Monday, May 21, 2007

It Hurts, And How..

I've been thinking, about nothing in particular, and everything in general. The outlook is rather grim, for some reason. I'm not very clear as to what that reason is. I suspect it is more because of self indulgence than any concrete malady. So, now, I obviously have to overanalyze it. Goodness, this blog must be the most mixed up collection of pap in the world. Or maybe not. Lets not be presumptuous so early in the morning. I almost never blog in the morning. That's because I'm almost never up. But that doesn't mean that I can't, does it?

Sorrow, pain, misery. It has some sort of strange glamour attached to it. The songs that touch us the most are the ones that speak of loss, and unrequited emotions, and what could have been. I've heard people talk of migraines as if just the act of suffering a migraine is one of martyrdom that somehow makes them deeper, more intense people. Or just look at that very astute index of human emotions, the Orkut profile. So, what did you learn from your past relationship? More often than not, never to trust anyone (girls, in particular, seem to be the most heinous offenders of the heart). Its a not too obtuse way of hinting at a broken heart, a tragedy that lends some texture to life. I call it the Meena Kumari Syndrome(MKS). That esteemable lady made a career out of speaking in a low, sad voice and drinking along. I've always laughed (secretly) at people lost in sorrows of their own making. Laughing on their faces gives them an opportunity to feel misunderstood, and the pain just keeps increasing. MKS induces a belief that only morons are happy, that being sad is an intellectual statement. Why, though? Why must one be deep and intense? If you're inherently superficial (oxymoron alert), why can't you be like that? Why wear misery like a badge of honour?

Recently, it looked like a variant of MKS had come to bite me. This particular variety of the disease makes one angsty and blue for no paricular reason, and manifests in a huge jump in the number of thoughts whirling around in the brain, till the head wants to explode and the heart wants to take a nap. The only reason that seemed to justify this bout of the blues was that my plan wasn't working out. Which plan, you ask? The Plan. The outline of what life is supposed to be like, the one that I'd worked out at sixteen, which was going horribly awry. All evening I tortured myself (and others) being listless and listening to bad music, loitering around the hostel talking to myself. Today I decided that I'd had enough. I wrote down The Plan on a sheet of paper, and threw it out in the trash. Symbolism, very profound. I don't care, The Plan can take a hike in the garbage truck. If I'm gonna be inflicted with MKS, I'm gonna own up to it and not hide behind silly reasons like The Plan. And the next time you ask if anything's wrong, and I say nothing's wrong, and continue to mope anyway, you'll know that I'm telling the truth. It is precisely 'nothing' that makes me sad most often. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go back to sleep. Some things are sacred.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tag'd

This post is being inflicted on you because I got tagged by Corn-Knee. Just to make it clear that whatever happens henceforth is not my fault.

So, apparently this arcane ritual has two steps. First, I'm supposed to pass the disease on to five others. Muahahahaha. I choose Kitkat, Another Brick In The Wall, Red, New Age Scheherazade and Raghu. Muahahahaha.

Secondly, I have to type out the last paragraph on page 123 of the book that I'm reading, which is not, as some people have insinuated, the latest lurid Mills and Boon. Here goes...

"There was a side door to the house, and she opened this and peered out into the yard. The paw-paw trees had incipient fruit upon them, which would be ready in a month or so. There were one or two other plants, shrubs that had wilted in the heat but which had the dogged determination of indigenous Botswana vegetation. These would survive even if never watered; they would cling on in the dry ground, making the most of what little moisture they could draw from the soil, tenacious because they lived here in this dry country, and had always lived here. Mma Ramotswe had once described the traditional plants of Botswana as loyal and yes, that was right, thought Mma Makutsi, that is what they are - our old friends, our fellow survivors in this brown land that I love and love so much. Not that she thought about that love very often, but it was there, as it was there in the hearts of all Batswana. And that was surely what most people wanted, at the end of the day; to live on the land that they love, and nowhere else; to be where their people had been before them, as long as anybody could remember."
- Alexander McCall Smith, The Full Cupboard of Life.

