for some interesting, problematic but very well-phrased reading....

Jennie Lin pontificating on We Who Are About to Die?...

Will post my interpretation, agreements and critique tomorrow...reading, needless to add is a self-serving world unto its own...
The weekend is going to buzz past...things are happening....and happening fast...I need to get a hold on this before it whizzes out of sight and control.

Thought for the Day

n
OthI
n

g can

s
urPas
s

the m
y
SteR
y

of

s
tilLnes
s

- E.E.Cummings

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Trying to garner the philosophy and morality of Empire...and came across this...

Check out your fragmented reasonings here

1. Cynics (100%)
2. Jean-Paul Sartre (87%)
3. Kant (65%)
4. David Hume (62%)
5. Nietzsche (62%)
6. Stoics (62%)
7. Jeremy Bentham (57%)
8. John Stuart Mill (57%)
9. Thomas Hobbes (56%)
10. Nel Noddings (54%)
11. Epicureans (43%)
12. St. Augustine (41%)
13. Aquinas (39%)
14. Ayn Rand (38%)
15. Ockham (37%)
16. Spinoza (35%)
17. Prescriptivism (34%)
18. Aristotle (33%)
19. Plato (25%)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Astray...Bored...Confused...Disoriented...Evasive...Fragmented...Groaning...Hollow...Inebriated...that's as far as I can go today...

Life, Love, Literature, Lack...the mother, the daughter, and the cursed banshee...
I have been sleeping all morning, methinx I need to stop considering weekends as separate space. All it leads to is excessive tiredness on Friday in anticipation of sleeping it off on Saturday and sleepless, uninteresting Saturday nights. Speaking of which, this one definitely was THE most ever moronic one I have spent in a very long time.

Started off pretty well, had complimentary, front-row seats to a Kathakali performance depicting Bhima in search of the Saugandhika and his encounter with Hanuman. Interesting bit of intertextuality. Wonderfully elaborate costumes and live musicians accompanying the performance. I was able to understand most of the Sanskrit words employed in the verse, which made it easier to relate it to the actual mudras and facial expressions. Also,learned a few new things, like the symbolism of the various colours used on the faces (green for heroism and black, not surprisingly for villainy). Black was also explained as being called 'kari' which is the word in Tamil for charcoal, so well, it always gives me cheap thrills to be able to make random connections. And I thought I heard the reference to Ari, which apparently in old Tamil is the word for lion and incidentally is also the name of the protagonist in Leon Uris' Exodus. Also, some very pleasing eye-candy in the rows in front...always makes for good cheer.

Dinner at Taj Palace...dropped in to a friend's birthday bash..had a few drinks, listened to some atrociously bad, fun karaoke and then began my not-so-good rest-of-the-night...went dancing with a friend who was supposed to meet some people I didn't know at a club downtown. I hadn't gone dancing in a while, so figured I'd brush up my rusty salsa...turned out to be uninteresting, moronic, will-stand-like-statues-with-a-beer-looking-intense crowd with nothing microscopically noteworthy to recommend either them or their moves.Eeeeeeeeeeeeeyuuuuuuuuuuuuuughhh....either,I have turned uber-anti-social or uber-old or maybe, just maybe, it wasn't my night...

Was back at 2, bitching and moaning and wishing I had just stayed on at the party before. So all that 'outletting' took until five in the morning and I wake up at 1 to find work gently easing into my line of vision. So am back at it. Frustrating thing about being at grad school, 'tis too difficult to separate...

But anyway, my clips are coming along fine, the footage looks good and so do my shorts. All I hope is to be able to weave it into a coherent narrative of self...more later...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Can time not stand still? Can it flow instead? Flow into meaninglessness and ‘doesn’t-matter’ states and endless epiphany and moving pictures and lying magic?

I can’t find it, I really can’t. I tried and tried and tried and must admit that it is but an invention of a restless mind and an unfinished soul. Movies are real, song lyrics are concrete, pictures are pretty, printers are sensible. There’s no magic anymore...no rabbits, no levitation...lots of sawn-off bodies though with nobody to make them whole again...no plumes, no top-hats, no glittering fuchsia bodysuits...we dress in plaid around here....

Monday, April 18, 2005

If I caught the world in an hourglass
Saddled up the moon so we could ride
Until the stars grew dim, Until...


- Sting (OST Kate and Leopold)

Sunday, April 17, 2005

May I objectify myself? Lest somebody beat me to it...

