Livinghigh: May 2004
Friday, May 28, 2004
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Suddenly I'm stopping to watch the world.
Thinking about the people I've loved and lost, loved and gained.
The risks I've taken - admittedly, there are too few of them.
But I suppose this counts as one. The big decision.
The trickiest thing of course is to wonder what I'm feeling is real or not,
but then, take care not to wonder far too much or for far too long.
Admittedly, I have a tendency to fish in that deep end of the ocean for far too long,
fishing and yet coming up empty-handed.
And yet, here I have the chance and I have to ask myself what lies beneath - admittedly, very cheesy.
Suddenly, there's a rush, and it's glorious to get carried away by the gust.
Wonderful to feel your feet lifted off the ground, whirling and twirling and dancing with the sky.
I've never been one for the ballet but here I am.
Hoping I don't trip on my two left feet,
tripped by a smile and sunshine.
Hoping that this lift up to cloud 9 will continue.

Thursday, May 27, 2004
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Rainy afternoon

love the rain,
happy, glad, grey, dark, splattering, shimmering rain.
makes me word-jump, flip-flop, scream, rush, run, shout.
squirt people
hug people
love people.
love looking out the window,
back home in my bedroom,
spinning intricate yarns with my imagination - induced with fantasy
picture grey mountains, green hills, lightning bolts,
white steeds galloping hard.
race to run, quest to fulfil, dreams to conquer, rains to drench in.
patches of sunlight filtering through grey walls of water
jumping on my toes, darting across my room,
too fast to catch with an eye
or even two.
Out of breath, but not spirit.
water drying up, tearworks stall, drying machine set to 'tumble',
whirling around, as your breath escapes,
grey clouds and I recede from my bedroom window,
back where I started.
reality doesn't bite that hard any more, though.
grey waters and sunny heart.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004
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Pick a card, any card

When you have a conversation with yourself, do you picture a 'you' and an 'I'? I can picture a little boy in a tiny room, sitting on a stool with his face resting on his knuckles, staring straight ahead at the wall, into the wall, beyond the wall. I might be saying something, and I might be replying back. Arguing, debating, wondering, convincing, asking, searching, seeking, answering millions of inconsequential queries that might save a world or two.

The light overhead in the room has a greenish glow, but none of that matters, really. I'm talking about realising whether or not you are happy, and trying to fly beyond that small green room. Something like Harry Potter, and perhaps that explains JK Rowling's phenomenal success. Millions and trillions of small boys and girls in their tiny green rooms, waiting for their chance to fly. The make-up is done, the cues are ready, take your wings... and jump! As simple as that - no powerbrooms necessary.

Incantations, abracadabra, hocus pocus, power of Grayskull, flying phoenix and leaping unicorn, bat-tailed sphinx with a smile on her face, love potion number 9, gypsy queens:

I need to find my green room.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004
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Lizard's tails (tales)

Nelly told me the other day that I seemed to have adjusted to Delhi pretty well... I said 'yea' and I shrugged my beatific smile (I wish! ), even though I was reading a mail and not involved in a one-on-one conversation, because that's the sort of thing I do... and I realised that what Nelly had noticed with regard to a new city and a new job was very much true of me in general. I guess I'm the emotional equivalent of a lizard regrowing it's lost tail.

You don't have to say anything at all: I know it's a horrible analogy!

Lizards and horrible nightmares aside, what are the pros and cons of such an attitude? The pro is quite evident: here I am, loving my new job and quite on the way to liking Delhi too, when most of my friends hate the work they're supposed to be doing, and the city they're living in. I think it's all part of the zero-sum game... and heck, it's not so bad after all, is it?


Sharon elucidated me about the cons some time back, however. I am content... perhaps too content to accept what life gives me and be ecstatic about that. All very well if I plan to be a monk and distribute alms among the poor, but in the absence of such a fantasy, the trait might be a huge handicap for me in life.

Clarity, lizard's tails (tales), Yin and yang, monks, happy-go-lucky, destiny, smiles, shimmering twisting coins.

Saturday, May 22, 2004
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Leaf it all behind

Ever feel like making like a leaf and just... blowing away...?

Well, here's your chance....

In a city where nobody knows you, and nothing is stopping you, stop clinging onto the bark.

Friday, May 21, 2004
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Demon, Who?

I've been told that a demon possesses me each day when I set foot within the precincts of a certain Gupta da Dhaba in Jhandewala. Supposedly, my mouth opens a little wider like so, just enough to be able to fit my foot right in, and the most delicous nonsense you ever heard of starts spouting from within the labyrinth of my brain.


