I promise I won’t end this by joining evening Law classes just so that I can sue people.
I wish I could begin this with a swashbuckling “THE END :)”, but that will have to wait a bit.
I see one recurring pattern in the story that is my life. Each time a phase seems to be reaching closure, I do a fixed set of things, which all have the same outcome. As to what set of things, I’ll probably blog about it twenty-five years hence. If the concept of blogging still exists, that is.
An overwhelmingly scary amount of people I know are exchanging/have exchanged vows. Maybe I know people all in the same age group or something, but it’s still a bit disconcerting to start off with a bunch of friends and colleagues for whom a wedding is something that happens to someone else, and end up with a circle full of married people, all in the span of a few months.
I amaze myself quite a bit these days. I keep my head in really edgy, nail-biting, emotion-sucking incidents, and lose it without fail over the little stuff. Makes people wonder what I’m smoking. And some of them say ‘Aha! Caught You!’ when they see me inhaling something deeply…. and promptly go down on their knees once I manage to convince them it’s just my inhaler.
When you go through life, it happens that you meet people who are Dementors in letter and spirit. JKR couldn’t have created more lifelike characters. It takes quite some time to realize what a Dementor’s Kiss really is, and even after you’re through, the memories -to use another Potteresque line- dog your steps.
It also happens that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. I’ve somehow never been able to do that. Atleast not very well… there was this one incident when this kid was bawling his lungs out when the doctor was attempting to bandage a pretty bad scrape, and I had to get out of the scene just because I couldn’t both hear the kid bawl and not scream “Please don’t hurt the little git!”.
And I’ve never been able to stand megalomaniacs. I know I’ve fallen into that category on more than one occasion, but it turns out that the people who are more in-tune with reality are the ones that are most successful. After suffering a big loss, you do tend to numb your pain by becoming mildly delusional…. but you need to take a lot of care to avoid the delusion becoming your perceived reality.
I’ve also been quite, quite pissed with adults who think they know all about ‘teenage’ and the pains it brings along with it. I’ve lived through the whole ‘You’re a teenager, where’s your acne?’, ‘You’re a teenager, list out your crushes’, ‘Oh, you’re a teenager, you’ll rebel like this only… it just has to do with age’ nonsense, and to see my teenaged sisters and brothers go through all this makes me want to fall on the floor laughing.
I’ve never understood the preoccupation with ‘teenage’ and ‘changes’… cmon, a period of seven-eight years is so long that changes are bound to happen. Don’t people change in the period from when they are twenty to when they are thirty? I’ve found people more inclined to experiment when they are between nineteen and twenty-five than when they are between thirteen and nineteen. I think it’s just a crutch used by people to explain away the fact that they’ve lost touch with their children. And I won’t even mention the word Hormones here because my sister is so tired of that word being used in context of her age group… whoops, sis, I just did! *evil grin*
I don’t know why, middle-aged people think all you need to do in order to ‘understand’ the ‘youth of today’ is to talk about romance and relationships. More than one teacher has begun a class with ‘And I also have something interesting for you guys today ‘ and proceeded to tell a borderline perv joke, or mention something about a love marriage… *sigh*, I certainly hope I don’t grow up to be like that.
Because it turns out that I’ve respected not the ‘cool’ people who ‘understood’ when I was apparently ‘checking out’ a nicelooking guy and who tried finding out if I have a little pink book where I write batshit insane Lord Byron-esque pieces, or those who thought nothing of swearing in front of fifteen-year-olds just to be ‘with it’, but those who’ve acted their age. Those who were dignified about everything they said or did. None of that cheap loose talk about relationships being absolutely necessary to prove you’re a teenager. Just the right doses of reality and advice. From adults who behave like adults and not people who are in their second teenage at age thirty-five. Nagesh Kukunoor seemed cool in Rockford being the chilledout gym teacher, but in real life, I’d find it really hard to respect someone who fibbed to my principal just to let me meet my romantic interest.
Hell, I don’t think it’s even worth it… school is not someplace for something serious to begin… from what I’ve seen, the cool people at school don’t turn out to be the cool people later on in life. All the folks I considered rockstars when I was fourteen aren’t my rockstars now. People take on such different paths in life from what they seem to be headed for in school. Or rather, what others make them out to be in school. Case in question: my mother was told by my class X teacher that I shouldn’t try for something ‘serious’ like engineering or medicine, but something more like a BSc after which I should probably be a housewife. Fate willed otherwise – with grades like mine, any degree college would have thrown my application out in a trice , thank god for the AIEEE which just ensures you’ve got enough in your XII. And housewife… just suggest that to the mother of any eligible bachelor and she’ll laugh.
