Wednesday, December 20, 2006

That's It, Folks!

I know this is a little bit early, maybe about ten days premature, but as I've been screaming from the rooftops for a while now, I'm finally leaving for The Other Country on Saturday. Surprised? Well, you haven't been paying attention. I'm displeased. Which other country, you ask? My god, you have been snoozing, haven't you? Read the older posts, that's a fitting punishment. Anyway, since Saturday is D-day, the next two days look like they're going to be choc-a-bloc with last minute scrambling. So, people, this is my last post for this year. I know, I know, year-end reviews are so boring, and nobody really wants to know what my year has been like, but I don't care, I want to tell. Ok, I'll keep it short.

In many ways, both professionally and personally, this has probably been the worst year of my life so far. Most things which could have gone wrong, have gone wrong. I have been Murphy's faithful guinea pig. So, in a sense, I'm glad its going to end soon. I'm sure things will look up in the new year. I don't know why I'm sure. I don't want to examine the reasons for my optimism. Anyway, aren't you only truly optimistic when you have no reason to be?

So, next year, I'm going to be a more committed student. Do not laugh. I shall, in any case, have more chances of attending classes than I did this semester. Also, I will try to be more conscientious about keeping in touch with my near and dear ones, the volume of complaints this year has been truly overwhelming. I will also join dancing classes, and driving classes, and swimming classes. God, next year has already begun to drag. I will go to Goa, no matter what. And I may just take that detour to Bombay on the way. I don't know why I like calling it Bombay. Maybe I'm Portuguese in spirit, and I don't know it yet. Most important, I will get a job, even if that job is as the first watchwoman for one of the posh housing complexes here in Delhi.

Okay no more about next year. One of the best things that happened to me this year was, of course, blogdom. So, thank you Sexy Beast (my laptop) and Kitkat (my mentor). I will, of course, write a little bit more next year. You haven't seen the last of me yet!

Time for a few year end messages, now that the stocktaking is over.

Kitkat: - Rejuvenate, Refresh, Revive. You'll need to be in peak form to take care of me. Oh, and let others take care of you sometimes, okay? I love you, but you know that.

Sim: - You're actually quite cute when you get mad, but don't get too cute towards me, ok? You see, I don't know of any two other best friends in the world who were born on the same day, and I'd like to keep it that way. Hugs and love, lots of both.

Pari: - Please, for heaven's sake, leave some men on this planet for the rest of us. Actually, its ok if you don't. I promise to love you anyway.

Reeju: - Lighten up, please. Life isn't all that bad. And we're going to Harappa! What more could you possibly want?

Simran: - Even though you won't read this, I want you to know that you're always in my heart.

Akhila: - Even though what brought us together wasn't very pleasant, I'm glad we're better friends because of it. We're fun together, no?

Lal: - You crazy girl, get here fast. We never get any time together. And you're special, almost as weird as I am. Get here NOW!!! Love you and miss you lots...

Sisters: - You are both crazy, how can you not be? We're from the same gene pool. Anyway, I wanted to say, I know its difficult, seems impossible at times. But we're good, y'know? We'll make it.

Suk and Raghu (aka the Mumbai madness): - I'll make it there, someday. Till then, stop taking my trip and giving me headaches. Also, seriously, thanks for all the laughs.

To all bloggers, readers, sundry people who've touched my life, thank you. What would I do without you? Probably drive my roommate crazy. Really, you've made this fun, you've shared, you've enlightened, you've enjoyed (sometimes atleast, I hope). Stay with me, okay?

Oh, and Blues, I don't know if you've looked it up yet, but in case you haven't, in the spirit of the holiday season, here goes. Propinquity means nearness, in time, space, relationships, or just in the way we think. My favourite kind is when it has all of these.

Till next year, this is me signing off. Me, heh? ok, aka Sangy, aka whatever else you folks call me. Have a good time.