Monday, April 11, 2005

I think the break has been made. Between the effective present and a particular portion of the phantasmic past. This is definitely progress. Not disdain, not disgust, not longing, not wonderment...this is a comfortable spot, a snug sunlit porch.

I spoke to him and did not feel anything at all except the need to ask perfunctory questions and listen to the perfunctory answers. I did not even feel the need to call back and that my friends is definitely a first.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

So she hated him. Or so she said.
Or so she loved him. Or so she said.
What was anybody to believe? What was she to perform?

The story after all is never too far from the performance. Because it is a story. If I had said truth, then it would be a different matter altogether. But it is rather the story of the truth and they are not the same.

But back to the story. What does love mean here? Is it the endless safety of the same Pavlovian smile to the face at the thought of the beloved or is it the sigh of relief at the diminishing effort required to keep this metaphor in place? I contend not. Love as she performed is was the active denial of hate, hate being the underlying sinking truth that at the base of it what was different was not he from he, but her ability to manipulate what he could do for her as opposed to what he would not. But if she could manipulate him, then so could he her. In the way that enmity is intimate and arm-twisting but an arm's distance away, she weathered the reaction that came with her every action. Not only that he did what she wanted, but that she had to want everything that he did. So that he would not notice.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

...leopard spots on a wine glass, light glinting off the innards of red liquid, flowing into a sulky mouth the colour of dull blood, spilling into two tiny drops onto a stubborn chin held in place by a haughty neck forming the crown of a body encased in splotches of blue splashed moodily across fabric touching skin vacillating between ebony and dull brown, two thin straps framing tawny shoulders dipping down like fluid into the small of her back turning invisibly into long legs perched on the edge of varnished wood, flowing into the sun and the wind, stationary and still, moving and dancing, wondering and waiting...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Playing right now...

Aag ka kya hai,
Pal do pal mein lagti hai,
Bujhte bujhte ek zamaana lagta hai..

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A wee bit tired. Had an interesting, near-disastrous, fire-fighting conversation with someone from way back in the annals of my neuroses. Serendipitous, accidental and almost ludicrous. I wasn't meant to have the conversation but did accidentally make contact if only because I have been living on too much coffee. The incident itself is fairly trivial, but for the issues it brings up.

I sometimes wonder at the inadequacy of my coping mechanisms. Dysfunctional, inefficient and incomplete. Watch this space for more details.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

How does one take away the intense, visceral notion of home without abrading something or the other? How does one hold and let go in the same instance? How does one remember without wanting to explain and set to rest?

I lay out and examine evidence of my origins, weekend after weekend only to forget it between Saturdays... except of course as testimony to my right to scholarship and guidelines to my race. But then it rains and washed away all resolve. It rains and pours and it is the same downpour and the same rivulets and I float my boat backward and regress. My mind recalls voices and smells and sounds and silences. It fashions simultaneity in past worlds and while fighting to keep pace with this one. It reminds me that this is possible even if painful. It grapples with mature presence while insisting on its right to be petulant. Small little ethereal entity pummeling at thin air and lightning streaks. Sometimes, I feel sorry for the travails of my mind.

They tell me that nostalgia is false and longing elusive. They write that structures of feeling are only real inasmuch as they point to economies, migrations, materialities and motilities. I tell myself that it is all but a way to pass time. This is my dream world and that other phantasmagoric dream is my home and one is no truer than the other. And truth has no value and there is no truth.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

She hated him. On first sight. Hated, detested, abhorred, reviled. But then she also had the same kind of passionate hate for ingrown toe-nails, papayas and red ties. Hate then becomes a misnomer, a shortcut to describe incompatibility and irritation. A state of not-getting-along. He then was nothing but an exaggerated peeve. But that was not what she would say. The word she used was hate.
Why you must let it grow

So its rivers lie dreaming,
across the moon in your sheets at night
so its one million gnats of electricity
pulse in agreement as you negotiate the hours

so lovers, current and future, can lose their fingers
in its dark well of echo stories
so it swoops like sea gulls, dizzy with speed
everytime you unwittingly bend to tie your laces

so winds may concur in wide eyed unison
as they plunge down its slippery stairs
so it is again densely populated with voices,
the shadow secrets of dusk

so you catch his double take
from the corner of your eye
when you throw your head back and laugh

