Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Closing Credits

For Lucio:

Because we are also what we lose.

- Amores perros (2000)

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Leaving

Somewhere within your loving look I sense,
Without the least intention to deceive,
Without suspicion, without evidence,
Somewhere within your heart the heart to leave.

All You Who Sleep Tonight. VS

Sleeve Notes for "(What's The Story) Morning Glory?"

Coming down off the nova somewhere near the boiled egg that is the Royal Albert Hall, we watch Paul's sun crossed with John's star and hold ice cream hands. Someone slipped on a cassette as the one you wanted left with someone else but somehow it was cool because as the music filled the shadows, you heard a sound that was a million miles away from fakery and a step away from your heart.

Just like it always did, this sound puts the swagger back into your step, the rush into your blood, but somehow, and I don't know how, they had become deeper, wider, soulful, better at their craft, inspired by so many things like a world that is tilting who knows where and the applause they always knew was theirs but waited so impatiently to receive. Words cut you from all angles, backed up by a monumental sound that rises high, high and high to crash against your rocks and then changes, majestically and magically to soothe the wounds inside.

As you are dragged inside on this trip abandon, you hear a council estate singing its heart out, you hear the clink of loose change that is never enough to buy what you need, boredom and poverty, hours spent with a burnt out guitar, dirty pubs and cracked up pavements, violence and Iove, all rolled into one, and now all this.

At the end you flip over and start again because now you are not isolated. They have gone to work so that you can go home. High above the day turns pink and you feel your feet lift above the ground as new roads open up in front of you. In this town the jury is always rigged but the people know. They always know the truth. Believe. Belief. Beyond. Their morning glory.

P.H. in the summer of '95.
(from the Oasis Official Website)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The un-Usual Suspects

The abduction of master Anant, aged 3 years, coincided with the commencement of my mandatory leave for the year. As a result I was able to follow the event with unusual attention.
When I first heard of it, apart from the usual indignation, I was upset at the state of affairs in UP. I mean these things are so common place there that if not for the fact that the incident involved the son of Adobe's CEO it wouldn't have made news. The sight of the crying father was actually quite disturbing. I mean this guy must be a complete rockstar in office heading the India operations of such a prominent US firm, and he's been brought to his knees by the mis-governance in UP.

Some three hopeless days into the case I heard over lunch that Adobe has moved the US Embassy on the matter. At that point of time, I told my Mom, I think this case is going to be resolved in the next 6 hours.

Sure enough by dinner the dude was back at home, sipping from a large bottle of Coke, having been left back in an auto rickshaw to celebrate his Happy Budday!!! All's well for Mr. CEO who now says no ransom was paid. Mama, Papa and Didi crowd around the little boy, have their photos taken, all smiles. At a hastily called press conference the police narrates the events which led to the recovery of the child- a story which has such gaping holes and contradictions, that it will put a third rate pick pocket from a BEST bus to shame (for instance it is not clear whether the ransom was not paid, or was the Rs. 50lakhs paid returned). I shall not bore people with the details fabricated by the police. But I definately have some questions.

How come nothing happened for 3 days, and then finally everything fell in place within 3 hours of the complaint from the US embassy?

How come the people arrested in the crime have no past record? I am sure it is easier to solve crimes in such record times when they are committed by the "usual suspects". And I am even more sure that in the state of Uttar Pradesh there are many such usual suspects.

I feel that whoever was responsible for the abduction has not been nabbed. And that the child was recovered in such record time implies some frantic calls between the PMO, the Foreign Office and the Home Ministry. Of course, given the context of current fibre of US-India diplomacy, the interests of Uncle Sam have to be taken cognizance of. But I am not complaining. For once a word from the Big Brotha has ensured that something good gotten done.

So does that mean that the police, if pressurized can always produce such amazing results? But then why don't they do it everytime? Did the police know all along where the child was? And if yes, then why does it let such crimes continue? The answers will not be provided in this post, but I guess they are failry obvious.

I feel more than anything else this is an expose on the corruption in the police forces. If the recovery was an outcome of genuine crime solving, then the stories being floated from official quarters would have at least tied in, sounded gullible. Someone came under pressure, was told to make the problem go away, did so, but then forgot to cover their tracks. Whoever saw the press conference on TV would agree to that.

