Monday, December 31, 2007

So this is how it ends.

It’s the last day of the year. And like every other last day of every other span of time, it is screaming at me to introspect. I don’t want to, dammit. I hate introspection. It’s another matter that I do a lot of it, but I hate it anyway. I hate trying to separate time into a series of momentous/life-altering moments, because there are so few of them, and because it seems like something huge should have happened, which didn’t. You see, I still believe that something amazing is going to happen, and the fact that it hasn’t already is a source of huge disappointment for me. As I have already established through previous posts, I love the idea of apocalyptic showdowns. Of course, my idea of such a showdown has tempered down over the years. I started with judgment day (the real stuff, with meteorites, and alien invasions and all), and now am stuck at getting a boyfriend. Apocalyptic indeed. It would kill him.
However, I have valiantly fought the realization that something big may not happen. Bosh. You see, if I ever succumbed to that belief, then what would I live for? Certainly not the next day, knowing that I would have to live off whatever random scraps life threw my way. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the small joys and all that jazz. It’s just that I believe that a life is too small to be spent collecting tiny pieces, just so that you can put them all together at the end of your life, nod your head, and say, “Hmm, maybe it wasn’t that bad.” Once in a while, you need to stop and feel that what you’re living through may never happen again, that it’s special, that it’s unique, that it’s changing your life irrevocably, that it’s BIG. Each year passes me by with few of those moments. But I continue hoping, pathological optimist that I am, that something BIG might happen. I can imagine myself at the end of my life, still thinking, “There’s still some time, maybe the aliens will land, after all.” And poof, I’m dead. That was the “something BIG”, stupid.
But back to new years (and really, you should tell me when I start ranting) - they demand introspection. And all these years, my moment of introspection was just that, a moment, because there wasn’t really much to think about. This year, however, has been slightly different.
This year, I’ve met different people, I’ve learnt new things. This year, I’ve messed up in the most amazingly stupid ways. I’ve also done oddly well in some respects, and oddly bad in others. Significantly, this year, I’ve realized the unimportance of it all. I’ve realized how little everything matters, and I’ve also realized how everything else matters proportionately much, much more. But most importantly, this year I’ve realized that posts like this are so profoundly self-important, it’s ridiculous. No one wants to know what this year meant to me. Yet I ply you with unnecessary and cloyingly vague details. This year has also been a lesson in self-realization for me. There. Stop it, dammit.
However, there is One Very Important Lesson I am carrying with me from this year to the next. No self-realization-themed-revelatory article is complete without at least one of this kind, and this is mine. And this is what I’ve realized (drum roll) - something BIG WILL happen. Imagine neon lights and burlesque dancers doing the can-can around the letters W-I-L-L. THAT is the strength of my conviction. When you consider that I began each of the last few years with a slightly flagging belief in the future, then you will understand why this is important.
I’ve also realized that I’m a pathological optimist, and incurably so. This realization should be at odds with the previous realization, but since when have I let mere inconsistencies of character bother me?
I will break convention, and end with a cliché. I will probably murder myself for the incredible soppiness of this post, or, at the very least, gag whenever I see it. But, I’m afraid, the truth must be told. And the truth of the matter is, I feel EXACTLY this way. There, go on and judge me. I’ll join you.
“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don't ask why
It's not a question, but a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.”
- Green Day, “Good Riddance of your Life”
And I have to admit, I DID have the time of my life.
To think that it's barely begun.

Happy New Year, people. Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Darwin, my arse.

