20060427

Of you, you and you out there...

Writing testimonials to friends is not exactly a soulsearching moment.
However, when you have nothing better to do at home and think about testimonials, then they begin to make sense.

Actually, it is ridiculously easy. Use a few positive adjectives, add a few smileys, and it can be done. However, when you really want to write something meaningful and publicly viewable, then you sit and start to remember.

Remembering a friend is like looking into yourself. For we become friends with what we are or what we would like to become. We like vicariously through our friends, taking pride in their achievements and indulging their quirks. We remember ordinary times made special by friends and remember more about our life.

Different friends... Some who act as your partners in crime, some who babysit you, and some who are your secret keepers. And as time passes by, each of these roles change - you babysit your secretkeeper, have fun with your babysitters, and keep the secrets of your partners in crime.

In friendship, we discover our soulmates. And we discover ourselves. We make and breaks rules of affection for our friends. We take it for granted that we can look a bit shabbier and crazier in front of them, and are not offended when they act likewise.

Tokens - of calling up at random hours just to talk and provide some company when you are bored, replying to missed calls and foul smses, a yahoo discussion on the societal fabric while plotting to twist a future co-worker into our personal teaboy, promises of journeys to be made together, pity parties and remember when...? Series, times when you both talk simultaneously without stopping for even a breath of air but somehow end up absorbing all information shared, mails which warm your hearts from people whom you seldom meet or have never met, comments left on blogs and webpages - not just 'i friendship make with you' ' you be frank and my friend' type generic stuff, but beyond that, sensing some part of me beyond the web and the webpage...

God knew we could never be perfect. So he made us have friends so that we would feel perfect.

20060423

Books, Reviews and Food

Just finished reading two books : How Opal Mehta… and Manticore’s Secret.


HOM is written by an 18 year old, studying in Harvard. It is about a girl's attempts to get into the Harvard University.


Now for the bad news.


I will live in the eternal guilt that I chose this book for a friend to spend good money on. I should have given him the name of some 20 teen flicks which the same oft-repeated beginnings, endings and everything in between.


The book is about an Indian’s quest to get a life outside her ‘Harvard-aya Namahah’ life style which is also happens to be her - why am I not surprised here? - her parents dream. As the dean asks her to essentially get a life, she tries out the usual stuff –get a makeover, try to get into the hot but emptyheaded bitch-slut trio gang, ignore her real [ read : brainy and drab ] friends, try falling for the school president [ but fall for the rebel ], solve a physics problem with her friends, get to like Harvard, get her plans outed by the bitchgang and finally get into Harvard. And in the process, the author manages to fit each and every teen movie cliché into the book.

A strong sense of de ja vu is to be expected. The sad part, however, was that the book could have been better. But here, the author disappoints us. The characters are one dimensional, there is nothing unpredictable about it, you can predict what is going to happen and when. It would have been better if the author showed some spunk and wrote something against the flow. Before she start on her next work, I suggest she read Five Point Someone. Back to back and a few many times. This is also a book about students, but within 100 odd pages and 2/5th the price, it is a much more rewarding experience for the reader.


The author has got a movie deal. And here is the next chick flick , my brethren. The girl can describe things well. But she has got a long long way to go before she write something which I will recommend to my friends, ie; unless they are like, totally airheads.


Stay away from this one, fellas. And may this good deed book me a place in heaven.

______________________________________________

The Manticore’s Secret is worth a read, and worth a buy. But at Rs 300/- I would rather ask a friend to buy it as a gift for me than spend on it myself. The second part of Simoquin Prophecies go forth with wit to spare, though I preferred the first part better. The second book digresses into philosophical questions, subtle (or) hints at the futility of humans while the first one took an irreverent look at hero+quest stories.

_____________________________________________

My third review is about food. All those amongst you who are bonafide non-veggies and happen to be in Trivandrum, go to the East Gate of the Padmanabha Swamy Temple. Walk in a straight line into the Chaala Bazzar, into the market. Once you are somewhere in the vicinity of the Mosque, [ but before that ] take a left turn, or ask for Rahmaniya. And here my friend, you have entered Paradise.

Let us go back a bit. Legend was that Kettal, a nice cute Moplah [ Mallu Moslem ] had his shop, where the norm was that you pay a little, but eat a lot. Kettal the benevolent supervised the patrons, and did not hesitate to tick off those whom he suspected were maintaining diets. Once you sit down, you have to eat till you could eat no more.


Times have changed. The food is not unlimited. You get 6 chappatis and eight pieces of chicken [ legs, breast or wings ] along with a glass of nimbu paani and lemon pickle. Whatever you ask more is charged separately. The food is hot and tasty, and fresh. The Cheep-cheep of the chickens could be heard, and I studiously ignored it. Food, is divine.


Try it traveler, and then thank me for a wonderful experience.

20060421

Chased by the Monsoon

The rain is a mixed blessing.

