Monday, April 28, 2008

a kind of genocide

The landscape's changed. There's more green. Less colour. Easy on the eyes. No intermittent slants of shade in which to hide as ambers turn to greens. Naked spines slashed brutally, vertebrae hanging in angles, mangled past of a booming outdoor ad industry lying in heaps, marking graves where they fall. Carted in trucks, sticking out in ridged heaps, weeping rust at nonchalant passers by. No more galleries. No more free art. The hoardings have gone. The skyline is empty.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Few Good Men *'few ' cause tis predominantly an all-woman org.

These guys are one of the reasons why work's a great place to be in. Apart from the fact that they are integral to several activities, they are also indispensable because of their spirit and the mirth they spread.

'tesh is the handsome, reliable admin person with a leaning towards art direction, willing to give design input on everything from brochures to hoardings at any odd hour. Despite the fact that I'm from an advertising background, I haven't got the hang of measurements entirely. But there's always 'tesh to double-check with. A natural calligrapher, he does the daily notice boards and any written appeal giving it a touch of class. He's also one of the few fittest people here. He used to play district level football. And thanks to where he hails from, a lil village off Arakonam, the lake there turned him out to be an expert fisherman of fresh water catch and a good swimmer. The one grouch I have with him is that like most South Indians, he's obsessed with fair skin! T and I have spent several hours on the beauty of dark complexions. All in vain. The only thing that will see him excusing himself of great conversation and food is a deadline and talk of his girl friend back in his ooru.

S'ed's day involves evicting people from their comps as he gets virus scans going. This bespectacled and at first impression a reserved "boy", is a Tamizh Pullavar, and one of the most interesting conversationalists ever! Never fails to have us clutching our tummy with his one liners and sudden comic bursts in sutha Tamizh. A big contributor to my Tamizh music collection, he always stops by my cabin to say a hello or have tea while swapping songs over the ph.

M'ty is the forever accommodating 'print-out' person. Everything from banners, to vinyls will be dumped on him with not too much time to spare. He does not go uncomplaining into the night armed with a cd and curved files. Yet, it's there in the morning. Many trips to Kovalam have been made with melancholic songs from Azhagi which he's addicted to and croons in a sombre voice while I fret that it doesn't go with my joy on having the sea parallel to me. When I can't take the gray mood effused into the ota Indica anymore, my nagging gets him to yield to cheerful Illayaraja hits that play themselves while we reminiscence over the plot.

S'an is one of the youngest folks here. Nakkal raja is who he is. Perpetually trips on everybody. What sets him apart is his jaunty step and driving skills. He minces time as he floors it on Chennai roads. Calls everyone akka except for T and was throughly broken hearted when she left.

V'an is the philosophic one who carts a lot of us on trips to Kovalam and back everyday. He inspires respect with his no-nonsense approach to a lot of things. For instance, why no radio when you're doing such a long stretch? He says, "contemplate, plan your day, read a book. Why listen to all the cackling on stations. Isn't it distracting?" I don't quite agree cause if one's doing that distance alone, silence is not a very good thing to have around. One's got to have at least music for company. Anyway, getting back to V'an he's got an indomitable spirit. He had the entire Koyambedu Market covered on a fundraising initiative for the Mumbai Marathon. He went to various sections with such unflagging enthusiasm where as I as a coordinator of it all was exhausted by the fag end.

C'nan & Kovalam M'ty are few of the people I would like to call friends from here and two of the best human beings I've met. Inseparable, these two personify 'fun'. They are both incredibly talented community workers aiding the cause through awareness and initiating partnership. Their street theater performances are crowd-magnets in surrounding villages. M is the actor and C a thoroughly brilliant musician. C's 'Thappu' will make anyone who claims to have two left-feet dance like never before. The music he belts out is infectious. And he's got the most mesemerising voice to go with it. His talent as a musician hasn't gone unnoticed. He might be making music for a Tamizh movie soon!

