Sunday, October 30, 2005

Trysts with Trust

"Never try to prove anything because those that care don't matter and those that matter don't care". A very cliched line but a line that leads to a million thoughts. Matter. Who does? Hmmm...friends I guess and the people we trust. Which brings a very interesting thought process.

I remember clearly the first feelings I had when - a long time ago - I heard the line, "Don't Trust Anybody". It seemed so cynical and so pessimistic that I was almost contemptuous in my dismissal of this way of looking at life and the people that we meet...even the people we befriend. Just a few days later, it was with similar emotions that I tossed aside this book on the teachings of Kautilya at the point where he said, "Careful what you say, for your best friend is your worst enemy". Huh? I mean, if my best friend is my worst enemy, who's my friend really? So, that implies that I trust nobody. And I couldn't take that as something I was willing to believe in...

I've never been one for having a large group of friends. Not after college in any case. As a 15-year old I too passed through a short time when the sheer size of my "group" filled me with pride. That bubble - as all bubbles are wont to do - burst very quickly. The wisdom of being wise in choosing friends soon became apparent to me. It sounds so cynical, but really, how many people can you really allow close? At the same time, once a person is close, can you really define how close? Isn't trust implicit once someone is a friend? After all, the world would be so dreary if you were always wondering just how much to reveal to a close friend... Come to think of it, could you then define that person as a "close" friend at all?

As life has worn on though and in the years that have passed since those days, those very words have passed through my mind a few times. And each time, there has been a reinforcement of the philosophy they contain. Somehow, whether it iss just me getting cynical with time or whether it is just the nature of life, events transpire and Life conspires and I stand today at a crossroads on this one. I don't know the answer and perhaps never will. And yet, there is such a great temptation to dig deeper into this...

None of us really trusts anyone completely. There is a part of us - even in the most "extroverted" ones among us, that is completely private. A part that no person other than us can even venture into, let alone know. And like it or not, we do define individual and distinct limits on how far each person ventures even into the "public" persons of us. We define how much we can bare and how much we won't. There is no person that - as the cliche goes - "knows us inside out". It just doesn't happen. The nature of the human being will not allow it to happen; just in the manner that it won't allow even us to know ourselves completely (apart from those few great minds that it is said have actually reached that ultimate state of consciousness).

Then again, if a friend of mine trusts me with certain information, what should I take that as? Do I keep it solely to myself? Or is it my duty to let someone else know as well, if that other person is also a close friend and is somehow related to this? Perhaps this is the most difficult part and the part that lends truth to those two statements I mentioned earlier. Perhaps this is the part that causes the breaking down of the entire mechanism of trust; because this is where things now come down to how we, as individuals see the rules of the game. After all, at the end of the day, we are the ones that define the rules that we play by. Nothing and nobody can lay those down for us excepting ourselves.

And yet, for all the darkness that these thoughts reveal, there is that implicit need for everyone to have a few people that they can actually relate to enough to be honest. None of us is really a complete island. As self-sufficient as we are, we do need support at times - apart once again for those select few that I mentioned ealier in the parantheses. For most of us, friends are not just an integral part of life - they are necessities. They may change, they may pass with time, but the need remains...

And this brings me back to the eternal paradox. You need someone to believein and this need is for your own benefit and yet, your own benifit requires seemingly, that you don't reveal anything; but the not revealing part thereby leads to the fact that you shouldn't then need the person...because that need is predicated on your need to where does the truth lie? Somewhere in between? Can there really be a between?

Perhaps the answer is in being as abstract as one can. Perhaps the answer is a riddle in itself. Or perhaps the answer lies much deeper. I for one am too small a person to figure that one out and yet, I do hope someone could actually point out the answer to me. I might actually get it if someone were to spell it out in obvious words. Then again, would that require the person to trust me? Almost funny how every answer and every question is so paradoxical - at least it all seems paradoxical to me!

If abstractness is indeed the answer, then it would seem that women have a head-start in that regard; what with all that hinting that they so habitually indulge in. And if it is not the answer, then let me make a formal appeal - once again. I think it's probably the googolth time now - to all women to kindly take pity on the lesser intellect of the male species and stop indulging in this highly cruel practise.

As Point No. 475,376 in the "1,000,000 things men wish women knew" mail went:

"Don't give us subtle hints. Don't give us direct hints. Bottomline: Don't give us hints. Say whatever you have to!!!!"

Yes, I know that this post is completely arbitrary, unconnected and perhaps even incoherent to the point of bordering on senselessness, but it's just a random musing. Just me puzzling over a question - whether we need to prove anything - while writing and writing the words that pass through the mind, as they pass through the mind. Trust me... ;-)

Oh! And just before I press that "Submit" button that will launch this brooding of mine into the oblivion that is cyberspace, here's another thought. Maybe the answer to it is in that first line itself... It doesn't matter...

