Thursday, December 30, 2004
The story was over
A premature death
In the hands
Of the prophesizing poetess
Whose craft was faulty
The story she told
Was not the story
And the story she felt
Was not the story
She wanted to tell
In her paradox
She muffled her emotions
And the end began
Before it was supposed to
And because that happened
Came to life
And lived in the world
They were not supposed to
And the end was over
To the craft
Of the prophesizing poetess
And the poetess
Gave them emotions
That they weren’t supposed
And things happened
That weren’t supposed
And in the end
That followed consequently
Had to taste
A bitter blood
Her poisonous sweat
And as her imagination died
Leaving her alone
As she was before poetry
Friday, December 24, 2004
Over their territory
They think they own
And then they are reminded
That it doesn’t belong to them
By stones that come hurling toward them
On their way
Through to another land
Carrying distant hopes through here
Hopes of meeting lost lovers again
But the hope remains while life continues
In my consciousness, the sounds that I hear in the night are the other sounds, of the traffic passing by and the sounds of the neighbourhood ‘Chinese whispering’ into our home. Of course, there are the passing trains and the barking dogs. But not as crystal clear as the others.
The sound lingers
Until replaced with another
Like memories that fade out
And then wait to be replaced
Sometimes the cycle breaks making memories eternal
Through these walls
And into our lives
Bring with them complications unwanted
But Chinese whispers kill the complications
And what we hear isn’t what is
* * *
Update: A note on the writing style of the above pieces - each one of them comprise of lines carrying one extra word than the previous line.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
It was real. Reality was not what he had expected. He had not expected that reality would be like a fairy tale. The fairy tale that had come out of nowhere. The new age fairytale.
* * *
When he was a child, he did not believe in fairy tales. They were for the others. Those who believed easily. Those who believed in the tales and adventures his father told him at night.
When his father told him those stories at night before he went to sleep, he always doubted. Doubted if any of it was possible, if any of it really happened, if it could have ever happened. But he never asked or questioned. He just doubted. And as each night the stories unfolded, his disbelief grew.
But he loved the stories. He loved the stories because they were not reality. And reality was not real. And reality was not a fairy tale.
* * *
And today he was faced with a ‘real’ fairy tale. The fairy tale of ‘his’ life. The fairy tale that was about to enter his life and sweep him away. And he knew that he was on the brink of this fairy tale. The threshold that he was about to cross, and move in to the land that he doubted when he was a child. That he doubted till five minutes ago.
It was not like anything that he had expected.
Friday, December 17, 2004
"Honestly, even if I could, I would not change a single thing that has happened since I met you."
His thoughts were mostly on the last twenty four hours.
"I am not sure what we have, or what it is becoming, but I don't want it to stop."
He played the scene again and again in his mind.
"I never thought that this was going to reach now, so soon, and today."
That very moment, when it had happened, out of the blue.
"I never thought that I'd be telling you this tonight."
The confession, coming out, off his chest, and into her mind.
"The person I was talking about the other night, was you."
Then, time froze, and everything was still, except her.
"I don't know what to say anymore."
And she looked deeply into his eyes.
"I don't know if I have you, but I don't want to lose you."
Thursday, December 16, 2004
To go back, to a place he called home. But home, was not the same when he had gone back. Home, was not the way he had left it. Home, had changed. Perhaps this is why he had come back here.
To pick up the pieces of the home he had left, to go back home. But it did not feel like a homecoming. It felt like he was here visiting. And that was not the feeling of home.
But when he got the feeling of going home, it was not home anymore.
He sighed, as he put these thoughts behind him and walked into familiar territory. The buzz greeted him. Welcomed him back. To his new home.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Sunday, December 05, 2004
I remember, the river, the road and the trees; all running together. Cutting through it, perfect slants of sunlight, through the trees, over the road, onto the river. Making it shimmer.
I remember, as we passed from sunlight to shadow, while driving through, my mind entered heaven. This was heaven. Not a care in the world, everything left behind. Just the two of us on a bike, on our way to the faraway beach. No worries, no hang ups, just us having a good time. Far away from everyday life.
I remember, the road snaked its way through and there was the odd buzz of a car or a bike passing us by.
What I remember the most, was the wind. The wind blowing through our hair. The smell of the wind and all that it carried with it. Wafting through. The wind bringing the carefree feeling with it. The feeling of heaven.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
And then she happened. She happened when he was not looking out. She happened when he did not want anything to happen. When he was not looking for anything to happen. But she did.
It was not expected.
They were meeting innocently for the first time. Not aware what was going to happen and how the future was going to turn for them. They looked at each other and considerations were made. The considerations did not match. He had something else on his mind. She had something else. The two things were related but they were not the same.
And so it was born.
The meeting extended beyond time and place. They moved locations. They moved atmospheres. They moved thoughts. They thought different thoughts. Innocent thoughts, harmless thoughts. Innocent and harmless to themselves. But not necessarily the other.
