Livinghigh: June 2004
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
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All That Jazz, minus Catherine Zeta-Jones

What's more important - a beat or a word?

What's more engaging, a hum or a full-throated song?

What's more lasting - a brief fling with an attractive person, or a romance to launch a thousand poets' careers?

Scary thought: could Moneycontrol actually be making me profound?

Scarier thought: maybe it was within me all the time.

Think about it as the antithesis that I am. I start off, asking myself questions that I have no clear answers to, at least none to which I can swear undying fealty to, and then I end up by finding the silliest answers imaginable from under the couch cushions. It's a part of being me, I guess.

My fever has abated today, though my head-cold still remains, and I hate the idea of still being at my desk, when there are so many people I'd rather be meeting right now, so many things I'd rather be doing with them, so many places I'd like to be visiting, so many highs I'd like to be climbing.

And yet, here I am, waiting, primarily so that I can receive my conveyance allowance from the fat guy behind the counter who is much too familiar with me for my liking. Now, if I were really quite cliched, I'd probably post another "What's more...?" question, between being free with your convictions and being tied to money, but then...

But then, I'm quite bored, really. Been there, done that... and.. all... that.... JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
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I probably need medication

I'm popping pills today with divine vengeance. Burning up with fever within and plumb irritation without at dictatorial bosses and stuttering guests who start off on one sentence without finishing the other. In case you didn't know, it's hard being a stenographer - Sainath didn't have a clue.

By and by, I've come to realise that I'm not really the Chemical Brother of Powdered Substance and Glittering Capsule that my once-upon-a-time flat mates referred to me as. My current roomie has a box bigger than mine - and it packs a more potent stuff. He's got more oils and potions and elixirs on the bathroom stand than I could register at first glance. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to sample some of that wondrous goop that he applies on his hair, and then I have strangely grotesque thoughts about being murdered by bald pharoahs. Some would say I'm a troubled child.

But I enjoy the response I get when I neatly flick a paracetamol out from my shirt pocket and declare that a Calpol a day keeps the doctor away. When you come to think of it, it's a maxim not too far from the truth - after all, isn't that what doctors do themselves all the time?

Pill-pop their way through hassles at work, stormy editors who can't fit into tea-cups, crafty commentators who employ more accents than a sheikh has concubines in his harem, and once in a while, quirky little terms popping up and down, like CASA (credit accounts, savings accounts) and T-Bills (Treasury bills), and strangely inverse things called bonds and their yields.

I'm raving now, so please pass me a pill. The bitter one.

Friday, June 25, 2004
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Ghost in the Circus

They say I'm a ghost in the office - and vested interests seem to have convinced themselves that I amble in lazily to work, flash my boss my Pepsodent Gel smile, listen to Strings on the walkman, sip umpteen cups of coffee, jabber non-stop on the telephone at 3 pm sharp in the afternoon, eat two helpings of birthday cake and try to down as many kebabs as I can... It's another matter altogether that I do all that... ahem, ahem... But I also happen to be... Defender of the Faith... Guardian of the Word... Listener of Secrets... Stenographer Supreme.

Say a word or two about the markets, and watch me take it down at lightning speed... Go ahead, pretty boy - try me!

My spotlight time is over for this entry - and the ringmaster bellows for the next circus freak in line.

And besides, I have to return the rented tuxedo.

Monday, June 21, 2004
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Hum jiving with Tum... and vodka

There's something about jiving to a hip hop-cum-Punju number while typing out a report on the bond and rupee markets. Especially, when that particular number you're listening to is so peppy that you can't help but nod your head and sway your body and jerk your shoulders - all with a very intent expression on your face - so that people passing by your desk give you quizzical looks. You feel like saying, 'Hey, buddy, this is what life is meant to be - hum tum !', but then you realise that you don't really give a damn, and so you just settle down to write a blog entry on that.

My experiment with truth.... ? (Heaven forbid)

I've noticed that jiving always seems better sense when I've downed a tall glass of sprite-drowned vodka. I've also noticed that, like all amateur alcoholics, while I tend to get 'high' very easy and very fast on it, my high dissipates quite well too... unless there happens to be some strongly jiving hip hop in the background that gets me going... There, now that should warm the heart of the most distant, coldest Punjabi - namely my once-upon-a-time flat mate and now potential roomie, who refused to come see Hum Tum on Saturday. But then, I'm a forgiving guy - especially with a tall glass of sprite-drowned vodka behind me, and so I make all kinds of undeserved charitable comments...

... and race on sentences without any signs of full stops in sight...

Just for the record, I don't drink at work - hic! - though I tend to be high all too often and almost everywhere.

