Friday, August 29, 2008

Quirks on demand (was tagged)

by Iscribblehere ( Thanks!

1. I don’t like repeating my clothes. I think clothes have memories and one shouldn’t inundate them with a whole lot of stuff.

2. I am a sucker for words and intelligent puns, witticisms, quotes, etc..anything to do with words: names, slogans and good tag lines. Here are a few I really like -

“Just do it – it’s not a slogan, it’s a conscience.” (NIKE); HSBC – the world’s local bank; Phoonk – it’s superstition until it happens to you; Mrs. Doubtfire – She was a blessing in ‘disguise’; An ad for Gap that had a little girl, a teen, and a mature lady dressed in similar print – the little girl wore a dress, the teen wore a pair of capris in the same print, and the woman wore a dress..there was a line at the end that said – For every generation, there’s a gap. An interview on Koffee with Karan with Sushmita Sen. KJo teasingly asks her, “So, what’s Sushmita Sen’s most beautiful asset?” She gives her dazzling smile and replies, “Most definitely, her heart.” Adidas - Impossible is nothing.

3. Every time I look at the sea, especially at night, I feel like walking through it to the end of the world. Somewhere I believe that the sea is my true, true home.

4. I feel that the sky changes colours based on the music you listen to.

5. I don’t wear sunscreen, especially on the beach and in the sun. I love a tanned dry skin – the kind of skin that if you scratch on it, you see white lines. I like skin that tells a story. The skin is a parchment and all the elements should be able to write on it – wind, sun, moonlight, rain, sea-spray, brush of a thistle, etc.

6. I like movies with voice overs.

7. I like music from movies whose titles have less than four words – Pretty Woman, Titanic, Paap, Saaya, Metro, Pulp Fiction, The Beach, Speed.

8. I have to go out and do something on a Saturday night. Doesn’t matter what!

9. When I have a lot of things going on and my days are all jumbled up, I can actually see a tangle of ugly, black threads when I close my eyes.

10. I want to have a SKODA-modeled pram for my daughter.

11. Rice makes me happy. Rotis make me feel I’m being punished.

12. I HAVE to settle all my bills as soon as I get cash. I can’t wait until the fifth or some date like that.

13. I never answer calls on my mobile, I keep my phone on silent all the time, and I charge it in the car. (My car has a car charger – yay! fancy! yay!..and I don’t answer my phone in the car.)

14. If I see anything beautiful, I imagine what it must be like in New York. (I think it’s my soul city. I’ve never been there though.)

15. I wonder how I will die.

16. I like making tea at nights. I hate making it in the morning or at four.

17. I have to eat tea after eating a spicy meal.

18. I don’t take photographs whenever I travel. Rely on memory. If I don’t remember it, it doesn’t matter.

19. I don’t look at myself in the mirror, most times. Usually, I comb through my hair or whatever looking at myself in a reflected surface.

20. I don’t like co-ordinated and symmetrical stuff.

21. I have to touch clothes wherever I see them. (I mean, not when they’re on people, you understand…I meant markets and stalls…)

22. I think that people from Harvard can NEVER be wrong. Especially Harvard Law School.

Wow! I must be an awesome person to know! (This, right here, is the biggest quirk of all.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Epiphony..he he

Just before my holiday, I had this thought –maybe it’s time for me to start from scratch. At least, when it comes to making friends. I think my association with some friends has run its course. There are a few exceptions; there are some people who I’d like to stay in touch with, off and on…because they are interesting people. They do stuff, they make mistakes, win, stumble, laugh, lose badly..whatever…but they live. They’re interesting.

The others, a sadly growing number, seem to be stuck in this whiny hell-hole they call existential angst. I used to be the president of the club at one time. But then, at some point, one discovers sunshine and cable T.V. and fast-food and then, an empty life doesn’t seem so bad any more.

Sometimes I think about things and I wonder who I could talk to. And of late, I’m drawing a blank. Now, I feel as if I know exactly what my friends are going to say, how they are going to react, etc. etc. It’s so predictable. I wonder if any of them are thinking of me the same way.

I guess when you can’t relate to a friend any more, it’s better to just not keep in touch. Maybe some time in the future, times will change and they will become different people, and I will become a better person and then we’ll make plans to go for breakfast and actually look forward to it.

Right now, I think I need to be in a place where I know nobody. I’m a new face to everyone around me. It’s so thrilling..that prospect.

Anyway, I have started thinking about Cy a whole lot now. J and I are planning to go to Puri for the New Years. (We are, aren’t we, J? Or was it some idle chatter…even if it were, think about it. Will be fun…one can never have enough of beaches.) Or else, my roomies and I were planning to go to the Himalayas. Let’s see what works out.

Anyway, here’s an incident with Cy that I just remembered.

Pune Central on a Saturday afternoon. Cy, J and I are at the Food Bazaar.

