Sunday, October 28, 2007

It is a walk across nowhere.
All that is in between is filled with song and madness.

Agha Shahid Ali pleads, “Mad heart be brave”…
What a sublime act of foolishness.

The day passes by in montage.
Dappled sunlight, furtive smile, strange loss.

Something’s being wrested, hard.
Something needs to be given up.

I say this again.
I can’t do this.

Either, I want my sorrow to be known
Or I don’t.

One seems vengeful.
The other inevitable.
IT WAS NOT DEATH, FOR I STOOD UP

It was not death, for I stood up,
And all the dead lie down;
It was not night, for all the bells
Put out their tongues, for noon.

It was not frost, for on my flesh
I felt siroccos crawl, -
Nor fire, for just my marble feet
Could keep a chancel cool.

And yet it tasted like them all;
The figures I have seen
Set orderly, for burial,
Reminded me of mine,

As if my life were shaven
And fitted to a frame,
And could not breathe without a key;
And 'twas like midnight, some,

When everything that ticked has stopped,
And space stares, all around,
Or grisly frosts, first autumn morns
Repeal the beating ground.

But most like chaos - stopless, cool, -
Without a chance or spar,
Or even a report of land
To justify despair.

-- Emily Dickinson.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The first show of the morning, first day of October.

Go see Johnny Gaddar!!!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Communication reaches its natural end.

Intention sets out, valiant and hopeful.
Words tumble, earnest and certain.
Noise, noise, noise.
Life and love.
Time.

I'm not the person, you're not that man.

The End.

Tomorrow...

Monday, September 03, 2007

So I woke up. And really didn't want to.
Some days I get the feeling of inhabiting an unfamiliar body. An unfamiliar life. A list of tasks and acts that I never chose. Or some originary 'I' that cannot be traced.
And I walk around sulking because I really do want to know.
The why's what's and wherefore's...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

So I am almost tempted to believe in some sort of univeralism of desire and intent.
People want the same things? Albeit in variedly and infinitely loopy guises?
Love, validation, control, kindness...all of these, most always external.
"You shall tell me how right I am" and "You shall make me chicken soup" and "You shall tell me that my life is destined to be beautiful, bountiful and bereft of bereavement"....
And these random caps we fit on unsuspecting souls who are in turn flipping caps over their hopefuls and so on and so forth.
Gryffindor we say, Slytherin they insist.

All this sleight of hand, whew...
I need coffee.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some days are spectacular. Words shine, pictures glimmer and the roads are rife with possibility. Action calls like it is the only course of life. Like movement is joyful and stillness a waste of muscle. I wake up and scan through my emails. Advisors have emailed, friends written in and news has filtered in that my research continues to retain a modicum of sense. The newspaper points to new avenues of explorability and business is sound. I am sound.

Wicker chairs have been cleaned and the floor squeaks with cleanliness and gaiety. The radio buzzes and mothers wave goodbye to children in the streets. The sun calls.The day wanes, but not my day. It continues to cut through the squalor with the vague sense of hope that I need but sometimes scorn. Cutting through cynicism, sense and rationale, it brushes aside my objections and relegates control to all else.
Where is it that people live? On the edge of the skin, within reach of my hand or on the borders of the world? When they wake up everyday, where is it that they want to go?

Festering, mutering, yelling, yelping, how is it that they reach out?

Once a year, I would like to be in consonance. Mind and soul in harmony with the body, the body at peace in the world. Trotting in perfect rhythm.

Today as I conducted an interview, I found myself saying all the right things. And feeling far more. Or was it less? I wanted to peep out of my skin and whisper to him that he must not tell me all this. And no, I will not abuse it, I will not betray him. But he must not. All I can do is listen.

I am a great listener, a bad translator and an insincere interlocutor. I could never own what he might want to share.

Cardinal sin. Pretence.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Shape-shifting desire.
Obscure, unknown, glimpsed and torn out of hand.
Fleeting, flying, fleeing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I have been on vacation. And enjoyed every moment of it.

Traipsing around, eating apricots and staring at mountains.
Chatting with strangers in coffee-houses.
Walking up and down kitschy market streets.
Clapping at marmots and yaks.
Shielding eyes against light oh so bright.