Monday, October 24, 2005

In Mars We Trust - IX

Being swamped by exams isn’t exactly the nicest feeling in the world, particularly when having completely lost track of the dates, you’ve forgotten to prepare. Not that I am wont to prepare for exams even when I have not lost track of the dates, but at least this time I have an excuse and in typical fashion, when given an excuse I intend to use it to the utmost. Well, getting back to what I was saying before I digressed into the topic of excuses, it’s not really pleasant when at 4 AM in the middle of a potential lap-record lap on NFS Underground…sorry, I mean, in the middle of…ahem…studying for the 9AM exam, you get thrown off track (No, not literally. I was studying, remember?) by the sudden sound of your phone ringing.

Well, being the gentleman that I am, I took the call and even listened to the invectives hurled at me for an entire five seconds, before I very chivalrously and extremely politely cut the caller off in the middle of a decidedly distasteful description of what my insides would look like once she was through with me…

You see, over the past few months (ever since Mars - I actually), I have often been accused by the women in my circle of acquaintances of having wronged them by misquoting them in my Mars series of posts and if not of misquoting them, then of taking the statements they make completely out of context, adding my own context to it and making the comments sound hilarious and the girls sound stupid. Mind you, I freely admit to doing this. But it does raise this question in my mind – Do these women have a sense of humour? And to thereby logically extend it, do women have a sense of humour at all??

Sample this conversation that I had a couple of days ago with a woman who falls into the above-mentioned category (which in case you have not noticed, now includes all women!).

She: You’re so mean!!! You took what I said, twisted it, took it totally out of context, made it sound like I said all that and made me look so stupid!!!

Me: Err…Ah! That’s true, I guess…but you’ll have to admit, it did sound funny the way I put it, didn’t it?

She: Yeah it did! It was hilarious actually, but it made me look stupid! And then you credited it to some other woman!!!

Me: Oh! Would you rather have had me credit you with that one then?

She: No! But I mean…forget it. You’re so mean! I refuse to speak to you…

Now, this member of the Mahila! Bachao! Morcha quite convinced me that women just do not have a sense of humour when it comes to a joke cracked at their expense or even a joke that’s cracked at the expense of something that is remotely connected to what they have ever said…however long ago that might be.

Now, think of a guy in this scenario instead. I assure you that I know exactly what would pass through his mind and with my extremely limited writing skills, I have tried to encapsulate the entire scenario. Picture if you will, this scenario as enacted in a college canteen and add any side-effects that you like…including posters of Jennifer Anniston (I always do that. I like Jennifer y’know…)

Guy1: And then X walks in and he had snot hanging from his nose!!!
Group of guys around: Hahahahahahahah! Wow! That’s too good man!!! Hahahahaha!!
Guy X (Thinking): OK. Keep smile in place so that they don’t know what I am thinking. Grrrr! I wish I could smash that guy’s face in…no, I wish I could beat him to a pulp. Actually, I wish I could do without ever seeing him or talking to him again...actually, on tenth thought, I wish I could crack a better one at his expense… Hell, I wish I could think up a better one. Susie! Neeta! Help! Damn, can’t even ask for help…ok…keep smile in place till something strikes…


Guy1: And guess what, then I bolted the door from the outside while Y was on the commode!!!
Group of guys including Guy X: Hahahahahahahah! Wow! That’s too good man!!! Hahahahaha!!
Guy X (Thinking): Cool! It’s passed… I hope they’ve forgotten that one about me… But I’ll get back some day…

You get the picture? Good! That was the intention. So, by that you’ll realise that guys definitely have a better sense of humour than women! We can take jokes at our expense. As a contrast, I offer you this one… Imagine a woman in this situation and think of how things would turn out…

Guy1: And she told me not to tell anyone, but this is too good. You know, she actually likes X!!!!
Group of guys: Hahahahahaha!!! That alien? She likes him? Oh man!! Hahahahaha!!!

Can you imagine what that woman would do to the guy? Nope, words fail me…the mutilation that I imagine astounds and horrifies me… Suffice to say that our poor Guy1 was probably never quite the same man again. That is, if he was ever a man again…

Let’s face it. We guys may not be the most discreet or the most diplomatic; not even the most subtle come to think of it, but you can’t deny that we have a better sense of humour!!! Can you imagine a guy saying to another guy (or a girl for that matter) that he refuses to have anything to do with him (or her) because he (or she) cracked a joke at his expense? Hmmm… Even if a guy wanted to do that, you can bet your bottom dollar - and even your bottom rupee if you feel like it - that he wouldn’t say so!!! After all, we do have a sense of humour you know…

Well, at this point I think I should reassure all those who are named in my extremely substantial will, that I have now increased my insurance cover. I deemed this the right course of action after being nearly lynched by activists of the Mahila! Bachao! Morcha yesterday. For some reason they didn’t quite seem to see the humour in Mars – VIII. I guess we can put that down as yet another example of how absent a sense of humour is in women apart from the few who happen to appreciate the Mars series.