I've been told that demons do not exist, however, and am quite at a loss who to believe - it's somebody's fault for saying a whole lot of contradictory stuff and that (I think) is what causes so many paradoxes in the world - there's one of life's deepest, darkest mysteries soved right before you!

But even if demons did exist, from one strangely surreal twist of the forces of nature, wouldn't you think that they would have other, better things to do than in making me laugh and talk and joke? Terrible, terrible waste of demon-time, in my opinion! Laughing and talking and joking - and eating big mounds of foot! What will those wily demons think of next?!

There: it isn't lunch time, and it isn't Gupta da Dhaba, but you still got to see the demon in action.

Thursday, May 20, 2004
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Cooking up something

Memory lane has beautiful winding walkways, and I love to get lost in them at times. Like when you're having lunch at this make-shift Punjabi dhaba in this place labeled Jhandewala - as if this is where the rag-pickers come to haunt you till eternity - with all the people you used to meet in Chennai, all of which now seems eons ago... It strikes you that here you are with these people who would meet each other without you necessarily in the loop, and people whom you never saw in the same room together unless there was a blue moon shining up in the milky way.... and here they all are.

Ordering a uniform thaali for Rs 20 that is antiseptically perfect in its arrangement of kaali dal, jeera rice, aloo gobi, tomato puree with perfect cubes of milky-white paneer floating in it and the yuckiest raita this side of hell... all jostling for space, and you're not quite sure how to arbiter among all these different items (kind of like a dream out of Jughead's imagination?) till the waiter who is always late comes bearing this plateful of two huge tandoori rotis, and then you have absolutely no idea what to do about it all.

Unless you're me, in which case you promptly flail out your hand and topple the plate containing one and a half rotis on the floor, to the giggles and bewildered looks from the ACJ people you've been reminescencing about.

I wonder if I get enough respect around here.

Food for thought, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004
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Welcome and welcome

Welcome to paradise, they say.
A brave new world,
A grave new world.
Of cliches and novelties grappling for survival.
And hope eternal squeaks from the lining of Pandora's box.
Welcome to heaven on earth, greater than that 'thing' up there floating in the clouds you can't make head, nor tail, of.
Welcome to images dancing in your head and women dancing to your tunes.
(Men too, if that is your fancy)
Welcome to the world of duality,
A brave new world,
A grave new world,
While you stifle the word hypocrite even before your lips form it.

A trifle gloomy, what say?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
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Sentiments vs Sonia

The newsroom is erupting all around me. Literally. Sonia Gandhi has refused to become Prime Minister, for some ungodly reason. I really shouldn't say ungodly - because I happen to be one of 'those' (inverted commas fully necessary, going by the preconceived notions against us endangered species ) who don't think Sonia should become Prime Minister.

Trumpets and drums!
(I sometimes fantasise about owning Jay Leno's band behind me. )

Seems biased, to say the least, and I can hardly explain it to myself. I'm all for globalisation and all, and it's just a sentiment, I guess - a strong sentiment that we shouldn't have an Italian for PM. Talk about sentiments... for the last two days, I've been ridiculing market sentiment that has forced stocks to plummet! And here I am... a slave to sentiment.

By the by... even the markets seemed to be glad of Sonia's decision to step down - Sensex leapt up by more than 160 points after her decsion, in all a 370 point gain today!

Monday, May 17, 2004
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In need of a corny title here

I should begin with something suitably corny like.... A new day has begun... or A new blog-skin has come unto earth.... in case you're blind and haven't noticed the new blog-look on livinghigh. Spent an entire evening after work today - and heading out now for a well-deserved dinner at MacD's... so adios, imaginary people.

There, at least I got my corny ending.

Running With Bulls (ala 'Dancing with Wolves')
screenplay: Rahul Mitra
inspired in some crazy way by JRR Tolkien

Welcome to elven land. I don't know why I said that. It's been ages since I leafed through Lord of the Ring, though I did make it a point to lug Tolkien on the Rajdhani over to Delhi. Hmmm.... sitting here, checking mail, going through ACJ group messages and posting indignant messages against Sonia With The Big Nose, checking the stock market... it's all in a day's work.

By the way, today is a memorable one in trading circles - the Sensex fell by 370-odd points, to its lowest ever. The Nifty closed today, down a whopping 12.3%.

