Monday, January 29, 2007

Déjà vu

Trinity: A déjà vu is usually a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something. (The Matrix, 1999)
A minor déjà vu experience on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I have this thing for water- while I don’t really like it in the bath, I do look forward to a swim every once in a while. So when my broker came up with an apartment with an unobstructed 10th floor Band Stand sea view and a swimming pool to boot, I jumped for it- even though the 50k a month price tag seemed a little steep. The general idea was “Dekh to lete hain.”

On visiting the apartment I had this niggling sense of déjà vu. As I walked around the apartment, leaned on the balcony rails, taking in the breath-taking sea view, I knew that at some point of time I had been here before. As is the case with all these feelings, it was just a little uncomfortable. Even otherwise the flat was very pretty- newly done up, shiny new flooring, cupboards, a large, gorgeous bathroom- the works.

Later at lunch I was relieved of my slight agony. I remembered (with a silent “Ah”), that this was the same place where a certain colleague who joined the bank post graduation with me used to stay. I even remembered attending a few parties, where I used to entertain myself with sights of the sea and occasionally that of the host flirting with a certain lady I used to have a mild interest in back then. The house used to be quite shoddy back then- nondescript mosaic flooring, shapeless furniture all over, and the ubiquitous clothes, which are the trademark of any bachelor habitat. This was six years ago.

Two things came to my mind as an afterthought. First how rents have spiraled in Bandra- I am sure that back then the bloke paid no more than 20k for that flat. And second, and more importantly, last heard that same guy was married (not to the same lady though) with a kid, presumably happily settled in his ancestral GK bungalow- selling credit cards, or home loans, whatever for a living. And here I am apparently doing well professionally, but a big ZERO at everything else, and wondering in circa 2007, whether the same flat was affordable or not. Sometimes one does get the feeling that in certain aspects, almost everyone has sped past me.
On a more positive note, he does not enjoy access to countless bacchanalian nights, options at numerous drunken skirt chasing episodes (Tin Man had an interesting observation to make- Women have affairs, men just have flings), living life on the edge etc. etc. And then I do not have to sit-up nights, changing diapers, or feel bad every time lust takes over common sense.

Such feelings, though emotionally mixed, are not nice and according to me the best thing to do is to go and buy the fuck out of my favorite mall. Others call it retail therapy. Long ago Moods and me used to do it to fight Sunday evening blues all the time. Since Moods has moved on in life as well, I got Buch (who also moves on in a week’s time) to drive me to Lifestyle. That was nice (Lifestyle reminded me of monochrome Doordarshan file pictures of Kishore Kumar’s house after an IT raid). I was particularly pleased with a couple of shirts that I picked up (not quite so with half a dozen T-shirts), and the fact that now my waist is a size that is readily available off the shelf. D is away for the long weekend, and was not available for comments on this positive development. Of course Kappa still doesn’t make shirts my size and stores don’t keep 501s on their shelves. But that’s OK.

While I sank into my into my pillow for a good night’s sleep it just occurred to me that in a society as ours where personal despair is never desperate enough*, drowning sorrow in solitude is not too difficult. However, to be truly indifferent one must master the art of savoring success in seclusion as well.

* To borrow an expression from GOST

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Two or three things I know about her…

Juliette Janson: To define myself, one word: indifference.

That’s the name of a movie I saw yesterday. Who the word “her” refers to is debatable- but I think it is Paris, but it might just be the lead female character. It was a beautiful movie- dealing with the dip in collective morals of the Parisian society in the backdrop of the Gaullistic regime. I use the word “regime” here intentionally.

So, where have I been of late? I had thought of answering that question in detail but as I sat down to write, I realized that it was turning out to be boring and long-winded. To cut a long story short, I have been traveling- on work and leisure, and will write posts in detail of my long holiday in Thailand, but a bit later.

Last night, three of us, Buch (who has now moved back to India), Shukla and me sat down to consume huge quantities of alcohol from my stockpile. Now these are my best buddies from business school, but we hardly ever meet- mostly because Shukla is married, Buch engaged and hence there social drinking has different dimensions to mine. But since the ladies in question were out of town attending weddings, the evening culminated.

Inevitably the subject turned towards marriage- and not surprisingly everyone had their two bits to add. Shukla kept defending the institution, and while were not quite anti (Buch ties the knot in about two weeks), it made us think a lot. He kept saying that how two years back he would not have noticed the layer of dust atop my refrigerator, how he would not have noticed that my house has neither a microwave nor a washing machine. He would’ve just unleashed himself on the stockpile of alcohol at the bar. He said he was amazed how organized his life had become, how much more sensitive he was now, and how efficient he had become in utilizing his time at work and home.

Now my take on this was that, before you get married, you are not aware of any of these things- i.e. most benefits of the institution are realized post-facto. I hardly know of anyone who gets married for these reasons. I guess the reason why one does get married is to be able to have a degree of certainty of one’s companionship. Right now I know that I might get laid about once a month, get to cuddle up a bit more often, but then there is a huge sense of uncertainty associated with it. I mean there are times when I desperately need a hug, and there is no telling whether it will work out for me.

To come back home to someone, to cuddle up next to the same person every night, share spaces, and wake up next to the person every morning- that is the prime driver.

One should get married- most definitely. There are two parts to our life- the personal and the professional. The only way to have growth in my life is to take on additional responsibilities. At work every ladder you climb brings new responsibilities- it is a given. Then why should that corollary not apply to the personal life? I mean to a great extent the urge to excel in a career has to stem from a desire to have a good personal life otherwise. Unless I assume responsibilities by building things around me, how do I grow as an individual? I mean I am an insensitive, indifferent, ponderous alcoholic of 30. Unless I do something about it I remain the same at 35, then 40, and so on. And at that age how do I justify waking up every morning and dragging myself to work, when presumably you have enough money in the bank to last your lifetime. How???

I went house hunting yesterday, after Trips became the 17th woman to tell me that unless I changed houses I wouldn’t get married. Its not as if I want to get married, but if and when I am 40 and probably lonely, I wouldn’t want to look back and realize that this was the reason.

Been listening to some really good music on my recently acquired I-pod nano. Traveling to work has never been quite as nice. Picked up some really good stuff from flea markets across south-east Asia. For instance an anniversary edition of Alanis Morrisettte’s Jagged Little Pill- all acoustic. Watching good movies, seeing new places. Only thing that is lacking is that I’m not reading too many books. Will take care of that soon.

Current favourite song- Rod Stewart’s “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“If I stand all alone, will the shadow hide the color of my heart;
Blue for the tears, black for the nights fears.”