My mother will drive me up the wall. Incidentally, I have, in several of my less-employed moments wondered about the exact origin of this expression, i.e., driving someone up the wall. Does it refer to a feeling of irritation so singularly intense that you wish to relinquish human existence in favour of that of a wall lizard? Why a wall lizard, pray? Obviously because wall lizards don’t have television sets. Also if one wall lizard of a particular wall lizard community, married another wall lizard of another wall lizard community, then the female wall lizard’s family very rarely give two hoots. This is of course assuming that wall lizards have communities, and get married. The difference between human beings and wall lizards lie at deeper, more existential levels. This is assuming that I know exactly what existentialism is, and it isn’t just another random word I just bandied about. Which, of course, ISN’T the case. It IS just another random word I bandied about.
Coming back to wall lizards, which, incidentally, isn’t what this post is all about, they rarely have complicated lives, and wall lizard technology is unheard of. So, even if we were to assume that wall lizards do, indeed have such complicated lives as previously described (communities, marriage, et al), they rarely get to convey information about such complications to the unsuspecting wall lizard public via the medium of television. So, even if the aforementioned male wall lizard is, one of these days, found dead on an ant trail, after being overrun by a train of ants, such information will rarely, if never, cause a ripple in the wall lizard world. Even if we are to take into consideration that it is very hard for a wall lizard to be run over by a train of ants, and hence, all things considered, this is a highly suspicious death.
Such is the uncomplicated life of wall lizards that such incidents, in the rare instance of their occurrence, will never invade the homes (or walls) of your average everyday young adult of a wall lizard. Mother wall lizards will certainly not be glued to their hypothetical television sets for every new scrap of information(?) that the wall lizard media cares to throw their way. Mother lizards couldn’t care less. Which is why I say that my mother is driving me up the wall. I pine for the wall lizard existence that I can never have.
However, while we are discussing idioms (and by the looks of it, that is ALL that we’ll ever discuss, the actual topic having long slipped my mind), there are a few points that I would like to clarify about my pro-wall lizard stance. Firstly, I have long considered wall lizards to be, quite frankly, one of the lowest of (hypothetical) God’s creations. Recent developments (refer to above) have forced a partial change in my view of these creatures, and have made me see their existence in a much favourable light. However, I still place these creatures very, very, very, very low in my personalized, ethical order of evolution. Somewhere at the bottom, actually.
Therein lies a problem. For, if I were to assume a wall lizard existence, I would refuse to assign to myself a species which falls so much lower on the evolutionary ladder than, say, humans. Why? Because, as I have already shown you, a human existence has its pitfalls. If the situation described in paragraphs 1 and 2 (yes, you have to go back and count) were to hypothetically happen in human society, reactions wouldn’t quite be the same. To start with, human communities would indeed give, not just two, but several hoots about this. Of course I’m not even starting on all this hoop-la about marriage that we humans have, that would take me into a discussion about free love, and we don’t want THAT. Suffice to say, given the hypothetical situation that two humans of two opposite communities enter into a contract/sacrament to live with each other, other human beings wouldn’t look too kindly upon it. And if one human were to be economically less well off that the other, then heavens! Human wrath would know no end.
Yes, yes, you say, but problem? Wherein lies the problem? Therein, I say. Wherein, you ask. Therein, I say. This goes on for quite some time. So, my suggestion to you is, don’t ask, just listen.
So, as we can see, humans aren’t quite as noble as, say, wall lizards. They marry. They have communities. They fight. And eventually, in some cases, they kill.
And THEREIN lies my objection to the whole hypothetical scenario that I, myself, have so painstakingly created. I refuse to be further down on the evolutionary ladder than a species which has lesser morals than I have. If I am to be a wall lizard, then I refuse to be placed lower on my ladder than humans. I will gladly embrace wall lizard existence, for the last month or so has convinced me of it’s beauty. But I plain refuse to be considered inferior to human beings, a species, which, as I have (hopefully) convincingly established, possesses a morality lower than your common everyday garden slug. Garden Slug, my respects to you.
Hence I have driveled. Why, you may ask, yet unconvinced of my purpose. Didn’t I tell you not to? Ask, that is? Well, if you must, then I will succinctly state the purpose of this rant. This, ladies and gentlemen, is my case for a new evolutionary order. Darwin knew nuts. I have laid in front of you an elaborate proof as to why we need to change the evolutionary order. Wall lizards may not be placed right in front, in fact, I’d rather they were not. But wherever they are placed, human beings should not be placed ahead of them. That’s all I ask for, judicious readers. That my mother drove me up the wall, for reasons aforementioned, was purely an incidental spark that led me to the discovery of a higher truth.
Yes, indeed, you dimwit, I DID have a point. Didn’t I tell you so, right in the beginning?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Burmese Revolution