Then things that were not supposed to happen happened. Then things that were supposed to happen happened.
He was happy before he met her. Now he is in another world.
* * *
I was unhappy before I met her.
She was supposed to happen to me. I was looking out for her. I wanted her to happen to me. I was looking out for something to happen to me. But she didn't.
It was not expected.
They were meeting innocently for the first time. I was not aware what was going to happen and how the future was going to turn for me. They looked at each other and considerations were made. The considerations did not match. I didn't know that he had something else on his mind. I knew that she had something else on hers. The two things were related but they were not the same.
And so it was born.
The meeting extended beyond time and place. We moved locations. We moved atmospheres. We moved thoughts. They thought different thoughts. Innocent thoughts, harmless thoughts. Innocent and harmless to themselves. But not necessarily the other.
Then things that were not supposed to happen happened. Things that were supposed to happen to me happened to him.
I was unhappy before I met her. Now I am in another world.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Thursday, November 25, 2004
But they had. They had met. They had been together, even if it were for those few days, they had. They had defied all boundaries; real and imaginable; to come together for those few days and then they were separated again. Each back to where each belonged.
Different lives brought together by fate. By chance. Never could they imagine that a thing like this could have happened. Friendships strengthened in a day, reinforced, and promises made to ones own self. The feeling of a whirlwind coming into your life and taking it by storm.
He sat in silence and thought about it all, all that had happened, all that didn’t happen, all that should have happened, all that could have happened. He smiled a sad smile to himself as he looked into nowhere.
And then his memory took him back to the day of the first arrival. The rush to the station, the traffic jam, the smell of the dirty hawkers, the buzz of traffic whizzing by on the other side.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
But now the time had come. It had passed and matured. He had natured it, dwelt with it over the years and waited in the hope that he would see today.
He had suppressed all the feelings inside him. He had kept quiet and kept it to himself. He had had a thousand stirrings in between but this was going to be the real thing.
His time had come. The journey had come to him and it was his time to make his move and change his life forever. This was the only time and as all things do, it came suddenly and without warning.
No storm to mark the day. No sign from the heavens. Nothing. Just another day. This is where his story starts and this is his story …
Saturday, November 20, 2004
He didn’t drink. He just liked to pretend that he was drinking. Just because he wanted to have the glass in his hand, so that he wouldn’t get distracted and pulled away from his chain of thoughts. Every movement of his was calculated. Anyone who saw him at the table would think that he was a regular there. It was his nonchalant attitude that was the real secret behind the way he became inconspicuous in a place like this.
He went there on weekends to unwind. To let out all the steam and pressure that had been building up within during the week. He found a kind of peace in the chaos of “The Nightclub”. He looked straight-ahead and beamed into the dance floor. He watched the bodies moving in and out of tune to the heavy music that pulsated from the hidden speakers all over The Nightclub.
He stayed like that for a long time; staring at no one in particular but feeling what the people on the dance floor were feeling. Then suddenly, without warning, he didn’t want to look anymore. He turned away and repeated the same exercise with the glass on the table as he had done earlier.
His eyes darted all around. He noticed all the people and their attitudes. He observed each one in detail and made a mental note in each case. Not that he was going to do anything about it. He just liked doing it. It made him feel adequate and worthy. He thought it was strange but accepted it without any resistance. So much so that he didn’t even give it a second thought.
He ran his fingers over his skin and fondled the stubble that was in its formative stages. The bristles felt like little blunt pins on his fingers trying very hard to pierce his skin. He carried on rubbing his chin as if in great thought but in reality there was nothing on his mind. His fingers moved up towards his sideburns and as if in an orchestrated movement it was attracted to his head. He ran his fingers through his smooth, soft, wavy hair; until he had reached the nape of his neck. Then he pulled away and repeated the exercise with the drink.
The glass was half-empty now. He had no indications of wanting a refill. He was beginning to feel the music in his body now and felt like he needed to dance. His friends were on the dance floor and they seemed to be enjoying themselves.
He started debating as to whether he should join them or not. He decided that he should. He grabbed the glass from the table and downed the rest of the liquid. He slammed the glass back down on the table and rushed to the dance floor because his favourite track had started.
The empty glass lay alone on the table. The flickering lights bounced off some object and landed on the glass. The droplets of water dripping down the side of the glass glowed like diamonds.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Friday, November 12, 2004
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Only, he was not. He was leaving. And the last memories of the house were going to stay with him. Especially the smell.
The smell he could never forget, having grown up with it. It was the familiar smell of home. It was the mixture of the smells of all the things that were at home. And this mix was the unique mix that could not be replicated anywhere else, no matter how hard he tried. And he had tried. He had tried to get the smell in every home he had lived in over the past years. But somehow he could not get it. And when he went back home, the first thing that he longed for was that smell.
He drew a deep breath as he entered the home for the last time, taking it all in. And then a loud sigh. Followed by the breeze bringing in the wind. And getting mixed with the smell.
* * *
His transformation was complete.
