Livinghigh: March 2004
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
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Good bye and good luck

I never had a friend before who

- Sang at the top of his lungs as if he were in a fairy tale; so what if he chose to play, not Prince Charming, but the Dragon.

- Spooled election figures of every state and union territory at the drop of a hat.

- Claimed to know everyone from the chaprasi to the Old Man himself at the DMK office, and was probably not fudging either.

- Scanned every one of my news reports and features anxiously, and announced an invariably favourable verdict, that might well have been fudged.

- Had a knack for 'very important' points.

- Thrust my pillow into the most unseemly of his body parts.

- Enraged me enough to kick at his door savagely for a full ten minutes, then sweet talked me into eating his mum's homemade laddoos.

- Dozed off in class right in front of the bewildered teacher, but then woke up in time to ask the foxiest questions.

- Never went to the Marina, in spite of being in Chennai for over 10 months.

Good bye Arun Giri. You were one of the highlights of Chennai 2003-2004.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004
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Pendulum living

How on earth do you live high? I started this blog with the same query and I wonder if, at the end of so many months since then, my answer has been answered, even in a small way. Most of all by myself.

Does the answer lie in your friends? What happens then when the time comes for you to move on and they go far, far away...? I dare say that all this introspection is brought on by the prospect of leaving ACJ and I dare say that I hate all this maudlin mush myself - but here I am, face stuffed with maudlin mush right now. When your friends leave you, do you lose a part of yourself? Or do you subscribe to that egoitistical point of view that declares 'me, myself and I' continuously, and opine that all your strengths and all your hopes are concentrated within one individual and that is you?...

Or does the answer lie in the environment around you? Something greater than just the people you come into contact with - something to do with the kind of airs they generate and the kind of person you become because of that atmosphere and the time spent with them...? Questions, questions thrown up into the air....?

How on earth do you live high? Is living high momentary - so easily diffused? Why on earth do i sound like a wannabe Foucoult? (I don't even know whether i spelt his name right, for god's sake!)

I'm exhausted, writing all this soul-searching stuff down... I'm exhausted at the idea of coming back tomorrow at this desk and beginning work all over again... I'm exhausted at the thought of my friends leaving me... I'm exhilarated at the prospect of going out to a sumptuous dinner right now.

Does that mean that living high actually translates into a well-fed stomach?

Monday, March 29, 2004
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Who'll dance with me?

Quiet reflection is a dangerous tool. Often, it makes me think of things too uncomfortable to grapple with. Some kinds of things that you don't really want to ponder over, after you've got a dose of feel-good tonic that a peek at Lord of the Ring gives you. All that stuff about heroism and what it should constitute - what happens when you introspect and try to identify all those things in you, but come a cropper. What's the story life is trying to teach you? You're damned if you know and you're damned if you don't. You just hold onto lady luck's skirt with all your might and hope that through all the whirls of her tumultous dance she doesn't have two left feet.

Damn - I keep asking Sharon to teach me how to dance.

Saturday, March 27, 2004
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Father Abraham had many sons...

After bitching for days about people deserting their blogs, I plead guilty to the same. Damn - it's so irritating not to be able to sermonise from a high horse, when that damn horse whinnies up and throws you off.

Leaving time is getting a bit closer. Friends going - dubious futures - I think tempers and tensions have been fraying a bit... Who's to say what tomorrow will bring? Indulging in a a bit of morbid questioning here, don't mind me. maybe I think I'm trying to be profound. But then, I'm not Sharon - who almost always is that, without meaning to be - profound, that is. Maybe Literature Honors in college does that to people. Maybe I should have signed up for the course. But then, I'd be more insufferable than I am right now, and I don't think the world could take that. They'd be liable to string my body up on a pole or something like that.

Why on earth do I sound like Frankenstein's long lost twin who snuck away on a time machine?

Bye bye, Miss American Pie,
Gonna chevy to the levy
But the levy was dry.
And good ole men were drinking whisky and rye,
Singing 'This will be the day that I die...
This will be the day that I die.'

Lighten up, people. Miles still more to go, and barrels more to empty. Have a care and a smile.

Sigh, it's good to go sermonising again. Giddy-up!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
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After grumbling for ages and ages about my boring politics elective assignment on the 42nd and 44th amendments of the Indian constitution, I'm breathing a sigh of relief right now. It's done and I'm still alive. Without listening to any music either.

