Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sappily remembering those slaps, albeit a little louder..

This blogger, though pretends to be completely lacking in exhibiting emotions (claiming stuff like his EQ ranges from 5.7 to 5.9), can occasionally go to much-dreaded extremes (which are better left to be explored and examined only by people like Miss Universe title winners, the Chopras, the Johars and our very own Cheran), but will invariably screw it up. This is one such disastrous act that reinstated the fact that, the most embarrassingly funny incidents often happen in real life rather than in fiction (unless written by someone of the order of Wodehouse).

It happened before one could take a little breath and verify the sanity of the proceedings. It all crumbled down in a moment - the pride that you sported on being an awfully good student, the token congratulations you received from many on topping one of those exams, the intimately cherished moments of admiration-meets-envy in the eyes of a girl deeply disturbed because of her exam results (you got to go back to the times when you were still wearing half-trousers to understand this), all of these and much more... - right in front of your eyes.

All was fine until today morning, when my sister happened to stumble on an old classmate of mine. About whom all I remember is that she tried awful hard to beat me in the acads back then and absolutely made no bones of it. In fact, back then, that’s the only thing we all did; envy the opposite sex and try to beat them at the academic levels. (Much later, when I stepped into the college, nobody had to try that awful hard to beat me, though; except for the ones who managed to get consistently less than 3 in one Ms. Thilagavathi’s papers in the cycle tests; I also realized that the fairer sex was left with a lot more interest, at least more than most of their mean counterparts, on the academic arena. Of course, I shrugged it off, as is my wont.)
Back to yesterday's story. My sister talked to her about some nice things which only women can think of; like where they can find the nearest library (to Tidel Park) to get a dignifying cookbook (influential characters: no offence meant; how about, say, Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time?). Then, they wound up with a token bye and stuff (got to ask if they even managed to hug each other and all). Not to forget that, in between this, she had also asked about me; about the American university in which I am cracking up all the semesters and giving nocturnal headaches to algorithmically challenged professors. Hmm, held in such esteem!
Through Google talk, the first thing my sister told me was of this chance meet; and in the true tradition of Cheran's film repertoire, I happened to reminisce all that happened during my entire school life (assuring myself that I didn't have a disturbed childhood after all) in a moment of flash. My sister is of the enthu-type when it comes to organizing group events like get-together etc. and perhaps, some fractional shades of it must have got stuck to me. I wistfully observed that we never had anything of the sort of a class get-together, and took it upon myself to indirectly instigate such an event.
All buckled up, I dug out a recent “big hi and how I miss you all” mail from a long-lost gossipy friend (one with a high aarva kolaru quotient, a reason why I wanted to contact him) sent to an incipient alumni group (consisting of pass-outs from all the batches) much to the chagrin of those touchy balding folks who hardly knew him. I intended to reply back to the mail (so that his mail id comes up directly in the to-address text box rather than I typing it) and ask about where and what the rest of our classmates are doing and perhaps suggest a get-together. I so-very-carefully pressed the “Reply to Sender” (having committed such grave mistakes before) button and wrote to him asking about the latest happenings. I off-handedly added a line after my name before signing off - a passing mention on a special treatment I got from my Physics sir during my higher secondary school education, an incident which this gossipy guy sadistically recalled every time we entered the physics lab.

yeah, the same one whom Saravanan Sir, quite infamously, slapped twice during his higher-secondary

