Thursday, December 09, 2010

Glimpses of a day

Another day, the sun wakes up a little later than yesterday, the air exerts a bit more chill today, but the clock is still adamant to alarm at the same time. She curses as she bolts right up on the bed. The covers slide down the smoothness of her skin and she shivers with cold, the coldness of her dreams. Also the thermostat might need to be turned higher. She looks around to locate the source of that annoying screaming buzz of the alarm and brings down her hand swiftly to end it. Of course the ritual will be repeated again tomorrow. But for now, there is silence. Aah, the silence! How easy is it to just grab the pillow and wander back into sleep. Resist the temptation! She bends forward and holds her feet, her legs still stretched out. Hence the curve of her back is now almost horizontal, pressed tightly against her legs, the lower spine pushing against the skin accentuates its presence while the upper half is hidden by the curls of her hair.


She is jogging to the tram stop. The pavements are being stocked up by the fresh produce of the day, dripping water all around as they are moved out from the trucks. She sidesteps the workers, the boxes and the puddles with equal ease, without any visible slowing of her pace. The smell wafting from a bakery reminds her of the buttered toast lying abandoned in her kitchenette as she dashed out of the house. As she approaches the junction, she manages to catch sight of the approaching tram. Instantly, the jog turns to a run, and a flash of beautiful mass rushes up the street, coming to a halt just as the tram also does.


She looks at the watch. It's just been 20 minutes since she last looked. 3 more hours left to the end of the shift. She glances at the two kids fussing about in the store. Their mother is outside having a puff, perhaps to snatch away a few minutes of relief from her kids. They do seem to be troublesome. They had already picked up a whole lot of packets from the shelves and after giving a glance or two, placed them haphazardly at the nearest available space; only coincidentally would the new shelf belong to the same category as the packet. They had also knocked off a part of one of the displays. Her favourite display, the one that took her a whole shift to build from the basic blocks. Yet she has been sitting there passively, nevertheless, observing them continuously. Hopefully remembering all their actions, because once they leave, she will have to go about and re-shelve all the toys in their rightful places and also restore her master display. For now, though, she is just watching. And hearing her rumbling stomach, complaining about its neglect. Not a morsel today and it is already past lunch-time. Have to wait until the shift ends to get hold of any food. And now, she is just half-way through it. Why am I even doing this? Yeah, it is the usual time of the day for the introspective thoughts. Is it worth it? She gets up to dust away these nagging doubts and busies herself by righting the wrongs, of the kids at least.


Her tram is winding its way through the bustling streets. With the shops starting to down the shutters, more people are emerging onto the roads. Despite it being quite dark, there is no sign of any stars appearing in the sky. Maybe some clouds, maybe the bright street lights. She occasionally looks at this scene through the window, as a necessary change from sifting through the library book and her notes, preparing for the assignment tomorrow. She also thinks back to the afternoon. She had to rush to her class directly from the store because the manager delayed her after the shift, discussing his plans for the forthcoming Christmas sale. As a result, she didn't have the luxury to go home or freshen up. She looks at her clothes, crumpled slightly, and aches to be home soon and be able to relax in the shower. Nevertheless, she would have been an artist's delight, especially those dabbling in portraits. Her beautifully-cut face is complemented by the studious look given out by the glasses and the concentration-filled eyes behind them.


On the bed, staring at some youtube video, her hand is mechanically feeding her the rice from the little bowl in her lap. Plain rice with a dash of salt and lemon. She was drained of all energy to have been able to cook anything else. Quite a catch-22 this is, sometimes- you need the energy to cook food, but you need the food to gain the energy. She reaches out for the clock to ascertain that the alarm is set, just to be safe in case she dozes off, as she oft does, with the laptop running, the half-empty bowl on the bed, the glasses astray, and the dreams abound.

Just another day after all.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I write because I can't !!

Lost track of life.
It's running away from me.
I chase it, I gasp behind it.
It appears, it teases and it hides,
tempting yet beyond reach.
Why don't I take control?
Why don't I bend it to my wishes?
That may be possible, but what are my wishes?
What if I bend it one way and turns out, other side they lay?

There is a lake that shines,
It glitters but it is shallow.
Inviting the beauty around,
it glows with an enchanting halo.
Drawn to it are all of us,
but we reach and muddle it
only to be caught in its whirlpool of unhappiness!

Those beyond capture might grin,
and even ridicule the apparent silliness
Yet someday, caught up in the same quagmire,
they seek help from the same mocked
and expect to be saved and delivered
because all they did was laugh and yet somehow, apparently, admire!

Once dry and on firm ground,
they might act as if all sound
and justify their actions and the eventual resolutions.
But we all know and so do they,
what happened is not causal or explanatory
Fate and destiny are but mere words for incomprehensibility!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A world in white

The world has transformed. And it is all running in slow motion. The bus is moving forward slowly, slow with circumspection, even though it is not obstructed by the usual traffic. The long queues of cars at the traffic junction are now replaced by just a couple of them. Even those few don't rush through the green light as in regular 'rush hour', but cross gently, as if strolling on a leisurely afternoon. The absence of the usual cacophony of speeding cars is almost unsettling.

A few huddled figures in dark coats can be observed, bent slightly forward, tiptoeing despite their hurry. Dark dots against a vast white background. Seems like everyone else has relented to the serenity and made themselves scarce, so as not to disturb it. All at the same time. Those left behind are trying to be inconspicuous with their quietness and restrained movement.

The flakes are dropping from the sky with the assurance of being preserved after the fall, buffered by those colleagues who have fallen before them. Without any need for urgency, each one is managing to have a decent look around and marvel at how together they have managed to transform this usually drab place into some kind of a pristine beauty. The snow flakes come down gently, perhaps in allegory to the slow moving world around them. Or is it the other way round? Has the world slowed down to mirror the unhurried fall of this snow?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"why art are you?"

This is a desperate attempt to placate the blog and persuade it not to abandon me. Yes, I am referring to Mythalez's blog. Given the recent inactivity, it has been feeling neglected and was making threatening remarks about moving out. I, of course, ridiculed her threats, mocking her by asking where she was intending to go. I even pointed out that if she did move away from me, Mythalez, to another author, would she still be called Mythalez's blog? I was thus, so arrogantly complacent. Of course, on one relatively calm day, she informed me that she had started planning our separation and has been actively browsing the blog-world for a suitable replacement of me. Before I could start off on another of my mocking rants, she calmly informed me that even after our separation, she would still be called Mythalez's blog, and therefore, her new author would be ordained Mythalez. That's when it hit me! With this separation, I would not only become blogless but also nameless! Whoever owned Mythalez's blog would be called Mythalez. I would just vanish. Much like Doctor Who, you know! The new guy becomes the doctor, and the old one turns into a mere question- who? Okay, I apologise for the trite attempt at humour, but coming back to point, I have decided to act before it is too late. Hence this post.

