Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mujhe gussa kyon aata hai?

I hate the whole fucking shebang.
I hate the noise, the loud, the LOUD shouts of the chorus in my hostel lawns preparing to present a street play that looks suspiciously like something I've seen, or more likely heard, earlier. I hate noise. I hate noisy airplanes flying overhead every five seconds when I'm talking on the phone. Why isn't this place a no-flying zone? [Now forty voices are chanting "Shanti, shanti, shanti" at the top of their voices - sweet, cruel irony.] And I hate it that people can't be louder on phone. In fact, I hate phones. I think cell phones are a nuisance. They can save your life. But they can also cause unbelievable levels of irritation.
I also hate a whole bunch of things that will take me the rest of the night to write down. Chances are, blogspot or IIT's fragile internet connection will act up before then.
I saw the video for Do the Evolution by Pearl Jam today. It's a great video, and all of us must watch it to know what we've done and what we continue to do to ourselves. The more things change, the more they remain the same is borne out more powerfully through a five minute animated clip than through fat tomes on civilization and history.
I'm almost through The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. It's good, and I liked it very much in the beginning and now, at the end. The middle is a bit of a drag though. A little bit could have been excised out. It's quite a relief to not have noticed up till now that it's a pretty big book. Usually, I'm ultrasensitive to the size of books and I groan at anything larger than Love Story.
Everyone has the same issues, man. Everyone's into identity and what-it-means-to-be-me-in-this-rapidly-changing-world and we're-at-crossroads and cusp-of-cultures rubbish. I'm sure every generation feels exactly the same way. I'm done with groaning about all this. It makes for compelling writing and nice IWE with spices and incest thrown in for good measure but really, big deal. Oversimplification, I'm afraid.
A rather large part of why I'm irritated today is because I'm having to study. It's been so long since I had to work on a Saturday that it feels a little strange. The upside of course is that I'm going to wake up tomorrow smug in the knowledge that I've become a mythical hard-working and sincere version of me I believe once existed. The truth is that for as long as I remember, I was lazy and cynical (qualities that often coexist) and hated work. The difference between then and now is simply that I hated it but did it, and now I hate it and don't do it. I'm oversimplifying again but in essence and shorn of detail, this is a fact.
I really, honestly, sometimes don't see the point of it all.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A BSP reject

I know that this poem can scarcely
Offer tribute to the great watering hole of our times
Where all these varied species congregate
As they do in my rhyming lines:

Partially concealed from prying eyes
By cement columns of impressive girth
Lovey-dovey couples laugh and talk
And make plans (wink, wink) for ‘afterwards’.

The more pragmatic - who know the value of work
And, more importantly, the power of the ‘network’
Can often be found on the other side
Tapping experienced seniors for advice

While assorted wannabes prowl and watch
Out for popular people to engage
In conversation long enough
For others of their ilk to notice and rage

Those aspiring to be remembered awhile
Catch hold of juniors servile
Who in turn bask in the glory of ridicule
By the high and mighty in full public view

Hangers on and general slackers
Descend on the wind-t en masse
And lock each other in a psychological contest
Over who goes last for class

(They sometimes cheat at this show of strength
By never intending to attend at all
And yet acting as though they might
Therefore putting unfair pressure on others of their type)

Finally, people watchers like yours truly
Watch and observe and make mental notes
For the masterpiece they may some day write
That no Chetan Bhagat ever wrote

This poem is dedicated to all the conversations I’ve had over the years that have ended with the portentous words: “See you in the wind-t.”
It’s also dedicated to all the different kinds of people I’ve had these conversations with. I hope they forgive me any offense I might inadvertently cause them. If it’s any consolation I’ve been all of the above at some point or the other.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The lark's on the wing...

IIT has never looked so beautiful.
I logged on to write something different. This post by my old friend Phoenix (a year and a half old (the post, not Phoenix)) promted me to transfer to my blog a line that I wrote for myself some time back when I was feeling low and that has remained on a post-it ever since in front of my desk. However, I'll reserve that for another time. Right now, Jilawatan by Call loops indefinitely, the window on my left is open for nearly the first time in months and a reasonably large part of everything in the world looks good.
It's wonderful to hear songs you once liked after a really long time of neglect. They lose none of their earlier charm and in fact, acquire character with age. You notice nuances that you didn't earlier and fall in love with the song all over again, only deeper than before. Some of it is because the song was always great and you didn't invest enough time or weren't generous enough the first time around. Some of it is because you have changed over time and notice and appreciate different things or the same things in a different way.
It's the same with (old) friends. I talked for a longish time with Phoenix and enjoyed the conversation. By her own assessment, Phoenix says she's changed. She has, and so have I, as have circumstances and I think we've all changed for the better. We talked about a lot of things - general, impersonal stuff to common friends to how we saw ourselves and each other to the New Age Woman, which is one topic I always love discussing. It was refreshing not only because she's one of those people who can come out of their skin and look at themselves and their world somewhat objectively but also because of the time since our last such conversation (peopletalk, I call it). It's a bit similar to meeting a relative after a year who immediately notices you've grown taller while your own family never consciously noted.
It's also strange that I think of Phoenix and other friends from this time as 'old' friends. Can friendships that limit themselves to the superficial and never delve into the personal, that never make demands on either person's time or resources, that in fact never have had lows, become 'old' or 'deep' or 'close'?
In fact, are lows a prerequisite for experiencing highs? This is a question that is analogous, IMO, to the difference between Eastern and Western philosophies. Eastern philosophies stress the need to reduce desires to nil in order to achieve lasting peace and contentment. Western consumerism, on the other hand, teaches us to be ambitious and to work towards fulfilling as many of our desires as possible as the path to happiness. Essentially, if you aren't dissatisfied with who you are and what you have you will not experience the joy that comes from working hard and achieving your goals. If you don't know hunger, you'll never enjoy chocolate. Our ancient wisdom, however, advises us to achieve permanent peace - and leave both the euphoria of achievement and the unhappiness of frustrated ambition, neither of which can exist without the other - behind by crushing our egos to dust and attaining an ego and ambition-free existence.
Right now, however, IIT looks lovely.
I can see a blue sky flecked with clouds and just a little too bright to look at without squinting and under it, green patches with gardeners and the rain working to make them greener and an idle stroller here and there on grey concrete with bright wet patches reflecting the mood above. Life could be worse. :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

