The Month That Was

>> Thursday, December 27, 2007

As the year ends, I realize I have absolutely nothing to post about. There are no more ideas, no more thoughts, and sadly, no more useless rendezvous in front of the computer. I have suddenly started living usefully. All those hours I would spend in front of my blog, blankly hoping a comment would arrive just by sheer force of will power, have now been replaced by hours I give very serious thoughts to what to wear to this year's new year party. Clothes are now sadly occupying a major part of my brain functioning, thus leading to unfounded comments about my sudden embracing of my femininity. Thus, my year end post is mostly going to be about conversations regarding this and other feminine topics. I assume it would be vastly uninteresting to the male segment of my readership and hence, to entice a bigger audience, this post is being rated as adults only, due to allusions to topics the censor boards happily imagines 17 year olds do not know anything about.

Conversation 1
(Bonky and I, while on one of our expeditions)
P: So, I have been thinking, all these guys I know, they look at me in a very..umm.... asexual manner. What could be the reason? My demeanor?
B: Dude, you realize you just said 'I entreat..' to a guy while trying to juggle two handkerchiefs. While each by themselves are not very appealing, both of them together are fatal for your romantic chances. What you need to do is be more feminine. No more coming to college with unbrushed hair.
P: Feminine huh? So how do you go about this feminine..uh..thingy?

(A few minutes later, the time interim having been spent on saving a centipede from a professor's footsteps)
B: Since we did save it, should we adopt it? It is one of our responsibilities now. You know, once you save someone, you are doomed to protect it for ever?
P: Oooh yes, and you could be its mother. I am obviously the godmother since I am too creeped out to touch it. We could call it Pintoo.
B: Huh? I was thinking of Albuquerque. Why Pintoo?
P: Association of ideas.

(after 5 minutes spent in profound thought)
P: Say, a centipede bites a man, and the man becomes centipedeman, what colour would his costume be?
B: Hey, it could bite us too, so why not centipedewoman?
P: Dude, you really want a hundred legs?
B: We could have retractable legs. Though I wonder what use they would be. Does not look as if a hundred legs make him any faster than two.
P: Uhh...their extreme hairiness which protects us from bullets?
B: (after pondering long and hard) You are right, there can never be a centipedewoman.
P: So, chrome and platinum should be ideal, what?
B: Yup, chrome outfit with platinum legs.
P: That should do it.

Conversation 2
(Berry and I in an auto)
P: So, this femininity thing..I got this new jacket, you know, and it does make me feel very girly, not the usual tomboyish self. I have been thinking, is femininity about what you feel rather than what you look? Coz, I guess I look the same, but you know, the feeling thing is there and are you even listening?
B: You? Feminine??
P: Uh..
*pregnant pause*
B: Can I borrow it?

Conversation 3
(Gupi, Sakes and I, meeting up after two years. The first line spoken goes down in history of first lines spoken between friends after 2 years)

G: Hi, yeah, I need you guys to help me rob a teacher of a law book.
P: Get in the room, if he is there borrow it, if he is not, steal it.
S: But why?
P: Eh? How does that matter?
S: I am sorry. What was I thinking?

(Gap of fifteen minutes)
G: Of course, Sakes can not have non vegetarian.
S: Yes, never had it before. Never will.
P: Er.. you have. Once at school. From my lunch box. Class 7.
S: I was a kid then. I will not be losing my religion over that surely.
P: Ahh, but you see, religion is like virginity. Once its gone, its gone.
S: *blushes*
G: Still the kid, are not you?
P: Say, suppose we end up as single mothers?
G: (dumbfounded) If that happens, one has to be really unlucky. What with all the technology and stuff...
P: Do you deny the possibility completely then?
G: Hmm..OK, what if we do end up as single mothers? How is that fun?
P: But don't you see it? We would have full freedom with its upbringing. He could grow up to be a Kalahari desert tribesman. Or the King of Cannibal Islands!!
G: And eat you?
P: Course we tell him relatives are not food. But it could eat all the people we do not like. We won't even need to worry about disposing the body.
G: Oh no. I am not murdering anyone. I stick only to robbery.
P:Hmm..we could be like Iago, you know. We instigate others to murder and just use the body to feed the kid.
G: You realize we just created a foolproof plan to feed a cannibal child we are supposed to be giving birth to?
P: I know! We rock!

