Livinghigh: May 2005
Monday, May 30, 2005
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'Wash your mouth with soap, young man!'

Some people don't like soap operas. I confess, at one point of time, I used to watch that shit. I used to look at Brooke seduce Ridge in B&B, and other clay-faced leading men and leading ladies have raunchy sex in Santa Barbara. Terrible thing, really, considering I must have been all of 12 years old then. Blame it on mum. And then, she got this idea that her little boy is seeing too many television episodes with the titillating factor and maybe some parental guidance is necessary. So, there was a ban imposed. No sexy soaps for me anymore.

Well, that ban didn't last very long. Mum didn't really care, and I had a thing going on for Brooke and Ridge. So I would watch them copulate, fornicate, have sex, screw, shag, yadayadayada.

Snap poll: Does this blog need parental guidance, PG, rating?

And then came the days of the hindi soaps. Tulsi Virani held centre stage, so that meant Brooke and Ridge could go screw themselves silly anywhere, but not on mum's TV. That meant, I was to watch Tulsi and Savita battle it out, and not watch Brooke screw Ridge according to the various teachings of the Kamasutra. Not half as tiltillating, but not bland either, mind you. Very chutzpah types. Very intriguing. Could give Ian Fleming a run for his money.

So, what happened to change all that? How on earth did I become this strangely self-obsessed creature who laughs at soap operas and thinks they're hilariously entertaining? Whatever happened to... (sigh)... romance?

Flushed down the toilet. In other words...

I discovered Buffy!

Friday, May 27, 2005
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Therapy trail

This is therapy for me now. Damn.

A hard day's work, and I've been working like a dog. Screw the Beatles. They don't have the copyright in sounding shitty. Actually, I quite like the Beatles. That's why I feel like listening to Yellow Submarine right now. But nopes, that's out of the question. The only therapy open to me right now is (sigh) blogging.

Welcome to the lifestyles of The Bored and The Restless.

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So we'll have a classic soap opera act - A falls in love with B, but B is bored to death of C, so C decides that she will sleep with D for a time-pass, but then D has meningitis and pops it, but not before leaving his fortune to E, who then uses it to take revenge on F, who comes back to ask for A's help, and when B sees this, he is so floored by A's generosity that he reciprocates A's love.

Yes, yes, yes. I'm a sucker for happy endings. And the Beatles.

Thursday, May 26, 2005
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Free Floating

I'm late in talking about Anakin Skywalker and his twins. Damn. I'm late in talking about how Natalie Portman goes the gross Princess Leia hair style way. Yuck. I'm late in talking about how Darth Vader's first steps remind me of a baby zebra's skittish romps. Damn, damn, damn.

But the world still goes on, and I still ramble on. Rambling on love, (somewhat) fresh air, and the prospect of a slightly better deal in the months ahead. Feel like humming Tom Petty, and would probably do so, if he had a song called Free Floating. The Falling part is also fun, but I have a rather silly grin on my face at the moment, that the Cheshire Cat is extremely jealous of, and so the falling crap is not quite my thing right now.

Flashback quiz:
Who remembers that episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, where Ross gets Rachel to dress up like Princess Leia in that awful Swiss bun roll hairdo and a rather kinky gold bikini? Aaaa.... fond memories of sitting a couch and laughing my guts out. Was such a couch potato at one point of time, but that has been shattered since, first by the advent of the computer and then GO92.5 FM.

My god is Jaggu. And the Skittish Zebra Foal.

Sunday, May 22, 2005
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There's something about a city at night. Something blinking, winking, staring, silent, scrupulous, notorious that I simply can't get enough of. Vignettes. From the twenty-first floor, I see the city skyline. Towers outlined in yellow twinkles. Roads teeming with reds and whites and blues, something you would expect to see in an ad on TV. It all seems so cliched. Seems so terribly beautiful. If I were to jump, I would die. I remain, standing, feeling, breeze ruffles hair, cools skin, and I yawn. Lazy Sunday evening. What else can I ask for?

Lazy Saturday night. Life seemed dull an hour ago. There are no plans, no dances, no bars planned, no vodka bottles, no beer, no nothing. There's an open book, 800-odd pages to finish, consume, devour, fornicate over. The window behind my head is open, second floor. Quiet city beyond, quiet compound, huge trees, I can hear voices coming from the flat next door. Wailing child, scolding mother, and the vendor down below who comes selling snacks. I'm reading my book, resting against the window, straddling the seat, feeling cool wind against bare back. A part of the city that reminds me of cool, quiet Calcutta, gone to sleep by six. Terribly rested. I feel terribly rested.

Where's a bar when you need one?

