Friday, November 24, 2006

Why me?

Have you ever had one of those days where, right from the moment you wake up, life goes on a downward spiral just to show you who the boss really is? Where, at every step, you've faced reverses for no apparent reason, just coz people wanna see how the word 'no' rolls off their tongues? Just had one? Welcome to my world....

So, in the morning, I go to make a presentation for the professor who I've always regarded as slightly off, but essentially a decent person. Before class, I enquire if he is going to increase the weightage on this particular essay to make up for the mid-semester exam that I missed because of various reasons. I'm pretty confident that he'll agree, because anyone who's even half human can see that I've had huge problems this semester owing to circumstances which were beyond my control. So I ask him, all hopeful and earnest, and he gives me a precious pearl of wisdom: "Absent means Absent!" I stand there, gaping at him, while the realization hits home that, clearly, for all his resemblance to Swaminathan from Malgudi Days, the milk of human kindness does not, in fact, flow through his veins.......He's giving me a 25% @#$#@ grade cut just to show me that he can!

Fuming, I make my way to the passport office, after sitting through two nauseating hours of presentations where I was feeling like a murderous basilisk. On reaching this particular monument to nationalism, I'm told by the smug guard that submissions are allowed only till one pm and I'll have to come back on Monday!! This effectively ruins my chances of actually taking that trip that I've been consoling myself with for months!

Then I decide to make myself feel better with the best restorative, i.e., a good lunch, seeing as I haven't had a bite to eat all day. So I make my way to the regulation pizza place and order myself a pasta to take off the scars of the day. The waiter then not only confuses fusilli with spaghetti, but also has the cheek to tell me that he may condescend to change my food, but no matter what I say, I did order spaghetti, coz he says so! I'm so mad that I sweetly decline his offer to change my food and gulp down all that horrible spaghetti just so that the gods may be satisfied that their vengeance is complete.....but that apparently isn't enough. I get back to my room to try and study somehow, and owing to my late night shenanigans of last night, proceed to fall asleep on my laptop.

Ye gads, I'm sorry. I don't know what it is that I've done to deserve this, but really, I cannot take any more bad news. I've also realized that people really are mean, so mean. If by any circumstance they are in a situation where they have even the most miniscule amount of power over you, they will milk it for all that it's worth and they will use it to make you unhappy. I've really had it, I don't want to leave my room ever again. I'm so, so sore and so very tired...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Slammin' HOT(!?!)

In my limited interactions with the male of my species, I have repeatedly been made aware of the existence of a sub-species within the general pool of the female homo sapien sapien (yes it comes twice, do not attribute your ignorance to a typing error on my part). This select branch goes by the rather vague tags of 'hottie', 'hot chick' (not sizzlers made of poultry), 'babe', 'bomb' etc. The very first impression one gets is that of an arsenal with immense destructive capacity....maybe Dubyaman had heard that Afghanistan and Iraq were both full of hot chicks. Anyway, I very foolishly attempted to understand this classification of my sex in a systematic way. But, as usual, I was thoroughly disappointed in the men of this world. They were only able to offer me the rather inadequate explanation that 'hotties cannot be defined'. I still persisted, and persuaded some of the unwitting participants of the study to get a little more candid with their comments. So, here are the final conclusions of my study (drum roll)!

A woman is hot if her anatomy is of the variety that gives visual thrills to the male viewer. That cleared up in my mind the reason why so many guys always look slightly gormless to me, always agape....She is also hot if she is a simpering daisy or a brazen coquette. If she displays any inclination towards sense rather than sensibility, then she loses all chances of being viewed with any semblance of warmth, leave alone any emotion higher on the Celsius scale. So her input into a conversation can either be "Ooooh! You are, like, so smart, darlin'!", or, blink, blink, "I'm sooooooooooo flirting with YOU!!!" Some men claim to find women with high IQs hot. Other men tell me that they're lying through their teeth. A hot woman may wear anything she chooses to, as long as she looks like clothes are expendable to her. She should walk with a certain 'something' (smug expression of awareness of attractiveness of self). She shouldn't have a large appetite, eating like a young killer whale is so unattractive!

So all you 'thanda' women out there, rejoice! You are free to eat, think, dress, walk, articulate, and in general, just be. I suppose that there are some hot women who are all the aforementioned things without really trying. For the rest, I suggest you stop being prisoners of an assigned, imagined temperature. Its seriously not worth it, and its so much fun to be able to eat like a young killer whale!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

You and me

Was it really that long ago
That we met, and touched?
That we made up our minds
To hold on?

It was all I'd wanted
And a lot, lot more
It felt like I was finally home
After so many forevers of weary wandering.

