Livinghigh: July 2005
It doesn't take hydrogen gas. Or riding a shuttle.
Or snorting on the whitest, finest powder this side of La-la-land.
(It might take an extra spoonful of sugar, but maybe that's just me.)
Say hello, shutterbug
Fiction, I write
Creative Commons License
Once Upon A Time
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Sitting on a toadstool, and trying to write
OK, for the record, there's a new story uploaded on Gabbles, called Evening Haze. It's part of a trilogy, really, the second in the series, after Afternoon Mirage. Essentially, a mushy love story. Ok, wait, I'm not doing the right publicity, so let me start off again.
And here goes:
Evening Haze is a lyrical story, set in New Delhi, the tumultous capitol city of India, where a chance encounter some months back in another city brings two people together. There are ideas exchanged, between the two, flirtations as well, and the reader falls in love with the interactions between the two. The story examines and probes the different selves of a person when he/she decides to engage in romance with someone else, - the hesitation, the thrill, the triumph - and ends with a trump card: what, really, is a kiss? And where does that leave our two protagonists?
Whew! Now, how was that?
The customary pick from the story is:
There are few things as romantic as a kiss in the evening haze. Some things that are supposed to be, are not really so. That doesn't make sense. I'm not sure what does. How do I explain it all? I've never been one for talking tall. I've never been one for expressing myself. It's simply too much trouble. People have all these preconceived notions about me, for some reason, and most of my effort goes in trying to dispel those, in the first place. Like the one she had, of me in CR Park. Or, when she thought, back in Calcutta, that I was one of those hundreds of educated intellectuals roaming the streets of a dying megapolis in the eternal quest for something... atheistic.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
I need to rediscover something lost: sanity, perhaps!
Yesterday, I sat wondering to myself what on earth I come to work for. There's so much still left to be done, if we're to be 101% prepared, and I'm shit scared that it's not going to be done by the deadline. Especially on my part. I'm so fucking new to this whole game, that sometimes I feel like a total turd.
But there's the good side: an excellent team, and people who seem to still have faith in me. I guess that counts. I'm hoping that does. Buoyed by that hope, I went off to Andheri for a drink last night.
I love Enigma. The place is a tiny nook in the vast armpit of Seven Bungalows (hehehe - Kunal and Geet are gonna kill me for saying that!), which serves up the most divine music mixes. I would looove to get up and jive right then and there - but have been held down by the sight of these surds from Delhi who really have lost their control and started doing bhangra in the aisle, while the waiter serves them. (Great sight!)
Kunal and I habitually sneak away to this place for much needed beer and music, and chitchat about the finer things in life. And yes, we bitch about the troubles and trials in our lives, and we hope that they'll soon get better.
What else is a pub good for, anyway? ;-)
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Mumbai calling Noah!
Wow. So the day after I pen a soul-searching entry about whether I should continue blogging on LIVING high, there comes a killer of a monsoon to Bombay. The newspapers are trying to outdo each other with snazzy headlines, and the TV channels are paying their reporters to go out and get wet, and get some great visuals.
Nopes, this is not a journo blog, so here I climb down from that great lofty mantle of mine. To prattle and pray and yak and chatter. That's what I do best.
Felt kinda bad last night, leaving all my pals at the office to spend the night over, while I came back home. But then, there was nothing to it: the guys were tired, but too many for my dinky one-room place. And the gals were a bit uncomfortable, despite the 'friend' thingy, and preferred to stay scrunched up on a sofa at office. So, there I returned, daisy fresh, this morning to see what the scene was like, while a host of drowsy faces glared back at me. hehehe.... felt like saying I told ya so, but better sense prevailed.
Disappointment of the night: (other than the horrible rain, I mean) The fact that the promised biryani that we were supposed to get for the night turned out to be a concoction of yellow rice, peas and beans. If you ask me, veg biryani is NOT just biryani. When you say, "We're ordering biryani for dinner guys, so cheer up!" and get a huge YAY! in response from the floor, you're supposed to get MEAT!
Saving grace of the night: Vodka. Lots of it! ;-)
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I'm actually toying with the idea of taking a break from this blog. How strange, given that this was my baby and all that. Started this blog in Chennai, in ACJ, as part of a curiousity drive. It became my biweekly venting diary after that, and then the practice I needed for my languishing writing skills. That carried on in Delhi and even to Bombay. Till...