It came when I first thought of going to the beaches. It has been years since I had been to the seaside, and I wanted to reconnect with that wise lady. But the rain, ever the precocious kid, came in a tantrum and irked her, and now, she would be in too much of a bad mood for a visit.

I did not care much for the rain. Look what you have done now! I admonished with frosty silence. The rain didn't care. She came in a mad frenzy through the nights and chilled me to the core. She even irked the wind, who in a furious swipe of hand tugged at the powerlines and cut the electricity.

" Not fair." I muttered. " Swipe her away. Why deny light to me?"

Another day. Another noon. A friend promised food, and more importantly, company. I left home at noon. After dessert from one place, we walked off to another place for the maincourse. Chicken, with Patthiri as side dish. We had food and talk, and was content.

Outside, like a stealthy kid, rain began her naughty dance. "Shall we walk in the rain? " my friend ventured. " Ofcourse." Said I, and we walked along as if we were enjoying a sunny evening walk. Three book stores later, we were drenched and happy, and certified lunatics by the TVM society.

Back home. As on cue, the rain stops. As suddenly as she has started. But I am not angry. The coolness of rain - much cooler than the tap water which I use for bathing - has lulled me, like the unexpected kiss of an errant child, it has softened me.

"Monsoon.." I whisper " Are you here? "

But the rain has tiptoed away.

Chased by the Monsoon

The rain is a mixed blessing.

It came when I first thought of going to the beaches. It has been years since I had been to the seaside, and I wanted to reconnect with that wise lady. But the rain, ever the precocious kid, came in a tantrum and irked her, and now, she would be in too much of a bad mood for a visit.

I did not care much for the rain. Look what you have done now! I admonished with frosty silence. The rain didn't care. She came in a mad frenzy through the nights and chilled me to the core. She even irked the wind, who in a furious swipe of hand tugged at the powerlines and cut the electricity.

" Not fair." I muttered. " Swipe her away. Why deny light to me?"

Another day. Another noon. A friend promised food, and more importantly, company. I left home at noon. After dessert from one place, we walked off to another place for the maincourse. Chicken, with Patthiri as side dish. We had food and talk, and was content.

Outside, like a stealthy kid, rain began her naughty dance. "Shall we walk in the rain? " my friend ventured. " Ofcourse." Said I, and we walked along as if we were enjoying a sunny evening walk. Three book stores later, we were drenched and happy, and certified lunatics by the TVM society.

Back home. As on cue, the rain stops. As suddenly as she has started. But I am not angry. The coolness of rain - much cooler than the tap water which I use for bathing - has lulled me, like the unexpected kiss of an errant child, it has softened me.

"Monsoon.." I whisper " Are you here? "

But the rain has tiptoed away.

20060417

Fight Club

Pavlo Cohelo once wrote in Alchemist that if you so want something to happen, then the world eventually conspires to get it done for you.

I am a great believer of those words. Indeed, I really desire for very few things, but those which I wanted with my heart n soul, I always got it. Not by means of hard toil, but by means of sitting pretty and doing nothing. The same is true for my mother too, but to a lesser extent. Make the two of us angry, really angry and give us jut cause to be angry, and bad stuff happen to you. I'm not psyching you out, but taking stock of stuff which has happened to people and things had brought in this conclusion. The only constraints are that :

1. I have to be really angry at you / want something very badly
2. It has to be entirely your fault / I should have tried as much as I can and failed
3. I now do no act of vengeance myself / I still keep it in my mind and cut back on my quest to earn it; essentially, I'm just 'being there.'

Anyways, back to the battlefield called Mallu extended family, which consists of family, relatives, friends of relatives and well wishers; thus encompassing the entire resident mallu populace. Too lazy to write a long piece; so here come some snippets:

Snippet #1:
One the phone, with a cousin. Actually, her kids are closer to age to me than her. She asks me about my life, and then suddenly " How is your health?"

" I am fine. And I was never sick or ill, so why do you ask??" I enquired with thinly veiled annoyance.

" Oh, well, you will need to wear a sari soon.. " She droned on, blissfully impervious to my attempted rudeness.

Snippet #2:
An old friend's wedding. I go there, and come across a collegemate. Rather than old friendship, it is the new feeling of ' where are all the people whom we know ' that binds us. We start talking. She has put on weight, but I smoothly lie and tell that she looks good. She, on the other hand, might have been totally discomfited by my colored hair, short kurthi and tight jeans, but lies equally flawlessly.

" Where will you work? "

I mentioned the company.

"And what is the salary?"

I mentioned it too.

" Well, I am asking all this so that I can tell when people ask what my MBA friend is earning. " She explained.

Now, why do people act like Income Tax officers and question your salary?

Snippet #3:
Me and my mother visit the opticians. I need new glasses. The power has increased, and I am on my way to greater myopic glory. I mention the Lasik procedure to my mom. She denies it flat out, somewhat the sameway I deny the many men my mom deems fit for me to marry.