I love how he writes, he makes me smile. And all you people playing the tagging game, have you given a thought to copyright violations?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Just A List, And Some Other Things

Things I Liked About The Pachmarhi Trip: -

1. Seven official Masters out on their last hurrah, before life beckoned.
2. The weather in Delhi at the beginning of the trip. Thunder, lightning, rain. Unexpected, and therefore, so very nice.
3. The part on the train journey where everyone except RK was up, early in the morning or in the dead of night, whichever way you want to see it.
4. B screaming 'chai!! chai!!' at a rather surprised pair of guards at Jhansi railway station at 4.30 in the morning.
5. Poor RR trying to get us a cup of tea in the morning, having to jump back onto the moving train, and consequently getting hot tea all over his hand. (Us equals B and I. We're addicted to the stuff, as the others will attest). Thanks man, but the tea was sooooooo bad. It smelled like a cow.
6. VJF insisting on telling the thoroughly disinterested RK that the city of Bhopal was named after its founder, a guy named Bhop.
7. The start of the bus ride to Pachmarhi, when the bus was almost full, and I honestly believed that we'd be there soon.
8. The little boy at the fruit juice stand at Hoshangabad, who very proudly rattled off a list of fruits that he could juice up, and then was too shy to look at me after I'd given him a bar of chocolate.
9. The first dinner at Pachmarhi. I was so hungry that everything tasted like manna from heaven.
10. The fact that the place had no cellular network, very few people and practically no noise.
11. That there was a pair of swings outside the cottages where we were staying. I haven't done that in so long.
12. I slept early and woke up early (ahem, relatively) and had tea sitting on the veranda, and looked at the trees.
13. The cold water was cold, and sweet, like it always is in the hills, and back home.
14. The frolicking around at the two waterfalls the next day. Sitting at the base of Bee Falls, with the water rushing down my back. This is what the leading ladies of Hindi cinema get paid to do. I'm so jealous.
15. The view from the viewpoint with the name that I don't remember, with a glassful of the best tea I've ever had.
16. Standing up in the Gypsy on the ride back to the cottage, and taking awkward pictures.
17. The after dinner walk where I picked up a disreputable looking and thoroughly chewed up pencil stub, and pocketed it as a souvenir. RK thought it was rather gross.
18. The visit to the two hundred and fifty year old British church the next day, and peering in to see the stained glass windows.
19. The short, death defying bus ride back to Bhopal, which restored some of my faith in this nation's public transport system.
20. Reading all of Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner' and almost all of Dalrymple's 'City of Djinns' on the train back. Heya Kitkat, is that why you refer to denim pants as D-Jeans?

