Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Introspection Guaranteed

I have written about Calvin demanding that the 'purspose of life' issue be first resolved before he learnt any arithmetic.

It is one of those days for me. On most days I am happy, contented, cycling, doing yoga, listening to music, eating Palak Paneer, joking, singing, even thinking about celebrating 'the return of the scientific temperament (in me)' on my blog. Then suddenly I come across a sentence or a thought, like I did yesterday evening, while I was plastic covering my second hand copy of the 'Strange Case of Billy Biswas', about which I have also blogged, and the first two paragraphs of which I was going to enter on that web-page openings.com

When asked by the narrator about why he loves anthropology, Billy says, "I dont know old chap, but why does one like anything anyway"

Not too grand a sentence and not too profound a thought you might think, but to someone like me, in whom this thought always lurks in the background and who has nevertheless kept himself amused and occupied in pleasurable, absorbing activities, to that person it might be a rude push out of his complacency.

I always want to know why I like or dislike things, whether I ought to do what I am doing, is there a right to things, if so why, if not why not. If we are just bio-molecules isn't it downright pathetic to con ourselves into keeping ourselves occupied?

The other day after a first few pages of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy I was struggling to find out why I was liking that book. It was with an effort that I could start reading again. It seemed to me that there was nothing but good story telling in it, and a lot of kindness on the author's part. Then I thought of the other books I had read in the past and thought about why I liked them. With 'The Strange case of Billy Biswas' it is easy to say: a very well written book and it's hero seemed to have a decided philosopy, atleast a strong instinct, which drove his life.

But Billy Biswas is fictional. So is the Fountainhead. Are unambiguous callings for real?

Even as I write this I am wondering why and if I am not being a fool in doing so. Are my thoughts irrelevent trifles? Does my suspecting that they are make them less trivial? Crap. Crap?

They are lots of things I am doing with deliberation, for example learning the Urdu script about which is going to be one of my next few posts, or looking for a music teacher, or trying to write. But as far as my career goes, the thing I spend 8 hours on, that seems adrift and without purpose. I cant say I am not enjoying it in general, but I don't know if I should or want for more.

Lots of people around me seem to have without any external hint of the troubles inside, if any. But people say that discontent is there in everyone and it is healthy.

In a rhetoric class in college I had read some scholar saying that "Life and Work cannot be seperated" You have to live your life through your work. This makes a lot of sad sense to me. If I can I will try and disprove this since I want to do and learn a lot of things and not all of them can be my work. And my work though, I dont seem to like it, atleast on some days, as much as everything else, it might be my best bet to earn a comfortable living, to get fast net connection and to think about these things.

Recording my life in my blog seems to make it less diffuse. My life not my blog hehe. Things seem orderly and organized and controlled. I think this is an illusion, a cure of the symptom.

When I read Shakeel's blogs (meltingglass.blogspot), dont know why, I wonder I think enough or if I think superficially and just think that I think enough.

The other day I was thinking: if some Music guru, by some accident, found some singing talent in me and offered to whisk me to his gurukul for a few years, I thought I would go. But then again I started thinking about all the stuff I would miss and the things I would desire.

I can get unusually curious when I find happy, contended people, people who seem to know what they want.

When I find me a girlfriend ofcourse all these things will cease to matter for sometime. Meanwhile on somedays I shall go about with a look of unplaceable sadness on my face and smile with difficulty. If I was born two generations earlier they would have found me a wife by now.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Death of the Mallu Mess

I own a passable command over the Mallu language. If I am stuck in a forest full of Mallu cannibals, I might not be able to persuade them not to eat me up but if they want to fatten me up before dinner (their's) and so ask me what I would like to have for dinner(mine) I would be able to request for 'Oru Choru, oru Aila fry'- my standard order at the Mallu mess.

Which reminds me, the mallu mess is dead.

It's almost as if someone up there does not like my ambitions vis-a-vis good food. First it was the dabba-delivery-Sardar's minions who became convinced that I hate Palak Paneer, which I don't, and now my favourite eatery in the whole of Bangalore (pl.note, overstatement) is dead.

At least it is not really dead. It is kind of worse than death, if you don't know what I mean.

