Saturday, December 24, 2005

Not being able to speak hindi is proving to be a serious handicap. And it's not like I don't know hindi. I just don't like speaking the bloody language. Or maybe it's a matter of confidence. Whatever it is, I just cannot make conversation with most people in college. Which suits me just fine. But it's awkward when people come up to me and start talking to me in hindi, and I don't know what to say, or how to say it. At such times, I limit my reply to a nod, or a shake of the head, or a smile, or a really wide smile, or a combination of two or more of these in varying degrees. Sigh.

I liked Chicken Little. Cute movie.

Not so much King Kong. I had such high expectations. It wasn't a bad movie, but it just couldn't hold my attention the whole while. Disappointing.

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
- 'Verbal' Kint
(The Usual Suspects)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Second semester started last Monday. So we've had 8 days of classes since then. I've made it to college in time for the first period on 2 of those 8 days - no doubt, a cause for celebration. What makes it even more special is that that enviable tally could so easily have been 3 instead of 2.

So, sometime last week I got into an auto with the noble intention of reaching college on time. Just a normal auto - the usual uncomfortable seats, the excess fare message painted in miniscule letters conforming completely with the Bengaluru Auto Drivers Association's (BADA) standard for abysmal spelling, the customary cd dangling from the rear view mirror, and the mandatory picture of Shankar Nag on the windshield. As you can see, nothing out of the ordinary.

We started off pretty smoothly. The official mascot of the BADA is a bidi in khakis smoking a bidi. So, what happened next didn't exactly shock the pants off of me. The driver pulled out a bidi within 10 seconds of starting the auto, an early indication that he was a pastmaster of the art of auto driving. It was around then that it suddenly struck me that he was the kind of guy I'd put my money on to win a Godzilla look-alike contest, if and when the people concerned decide to hold one as a last ditch effort to revive the old radioactive lizard's flagging popularity.

Within a few minutes, Godzilla was discarding the first bidi and lighting a second. Then a third. And a fourth. They just kept on coming. It was, I suppose, his way of subtly conveying to me that he had served more than one term on the executive board of the BADA. Somehow, I wasn't very impressed.

As he kept puffing away, I was enveloped in a cloud of smoke. Now, I'm usually passive. I'm not a smoker. I don't enjoy being a passive smoker. I was trying to get that message across to him, but it's awfully hard to open one's mouth when there's smoke all around. Obviously, I had to exercise my ventriloquistic talents. So, I sat there with my mouth tightly shut, delivering a sermon on the health hazards posed by smoking, namely headaches, a reduced libido and impotence (and according to some unconfirmed reports, lung cancer). But I guess I'm not an accomplished enough ventriloquist. Or maybe Godzilla was just a stubborn bum. Whatever the case (I'm inclined to believe it was the latter), my lecture didn't have much of an effect on him.

To my great relief (and that of his family, well-wishers, and the BADA), he soon ran out of bidis. The smoke cleared quickly enough. It was then that I noticed that we were moving along like a sloth suffering from arthritis. That's a little slower than Maurice Greene when he's dead. I estimated that I would reach my destination seven times quicker if Godzilla just hefted me onto his shoulders and hopped the distance on one leg. I also noticed that the meter was running as fast as it would have if we were travelling as fast as Maurice Greene (not dead, obviously). He had rigged it pretty well, a sure-fire sign of an auto-driver truly worth his salt.

Every few minutes, he stuck his head out through the side of the auto and gently cautioned less competent drivers against driving too fast, slipping in a few exotic sounding obscenities (the rights to which are held jointly by the BADA and the IITs) whenever he felt the need. By this time, even my optimum levels of optimism didn't allow me to cling onto a last shred of hope that I may be able to attend the first period.

But of course, there was one more thing that Godzilla had to show me to convince me that he was a consummate practitioner of his sacred profession. Apparently, he had forgotten. But it did come, and it came when we were less than a kilometre from college. I had, by then, started to wonder if I had overestimated his prowess. So, when it did come, it took me completely by surprise. His speakers were unbelievably loud. But then, Excuse Me is a perennial favourite of mine. I hummed along happily. Godzilla must have heard me, because he started honking his horn in tune with the song. And very soon, he was humming along too. So we hummed together all the way to college.

(Obviously, this is part fact, part fiction. Most of it is true, but grossly exaggerated, as is the case with most of my writing)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Random thoughts

Deadlines are my drug, can't work without them.

I can't stick to a plan, so why make one at all?

I've been 18 for 28 days.

I can't multi-task for nuts.

It's so much easier to get bored in the company of people than when I'm alone.

December's just like May. Only it's much colder and I sleep a lot longer.

The King Kong trailer is amazing!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Amar, Amar by Anton Dolinsky

Some say it sunk into the sea
Some say it never was
I know its history, because
Someone is always cursed
With knowing what will be

When the seagulls twitch
Above the twisting of the sea
I know their voice,
I know their tale,
I am their memory

The reeking swamp,
With silent stones
That will not say a word
Instead will laugh
As I describe
The whisper of the honey-bird

Those I meet disdain to greet
A flower like Amar
They fear what's far
And love what's near
And try to drop in my golden cup
Where I keep the light of the star
A wordly tear
Another year

And still I seek Amar


From a Berkeley Publication called Cal Literary Arts Magazine (CLAM).

Courtesy Gautam.. thanks again.

I'm a haunted flower or something.. lol.