Of course, my rumbling stomach reminds me that I haven't had any lunch because of that cursed assignment but then I don't mind all too much - maybe my brain is on 'diet mode' and may be I'm dumb - because the end result is really not that bad. In fact, I quite like the style of the boring old political monologue. I think I'm hobnobing with Tam-Bram too much. We have too many of those discussions late at night on his bed, the strains of music from my computer next door filtering through...

Don't listen to a word I say - I'm mad. And hungry. Which essentially mean the same thing.

I'm reading this new book nowadays, which I'm sure everybody has been seeing. After weeks of carrying that volume on dead prime ministers around with me, anything would be an improvement, I'd warrant. But no, this book is seriously a good one. It's the first Indian English SF book I've ever seen, a delectable cocktail of everything from Tolkien to the Ramayana to the Arabian Nights, written in a flowing, funny style that is so completely compelling. The author happens to be from my city - only an year older than me, an alumni of a college where I was accepted but which I turned down.

Yes, the guy reminds me so much of me, eternal egoist that I am. The guy gives me so much hope. This is what i want to be doing ten years from now. This. Writing beautiful stories that people love and earning handsome royalties.


Monday, March 22, 2004
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This is my swan song

The world is young and I've become prematurely old. And morbid too, judging from the starting line of this entry. I don't know why I said that - maybe because I don't listen to music anymore while working on the computer. My multi-tasking destiny has finally come to naught. And I have been condemned to leading a life wherein typing a boring report means precisely that - typing a boring report. No songstress to seduce while while my fingers play.

Alright, that had definite erotic undercurrents.

But I shall steer clear of such currents, since I have been accused of loading up on vodka and a year's subscription of Playboy before I sit down to blog. This, from yours truly, my mad cap compatriots, Nelly and Sharon. They care for me, they say - and would rather not see me turn into a deranged sex-starved maniac, wheeling and dealing in suggestive lingo.

Would someone please tell them that it's far too late?

(I hope MJ or anybody else never sees this... excuse me while I crawl back under my rock to type a boring report... with no music.)

Sunday, March 21, 2004
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Lost and forsaken

Dissertation fever has overrun ACJ completely. People don't blog anymore at all, unless they see a blue moon first. The first person you ask about his/her life is bound to spout some brilliant new theory on some profound thesis like alternative sexuality or corporate ethics or the downfalll of the Congress party or biased journalism or the like. Tea or coffee? you ask almost fearfully, only to get an astonished look for a reply. Ergo, I had badam milk instead.

I'm afraid I may be getting too stuck in my newfound Tamil ways - badam milk was just a teaser. I now have saada dosa for breakfast and lunch and ask for an extra bowl of red tomato chutney even before I have touched the portion already there on my banana leaf. I say I hate the white chutney but I shall inevitably finish off whatever they give me. The lassi I now love to hate and drink is distinctly South Indian in flavour, laced with coconut for all I know. My idea of dessert is no longer chocolate ice cream, but a bowl of extra-sweet basundhi. Instead of asking for biscuits at tea time I reach out a hand for crispy and oily vadas. I even know how to pronounce vada right - or at least, am getting there.

My idea of politics now revolves around the cantankerous old Amma whom I have never seen face to face and the yellow shawled Kalaignar whose photo I have clicked while sitting on his car bonnet. Perhaps I owed my life more to him than his inept driver for not running me over that day - I like to think sometimes. My idea of a good newspaper is The Hindu - and I think that speaks for itself. Thankfuly, I still love porn - perhaps as much as I did when I first landed in Chennai.

The rest of India suddenly seems like such a faraway place. Where would I be, if not waiting for hours at saamyar madam bus stop, with a book on dead prime ministers in my hand? There can be no other beach, except the Marina, with its endless expanse of sand that tires you down even before you reach the waves. Gulab jamuns are simply not gulab jamuns if they don't come with the Annapurna brand. I'm a lost man.

Can't you tell?

Dissertation or not, Ashok Nagar Main Road and Chennai are where I live.

Friday, March 19, 2004
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Towering Thoughts

I'm going to talk about The Two Towers again, and you could expect no less from me as I just saw the movie again last night. I have to see Return of the King one more time at least to make up my mind about which is better, but without a doubt, Towers... is brilliant.