Perhaps, I should reveal some key details in my defence - that though I was of 16-17 years old, I looked much younger and timid, gaunt and exceptionally intelligent (the man must have envied me for that), all of which must have given the man a curious lead. I had nursed this incident as a top secret all along. [1]
Back to present, I clicked on the send button and as the request was being sent to Yahoo, I noticed the goof-up in the to-bar and pressed the Esc key roughly 1237 times. No positive effect; if you wouldn’t count sending the mail twice as one, that is.
Now, not only my sister (which was quite a cause of concern), but the whole alumni junta, including the prettiest of the girls in my school - who though never ever drooled over me (Girish, updated so that you don't gasp on utter false interpretations), at least thought I was a nice (if not great) student who came out with flying colours in his life and all that - would have come to know of this unfortunate incident (through not one, but two back-to-back mails); that as much as I was cracking those maths papers on one end, I was being slapped tight and clear by that malicious man on the other end; hell, during the phase of ripe adolescence.
Whom should I blame? That jealous classmate, my sister, Google talk, the mushy-trip-down-the-memory-lane films that indirectly influence even the hardcore fans of David Lynch, or that bunch of idiotic folks who wrote Yahoo mail's javascript code in such a way that the group mail-id gets stuck to the to-address text-box how much ever hard the unsuspecting user so-very-carefully presses the “Reply to Sender” button?? Damn!

[1] - But, I should mention that I was stupefied once when a college friend, winking at me, asked about the slaps after having got to know about it in some crooked way, thanks to another sadistic school friend of mine, as I started wondering how many of them were involved in this conspiracy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Are men words worth? and vice-versa.

The very fact that there are words like ‘true’ and ‘false’ shows that there are alternate truths in this world.
- written long ago, probably after analyzing Rashomon for the umpteenth time.

The network is down; which suggested I should perhaps run ‘winword’ and type some trash. I read somewhere in the blogosphere where the blogger was telling that ‘it’s okay to write crap’. So, I took my inspiration from those words and have started writing this.
In fact, it’s not only okay to write crap. It’s very good to write crap; esp. when you don’t have good stuff to write. like when the network in your office is down (which means you can’t pass off as working for company’s prospects, even if you try or pretend to), and yet you are thoughtless on what to write.
One can smartly suggest that I can write precisely on the state of thoughtlessness (which, of course, is a dreadful cliché). But, this blog is so full of it that it is more of a futile exercise to indulge further into the same.
[The network comes up now, but as per the general principle that should not stop this post from being published.]
If I say that I have been writing crap in this blog all along, some readers out of sympathy or empathy, would {say/ (knowingly/unknowingly) lie} that it is not so, or that I am being humble etc. So to prevent an embarassment of that order, I would not say that. Instead, let me put it this way – much of what I write has happened to be crap; perhaps, like this post. The truth is that, I can't always say myself if what I have churned out is good or not.
[I realize I am still not able to connect to the Internet which means I cannot do what I wanted to - hop through the Indian blogosphere. So, am back to this post.]
Of late, I have been severely criticized among some of my friends for being virtually aimless and further completely glorify it. Discussing on why the state of aimlessness is a “right” thing to do is, again, beaten to death in this blog. But, I also want to concede (as if that puts me in shame!) that am not exactly aimless to the core. In fact, nobody can be. There is, at least a little bit of, incorrigible optimism lurking beneath every human creature.
This brings me to yet another topic that is already covered in this blog. On how words (especially if it is ‘one word’) can’t completely describe any man or his life. That may make somebody question the validity of whole process of writing to express oneself; if it can’t be exactly correct, true or valid. But, the same would apply for every act a human being puts himself through. The validity quotient of any statement is definitely statistical; and that statistics differs with any physical parameter one can think of.

There are words. And there are men. No man is a word. And no word is a man. Both of them are much more than the other.

Contradiction being one of my pet concepts and an area of considerable expertise, I should also state that this post itself isn’t exactly correct. (In general, no write-up can be; but what I mean is, this has not expressed my perception 100% correctly. But, for knowing that, you got to be me.) But, I 'll express them any way; because it, somehow, is a great pleasure; even if you writing is really bad.

End Note: Now that the sole reason why this post has come into existence doesn’t hold anymore, I had two options - to flush it down, or publish it in my blog. But somehow, I seem to have chosen both of them.