By the way, the afore-mentioned attack also helped me realise exactly how the name of the association was born. One look at the activists and the first thing that came to my mind was to scream, “Mahila!!! Bachao!!!”

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

In Mars We Trust - VIII

Yes indeedy, it's that time of the year again. Of course you may argue that with me, and most men for that matter "that time of the year" as I chose to put it, comes more than just once a year, so perhaps the phrase is a bit less than appropriate, but then again, there's little that I can do considering that unlike my previous avatar, in this life, owing to the silly laws of our land, I am unable to have in my employ, that gem among men, Jeeves. Yes, it is indeed sad that the gentleman's gentleman is no more a feature of our humble abodes. I must say that the worst of it of course has been the fact that I have had to learn how to put on my own spats and tie my laces. On the pro side of course there is the fact that he would have been quite likely to object to my hair which are currently a quite pleasing shade of green with a dash of purple thrown in...

In any case, I don't quite know whether I should do this. You see, this is the point of the post where I begin to wonder whether I should give a quick recap for those poor coves who're reading about Mars for the first time or just get straight into it, assuming that everyon knows the background. The latter course of action runs the risk of people raising questions like, "Eh? You mean the little green things?" while of course, the former might end up having the regulars remarking in a piqued manner, "Get on with it old man. Stop wasting my time and let me get back to my coding job.." Well, to keep both camps happy, I'll cut the drivel here and if you do want any background, you can get it by clicking here.

Well, with that, let me get to the nub of this eighth (ninth if count the appendix of the first one) installment of my Mars series... This one is more an appeal for help actually than a real post, but anyway...

Me: Hey, how’s it going? You’re looking good…really nice. I like that new hair-do.

She: Yeah? Thannnnnnk youuuuuu!

Me: And how’re things on ‘that’ front?

She: Don’t even mention that. I hate all men!!!

Me: Uh… Aah! OK. Care to tell me why? Coz just yesterday you were extolling his virtues and how nice he was and all that stuff!!!

She: I don’t know. I mean, he’s so infuriatingly stupid!! I don’t think anything will ever come of this. How can it when the guy acts like he has absolutely no brains at all? And mind you, that’s not all. He also behaves as if he’s damn blind!!!

Me: Oh! That’s strange. I mean, I could have sworn he was going to ask you out yesterday. It kind of looked like that you know…

She: Yeah, he did. Came up and asked me if I wanted to go out for dinner…

Me: OK, so he did ask you out, see? Then what’s the problem? How was the dinner? Where’d he take you?

She: Huh? Dinner? Oh no, we didn’t go anywhere. I told him I couldn’t make it…

Me: You did what? Jeez, you must be crazier than I thought or else I’m daft. I mean, you say you like this chap, he finally asks you out and you declined? And you say he’s stupid?

She: Nooooo!!!! Don’t behave like an idiot now! Of course I turned him down. I don’t want to look like I like him or anything right now obviously. He shouldn’t get the idea that I like him or anything!

Me: Eh? Am I missing something here? Isn’t that the very idea here? I mean, how can you say that nothing will come of this and blame him for that when you’re the one that behaves like a dolt?

She: You’re stupid. You’ll never understand so just forget it ok?

Me: Umm… OK…if you say so. But at least tell me the logic behind this. I may not buy it or understand it, but at least tell me! I swear I will not question it…

She: OK. See, I want him to take the initiative. You know, like, organize something. Ask me out again a couple of times. Then I can go without it looking that I am the one that wants to go…

Me: Hmmm…I do hope you realize that he’s the kind that hates having his emotions known in these matters…

She: Yeah! Of course I know. That’s exactly why I want him to take the initiative!!

All right. Now, someone (Women, this is an appeal to you!!), please, please, please, PLEASE explain this one to me. Why do women behave like this? This particular incident happened around seven years ago, but I really don’t think things have changed one bit since then… I really have lost count of the number of times I have seen this scene repeated. A bit sad :-(

Dimitri (He’s a guy): Hey K, I wanted to ask you something.

K (She’s a girl): Yeah, tell me…

D: Is it true that when women say “no” they mean a “yes”?