That's a personal hazard.

Thursday, June 17, 2004
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And the beat goes on....

Living life in the fast lane is actually quite exhausting. Meeting former Miss Indias and actually hearing them observe that you're quite - quite - bored may be a mite flattering. Hitchiking all the way to Gurgaon has made me an expert at jerking my thumb out just so , and hoping that the old man Sardarji at the wheel is not some abusive maniac who wants some sex-citingly attractive young man.

Given the fact that this is the same brain (?) that came up with deers humping half-deers, I'm sure you expected something like that in some measure at least.

After you've had your fill of rum-and-cokes and felt the delicous after-taste on your mouth as you lick your lips, and then tanked up on biting vodkas with fizzy Sprites, there's a thrill to sipping warm hot chocolate. I dare say that sounds very much a reprisal of the 'homely-vs-hotel' argument, but since I absolutely abhor that maxim, this most assuredly is not anything of the sort. I still prefer pizza to pani puri, and the cheaper pizza of Nehru Place's bylanes that are as piping hot and yummy as the most sumptuous Pizza Hut fare, at one-third the price.

Speeding on the zanny flyovers and shouting profanities in the wind as you zip by, giving Superman a complex, is a major high. The philosphical truths of the universe may not exactly be revealed to you as you peer into the depths of frothy and thick fruit beer, but it comes a close second. You look into the eyes of the person sitting before you, and like an all too predictable tick-tock of a grandfather clock, you ask yourself, she loves me, she loves me not?

And the beat goes on: da da dum da da da...

Red skies overhead wth tiny flowers shining like stars, and then you realise those are stars, and smile to yourself and recall the good times spent with past friends you call up nowadays on your cell just to hear their characteristic laughter.

Eating chocolate cake and guzzling cold ginger beer, while watching a soccer match on a dirty bed full of food crumbs, and knowing that you're so completely at peace that office the next morning is a far, far place you'll probably call in sick for.

Bouts of conscience that you're losing it, and waves of self-control - rigourous discipline and early nights, reading Bram stoker's Dracula in bed, and raring to go tearing down fictional fly-overs again the next night. Do I work hard, or party harder? Take control of your life, young man, Sensei warns, and I hope I don't disappoint him, as i put on my mythical leather jacket, the one with the roaring red dragon with horns.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
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Twisting tales all around

Try a hand at writing a fairy story. Let there be a queen and a king, and a mingy daughter who is, quite naturaly, the Princess. let her be all white and pretty - very much First World - glowing skin, shining teeth - prize racehorse breed - golden tresses that glitter in the summer sun and all the usual mush.

Done. Think about a plot then. Little princess goes skipping one day down the rose garden path and disappears. King and queen are very much alarmed, but no body else is - nobody liked the prissy little bitch, anyway. So, there aren't too many (read: none ) volunteers to rescue the sort-of-beautiful princess from whatever trap she's fallen into, so a band of magical mercenaries are called in.

Enter hero. He was found by the mercenary leader when he was a babe in the woods (literally), and he sort of grew up with the mercenaries - very rough and tough, ragged kind of guy, dashing good looks, with a scar so as not to make him too much of a 'pretty boy'. Perfect successor to the old leader and all, and he's part of the mercenary team that has to save the prissy princess.

I'm one for character portrayal, amn't i?

So the mercs (mercenaries, NOT mercedes: remember, we're supposed to be in the Middle Ages for now) set out and this big bad dragon swoops down and attacks them, but hero boy uses a spell to turn dragon breath into ice and so the big bad lizard falls from the sky. In his last wheezing breath, big bad dragon becomes wise old philosopher and recognises hero boy's destiny, so he tells them where to go to find prissy princess.

So they reach the Mountain Range With No End, and start climbing. Lots of storms and landslides, and many of the mercs just topple down to kingdom come. Hero boy saves his doggie and his dear old dad (d.o.d) from certain death, and with a much reduced team, they carry on. Obviously, the Grumpy Old Man With No End gets all cranky - so would you, if you Had No End - and comes down to fight. Lots of thunderbolts and rocks, and many more mercs die. But then, just when GOMWNOE is about to knock of d.o.d, there's a white flash and somehow prissy princess has magic too, and she sends some essence of that to come help hero boy rescue her - from wherever she is. Again, it's time for GOMWNOE to recognise hero boy's destiny, like the silly dragon, and so he lets the mercs pass.

No, the mercs do not meet Sauron, the Lord of the Ring, on their way. Sorry, awfully, for the disappointment.