After shifting from the quiet murmurs of the 18th main to the hustle bustle of Airport road, Mallu mess is not a mess anymore, it is a restaurant.

They have bought new tables and chairs (The tables are so high I feel like Calvin sitting at them, with just about my neck and head above the mean-table-level). There are now pink tissue papers instead of the old newspaper cuttings (can't say this is an unwelcome change, but I will miss having all the news on my fingertips). The meals are now served in multi-compartment plates unlike the good old solid thali. The whole place is big, empty and impersonal.

The thug morsels of par-boiled red rice haven't changed nor has the turmeric-rich Aila fry, but somehow it's not the same any more.

Earlier the sambar and the tadka-buttermilk were kept in bowl and jug respectively on each table. I was able to take out as many veggies as I wanted out of the sambar. Now Sambar and buttermilk are served out of buckets by the mallu-waiter-boys. I would be reluctant to tell them to 'fish all the veggies out of that samabar and put them, here, on my plate' even if I knew how.

'Change is the only thing that is constant' they say. Quite an unnecessary and pompous and melodramatic statement but true.

P.S. By coincidence, the last post on this page now is my other post on the Mallu Mess.

Friday, September 17, 2004

There are four shots in me; one is Lead the other three are Bourbon - Calvin the Private Eye

Yesterday had my first three, large, pegs of ChevasRegal whiskey, of any whiskey for that matter. Stayed up a good part of the night and among other things, wrote this below poem. If anyone can translate it to Hindi/Urdu, they are welcome to knock my nickname off the last verse and put their own.

Got Drunk

That killing look of yours,
Wanted to drink, got drunk

On a moonlitnight, thinking of you,
Wanted to drink, got drunk

O pills! This love stuff is not for you, you
Wanted to drink, got drunk

There is/was one more verse, but I am ditching it. The translator is free to add more if he/she wants.

And, of course, if you think the poem is silly stuff, you can always tell me.


Sometime in the morning I was reminded of the Umbrella Man who used to steal umbrellas and sell them for Whiskey, every year, in 9th standard textbooks.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Check out this great blog meltingglass.blogspot by Shakeel Abedi .

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Coming home to Palak Paneer

This is the end. All is lost. That rich buttery combination of Palak, methi, tomato, garlic, ginger and the blue-moon-ey paneer, that ultimate testimony to Human Genius they famously call Palak Paneer, that amrit that made Tuesday my favourite working-day, that balm to wounded hearts is off limits to me because my Sardar-dabba-delivery-walla's henchmen ALWAYS SCREWUP!!!

If this doesn't occasion the 'dard' in the shaayari what will?

Monday, September 06, 2004

A touch of Melodrama

Once in a while I become extremely melodramatic. For eg, I was going to name this post, 'Melodrama, thy name is Anant', before better sense prevailed.

Some time ago, we were having this team meeting, where no one was agreeing with the point I was making. I pleaded with the team, like a tragic hero to 'give me one last chance to try' and convince them. I remember actually having gotten all worked up and senti.

Then the other day, we had this one day communication workshop, and there was a lot of play acting and stuff, which I quite enjoyed. Towards the end there were to be 3 minute short talks and I was among the 4 who voluenteered. My topic was 'whem my bike was stolen' I had structured the talk to go from the material to the philosophical. And towards the end, when I started talking about the philosophy of loss, my eyes got a little moist and I actually felt a little sorry for myself for having lost my bike. The middle aged lady who was conducting the workshop was nodding sympathetically while I was making statements like 'You don't know how much you own something till you lose it', 'Loss is actually a gain' etc. - heavily borrowed thoughts, I must admit - and I felt all the more like some Devdas.

Of course even when I get senti, there is some sense in what I am saying, in the arguements I make. However those have to be reached at after filtering out loadfuls of crap. And then sometimes, the best arguements are omitted in favour of silly sentimentality.

In school I used to write silly poetry. The poetry I wrote was silly, I mean. There was no real 'dard' in it, you know. A friend of mine, Inaz, was convinced that I was writing all this in honour of some estranged flame. And he said so. The mere suggestion, I remember, got me pretty senti and Devdas like. I avoided his direct gaze and made a feeble (tragic) attempt to change the topic.

(Sigh) Melodrama, thy name is Anant!