J, like a total hep yuppy, is reading labels to check for good cholesterol content in cooking oils or some such. (HA HA HA HA, by the way…good cholesterol is a state of mind, in case anyone didn’t know.) Cy and I are pottering about here and there, mostly gearing towards eggs.

“This is allergy, Mukutha”, Cy points out. For a brief while, she called me Mukutha, and not Mukta. No-one knows why. Suddenly she stopped. Again, no-one knows why.

“Yes”, I nod. Cy is allergic to eggs.

“You die if you eat it Mukutha?”, she asks, her eyes getting rounder with anticipation of peril.

“…” I say uncertainly.

“I will die?”

“No…you will get very sick..but you will not die”, I reassure.

“Then who will die, Mukutha?”

Oh well…time for distraction.

Cy spots the snacks counter and clutches onto two big bags of ‘Kurkure’. It’s followed by a nasal whine, “I want…”

Now, I think there’s nothing wrong with a kid having chips on a Saturday afternoon. But the hep, yuppy mom unearthing benefits in fine print may think otherwise. So I desist from making the purchase.

“No…put that back. It’s not good for you.”

“But I WANT!”, Cy screams…just in case I hadn’t understood the first time round.

“ is junk f…”


“Stop crying! You are not going to get…..”

“I WANT!” (she kicks me) “BadMukutha!” (kicks me again) “I WANT! I WANT!” (kicks..what else?)

Now I’m just to salvage the situation, I negotiate with her. “If you can spell it, I’ll get it for you.”

Suddenly Cy stops. She looks down at her packets, moving her fingers across the colourful squiggly alphabets, and looks back at me. Sullen and silent.

Aha! It worked! It actually worked!

She puts back the Kurkure and grabs another big, red packet.

“I want Lays”, she smiles. “L-A-Y-S.”

How could I refuse?

Friday, August 22, 2008


I am back...and I love Phuket.

It's sort of like a beautiful dream that stays with you long after you've woken's not exactly like watching a thousand birds fly away in the sunset. It's a lot like finding a beautiful shell when you're eight years old and holding it like its the most precious thing in the world. It's quite similar to swimming in a pool of dark during the storm.

It's not exactly like the Thai put it..'it's same same, but different.'

Phuket...I love you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

good...all good

It’s been gorgeous since the last couple of days…impromptu late night drives to Mount Mary definitely have something to do with it. As does ambling around the kitchen at dawn and having hot milk and jaggery. The warm bed and a cozy book with hard, cold rain beating outside is nice. Smooth traffic unexpected on Monday mornings is glorious as well. The best of all, right at this moment, is thinking of the trip I’ll be taking shortly. I keep dreaming of the yummy drinks I’ll be sipping after splashing about in the pool; or the yummy drinks I’ll be sipping after a long, hard day at flea markets; or the yummy drinks I’ll be sipping with friends at a bar overlooking a beautiful, busy city. Sipping yummy drinks is pretty much what I’ve been thinking about.

Not that I have done much more than just dream of what swimming costume I’ll be wearing once I get there….

The costume reminds me…I got a very dramatic, snazzy one in fire engine red with black swirls on it. I thought it looked really chic. Until I showed it to my room-mates and they started chanting, “Spiderman! Spiderman!” While I sulked away in the corner (much unlike the ‘friendly neighbourhood’ counterpart), they guffawed their way to the kitchen. I was placated with some really tasty parathas.

I would like to learn how to make parathas. Have asked my roomie to teach. me. I think between making a paratha and parking a car, one should be employing of all sorts of motor skills.

I have super-humungous amounts of work to finish and also try to go to the parlour sometime today. And I have to get foreign exchange and I have to decide what to pack. And I have to decide on which book to take on the flight. And also which shoes. And I have to hunt for a decent, smart pair of pants because everything else I have is damp. And get a good night’s sleep. And maybe read up on the place I am visiting. And maybe watch Singg is King.

And and and

I’m listening to Kandisa. It’s so….powerful and sweeping.

I remember a time when I was at a beach in Puri. I must have been eight or nine years old. Despite being told not to go into the water, I went ahead. My parents were elsewhere and my aunts and uncles were taking a nap or something. I don’t remember. But there I was, inching closer to a belligerent sea. It was quite rough. My feet were squelching in the sand, and I think I was drugged with that salty, briny spray of sea water.

Then, suddenly, a huge wave just swooped down like an aquatic eagle. It was a massive cascade of water. It built up so high and came down with such force…I remember closing my eyes in fear. But the waves took me in very gently, only to bring me back with a tenderness I have since associated with water. I can’t forget or describe that moment when I was lifted up… I remember feeling weightless for a minute or so; and my heart stopping for a really tiny second…and the next minute, there’s a rush of adrenaline or relief. It felt like my mum’s embrace…usually before and after she had whacked us.