Calcutta, Delhi and Ladakh.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Zembla, Zenda, Xanadu:
All our dream-worlds may come true.
Fairy lands are fearsome too.
As I wander far from view
Read, and bring me home to you.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories
- Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie

Sunday, July 15, 2007

x$%: baby, can't understand your post
M: whats new?

x$%: Intellectually challenged x$%
M: no, more like uncontextual M
x$%: hain?
M: I didn't provide context and I don't make it easy to read
but its for me see?

x$%: aha, this is fair
but then why is it out in the open?
M: cause sometimes its fun to be out and not reveal everything, its how we all live right?

x$%: how very metaphorical
M: I could make a story out of it
x$%: oh yes ... i think you should, but don't tell the reader what's really happening
M: absolutely, my blog's a game bereft of rules see?
x$%: hain?
M: so you as reader and I as writer are playing a game, except that neither you nor I are sharing our rules
x$%: a little like calvinball
M: YUS!!! can I post this conversation?
x$%: oh no
M: I won't name you!
x$%: then ok, as long as you refer to me as "mysterious yet beautiful knight of the night"
I wrote the letter a million times over. It looked different in the morning and in the sun. Suddenly, the cloying words and the simpering sweetness eked visceral disgust from my clinging skin. Who was this that wrote this? I don’t know her anymore.

At least she had the good sense not to send it. For a moment, I felt camaraderie and a little empathy. For this other self that is so fragile and yet so discreet.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Thanks to a night of revelry, I now know that:

Alcoholic proof is a measure of how much ethanol is in an alcoholic beverage, and is approximately twice the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV, the unit that is commonly used at percent).
The European Union follows the recommendation of the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) which measures percentage of alcohol by volume at 20 °C.
In the definition current in the United States of America, the proof number is twice the percentage of the alcohol content measured by volume at a temperature of 60 °F (15.5 °C).

Pimento or pimentão are Portuguese words for "bell pepper", while pimenta refers both to chili peppers and to black pepper.

And now, I cannot put it off any more. There are no more useless facts to look up and write my article I must. I tried explaining to a friend the relations of production that underwrite the 'publish or perish' paradigm, and how I need to write in order to build a resume that can then be surreptitiously (ah well, no I take that back), correction, blatantly pimped for research grants...and how I was so not motivated to...after all, grocery shopping on a full stomach is no fun right?

I shall now abandon this useless post to pontificate other uselessnesses...

On this Saturday, the fourteenth of July 2007, I hereby solemnly swear to make the effort to consider everything new and green and rain drenched. My blog has new clothes and unlike the emperor's sartorial sleight of hand (rather his courtier's? or was it his tailor? anybody know?), these can be seen.

Stay for a few, the ride isn't over yet.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

On capricious days that alternate between bright sunshine and sudden rain, I vacillate between endless optimism and definite annihilation (not that the latter option is all that cheerless).

And I indulge in my favorite pastime; mental rants against dying lovers, dishonest uncles, patriarchal ancestors, annoying aunts and bad friends. The things they didn't do, the faiths they bertrayed, the acts they ran from, the absences they didn't account for, the loves they didn't claim. An endless series of nots. Sometimes, at the end of this, I feel better. For laying to rest the pretence that I don't care. Most times, I wish I didn't. Care that is.

There is of course, a very clear knowledge that I have been my own set of nots to other people, a whole other set of failures to account for. And yet, I think, in my own petulantly certain stubbornness, that I try. Very hard. And I have this mental picture of myself, fists bunched and hair tousled, mouth set tight, trying so hard to try.

Catharsis, everyday.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

There is no getting around the fact that it is time to grow up. And also, by the way, comfort is not available for the taking.
Over and out.

Monday, July 02, 2007

It is a truth universally acknowledged,
that I cannot wake up early.

I try and try and try and from the slow upward movement of the alarm clock to my indolent stirrings in sleep, every half conscious movement proclaims for the world and will to see,
I cannot wake up early!!!

So this morning, 5:31 became 6:30 and then 7:20 and finally at 7:46 I deigned to sit up from slumber and shake sloth from screaming limbs (which were incidentally yelling, "Go back to sleep!)...
Hopefully, the day will be a lesser struggle.

