Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Third cold of the season. At a time when I can safely apply the word stertorous to every action I do I find myself wanting to be a jazz singer. I want to have a vaguely white flower in my hair, with an old-fashioned dress black pumps net over my eyes red lipstick the whole jingbang, and I want to be on a podium and I want to have a voice that goes to everyone's head. Just like the wine. Just like the piano. I'm really very emo sometimes, only now I'm being stertorously emo. While I was stertorously reading the paper today I discovered that Monaco is now reclaiming land from the sea. Hah. HAH. Now they need land. No one will know what I'm talking about but as I have already mentioned, नो वन रीड्स दिस ब्लॉग।

Hello, hello, it's been a good winter, it's finally cold. I nearly died of hypothermia yesterday because nothing I wore would stop the bloody stertorousness, plus I forgot to wear socks. All this week the sudden cold's been getting me thinking about trying to be environment friendly the coming year, like conserve water conserve paper conserve trees stop global warming types. Only I bet if I made a list of all that I'd have to do it would entail living like... I don't know what, it's horrific that I'll have to be more hermitlike, nope, not happening.

But Monaco got a newspaper mention.

I have resolved not to write my masterpiece after all. I'd much rather write it during some joyless period in my life and then die before I can see how it performs vis a vis the world. That seems like a good idea.

Monday, December 28, 2009

There is nothing I can say about Bombay that has not been said before. I cannot write about it because I can't pinpoint what exactly I like about it, it has been a failing with most cities I like, seeing as there are so few of them. As a kid, however, I remember liking the city because it had FIATs for taxis. We'd just bought a second-hand Premier Padmini, the first family car, and it made me feel like every Bombay taxi was mine. The taxis remain, but I rode a local train. That rhymes.

I'm glad I walked out of VT only slightly less faster than it took the rest of the crowd to walk in, in spite of being mildly freaked out at everything. There are ticket meters in Marathi but keep walking, everyone's walking the other way but keep walking, the building's so pretty but keep walking. Gag, Slumdog, gag, here? But keep walking. That's what VT was like.

No vada-pav because I don't like it, but akoori and mawa pudding, check. Right after we got back I visited Nahoum's and it's true, Kyani's is more or less a Nahoum's with chequered tablecloths and pillars.

There were kids flying kites on Marine Drive. And there was Porcupine Tree, but I cannot write about that either. There were also a whole lot of new people, funny people, wonderful people, hot coffee-providing people, but fuck it this post's bad enough already.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Kept a new year's resolution. I am just worship material and nothing else.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Refer above. And I might. But keeping them would entail dying of superiority.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What places did you visit?
Lucknow, Rishap, Bombay.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Purpose, decisiveness, more money of my own.

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I can't ever remember dates. But Porcupine Tree, yes, because.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

9. What was your biggest failure?
Impulsiveness. (Getting pickpocketed?)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not unless you take bowel movement into consideration.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Some books, I guess. And toys with little bulbs inside them that glow in the dark.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
This would imply I expect people to be beautiful all the time, bhakk.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel, books.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Lots of little things everyday. I just don't show it =)

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Duniya, Dev D.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?
Happier but more impatient.

18. Thinner or fatter?
Fatter, I think.

19. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Reading. Thinking about things in a non- lopsided manner. Travelling.

20. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Smoking, procrastinating, tolerating.

21. How will you be spending Christmas?
It is two minutes to Christmas. I'm in my room with BB King on.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
No idea.

23. How many one-night stands?

24. What was your favourite TV programme?

Watched nothing all year except House MD during a brief phase.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon. Maybe John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces too, but haven't finished it yet.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Miracles of Modern Science, The Decemberists, Beck, Blackstratblues.

28. What did you want and get?
A hill holiday, peace.

29. What did you want and not get?
A job that pays, more peace.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?

Gulaal. Inglourious Basterds. Up!

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Received good gifts and bad news. Was twenty.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less irritation, more peace, more travelling, a bicycle, a job.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
What? I wore what I liked, as always.