I am not a sucker for politics. For romantic notions of revolution, maybe, but not politics. I sometimes half wish (why half, I LOVE the idea) of being in a dark, dystopian world, where I am leading a revolution against the authoritarian government. It's one of my favourite fantasies. Think V for Vendetta, 1984, Brave New World, Equilibrium- the like. Also (ulp) Resident Evil, Dawn of the Dead, and 28 days later. Zombies, dictators- whatever. I get to lead the (I LOVE this word) RESISTANCE. And do all the cool stuff that comes along with it. You know, martial arts, guns, spies and shit. And the oh-so-handsome and brooding guy who I have a torrid affair with. It's like Sidney Sheldon in Dystopia. Minus the gorgeous female lead of course- no stretch of imagination will make me THAT. But you get the general drift. It's the manifestation of an absudly intense indoctrination in sci-fi, dystopia and action movies. I should have watched the Blue lagoon when I was a kid.
However, this post, like all my other posts, was never supposed to be about this.
It was supposed to be, and from this point onwards, shall begin to be, about Burma. Not Myanmar. Burma. Till date, my knowledge of Burma has been restricted to three sources- a book, an essay, and a person. The book is The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh, the essay is At Large in Burma by the same, and the person is my Maths teacher, Mr. S.K. Mukherjee, a man I refer to simply as Sir. Sir told me of the time when his father had been to Burma, an absurdly rich and beautiful country. He contrasted it with the time he had gone to Burma, when the great teak floors of the Grand Hotel were no longer used for dancing. The Junta had banned it.
While Sir put Burma on my radar of knowledge, Amitav Ghosh put neon chrismas lights around it. The Glass Palace, in a word, was brilliant. He mixed factual accounts of the Burmese Royal family, and fictional stories of other characters, and spun an epic over and around the entire modern history of Burma. His essay, At Large in Burma, dealt with Aung San, and his daughter, Syu Ki.
Today, the newspapers talk about a 'uprising in 1988' which was 'brutally supressed' by the then government, headed by General Ne Win. That was the 8888 Uprising, named so because it started on the 8th of August, 1988. Burma, right now, is witnessing the largest mass protests in twenty years, that is, since the 8888 uprising. 3000 people were killed in 1988.
There were, till a couple of days back, monks marching on the streets of Burma. In Mandalay, BBC showed images of people on their knees, bowing as the monks passed by. The processions comprised of people from everywhere, but at the head, marched the maroon-robed monks.
There is a purpose to this. My rambling, that is. I hope you are aware that the junta has transferred Aung San Syu Ki from her house to prison. I hope you also know that monks and civilians are being arrested, access to the internet has been restricted, and that the police has been assaulting perfectly peaceful demonstrations. Oh yes, and that the Minister for Petroleum in India, Mr. Murli Deora, went to Burma for talks with the Junta on sharing of petroleum resources, a month into the protests. If you're not aware of this, then I'd suggest, watch the news. BBC maybe, because the Indian News Channels are obsessed with Cricket, Sania Mirza's legs (or hair, or t-shirts, I don't know) and Chak de.
I would love to be part of a loud, bloody, violent revolution. In my widescreen imagination, the sheer cinematic excitement of this revolution is awesome. I would love to be part of secret meetings, and surreptitious attacks on military convoys. Who knows, I might even give my life for this- hopelessness is a different high. But India, in my lifetime, doesnt seem to be headed in that direction. We are much too comfortable, much too divided for such a revolution. And the government always doles out its tokens of democracy to keep us satiated.
So, my interest in Burma is, on a level, simply a manifestation of a latent desire to see something truly magnificent happen. Not like Nepal, where the aristrocacy sheepishly gives. Something big and cinematic. Ultimately heartwarming. Yes, I like Steven Spielberg.
But on another level, I want this to be quiet. A silent revolution. Silent only in terms of physical violence, mind you- the protests have to be deafening. Because, ultimately, Martin Luther King wins over Martial Art (excuse the horrible, HORRIBLE figure of speech). And I'm not just saying that. Burma is, was, could have been one of the richest nations in Asia. The junta saw to it that it did not happen. Burma is a tragedy, and we are witnessing what could potentially be a climax. Or an anti-climax.
I am sure that many of you share my absurd fantasies. Come on now, I KNOW you do- that's why these films get made and these books get written. But we also know that there is very little chance of us ever being part of that. Our lives will be, in all probability, unmarked with any chance or potential for greatness. Or operatic excitement. Or revolution. But there is one thing you can do, a little thing, maybe, but one that will put you down as one of the people who changed the history of a country. That thing isn't much of a high, but for all of us out there who are high on notions of revolution, it's something. Speak. In the name of the Guevara, the Marx, and the Syu Ki, Speak. In protest against an Orwellian future (as much as that may give us the opportunity to finally have that revolution), SPEAK. To me, to them, to everyone else. Let the media know that we give a damn about Burma, we give a damn about democracy. We may not, but let them feel that, anyway. On the way, a couple of truly inspired people may join us. And if on the way, Burma is rescued, good for them. We get our revolution, they get their democracy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This isn't random.

