Sunday, January 31, 2010

The unthinkable has happened. I have been suspected of being drunk at a dinner where the parents're drunk themselves, that's two unthinkables in one, so of course it's all in vain as I try to explain that I didn't know the bathroom switch was outside instead of inside, because I've been to the neighbours' only once and (miraculously) didn't have to use the bathroom then.

Everyone's still sniggering when I come out and talking about how twenty year olds are expected to be hapless and hopeless and things like that, and the parents have somewhat forced smiles on but then Deep uncle brings out the iPod and starts playing ghazals on it. Two minutes later everyone is swaying from side to side and slurring along to Itna na mujhse pyaar karo, main nashe mein hoon. I'm sitting upright, so is Pooploo (but that is only his daaknaam, although he already looks like he suffers plenty because of it), the only two people who're being hit by all the layers of wrongness the song brings with it. I've grown up listening to it. So has he, I guess. Then everyone starts talking about nasha And Its Various Forms, and what they did when they were young, and they all have funny stories except I can't laugh too much for fear of looking precocious or tipsy or both. Then we have dinner. I take three helpings of kaali dal and people are still assuming I'm drunk, I really don't know why, then they ask me why daal over mutton and I make the mistake of telling them I judge the daal before I judge the mutton because meat's meat, it'll taste good as long as it has oil and salt on it, but daal takes an expert hand to make, and everyone stares.

And there's silence.

Then I chuck caution to the wind and accept drambuie and knock it down, then someone says that the dessert's so good aisa lag raha hai ki munh me madhuri dixit ko le liya humne, I want to die precisely half a second later. But it's fun all the same and everyone's still discussing nasha And Its Various Forms. Somewhere between bhaang and dhatura I decide to leave and Deep uncle sees me to the door and tells me, yaad rakhna, jo pet mein jaaye theek hai, jo lungs mein jaaye theek nahin, isko maankar jiyoge toh mast rahoge. And I don't have the heart to tell him that I turned up qwertied, which is why I emptied the daal handi.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

So Springfest's a drunkfest.
I wasn't very drunk.
There's fog curling around the stadium, it's empty
and yellow, and the grass is dewy, but none of this matters.
We climbed all the way up this hillock because it's the first thing we saw after entering,
Turns out it had steps in the front.
So there's cold stone underneath and I can hear Soumi's teeth chattering
and Arjit's shouting at Senjuti to shut up
and we need to pee, three times and more we need to pee from the rum
but we can't, the shadiest corners are places to pee in but they're also places
to make out in, so nada.

You can't pee on buildings.
Our bums will glow if a car passes by.
Our eyes will be too red and our hands will be too cold.
And let those three shadows go away, please, but maybe
they're just listening to the music?

The trees beyond the fog have these shapes.
One looks like a dinosaur eating up a lamp post.
And then we walk along stripes in the middle of a road
and sometimes we fall
but mostly we totter because there are other people tottering.
Cellphones lost, we need to pee again,
then I negotiate with the people at CCD, who're planning on closing down
and in the CCD loo I realise I'm mistaking the basin for the cistern
and then Senjuti punches Arijit
and Anushka headbutts my shoulder
and Choi mistakes other people for me,
and I put my foot in a squelchy puddle but don't tell anyone because I'm
too scared it's vomit.

The flashlight comes anyway,
It sweeps clean across us and everyone closes their magazines and pushes hair
out and away from their faces
and there's a jeep but the guy's really nice, he tells us to leave the stadium
and go back to the road and stay on it, how very nice,
only I'm thinking, where do we pee now?

So Springfest's a drunkfest.
Doesn't matter, we're sitting far away in a grassy patch outside the tennis courts
and it's hidden by trees.
There's a twig poking into the small of my back
and there's Kryptos playing somewhere in the distance,
lots of flashing lights and I'm guessing it's a wild wild party
but all we can hear is bass and it sounds like a minefield
and all we can see are the lights
over the trees,
it looks like an air-raid.
We're singing peace anthems, we're dancing to Marley,
cue wry smile, then forget, at least
we're spared the concert,
then someone shouts
And everyone's hanging from tree branches.