Well, as complete as he might have wanted it to be. Years ago.
It had been many years of living away from her. It had changed him. And when he looked back at all that had happened and how he had moved from one place to another. One life to another. Restarting, again and again. Each new life, a better life. Each new life, further away from her.
And this made them grow even closer.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Sunday, November 07, 2004
I found this picture simple yet fascinating. So many opposites to observe, think and write about. But I thought that I’d let the picture speak for itself. For now.
Thoughts and observations invited, of course.
Saturday, November 06, 2004
The final call is announced. The sprawling lounge, clean as a whistle, gives the impression of being a passage to another world. The yellow-on-black sign screams out the gate numbers. And I walk on. Through the passage. To another world.
The plane, connected, awaits. Humming in anticipation. Its frowning eyes staring you in the face. Reprimanding you for being one of the last ones to enter. The trip to the Sinking City has drawn to a close. Clear skies beckon.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Sunday, October 31, 2004
I could have sworn his peppered hair gleamed the way his eyes did, when he turned back and looked at me.
He had read my mind and knew exactly what I had been thinking. His words were not hidden. He wanted me to know that he had been reading my mind. He wanted me to know that what I had been thinking, my inner thoughts, my personal space, was open. Open for him to read. Open for him to let me know they had been read.
For a moment I was taken aback when he first spoke. His words came out and jolted me. And then everything wooshed into stillness. His mouth was opening and closing but I had no idea what he was saying. His villainous eyes gleaming. In knowledge. In knowledge that he knew exactly what I had been thinking. And that I knew that he knew.
I kept staring at him. Time had stopped. I could hear nothing. Just soft music playing and I felt as if I was floating. Floating away.
My secret language violated by his seasoned ears.
* * *
I could have sworn her beautiful hair lost its shine the way her eyes did, when I turned back and looked at her.
I thought I had read her mind and knew exactly what she had been thinking. My words just came out. I wanted her to know that I had something to tell her. I wanted her to know my inner thoughts, my personal space, was open. Open for her to read. Open for her to get to know me.
For a moment I was bold when I first spoke. My words came out and she didn’t seem to be listening. And then everything wooshed into stillness. My mouth was opening and closing but I had no idea what I was saying. Her beautiful eyes questioning. In confusion. In confusion perhaps, because I was saying exactly what I had been thinking. And that she didn’t know what I was saying.
She kept staring at me. Time had stopped. I could hear nothing. Just soft music playing and I felt as if I was floating. Floating away.
My secret feelings violated by my pathetic confession.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I remember, the first time I experimented and wrote something similar to what I have been writing recently (Juxtaposed, The Oracle, Intrusion, Influenced Opinions), what I call ‘reflective imagery’, my English teacher refused to put it into the school magazine. At that point, for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why. So I asked her, what was wrong with it.
Teacher: It’s not right.
Me: What is wrong with it?
Teacher (shocked at being questioned): I said, it, is, just, not, right.
Me (refusing to understand): I don’t understand, what is wrong with the writing?
Teacher (bewildered): I … I don’t know. I can’t publish this.
Me (eyebrows up): Why?
Teacher (exasperated): I have already told you. It is not right. This is not the way to write articles for the school magazine. I will publish the other piece you wrote on (some school function) but not this.
(I stare at her in disbelief)
Teacher: Now stop asking stupid questions and go back to your class. Who is the English teacher, you or me?
Me (mumbling, while walking away): It doesn’t look like you are going to stay one for long at the rate you are going!
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
The wicked old man, tipped his hat, and stared into the paper in his hand. The creases on his face bunched up in union of the opinion that he was about to form. His shirt, crumpled and creased from yesterday, hung loose on one side. His headache hammered away, sealing his opinion on the matter. A draft of tobacco lingered nearby. Smoke trickled from a cigar on the side like embers dying out. He moved his head slowly from one side to the other and squinted his eyes. The decision already decided. But done to give an impression of careful evaluation. His body bathing in a spotlight on the wooden stage. The light solitary, going back to the end of the theatre. Controlled by hands. Wrinkled hands, like the crease on the old mans’ face. The wrinkles bunching up in union, in anticipation, of the old mans next move. The next move already decided, but the hands ready to change direction. If necessary.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Her mouth went dry. It felt like crumpled paper. Like crumpled sandpaper. She reached out for a drink of water. Loud gulping noises. Gushing noises. And then silence. Taking stock of the room around.
The curtain opens and the world intrudes her space. Streaming light and morning birds. A silky wind, caresses. A palm gropes around the side table. Fingers spread, coming down in a pattern. Left, right, forward. Until it finds the pack. Pick up and put next to her. The palm repeats the same groping movement. The lighter is found.
As the pack is opened, the light plastic scrunches. A stick is pulled out. The pack is snapped shut and thrown back. The stick is twirled around her fingers. Clockwise from index finger to middle finger and then anti clockwise from the middle finger to ring finger. Then it follows back the same route to the index finger. Again and again, back and forth. The other hand lights a flame. And then lets it die.
