Monday, December 28, 2009

Sweet December

Winter is not my season.
It's cold.
The sun sets early.
It gets a tad depressing.

But I love December.
Especially December in Calcutta.
Yes,it's cold.
The sun sets early here too.
But there's a sense of warmth associated with this month and the city soaks it up and surrounds you with it.

December brings with it the routine trip to New Market, resplendent in its old world charm :the merry, christmas decor,the heavenly smell of freshly baked cakes and brownies from Nahoum's wafting through the air and children with the cutest head-gears.
Park Street resembles wonderland in all its Yuletide splendour.
Flurys looks like that house of goodies from the fairytale Hansel and Grethel.Only there's no wicked witch here.
It's true that the footfall increases by a dizzying amount and you need to queue up for your favourite sizzler,but you'd hardly see people complaining.
There's this infectious sense of well-being and bonhomie all around.
It maybe a far cry from the reality,but a little escapism didn't hurt anyone.
Come December,and down comes the Kashmiri Shawl-walas,winning our hearts and the bargains with their genial natures.Then again,bargaining isn't the priority of the season.The Circus,though trampled by the sands of time,rolls in and you see that big colourful tent at Park Circus Maidan.
December is,as it always was.

December brings back memories.
December for the good 14 years of my life had meant the longest vacation of the year.
It meant the Nativity Play at school;singing for the choir with hideous make-up that made my cheeks look like that of a clown rather than being rosy.
December meant writing inane holiday notes on each other's hands and arms and the thrill of keeping it hidden from Ma who didn't approve of the skin being used as a replacement for paper.
Shivering on our way to school,cursing the skirts,and then basking in the winter sunshine before classes began : that was December.
Rubbing my hand vigorously to keep them warm,letting someone see how cold it was,which later I realized was his juvenile excuse for simply holding it,for a good two hours.That was December too.
December memories, from bygone years still keeps me warm with its sepia aura.

December brings with it an eventuality.
The hope of a new beginning in a discrete time scenario.
The sigh of a huge relief for all the bad times traversed.
A promise of tomorrow,with a fond recollection of yesterday.

Yes,it's cold.
And the sun sets early.
But there's hardly any darkness in the December I see.
All we gotta do is to look for the light at the right places.
And very often,the chances are that it's within you and me.
December doesn't bestow heavenly light on you.
It simply helps you seek it for yourself.
That's my December.Sweet December.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Potpourri IV

It's been sometime since I gushed out another installment of my potpourri.
There were either too many things on my mind to tackle at once or too less of it to make me bother.
Anyway, not much has changed except that I'm 21 now. I still remain uniformly random in my thoughts, with divergent lines of reasoning emanating from the single thought processor in my head. It can be disconcerting sometimes, I tell you! But how else would I have a Potpourri without my vagaries?

Oh well, Orwell : If you want the BEST jolt that reality can ever deliver, Orwell is the man. And by jolt, I do not mean he'd horrify you, nauseate you or gross you out. Unlike the path chosen by some of our modern authors, to make reality harsher and more gruesome than it really is, Orwell’s non-fiction offers them a lesson in balance and artistry. I was reading Down and Out in Paris and London. It is amazing how Orwell skillfully executes his duties both as an author and a journalist. He writes what he sees. He presents Paris through the eyes of a plongeur, devoid of all the beauty associated with the place.' Poverty is what I'm writing about' he says and he paints the great redeeming feature of poverty so well-its power to annihilate the future. You find an undercurrent of Socialist thought but Orwell, like a true journalist maintains a beautiful equilibrium between what he sees and what he feels. He points out how unemployment weathers a soul. Then again, amidst all the dreary accounts, you come across Bozo, the tramp. And when Bozo says, in spite of having the sky as his roof in the freezing cold, that "The stars are a free show; it don't cost anything to use your eyes”, I cannot help but be amazed at the resilience of the human spirit. Reality is harsh. It might not be beautiful. But Orwell shows whether one chooses to make it hopeless or hopeful, is a personal choice.

Mayer's Snare: Once you've started loving John Mayer's music, you are trapped. You cannot dislike him. Even if you don't like him as much as the last time you checked. Battle Studies proves that. My first reaction on listening to this much awaited album was disappointment.Frankly,the songs were too Pop for my taste and after a Magnum Opus like Continuum or Where The Light is, Battle Studies does fall short of expectations. But then I went back and listened to it, over and over again. And as always, it grows on you. My top picks are definitely 'Who Says?'(Basic Mayer tone, simple, quirky), 'Perfectly Lonely'(Probably the best written song in the album) and 'War of my Life '(The song that has some congruence to the name of the album, semified aggression).'Half of my Life',IN SPITE of featuring Taylor Swift is not hideous surprisingly. Now, the bad apples. Crossroads : I've always maintained when you try re-inventing a classic like this one, make sure it's better than the original or just shut up! Mayer’s rendition of Crossroads made me cringe! Hate the tone. Hate the bass work. The other bad apple is indeed Heartbreak Warfare. I mean we all know that Jen Anniston's been a lot of pain, and he needs to vent out. But the expression is clichéd and rather OTT.For the love of God,” Clouds of sulphur in the air, bombs are falling everywhere, it’s heartbreak warfare!” Lame imagery .This, being a post-break-up album, I did draw a comparison with Blood on the Tracks. But I guess I shouldn't for there's just ONE of that master-piece. However, Mayer does try to do something new in this album and I do give him credits for that. He has made a conscious effort to break away from his Blues mould. I don't know whether that's a good thing or bad, but I'm very excited about the future of Mayer's music.