Monday, December 18, 2006

Weird Chronicles- Part one

The other day someone asked me why I insist on calling myself weird although I seem to be a perfectly normal person. The question was posed in such a way as to imply that I was trying to latch on to the 'weirdness' bandwagon because it has suddenly become more fashionable (has it?). Its true, for a very long time I didn't think that I was strange, because I didn't know that there was an alternate, 'normal' way to be. Even when I did find out, I was too thoroughly offended by the concept of normal to really aspire to it, or try to change myself to 'fit in'. I mean, norms are the most stifling, boring things ever created, and to have to BE them, day in and day out, isn't a fate that I could ever desire for myself or for anyone else. But then I never considered myself weird, or strange, just different. But you see, life has brought along with it a greater degree of self awareness and introspective ability, so I've realised that the word 'different' is inadequate; it is in fact 'weird' that encapsulates me. And no, its not because its more 'in', most of the time, being this way is a pain, a royal embarrassment. I'll prove it.

Till the age of seven, I was thoroughly convinced that Amitabh Bachchan's real name was Amita Bachchan, and that he was Hema Malini's sister. This strong conviction persisted in spite of my knowledge of the fact that boys could only be brothers, and girls could only be sisters.

When I was four years old, I was integrated into the educational system which has, since then, been my only occupation. At the end of that year, we got our first report cards. I, of course, had to be dramatic. So, on reaching home, I ran to the backyard, screaming,"MA! I CAME FIRST IN CLASS!" My mum, of course, was thrilled, because she was still naive enough to believe that this was a possibility. So she asked me if I had been the first one in class to be handed my report card. Puzzled, I said no, of course not. Now, she was confused. She asked me why I'd told her that I'd come first in class. I said,"Because that's what they do in the movies on Doordarshan, every Saturday". I found it quite incredulous that she should ask.

I've slept through earthquakes, Shillong being a seismically active area and all. I've even kicked my sister when she tried to pull me out of bed at midnight during an earthquake, and promptly rolled back to sleep. But, I suspect that a lot of people have done that. Wait, impatient ones, let me get to the real story. When I was in the VIIIth standard, my mum underwent an appendectomy. But a couple of months later, on the night before Holi, to be precise, some problems occurred. Of course, the next day being a holiday, I had blissfully gone off to bed. The next morning, my dad woke me up at six am, with the non-negotiable "I've already made you tea" For the uninformed, I love my tea, and my father was a gastronomical genius. So, grumbling, I woke up, washed up and sauntered into my parents' bedroom. There I saw that someone was still asleep. So I very loudly remarked, "SO! This is how it is, is it? You wake me up needlessly, and then go back to bed yourself?" Then I went to the balcony where I saw my dad and my sisters, all looking very serious. It then occurred to me that it was my mum who was in bed. I asked my sister, "How come Ma is the only one who gets to sleep late?" To this she answered,"Do you not recall anything? Last night the doctor came home around 3 am, all our relatives were here too". Still puzzled, I asked,"Did they come to start playing Holi before the rest of the world?"

As a four year old, I watched 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak' eleven times. In a row.

My idea of fun was to tell my innocent little sister that she could find permission to go to the terrace by going through the contents of my mum's handbag, because permission was a red slip of paper.

When I was sixteen, I had to undergo an extended ordeal in the form of about eight sessions with the dentist, spread over some ten days. The pain was unbelievable, but of course I couldn't let myself cry (I was sixteen, I had some pride, y'know). So, I sang. Loudly. You can imagine the quality of the music when its accompanied by drilling. After undergoing an extraction, I walked over to the doctor's cabinet where there were a dozen odd little bottles. One of them was labelled 'Ammonia Aromatic'. I took one sniff and almost passed out, it smelled so bad. For the next twenty minutes, I lectured the dentist on how a sense of humour was a good thing, but his was all messed up, if he considered that 'aromatic'.