She is juggling now. The right hand twirling the stick, the left lighting and letting a flame die. She is in a trance, her head still staring at both movements, controlling them in her head and marveling at the coordination.
She stops. And brings the stick to her lips. In what is almost a twirling somersault between her fingers. The lighter is now being twirled. And now she lights it. Bringing it close to the stick. The flame dancing. Her hand stopping an inch away from the flame. The moment frozen. Then she moves her head forward for the stick to meet the flame.
The tip of the stick glows and becomes brighter as she takes the first defining drag. The crumpled sandpaper feeling in the mouth intensifies but her calm now blends into the intrusion of the new morning.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Saturday, October 16, 2004
The light now streams into the room, through the slightly parted curtains.The mesh like curtains, offer a hazy view of what is outside. The streaming light bounces onto the marble floor offering a scratchy reflection blocked in part by the rug. The reflection blends into the rug and comes out on the other side. Next to it is the reflection of the white sofa, which blends into the white curtains, which blends into the white walls. As you move up the walls, the purity of the reflections and the white is broken by a new image.
Friday, October 15, 2004
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Monday, October 11, 2004
I just took a break from my laptop and looked outside, and was surprised to see the night lights and darkness around. And it does not even seem like I have been at it for long. The last time I looked out there was a fair amount of light. Not sunny, but bright at the same time. And no inclinations of the sun about to set.
I have always found the ‘sunset window’ to be very intriguing. It does not hang around for too long. I notice this whenever I decide to watch a sunset. Most of the time you land up spending at least an hour or more patiently waiting for the right moment to for the sunset to ‘start’ and then it only lasts about 15 minutes and suddenly it is dark. But the wait is always worth it. Those few moments are very beautiful.
What makes watching the sunset worth it is the wait. And what makes the wait worth it is when you are in a relaxed mood and all geared up to watch the sunset. Somehow, my favourite memories of sunsets are always related to vacations and to places away from where I stay. To beaches, to mountain tops, to cliffs, to rivers and forests. Those are moments I can’t resist capturing if I have a camera in my hand and keep clicking away.
I love the way the sun bleeds into the sky and how everything changes in those few moments. Every bit of the experience is essential. The birds flying away. The smell in the air. The sound of the sea and the wind. The glistening reflection of the sun in any surface that can reflect. It is a multi-sensory experience.
But today I missed it. Today I didn’t realize when it happened. But I can’t even say that I would have wanted to see it today.
There would have been no wait. And I like to wait for the sunset.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
You don’t really see the evolution. But then you look back at what you are today and compare it with what you were 10-15 years ago and draw the parallels. They are striking. You behaviors are mirrored. It might not be an exact reflection, but it is an evolved reflection. Like looking into a pond which has ripples. This reflection comes out in the way you handle situations, your attitude towards things, your demeanor and countless other ways. I realized it last night as I was heading home. I was thinking back on my week and how I thought about some stuff and handled certain situations and about how similar it was to what I was like when I was a child. Now, this is not be confused with “not growing up”. This is about growing up, but at the same time retaining what is essentially “you”.
Think of your demeanor towards anything in the present, and then look back and think whether there is a parallel mannerism you exhibited when you were young(er) …
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
First off, go here. It has good explanations not only for pedestrian and elevator button pushers, but also for honking in traffic jams, cable TV channel surfing, refrigerator door reopening, email box refreshing and hitting the snooze bar. All in all makes for a very interesting read. Thanks to whoever (Anonymous) left it in the comments section.
Some additional thoughts on the previous post - I firmly believe that crosswalk buttons are completely misleading. You have no control whatsoever over what the sign will do, and that any perception that you do have control is a complete placebo effect. I've never seen anyone press the button and shorten the interval for the light to change. People keep pressing these dummy buttons, thinking they have some modicum of control over traffic and their immediate path in life. But instead what they have is an illusion of control. The decision about when the light will change has already been made, independent of them and their button-pushing desire to move forward. For elevators however, there is no delusion of giving control. The only control that it offers is the ability to choose what level you want to go to. Beyond that there is no promise. So I guess, we can attribute this purely to impatience. Not that the earlier one cannot be attributed to impatience, but that does have an element of delusional control to it (which is the more overbearing reason).
As I sign off, I must admit, I am sometimes guilty of these too (more often wondering if I should do it again and having someone preempt the second pushing, than pushing repeatedly myself) ... and I do agree that it does not irritate as much as someone behind you honking at red lights!!!
Sunday, October 03, 2004
Why do people push it after they have seen you pushing it? Do they think that it will stay green for a longer time when it comes on?
Why do people stand in a elevator lobby and keep pushing the button once the light has come on? Do they think the elevator is ignoring them?
Why do people in an elevator push their floor button regardless of whether or not it's been pushed already? Do they push it again and again in the hope that they will reach faster?
