Since I will be away

>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May you all have drunken revelries and make plenty of resolutions. Have your share of Christmas miracles and New Year hopes. This year may have been the most dreadful there ever was, but 2009 is full of hopes. And lobsters.

Have a good time.

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Pride and Prejudice- The movie

>> Friday, December 12, 2008

This is for the people who have been searching around Google to know when Part-2 of Pride and Prejudice might be shown on Zee Studio and being guided here, furthering their anguish and disappointment. Dear people, fear not, Zee Studio has not been playing fast and loose with your hopes and dreams. Switch on the television at 10:30 tonight and stock yourself up with oranges. Is there also a Part- 3? I do not know. In case there is, you may safely assume next Friday is the happy day they will be airing it.

Apart from providing news Zee Studio should start paying me for, Colin Firth makes a wonderful Darcy. Not the Darcy my first copy of P&P was illustrated with, but a Darcy who does not make me cringe. When you see him gazing at Elizabeth- immobile, expressionless- he makes you realize what the British stoicalness is all about. Did I mention Darcy is battling Berry Conway for the fourth spot in my list of the kind of people I want to marry?

Elizabeth, undoubtedly, is one of the most delightful women whom I have come across. She is charming, insane, witty, kindred-everything you want your best friend to be. Unfortunately, she is not Elizabeth. But her utterly wonderful smile makes up for everything- sometimes.

No, the movie is not worth one line judgements on the lead characters. It deserves much, much more. Might flit by later.

p.s. Does not Brando look as if he is Ken come to life?

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Domestic Issues

>> Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My parents and I were wandering around a random department store, the sole idea behind whose interior decoration seemed to have been devoted to directing customers to the frozen food section, when my mum, with the uncanny knack all women in love with cooking seem to possess, finally located the cutlery section. My father and I, innocent souls with nothing more in our minds than how to escape without shopping bags, were, hence, unceremoniously dragged down to it so that she could avail of our discerning tastes in La Opala dinner sets.

"What I never seem to understand is," I mentioned in passing to my mother while she tried to tell me how she felt peach plates looked better on white tablecloths than periwinkle blue," is why people think people want dinner sets and cutleries as wedding gifts. What sort of a person feels joyful on opening nice, huge looking gifts and finding plates buried under lots of straw? Why can not we give them something fun? Like a playstation or something. At least they will have something to distract themselves with when trying to murder each other. No Mum, I still think we should buy the purple plates. No, I am not a purple maniac. No, the fact that my room, my bedsheet and most of my clothes happen to be purple has nothing to do with this. Gee Mum, look at all those utensils there."

Having successfully distracted her from the topic of my monotonically increasing purple fetish (x being my age and f(x) being, well, the fetish), we strolled over to steel heaven, accompanied by my increasingly depressed looking father, who sighed at everything and then tried to dismantle anything which had more than two parts.

"Oh, it is beautiful," suddenly gasped my mother in the rapturous tone I usually reserve for puppies, mountains and shoe shops.

"What is it," I queried, looking down at a bowl with dents in it.

"I have no idea, but it will look so good on the third mantelpiece on the right," my mother replied, in the dismissive tone she uses whenever I ask her whether she could make an elaborate cheesecake for dinner. I, being as stoic as the next person, merely blinked and looked for its cover.

"It says it is a paniyakki something maker. What is a paniyakki?"

"Hmm, well, we will have to learn, won't we? No point buying a paniyakki maker if you do not know how to make paniyakkis," was her reckless remark and we soon had a dinner set designed with huge square blocks coloured various frightful shades of pink and blue my mum considered charming and my dad felt, as he remarked sotto voce, was revolting, a paniyakki maker, three types of spoon sets and a blender which had fascinated my father. I felt I was lucky enough to go back home to actually ask for anything more than a purple cup.

There we were, a picture of a happy family, with absolutely no major disasters in the offing, until, that is, my mother realized I was almost 21 and did not know how to cook. If I was to live alone from next year, I would have to learn how to cook at least a few basic things, or else, threatened the woman I had always looked upon as my safety net, you stay here and study under Calcutta University. She knew, like every mother knows, what would motivate me most, and I, inspired, decided to make brownies.

In my first attempt, I realized microwaves and ovens do not really work with the same time settings and overcooked the brownie for some extra 20 minutes, resulting in a hard rock we had to use a hammer to break. We pretended it was a biscuit and softened it with chocolate sauce. In my next attempt, I learned the importance of proportion of ingredients when I absentmindedly poured in the entire contents of the milk carton, unmindful of the fact that 100 ml of milk is hardly the same as 500ml. To compensate, I increased the amount of the rest of the ingredients, and the batter had to be sent in three batches, making more brownies than I had bargained for. In my third attempt, I learned the importance of mixing, when I poured eggs over the flour and then tried to blend it, which made a super strong glue and would not smoothen the batter at all. Why don't you, suggested my mother after my third failed failed attempt, try something simpler. Like toast.

Muttering loudly about lack of support and encouragement, I put three slices of bread on the pan used for toasting bread and promptly fell asleep. I woke up half an hour later to a rather irked mother and smoke. Before throwing them away, I managed to take a picture which is faithfully reproduced below.


My mother, rather discouraged, realizing the safety of her household was at present more of a necessity than the nutrients I required on a daily basis in a city devoid of devoted parents and well trained cooks, crushingly asked me to stick to maggi before rushing off to get rid of the smoke.

Maggi is supposed to be the simplest possible thing one can ever cook. Boil water, put the maggi in, pour in the flavouring and you are done. Hence, it was a considerable shock to my mother when she heard me screaming that I had burnt down the house.

"What, why, you have not burnt down the house," was her agitated response when she saw a flameless kitchen.

"But I will, I poured water on the gas ring and now, when you switch on something electrical, there will be a blast," I wailed, drawing on my memories from late night movies.

"But, why do not you just switch off the gas," my mum gasped and immediately proceeded to do so.

"Will you now explain," she asked after she had done that and calmed me down, "why you poured water on the gas ring?"

"You see, I boiled the water. Then I had to put the maggi in it. But I did not want put the maggi in the bowl over the gas ring, in case I did something wrong and the hot water splashed all over me. So, I took the bowl down, put the maggi carefully in, then picked up the bowl and kept it back on the gas ring. Except that I lost my balance and well...there you are."

However, I did not lose my heart. This story also has a happy ending. After days of practice, I have finally learned how to make hot chocolate sauce.

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For Austen aficionados

>> Thursday, December 04, 2008

If you
a) have the time
b)live in the same timezone as I do
c) own a TV
which actually does have
i) Zee Studio

they will be airing BBC's Pride and Prejudice at 10:30 PM tomorrow night. Do try to catch it, if only for the only believable Darcy cinema has ever been able to produce.

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The World of ad libber

>> Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Recently, with economic problems aplenty, I have found myself trying to explain away most of the policies and actions, trying to justify them to my economist mind, so to speak. It was rather comfortable to feel that I could actually fit in a theory with every random policy the government could inflict on the world. Therefore, it was extremely disappointing to know the government had not actually fitted any theories and did what they did because they do so every decade or so. Sometimes, I think, Economics is nothing but an accident.

My professor tells me the present crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Things are going to worsen and we are all going to end up as paupers. But, on a happier note, economists will always be in demand, as modern Cassandras foretelling gloom and despair, aware of the horrors waiting to face us, yet unable to persuade the common people of them. The lot of an economist...but then you know how the line ends.

It is the wedding season again and fish fry filled weddings beckon enticingly. Nowadays, they have started to get fancier with lobsters and pasta heading the list. All I say is, a wedding without fish fries is positively illegal and the couple is living in sin. However, present wedding scares include the diminishing difference in age between the bride and me. As I get older and they start becoming people I have grown up with, attending weddings has become less about fish fries and more about gaping horrified at the bride and blubbering at the your drink, which is, invariably, instant coffee.

Back in the world of Economics, misguided professors expect students to write essays on important economic topics, possibly to discourage them from writing theses later on, one presumes. Yours truly has been given the world shattering topic of Imperialism and what it did to Indian agriculture and I have immediately proceeded to write something on the lines of a novel by Shobhaa De, an essay so outspoken that it would bring the blush on the cheeks of the most hardened of examiners. But there is only so much you can do with Indian agriculture, a subject which provides no inspiration whatsoever in a writer. Not once have I found an opportunity to introduce the technique of Dance of the Seven Veils to divert attention from some particularly dull bit about farmer oppression.

In the world of humans, classmates can now be divided into two parts. People who will be giving the CAT and people who will remain poverty stricken for life. The section belonging to the latter has suddenly started scraping acquaintances with people belonging to the former. Beautiful friendships are sprouting at every corner between people who are going to make it and people who are going to make their mark. It is, apparently, not possible to do both. It is also, remarks the HOD, a criminal offense if you do not do either. If you can not win the Nobel, says he, make some money. A principle most people seem to be happy giving in to. Random comments centering around the theme, "I think I will give up all this and study social anthropology" is not something people around me take kindly to. Especially since no one really knows what it means and dislikes admitting that.