Monday, February 20, 2006

On emotions, nostalghia and suchlike

I am not able to clearly distinguish if it started yesterday, or today morning. But, it’s been quite an emotional time (not that I managed to express any) for me; which has become a rarity nowadays as I had mused in my previous post.
Much of what I term as ‘emotional’ and which I claim I went through yesterday were inexplicable (and duly flushed down the toilet). The light state in which I don't understand why I am in a pensive mood soaked in nostalgia. For example, the inexplicability of why I, while trying to recall my childhood, very oddly reminisce, time and again, a rather nondescript day ages ago when I (studying in kindergarten) came along with my amma to my sister's school (who was in her I std.) during her lunch hour and how I cut that big piece of potato using a sharp spoon while having my lunch (or rather my sister's lunch onto which I was barging in; which I am not able to recall now). {Though, on second thoughts, I am able to rationalize it by claiming that this potato-cutting incident has had the privilege of being recalled (as part of recalling-one's-childhood ceremony) every other year and has taken the position of a significant event (by mathematical induction or some shit like that) resulting in this strange sense of nostalgia w.r.t. a nondescript day.}

Or perhaps, this whole thing is not as inexplicable as I make it out to be. May be, it was two days of watching Tarkovsky, thanks to Collective Chaos. But, then it was the 2 days before yesterday and I actually had to miss the best pieces - Nostalghia and The Sacrifice - screened yesterday (Sunday). Or more probably, it was because I spent the whole of yesterday with my elder brother and reconnected to somewhere down the memory lane.
Cutting the story short, it was personally quite an emotional ride (mind you, there was no idle time spent which invoked this wistfulness; we visited a couple of acquaintances and it was late in the night when we came back home) very heavy on the contemplation quotient in which I strived hard to get a moment of clarity. But nevertheless, I did maintain a nonplussed/deadpan countenance all throughout, and gave it all up when sleep and common sense prevailed over.

Life is simple; and it's design, for sure, is impeccable. Here, I am back to normalcy. Mundanity is slyly looking at me. She knows I am incomplete without it, and I understand and accept her inevitability and even the urgency to plunge into her. (Not that I am completely smitten by her. Our relationship, as any other relationship, is bitter-sweet.) I smile at her back, with a tinge of eroticism. You call it a lesser pleasure (now that I have equated it with sex), impure and all such crap. But, I know how well we (I and she) bond with each other.

Life is sad; and that is funny, especially when your EQ ranges from 5.7 to 5.9.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Looking for Comedy in The Real World. (or)
How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the... Well, forget it!

{Note to self: This blog is not any more as anonymous as you thought it would be. Presumably, some influential characters may also be reading these posts and you may get some flak elsewhere. So, be nice.}
Note to readers (inlivenout, you there?):
1. This blog was supposed to be half-topical on mundanity of day-to-day life, which was unfairly ignored as the blogger started musing more and more on obscenely abstract topics like,
a. why cigarettes originally must have been circular in shape;
b. why there lies a considerable amount of vodka in all human beings somewhere down their stomach, in the pancreas or somewhere; and so on.
2. This could also be seen as a sequel to this post, which quite self-indulgently explained the possibility of absence of love in one's life.