Well Phil, it's growing!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

And the break is over and I'm back knee-deep and head down into the rest of the semester. My paper submissions have been accepted but with a fair number of edits, so have to get those out of the way by the second week of April. Different matter that they are all basically the same thing with different titles;) and additions and subtractions. But hell, they look good on the résumé.
.
Mexico was beeeyutiful and so much like des. Chaos and mayhem and madness. And noise and warmth. Cuatro Cienegas was lovely for about half a day before our camp got rained out by the only thunderstorm of the year. Very pretty nevertheless, desert and sand and pond and life. We then shut camp and headed out driving to Saltillo and Monterrey. The former is a very pretty old colonial town with kitschy cafés and quaint plazas and cathedrals and the latter a huge, swanky, industrial and business centre. Four days of 360 degree sensorama. All in all, a very satisfying break. If I ever emigrate it will be to Mexico.

I think what I enjoyed most was the slowing down. The erasure of neurosis. I could reduce pace, forget about desire and need and longing and loss and erase all writing and reading. Replace it with blankness and two-dimensional physicality. Pure, unadulterated distance.

That's what I need right now. Distance. Critical disjuncture.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

And apparently, I do!!! Travel that is...Monday I take off hiking and camping to this place!!!

And the mid-terms are done, for my students that is and grading is taken care of and I still have twenty grant proposals to write. All that can however wait because tonight, tonight I sleep:)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Tomorrow, I find out if I get to travel for spring break. Else, I'm just going camping anyway. Or travelling east to visit junta. Maybe drop in and see Rups and then the bro. Should be fun. But I really should be thinking about my prospectus too. And summer. And India! So much to do and so little inclination!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

If I were rain and fire, and light and ether, and darkness and magic, what would I do with all the constant movement, the tireless energy? Would I step out of myself and write endless computer programs for maxiumum utilization of energy and potential? Or would I watch the spectacle of glory and vainglory in endless fascination of empty wonder? Or would I give it all away for lifelessness?
Weather: Rainy
Head: Stormy
Mood: Mercurial

On the playlist:

Pyar Mein Sau Uljhanein Hain
Rapsodie Espagnole
Tubular Bells
Beggar's Opera
Stray Cat Strut
Seene Mein Jalan
Zihale Miskin
Bohemian Rhapsody
This Love
Ek Akela Is Sheher Mein
Ruby my red
Hindustan
Tujhse Naraaz Nahi Zindagi

Q.E.D.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

My brains are fried, fried, fried. Between resumes, articles, readings and grades, I am more than ready to get onto the next plane homebound. And then what? F*&% knows and f*&* cares!!!

Too much coffee I figure is very bad for health and sanity. But then, so is too much sleep. One as you might have figured by now, cancels out the other. Coffee and sleep dunderheads, not health and sanity.

If I ever get out of here,
Thought of giving it all away
To a registered charity.
All I need is a pint a day
If I ever get out of here.


- Band on the Run

Thursday, March 03, 2005

So much to do and so little certainty. Such little control. Such inability to make a decision.

Where do I want to be?
Corporate India?
Corporate America?
Non-profit India?
Non-profit America?
Academia?
Bohemia?

I have no friggin’ clue, all I feel right now is irretrievably trapped! Between asceticism and heteronomy, I see no way out.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I wonder at the utility of this space. I don't give away facts, fantasies or stories. All I have are words and movement...momentary sparklers swung by nimble wrists through ether and air. What manner of voyeur are you that come back to this mirage, this muslin web?

Monday, February 28, 2005

It's been a long day and I haven't written for fear of lapsing into melancholia. The weekend was good, yet terribly draining and it's now beginning to take its toll. When I can least afford it too. But first things first...

Got a rejection from this major grant that I had my hopes illogically pinned upon...also figured that life is not as within my control as I would like it to be, famous last words indeed. And last, called home to demand tickets to get back...not that my parents aren't used to such calls, they tend to take them within stride for good measure. If anything, my father was surprised that he hasn't heard this stuff from me in a while. What can I say? I am angry, petulant, crazed, melancholic, sad and tired all at the same time. But again, they tend to wash upon me in alternate waves of intellectual distance and intense messy intimacy. The latter of course being the parts that I cannot manage.

