31 October, 2007

Question 10

Differentiate between:

A person who is selfish and one who is self absorbed.

23 October, 2007

Park Parody I

This is how where I found myself today. Sans keys, locked outside home, with a newly-discovered tantalizingly close park throwing eager invitations out to me. Armed with a book I am supposed to review I bravely went and sat down on one of the ornate benches.
But the as the park came alive before my eyes, I couldn't peel my eyes away from the scene unfolding infront of me. Little children ran around in their characteristic Brownian motion, creating havoc wherever their tiddly feet pattered around. Harassed mothers threw furtive glances at smug mothers-in-law who crouched gossiping in little huddles.

Manicured Mother: "Honey don't wander into the bushes. Come play with Momma my poodleywooshiewoo. There there don't play in the mud and soil that frock."
Petted poodleywooshiewoo:"Boohoo..."

Saasuma 1:"Meri bahu kehti mumma attache kahan le ja rahi ho? Maine kahan tu kaun hoti hai poochne waali? Mera ghar hai, main jo chahoon le jaoon."
Saasuma 2: "Hai re! Bahu raaj chala rahi hai! Tere ghar mein! Line mein rakh. Meri ne aaj kaha kya bana rahi hain mummyji. Ajeeb baat hai. Ab khana bhi bata ke khana padega?"

Meanwhile a nebula of smudgy toddlers are playing "ring a ring a roses". Bossy girl butts in trying to clasp any available hand to join the circle. Everyone retaliates. Snotty, wannabe-Dhoni boy sees the commotion and from far away smashes his plastic ball for a perfect shot, squarely on bossy girl's bossy arse. She runs off,"Mummy mummy, Dhoni ne mujhe maara, ball se" (fake tears make way for the entry to boohoodom). Dhoni is made to apologize, which he does in an insolent arrogant manner. I get the nascent whiffs of a Bollywood love story here.

Saasuma 3 arrives and asks me to shift. I scoot to the other edge of the bench, my book in tow. Here I meet Old Nanaji massaging his joints. He speaks to the universe in general, me in particular. "Beta don't read in this light. Aankhein phodni hain kya?" All psuedo attempts at reading were now put to rest. "So beta where do you stay? What do you do? Padh rahi ho kya? You must wear something warmer, mausam ka koi bharosa nahi hai dilli mein." Unnervered by his concern and weird fixation at looking at me top to toe, I go back into Saasuma comfort zone.

Fat ladies walked briskly around me. Boys rode cycles in the grass and were told to get lost by the aunties. Kids played, uncles were chanting the hanuman chalisa in a corner, two girls giggled past, avidly gossiping, the trees sighed sleepily, dusk was setting. The proverbial dog had not yet entered my ephemeral haven. I found myself at the risk of actually finding one of the girls in her polka-dotted frock and two bindis on her cheeks for "rouge effect" as she put it distantly cute. The missed call came. Keys were here. My book and I walked away from the laughter and gossip, bitching and sobs.

As I entered the galli, the galli stray lifted his black and white head. Seeing it was only me, the weird girl who never said anything more interesting to say than hello, he looked up at the stars as they winked in their sky of black.

18 October, 2007

Question 9

Teacher evaluation forms in my college are anonymous. They make for some very interesting reading.
Why is anonymity so alluring? Its like an incurable itch. Given the free reign of wearing a faceless mask, people to go great lengths to make their voice heard. Everyone suddenly has something to say. And that too with conviction. I fail to understand why it is so difficult saying what you have to while in your own shoes. Why? And don't tell me its to avoid bias. That's bunkum.
Considering all the anonymous comments here I'm sure someone will have an answer.

Climate change gets a "nobel" voice

"The IPCC got it despite the students of Teri university," he said with a smile and the mob of young boys and girls pursuing their Masters cheered in frenzy."

Times of India, refering to Dr. R.K Pachauri's statement after hearing about IPCC winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

12 October, 2007

Voiced vices

butterflies flutter over strained strings
their nimble feet powdering
within earshot
of a shuddering melody

fingers, their bloodied tips
mellifluous in execution
flit gently, caressing
the bitter metal harshness

there is a lilt in her song
the notes tap dance
thoughts skip carefree
wind: flirting with a blade of green

then thunder pounds
a fissure rings aloud
storms rise, subside
spent fingers drip fatigue

a sorrow burdens the air
the pain rips shredding notes
a hair-lined stickeats into metal
grief gouges itself a niche

an orchestra of emotions
washes over
I cover my ears

It is rare that I manage to find the time to realise how utterly "uncultured" my cluttered little life is. It is rare that after realising this I do something about it. It is rare that my next step becomes indulging in western classical music, an area where my knowledge is abysmally low. Wednesday was one such day. I made myself to go to a violin and piano concert performed by a duo from Switzerland. Was it worth it? Was it uplifting? Was it a waste of time? Was it not? If anything it made me realise music is a universal language. Brahms or Jay Z, everyone is just yearning to tell their story. Be heard. The only difference is that some people are saying more interesting things than others.

05 October, 2007

Jai Jhalmuri

"Jhalmuri" (jhal = mirchi/chilli + muri = puffed rice)
a papercone full of firey chillis, pungent mustard oil and scruffy fingers

Muri is one of those easily-forgettable, falling-off-the-map kind of nondescript places. It was my first proper venture into Jharkhand and I looked forward to it with a gusto everyone around me found completely unwarranted and unsettling. The manner in which I managed to find projects in farflung areas baffled all. My family wrung their hands in despair as harried wellwishers rattled off tales of naxalite horrors. M, (my "expedition partner") and I shrugged nonchalantly. One's got to do what one's got to do. Period.

After a week of another set of utterly worthless exams, I looked forward to some Jharkhandi respite. The trip began. With an ill omen. Some days just don't go right. The India-Australia match got washed out. The auto guy tried to fleece us thinking we were not from Delhi (that's a new one). AND we missed our train. After a dhakkemaar journey in a snail-paced, fungus-infested train, we finally reached Muri.

bashfully, the skies kiss the emerald expanse

As I got off the station, I was struck by the common-placedness of the rickety little town (yes i have this annoying habit of making up words when I can't find the right ones). Had I expected Jharkhand to be a new land? With different people peeing along the tracks? Different calamities facing them? Different trees and birds? Different houses lining the roads? Different potholes in those roads? Different smells? As the days passed by, it sunk in. No matter where you go, the essential being of a people is the same.
The trees will rustle in the wind. Dogs will stretch their paws, yawning the days away. Cows will eject humungous piles of dung. The mud will smile each time the rain tickles her. People will make small talk about the weather, no matter how many fields they have ploughed or how many daughters they have left to marry off. I will miss my mother and not be able to remember the last time I hugged her. The clouds will pout into unexpected shapes against the blue blue sky. And children will ride their bicycles through all the puddles.

I find myself on a train again, rattling away from this land of the obscure to a land where obscurity is one thing you strive too hard to get.


(By the way if you come across a person only a few shades away from black, with a tan that would put a golliwog to shame, you may have run into a certain me)


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