Horribly strange to say this. I don't think I have much to say. I've been posting more regularly on my other blog. My supposedly secret persona. And I've been discovering that I have a lack of things to say here on LIVING high. I don't want to keep ranting all the time. I don't want to keep talking about work all the time. (Hell, after spending close to twelve hours everyday at office, that place has really no business occupying my free time as well!) The charm of writing nonsensical versees holds no sway for me, and they were probably very pretentious anyhow. I'm... stumped. A case of writer's block? A case of viewer's block, as well.
Perhaps this place needs a reinvention. The look change didn't really help that, I guess. The look change was only skin deep. I need to change the meaning of LIVING high. I'm just venting again here. Typing, with nothing substantial really to type. Perhaps, this is where LIVING high goes back into the closet.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
My cell structure
I'm going postpaid. Hopefully, by tomorrow. Till then, however, I'm as unreachable as a fish out of water. And I certainly feel the same.
Maybe this is meant to be the part where you cross your heart and promise God that you'll never be bad, and you'll always be good, and some other such hogwash. Maybe this is the time when you're supposed to watch other shining, tringing phones and curse their owners, and hope that their tringing phone finds its way into your hands. I'm being melodramatic. I've realised just how essential my phone is to me. Ergo, I can't handle this: this weird limbo: twenty-four hourts before my post-paid connection kicks in, and my prepaid is part of history. Sigh. It will be sorely missed, yes.
I'm also cursing the salesgirl who made me follow that crap about how easy and painless it is to get a prepaid converted into a postpaid. It will only take three to four days, sir, she crooned, with that witch's smile on her pockmarked face, you'll get so many new facilities, it will be so much cheaper, and we also give you free calls and sms messages - 1000 minutes free! Bitch had me doing cartwheels for awhile. And then, as usual, reality sinks in. This limbo stinks.
So I have two SIM cards in my pocket, and it's even worse because I've got the two of them thoroughly confused. I can't, for the life of me, tell them apart : which is pre and which is post. Life is complicated and, no, you don't need need a soothsayer to tell you that. One crazy, washed-up business journo without a cellphone is enough, really.
Fingers crossed. My cell should be working tomorrow. Am hoping. Hard. And promising God a whole lot of hogwash, in the bargain.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Lap it up!
Yawn. So, I'm up today, and it's 3.48 am by the computer clock. So that means, the earliest I'll ever get to sleep (and that's being extremely optimistic) is by 4 am, and that means I'm going to be yawning the whole day tomorrow. Just dandy. I have a meeting with the editor of possibly the most famous economics newspaper in the country tomorrow (technically, today), and another with the head of one of the country's largest financial institutions as well. I don't mean to name drop - am just waxing and waning my enthusiasm, curbing myself and expanding along merrily, as fingers that ought to be asleep dance tiredly along the keyboard.
My flatmate is snoring in the background, as well.
So, I spent four and a half hours doing a myriad of itsy bitsy things which prudence would probably have me avoid, or at the very least, allot for more sensible hours. I chatted. First on yahoo, then on the chatroom that I love to frequent, then on orkut, of which I happen to be a member. Met Venial Sin on chat, and he tried to help me with something on the computer, but then I couldn't really manage to do what he wanted to do, so he went off to bed. i typed on.
O, yes, I did download Mozilla. But what's so great about it, though? Bah, technocrats!
And then I surfed through some porn. I haven't done that in ages! Not since the good ole days of college when porn was as inimical to my daily life as... cereal? cornflakes? tv? Well, none of them matter anymore, but porn is still... interesting. The wonder of porn never fades for me, come what may and whatever the cynics may scream from the rooftops.
Five minutes left till four. The countdown has begun. And so I decided to blog. Found a picture from google, resized it appropriately, and hoped that the blog entry has no great spelling or grammatical or otherwise mistakes for now - I'm simply posting the bakwaas, pasting the picture, and turning in for the night.
So, adios. Good morning, too.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Feels like waiting for a lover. Same anxiety. Same restlessness. I can't wait to be done. I can't wait to stretch my limbs afterwards, and then go off to sleep. I'm not waiting for a lover, though. (It's been so long now, I think I've forgotten how to do it right, too!) Am waiting for my boss. A meeting is scheduled to start. Was scheduled to start. Five hours ago. And I'm still waiting. It's past nine o' clock. And I've been here since nine am. That's exactly twelve hours now.