And then one day, I was awakened,
You felt that I was holding you too close,
Getting in your way,
Not letting you fly...

So we let go, hesitantly,
You drifted away, across galaxies,
So very far away that I
Couldn't even trace your path in the stardust.

Since that faraway day,
My life has been an endless, endless wait.
And I suffer a more bitter loneliness
Now that I know how it was..

Sometimes I read you
In a line of a book somewhere
Or hear you in a line
Of some strange, haunting ditty.

I know one day we will be, again
And that you will find your way to me,
Its just that sometimes, I wonder
Do you wait for me also?

Is your soul as seared as mine
By the cruel silver of the moon?
Does the wind blowing through your hair
Make your spirit shiver like mine?

Don't answer me,
I can't bear to know,
I just hope that this lifetime is the last
Of the ones that I've spent looking..

Now every day stings a little bit more,
And every moment gets a little longer.
Make your way back before hope is extinguished
And I meld into the endless earth.

***Disclaimer for friends and well-wishers: 'You' and 'I' are imaginary characters. Please do not worry about my well-being.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mellow

Its late at night...actually its early morning. I'm sitting in my room, listening to Sheryl Crow trying to convince James Bond to stay at home with her, coz he's 'not the only spy out there'..The lighting in the room's soft and warm, coming from the lamp that my roommate's rather ingenously devised. My feet are a little cold, but the shawl will mend that soon enough. In a little while, T and A will come here to share tea and some part of their lives with me. I'm drinking in the cleanliness, the cosiness and the sanity of where I am right now. My heart feels full, like I love the whole world at this moment. I'm also scheduling the whole of next week so as to enable me to pass the dreaded exams while doing the most minimal amount of work possible. I'm thinking of Kitkat, hoping she got home alright. I'm also wondering if Maya is suffering too much in the cold outside, my poor, precious little mutt. This is it, this is my life, my being, my happiness, right here, now, at this very moment, and I'm blessed.....

Saturday, November 11, 2006

You gotta have faith

The annual political binge on campus took place recently, so I was anticipating the usual fun, viz., being campaigned to, being besieged with significant smiles from the candidates, random people suddenly addressing me, the all-powerful voter, by my name, as though we were bosom buddies, people who've been oblivious to my existence for a year and a half suddenly trying to get to know me better....the works. The vibrancy of student politics is one of the million reasons that I'm in love with this campus. Its so heartening to see people of my age who actually care about the future of this nation and its people are aren't selfish, hedonistic pleasure-seekers like the rest of us.

Another not-so-welcome discovery was something I came across in myriad conversations with a variety of people. I realized that most folks are so deeply cynical and suspicious of politics, and the possibility of change....Most reactions were along the lines of "I'm going to vote, but in the end, it doesn't matter who wins. It won't make a difference to ME." In a nutshell, the evaluative category to judge politics and its worth is ME. What will it do for ME, for MY prospects? How will it benefit MY life? The selfishness of it doesn't surprise me, because I do not believe that there was was ever a 'Golden Age' where people only thought of each others' interests. What does surprise me is the sheer naivete of it. Nobody seems to realize that they are intrinsically linked to everyone else, and their gains and losses are similarly related. In the long run, social improvement need not be a zero-sum issue. People can benefit without others necessarily losing out. Yes, I realize that life is difficult enough without one having to make sacrifices to improve the lot of the faceless, invisible Other, but then, if we're not ready to give up a little something, who else will? People clamour for equality of opportunity, but they refuse to examine if the ground that they're standing on is equal to the footrests of the others who may not so lucky to even have solid ground to stand on. The oft-repeated refrain is "Why should I pay for the sins of my ancestors?" But the point is, as a society, how long can we run, and where? Someday the process of change has to start. One needs to believe that whatever is given up has been foregone for a worthwhile end, and that in some way, somewhere, someone will be better off because of it. Yes, the possibility of sacrifice getting lost in the mire of corruption and red tapism is very possible, but that does not mean that we don't even try. We all want the same things--true equality, dignity, better lives for all. But we cannot shrink at the prospect of doing something tangible to get there. There is no invisible divinity who will grant us the paradise we crave for humanity.....Paradise has to be built, and nothing worthwhile can be built by those who are afraid to get their own hands dirty.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Friend

Once upon a time, I had a friend. She was so much more than a friend to me. We were sisters, confidantes, agony aunts, mutual admiration society presidents and everything else that we could conceivably need in each other. We were different, and yet so alike that it made me wonder if somehow this connection had been celestially planned. Her presence made life so much better than tolerable, made home a lot less far away. Everything was peachy, or, well, as ok as it could possibly be.

