Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I way

495, 81, 90 he knows them all
290 and 93
ribbons over her unforgiving landscape
moving rainbows of yellow and red
at 80mph her far screams shatter his dreams

PS: I-495, I-81, I-90, I-290, I-93 all American freeways
Image photographed by yours truly, I-93, New Hampshire, 2000ft

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I crack bad jokes. Really bad ones, and then I get responses berating me.

Thoo he says, haak thu another one spits, thu she says delicately reminiscent of her mellifluous voice, aiye thu another one pings.

Naturally it got me thinking. So many variations just in a spit, whod’ve thought! But then my online friends are like that. Varied in their means to a similar end (essentially expressing opinions about me). I learn. Constantly from them, the delicate art of this chatting. I have been a diligent student and incorporate all their small mannerisms in my own language. Hey, wassup, sup, hi, kanna, doood, *****,****** all greetings. I take them in good spirit, after all the words we use online must make up for the lack of flesh and blood, and the voice. This talking online transcends barriers of sorts, language for instance, gender too. All busily twisting available resources to express opinions.

Talk of chatting and I must mention the ubiquitous emoticon. I used the limited ones available in gtalk, but my resourceful friends come up with more. She taught me the :|. Something without which I wonder how I ever chatted in the past. Whether to counter an opinion, or to endorse it. To scold, encourage or just fill in the gap between two timestamps. He, a most recent friend, said :O. I loved it. The piggy eyes over an open mouth. I express surprise similarly now. Most handy it is, the :O. Another one uses :) naturally making me smile. :-/ to express his stymied status after his girl is through with him.

“Khoop milega rang jab mil baithenge teen yaar, aap main aur youtube” It’s true. I spend all the time pasting links into that little blue box, and so does my friend. Talk a lot we may but our secret vice is in doing this. No video is spared, his extensive talents also include digging up little known lost videos, so chatting with him always leaves me like :)

And then there is the other half of this blog, the formidable vitruvian. We have chats that no one can understand, least of all us. On glimpsing the green dot near our names, both of us start typing inordinately large amounts of information, burdening the little chat box, not caring in the least of the other listens or not. Then we backtrack and read. Then we crack silly jokes. And just when we are having fun she decides to promptly log off. So they end, on a note of hopeless confusion, and assumed future clarifications.

The :O friend also says lol to my supposed attempts at humour. LOL if it is particularly rib-tickling. ROTFL’s, LMAO’s and heehaws follow. They do make me laugh. I am becoming slowly, an extension of my online self. Sadly a friend of mine once mistook my muhahahaha as muuah. I was confounded. Like this :| or perhaps a better sequence of alphabets and symbols was wanting. But I am neither as imaginative nor as resourceful. So I just rely on words to do the needful. Call me old fashioned if you will.

Chatting with people of high office is a challenge. Mainly cuz u cant do this. Or evn hav tyops. So 1 must be clareful. Most high office people however stick to stiff emails, Leaving the dominion of chatting to us lesser peoples. So we do as we please, laugh, cry :’( :(( and as she does , x-( and go through the motions of life all in the little blue box. Orange always was associated with the Indian flag (for those not subtle enough to appreciate the delicate hue of saffron), sanyasis and a political party. Now orange means someone has graced you with their ping and it hangs there, unanswered. Orange dots mean the person at the other end is on the phone. And try however I may, I am unable to get my status to be orange at my will. It is upto the great algorithm inside google. Most sensitive it is, the mere shadow of my finger makes it green, unless I am red. Which has no effect on the pingers, or the pingee. And then there are those who like to have the first and last word. Like him and her. Always invisible, pulling strings, watching you be green, orange and green again, quietly smirking at your futile machinations. They greet, talk and before you know it they are gone. Or maybe they just like to play with me. Anyways, that is no mere power they wield.

Days of chatting have left my fingers longing for evermore. I treasure these online meetings and the friendship that logging in brings. Foulweather or fine, Orange, Red, Green or naught, they are there for me, talking, teaching me, and being there for me. Always.

PS: More than half my blogroll chats, and I credit them as a major inspiration for this post. Yes it is you I am talking about, you know who you are.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The kebabs we had for lunch were awesome. Tender, crispy, just perfect. Finished off with Cabernet Sauvignon and another perfect meal was thus ended. Later braving the irregular Boston streets and making use of the great American feature that is the expressway, we were out in the suburbs heading home, when I suddenly decided to take a detour. Just on a whim, I took the exit onto temple street and proceeded to the Ashland Laxmi temple. None of my companions said anything, but the question hung there, like juicy kebabs just about to drop from the skewer. I had just slaughtered a few innocent animals, washed them off with alcohol, and I hadn’t even showered. And here I was, at the temple, in all my non-vegetarian, unwashed glory. As I parked, one of the company announced his intentions to stay outside owing to his having consumed a goat. As I removed my shoes, I felt guilt finally stab. ”You uncouth creature…at least you could have bathed”.