But I have fireworks instead. And the lazy trek of a blip of light in the dark sky - move along, little airplane, move along, there are deadlines to keep, timelines to breach, people to ferry, borders to cross. For now, it is content to shuffle slowly across the dark sky, a tiny blip of light in an empty sky, ranged with the city's lights.

But I have fireworks instead.

Damn. This is just in: NDTV just flashed it: There have been bomb blasts in Delhi's Liberty and Satyam movie halls. Scary. Because Satyam is in the neighbourhood I used to live, while in Delhi, and I spent lots of afternoons in that hall. Scary, yes. Cuz it's all because of a flop film called Jo Bole So Nihaal. Stupid, stupid people!

Saturday, May 21, 2005
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Poison and Ivy

There's a new story out on Gabbles, after ages. It's called Poison, and I hope you guys like it.

The teaser I've picked is:

It is eerie and dark. I can see the outlines of a couple of people who stand there in the lane, coming out of the hutments, scratching their belly, looking idly out towards the road and the lone rickshaw parked there, with two pairs of eyes scanning them. They are used to this scrutiny, something tells me, even as I am used to it myself. Babur is somewhere in one of those huts, watching the charras being ground, the dark powder being parceled into tiny paper packets, and he is smelling the fumes that incinerate the little dreamy hamlet that has sprung up by the wayside.

I see his six foot three frame emerge then, through one of the huts, and he starts walking out, climbing up the hilly lane, and his movements are drowsy, slumbered, slow and hazy. I can also see the red flash of a police jeep some way behind us on the highway, pulling over.

I have to run now, but will try to post later.

Friday, May 20, 2005
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Prodigal Pune

This time around, Pune has been good. There, that should put a smile on the faces of all the Poona-wallahs who frequent this space. I had a good time. Koregaon park was lovely. Kalyani Nagar was impressive, and I can't wait to head back to Elly Sim for a weekend of party, party and party.

The last time round, Pune failed to impress. Small city, too dusty, too many trees at times, too few good looking people, too many old retired colonels hobnobbing with other old biddies, too many people speaking Marathi and nothing else, too little places to freak out - and of course, at that time, I was the goody-goody creature who thought freaking out was something goody-goody boys never did.

*Beatific grin on face*

I've tasted the yummy crunch of Danish pastry at German Bakery. I've walked down lovely awnings of trees down Lane no 3, KP. I've lusted after pretty young things in front of the Osho Institure. I've paddled around in my Oshos. I've munched into KFC. I've dreamt of jiving all night in a packed disc, and not just till 1.30 am. Sigh...

Note to Poona-wallahs: Gimme your numbers, so that I can meet up and party with you guys next time I drop down to Pune.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
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Read a story. Tell a tale. Whisper words. Around a Fire.


Writer's block. Damn. No such thing. That's why I write. In bursts. And spurts. Something is better than nothing. I can lie. Call it a style. Call it mellifluous. People will never know. Unless I tell them. Unless they guess. But how would they do that? Not done. Not possible. Fuck it.

Jibes and jars. Sticks and stones. Nonsense again. Childhood rhymes that I remember. A girl who does actions. In caricatures. She's good at it, but I feel sad when she does them. Sometimes, they strike too deep. Sometimes I wonder why I can't do that. Smile, though, and laugh. Look at the comedy sequence. Where are the rotten tomatoes when you need them?


Quizfarm quizes that are supposed to look into your soul. Laugh. You should laugh now. That was a joke. You know the meaning? Joke? What's that? You don't know? Awful. I'm an expert at those. I know all about those. Ask me. Sometime. Maybe now. Maybe never. It's up to you. I can ramble on. For a long time. Or I can stop.


Sunday, May 15, 2005
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O, GOOD God!

Lay me down in peace...

According to the Oracle at Delhi, I scored as a Bomb. My death will be by bombing. I will probably be an innocent bystander, not doing anything wrong and not a person who was targeted at, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Damn!









Natural Causes
















Cut Throat


So, find out how you're gonna die

Friday, May 13, 2005
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Playing hookey

It has been a long and arduous week, one in which I have had little time to post, chat, or listen to music while at work - GO 92.5 FM is not 'music' music in the sense that a CD at work is. I've been Editor For A Week. If you've read my earlier post on being Editor For A Day, you'll know that I'm totally fagged out. Sigh. But the egoistic bones in my Leo skull are satisfied, at any rate - I've been the big boss, at the cost of popping a couple of blood vessels, I've been the big boss.

