Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Friday, January 30, 2004

When I saw Munna Bhai MMBS, I wanted to blog about it. Especially about the fact that the plot seems familiar, especially the part where the guy dying of Cancer tells Munna that he is God and that only He can save him. I have come across similar stuff before. Was there a Rajest Khanna movie like that? or some Hindi Short Story? Does anyone know?

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Among other things, I stated in my previous blog that I had gone on Republic Day to Majestic to hunt for second hand books. I like buying second hand books. I think it is partly because you never know what book you are going to find when you are looking into a pile of old books. It is always a kind of pleasant surprise. The other advantage is you can be bold and experiment with authors and genres because second hand books are so much cheaper. Then there are these nice scribblings that you get to read on the inside - the names of the owner(s), a sketch, a date - it is pretty nice actually. And though I always have prefered Brand New Textbooks, I always liked older novels better.

Me and Second Hand books go back a long way. I remember the first time I started reading novels. It was when I had gone to Bombay as a kid and had nothing to do. And my uncle bought me this huge pile of second hand stuff - Three Nancy Drew Novels and lots and lots of Archies and Richie Riches. Those Archies are really so damn funny, they are much better than the new books. In Belgaum me and my sister ran a library from our house in the vacations. From our kutti earnings, we went and bought second hand Tinkles from a book shop. One of my best second hand buys is a book called 'Envious Casca' by Georgette Heyer. It is pretty big book - only 300 pages but extremely fine print. I had no idea about the author, the title didn't mean anything to me, there was no blurb and much as I tried to flip through the pages and look for the word 'murder' I couldn't find it. Finally I bought the book, on instinct, for, I think, less than 5 ruppees. This was about 8-10 years ago, in Belgaum, from an old man on the pavement (We never saw that fellow again after that day). Among other books I remember we (me and my sister) bought that day, 'The Rilloughby Fair Mystery' by Enid Blyton. Envious Casca is fundoo book. I have read it N times. It did turn out to be a murder mystery, extremely well written, and extremely funny, sarcastic funny especially, one of the lead characters is this guy with the acid tongue. Georgette Heyer has written around 10 crime novels, of which I have read only one another, again an excellent work, not as much from the story, but the way it is written and the nature of the characters. She has however written a lot of Historical novels, set in England and Europe. Unfortunately only the Historical books are available in libraries (TI library also) and second hand places. If it had not been for second hand stores, I would never have read Georgette Heyer. Then there was this book by Richard Gordon, called Doctor In Clover, which I bought hoping it would be a murder mystery (there was a blurb but at that time it didnt make much sense). I never got around to reading it till my Mom read it first and recommended it. My, is that book funny!

Coming back to my Republic Day shopping. I bought the following: Discovery of India by Nehru. The Wreck by Tagore. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin. Man Eater of Malgudi by Narayan. A translation of Kalidasa's Malavikagnimitram, with the original text on the left hand side. All for 130 bucks. I almost bought Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, but didnt because the fellow wouldnt lower the price beyond 80, and I have a three Novel Dostoyevsky Omni sitting at home with which I have made little progress. I had a really nice time that day standing unhurriedly in the winter sun looking at books and books and books. This place is on the road just opposite the Majestic Busstand; there are three or four shops on the pavement. I found the place when my Parents were visiting. That time I almost bought 'Everything about growing mushrooms'. In my 10th Standard vacation I had taken this violent fancy for growing mushrooms on a commercial scales (The idea is still there in the back of my mind). I will write about it in detail some other time.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

If you have noticed, I don't like writing about reality. That is probably because I don't like reality. I am a romantic kind of chap (Not necessarily Mills and Boon romantic, but Don Quixote Romantic). I like to write about Poetry, beauty, romance...But the problem in living in a world of your own is that when reality hits you in the face (it hit someone else in the face, as it were) it hurts real hard. Something like what happened to Siddhartha when he chanced outside the palace. (Today, probably more than ever before, the world is split into class-societies - upper class, middle class, lower class and there is increasingly less interaction between them. So when once in a while there is an intersection, it is a jarring experience)

On Republic day I decided to go to Magestic by Bus and not by bike. If some TV crew had caught me and asked me why, I would have replied that using Public Transport was a Republic Day Gesture to the nation. The real reason was that it had been a long time since I went by Bus and I wanted to walk around Majestic looking for Second hand book stalls and a bike would have been a botheration more than anything else.

So I got onto a bus alright, but it was crowded. Ok. I don't mind standing. I don't have to do it everyday.

After some time in the crowd I came face to face with this college kind of guy. He looked straight at me with some kind of look I can't explain. I often engage in stare competitions with total strangers. But today, some sixth sense told me to avert his eys and pretend to look past him. He was wearing tight trousers and big ugly rubber boots.