Was I wrong? I personally felt that I failed, not because of my perceived sins, but because I felt guilty. I did not have any reason to, I hadn’t done anything wrong. Or had I? Was non-vegetarian consumption a sin? Surely then scores of people on the world couldn’t worship, even most Hindus. Didn’t Shiva himself live in a cemetery? Did not the ancients sacrifice goats and loll about in jars of soma? And then I thought of my people, all pious, washed, sinless and vegetatively fed. I went to the temple because I felt like it. That’s all. No moon positions influenced me. Nor did any sins ask for absolution, and for once I had no favours to ask. The temple itself is in an exceedingly beautiful area, with several small streams and woods and that drive alone is divinity. At least it is to me.

Nevertheless onward I pushed. It is not in me to reach a destination and deny myself entry to it. So I went and did whatever I do usually. I prayed, I sat quietly, I asked for stuff, I watched people affirm their faiths. And all the while I was thinking. Furiously. And I was frustrated that I was unable to reach an answer. Essentially whether I was wrong would depend on whom I asked. Like India itself there were several variations, but everyone absolutely seemed to agree on the depravity of my unwashedness. And I realize that this is a conundrum that I myself have to solve. Does a bath wash the turkey off me, like the Ganges? Does alcohol dissolve into righteousness under the cover of night, to be replaced with piousness when the sun rises? Can I eat and drink after I visit the temple?

There are no rules. There are actually, but they too are shifting, allaying themselves to the times, to popular opinion. Its’ my life, my Gods, my sins, my blessings, my dharma, my karma. Or is it? Isn’t my family linked to my karma? Why is it so complicated? Wouldn’t it be just easier to confirm, not just to appease the ubiquitous others, but to also silence the beast within? And from clarity emerges chaos again and I am drawn into a whirlpool of questions. I see all my friends clearly, meat eaters and unalike, all clear in where they stand religiously. Firm and faithful or equally firm in their faithlessness.

My road it is to drive, and I have a lifetime to explore it. Laying the Questions aside, I accept the Prasad noting that the priest has a leather jacket on to protect him from the biting cold.

I smile.

PS: idlichutney celebrates it's 50th post. Thanks to all you readers. We love you for reading us. :) And the writings shall continue.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Of Music, Food and LOve

Scene 1: Independence Cafe, Hill Road, Bandra

A flyer...
HOPE 08 is a programme to promote love, peace harmony, forgiveness amongst all walks of society and to encourage people in distress going through various negative situations and emotions in life which could lead them to take drastic steps like suicide , nervous breakdowns, etc.We invite citizens from all walks of life for the HOPE 08 to come , participate, relax and unwind through the music of the famous Indian Jazz Fussion Band- CONVERSATION., which is a 8 piece Band with instruments like the Violin, Tabla, Drums, Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Mirdumgam, Saxophone and the Sitar.
When : Saturday 1st November 2008

Time : 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Where : Carter road Promenade

"Guys you want to check this out! We're not doing anything else yet anyway...AND its free!"

"Hey guys..Conversations is soooo great..The I've herad the drummer Vinayak and their vilonist jam! I'm so definitely going. Anyone interested??"

Scene 2: Carter Road Promenade, Bandra (west), Mumbai
The salty sea breeze carried the taste of anticipation through the crowd. A diverse pack of mottled rockers, high class socialites letting their hair down and the random people who had accidentally strayed into the awaiting mass thronged amongst the few who actually knew why they were there.
HE was lost absolutely new grounds for him...What Jazz?? Who Conversations?? He was just there to check out the chicks...with his buddies of course!!
"Ooooo...Hot one at 10 o clock..seems all trippy about the music though..Hmmm!"

This was her thing the entrancing trippy music, the serenity of a sitar combining with a six piece drum set!! She was loving the beauty of it all.. the evening...the music..She was lost in a world all her own!
"Buttt...A guy different from the ones you usually meet at these things...Hmmm...Hot in a geeky kinda way! Cute!"

Scene 3: Brownie Cottage, Off Carter Road, Bandra

"Can I have the Snicker Brownie Please!?!"
"Can I have the Snicker Brownie Please!?!"

"Sorry.. thats the last one I've got!"

They exchange glances and he gathers the guts to ask..."How would you like to split it??"
She gives him a lopsided girn. He hasn't seen anything as beautiful in the whole wide world.
After a cataclysimic pause, she said, "Okay, but only if you share a Guliyaan with me after this one!"

Damn!! He HATED Guliyaan!!
"Nah..I'm running late..Boss..Madam ke liye ek Snickers!! Bye! Enjoy your brownie!"

"What did I do NOW!! Well awesome evening! I got a date with Vinayak to top it all!!" ;)

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O! it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour.
(Twelfth Night, 1.1.1-7)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tangy tribulations

She came on her Honda, vrooming neatly into the parking lot. Hair check. Makeup check. Dress check. Confidently she strode into the hotel.

He arrived moments later in his car. Parked and wondered which kind of idiot parked bikes in a lot clearly meant for cars. He disheveled his hair, smacked his lips and walked into the hotel.