Friday, October 01, 2004
* * *
Filipinos are known worldwide for their ability to improvise on and reproduce first-world technology into forms more attainable given limited financial resources. An example of this ability is the Philippine jeepney. The army jeeps left by the United States after the Second World War inspired the making of these vehicles. Artworks of painstaking detail are often seen on the shining chrome bodies of these vehicles, which, as earlier said, are copies of army jeeps, resized and remodeled to accommodate commuting passengers numbering from 20 to 30 all in all.
The first jeepneys were actually the army jeeps themselves, numbering into the hundreds all over the country, but mostly concentrated in the metropolis, which were repainted or scraped to the metal, upon which various decorations were attached. Moving horse figurines, flags, colorful lights, paintings, traditional designs, bonnets, mirrors and stickers were put on these vehicles, making each vehicle startlingly different in terms of appearance from the next one. Ford Fieras were also soon used for jeepney production. Later on, however, the companies that did these remodeling jobs started making much bigger bodies running on surplus diesel engines (which are cheaper in the long run for the jeepney driver), thereby increasing the overall capacity of jeepneys. This, of course, gave much advantage to the jeepney drivers who bought them, over the ones with original remodeled jeepneys. Soon, the army jeeps and Ford Fieras were all but totally displaced by the Philippine-made jeepneys with bodies entirely crafted locally, but with the high-tech parts obtained from surplus shops throughout the country. The Philippine jeepney industry was thus born, and later on, it spread to the different provinces from Metropolitan Manila where it all started, making the jeepney the most ubiquitous vehicle indeed in the Philippines.
The unique thing about jeepneys is that no jeepney is exactly the same as another. Each jeepney is a testament to the artistic ability of the designer assigned to it. Work on the vehicle itself sometimes takes much shorter than work on the design and decorations on the vehicle, as the former has become almost mechanical, but the latter requires repetitive planning, and sometimes, mistakes can put back the designing effort by 1 or 2 weeks behind. It is a matter of pride for a jeepney designer to come up with a jeepney pleasing to the eye, and with an interior design that is both beautiful and not an impediment to function. Several improvisations are also put in inside the jeepney, such as blinker lights that come on when passengers who have to alight press a button or pull a string. Sometimes, there is a basket attached to a string that collects fare from the passengers. Payment while on a jeepney is on an honesty basis, with the jeepney driver just hoping that everyone who goes on his vehicle will pay the required amount for the distance traveled. Apart from the occasional companion while driving, the jeepney driver has little way of knowing who among his passengers has not paid. Sometimes, designers therefore put on signs to stoke the conscience of passengers, or to admonish passengers who fail to pay, with lines like “God knows Judas not pay.”
Local companies like Sarao Motors and Francisco Motors are prominent names in jeepney production in the Philippines. These companies build jeepneys piece by piece and in painstaking individual production. Buyers may have jeepneys made on a contractual basis, with designs specified by them. Visitors often pass by the workshops to watch jeepney artisans at work, to which the latter have no objection.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
I wish I had not checked in my camera. I’m sitting in the airport and writing this. I have landed up early and have to hang around. I settled on the restaurant at the higher level, so that I could see the runaway and possibly relax.
* * *
The clouds form different patterns; you wouldn’t see sharing the same sky usually. Today it’s pristine. Long thin dark clouds in the foreground of lighter fatter clouds. A light hue of saffron infecting the sky. The clouds tell a story. A story of inevitable rain. You can sense the rain coming soon. But not now. Now, the clouds share the same space. Thin clouds and fat clouds. White clouds and dark clouds. Sharing the same sky.
The wind creating tremors in little puddles of water on the terrace. Like a warning of the rain to come. There are no birds in the sky. Another warning?
In the distance the city buzzes. But from here it is still. Only the leaves move. And the water in the puddle. The wind buzzes. The sky sizzles. And everything is still.
Inside, a man, engrossed in his book. Another taken in by the television. Another, with his work. The waiter clearing the table, careful not to let anything fall.
The waiter has cleared the table of the man watching the television, who is sitting at the table next to the man engrossed in his work, who is sitting across from the man who is reading. On the table next to him, there is a glass. The glass is almost empty. But for a few cubes of ice, settled around a white straw, in the remains of lemon ice tea. The reflection in the glass is white, with black specks moving in the background. The black specs are these words. Beyond these words is the other glass, that separates the beauty outside from the people inside.
The shared sky, the buzzing city that is still, the words being written, the empty glass of lemon ice tea and the room with the people. Juxtaposed. Distanced but juxtaposed. A strange combination. All caught in the mirror across the room, together.
I stare at the mirror and I stare at this screen. I wish I had not checked in my camera.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I guess that is why a person who doesn't take afternoon naps, suddenly needs to take them once in a while.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
A bunch of tourists excitedly took photographs of each other on the flight. One amongst them, a girl, squealing in delight with every photograph she took, at times carrying 4 cameras together, juggling them and taking the same snap again and again. Why couldn’t they just take prints and share them later? The squealing continued for quite some time. And not a single member of the crew in sight. Where are they when they need to get people like this to settle down?
