27 June, 2010

25 June, 2010

Black Boxing

We've put ourselves in so many boxes these days it's hard to figure out where to begin unpacking. The one with a plastic coating. One who's lid is fixed too tight. The small little yellow one and the striped long one. There is that huge miscellaneous one glowering in a corner and the gay one with ribbons, sitting centre stage. And while we are so busy fitting into those boxes we forget the pieces of ourselves we put in there. And while the inputs and outputs of thoughts, feelings, opinions and actions form a steady stream of white noise around us, we are slowly losing the ability to see the mechanisms of our actions. The motivation behind what we do. The reasons for our choices. It's the proverbial black box. You infer ideas based on the correlations between input and output but do not (or can not) figure out what the hell is on.

I'm trying to capture what I think in my own little black boxes. The conflicts. The questions. The reassurances. And hopefully some answers.


  "Turn a deaf ear"

21 June, 2010

Over and Over

[Picture: Carignan Gallery: http://www.cgindy.com/blog/]

It's another long afternoon
languid and lost.
It holds me indolently
in a loose lethargic lie.

Whispers flit past
I dabble in a drowsy dream
Slumber tip toes
A silence sweats.

You play tricks
Torment and tantalize.
It's a terrible travesty
Too much thought, the tiresome tirade.

An empty space is
speaking to my sobered senses.
I claw at, and the creases stare
scoffing at another stifled sojourn.

11 June, 2010

Photo Credit: Mike Farruggia

A favourite movie discovered accidentally
An unknown song of a well-known band
A house with very large windows
A dog's wet nose against mine
A letter to me, handwritten
A stimulating conversation
A boxful of ripe cherries
A new book to read
A juicy boiled corn
Something purple 
A wildflower
A road trip

08 June, 2010

Chamatkar


Do you remember the situation of animation in India in the 90s? Ek chidiya, anek chidiya? Bela gulaab juhi champa chameli : ) Today I started on Chamatkar (1992, Dir. Rajiv Mehra). Watch it, just to see the opening animated sequence. It's so poor its endearing. It's silly and slapstick, Urmila Matondkar overacts in her irritating own way. I loved it.

Universal Truth in Chandni Land: A movie is only as good as your mood. Goofy mood for slapstick, sombre for the serious etc. When you truly open yourself to loving something/one, it's hard for it/them to resist.

Anyway, you could also watch the movie for:

  1. Shah Rukh Khan before he became a pompous filmstar and still thought the kkkkkkk-stammering was cool. Before he got so Fair and Lovely. Before he started doing 'meaningful' cinema like K3G, KKHH, KANK and alltheotherkkkkkkks.

  2. Naseeruddin Shah as Marco who makes even slapstick look good. The tacky appearing/disappearing tricks, 'aakashvaani' from God, erupting from his grave sequences are almost too good to miss. That is, if you enjoy foolish laughs sometimes. 

  3. The regular good over evil formaula is rehashed in a pleasant way. Good Deeds = You get the girl and the money. Bad deeds = You may think you will get the money, but all you end up with is getting bashed up. 
I'm also going on a Zooey Deschanel binge. Can't wait to begin!

07 June, 2010

Wily Wisdom or Outside

Sometimes, a song loved long ago is enough. Especially when you haven't been listening to any music for a long long time. I fail to understand why people ask me about its 'unhappy' lyrics. Anyway, this is to San Man and J, the two people who perhaps love this one as much as I do. 

All the times
That I’ve cried
All that’s wasted
It’s all inside

And I feel
All this pain
Stuffed it down
It’s back again

And I lie
Here in bed
All alone
I can’t mend
 And I feel
Tomorrow will be okay
But I know

That I’m on the outside
I’m looking in
I can see through you
See your true colors
Cause inside you’re ugly
You’re ugly like me
I can see through you
See to the real you

05 June, 2010

To Do

I need to share this blog with everyone I know. Because I love it when people do interesting things. With bits of paper and a monochromatic pen. Creativity is always as interesting as you'll allow it to be:

http://thingsweforget.blogspot.com/

03 June, 2010

Book Rookie

Nearly a week ago, I decided to catalogue the Great Many books that belong to The Family. All of them. Those neatly arranged in their shelves. Those lying forgotten in bed boxes. Those in some dusty loft, dodging for space with retired furniture and other odds and ends of a family averse to throwing away. Those in the storeroom that lay in wooden boxes, stacks upon stacks of much-loved, many times read paperbacks. Those texts in elegant Sanskrit on onion paper.