The Tree Swingers: Laugh all you want to, but I've been obsessed with Orangutans lately. I’ve been watching Animal Planet and NatGeo all day and watching their antics. They are the most adorable creatures I've ever seen. From those needy-wise- eyes, to that absolutely delectable 'smooch-face' they do; from making the funniest leaf hats for shade or simply sitting there, majestically, they indeed are an amazing animal. It’s a shame so few of them remain. I wish I could have one as a pet but I guess the wilderness is where they truly belong. What amazes me about this species of primates as opposed to the others is their love for solitude, looking down on creation from up above the canopy. No wonder Sukumar Ray used them in his poem where he writes "Holde shobuj orangutan,It patkel chit-potang'. :)

The Truth Files : I've been a X-phile.Not the creepy kind but moderate one.It is the best Sci-fi series ever! Yes, the genius of Chris Carter did begin to fade towards the end,but then the beginning and what followed was magic. Mind-boggling plots, suspense you could cut with a knife and Duchovny-Anderson sure deserved the Nobel prize for chemistry! From corruption, to extra-terrestrial life; from denying information to citizens to passion-play, it was one gripping potpourri of sorts! And in the light of some recent incidents in my life, the X-Files tagline has suddenly become like a portent. The Truth Is Out There. And for those who hide it, it’s going to catch up with you soon you dastards!Sooner than you'd imagine and too late to run for cover!

I was feeling, to express in Sylvia Plath's words "very still and very empty; the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo."
I don't feel the same now.
I am a part of the tornado now,living the hullabaloo.
Or will be, for a few days to come.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Elusive Neverland

It has been a bad couple of days.
The utter hopelessness of the situations and the eventuality associated with them has been torturing me.
It's like standing on the sea-shore, fighting a war with the sand and the sea.
You try hard to sink your feet into the sand to retain your balance and it just keeps slipping away from underneath your feet. You try hard to regain your balance. You almost manage to do it but just then a wave comes crashing down on you and you fall.
You hope there is something to hold on to, to break your fall. But all you have are the memories to hold on to. And it engulfs you. You try to float on the surface, holding on to it like a log of wood. Instead, it swallows you! Chokes you!
That is the eventuality.
And these few days have seen waves after waves after waves.
But these waves come, crash onto you, go back and then never return. Never.

I watched Finding Neverland the day he passed away. It gave me some solace. But finding solace in a fairytale might be a luxury for my cousin who has just lost his father. Maybe someday I will get myself to explain to him about life in Neverland.

Neverland offered momentary solace.
That is until the day, my Funny Valentine passed away.
Every Valentine's Day I'd get a Valentine's Day card from my 92 year old Valentine. Even when age caught up with him, he made sure he sent it. His hands trembled while he wrote these days. But unsteadiness had never exuded such confidence, as in him. He had trouble reading, but he devoured every new book he got his hands on. They tell me that he would have only suffered more had he lived longer. But rationalization is not helping me cope with the loss of my favourite Valentine. I’m dreading the 14th of February and I wish time would stand still!

I don't know whether I'll be able to stand, fully grounded on the seashore, at one with the sea, admiring the sunset.
But for now, death and sunsets are only painful eventualities to me.
I fail to see the beauty.
I fail to see a happy ending.
I fail to find Neverland.

Such is life. Or is it death?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

When You Got Knopfler,You Sure Get Lucky.

Mark Knopfler is truly like old wine.He gets better with each passing year.
He amazes me.
You see him perform. There are no crazy, possessed-by-the-devil antics on stage .
His voice caresses you.Gruff.Tender.Deep.Intimate.His guitar : intricate, precise and gentle. There’s a certain austerity about him. However, an austerity that doesn’t isolate him from the world, but makes him one with it.He’s a Budhha with a guitar.

Get Lucky bears testimony to all that and so much more.

It’s amazing how this man continues to play what he believes in, instead of radio-friendly pop-ish music.He has a niche audience and he has stayed true to them and himself never compromising with his style and music. Thus you get something as beautiful and true as Get Lucky.

Border Reiver,with its beautiful fusion of the accordion and flute brings out a rustic Irish flavour.Hard Shoulder follows : a wonderful ballad with a definite Motown feel.The vulnerability in his voice cuts through. You Can’t Beat The House has Knopfler betting on the blues.

Before Gas just proves Knopfler’s mastery in the art of story-telling. Simple words strung together to weave such nostalgia and the appeal in his voice resounds through you.”If heaven’s like this/Well, then here’s where I’ll be/On the edge of the world/On the edge of the field/Before gas and TV

Monteleone is one of my favourite songs in the album.It’s amazing how Knopfler takes something so personal and manages to create an universal appeal without going into details and compromising what his is very own.The string arrangement is beautiful and flows in and out like a wave.
Monteleone,in memory of the guitar-maker who made Knopfler a beautiful guitar is exquisite. " My finger plane’s working; gentle persuasion/I bend to the wood and coax it to sing.” Art for art’s sake .
Cleaning My Gun is classic Knopfler with a heavy dose of Americana. The last verse stands out for me: “You can still get gas in heaven and drink in kingdom come/In the meantime, I’m cleaning my gun.”

The Car Was The One” inspired by racer Bobby Brown is another masterful execution of Knopfler’s treatment of his personal reflections “Remembrance Day” kind of sums up Knopfler’s search throughout the album for the days gone by and raveling in the memories. “Piper To The End” has the rich Celtic sound of Knopfler.

So Far From The Clyde” is another of my favourites.Pathos seeps into you. It revolves around the famous shipping industry of Scotland that existed once upon a time.Knopfler said “A breaking yard in India is a long way for beautiful Clyde-built ship to go to die” and he portrays that forced desolation so beautifully in the song that it becomes more universal than specific.A brilliant composition.

And that brings me to the title track,Get Lucky , another master-piece. This song heals you. It is optimistic yet realistic :”And what about happiness for money?/Tell it to the breadline.” It’s not what he says in this song, but what he leaves unsaid :”And I might get lucky now and then, You win some, you might get lucky now and then/You win some.” Knopfler does not feel the need to complete the age-old saying.Being cliched is not his forte.The Psalms teach you about the Philosophy of Supplication. I just think Mark Knopfler did that with this song,in a far simpler way.