I eat dal-roti at Vegies and feel happy even though it's horrible, and the quizzes don't matter
because nothing matters till it's dark (The cheese maggi matters
but it soon turns into cheesy maagi
and maagi jokes, fried maagi and plain maagi, anda maagi and motton maagi).
Then there are huddles of drunk people everywhere singing
My Heart Will Go On
and other things, I don't remember,
and it's all total fun man fuck man like yeaaah total fun man like yeaah fuck fuck fuck
yeah bitch.
And I'm on a rickshaw
dropping off, dropping off, but there are people passing everywhere till
the people and the rickshaw are sure to collide
but we reach the dorm and pee,
and then pee again.
All that goes in comes out and over again,
I think we peed all over the place.

But wait, no, we rolled all over the place too
but mostly we rolled down the grassy slope in that complex I can't remember.
So yeah, Springfest's a drunkfest but I was
Mostly dazed.

In the morning I lose all sense of direction
(It'd been intact all night)
Then I realise you can see the moon in the morning
and other people can see it too
and I realise it's not like being scared by animals while you're tripping
(Like cowdung means a cow's around, and a trotting dog's a monster).
Maybe it isn't IIT at all,
maybe it's us.
I've mixed up Night One and Night Two but they could be interchangeable
because it's all the same, tremendously cold hazy loud furry smoky.
Tremendously in, tremendously out,
Tremendously taxing.
I snore.
I'm not going back, I think.

And then I come back home after a never-ending train journey and take a bath and
pull out a plate to eat my lunch
and five others fall out and are smithereened more thoroughly than anything
has ever been smithereened
and scoobyfreakingdoo, boo-tralala-hoo,
It's all okay,
As long as I sleep,
As long as I get up,
As long as I can
find out why my sneakers are glowing in all the pictures.
The Crane Wife by The Decemberists has one of my most favourite pieces of music ever. It's called The Island: Come and See/ The Landlord's Daughter/ You'll Not Feel The Drowning. I like everything about the song, the vocals and the arrangements but especially the last bit about the little ugly, in fact it's that bit that tips it for me mostly. I've owned a little ugly through different parts of my life, a stuffed green toy with goggly eyes, a lizard with a lumpy head, a really misshapen backpack, a velvet jungle-print teeshirt. I loved them beyond reason and logic and for the same reason that all little uglies are loved, so it makes me kind of sad. It's not like all little uglies have to go, there was a time I wanted to collect every one I could gather and keep them with me, be another Champion of Small Uglies, only in a different way. But things give out, now it's more of which of the uglies to keep and which to throw out because my world's no longer small enough to accommodate just a few. That's the melancholy bit. Otherwise, hey, I'm a little ugly too =)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

There is very little I can recall about Kharagpur that can be organised into a coherent post, besides it's very tiring to write about. Today I played Fortune and apparently I'll write a book someday, can't see that happening considering how restless I am. I like writing fragments more than stories, I can't read a book through at a stretch without breaking, I can't stand very long guitar solos, I can't sit through most movies, I even take notes in class because it gives me something to concentrate on. The only time I'm not restless is when things around me are being more restless, like when someone's hurt themselves and everyone's going berserk. I can think straight then. Or if I'm in the middle of a traffic spot with people yelling and cars honking and sun shining and hands and legs jangling and shuffling, then I feel calm and think about priorities and ambitions and things. I haven't thought about Kharagpur yet, I still don't know. Tomorrow on the way to college I will.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My mother owned a salwar-kameez set that had designs I copied onto paper long before I saw the Taj Mahal and knew of pietra dura. She wore it to most of my childhood excursions, zoos and parks and playgrounds, and there are photographs of me covered in sand and staring at her clothes. I look idiotic mostly.

My grandmother still carries a diary with my scribbles on it, I scribbled over everything. I had a lotus phase because the lotus was the easiest flower to draw, but even then things were mirrored and always have been, two flowers on either side, leaves and tendrils bent at precise angles. Everything looking like it was meant to fall into place without apparent reason. But there are signs, I saw them when I looked into the diary and the photographs this time. Age six and the frustration already shows. Age twenty and no matter how hard I look the other way it's always there, everywhere, all over, yin and yang, dum and dee, sita and gita, a pair and a symmetry to everything till I decide I might as well be the blemish, haminasto haminasto haminasto.