Management is a dangerous word; it indicates suppression, diversion, negation and destruction all at the same time. Incredible amount of intelligent, directed violence that I know I am well capable of. Scary. And reckless. So coldly reckless. And yet I know it is not important that I am feeling out of control. Because it will settle in, if not into indifference, then certainly into ennui.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

One's best self. Such an elusive concept. What ought to be as opposed to what is. Because we do not care to admit what is. Or at least I don't. Phantasma and illusion. Sometimes I think that is the only truth there is. And morning is not the best time to be pontificating on the answer to life. And this just popped into my mailbox.

I could love you
as dry roots love rain.
I could hold you
as branches in the wind
brandish petals.
Forgive me for speaking so soon.


Let your heart look
on white sea spray
and be lonely.

Love is a fool star.


- Carl Sandburg

Monday, February 21, 2005

I don't know what to do.
Thought for the Day/Night/Whatever time you may choose to inhabit

Life is too ordinary for love to be anything less than magnificent

- Dream for an Insomniac
It's been a good weekend, just back from good wine and conversation. B is a good person to talk to, he makes sense and more importantly, he makes sense in grammatically correct, linguistically elegant sentences. And he has the ability to verbalize beauty, something that I only manage in rare instances of inebriation. Our schedules hardly match but when they do, it makes for a very fulfilling account of time. Bless him and bless his kind. And it was K's birthday today. I called and we spoke for what was probably the longest I have spoken to him in some time. And I so love him. For what he manages to be despite the breaks in time and the gaps in memory. He's important, that is all I will say for fear of over-extending myself. Important. Nice neutral word that.

And I'm just taking a break from work to rant. Well, considering that is the extent of my ambitions for this space, I think I'm doing very well. Stuck in my writing again. Sometimes I think it is not inability as much as inertia that hinders most of my work. If I could work myself into permanent frenzy I think I would do very well.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday night mayhem again. Deadlines looming over my head and the usual fear of writing staring stark into my furrowed forehead, all of it can be worked out tomorrow. I really have to get to writing the article before it gets too late.

Tomorrow night I'm out again which means all of that which can be done needs to be done in the day which means I'll have to wake up in the morning. Damn Damn Damn! Why won't the day start at 1 and go on till 4 in the morning? What is the point of being up with the Sun? The Sun knows its job and I know mine, why do we need to get going together? It's almost like women and rest-rooms!

I have been dreaming all afternoon. Old friends and new ones and soon to be old ones. One frame after another..Words and faces and frowns and spaces. I could be a full-fledged screenwriter if I could transcribe from my dreams. But I woke up tired. I think I need a break from people.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

These are what I'm sending out to my loved ones tomorrow;)...I would send this too, but can't be bothered that much!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The lines of the face are eluding my senses...it is all an amorphous mess and mass, awaiting force, one way or the other. Perish or preserve, dissolve or resolve...really bad rhyme I know!

Words notwithstanding, this deserves closure. Really. The problem is that it hasn't been opened enough to close. Postmodern and ironical and strange and funny and insignificant and sad. And I haven't the heart to relegate it to sepia pictures and dog-eared albums. Yet. Much of my activity seems to concentrate on aesthetic control over the past and sensory control over the present. Feel just enough to make it pretty enough to douse in formaldehyde. My scientific origins are serving me well. Inspite of all the crummy consciousness of self and soul. All other conditions remaining constant, I will continue to run without understanding what running entails.In the long run, I am definitely dead.
Going out in a bit...work can wait...I need to ward off all these melancholic obsessions first...yesterday was an eye-opener in more ways than one, pity all the battles of my life happen when I'm not even there. Maybe that is why...

Am going to see Evam Indrajit for the second time in June. Years, lives and livelihoods have passed in between. For the better no doubt.
Just back from a friend's concert. The band was stupendous as usual, except that I have now begun to recognize the songs, which given the fact that they're in Spanish definitely makes me think I need to broaden my Friday night choices. They were good though and the lead singer is a student in the department, wonder what he's doing training to be an anthropologist! Pretty mellow otherwise, hung out in the afternoon with R and V over beer and fries, then chatted some more with R about holocausts, fiction, life and weed, hung out while he played me some music and then took off for the Flamingo Cantina...all in all, I like the look of the weekend...

On other fronts,I'm bumping into people I don't want to bump into. Tell them to stop haunting me and tell me to stop looking for them. The Greeks and Thanatos are infesting my brains...was it they that said, 'Who the Gods want to destroy, they first turn mad'?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Mid-afternoon! I'm bored...and what else is new? Thinking about the paradox of consciousness, the sheer tenuous unsensory nature of that which eludes sense...and that which we struggle to be sentient about...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

What kind of life do words lead? On the continuum from power to impotence, where would I place what? The continuum itself is such a paradox. Power as the right to kill and impotence as the inability to create. Between the two, the world stands annihilated. Armageddon this and paper soldiers these.