Now I wonder how a 10 minute break stretches into a one hour long hiatus. I was working on defences to torts, when I decided to take a break. Check my mail, scraps, the like. That was an hour back. And I've been up ever since. Dang.
My first semester at law college is coming to an end. Endsems start in nine days. I started looking through my legal method material for the first time a couple of days back. The first few articles were all about research, taking notes and preparation. The irony of it was sickening.
I got through to my college quiz team. Okay, so I am 14th on a list of 14th. And the third round hasn't happened yet, so I don't know what my final rank will be. But I'm in. I barely scraped through, but contrary to expectations (my own), I'm in. And though I am bound to make a colossal ass of myself in the third round, maybe I can give myself a tentative pat on the back.
I have burnt the index finger on my right hand in a daredevil attempt to fish toast out of the oven without wearing gloves.
I've discovered one of the best love stories ever. It's called "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning", and is by Haruki Murakami.
I like my roomie. She's ditzy, but nice, and lets me be.
And I have decided not to be shy anymore. Down with social retardation.
This too will pass. Yay!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


There is this little light in me that went ping! the moment I realised that I wanted to study law. It was the ping! I had waited aeons for. The ping! of knowing what you're meant for. The ping! whose absence meant agony, particularly agonising agony for an Ayn Rand devotee in search of the one thing that her life was meant for.
Well, I realise now it was only one ping! in a line of several more consequential ping!s to come. The ping! of job. Of guy. Of the degree of my ambition. Of the priorities that were genetically ingrained in me, and which are hopelessly rigid even in the face of changing circumstances. The ping! of realising that maybe a couple of my past pings! were simply mistimed, misjudged or misheard. The ping! that tells me that I was my happiest long back. Dang.
So I wait for these ping!s. Moments of random epiphany that tell me how to make those really important decisions. I think one's due

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"I was forced to admit, at the end of thirty years' devotion to the cause, that I was never made for it. I was born condemned to be one of those who has to see all sides of a question. When you're damned like that, the questions multiply for you until in the end it's all questions and no answer. As history proves, to be a wordly success at anything, especially revolution, you have to wear blinders like a horse and see only straight in front of you. You have to see too, that this is all black, and that is all white."
- Eugene O'Neill

Monday, June 25, 2007

Say it after me- There, there.

I am afraid there is much too much to write. I COULD space it all out, but then I’d forget some stuff and add some more stuff, and forget some others which were more important than the rest. And because there is so much stacked up, I’ll never be able to focus on one thing. So, at the risk of sounding even more vague and disjointed than usual, I’ll let it all out.
College started. Three weeks back. I am still in a state of suspension. Like all this will end in a day or two, and I’ll find things back to normal. Regardless of how much I may have hated normal earlier, now normal seems the way to go.
Normal. I hate normal. Now normal here is not the same as normal three sentences back. That was things-as-they-used-to-be normal. This normal is the adjective used to define people who think straight, boring whatever. You know, the ones whose jokes have punchlines. Who always get to the point. Who don’t make abject politically incorrect statements in the most good-natured way possible. And people who don’t crack jokes about, well, cows and dead grandmothers and stuff. You know, them.
Unfortunately, college is full of them. People who actually make sense and all. Its so depressing when you spend an hour making sense. What we had in school was, as Joey put it, graphiti. Beautiful shit. We’d send out these random sparks to each other, and catch them as they went buzzing through the air. It was like Jackson Pollock- random gorgeous absurd oddities of meaning. And suddenly, I have to make sense. Bull.
That’s it for today. I will be ranting for some time to come, so feel free to skip the next couple of entries. I will let you know when I’m done.
And screw punctuation, please.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Why isn't it okay to NOT be angry?

