Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mujhko chaahiye Mummy ABHI!

As I sit amidst all the accumulated paraphernalia, an old receipt flies... out of rebellion. It has been stored in some god-forsaken packet for some months... only to be disposed off in an undignified manner.

Damn all this packing, damn all this fitting 3 months of clothing into one small ruck-sack, damn all those clothes that I always wanted to wear and never got the 'right time' to wear and how they stare at me coldly and mockingly, and damn all those 'extra lexi pens' that landed up in my XXL-sized stationary box... got in the world of computers, and damn all those mobiles and their respective chargers and the cameras and the batteries and the chargers and their converters.... and damn all those socks that I neither use nor dispose... and damn all those free printers and cheap tables, damn all those close-to-my-heart posters of humorous quotes, damn all those carefully written words of Tennyson whom I have gotten attached to simply by reading them regularly... damn all those burdensome memories with each possession that stops me from disposing them... and worries me because of the fact that I won't feel their absence if I don't see them.

Phew! I am tired of clearing up the clutter and discovering more.
It's a pandora's box of seemingly-useful-but-never-going-to-be-used-items.

Suddenly the essence of aparigraha sinks in. Jain philosophers got it all figured out thousands of years back.. and here I struggle and fight the battle against a captured cause.

I want mom to figure out all the flight tickets and the itineraries, and remember where I kept those passport size pictures, and do my last minute laundry... and do all this in her typical sthitapragya style, as if this were a piece of cake

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Victim of Cliches

She was standing in the room, enjoying the performances.
He was standing in the room, evaluating the performances.

She was an audience.
He was one of them, a performer.

He had just performed.
And she had just applauded.

And then, he had moved down to give space to the next one.
And she continued enjoying the performances.

The room was dark... and she could see the bobbing of faces when the comedian struck with a good one. She could also see the girls in the first row enjoying the drunken oblivion more than the intellectual tickle of the humor.

She was enjoying her experience of a first hand stand-up comedy show.

She knew she was sorta lonely... in a sorta different way. It was quite a while since she had met someone who gave her pleasure... the real pleasure. The bliss of a smooth, coherent, complete conversation, or the joy of a carefully placed joke.

So, she was enjoying the part pleasure gotten out of this public event... where there was something beyond raw carnal pleasures.

And then she felt those eyes. His eyes. It was difficult to tell whether they really rested on her, or was it a trick played by the dim lights. She used her tried and tested stunts to see whether he was looking at her.

She still could not tell for sure.

Then she remembered, he had a squint. Hadn't he cracked a joke on his squint in his session?
Damm!! What a challenge now.

She looked at him a couple of times. She thought she saw the trace of a teasing smile. The show ended.

She prepared to leave.... and he stopped her. "Won't you have a drink?". She smiled. She got nervous.
This was unchartered territory. Had he been a Masters of Computer Science working in a successful corporation in the Bay Area, she had all her arsenal geared up for her assault. Or had he been a commerce student from Mumbai, she knew the movies he would have enjoyed.
Even if he were a firang with a lot of education, she knew some tricks of the trade that she could barter for more.

But he was like none before. Apurva. Or unprecedented!
A sparkling, confident, squint-but-not-affected-by-it comedian.

She could feel the silence heavy in her throat. What the hell does one talk to a comedian?? "Tell me a joke"... "Are you generally this funny, or are you working right now?".
She didn't know. She hadn't read an quotes on comedians either.

She liked challenges... as long as they were not insurmountable.

She smiled. Her smile was a powerful and universal asset. He smiled back. She ordered vodka with Orange juice. He asked her what she had ordered. She smiled and said, "I think it is tequila sunrise". He smiled. She had already goofed up. And how!!

But then, he was simple and unassuming. And they talked and talked. She was surprised. "Do you want to dance?", he asked. She was nervous again.. She knew she was good at dance. Hence she was nervous. "I know a really good Salsa place". She agreed.

It was an awesome place.. not one of the popular wannabe places where everyone wanted to see and be seen. It was a haunt of a handful faithful Mexicans who really knew their dance. She LOVED the music. And he danced sooo freaking well. She threw away her coat of inhibitions and did her real groove. They grooved in unison, two strangers connected only by the desire to enjoy without any hangups. She did all her moves, and he danced like crazy. They were a part of one huge bunch of people, all there to really enjoy dance. There were smiles and laughters and a feeling of genuine merriment. No one cared how their hair looked, or whether their stomachs bulged in the tight clothes, or whether they were being seen, or whether anyone else was dancing.
Everyones body fluidly lost in the music.