K: Of course not. That is such crap. I hate guys who think that way. I mean, it is so demeaning. Why would a woman say “no” if she wanted to say “yes”?

D: OK, so you’re saying that when a woman says “no”, she means “no”, because otherwise she’d say a “yes” if she wanted to agree? Is that it? I mean, it’s normal? Like with guys?

K: D-uh! Yeah! I mean of course there are times when a girl may say “no” even when she wants to say “yes” but that can be easily understood because she will say it in a particular way and you can understand that by the qualifiers that will qualify the statement.

Me: Uh? Like, (a) aren’t qualifiers meant to qualify? And (b) So now you’re saying that women do say “no” when they mean “yes” but that can be understood, although women don’t say “no” when they want to agree, which is where you started off. So, what’s a yes and what’s a no and if that’s not clear, what on Earth is a “maybe”?

K: OK, look, lemme put it this way for you dolts. If a girl says “yes”, it probably means she agrees, although it could also mean that she’s just not able to think up an excuse to refuse right now and will immediately refuse once she comes up with one. When a girl says “no”, it may mean “no” or it could mean that she wants you to try harder and that she actually wants to say “yes” but doesn’t want to seem ‘easy’. And if she says “maybe”, then it definitely means a “no”, except that she may want to tease you a bit and may be saying that to torment you…in which case you’ll have to try again and see what happens.

Me: Eh? But just how do I know which “no” or “maybe” she means if there are no qualifiers?

She: Then you just have to keep trying until you find out…

*Sigh*. These are actually the moments that make me wonder whether even that great brain of Jeeves, bulging as it was with all the fish he ate, would have been able to make any sense of this seeming drivel. There does however remain that little cloud on the silver lining, or have I got that wrong? Anyway, my cousin R, (not to be confused with the one in Mars IV who is as unreasonable a woman as was ever known to Mars) very kindly volunteered a few years back to help me get things clear and that did quite a bit to convince me that Salvation was nigh. And nigh it still is, I must say, for there have been several things she has told me which have given me the niggling feeling that the day I decipher what she says, men like me shall attain the Nirvana that we seek; and no, I do not mean the one that had Kurt No-brain singing for it. But, Venusian (is that correct?) is not proving too easy to decipher quite frankly though I assure you that the day I crack the code, you my dear readers shall be the first to know... I've come to this thing she told me once which I think is the crucial piece in the interpretation jigsaw...

Cousin R: Look, I’m telling you what you should do. The next time you meet, don’t be too eager, but don’t be cold. You know, just play it right. It’ll have been a long time right? So just behave as if you couldn’t care less about her being there, but don’t be cold. As in, be charming and all with her, but don’t let her feel that you like her being there. At the same time make her feel like you’re happy that she’s there, you know…

It’s been years… I am still trying to work this one out. Susie Derkins!!! Help!!!

*Sigh* Women…

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Free-flowing Spurts

"Then why are you so perturbed?"

"I'm not really... I guess I'm just wondering about the entire flow of thoughts...wondering about where it all begins, where it ends and where I fit in...if I do, that is..."

"You've always been a liar haven't you? To me at least..."

"Yeah...but you're the only person I can lie to with a clean heart..."

But sometimes I wonder if there is any such thing as a lie at all, or whether it's all about which side of the prism we choose to see things through...

"I hope you realise that you're f*cking weird"

"Hmmm...isn't that a weird question to ask me? Do I say I am or do I say that I am not? You obviously think I am...and if I say I'm not that would be pretty much the way you would expect me to react...and if I say I am, you'd just take that as further evidence for your assumption that I am truly weird"

"If you could only have heard what you just said, you'd know exactly why I say that you're weird"

"Yeah, but that's exactly the reason why you miss out of the best of it. Because you'll never even see the other side. You'll never know what the solution is because you see every puzzle as something that's inconsequential...simply because you can't comprehend it... The very people you need are the people you'll never give a chance..."

"Will you let that rest? I don't need your damned theorizing. I don't need your self-righteous philosophising. I don't even need your vain attempts at logic. All you've ever done is to put me off ever speaking to you. I'm glad I never have and I know that I never will..."

"And that is exactly what I said... You'll never know...and because of that neither will I...and that's why we'll both die wondering if we could have helped each other over the crest"

"Think again...coz I won't ever think that way..."

Perhaps that is why those that can help will always die sadder than those they could have helped. Because they're the only ones that see it that way...

"You don't even matter to me."

"Then why do you get so damned perturbed when I am around? Why can't you stand my very existence? Why do you wish that you'd never even set eyes on me?"

"Because you do exist. Because you're so obnoxious that I can't ignore the fact that you're there. Because I can't miss the fact that you upset me by your very your existence. I get perturbed because you are who you are."