In the world of animals, I tried to kidnap a puppy, since my mother refuses to give me one. The puppy, unfortunately, disappeared (not due to the exertions of being kidnapped, but due to rather overbearing siblings, not mine, the puppy's) and I am a shadow of my former self, my heart an empty hollow. It is definitely not better to have loved and lost. Nowadays, I seem to be entering into a lot of debates about whether one should get a baby or a puppy. In the same note, I also seem to be entering into a lot of debates about whether Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is a better movie than Tashan. I pitch for JBJ every time. I also pitch for the puppy. But, if given a choice among anything on earth, all I would really, really want from life, is a baby elephant.

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Chronicles of Part 2 Exams: The Student says Pheww

>> Thursday, November 20, 2008

Disregard previous post. Life is not that bad pretty good.

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Chronicles of Part 2 Exams: The Results of the Toil

>> Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One always ends up learning something from life everyday, regardless of one's willingness or open mindedness. Like how simple it is to distract oneself. You can spend the entire day changing the look of your blog and then recreating widgets, you can spend nights watching Tashan, and if sleep does not come, you can always write a blogpost.

This template was not my first choice. I had selected a rather sad looking fish for an image and a dark blue background, something, I felt, which went with my image- sad and inconspicuous. But the fonts displeased me. They would not be inconspicuous. They were large, overbearing and completely dwarfed my poor sad fish, who was soon lost among the verbosity of the written words. So I bade goodbye to the fish and got these water droplets. Fiery yellows and oranges, loud, brash and blatant, everything I would not let my blog be. But I let it be so. For the one water droplet waiting there at the top, to cool off the heated shades someday when they rage too fiercely.

I kept my fish too. Look around, you may find it, a tiny red thing in a sea of blue amidst a sea of yellow. Sad and inconspicuous. The fish of the Fish Faced Follies. Does anyone realize the title makes no sense? That I am not referring to myself as fish faced. That it is there for the sake of alliteration. That Fishface is a tribute to college, the way ad libber is a tribute to school. Like milestones referring to what meant the most at one point of time.

It is curious that I chose a fish as a motif for the blog. I have never been very fond of fish the way Bengalis are usually fond of fish. Perhaps the most important role a fish ever played in my life before the blog was in Finding Nemo and as a Fish Fry.. A cow would have served better as a symbol. Not because I like consuming it, but because I am obsessed by them. I use them for self deprecations, for insults, as metaphors and examples. The literature in my mind is a cow dominated one. Sometimes, I feel my rather surprising crush on Karan Johar evolved from the fact that I had recently studied about a cow breed known as the Swiss-Karan and had immediately associated it to DDLJ (Cow - Swiss-Karan - Switzerland - DDLJ - Karan Johar). But a fish it was and a fish it is. If I ever make another blog, it will have lobsters. No, I am not fond of lobsters much either, either as food or as entertainment. I think the only food I really like is Begun bhaja and Brinjal does not attract me as a blog motif, purple as they may be.

While recently re-reading some of my blog posts, I realize that the same time last year, I may not have been a brilliant blogger, but I was a happy one. Lately, my posts seem to be rather depressing and doom tainted. As I try to trace back the reasons, I receive a message announcing that results come out tomorrow. Stupid world, stupid university, stupid this-time-the-results-are-important-they-decide-your-stupid-masters. Last time, the results led to a multitude of blog posts. This time, they just lead to incessant brooding, insecurity, an irritable temper, loss of friends, and a probable heart attack. Of course, they also include nightmares where my HoD insults me in front of everyone for failing everything, where my results are not published to save the country humiliation for producing an imbecile like me, where everyone refuses to speak to me, where I am socially boycotted. Sometimes, I think, I perhaps am a little paranoid where results are concerned.

Someday, I may have to accept the fact that results are things beyond my control. That I study under a despot University with whimsical examiners who thinking making paper boats out of exam papers are fun. That if I gave a horrible exam, I may get horrible marks and I will deserve them. Right now, all I know is that my results come out tomorrow and if I do not do well, nothing untoward may happen, but it may mean a end to a lot of things. Perhaps more nightmares. It is always results. Never ghosts, never tigers, never parents, never crushes. I do not prioritize things well.

I will now go back to a sleepless night and a fear laden morning. I will go back to what promises to be the most devastating site since my Hindi paper in class seven. I will go back to listening to Kung Fu Fighting to remove depressing thoughts. Perhaps watch The Graduate on Sony Pix. Brood more on a future which seems bleaker than ever.

The world is a very damned place to live in.

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Titles have never been my strong point- Yet more tags

>> Saturday, November 15, 2008

We have been tagged again, and with an unabated tag obsession, we proceed to thank Doubletake for furthering the delights of Tiggery Pokery.

To continue with the tradition, we will first post the rules, an indelible part of any tag presenting activity:

RULE #1 People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blogs and replace any question that they dislike with a new question formulated by themselves.

RULE #2 Tag 6 people to do this quiz and those who are tagged cannot refuse. These people must state who they were tagged by and cannot tag the person whom they were tagged by. Continue this game by sending it to other people.

(Here, I strangely am reminded of a Friends episodes where Monica, with a very familiar obsession, exclaims "Rules are good! Rules help control the fun!")

1. If your lover betrayed you what would your reaction be? Nothing. The most I can do is give him a puppy and when he learns to love it, kidnap it. That would show him.

2. If you could have one dream come true which one would it be? Owning a farmhouse in Italy. Getting a dog. Growing oranges.

3. Whose butt would you like to kick? My Indian Economy professor. He has a rather substantial one and I would not be able to miss.

4. What would you do with a billion dollars? Invest them. Make more.

5. Will you fall in love with your best friend? No.

6. Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone? Both are horrible things one does not discuss in public.

7. How long would you wait for someone you love? Considering my fickle heartedness, I think I would make a very loyal lover. Probably forever. Or until I realize I am touching 35 and the body clock is ticking away.

8. If the person you like is secretly attached, what would you do? Secretly attached will not exactly be news coming my way. But if attached, thank my stars. I could pine away without actually being in a relationship.

9. If you could root for one social cause which one would it be? Littering.

10. What takes you down the fastest? Sneezes. Indian Economy. Heels.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time? Doing things my mum fears I will end up doing.

12. What's your fear? Aging.

13. What kind of person(s) do you think the person who tagged you is/are? This kind of stuff embarrasses me horribly. She is wonderfully fun, wonderfully clever and nicely insane. She is a kindred spirit.

14. Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor? Why should I be poor? He can be if he wants to. I am going to make lots of money. Also, sign pre-nuptials.

15. What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Swear.

16. If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who would you pick? The one who picks me.

17. Would you give all in a relationship? Things I will not give in a relationship- Time, conversation, patience. Other than that, all right.

18. What's eating you now? Do not get me started.

19. Do you prefer being single or in a relationship? Look at the above answers. I am commitment phobic. I prefer single any day.

20. Tag 6 people... I have my own rules for Tiggery Pokery. No singling out names. If you actually care enough for this, do it.

Now for the second tag (yes, there are more than one. Oh, joy)

Ten songs I have been listening to over and over again for the past one week:

  1. Safety Dance- Men without hats
  2. Dreaming of you- The Coral
  3. Butterfly- Talvin Singh
  4. Can't take my eyes off you- Frankie Valli
  5. Falling- Nitin Sawhney
  6. Ae Ajnabi (A.R. Rahman/ Udit Narayan)
  7. More than a feeling- Boston
  8. Thee kuruviyil (Harini, Johnson, Mukesh/ A. R. Rahman)
  9. Amintirile- Alternosfera
  10. Sparks -Royksopp
I would add New York Nagaram to this list, except for the fact that I have been continuously listening to this song for the past one and a half years and, hence, believe it is slightly above lists.

We tag everyone, we tag anyone. Pick any tag you please. But we make a special mention of the second tag since it is Doubletake's contribution to the tag world.

Our aim is, after all, to spread sunshine and joy.

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Since it is midnight and all I am doing is surfing IMDB for Iranian movies.

>> Tuesday, November 11, 2008

OK, I do confess I had a crush on him even when he was the geeky, chubby kid on Drake and Josh, but this... God, thank you...

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>> Wednesday, November 05, 2008

As I entered the once hallowed assembly hall, I wondered what had I feared all those years back. The choked throat, the rubbing of grimy shoes with ties, the hurried glance at the noticeboard glass to check any errant hair strands- scattered reactions I could recall but not really comprehend. Now, really, I muse, how could such a sunshine filled room have inspired such dread at the fearless age of ten?

An evil twist of fate had brought me back to my old school, one I had escaped from for a better, happier High School, and the fact that it was a school holiday and I would not be meeting anyone I remembered did nothing to alleviate my mood. Somewhere, there was a vindictive ten year old student in me, still waiting to prove to her class five class teacher that she was not a below average student. That she had done far better than the girl who had shown so much promise and had won the General Proficiency award. That Mathematics had not led to her academic downfall.
"There you go, you cow," I announced to an empty, lemon yellow classroom decorated with diagrams of the human body and sketches of Tagore and Napolean, " My Maths teacher said I was one of his best students. Did anyone call General Proficiency girl that?"