Once I was coming back to Delhi after spending winter at home. I was travelling alone, and this man, who had the berth opposite to mine in the train, had to be a lech. Obviously. He was not even one of the regular variety. He was one of those profound lechers, whose eyes glaze over after a while, and who cannot be shamed into looking away if you look straight back at them. I'd been reading for a couple of hours (I think it was the Collected Works of Oscar Wilde, so I was still in a relatively better mood). Then it really got to me, I couldn't bear it anymore. So, in my sweetest voice, I offered him my book. He was flabbergasted. I think he responded with a "Gunhhh?!!?" I then explained to him about how I'd noticed him looking at my book for the last three hours, and if he really wanted to read it so much, all he needed to do was ask. Then I escaped to the bathroom and laughed my head off.

I have a belly laugh. It has scared people. Many people. It doesn't really need a reason to erupt. And, at some point of time or the other, I've laughed at everyone. Everyone.

Ok, now i'm hungry, I need lunch. So that is it for now. The Weird Chronicles may continue, or may not. Depends on whether I continue to be in this light brown mood for very long. Till then, do not presume to doubt my weird credentials. You may just be punished with a belly laugh.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Unwell

I've always wondered at dissatisfied people, people who had all that they could possibly want, but still kept looking for more. I never understood this vague disenchantment, and I never had time for it. Right now, though, I think I'm beginning to understand. I mean, its the holidays, there is absolutely no work that I have to attend to. I'm living with no other aim in mind than to do exactly what pleases me, and therefore, lately, I've realized that I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking for, what makes me happy. On the surface, my life seems absolutely fine to me. I'm still studying (barely), which, everyone, assures me, is the best thing to do, I have good friends who are mostly reasonable in dealing with me, my family also doesn't seem to be asking me any uncomfortable questions (like "Who the heck will hire you next year? You're talentless AND you have no noteworthy qualifications..."). But still, I can't sleep at night. I keep squirming because of this weird weightlessness in my stomach (and believe me, stuffing it with food in order to lend it some gravity doesn't help).

It was so much easier as a child. As I told a fellow blogger recently, I was much more mature at eight than I am at twenty two. I knew exactly what it was that I wanted, and exactly how to achieve it. I could clinically separate the believable fairy tales (oxymoron, you say? You've never read a fairy tale like I have) from the ones which were merely foolish flights of fancy. Most of all, I was a great deal more secure. Secure in the knowledge that I was doing the right thing (I've had very strangely flexible morals, even as a child). I was happy being the sickly child who owlishly devoured book after book, never going out to play, unless my wilder cousins threatened me with unspeakable consequences (no, I shan't speak of those....shudder). I had so much to think of, so many plans to make inside my head, to be implemented when I was 'all grown up'. I was so sure that I was gonna make a really great 'grown up'.

Now I'm not so sure anymore. I feel severely hemmed in, suffocated by my inablilities. I want to talk, but I feel stupid when I try. Even this post is embarrassing me, but the discontent needs to be expressed somehow, so I don't care. I don't want to be nice or thoughtful or smart, or whatever it is that I'm supposed to be, anymore. I only want to not want more, to be happy with what I have, but I don't know how...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

So early?!! You ok?

I don't believe I've ever written a post in the morning....interesting. Why am I even awake? I slept late last night, as usual...oh dear, now this is scary.For the world to be alright some things cannot change, and I seriously cannot be awake before 9am on a holiday! HELP!!!!!
Anyway, leaving the hyperventilating for later, looks like I"m finally going to Pakistan! Its too cold to get out of bed to do my victory dance, so I'll just complete the ritual in my head. Appropriate music...hmm, guitar solo maybe...Eric Clapton, perfect. Wow, that has to be the worst victory dance ritual ever. Ok, I'm rambling again. It still hasn't sunk in, actually. And yesterday there were moments when I actually thought that we'd blown our chance.