Then, one day, I hurt myself a little bit. Wasn't too serious, just a scratch....or, atleast, it looked like a scratch. It didn't really pain me all that much, but then you know us attention freaks. Give us an inch and we'll take an entire universe. So I looked to my friend for attention, a little mollycoddling, a little bit of reassurance and nothing more. But she saw it differently. She was of the opinion that the cut was deeper than it looked. "C'mon, put some ointment on it rightaway, or it'll get infected and you'll be in so much more trouble". Good, sound advice. The only trouble was that I was so scared of the sting of the ointment that I preferred to let the wound fester, to hurt a little bit everyday rather than to burn me up all at once and then leave me healed, but shaken. So I told her, in everyway that I could, that I wouldn't be acting on her counsel. That did it for her. She was so convinced of my pig-headedness and my lack of resolve in dealing with life head on that she decided that she needed time off from us, maybe to make me realize that her way made eminently more sense than mine did.


So you went away, and kept away. Your way is better, maybe, than mine can ever be. Maybe your idea of being Sangy is superior to my lived reality of it. Maybe if you were me, you'd do a much better job of being me than I am doing right now. Maybe I'm being cowardly, and stupid, and maybe I am messing up my life. But that's just the point. I AM Sangy, and I'm doing the very best I can to be the best possible me. I love you for how much you care, and I wish that it were as easy for me to walk away, even temporarily.

Its not that I like punishment, or that I think misery is glamorous. Its not that I crave your pity, or even that I don't know that better alternatives are available to me. Its just this much. I'm living this life because I want to, I'm making these choices because I think that they're sensible. I respect your opinion, but I cannot be bound to it. I cannot be your friend on the conditionality of taking your advice, no matter how well-intentioned and reasonable it is. I need this space to be me, and you have to respect this, because I extend that very same respect to you. We all would live each others' lives differently if we had the choice, but the point is that we don't.....so please, don't grudge me my foolishness. I've got only one lifetime to be stupid. Please let me have it, with you in it, because without you I would just be so unimaginably poor..

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

So good, so bad

Over this last weekend I finally had the opportunity to watch a movie which had been preying on my mind for the last two weeks, making me even more curious than I usually am, and for a bloodhound like me, that's saying something. So I'd wanted to watch the redone version of 'Don' for quite some time, for my very own very special reasons. Firstly, as a child, I had so loved the original, which had gone the closest to the slinky, stylish, vaguely James Bond-ish world of gangsters, or atleast, the version of gangster life most familiar to the rest of us. Also, in my heart of hearts, I've always wanted to be a gun moll. Ok, let's face it...which girl hasn't?

So this Saturday was the day. And I wasn't totally disappointed, as many dire warnings had predicted. Yes, it was long, and confusing. Yes, there were a couple of rather tedious songs. Yes, SRK had hammed up liberally (but that was totally expected). Yes it wasn't as cleanly done as the original. But I still enjoyed it. It was slick, stylish and really....well, no other word for it..really cool. The champagne, the guns, the cars......everything was deliciously over the top. The molls were dumb and stunning, thus living up to my expectations completely. And a couple of times, I had discreetly started performing some rather bad dance moves of my own inside the theatre.

Then I wondered why most people who watch remakes keep harping about how it isn't as great as the original. My point, people, is that it isn't the original. I mean, imagine if you went to the parents of a newborn child, and told them, "You're baby is cute, but not as good as the original".

Also, I wondered how a gangster would feel on watching this portrait of a lifetsyle which would most probably be very far removed from his. Especially the ex-Miss World dancing to his tunes. He'd probably feel rather ironically indignant at the lack of honesty in this world. And for once, he'd be the one feeling thoroughly cheated..

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Highs and lows

Last night happened to be assigned to merrymaking with my friends. Now our merrymaking sessions tend to be rather protracted, taking advantage of the fact that we happen to live in a huge, gorgeous campus. A couple of times we've managed to catch the first light of dawn after a whole night of the most arbitrary forms of timepass. So last night, the gods of food and drink were smiling down on us as usual. And as is well known, when the gods like you, you're in deep trouble.

So everything was going on perfectly, when suddenly, I happened to look up at the sky. I began to reminisce of life back home, where the stars shine so much brighter, and where there is always time to look at the sky. In a couple of years, when my sister is ready to move out, the last link I have to that patch of earth that I was born in will be snapped, and the only home that I've ever known will be no more.