This could be a self-pity post or an I Am Special post, but really it's a Fuck Perfection post. Pun intended.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pappu ki gaari tez hai, Part Two.

Monday, January 18, 2010

We are in some danger of becoming petty in our study of pettiness.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Say you were my love in a faraway land, I would describe this morning to you thus: Everything outside my window looks like it needs to be vacuum-cleaned of mould. Or maybe that's too banal, a better and more beautiful sentence would be: There is fog all around like vague wisps of forgetfulness. Or I'd just say, blast it you're not here anyway so why bother telling, but just so you know I woke up this morning with my fists tucked under my stomach for warmth.

Predictably though, there is no love and no faraway land and no incentive to write anyone a letter, so I'll let you know of my socks. They contain cold toes. And I'll tell you of my nose, which when placed against your bare skin would most definitely induce a shudder like a cold pebble touching your neck. But mostly I will tell you of my hair which demands a shampoo even in this weather, I shall sit down with it hanging damp and cold down my back and write to you anyway. And if I debate the propriety of it I shall shrug once and go on, it is the body that responds to weather first, the mind merely follows suit. Like in so many other cases.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

If you're ever with a blanket that is holding
in a fart, watch out
because it's smelly like a behind is smelly,
it's like that man on the road you
often see,
the man who bumps up against people because he has to,
a sudden shoulder collision,
you didn't really need it and you don't know how
it happened, but oh well.

So suppose you get out and run, the blanket
be damned, the world be damned,
there will always
be another bed and another mattress,
holding in centuries of
misplaced odours, things done and undone
and hastily removed, this isn't meant to be gross really,
just a
Just my nose.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The second-hand bookstalls in Gariahat are bittersweet because it always hurts to come across a book you like, someone else didn't think much of giving it away. There are some authors that keep reappearing, though, I located no less than twelve copies of War and Peace. There were a lot of orphaned Dickenses also in addition to the usual thirty-buck pulp. I wanted to buy a bunch of Tarzanses but I was looking for a volume on Milton's poetry instead so I desisted, then I saw a couple of Penguins that I'd read a long time back, tiny pocket classics that came in boxed sets, Kipling's Baa Baa Black Sheep and Herriot's Yorkshire Tales, but I have the Herriot so I kept hoping Gigi would turn up. Nothing happened. No Milton, no Tarzan, nothing. I ended up buying a copy of The Little Prince because it's been a really long time since I owned one, I lost the first copy I had and the second never came back to me after Sonali or Puja or someone else borrowed it. It's Second Unluckiest right after The Catcher in the Rye.

This copy has a dedication inside in blue and green ink that reads,

My one 'n' only
With lots of
Love 'n' hugs -
February 4th 2k2.

Right, so, my point is, at least I lose them. Some people just seem to have strange priorities and yes, this is supposed to be a layered sentence.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Comfort food on bandh day. Go ahead, ask me what they are =)

The white shines through and you've always been proud of that because of all the trouble it took to get them this way. Aligned. Even. Straight. So it's a little unprecedented that you can feel things crawling around inside, tiny things and tiny movements, enough to take you to the mirror. So you open your mouth and look in and there's nothing really, just a speck of black wedged between two teeth. Then it moves. On an impulse you pull up your lip and press the gums underneath and a louse slides out like it's been squeezed through a nozzle. You press again and another comes out, then another and another, then they flow out of your mouth and into the room and everything is suddenly variegated, everything is dotted lines, everything is dash dot dash dot crawling around till it isn't anymore, till everything stops and you open your eyes.

And realise you should have brushed your teeth before bedtime last night.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I keep having these inner struggles about Things. Like I've spent all morning debating whether it's better to have pictures with red laser dates imprinted on them as compared to not. My heart warms to the dates sometimes, it's like a digital clock that was suddenly frozen for that one moment, but I wouldn't want them on a picture without people in it. That would be taking obsessive-compulsive too far.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And whoa, just read this week's PostSecret.