We (A and I) had an appointment with a senior diplomat at the high commission who would handle our visa applications. We had fixed up an appointment for 10 am yesterday. The day started off on an ominous note when A woke up bleary-eyed to discover that it was already 9.30am (expletive)! So we called the gentleman, who graciously postponed the appointment by an hour. And then began the scramble...visa forms, passports, changing clothes, checking that we had everything...sheer chaos. We left hostel with about twenty minutes to spare, with not a drop of food or drink in our stomachs. Obviously, as anyone familiar with this campus will tell you, when you really need them, there are no autos around. So we jumped into a passing cab, we were that desperate (any Delhiite will tell you that getting into a random cab just isn't something you can do over here). Anyway, we miraculously reached the place on time for the appointment. On the way we discovered that we had forgotten to read the instructions on the last page of the form which clearly stated that the form had to be typed onto. Actually, we didn't discover it. We were made aware of it over the phone by R, who had purchased the visa forms. She also graciously gave us very precise directions to the high commission. I believe she said we would find it by going on a straight road that came after a weird bridge. Totally normal, precise....sheesh. You can see what we were up against.

Anyway, we finally walked into the high commission at 11am. It was a spooky sensation, extraterritoriality had never been real to me before. Anyway, we met the gentleman, who must have taken pity on us dolts, and helped us to fill out whatever we had missed in the forms. Then he went away to process them, leaving us to wait for about two hours. We were so fidgety in the beginning, couldn't stop talking, mostly about how most men we knew were such oblivious creatures, who couldn't spot a good thing if it danced the meringue in front of them. Anyway, discussions borne out of frustration aside, the central heating soon calmed us down. We both almost went to sleep on the plush leather sofas. And then, it was done! Our handwritten forms were accepted, and our passports had the most beautiful visa I have ever seen (ok, nitpickers, the only visa I have ever seen). The gentleman was so polite to us that it amost scared me. If everyone in Pakistan is this polite, I shall be constantly ashamed of myself for being unable to speak two full sentences without saying 'crap'. And I know a few religious fans of the F word and other such linguistic pleasantries who should definitely wash their mouths with soap should they ever decide to visit Pakistan. A and I walked out of the room with a proud feeling of achievement, promptly extinguished by the fact that we walked into the wrong room and had to make a rather embarrassing exit.

The relief that we both felt on stepping out of that gate is hard to believe. It made me realize that it is impossible for me to even consider the possibility of living anywhere else except in this land where confusion reigns supreme. Comfort zones are really hard to give up...In conclusion, I like politeness but sometimes it really intimidates me, diplomatic/official circles turn my knees into jelly, if I ever have any appointment for anything, I will wake up late, and the next morning I'll be up at dawn to write about it, and, last of all, I'm going! YAY!!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Today, another day

Well, another day has passed. I'm still where I was when it began. Well, no. I watched a movie, THE movie that I was warned against with such eloquent despair by a fellow blogger recently. The eloquence of the despair only made me enjoy myself more than I would've, considering that the movie by itself was average. What I learned in the process was quite considerable. Let me recapitulate for your benefit. If you think that leaving at six for a show scheduled to begin at six thirty is good enough, because the theatre is pretty nearby, and anyway, there can't be a rush because college exams are on elsewhere and its a Monday evening, for heavens' sake, then you are woefully wrong. You will just make it in time, be told that tickets are sold out, then buy tickets in black seeing that you've come all the way so you might as well watch the movie, and let yourself experience the pleasures of the rear stall for the first time in your life....actually, it wasn't half bad, lots of leg room. Then you will go on to learn that tea gets cold surprisingly quickly in winter (really?), bringing little tots to a movie that clearly isn't kiddie fare will only lead to disorientation and loss of direction for the tots and annoyance for other viewers who will get back at the parents by writing about them. Next time, sitter, please. You and your kids will both be happier. Also, if you're at a stage of life when the restrooms become of vital importance to you, then get seats near the exit, and as soon as the interval begins, run like your pants are on fire. If the boisterous couple behind you decides to celebrate its love by kicking your seat down, complain loudly and/or LOOK at them in a way that uses your glasses to full effect. Everyone had a scary teacher in school who used her visual aid to intimidate those in her charge.

Those were the lessons that life taught me. What I learned from the movie per se makes me want to give the people involved a few personal messages, so, here goes.

Hrithik Roshan:- Seriously, man, do not get into any more positive roles. This has been the only time in recent history that I haven't felt like punching you till you're blue, so maybe you're on to something here.