These two guys are a riot! C has an MA in Tamizh Literature and never fails to trip on my kind of Tamizh. M just finds me amusing. And so, I've been subject to several prank calls that has left me feeling both silly and cackling away to glory. One sunday evening, kuku, R, 'idy and I took off to Kovalam to meet these two. A boat ride to where the Dargha's dome bobbed as a distant speck, a rope to prevent us fom bobbing off. 'idy and I jumped into the pretty placid blue in a flash and floated on our backs as purple hints crept across the sky.

Hungry after much time off shore, we were mighty thrilled when a woman from the community stepped out to share her dinner with us. Twas delicious prawn curry. While licking our fingers clean, we got her side of the story on the Buckingham Canal pollution that's been leaving fishermen with no catch. R carried a good story on it. And we both received a compliment from M that I will cherish forever - "neenga rendu perum Outreach program la semmaya fit aavenga"

We went to another part of the beach to chomp into awesome fish fry. M let us on to a secret - the boneless fish we were having wasn't Vanjaram but something akin, called the Parala. That explains why, though it was immensely tasty, it didn't have the juiciness of a Vanjaram. It was a cheap imitation but nevertheless loverly. On our way back C lulled us into a highly gratified smug state of having had a great evening at sea and on shore, with his sonorous folksy voice emoting Shivaji goldies.

And so, these guys make everyday at work an event.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Why can't I buy Time?

Sleep eluded me last night. Not cause Monday was looming big. But because I kept missing something - the right words to days that choose to stay unidimensional despite many happenings, to contentment that skirts. And then I discovered them after much scouring.

"I said fate plays a game without a score,
and who needs fish if you've got caviar?"

- Joseph Brodsky

Poetry offers reprieve in its malleability of context. And so Time, while ticking incessantly at a chosen pace, I am tempted to ask for occasional preludes on what's to come, to whet me. But I wont. Cause I gave my word to patience and pledged myself to trust. Yet I secretly wish for it to yield. Will sit with twilight purple for company watching many nights yield to several dawns.

I think too much. I miss too much. Days are peppered with excitement-sapper and roll off like drops of water from lotus leaves - never really touching. Never really living. Never present entirely in a moment.

Or maybe I should shut up with this talk, for what if at the end I'm just Time's fool?

Why do you build me up buttercup?

"So what are you planning to do this long weekend?" asked a few friends of mine from Blore. What long weekend!?! I ask. I work on Saturdays. And yes, today is Ugadhi but neither am I a Kannadiga nor a Telugu and therefore don't feel too right about applying for a festival off. Apart from my mum who's constantly reminding me that I must take off on 14th it is the zinc deficiency presenting itself in a pristine white dash on a nail that says tis time to go shopping for new clothes :-P Signs are good and most of them exist methinks to make a good excuse.

The good times promised by Saturday evening was a no show. The morning was great. Without much of a hassle I managed to figure out something that could fit into work and an evening out with friends. For once I ignored Saturday's condescending streak - the roads are great for driving cause 3/4th of the traffic is off the roads cause that's how many people get Saturdays off! Work moved at a slug-like pace. Vani dropped in and added colour to the blandness of boredom. Soon she enticed my appetite with talk of samosas and bhajjis from down the road.

A call from home however told me that I could quit salivating over lil triangles of crispy joy and thirsting for beer as my dad's root canal pains had kicked in. They were at the dentist's. Nothing serious but I had to get there. And so I left work with Vani. On our way down we stopped by to watch Pattiyal with Kalpana for a lil while. Arya can't emote.

I was tired with the acknowledgment that I looked fantastic but had to go to the dentist's. That and the fact that I was going to miss out on N. This however, made me hungry. So Saturday evening saw Vani and me with the quickest plates of chaat ever to be mixed together from Gangotree. It was made to sound like a place of compulsory pilgrimage for Stella Marians when I had just finished my 12th and waiting for admission. And for the first one week I looked at it in awe as I got off the bus.

With parents worn out by long evening, Dinner presented itself to be made by me. Bindi fry in curd with rotis. This, while trying to figure out the time for the last order in various places for friends who were keen yet late. TDS never lets anyone down methinks. They went on to serve till 12 is what I heard.