I've just attended a pretty useless dinner only for the food, which I suppose is as worthy a cause as any. The Ladies Club in my complex is a pretty useless club as it goes, but then I'm not a feminist and I don't mean it in the it's-just-ladies-with-handbags kind of way. The 3rd anniversary cake did happen to be a handbag, but that isn't my point either. There are women here who do housework and women who do nothing and women who work till late in the evening and still manage to be a part of the club, besides my mother's secretary or something, I have no idea why. They don't really do anything worthwhile but if they want to dress up and throw themselves a party I'm ok with it as long as I get the food. But that wasn't my point at all. The point is that the highlight of the evening happened to be a kid who insisted on licking his plate clean while his mother screamed "Rajorshi, STOP!" till I thought she'd go hoarse. Of course the kid still went on licking his plate, but the screaming prompted another toddler to go berserk and jump into the tub that held dirty plates.

I bloody love socialising sometimes.
The universe is full of nutcases. Conglomeration of said nutcases was parading ISKCON-style hare hare bhajans at five thirty in the morning when things were still dark and foggy. I woke up then went back to sleep and later in the morning the mater reassured me that I hadn't had a religious dream after all, and that there were cymbals too. At nine thirty there was Anuradha Paudwal's Amritvaani on somewhere, and now the Kati Patang soundtrack's playing somewhere but I don't really mind, rehne do chhoro ke jaane do yaar, hum na karenge pyaaaaaaar.

This has been a soundtrack-to-life post from your friendly neighbourhood sufferer.

Friday, January 8, 2010

This woman she reads the newspapers back to front because by the time she gets past the sports page she feels like there can't possibly be anything worse further on. The ads are the most interesting because of their sincerity, she reads the ads more closely than she does the Business page and thinks often of people who would appreciate this habit. They're real people, industrious people, but the one thing even they wouldn't understand is the way she makes up words just to get the crossword finished. Mornings are always happier without empty boxes, besides she never checks the results. To go back and find out what you already knew was wrong seems such a waste.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I've been listening to a lot of slow jammy jazzy music lately. Tea Leaf Green, Steely Dan, Miles Davis, Erik Truffaz, also Corinne Bailley Rae because her voice is one of the best things you can wake up to on a winter morning. For songs that are so mournful in general the music as a whole never fails at achieving all the non-paranoia and un-nerviness that I want, so there are quilts and blankets and there is the music and there is a happy little feverish blob somewhere in the middle trying to read Greek tragedy. Sometimes I'm inordinately proud of how nerdy I can be because it's all I have till the non-productivity kicks in. I'm fine this year, six days and I can tell I'm fine and that I'm going to be fine. I'm going to be so darn fine that there will be nothing but nauseating finery and fineness all around.

I could do with a copy of On The Road to call my own but I need to watch fussday fussshow Sherlock Holmes this Friday, hence I am a tangle of wool. Come next week I shall jobhunt to the point of slobbering over not nice people, three times over I swear it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I object very much to some forms of plurality, mouses is a better word than mice.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

He sits and sings with a crack in his voice so it seems like there are two of him, a deep rumbly man and a hoarse falsetto man, but really there is a third too, the brisk official kind who makes sure there is a person impressed enough to offer him a gig. Sometimes a fourth shines through, a slow slurred man sitting at home talking to his dog, which can't tell notes apart anyway but likes the cracks in its own manner.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A new year would be a new year if you could sit on top of a mountain and watch things turn around you, clouds and chirping birds and fog flying all around your head in a way that you know things have changed. Something tangible, something different from how every new year is, a day spent looking into the mirror wondering if I look like a wiser person living in an era, a decade, a time that will later be put down as characteristically deranged or dynamic or whatever. But the mountaintop is not a recurring dream, what used to be a recurring dream is the throwing of bottles off a terrace and then riding bicycles over the shards on the road, like a movie scene. Hurl bottle over, crash and tinkling glass, then a bicycle bell and pedalling feet. No one gets hurt, no one's tyre gives. There are ladies with brilliant white smiles and gents with gallant moustaches, and they ride over glass into a rising sun, talking about chai. Very sixties. And no, this is not a metaphor.

This year the ideal new year has changed. There are loopholes in the plan but I want to be in the most non-festive place imaginable, a quiet pastel hotel room with a boring channel on, and I want to be without a phone and I want to be hungry, just so I can get out early in the morning feeling like I need to put something in me, food and drink and air and light, instead of getting up at one feeling like my throat has shrivelled up and my guts must turn themselves inside out soon. I'd like to go looking for a new year instead of having it creep up on me. That is all.