Get Lucky is an ethereal amalgamation of poetry, folklore and a heavy dose of nostalgia adorned with Motown blues, acoustic folk, Celtic richness and topped off with the unique component that makes it special : a generous quanta of Knopfler’s soul that pervades throughout the album. He tells his story and he sings it to you. For you.

Jonathan Livingstone,the seagull says “ Heaven is not a place and it is not a time.Heaven is being perfect.” Mark Knopfler I believe is there. And with him,I feel, you might ‘get lucky’ and have a semblance of what heaven is, on earth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Losing You

I've known you for long,
From the day I came along.
Since childhood years,
You've gifted me moments so dear.
And now that you're gone
All I have are the memories bygone.

Memories near.
Memories far.
Memories lost.
Memories found.
Memories to which,
I shall forever be bound.

‘And up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky’,
I know that's where you will live,
Though they tell me you've died.
And when I look for you in the infinite sky,
Just shine for me, please don’t say goodbye.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gandhi,the Father(?)

The Mahatma had never been my Father of the Nation. I don't know whether there was a consensus regarding this title bestowed on him back in his times.However,even if there was,I don't see why popular consensus should be taken for granted over the ages when the poplulace changes!

I had always been somewhat apprehensive about accepting his greatness based on my History books and the discourses about him that I managed to chance upon here and there.It seemed rather biased and unconvincing to me.

I watched Attenborough's Gandhi recently.It gave me goosebumps and showed me I had been rather immature in my judgements all the while.Yes,I agree it is a 'Bio-pic' of sorts and Kinsley's amazing portrayal worked as an enhancer and it deals with the white more than the black,(pun intended).It did not make me idolize Gandhi,put him on a pedestal and accept his philosophy overnight.What it did was to stimulate a tremendous amount of interest and awe for the man who did manage to inspire a nation and it was not merely an inspiration towards independence,but I believe it was the heralding of a new consciousness.

I don't know whether all he did was right.I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't.He was no saint.He was a great political thinker.I think it's high time we stopped either worshipping him as God incarnate or direct scalding critical invective on the man.If we think it is outrageous to see the 'Naked Fakir' on a Mont Blanc pen that ironically marks the union of Mr.India and The Father of the Nation,we should stop making him the brand ambassador of Truth,in whatever distorted form that it is envisaged!He was a politician , a mighty good one too and stretching and re-defining the truth becomes almost mandatory in the process.His life was an experience with truth in the truest sense of the term but not an embodiment of it,in my opinion.Trying to present it as the latter I believe,would be undermining his own philosophy.

I do not question the greatness of this man any longer.I would be a fool to do so.But what I seek is the nature of the greatness that is accorded to him.I want to decide for myself,independent of all the jingoism and critical tirades associated with him,whether to accept or reject him as my Father of the Nation.However to me,he shall remain my Leader of the Nation!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


She sat there, her long dark hair flowing. Her fingers , gently strumming the guitar. Her eyes looking for something she had found but unsure of whether it was for her to keep. She rubbed her feet against each other to keep them warm. She started humming an incomplete song. Her voice controlled , yet free flowing with a subdued vibrato. People moved around her. Some, listening. Some enthralled. Only one, indifferent.

She didn't seem to mind. She sang for herself. All she could hear was the guitar, her voice and the staccato sound of his type-writer.
She sang for herself and him.

He sat there too. His unruly hair blowing in the wind. The dark shades on his eyes cutting off the world from his.He rocked gently as he typed away, periodic outburst of a continuous staccato. He was writing his song. His unwritten song.

All he could hear was her voice.His anodyne.All he could see was her silhoutte in the faintly lit room.All he could feel,was her.

He typed on. More fiercely than before. The typewriter, now acerbic. She was being offensively sober. It disturbed him.

She carried on like an acquiescent victim. She let her guitar cloud her voice when it choked under his intransigent air of indifference.

He stole a furtive glance at her from behind his shades. Their eyes met. Dark shades are only superficial barriers. Her eyes glistening, she looked away.

He could feel her breaking down.
Them, breaking away.
Leaving him, broken.

They had become a witty travesty of what people call lovers.

But love had always been just a four letter word.

They were each other's unwritten song. The reason for each other's incompleteness.

But their songs were different and best sung solo.

They would have been two heartless souls together.

But apart, they were two souls with one heart.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Great Escape

There weren’t any tunnels, but, Tom, Dick and Harry could well be the three of us who took the plunge! With the rather arduous job of getting our fathers to agree (which trust me, is no mean feat), we found ourselves Shantiniketan bound.! Right from the moment my paranoid Daddy mistook B’s driver to be our stalker, we knew it was going to be one Crazy Train!From chattering away incessantly much to the disgust of our co-passengers, devouring PD’s mom-made sandwiches to trying to whisper about our co-passengers and failing miserably, we set the tone for the days ahead.

And right from the time we set foot on this little town,aye my friends,’twas bliss!

Walking through the University, the “Orange County”, with a continuous canopy above us and wondering whether His feet did pass where we now did step, it was an exhilarating feeling.The quaint little sculptures, the Uttarayan complex, the architecture, it was like another world altogether. Walking through the Museum, B and me rued the lost past of Bengal, its height of intellectualism, marveled at the true Romanticism of Tagore’s poetry and the dregs that are left behind. We regretted the burgeoning mediocrity of today’s ‘Bong’, which prides itself in being “Modern” yet ends up being a cheap imitation of the past in a pseudo-garb of respectful indifference, which again is nothing but ignorance and incapacity. .And, yes, we couldn’t escape the blame.

We found ourselves in the core of our rustic roots,with the Bauls,in their elements,leading us to a journey of contemplation through their simple words and tunes.Mysticism at its best!