Then he called out to his friend to 'come here'. 'Come here. I'll tell you why' he said in Kannada. 'Barstini nodu' he said to his friend which in Kannada is equivalent to the Hindi 'Bajata hun dekh'. I was wary. I sensed trouble. I slowly nudged my way into the crowd, away from them.

Nothing happened for a long time, and I was looking out the nearest window when there was this sudden noise. This college guy was hitting, slapping, punching on the face this another man all the while accusing the second man of trying to steal a third person's mobile. The second man made a feeble protest saying he didnt do anything. I heard myself say in Kannada, as did others, 'Hey what are you doing. Don't do it' The college guy was continuously shouting and scolding at the second man and making threatening gestures. And as we watched the college guy took the second man by the collar and pushed him out of the bus. The bus was going slowly and the second man landed on his feet. He made a complaining gesture towards the bus.

The college guy continued shouting on top of his voice for a long time, in conversation with his friend. 'I usually carry a razor. I would have killed the fellow' he said. 'I have been watching him; he was trying to steal the mobile for a long time.'

If you ask me, the college guy just pulled the whole thing for kicks. I don't think that guy was trying to steal mobile phones. That he wasnt allowed to speak and thrown off the bus in a hurry only makes me believe even more that he was innocent. What really pains me is, if this is so then the college guy was just being a sadist. And what scares me is that he seemed to have picked up a random person from the bus.

A feeling of impotence, sadness, depression filled me. It was the Republic Day, besides. If only someone had stopped the savagery; broken the college guy's hand or something... Suddenly the appeal of Superman and Spiderman becomes explainable.

The problem is I need a reasonable stand towards the harsh (not necessarily harsh for me) realities of life. I have tried several, but they all seem inadequate after some time. I still need to be reconciled with the world.

Friday, January 23, 2004

During the Pondicherry visit, we went to a Restaurant called Mass. Good place. The best part was a wall-semi-painting-semi-sculpture depicting a bunch of Sadhus and Sadhvis partying. A couple of Sadhus were bringing a dead deer on a stake, and the rest of them, especially a large, pot-bellied one, reclining against a tree, were drinking wine.

Hmmm...Good life.

I guess once in a while the Sadhus did take time off from all their learning and composing and sort of let their matted hair down and had a good time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Went to Pondicherry during the weekend.

There was a point on the trip, that I had to choose between drinking red wine and drinking Screwdriver. I would like all Tarantino fans to know that I decided on Screwdriver because it was Samuel Jackson's drink in Jackie Brown.


During India-Australia match, this Sunday, when Brad Williams got Ganguly out, and he was celebrating so vulgarly, we had a little discussion on how the Australians are so ungentlemanly. I think I contributed more vehemently to the discussion than I should have given that just the day before we were playing Bluff, and I was shouting like a mad monkey, when I pulled a really good one off.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Bachpan mein jab mummy meri favourite Khichdi pakati thin (Sweet Khichdi, gud ke saath) tab mujhe anth mein, table pe pahunchne ke baad, pata chalata tha.

Aaj bhi Khichdiyaan pakti hain, aaj bhi mujhe anth mein pata chalta hai.

Though the topic that I am going to write about is extremely fascinating to me, I doubt if I will be able to make it interesting to the reader. And I won't try too hard either. The subject is the relation between the Anthra and the Mukhda in a song. Especially the Anthra-Mukhda interface. I love the Anthra-Mukhda interface.

When after a stanza of digression, the poet comes back to the original theme of the song, some sort of sensuous energy seems to get released out of this 'Milan'. ( Corny stuff, eh? Go ahead. Skip this post). It's like a 'nadi' meeting the 'sagar'. No. Not quite. The 'Nadi' meets the 'sagar' in a calm, composed, casual sort of way, as a wife of 5 years might meet the husband at the end of the day. No. It's more like the water cascading down a water-fall to meet the pool of water at the bottom - energetic, eager, the speed increasing exponentially as the 'ghadi of the milan' approaches. More like a girl meeting her boy-friend.

I have liked songs for their excellent 'interfaces' and I have disliked songs for the relatively tame way in which a stanza of excellent poetry was ended, just before the Mukhda began.


Jo hakeekat hai kehate hain hum...
In rangeen labon ki kasamm..
Jal uthenge diye, Jugnu-on ki tarha...
Jal uthenge diye, Jugnu-on ki tarha...
Ji Tabassum to faramaaiye...

Yeh hai Reshami Zulfon ka andhera na ghabaraiye...

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Jal Uthenge Diye Jugnu-on ki tarha,
Ji Tabassum To Pharamaaiye,

Yeh hai reshami Zulfon ka andhera na ghabaraiye...