In this mundane (now that I haven't used it much till now, the reader will have to bear my using the word time and again from now) existence of ours, it's hard to find and do something exciting on a daily basis. As I was musing on these lines while walking down to my office which is more than 1.5 km from my home, I fancied myself dancing down the roadside, jump up and touch those boisterous tree leaves (who themselves were dancing hard to touch the ground) and sing Idhu Oru PonmAlai Pozhuthu... Loving nature's beauty and all that jazz! But, it was hardly a ponmAlai (for non-tamilians: golden evening). Firstly, it was a morning; and more importantly, it was not remotely close to being golden.
So how else could I pep up this whole thing? I tried something really humane. I thought of smiling at everybody on the road and wishing them good morning (here I must add the indirect inspiration was solely from my visit to U.S. some months ago; my friend used to get all excited as every damn soul wished him a good morning as we start hurriedly from the hotel, everyday to the office). Plan B, I told myself and made a mental note of it so that I could reuse these ideas on some other equally bland day. But the task was hugely difficult considering the number of human specimen I had to handle. It becomes further difficult if I count the huge population of dogs (in and around the Airport Road) in for this monumental mush fest. Moreover, there was this guy curiously watching me, as he walked along (there are a host of human species walking on both directions in the much-dreaded Airport Road), since I half-heartedly tried to touch those leaves with a feeble blink-and-you-better-miss jump as part of Plan A. As I was hoping for a Plan C to introduce itself to me, I arrived at my office. Now that the quest for some morning masala to spice it all up failed miserably, my face got a little grimmer and an aura of seriousness crept in. I am God's own lonely man, I tried real hard to sound philosophical and get a little too heavy on this issue of extreme blandness (possibly an oxymoron), write a film script out of it and become the next Scorsese. Well, at least, Paul Schrader.

When I was a kid, it wasn't like this. I had various exciting stuff (albeit forced) to do on many days I woke up. Like those special days when I actually brushed my teeth. Parents follow curious techniques to regulate their children brushing their teeth. While some kids used to mop up a lot of paste down their mouth, I was never really too keen (not that I hated it; but I forgot usually) on doing this as a daily task. So, my dad used to place some tooth paste on my brush before he buckles up for the task of the morning, that is to wake us (agreed, I was the worst; but it always feels better to include your siblings) up from our deep (and in my case, heavily philosophical) sleep. There were two reasons. One, I should not put his shaving cream and brush my teeth and let some hair grow on my teeth. Two, he wanted to make sure I actually brush. But now, the magic is completely lost because of an everyday-familiarity that I have struck with my toothbrush, for long time now.

In the current state of affairs, it's indeed hard for one to do something exciting on a daily basis. No rip-roaringly funny incidents, No divine interventions, No thrills of somebody secretly following you (and even if so, he/she never carries a gun), no profusely mushy romance. So, there you go. No Wodehouse, No Tarantino, No Hitchcock, not even a Karan Johar, and one usually doesn’t want a David Lynch. For all practical cases, there has been no need for us to be equipped with this thing called EQ, which means people like yours truly have half-lost it. (In fact, I would go a step further and deem the word as ‘unparliamentary’.) Some accept this as a fact, as a mere event. Some, again like yours truly, even romanticize the deadpan quality of the whole thing, and write self-indulgent posts like this.