Anger. More often than not, it isn't just anger. It is anger, sorrow, pride and frustration. Seasoned with deceit, and often, jealousy. But I'm afraid I'm not too good at expressing it.
For instance, there is the question of speech. Do you, or don't you, talk? Do you shut up and simmer, or do you shout? Do we stop talking to the person who angered us, or do we go on as if nothing had happened, letting the person be humiliated by our forgiveness? Only, it isn't forgiveness at all, because I intended to humiliate.
Do we resolve our issues, or do we plan retaliation? While the former seems like the normal thing to do, remember, revenge is an amazing high.
But most importantly, do I forget, or do I remember?

I forget. You probably don't, but I do. I would like to think of myself as a vengeful person, because vengeance, in some twisted way, rhymes with power. But I'm afraid I'm not. I can, if I try, plan a long drawn-out revenge, but I'll probably forget about it midway. But that isn't the problem. The problem is that the world expects me to be nasty and aggressive and vengeful. I wouldn't know half the time when someone made an ass out of me (supposedly), if someone else didn't point it out to me. I've gained in wariness, but I still fail to spot several such (alleged) slights. Actually, its too much of a bother to keep looking out for them.

So, my message to you is, let me be. I'm happy with my gawdawfully bad memory, and my propensity for forgiveness (by default). I'm happy not bothering anyone, and I'd be happy to think that no one was bothering me. So if you're paranoid, then stay away from my little illusion, pwetty please.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Long back, I read a book at the wrong age. I remember being fascinated, and baffled at my fascination with something I could barely understand. I caught the spirit, but not the flesh, I could catch the mood of the symphony, but couldn’t hum a single bar. I was much, much too young, just about thirteen, when I first read Jude the Obscure.
I remember the time when I was first fascinated by the gorgeous depression that Thomas Hardy’s works bring. Whenever I think of Hardy, and in particular, Jude the Obscure, I think of a richly carved sculpture, remniscient of Rodin’s Gates of Hell, with each individual carving evocative of some pain, sorrow or suffering. Jude, in particular, seems to draw and envelope you in its own mist of sorrow, a strange, dense mist, heavy, but not stifling, thin, but impenetrable.
The other thing that strikes me about Hardy is how his characters are always slightly larger than life. They are real, no doubt, with their fair share (and often, more than that) of human faults and failings. But Hardy takes a character rand elevates his or her suffering to a grand, almost orchestral level. Personal struggle takes the tone of universal crusade, enemies become adversaries, and lovers become soul mates. And characters, mere human characters, become demigods. Nowhere is this more prominent than in Jude.
But I was thirteen, and though I can understand the novel on the basis of the other works by Hardy that I have subsequently read, I am yet to comprehend Jude for itself, in it entirety. That is why I bought a second-hand copy of Jude the other day. I remember how I felt when I read it, now I want to figure out why.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Fatal Flaw

Literature, for me, is a reaffirmation of the fact that minds such as mine do exist. Lying as I am in the throes of adolescent confusion, I find it a solace to read about and identify with people like me. I am especially attracted to the conflicted characters, because they allow me to see myself in a less negative light. They become my role models, in a way. But I regret to say that most of these role models are quite unfortunately male. Be it Larry Underwood, or Hank Rearden, or Andrei Taganov. Why?