Towers... made me believe in good things - as cliched as that may sound. When the orcs attack Helms Deep and defeat is imminent, it is in the volte face of Theoden King's defeatist mood that you rejoice. When the riders move out of the inner sanctum, onto a vast sea of orcs ranged about them, with nothing to go for them except sheer valour and grit, that's the moment when you feel a lump in your throat. Gandalf's entry in the scene is brilliant, something from a biblical embroidery almost, as the Rohirrim leap onto the orcs with the White Wizard shimmering at the lead... but it is doubtless the moment when Theoden and Aragorn lead out their flimsy cavalry that you marvel in Man.

I guess I'm a sucker for the underdog.

There's another scene in that movie which moves me - Sam's speech to Frodo after the Nazgul's attack on Osgiliath. He talks about the greatest stories on earth, the ones that really mean something, all having so many instances where the hero could have given up and deserted his destiny. But he persevered and the world was a better place because of that. And what are we holding on for Sam , Frodo asks - that there's still some good in this world, Mr Frodo, some good that's worth fighting for.

Truer words could never have been spoken.

Tolkien is a philosophy - imbibe him.

Thursday, March 18, 2004
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I'm still here

I'm still here.... The Two Towers can wait for a few hours... I'm still here.

A lot of my friends here have been doing the 'will-miss-you' bit as ACJ-closure comes nearer, and I haven't really indulged in any of that. I guess I've been a bit selfish and fixated on job prospects to really wonder about whether all of us will really keep in touch. I've met some amazing people here in Chennai and in that sense, the city has been good to me. I've tasted some amazing freedom here too, and maybe that's why the city has been so good to me.

I guess I'm doing my bit for the sentimental brigade by saying all this stuff here and now. I'll miss you guys - perhaps more than I tell myself now. I hope that ten years from now, I look back at ACJ and journalism with a twinge of pride and not a 'Damn-I-wasted-an-year-in-that-dratted-city-which-made-me-poor!' That would be sad.

But I'm still here... that almost sounds like a sappy line a lover would say in a sappy Hollywood movie. I can almost imagine the guy - blond hair and big shoulders holding onto this sweet, sexy thing, with auburn hair and the greyest eyes you ever saw... and it's snowing all about, so they're going to die and that's when he says the silly line - I'm still here.

(I can't help it... I've had a thing for auburn hair and grey eyes ever since I saw a dame with both on the cover of my mum's Mills and Boons.)

Notice here

Will blog tomorrow.
Going home now to watch The Two Towers.
Yes, maniac.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004
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I'm a maniac

When you drop a Gabriel Garcia Marquez book for a VCD of Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers, you know that you’re a maniac. I told myself this as I put Marquez back on to his shelf and clutched Jackson closer to my heart. This was the day after I had seen Jackson’s magnum opus ‘Return of the King’, the third instalment of Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Ring’, and the hangover was self-evident.

For a ring junkie like me, almost every scene in the movie was emotionally charged. Like the one where Gandalf charged across the Pelennor fields, chasing away the dragon birds that were attacking the Gondor soldiers. Or the one where Aragorn faces the Dead People on the Paths of the Dead, with Gimli and Legolas behind him Or the one where Pippin looks into the palantir and sees Sauron, the Dark Lord. With due apologies for all the jargon, I would hasten to add that I draw the emotionally charged line at Legolas doing a jig on an oversized elephant’s posterior.

It felt strange to discover that every lungi-clad occupant of the theatre was clapping and hooting whenever those scenes rolled in, including the one with the elephant-dance. But then, I should be an extremely elitist nincompoop indeed, had I reasoned Tolkien’s narrative to be the hallmark of the upper crust. As my sceptic Punjabi friend pointed out, it is not – but then, he’s the sort of person who returned the book within a week of borrowing it, so what on Middle Earth does he know?

When Frodo tells Sam to leave him just outside Shelob’s lair, I was speechless, for Tolkien had never written that scene. Purists have identified more than half a dozen incidents in the movie that simply do not happen in the book, but I suppose Peter Jackson has artistic license and his gleaming new Oscar to vouchsafe his actions. So what if Arwen doesn’t even appear for a single frame in the book – by seeing the soppy dream in the movie, she makes all the romantics sitting in the front row go aflutter. So what if Eowyn doesn’t fall in love with Faramir in the movie, though they marry at the end of the book – perhaps Jackson reasoned that romance would rob the Aragorn-Arwen romance of some of its sheen.

The bone of contention however is the notable absence of the last few chapters in Tolkien’s book, which contain the ‘scouring’ of the shire – Tolkien’s testament to the dangers of industrialization in the modern world. But can we realistically imagine an audience cheering a campaign to rid the world of plastics – we’re not really that noble, and elephant-acrobatics still get precedence.