This post, though seemingly senseless and pointless, is meant as a tribute to one of the happiest years of my life. To all the friends and to all the laughter. And Economics. I guess. Someday, you will be my future. I guess its about time I started liking you. You are my New Year's resolution.
And my blog readers.
Thank you.
I will probably be out of ideas till next year.
So here is wishing you a mad and silly New Year.

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The Perils in the Life of the Indian Student

>> Friday, December 14, 2007

While the whole country discusses in a hush tone the degeneration of the moral responsibility of students regarding the all important question of the health and mortality of their fellow classmates, one remains tolerantly amused. Yes, murder is a serious threat to the peace our society is accustomed to, but it is such a rare occurrence that one glances over the newspaper, tut-tuts, and promptly switches over to semi-naked pictures of Hrithik Roshan in the entertainment section.

OK, one does not do exactly that, but one does exaggerate a bit. But let one go on to what one means to post about.

The average student life is fraught with enough mortal dangers. Even if one decides to forgo the possibility of self annihilation, education is not exactly a path of strewn lilies. There are blood thirsty teachers, spending years of their lives waiting for that one particular bit of homework, which inspires and alleviates one to the level of hair pulling younger siblings. Of course, they take it too literally, and there is a certain amount of one sided hair pulling involved, but one does not go further into it either. The case in point was never very satisfactorily solved. Of course if the teacher does not get you, there are always your classmates. Even if most do not have access to revolvers, they could always get you with a good hard shove in the back. Of course if you manage to dodge classmates, its usually the volleyball which has it for you, or the chair has a faulty leg, or the chalk gets you in the eye. If not facing enough impediment from the inanimate world, you could of course get yourself. Let the shot put drop on your leg, be a boy, or just find yourself dozing in the class. Danger lurks at every corridor corner, behind every library shelf, inside every cobwebby desk shelf.

But these, are of course common dangers. There are also the more unusual, though not unknown forms of dangers. These kind of dangers are first intimated the day before voting day for election of the college union. Knowing one's perfectly apolitical stance, party members and hopeful representatives, people who never look twice at one during average, non-political days, begin calling you up and talking about providing bodyguards on your way to the college. When the same one is not exactly built on slender lines, and is accustomed to carrying The Suitable Boy as a light read in ones bag, one begins to wonder on what diabolical plans the opposition might be planning to actually nullify the effects of both of ones strongest weapons. Kidnapping- possible. Threatening- probable. Sexual Harassment- not unheard of. But one braves all odds. One refuses guards. One goes to college and immediately realizes both parties are waiting for one because most votes are known except one's. One revels in the importance. Then one feels foolish. Then one gets disgusted. One somehow manages to elude the hypocritical fools and vote for one she hopes is lesser of the two evils. One thankfully goes back home. Then does the excitement start.

News starts pouring in. Two members of one of the parties have been kidnapped. There has been a lathi charge. The winning CR has been gheraoed. The principal has been gheraoed. Students have been arrested. You switch on the news and see the person you usually sit behind of getting beaten up. It becomes an unreal world. Not the place you drag your sorry behind to morning classes. More so when the kidnapped guys actually have been arrested for eve teasing a woman. And these are the people we vote as our representatives.

The actual danger all this while had been the idea that a couple of eighteen year old students actually believe they realize what political ideology is all about. But then, how many older people can claim knowing it either?

Of course, there is another sort of danger, which does not really lead to physical harm...I think. At school, a girl with lovely, shiny hair used to sit in front of one. One and her were never particularly good friends. But one envied her lovely hair. One used to wonder whether ones superior intellectual skills ( modesty is not one's besetting sins) was a compensation enough.

One day, one grows up. One enters college. One decides to do the ultimate grown up thing. One consults a few friends. One goes out and buys beer. One drinks beer illegally at Forum. One actually opens it with her teeth in the bathroom at BURP! Transfers it to a cold drink glass and drinks beer openly. One gets a little high. Ones friends actually get drunk on beer, having no constitution whatsoever. One meets the lovely haired girl. One knows she is in one of the city's premier colleges studying some obscure subject. Girl says she is very happy. Girl is 18 and she is getting married to someone seven years older than her in a matter of two weeks. Ones friends and one keel over in shock. One thinks one is having hallucinations. Three weeks later, one meets the same girl, in jeans and sindoor.