"Is that the way it is? Or is it just that you can't take the fact that I am not me...that I am not who you want me to be... Why is it that my silence irks you more than the words of the persons that you know so well and those that wish they knew you even better than that?"

"That's a lie. I've never known you. I've never even thought of far as I am concerned you may not exist. You do not in the least bit affect my're inconsequential in my scheme of things and that's the way it has always been....and the way it always will be...maybe it's just you that can't live with that..."

"Isn't that what we just went over? Or perhaps you just like seeing my words in a different different your words...through your prism...with a darker tint. Maybe you should just ask yourself....if you knew me, would I still be me?"

I love it when silence is all-pervasive

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Arin be Damned?

Guess most of you must have heard of the great war declared by IIPM on Gaurav Sabnis. The gist of it, for those of you that have not heard of it is that GS made a few comments on his blog about IIPM and Mr. Arindam C, it's founder. IIPM sent some form of legal notice etc etc and the upshot of the entire thing is that GS decided to voluntarily quit IBM. The story doesn't quite end there though as IIPM have also targeted a few other people. I won't go into the details as those can be read by you on Gaurav's blog and on other sites like Desipundit.

There are several interesting points in this fight, including the fact that IIPM has not, at any moment, moved to disprove a single statement. But I'm more than just a bit amused by the entire fiasco. It proves to me that the more you try to suppress something, the more apparent it will become! I mean, it has to be obvious to the meanest intelligence that IIPM have not just blundered and made themselves look like idiots in this issue, but they have also shot themselves in the foot...

Everyone has known for ages that IIPM is just an Institute that makes tall claims that have no substance to them. "Dare to Dream Beyond the IIMs". While I was preparing for CAT, I remember the comments that were passed on IIPM with unfailing regularity among the CAT-aspirants. Some even called it "Indian Institute of Planning and Marriage". Yet, for those that were not among this category of people, IIPM was a high-profile B-school, thanks to the number of advertisements that were published!!!!!

I remember an aunt of mine (Pardon her, she was 75 at that time) asking me why I was not applying to "that institute that advertises so much". So, had IIPM let the issue and the posts just rest, I really don't think that much would have happened. The status, one feels, would have remained quite quo, as Bertie would be apt to phrase it. But some people just love to have their asses whipped... and in public at that. And the results are there for all of us to see and laugh at!

Oh yeah, I really feel that all of you should read that "notice" that GS was sent by IIPM. The parts in it about Mr. AC being defamed etc are quite hilarious...

Side notes:

1. GS is an IIML alum :-) (You can't stop me from taking a vicarious thrill outta that surely!!!)
2. My rediff Blog got listed on Rediff's Sizzling Blogs list :o. (Don't ask me what the filtering process there is... :-) )
3. I really do wonder if I too shall now be sued by IIPM :-)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

You've Been Disconnected

I often wonder how much technology really helps us. I mean seriously, look around you and the world is replete with examples of how our lives would have been so much easier and better in terms of quality, had we not had technology screwing things up for us. Think about it. Hasn’t it ever happened to you that you’re sitting with this gorgeous woman (or if you’re a woman, then with a guy) and while you want to enjoy the moment and get to know the other person, this significant other is glued to her mobile!!!!

Now, this has happened to me several times and each time, I have been consumed with these thoughts of whether the chappie at the other end is better-looking than me (which is nearly always the case), whether he speaks better than me (again, very common) or whether she likes him better than me (this is the norm…never failed to be true, unfortunately). Now, while the latter two are things that really can’t be judged outright, I have always managed to convince myself that the assortment of these men who ruin my happiness on any date I happen to be on, are not actually that much better-looking than me…..

But then, I hadn’t reckoned on that beast called technology. Sure enough… has decided to ruin even that little bit of happiness in my life. For now, thanks to something they call 3G technology, you can actually see the people you are speaking to and knowing women to be the sadists that they are (at least the women I know are sadists), I know that they will delight in flaunting to me the visuals of the men they speak to, leaving me in no doubt about where I stand in the pecking order regarding looks and also depriving me of that shelter I used to give myself that these bozos couldn’t be that much better looking than me…..anyway, I think I am now digressing……this post is actually meant to be about my torrid experiences with the beasts called mobile phones……not about my dating problems….which would take a decade to detail and would make for very boring writing and reading anyway……

It was in April that I had my mobile phone stolen. Now, that was not really the most pleasant experience, but then again, that phone had endured a fire in my room and not stopped working even though one side had been heavily charred, so although I was not too happy about losing the dear little thing, I had the feeling that it had served it's purpose admirably well, never having given me any problems and therefore the twinge of regret at losing the phone was not too bad.....specially when one considers that all the previous phones I had owned had conked off within a few months….and the dealers had always come up with newer and newer excuses, like a shortage of silica on Mars or a blockade by the Vader-led Trade Federation fleet etc etc and had also come up with newer and increasingly more successful sales pitches to make me buy more expensive handsets in place of the spoilt one….and this one hadn’t conked off….so maybe things were looking up on that front at least!!!