Now, coming to the actual content of the post rather than the motivation, I could have written about Amsterdam or even Copenhagen. In fact, I do need to write about them. But instead of making the effort of writing an articulate personalised description of these two famous cities in Northern Europe, I have plumped for a much easier genre-- an abstract post that outwits itself in its abstractness. Without this confession, it would seem that a great deal of thought and philosophy went into this post, and that it is open to great deal of interpretations, the best of which would be the author's. All that, my dear reader friends, is just a myth. Every abstract post is abstract because it essentially has no substance :P. No, I didn't mean that, that way. Let us just say that abstract posts are like neutron stars-- you know they are there; they aren't pretty or bright, but they are dense and heavy. More importantly, you do get gravitated towards them, quite strongly ;). So here we go-->

Indulgence you are. Exquisite indulgence. The outer clothing with the smooth combination of colours and the slight glitter tries its best to compliment the beauty it is veiling. With gentle persuasion, slowly emerges the elegance personification with the finely cut features emphasizing the slimness and the delicious delight contained. The multiple layers are snugly fit together, their differences imperceptible unless a part is broken off rudely. Perhaps the layers allude to the taste, the way the sweet and the bitter flirt in the mouth? Only if one is fortunate enough to experience, that is. And the other layer, the mysterious flavour, intangible and indescribable, yet, or maybe hence, holds the most attraction. Every intimacy, reintroduces one to ecstasy but also leaves with a nostalgic bitter after-taste. Something that would turn to melancholy if not for the reappearance and the re-indulgence another day.

Can never get enough of you, my generous slice of 85% cocoa! ... Hmm .. well .. finally, I seem to have used an actual metaphor, I guess? ;)

Monday, October 04, 2010

My name is Red

I was walking swiftly. I don't know why though; there was no reason to hurry. The appointment with the doctor was after an hour and that's just the minimum you know. I was also starving, but I walked past the fast-food counters and kept walking. Aah, the irony. They have fast-food centres with the greasy burgers and oily chips in a hospital, where the original cause behind most of the illnesses of its patients is obesity.

Anyway, I was walking, my pace throttled by the crowds in the corridors, when my shirt's sleeve felt wet. Yeah, it was full-sleeves but folded a bit. I looked at it there was a big wet blob. Strange, did the ceilings leak in this hospital too? But then, at that moment, even my arm felt wet. I slowed down and rolled up my sleeve to check. Most of the lower arm was red. Almost dripping. An unusual sort of red really. Almost like a bright red paint that's been diluted. Watery. Damn. What was the cotton doing? Oh, I also had to be careful while moving my hand so as to not let the liquid slip off and mar the squeaky clean floor. Back to the cotton, it had absorbed enough to become a dark red. The surrounding tape, holding it in place, was still there. I had stopped completely by now. I turned around abruptly. The busy people, hurrying behind me had to suddenly stop; they almost bumped into me. They stared at me, I guess expecting me to say something on the lines of 'sorry' or 'excuse me'. But I just stared back defiantly. Then they noticed the bloody hand. With rising levels of alarm, they parted and gave me way.

I started briskly walking back to the blood test centre at the pathology department. Obviously, the nurse didn't do the best job ever and it's only fair that I give her a chance to rectify. The streaming groups of people in the corridors, walking in all possible directions, noticed me coming towards them, noticed the red, and politely got out of my way. I went past the fast-food counters, the main reception area and onto the other side of the hospital. At this moment, I wasn't even bothering to go around the people. I was brazenly jogging and expecting them to get out of the way, which they did. Of course, I still had to go around stretchers on wheels and patients on wheel-chairs.

I turned left. Then right. Left again. The corridors were flying past me now. Thankfully, the direction signs were abundant. Otherwise, people in a hurry like me, would end up going in enough circles to faint. Finally, I reached what I remembered to be the second last corridor to reach the pathology dept. I pushed open the door blocking my way and faced an elderly patient in a wheel chair being pushed by an orderly. But I didn't even hold the door open for them. I rushed around them and turned the final right. Now, I slowed my pace to quick strides and entered the blood test centre. It was just as full as when I had left some minutes ago. But this time, I didn't take a token and wait. That would have been silly. I strode confidently past the waiting room towards the room where the booths are; where the nurses take the blood samples. I could hear murmurs from the other waiting patients. The corner of my eye even gathered a girl nudging her boyfriend/husband/brother/friend-whoever and pointing me out. The couple standing next to the entrance to the other room quickly moved aside on seeing me. As I stepped inside, the nurse standing close to the entrance, presumably the supervisor, looked over at me calmly and made her remarkable observation- "You are bleeding". I grinned. That's what I do when I am somewhat embarrassed. She then looked over her shoulder and shouted, "Angie! Can you please re-bandage this gentleman?" Without waiting for approval from Angie, she pointed me to a chair, with a nurse standing next to it. I guess her name was Angie. I went over. She asked me to keep my arm raised and then proceeded to wipe and clean my arm. She removed the soaked bloody cotton and tapes and wiped more, now around the area from where all the liquid was coming out. The place where another nurse had just poked me a few minutes ago and drawn out bucket-loads of blood. Anyway, this second time, the nurse stuck much larger cotton balls and tapes, and quite firmly too.

With all that done, I was asked to wash my other hand which had also been reddened as I was using it to hold this arm away from people on my way here. The nurses then enquired whether I had also left my bloody marks on the floor anywhere. Anyway, soon after, with my freshly bandaged arm, very clean, smelling of that familiar hospital odour, and with the stained sleeves rolled up, I walked out of there. On my way past the waiting room, I noticed a few more murmurs and 'pointings' towards me by the other waiting patients. Aah, I was the highlight of their morning!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Update on books read

Thought that it is time to post an update about the latest books read. So this is it.

by Orhan Pamuk: I wanted to read 'My Name is Red' but I found this one. As it seemed big enough and deep enough to keep me occupied for some weeks, I picked it up. Well, it took more like a couple of months to finish actually. No, it wasn't bad. Far from it. The writing is filled with beautiful imagery, very evocative and compelling. The description of the snow especially and the snow filled city especially, doing justice to the title. Of course, a lot more justification is uncovered as one progresses through the story. Based in a border town of Turkey called Kars (I guess it exists?) and mostly about the protagonist's trip to it. The protagonist, called 'K' is a famous poet, a friend of Pamuk, the main narrator, though the story is from the point of view of K. It places his personal tryst with love, caught up in the clash between the Islamic population, the staunchly secular military and the confusion of the coup led by a previously-famous theatre personality. Yeah, it all happens in the novel.