We had our share of crazy fun too.We had a self-appointed Butler who could put Kareena’s frame to shame. We experienced Formula 1 racing on rickshaws. We played stone-paper-scissor for taking important decisions. We met uncouth ABCD’s who I bet won’t be coming back to India very soon! We clicked embarrassing pictures of each other, which is really not a tough job given our record.We carried out real life optimization problems. We picked up a wonderfully horrendous Bengali song which is like an Anthem these days! We reminisced about our school days. Laughed our hearts out. Almost missed our train! Was helped and thoroughly scolded by absolute strangers. We came back home, to the joy of our fathers!

We came back just the way we wanted to : "We ain't changed,but we know we ain't the same."

Yes, I do wish that I hadn’t indulged in certain impulsive stupidities, but well, I guess it’s good to have a whole spectrum of experience. No regrets.

How else, could we have ridden a rainbow,like we did?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Idle Musings II

I was wondering.

(Yeah, again!)

With the sudden demise of MJ and the flood of messages from the millions around the world, the network to Heaven is bound to be jammed!

Some were simple, some drab, some heartfelt, some touching, others creative, but almost all of them had one thing in common.

All wanted this tormented soul to find solace in death.

Rest in Peace or RIP was how most ended.

And that’s what got me thinking.

It got me thinking about Rip Van Winkle.

Rip Van Winkle, almost a symbolism for prolonged slumber now! The Western parallel to our dear old Kumbhakarna, I think. Only,a more mundane character.

Rip, rested in peace for 20 years; a temporary escape from the drudgery of life.

‘RIP’ on the other hand, is the perennial slumber, prospective salvation.(?)

I wonder whether Irving named Van Winkle so, for this reason!

Guess, we’ll never know!

But for everytime that we are Rip,seeking temporary(that is a much,much deflated version of the 20 year marathon) refuge from the life around, yet sure of being woken up ,Life just pushes us,closer towards ‘RIP’,the GREAT escape!

That’s the Divine Irony.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Idle Musings I

I was wondering.
I had my books in front of me.
They were open.
But I was wondering.

My pink-ink pen had run its due course.
I had unknowingly started depending on it.
I know.
An underline there, a note scribbled here, a star somewhere in the corner, a box somewhere else.
All in pink.

A chapter with a lot of pink was a chapter well done for me.
It was my mark of satisfaction.
It was my catalyst.
And I am not even fond of the colour pink!

I sulked.

I had an inverted-U staring back at my face.
The page looked drab.
The chapter: more so!
I needed my magic-touch.

I sulked.

In the absence of the pink-pen, I rummaged through my drawer, looking for some inferior stimulant to my academic pursuits.
I found one.
Not a close substitute but the only one available.

I sulked some more.

I took a deep breath, preparing myself to be engulfed in a nimbus of monotony.
I turned to the first page of the chapter.
I started colouring the box which had the chapter number.
The box turned green.

All of a sudden it struck me.
I found reason in randomness.
It might have been trivial.
It might have been a random coincidence.
Then again, it could well have been a reasonable incident.

I smiled.

I took my ruler and underlined the name of the chapter: "The Environment and Development".
In green.

I miss my pink pen.
But then, things come to an end for a reason.
Apparently pens do too.

Although it was just a case of the right colour coding, I had one of my "quirky” realizations out of this seemingly trivial incident (or coincidence).

Ends add more rhyme and reasons to the beginning.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Potpourri III

Another installment of my random farragoes that has become a habit of mine of late .A necessity : a troubled cure for my troubled mind .

PRE-STORM BLUES : I have never been fond of the lull before the storm. In fact, I wonder why would they call it a lull? If you look at it from the operational perspective, storms and human activity are counter-cyclical. People are at the height of their activity during the lull, trying desperately to seek “shelter from the storm”,in whatever way they can.Once the storm comes,there isn’t much one can do but to hope that the preparations that one did during the lull were enough to hold on.There’s a storm on the horizon,1st July to be precise, and during this lull I am expected to prepare for the impending storm.I find this period frustrating,boring and nerve-wrecking.For one,I never manage to do what I plan to do.I never have.Then, one cannot seem to have fun whole-heartedly without one of those Satan-vs-Angel face-off that Captain Haddock used to have,at the back of one's mind!There’s too much constancy in this period and that depresses me. I like things linear only when it comes to solving equations during examinations.Maximum variability is welcomed otherwise.

BLIND FAITH : There has been one song that I’ve been listening to,repeatedly for the last few days, “Can’t find my way home” by Blind Faith.I had already been bowled over by the Clapton-Knopfler version but the acoustic version of the original has a sense of pathos and helplessness that cuts through.The words are beautiful in their minimalism. It almost feels like a conversation I would be having with myself.The song is almost therapeutic at some level,personally.(I believe that whoever does not know the therapeutic effect of music is not an up-to-date free thinker.)Anyway, the album itself is pretty good.They are one of the best super-groups I’ve ever come across.PB remarked in one of our time-defying-days-dissolving conversations that Baker-Winwood-Clapton is a magic formula.He was right.Ah well,I never thought blind faith is a good thing.However,in this case it was!.But I always did feel blind faith doesn’t last for ever.In this case,sadly it didn’t last long as with most “super-groups”.But thankfully,divided they didn’t fall.

VACUOUS DEBATES: Elections are around and everybody has an opinion. Well, nothing can be done. It’s a free country for old men! Heh!There are debates, discussions and press conferences and so on and so forth. I don’t have anything against them.There are few things more fascinating than listening to a refined verbal duel.But all I hear are vacuous dialogues. I used to believe that politicians and oratory skills had a good correlation. However, that has now been reduced to “bitter clamour” of “eager tongues”. Very few of them make sense.Other’s repeat "exclusive" figures and forget facts. Some lie with overweening hauteur.Some are bellicose in their speeches which again,are rather hollow.Some having hit the rock-bottom of their family’s gene pool make outrageous comments to ratify the fact that they are indeed the product of depleted wisdom over generations.Seriously,whatever happened to the art of rhetorics and dialectics?We can only blame the politicians for making politics look so drab. Maybe few years later, any contradiction or point of contention would be registered by throwing a shoe and instead of a Question Hour in the Parliament we would have a Shoe-Session(The word makes a good tongue-twister I find.Try out! :D)!That would save us all these torturous sermons of platitudes!