Well, once again I proceeded to buy another handset, but trust me, I had no idea at that time what an emotional roller-coaster I had embarked on. Bought towards the end of April, my new buddy rendered exemplary service from Day One and quickly took the place of my lost companion. Being the same model as my ex, it was also a natural replacement and there was no cause for complaint from my side….nor of course on the phone’s for, not only can a phone not complain, I gave it no opportunity to! Well, I should have known better than to expect that I could own any bit of technology without having a problem sooner than later…and sure enough, come the start of June and technology decided it had given me enough of a head-start and then hauled me in pretty rapidly!!!!

My buddy caught an infection that caused him to hang on me…..every 15 minutes, he’d have to restart…… Minor problem probably, I thought and back to the Nokia showroom I went……and this was where the nightmare began. My phone was taken away from me and returned 3 days later….repaired they said…..15 minutes later, I was on my way back to the hostel….and the phone was back on its way to the workshop…..the problem still lurked…… And it continued to lurk apparently, as this scene was then re-enacted 4 more times between June 20th and July 24th. Finally, in a bid to get rid of me, Nokia decided to give me a brand new handset….as they confessed that they were just not able to get what the problem was!!!!

I should have known though that the problem was not so easy to solve……because the problem was not the phone in my opinion, but me!!!! I have said before that I believe that all technological devices are aware of my ineptitude in handling technology and this new phone then proceeded to prove me right. On Day One, when I charged the damn thing, it said “Not Charging”. Now, this was stupid in my opinion, for the charger was clearly connected to the socket and yet the phone had decided that it did not want to charge, although anyone with half-decent eyes would have told you that it badly needed a stiff W&S or something to charge it up!

Well, further experiments proved that my phone could be charged with any charger from any socket in any room…..other than in my room!!!! And so it was that my sojourn with my newest buddy began. This eccentricity of my phone though was pretty easy for me to forgive actually, as the way I chose to see it, at least it worked!!!

Well, for all the working, this phone has now decided that it has had enough of me…..and this one didn’t even have the common decency to serve notice on me! It just switched itself off and refuses to start up now……the charging light shines all the time except when the charger is connected to it and the screen doesn’t light up at all. So, for all practical purposes, all I am left with is a gizmo that could act as a phone and camera and music player…….when it worked, that is!!!! But, if this should also fail to convince you of the effect that I have on technology, sample this…..

In the last few days, 2 people who have never had even the slightest problem with their phones, found their phones hang!!!! When and how, did you ask? Well, the moment I borrowed it to play a game……ah well, technology and me……just not made for each other I guess……

Oh and by the way, for any well-wishers I may have out there (are there any?), I have now not had a puff for five days…and this includes booze parties where I refrained as well……so much for all the people who thought I’d never be able to….:-)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Stirring the Depths to Rise

Music......if there was ever anything that man would be poorer without, regardless of tastes, choices, attitudes and preferences, this is only thing I know which can move anyone to any emotion......regardless of colour, race, religion etc etc.......regardless of language and regardless - on occasion - of even the words......the magic is palpable......and yet, one can't pinpoint what it is down to....

There is a wide variety of songs that comprise my nearly 60 Gig collection on campus.....the songs cover a variety of genres, right from Ghulam Ali ghazals to death metal, black metal, soft songs like Suzanna, psychedelia and also the regular thrash metal and hard rock bands that made themselves an indelible part of music culture......and in between them is the sublime magic woven by geniuses like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and company....the magic is endless.....

Sitting as I did today, reclining on my non-recline-able chair in class, there was a scene that played in my's a scene from The Shawshank Redemption. The scene when Andy talks about how no one can take music out of you, because it plays in the mind......and that is so very don't need to be listening to a song on a player or on radio or anything to be enjoying its just need to close your eyes and allow yourself to be transported into the blissful land that the tune leads you into.....

Also listened to this track called Ode to Joy when I returned to my room. That track reminds me of Dead Poets Society somehow. There is something in that track which moves the very soul. There are of course, several other songs as well, that have that effect on me. For some reason, Goodbye Blue Sky always makes me go totally numb and almost has my eyes welling up. There are other songs as well that evoke different feelings....