The previously grey, grimy walls had been altered to a cheery yellow, effectively removing the impression of being trapped in a dungeon. The school should have been full of atmosphere of things gone by- crushed teenage hopes, squabbles founded on monthly class tests, haunting whisperings of the morning prayer, secret crushes, teachers- snappy, kind, funny, pure evil- they were all there in the mind, the memory blown slightly out of proportion after five years, but not around me. Just impersonal lemon yellow walls, interspersed by chrome blue windows, which may not have been out of place in a poorly made science fiction movie.

Who would have known, I remark to myself, that I would be capable of a trip down a memory lane devoid of any form of sentiment. A dry, choked feeling still remains in the throat. School never is easy for ordinary people. There always are others who are better at everything you hope you are good at. The slight disappointments attempt to haunt, once again, not unlike a horror movie you try to forget when you are alone at home at midnight. I look out of the window for a respite. The sight of the sports field makes me twinge. Badminton was not considered a proper game and kabaddi meant running, pushing, dust, and violence, things a fat, slow, fourteen year old never cares for.

The library is a pleasant sight. How can you harbour an ill will to the place which gave you Anne? I stroll over to the water filter, the hang out zone for the popular kids. I remember falling in love for the first time, wonder, slightly amused, how I could not have seen the fact that he was gay. Everyone else could. I wander up to class ten. A class I had spent some of my happier days in, mostly secure in the knowledge that I would be leaving soon. The madness of the last working day. People suddenly realizing they loved other people, water balloon fights, outbreaks of weeping in the corridor, sudden appearance of beer bottles, all adding up to a day one does not forget in a hurry.

This school, I speak to the blackboard, is probably out of my system. I do not feel anything for you anymore. Not fear, not love, nothing.

As I leave, I decide to look up class eight once. The year I made some of my closest friends, the year I thought Bonky was an oily haired, geeky woman I could not deign to speak to (yes, I was the school snob, it has been mentioned often enough since), the year I made up my mind to study Chemistry, the year of first love, the year, when, apparently, everything happened.

The classroom did not look familiar, like the rest of them. More cheery yellow, with huge windows giving a view of the main gate, reminding me of sudden honeybee attacks we always welcomed. I walk over to the desk Sakshi and I had shared for one year, unsurprised by the scratched scrawls all over it. Every teenager needs his Hyde Park. Then I notice it.

Year 2001

Ritika: Hey, what is that word scratched there?
Sakshi: umm, I think it means (whispers)
Ritika: No way, let me look up my dictionary (yes, I was the sort who carried one to school and then used it to understand the writings on the bathroom walls). My dictionary does not list this word.
Sakshi: It is a Student's Concise Dictionary. Check mine.
Ritika (does so): Wow! People our age know such things? How did you? You are the most innocent person we have in this class.
Sakshi: I noticed the word before you did.

Seven years later, I stand there, in front of the desk, which has, miraculously, never changed its position, the F-word, scrawled in blue, a standing testimony to the fact. I look down, a wretched, despairing hollowness filling up every pore. Every essence of my school life, contained in that one, dirty word, a benediction to every hope and every joy, to what every day and every year meant once. What went far deeper than a few teachers and Physics.

School was over and I had made my peace with it.

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A Second Quest

>> Friday, October 10, 2008

My memory is not one of my many strengths, as most friends would fervently agree. In fact, if I died and people were looking for a favourite one-liner of mine to engrave on my tombstone, they might as well engrave "I have forgotten" and go home with the satisfaction of a duty well done.

Why do I mention this?

For the past few days, a scene has been tormenting me. It is about a woman bursting balloons with cigarettes in the backseat of a car. She was accompanied by a male. The only other information I can provide is that it as not a movie. I am definite I was reading it. It could be in a blog, a novel, a play, a short story, a newspaper, even a cerealbox.

A little help?

Please and thank you.

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My Ramble Scramble Pujo Post-3

>> Wednesday, October 08, 2008

As I serve food, arrange the pandal, rehearse, make friends, celebrate, have deep discussions and silly conversations, I realize how transient it all is. That, if all goes well, next year, I may not come back. Next year, there may not be a puja for me. That, next year, I will not wonder about why pandals are dressed with skulls and crossbones. Next year, I will not be goading elderly people into dancing on the streets. Next year, there will not be giddy women singing, "Chacha ki chae pila du" to surprised cab drivers. There will be no mass bawling sessions when sisters and friends come back for fleeting visits. There will not be any more foolish haircuts which make one look like a pirate, no more rush of new clothes, no more coming to pandals dressed up in college T shirt because one can not bother about looking presentable. No more minor jealousies and major heartbreaks, no more friends coming in to surprise and delight, no more scuffles behind banners, no more conversations under stars, no more just lying down on the grass and ordering guys about for cold drinks. No more fasting, no more anjali, no more shantirjol. A world devoid of long walks through slushy roads to see uninspiring and often mystifying pandals. A world devoid of comparison of hours spent at Maddox Square to prove how popular one is. No more squealing babies and their squalling parents squeezing through crowds for a better look at an idol who looks the same everywhere. No more horrified sights of a dancing Father. No more obsessed purchases of shoes. No more ramble scramble puja posts. No more home.

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My Ramble- Scramble Pujo Post-II

>> Sunday, September 28, 2008

What should have made me suspect the plot in the first place was the delighted smile with which my mother welcomed me. My mother and I share an unusual relationship where she greets my homecoming with a sepulchral, "Oh, there you are" and I make for the kitchen. Hence, as I said, the delighted smile should have made me suspicious. However, what with being the owner of a pair of spectacles whose lens keep on popping out due to, I like to believe, the intensity of my gaze, but mostly due to the fact that I went and sat upon them once, I failed to notice it completely and walked upon a multitude of the neighbourhood women.


"Oh, good," said one, as she pounced upon me, " we want someone to operate the CD player," and before I knew it, there I was, starting and stopping instrumental music they were singing to. Pujo rehearsals have come to town, and this time, they have selected my house.

It was while I was dozing off to the fifteenth rendition of Aguner poroshmoni, when everyone suddenly stopped singing and asked innocuously, "So what will you people be performing?"

Rather surprised by the sudden change in the lyrics, I managed a "Huh?' before the implication of the question struck me. "Which people?"

"You kids, of course,"said Mrs. M (bless her golden heart, it does do me good to be addressed as a kid at this age). "You will be putting up something right? We have kept the Ashtami slot aside for you people."

"But what people? Everyone has left the city. We are barely a handful. Maybe four, definitely not more than four people. Who will teach us? What could we put up?"

"Excuses," said the lady with the iron resolve, " Set your mind to it and you will manage it."

Thus, three days later, three girls and a piece of paper sat broodingly on a parapet, wondering how to entertain a hundred or so people without sharing any talent between them.

"We have to dance. It is the only thing we all know a bare minimum of," suggested the economist (no, not me, do you think I am the only economist around anywhere?)

"We have three weeks. We are four people and we need to keep dancing for an hour. This better be one of those brilliant brain storming sessions. Think of a theme," said the oldest among us.

"Oh, oh, I know, I know, trance-classical-fusion," I exclaimed.

"Eh? That does not even mean anything!"

"Precisely, so we can do anything and they will think we are doing it!"

"Doing what?"

"It! What we are supposed to be doing. Trance classical Fusion!!"

So we had a theme, which purported to mean nothing absolutely and thus, got us nowhere when it was time to zero in on the music. That was when the economist had the idea to rummage around my playlist.

"But what are you looking for exactly," I asked, much affronted at this invasion of my privacy.

"Oh, you know, the sort of music you weep to. The kind of music no one ever hears of unless you make sure they do."

"New age electronica!! Mostly trance or fusion. Or both. I am not even clear about the genre myself. As about the weeping, I do not weep. The music I listen to is soul searching and my soul just does not happen to be a very happy one."

So we found a few songs which seemed suitable enough to start a programme with. Then, the economist came up with the new idea of doing a Kathak-Bharatnatyam duet. Considering none of us knew anything regarding Kathak, we took up the idea with great fervour and alacrity. We all have flat feet now. But that is not the story.

Looking for the teacher was slightly more difficult. We dared not compose anything ourselves, what with each suffering from a hint of an insecurity complex. Hence, I was packed off to a school friend to make her compose some of the dances. That evening, Jadavpur received a fine sight of me dancing all the way on the roads, trying to remember the steps, with Sru's dictums following them, "Smile more broadly, oh do not, you look like a wolf. Do not look as if you are flirting, look as if you are already in love. You do not have a bun, you have a flower. Pretend you are Ma Durga. Open your eyes. Do not eye that guy. Do not eye any guy. Move your neck, stretch your arm more, try seeing whether there are people around when you stretch your arms next."

"So you are doing something? Should I contact the dressers? Would you like to wear proper costumes," asked the lady with the vampire smile.

"Umm, Bharatnatyam costumes?" I gulped.

"Yes, of course. Since you are doing what is, hopefully, a semblance, that should be appropriate."

"Oh, dear," remarked two of us.

"Eh, why do you not want it," asked the other to me.

"Mumble-wumble," I replied.

"Eh?"