34. What kept you sane?
Three Mukherjees. But they're not whats but whos, so I'll say music. I discovered a lot of good music this year.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Haha, for the sake of earlier times, Copenhagen =D

37. Who did you miss?

No one specifically. Just carrying over from last year.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Hatt. I don't know.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
If it buzzes, swat it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

One day to getting out. I will scream if I see anyone use 'arbitrary blackness gallops in' for a gtalk status this one day. I will also scream if I do not get the things I've been meaning to get done, done. When done is done I shall sleep on plane and then scream if I hear anyone say "Wazzaaaaa". Then I shall be polite intermittently (or intermittently polite, whichever works) and eat a lot of icecream, following which I shall scream if people do not comply with every unreasonable demand I make, including trying to sneak into Dharawi. I will also scream if they comply, doesn't hurt. I will sneer at people sleeping late and worry about where to eat next. And in case I forgot to mention, I will scream at the mention of shopping.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


My current favourite most-awesome thing-to-do is wordsearch my media library to see what kind of music turns up. Typing in the word "fool" gives me this beautiful playlist. Sinatra's My Foolish Heart, and Queen's You Don't Fool Me, and Fool in the Rain and (tada tada) Won't Get Fooled Again and Fool to Cry, and Fool's Paradise by Don Mclean and Young and Foolish by Corinne Bailey Rae.

And Fool on the Hill, always Fool on the Hill, multiple versions.

Some surprises also, like Lovefools, which I hated earlier but now has grown on me, and Get Balsamic Vinegar and Michael Buble's Kissing a Fool, and just when I thought things like these don't happen, Jamiroquai's Love Foolosophy. There are others, it's almost two hours long. The longest wordsearch playlists I get, incidentally, are 'love', 'life', 'death' and 'dream'. But fool's more surprising, like the first song this morning.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Still don't know what courses to take. I want a bit of each. I want to study Tragedy and The American Novel and Settler Colony Literature and Literature and Censorship and oh, everything, without having to take exams and read secondary texts and overload head with tripe that random critics came up with. But since the universe does not work that way and since you can't always get what you want (lip wiggle), I shall probably end up sitting in for a lot of the courses. I shall be the girl lurking around in the last bench moping about not being able to choose an optional in time. Studying literature's a drag if you've decided you don't want to be an authority on it, but who's listening?

I've decided to be a mean parent to my kids. It's really sad when kids are treated like prodigies because they win certificates and singing contests and things. Soon enough they'll grow up and realise they're actually pretty mediocre and then they'll have an identity crisis or something, so I might as well treat them like crap from the very beginning. Be a wolfmother. Swing them around by the scruff of the neck. Take them horseriding and point and laugh if they fall off, chuck them into ponds to teach them to swim, place a jam jar with an insanely tight lid in front of them and demand they make their own sandwiches. What nice, tough, impossibly competent kids I'll have, proper gum-chewing twerps with life skills who'll understand the dignity of labour. At age ten they'll be repairing generators and computer circuits and things. Then they'll get on reality television and rough it out some more and get rich and thank me during interviews.

If I don't understand anything at the Winter School I shall think of my kids and be happy. Maybe I'll also think of my new purple shoes. Then there'll be delirious giggling.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

I write more in my drafts everyday but the Publish button hates me. I'm afraid of writing a lot these days for fear of lack of direction. One is supposed to have direction by now. Like a straight straight arrow. Two years ago I wanted the world to know everything about me and now it scares me that I might meet someone who thinks I'm their best friend because of it. I think I'll go back to the start. Write poetry. Use adjectives like azure and verdurous and put exclamation marks wherever I can. Will you go away then? I like this blog, please don't stop me liking it by liking it too. A durrpoke goes both ways and is, at the end of the day, a Durrpoke.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sometimes if I'm eating something that is small and round, like Fatafat, or those round white sugary things they give as prasad at temples that look like not quite clouds and not quite cauliflowers (the prasad, not the temples), I like putting a handful into my mouth and then pushing them up above my jaw and wedging them between the inside of my upper lip and the gums above my teeth, just underneath my nostrils. It's not as dangerous as putting peanuts up your nose. I like how it makes me look suddenly different. As a kid I thought I looked like Hanuman. Today I thought of wedging five in a row in front of both my upper and lower teeth with the idea that I'd look like Kalki Koechlin or something. No such luck, Hanuman perseveres.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Second pointless book tag.

Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror?

Dunno. Haven't read enough of each.

Hitchhiker or Discworld?
Don't remember Hitchhiker much, but I loved it. Haven't read Discworld. Yet.

Bookmark or Dog ear?
Flip through till I find my page. I keep losing bookmarks.

Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
Haven't read Asimov Proper. Now I'm rethinking this tag.

Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or random?
Used to be by author. Now it's books read, half-read and not read.

Keep, Throw Away or Sell?
Keep! What a question.

Keep, dust-jacket or toss it?

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Haven't read Snicket. Used to be a Potter fan, still am in some ways.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
When tired, sleepy, or distracted by shiny objects.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?