Abhishek Bachchan:- The secret to looking cool is to not appear as though you're trying too hard. Even the walk looked tired. Get some sleep, man.

Uday Chopra:- Cute isn't cute anymore when it becomes trite and overdone. To be the comical sidekick doesn't mean you take the word 'caricature' literally. Although, to be fair, anything's better than Neal, the rockstar.

Bipasha Basu:- Woman! How could you let them do this to you? Entice you into playing the ubercool cop in the first half, if slightly fawning over the AB, and then change you into a bikini-wearing dolt with no lines in the second half? I'm outraged, also because you deserve tremendous respect for being inflammable enough to take one of the worst outfits I've seen in recent history (that orange gown/dress/something) and to turn it into haute (hot?) couture by simply being yourself. Do not let yourself get suckered like this again.

Aishwarya Rai:- You talk silly. And you sound like you know it. You wield a great deal of power in filmland, I believe. Then, for God's sake, use it. Object when the writer gives you lines that make you say 'like' after every second word. It isn't cool, or cute, or funny. You're playing a thief. Don't sound like a twelve year old who's trying desperately to get 'with it'.

The director/writer/whoever's responsible:- Making a sequel involves some amount of responsibility to the audience. That responsibility is yours. So pray, explain. Why is a (drag?) queen of caucasian descent travelling across the Namibian desert in a train? WITH HER CROWN? If a thief and his accomplice have escaped in a melee of people, and there is a decent gap between them and the cops, then how do the cops know exactly where and when to position their helicopter so that the next chase scene can conveniently start? How does a man posing as a statue in a museum hall walk out of there amidst tight security while still looking like a statue? Why do the umpteen number of security men guarding a priceless diamond never look at the diamond itself? I really wouldn't have carped so much if you hadn't used the word 'perfect' to describe these escapades. Ok, I'm lying. I would've carped just as much.

Well, that's all about the movie. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, partly because the big screen gives me a high, regardless of what's playing on it, and partly because I finally got out of my room.
So I'm back in my room. Going to attack the cookies I bought after the movie. Nothing else is happening, or likely to happen very soon. But that's ok. I'm really enjoying the wait. And I will watch, and enjoy, some more bad movies in the meantime.


P.S. This post is dedicated to the one who did not enjoy the insanity, and tried to warn me, not knowing that crap is fodder for thought for me :P

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Random

I have nothing particularly pertinent to write about. But I'm also terribly, terribly bored and have nothing else to do. So, suffer.....Ha!

I don't like being a Bengali in JNU. Not that I'm much of a Bengali anyway, but it just irritates me because of one simple reason. Three fifths of the people here are probably Bengali, about a third of them talk really loud. And that's how I unintentionally know the gory details of a zillion people who were engaged in loud conversation when they passed me by. I hate being an eavesdropper, even if its unintentional.

There's something about winter. It makes me even lazier than I usually am. All I wanna do is stay in bed all day long, with prompt room service and steaming meals. Seriously, that's all I wanna do.
Girls, I'm not one to talk about sartorial sense, but really, please don't team up monkeycaps with salwar kameezes. I'm trying really hard to be nice, and you're not making it easier.


And Maya, sweetie, I know I really love you and all, but the next time I come to say hi and you ignore me, perched on your little spot on top of the boundary wall, and you proceed to 'whatever' me by turning your face away, its all over between us. You know I mean it...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Being grey

Today I had to perform an extremely unpleasant errand for somebody who really should have known better than to ask this of me. I was made to go back to this hospital which was the place where I spent a couple of the most hellish months of my life, in order to hand over a trivial gift, right at the reception area where I got to know that terrible truth. I could have chosen to ignore this particular errand, but I don't want anybody to feel like I owe them anything. So I went, telling myself that I'm old enough to deal with this, that life isn't about running away. But it was so hard to see that place again, the roads leading up to it, the building, the canteen where I spent endless nights alone gobbling up a solitary sandwich for dinner, hoping that I would be able to stay awake to help and not be too crabby about it. Most of all, I was thinking about the person that place took away from me, and how I messed up my chance to do the right thing by her. When I walked into the reception area, I kept looking for her shadow, to see if it watching me struggle.