Monday, January 12, 2004

On Friday the 9th, our group went for a picnic to a resort. I had a lot of fun. Started with an ok-types breakfast, played Tennis a bit. Tried my hand at miniature-golf and then ah! swam quite a lot. Played a bit of waterpolo, swam again. Lay down, with the sun on my face, on comfortable pool chairs, swam some more...

Lunch was bad and cold. Gajar halwa was ok.

In the afternoon there was variety entertainment. Among other stuff, Sumeet Kulks (sumtya.blogspot) did the first show (may not be the first actually) of his own stand-up comedy which he calls 'cornucopia', which is he says, A copious ensemble of corny jokes. It was a jolly good show, what! I specially liked the 'fast buck' joke. Way to go Sumeet.

I was a bit jealous of Sumeet, actually, him going on stage and making people laugh and all. But I guess it's OK. Envy, as well as Imitation, is a form of flattery.

I have lots more to say about the picnic. I will save it for the lean days. You guys should look out for it, since the rest of it is mostly pretty mailicious stuff :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2004

I have mentioned several times my inability to resist a complete-the-story contest. That is about the only weakness I have. That, and a tendancy for megalomania :-).

Our office paper TINAMITE had a complete the story contest long ago. I participated. Didn't win. But what the heck! Here's my entry.

The **** indicate where the 'given' half ended and mine began. I have made a couple of small modifications to my original entry.

Writing about one's experiences is never easy. The text gets
inextricably woven with the writer's passions and prejudices, making
an objective rendering impossible. However, it is for this very reason
that I am writing this travelogue - for, the only way this account can
seem superlative is when seen through my own eyes. So tighten your
seat belts, and travel with me down memory lane through the Udyan
Express on the 3rd of August, 2002.

Allow me to digress a little bit by sharing some of my thoughts before
the journey. (You were just getting ready to see through my eyes, and
now you are being asked to think through my mind as well!) This
digression has a supreme significance, as you will realize later. I
always make it a point to travel second class while traveling to
Bombay and back. There are some compelling reasons for this, though
people (especially my roommates!) may think otherwise. The first is
that I find traveling by plane expensive (actually the real reason is
that, post 9/11, I am afraid of scraping past sky-scrapers!) The
second reason is that, traveling by train in the third AC compartment
allows me to be conveniently cut-off from the outside world full of
sights and sounds (especially in the Lonavala - Khandala range)
something which I particularly detest. And lastly - the most powerful
reason - but you will have to abandon all reasoning and simply accept
my word for it - is that I seriously feel that there is a very very
good chance that you might find your life partner in the course of the
twenty-four-hour-long journey. This last reason is not particularly
attested to by my roommates, who think it highly improbable (and as
one vocabulary - aficionado - friend of mine pointed out, CHIMERICAL!)

Anyways, with my three wonderful reasons strongly implanted at the
back of my mind, I set out for the journey from my home. I had already
utilized two weeks out of my three-week-long vacation at my Bangalore
home fruitfully, doing nothing at all; and was determined to make the
utmost use of the remaining one week in Bombay as well. I had informed
only my sister that I would be coming to Bombay, and intended it to be
a surprise for my parents. (That she had already spilled the beans is
another matter!) My roommate accompanied me to the auto, all along
reminding me, 'Don't forget to learn cooking this time.' Then, with a
final pat on the back, he bid me a happy and 'eventful' journey. a
His words came true.


In a way, atleast.

I missed the train.

Of thought that is.

The other train? No! It had not even turned in when I reached the
station. I would have enough time to buy and eat a hearty lunch, buy a
magazine, look around, read the magazine and give alms to a dozen
beggars before it arrived. No sir, I did not miss that train. Only
the train of thought. Serious!

So what was this train of thought that I missed ?

OKay! I was thinking of buying and eating a hearty lunch, buying a
magazine, looking around, reading the magazine, giving alms to a dozen
beggars and still having time before the train arrived. That was the
train of thought that was interrupted. Serious!

And what was that which interrupted my train of thought?

Hmm...tough one...

It was HER! She, the doe-eyed, the golden-maned, the
body-bent-by-heavy-bs-ed, the pearly (and maybe sharp!)-toothed, the
shiny-black-nosed, the small-pink-tongued, the wagging-tailed. Yes a
yellow Pomerian she-dog pulled the chain on my train of
thought. Really, she did! Hey, sorry for the cliche pal.