Now why on earth did I mention that? I can see this particular entry is going to be a pretty rambling (nicer word for incoherent ) one... so enjoy... Now why on earth does not have a smiley-chart? You'd think that with all the great new inclusions (no, I'm not a car-salesman ) they'd incorporate some smiley's too... This is a plum point for a smiley.

I'd like to round up this rambling (read: incoherent), but hopefully nice, entry with a smiley. In the absence of which...

;-) To peace and good cheer... and hopefully, bull runs on the Sensex!

Thursday, May 13, 2004
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Hormonal highs here

I'm enjoying the political circus so far. Bit of a heartburn - can't help feeling sorry for poor Vajpayee who couldn't retire from politics in style, and not really looking forward to Sonia With The Big Nose sitting on the kursi...

Call me a saffron-branding, trident-bearing maniac if you will. I'll just deny it.

But yes, the excitement - the sheer hormones! - here in the newsroom has been amazing. a continuous buzz - something like Nelly's famous 'headrush, heartflush' quote that so stunned me at the time! I'm a mole - I get high on work! I'm a maniac - they think I get high on tridents! (strictly for non-sexual use)

PLEASE don't even wonder where that last bit of trivia came from - I don't even want to travel down those dark paths of my demented, tormented brain...

Brain on a high, though.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
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Nostalgic mood

Living in a big city is an experience. Well, living per se is the biggest experience of all, but let me not get side-tracked into pretentious philosophical loops that tie you up in knots...

There was Chennai, filled with...
auto drivers who say 'saaar' and I say 'saaar' back to them, while bargaining for my soul and my purse...
cops who scan the roads at night, just to make sure you're not cuddling with your girl in the dark rickshaw...
dosas priced at Rs 12 and tall glasses of faluda with cold wisps above the glass, that tempts you o so badly...
putrid Coovum...
Kaaka Kaaka...
fanatic fans of Dr Kalaignar and Dr Dr Dr JJ...
realy lousy lassi...
an intricate language I couldn't get head nor tail of.

There was Mumbai, teeming with...
film stars, film stars and more film stars...
Naturals ice cream...
Marine Drive, short cut to heaven, and its poor cousin, Worli Seaface...
Gateway of India (or is it India gate?)...
luscious strawberries with thick, cold cream at Haji Ali...
the 'boss' culture...
trains that go faster than a speeding bullet, carrying multiple supermans, all engrossed on their job for the day...
dabba-wallahs, the greatest MBAs in the world...
frightfully expensive taxis.

There is Delhi, not a month old, with...
clouds of dust coughed up from the bowels of the earth, courtesy Delhi Metro...
cousins of the Chennai auto-drivers, as far as bargaining goes...
CP, CP and CP... walked around that circle finally!...
Janpath and khaki pants for Rs 150/-...
Main Hoon Na which I still have not seen...
rows of pillars ala Pompei...
stifling heat that doesn't die down even by 10 pm...
lassi to die for, paneer so soft, paranthas to munch unto blissful death...
false poetic fervour...
SCRIPtease, oops, moneycontrol.

And there will always be Calcutta...
winding backstreets with Colonial facades and porticos spilling over, spinning a romantic dream in some deep corner of your head...
roadside roll joints, that serve the most juicy and tender chicken rolls, the spiciest chowmein to set the hardiest Chinese dragon aflame...
city of joy...
sizzling brownies with rich chocolate filling, teamed with melting vanilla ice cream and gooey coffee sauce...
Park street, home of my heart...
a smooth, soundless Metro that is a Godsend...
walks to see my destiny in, people to share my destiny with...
broad, beautiful, shimmering Ganga...

What was that? Home of my heart....?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004
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Blogging... in a way

There is something about writing a blog. Not in typing down whatever comes to your mind, perchance out of sheer boredom - but in actually sitting down one momentous day and going through blogskins and finally deciding - Yes, this shall be my first entry!

Or something as egoistic as that.

But what drives you on to make that decision?

For me, it was simply the realisation that writing a journal, as emotionally fulfilling as it was, was inordinately tiresome on the fingers. And so when the Kingdom of Blog was revealed to me via a couple of e-geeks in ACJ, I promptly donned my own geek convocation robes and picked out a blog skin.

Privacy issues didn't really figure in my 'cons' list. I was clear that if I were going to speak on something or somebody private, i would go for code words and their permission. In fact, I was really glad of the comments box when I incorporated it in the blog. Even with all the 'loss of privacy' arguments, to me, it was all about listening to what my friends had to say, talking to them, and in a way, even listening to what I had to say... Now, with the distance between so many of us, the blogs serve as a means of understanding what's happening in their lives and mine... in a way, that even the longest and most comprehensive email would not be able to beat.