Amma goes to the temple, so does thatha. And thatha is a story-teller, an inhabitor of other worlds. Krishna and Radha and Nachiketa. Amma lives in hope, of this world and its possibilities. Amma is thatha's daughter. She was born of him and he calls to her sometimes. And their worlds manage to meet. Thatha lives in a village, amma in a town. Amma talks about the village and her sisters and her friends and her bicycle. It is a pretty world and a world, unchanging in pace, colour and significance. A crutch, a stick, a cause and a memory. Faint memories growing stronger everyday.It makes her smile and it makes her talk. It gives her words beauty and her life immortality. Nostalgia is definitely not so easily derided.

And worlds have been left behind and new worlds call. And the possibilities of the latter and the losses of the former make for an uneasy supper. Hope is good, so is memory and so is strength. Words, words, words...stories and tales and truth and lie.Ether and camphor, love and loss, sight and smell.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The sovereign is he who is, as if death were not. . . .

- Georges Bataille

Sunday, February 06, 2005

It's been a wonderful weekend. The city, the sights, the people and the blinkers. I haven't thought, fretted about or groaned over school for all of the last three days. And I wonder if I could stretch this weekend to encompass a lifetime...empty question this and confusing lives these. Work and sleep in no particular order of emphasis are now staring me in the face...

If the memory of happiness were to replace the ability to be happy, would that suffice? What happens when the memory and possibility of the absolute collide with the efficiency and the reality of erasure? Don't ask me, all I have are eighteen-wheeler truckloads of questions...the answers are not even at the stage of planning, forget commissioning and manufacture...nothing makes sense and not that sense is available for the making...

My phone calls for the day are done and everybody I love is either sad or angry or worried or stressed...and I am too far away...absence is such an uneasy excuse...but the day has ended and maybe tomorrow I will be around...maybe...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Can anybody tell me a story about schizotypy?
A bad memory is a useful thing, it's the senses that betray you.
It's the middle of the night and despite well-intentioned resolutions of early to bed and early to rise I'm well and truly awake. My book awaits but am reminded of a conversation this evening, about academics and their fragile egos. And how grad school is but a gradual erosion of one kind of ego and its reproduction into another, far more dangerous construction of elitism and mental fanfare.

I don't know. I remember working and facing similar experiences in terms of having to deal with professional power relationships and learning to not only work around them, but lie, manipulate and wax eloquent in the hope of being on the upper end of continnum someday. And I am not too sure if I will not go back. Somehow it seems like today is always the dress rehearsal to a never appearing tomorrow. And dress rehearsals, while fun, are not potentially risky. There is no audience to appease and no performance to pull off. It is all a tacit recognition of the frivolity of life. Passing time between the cradle and the grave...

And of course, when I have bills to pay or lives to lose, I no longer continue in the fantasmic assumption of my middle-class stability. But as I keep asking people who are definitely wiser and warmer, what is this all about? Why must we live after all? And why isn't euthanasia legal? Why is everything except life a choice? Or are the choices but Kafka's hundred gates that stave the message and the messiah? Hell and damnation, I need chocolate. Going to get some.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Addition and correction to the last post. My week thankfully has gotten off to a start...have been fed and cossetted by thoughtful friends and have all my readings for the next few weeks. It is time to move on.

Tomorrow's slotted for Althusser and ideology while day after will be about capital, empire and Micronesia;)...I wonder how it all comes together and more importantly, when will my mother understand exactly what I do? This I'm sure is in the genre of repeated posts agonising over academic angst and I have not been able to understand clearly where it stems or whither it will go. All I know is that I need to get onto fieldwork soon. This of course after the spectre on the horizon, the dreaded qualifiers. A few hundred articles and a few million theories. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez! But as a professor of mine once put it, who said the nights are for sleeping?

Question of the week: Is there potential to consider the politics of representation in tenuous negotiation with the politics of action?
Maladies and sicknesses in the air. It's cold and rainy and gloomy. I need to go home. Really...On other fronts, I can hula hoop the other way round...pity the world doesn't look any different.