Tokien’s spirit, no doubt a trifle disappointed, will recover. I hope Marquez does too.

Monday, March 15, 2004
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Thrill me, kill me, chill me, pill me

Internship is bringing the hives upon me.... sort of like Woogie, the jilted boyfriend who goes psycho in 'There's something about Mary'. Not the most flattering comparison, I know, but I hardly feel any better. I'm just thanking my lucky stars that nobody I know has a huge shoe collection for me to pinch... shit, Nelly has about 10 pairs.

I don't know what scares me the most - being without a job, or going back to that proverbial family fold after having scored a zilch. I know I'm being pessimistic here - and no, I won't spout any of that crappy 'realist' jazz I did in the earlier entry - so God please help this old sinner and send a lightning bolt down or something.

Onto happier topics. I went to VB's today and had a coffee, without storming off like I did yesterday, inspite of being served late again. Kudos for self control. But then, storming out had its own advantages - namely, delicious jalebis on a leaf.

No, I'm not really a brahmin walking around a village asking for alms and eating food off a banana leaf... though, courtesy this blooming profession, that banana leaf thing might not be too far off.

Yes, I whine a lot. I'm also self-absorbed, childish, trivial, vicious, tantrum-kid and spoilt. There's no way you can't not love me.

This is a disclaimer: Anything and everything said above is denied forthwith as having ever been typed by the fingers of the author of this blog, who believes in a beautiful life with no whining, so you can't really sue me in a court of law.

I'm crossing my fingers and watching out for shooting stars desperately.

Saturday, March 13, 2004
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They call me a realist

If you want to see a great review on Return of the King, check out Cheryl's blog. I couldn't possibly improve on it.

I think I should write a book - 'My experiences with Middle Earth'. To which, my insane room mate would probably opine that thanks to my medicine closet, I'm perennially walking on Middle Earth. Can I help it if the plains of Dagorlad sound so much cooler than Anna salai?

(That last sounds as if somebody called Anna is shouting saala! at somebody... or may be he's eaten a bad salad and is now screaming at the chef.)

I've actually given up trying to convince the people I know and care for to give in to the greater philosophy of Tolkien. The Punjabi asked to borrow it once and returned it a week later, complete with sarcastic comment. The only reason he's still alive is that I'm too broke to hire a contract killer - and of course, if he were dead who would I torment nightly by waking at 2 am with my version of which Middle Earth battle I loved best... There's a method to my madness, insane room mate.

As for the Tam-Bram and the Nepali, I have absolutely no hopes. They call me a realist.

My only saving grace is that beautiful girl next door who is unfortunately in love with faggot Legolas. I shall however forgive her transgression - but only because of familial ties - she's my Chennai Special grandma, for crying out loud!

Gawd, i made that sound like a Vasantha Bhavan Special. Thursday - Gobi dosa. Friday - Chennai Special grandma. Deepa, are you flattered or hungry?

O yes, and Sharon the mad cap can't decide who she wants to marry - the sexy orc leader attacking Gondor, or the hooded nothingness (more politely called the Nazgul ) riding the dragon bird.

And she doesn't want to be an oliphaunt.

I'm not sure how all this makes sense, but I'm sure there's a hidden meaning to Sharon... somehwere.

They call me a realist.

Thursday, March 11, 2004
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hello... no entry today. Got no time, to tell the truth. Good bye... am finally going to see Return of the King tonight.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004
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Munch on this, if you please

Good evening, all. Forgive the circus ringmaster speech. I'm in one of those moods. Flighty, but not ebullient. Down, but definitely not out. High, but not flying. Batty, but not mad.

This could go on forever.

First and foremost, an announcement. For all those who are interested in classical Greek mythology, I've added a link in my Get Informed column. It's a really terrific encyclopoedia, dealing with a whole lot of tales and legends and biographies. Now you know where Tolkien got his inspiration from.

Secondly, I just wrote a freaking food review and seeing that I've never written anything of the sort before, I'm not sure what it's like - how good or how bad. So, I've posted it here, and I'd really appreciate it if some of you kindly spectators would take a gander and leave a comment.