I stayed up till 12 to check on medication. And then went to bed as the next door watchman's radio crooned Illayaraja hits.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Laughter with a pinch of sardonicism

There are quite a few things that make me laugh along with life at its situations contorted out of proportion, its sudden denials, twisted surprises, and the inertia it often tags on. One of them being my fav comic strip :-)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Time Warp

Today's Friday?!! Feels like I've just stepped out of a Monday :-o Yaay! The weekend's here! I think this total unawareness of days has got something to do with the fact that I count every hour with a dream I have wedged in the midst of me and chart its course through the day.

As I wait for Mayamma's Coffee...

I prefer the Dentist's to the Hospital any day! Too many times have 'idy and I gone to St. John's in the middle of the night to get her checked. While she blanches on entering Emergency, I visibly stop breathing. These visits happened every month while studying in Blore and were always in the middle of the night. It was either an auto that fleeced us, J's Kinetic or our legs trudging up the slope. As frequent as our visits to the Doc were was the sight of Blood with at least one person having lost a limb in a road accident. Getting back to hostel was a nightmare as well. It was either sidey men or rabid dogs that chased us.

Mercifully there's nothing fatal about getting shots to the gums, the rust-like taste of blood swishing around in the mouth or that overpowering smell of sterilization. But I would definitely like to see if I feel the same way when my Wisdom's kick in. Apparently my jaw's too small (my mom disagrees - "vai kizhiya pesuva") to accomodate them and I've got till 27 or 29 to feel the pain. And do dentist's place have to be green? Yes, tis soothing and all that jazz but just wondering. The only places I hate green in are swimming pools and lakes. I find them phenomenally claustrophobic. There are way too many tangents above - why dentist's better than hospital, my jaw, where I like green.

No, I do not fantasize about Dentists and their green spaces in the day. My dad went into some horrendous pain all of a sudden the other day. Poor man had to have 2 root canals done. But seriously, methinks men have less pain tolerance than women. Really. Some of my friends are wusses. Sid is a Devar. He's a contradiction to the theory of Mimesis - Devar Magan does not mimic any of Sid's bravery cause he's got none. Kuku, one of my closest friends who recently got married is terribly frightened of injections and is capable of fainting at the sight of blood. I have a feeling I might have to be fanning him to consciousness while his wife's in labour.

The next tangent being Kuku - It feels like a warm sunday where every thing's amber and perfectly pleasant by a sea that's easy on the eye and the sand expunging your feet as the happiness seeps in, when a friend acknowledges you as one of his closest and privileged :-) Was very touched that he & K called a few days after their wedding, before they took off and after they got back to the country. Very unexpected and very touched.

Today I've got only the radio for company and not z mp3 player. And all is good as I get to hear Danush give an interview on Yaaradi Nee Mohini on one of the stations. Apparently he's only 24 :-0 Was thinking 26 maybe. But too much scene I say! A smattering of Tamizh doused in English is how his interview went. And then there was realization that he's hot in a very unlikely way. Well, I guess there is something about him. Methinks I started paying attention to him in Kadhal Kondaen, was quite impressed with Pudhu Pettai and found him quite endearing in Polladhavan.

P.s: I chose to set myself adrift while I wait for Mayamma's milky coffee cause if there's one time I annoy myself, it is when I pms in this fashion! Thank god for variety, I'm subject to 4 of them and each month they differ and are mercifully short-lived :-) One, I think way too much like now. And to make my head shut up I ramble on like this avoiding the niggling voices in my head that want to over analyze any given situation. Till date I've never over analyzed cause I'm too tired getting myself to listen to myself and not overactive eq. Two, I'm phenomenally energetic. Late nights where I'm either doing Marathon book reading sessions, painting bottles or some art, working, or on a cleaning/dusting spree. Three is pretty straight-forward - I'm terribly hungry. Four is just as simple - I'm not hungry at all. Coffee's Here!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


What makes any kind of imprisonment or restriction, physical/emotional/intellectual, unbearable is not the treatment or conditions that it makes legitimate (by default or not) but the state of having been deprived of options. 1984, Brave New World, The Handmaids Tale all go to highlight this fact.