An year later, when one struggles with her first University examination paper, shiny haired girl struggles to bring the first of her many babies to this world, education and ambition long forgotten. Girl is perfectly happy. One is perfectly happy too. In different worlds. Where one is still a child and another a mother of one.

One wonders, is one too judgmental?

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Hallelujah

>> Sunday, December 09, 2007

I have been tagged by Moo-lah :P
So this tag basically wants me to reveal my maddening music choice to the unsuspecting cyberworld. I apologize unreservedly for affronted feelings.
Rules:
1. Put your MP3 player/Media player on shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write the name of the song no matter what.

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY?” YOU SAY?
Flipside [Nitin Sawhney]
Okay, it would make sense in some kind of a parallel universe, I guess.

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Beautiful World [Colin Hay]
So, yes, basically I am a happy person, so I would send this answer to the parallel universe too.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Letting Go [Nitin Sawhney]
Ho-kay....

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
I could have danced all night [My Fair Lady]
Not really....

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Show me the meaning of being lonely [Backstreet Boys]
I knew it!!!!

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Call of the tribes [Karunesh]
This, I did not expect.

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
As long as you love me [BSB]
Selfish Creatures.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Boogie Wonderland [The Emotions]
I am so glad they do not know I blog.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Overkill [Colin Hay]
True! True! True!

WHAT IS 2+2?
Khoya Khoya Chand [Khoya Khoya Chand]
Reason no. 124 why I screwed up my Maths pass paper.

DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
I'll Be There For You [ Rembrandts]
Uncanny.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Hold on Hope [Guided By Voices]
Thats exactly what everyone else says.

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Nadia [Nitin Sawhney]
The song is mostly about calling out to an unheeding lover. So, close.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
I like to move it [Reel 2 Real]
Whaaaaat??!!!!

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Sting [Desert Rose]
He is always making out with his girlfriend, so true. Very sting-y :(

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
I'm a Believer [Monkees]
Eh...?

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Dracula From Houston [Butthole Surfers]
Its got lines like " I know that you’ll miss me, But I’m never never never, Comin’ home". It also has lines about buying beers and painting bikes. It probably means I will elope.

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Heartbreak Hotel [Elvis Presley]
Yay-ee

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Move your Body [Johnny Gaddar]
What is wrong with the bloody shuffler?

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
You got the Hooch [Everything]
....

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Nostalgia [Nitin Sawhney]
Hmmm...

WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?
Hallelujah [John Cale]
Amen to that

Whoa..over..

I tag arsenik, doubletake doublethink, firewhisky, new age scheherazade, the ancient mariner and what's in a name.

Go, go through hell. You have my blessings.

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The Terrible Two and the Mystery of The Reluctant Child

>> Saturday, December 01, 2007

Prelude

Scene : Near the Gariahat flyover. One surprised looking man, one bawling child, two girls, one angry and the other with a crude mask over her head. The unmasked girl glares at the man. The air is charged with the essence of an unanswered question. The masked girl seems to be shaking with rage. The child continues to bawl. No one else seems to care. No cute guys around. Both girls carrying bags where huge notebooks do not seem to fit.

Time: somewhere around seven in the evening.

Chapter 1
The Only Chapter There Is


It all started one fine Thursday afternoon when I realized I was not receiving respect enough for my existence. On roads, I am either passed over, or have the wrong body parts stared at by the all and sundry of the eve teasing population. It was while my dramatic soul cringed against the unfairness, my sister came in sporting a laboratory coat all Science students are expected to wear, as an impenetrable protection against the deadliest acids. Needless to say, the selfsame cloak of invincibility was stained and holed, her entire class having had the mind boggling idea of having an early Holi party with the more dilute versions of the same acids and a few bases. But, like the sight of those who bring good tidings to the mountains, the coat lay in front of me, bright, shining and beautiful.

The lab coat, in all principles, resembles all lab coats in the world. Specially the coats worn by the unfortunate few in the medical profession. It was not surprising that a few hours later, I started out for my Maths tution dressed up as a medical student. Who does not respect medical students? Someday, I might presumably be saving the very lives who give me a blank stare and add to my insecurities.