And then they left the place... to go to a better one. It was the terrace of a building. A breath-taking sight... one that is shown in the more expensive postcards of the city.

All the skyscrapers glazing with the lights, and all the stars competing against them... and winning. The distant sound of a boisterous laugh, the empty streets decorated by the yellow lights and an occasional speeding car, the light drizzle and the slight blow of the cold tantalizing breeze... and the feeling of being far far away from the burden of obligations or self-righteousness, or from accumulated guilt.

She smiled, with a sense of victory. These were those moments when she was swept away, when she was filled with joy enough to last her through another rough patch.
He smiled back. "You have beautiful hair... and there is something in your eyes, that's very... hmm... i don't have the right word".
She laughs. He laughs. "Do people always expect you to be funny?". "Yes."

She looks up. "Didn't I tell you it looks beautiful?", he asks. "Yes, it looks brilliant".

She looks at him, and is suddenly jealous. He is looking at her with one eye, and all the other brilliance with the other.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can't remember that good title I thought for this post

I get an email from the university about refund on some bills. I smile, and add it in my mental list of "things to do". I realize that the list has only one item currently.

I have to go on a long drive, and I tell myself that I need to remember to buy an audio book. I try adding it to the mental link list of "things to do". I realize that the list contained an item. (the head pointer is not free). But what the hell was it???

I forget things at an alarming rate. Strangely enough, I always remember that I was "supposed to do something". But I hardly remember what that was.

Why can't the human mind register all the information anyway? Is it a personal handicap, or a generic way the mind works?

We sense a million things perhaps. And if one were to store everything one sensed, one's mind
would be filled with a lot of "junk". So, there is selective remembrance. The awareness captures all. But the conscious mind retains a significantly small subset of it. To give an analogy, in all its lifetime, it retains a handful of sand from a vast beach it has to choose from.

At least this is what "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" says.

But my 2-pence worth questions:-
1. Is the conscious mind under control of the volition of its rightful owner?
Can I select what I want to remember?

2. Is the lifetime of the memory I choose to remember under my control?
For instance, if I see a simple quote in a shop in San Francisco, and I really want to remember it long enough to tell my kids. Do I have a choice of adding the "lifespan" parameter when I store this particular piece of information in my mind?
(The saying was: May you live long enough to annoy your kids.
Now that I write it, I dont think it is witty. And I think that is primarily because I dont remember the exact wordings. Duh!!)

3. How is it that when I see only the roads, I dont remember having come there before. But when I see the roads coupled with the buildings and the skyline and some more factors, I remember having seen it before.
Is it that the conscious mind does not retain individual parts, but retains the "entire capture"? If so, what encompasses the capture? Just the entire snapshot? Or the snapshot with the sounds and smells of the place? Or the snapshot, sounds and smells, AND an incident that occurred there?

Too many questions on how memory works.

If only I can remember at least the directions when I look them up and sincerely memorize. But I still have to keep the laptop on front seat and cautiously keep consulting the open page.

Monday, February 04, 2008


You may try to party, go out with random people in a big boisterous group and enjoy the illusion of making merry, but it's a phone call from an old friend who calls to hear your voice that you truly enjoy. It's the orkut scrap of a roomie who says "stop being a bitch and come back" that one enjoys more than all the compliments one gets in a month!

You may try on all the clothes in Macy's and Marshals and everything in between... but it's when someone special gives you a second look when you are in an old worn-out jacket that makes you look beautiful.

You may eat an un-pronounce-able plate at the fancy Chinese restaurant, and feel upbeat about it. But it's when the Bay Area version of dahi bateta puri melts in your mouth that you feel the epicurean within you moan with pleasure.

You may consume the hard core tequilla shots or have sake with your food... but it's when you laugh with unstoppable momentum at a classic joke, that you get the real high.

You may feign enjoying the subtleties of Superbowl... but it's when you see all the males of your house cheer for team India in cricket world cup that makes you feel the adrenaline within you gushing.

There will be intellectually stimulating men around you... but it's when your chaddi-pal (who has now become rather interesting) pulls a couple of hard-hitting jokes on you that you really appreciate intellect.

You may take and hear and overhear piles of advice... but it's when you take a step, and falter, and stand up again, and find the courage to admit to yourself that you failed, that you really grow...

You may enjoy all the thrills of the witty sayings on Google... but it's when a revelation hits you at an unsuspecting moment, and you articulate it with brilliance, that you find a quote worth remembering...

You may read all you want... and write random thoughts.. but it's when you are in a confounding situation with steep consequences and a significant amount of 'pressure' that you really realize what you want. Perhaps.