It is not the Thought Police' intrusion into Winston Smith's supposedly taboo love life or the torture Julia and he undergo that makes Oceania unacceptable. It is not the World State's anti-conditioning that drives John the Savage to the brink but the inability instilled in the inhabitants to discern what sort of conditioning works positively on an individualistic level. Offred does not find Jezebel's, the brothel run by the party, alluring because of the exciting costumes. The dictum is just a means to effect the end. It is what the end denies that spurns.

For all of them (in 2 of these dystopian novels and 1 utopian gone overboard with irony) it is the impossibility of basic human emotions being discovered, questions asked, or even the space to talk to one another just because one wants to, that incites them. Whether the urge to do away with the shackles results in smart moves or not is irrelevant. Some get smart, some succumb, some go to great lengths. The lack of the other, lack of options is what crucifies human spirit.

None of this is relevant to any situation I'm in. Neither is it as great. But it's kinda depressing that I'm deprived of some options!

But I take respite in being human. I shall crib and wear this thin. Soon. Or maybe it's just PMS and in that case it will definitely be out of my system.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Random Realizations

And then it dawns on me, Why certain things need to be a certain way with space tween. And all is ok. For now at least. Hope this innate understanding stays with me throughout while calling upon patience to do a pillion and time to act as the best fuel ever.

The video of "June ponal", the song, from Unnale Unnale features Mocha - The predominantly yuppy hangout on weekends that's mercifully spared on weekdays for those who want to indulge in Chocolate Mint Cake in peace! - in bits.

#3 - Spider-Man is my favourite Marvel Super Hero. Underplayed, wary about own strength, humane and human at the same time with the most endearing flaws, a true romantic and with the most fabulous theme song ever! Love Michael Buble's version doused in Jazz.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Nod head vigorously. Eyes wide open in acknowledgment. A knowing look. Poof! The head at an angle making a skewed question mark. Fingers strumming chin. A glazed look. Skeptical curve of the mouth.

Tis like when a parent says milk is good for health yada yada yada and the first sip leaves you spluttering over "yeah?" Like concepts that make complete sense when studied but leaves one's grasp while writing an exam. Like the girl in Hitchiker's Guide who figured out the meaning of life just about when the planet was obviated by an alien invasion. Uhh...What's the point again?

Somethings are based on trust. Like one would prescriptions. Wary but once swallowed do some good. Questions proximate with mild confusion. However, nothing was in vain. The puzzle is in place but missing an elusive piece to help comprehend the complete picture. Hazy recollection of where it could be. Clarity flits like it does off questions such as Why is God God and the likes. I don't like milk but chilled milk, yes. One must have it and so one must have it. Answers will come meandering their way by time.

And while it does, shall go binge on books, hum out of tune, watch macabre movies (Sweeney Todd! Yaay!), and for once feed not-far-fetched (Karnataka is next door indeedy) plans of travel to reality.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Yes, please bring on the forceps

There are several posts on 'things that happen to me only.' Of course this entire blog is about things related to me. And now there's one more about stuff that only I can attract or so I console myself offering a cushion of supposed uniqueness as irrelevant as fish sleep with their eyes open (will overlook fact that they don't have eyelids).

Methinks it started last evening. On having identified one of my biggest crushes despite his long hair and eyes that don't seem to be of the same colour, I decided and insisted that I do have a phenomenal memory for faces. And in that strain I excitedly pointed out at someone who had just walked into the pub and exclaimed that she was a classmate of ours to two of my skeptical friends. But considering they had downed a few, they were quite willing to trot after me as I went up to say hello to her. I swear she looked like that classmate! From the side that is. When she turned around my face blanched. But then I couldn't walk off after she having seen me stride with such purpose towards her. So as N said, I ensured large scale loss of maanam and went on to say "Hi! by any chance are you so and so" in one breath, didn't stop to hear her say no, spun around and scuttled away to my corner with sheepish grin plastered on my face.