In a way, all this is about living high...

Monday, May 10, 2004
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What do you say to a reprisal of the old man and the sea?

Imagine the dialogue:
Old man - look, there's the sea. Or: I see the sea!
Sea - congrats, old man.
Old man - look, there's a fish in the sky.
Sea - you're nuts, old man.
Old Man - look, and the bird under water.
Sea - loco.
Old man - look, and a ship gliding past the fish, flying on silver wings.
Sea - hmmm...
Old man - look, and a castle in the air.
Sea - what, in goodness gracious!...
Old man - look, and a golden-haired princess with a golden-tusked rakshas on the ship speeding towards the castle in the air.
Sea - impossible...
Old man - look, and the smile on her radiant face that glitters on his golden tusk.
Sea - improbable...
Old Man - look, and close your eyes.
Sea - clairvoyant.

... because you can't always look with your eyes open.

Friday, May 07, 2004
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My fairy love

Climb a winding stair, my love, and come to the hidden room. Your eyes will open and your breath will quicken and you will grasp the knob with fairy touch. You will stand there at the door for a minute, my love, and long for an eternity. You will whisper to your friends in the dark and they will whisper back. it is your secret, your's and theirs', and it is a beautiful little secret that you have. You will change the world, they say, and you will bring it back from despair. For you have the fairy touch, my love, your touch upon the fairy door.

Open the fairy door, my love, and come inside the hidden room. It was dark without and it is dark within, and your dark friends follow you in. You can laugh, if you want, my love, and giggle and squeal and hold hands in the dark. You can open wide your wide blue eyes and see the world within. Wonders of the world without and wonders of the world within. Dance to the music that springs around and sing to the tune that skips a beat. Clap your hands, my love, with their fairy touch as you espy the fairy box.

Walk across the wooden beams, my love, and turn the clasp of the darkwood box. Filigree of love, hope and joy written across rosewood for you. Furrows of thought and wisdom atop your fairy brow. Do you know how to read this? Do you know how to see this? But you can laugh, o my love, for what do questions answer? That there is a world without and a world within, and realms between to discover.

Thursday, May 06, 2004
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Tell me your name, and I'll tell you a story.
Show me a flower and I'll tell you what it's name is.
I'll take a whiff and hope that I havent forgotten too much of the world to remember.
Tell me a story and I'll see if I can remember where I was in it.
Walk with me to the lake and I'll tell you to peer in.
Maybe we'll see the stars in the water and then I can tell you a story about that night I leapt to the moon.
And maybe you'll be able to hear the tiny bell around the cow's neck tinkling.
It's an enchanting song.
You might think me young and I might think you old.
You will remember for me then, and I will laugh for you.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004
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Patel rap(?!)

It was a happy surprise finding music files stored in my computer at the office. I'm listening to Another One Bites The Dust right now - by Queen, I think. Yeah, listening to rock and chatting and checking mail. The sun has set on F&O analysis and oil hikes and market reports and hot stocks and all those other thigs that haunt Sharon at night.

Welcome home Diviya, boss lady is waiting anxiously for you... (cue for sinister chuckle here)....

I've decided that I quite like Delhi... at least, the little I've seen of it so far. Not quite as special as Chennai was, being where I cut my baby tooth (so to say) and first walked down the long and exhilarating road of living by myself. But, yeah, Delhi's not that bad either. If only I can get away from the pillars of Desdemona-like Delhi Metro blocks... I'm not even sure if I got that reference right - that's what happens when you try to speak like an English Lit major when you're not an English Lit major!

I want to go home to Patel Nagar - what a name, Patel Nagar. ;-)

I can't think of a love song, though

It's a Wednesday morning and I'm writing on the latest moves of the US Fed - yippy doo da! But I'm happy, cuz it's just another manic Wednesday and I learnt that someone I love has fallen in love! It's a gorgeous, gorgeous world, people! People are falling in love! Now I sound like Louis Armstrong all over again - damn!

Sometimes I wonder wheher people really feel the way they write songs about. Sometimes I wonder whether people can really be so much in love as they say hey are. Could the movies possibly be fake? Heaven forbid! The experienced old fogies tell me it's all true... while it lasts. Nowadays I have plenty of these silly conversations with nutty Sharon who tells me what I ought to do if I want to steer clear of the arranged marriage bandwagon. I hope my subconscious is paying enough attention, even as I laugh at her for telling me things about myself I already knew.