Something that nobody could accuse the people at Cornucopia of are ostentatious aspirations. Quite contrary to its namesake, the ‘horn of plenty’ of Greek legend for anybody with half an ear steeped in mythology, this restaurant on Cenotaph Road boasts of a Spartan décor that passes for homely because of the bright yellow lights bathing the walls. No gilt-edged furniture here for blue-blooded aristocrats to fawn over, merely the class and elegance due to a good meal.

As a self-confessed myth aficionado, the first thing I did on getting the menu was read through the legendary significance of the cornucopia on the inlet flap. Your time would be much better spent poring through the preparations that chef S Anand and his team have laboured to perfect, since the restaurant opened last September. ‘The restaurant with a difference’, as the tag line goes, specialises in fusion cuisine and dishes out food with influences ranging from the Mediterranean to the Far East. What with my bad experience in what passes as ‘fusion’ cuisine, I wondered what kind of a fool I was for setting myself up for the same mistake again, but by the end of the meal I was a firm adherent to the little-believed ‘Fortune favours the brave’.

Brave heart or not, the lasagne here is a must-try for anyone. Be it either with the aubergine filling for the herbivores or chicken for the carnivores, the creamy cheese layer will tempt the most hardened diet freak. If you want to tantalise your taste buds to the extreme and still avoid those delicious calories that the lasagne will fetch you, opt for the grilled chicken with black bean sauce. Strips of sumptuous chicken, sautéed just right, soaked in a deliciously tangy sauce. Or if you imagine you’re happiest with the sea-wind in your hair and sand between your toes, order the seer steak.

Beware of poachers, however, especially those at your dinner table who ignored the chef’s recommendations and went in for the chicken or seafood salads. Make no mistake – the salads are delicious, garnished with cubes of soft cheese and layered with creamy mayonnaise, served in a huge bowl and decorated with the largest lotus petals you ever saw – but compared to the steak or the lasagne, you will always be left craving something more. Namely, your neighbour’s food and foresight.

Chef Anand beamed with pride when we asked his suggestions on the dessert menu, and with just cause. The all-too-familiar walnut brownie was crunchy and served with gooey chocolate sauce and scoops of vanilla ice cream, while the orange cheese cake was delectably light on the stomach, answering every sweet tooth’s deepest, darkest fantasies. But what undeniably took the… well… cake was the triple soufflé, which had three mouth-watering layers of coffee, vanilla and chocolate, surmounted with a crest of whipped cream.

A word of advice: if you’re the only one at your table who orders this, nothing short of a gun will keep you safe from poachers.

Cornucopia, 30 Cenotaph Road, Teynampet
Rating: 4/5
Cost for two, including dessert: Rs 500.

Namely, the comment I'd want from you: would you eat there?

Tuesday, March 09, 2004
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Only for an instant

The third entry for today - I seem to be working extra-hard on some extra vitamins extracted from deep inside the confines of my cupboard. But this is a small fable - I'm not sure if I can call it a short story. A little thing which I thought of, looking outside the train windows, on the way back from Hyderabad.

Do you hear the music wafting in from far, far away? Prick your ears and you won’t, close your eyes and you might. People everywhere in front of you, laughing, talking, in their own worlds, and you in yours. You might be tempted to join in and laugh and chatter along, but only for an instant, because you will then be drawn to strain harder and listen for that music.

You will pucker your brows and frown and try to place the tune. You will look outside the window, and try to push the rumble of the train, the shrieks of happy laughter, the bobbing light overhead, all far, far away. You will try to imagine the dark outside, with nary a flicker, like some forlorn wonderland, or some primitive witch-doctor’s backyard, and you strain for the music. You will surmise that it came out from within the heartbeat of a thousand anguished souls, telling the life story of a thousand people. You will romanticise the tune you hear into a thousand different things that it is not perhaps, and you will still not be able to hear it clearly.

You might then realize how silly it all is and then settle back into your seat, content to be there amongst the laughing, chattering people around you, in that roaring, rumbling train. You might perhaps sigh a bit, and rest your head on the seat and think about what you did all day and all that you plan to do the next day. You might perhaps smile a bit as you recall a joke somebody said in the morning, or the way in which you were nervous as you trundled forward to your job interview and then tripped on the sidewalk. I dare say, even a tiny chuckle might escape you.

And then, when you suddenly feel the strains of music grow louder, richer, what will you do? The dark outside is far away, the bobbing overhead light in the compartment is nearer. The calm stillness of your head is oppressive, the laughter and the chatter outside is engaging. The cries of anguished souls are painful, while a single voice, singing in the moonlight of hills and valleys, home and hearth, is enchanting.

