Thursday, October 29, 2009

A day in the life

There's probably a ghost in the house, but never mind that.
I've realised (as have millions and millions and millions have already, I'm sure), I have a Beatles song for every mood, every occassion. Today feels like 'A Day in the Life'.

Woke up, fell out of bed,
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup,
And looking up I noticed I was late.
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke,
and Somebody spoke and I went into a dream


Aaaaaaaaaa. Sigh. Yesterday, I watched a movie sitting at my desk. Hitchcock's 'Spellbound'. I've seen better Hitchcock films, but this one had it's moments. It was full of these motifs, typical of Hitchcock films, and these super cool shots (I was in love with this one where Gregory Peck drinks milk - you see the shot from the perspective of the glass' bottom, while the milk flows towards the camera as the glass is being tilted. It's quite brilliant). And of course, the Dali dream sequence. I know a lot people think Dali is over-rated. I personally think, if Dali had been alive he'd be doing things you'd never imagine. He'd use the internet, the TV, the outer frikking space to express his surreal art. He was way ahead of his times, and the fact that he still makes you go, 'wow, who would have thought' even today, is proof enough of his brilliance. Anyway, getting back to Spellbound, Hitchcock himself referred to the film as "just another manhunt wrapped up in pseudo-psychoanalysis". Haha. I love Hitchcock. I was just going through some of his interviews, where he speaks about the American obsession with content. He believed that his main duty as a film-maker was to keep the viewer rivetted to the screen - and the only way he could do that was through his visuals. Let talk be a part of the background, the ambience as it were, was his theory. And you will of course, see that in all his films. Which is why the most ordinary plot, with pretty ordinary acting almost always ends up being an extraordinary film as a whole! I think we're so caught up in trying to sound cool, look cool, be cool, that we forget that we have to actually DO something to be perceived as cool. Like, work for instance. Hitchcock's films are anything but simplistic, though he'd love to fool you into believing that. He wants you to watch his film, be glued to the screen, get scared, get excited - even if you are responding to it at the most superficial level. But there's something in it for the most neurotic nitcpicker as well. He makes everyone happy. What a filmy Santa Claus.
Anyway. As always, I have no work at office today. It's exhausting, this no-work business. But, I've found a solution to this problem. This is, my gap year. For which I get paid, which is kind of cool. But it kind of takes the pressure of. So, I'm doing what I like doing - I'm watching films, TV, reading, wiki-ing, travelling and listening to a whole lot of music. Maybe I should start playing the guitar once again, and record some music. See, I AM trying to be positive about it all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm irritated. I'm sitting here in office, blogging. I would work, IF there was any work to do. I can't sugercoat this. My. Job. Sucks.
This Airtel chick just called up about bills and stuff (the office bills - and our neighbouring office, not even ours) and obviously, I just didn't feel like explaining all that much, so I said no-one's here (which is true) and that I don't work here (which I wish was true). So this bitch (I mean, really, she was one), was like, "So, why you pick up the phone Miss? Huh?" And all this while, I've been polite (because hey, she's just doing her job and shit, right?), but when she says that, I want to totally unleash my inner demon and annihilate her, chop her up into ten thousand pieces and feed her to the sharks. Okay, maybe that's too much, but you know - I just feel this searing rage and I really need to give it back to her. So I do. And I'm actually a little kicked about how calm I sounded, and how much more polite I got. Controlled rage totally rocks.
So, anyway, she's back to her robotic customer service jargon, after I tell her in a sad polite hush, "There's really no need to be so rude" and I kind of semi-slam the phone (hey, I'm only human) because I cannot hear people say things, just because they have to say things.
Anyway, this was much more exciting 10 minutes ago.
Last night, I went to this pub with ear deafening music with a girlfriend, and considering my get up (T-shirt, jeans, floaters and a very old purple hoodie) and my short hair, and my petite little friend, next to whom I felt like Andre the Giant - they MUST have concluded that, we're a lesbian couple. We were trying to decide which one was worse - being mistaken for a lesbian or being mistaken for a pair of single women trying to pick up men. We decided the latter was worse, because being lesbian is totally alright, whereas being desperate isn't. It's like someone saying, Oh you're Punjabi? (no-one has though) when I am Bengali. It's no big deal. Not that Punjabis are lesbians. Okay, this is just getting weird. I shall just stop.