Music has something for everyone, in every state of mind. Anger, joy, pain, sorrow.....they're all captured so well. I can't understand people who say that they don't listen to music. I do not say they are lesser people. I would just say that they are missing one of the most beautiful parts of life......often people ask me what I think of when I sit alone.....the fact is, I am never alone. If not my thoughts, I have the music in my head that keeps me company.....and truly, in the words of Andy, nobody can take that away from me.....nobody.....

There are people who like to classify music and decide what is "cool" music. That is another thing I can't understand.....after all, how can music be classified on those lines? I find Indian classical to be awesome in the talent and the sublime dedication, nay, devotion, of the artists.....they transport you to a different plane.....the same holds true for Western classical.....and for genres like rock, metal......etc etc.....the only 'music' I can't identify with is the stuff I see as the stuff I mentioned on the last post......and the reasons are simple for me....

Why is it that some music lasts for centuries and has the same enduring appeal while other forms die within months or a few years at most? Why are Take That a group that belong in history's dust-bin while Bach is still revered? Why does no one even remember All 4 One while no one will ever forget Mozart? Why does no one - barring the inevitable exceptions - remember the Hindi songs of the 1980s while everyone can recall Mohd Rafi's 1960s classics?

I guess it's because of the very nature of music..... Music is a form of expression. It can express emotions that words fall way short of being able to say..... that is why an instrumental track like The Loner will give you a shiver down the spine that no words can bring about......and when you contrive to create that emotion, without really feeling it yourself, you will inevitably fall short. It is like an actor who mouths his lines without feeling the emotions that the character he is playing, is going through. The words and tone may be right......but the emotion is missing.

It manifests itself too. Why is it that the most beautiful tunes are often not that difficult to play....but impossible to replicate? Simple....the artist doing the cover just doesn't have that emotion...and it shows in the music....

And yet, why try to analyse it? Let it play....and when the music's over.....turn off the lights.....or rather, turn them off anyway......and take me to the place I love......take me all the way.....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

When The Dreamer Awakes

I've never written anything when feeling light-headed. I wonder at times what the feeling what would be like. And then of course, it strikes me that writing something when feeling light-headed is probably the toughest thing possible. It's easy to see why, of course. I mean, when you're feeling light-headed there are a lot of things you really don't want to think about. There are so many things that you just want to ignore while you just lie back and smile and indulge yourself in the moment that is....

I guess there are people who do write when in that frame of mind of course. But when I say "write", I mean write something sensible.....not something like:

My heart was tied into a knot,
When that rose to me she brought
And to myself then I thought
How precious this was that I had got

I mean, come on, this is such bullcrap!!!! No offence meant, but I came up with this as I was writing this post as an example of something that I wouldn't call writing....I mean, this is written more as something a person writes to "prove" that he is a "poet"! Or of course, by those wannabes who try to show that they can make "music", par example, the Backstreet Crap, Michael Learns to Fart, Crapzone, Take Crap, Crap Girls, Michael Balls-off (aka Bolt-on), Frying Adams etc etc......

What I meant rather was something that could sum up the elation that fills the soul at certain moments. The feeling of suddenly rising above something and looking back and knowing that what happened is over and what remains is good......and can only get better......wonder if I could ever write something like that......I do wonder.....wonder why, but I wonder....(Yes, R, this line's borrowed from you ;-) )

Singing under sea-green skies,
Standing atop a snowy peak,
Beads of sweat mopped from a brow,
That surveys sand dunes and ecstasy

Joyous gait won’t see the pain,
And I will pierce through the haze,
Blood-red clouds that part a veil,
Hiding in which you call me insane

Darkest snow and whitest black,
Purging me; leaving nobody behind,
But still I smile when you see me,
Health kills me with infirmity

Earth afire, burning bright,
Sun left to while away a wasted being,
Let the rulers that were be these stony walls,
Let your feet defile the dead queen’s throne

Kill the dark; switch off the lights,
Turn off the bulb and in the chair recline,
All I see in you, I could not buy,
Just give a dollar and get a dime

But maybe you’re taken in by me,
Two simple souls in this fantasy,
Dyed in different hues and shades,
We look the same in every way

Stretch my hand out through the bars,
Snatching away from you the doll,
Now it’s mine, but am I yours?
Mopping the spilt milk from the floor

There you stare; here I smile,
Hidden in my truth your lie,
Still you ride high up in the sky,
No longer do I wonder why

Try again; try one more time,
For nothing but to help me deny,
My time has come; my moment’s gone,
Throw it up in the air, I’ll fly tonight

Where nightmares lived you came as death,
Where time stood still you helped forget,
Run those fingers through my hair,
Look into my eyes, you’ll find me there

PS: I hate this one.....It sounds like a nursery rhyme at points....yet, there's something in between that's made a huge difference to me......