So you might be tempted to join in with the laughter and chatter along, but only for an instant, because you will then be drawn to strain harder and listen for that music.

But by now, you will have learnt the worth of an instant.

And finally, goodnight.

Practising the 'open-your-eyes' bit

What are the kind of people you see? I think the answer has a lot to do with the kind of person you are. Imagine a crowd, gathered around something huge - momentous. May be a political rally, may be an accident, may be any goddamn thing (and I just made the sign of the cross ). Who do you see then?

The man at the fringe, wondering what all the hullabaloo is about. Or maybe I would be that fringe person, myself.

The man at the centre, wondering what all the hullabaloo is about. Or he may be revelling in it. May be both. If I were the guy doing the watching, would I try to capture his hands or his face or his hands wiping the sweat off his face...

The man on the dias, behind the man in the centre. Wondering about a hundred things. How to manage the mob, how to incite the mob, how to dissipate the mob. What to say, what to do, what to prescribe.

The man in control. Is he even there?

The man at the gates. Something like St Peter - benign, yet firm. Something like a policeman without his lunch break - hard hitting. Something like both.

I'm sorry I didn't mention any women. I'm a chauvnist at heart, I think.

The Char Minar express was on time

I don't have the Governor of California's muscles or his throaty voice, otherwise I'd proclaim 'I'm Back!" with as Austrian an accent as I could muster. Hyderabad was nice, people. But Chennai is home - for now, at least.

Went up to Banjara hills and saw some pretty people... had some yummy ice cream too. but I missed Return of the King and that sucks. Maybe that's what they mean by "life's inner meanings"...

God, I'm terribly shallow.

Star light, star bright
The first star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
I wish my wish comes true tonight.

Now what do I wish for?

PS: please, please don't think I'm a juvenile delinquet. (just juvenile is fine.)

Friday, March 05, 2004
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I thought I'd blog, but I don't feel like that either now. Wonder of wonders, I feel like doing some work. Maybe that irritating politics assignment hanging like a millstone around my neck... or more like a... I don't know.

I shall log off now.

The Ten Commandments

Am wondering a lot of things right now. Maybe it's an early morning thing:

1. Am I getting bald? (please don't answer that.)

2. Have I forgotten how to believe? (Santa Claus seems so far away now.)

3. Do I have a future?

4. Do I know anything at all about myself - other than that I'm an egotistical ass who makes crummy jokes and can write sorta good?

5. I wonder if anybody can see through my masks. I wonder if I can see through my masks.

6. Do I believe in God? Do I have any cogent idea at all as to how or why the world began? (I hate you, Sigmund Freud.)

7. When will I ever be in love? Would I know what to do when I ever find that I am in love? (and the physical stuff is the last thing on my mind right now.)

8. How did I ever get so mercenary? (I love money, probably because I don't have much.)

9. What will I do when I realize that I'm not young any more? (my sleep is denser than Rip Van Winkle's.)

10. Can i live forever?

Ten is enough for now. I need coffee now, and work. God, how I need work.

Thursday, March 04, 2004
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The Universal Law of Plummage

I just ate a crumbly biscuit with surprisingly good coffee and it's done wonders for me. I wonder if you remember that funny BRU ad that came on the air eons back, with some dude coming back from work and having sex with his wife/lover (the ad that first got Mallaika Arora-Khan noticed) and then the two of them sipping coffee together... well, though I didnt have sex, the rejuvenation was quite brilliant for me.

Yuck... now what does that say about my sex life, nonexistant as it is?

It's a given. When I'm down, I'm in a vitriolic state of mind, writing bitchy things about not-so bitchy people - and when I'm in a goofy mood like I am now, i go nuts. May be uncontrollably so. I don't think this ever happened to me back in Cal - I think it's a Chennai phenonmenon - this strange out-of-control, almost steroid-induced sappiness.

I sing songs out real loud as I climb up the stairs, feel like jumping high when I'm walking down the road, make silly faces and stick my tongue out at mad cap Sharon even while she does the same to me, do obsecene gestures with my fingers when I'm rapping with Nelly and Eminem... Chennai has either liberated me or insanified me.

I don't think that's a word, but you get the general idea.