The fault lies with male and female writers both. Literature has always been written from the point of view of men. Even feminist writers tend to adopt a feminist approach, which is in direct negation of a masculine approach. For men, women embody a mysterious integrity, and in most books, there is a single, token female character representing in herself all aspects of feminity, while there is a male character for every shade of human attribute. Unfair. Because women have ideological conflicts and inconsistencies, just as men do and it is unfair that we should have to bear the cross of perfection, at least in literature, while men get away with being real and confused.

Now, I’m not talking about the token vamp. Because the token vamp too, has integrity in the sense that she is wholly evil. I am talking about the flawed character, the imperfect diamond, or the average, but not uninteresting, person. If men can have shades and nuances of character, why can’t women?
For a woman, her conflict becomes directly related to her feminity, and not, to her humanity. So you have a woman who is torn between domesticity and professional success, between her husband and her lover, but not, between ideals. Are women THAT one-dimensional?

Example- any of Ayn Rand’s central female characters. In all her novels, she has multiple male characters, hovering around centrality. In Atlas Shrugged, in fact, she has more than the usual two. However, in all her novels, she has one, and just one, central female character. She is beautiful, successful, feminine, and ultimately, secondary to the male central character (with the possible exception of Kira in We the Living, and even her life was shaped by her love for Leo). These characters are perfect in all respects. Even when they DO make mistakes, they are not mistakes born out of character flaws, but just mistakes in understanding, in perception.

There are examples to the contrary, but few and far in between. And more often than not, your token “strong” female characters are also, surprise surprise, heartbreakingly beautiful. Which is such a painful cliché. If she isn’t heartbreakingly beautiful, then she has a moustache, and is the ruthless CEO of some company, otherwise, she’s just virtuous, which is such a bore.

Literature, and its accompanying media, i.e., television and cinema, are very potent forces when it comes to socialization. Our ideas, principles, and self-expression (language, trends, habits, fashion, etc) are largely influenced by them. But if they portray only stereotypes, then we begin to think in those stereotypes. I am not a rabid bra-burning feminist, but I DO believe that true equality lies in diversity. Diversity of choices, diversity of personas, and diversity of mistakes. And for that, I believe that women should be treated in literature as human beings, pliable, versatile, flawed, confused human beings, and not as embodiments of perfection, positive or negative. I may be a woman, but I was born human to begin with.

The Runaway

Once when the snow of the year was beginning to fall,
We stopped by a mountain pasture to say 'Whose colt?'
A little Morgan had one forefoot on the wall,
The other curled at his breast. He dipped his head
And snorted at us. And then he had to bolt.
We heard the miniature thunder where he fled,
And we saw him, or thought we saw him, dim and grey,
Like a shadow against the curtain of falling flakes.
'I think the little fellow's afraid of the snow.
He isn't winter-broken. It isn't play
With the little fellow at all. He's running away.
I doubt if even his mother could tell him, "Sakes,
It's only weather". He'd think she didn't know !
Where is his mother? He can't be out alone.'
And now he comes again with a clatter of stone
And mounts the wall again with whited eyes
And all his tail that isn't hair up straight.
He shudders his coat as if to throw off flies.
'Whoever it is that leaves him out so late,
When other creatures have gone to stall and bin,
Ought to be told to come and take him in.'

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


""Diana? Of course I remember her. Who could forget Diana? She isn't someone you can easily forget."

"You know Diana? Why, this is wonderful, I haven’t heard from her in a long time. How is she, and isn't she a laugh?"

"Diana? She was the funniest person to have around, you know, life of the party, and always came up with the funniest songs."

"I'd hate to admit this, if it were anyone else. But it’s Diana we're talking about. If she hadn’t asked that question, I would have made a big mistake. She had a knack of asking the right questions, of triggering off unexpected lines of thought. Funny, I never thanked her. Do you know where she is now?”

"I loved Diana. Never told her, though, but I think she knew. That was probably the best thing about her, how something as deep and disturbing as love could be so easy with her. She didn’t love me back, but she accepted it. She didn’t do that which so many other girls do- stay away from you, and say that they don’t want to hurt you, when actually, they just want to display themselves tantalisingly, you know, prolong the pain, bump into you 'by mistake'. Diana wasn't that devious. We stayed friends."