The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth: The reason I wanted to read this is because I admire Vikram Seth's poetry. And because this is so unique- written in verse! And because it is about 20-something adults, with jobs and stuff, trying to make sense of their loves, desires and hates while struggling against the irrationality in the minds. Initially, it is great fun to read the story in the perfectly rhyming verse but as one progresses deep into the story and identifies too much with the characters, one concentrates more on the story and less on the style ;). Before, reading I wondered how the author would be able to fit in dialogues (it would have seemed unnatural to find the characters rhyme their speech right :P), but he did it expertly. Normal sentences, break across the lines of the stanza such that the rhyming scheme is maintained immaculately. A book definitely worth reading.

e: A Novel by Matt Beaumont: On the topic of unconventional novels, here is another one. Quite a unique one at that. It is composed entirely in the form of office emails exchanged between some employees of an advertising firm in London. Set in a 2 week period coinciding with a major bid for a Coke campaign, the book is hilarious from the first page. The bitchiness, the absurdity and the false-sincerity that goes on in an office is aptly captured. In short, it is a book one cannot put down and wishes that the story would go on forever. Kudos to the author's ingenuity and style. If you do get to read this, I am sure you would agree that the most hilarious mails are from the Finnish CEO who isn't even supposed to feature in the story ;).

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig: A mostly non-fictional book about philosophy and stuff. I heard a lot about it for far too long but resisted reading it. Eventually, it has been forced down my throat and I had no other choice but to read it. As it says after the dedication page of the book, it is not very factual about Zen, and not very factual about motorcycles either ;). It is told in the form of the narrator talking to us while on a bike trip across US with his son and a long-time friend couple. But the trip description is only a facade for launching into the philosophy of the author about 'Quality'. These vignettes of wisdom are called 'Chautauquas' (the main new word I learnt from this). And there is another stream that runs in between these two, giving us insight about the past of the narrator, who is actually the author of course. No, it is not at all confusing :). And composed this way, the book is much easier to read than had it been all talk about philosophy only. Anyway, the book will definitely make you think.

Johnny Gone Down by Karan Bajaj: On my recent trip to a book store in Hyderabad, I was amazed to see how 'popular Indian literature' has exploded over the past couple of years. There seem to be hundreds of books written by young Indian authors for young Indians. I guess these books fill in the long-existing gap of Indian English novels for pure pleasure reading. To get a taste of it, I picked up this one because it was the cheapest (50% discount on a MRP of 100!) and I had read good reviews about it. It is a fast, gripping story on the lines of Shantaram and Forrest Gump. But being very short, it is not convincing enough. Nevertheless, good enough to pass time on a lazy afternoon :).

I have also recently read compendiums of short stories - both fiction and non-fiction - but one cannot really talk about them in the form of a summary. All I can say is that they were fun, usually more fun than a novel. :)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Dejected is not what she would have called her state of mind. Dejection suggests a cause. Hers is deeper. Doldrums would suit the description of her condition but she didn't like that. The metaphor about a stagnant ship in the middle of the Atlantic somehow did not reflect the despair and melancholy that has been pervading everything about her in these times.

She was in another of her endless supply of pensive moods but the irritation in her eye was distracting her. Finally gathering enough energy she rose, walked over to the mirror and looked at herself. Not really, she avoided looking at all of her face and so moved closer to focus on her mischievous eye. The problem was pretty obvious- a single miscreant black eye-lash had escaped from its position and was poking her eye instead. She carefully pulled it aside. The dissident eye-lash now calmly lay on her thumb. Just then she remembered. It is obviously silly but why deny an opportunity for hope? So she closed her eyes, wished, opened them to look at the gentle eye-lash and softly blew at it. It didn't budge. She was about to try harder when she suddenly recollected that the eye-lash is supposed to be blown away from the palm for the wish to take effect.

Slightly relieved, she placed it on the her palm and repeated the process of wishing with eyes closed. Then she blew at it to send it away into the realms of magic. But again it did not budge. She blew harder. And harder. And even harder. Every attempt increased her anger manifolds. After 4 attempts, she was disgusted with the whole affair and vigorously shook her hand to escape from the clutches of this vicious betrayer. But the eye-lash clung on obstinately. She threw up her hands in anguish and walked off in a huff.

Apparently, it isn't so easy to regain hope ... ;)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

a rolling stone feels no mass

I forgot to post my cursory post here that I am going home to Hyderabad. Okay okay, I know I keep doing too often to even mention it in the blog anymore. Still, here it is: I am at home now and will be in this 'state' for the next 3 weeks! Today also marks the day I first went to UK .. so completed 4 years now! A bit of an irony that I am in India while announcing this :P.

Oh and by the way, don't appear friendly and knowledgeable on flights and airports .. otherwise, you will be besieged and not allowed to use the free wifi in peace! Now that this is done .. what else do I write about? How about that post I thought I could try?

How long was I staring at it? And how did I manage to hold my gaze and that posture, without any support, for so long? Or was it long? After all, normally it doesn't take more than a minute to figure out a bus route from a clearly delineated map even in a strange city. Perhaps the person sitting nearby and giving us that look of disdain would know how long it's been. Obviously, I can't ask. So I try to sit down without making my state too apparent. But how will I know?

Wait, wasn't I just involved in an lucid discourse about what's wrong with .... uh oh .. what was the topic of the discussion? And what was my take on it? He doesn't seem to have been talking at all. So who was I discussing with? The only thing I can think of now is to conduct the 'time-test' again. I ask him what he thinks the time now might be. The last time we checked it was 1am. "2am? 2:30 perhaps?" he guesses. I check and it is 1:05am. He is as nonplussed as I am. I should conduct this test again after say, 10 mins or maybe an hour. If I can tell which is which.

I can see them. I can feel them. They can feel them too. But they can't feel them and hence, so can't I. Too many pronouns in there? The hands, they are clearly holding onto the legs. I can see that. And the hands, they can feel the legs. So that's what they are doing- holding onto my legs. And my legs, they are nicely bent at the knees, around the bench. The feet are pleasantly planted on the ground and I can feel that. But the legs, they are oblivious to the hands that are visibly and tangibly on them. So where is the disconnect? Is this the 'out of body' experience people keep expounding about? If so, it's nothing fancy really, just kind of lame :P.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

at the front of my mind...

£ Celtic radio in the background ... why? no idea .. I was browsing through the options and this caught my fancy ... sounds very pleasant too!

£ Spent the whole day today feeling lost. Attempted to do many tasks. Mainly because I was in the office during the 'regular hours' and several different long pending works pleading for attention. But I couldn't stick to any of them. Tried to start each of them and failed at each of them. So left them all for another day ... a better day.