Happy Tuesday all you bums.
These are marginally exciting times.

Research is in full swing, I am collecting data much faster than I can process (which is how it’s meant to be I guess). I can also see how much remains to be written. There are multiple episodes that hit me as I am waking and walking, things that have happened, things that might have… and I try and record myself so I don’t lose the thought. It is all bricolage though, which is, somehow, all that I really expect of myself. The committee, however, might need more. So from all these bits of flotilla, a story I must make. One that makes sense and not only that, out of such sensibility teases something nonsensically paradoxically brilliant.

For example, you can say that “the corporation has taken over our lives” or you can say “it is interesting how we succumb to the banality of corporate life, and yet, expend so much effort to deny such”.

So does attrition occur when such denial is at its professional worst?

“Kya tumka batayein, arey kya samjhayein,
badi durghatna hai, mushkil bachna hai”

Radio Mirchi plays, my laptop rests snug and warm on my blue checked pajamas as I sit on my turquoise/ electric blue divan and stare out of the corner of my eye at the darkening clouds. The rug looks a little dirty, its splotchy patterns of purple and orange dull in the muddy monsoon light. Another rainy day looms. I plan to stay indoors, nurse rum and read. Also write and write some more.

On non-professional fronts,
(1) I have purged…happily (More often than not, I do purge happily)
(2) Things look interesting and exciting although we are still meeting the same people in the same cities
(3) And I am thinking I should probably blog more often
(4) Oh oh oh, and I have been reading up a storm -- Alice Munro and Tim Parks and Joyce Carol Oates...

If only, literature could make up for life...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Beautiful.
She was beautiful.

Monday, June 11, 2007

If one big thing were to happen. Just one, my lord. Just one, my priest. One is all I ask for my sweets.

To find gold, to loosen hold, to let go, to find meaning, to discover goodness, to come upon beauty. Suddenly, serendipitously (such a long word that). Sneaking upon me, it will come. Cover my eyes and hover behind, basking in the knowledge that I will see and I will gape. In virgin pleasure and complete surprise. That it should come upon me so. Always knowing that it will, yet so pleasantly aghast that it has.

We will walk hand in hand. Pleasure and I. Gazing at each other out of the corner of the eye, my left, its right. Then it will let go of my hand and drape itself over my body. Covering every inch and as I step out, I will walk two inches above the ground (four if I’m on my scooter). And with shining eyes, I will look at the world. All but oblivious that none know what I know and none have what I have.

And even in this perfect knowledge, I will know that I’m mad.
To even think momentarily that this will last.

But for that moment, that perfect moment, my perfect wait.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tonight I can write. I wish that would sometimes translate into speech. I wish, that I could, say for example to A:

This works, it really does. And your complete inability to see, acknowledge or appreciate it of course, puts into jeopardy the notion of it working.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It is that time of the year again. Very soon, somebody will sit by my side at the edge of my bed and tell me how small my wrist is. And I will look uncomprehending and wonder at indeed, how small it is. Through mist and fog, my brains will clear. And I will look straight and walk. Into mindless work and endless stupor. And cry when I take a break. I see it coming.

Saturday, March 17, 2007



M: That looks like a railway station
S: The absence of a train is a little significant

I'm sure you're missing the point here, but I promise it was funny.

If you don't believe me, kindly review other 'gems'/'nuggets'/'cheese balls' of wisdow that S spewed in drunken stew-por (the stew being vodka, wine, rum and mixed vegetable, cucumber, cranberry, soya and spinach juices. Copious quantities if I may add.)

Exhibit 1:
Posterity is not the same as posterior unless one is talking in hind-sight.

Exhibit 2:
S: These rice balls are not cheese balls! Man, that's like a wolf in sheep's clothing
S2: Aren't rice balls milder than cheese balls? That would then be a sheep in wolf's clothing
S: Have you ever heard of a wolf that 'baa's?

Exhibit 3:
S: Where am I in this picture? Ah, there I am...and I am not the blanket.