She says it's brilliant letting somebody else fall in love with you - and having your moods linked so much with what he/she says and does and how he/she feels... Does that sound a bit too much like dependency, I wonder. But no, she says - and heck, a bit of dependence never hurt a guy in love! If you can depend on your family, why not on the one you're in love with, goes the catch-line.

So I decided, i'm going to give this love thing a whirl. Let's see how it works out. Let's remove the mental blocks and really try to experience it. Maybe I'll see a briliant rainbow like my friend is doing right now - maybe I'll become a heartbroken twit like the bugger on the window sill...

But hell, i'll give it a shot - hark back to the basic maxim of Living High.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004
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Get Thee to a Nunnery!...

I'd like to meet a drunk nun some day. Precisely, the drunk nun who scribbles in comments to my blog sometimes, however infrequently. There was a comment from her (I presume it's a 'her') today after a long hiatus. What can i say? Welcome back, drunk nun.

Can you pass the vodka, please?


I'm waiting for my copy of The Word - Convocation Issue to reach me. I'm an egoist at heart - I'm waiting to see my story of the encounter at LIC up in print. Something I can tell my grandchildren of perhaps - see kids, gramps was not always an armchair journalist who developed sciatica after sitting on the same computer chair day in and day out, learning about futures and options (!) from mealy-mouthed analysts, interviewed by CNBC, who never learnt how to speak with their damn mouths open...!

I'm waiting for my pay check, so that I can say that being an armchair journalist with sciatica after sitting on the same computer chair day in and day out, and learning about futures and options (!) from mealy-mouthed analysts, interviewed by CNBC, who never learnt how to speak with their damn mouths open pays a lot... as compared to your friendly neighbourhood rag picker, that is.

I'm not really that bitter. It's just a taste developed to perfection from all the cough syrup.

Saturday, May 01, 2004
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Beautiful, beautiful Life

Delhi was beautiful last night. It was past midnight, and I was walking back home from the Patel Nagar market junction and the smell of rain was everywhere. I had waded through the downpour some time back and revelled in it. The sight of that empty road, skies dry but ground wet with dewy drops was awesome. If I could write poetry, I probably would have.... It reminded me of so much.

Of that walk back home from the garage during winter in Cal. All bundled up in woolies, mum, dad and I, trudging back across empty streets that shone frigid in the winter night... i could see puffs of my own breath in front of me and pushed my hands deeper inside my coat... beautiful, beautiful Calcutta winter.

Of that time back in Chennai, when Nelly and Sharon followed me out on the street as I rushed off to make an STD to my folks, as a parting shot in yet another argument about money in this profession... I remember coming out of the phone booth, and Nelly there, suddenly thrusting an ice cream in my face - here, Nonsenseboy, have some! I think I laughed then - I certainly was touched... on that walk back home to warmth in Jains, as Nelly climbed the tree and Sharon and I laughed from beneath and the street urchin looked up at the tree after we had left - thinking that Nelly had gone up to retreive some great thing from up there.... I felt great that night - that night was beautiful, beautiful Chennai.

Of that day break in Mahablipuram, as I walked on the beach, towards the still-dark ocean rumbling before me... The sea wind was ecstacy, rejoicing in us and I was so, so happy... sitting on the rocks, as the sea lashed out beneath, as the Shore temple loomed up behind me... I loved hugging the wind then..... I loved feeling my pulse shoot and my blood thud and the wind whistle privately to me of a beautiful, beautiful life...

Dragonfly breath

What was that I mentioned earlier about waiting to harpoon a whale? How about a dragon instead? Dragon expresses the mood better. You know they're bigger, definitely look more ferocious than a blubbery mammal, and the best part is that you also know they're fictional. So as you stand there atop your hill straight out of Camelot, lance at the ready, waiting for the kill - you know you'll be waiting for ever.

Welcome to, the scrip that teases you. (ouch!)

Saturday mornings meant to be sunny and bright, cheery and nice (don't ask me what sappy 50's song I picked that up from) and here I am on this great Saturday morning in office, typing a soul-searching, gut-wrenching (!!!) account for my blog, cuz my boss hasn't showed up for the extra assignments I'm supposed to be doing. And yeah, in spite of all that, you tend to agree with that blues singer that What A Wonderful World. (Just barely!)

Again, I'm trying to think up lyrics of some songs, but can't get anywhere. Damn. You'd think with the link to on my page I'd be far more eloquent, but guess what? Bluebirds have limits too.... I guess that sounds very gay - ouch!

Hey Nelly, you homophobe! Just thought about you.