A Dickens and Salinger. Flashy sex-ridden Harold Robbins sat demurely alongside 'The Thorn Birds' which brought back beautiful childhood memories. Watching the movies. On video cassettes. Three parts. We'd forever be ridding the cassette player of dust with the head cleaner. I lovingly held the bright red copy of 'Gone With the Wind'; quickly reading through the last few lines, perhaps my favourite:
"I'll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I will think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day."
A collection of joke books from the genuinely funny to the downright absurd, giggled along side, in their corner of the bookshelf. Then there was a whole length of space dedicated to Mathematics. Trigonometry glowered at Calculus. I dusted the books on India: 'A Passage to India', 'Asoka' by Romila Thapar, Shashi Tharoor among others. I sifted through 'Letters to Gauri', a series of letters by M. V. Kamath fashioned on the lines of Nehru's famous writings from prison to his daughter Indira. As I ran my eyes over the wide range of topics he covered; religion and history, conduct and moral values, I felt happy. I remembered letters written to me not so long ago, the words always teaching loving lessons, never sharp, never preaching. The words reflecting concern. Some voicing a question. Others reflections on my studies, my health. The strings of quotations at the end, they were the solace in my solitude. I would read and re-read, smelling the letter often for it was always sprinkled with some perfume. I cherished those little things, those undemanding gestures, meant only for me. There is something so potent, something so absorbing about unconditional love. Doesn't it weaken and strengthen you in a manner inconceivable?

Setting aside the emotional side-effects of my task, I was not prepared for the physical ramifications ahead of me. Categorising over 5000 books ranging from the esoteric to the mundane, cookery and classics, poetry and plays. I began to lose track of any kind of time and hours upon hours would be spent in lovingly sifting through yellowed pages. Smelling the books and letting out loud sneezes. Glasses of nimbu pani/cold coffee/ Bel juice and other Heat Hustlers supplied by Amma and gratefully glugged down by me. I was enveloped in a daze of words and dust, the old and the new, the ridiculous and the inspiring. And along the way I came across interesting stuff:

From "Do You Really Love Me? by R.D. Liang, M.D.

I die forlorn
I was not born

I deny
I'm a butterfly

I'm a blot
I am not

I'm a fight no one fought
I'm a cold no one caught

I'm the Self Appointed
Lord Anointed

I'm a turd
I'm absurd

I'm a twinkling light
in someone else's night

I'm an insoluble riddle
In a hole with no middle

I'm going to hell
to yell
and smell

I fiddle
when I piddle

I'm a nitwit
I'm a titbit

I'm a kinkie
like a pinkie

I'm a flower with no name
I grow all the same

I'm a piece of fluff
in the huff

Never learned the game
I left before I came

mean
to
scream

I'm a dot
God forgot

I'm past mending
I'm a happy ending

I found books that cost thousands and some priced a few anna. But judging a book by its price is nearly as erroneous as judging it by its cover. I had chuckled heartily at Jame's Thurber's 'Thurber Carnival'. How can one ever be bored/unhappy when there are the infinite joys of reading to be explored? Then there was 'The Book of Nonsense and Nonsense Songs' by Edward Lear (the man, along with Odgen Nash is sheer genius).

There was an Old Man of The Hague
Whose ideas were excessively vague;
He built a balloon
to examine the moon,
That deluded Old Man of the Hague.

There was a Young Lady whose chin
Resembled the point of a pin;
So she had it made sharp,
And purchased a harp,
And played several tunes with her chin.

(Half the fun is the illustrations but I do not have the energy or inclination to scan and upload them here.)

As I went over the books, I wanted to read them all. The daunting hard bound yet cheaply priced 'propaganda literature' - Marx's 'Das Capital' bought with a first salary, the details of which were lovingly etched on the first page. 'War and Peace' looked at me grimly as I flitted through the whole range of James Hadely chase. There was enough science fiction to set up a bookstore. Terry Pratchett and Peter F. Hamilton. The only familiar face being that of dear old Doughlas Adams. Books by Indian authors were found sitting lazily, a trifle nervous at being made to sit aside the Austens and Bronte sisters. I came across biographies and at least 20 different versions of the Bhagvada Gita. I shamefacedly looked at the beautiful volumes of the entire Mahabharata in Sanskrit, each verse translated into Hindi too. Books on mythology, books on science, some on music, several on art.

And then I came to the horror section, something I had dipped into as a curious teenager, graduating from the suspense of Agatha Christie and Ms. Marple to the sinister thrill of Edgar Allan Poe. I saw the cover of 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination', a white skull with black spiders running over it and I remembered the thrill with which I had flipped those pages, so many winters ago under the tall lemon tree with its chatter of babblers and mynahs. It seemed so far back, as if the memory belonged to another person. I wanted to retire suddenly, in my chair with a reading lamp and nimbu pani. A dog curled up ON my toes and silence. No worries of food. No rapacious interruptions from the internet. A pencil and perhaps a dictionary beside me, a pile of books around and my dog. Aah the bliss of a day dream.

Post script: Well I didn't manage to complete all the books, in fact I stopped at an uninspiring 300 but then isn't 'well begun is half done'!! :D

Post the Post Script: I am using a software called BookDB2 you may like to explore if wanting to get into the Book Cataloging Quagmire. It's easy to use (make that VERY easy to use), freely available online (no irritating signing up and registering of any sort required) and offers a lot of flexibility.

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