Things I Didn't Like Quite As Much On The Pachmarhi Trip: -

1. Bhopal Express should be renamed 'Lose Weight Now? Ask Me How' Express. There was no food. No hawkers even.
2. The train was three hours late, we missed the state transport bus, and had to resort to the Shady Travels bus, which had to go bust at H'bad, to add the last missing element to the bus ride from hell.
3. The conductor evidently thought that his bus was actually Noah's Ark, and he had to save Everybody.
4. I had an aisle seat, and therefore, posteriors belonging to a whole swathe of people, and of every possible description, were thrust in front of my face.
5. B also managed to garner a smiling, leery admirer, who had teeth of every conceivable size, shape and colour.
6. The bus journey which was supposed to take five hours took seven instead, and made me re-evaluate my notions of what the phrase 'blazing heat' was supposed to mean.
7. Everybody had the most frightful fit of the sulks as a consequence. At one point I thought that VJF would kill the next person who said a 'Hi' to him.
8. The food at Pachmarhi was....very interesting. The chicken biryani at the Khalsa Restaurant should be called raw chicken and uncooked rice with fossilized onion rings on top.
9. The smart alec tour guide (there is ALWAYS one of those) had the temerity to tell me that I should shut up and climb the rest of the hill in silence for the trek to be 'complete'. ME. And I wasn't even being particularly loquacious. Should've pushed him back into the waterfall, but I figured that I didn't want to pollute something so beautiful.
10. The Rasoi Dhaba took an hour to serve us lunch, messed up our bill, and the tastiest thing I had was the soot from the mud stove that flew in and got mixed up with my food.
11. The three hundred very steep steps that led to the Bee Falls, that made me realize the exact position of every muscle in my thighs, and made my heart want to leap out of my body with sheer exhaustion.
12. The motley bunch of men at the waterfall who thought swimming trunks were unnecessary frills, and bathed in their underwear. Boys, swimming trunks are NOT a luxury, you made me want to gouge my eyes out AND ruined all the pictures. And do not presume to use my shoulder as a support for you to climb back down, you're all disgusting. And the woman who shampooed her hair in the waterfall should've been arrested. And the bunch of cheeky kids who thought that getting me drenched was a great idea, you will grow up to be exactly the kind of people who will travel ticketless in buses.
13. The waiter dropping dal on my head at dinner, and cleaning it up with the rag he used to clean all the other tables. He did tell all the other insensitive louts at my table to quit laughing, though. I forgive him.
14. I really did not want to see a dead puppy on the road.
15. The fact that the train back got diverted because of the accident, and took twelve hours extra through blisteringly hot Rajasthan. We had to drink boiling water all day, there was no food anywhere, and I have never felt so dirty in my life. I think it was meant to make us appreciate the relatively pleasant heat that tortures Delhi.

Yes, that's about it. Among other things, there are a lot of goodbyes to be said, which is bumming me out a little bit. I'm feeling a curious sense of deflation, now that I'm officially unemployed, and can no longer use my student status to not leave tips at restaurants. I'm also quite scared about what is to come, but that is no real novelty.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Weird Chronicles - II

This post is the result of my recent conversation with Pinkerton, my little sibling. We spent about an hour reminiscing about our childhood, and some of the more foolish things we did. It made me realise that certain traits do run in families, and weirdness is one of them.

Once the parents, Pinkerton and I were travelling by train from Guwahati to Kolkata. P and I were on the two top berths, conversing loudly. It went as follows: -

Me: - I have been on this berth for fifty years. I got on, forgot to get off, and now I live here.
P: - hehe.
Me: - I have rats in my hair. They go foraging for food at night, and come back and sleep here during the day.
P:- hehahahaha.
Me: - I haven't bathed in fifty years. I stink so much that my dog left me. One day he just got off the train and never came back.
P: - heheheheheee....bow wow!
Me: - arf arf!!
Parents: - Sigh. Let's eat.
Other co-passengers: - Wha..?

This other time, my mum, my two sisters and I were travelling from New Delhi to Jamshedpur on a train called Purushottam Express, and we had very adventurously decided to travel by sleeper class. The trip hadn't started very well. We'd almost missed the train, and once we were on it, we were wishing that we had, in fact, missed it. Briefly, it was dirty, crowded, slow...complete tinpot. The next day, on the train, the sisters and I came up with an alternative, a train that we would develop, called the Horror Express. Here's why.

This train would be patrolled by robots armed with machine guns. The slightest violation of norms and rat-a-tat! The mess that resulted would also be promptly cleaned up. If anyone went to the toilet and didn't clean up after themselves, a mechanized boot would appear out of the wall, and would proceed to kick him/her out of the train. If anyone were to spit on any part of the train, it would self destruct in thirty seconds. Ka-boom! And the USP of the train would be that every ticket came with a guaranteed nervous breakdown, free of charge.

Trains bring out the best in my family. That also seems to liven up the journeys of those travelling with us, whether they like it or not. But that's alright. Like ol' Pelham Grenville would say, into each life, some rain must fall.

P.S.: - This one's for my grandpa, who, I am convinced, was the best one in the world. I'll miss you, Dadubhai.