My immediate boss had promised us Royal Dutch Truffle, and that hasn't arrived, either. He calls us 'mungees'.. yes, he's South Indian. He bullies the shit out of me, and asks me whether I'm allowed to drink yet. So, I smile, and tell him yes, but it's a secret, and he's not allowed to tell my parents. There's a lot of laughs around our group, and back slapping. Everyone's waiting for the damn meeting to start, but we're joking around. I've missed this. I've missed my friends, and to an extent, I think it's getting better now. The 'new job' blues are beginning to part.
The big boss is talking about stories in Karnataka. They're talking about OB Vans and run downs and scripts. I'm a TV person now. I do P2Cs that (thankfully) seem to show some improvement. Stories that seem to have relevance. Not just about the easiest shots and the easiest people. I'm an easy person, though. That much is true.
Tick tock tick tock. It's been seven minutes since.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The hitchhiker observes...
It's a fact. People are not always the best informed about the places they've been born and brought up in. People who come visiting a place often find out deeper little facets about it. People who come to a place to live in it for a longer period of time discover other nooks and cranies that neither of the two classes of people earlier mentioned ever found. And like a very complicated Venn Diagram, there are always little 'unions' and 'intersections' that the three groups have among them.
Cut to a month back: There's a group of people having lunch and the topic of discussion is, quite naturally, desserts and the places to get them best in Mumbai. And, while the two true-blue Mumbaikars at the table sat looking dazed, a comparatively new entrant in the city (she's lived here about two years) kept on rattling names of places where to get the best brownies, chocolate pastries, blueberry cheesecakes, ice cream sundaes, et al.
Cut to a week back: Another cut-from-the-cloth Mumbaikar didn't know that Girgaom Chowpatty was called so. It's just... Chowpatty to her... and probably to many other Mumbaikars like her!
Cut to a year back: We're in Delhi, and someone who's always prided himself as a true Punjabi son-of-the-soil has no idea about the pub we're hitting that night, while I've been there twice already! So, he scratches his head in puzzlement, but after a coupla numbers, once he discovers that he quite likes the place, he lets his hair down, and starts doing the bhangra nach le enthusiastically!
I plead guilty to the same. I've lived in Calcutta for 21 of my nearly 24 years, but haven't explored it in the manner that I have done Chennai, Delhi or Mumbai. My life in Calcutta has been very cloistered: quite limited to the area around my home and my school/ college, and it was only much later, in the last two years or so, that I started exploring other areas and landmarks. There have been intentions, but I guess the drive hasn't been there. The drive's there now, but the city isn't.
Friday, July 08, 2005
This is $%^#, live in Mumbai, for %^&$#
I went shooting yesterday. And saw the result of that today. Have been advised to practise talking in front of a mirror, and pretend that's the camera. Have been advised to control the dancing eyebrows, that quite qualify as one of the greatest freak shows around the world today: sold for $100 million to the rich gypsy who can afford it!
Felt like I was back in journo school, doing all those silly stories about garbage disposal and booksellers on Mount Road and water harvesting - and here I was, doing a thingy on 'state of Bombay roads during the monsoon'. My introduction to the group this morning was a very colourful "how the roads get fucked up every year...", and then I proceeded to show scenes of bumping and jumping cars on "fucked up" roads. There was an interview with an overseer at a construction site, and one with an aam aadmi Mumbaikar driving to work. Clap, clap.
Of course, there were hitches. Primarily: it refused to rain, though I fervently prayed for it to do so. All I got were a few droplets, and so I persuaded the camera guy to take shots of a bumpy car journey from inside the car, out through the rain-specked windshield. And there was no endless line of honking cars stuck in a traffic jam as I'd hoped, because we set off too late, only around 1 pm.
But..... ! The trainer said, this was a great new angle to the story. (I decided to simulate the aam aadmi's journey from Santa Cruz to town, trying to show firsthand the "fucked up" roads.) The trainer said, though my dancing eyebrows deserve to win an award, my PTC* was pretty good for someone who'd come in front of the camera for the first time. And so, I got a pretty good 7 out of 10 for the "fucked up" roads story.