£ Thought I will watch a movie in the evening, perhaps 'Atonement', perhaps 'There will be blood' (those are two of the movies on my pc yet to be watched, waiting patiently for more than a year now). In the end, didn't watch either of those.

£ Will I be able to complete this post before the laptop runs out of juice? Just a few minutes left. Yes, the power cord is a bit far away from the sofa and am too lazy to get up now.

£ Just realised that I should savour tomorrow as it will be the last weekend I will be spending at home in Southampton for a while. The next such Saturday will mostly be the last one in September.

£ No more thoughts left. At least no more that could be extracted, dusted off and polished to coherence.

Letters struggle in places,
Words grudgingly together
Forming, deforming phrases
But meaning? Whither? Wither.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Strange Acquaintances!

People generally complain about their inability to remember names or being unable to associate names to known faces. I think I suffer from the reverse. Names are not a problem but I don’t seem to remember faces! Or the other explanation can be that people find my face very memorable ;) while I dont find their’s so :P. Often it happens, that I am walking (mostly around the university), not really lost in my musings, and I find someone coming towards me and staring at me. Just as our eyes meet, the person lets out a “hi” or simply that ‘smile of recognition’. And no, I am not confusing it with that ‘smile of courtesy’ that strangers may occasionally deign to bestow upon each other. Anyone slightly familiar with the British politeness can easily tell them apart :P. Anyway, even if I am caught unawares, I tend to instinctively respond with the ‘hi’ or smile respectively. And we cross each other and continue on our paths.

Having assured them falsely that I do reciprocate their recognition, my mind immediately embarks upon the challenging journey into the recess of its memory to uncover the facts. Did I actually meet this person before? If I did, when? where? Who is this person? And so on. More often than not, after the tough mental expedition, I manage to remember the details.

Like that one occasion when I realised that the girl who smiled and hi’ed as she walked past had met me only once before, that too almost a year ago! Or that other guy, who I come across often, waving, hello’ing or just smiling, to which I respond of course. Evidently, we knew each other. But I couldn’t remember how. After 4-5 such incidents, in which I also acted as if I was in a hurry lest he attempted to make conversation too (oh the horror! :P), I realised that I had indeed met him a couple of times, 3 years ago in my first few months at Southampton, during induction sessions etc. But not always do I manage to recollect. There was this other girl a few weeks ago, whose face first registered recognition, then transformed into a smile. Just before we crossed each other, she even let out a “hey”. I was very certain I didn’t see her before. I actually contemplated turning around and enquiring how she knew me, even at the risk of appearing rude. However, my bus arrived and I chose the conservative option and got in instead. Despite racking my brains over and over, I haven’t been able to place her. But then, her’s wasn’t an easily forgettable face either-- lip piercings are not that common still. Or maybe, the piercing was a new addition, thus making recognition tougher ... who knows! :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Gliding in light, end to end
Vast expanse of wasted stage
Oblivious of those in attend
He swirled and swung in rage
She watched in fright and awe
Discovering emotions raw
Her eyes followed him in capture
Rest of them only listened in rapture

His brilliance easily perceived
String and tune he deftly weaved
Lifting them to bliss ephemeral
And then glimpsing sorrow eternal
Music, the violin and he were one
Deaf she, absorbed all though heard none

with this, the month long voluntary hiatus of the blog ends ... an 8+6 poem on 'request' is here! :P

Thursday, June 17, 2010

2191 days = Bloggie Birthday!

6 years gone ... yes .. 6 .. and the blog is still alive .. it's active! When Mythalez started on this day in 2004, he was pretty sure it would die out in a couple of months, if not weeks. So join together and celebrate the birthday of the longest running blog that I read .... yep, that's this! ;)

Customary details [to indulge in some narcissism :D]:
- 6 years.
- 72 months but only 2 out of those do not contain even one post. Maximum number of posts in a month is 17 (Sep 04 and Jul 09)
- 365 posts [coincidence?] = 349 published, 16 drafts [including this one].
- innumerable comments. Innumerable because I never counted them, not because they are infinite :P. But I notice that almost all of the comments in the earlier years have disappeared, until mid 2006 :-ss . A terrible blogger bug? [anyone who wise-cracks saying there were no comments until mid 2006 will be duly punished in unimaginable fashion!]

This blog has perhaps seen 3 template design changes over this period of 6 years. But no URL or title changes unlike most of other such long running blogs. A stolid blog :P.

not a ps: last month was quite eventful for my first ever two blog-friends (though, we were friends even before we started blogging :P). Argentyne got married 10 days ago, and SKP got engaged 25 days ago.

See ye all again next year .......


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

not worth the time :P

He had been ignoring it. He realised it as soon as he paid attention to it. The sound had been faintly audible, in short bursts, for a while now. But he had subconsciously chosen to ignore it. Not any more, though mostly drowned out by the general noise of music, traffic et al., this faint jarring noise annoyed him the most. So he set down to investigate.
They both were like two 16th century armies facing each other, ready for attack from either side of a vast field. His artillery was just waiting for the opportune moment to strike. The other side had a different kind of weapon, a hidden one.
What a load of rubbish .. what was I even trying to write! If I was writing on paper like in olden times instead of typing on this laptop, I would have torn off the sheet, crumpled it into the tiniest ball possible and thrown it as far as possible, even hoping that it hit and annoy someone on its way to oblivion. That's because, whatever words and sentences I manage to manufacture seem pathetic. Ironically, I am writing this post to complain that I am not able to come up with even one decent sentence for the whole day today! Writing a small 4-sentences mail, whose content was somewhat clear, whose importance was questionable anyway, took me a good part of an hour. I just seemed unable to start a sentence, leave alone be able to reach the period aka full-stop in the end. And now tried to start writing a post to compensate for the failures haunting me for the whole day, and guess what, it just proves that I haven't been in any illusion ... I just can't come up with anything worth-while today ...

Yet, I post .. the audacity!

Monday, May 31, 2010

when you can't sleep tonight ...

Some days are meant to have a post written. The feeling does not leave you. The occasional restlessness, the frequent fidgeting, the rampant attention deficiency are all omens of such days. But because of the attention deficiency, you tend to not focus on it and try ignoring it for the whole day. And then you go to bed, an hour passes, and you realise you haven't fallen asleep yet. So you wake up and complete the movie that you had left midway because it wasn't good enough to deprive you of sleep, ironically. After staring blankly at the end credits, you try to go to sleep, again. This time it just takes a few minutes for you to realise that you are wide awake and staring at the tiny little green LED of the smoke detector attached to the roof. Wonder why it is green, shouldn't it be red instead? Anyway, this time you get up and switch on the laptop and not the TV like the previous time. Climb back into bed with it and start typing whatever comes to mind-- end up with this paragraph and whatever comes next!