"Diana- her absence made all the difference. The days which she didn’t come to school, nothing was as fun. Conversations died out. She knew how to fill in gaps. She always had a funny thing to say. Its weird, but it never struck us back then how we were all actually missing Diana. But coming to think of it, we always quarrelled on the days she was absent.”

"Diana was such a quiet, sweet girl. Polite and friendly, and always had a nice thing to say to my dad. I'd come home from work, and see this slip of a girl chatting up my father. She took so much of my guilt away. And Dad would have lived for at least 10 years less if it hadn’t been for her company.”

"Everything I love, all that I hold very dear, is a gift from Diana. Almost everything. She introduced me to my favourite authors, to music that eventually obsessed me, to movies that amazed me. I am what I am today because Diana had shown me certain wonders I might never have seen for myself.”

"I agree with what Indu said, but I think I'll add an explanation. You see, Diana had an odd influence over people, she could make them see her point of view, without putting it forward too obviously. So if she said that a certain guy was good looking, and you disagreed, then she would explain, very lucidly, why she thought so. You would go on disagreeing, because Diana had a subtle arrogance about her, and because you obviously don’t want to seem fickle. But the next time you saw that man, you'd see what Diana saw."

"She brought out the life in me. I don’t know what is it about her, but Diana drew me out like a tune. Of course, if my mum heard this, she'd say in disgust, "No dear, Diana played you like a flute, and you let her." But of course I always knew what I was doing. We disagreed, too, but then, we were so similar in so many ways, that that didn’t happen too often. Diana never dominated me, and she could be a jerk sometimes. But she, in her many ways, taught me how to live. And I think it’s to the credit of our friendship, that both of us knew this all along, but I was too proud to admit it, and she respected my pride."

"My daughter was a remarkable person. I had no one who understood me as completely as my little Diana. Even when she was such a small girl, Diana would always know when I was sad. As she grew up, she began to understand why. Diana, in her own unique way, kept us together. She deserved much, much more love. She changed us, but she remained the same."

"Diana Jeremiah- such a unique name, isn't it? Like a company, or some famous designer. You have your Dianas and your Jeremiahs, but there's just one Diana Jeremiah. She was, like, this institution by itself, called Diana Jeremiah."

"I think her friends needed her more than she needed them, you know. She sensed a presence, a need for herself in people's lives. She had a purpose in each of these lives, and once she had done her work, she'd slip out, leaving you feeling whole, like nothing's missing."

"Diana drove me mad. Not raging mad, but the kind of madness that’s insidious to your being, a numbness for anything that’s not Diana. I saw her everywhere. And I knew that she'd never be mine. Hell, she couldn't be anyone's, you could be hers, but she wouldn't be yours. I accepted it. I still hold her as an ideal I measure other women against. Maybe that’s why none of my relationships have worked out. Diana is under my skin. She wasn't perfect, mind you, but she didn't need to be. She was Diana."

“This girl? Wait, I know this picture, I took it! No, I don’t know her name, but I’d never forget her face. If I hadn’t taken this picture, I might never have taken up photography. What comes across as a photographer’s feat is actually to the model’s credit. Her face was wonderful. Wonderfully quiet and calm. But the best moment came when that quiet face burst into a smile. You’d think they were two different people, the woman of the quiet eyes and the girl of the dazzling smile. Diana? That was her name? Diana Jeremi…

At first there were only footsteps. Then she heard footsteps and voices.

"Diana Jeremiah? There are three here. There's the old hag in 467, who keeps knitting an imaginary sweater, and that bitch in 881, who thinks she's in her London penthouse, and a nut in 330, who keeps talking to herself, and writes her name all over the room. Which one?”

The Persistance of Vision

There is this game I play. Have you ever noticed that when you’re traveling by car, and you’re looking out of the window, you catch someone’s eye, and neither of you look away? It used to bother me, I’d think that people are staring at me. Perhaps my hair was too wild or the slap of wind made my madness too obvious. But then I realized, that we both felt the same. I’d stare at you, thinking why were you staring at me, and you’d stare at me, wondering why I was staring at you. That’s when I developed this game.