And this morning I got thinking maybe Mondays are kinder. Kinder in its consistency on what to expect - a short fuse, a lengthy lazing session in bed with tea and news paper (tis the one time I read all the articles to egg the day further away from me), Billie Holiday (great voice but wedges in the melancholia) or Sarah Vaughn followed by Acid Jazz when I finally get sick of playing blue, mild sense of urgency that sets in and has me rushing out of home in a hurry to face Monday and get it over with, and invariably late to work.

Its days such as today -unpredictable, twisted bully who pushes the limits of mockery- that leave me wondering about better mondays as I lay sprawled like a battered cockroach in time that stops and stares to wonder if the day would flip me on my back and stamp me out.

I wake up on time. Leave on time. The bridge is choked. Another route that usually allows bikes to meander ahead turned out to be gelatinous. By the time I made it to the end of the stretch I memorized enough of the two people in transit on either side. And then when it seemed like pace could be spelt, the bike falls apart. Literally! The foot rest on either side detach. I didn't pull over to retrieve them but because just about the same time pretty blue decides to emit a guttural roar. Deafening. There are times when Douglas Adams' 'total perspective vortex' comes into play. This was one such time. Standing under a scantily leaved tree in the heat 'why' resonated. The choleric traffic got me back to thinking. Trundled the bike to a mechanic down the road. My arms feel great by the way!

I don't go through life consciously aware of my sex. I see myself as a person and not as 'female'. Primarily cause I'm very comfortable with my body and who I am. There are of course a set of conditioning that goes undeniably into being a woman. I acknowledge them and accept the ones that work for me and question or deny the ones that don't. In spite of all this comfort, there are times when I'm made painfully aware that there are things that will be determined by sex. One of them being the assumption that I don't know how my bike/car works. I have to prove to the mechanic that I know what I'm talking about. And it's a long grueling process where smirks and egos have to be fielded.

That done an auto comes to me as though on cue. A cue I should have missed and hailed another. I was late already. And I was phenomenally late by the time he dropped me off at work. Man didn't know the way. Insisted he did. And right when I was about to believe him he juddered his way through the longest possible routes to the most easily accessible destinations. I couldn't stop him!

Finally out of agonizing ride, dazed, I was happy to enter my cozy room at work, settle in and dive into familiarity. When it rains, it pours. Or so I thought till Nina Simone crooned 'Feeling Good' drawing the shades off the sliver linings.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Partially evicted Unfettered Writing

I had this mini-scuffle with a close friend on how I wanted to be an odd number while it was insisted upon that I'm even. Turns out I am odd. The year of birth had been mistaken. 3. Delighted overall but mildly bugged that it isn't 7.

There's something about odd, being fashionably a step-out-of-time. But as much as I embrace the need to just 'be' regardless of conformity and convention in a way that doesn't have me stepping on toes as much as possible, confrontation is unavoidable. I crave for even. Equal relationships all round. A sense of justice that isn't black and white. Bollocks indeed!

Oddity = life. The scale will oscillate, tipping over incessantly. The only 'even' hoped for is that it tips over on either side an equal number of times.

I didn't want to write to forget. True. But the equanimity that anonymous offered no longer exists for writing that distracts. It's not about being judged or figured out that has me stuck (all 'writing', anonymous or not, is open to opinion/critique/etc but not the person as a person is more than just their writing). But the fact that I might have an unwilling and oblivious entity subject to repercussions (for lack of a better word) cause of an inanity that I let out that is far removed from them with nothing to read between the lines, has me thinking. It's not an assured but a 'what if' lingers around. Now this space isn't even my own. I think too much. Usually. Now I think more.

But I guess like everything else, space and anonymity are transient by choice or not. Billy Biswas tried. And that's a very 'unfair' parallel indeed! So I shall turn to music that say things I don't know and edit out, as I whistle along like a milk cooker.