Recently, a distant relative was kidnapped in a certain eastern state. His brother's friend, a prominent crime journalist decided to take up the cudgels and began pursuing the case. Within hours of it being known that investigations were being done by this particular journalist, the relative surfaced. No money changed hands, no threats. Nothing. Isn't it amazing that when almost every other case ends in the ransom being paid, or in death, these cases had such speedy resolutions.

Someone, not me, has to ask these questions to the powers that be. But then, who's listening. Till then "Always Coca- Cola: Long Live Uncle Sam".

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hirasat Mein

Its that time of the year when I am supposed to hang up for the year and go away for a couple of weeks.So here I am - as a consequence of poor planning, sitting at home in Delhi doing nothing, at least for the time being.

I think for a while the Orkut wave had passed me by. So now that I have unlimited time, I decided to try my hands at it. It is a good way to kill time. Most people who Orkut say its a great way to meet up old friends. Hardly any of my old friends seem to be on Orkut. I guess the Orkut wave missed us all. But there are interesting things to do on it, especially in my current situation. For instance, joined a debate on the best Woody Allen film, or whether there'll be a sequel to Before Sunset.

I am doing sundry things. Catchng up on sleep, friends, good food. When I am not on the comp, I sleep. When I am sleeping I can hardly wake up- mostly because of the lack of nicotine in my bloodstream. And when my parents are firing away their 20 questions on marriage, I play Brickbreaker on my Blackberry.

Today I am meeting an ex-girlfriend. Tomorrow another one. Both are married. Both called me. I wanted to meet both of them together, but they wouldn't agree. The only other girl I used to date in Delhi is Still single. She hasn't called me. Hasn't even returned my calls. One of the disadvantages of having a fecund imagination is that one tends to draw conclusions, patterns. I am tempted to exercise that now.

IK has given me the responsibility of planning our hard core trip to Thailand. I did pack the LP but haven't really gotten down to reading it. IK is going to be cross when I get back to Bombay, but what the heck.
Anyway running late for my "DATE". Haha...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Root of the Problem

The problem does not lie with the man who runs over a family of twenty on Carter Road after a few drinks in the wee hours of the morning. The problem is not with the people who keep such places open late. And the problem definately is not with those who go to such places. What will follow is that the moral police will be out for blood, bars will be forced shut even earlier, places like Marine Drive, Band Stand and Carter Road vacated by sundown, unnecessary harassment of people out in the streets at night so on and so forth.

By calling this a cultural problem, the System is merely skirting the real issue. Shutting bars down early is not a solution. At present most places in Bombay shut by 1-1.30AM and that is so ridiculuous. On any average day, most Mumbaikars reach their houses only by 9-9.30PM. And then to shut everything by 1.30AM, even on a weekend, severely restricts the city's lifestyle.

I recently went for a walk at night on the city one of the most posh promenades. Not just were there people sleeping all over the pavement, they even spilled a good 3-4 feet onto the street. Now whoever's driven, especially at night will agree that it is not easy to watch out for such obstacles, and then cars do run out of control. To transform it into a debate on morals is in itself wrong. The people sleeping on roads and pavements have no business being there. The real villain is the government which does little as it watches the situation worsen year after year.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What is the bloody point...

Sunday evening it rained. After the hot, sultry excesses of October complicated by consumption of unusual amounts of alcohol on Friday night, the sudden clouding of the skies and the outburst that followed was more than welcome.

Then the evening out with D, that long conversation- at CCD, Boat, Bandstand (night time high tide is awesome, I concluded) and then home- deep into the night. She spoke and I pleaded guilty as charged.

I guess my life closely resembles a bad case of the random walk theory. Wake up each morning, get to office, work, work, work. Evenings out, mostly alone, mostly very late, and no dinner afterwards, otherwise with inconsequential company, the rare date with D, while dealing with baseless speculations of my active social (or dating scene) life. Ahh!!!