I love being profane at times. I'm sooooooo 'fucked up"!!! hehehehe
*PTC = piece to camera; that's the reporter's two or three lines in a story.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
C'est la vie: Mondy's Blog Meet
It was a bloggers' meet last Friday, and I shall pretend to be one of those earnest loggers at Caferati and type in an accouint of what we did, and who we were. Assembled were, as follows: Bloggers Akshay (he of the trivial matters), Geetanjali (she who still wishes she were a baby), Phalguni (she who is still a baby), and yours truly (he who likes to stay in high rises, but can't afford them!).
Also present were the Blogwhores, a class of people every earnest blogger depends on for that tiny pot of egositic gold at the end of the blog rainbow, those people who don't write blogs themselves, but do make it a living to visit and (more importantly) COMMENT on as many blogs as they can find. (Phalguni has the copyright on blogwhore, by the way.) So, the irrepressable blogwhores were Kunal and Aparna. Kunal brought along new initiate Anurag for the ride.
The evening started with beer: lots of it. And loose talk. Dandified Geet and Phal had some wine and pretended to be French. They both hope to marry French diplomats someday and emigrate. Phal will murder hers soon and be deported back to India, where she will be a brilliant documentary maker. Geet will divorce hers soon, and spend the rest of her life touring Europe via train.
More beer followed, together with various songs on the jukebox. Yours truly was called gay, because he appreciated the fact that someone played Jemilia's Superstar on the box. Akshay sniggered. Anurag still hadn't arrived.
Akshay wants to pass his examinations. He was, however, jobless for the day and decided to attend a Bombay Bloggers' Conference in the morning. Then, he turned up for a variant of the same at night. Losah!
*I'm just being mean now. hehehe*
Anurag arrives, and everyone falls in love with him. More people call me gay now. Aparna shrieks with delight and invites me to a high-society ball with her, together with some French diplomats next week and I agree to come. Eat your hearts out, Phal and Geet. Anurag whispers something in Kunal's ears, and Kunal sniggers. Akshay is quite silent. Bored, perhaps, but then when everyone gets on his case, he forces a grin.
*The drink is getting to me. See what I mean about living HIGH?*
It is Bade Miyan for the next round. People crowded around a chhotuu table on a sidewalk, and baida roti is called for, and some butter chicken. We talk about life and love. Not really. We're just drunk. Anurag is pretending he's sober, but then he starts shrieking with laughter like Aparna, and the secret is out. Kunal pats his head. Akshay is yawning by now. Geet and Phal and Aparna start discussing French short stories and writers, translated in English.
Taxis are called for. The blog meet is declared a success. Au revoir.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Storms in teacups
I have a term for them: they're called the One Month Jitters. It happens, without fail. Get into a relationship: the first weeks are amazing, you feel like you're floating on cotton candy clouds, and all's right with the world, but come the fourth week, aka the one-month headline, and there are jitters inthe air. The questions come then: where are we headed to? do you think this will work? maybe we should take it easy now, back off a bit? I'm not sure I can take it so serious... yadayadayada.
One Month Jitters.
We've all been there. Happened to me. Happened to friends of mine. Is happening to another friend of mine. It's a cycle of sorts.
So, what's the trick? Varying degrees of separation? The trick is to let them know you're interested, but not that interested! The trick is to let them know you could be falling - but not in love.. that's a dirty word, and that comes askance on you when you're expecting it the least!
Damn, I sound like an Oprah clone. The Blogoprah. Sheesh. I'm all jittery, I guess.
Friday, July 01, 2005
There's a new look. One that was due for a long, long time, I think. I've loved the white, pale green, pale blue look on this blog for ages, but I've had it for ages as well: shortly after I arrived in Delhi in April 2004. It's been more than a year since then, and while I've been putting off the agenda for quite some time, I thought this was the best time.
Because I've been neglecting my blogs. That's the only way of putting it. I haven't written anything new on this space in a long while, I haven't posted any new short stories on Gabbles or Caferati, and I haven't written anything on CSF in eons. It's not that I haven't cared. Or that I haven't thought of things to write about ... and at this point, I realise that I sound like the beleagured hubby at a couples' counselling session.
Well, maybe it is a kind of counselling, after all.
There have been new things happening in my life: some good, some not so. There has been an occassion to reinvent livingHIGH, I think. And that is partly what the new look is trying to accomplish. The new look should be just the beginning. And now, I realise, I'm sounding like The Times of India plugging Mumbai Mirror unabashedly...
Without further yakyakking then - this is the new LIVINGhigh.
PS: Am having a bit of a problem with the comments, though! Anyone with suggestions?