Postcards from Dilli


Today, for some reason, I was reminded of Delhi. Maybe, it was the weather. It's almost been a year. Anyway, so I sifted through some old writing and photographs from that time, and decided to put something together. It seems a little childish, a little contrived - but it's okay. I see it a lot in my old writing - this kid who's kind of stumbling through the big bad world and can't help but romanticize it. Okay, so maybe I still do it, but I get it. I get the superficiality of it. I find it tiresome to read through an endless stream of descriptions which don't really mean anything. They create a mood, and that's where it ends. It's so easy to be a critic, but it's super tough to actually do the right thing. Which is why, I say, it's okay. Even if the writing is a little too romantic, a little too dramatic. I'm learning.

It's funny - a friend of mine (who reads this sometimes) asked me if I have any writing that is "happy". And I was like, sure, I must - I'm a happy person. But wow. There was nothing that wasn't angsty. Everything else was fluffy rot. Either fluff or angst. There was some old stuff - like way back in college, but they were too, I don't know, English lit. Extremely influenced by whatever we were reading at that point of time. My own voice was kind of missing. And I'm still getting there - but I like it. I like going through old stuff. Sometimes I'm genuinly surprised by a piece of writing - and sometimes (most of the time) I'm so, so embarrassed. But it's fun nevertheless.

Everyone should write. Just write whatever. Writing rocks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Here

Pic: Diya Lall, Kolkata 2009.


Happily, trips are still cool things to do. Fortunately, 19 hours pass without event or desperation when you know there is a plan waiting for you. The grim toilets on highways, the dug-out non-roads, the knot on your back – all of it, is a part of a grand surprise, and a story for later.
Unfortunately, the romance of this trip is pretty only on paper. The surprise is wonderful – but not yet solved in my head. It’s a sweet I’ll have on a lonely day. For now, it’s an event that came and went, rushed and splendid, like a wet dream – but not quite understood.
Today, I imagined myself making a video. I imagined adjusting the focal length, the shutter speed and the aperture, and changing the focus as my subject came closer to the camera. It was a pretty awesome shot of a kid running towards the edge of a small cliff into a dark pool of water. Many angles till the final leap, and then the splash caught in brilliant slow motion, the drops of water crystal clear and almost tangible.
Then I imagined scolding someone at a job - not firing him, but punishing him by making him stay. And then I fired a girl who was like me. A little slow, and in need of a shock - a very obvious, certain rejection.
Right now, there’s a power cut at work. I’m sitting in my corner, using my laptop, pretending like I don’t exist, and everyone else is also pretending the same. But funnily, I’m writing to tell myself, you are real, and this is happening – and it matters to just punch keys and freewheel. I’m here. Just don’t walk through me yet.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't say it, because as soon as you do, you want to take it back. Or if you say it, don't mean it too much, so it's still not really, really said. Maun vrat.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dylan still rocks, and so does Cal.

Firstly, I am at home. And this has been one of the best holidays ever. Right now, sitting in front of our 6 year old Toshiba (I LOVE this old fellow), listening to Orbit rock, and I feel a general sense of bliss. I just finished watching an episode Beverly Hills 90210 on TV - and surprise, surprise - Dylan McKay still rocks. Haha. I forgot how much I used to like him!
This Diwali, has been a total blast from the past (I know, terrible - but all this ugly punning comes from writing radio spots and the like). I met family, friends (for once, the world seemed to have returned to Cal), went to old my neighbourhood, felt like I was 13 again (stole shy glances at the "brother you could never be"), lit tubris, chorkis and did my bit to add to global warming. My brother had a pre-birthday dinner, since we'd all be leaving by then, at one of my favourite restaurants, where I had first learnt to use chopsticks. It's been delicious, this visit, it really has.
I love it when Cal is all lit up and happy and we're all together as a family.
I miss my 90s. I miss Bev. Hills, denim, my cycle, Nirvana, playing guitar on my badminton racket and my grandparents. It was a seriously cool time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Logo Love

As promised, I have links. Cool links. And I shall keep updating these links. So check them out everytime you need a bit of inspiration.
My Art Guy (who keeps getting these really cool Ad mags, illustration books), Platform magazine, Brandstack.com, and a general lack of work got me thinking. I made some logos for fun - and it IS a lot of fun. Check them out. Would love feedback!




