There's more!

In another time, when I was younger and more impulsive, I'd have written a detailed account of all that has gone wrong over the past five days and how my Groundhog Day continues. But I can't now because:
- I'll end up offending some of my friends (some of whom deserve some of the offense, but still...)
- I won't feel as bad in a couple of hours/days
- much of what I feel has to do with a number of irritations that have existed for some time now and have piled up in a steaming pile of shit and it will be unfair to blame innocents for it
- I don't want to present a lurid picture of my varied frustrations to voyeurs
- it will take too long
Therefore, it is enough for you to know that today has also been a spectacularly horrible day adding to my dark and surreal nightmarish weekend.
I'm paralyzed into inaction: I'm eating little, sleeping too much and skipping classes not with gay abandon or for higher pursuits but guiltily and helplessly. The few classes that I have gone too have had a dreamlike quality to them, as if the subjects being taught were familiar but in a different language. My hostel is literally breaking down in front of my eyes (the fact that it's poltu season once again lends the breakdown a certain irony) and the floors immediately above my head will soon be hammered and needlessly renovated through the day and the night. The only good thing about today is that I had a bath and a shave and that I still have clean underwear left that saves me the desperation of having to pounce on the only working washing machine left in our hellhole-of-a-hostel, which is of course right in the middle of all the construction going on (which in turn is without a doubt the result of someone wanting to make a lot of money or someone very stupid making the decisions), as soon as it is free.
The obvious advantage of bathing and shaving is that one is not compelled to do the same for the next few days/weeks, depending on one's appetite for unhygiene. I usually can't last beyond two days of not taking a bath so I consider myself quite prim. I do have friends, however, who have been known to last for weeks and in one unverified case, long enough for them to develop a fungal infection of the toe.
Anyway, I think I'll push off and do something more useful and directly related to furthering my career goals now. Adios, amigos.

PS: You know what will round off my memorable week? This post getting lost when I hit 'Post'.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour to introduce my friend's Thinking Pad. He writes some of the most evocative poetry I've ever read (not that I've read much). And he writes in the language of the Gods. Some of you may have visited his blog already. Those who haven't, must.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Knee-jerk reactions

I'm almost through what has turned out to be the worst weekend I've had in a really long time. I feel guilty when I say such things because I know there are people who don't have food, clothing, shelter, money, all their limbs and digits and my problems pale in comparison. What's more, the reasons why this weekend has turned to ash are, in the larger scheme of things, rather trivial. Essentially, I lost two debates and two quizzes in the space of 36 hours closely but comprehensively and that is all there is to it. However, I am affected by this in a much greater way than I usually am.
It's all probably pretty juvenile but then I'm tired of always being (in my judgment) reasonable. I want to be juvenile and politically incorrect and tell people I'm pissed with them and no, I cannot see how it is not their fault and I don't care.
I also want to tell some people I'm right and that's all there is to the matter. I try to use logic to explain my convictions but I realize now it's a bad idea. A good debater can quite easily pick holes in any logical defense I can provide to support my convictions. The only way to build and keep strong convictions is to believe they are right, reason be damned. You have to know some things are right and some things are wrong and not open yourself to interrogation every time you use your moral judgment.
Shivam and I, partners in grief, walked like schoolboys furious after losing a cricket match during lunch break and talked about life, women, parents, the middle class, values and money. A lot of what we said was stupid but we said them anyway because we're both too safe too often and both of us felt great at feeling something big and common. Some of what we said, however, still makes some sense to me. Perhaps I will outgrow all of this and become a vegetable who never loses reason. Yesterday I was happy to note I could still get angry. Today I'm even happier to report I can remain angry. I don't want the anger that I feel today, much of it unjustified and misdirected, to ever go away. I never want to not mind losing.

Personal Blogs by Indian Bloggers