Its like this. While we are looking at each other, we are in each other’s minds, and we can tell what the other’s thinking. There’s a fragile string of connection, created only by that chance spark that flew between us, that connects our minds. When we have passed each other, we are connected while we keep each other in our minds. The moment I am out of your mind, or you are out of mine, the connection breaks. Nothing can ever recreate it.

But the human mind is ever-sensitive to perceptions. And though sometimes they might seem too haphazard, perceptions sustain themselves on quite a hierarchial basis. Why should such a fleeting glimpse stay? More importantly, why should I want to keep it?

But then, even if I did keep it, so what? You’d have to remember me, too. And how many people know this game? Not many, I judged, from the abject lack of connections I had.

It was the mind of a lonely, fanciful child, given to toying with her own mind when she no other playmates to play with. It was the fancy of a child, rendered lonely by a mind too deep, too vast, and too rich in perceptions to swim in. She gasped for breath every day. I nearly drowned everyday.

No, there is no one person I connect with. I connected with no one. This was a game, a silly, idiotic game, a game to keep my mind from wandering off into the deeper, more pressing issues of my reality. It was an exercise in self-deception, a ruse to convince myself that I was lonely by default, that my emptiness was not the child of choice and imposition, my choice, their imposition. I was lying all the time.

But then, why did I remember those eyes? The face remains a mist, but strangely familiar. I knew what she was thinking, all the time. I remember the lack of expression, created because of the multiplicity of emotions that flitted through them, and the inability of the eye to express all at once. I remember the quiet murmur of battle that cried itself out, I’m sure, over and over again, everyday. I caught her at the exact moment when she looked at me, so it seemed like we’d been staring at each other forever. And then I lost her.
But the vision persisted. I looked away, lest I connect with someone else, and this connection be broken. Those were dull, deep eyes, lacking innocence, naivete, joy, wonder, everything. Eyes burdened with knowledge. I held on, and she held on, too. We both clung on for dear life. It did seem that our lives depended on this moment of clarity, that if this string were broken, we’d drown and choke, simultaneously.

And it was surprisingly easy. It still is, actually. Ages have passed since that one Sunday morning trip, and I still remember her. We can tell what the other is thinking, and, in a sense, have become the best of friends. We argue, gossip, talk and fight within the infinite space available to us within the privacy of our own minds. Her thoughts do not mirror mine exactly, but are like an artist’s interpretation- similar, yet dissimilar. We have never bothered to meet. In fact, if the truth be told, we do not want to. We both strongly believe that the realm of our friendship should not be tarnished by unnecessary physical details. The fact that for each one of us, there is an other, is enough for us.

I have lead a life of apparent loneliness. Never quite the social butterfly, I have deliberately cultivated my inherent shyness into a bubble of self-preservation. Like sour vinegar, or sickly sweet sugar, my shyness has shielded me from much of the vileness of the world around me, and also some of its knowledge. But I am lucky. I have one friend, but one, who stands between me and real loneliness. A friend, who, like Francis Bacon described, is “another oneself”, but, then again, not quite the same as oneself. As I stand in front of a mirror, looking into my dull, deep eyes, lacking innocence, naivete, joy, wonder, everything, I think I can see in them the reflection of another pair of eyes that I first saw a Sunday morning, as a little child. Eyes of another self.

Friday, March 30, 2007

This is for me.

When I was born, I think someone clapped their hands over my eyes and turned me round and round till I didn't know where I began from. Which would explain my lack of orientation, my hopeless sense of direction, and the process of self-dicovery that I embark on every day, beginning almost from scratch. It would explain why even the simplest of life's lessons come as revelations to me, and why everything that I am, and all that I do, is a painstaking trudge back to spontaneity. It would also explain why I don, and discard, various personas in search of the one I was born with. Because I am incoherence personified, and chaos thrives in me. To reach back to who I was, when I was nothing else, is the reason why I'm writing this. 18 years of my life have passed by in half-hearted attempts at resolving my identity. However, 18 is not a time for ennui. Neither was 17, or 16, but ennui is self-sustaining. I hope to break this circle, and unravel myself, for once and for all. I may find stifled genius, or draw a blank, but I will still have found something.