P.S.> Do NOT miss the worst music video EVER in the Vautch section

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It starts with alarms. It ends with alarms. Your life is an unending commercial. The concept of a house, a home, a perfect one - all of it, is a commercial. The perfect floor cleaner, the freshest eggs, the strongest coffee, the best frikkin detergent powder for all those tough stains. The hum of the fridge, the beep of the microwave, the whirr of the mixer, the splashing of the washing machine, the blare of the TV – SFX baby. And you. You are at the centre of it all. The moronic model. The sampler. The example. The user of things.

Once you step out of the house/home, you are in a film. Or a music video at best. Life is hurled at you and you forge through the bloody deluge. You have to. You’re a hero. In a frikkin epic. The streets are difficult. Monsters, everywhere. Jungle beasts. But you hold your own. You’re programmed to. Like a zombie. Because this. Is. A. Horror movie.

There’s no time for niceties. Only at home. With tea and biscuits and yakkity yak. When you’re a Stepford wife. Then you’re nice. You’re very, very nice.

At work, the horror continues. Continues. Continues. Continues. Like a stuck reel. It just frikkin continues. Like your scariest movie moment. Mine’s a moment from ‘The Exorcist’. It’s green and disgusting and mind-blowingly twisted.

When you get back, when you do eventually, you are sick. Spotted, rotten, diseased. Your mind and your body are adjusting to your expendable, clout-less existence. Give it time. Once you’re in Stage-4 Zombiehood, you’ll be ABSOLUTELY FINE.

When you go to sleep...do you hear the alarms ring? Anyway, there’s always morning.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Brother and Sister you could never be

I grew up in a little neighbourhood where everyone knew everyone, and sometimes knew each other a tad too well. I mean, you could hear people brushing their teeth, flushing toilets and fighting and fucking and all of that. Okay, maybe not fucking – but you know – nothing ever remained hidden. And while everyone had their flaws and deficiencies, there was universal acceptance and love for all. That’s a lot of bullshit, but you know, generally we all got along more or less alright. But there was this one family – particularly this brother and sister duo - who weren’t a part of this self assured middle class ring of acceptance. The sister was obese, had a failed marriage and was rarely seen. The brother had flunked several times in school, got kicked out of college, rode fast cars and bikes, had many girlfriends, drank a lot of alcohol and probably did drugs. Oh and listened to “English music” really loud.

Our buildings were connected, and our verandas were diagonally opposite to each other. Which meant I could always get a whiff of this guy’s cologne every time he stood there, and get to listen to all his loud English music and all of that. What’s more, we shared a common garage, so he often came to over to our apartment to ask for the car keys whenever he had to move our car in order to take his one out. He was always courteous, very charming and extremely respectful to my parents.

My family is not particularly judgemental, but for some reason or the other, we were warned constantly about not becoming like “them”. I was a fat kid. Every time I took an extra helping of dessert or something, my folk would be like – “You’ll become like her!” referring to the sister. When my brother and I would crank up the volume and listen to “hard rock” (read Bryan Adams), they’d be like, “You’re behaving just like that boy!” obviously referring to our neighbourhood bad boy, the brother.

Needless to say, I was fascinated by this forbidden fruit. The guy was exceptionally good looking, smelled like heaven, and had a way with words. All he’d say when he’d ring the bell to our house was “Chabi?” and I’d be weak kneed with shyness and infatuation. When I cycled past him in the evening, he’d smile, flashing those deep, gorgeous dimples and my heart would pound crazily and I’d do my best to hide my flushed cheeks. If he asked me a question, I’d stutter, or almost always never hear properly (who could hear over the boom-bitty-boom of my foolish heart?). But all the while, I’d be his biggest retractor. I’d gossip viciously about him, judge his every move and joke about his drunken escapades. The guy was unravelling, quite clearly in front of everyone’s eyes and we were all amused spectators. Everyone followed his every move, and proceeded to dismiss him...and of course, issued warnings to their kids – “Don’t become like him”. I smiled at him, with practised hypocrisy on days when I felt particularly confident, and he’d always smile back. Sometimes I’d even ask him something – trivial and unnecessary – and be completely drained by the effort at the end of it – but he’d always reply politely, graciously. I had converted him into some kind of demi-god inside my head, I knew that of course, and hated being such a hypocrite – but I had a feeling he knew anyway. He had no doubt, I’m sure, that this overweight, boy-girl, of all of fourteen was hopelessly in love with him. And he probably had a quiet chuckle about it.