Obviously, thoughts of this nature are not very conducive to the general atmosphere of merrymaking. So I shook my head a couple of times and got back to socializing with my friends. Then began the sharpest mood swings I've ever had. When I was happy, I was delirious with it. I just couldn't stop giggling shrilly like my head was on fire or something. And in the next moment my sadness would seem to engulf me completely. As always, I began to employ the rather self-indulgent version of introspection that I like to use. For twenty odd minutes or so, I wondered if it was the stars who were playing with me, or if my subconscious had decided to have a little party of its own. I wondered if the familiar guilt had gotten tired of its familiar avatar and was trying out a new, more sinister form. One after one, I examined and discarded one after the other sophisticated explanation. Then after i had exhausted my repertoire of causalities, I decided to rely on my old favourite, Mr. Gandhi, who always advocated taking the path of simplicity. So I tried to think simply, and it is possibly the toughest thing to do with a mind that has believed in running around in circles since infancy. However, simple thinking it was that provided me with an explanation in under five minutes: those killers that torment without respite, that can put the most rational person on the fast track to insanity. Yeah you guessed right. Hormones.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Therapy

So after spending a whole day being miserable (for reasons, refer to previous post), I decided to follow the truly excellent advice given by a fellow blogger gentleman, and 'carpe diem' for a bit today. I didn't toe his advice to the letter, true, but used my most tried and tested method of seizing the day.......ok, allright, no more suspense. I went shopping. Now, this wasn't my usual brand of self-indulgent retail therapy. Today I was occupying the position of senior (actually, singular) consultant to this friend who's wardrobe has been in severe need of some fresh blood. This shopping trip has been in the offing for atleast the last three months, but a combination of adverse circumstances and the vicious cycle of hosteller finance (what cycle? We're always flat broke) had managed to delay it so far. However, yesterday things got to the point of no return when the aforementioned friend discovered a tiny tear in a hitherto serviceable garment. I was roped in, being the resident shopaholic and general do-gooder (!?!).

So we set out this afternoon. The trip lasted for about five hours, including the gastronomic bit of the outing, and at the end of it, life was mostly sunny once again. The aforementioned friend had spent more than he'd envisioned, and after buying two pairs of jeans, one pair each of cargoes and track pants, a T-shirt and a sweatshirt(absolutely dreamy, that one), he finally realized how 'dangerous' I was. I, on the other hand, had spent the day in the varied processes of selection, rejection, coaxing, cajoling, and as an aside, resolutely not buying anything for myself except the bare necessities (dishwashing liquid, lip balm, body odour preventive). Therefore, I was smug, not poor (relatively) and not hungry.

There's something so powerful about what one of my favourite authors calls 'the dance of demand and supply'. It makes me understand a little bit why those fool insects hurl themselves at lanterns and die, generation after stupid generation. I mean, you know you shouldn't even consider it, keeping in mind the state of your (absent) finances. But you're drawn towards that shop which could be the devil's agent, as far as you're concerned. It sits there, peeking at you innocently. You're walking towards it, your feet are moving of their own accord. You enter, and after browsing for a while, you find IT. IT is totally the worth the drain on your moolah. IT will compensate (more than adequately) for all the little sacrifices that you'll have to make for the rest of the month. IT is what will make you look good like you've never looked good before. So you're infatuated, and your brain's in hibernation, and you make a buy. You're happy for a while, and that is the power of retail therapy.
Oh, I just realized that I'll never manage to be a successful Buddhist , will I?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Peace

Yes, I am looking for it. Desperately. I want to shut down for a bit. I want to not have my head constantly pounding with a zillion thoughts that just refuse to slow down, refuse to leave me alone. I want to be able to not obsess about why my life is turning out to be such a badly made movie which has pretensions to art but is actually quite the C-grade Bollywood commercial churner at heart. I want to be able to stop caring, and feeling, and being a wobbly mass of raw nerve endings that keep shivering with the slightest breeze. I want the constant pain to stop. I want to be able to look my sorrow in the eye and not have to constantly hide behind bad jokes and puns and the hysterical, not quite authentic laughs. I want to stop the constant repression of me by myself. I want to stop pretending that I'm ok, that life is great, that fun is still so much fun. When did I become this grotesque charade? When did I stop living and start pretending? Why must I be the terrible spectacle of the joker with the bright painted face who stopped laughing aeons ago, but just cannot wipe the acrylic grin off his face? I want to start accepting. Its ok, to not be fun, to mope all the time, to not be very friendly, to be rude when I don't want to talk, to be completely me, no matter how far away I am from the person that everyone seems to think I am. I have truly moved beyond the point where I cared about pleasing people and fulfilling their expectations. Now, the decision is made. If I am truly a monster inside, then no consideration will stop me from being a monster outside as well. Better to be a consistent monster than to be two unhappy people inside one tired mind.