Buy or Borrow?

Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
Browse, what a nice word. Also recos.

Lewis or Tolkien?
Love both, refuse to choose.

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
No specific time.

Standalone or Series?
Standalone, mostly.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
The Gipsy in the Parlour - Margery Sharp

Top 5 favorite genres of all time?

Speculative Fiction
Historical/War background types
Exotic locale/Adventure types
Regency romances :D

Top 5 favorite genre books?
Making this list will be excruciating. I'll pass.

Currently Reading?
Dracula. And bits of Doonesbury.
Pointless book tag. Taking a break from Dracula. Popfic exam tomorrow will most likely be a disaster unless I finish the book and move on to actually studying. But lets do this first.

The following is apparently a list of books, "most of them sitting unread in people's bookshelves to make them look smarter". The rules are: bold the ones that you have read and italicize the ones you have started but didn't finish.

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
2. Anna Karenina
3. Crime and Punishment
4. Catch-22
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
6. Wuthering Heights
7. The Silmarillion
8. Life of Pi: a novel
9. The Name of the Rose
10. Don Quixote
11. Moby Dick
12. Ulysses
13. Madame Bovary
14. The Odyssey
15. Pride and Prejudice
16. Jane Eyre
17. The Tale of Two Cities
18. The Brothers Karamazov
19. Guns, Germs and Steel
20. War and Peace
21. Vanity Fair
22. The Time Traveler's Wife
23. The Iliad
24. Emma
25. The Blind Assasin
26. The Kite Runner
27. Mrs. Dalloway
28. Great Expectations
29. American Gods
30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
31. Atlas Shrugged
32. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
33. Memoirs of a Geisha
34. Middlesex
35. Quicksilver
36. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
37. The Canterbury Tales
38. The Historian: A Novel
39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
40. Love in the Time of Cholera
41. Brave New World
42. The Fountainhead
43. Foucault's Pendulum
44. Middlemarch
45. Frankenstein
46. The Count of Monte Cristo
47. Dracula (COMING SOON! Dracula in bold!)
48. A Clockwork Orange
49. Anansi Boys
50. The Once and Future King
51. The Grapes of Wrath
52. The Poisonwood Bible
53. 1984
54. Angels and Demons
55. Inferno
56. The Satanic Verses
57. Sense and Sensibility
58. The Picture of Dorian Gray
59. Mansfield Park
60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (This was so fabulous, I don't know why I stopped.)
61. To the Lighthouse
62. Tess of the D'Urbervilles
63. Oliver Twist
64. Gulliver's Travels
65. Les Miserables
66. The Correction
67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
69. Dune
70. The Prince
71. The Sound and the Fury
72. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
73. The God of Small Things
74. A People's History of the United States: 1492-present (Not happening anytime soon)
75. Cryptonomicon
76. Neverwhere
77. A Confederacy of Dunces (Reading this now. Apart from Dracula, I mean)
78. A Short History of Nearly Everything
79. Dubliners
80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
81. Beloved
82. Slaughter House- five
83. The Scarlett Letter
84. Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Never actually began.)
85. The Mists of Avalon
86. Oryx and Crake
87. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
88. Cloud Atlas
89. The Confusion
90. Lolita
91. Persuasion
92. Northanger Abbey
93. The Catcher in the Rye
94. On the Road
95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
96. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Enquiry into Values
98. The Aeneid
99. Watership Down
100. Gravity's Rainbow
101. The Hobbit
102. In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
103. White Teeth
104. Treasure Island
105. David Copperfield
106. The Three Musketeers

Ok. Why multiple Atwoods? Now I feel like doing another tag.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You are my flaxen-haired beauty and I shall wax lyrical about you, flax flax flax. Pax Knox Maddox. Everything ending with eks. Like this.


And like this.

Fox. Vex. Nix. Lux. Tax.

Rox also.

Just keep off the kisses.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chopta was the first time I almost scared myself to death. There was this guy at the chulha who told us we'd get roti and lauki ki sabzi, nothing else, he also told us that we'd better get back to our room quickly because sometimes panthers went by the village at night. I was nine and secretly neurotic already, and a panther was a PANTHER! but the folks stepped out anyway. Within half a minute of walking down the road we were in a kind of darkness you don't see anywhere else, pure pitch without glimmerings of any other shade. And since you don't need a panther if you're inside it already, my usual attack of silent hyperventilation started. Then I looked up at the peak of it all, and there seemed to be more light up in the sky than down here, more stars than I had ever seen in my life, spread out till as far as I could follow. All right this sounds really sappy now, like a parable or something. But it was huge then, like Complan powder on a granite slab, like spray-painting with toothbrushes (white paint, black chart paper) during craft classes. Charts of the solar system, encyclopedias with colour illustrations, science city, nothing compares. We sat down for a bit in the middle of the road at great peril to our bottoms and huffed out mouthfuls of vapour, and all I wanted was to get back to a lit room because as far as I was concerned a panther was following us back all the way from the village.