I’m almost the same age as he was, now. I’m not exactly what you call a role model for younger kids. Sure, I’ve passed my school, college and have a master’s degree – but I live recklessly, stupidly and what do you know, I’m still overweight. I’ve achieved no great feats, and I’m sure if I were still living in that old neighbourhood of mine, I’d be gossiped about occasionally (God, we were a bored lot). I’ve met many guys like him since, and obviously, as you are wont to find out as you grow up, these so called “bad boys” are everywhere – unravelling, waiting for you to Florence Nightingale them at all their weakest moments. Also pathetically abundant are these shy fourteen year olds with whimsical attitudes and raging hormones, dying to “take care” of a bad boy.

The guy’s still on the same path. He still lives in the cloistered confines of our old neighbourhood. He got married, had a kid, got divorced, his family moved away and he bought a dog. He still rides a bike, still gets drunk, but unfortunately is not as good looking as he used to be. It’s his birthday today, and I remembered almost ten years ago, I dropped in a little chocolate ├ęclair inside his letterbox anonymously as a birthday present. When I checked again later with tremendous trepidation, I found that the ├ęclair wasn’t there. Either he picked it up, or threw it. I don’t know. But it wasn’t there. Which means, he found it. And I was so thrilled with that, that even today, I smile about it sometimes.

When I read Joyce’s “Araby”, I thought of him. And all the jazz about the quest for the Holy Grail, being in love with the idea of love etc, etc. I still look for him wherever I go. Forbidden fruit, dangerous love. Hehe. Happy Birthday Bad Boy. I never outgrew you, I think.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Discoveries

Here are some interesting discoveries vis-a-vis two oh oh nine.

Jerry Garcia.
I was introduced to Grateful Dead and CSNY in college thanks to Bertie (a kind of cult hero-English professor-singer-songwriter-musician from Cal). But I never followed it up much. But then, I started downloading stuff indiscriminately at work and stumbled upon a Garcia treasure trove. Oh wow. And wow.


Grey's Anatomy
I'm a Grey's newbie. I avoided it like the plague in college. Everyone was into Grey's - and I know how addicted I can get to T.V. series. So I didn't go the Grey way. But ever since I've shifted to this new city, life has taken a dark and sinister turn. Chungs' Chinese and Grey's Anatomy - addiction, addiction. I'm totally You-Tubing, Wiki-ing and gossip scavenging Grey's dirt. What can I say? It's become a part of life.


Lou Reed
I don't think you can call yourself a music lover if you haven't been initiated the Lou Reed way. I was a music virgin, yes. I begin my
Sunday mornings with Sunday Morning and follow it up with Perfect Day. Sweet.


Erik Satie's Gnossiennes No. 4
My dad had bought me this CD player back in the day and along with it a CD of some of the greatest classical piano pieces. And there was in it, a curious piece called Gymnopedie. Many years and google revolutions later, I stumbled upon Gnossiennes No. 4. It's so positively enchanting - yes, that's the word. Apparently it's called furniture music (google it - akin to elevator music), but what do I care? It takes me somewhere far, far away this piece. I love it.

Lady Gaga
Don't ask. It started with my room-mate's ringtone, and now I'm just, well, riding the disco stick.







Haruki Murakami

Again, a college hit, but never got down to reading it somehow. Then, quite accidentally, I came to possess "Kafka on the Shore", and so, it followed.
Surreal stuff.





Okay, I'm tired of formatting this now, so I'll do it some other time. Just a small mention of my newly discovered love for logos, Thomas Pynchon and Frederico Fellini.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just