The plane took off. The luggage compartment overhead opened and stuff started trickling out. The air hostess stared, with her mouth open. Everyone was glued to the overhead compartment, as if rabbits were going to start jumping out of it. The plane was at 45 degrees and I decided to do something about it. I started standing up to shut it, but my seatbelt restrained me. Now the air hostess was staring at me. As I moved my hand down to release the seat belt, the air hostess tried to tell me to stay seated. While stuff was tumbling down. I opened the belt, reached up and closed the overhead compartment, in the background of the air hostesses whimpering. Then I settled back into my seat. Everyone went back to what they were doing. And then another one behind me opened. Pop. And I sniggered.
Shortly later, I realized I was sitting next to 2 video game junkies. They hit the in flight entertainment games as soon as the safety announcements were over. Banging away on the handset and making faces you would have never imagined. Soon, the seats started shaking along with the banging of the handset and both heads bobbing up and down to the videogame. In rhythm. Obscene.
I decided to ignore them by plugging my headset in and turning the volume to full. But nothing seemed to be streaming into my right ear. So I got myself another headset. Just in time for the movie to start. Gosh, I had so been looking forward to watching this movie.
And it started. Uma Thurman. Right up to the wedding rehearsal scene and the entry of Michael Madsen. And then pop. The screen went blank. And there were voices. I thought it was one of Quentin Tarantino’s effects. But then it carried on for long. The set had moved itself to the audio section. Puzzled, I reset it and back I was. Uma approaching Michael. And then pop. I was watching Godsend. In Mandarin. I shook my head and tired to change channels. Nothing happened. Suddenly I was watching Raising Helen. Arrgh. I called the air hostess to help. She couldn’t figure it out. Mumbled something about resetting the system and disappeared. 5 such instances later and channels changing themselves again and again, I landed up with The Stepford Wives. In Mandarin. And completely ticked off with the flight and the fact that I was not going to watch the movie today.
Then I decided to take them to task. Called the head steward and complained to him. After which I asked for a written compliant form. Then these guys got into action. Offering me a new seat. A manual reset to the channel I wanted and the works. But the flight was ninety minutes through and the movie was probably reaching the point where Bill was getting killed. I didn’t want to see that without watching the journey leading to Bill. I politely declined and asked for the complaint form.
I was going to be entertained on this flight come what may.
After much heartburn, finally it was handed to me. I proceeded to write a two page long complaint on the whole incident, detailing everything, sprinkling it with my imagination to make it more interesting. Then I sealed it and handed it over to the air hostess. And finally I was smiling. Smug.
Then the head steward came over and tried to explain the situation to me. How he had thoroughly investigated the matter. How the air hostess was new, this was her second flight and she did not have responsiveness of an experienced air hostess. How it slipped the other air hostesses mind because she was caught up in the food service. Then explanations on how it takes 20 minutes to reset the system. How they did it for me twice without my knowing it. How sorry they were.
And me giving short replies on how I never expected such bad service from them, how frequently I flew with them, how this was my worst experience, how disappointed I was with them. All very politely. All well rehearsed in my mind and prepared beforehand. One by one, the air hostesses who had served me, listened to my problems and done nothing about it. Profusely apologizing. Trying to explain. And I kept looking, listening, smiling and nodding. Giving understanding responses, knowing very well that the complaint form was going to screw them.
Here I was getting my own version of Kill Bill. Emotional violence via customer un-satisfaction. Satisfaction via un-satisfaction. How ironic. Now everyone was worried. Running around like headless chickens. And me getting my private show. Priceless. Even the video game junkies had stopped their games and were enjoying the show.
Ten minutes before the flight was to land, I called the head steward sternly. He looked grim and worried. I asked him to get my complaint form back. He stared at me, but couldn’t say no after what I had been through. He got it back for me. I took it from him, and slowly proceeded to tear it up. He kept looking at me. I smiled and slowly started laughing. He also broke into laughter. The air hostesses around and the video junkies too. Soon everyone around who had been witness to the whole thing were laughing.
I had entertained and been entertained.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Who are you?
I am the creator… of a television show that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions.
And who am I?
You're the star.
Was nothing real?
YOU were real. That's what made you so good to watch. Listen to me, Truman. There's no more truth out there than there is in the world I created for you. Same lies. The same deceit. But in my world, you have nothing to fear. I know you better than you know yourself.
You never had a camera in my head!
You're afraid. That's why you can't leave. It's okay, Truman. I understand. I have been watching you your whole life. I was watching when you were born. I was watching when you took your first step. I watched you on your first day of school. heh heh. The episode when you lost your first tooth. heh heh heh. You can't leave, Truman. You belong here… With me. Talk to me. Say something. 'ell, say something, goddamnit! You're on television! You're live to the whole world!
In case I don't see ya', good afternoon, good evening and goodnight. Hahaha! Yeah!
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
- Nothing is as easy as it looks.