"It makes my hips look large," I replied, less incoherently, blushing a pale crimson.

"Oh, ok, I was concerned with quite another part of my anatomy," said the other one.

"Very well, Bharatnatyam costumes it is," said the lady with the iron resolve and that was that.

The last two weeks, I have found myself either sitting on my toes or balancing myself on one leg, all in the name of dancing. And Pujo. There is no body part which has not hurt. I have discovered muscles I never thought I had, and definitely never expected to pain. However, things are not over yet. As I walked in tonight, the entire battalion smiled at me and asked me how my day was. As I blinked in response, the lady with the sugary sweet voice asked if we would not like to perform to their Rabindra sangeet on Saptami too.

Pujo has arrived. Painful, busy, and entirely delightful.

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Rather Randomly

>> Friday, September 26, 2008

What draws people into reading blogs? How do people come across them? What is the average blog lurker looking for when he adds to the hitlist of a blog?

This is what blogpatrol has to say regarding the preferences of people lured into reading my blog (or, if you are still clueless, top keywords in search engines):

  • Poisonwood Bible worst interloper (which is what makes me post this in the first place, who are you and what in the world did you mean by this?)
  • Ritika porn (flattering, as the idea is, blogs are not the place to get the stuff)
  • gays in gariahat (I can imagine the lurker's disappointment on coming across a rambling post about two women in gariahat and a comment mentioning Doogie Howser grew up to a homosexual)
  • Algebra cholera in fish (Is it a disease, is it a piscean body part, is it a virus, is it a mathematical formulae engraved on the fossil of a fish, will one ever know?)
  • failed attempts to solve world hunger (at Fish Faced Follies, really? Google disappoints me extremely)
  • pokery tamil (eh?..)

I have had to avoid a flurry of matchmaking attempts recently, when my friends realized everyone I knew was in love with real people (as opposed to Johnny Depp, Bugs Bunny or the imaginary stalker unicorn). I perfectly agree that it is very sad when all your friends suddenly change their facebook relationship status (excluding a few who believe they are married to Hrithik Roshan), but what is sadder is being matchmade to random men, one of whom, incidentally, turned out to be another friend's uncle, thus complicating an already complicated story where I was churning out more imaginary boyfriends than my hottest friend ever dumped.

The whole point of falling in love, my dear matchmakers is, that one should be capable of doing it themselves, away from the eyes of friends, at Africa, while involved in espionage, and apes should be a part of it. However, leaving my dream love story aside, the moot point is no more matchmaking. Period. Unless he is Tamilian and resembles Johnny Depp in daylight and Jude Law at night.

Though I do wish I had one failed relationship so that I could use the playlist I have kept apart for the occasion.



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My Bomb Post

>> Sunday, September 14, 2008

There has been a shower of bombs (again). People have died (again). A news channel makes a couple of gaffes and announces names everyone else is trying to keep under covers. Political parties make statements, everyone eyes the upcoming elections, including Mamata Banerjee (whoops, wrong post) and the hangover is exactly what it always is like after a big bomb party.

Last month, after a reunion with old friends, enemies and embarrassing memories, eight o' clock in the evening found me far away from home, with messages flooding in with the very cheery note that a bomb blast would occur at City Centre exactly at 9. Intrepid as ever, I made up my mind to be near City Centre at zero hour, and, mind reader as ever, Goopy announced she would personally see to my safety. And thus, at ten to nine, I found myself on a rickshaw, being bundled home.

Rickshawwallahs, unlike autowallahs, refuse to be friendly to me, possibly sensing the lack of philosophical depth. However, after recently being part of conversations where people proudly mention their philosophical tete-a-tete with the tribe, I made up my mind to have a conversation worthy of blogging about later on. Hence, with an iron resolve and a cheery disposition, I remarked airily, " Say, know anything about the bomb?"

The calm of the night air accentuated the silence. By now, blushing profusely, yet undeterred, I persisted, " The bomb, you know, which is supposed to go off any minute now."

Success finally found me, and an old, garrulous voice, cold and disinterested, not unlike my class ten Physics teacher's while I tried to explain to her why I thought my bathroom mirror was an example of refraction since I appeared fatter in it, queried back, " Where?"

Delighted by the breaking of the ice, I exclaimed excitedly, "Oh, City centre. Amazing, no?"

The man mused on this for a while longer, and then replied again, this time showing more than a little curiosity, "Oh, you mean here?"

Looking at my right, I realized we were going past City Centre.

"Yes," my voice trailing off, in a mixture of fear and curiosity, "right here."

He stopped pedaling for a moment and we just looked at it. All I managed to see was a few policemen thronging the place. The place had been emptied apparently, and possibly, even then, someone had come to know the warning email had been a hoax.

As he took his money, he remarked, I will always maintain, rather wistfully, "We did not die."

I looked at his face. Lack of adventures had made gawkers of both of us. "Kindred spirit," I whispered rather foolishly and came back home to announce to surprised parents how close a brush their daughter had had with death. Unsurprisingly, the replies were,

"Gimme the remote. Oooh, animals eating other animals."
"Go, wash."

I look at the news reports this morning and remember Karol Bagh. I remember convincing auto drivers to take us to Miranda College, remember the feel of homecoming the street had given me after a long, hard day. If I close my eyes, I think I can recall a green sign, brandishing the name of the hotel where Stinky, Berry and I claim to have been the happiest in our stuffy, claustrophobic lives.

A news report says people have taken the recent bombings very philosophically. No fear, no retributions. Bombs happen, people die, someone mentions the undying spirit of the city. The numbness with which people greet the news is, in a way, pitiful. And scary. Then again, I am not the one who girds the loins of mind to write something deep and meaningful.

(For people who do not know, City Centre is a mall)

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Tiggery Pokery's Joy

>> Monday, September 08, 2008

There is a new tag in the offing. Tiggery Pokery, the tag collection, sniffs the air in anticipation, and leaps in joy. Its sense of smell is not mistaken. With the faintest waft of Vanilla, a tag drops out of the Sky, and Tiggery Pokery has a new member to add to our midst.

The tag requires the tagged one (Taggee? Taggered?) to write six quirks about oneself. Why people assume the entire world awaits with bated breath for a chance to read stuff like this, is a question I often ask myself in the middle of the night, but not often enough to deprive myself of the joy of adding tags to my repertoire. My six quirks, dear world, are:

  1. Trains obsess me. I firmly believe all great love stories begin on trains. As a teenager, I had hoped my one true love would dance on a train for me, but, apparently, stunts like that are dangerous. Hence, I have decided to make do with buying the biggest train set of the world to decorate my living room. If I ever have any guests, they will be made to play with it. I plan to include many tunnels, signals, and people trying to commit suicide on the tracks.
  2. I refuse to look at people directly while speaking to them. I believe it is a purely nervous reaction. In addition, I get very interesting views of knees. I am an expert on them now. However, I will make a very poor witness.
  3. I like eating chalks. I realize it is hardly a quirk, since most bloggers seem to like chalk. However, I also like to peel paint off the walls and eat it. I am not averse to some mud either.
  4. I talk too fast. Everyone complains, but to no avail. I think it is because my mental processes are too fast for my tongue to catch up with at a decent speed. I have seen receptionists blink in alarm and look around for help, and, if possible, translators. I have seen strong men wither under the stress. I have seen teachers pale and stutter. I have seen it all, and yet, as a friend remarks, I continue to spout white noise.
  5. I have an all-encompassing love for all things Tamil. It started with A.R.Rahman, went over to Mani Ratnam, and now includes anyone who claims to have anything to do with the State, even if the only Tamil connection they ever had was a maidservant whose son in law bought her a sari from Nalli's.
  6. I start dreaming about results exactly one month before they are supposed to come out. They act like an indicator, notifying me as regards the time I should begin to panic. In one of the more recent dreams, I dreamed I had swallowed my results whole, not unlike a sword-eater. However, when I woke up, I found my cellphone half way up my mouth, rather battered after the ordeal.


I tag everyone who might find their names mentioned in the blog list on the right hand side of this blog (thank you Dreamy, for the very handy suggestion). I also tag them who think this is the very tag, which completes their world.

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How Economic Models are Made (or What Heads of Institutions I will be Applying to Should Not Come Across

>> Thursday, August 21, 2008

(N.B. Judging by initial reactions, I hasten to add that this post does not reflect my knowledge of Mathematics, Economics or Physics. This is just one of those silly conversations people have when faced with too much of Economics)
"He Dharti ma, mujhe apne god me samale!!"

"No, nothing, not even a budge," Bonky observed and tilted her head in thought. "Maybe you have got the words wrong. These goddesses are very picky about the words you say."

"Hmm, should we be more specific you think? Maybe ask her to open a crevice and then add the 'god me samale' bit?"

"If you ask me, she would get offended if you treat her like a kid. Next you know, the earth will start contracting again and we will end up right next to the Russians and Bangladesh will become a mountain."

"As admirable as your Geography is, I think its worth an effort."

The revised version of the classic suicide appeal was exclaimed again with full fervour with no tragic results and we were left mulling over the undivided road yet again.