And quite understandably, the rest of the people, are peeved at this issue to no end. What is surprising is that, in all such cases, the quintessential solution offered is to go get a girl! {That they are not available in the market yet is a very big fact(or).} So, the indomitably spirited rest, like a friend of mine (let's call him Mr. K with a reason), try hard for the various little possibilities on those lines; which brings us to the romantic life of Mr. K.
A very complicated one, actually. He has totally met 7 girls (the exact number changed, that is increased, so as to protect his identity; and also to salvage some pride for the dear friend) in his life; and most of them, at some point or the other, meant a lot (so much that he actually made the greeting cards himself, that he would hand over to them on a host of random occasions ranging from Friendship day to Pillion-riders day) to him.
But yet, Mr. K is an eternal romantic. Each time he boards a bus to his hometown, he contemplates the possibility of some girl sitting next to him; and on some wild days, he even hopes that she will ask for the magazine that he will be going through; in which case, he goes and buys magazines on topics as boring as say, automobiles. (Here the reader should also appreciate his sense of understanding girl-things.) But then, blame it on the Indian society (easiest thing to do, I tell you). An event that is supposed to be of probability 0.5 (being very fair irrespective of various prospects) is pushed down to as low as 0.01 or worse. Incidentally (or due to some divine conspiracy), yours truly has made more than a hundred travels between his hometown and the city where he lives and haven't had the privilege yet. But I digress.
Let's get back to Mr. K. Of course, the one who sits next to him never happens to be a girl. Even if such a thing happens, the girl always manages to find somebody else, another bleeding male, who is more than ready to shift his place next to poor Mr. K. That chivalrous man has his small milestone for the day and is terribly content with it; but Mr. K is not even allowed to exhibit his already diminishing-beyond-recognition flirtatious skills. (After one such incident, the other man sat, made himself comfortable and gleed at Mr. K, happy that his event of the day has finally happened. Mr. K gave back the shortest and rudest of acknowledgements possible.)
Then one fine day, Mr. K gets to read a preview on Chetan Bhagat's new book, One night @ The Call Center. So, the next thing he does is to book his return tickets in a train. (His engineering mind also makes a calculation that probability of a girl sitting among those 6 seats is higher, inspite of all the social conspiracies.) Train journeys are always comfortable and better!, he exclaims to himself with a gleam in his eyes, staring at a bright future. But then, as he found later, trains worked much worse for him. Actually, it was fine to start with; and he thought that Chetan Bhagat was indeed a genius. There was one girl sitting just opposite to him. He silently observed her, praying to his favourite God Hanuman, that she would come and ask him to wake her up when the train reaches her destination. Or something like that. That gave him a bright idea. Voila, he can do the same! He kept back the magazine (which was his Brahmastra) back in his bag and asked her if she can wake him up when the train reaches Bangalore. Alas, it so happened that Bangalore was actually the train's final destination. She just gave him a real odd look for a moment, and told him the same. At this crucial juncture, Mr. K laughed out loud, pretending to have cracked one hell of a joke. But by then, the girl had already drowned herself into a magazine; an automobile magazine at that!
Well, Murphy was staring pretty hard at the poor chap. But not being one who gets dispirited easily, he took out his Brahmastra intending to try the same with a prettier lady who was sitting 2 seats next to him. But blame it on the Indian society again; her father was sitting in between the two. That this father guy took the magazine from him, read the whole of it for a couple of hours, then snored all through the night, and never returned it back, made this story a bigger tragedy.
That was Mr. K, hoping to redeem himself from the blandness of his life, for you. At least he did what the majority of the population ends up doing, albeit adding his own touch to it. But, I have seen other friends doing crazier things, which might server as a follow-up to this already obscenely long post.

End note: Well, I think this post wasn't funny at all (and the readers will agree for sure). But, that's the whole point!

1. Though the author has avoided to mention that Mr. K is a Tamilian in the
fear of repeating a fact, now relegated to a cliché, the essence of that word could be associated with terribly exact precision to Mr. K.
2. Day before yesterday (Feb. 14), the author (not wanting to fret over the specific bland quality the day posessed) was at his equanimous best; and planned to go and watch a movie, “Mixed Doubles”. But the tickets were sold out, for obvious reasons. (As a tangential observation, the author also wonders how dangerously that film could work for a couple, giving them new ideas. But that's for another post.) So, he sits back and writes an unfinished piece which he completes much later, that is today.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

On why I'll never know the God completely..

Well, you simply adore the man; and he is why you come close to being a theist. You write posts like this in your blog; and keep referring to him in your messenger status.

And then, you get to hear these wonderful songs for the first time (hat tip: Guitar Prasanna; got a chance to listen after reading that article, which btw is a great read, multiple times in the past).

Man.. it's time to eat the humble pie and play that great little gem Pazhaiya Sogangal [1 (rm file), 2 (mp3; resgistration required, go here or use allout/allout ;))] in repeat mode. Ah, Bliss!

Incidentally, Icarus Prakash has had pointed one Mr. Kavi to the same location in an old post in Narayanan's blog. (Though the links he had provided is with the old domain name,, which doesn't seem to work now. In fact that's the case even with the article as well. Will the site admin take note? But for that to happen, I definitely shouldn't be writing in this blog.)