“What would you like to drink?”

“I’ll have a panagam, please”

“One neer mor for me”

The ass is starting with mor? Sigh…So this was it Pushpavalli thought. Her parents had set her up with this random guy. Hell it was exactly a setup, but they preferred to call it a meeting. Whatever. She couldn’t refuse, might as well see what happens.

“So what do you do?”

“I’m an actuary” …Or at least that’s what I’m supposed to tell outsiders.

“I’m…err…a banker” Like I’m telling you what I really do.

“Appetizers?” The waiter, a really good impression of SPB appeared as if from nowhere.

“Fried lentil puffs with the green coconut sauce please”

“I’ll just have some thattai with ricotta cheese and north Indian date sauce”

The waiter quietly disappeared.

Such was their conversation. Trivial things and the weather. Time, as it does, passed.

“Can I take your order?”

“Err Ill have the Shallots in tamarind sauce, over a bed of fragrant thanjavur rice”

“I err wanna have the eleven vegetables in coconut sauce over raw red rice”

-eh? Foreign cuisine aa? Hmph!

May I tempt you Sir? And Madam? We have a fine cellar. A Yercaud 1927 for the shallots? Vintage year it was. The Nellai ’51 is good too, but it goes better with drumsticks, would to care to sample it?

“Yercaud ’27 it is”

“And for you?”

“Just a toddy”

-what a Philistine!

And the meal continued amidst lies and half-truths.

“And we come to dessert the waiter smiled as he cleared the plates.”

“Roasted vermicelli in milk for me”

“I’m good”

“I insist you end with a sweet” she smiled and said.

“Ok then the rice marinade in jaggery, please”

Gastronomic successes often translate into other spheres. Later that night she shyed and smiled as they ate peanuts on the beach, holding hands. He let her drive the bike, enjoying the humid sea breeze as they sped past Samudra Avenue. 3796 rupees well spent.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Hello there. I have been tagged by karthik. This particular one involves myself exposing my quirks to the world. Six is the limit, thankfully and I shall plunge into it without much ado.

1. Symmetry

I border on the obsessive-compulsive when it comes to symmetry. Two exact halves. Straight lines, linear relationships. Since 95% of the world is non-linear, I rigidly enforce the other 5 %. Or at least try to. Any exercise in cleaning my room is an exercise in drawing straight lines. Only 45 degree angles are permitted, and that too only in extreme cases. I usually restrain myself from straightening things, but if I start, there is no end to it. Which is why I don’t clean my room (get it ma?). I once lived in a room with an off-center light on the ceiling, it drove me crazy. Another proof, almost all my posts are justified (margins on both sides). Most blogs I follow are really good, but trailing alphabets bother me. Extending the symmetry schizophrenia, I must use both hands equally. If I touch a strange surface with my left hand, my right hand automatically goes there, otherwise it feels bad. My parents have incessantly pulled my leg over this. If a cold gust of wind hits the left side of my neck, my muffler is adjusted to let the right side feel cold too. Usually I can be found touching things with both hands (I know this sentence doesn’t read too well for my image, but this tag is going to screw me over anyways so what the hell).

1a. Folds

As an extension to the aforementioned, I hate carelessly folded newspapers. I try to restore them to their virginal state after reading, as much as possible, alas the perfectly folded newspaper, once you’ve read it, does not exist.

2. You can’t judge a book by its’ cover

Hence, I smell it. The first thing I do on opening a book is to plunge my nose into its deepest recesses and take a deep breath. And I’m pretty good at it too. If I don’t like the smell of a book, it usually turns out to be a crappy book. If I like the smell, I love the book. Extended to all reading material. Pamphlets smell like shit, Times of India has a rich smell, Indian Express is tolerable. Best smelling book: Lord of the Rings. Worst smelling book: One night at a call centre.

3. 9

I add up numbers I see.

Total = 3 :|

Total = 6 :)

Total = 9 :D

If alphabets bedevil the sequence, I code them and then add.

4. Siht is tahw sneppah

One of the voices in my head turns around English words, especially when I’m talking to myself. Ew evah snoitasrevnoc ekil siht. And if voice makes a spelling mistake, others step in with the correct one. I started this quite early and it does improve your spellings (not that I ever had bad spellings). If you want to read my great writings, you now know how. Ylno ni hsilgne hguoht .

5. Not of Jeannie

I dream. This seems to be fairly a common quirk from what I’ve been reading. At the risk of being accused of plagiarism, I confess. Day, night it doesn’t matter. I dream when in drive, when I eat. I have even been known to dream during particularly bad exams. Content censored.

6. Pee perils

Most of my readers will know my bladder problems. Sometimes they are self created. I set deadlines (short term obviously) and refuse to pee till the task is met. Like finishing a book. Or like cleaning my room till it is symmetric. Or till I finish posting. Enough said.

If you think I need help, help me. If you think I am normal, kindly get in touch with my parents and inform them. They will give you lots of sweets.