Watched this movie called 'In the Mood for Love'. Was a tender, moving account of the need and negation of possibilities of love. Of things that creep up and worlds that move on. Stumped stunted lives; and yet we walk. And damn hell, my week will not start.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

I bumped into him on campus last week. He looked different and haggard. A pity how things can irreversibly change over the period of a few months. I feel tougher and yet puzzled at the tenacity of memories that will not give away to the irrepressible reality of sensory evidence. Ah well, mine not to question why...

On other fronts, my hair's straighter, kitchen cleaner and refrigerator fuller. All of Sunday has been devoted to replenishment, domestic work and catharsis, the former obviously more attainable than the last. Back to school and movement tomorrow. Does life change, get better, surprise you or kill you? I have ceased thinking about these for a few days now and they are slowly beginning to re-assert mindspace. Between the cradle and the grave, is all an empty plot, a vapid brain, a vainglorious conspiracy.
For once, I do not have an unending sense of the end. The party’s over, decisively yet gently. It’s all good. And I have work to do. Two articles and a grant proposal besides endless reading and posing. The correct terminology I believe is escapism. I was thinking of booking tickets by the end of February but am going to have to figure out summer internship possibilities before deciding on that one. And of course, word has to come in on the whimsical generosities of social science philanthropists before I can contemplate a plan. Contingency and hegemony seem universal right now. And for once, I wish, I truly wish I understood what that meant.

A professor in the department was lamenting about the lack of any personal validation as a social science practitioner. We read, write and play with building blocks that are all mutually referential finally melting into thin air. Bare conceptual verisimilitude. He is a wise man...all I need is the ability to retain the possibility of that kind of wisdom five years hence.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

It's Saturday night and the week has ended. The rest of the weekend is going to be devoted to the pursuit of equilibrium. My cravings for a change are for sanity as opposed to adrenalin-charged bits of ephemerality. Adios, ciao and hasta manana...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A little disoriented, part of it in a good way and part of it in a bad. For once, it is not about circumstances of my own making or anything directly connected with what I do, think and say. But it does feed into an ether of incredibly gentle sadness. It's resting softly in my head...I don't know what to do with it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

If I could sidestep I would...
If I could step over I would...
If I could run, hide and slurk, I absolutely would...
But I can't...
God and life do apparently lie in the inane, messy, undesirable details...and detail them I must. The next two days will no doubt be mundanely boringly insane.
I haven't had anything to say...between too much time and too little, I haven't inhabited moderate weather in some time now. The semester has caught up and I am catching my breath. Winter has faded into memory and so has sleep. This, indeed, is the life.

On other fronts, I have quite a few interesting courses and this should be my last semester of coursework. Qualifiers loom on the horizon but that is only if I get through this one alive.

My reading list for the week:
Body rituals of the Nacirema
Empire
Critique of the State
Blue and Brown Books
Funeral Casino
Scandal of the State
The Word Child (this one is the sanity factor)

Interesting, tiring, frustrating, invigorating and very puzzling. I was trying to remember all the books I have read since getting into grad school and my memory feels like a sieve, a sieve sifting extra fine sand at that! To what avail and what ultimate noble cause? Passing time, chewing gum...hell and damnation...

And yet, I do like it. In spite of the fact that I seem to have lost the ability to communicate in less then sixteen letter words and twenty word sentences, and I need to process everything in terms of problematizations, critiques, engagements and deconstructions, in spite of all the useful speech that I have forgotten and the useless verbosity that I spew...I am hooked...do you think I will ever get back to the real world?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Is beautiful cloudy weather outside, am headed out to read. Between the cunning of recognition and the rhetoric of empire, I am inextricably enmeshed in jargon and anthro-speak.
Happy New Year!!! It's the night of the 1st or rather the morning of the 2nd. I've been around wonderful, kind, warm and happy people (not to mention some a little buzzed), swirled rum, tequila, wine and champagne and been held, coddled, smiled at and generally protected. Two cakes, two dinners and innumerable wishes and phone calls. Thank somebody for my unbearably wonderful family and friends. Can I keep them forever?

And yes, as I was telling somebody my resolution this year is to value these tiny slivers of hopeful humanity that keep me going and measure them in the moment rather than in the opportunity costs of 'when they are not around'. Maybe...

And I hope you all have a wonderful life ahead with the sun and the rain and the dogs and the cats. I wish you all the tenacity to live...inspite of all evidence to the contrary. I wish you all the ability to elude...