Clear first drops fell
onto the cracked
mud; parched hell
of summer conquered |

Yellowing fruits snatched
and sold in bunches
at markets; devoured
at homes in lunches ||

While elsewhere,

Orange rays lingering
well past dinner to
constrict nights; limiting
sleep hours to very few |

Grey dark clouds gather
auguring drizzles that
bring back cold; rather
than those few days of warmth ||

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Singles needn't starve on Valentine's!

Another story on the same lines as this and this, but with different protagonists. Perhaps better, perhaps worse, but definitely the last of this kind :P ...

All of a sudden, he found himself alone with her. Their mutual friend had deserted them somewhat abruptly. She, that is, the mutual friend, had looked at the time and was alarmed that she might be late for her dinner-date. It was 14th of February after all and she was quite a popular person. Unlike him. With these thoughts running through his head, he turned to her-- the one who was still there. They weren't exactly strangers, but hadn't known each other for the time needed to be called friends either. He looked at her, half expecting her to disappear in an instant as well. On the contrary, she smiled at him and asked, "I'm hungry, want to get something to eat?"

Though she had moved to this city a few weeks ago, she still wasn't completely at ease. Change is a complex thing. The transition from new to routine happens suddenly but imperceptibly. Anyway, right then, she was also being assailed by the hunger pangs. As she asked him the question, she looked around. They were in some unfamiliar part of the city-centre, unfamiliar to her at least. "Err, yeah okay," he stammered. They resumed walking. She assumed he knew where they were going. She considered specifying what kind of food she preferred and ask his choice as well. But she didn't have to.

"You don't eat at those kinds of places, do you?" he asked, pointing out the Burger King up ahead. They had just turned into a main street. Being February, it was a cold and dark evening, shops were closing and many people were scurrying home, or elsewhere. The apparent melancholy had no effect on him. Instead, walking along with her, he was slipping into a buoyant mood. "I try not to, too greasy, you want to?" she asked. "No, no! Just kidding, though I do eat at such places sometimes," he admitted. "Yeah, you don't have to worry about the fat," she reminded him. "And you would rather prefer some rice with lemon instead?" he attempted to tease her. "Definitely," she declared with a grin. He beamed, wanted to continue the talk, but nothing worth-while occurred to him. Suddenly, it did. "What about some Chinese?"

Is it a random suggestion or did he actually remember, she wondered. The answer was obvious when she looked at him. She replied in the affirmative, just to confirm. With that resolved, she expected them to change direction, or walk somewhere decidedly. But they seemed to continue rambling along. "It might be hard to find a decent place anywhere today," he remarked. "Uh oh," she mumbled though she thought of saying, Well, we can at least try!

She didn't seem pleased with his forecast, so he hoped they find a restaurant soon. He was the local among the two. He was supposed to know where to take her, but he wasn't sure. He recollected only that there were a few restaurants up ahead. And soon enough, they chanced upon one. "What about this," she asked. "Have never been here, haven't heard either," was all that he could say. They went in, only to be faced with a long flight of stairs and a longer queue of people waiting. With not even a pretence of hope there, they left immediately. He stepped outside and turned around, just in time to see her walking out of the door as well. The light might have played a part, or maybe the mood created by the ambience inside, he was struck by her looks. Of course he had considered her pretty and even hot, ever since he first saw her, but this time it was something more. That angular face with the heart-warming smile was enhanced by the playful curly hair; some of those dark brown curls were flirting with the forehead. He stood there, rooted for a few seconds, just staring at her. Or was it minutes?

That restaurant did look nice and well decked up, thinking so, she strode ahead with renewed purpose, wanting to find another one. But where was he? Not finding him next to her, she turned around, only to catch him hurrying up to her. She almost asked what had held him up. But the sparkle in his eye distracted her, or was it his glasses? She couldn't say. "There will be a few more ahead," he said reassuringly. But soon, his eyes were looking at something beyond her. Wondering what was so attractive there, she turned around and found an Italian restaurant with no visible waiting customers. With tacit consent, they entered. It looked quite romantic, all the tables were set up for two, with soft lit candles on them, populated by gently conversing couples. The crystal was glittering too. However, the somewhat Italian looking waiter who approached them, turned them away as soon as he learnt they didn't have any reservation. Perhaps it was time to reconcile to the fact that they won't be able to eat at any decent restaurant, she wondered. "These Valentine's day specials! Crazy eh? Every place seemed fully booked," he said, interrupting her thoughts. "Yeah and no one cares about poor single people like us," she complained too. Encouraged, he went on, "And they also pay such exorbitant prices for the same kind of food as any other day, this day is such a fad!" "Hmm," was all that she said in response. She didn't find Valentine's day annoying, at least not as annoying he was making it out to be.

Walking ahead, they came across a vendor selling flowers on the side. They both were observing him and also looking at the flowers as they moved closer to the shack like stall. He latched onto another conversation starter, “Flowers are also a big business on this day, right?” “Yeah and I think I will end up eating some of them if we don’t find any food soon!” she replied. They halted right in front of the stall and gazed at the colourful scented display. She started off soon enough and he tried to keep up. But his looks lingered on the stall. His thoughts were racing, Damn! I should have bought some flowers for her! What was I thinking? In fact, why wasn't I thinking! He contemplated turning around and getting some. But then he feared it would be too deliberate. Perhaps even awkward? Send unintentionally strong signals? It would certainly be incongruous with his on going projection of being a guy who is not the ‘mushy-romantic’ types. While the debate raged on, they were moving farther and farther away from the stall. He wished that time would stand still for a moment and permit him the leisure to decide. Alas, he felt they were too far away now and he could only rue the missed opportunity. He vehemently and silently cursed his absence of mind. It’s no easy task to be all normal and attentive with the girl and, at the same time, come up with ideas and make these instantaneous decisions, he complained in his thoughts, justifying his inaction.

They tried a few more restaurants, mostly Chinese, as they went along. From every one of them, they were quickly thrown out, not literally of course, politely rather, intermingled with some pity sometimes. Finally they found one which seemed to have vacant tables. As they entered, they were greeted by a gust of perfume. The restaurant was going for some kind of a pink decor, everything was pink, various hues of pink. She was sure she even noticed a few pink heart-shaped balloons floating around! An overly grinning waitress came up to them and offered to show them to a table. He looked hesitant. Detecting some uneasiness in him, she asked, "Do you want to eat here?" "Err, can we go somewhere else?" he asked, in almost a pleading tone. She wasn't sure why but they left the restaurant anyway. Once outside, he took a deep breath and explained, "The scents were just too strong in there, almost suffocating!" She laughed and approved the observation, "It was a bit too tacky." "There should be some more on the street ahead," he told her. They continued their search. Meanwhile, she mentally replayed the incident, particularly his discomfort in there. It was amusing. But it also made him more real, and endearing. She barely knew anything about him, apart from what her friend had told her. From her, she had gathered that he was the nice guy types, but would he make interesting company? She hadn't managed to learn much about him on the few occasions they met previously either. Today might be different, she felt.