Movies like Rock On!!! never fail to piss me off. Apart from the feel-good factor, they strike me as utter nonsense. Most people shy away from quitting their day job and trying to be a rockstar not because of any uncoolness within, but because… well, it’s risky, unstable, and you can be living off the streets… and how do you even know you’ve got what it takes to make it big? You might just end up wasting the best years of your life. Which sensible father will agree to spend his hard-earned money on something like that… and why should he? We only hear about the outliers, and not about the million others who died trying. Now I’m not saying we can all not aspire to be that one outlier, but you shouldn’t base your decision on misinformation.
And yeah, all of us have delusions about how we are all outliers, something special, someone inscrutable, someone very different from 99% of the population. Inclusive of me. There’s nothing anyone can do about it, because it would just break down all our self-confidence and urge to excel in this ratrace… so, oh, whatever, never mind.
And just as I write this, news reaches me of Michael Jackson’s death. I wasn’t so gaga about his dance moves, I was never very much in that line. But for people like me for whom DD was synonymous with television for a large portion of childhood, MJ was synonymous with western music for a very long time. Heal The World and We Are The World used to be staple diet at the innumerable socialCause events where someone would have to sing. I also vividly remember the time many years ago when he came to India (Mumbai, I think) when girls were simply flinging themselves at him (On TV), and people generally indulged in the ga-ga-ness hitherto unchronicled in India. But it was only at NITK that I actually (re)discovered Mr. Jackson. The voice…. the range… I was seriously amazed. Vocabulary fails me. Of course, I assumed he was forever and his discography could be covered in time while I went more slowly on The Beatles, Queen and The Bee Gees… but I guess death waits for none.
I meant that last line there in a very matter-of-fact way, not in a deep sort of way. Which brings me to… people always seem nicer in death than in life. But one incident wants me to put a caveat there. I don’t want to go into the incident, but I’ll say this – parents don’t think your death or maiming is too high a price for the humiliation and suffering you cause their kids.
And all that apart, there’s a lot to be said about doing away with state education boards and making Class X Board Exams optional, apart from Mr. Nilekani being made a cabinet minister…. but I’ll reserve those for another post.
So you have a system. All you want to do is judge how the individuality of the components compares to certain norms. You determine what contributes to achieving the particular goal that the system needs to. And then judge how well each individual rates with the particular yard stick.
Lets complicate this a bit more. You have a bunch of these which do similar things. Each has its own yard stick. Each does its own matriculation. But they are all similar. The average judgment is what you would say, okay.
Suppose you introduce a freak in one of the system. This freak fails, all the tests that the yard stick is for. But ultimately can reach the goal in a more effective, albeit different way.
Now you should know. These systems are not all that simple. Each have a bunch of tasks to do and all of them are similar. For each task, there is a freak, but maybe is not very standoutish.
This yardstick, seems to rationalize all the tasks together.
Now, should the system be more robust to account for the freakishness of the freak? If you do rationalize, dont you think you are killing the individuality? But if you dont, the freak remains a freak. And the effective and better way of reaching the goal is lost.
In the middle of all this what is the freak to do? Apart from dealing with the nametag?
“Hey, don’t pick NesTea in peach flavor… lemon is so much better”.
“Ma, the upma will be so much better with a twist of lemon”.
“This recipe says ‘dash of lemon juice’… why didn’t you add it? Just because it’s optional doesn’t mean it should be ignored”.
“Priya, you didn’t tell me you were making lemon rasam today”. “But it’s not lemon rasam!”.
“Why is this pongal tasting a bit funny?”.
“Why’d you get this facewash?”. (Because it contains lemon as an ingredient).
“God, I thought we’d sworn not to buy this brand of deo anymore”.
“Maami, what to do for travel sickness?… and no, YOU are not giving me suggestions here”. (Go have your Avil and throw up all you like… sucking a lemon half works best, didn’t you know?).
I seem to be in a phase when everything tastes and smells so much better in lemon flavor. And when lemon cures everything from common cold to Stockholm Syndrome.