There is absolutely no plan, no plot, not even a little desire to set things up in my life. While most people I once thought I knew go about finding nice houses to life in, drive around in fancy cars, get married, I continue ageing, rotting, turning alcoholic, wasting away arguably the best years of my life- just a constant unending drift.

As someone I particularly dislike told me recently- there is no particular reason why anyone would want to hang out with me. All that I have on offer is the ability to consume large quantities of alcohol, an irrational social budget, boring unlimited funda on music, and then when I’m high, on most other things. So, why?

According to D, all this stems from the huge sense of comfort that I seem to be in with most things in life. Most things in my life essentially means work- and the thoughts of it which occupy my mind for most waking hours. I think spending over five years with the same employer does that to you. There is a huge sense of comfort, that misconception that you are the BSD on the trading floor, that comfort which comes from doing the same things, with the same people, the absolute familiarity with the circumstances, and all that.

In the conversation that followed, she stated my repeated dissatisfaction with various things- the smelly cabs of Bombay, the peeling walls of my house, the random stresses at work, the lousy food that passes for dinner- when I end up having it, the thick veil of seclusion which covers almost everything I do and finally, the fact that I still talk to and about someone I dated long ago and who now stays in the western hemisphere, and is planning babies. Everything that I can help resolve if I engage myself, and the fact that I haven’t done anything about in the last many months.

I began wondering, when was the last time I did something new in my life, when was the first time I met someone new outside of work, and who remotely interested me. Can’t even remember, however hard I try.

And she asked- why? Why is it so difficult to uproot myself, to shift bases, start life afresh. And if things are so doomed, why not get married? Why not, T.O.? Why not?

Actually, the good part of all this is realizing that even though I remain oblivious to these issues, someone is doing the thinking. But then it doesn’t matter since all that needs to be done has to be done by me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Low Today

I am feeling strangely low today.

Someone I used to date (and was particularly fond of) called to say that she’s getting engaged.

I know I’m being extremely silly, but well, that’s how it is.

And I wonder- that this is how it always goes: the cycle of getting in, getting out and then getting out for good. And somehow at times like this, I am always low- sometimes a bit, and on other times a bit more.

But then today is one of those days. Suddenly, post the conversation I lost my appetite, skipped lunch, and then by 4P.M, I suddenly realized that how silly I was being, and how hungry I was. And then ate too much and that made me feel very sick.

But then I am happy for the person who once was very good to me, and made me feel special and all that, for however long it lasted. Unfortunately, I am not the large hearted, benevolent type, which puts the goodness of the world beyond their personal petty issues of the heart, however irrational.

So I guess it is time to brood. And because this has happened after a long time (I am nearing 30- most women I used to date are planning babies) I have decided to go the whole hog. BossMan who is currently overseas has been Blackberry-ed a day’s leave request. Colleagues warned that I won’t be around to share the blame tomorrow, and so on.

And yes, if you’re the kind which likes dark posts- watch this space.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Barely Alive

Saturdays in office can hardly be nice- I mean its not even debatable. However, if one is woken up from alcohol induced sleep and forced to work, it ceases to be even pleasant.

Anyway, that’s what happened to me this Saturday. Somehow dragged myself in, and feeling extremely sick from the consumption of extraordinary amounts of alcohol the night before. The dull throbbing vein on the side of my temple, the acrid taste in the mouth, the irregular heartbeat, the faint but noticeable shiver of my fingers. Half and hour into the ordeal, it occurred to me that this might just be it- that last night I had hit what was the alcohol limit for my BMI. And that now I was about to die.

That thought led to a few others. Whether it would better to die at home or at work? Surrounded by people, drawing attention, or quietly at home? Probably it was not such a respectable way to perish- by alcohol poisoning (what would my parents say- is it more palatable than death from a disease acquired by sexual profligacy?) Moreover, there was a possibility that I wouldn’t die after all if I were to pass out at work. There would be ambulances, doctors and then hospital ceilings. So the question really was whether I wanted to die after all.

I thought for about two minutes. Stood up- saw that most people around me had phones stuck to their ears. Walked up to BossMan, waited for him to finish his conversation. When that seemed distant, I simply tapped his window pane, ran my index finger across my throat waited for his nod, and left.
Die young while I still can.