It's always been my favourite part of being in the hills ever since, looking up at a clear night sky on a dark road and becoming Microbe Number One. And a part of my refusal to learn to tell constellations apart, I think, is this need to not be able to discern, to not, for once, try and find a pattern to everything. It's not that it helps you survive a walk at night, looking up. It just distracts in a way I can't explain, almost subliminal, I don't even completely know what that word means. But there it is.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's a matter of life and death being on the front right side of an auto; today I got stuck with an extremely concerned dadu who had managed to notice the same thing as me, Poncha mama's jilipis have this strange crust on them in the evening, coagulated ghee and the sadness of no one finding them desirable enough to eat. It's freaky that a dadu should notice the same thing as me, was Sherlock Holmes a dadu? Hercule Poirot undoubtably was, so was Perry Mason I guess. It's still strange that my eyes are eighty years old. No wait, I also noticed that the bhelpuri wala outside gate no.4 is different. This is unacceptable. Also, the rubbish below the comp. lit ledge has decreased, this is really a very sad thing to be writing about. But one's gotta do something. Stick a butterfly pin in my eye, I will never find a reason to die.

My grandma's watching Idea Star Singer or something on Asianet. I remember we visited Kerala when the finals of the show were on in 2008. We didn't get our food at a restaurant for nearly an hour because everyone, the proprietor the waitors the cooks even, all of them gathered around a little tv in the dining area and bickered about who the winner would be. It's creepy because the judges catch every wrong tone you sing and then show you how it should be done. Chicken 65 eventually arrived and the guy in charge still went on about why his favourite wouldn't win. It's nice that there's still passion around, but really?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I've resolved to end the city freeze. From tomorrow I shall, at least thrice a week, wake up early morning and pull on sweater and go out with Kaimra. Let's see how that works out. Something tells me it'll be the waking up bit that hurts the most. Right now there's so much night-fog the streetlights outside seem to be breathing, like you could put your face up to them and feel waves of steam. The way your nose held over a cup of tea feels suddenly moist. Can mornings be any less beautiful? I could do with a dose of beautiful.

I hope it gets much much colder.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Besides coming across as always tipsy and saying something borderline hilarious every time I meet him, he looks like an owl. His son looks like a sparrow, and a really nervous one at that, so I'm guessing it doesn't run in the family. This man, my neighbour, he once had to face Puja's wrath in my balcony. She was yelling at some random guy for indeterminate reasons, and it was really late at night so she thought no one was around. Somewhere in the midst of all the profanity she was letting loose he popped up from behind his living room's curtains (it adjoins our balcony) and calmly said, whiskey glass in hand, thoda dheere se, beta.

He's always in unbuttoned shirts or open-necked garments, no tie, even with a blazer. That's how I noticed this funny scar-like thing on his chest just below his neck. It's brown and leathery and very intriguing because it's like a splotchy upside-down pentagon; almost makes him look like a middle-aged owlish superhero in disguise. I went the longest time without asking about it because it was nicer to come up with theories on my own, but after a year or so the tell-me-why tendency took over and I asked. This was right after the day in the elevator when he told me that Raymond Chandler was too fancy a name for someone who wrote badass detective novels. He always says things like that. So this time I waited for another epiphany, only he said, oh, it's a keloid.

A what?

A keloid, he said. It started out as a scar or something, and then he couldn't stop scratching it, and it grew and it spread...

Like a tumour? I was pretty excited by now.

Almost. But it's benign (Exit excitement, stage left). And it itches if it comes in contact with skin (Exit open shirt mystery, should have thought of this earlier).

Interesting enough?

Yes, I said, but I was just being polite. And that, to summarise, is why I don't like talking too much. Things of epic proportion are shaved down till they become keloids. What a term.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Conspiracy

You send me your poems,
I'll send you mine.

Things tend to awaken
even through random communication

Let us suddenly
proclaim spring. And jeer

at the others,
all the others.

I will send a picture too
if you will send me one of you.

- Robert Creeley