"You know what I think? Dharti ma has done her work. Now we need to appeal to the god of roads. The earth is probably all hollowed and awaiting my corpse. We need to pray to the road to divide and let me access my grave."

"Trying to commit suicide, are we? Is this because they abolished the examinations for masters at Presi? Come, come now, we know suicide is too drastic a step, do not we? Try breaking a leg or something," remarked an interloper.

"We have an examination for masters? Since when? You think mundane stuff like this drives to me to desperation? Ye hardly know me, interloper."

"Of course we do," said the interloper, ignoring everything else but the reference to examinations. "Don't you remember PM telling us some girl only drew a downward sloping line when asked what a budget line was?"

"No. Who is PM?"

"Uh, the Indian Economy professor, but never mind that. Why in the world are you looking so thoughtful? Last I saw you looked thoughtful was when you were making paper balls to throw at..."

"Yes, never mind that. Ask me that question again."

"Why in the world are you..? Oh, oh, you mean what is a budget line?"

"Seriously, what is a budget line? It is a downward sloping line. What more could we add? That it looks like a rainbow from afar if drawn with one of those multi coloured pens?"

Bonky, appalled by my ignorance, added her own intellectual input to the answer, "It has a negative slope. Oh, and in case supply is rationed.."

Quelling her with a glance, I continued, "Let me think out the answer without trying to write downward sloping lines have a negative slope. Oh, oh wait, I know, a budget line is a downward sloping line. This means it slopes...er...downwards.."

"Oh yes," Bonky interrupted icily. " I can not mention downward sloping lines have negative slopes but you can mention downward sloping lines slope downwards. Not only are you a despot, you are a..."

"Careful with your language. I have a feeling I might be blogging about this later."

"You blog about us?? You mean our conversations and everything?"

"Of course not," I remarked airily. "Now stop interrupting my answer. So, since a budget line slopes downwards, we can assume the force of gravity acts on it."

"We can assume what," she exclaimed.

"I am just incorporating a bit of tenth grade Physics. You should know gravity now. You studied Physics at high school, did not you? Waste of time in my opinion, when you had to end up as an economist and forget about gravity. So, where were we? Oh yes, let us assume slope of budget line is -1. It can be anything really; we just need a negative value. So do not go stretch the syllables of the word 'what' again. Acceleration due to gravity is 9.8 m/sec². Now, we will proceed to equate them. Therefore, -1= 9.8 m/sec². Bonky, why are your eyes popping out?"

"Are they? I never noticed. The weather, perhaps? Tell me," she added conversationally," do not you think equating -1 with 9.8 is rather pathbreaking? Not many people dare to do it."

"I did not equate it with 9.8, Bonky," I replied, a strained note creeping in my my voice due to all the unnecessary explanations. " I equated it with 9.8 m/sec². And close your mouth. What with all the eye popping and mouth gaping, you are beginning to look like Fishface"

"That, of course, makes all the difference."

"Now for the last bit of my answer and pray do not interrupt me again. Cross-multiplying, we can say -1/9.8 = m/sec². Bonky, I see you goggling again. It is a very unnerving habit. Get rid of it. Sec² cannot be negative, since it is a square, which implies meter is negative. However, we know distance is a scalar quantity and can not be negative."

"So? Go on. You interest me enormously. How will you deal with this obstruction to your brilliance?"

"So, Bonky, all it proves is that a budget line does not exist. The concept of a budget line is mathematically unsound and hence, all we have learnt in Consumer Behaviour is based on the foundation of mathematically incorrect theories. Which means our Part 1 examination was one big lie."

"You know," remarked Bonky, after thinking it over a bit," I think the ground vibrated a little. Want to try that prayer again?"

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A Hurried Update

>> Monday, August 18, 2008

Have been country-hopping a bit lately. The world is a very nice place with amazing things to look at, wonder at, and glare at. But you can not do much about it cooped up in rooms with computers and air conditioners.

Had a very rushed week at Mumbai. Managed to see a couple of roads and the airport. The only journeys I had involved me falling asleep on my way to anywhere. Hope to see more of the city soon, but what with this, that and brooding over the future, will probably have to put it off. The best part about the trip was that it helped in making a decision. The city, as wondrous and mysterious as it is, is not very kindred to aspiring pseudo- economists. Hence, it is removed from list of cities I can haunt next.

Also, Fish Faced Follies completed two years on August the fifteenth. As someone once said, have cake.

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What ho

>> Friday, August 08, 2008

Apparently, dinner parties are not hosted to give one a chance to practice their incinerating skills. Hosts tend to look askance at guests who forage toothpicks from the appetizers and burn them on floating candles. Yelling "Burn, you heathen, burn" and jumping up and down excitedly is also not advised. It is little things like these which make parents dub you as an anti social and talk about psychiatrists in hushed tones.

Being a final year student abruptly changes your life. The subject stops seeming like something you decided to take a vacation with before finding your niche in the world. Companies actually attempt to provide us with jobs without blanching inwardly. Everyone around you looks younger, and teachers and students fall back comfortably into a back-slapping relationship. This is the right time to call yourself an adult. Unless you are doodling tornadoes in your notebook while your professor gives you a lecture mostly wandering around the topic "You are the future."

Hence, having kept aside everything I love the most, days and night are spent mostly on oil, oil prices, inflation, more oil, cartels, complaining incessantly about why hair styling prices rise with rise in price of oil, interviewing rich, snooty people, even more oil, and discussing with bus conductors what they think the political impact of oil price rise is. As fascinating as the exercise is, all it seems to lead to is frayed nerves, an impatient attitude towards oil in general, and a hatred towards buses in particular.

So, on days not spent wondering about oil, we take photographs. Which I will now proceed to unveil to the discriminating public, for one of them (the pictures, not the discriminating public) is very dear to my heart, namely,

which is the dearest view on earth. You are viewing Presidency, from my secret spot.

The world viewed from under an umbrella is a very beautiful place. Specially when its three people under a very purple umbrella and you are walking on a very unknown road to a very known destination.

The known destination. Accompanied by very buttery pao bhaji and what seems like people shooting a Bhojpuri movie.

And how such trips are destined to end.

Being a senior is turning out to be a most interesting experience. Though random thoughts about burning toothpicks in Indian Economy classes require to be quelled. Specially since they do not provide us with floating candles.

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>> Saturday, July 26, 2008

The love affair one is envious of.

(note: Wikipedia has it all wrong. Go read the book to know what it is all about.)

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What I Could Do With My Life- The Way of the Economists

>> Thursday, July 17, 2008

(Yes, I will be talking about Economics again.
No, I have not entered a rut. I am graduating in the subject. What else do you expect me to write about? When I try getting a degree in African Pottery, I will write about African Pottery and its possible toxic effects on the gastric juices. Till then, I will write about Economics.)

By this time next year, if I have not actually managed to write everything incorrectly in my development paper as my dreams seem to predict, I ought to be a graduate. However, as is almost obvious by the level of intelligence one usually displays on this blogspace, 60.5 percentage of Indian graduates are not employable. All students of Economics immediately fall under this marquee, namely because, when real life does not measure up to theory, we attribute it to errors made by statisticians. In fact, in the blame game, we attribute anything to statisticians if it makes us look good. Marriage between a statistician and an economist is, thus, amongst one of the worst nightmares of a marriage counselor. Of course, most jobs earmarked for graduates do not provide statisticians, resulting in the unemployability of economics students.

Let us form a flowchart in our minds, since I do not know how to create one on blogger. The educational path of a graduate divides automatically into two parts, an MBA or Masters. We will not consider the former in this analysis as I would immediately start weeping uncontrollably if anyone tries to interview me.

A masters degree usually ensures

  • The geek tag
  • A job
  • Pretty much nothing else
And now we will revert to my favourite form of writing- point wise discussion.

1) I take up the job

Description

I have absolutely no idea. There was a vague explanation somewhere which said we would
have to predict GDPs and stock market fluctuations. There have also been whispers of bulls and bears. But since I plan to take up Mathematical Economics, questions I would be certainly be incapable of answering in job interviews are
  • What do you think will be next year's GDP?
  • What was last year's GDP?
  • What is GDP?
  • What are bulls and bears?
  • What is a stock market?
  • What is a stock?
  • What is macroeconomics?
  • What is economics?
Pros: I will have money if employed.
Cons: Probably no one will employ me.
I would still be clueless regarding what the subject is all about.

2) I get desperate and decide on the Ph.D
This also has different repercussions. So sub dividing the topic

a) I do the Ph.D. and take up a job
Refer above.

b) I stick to researching economical stuff.
Description

No one really knows what economists research, least of all the economists themselves. We begin by trying to find out a correlation between the shininess of a jellyfish and its sexual life (Translated : A jellyfish!! Ooohh pretty!! Do you think it has a girlfriend?) and end up with results on the marital stability of men who own charter boats. We automatically create a model on the basis of our observations and pretend it describes the economic conditions of fishermen.