If could set that fear and exhilaration to a tune, it would be Kandisa.

Such a beautiful irony that the song is composed by a band called ‘Indian Ocean’.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I want

to be serenaded by this song:

May be the face I can't forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay
May be the song that summer sings
May be the chill that autumn brings
May be a hundred different things
Within the measure of a day

May be the beauty or the beast
May be the famine or the feast
May turn each day into a heaven or a hell
She may be the mirror of my dreams
The smile reflected in a stream
She may not be what she may seem
Inside her shell

Who always seems so happy in a crowd
Whose eyes can be so private and so proud
No one's allowed to see them when they cry
May be the love that cannot hope to last
May come to me from shadows of the past
That I'll remember till the day I die

May be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I'm alive
The one I'll care for through the rough in ready years
I'll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I've got to be
The meaning of my life is

She, oh she

by him....

in this life.
That's all. Thanks.
(The song's not that important.)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Everybody's a stand-up comic

It's a very rainy Friday night. Most of us will be working pretty late - some to avoid coming over the weekend and some others to avoid the traffic.

A colleague and I are fortifying ourselves with coffee for the long night ahead.

We listlessly go through the newspaper, and I happen to point out one article that says: "50 cent reunites with son."

My colleague quips, "Does that make him a full dollar now?"

Sigh. That's why no-one should work overtime. It's hazardous to (for?) humour.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Someone's tag

This was a colleague's tag-line.

Are not the trees gree,
The earth as green?
Does not the wind blow,
Fire leap and the rivers flow?
..Man, too hurries,
Eats, couples, buries,
He is an animal also
...Man aspires
To good
To love
Beaten, corrupted, dying
To his own blood lying
Yet heaves an eye above
Cries, Love, Love.
It is his viryue that needs explaining
Not his failing
Away, melancholy
Away with it, let it go.

- Stevie Smith

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

What's the point of it all?

I wonder if it’s an affliction – the fact that I like most things. Most things that I see, most things that I read, most places I go to, most people I meet, most food that I eat, – okay, that would be almost all that I eat (of course, there can be no such thing as almost all; if it’s almost all, it’s most.) Most Most Most.

I think ‘most’ is a funny word. But perhaps it would be a good title for a book on also-rans; or maybe a shop that sold collections –but collections that were incomplete. Like maybe a trilogy with one part missing; or a really fine cutlery set that’s short of two bowls. ‘Is it a full set? Does it have it everything?’ ‘No, but it’s got most of them.’

As I have already missed the point of what I was writing about, I shall move on to other sundry things. There’s a book by Michael Connelly – I believe it was ‘The Last Coyote’ – that has a very beautiful description of a sunrise in Los Angeles. The protagonist, who a police detective called Harry Bosch, is a brittle, jaded L.A. man. (Harry’s official name is Hieronymous Bosch – his mother named him after a really celebrated painter.) One time he is investigating a murder and he keeps digging up with a whole lot of dirt. That’s when he sees a sunrise and calls it ‘fractured’. He also calls it beautiful; but what I got hung up on was ‘fractured’. I like fractured beauty. There’s a slight twist, some lingering ache...but it stays with you longer.

The other day I went swimming. And it was bliss. I love swimming. I was at the pool with a bunch of friends who I ignored the second I stepped into the pool. It was such an excellent reunion…just getting into the pool and almost hugging the water and then splashing away from one side to the other. Then when I’d get tired, I’d float on my back and see grey tufts of clouds jostle each other gently. They looked sweet and juicy – like the flesh of lychees. Somewhere else I could see hills that were verdant and alive, and the posh cream walls of flats. Sometimes I would spot a really pretty lampshade that got lit as the evening wore on. I wonder who lives in places that look like jewellery.

I want to improve my swimming technique, so I asked a friend to give me a few tips. Turns out my head is not submerged enough, and that’s what slows down my pace. I need to cut through water more smoothly. She also taught me the breast stroke, which is excellent to build stamina.

This reminds me of something funny. After she’d explained how the breast stroke is done, she asked another guy in our group if he would like to learn it as well. He innocently replied, “I know how to do the breast stroke…I just suck at it.” There was much laughter after that. I was underwater when I heard them laughing. It’s such a strange, surreal feeling – these watery echoes from a place that seems so far, far away. Or maybe I didn’t hear them; I just imagined it.

Then the lights in the pool came on and the blue water had these streaks of warm white beams that were such fun to swim through. In fact, if you stayed still for a bit, it felt as if the light was carrying you across the water. But it was difficult to stay still. I’d just go down if I didn’t use my hands and legs. So I tried swimming only with my legs. Felt funny.

A couple of hours later, we decided to call it a night and stepped out of the pool. All the flats seem to be illuminated by then. In the dusk, the buildings shone like gold tie-pins on a sapphire-blue silk tie.

I guess the people in their jewellery homes were happy.