They were now onto a busy road with a few cars and even a couple of buses passing by. There were a lot more people on the street as well-- mostly couples. He wondered whether they did the right thing by leaving the previous restaurant. This quest for food was just taking too long. He glanced at her, maybe for the millionth time that evening. The cold had made the tip of her nose reddish, reminding him of Christmas and making her look cute at the same time. He tried to remember if he was ever out with anyone prettier than her in vain. They were walking along silently. He had to say something. He always found sustained periods of silence, absence of a continuing conversation, awkward, especially when with a girl. To remedy the situation, he began, "So, did you do anything special on previous few Valentine's?" She paused to think. He was surprised at himself, pleased too, for having veered the conversation towards her and her life rather than general inanity. "I don't know, nothing special last year, before that also, mostly at home," she answered before adding, "And you?" "Nothing spectacular with me either, generally stayed at home like a good sulking single," he answered with a sheepish grin. She smiled and continued, "Yeah, it's not a good day if one is single, like us." He agreed, "All these couply people make us singles feel awkward!" After a few paces, he resumed, "In fact, this might be the first occasion that I am having dinner outside on this day!" She laughed and then reminded him, "But only if we do manage to find some place!"

They continued the walk-talk. Quite a few minutes went by before they came across the next restaurant. It was Chinese again. She sensed this should be it and looked at him expectantly, wondering whether he had anything to say about this one. "I have been here before, it's a nice place," he stated, "Let's see if it's possible to find a table." They went in and, this time, stayed in for some 100 minutes. Despite being forced to follow the expensive Valentine's Day special set menu, they liked the food. During the dinner, though she had no such intention, she ended up talking about her country, the government, her political beliefs and then moved onto things related more directly to her life. Yes, their conversation was mostly about her than him. She wondered a few times whether she was boring him but he kept asking her questions. She easily identified that he was trying to employ the common technique, 'make it all about her so that she finds it interesting'. She didn't mind. Perhaps, he was actually listening. He was definitely looking at her, engrossed. Being showered with attention isn't such a bad thing after all, she reminded herself. Also, in spite of all the focus on her, she managed to learn a few things about him too.

Done with the dinner and the subsequent formalities (they split the bill, he knew she wouldn't let him pay all of it), they stepped outside, into the cold street. He turned to her, wanting to say something, worried that this might be the end of their evening. But say what? She broke through into these extensive discussions within his mind, using her faintly dimpled and slightly toothy smile, and asked, "I promised to meet some people at a nearby bar now, would you like to come?"

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Notable books read during the long long vacation

As it states here, i had read quite a few books in my long long vacation of 70 days. So finally, let us get cracking on them!

Harry Potter by J K Rowling: I am referring to the last book in the series. Yes, yes I admit I have read all the previous books, and it was because of that sole reason, I finally read this one, mainly to bring a culmination to that than any genuine interest. I would say it ended on very expected lines. The author could ventured out of the safe zone and been more radical, after all the sales or popularity wasn't in question irrespective of whatever she might have written!

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman: Brilliant read. Wholly recommend, and all such plaudits. It is absolutely hilarious, a bit satirical, quite a bit farcical and entertaining throughout. While the general comic level is maintained throughout, many a time, the reader will laugh out loud, and laugh again. The fun comes from the ingenuity of the writing, the plot and the absurdity of it. The plot is too twisted for me to talk about here. What I would say is, just start reading it with a blank mind :P.

The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh: I was recommended this author and this book a long time, and the wait was worth it. Not often does one come across a first-class India-based science-fiction novel. The multiple time-lines in which the narration takes place adds charm without confusion. The characterisation is really nice and every word in the whole book seems perfectly in its place. A very smooth read indeed.

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett: The first time I tried to read this book was when I was 12 or 13 years old. And failed miserably to understand anything. Actually, that was also the time I had a brief and unsuccessful affair with 'Brief History of Time' by Stephen Hawkings (of course, I did read it and also understand most of it later, much later :P). Anyway, coming back to Godot, I re-tried to read it this time and realised it wasn't straightforward at all. It is quite open to interpretation. It is also so short, almost like a short story! I think the story is a good metaphor for inertia and stagnation in life :P. And yeah, the mystery remains, who is Godot :P.

The Confessions of an Economic Hit-Man by John Perkins: How did I end up reading a non-fictional book? Well, I found it in the house, the description was captivating, and the topic, very interesting! It is about something we suspected all the while. How the big companies and governments of big 'aid-giving' countries like US make highly exaggeration predictions, convince the poor governments to take loans as aid and then arm-twist them to extract their resources and garner their support in the international arena. The author was involved in one such organisation that convinces the governments to take aid with fantastic predictions on what the aid will do, for 20 years. Initially, the book is engrossing, but starts getting a bit repetitive later on. As with all such books, it could have been shorter and more to the point :P. However, the experiences of the author in various countries ranging from Indonesia to Ecuador made the reading worth it.

The Writing of a Novel by Irving Wallace: You want to start writing a novel? How about reading a book on how one particular famous novel was written, by the author of the novel itself! Yeah, so Irving Wallace narrates on how he wrote his novel, "The Prize", which is a story set against the Nobel prize background. He takes a chronological approach, starting from how he got the idea for the novel 20 years prior to writing, how it was lying at the back of his mind, when he actually started working on it, how he did the relevant research, the actual writing process, getting stuck, moving on, followed by the editing and revising. He even talks about the response, the critical reviews, the sales and the movie deal! And the appendix of the book contains a brief summary of the novel itself. A true insight into the workings of popular novel-writing.

Cat O nine lives by Jeffery Archer: The only short story collection of this author that I hadn't managed to read until then. Though not as ingenious as 'Twist in the tale' or '12 Red Herrings', the charm of these stories lies in the fact that they are all true (except a couple). These were stories that Archer collected from his prison mates while he was in prison. The book shows how, often, reality is stranger than fiction :).

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai: I didn't think I would ever read this book. It had been gifted to me many years ago and I felt it was yet another of those Indian-immigrants-to-western-world's child's lost identity and stuff. Something like "Namesake". But it wasn't! Mostly based in Kalimpong, the descriptions help you live in those misty surroundings and see the story for yourself. The plot contains a few subplots, but all nicely linked together. It is mainly about a teenage girl living with her grand-father and their cook, their few neighbours, the cook's son who is an illegal immigrant in US and the girl's tutor who is caught up between love, rebellion and poverty. No, no, it is not as serious as I make it out to be. The plot is also based around Bengalis caught up in the Gorkha-land rebellions in those times.