And then, let's say, I saw HIM. ('HIM' is in caps only for emphasis,
nothing to do with GOD). He was the largest man I had ever seen in my
life. He was like, n feet tall, m feet wide, x feet deep. He looked
as if the spherical coordinate system were specially invented for
him. He looked four-dimensional! He looked totally incongruent with
his surroundings, as if a large kid had stepped into his toy-train
kit. He looked like he would readily get down and push if our train's
engine broke down. He looked like an attractive personality (not
figuratively, gravitationally!). He looked like the single 'largest'
cause of to the food problem in this world, and also a likely
solution. He looked like he would take over when Atlas retired. He
looked liked Obelix cubed. He looked...

He was attached with a leash, as PG W. would say, to the yellow
Pomerian she-dog who had halted my train of thoughts in its tracks.

And, now, what was this train of thoughts to which she applied the
pneumatic brakes ? Refer previous to previous to previous to previous
to previous to previous paragraph.

What shall/did I do next ?

I quickly put my train of thoughts back on rail. Went to the
Veg. eatery, bought myself a lunch, ate it heartily, bought The Week,
looked around, read the The Week and gave alms to three beggars. The
train chugged in by then. I got in. Smiled at unpleasant looking
co-passengers, got into the top berth and went to sleep.

Well, that's all there is! Sorry!

when the lonavla-khandala range came I was still sleeping.

If there were any pretty maids on the train, I didn't see them.

Writing about one's experiences is never easy.

Especially if they are imaginary ones.

And especially if you start out earnestly but run out of enthu ( en
thu si as sm , phew!) mid-way through.

Anant S Kamath
BSTC B2-79

I somehow can't stop making jokes at my friends' expense -- a bit like Chandler Bing. I have a sneaking suspicion that this makes me a bit less likable, and for sometime now I have been trying hard to hope that I will learn to moderate this annoying habit. But in vain. I just want to say that no ill will or malice is involved when I crack those jokes. Perhaps a touch of cruelty? No. No Cruelty. Just Unkindness. If it's a comfort, I would like to bring to everybody's notice that I am quite impartial and crack jokes at anyone and everyone if there is an opportunity.

However, as Ankur Saboo pointed out insightfully the other day, if you keep cracking a joke along the same lines, it might begin to hurt. This, I suspect, he is saying from personal experience with me. And I too have suffered a similar fate at my friends' hands once or twice. Saboo, point taken. From now on I will count till 4 before cracking a joke.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Yesterday I drank my few Avogadro Numbers of Beer Molecules. Tomy offered me some, I am glad, and I took a gulp. It tasted pretty good, actually. I don't know why people keep cribbing about the taste of Beer. Anyways. I guess I am about to become the next big drink and wine connoisseur.

Later, I took another sip from Sumeet's can (sumtya.blogspot).

Anant (anant-jain.rediffblogs) was very nicely drunk.

I am at that age where Life occassions a certain 'dard' or feeling or melancholia in one's attitude to life and this no doubt reflects in one's writing. Add to this a bit of booze, and who knows, I might just write my first Booker winning Book. (Okay. Okay. If you insist, I WILL put a smiley after that last sentence. There you go.) :-) (Happy?).

Though it has not too much to do with this post, here goes a bit of shayari from Hindi cinema: "Shaukiyon mein ghola jaaye phoolon ka shabaab. Usme phir milayi jaaye thodi si sharaab. To hoga yun nasha jo taiyyar, vo pyar hai."

I had to start drinking. Reading, as I did, all the Ghalib and the Meer and the Kalidas and the Khushwant Singh and the Arun Johi over the past few months. I guess I had been wanting to start for some time now, subconsiously. Maybe six months. But, like some Chemistry experiment, it has all precipitated very sharply, in the last two weeks or so. When two days back, my mom showed me a certain Newspaper Supplement describing the various kinds of popular drinks, I, like one of the chaps from the Drones Club, took it as a good Omen.

Come to think of it, why didn't I start earlier? I don't quite know. Maybe I wasn't quite aware of the Aspects and the Possibilities or the Avenues that Drink offers. I am thinking now that perhaps drinking means more than bad breath and foolish behaviour. Perhaps the fact that, before, I only read Western Literature and those guys can beat the Sensuality out of the most Sensuous of subjects (now that might be too quick a generalization, for I havent read any French literature or Sapnish), that I looked at Drinking with an indifferent eye.

By the way, did I only imagine the slight tingly, burning, sensation down my throat or what? Mind you I have only two gulps of Beer to my credit. Will find out for sure, the next time around.

But I am happy it's a consious decision on my part ( I had decided to Start with Vodka and Mirinda, this new year eve, as my Vineet had advised ) and not any 'Socially influenced' one.

There are some 'opens' though. Where does one draw the line between Vice and Pleasure? I find cigaratte smell most unpleasant but will I take pot? Don't think so. Vineet (same as mentioned above) told me of a friend of his who always took pot before giving a test which required creative thought. Next time I booze I will think about these profound subjects.