When in Rome, practise wearing plumes on your head. When in the loony bin, be goofy. It's like a universal law, or something.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004
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I'm a crumbly biscuit with bad coffee right now

I'm in a terribly lethargic mood right now, but then if you've ever been in the comp labs of ACJ, you'd know that it's the dominant mood here. We're like huge monitor lizards, basking lazily in the sun, content to rise up and plod along at intervals - vegetate in VB over soggy dosas or, closer to salvation, crumbly biscuits with bad coffee at the corner tea shop. I feel like having crumbly coffee with bad coffee at the corner tea shop right now.

That's because of this irritating voice at the back of my head which keeps on shrieking 'Miles to go before you sleep, you dumbf**k! '... little pixie... I'd like to take it by the scruff of ithe neck and boot it... somewhere, I saw something about a tshirt which had a slogan like "you're just jealous cuz the little voices can be heard in my head!"... I remember thinking how cute that was then and now I identify with it so completely now...

It's official, I've gone mad.

Just to put things into perspective: I've just got so much work to do -

1. A politics elective assignment on the intricacies of the 42nd and 44th constitutional amendment that has been pending for about a month now - probably on account of my not being able to get beyond the very scintillating subject - I hope you can understand bitter, vehement, angry, frustrated sarcasm when you read it.

2. A blooming report on the rollback of some stupid policy called CAS that should never have been implemented in the first place. Somebody kill me now.

3. Three f***ing chapters of my f***ing dissertation on the f***ing Tamil refugees from f***ing Sri Lanka. (There's also a disclaimer here somewhere in very fine print stating how I really don't mean anything mean to the f***ing nice refugees, so please don't feel f***ing bad, - so you can be very f***ing diligent and try to find it if you want to.)

4. ACJ has also invented this particularly wicked exercise called the IP to torment me. Though I think they originally meant those two innocuous initials to stand for something innocuous sounding like Investigative Project, there's a greater affinity in spirit with (say) Incrementing guilt ultimately culminating into Pathetic existance.

Now let me get my crumbly biscuit with bad coffee at the corner tea shop.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Livinghigh was here at 4:14 PM / (0) Comments

Hyderabad Blues - predictable title

I'm back from a weekend sojourn in Hyderabad-Secunderabad. I had a pretty good time, actually, and that's what I'm here to record. The authentic Hyd biryani with dripping sauce was mouthwateringly tummy-filling (linguistic license ), and even though I didn't go the whole nine yards and search for the (in)famous Softy Den, my tummy was quite satisfied. I guess it's all in the attitude.

Talking about attitude, Sec was flashy like hell - it reminded me so much of Mumbai in that way. And expensive too - at least as far as IMAX tickets are concerned. (We saw the Tom Hank-starrer Apollo 13, which robbed us of a neat 180 bucks! ) And there was the Old City which was such a complete contrast in attitude and style to Sec. Here there were crammed streets, milling people, bustling traffic, potholes, crowded roadside markets - or if you want to look at it from another perspective like Soumik did (one of my travelmates), the place had soul... what was that about eyes and beholders?

One of the highlights of the entire trip was sitting back in a quiet corner of the imposing Mecca Masjid (just adjacent to the all-too-famous Char Minar) and watching a group of boys playing football. Well, technically, there were two groups - one playing cricket, and the other football - each of which had divided the precincts of the Masjid neatly between themselves so that there existed no room at all for any no-man's land. Unless of course, the three of us 'world-weary travelers' constituted that middle path, walking slowly as we did through the territories, pausing to experiment on different angles and shots with the digicam. At the end, we settled down finally on the steps, and sat watching the football match. I think we stayed there for at least an hour - just drinking in the game, the towers of the Masjid, the oncoming dusk.

The only trouble is, now that I'm back, I'm thirsting for some of that manna that the Hyderabadi Corner on College Street doles out.

A treasure

I saw a little girl in the bus this morning. She couldn't have been more than three years old. She was dressed in this bright red blouse-lehenga thing that South Indians wear, fringed with gold work that danced in the sun, and she had these two pigtails on either side of her head that looked so completely quirky.

She was playing with her dad in the bus. Jumping up and down on the seat, punching him, pinching his cheeks, pressing her cheeks to his, pulling his nose, gurgling with laughter, screaming out to people below on the roads, kissing her dad's nose, fisting his cheeks and then kissing them again.

And then she fell asleep in his arms. I saw him gather her up and leave the bus at a stop before mine, and I resolved to mention her in my blog.


I'm back.
From Hyd-Sec.
And I'm ecstatic to hear that Return of the King has swept the oscars.
I rule! ;-)