I’ve been meaning to write a post like this for quite some time… a lot’s going on with me that can’t be put into a post that’s short and to the point. But something or the other always comes up. Some intermittent writer’s block that is worse than a normal one… you begin something and are continually pissed that you aren’t able to complete it.
I watched The Great Dictator yesterday and man, I must say it’s a mindblowing movie. I rather liked Charlie Chaplin’s speech at the end. And all the slapstick’s really godawesome. I’m rather surprised I hadn’t watched it before last night.
Talking of which… I find I watch more movies on TV than I would normally watch on the LAN at NITK. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to put in effort to choose movies. I just watch what’s coming.. no expectations, I pay attention because I want to, not because I have this movie in front of me and I’ve decided to watch it.
I thought search was a better paradigm than browse… but this previous experience has changed that. It’s easier to ask the chef to surprise you than to painstakingly ponder about your order. And they actually show good movies on television, I find.
So exploratory search is hot right now. Google Squared is rather a great first step.
And the Google Wave video has me (and a gazillion others) waiting in expectation.
I’m quite surprised not too many people associate ‘Bing’ with F.R.I.E.N.D.S… like I said “Can Bing GET any worse?” and hardly anyone got the joke. If the name is onomatopoeic as is rumoured, I’d love it if there was an Indian search engine called ‘Dhichkao’ or ‘Dishum’.
Getting backs to movies and LAN, I find I used to read a lot at college. None of that remains now. It’s been months together since I read anything I found captivating, gripping and unputdownable. It’s actually been pretty long since I read anything substantial at all. It’s really shocking as far as I’m concerned.
At the same time, the number of blogs I’m subscribed to on Google Reader has reached scary levels. If I leave my feeds unread for a day or two, the backlog reaches seemingly apocalyptic limits. And what’s scarier is, I actually manage to bring the unread count to zero. And not by clicking “Mark as read”.
Perhaps it has to do with the attention span. Or maybe my interleaving reading with other activities due to which I can’t afford to devote a continuous block of time and concentration to a single piece I’m reading.
Oh, and I’ve been told for the trillionth time since I was born that I waste far more time than I should. Only now it’s official. I’m rather tired of hearing this… it seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’ve never been able to dig hyperactive people who are control freaks and can’t live without micromanagement and raise their systolic pressure by twenty points each time they are 0.1 second late in completing something.
I’ve never been an overachiever like quite a good number of my friends. Somehow I’ve never even wanted to overachieve. My goals, if any exist, are modest. I don’t much care about lines like “The only thing worse than aiming high and not getting it is aiming low and getting it”. I despise lines like “Winning is not everything.. it’s the only thing”. I continue to be shocked by people who get frustrated just because someone stole a march on them in things as inconsequential as a Hindu Crossword or a little extra attention. Oh well, maybe I’m just sleepwalking through life.
I also find I’ve been liking a lot of things less and less. People not in the least. I totally detest the mainstream media. It’s due to the Internet, yes. Right from when I was a kid, I was a newspaperoholic and deified anyone who had anything to do with that industry. But it turned out that there are people who don’t do this for a living and do it much better… blogging helped me find a LOT of such people. They are more incisive than Allen Mendonca, funnier than Jug Suraiya, and write better than Bachi Karkaria… So, well, fall from grace for newspaperwallahs in my eyes… it’s going to take me a while to get back to perspective.
I’m also rather sick of the whole post-poll analysis of where the BJP went wrong and whether ‘Hindutva’ is relevant. It’s going too over-the-top for my taste these days.
Getting back to reading, I read Kon-Tiki a really long while back, and I’ve to say Thor Heyerdahl is one of the best writers I’ve ever come across. The whole tale of how he got the idea of sailing from Peru to the South Sea islands, how he assembled a team together, how they got balsa logs, how they built a raft, how they finally sailed using only the most rudimentary sailing equipment, and how they finally reach land… and the most touching bit about how the locals on the islands say they are very touched and feel vindicated that their stories about their ancestors being white bearded Gods are more than just myth…It’s brilliantly written, captivating, gripping. Heyerdahl’s words flow so easily, so simply that he so seemingly effortlessly gets the message across. It’s not fiction, not a thriller, no nailbiting scenes… but so endearing, so edge-of-the-seat that it’s unputdownable.