Of course, sometimes, policymakers think the sexual life of jellyfish is exactly what the countries need as a pick-me-up in these times of desolation and degeneration. Hence, Nobel prizes are often awarded randomly to economists on the basis of the prettiness of the paper clips used. So the probable effects of doing research are :

i) I win the Nobel Prize
Pros
  • I will be famous.
  • I will be rich.
  • I will have a model named after me. Palit's theory of monopoly whorism has a nice tang to it.
  • I can finally be an author, even if to a niche reader base.
  • I will finally be invited everywhere, and not only because my great-granddad had two many kids, assuring an unending supply of relatives.
  • I might accidentally figure out what the subject is all about.
Cons
  • I will be famous.
  • I will have to give lectures. For which I will have speak slowly and enunciate properly. Something I have never cared for since I was seven.
  • I will be doomed to either a life of celibacy or multiple divorces.
  • Every budding economist will hate me.
  • Someone might figure out my model is actually based on a statistical error.
ii) I do not win the Nobel Prize
Pros

  • I can still be an author.
  • If I force Calcutta University to add my book to the recommended texts, the royalties will be decent. But only just.
  • I can have a blog about Economics and people in love with the subject can read it and have a crush on me.
  • I can finally be an aantel.
Cons
  • I would still have to lecture people. I would probably end up being the vague, scatty professor who always trips while entering the classroom. Also, my students will hate me.
  • I will be the poor cousin of Nobel prize winners. The only parallel I can think of is being a weatherman-on TV, but only to give the newsreader a break.
  • I might end up coming back to Presidency and then complain vaguely about the lack of attendance in my class, enabling my HOD to give me gloating looks.
  • I would only have the option of dating economists, never getting the chance to meet anyone else.
  • I will have no money.
  • I may still not be able to figure out what the subject is all about.
This is roughly, the sample space of total possibilities in my chosen career path in the next twenty years or so. Since this has been my first attempt in long term thinking, it probably comes as no surprise that I am in extreme panic mode. However, these make nice blog posts. If anyone can come up with alternative career prospects for me, please mention them in the comments section, and I will analyze them too. Of course, when it comes to choosing, I will probably just draw lots. But that is next year's tale.

(p.s.1 Apparently I have crossed my 50th post. So happy 50th to me )
(p.s.2 I miss Maths. I really, really miss Maths. I do not remember missing my best friend this badly. The loneliness is killing me. Does anyone know how to get over this loss? I have been advised that drink does not help).

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Chronicles of Part 2 Exams- The Examgiver's Fear

>> Friday, July 04, 2008

The heart of a young girl is a precious gift which should be given wisely. No sole man deserves to be loved wholly and completely by a young, pure, virginal heart in the spring of youth. Hence,

"So this is the final comprehensive, holistic, exhaustive list of the men I am in love with right now. Class hottie, Physics Department hottie, random guy we saw in the canteen last month, the guy standing behind you right now and Johnny Depp."

"You forgot Ronaldo."

"Oh, yes.... Ronaldo. "

"Yeah..him.."

"Yeah..."

"..."

A sacred silence pierced by the drone of mathematical formulae being memorized all around was thus the high point of my Maths exam.

Pre-examination conversation often ranges from the desultory to the conventional. Barely reaching peaks of "Oh My God, when was this chapter added in the syllabus?", it fails to appeal to a connoisseur of interesting conversations. Then again, when you are meeting your classmates after six months, you tend to forget what brought you together in the first place. Sometimes, it takes examinations to make you realize what you knew all along, how much more amazing face-to-face conversation is.

"So, you know right I have sort of decided to dump Economics and do something else. I keep on asking everyone what options I might have, but none of them have had those clear moments which follow a revelation, when you realize, oh, but of course, that is what I am meant for."

"Ever wondered about thinking it out yourself? You know, discovering for yourself what you are meant for?"

(Accompanied by a deprecating glance) " I did that. How do you think I ended up in Economics in the first place? (Sigh) Bonky, what do you think I should do with my life?"

(Random stranger joins in the conversation)
"Ritika, can I bank on you for the Modern Algebra part? I heard you are having problems with 3D. I could give you a hand with it."

Lots of blinks follow.

"Who are you?"

More blinks.

"I am your classmate. I sit behind you. I was the one who gave you one of the objectives of Land Reforms."

"You know me?"

"Ye-es."

"Ohh. Hey, what do you think I should do with my life?"

I was waved at by a thief. Or a cat burglar. I did not really get to know his nom de plume. First I watched him get in and out of windows. Then he watched me taking videos of him getting in and out of windows. Convinced that this was the start of a beautiful friendship, he waved at me. And he kept on doing so till I decided I was traumatized enough to go call up Bonky and then tell her in details of the burglar's deeds. It mostly involved the climbings and a shiny object. I conjectured the man was smuggling a largish damond. Bonky thinks it was a
knife he was planning to throw at me to kill the sole witness. The fact that the distance was considerable (can never judge distances, lets just call it considerable) did not dampen her hypotheses-excitement. The more prosaic Pingu thinks he probably dropped a coin. But we never pay any attention to her opinions anyway. They are always right and boring.

"Sometimes I wish some female had created the world. It would be so perfect and full of non fattening food. Also no exams. But some male hyper competitive mind came in and ruined everything."
"Hey, you never know. God might be a female."
"Rubbish. Females are perfectionists."
"Are you? Am I? Amir Khan is a female?"
"That is because we have been created by a bachelor God. Female Gods must be perfect."
"True. Maybe ten years from now we could all live in a world run by females."
"We would probably be dead in ten years. Hopefully heaven is run by females. And lots of Vodka and icecream. I am definite heaven is a place full of vodka and icecream."
"Female gods would have probably included background music in their created Earth. We could have gangsta rap on our way to the exam hall."
"Or Bhojpuri stuff when its true love."
"Or Dido if its not."
(gleefully rubbing palms) "The world would be so confused. Muhahahahahahahaha. No one would know whether they loved someone or not and then we would come in and pick up the best guys and play Enrique. They would think we were their soulmates."
"Oh, but I hate Enrique."
"Noooo, not him, you have an appalling taste in men"
"Ronaldo?"
"Oh....."
"I lurve him"
"Yeah. Lao him. Totally"
"Yup. Lao."
"Wanna?"
"But I do not really know the lyrics."
"Oh, we will make them up as we go."

And we happily proceeded to sing "shadher lau" with made up lyrics until they allowed us into the classrooms where Bonky tore her shoes and then we both got lost and ended up in the boys' section. Much fun was had until we were directed to the right room.

We also gave a fairly decent exam which went on to prove exams never make sense anyway.

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Who has got a new tag?

>> Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I do, I do! :D

I have, as is obvious, decided to collect tags the way people collect stamps, coins, butterflies, weight and notches on the bedpost. This is Doubletake's contribution to the Tiggery Pokery (which is what I have decided to name my collection) and she is duly thanked and wept on.

4 Jobs I’ve had (in chronological order):
As 2 year old, was responsible for getting my dad the paper. Yes, I was the family puppy. Overcome by the fact that I was actually given a responsibility, I crawled all the way into the chair and still have the scar to show for my efforts.
As a 3 year old, my mum made me watch over my sister. I watched her fall right off the bed. People keep on alluding to that incident.
As a 20 year old, my friends send me to get photocopies done. I am also responsible for dividing the food bill so that I am the only one who does not have to pay the VAT.

4 Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:
My Fair Lady
Pulp Fiction
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Dr. Strangelove

4 Places I have lived in (in order) :
I distinctly remember answering this in some other tag.

4 TV shows I like
Scrubs
Friends
Hope and Faith
That's So Raven (Does Disney count?)

4 favourite foods:

Vada Pao
Aam ka achaar
Fried chicken
Chocolate Cake

4 Places I would rather be:
Right now?
At Pingu's place, with friends, food and lots of tears and laughters and playing with barbie dolls.
With my mentor, being comforted and told that life sucks and I should get married. Thats his solution to everything. Even when I tell him that I burnt Maggi.
My library. I realize I have seven books due. For more than 15 days. And I keep on forgetting to call them up to reissue.
At Ladakh. Away. Happy.

4 People I am tagging:

Hate doing this. Everyone is tagged.


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Now, Who Really Gives a Damn What This Post is Titled

>> Thursday, June 19, 2008

So, yes, I am angry. With myself, with people, with examiners, with my upbringing, with my syllabus, and definitely the entire world.

You see, it all started long back when I realized I could actually complete all my studies on the last night and yet do comfortably well. And there was no one to stop me. Which leads to the fact that I have 3 days to complete what people have not been able to complete in three months. Fair enough, you say, you do not complete, they do not complete, does time really make a difference in the long run when all supply curves become vertical anyway? But it does.

Guilt is tough. It gnaws and erodes and twinges at the most uncomfortable times. Brooding over decisions, wondering whether something could have been left unsaid, its extremely tough dealing with it when all you want to do is concentrate on curves and lines and why they intersect and then trying not to laugh because it all sounds like a very perverted joke. Its harder when crying friends call up wailing about the chapter they have been trying to mug for weeks and you realize you plan to do it during your journey to the exam center. You feel like a cad, a wimp, and then you wonder what you are actually guilty about.

Education is hard. Making your own decisions regarding it is harder. Knowing you are making the wrong decisions now and that you will never change is the worst of them all. Acknowledging your laziness, your unconcern, your selfishness and then dealing it with all and trying to make up for months of studies...oh yes, the lot of a student should not happen to a dog.