And today, I wanted to bunk work. I was in Colaba, at 7.30 am, and quite at a loss for anything to do. So, I decided to walk down Causeway, and take in the sights of an island (or what used to be one!) awakening. And, during my travails, I espied a real-to-goodness Irani cafe. The rest is history: fluffy double omlettes and kheema fillings, thick and juicy mango juice, strong and sweet brown coffee. I lip-smacked my way out of Olympia Coffee Shop, for that is the place's name, and skipped down to Churchgate.

But I wanted to bunk work. The libraries, the galleries, the museums on Kaala Ghoda were all opening their doors, while I made my way to Churchgate. I stopped across Rhythm House; looked in the window of a gallery: the pictures prettily displayed, the lone guard sitting slumped in a chair facing me, a single attendant pouring himself what looked like coffee, and utter desertion besides - and I so wanted to step in for a few moments.

An SMS from a colleague broke my bubble, however: don't you dare think of bunking today, moron: you're Editor For A Week.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005
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And on Day 7, God read a newspaper...

So, this was originally a post for CSF, but since I was quite amused by it while writing it, I decided to pin it on this board as well. Comments, suggestions, brickbats are all welcome.

The latest one to hit the Mumbai newspaper sweepstakes is the one with arguably the corniest slogan: Let there be light! Welcome, Hindustan Times.

Mumbai, it seems, is full of exhortations to "speak its mind". We've all seen tired DNA surveyors scour the city in their sweat-stained shirts, asking for no more than seven minutes of our time, to give us the "newspaper WE have created". It's about wanting Negar Khan back, stopping the BMC from digging, reopening dance bars, making sure that page 3 doesn't become page 1, more sex on TV, being a Mumbaikar from Meghalaya, not being an IIM but still pretty cool - and a host of other identities Mumbai is supposed to embody. It's all about being your own newspaper. I actually love the concept.

TOI, of course, has hit back at the competition, with its 100% Mumbai campaign. True, it's borrowed from TOI's 101% Dilli campaign, which worked like a dream in the capitol - and true, it's not half as good. But it's already made an impact. 100% Romance, 100% Mumbai goes the slogan. 100% Bollywood, 100% Mumbai, screams out the poster of a yester-year mustachioed Aamir Khan poster on the hoarding. TOI came back with a vast 4-page international section (which is arguably all floss and no gum) and then a "new and improved" Editorial section. (It is of course ironic that the new section comes from a newspaper with a notoriously famous "no editors, please" punchline, but we shall skip that point for now.) Has all of this helped, in real terms? Has TOI increased its circulation? Probably not. But the wardrums are tom-toming away, anyhow!

And with TOI's Dilli rival, Hindustan Times, in the fray, the tom-toms are deafening! You can hear the advertorials loudly on GO 92.5 (the radio station owned by TOI's other rival, Mid-day Multimedia) which exhort: What are you reading in your newspaper? - about Patelji's daughter's wedding, the hottest Hollywood bimbette's underwear, a topless circus in Honululu - or news? The strategy, I take it, would be to jolt you out of your normal daily news reading - are you being informed, and not just entertained?! Bottomline: Is TOI the kind of newspaper you really want to be seen reading?

It's an interesting point, in the sheer aggression of its stance. It would, however, carry more punch if HT wasn't such an unabashed TOI clone in its home turf, Dilli. In good old Delhi, HT does a unique act of upmanship that leaves TOI fuming - be it in terms of price slashes, sexy babes on page 1, weird offers and huge prizes, or whatever. HT makes sure that the margin between TOI and itself is always maintained at the very least. So, what kind of newspaper are they reading, anyway?

Actually, it would be good to have some light in on the marqee, as HT would like to call it: it would be fun to see the fireworks... and the clowns.

Monday, May 09, 2005
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I would like to say catty, but words fail me. I stay... inert. I remain... suspended. Yatri in my ears. Funky Guru in my soul. Tales of a rave broken and busted in my memory.

"So what happened?"

"The cops came, man!"

" - This guy had contacts - so he got on the podium and told us to throw our pills away - "

"- I had two pills in my pocket. I'd bought them cuz they were so cheap!"

"- I threw them away - and then the cops came."

"That's it?"

"Yea. hahahahahaha"

"Would have made a more interesting story if you'd been busted and spent the night in a lock-up."


Bad memories.

Of someone I wanted to get close to, smoking weed. Every night. I kept feeling old, then. Kept feeling as if I was not enough. There was something I couldn't give. Something the weed could. I became an expert at knowing how to roll a joint. Get the tobacco out, faint smell of something alien to my virgin nostrils. Get the weed out - slight whiff, slight jolt. Pack it all in, roll the paper, lick the ends, make the saliva stick like a shiny heart sticker. Flick the lighter and burst of flame - I lost my fear of fire then. Watch the wisps of smoke. The look of surreal calm come over a face. Eyes quiver, close, tremble, lips part and crease and smile - "Kiss me, babe". And I would. Though I would hate the taste.