"But why?"

She, taking a page from my book, decided to project silent hostility.

" You apparently have enough to get me married, but not to have a simple surgery done? " I asked.

World War III is going on fine at the Witch household.

20060413

By the river Sowparnika, I sat and Prayed

Namesake, for you to find freedom from her memories, to love and be loved again; past to ashes and future perfect...

Sister, for you two to have all the happiness you deserve and your parents to have good sense...

Frog and the princess, for you two to create what was left unmade...

Northie friend and bonafideSouthie [regards to food and damsels especially], of you to be reunited with that piece of your heart with is with a girl from the same land as I am...

And I too begged, for now I need a miracle. I have burned the boats so to speak, and now you need to row over to my island. Though I do not think that you will.

But when we lose all hope and reality mocks us, then faith is the only mirage left, and we cling to it with an intensity unknown.

May I attain Fannah. May I not hurt anyone else. May I learn to walk alone and court pain.

For I have realized that unlike education, possessions and money; there are some things in life which you do need - like a vocation, a quest, a dedication.

And may be, this too shall pass, but then, I too would have passed away by then. This is not something really great or earth shattering; it can only shatter me.

Peace to you, and for everyone in your life.

20060407

Farewell to Arms??? Naaa...

Multi tasking is channel surfing when eating chocolates and trying to translate the process into words - a.k.a; what I am doing right now.

Back South. South started when there were an abundance of mustaches. And the huge din in Chennai welcomed me back. With the scent of jasmine wafting from nowhere, the eye scorching colors of expensive kaanjeevaram saris , the exorbitant rates of the railway porters and the cheap but divine south indian food - it all welcomed the two of us back to South.

Kerala was another shock. It was green and more green everywhere, with the cashia fistulas going all yellow with no trace of green. We peek out of the door at a railway station; our streaked hair seems to send out the signal that we are fast and loose : men ogle, pass comments, and give us a once over with their eyes. For the time being, we are being classified as public property.

"Mayire... @!~&%$#Mon.. " My fellow traveler enunciates the choicest gaalis in purr-fect Malayalam. I do an English translation; if not in content, atleast in sprit. Suddenly, the men are busy, and no more snide remarks or greetings come our way.

Home. it looks smaller, especially after I had unpacked and spread the contents all over the floor. My mom looks with curiosity at the XL size jacket that I have taken with me. " A friend gave it to me.My best friend.Actually, I asked him for it." I explains.

My mom goes in for the kill. Rather, the Yearbook. I point out my close friends, the people with whom I hang out with and the ones which made a difference to my two years there. I am being closely questioned as to why I didn't write for this or that Mallu, or vice versa. WW3 to start? Nope. Remembering the Collective Bargaining classes, I see my mom as a particularly stubborn Union Leader and diverts the crisis.

But just when I had relaxed a bit...

"Who is Mintu?* "
"Friend ma."
" The one whose coat you got here? "
"yup. "
"Who is Gay?"

You asshole from Asansole, how I wanted to kick you!

Cut to next day. I take over the kitchen to fry fish, and my mom accosts me there. " Tell me dear. Do you have someone in your mind? Or can we go forth with the other guy? "

" Ma, I will marry when I find the guy to whom I want to get married to. Not before that. Not to anyone else."

"Even if you are 60? "

"No. Even if I am 90."

"Are you..? " my mom's face ashen.

" Oh for Chrissake ma! I'm not a lesbian!" See, for all the times I called you a homo, now I was branded as one by my own parents. Talk about divine humor....

So thus I sit here, footloose and fancy free.

* Name substituted by pet name.

20060403

stop gap post

So how do I feel on the lst night ar XL? I miss my friends - or rather, my best friend. he was my secret keeper and personal diary; i used to tell him all the highs and lows of the sitcom called my life and my umpteen crushes... More than the fact that he has left XL, what irks me is the no outgoing calls clause in my cell phone...

I wont be missing my friends, as i usually keep in touch with them... but i will miss the huge raucous group, the arbit conversations and the verbal duals that i had with a bunch of good friends... from many-to-many to one-to-one or one-to-many -- it sucks. :(

I also would be missing the dogs here... never was a mongrel lover before - was afraid of them and only petted pedigreed pooches before coming to XL. However, these dogs with clairvoyant powers somehow wormed their way into my heart. they know when you need them, they are always there for you, and they forgive you if you are mean to them.

I will also miss the freedom I had here. the late nights, the flix screenings, the daaru sessions... i will also miss gh4 [ gh1, 1st floor ] the place where my best friends amongst my batchmates and seniors invariably end up... the place which I claimed as my own.

hittin road 2mrw early mornin.. hope to reach home by 6th or 7th. takin fijord capra n salman rushdie for company... hope their XL-ed daughter doesn't shock my parents too much :)
Google PageRank Checker Tool