Saturday, January 26, 2008

Randomvenom. Blackmood. Discontent. So Sue Me.

I made myself a promise a long time ago.

Okay, cut the pompousness. It wasn’t long ago, and it wasn’t exactly a promise. It’s just that I didn’t want my blog to be an online diary where I posted everyday and went “I went and watched irrelevantmovie today, do go watch it, it has flatulentactorA and flatulentactorB who are doingthesamethingalloveragain.” I didn’t really know what I wanted from this web page – I’m not even sure it exists (I mean, I can’t feel it like I can touch solid paper, can I?). But I had a few things settled. No diaryness. No mention of friends and what they did and what I did. No gushing. No poetry. Perfectly simple rules, I thought.

All of which, of course, I have conveniently broken.

So I am here, here at the juncture where I have finished sticking my tongue out at the screen and started on another promise – I’m not going to make any more stupid rules. I am going to do pretty much what I like, and if I want to tell the world how many glasses of juice I had in the morning and how many pebbles I own in my collection, so be it. Juice and pebbles are, in their own sad little ways, extraordinary.

I’m in a proper temper today, typing out nothing in particular because I am well and truly annoyed. At everything. At the carpenters in each and every flat of my building who are slowly and insistently hammering a headache into my head, at my father who’s nagging at me to do something about my mess (on occasion it’s called a room) and at my mother who’s frying fish in the kitchen and coming in every two minutes to ask me, in a hopeful voice, whether I’ll eat it. No I won’t, dammit. I hate fish, and I don’t care if I die young with glazed marble-like eyes and bald patches all over my head. It seems to me a very stupid reason to eat fish because it makes your eyes and hair and skin and possibly even your earlobe stronger.

I’d rather eat chicken because it makes me feel good. But no, now that Aishwarya Rai’s married and Shah Rukh’s looking haggard and the whole Indianteam-Australianteam-acting-like-sissies catfight has blown over, the hens have to act pricey. When did it come to this? And to top it all, the washing machine’s rattling away like some blasted high-range machine gun, and my grandfather’s watching shrill Malayali videos on Asianet – the kind that have heroines running coyly away from the hero. Who, by the way, has a handlebar moustache and sunglasses. Very cool, I know, but he's also dancing around in a lungi and sandals.

And now I’m reminded of this time when I spent an entire afternoon watching He-Man on Alpha Telugu for no reason other than to hear “By the powers of Greyskull!! (thundersound)” being distorted into something quite unpronounceable. And I’m feeling even more annoyed because it was the most hilarious thing I've ever watched, and I’ve never been able to catch it again, try as I might. And the last time I checked the channel wasn’t even there.

I would have thrown up my hands in despair and done something drastic by now, maybe written some deepdarkmorbidpoetry even, but I can’t because it’s deliciously cold and I can’t feel morbid when my one regular wish – that Kolkata would be cold enough to wear a pullover all day – has come true. I hope it gets colder, and I hope I have to resort to wearing socks all day next. And now I’m annoyed because I’ve stopped feeling annoyed, because ranting sometimes is so easy and so gratifying, because I’m so fickle that I can’t even brood. Where does that get me as a romantic heroine? Gah.

Sunday mornings, I tell you. Very overrated. No matter how cheerful you are, one Sunday morning always comes along and throws you into a feeling of niggling exasperation, like an itch that you get sometimes - you know it's there, but you don't know what part of your body it's on because at that moment almost all your body is tingling with some sort of vague distaste. For itches, for fish, for bloody Sundays everywhere.

The only thing I have working in my favour today is that Djokovic will be playing Tsonga in another two hours or so, in what should be an engaging match, and tennis is always a balm for all ruffled feelings. And now that the washing machine’s stopped making my house sound like a minefield, I think I shall venture out of my mess. And tell my mother, very firmly, that I will not eat the fish, even though I know she’ll surreptitiously try to slide it onto my plate when she thinks I’m not noticing. I don’t blame her; I’m usually shoveling food down my throat with my nose in a book. Oh yes, book. Must finish book, must start other book.