- Everything takes longer than you think.
- If anything can go wrong, it will.
- If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.
- If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway.
- If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.
- Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.
- If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
- Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
- Mother nature is a bitch.
- It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
- Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.
- Every solution breeds new problems.
The list above consists of just the plain vanilla ones. There are Murphy's Laws on almost every subject - military, technology, love, sex, etc. If you are interested in more have a look at these 2 sites:
Sunday, September 19, 2004
A lot of lifelong friendships are based on the past. On what happened in the past. On shared histories. What you went through together. The moments that you spent. The good times and the tough times. The shared hurts and the shared joys. And when separated by distance, we get involved into our own lives. We keep in touch with some more often, and others not. But every once in a while, you speak to someone that you have not spoken to for sometime, and then you think, “Exactly as it was all those years ago”. Because some things never change.
And though you feel that a lot of things have changed about you, and you have become a very different person that you used to be, you do those little things are essentially ‘you’. And you get to hear it from someone who has not seen you through your change and all that has happened to you. And you get the comment, “You are exactly the same as you used to be” or “Some things about you never change” and then it hits you. You think back and say – hey, so much has changed about me but this just stuck on. Odd.
And that is where old friends make their connections. In their pasts. In things that were there in their pasts and still exist somewhere now.
In shared histories that spill into their futures.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
"I was just thinking...if you happened to be reading somebody's blog very regularly...somebody you didn't know but chanced upon and somehow got addicted to his/her blog...and you read and read what he/she wrote until you felt like you knew the person and grew so close you wanted to know what had happened to him or her everyday...and then this somebody suddenly stopped posting any entries. Wouldn't it be worse than death? Having to have to wonder if he/she has met with an accident, has simply stopped writing, has plunged into depression...etc etc. And never knowing the answer in the end because you simply have no means to contact this person save for the blog that he/she has abandoned at least for now? For me, it would be worse than death, just like that of a mother awaiting news of a missing daughter."
Have a look - Blue Escapade
"In the recent past, Arambol, north of Chapora, was one of the back-up destinations for the free-spirited folk who found themselves banned from not wearing clothes or indulging in lack of mind control at Anjuna, when that place chose to assert a more rigid behavioural code. Ironically, it became a very popular choice because of its perceived isolation from outsiders and modern development. Today, elements of contemporary comfort have been installed here, but overall changes have been minimal and the village remains tranquil and relatively uncrowded."
Friday, September 17, 2004
I found her when I was not looking for her. I found her when she was not looking for me. But that didn't matter. Things that are meant to be are meant to be. She came towards me without a thought. I went towards her with so many thoughts.
And we met.
It was magical. It was ordinary. Ordinary is magical. Because sometimes it changes everything.
Her subconscious was swept away. Her subconscious melted. Her subconscious was mine.
And I was in heaven.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
And then through the glass vision bursts into the room. And now you can hear voices around. And then the room merges into my distance and the distance merges into me. And I stare into the distance. Into the grey. Into the rain. Trying to listen to the sounds outside. But only hearing the ones inside.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Going with the flow.
But where? You can't see where the road, or rather the river is going to take you. River is more accurate I think. A flowing gushing river. Where you don't have much control. But if you relax, you will do better than to resist it. Kind of like the first time you kiss someone. Or rather the first time you are kissed by someone. Hhmmm. Interesting thought. The difference between the two is quite a bit I must say. The initiator and the initiated. And that can make all the difference.
But I digress.
So now, as I write this - what comes to my mind - I have totally forgotten about all the stuff that happened today or what is supposed to happen next. I am just letting my thoughts flow on writing.
Yes, writing is an escape.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Thursday, September 09, 2004
The thoughts come slowly, breaking through. Making their way through the cracks. Over the precipice. Not the threshold. The intenseness numbs all other senses and there is only one at work now. Fingers beating away at the key board to the rhythm of thoughts. Thoughts that are running ahead and away. But they come back and pull back, urging you to move with them. The urgency of the thoughts comes through. And you move along, down a road you have never been before. And then the road reaches a river and branches out to the sea. The thoughts dissolve into a pot puree of memories of thoughts past. And as they mix, they become clearer. They become action. And action is the ultimate manifestation of a thought.
My thoughts hunger for their manifestation. My thoughts live.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Relaxing now, and musing over the past week. Strangely I don't remember much of it. Actually just flashes from here and there but barely a few. My memory of the week past by seems to have disappeared from my brain, even though so much has happened in the last week. Some sort of amnesia. Probably modern day amnesia?
Memories are strange. Sometimes even the smallest of details - like the smell of a room 6 years ago won't leave you but what happened 6 days ago goes blank. Like that.
Trying to think back to some of the small details I can remember. And there are lots. Mostly from childhood.
Childhood seems to burn a lot of memories into your mind.
And they seem to come back again and again sometimes. Early memories shape future ones. Memories that are similar seem to be easier to remember. Memories that associate itself with the same place, same people too. I am sure there is a lot of study behind this and probably a science. Must remind myself to look it up. Will be fascinating I am sure.