Its windy. It has been raining. Or perhaps will rain. I will be able to see the sky tomorrow maybe. Feel fresh air. God bless lining up at college to pick up admit cards. There will be grey skies, puddles, rolled up jeans, soaked floaters, meeting people whose faces you have forgotten, having professors tell you they hope you are better prepared this time, autodrivers inform you that I better employ my Economics education when I question why there is a rise in fares. I wonder if the Auto drivers will remember me. They usually know my stop, the time of arrival and often save me a seat. I love them all. Only people I have ever spoken to who do not know my name and yet freely curse the world in front of me and then ask for my opinion regarding their opinion. In fact, even people who do know my name never do it.

The funniest thing this week was reading a book by Mankiw. He is an economist. He is alive. He is hot. And his book is one of the most awesome literature on macroeconomics ever (ok, its mainly because he does not employ phrases like nominalised normalisation of weighted sum of aggregate something something). He pokes fun at himself, his job, his subject, everything he stands for. And you realize everyone knows what they are doing is a big joke and so completely unimportant, you can make fun of it. Even if it is yourself. He also reads children's literature and recommends The Devil Wears Prada. I think I just found my mentor.

(If you are interested, he blogs.)

Sony Pix is amazing. They make a decision to show my favourite movies daily and stick to it with a determination only seen in golden retrievers. If you are wondering why its glad news because I ought not to be watching them now of all times, fellow blogger WIAN advises people to watch a movie daily if you have examinations. Yes, performance in examinations will be more abysmal than usual, but you will be a lot more cheerful. Especially on watching stuff like Robin Hood : Men in Tights. I happily recommend it to everyone.

On conclusion, my mum has been threatening to invite everyone of my friends over and show them how messy I am. I am one step ahead. So dear blogworld, this is what my table looks like. Incidentally I have shifted to the dining room. Things kept falling off my bed and then I started falling off the bed and then the bedroom floor got overcrowded and so I had to take over another room.


Its fun being a student.

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Chronicles of Part-2 Exams: The Voyage of the Blog Reader

>> Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So I was blog hopping as usual because that is all I seem to be capable of nowadays, excepting, of course, watching all sorts of Govinda movies. So here is another tag I was fascinated by at aandthirtyeight's.
It has been described as "In one stone, two mangoes!" and I intend to keep it. Admirable description, methinks. Considering we have two wholly different tags.

First tag

Aim: To do something utterly meaningless to avoid getting back to the books.

Methodology:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.

Procedure:
Get lazy bum off comfortable seat to look for book.
Find all books have managed to evaporate inexplicably.
Wander off to room and find "The Secret of Cliff Castle"
Blush profusely and look for some more intellectual sounding book.
Decide to be honest to people who would not know any better anyway if you lied and choose Secret of Cliff Castle.

Results:
Hilary's eyes shone. She felt excited. She caught hold of Ben's arm and looked at his eagerly.

Conclusion:
If I had not known better, I could have sworn this came out of some Mills and Boons. Which goes on to show that in life, you never know any better.

Second Tag

The following is apparently a list of books, "most of them sitting unread in people's bookshelves to make them look smarter". The rules are: bold the ones that you have read, underline the ones you have read in school, italicize the ones you have started but didn't finish.

Which is precisely what I think I will do.

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
2. Anna Karenina
3. Crime and Punishment
4. Catch-22
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
6. Wuthering Heights
7. The Silmarillion
8. Life of Pi: a novel
9. The Name of the Rose
10. Don Quixote
11. Moby Dick
12. Ulysses
13. Madame Bovary
14. The Odyssey
15. Pride and Prejudice
16. Jane Eyre
17. The Tale of Two Cities
18. The Brothers Karamazov
19. Guns, Germs and Steel
20. War and Peace
21. Vanity Fair
22. The Time Traveler's Wife
23. The Iliad
24. Emma
25. The Blind Assasin
26. The Kite Runner
27. Mrs. Dalloway
28. Great Expectations
29. American Gods
30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
31. Atlas Shrugged
32. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
33. Memoirs of a Geisha
34. Middlesex
35. Quicksilver
36. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
37. The Canterbury Tales
38. The Historian: A Novel
39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
40. Love in the Time of Cholera
41. Brave New World
42. The Fountainhead
43. Foucault's Pendulum
44. Middlemarch
45. Frankenstein
46. The Count of Monte Cristo
47. Dracula
48. A Clockwork Orange
49. Anansi Boys
50. The Once and Future King
51. The Grapes of Wrath
52. The Poisonwood Bible
53. 1984
54. Angels and Demons
55. Inferno
56. The Satanic Verses
57. Sense and Sensibility
58. The Picture of Dorian Gray
59. Mansfield Park
60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
61. To the Lighthouse
62. Tess of the D'Urbervilles
63. Oliver Twist
64. Gulliver's Travels
65. Les Miserables
66. The Correction
67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
69. Dune
70. The Prince
71. The Sound and the Fury
72. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
73. The God of Small Things
74. A People's History of the United States: 1492-present
75. Cryptonomicon
76. Neverwhere
77. A Confederacy of Dunces
78. A Short History of Nearly Everything
79. Dubliners
80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
81. Beloved
82. Slaughter House- five
83. The Scarlett Letter
84. Eats, Shoots and Leaves
85. The Mists of Avalon
86. Oryx and Crake
87. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
88. Cloud Atlas
89. The Confusion
90. Lolita
91. Persuasion
92. Northanger Abbey
93. The Catcher in the Rye
94. On the Road
95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
96. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Enquiry into Values
98. The Aeneid
99. Watership Down
100. Gravity's Rainbow
101. The Hobbit
102. In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
103. White Teeth
104. Treasure Island
105. David Copperfield
106. The Three Musketeers

The only novels I did read in school were The Old Man and the Sea and The Tiger of Malgudi. I did not end up loving any of them.

I tag everyone. You are here, you are reading this sentence right now, you have the right to take up the tag . There, you have material for another post.

(p.s. I know Prince Caspian come first, but Voyage of the Dawn Treader arrived first because it was easy to mess up with the title. Prince Caspian is next. Promise.)

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Chronicles of Part-2 Exams: Bollywood, the Student and the Free SMS Scheme

>> Monday, June 02, 2008

From: Bonky
To: Everyone

Seedhi Zabaat zindagi bawal ho gayi
ho teri ek nazar se zindagi nihal ho gayi
nihaal ho gayi
nihaal ho gayi
etc etc

From: Me
To: Bonky

ya se...
Ye mera dil pyar ka diwana..(add appropriate sounds here)
Diwana, diwana, pyar ka parwana

Why are we doing this?

From: Bonky
To: Me

Neele, neele ambar par chand jab chaaye,
pyar barsaye, humko tarsaye

Pingu and Jo insist on spending all the free sms on their boyfriends. So I am reduced to this.

From: Me
To: Everyone

I finally have understood Cournot after like 3 weeks :D
I am so delighted I could weep, weep, weep. In fact, I will do so
(weep, weep, weep)

From: Jo
To: Me

Isn't Cournot, like, one page? In fact, even I have finished Macroeconomics. I am so delighted, I am going shopping tomorrow.

From: Me
To: Everyone minus Jo

Jo is such a bitch.

From: Bonky
To: Me

I have decided to spend all me free sms on you. So what's up?

From: Me
To: Bonky

Great, now even I will start wondering if I am a lesbian. Right now, I am having fried chicken. Diet be damned.

From: Bonky
To: Me

#@$#, I know. My regime has gone for a toss. My life looks so bleak I spent the whole afternoon watching Vivah today.

From: Me
To: Bonky

You too :D
We are such soulmates. In fact, I alternated between that and Swarg. Swarg has Govinda and Juhi. Govinda is Juhi's servant, then becomes all glamorous and Juhi falls for him. If our servant becomes rich, would we marry him?
(p.s., wish Mithun and Govinda had mated and produced a kid. He would be the greatest dancer on earth)
(p.s.2 OK, I have a crush on Govinda)

(n.b. I write long sms)
(n.b. 2 What is the plural form of sms?)

From: Bonky
To: Me

My heart is set on Mimoh. I doubt I would want any other son of Mithun, even if he is a hybrid of Govinda..am a loyal lover...

From: Me
To: Bonky

Mimoh is mine, woman :O
You always want my men. Mimoh is the only one who makes me see unicorns and rainbows when he dances. You know, I thought I would never know love. I never realized it would come to me in this form where my beloved is sundered apart by cities and superstardom. But someday, we will gaze into each other's eyes and realization will strike him and he will dance. He will dance Bonky like he has never danced before and love will envelope us. Then we will have a son and call him Gomoh.

From: Pingu
To: Everyone

I was playing diner dash on my cell phone and lost for the 12th time in a row. I was so frustrated I banged my head on the floor and now I am dizzy. Stop studying till I feel better.

From: Me
To: Pingu

Heh, I am busy telling Bonky my love story with Mimoh. You have no fear from us.