I would kiss.

"Would have made a more interesting story if you'd been busted and spent the night in a lock-up."


Friday, May 06, 2005
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Spin Doctor

Turning fast in the air. Spinning out of control. Yet, I'm stable. Inertia, damn you! Would love to sing Kylie right now: I'm spinning around, move outta my way... nanananana nana nanana! Whatever. Nonsensical. Wise. Something of the sort.

Flies and mosquitoes don't make sense anymore. Grinding myself to work seems unbecoming. I strive to find a value for me, my strengths and my secrets. I'm hoping someone will come along and pick me, a diamond from the rock. Damn - too many Disney cartoons. This is what happens when you start believeing in Beauty and the Beast from the time you're eleven. Let's march on Disneyland - dreamers of the world, unite, and kill the fanatasy of dreams.

I've murdered that Marxist sentence way too many times. Maybe it means, I'm a Socialist at heart, despite my leanings for the nicer things in life. I can't tell. I hate being poor. I hate being in the kind of situation Shantaram is in. I would like to kill the damn coot. Belligerent? Yes. I think that happens because of the dizziness.

But wait, I like rollercosters. Why on earth doesn't this one have the same charm, then? Maybe it's because I'm straining at the binds, but the damn thing just won't start!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
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By the by

There is this woman who sits on the road where my house is, every evening. She sits decked like a bride. She wears a cheap red sari, and a glittering veil, all criss-crossed gold paper and red chiffon. She sits on the ground and reads a newspaper, nonchalantly enough. She has a tray in front of her, and though I've tried my best to peek at what she has there, I'm not exactly sure. It could be money, I suppose, because I've seen her arms outstretched to passers-by sometimes.

Yes, I've been curious about her. I've weaved stories about her in my head. I've wondered whether she's a bride kicked out of her home for a variety of reasons - husband had a mistress? In-laws not satisfied at dowry? Mad bride? Mad girl who wants to be a bride? Widow who has no idea what to do now? Or simply, a mirage?

But she's not one. Not a mirage. She sits there, usually in the evenings, sometime even in the afternoon sun, calmly at her ususal spot, away from the shade of any nearby tree - just... sitting, and waiting for I-don't-know-what.


There is something on at Gabbles, called Letters. I've decided to produce the first letter here:

Writing letters is never easy. I can't stop thinking that perhaps you won't get this one, or perhaps you'll forget where you kept it, and you'll never hear the words I had to say. The words that I've thought of, softly for you, chosen for you. These are the words that I would whisper to you at night, if I could, and you would fall asleep to my voice. I would be tender, I would promise. I would push your strands of hair behind your ear, and softly whisper, touch by touch, and my tongue would lull you to sleep.

I love you. Is there anything ever as insipid as that?

I adore you. Is there anything ever as desperate as that?

But that is not here for me, any more, and so I write. I put pen to paper, thought to word, intent to action, and I hope that you read me. I hope that you hear me, and I hope that you understand me. There is, after all, only one thing that I have to say.

I love you.

Sunday, May 01, 2005
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Quarter-life full

It's not a question of PMS. I don't menstruate: wrong gender. It's not a case of the 'not-ever-having-done-anything' blues: I've done plenty of stuff that I'm apalled at, or bloody well proud of. It's, quite simply put, a case of the quarter-life crisis.


I'm almost-25 (actually, more than a year left, but who's counting?); I've loved and I've lost (all of three-and-a-half times); I'm stuck in a job for the last one year (which doesn't really make me a rich man); and I've been down the road of semi-alcoholicism (I've recently discovered beer, but vodka and rum came along much earlier in my life).


So what's left?

That is the question the three of us stooges ask almost everyday, albeit silently, sitting on a wrought iron bench in the office compound. I sit in the middle, while my two compatriots smoke rings of cigarette smoke, thereby shortening my life expectancy by approximately ten minutes with each puff, and we muddle over the enigma that is our lives.

Ho hum.

So, they say, the next step is to do things better. If Sex and the City and Friends are to be believed, thirty is the best age to live, and yet all of that seems quite daunting to three twenty-five-somethings like us. A new job is a must-have. A new relationship is essential. (A new relationship that lasts, and for god's sake, strangle Tina Turner and her dumb song about love having nothing to do with it. Love has everything to do with it!) A new policy regarding fitness and less alcoholicism is also necessary. Internet love hasn't really worked out all that well, and neither has long-distance love. The answer? - none of us know.

They take another puff, and at last count I'm going to die thirty years, two months, one week, three days, five hours, fifteen minutes and seventeen seconds from now.