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Yes, it does. Sometimes. Last night it did.
* * *
The room swirled in the lights that flashed on and off. Yellow and white. Red and purple. Haze of smoke. Moving bodies, in slow motion, defying the night. Moving to the beat, the bass. Sweat trickling down foreheads. Shining beads, like morning dew. Glistening and then disappearing into the distance.
In your ears. From her mouth. Gentle yet stern. Reliving the past through the music of the past. Familiar lyrics. Familiar tunes. You hum them correct sometimes, and sometimes memory fails. Yet you go on. Intoxicated by the music, intoxicated by your past. The images flash by you. Black and white. And the music flows through your soul, taking you higher. And the night goes by in the background, giving way to a new day. To a new dawn.
The songs of April in the month of August.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
The week seems to have gone by in a breeze. It is Thursday evening already and I haven't realised it. I have even put behind the 'horror' of AVP!
It has rained a couple of times this week. The sky looks positively infected right now. The night slowly spreading into it. Trickling.
The change is sudden. Especially sunset. The last few minutes of the day and you can watch the sun 'disappear' on you. Particularly, when you set out to 'watch' the sunset. It somehow doesn't last long enough. Ironic, you wait for the day to end and it drags along. And the end is just that. "The End".
Black. Fade in. "The End". Fade to Black.
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Paid me a visit yesterday
It kindled the fire
Of my imagination
I was licked by its flames
Which did not burn me
It just heated my desire
To start again
* * *
I wrote this poem over 6 years ago.
When I had just discovered the joys of writing. When I discovered poetry. The feeling then was like what Neruda wrote in his poem "Poetry":
"I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky."
* * *
After years of suffering from writer's block, I am finding the urge to write again. I don't know if it is inspiration, but it is something that is making me write. Is it fear? Fear that I am losing my creativity? Fear that I am getting rusty?
I have heard that fear is a great motivator. I never though that it could inspire creativity. I always thought that it was something forced. Like medicine, vegetables. So you never like them. They have a negative connotation rather than something positive. Like creativity. Like creation.
Or is it regret? Or being on the brink of it? Or having your eyes opened one day to the fact that if you don't, then you will regret? Seeing someone keep the passion for writing, against all odds? Yes, I think that is it? But somewhere in that there is a mixture.
The kind of writers block I have been suffering from is not something that happened overnight.
It came gradually.
Like a river drying up in summer. The writing just reduced. Till it stopped.
First it was gushing. Then flowing. Then trickling. Drip drip drip. Till, it was no more. And then it was gone. And now it has been years. And it is all coming back. But not dripdripdriptrickleflowgush.
That's more like it. Unleasing itself like a caged animal. A caged animal that has been quiet too long and now needs to get out. The pent up anger and emotion, easily breaking the cage.
And getting out.
Out out out.
And its here.
* * *
I wrote this poem over 6 years ago. I can identify with it again today.
Friday, August 20, 2004
So ... the week has ended >> in my part of the world (I pity those at the other end who are just starting Friday morning). And now it is time to move on to the weekend. Ever get the feeling that sometimes the weekend is more hectic than the whole week? Trying to pack in and make up for 5 days in 2 days can be quite tiring!
Friday evenings are like crossroads - you need to decide whether to sack out the whole weekend or spend it doing all sorts of stuff, which will leave you tired at the end of it.
I am there right now.
But I am going to procrastinate ...
~ I used to be undecided, but now I am not sure!
You think that you have figured things out and can work around the system to your benefit. The only downer is everyone's got the same idea. And then you find yourself, along with many others, trying to beat the system in the same way. Crazy!
And now that it just happened to me, I can recall several instances when it has happened earlier. A particularly repetitive one, is trying to take shortcuts while driving and then you find out that everyone thought of the same short cut. And the next time you take a different short cut and then everyone has managed to do that!
"And then, we all travel thousand's of miles, just to watch TV and to check into somewhere with all the comforts of home. You gotta ask yourself, what is the point of that?"
Thursday, August 19, 2004
"In the beginning there was a river. The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry.
In that land of beginnings spirits mingled with the unborn. We could assume numerous forms. There was much feasting, playing, and sorrowing. We feasted much because of the beautiful terrors of eternity. We played much because we were free. And we sorrowed much because there were always those amongst us who had returned from the world of the Living. They had returned inconsolable for all the love they had left behind, all the suffering they hadn’t redeemed, all that they hadn’t understood, and for all that they had barely begun to learn before they were drawn back to the land of the origins.
There was not one amongst us who looked forward to being born. We disliked the rigours of existence, the unfulfilled longings, the enshrined injustices of the world, the labyrinths of love, the ignorance of parents, the fact of dying, and the amazing indifference of the Living in the midst of the simple beauties of the universe. We feared the heartlessness of human beings, all of whom were born blind, few of whom ever learn to see."
~ From The Famished Road by Ben Okri