MOTHER’S DAY : No,I don’t celebrate it.And I would not give a clichéd justification saying that “Everyday is Mother’s Day for me”!I irritate Ma for most part of the year. That’s one of my hobbies.I put in some nice gestures once in a while but only when I want to.So this Mother’s Day,while studying New-classical Macroeconomics I had one of those bursts of spontaneity.(Don't ask me to justify the circumstances.Assume that I was a victim.Period.) So I wrote her a poem and that too in Bengali.It was pretty inane I think.My Bengali has become rather rusty these days.My hand-writing looks like one of those 5 year olds mastering the alphabets.And the less said about my spellings,the better!But anyhow,I thought it’d be special, for Ma alone knows the effort I’d have to put in for that.Heh!Anyway,the job was done.I wrote it out on a page torn from one of my exercise books.It even had a margin drawn!Yes,I am lazy!I delivered it to Ma’s room while she wasn’t looking and then came back to Lucas and Muth.Few minutes later Ma,came in,dewy-eyed.We looked at each other.Not a word was spoken.But our conversation was done.Ma later told me that it was probably one of the sweetest things anyone had done for her and in the same breath added that she would make sure I practice Bengali handwriting(What!) and revise my spellings(How!?!) for to quote her, they were “Shanghatik!” I don’t mind the trade-off but in terms of problems,Dad has been dropping hints that he’d like one for himself too and I fear if he doesn’t get one,he is going to bring charges of partiality against me and worse still,be hurt!Sigh! And they still think human beings have rational expectations!!

It had been raining all the while I had been typing this out!Raining,with a vehement force interspersed by lightnings!Lightnings I tried capturing on my cell phone camera!But that darned 299792458 m/s got the better of me!Anyway,I will take a mind-picture like an oh-so-merry-and-high-on-sugar Alec Baldwin did in one of those hilarious episodes in FRIENDS. *click* :D

It just stopped raining now.Just as I wind up my “thought-full” outburst here!Almost a Pathetic Fallacy situation , what say? :)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

On A Day Like Today

On a day like today,
When the sun rose, like everyday
The wind blew the leaves away,
And mortals scurried to make hay,
A life began, somewhere, this day.

A life that set many free as a lark,
Teeming with hope like a firefly in the dark.
And through his eyes the world seemed a land
Of unforeseen beauty,blessed by His hand.
And his songs did heal many a battered soul,
Like sunshine amidst the bitter cold.
His words did herald a new wave,
That swept away all who did emulate
To an elevated state of mind and thought,
To a deeper sense of self and its worth .

But just like a river runs its course,
And just like the waves crash onto the shore.
The harp of his life would play no more.
But his life defied death and Oblivion,
Alive in hearts,and still surging on.
And since his life blossomed,
On a day like today,
This day in May could never be,
Just another day!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Man with the Alpine Hat

Yes, I love him. I never thought I would. I never really thought I could fall in love with one of those rich, idle , air-heads. I was right. He isn’t one of them. He just appears to be so for those who haven’t been able to read into the real him. Yes, he is rich but you can’t blame him if one of his loaded relatives went sailing to heaven and left him a fortune! Incase you are, that’s just you being jealous! Stop cribbing and feed greasy pot roast to one of your despicable affluent acquaintances with high cholesterol,instead.If you don't have one,well,blame it on your benevolence for they sure EXIST!Anyway,when was being rich a crime? I guess the Red Army would disagree but I’d like to leave out such morbid 'matadors' out of my sunny story of love right now. Thank you.
The object of my affection is rich but seems to be quite oblivious of it. His garish tastes would bear testimony to that.The high society would consider him a disgrace.You might too.But open your eyes,and you shall behold an iconoclast. He appears to be obtuse but I know he is not. I just feel he is indifferent or too engrossed with the trifles of life to agonize over great matters. Well, we all do that anyway. One less wouldn’t hurt right? It is an ingenuous method to escape from all the bally-trouble. An escapist? A bird skimming the surface of water you say? Ah well, I love him still! He is an adorable man-child who makes what in others would have appeared to be galling glaring stupidity, appear as delectable innocence.He is a man waiting to be saved.He needs that from time to time with all the scrapes he gets into. He manages to wriggle out of them though, thanks to a wise man that walked into his life.
For him, I know missing a court hearing would be less of a disaster than his Aunt’s cook giving notice! I know all he can quote (that too incompletely and completely inappropriately) are inane country jingles and is hopelessly lost in the world of The Bard . I know he is rather spoilt and that he often needs someone to provide him with the perfect word to complete a sentence,or rather to make sense. I know he runs behind popsies and then runs away from them for his life. But strangely, one doesn’t love him in spite of that, but rather because of that.For all the wrongs make a right only in him.
He has no pretences. He is no snob. He is hilarious and again , quite unaware of it. He seems indifferent but he nurtures a sensitive heart.He is just a harmless blundering fool .But most significantly he abides by the code for he "never lets a pal down" , come what may and that’s what makes my heart soluble. Life with him around I imagine, would be springtime all year around and doodah-ing all the way!
And for him I would wear a ghastly pink-feathered alpine hat to the church!(I would have said the parliament but I guess weirder things happen there anyway).I just need to procure one. I sure hope to, for my Cherie Amour, Bertram Wilberforce Wooster. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Your Promises.

You haven't changed.
You claimed you had.
You promised you would.
Promises.Your promises.
Flimsy and filthy.
Just as it was.
Just as it will be.

