Archive for February, 2006

Nihilistic demonstrations

February 28, 2006

I live in an incredibly messy room. I always have. Back in the days when i was getting a real education, as opposed to a pretend one, i was renowned for having the messiest room at WIMWI (Well known institute of management in western India). This probably reflects the fact that I am a Nihilist at heart, as opposed to those pseudo-intellectuals who live well organized lives in spick and span apartments, but claim that life has no meaning.

Many people are confused about what messy means. The other day, I was having a conversation with this girl – the proverbial “Your place or my place” conversation, and I was somewhat insistent that I would go over to her place. She found this a bit odd, so I had to express my apprehensions about her coming to my rather unkempt dwelling, and subsequently fleeing in digust.

“Oh, Big Deal. I have books lying around on the floor too and I haven’t done my laundry for a couple of weeks. And I haven’t cleaned my room in a couple of months”, she said.

Her statement only made me think of her as a cleanliness freak. For when I say messy, this is what I mean.

1. You keep your valuables under a pile of dirty laundry in a corner of the room.

2. You don’t quite remember how that pile got there. The details are lost in antiquity.

3. The Rooh-Afza that a friend spills on your floor (an entire half-bottle of it) is never cleaned. (don’t ask me what the Rooh-Afza was doing there – it was an alcohol related incident. We were trying to make interesting cocktails). Eventually it dries, and gathers a coating of dust and body hair, becoming positively plush in the process. You end up with a homemade rug.

4. The occasional dead mouse or dead cockroach turns up in your room, having ingested food that has been lying around and gone toxic by virtue of having been there.

5. There is a bowl of yogurt by your bedside. There is a garden of fungus in it. You watch it with fascination everyday, waiting for the day it will evolve a pair of legs and scamper away.

6. You accidentally brush the layer of dust on your desk and find keys that you have been looking for a long time.

7. You have never cleaned your sheets. Rogue regimes get in touch with you because of your expertise in developing biological weapons. (I was, of course, humbled in this endeavor by the great LM, who did the same thing with underwear.)

8. A pigeon builds a nest on top of your shelf.

9. The pigeon lays eggs, but leaves, disgusted with your room.

10. The nest and the eggs are still there, a year after the event.

Needless to say, I’m going to have a HazMat team over. Just in case she insists it be my place.

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"the spirit of freedom"?

February 20, 2006

I am on a flight from Delhi to Mumbai, having attended a rather dear friend’s wedding – tired, bored, depressed and somewhat lonely. Two successive weddings, two more friends who will never hang out with me without making statements like, “I’m sorry I have to go. My wife is having a bad day.” Or, for that matter, without talking about the chest of drawers they plan to buy. I feel strangely empty – a feeling that something has been missing from my life.

A girl walks into the plane, and in what could be a sequence from that late eighties ‘lakme moisturizer ad’, she looks around. the seat next to me is vacant, and it turns out that it is her’s. what is notable about the girl is the big guitar she’s lugged into the plane. (the jury may note that a guitar is kind of hard to miss). since there is no space in the overhead bin right above, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort on the part of the cabin crew to find a suitable abode for the damned instrument. after making small talk about guitar intricacies (since one of us seventeen plays the instrument somewhat), it turns out that we have mutual acquaintances.

“I just saw rang de basanti”, she suddenly declares. “You should watch it”
“I will. I have been hearing lots about it too. So tell me, what do you think of the movie?”
the plane taxies to the end of the runway and accelerates.
“It’s about the spirit of freedom.”
“Muh?”
“Hard to explain it. Look outside. Look at how everything blends together when you travel at high speed. And then you flyyyyyyyyyy! That’s what it’s like.”

Epiphany. A moment when everything falls in place. I am rather moved by her observation. This girl clearly has hit on something that has been missing from my life for a long time. Turning around, I look deep into her eyes and catch a glimpse of her soul – that’s how dilated her pupils are. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she’s as high as a cloud. She’s hit on the blessed weed.

bagel bagel

February 16, 2006

a street full of people, scurrying around. is sheher mein har shaks pareshaan sa kyon hai, the song plays. i miss my mp3 player now.

it snowed a a few days back. the largest snowstorm in the history of New York, they tell me. Not that it matters too much. the snowmelt leaves telltale puddles everywhere on the street. i see glimpses of myself in them.

he sees me approach and immediately picks up a freshly-baked bagel. its funny how sometimes strangers seem to know you far better than people you have known for years. in it goes, into the bagel-slicer, the guillotine. swooosh. hacked apart for my eating pleasure. he picks up the lopped off head and proceeds to lavish butter on it, humming a random ditty as he does. golden butter that doesn’t stand a chance. it submits itself unconditionally. melting against the hot surface and becoming one, permeating every part of the baked delicacy. obliterating its own existence and blending into another’s. if only people were so unconditional.

i stand at the street corner, picking it up by the edges. butter trickling down my thumb, reminding me of what i’m about to savor. one last shimmer as it disappears into oblivion.

a taxicab roars by, a wet and muddy old man muttering nasties behind it. i smile.