It was a nice trip. But nothing unusual. Apparently, there are too many doctors in this world and beyond for people to bother. The conductor did manage to find me a seat though. Was it because of my gender, my alleged profession or the fact that I perpetually look like a helpless cow, I will never know. But at my tution, I caused sensation. Its a different thing only one person was there, but she was curious enough. But as usual, Berry took it very sportingly and even came up with a madcap idea to justify the presence of the lab coat. After the diabolical lie was cut and pruned to perfection, we realized the brainstorm had made us hungry and we went outside to forage for anything which looked cheap, unhealthy and fattening.

However, our journey to the world of further obesity was cut short by the sight of a man dragging a child of about four, who, as was obvious, did not want to go and was using his lungs to its fullest capacity to state his objections. Since all detective novels require a description, the man was of North-eastern descend, dressed in something blue and cheap and his front pocket seemed slightly bulgy. The kid looked like all kids, snotty, wailing and at the stage of life when kids stop being cute and become noisy. Berry and I looked like ourselves, sharing between us neither egg shaped heads, nor pipes, nor moustaches, nor trenchcoats, nor even knitting, the trademark of Miss Marple. Our detective trademark, if any, would be bags filled with ill-fitting notebooks and wrappers of chocolates hidden from discerning parents.

Both Berry and I read the papers. She reads them to know what is going in the world. I read the comic strips and the TV guide. But I have read enough crime stories to know an attempted kidnapping when confronted with one. We both shot a look at each other and decided to follow the man. All this, of course, was done wordlessly. But we had enough time later to exchange words. People who belong to Kolkata might be better able to estimate the distance. We started at the beginning of Ballygunge Phari near Merlin Court and ended up near the Gariahat flyover. Our dialogue during the stalking went on these lines :

P: We are not exactly very inconspicuous, are we?
B: You find trees and bushes on this footpath, and I name thee Mrs. Feluda.
P: Shucks, you are too kind. How did you know I have been totally in love with him since like when I was fourteen?
B: Will you kindly concentrate on the matter at hand? You talk too much.
P: Oh yeah, the kidnapped kid? Do you think people know what we are upto? I have been catching a few glances.
B: None of that, I assume, has anything to do with your weird choice of wardrobe today, eh? Darn, its seven, sir must have arrived. What are we supposed to be doing today? Testing?
P: Test? Test? What test? Did he say anything about a test last week? Was that when I was looking at Zombie. He is kinda sexy, you know, in a very warped sort of manner.
B: Its the name of a chapter, woman, the one we did last week. And Zombie is shorter by a few inches. Oh God, we are just behind the man, what do we do now?
P (while opening coat): OK, how about I put the coat over the man and you grab the child and run away with it? Also, FYI, all guys in this city are either shorter or younger.

Berry, not very impressed with my idea of re-kidnapping kidnapped children, decided to put things in her hands. While I crept up close to the man, ready to muffle him with the acid stained coat, Berry shoved me aside and decided to confront him, woman-to-man.

"Oi, mister," she demanded in her most severe tone, "where do you think you are going with the child? Whose child is it?"

Thus arose the situation described in the prelude. I promptly put the coat over my head to prevent the man from recognizing me in a line-up and began laughing hysterically behind it. The man looked amazed to say the least. The kid, of course, could not care less, his lungs being the envy of all asthmatics worldwide. Berry continued to glare in an uncanny resemblance o my eighth grade Biology teacher.

"I..you...this kid..you see...my employer's child. He asked me to get him to his home...making too much noise...office being disturbed...says mother will see to him," the man faltered, either in nervousness (having two mad girls attack you in the middle of the street can never be easy) or having hopelessly fallen in love with Berry and thus rendered semi tongue-tied.

"Figures," I commented laconically from behind the coat.

Berry was not easy to convince though. She demanded proof. The brave, brave woman, standing in the middle of the street, ten minutes late for tution, walking up to a random stranger and asking him to prove he was not a kidnapper. This girl is so gonna grow up into a social activist. Or a policewoman. Or a mugger.

It all ended when the man finally offered to call up his employer and convinced us that it was indeed his child. Finally satisfied, she permitted the poor man to withdraw with the yelling kid to the mother, possibly a harassed, tired woman prematurely hard of hearing. We trudged back to our classes, complaining bitterly about how nothing exciting ever happens to us.

Case satisfactorily solved.

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