You had faded away.
Banished from my world.
Yet,you clawed your way back.
Forcing yourself in.
Bruising me from within.
Promises.Your promises.
Flimsy and filthy.

You reminded me of the "best of times."
Our times in the sun.I agree.
But did you forget the rain clouds?
For they still haunt me.
You promised sunny days and moonlit nights
Were all that you would give me,this time around.
Promises.Your promises.
Flimsy and filthy.

You cajoled.You reasoned.
You made me doubt myself.
And then,you lied.
Two years ago became today.
I was glad.
Promises.Your promises darling!
Flimsy and filthy.
All along.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Melodically Jarre-d

Strange coincidences happen, and when they do, they leave me perplexed and mystified.I try looking for connections and explanations for the sequence in which things happen and often it leaves me all the more bewildered and awed at the apparent uncertainty and veiled link,if at all, between events.

I’ve watched Doctor Zhivago for quite a number of times.Initially,it was vicarious viewing,with Dad watching it and me stealing a glance while trying to get away from doing my homework by walking around the house for no particular reason.Later on,I did actually watch the movie.But all the while, even during the seeing yet unseeing phases,what stood out for me was the soundtrack of the movie.I remember humming Lara’s theme,even before I actually watched the movie.It was much later that I came to know that it was from Doctor Zhivago’s soundtrack.

The soundtrack is a magnum opus.There is a natural progression in which the score builds.It starts mellow,then gathers momentum and surges to reach a crescendo,a full bloom and one finds herself overwhelmed and engulfed by such a musical experience.

I decided to download the soundtrack of Doctor Zhivago yesterday to see whether the music,when heard independently,isolated from the movie,engendered a similar reaction.What I found was not too surprising.The music in itself had a more pronounced impact on me.Lara’s theme found a different dimension,especially the subdued usage when Lara leaves Yuri and its dominant and muted “flurry” in the Main Theme and the Overture.Sventytski’s Waltz took my breath away and how I wished I could waltz.Komarovsky and Lara’s rendezvous told a story in itself!I was amazed at the musical genius of the man behind this master-piece.

Today morning, as I was going through the newspaper in a hurry , something at the corner of the page caught my attention : “Lara’s Theme creator dead”. It’s difficult to put into words what I felt at that very moment. Someone, whom I discovered in a new light just yesterday, someone whose artistry produced a newfound interest in me, for his work, just yesterday, was no more, today.Yesterday, tomorrow felt like a long time away. Today proved me wrong.

A wizard who knew the magic spell “to translate in a very short time,with very few notes, absolutely essential feelings”. However his gift, I believe was in letting nothing being lost in translation.

“One could say my life itself has been one long soundtrack. Music was my life, music brought me to life, and music is how I will be remembered long after I leave this life. When I die there will be a final waltz playing in my head and that only I can hear.” This was what the genius was quoted saying once. Probably he, himself could have put into words his idea of life and its aftermath.I just wish the world could hear his final waltz too.

Maurice Jarre.I just wish my first day as your ardent admirer did not coincide with your last day in this world and I so wish that you never had a final waltz.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Light and Sound

Lights and sounds. Interesting phenomenon both , for physicists, performers and film-makers alike. Then again, to someone like me, who is neither of the either, they are fundamental attributes of a personality. A charming personality has an optimum balance between the two. These include people who are en “light”ened enough, and are eloquent to the extent of not being overtly loquacious (read: royal pain in the wrong place).They are God’s blessed creation and like all that is coveted, are in limited supply from the headquarters above! That further explains their elevated value.

But then there are those experiments that have gone wrong! Terribly wrong! Terrible disequilibria when lights and sounds act in discord. Now in this case, it has been my personal observation that all disequilibria are not bad.

If light is greater than sound in a component, the case, although a disequilibria is not an undesirable one.Yes,the component is initially difficult to understand in such cases, but ultimately the light shines through and ambiguity dissolves. I’ve seen strangely reticent characters, often stereo-typed as “dumb”, “nerdy”, “geeky”, “losers” baffling many when they have shone with the light of their intellect ,without having to advertise their credentials like vendors! Often,they’ve had hardships for so often we judge books by their covers, and to sing one’s own attribute might seem like the only claim to recognition. With that being their infirmity,it takes time before their potentials are realized.But once they are,there is unequivocal appreciation of their genius, even with the limited use of their vocal chords.

However,there is the more common and highly undesirable disequilibria when sound dominates light!Lately,I’ve seen an influx of this category! Now this cluster of people are of the idea that light and sound are perfect substitutes (which should tell you that it is a tad dim up there,for this select group.)So they try to make up for their lack of brightness, by sound effects! They blow their own trumpet ,they go on talking , maybe hoping that some sense would be spoken by chance, while babbling utter nonsense(needle in a haystack scenario);they make hollow comments and they practice sound modulation while back-bitching!(Hush! hush! Silly!) :D And in doing so, they become intolerable! Unfortunately it’s everywhere!There’s Himesh with his nasal sound,Paris Hilton with her “HOT” astuteness galore,and Varun Gandhi with his religious faux pas !Again,among the commoners,I’ve seen samples in school , and college is no different. Certain people, take it upon themselves to be the commentators of the world, offering their opinions for every darned thing and person when it is irrelevant, unwanted and exceedingly stupid , but with such immense aplomb that it reminds me of that famous quote by Bertrand Russell : “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” Such forced commentaries are somewhat palatable when backed by content,but where over-confident dimwits are concerned,it becomes excruciatingly painful to endure.Such a disequilibrium can wreck the nerve and balance of those poor souls trapped around these hazardous components and thus,they are better avoided at all cost! But in hindsight,they might serve as comic relief too!They do so,for me,at least! :D