Monday, October 03, 2005

So Close That I'm Far Away

Detachment is something that all of us know is good for us....perhaps even the best thing for us. Several great scholars and philosophers of the past have even held that detachment is the only way to attain peace and bliss, as it is the path what leads us to lose desire. But then, come to think of it, what does detachment mean? After all, how does one become detached? Can I just run away from all that I am attached to?

It's a funny thing when you really get down to it, because several times I see people running away from things. We all run away from some things which is really funny in a perverse way, because we do so knowing fully well, that the things we try to avoid the most are the things that generally end up crossing our paths somewhere I guess perhaps it would be better to just be prepared to face things and not run away rather than run all the while and ultimately be caught unprepared.

The reason for this, in my opinion, is that we only run away from things when we know somewhere within that there is a high likelihood of that thing happening. And happen it does, more often than not. And yet, inspite of having faced this time and time again, we persist with our avoidance strategy. We continue to run away and hide and derive consolation in the belief that we tried our best not to let the situation arise at all.

Attachment is the strangest thing that we avoid though. it is avoided, by those that try to avoid it, in the hope that it will lead to a detachment. But this is exactly where things get twisted a little. For how can one be detached, simply by trying to avoid attachment? The more you try to run away from objects that you fear getting attached to, the more you are thinking about attachment itself. On the other hand, if one allows those objects to remain in the vicinity and then rises above the attachment that grows within, then one can truly claim to be detached. After all, how can you claim to be detached when you don't know how to deal with attachment?

There are people who would have you believe that solitude is a pre-requisite for detachment. is it really so? I fear not. For, in my modest opinion solitude just means that there is no one around you physically. Detachment is very far removed from this. In my solitude, I may be attached to far more things than another who sits in the midst of a crowd....and his detachment would be far greater than mine.....for detachment is a mental state, it is not physical in the least.....not the way I see it at any rate.

What then is detachment? For me, detachment rests in the feeling of not needing anybody or anything to be content. People or objects being there need not imply attachment. The ancient sages were often married and had active family lives and yet, they were detached. Detachment did not mean that they did not care about their children or wives. It just meant that they would not crumble, should a misfortune befall anyone around them.

As I arose to leave today from the coffee shop, a strange thought crossed my mind. I had been but a few yards away from an obnoxiously loud group of people. yet, in all the while that I had spent sitting there, I had not even noticed the noise level. Detached, some might say.....but that would hardly be a true statement of the facts.... It was a feeling of solitude, yes.....I was alone, although I was so close to them. Yet, I was not detached for a single thoughts saw to that......

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Catch 22; Tag 55....

I hate writing short sentences and I am sure that if you have ever read anything that I have written, which I think we can safely assume you have, if you have ever been to this place before, then you can't have missed the long sentences that I am accustomed to writing, of which, this very sentence is a shining example. Don't get me wrong. It's not that I am totally inept in the "art" of writing short, staccato sentences. I do not - not for a single moment even - doubt that were I to write those, they would make for terrible reading (though of course, a few may hold the same view about this style as well, but hey, like I've said before, it's my blog!!!), but I am quite sure that I could write those.....

The point being? Well, I've been tagged....and tagged to write, of all things, a story in 55 words!!!! 55 words for a story? Damn, I guess my average sentence has that many words, if of course, one includes all those words that I am used to putting within parentheses and hyphens and the like (These words are just within parentheses to give you an idea of what I am accustomed to doing.....just in case you've never noticed these before.....fat chance of that happening I know, but still.....don't like to take chances you know....)

Well, me being the nice person that I am, I decided to have a go at it anyway you know. So, while at it, in my typical style I actually came up with 2 of these mini-stories. Now, don't go ahead expecting elaborate plots and characters and the's just 55 words after all!!! They're typically me, is all I would say. I don't even know what happens next, so don't bother asking.....just make your own endings and contexts for them. Yep....that's a style ripped off blatantly from Archer....but at least I acknowledge it :-)

Story 1

It seemed stranger and stranger each time he thought about it. He’d never really had the nerve to do it. This time would be different though. Slowly his finger moved to the trigger. He looked at the reflection of the two prone forms in the mirror and smiled. Yes, this time it was for real…..

Story 2

The whispered words said it all. It had been like that all night. Soft words in his ears, in the wind, reminding him of those that had passed this way before him. He smiled and the tears welled up. Well, he could allow them now, he thought as he swung his feet over the ledge….

As for whom I tag after this.....well, you can all heave a deep sigh of relief....coz none of you need to fear a tag from me. None of you other than Neeta that is :-). Yep, I do have a bit of a sadist hidden within me as well, you know ;-)