Now hero boy starts getting dreams, and he understands he's this son of the King of the Gods, a bastard with some pretty maiden the God saw. The gal had run off from King God, and turned herself into a deer, but lusty King Gods being what they are, that didn't help her much, and nine months later when the d.o.d sees a fawn-boy hobbling around in the forest, he uses his powers to make fawn-boy a whole-boy.

Cue for tears and hugs all around.

The destiny question set right - he's King God's son, so he must marry prissy princess with powers, and produce heirs who will be the equal of the Gods and join the Gods and mortals together again - hero boy sets off with his mercs, his d.o.d and his doggie to find the enchanted princess.

They finally come before big black castle in the middle of the night when it's raining cats and dogs. So what with the barking and meowing all around, hero boy and the mercs decide to knock on the castle door and come in. Guess who opens the door but Frankenstein butler who says, 'Sure dude, make yourself welcome!' But then, in the night, Frankie boy sets hounds of hell onto the mercs and they gobble up all of them. Only doggie went out to pee and saw the hounds coming, so he warns hero boy and d.o.d, and so the three escape.

Morning comes and they see the sea. And there, chained to a rock is prissy princess with all her golden hair, chained to a huge rock, while a great eagle is about to have some brunch - namely, her. But then, hero boy needs the golden gal for his God-mortal destiny, and so he, doggie and d.o.d leap onto the rock and fight big eagle. Eagle is fast, and he knows how to fly too, so he flicks d.o.d off the rock, and old man finally dies. Doggie bites bird's wings, but bird doesn't flinch. Princess doesn't have any powers now, after that fight on the Mountain Range With No End, so she just screams, and tries to stop the sea wind from blowing her dress away. But just when it looks like hero boy's destiny is gone for a toss, Dear Old Dad (read, horny King God) intervenes, and grants his fawn-son some special powers (2 for the price of 1), and so hero makes bird shriek out 'bye, bye love' and die.

So obviously, prissy princess smooches hero boy full on the lips now, and she doesn't care anymore how high her dress rises. That night, however, as they make out, hero boy is all sobby for his d.o.d, so they don't have sex.

Sad? You don't half of it as yet.

For, under cover of darkness, while hero boy is sleeping, prissy princess turns into a golden deer, and proceeds to hump him while he's sleeping. That's because she's actually a deer-demon, planted by King God's wife, Queen God, who was jealous at his deer infatuation with hero boy's mom, and wanted revenge. So, rather than let hero boy rule all mortals and bring them closer to the Gods, she sends the deer demon as prissy princess to seduce him - if she's humped him once, all his children will be deers, so he can't possibly bring mortals and Gods closer, can he?

Call me a twisted Machiavelli.

But then, just as deer-demon is about to start the whinnying that deers normally do when they hump, doggie bursts into the scene and bites her legs off.

'Doggie! Princess! Shit!' says hero boy in amazement, waking up, and then he realzes Queen God's wicked plan. He curses her and swears vengeance, and then, doggie suddenly speaks and says, 'Hey babe, if you want to have kids to take over heaven, then let's get on with the job!'

Whereupon, doggie turns into sexy and sultry wood nymph, who was actually d.o.d's daughter. The feisty old bandit anticipated something of the sort from Queen God when he found the fawn-boy a long time back, and so he changed his sexy nymph daughter into a doggie, to watch his back.

So, hey, it was a happy ending after all, because hero boy and nymph girl lived happily ever after, and he met King God, and made up with Queen God too, and hey - they had LOTS of mortal-God kids, cuz the nymph turned out to be a nympho.

sigh.... warms your heart, doesn't it?

Thursday, June 03, 2004
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Budgeting my dreams

Back to the Budget... and I never stop marveling at the idiosyncracies of this monolith called the Sensex. I've been tracking Chidambaram's visit to Mumbai all day - yes, I'm completely fed up with the man by now! - and all his sobby-sobby, 'full-of-empty-hot-air' promises,... and wonder of wonders: the market tanks!

Frailty, thy name is... Sensex?

Alright, I admit: I'm full of corn, and some 'empty-hot-air' of my own too.

Onto other things then.... hopefully, better things. Delhi has been gorgeous so far. Maybe it's because of the people I meet, may be it's because of the strange new way I feel. There's something subtle about that. Sometimes, I ask myself whether I really am feeling all these strange new emotions I profess to myself... whether they may simply be a manifestation of my longing to feel them.... and then I tell myself, OK! HOLD THE BRAKES ON THIS PSYCH CLASS, ALREADY!!!!!

Let me be content to feel them, even if they are surreal. Let me hope to touch something that I never have... for all i know, I may actually be living that dream of mine. Let me dream in my sleep then... let me smile in my dream.

I have a kooky smile, anyway... so might as well make the most of it!