In the end,for me , being trapped in a dark room with a whole lot of sound is far more menacing and unpleasant than being trapped in a sound-proof room flooded with light.Darkness coupled with sound can be misleading,but a clear vision of things, even if it is not “assisted” by perceptible sound waves , can make people go a long way!For me,the sound of silence is the loudest and so shall it be with me.And as for moving forward , “Lead kindly light”!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Touch of Grey

I have never been one of those who ask for explanations for a deed done. I don’t like offering them myself. They result in desultory conversations. What’s done, is done. I may agree or disagree to it but I seldom moralize about it. I try not to, at least. It may not be my path. I will not tread it. It may not suit my taste. I will not try it. It may not be my mode of action. I will not react to it. I may not endorse it. I will simply alienate myself from the source. Expectations lead to disappointment! I understand now. I desist from it. More often than not, they lead to cul-de-sacs. Moreover one cannot have the same expectations, even for a seemingly homogeneous group of related people. Time brings out heterogeneities, unfamiliar and even unwanted. It is then that one has to make a choice between conflicting ideals, sensitivities and even people. It is not a choice between right or wrong, black or white; no polarization here. It is a choice of adhering to one’s beliefs or formulating a new set altogether. A choice between old bonds that can never dissolve, and new ties, that might bind. A choice, between being my idea of myself, as opposed to, theirs. Yes, ‘everybody hurts’, but one cannot have the best of both worlds. Reluctantly, I make a choice and with that choice I grapple to find some colour in an otherwise grey,prosaic world. My world . My perspective. :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Potpourri II

Whirlwind days! Intensive cramming and extensive regurgitation and voila two mammoths are handled! Time stood still for a week or so. No, not in the “Time Stops At Shamli” sort of way (Sigh!), but a rather stagnant predicament really! Lots happening around me, within me, without me and I could only be a silent spectator, like standing at the periphery and watching the world go by!(No, I’m not experiencing a Dependency Theory hangover, thank you).My mind is in a mess, so full of things that are waiting to be released! Amen!

Adiga’s Tiger : It may be white, but it is rather bland too! I was extremely disappointed with the book! For one, it was rather clichéd; especially the outcome with its rise of the proletariat intonations. Then there is a difference between reporting a story and the art of story-telling and while Adiga zealously does the former,the latter is forgotten. Telling a story without fuss or frills doesn’t mean one needs to be crass and lose all sense of aestheticism. Catcher In the Rye was realistic right!?! The White Tiger just seemed like a very long magazine article to me with rather confused and un-crystallized ideas and no direction.Its only impact: I am more scared of my driver now than I already was!

The Oscars : Now that was no awards show! It was just a theme party, the theme being India! I was expecting elephants instead of limousines and had Jackman done a "Main hoon Don" instead of "I'm Wolverine",I wouldn't have been shocked!No,REALLY!I wouldn't have been shocked if Anil Kapoor had been awarded a lifetime achievement award for a lifetime of OTT acting finally paying off!I wouldn't have been shocked if Ms. Frieda Pinto had won a statuette! So what if she wasn't nominated? They could have just come up with a new category, silly! This is supposed to be some sort of Big Push to the "Indian" Film Industry! No Satyajit Ray couldn't do it(supposedly)!But apparently this film,which barely made me feel and didn't make me think at all, did !Ah well! Macroeconomics rules !Godspeed "white trash"!
However, I was surprised that Kate Winslet won! She truly deserved it! Now isn't that odd?!? :D

Tull-ed : My Jethro Tull CDs had been lying forgotten for quite some time now. Thanks to a certain person's fixation with "Aqualung" [:P], Tull was retrieved from Oblivion and as always, has made me sufficiently high!So very high with Tull! Sheer genius! I like each song more, every time I hear it. I am humming the War Child Waltz as I type! Freaky! The London Symphony Orchestra playing the music of Jethro Tull with Ian Anderson is one divine album! It is magical and with the orchestra, their music feels, well...infinite! Makes me feel like I’m on "Glory Row" , “ skating away on the thin ice of a new day"...!Come what may..!(Except a hard-disk crash ,god forbid).

Instant Noodles : I sincerely believe that this is one of the greatest inventions of mankind .Its greatness seems all the more pronounced in those post-selections-pre-exams period when there is a lot to do, and no inclination to do anything whatsoever. Instant noodles serves for instant breaks as and when required. The time utility is paramount. The taste: heavenly. The satisfaction: instant. Also it opens up a lot of avenue for culinary creativity. One can season it according to the seasons. There are no fixed rules of preparation. Yes, some might complain that such a gastronomic delight does add to the luxury of one’s waistline, but do I look like I care? There are so many options too! Maggi, Top Ramen, Wai Wai(my current favourite) and even those Chinese ones with unintelligible names! Well, Mr.Momofuku Ando, I am sure the Gods are turning water into instant noodles in heaven, thanks to you!

The Long Goodbye : Bidding farewell to our seniors was difficult.I never thought it would be .The Farewell made me heavy with the gaiety of parting!
Now that I know there won’t be those familiar faces in the canteen(some, "permanent" faces),those tête-à-tête on the corridors, occasional bullying, frequent leg-pulling, those unforgettable Board meetings, handing out of “pearls of wisdom” by them, letting go becomes harder than I imagined. I think it is the whole point of being seniors now , that makes me apprehensive. I don’t know why. Or maybe I do. The reasons are now locked in the cloisters of my memories,some of my best memories.:-)

It’s raining outside. The first rain, of the season. The smell of the wet soil: intoxicating. The trees are going wild with the tempestous wind. A hint of a storm. The road seems like a carpet of fallen leaves. Lightning strikes. A stray dog barks helplessly.There is a mystic uncertainty in the sound of the night. I feel perplexingly tranquil. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

When Floyd And Freud Collides.

I dream in blue,
When I'm mellow and blue.
Of cloudy skies, and swirling mists,
Of tears in hell, that persists.
The lightning strikes,
The hail stones fall.
"Goodbye blue skies!"
A voice yonder, calls.
I assure myself,
It is a dream after all!

