Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Many Stupid Thing.

"Sometime a horse i'll be, sometime a hound.
A hog, a headless bear, sometime a fire."
- A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Discovering Shakespeare through a book set against the backdrop of post-WWII Europe. The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje. Poetry in prose.

There are books that you read and know you are in the presence of greatness. There are books you read and wonder why such wonderful thoughts never occurred to you. There are books you read and know you've finished a masterpiece. But you don't love them.

Then, there are books you read and know you will love them forever, even though they may not be Gibran or Tolstoy. They may be nothing, but you know you can still pick them up when you're eighty, and they'll be your friends still.

This entry is my tribute to three of my best friends.
To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje.
The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Well, not a tribute. I'm just going to type out some of my favourite parts of the books, and send them out into the what I call "The Wasteland" - the great internet void created by a million unread blogs - and hope that someone will read this, and smile. It is very important that they smile.

"There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lover enters the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in a new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire."
- The English Patient.

"Grown-ups love figures. When you talk to them about a new friend, they never ask questions about essential matters. They never say to you: 'What does his voice sound like? What games does he prefer? Does he collect butterflies?' They ask you: 'How old is he? How many brothers does he have? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father earn?' It is only then that they feel they know him."
- The Little Prince.

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing."
-To Kill A Mockingbird.

I'm afraid I'm a Book Person, but hopefully I'm a little bit of a Music Person and an Art Person and a Movie Person too. But first I'm a Book Person. There is beauty in words, just as there is beauty in music, and nature, and art.

The best religion is the worship of beauty. I am a follower.

I love all beauteous things.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

An Awfully Unimportant Entry

It’s one thing to be sitting in a corner café listening to some bloke twanging a guitar and wondering about the meaning of life, and quite another to be confronted with life at a busy crossroad when you’re trying to get home and there’s a protest afoot. Vehicles have stopped, people have temporarily been transformed into gaping simians, and the traffic policemen seem very preoccupied with their fingernails. You suddenly realize you’re but a youngster, and a girl at that.

And you have to cross the street.

There are of course three courses you can resort to now, which (oh, surprises) will determine the sort of person you are. You can:

a) Be the rebel and cross the street, defying the world and looking rather like a hero. Unless you trip over something and fall.
b) Be the bystander, and, well, stand by. Wait for the protest to get over, reply to all the pending text messages on your cell phone, and quietly walk into your house an hour late.
c) Be the escapist. Retrace your footsteps, walk the other way, find a side street and make your way through a concrete labyrinth and emerge unscathed on the other side of the protest. Then you’re the trickster.

And when you can’t do either of the three because in case of a) you’re simply not the rebel, or in case of b) you don’t really want to stand by and watch a protest, or in case of c) you have about as much sense of direction as a dysfunctional weathercock, you look for an alternative.

Because you have to cross the street.

As it turns out, there are different forms of escapism. You look leftways and rightways on the street you’re on, and spot another café. You walk in, thanking providence and consumerism for café chains. You sit down and order, knowing that an hour spent consuming a legal addictive stimulant and pondering about the meaning of life is better than anything else.

And there’s always a bloke with a guitar.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Age Sixteen.
Feverish study,
Last-minute cramming,
Final yield.

Age seventeen.
Sickness and joy,
Liquor and art,
Cigarette butts,
A new start.
Easy gain,
Sunshine and rain.

Age eighteen.
Apocalypse now.
The future, and how.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Holi. One of the Other Days.You tumble out of bed, groggy-eyed, reach for the newspaper, and being a normal human being, turn to the gossip supplement. On the cover page is another city model with a painted Japanese-opera face, cavorting about in what looks suspiciously like a psychedelic tie-and-die trekking tent.

Holi Chic has arrived.

Now, let us suppose for one moment that you and I are not a city model with a Japanese-opera face. And let us suppose that in a momentary fit of March madness, you and I have actually dished out the dough for an outfit categorized as Holi Chic.

So here we are, cruising about the city on the latest mobike (is there such a thing anymore?). Suddenly, a whizzing sound is heard (not the wind, dummy. Don’t break the moment), and poof – our over-coloured costumes now have over-coloured faces to match, thanks to the mighty Water Balloon – which, by the way, contains something that is definitely not water.

Applause, please. You and I are officially eligible for the post of an African witch-doctor’s pet bird.

So what is wrong with the scene? The fact that our hallowed Holi couture cannot be worn anywhere else (gasp – where have I heard that before?). Which brings me to the point of this piece – why in heaven’s name would anyone want to splurge on a many-hued monstrosity when you can achieve the same effect by throwing on an old sheet and standing resolutely in the way of some overenthusiastic kid with a pichkari?

The great Holi Lunch, you explain. Everyone must show off their bejeweled bodies in the legendary “notun jaama”. So why not Holi Chic?

Well, once lunch is done and burped over, and you sway, overfed and over-bhaanged, to your – ahem – mobike, and you’re on the road again. Suddenly, there’s this whizzing in your ear (not the bhaang, dummy – DON’T break the moment) and what do you know, the Balloon Bearer has struck again.

Holy shit. A kid spoiled my Holi Chic.

Looks like the old bedsheet plan works better after all. Holi is the one festival where you are actually allowed to revert to juvenilia. No one arrests you for acting like a demented six-year old. Why spoil it? Maybe the gossip columns with headlines like “Spring High Fashion” ought to be converted into packets to hold the aabir. Okay, gulaal. Whatever. STOP breaking the moment!!

Unless, of course, you prefer a spin on the - cough - mobike.

Friday, March 2, 2007


Things are not well.
The union budget blaring out from the television screen
Is a Conspiracy against me, I can tell.
Dinner isn’t ready.
The headache inside me swells
And burgeons to incredible proportions and I know I shall yell
Any second now,
Any second now.

The lure of insanity is heady.

I grit my teeth and lock the door of my room,
Lie listening to monsters in the shadowy gloom.
A knock on the door, then
Will see me walking out of the room to the TV screen
Mundane, boring, self-contained, serene -
Human again.

Political? Science??

Political Science baffles me. This isn't really the right time to say it, the night before the exam, but all I can make out after reading ten chapters is that human beings deserve to live in peace, protected by fundamental rights and legal backups and what not. They are entitled to live a life of respect and dignity, as dutiful citizens protected by the nation and its Constitution. In short, the world deserves to be perfect.

Heck, we all know that. but have the textbook writers ever heard of this bloke called George Bush?