I know, life goes on. Nothing terribly profound about that, coz life only knows how to go on. I know that I have to go on, and to realize that its not all about me, and how I feel. There are other, more important things, like running errands. But it isn't happening very naturally. I look around and I see how I sometimes make people who are close to me uncomfortable, coz they really don't know what to say to me. That look on their faces, saying that they're sorry for me, but they don't know how to let me know that without offending me, or making me feel worse. As it is, being a social creature is hard for me, and it makes it doubly tough when I see myself guarding against the very people that I love the most in the world. I don't know how long it will take for me to get over this nagging hurt. I just hope that it happens, and soon. I also hope that when it does, I don't wake up to find that I've distanced everyone who has tried to help. This experience has changed me. I've become a cynic, jaded, weary and bitter. I just hope the change isn't irrevocable, coz I really don't like the way I've become. The only encouraging sign is that I'm still tenaciously holding on to hope, a little bit of it. Maybe it'll save me.

I want to be whole again. I want to laugh with all my heart, coz 75 percent just isn't good enough. I want to be as foolish as I was before I got a taste of hospitals. But you can't choose your experiences. So I'll just pray that I can make my peace with them, and hope that there are second chances, opportunities that can help me make up for my mistakes, even though I can't ever compensate for this particular one. I hope to be strong enough to break this wall around my heart.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Shut Up!!

Till very recently, I thought that I'd been suffering from writer's block...but now the words are flowing so fast that my fingers can't keep pace. What brought about this amazing transformation, you ask? Simple. Anger. Pure, unadulterated anger. I cannot believe that sometimes, in fact so many times, education is just a waste, and that people remain such twits! (Sorry for the language). People, my post today is about feminism, so all of you who couldn't be bothered, please, for heaven's sake, stop reading right now. Or maybe you should chew on the fact that 'apathetic' contains 'pathetic' inside it.

Yes, feminism. I like it, I espouse it. Why, you ask? Because I have studied it, and I understand it. Conversely, because I have studied it, I have the right to dismiss it if I wish to, and I refuse to share this right with every random person on the street. Big deal, you say..yes, it is a very big deal. Today if I decide that conventional medicine is all a bunch of hocus pocus and should be done away with, will you listen to me and come to me for treatment the next time you fall sick? Of course not, The reason? I'm not a doctor. I'm not qualified to make such statements. So if that respect is accorded to medicine, why is social science everybody's playing field, and fair game for everyone? Coz it speaks in English?

Getting back to feminism, I have heard so many educated women, dressed in jeans, maybe even smoking the regulation cigarette, claiming that they aren't feminists, like its an infectious disease or something. I've wanted to scream, "Just LOOK AT YOURSELVES, FOR PITY'S SAKE!!!" Why do you think you're able to wear jeans, or smoke cigarettes? Why do you think you're able to 'choose a love marriage', whatever that is? Because, dolts, that space is available to you today. You may not care enough to vote, but just imagine...YOU CAN! How the heck do you think you got all these things? Through the benevolence of men?? My advice is, join a library, and use it, please. The thought that you are the people who benefitted from all the years of toil undertaken by all those marvellous women just leaves me cold.

Also, feminism is an academic discipline. It is a body of work that has been subjected to the most critical analyses by the most brilliant minds in social science. It is NOT trivia, to be dismissed after trivial and perfunctory discussions. So, the next time, when you decide to not get married, or eat like a pig, or buy the shortest skirt in the store, think about who gave you this freedom. Have a little respect for the state of things today, because so many people dedicated their lives to making sure that this much atleast could be accomplished. And, please, think before you say things that sound airy and cool but are vapid and insubstantial. This is for my benefit, women. Don't get me mad again.

On a happier note, the new James Bond is quite ok, almost good, as long as he keeps his shirt on.