Good. And maybe I’ll stop wondering why you are still reading this, and go for a walk now. Which reminds me, you are now witness to the fact that after I have publicly declared to do whatever I want and gush about anything if I feel like it, my next post will most likely be about nothing all over again, which makes the whole point of this post so superfluous that I’m ashamed of writing so much for nothing, but I’m going to post it anyway to prove that I am now going to write about anything. I am like that only.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Misplaced Thought. Misplaced Time.

When you walk down Southern Avenue in the summer the Gulmohar trees are in flower, and there are fiery blossoms everywhere. You recall old lyrics from songs – mostly Gulzar – and realise that you’re wading through a stream of molten lava, with little sparks falling onto your cheek. You lose track of time, trying to locate each blossom as it wafts through the branches, and it is so easy and so necessary that suddenly you can disregard everything else. The various vendors you can overlook, the cigarette sellers and paanwallahs cease to exist. The breaks in the footpath are mere annoyances that you have to cross as quickly as possible, holding on to the memory of the footpath that left off a few seconds ago so that you can bring it out and sew it up with the footpath that now begins again. You create an uninterrupted little motion picture of glowing orange and red, and give yourself the starring role.

Vivekananda Park is now but a field of lovers and football matches and shady characters with shady smoke hanging about them; they matter not. Even the prim, fortress-like building with the mysterious signboard that declares (very quietly, in two languages) that it is the Polish Consulate loses its charm. It is in the sudden wetness of the cloth sticking to your back that the magic lies; it is with the hasty breeze hitting the nape of your neck that the Gulmohars fall.

In summer Southern Avenue is a name so mundane that it shrieks to be re-christened. You call it Flameflower Street, and get out of the house early so that you can walk slowly and aimlessly to art class – it seems the right thing to do, to walk down a blazing street and into a room with a canvas waiting to be coloured. Every time you walk a little slower. And you keep promising yourself, every summer, that you will spend an entire afternoon there with just your camera and the truant breezes for company.

But it is only in barren winter that promises are remembered. Which is why you are writing this – there are three months till summer, and your memory isn’t clockwork, and you hope that you will remember it. And that maybe someone will remind you.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Is this the most meaningless post I've written? Yes it is. Enjoy your slow deaths.

Human beings learn. I learn a little slower, but learn I do. I can now proudly declare that I know how to handle writer’s block – I simply write a blog post whining about not being able to write and before I know it I’m spouting poetry. No, I shall not exhibit verse right now. But what I shall do is kick off a long-postponed illustrating career by adding certain choice pages from my diary to make this post look longer. Ah, excited, are we? Spare yourself the anticipation, it’s just a bunch of cartoons. Ah, scowling now, are we? Just remember that you saw this post when you see the aforementioned pages once again, romantically withered and yellowed, for sale at some beautifully chandeliered auction house – for a staggering amount, naturally. Hey, it’s the New Year. I can dream.

Anyway, let us proceed to the obligatory analysis of the year gone past.

Great Event Number One: I lost weight. Yes, you may start rolling your eyes and rebuke my Bridget Jonesness, but anyone who understands the nature of the relationship I share with food will sign me up for a Nobel when they think of what I achieved. I think the great de-fattening started when my father, with a most unloving look in his eye, called me a skittle. A skittle, I tell you.
Something had to be done.
Skittles are really quite interesting, I think. At least they get to sway without getting drunk.
I don’t think my father anticipated twelve kilos lifting off my frame as a result of his remark, but it helped me slap myself in the face and tell myself I was getting obese, and it helped me gingerly step inside that hall of horrors – the gym, and it made me stick to it till I looked pleasantly overweight again. Of course, I then proceeded to eat everything in my way to make up for my sacrifices, but there is a point to this very pointless event – I realized I could be non-fickle when I want to. So look out. I shall now be Unwavering. I shall now be Decisive. I shall now be Staunch. Then again, maybe not.

Great Event Number Two: My parents, conveniently overlooking the fact that I would be going to college in a while and would therefore need their hard-earned money to get myself a degree, bought an apartment. I maintained a cold silence through most of the gushing descriptions of the locale, the dimensions and the floor space, mainly because I couldn’t understand a thing. I think I may be forgiven for resembling an overfed slug when confronted with statements like “It’s six by eight. Three by four windows. Plan C. The real estate guy said it would go for thirty-oh in four years.”

Grownups.