Identity by Milan Kundera: I wanted to pick up another Milan Kundera book (after "The Unbearable lightness of being" and "Immortality"), and chose this one because the back-cover description did not reveal much and it was the cheapest [yeah, my book selection ethics are pathetic]. Once again, the writing went into depth about the characters, their emotions, their illusions and their actions. What I particularly like about his stories is the way he highlights the prevailing irrationality of human behaviour. Another books that provides some insight into the mystery that is the human mind. What is different about this book, is there are no deviating narrations or subplots and more importantly, the climax is quite ambiguous.

Reading right now, that is since the past month or more :P- Snow by Orhan Pamuk.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Hola España

It is indeed a very good place to visit. Even before landing there, the first thing that catches one's attention is the strange kind of farmland visible from the air. It consisted of unending rows of infinite length of bushy type trees arranged equidistant from one another. After due debate, we concluded that they must be olive trees. Yeah, welcome to Spain!

Landed in Madrid airport. It is huge. Well not as huge as Heathrow I guess, but huge nevertheless. The newest terminal and its sub-terminal are really long and can make you walk from one end to another if you are unlucky with your flight's boarding/arrival gate. The slightly unsettling aspect was that the when you get off the plane, you end up in the departures lounge! Anyway, took the underground/metro to the bus station and then a long 5 hour journey to Granada.

Granada: Situated amidst snow capped mountains, it is a very unique city. Unique in its looks- many roads are lined with orange trees lush with enticing oranges dangling from them and one of the main and busiest road has a very large pavement in the middle containing benches, life-like statues and fountains. Its culture is unique too, with an excellent North-African influence in the Moorish architecture. In fact, different styles of buildings can be seen in different localities. The most famous is the Alhambra with its palaces and gardens. Queues to buy its limited tickets for the day start at 6am (while it actually opens at 8) and can have around 300 people waiting in it. Of course, the nearby and slightly hidden ticket machines only have small queues of 25-30 people. That is the way to get in! Since we were there during the Easter week, we could witness the famous processions taking place. Another wonderful aspect of Granada is the free tapas that you get with your drinks in many of its bars. This means that you don't really need to buy dinner separately. And yeah, if you do, the food tends to be really good :). For souvenirs, the best place is the extremely colourful area next to the cathedral containing hundreds of small shops called Alcaciera.

Sevilla: Easter time is the time to be in Seville. Hence, we couldn't get any affordable accommodation. Yet, it is a must-visit city, so made a day tour from Granada by a train+bus journey of 2.5 hours each way. Large scale preparations for the evening processions were going on. These start from the various churches in the city to converge at the cathedral and then go back again. The cathedral there is definitely the biggest around, and contains a very tall tower. Ramps instead of stairs let one reach the top pretty easily to gaze at the whole of the beauty of Seville and identify the other famous monuments ;). One of these that we did visit was the bull-fighting arena. Learnt the history, the method and the madness behind it all. Didn't see a fight though, very gory and expensive it would have been! And once again, the bars and tapas around the cathedral are sufficient for some other needs ;) And how can I not mention the beautiful riverside, where we can lie down for eternity?

Barcelona: The city famous in so many ways and loved by so many. The main street- La Rambla has to the liveliest street I ever saw. Next to it was the old quarters with some majestic buildings, cathedral and many museums. We did go to the Picasso museum and finally, I now know about his life, somewhat about his art, especially when it transformed into being crazy ;). The other absolutely unconventional art that you can find in this city is the architecture of Gaudi. The most famous is the Sagrada Familia and is still under construction. Its look, from the outside itself, is amazing, the intricate statues and stories being told and the occasional colourful fruits is a unique combination! Some of his other buildings seem plucked out from some fantastical lands. Apart from these, there is the Plaza Catalunya with its majestic fountains, lights and people, parks and statues everywhere, the beach with its perfect blue waters, the irish bars alongside the tapas bars and the italian restaurants alongside the spanish ones. We also visited Camp Nou and admired the greatness of Barca F.C ;). Just outside the city, the background is filled again with mountains. The metro is very modern and the library of the university is very old. I was shown some books which were more than 500 years old! That was in between the two talks I gave on the same day, on the same topic, to different audiences :P. And most places are signposted in three languages- Catalan, Spanish and English, in that order.

Madrid: The capital, but nothing much to see other than the palace and an extremely modern -looking cathedral with a style very different from the general European ones. Lots of art museums as well, containing extremely expensive paintings from all regions and eras in Europe. Madrid is also the place for nightlife- lots of plazas, each of which is surrounded by bars and clubs. These clubs only start getting crowds after 2am or something! And again, many spanish style bars with free tapas.

Toledo: Just 30 minutes away from Madrid, on the superfast AVE trains, is this world heritage town. The old part is situated on a big hill, jam-packed with quaint buildings and very narrow, cobble-stoned roads. They are too narrow for cars but the cars still strive, inching forward slowly while the pedestrians flatten themselves alongside the walls to let them pass. The inclines are so high that, often, rooftops of buildings end up being next to other roads! This is a very nice place to visit and walk around, for half a day. A must visit if one is in or around Madrid. The different style and feel of the place makes it worthwhile. Each and every building looks good, old and fascinating.

Spanish food, as is known, contains a lot of meat based varieties. Nevertheless, the spanish omelettes are delicious and can be had anywhere, as a slice or as a whole. There are also several other different types of Tapas to satisfy all kinds of taste-buds ;). As for the drinks, Sangria and Mojitos are ubiquitous and often come with free tapas to munch on. Lots of American tourists will be found, much more than any other place in Europe that I have been to. British tourists, settlers and influences were expected anyway. To sign off, better not choose the overnight bus journey from Granada to Barcelona, some experiences are not worth having :D.

Gracias. Adios.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

in pursuit of pursuit

Absurd! it's a strange entity
teases and mocks, promises
flirts around but never kisses
fake or a twisted reality

Desire! isn't a painful joy?
whimsical, shaky, powerful
sneers at beauty when attainable
yet pleads as it turns unavailable
oh! what a wicked ploy!

Joy! an ephemeral paradise
peculiar, puzzling its appearances
arbitrary, capricious its causes
is there a more devilish vice?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

words at night late ...

Tick-click, tick-click reinforces the absolute silence. A far away accelerating car can only emphasize the absence of life around. Street-lights reflected by the yet-to-evaporate drizzle are a reminder of the darkness above. The regular cycle of the changing colours, red-amber-green-red, mark not the futility, but the wait for someone, something, with hope that their existence will be acknowledged. The idly lying guitar points to the abandonment , the tall glass facade, to the achievements hollow. The heavy blanket, to the coldness abound, the tapping keyboard, to the thoughts profound.