From: Pingu
To: Me

Mimoh is gay toh :O

From: Me
To: Pingu

Ki jata :O
More somman is expected from a Bengali towards Mithun's son. Of course, most people I fall for do turn out to be gay, so won't protest much.

From: Pingu
To: Me

Of course! Should have got the link. But there are better gays man. What is wrong with your taste? Jo ladki kabhi Karan Johar ke kwhab dekhti thi, woh aaj Mimoh pe utar aayi? Ghor kalyug!!

From: Me
To: Everyone

I am leaving Oligopoly. It has stopped making any sense. Nash can go screw himself.

From: Jo
To: Me

Oh, but that is the most major chapter. I have just finished Duality. I also bought (long list follows)..And is not Nash dead or something?

From: Me
To: Everyone minus Jo

Jo is such a bitch.

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And yet another tag

>> Saturday, May 31, 2008

Which on the surface promises not to take much time or space. And then you rethink.
This is Rekaf's contribution to the tag world, something to be pondered over and to remember him by when he passes on to greater things than blogging obsessively.

One thing I truly regret:

Not being able to enjoy my college life till I realized its getting over. Too many holidays. Too many library trips. Too much studying. Too many wanderings. Too many friends. But no college. No joining political parties and pretending one is Mamta Banerjee. No canteen trips and doping and crushes all over the place. No making best friends with Promodda (the canteen owner, a legend in his own right). No being able to tell Johnny Depp lookalike one thinks he is the hottest thing since the real Johnny Depp.

Yes, this is actually all I regret. This is all I have missed.

Take up the tag. Believe me when I say its a difficult one.


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A Quest

>> Monday, May 19, 2008

Once upon a time, when I was around fourteen and literally gobbled up stories about little girls who lived happily ever after, I came across one such book in the school library. It was about this ten year old city girl called Elizabeth who shifts to the country after the aunt who looked after her, gets a job someplace else. The book is mostly about how she deals with the country life. She lives there with her two aunts and uncles who insist on calling her Betty, and I also remember a scene where her uncle asks her to describe how roads are laid. Subplots include adventure in a fair with a little girl on her (Betty's) birthday, making butter, and incidents in school. At the end, of course, she decides to live in the country rather than move with her aunt to the big city.

What I am looking for is the book's name. As a 14 year old, I remember crying copious tears over it. Its purely meant for little girls who have nothing better to do than read stories about happily ever afters and ruin their concept of real life. But right now, that is exactly the sort of literature I need. Any help would be much appreciated.

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Yet another tag

>> Saturday, May 17, 2008

Which is the best way to fill up some space, come back to blogging and announce that one is sick of Economics and has decided to get married.
Onnesha tagged me a very long time back. I was saving it up for a special occasion as this and so here goes the alphabet soup. In keeping with tradition, I have tried to keep it spontaneous.

A for Ashvin, the first character I ever created.
B for Binomial, the bane of my life.
C for catch, as in bowling and out.
D for desperate, which is what I am feeling now.
E for Emma, and I do not know why.
F for I-usually-try-to-avoid-that-word-here.
G for a friend's name which is the only thing occurring to me right now. We became friends over a porn movie and now he thinks he is my father. Star Wars, I tell you.
H for hila, the only contribution to my vocabulary from high school.
I for illai, the only Tamil word I know.
J for jata, a very frequently used word.
K for Kalua, and this was not supposed to come out.
L for lessee, the only response to every favour asked for.
M for Mimoh. Period.
N for N*Sync, I am trying to bring them back (no comments on my musical taste please)
O for oligopoly, which sounds extremely pornographic to me (what is with examinations that my mind automatically seeks solace in porn?)
P for pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar. Indian love songs. Just read Galahad warn Clarence against them.
Q for Quriosity. My mind is warped. I do not play fair.
R for roddur. Its killing me.
S for Slutsky. I still can not get over the fact that someone was called this and was actually alice through high school.
T for Tao, which is what I have tattooed on my hand along with Latin Square design of experiment and Johnny Depp.
U for unassuming. Which sort of defines me during exam times.
V for Venom. At 18, we could not afford it. At 19, we did not have the time. At 20, we are old women and too mature for discotheques.
W for Wridhiman Saha. I find his name too cute for words.
X for Xerox. I have spent the family fortunes on it.
Y for Yello, the new (cliched?) hello.
Z for Zach Braff. I love him.

What? You actually have not done this tag yet? You are tagged.

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>> Sunday, May 04, 2008

Since all I seem to be doing nowadays is thinking and obsessing about new posts to write and I really, really, really have to do well in the pass papers this year or wave that Ph.D. goodbye, have decided to take a sabbatical. Blog remains henceforth shut down till further notice.

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It is extremely necessary to write all your answers in POINT FORM

>> Saturday, May 03, 2008

  1. There is supposed to be a blogmeet. Where, no clue. When, no clue. Why, because all our kids will be intermating someday. More on this topic here. If you will be present in Kolkata during May end- June beginning session and connected somehow to the Calcuttan blog world (that, my dear friend, is a necessity) you are pleej to note that you are invited. There are talks of freely flowing booze, and a chance its going to end up being one of those Babylonian orgies Wodehouse used to love talking about. There are also rumours of moo-lah being taken to task for his atrocious behavior towards the next generation bloggers and unfounded comments regarding their sexuality, career prospects and societal status.
  2. I have completely forgotten what the second point was supposed to be. Righteous anger directed against moo-lah makes me forget everything all the time. Oh, yes, now I remember. Chennai is apparently leading. Yay :D Being a staunch Bengali, the first and foremost task of mine is to pretend I am a Tamil changeling and that Chennai is Mecca. Anyway, go Chennai, whatever your name and whoever your IPL owner is.
  3. I realize I should devote a new post to the third topic. It should not be clubbed along with booze, orgies and moo-lah. So please remain all agog and twiddle your thumbs in anguished expectation till the next installment.
  4. I have decided to be the next Pablo Neruda. Considering the fact that I have never written, understood or willingly read a poem, this decision is a brave and commendable one, even if I say so myself. My poetry is supposed to inspire rebellion against suppression which I thought I should mention on early in case everyone fails to understand it. The first poem in question goes
Dear blog world
Why will not you comment on my comment space
Why? Why? Why?
If you are reading this and yet fail to comment
I will poke you in the eye.




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Notes From Early Mornings

>> Friday, April 25, 2008

After having harried me since time immemorial to stop making her feel as if she gave birth to a blob, my mother has finally succeeded in making me agree to early morning walks. This fact should do no credit to her, since the only reason I do go for walks is that I do not feel like Mathematics after 5 a.m. in the morning and I never can go to sleep until the rest of the world sharing my timezone has awoken and arisen.

Morning walks, though a rage among most health advisers, is an extremely lonely undertaking. A person resorts to it only after he is past his first, second and sometimes third youth. And they all seem to severely disapprove if a person boasting of less mature years, wisdom and looks invades their territory. An ensemble of eyebrows raise themselves to frown upon walking attire, headbanging ( Any sort of rock is a thing of awful beauty during early hours, specially when accompanied by chirping birds, against whom I have a special dislike) and random trippings along any sort of uneven roads, stones, rocks and invisible barriers. Icy looks are all a part of the thinning process in this part of the world.

Morning walks are also devoid of any sort of guys. I do not even ask for cute. But anyone who is remotely dateable seem to while away their entire mornings sleeping, unmindful of the fact that their probable soulmate is taking headbanging morning walks along one of the most beautiful and romantic settings possible, happily wondering what is for breakfast.

The best thing about early mornings are yellow flowers. They are present everywhere. They dot most trees, they lay strewn about on every path and you often end up sweeping them away from the bathroom floor after the mandatory shower. They freshen up the warmest of mornings and brighten the dreariest of streets. Not that streets look dreary. An young sun, dew bathed roads, a dimmed moon somewhere out there in the skies, and sometimes, while changing music in the player, the drunken calm of day create a vivid, joyous, exhilarating world, challenged, perhaps, only by the magic of midnights.

There is also the joys of the inebriate's walk, as I have named it. All it involves is finding the oddest and the narrowest of by lanes, and taking random turns whenever possible, making the way home more circuitous, more adventurous and more beautiful. The prettiest of homes, the oddest of colours, the brightest of gardens, all seem to be tucked away in hidden corners, unseen by people who come looking for them, awaiting to surprise walkers in search of a reason to keep on walking, and desired by the very people who plan to move to Antartica given a chance (Onnesha, take a bow).

The bare truth is, I have fallen in love with these walks of mine. They do not harrow my soul any more. They do not seem to do my blobness any good, but they soothe the frayed nerves of mine after an intense mathematical session. My soul is a walker's soul now, and I will never be able to find delight in the joys of driving. Then again, a walker never killed a stag. Walkers just remain walkers at bay.

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BTW

>> Saturday, April 19, 2008

If you are into soaps and other stuff which involves lots of babies and lots of marriages between the same people, please take a look at what is going on at coffee stain's comment section. Any queries regarding the plotline can be answered at any of the blogs of the people involved in it.

If you consider yourself to be above sublime tales of marriages and babies, skip over to the previous post or please visit again for the elusive update.

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