Exhibit 4:
S's perspective



For the rest of the story, write in...three beers per request.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I am, as of now, the epitome of ‘the’ picture. One that looks familiar not because it is but because it looks like ‘the picture’. Sarong swirling, kurta worn backwards, wine in hand, I cook cholar dal. ‘Don’ plays in the background.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

'Apocalypto' upset me. I saw the movie today and am a little shaken, a little worried and very hassled. All those 'littles' do not even amount to much in totality, so I must rant lest I lose sight of this disjunctured moment.

The movie has received bad reviews galore from my academic kinsmen, so I will attempt to summarize my main problems with the film.

(1)Biography (which as an advisor warned me is always an easy way out) : Mel Gibson's religious leanings as well as his penchant for violence as spectacle somehow make this movie, the choice of period and the depiction of sacrifice easily comprehensible in terms of his vision. This vision has often been fundamentalist, controversial, short-shrifted in terms of writing and in this case, prominently displays Hollywood style shrugging of responsibility in the appropriation of history. A film is a text and as such, will be read... and while no author can completely match intent with effect, he/ she will be held accountable. While this might seem to unconsciously validate fatwah-style bans and reactions, the only thing I take umbrage to is the author pretending all ignorance of any political involvement. Slavery, conquest, genocide and violence are political statements. And that's that on Mr.Gibson.
(2) The white man must always provide the moment of redemption and saving grace(Also refer: Blood Diamond); and what's with the lack of all subtlety and the horrible stereotypification of characters?

Last, but not the least....this is probably personal, non-specific and at best tangentially set off by the film...

(4) violence and banality...I, who have trouble, punching somebody in the face (even when I am asked to; this of course by the guy teaching me how to punch) have no qualms yelling at students when they don't get something, or hanging up on an ex, or ignoring street urchins, or cutting off people. And the violence in the film disturbs me probably precisely because of this. In its consistency, its repetitiveness and relentlessness, it performs every genocide, every war crime, every act of mass destruction that we have become so used to reading about in the newspaper. To the point where it becomes banal. Another body part. Another performance of pain. And just another daily life. No comprehendo.
I need a treat. I need chocolate. I need chips. Or or or…I don’t know what I need. I need a treat. Something to mark the hour that will not be marked. For otherwise, how would the day pass? Imagine if you will, a ruled notebook. The ordinary kind with A4 sheets and pale black lines. Two dark ones on the top and a single dark line running from top to bottom cutting the necks of the pale black running mavens. And now mark time on it. To the left. Nine hundred hours. And then ten hundred. And then eleven, then twelve.

Now do it my way. At nine I will wake up. At nine fifteen, I will check email and he will have written to me. At nine thirty, I will wash and crap and brush my teeth. The world will smell and feel better; not so sleep ridden and sweat drenched. And my stomach will be empty. Such a nice feeling that; when you’ve woken up and emptied your bowels and know that food is but ten minutes away. The butter soft and the bread warm, the eggs sizzling and the juice waiting, cold and just so. The table as always will be a mess. I will ruffle my hair, rub my eyes and attempt to create a decrowd my dining/study table so I can set my deep plate down and quiet my tummy.

I read Murakami to my class last week. I read them the line that said that he saw her and his mouth went dry as a desert and his stomach rumbled. That’s how I feel right before breakfast. It’s the only certainty that governs my life at this point. And even that is sometimes uncertain.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

One waits for a sign...which, of course, doesn't come. Not for nothing do we read Beckett. And so, sans sign, sans sanity and sans souci, we're back. And will continue to talk about...uh, well...something or the other.

I stuck six sheets of silver paper on my kitchen windows. They are rather shiny and rather kitschy. I am at the edge, as far as being in love with this particular improvisation is concerned. It needs some mythification....option 1) connect to mythical person from past that loved magpie beauty, 2) connect to mythical self that loved shine and shimmer, 3) connect to the world of postmodern kitsch.

???
Tell, tell, tell!




More importantly, I think I need another layer of six silver sheets before the world can be effectively shut out.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ezra Pound writes,

And the days are not full enough

And the nights are not full enough

And life slips by like a field mouse

Not shaking the grass.

Sometimes this seems furthest from the truth. This is not one of those. I am upto my neck in work. I return exhausted every night. To my little studio with its lamps and rug and food. And rush out in the wee hours of a morning that I never thought would be my fate to see.

Day becomes night and night fades into day. My work is stuck in oblivion.