Tick-click, tick-click, time still passes by...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

222 = 11010 ... and we have a job!!

Base 2 and base 3 clearly present the progress over the last year, the end of a revolution, around the sun of course ;). Yeah, am sorry for coming up with my mandatory birthday blogpost a week late, but then, I am not idle anymore :P. Anyway, on this momentous occasion, what should I talk about? Why not my new, in fact, my first ever employment? Yes people, I finally got employed, just before turning 26 :D. And I have quite an unique job description ;). Before we delve into that, just to be clear, I have tried my best to remain jobless .. but it's just too tough .. had to acquiesce at the end :P. The process of getting this job, by itself, is a fascinating story ... will be willing to reveal in a more personal setting (in chats I mean :P) and not here ...

Anyways, the job title is 'Research Engineer'. I shall be working in the same field (multi-agent systems aka a part of AI) as my PhD which is also my specialisation in BTech. I am employed by a company, which is sponsoring a research project with my former research group at the University where I did my PhD. And the company has no expertise whatsoever in this field. But it is quite a leading one in its field, which is totally unrelated to my research field. Oh yeah, I am now supposed to be working on this project that the company has with the University. So I am attending project meetings at the University with my former group mates. And I am also attending related meetings with the few members in the company who are overseeing/observing/helping the project. My university group mates call me the company spy, and the company might be considering me as the university spy. Yeah, I now lead the life of an double agent (or double double agent?). In a week, I am spending 3 days at the company office and two days in the university lab. And not doing much work in either places yet ;). Can reverse the ratio too, if I want. "Matrix" was always a good example of my work (as cloning 'Agent' Smith would certify) :P .. but now I think I shall nickname by job as "Matrix 007"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Notable books before the long long vacation

There are quite a few books I read in the last 2 months, which was basically at lot of free time interspersed with trips and sudden bouts of action, and quite a few of them are worth a paragraph or review if not pages of accolades :P. But before I was to embark on to fulfill this necessity, I checked out my earlier posts labelled 'reading' and found that I haven't showered the same justice on my earlier reads. So, let me rectify that first:

Cakes and Ale by Somerset Maugham: A somewhat humourous, somewhat satirical take on authors, fun to read but not extraordinary ;). However, while reading it, I remember getting tired of the description of the activities of the old-gone Victorian British era individuals. Perhaps, I was more in mood for a more modern setting.

Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams: The last in the Hitchhiker's series (I think!), containing the same elements which now somewhat getting repetitive, having lost their ingenuity. But then, also absolutely hilarious in bits.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding: It is not so well renowned for no reason. On the lines of Animal farm, but more brutal in depiction. Scary for the optmistic readers filled with the-world-is-heaven type of outlook but funny and satisfying for the cynical types like me :D.

The song before it is sung by Justin Cartwright: This novel is based on the historical story about the attempt to assassinate Hitler by some anti-Nazi German leaders. No, it is not the book that the not-well-made movie Valkyrie is based on. Coincidently, I had just finished the book (took many months given my lack of dedication towards reading in that period) that the movie was released. Of course I didn't bother to watch it. Anyway, coming back to the book, it merges the account of an historian trying to piece together the life of a martyr involved in the attempt and at the same time trying to sort out his jumbled and painful life. The book is gripping in parts. Only.

Immortality by Milan Kundera: Now, we finally come to the best book of the lot. In fact, I feel one of the best reads I have read. Milan Kundera is a very different kind of author. His narration of the story in his 'novel' is mixed with his own views and thoughts about the behaviour of the characters. It is as if he is sitting on the chair next to you and telling you a story while also indulging in a somewhat philosophical conversation with you. And his insights into human behaviour and emotions are extraordinary- the seem like a revelation but ring so true that you end up agreeing completely with him and admonish yourself for not having understood that before. Especially in this book, he intermingles his main story with several other small stories whose connections are obvious only later, and also with accounts and discussions about a few well known figures of history, ranging from Goethe to Hemingway. The whole book has a 'wow' feel to it, though some might get annoyed and be uninterested in the frequent diversions to the above mentioned discussions ;)

Okay, enough for this post, the several books that were read during the vacation will be written about in the next post!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eternal Enigma

Always an enigma.

flatter, flutter, words, eye-lashes
beckon, beguile, looks, smiles
indulgent, innocent, cooking, demanding
generous, gregarious, charms, gifts
unrestrained, unabashed, caring, flirting

prolonged, perceptible, quiet, distant
unanswered, unacknowledged, calls, changes
rising, realising, aloofness, distress
frequent, foment, ignore, bore
insipid, impede, meetings, passions

A whiff of that, a hint of this
Always an enigma, She is.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

changing fiction

I came here with full josh to blog about a particular topic and enlighten you all with the revelations. Alas, I hadn't even typed a complete sentence that the facade was removed and I realised that all my enthusiasm was misplaced and that the idea was foggier than Delhi airports on winter mornings. So what do I do instead? ;) .. I write the following. Wonder what such couple of paragraphs of stories are called!

It reminded her of that time. Generally on such occasions of remembrance, unfailingly, she pauses. Closes her eyes, sighs, and tries to get back to whatever it is she was distracted from. Not this time though. It had struck like a sudden strong gust of wind, leaving her breathless, metaphorically. She relented and let her mind wander to those bygone times. That glitter in the eye and that sunshine of a smile. Those flirtatious moments with him had always brought out the best in her. Days were amazingly beautiful then, or so it seems now. No matter how much she rationalises, and in spite of all the scepticism that she attempts to imbibe, those times still seem wonderful. He was wonderful. That's what hurt her- 'was'.

The change might have been gradual, but certainly wasn't a smooth curve. She believed it happened in steps. One fine day, she no longer found the conversations charming. And there definitely was a particular party wherein she no longer found his eyes seeking hers, no exchange of smiles across the room. Then on another, she no longer felt admired by him. She also clearly remembers that evening when she was bored and lost, and wanted to speak to someone, but he wasn't the first choice anymore.

Had he felt the change happening to? She didn't know. But she knew that even now he was still there for. Even after all this 'cooling-off' period, he seems always ready to meet her. Or even just to talk to her. She knew that she only had to mention it and he would instantaneously be available and provide companionship. She wondered if he hasn't yet realised that things aren't the same between them anymore. But then, he has to. They no longer talk daily, in fact not even weekly, rarely meet and that too only as part of a group.

She still wanted that guy whose very thought seemed to put a spring in her step. But the person she desired, no longer existed. People change with time. She has. So has he. But she still seeks the one whom she knew in those times. Just exactly as she knew him. Not the new him. She sighed again.