What I could make out from the flat was that it was too new to be loved, too angular to be comfortable, and too far away from my local superhero, the phuchkawallah. Grownups rarely understand why phuchkas are potentially life-saving pieces of paradise, and so we moved. It was rather fun, mainly because we had no idea how to pack. I began to read certain parts of Three Men in a Boat for inspiration – they packed like professionals compared to us.
My room is big! My room is airy! My room is clean! Oh wait, it's empty.
Great Event Number Three: I don’t know why I am including this, but I got myself a haircut. This is a Great Event for the simple reason that my hair is the only part of me I consider presentable, but hairdressers are morale killers of the highest order. The moment I walk in and sit down on one of those chairs so reminiscent of the horrid ones in dental clinics, I know I am Doomed. The suited lady will smile grimly, examine my head as if she were planning to serve it as the pi├Ęce de resistance at her dinner table that night, and proceed to give a small, fluttery sigh. She will then pinch her lips and tell me that my hair is limp, dry, weak, lustreless, discoloured, unhealthy and Not Fit For Human Observation. She will throw in scary words like Split Ends and Bald Patches and convince me that I am a disgrace to my sorry mane. It will not help that I will smile nervously and say, “Uh, it’s dead.” I will then tell her to just snip the ends, since she is so above actually cutting my hair, and then walk out of the place thanking my lucky stars I'm alive while she will glance thoughtfully at the torturechair and wonder how to stop scum like me from defiling it with my unfashionable presence.

Now you know why my hair has remained long since I was ten or so.

You think I'm paranoid, but I just know that they're spraying some toxin at me when they pretend to wet my hair.


But I did go to a hairdresser’s this year, and I did sing forty random songs to myself in my head to drown out the deathly snip-snip sounds, and I did allow her to cut off about four inches. I also did not yell when she held up a mirror behind my head and I saw two heads of hair, both ostensibly belonging to me. My hair still looked long to other people, and I cannot pretend to have fathomed what she did to it, but it seemed such a waste of time and money and nerves. I am now researching dreadlocks.

Great Event Number Four: The Boards. Here is why they are a Big Event. I hate having things forced on me. All my life I had this pact with my parents – my report card shows no red marks, and I do what I want with my time. I stuck to it, and managed sunnily, till these two people I thought were human morphed into epitomes of Responsibility and started telling me in very grave tones why my final exams were the Deciding Factor. Deciding Factor for what, I asked. Everything, it turned out.

Grownups.

If the creatures-who-used-to-be-my-parents and my teachers are to be believed, I shall have to go underground, change my name and get plastic surgery performed if this Big Event turns out wrong. Everyone around me seems to be getting The Talk too, but it doesn’t seem to help for the simple reason that it has struck all of us with a lethargy for any kind of goal-fulfilling. We are now the tragic results of reverse psychology.

The running is metaphorical, of course: I cannot run. Now the yell is a different matter altogether.


So there it is. Four Great Events that, now I come to think of it, did not stand out as defining parts of 2007 at all. There were so many other small, magical Little Events that made all the difference in the world, but that is not why New Year Posts exist. A blog sometimes is so fulfilling. You can be incorrigibly random and get away with it, because no one knows your account password. I feel almost ready to take on a haircut now. No, make that a New Year.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Where is a New Year Post when you need it?

I have a wonderful bit of writing in my head. It just refuses to get written. I wanted to write a year-end post but it refused to evolve. I wanted to write a New Year post but it won't come out - I know nothing about making a year work in my favour, so I'll just look the other way and hope to hell I get through to December as unobtrusively as possible.

Also I've finally got my hands on The Unwaba Revelations by Samit Basu. and I know I shall read it day in and day out till I find out what happens to Kirin. Then I shall agonise about not having a real-life Kirin around me. The problem with reading books is that I fall in love with too many literary characters, which is why the real world refuses to acknowledge that I can function as a part of it. Sometimes.

Also, I have exams again. My school seems to produce exam after exam faster than Angelina Jolie adopts children. It doesn't help that I just watched Taare Zameen Par, and all I want to do now is turn my nose up at education and run away to Bombay and help Aamir Khan make movies. But I have the Boards, which still bewilder me so much that I will simply shut up. Board Exams do not deserve a mention on my hallowed green blog.

Of course, I shall whine to the night. But that is between the night and me.