I dream in red,
When I'm bruised and jaded.
Of tumultuous seas,
And enemies with paranoid eyes.
I see swords and blades,
Spilling wrath and venom.
I see revolutions and anarchy,
And violent atrocities.
I ask myself,
Was it a dream after all ?

I dream in black,
When all my hopes have been marooned.
I see melancholy bores, behind closed doors,
And burning bridges falling apart.
The fat old sun lies pouting, eclipsed,
Hiding a saucerful of secrets lest it slips.
The dark side of the moon is all I see,
When hopelessness echoes within me.
Dreaming of such stark realities makes me think,
I hope that was just a dream after all!

I dream in white,
When I breathe in peace.
Embraced and engulfed by serenity,
That caresses me with its gentle wings.
I sail on still breeze,
(You would wonder how, but I dreamt I did!)
And I find myself coming back to life,
With two suns during sunrise,
And I wish to myself,
I hope that was not just a dream after all!

I dream in green,
When green is the colour.
I dream of you and me,
I dream of us and them.
Wandering in rolling valleys
On a great day for freedom!
I dream of beginnings,
Giving birth to a smile.
Wishing as I walk the miles,
That it was the beginning of a dream after all!

But all my dreams have a hint of Pink,
The interpretation may be Freudian, but 'Floydian' are my dreams!
I’ve seen shining diamonds and great gigs in the sky,
I’ve seen pigs flying, while I am learning to fly!
I dream in black and white ,
And all things between,
Of what I like and dislike,
And what lies within.
“Any colour you like!”,I hear you call,
That’s what dreams are,after all!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Potpourri I

Ahh..! I can’t seem to focus on anything of late! “Helter Skelter” is the state of affairs in my mind and writing about something specific would be a forced attempt. But I do feel like rambling. So all I have is some sort of a literary, epistolary potpourri, made out of the several thoughts that seems to be whizzing by,in my mind.

The Unworthy Name: A classic case of “What’s in a name?”, in a warped sort of way though! To even think that the biggest corporate fraud in the country involves a company named SATYAM! What a travesty! Satyam is definitely no longer sundaram.With inflated profits, deflated debts, a staggering 7000 crore emerges out of several loopholes and while the cat gets away, the dog (PwC) does not bark! Disgraceful!Well, all because Raju was not a gentleman!

Voice in the Wilderness: Sir Cliff Richard has come “Up in the World” and has flown so high that he finds it imperative to slam The Beatles! Our old man here has not forgotten how The fab four displaced him, off the charts back in the 60s.So in his last attempt to be taken seriously as a rock star(Yes, you’ve read that right!),he calls some of the guitar solos by The Beatles “horrific”! Strangely, I can’t recall any of his songs having a distinctive guitar solo, let alone being good! Maybe he should just get married to a nice old lady (or man), stop living with a Roman Catholic Priest(For the love of God, why?) and learn to play the guitar!

Monkey Caps : Come winter and trust Bengalis to turn to our ancestors to protect us in this season of chills, mists and mellow fruitfulness. It’s the ultimate fashion statement, passed on from generation to generation; a fashion that is never out of fashion, embraced by all, irrespective of caste, creed, sex and age. In spite of donning layers of winter gears that would put an Eskimo to shame , without this essential bit of protection (that scares away the monkeys at the Zoo or Dakshineshwar Temples to the extent of refusing food), we are vulnerable to all that is bad and evil and yes, cold! So “flaunting”this queerest of all queer head-gears would never be considered a faux pas by us and no doubt The Monkey Cap has become a part of the quintessential Bengali! Though a reply to my chances of trying out this timeless antique would be “Over my dead body!”, I too , have developed a bizarre kind of fondness for this great social equalizer , for it is donned by the Rickshaw-walla and his obese passenger, grandfathers and new-born babies and sometimes (as hideous as it may seem) by men and women alike!

Un-enchanted: That is my one word review for the movie Enchanted, to put it in very mild terms. I am truly ashamed that I stayed up till 1 in the morning to watch the movie! But it was all for McDreamy! And alas! Not even the the man whose looks can launch a 1000 satellites, could save the movie from drowning! For one ,the movie was so rotten that it was beyond saving and again, he is too average an actor to be a saviour! With an inane fairy-tale minus the charm, an irritatingly optimistic heroine who breaks into songs in two shakes of a duck’s tail, cockroaches and rats cleaning up,a terribly out-of-place Susan Sarandon and pretty men,the movie coming to an end is a necessity if the victim(the audience) is to ever live happily ever after!

The Bridges of Madison County: What a painfully beautiful novel! Complex , profound, heart-rending, yet hopeful. And quite strangely all these adjectives describe, (to put it very bluntly) an extra-marital affair which not even for once, seems like adultery. With a lucid style and honesty of expression so aptly portrayed by the author, it is indeed a story I reluctantly finished and is sure to haunt me for a very long time. When Robert says those memorable lines “In a universe of ambiguity, this kind of certainty comes only once and never again, no matter how many lifetimes you live”, the cynic in me disappeared and I could not help but agree to what some might call a fatalistic statement.A book that made me shed many a tears and yet offered some smiling phases and certainly one that I’ll treasure! I always did find the whole concept of bridges rather romantic. :-)

And I love you so: Don Mclean does take my breath away! A poet, a singer and a guitarist of rare caliber ; I am truly enchanted by his music. Madonna should be sued for mutilating his music! McLean’s “Castles in the air” is such a beautiful composition ,with such an unfathomable depth ,that it has become my current favourite, replacing Vincent. I wonder why songs and artists like him are so hard to come by these days? I sometimes wish I was born in the 60s.What a wonderful era (save the bell-bottoms)of contradictions,cultural upheavals;almost a renaissance!Ah well,wishful thinking!

And thus ends the ramblings of a melancholy bore! Temporarily,until my thoughts are again in disarray :P