The adrift-on-a-lifeboat part in Life of Pi borrows heavily from this book – the description of the ocean currents and weather conditions, the description of the seaweed and sea life – birds, fish, sharks, whales, dolphins are all taken from Kon Tiki. And when you’ve read both, you understand the importance of context. In Kon-Tiki, the ocean is a treacherous yet fun place, and the animal life a merry company. But in Life of Pi, the ocean is a dank lonely place and the sea life just food waiting to be gobbled up by Pi Patel and Richard Parker.
I notice that I haven’t heard any substantial bit of music in the past one year that I haven’t heard before. And I’m more addicted to Ella Fitzgerald than ever before, as the title shows. I like the honesty in her music and lyrics. It somehow feels like any emotion I feel has already been felt by Ella and been penned into a song.
Of late, I’ve been hearing quite a few things that are making me rethink ideas I consider the very basics of my thinking. Oh, maybe that’s just a nice way to say “I’m being brainwashed”. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve turned twenty-two and the teacher appears when the student is ready. Or some such thing.
And hopefully I’m coming close to the end of my “This is all a temporary situation” phase that has been on for the past seven years. It got sickening, the feeling that this isn’t where I’m supposed to be, and I’ll be where I’m supposed to be in the coming few weeks/months/years. The moment seems to have finally arrived. But I’ll know for sure only in the next four-five months.
And maybe I’ll finally make one decision and maybe it’ll turn out to be life-changing… but that’s speculation, and I’m not the most decisive of people, as I find out.
I’m also viewing my NITK life in a whole new more detached perspective now… and more than anything else, I’m appalled at the pathetic conditions we all lived in… Mum, Dad, how did you let me live there, and not cringe and gave me moral support every time I called up whining about the pathetic living conditions?!
And… I’ve all moved on from the undergrad mood or so it seems to me.. and when I get nostalgic now, it’s for the times that have passed me by, and I don’t want to relive those times all over again or anything now… I’m glad it happened, not sad it’s over. But it tickles me that there exist people who still haven’t gotten over their undergrad experience and hold on to it to such a large extent, they even nurse the same grudges they held in college, like as if it’s still Incineer or something.
All that apart, after a very very long time, my mind seems to be totally blank. I’ll wind this post up right here…. I don’t seem to have anything more to add… I can’t seem to remember all of what I wanted to put in when I began writing this… so goodbye there.
And the comments section here seems awfully dead of late. Do take a minute to drop a comment. Just anything will do…. it’ll be nice of you to help bring something back from the dead.
Yesterday, I was trying to toss these thermocol balls into a bottle of Nail-Polish Remover.
Some of them stuck to my fingers, unwilling to let go. Some others neatly fell around the bottle. Quite a few neatly bounced off the mouth and fell on the sides. A lot of them stubbornly held on to my finger tips. Very few managed to get past the mouth but adhered to the inside.
Just one or two. They fell directly fell into the pit. They met their maker.
In the vacations after my Class XII, I developed a fondness for the Deccan Herald Quick Crossword. So did my mum. We’d crack it together every morning after breakfast. Soon I moved to Surathkal, but we didn’t stop solving the crossword together… those were the hallowed days of free Reliance-to-Reliance calls.
But for the past year, this hobby has suffered a blow. I leave early, and my mum can’t wait to be done with the crossword in the morning… and she can’t call me while doing it, as I’m busy. When I get back home, I see a half-solved crossword with so many scratches and pencil and pen marks I don’t feel like solving it anymore… and when I come home, my mum is out and only comes back a bit later…. so, well… we don’t anymore solve the crossword together.
But of late, we’ve discovered another pastime which doesn’t require a pen and paper, or even as much time as a crossword. All it seems to require is my mum.
Now, mum has this uncanny ability to remember and match faces. So today if she gets a glance at you, and sees your sibling/parent/offspring a year later, she’d say, “Hey, isn’t this the sibling/parent/offspring of the person we saw last year?”. She can match cousins within one level of removedness…. that’s my mum.
So now what I do is I show her images of the Youth Brigade of the UPA government. She tells me who the parent of this young politician is. Like I show her a picture of a Northeast girl, who can pass off as my batchmate… she correctly identifies her as PA Sangma’s daughter. She looks at the huge images of the new Speaker of the Parliament and says “Jagjivan Ram’s daughter”. Same for Jyotiraditya and Sachin. She didn’t have any problem identifying HD Revanna as he was in the same college as her once upon a time.
But that outlier apart, this game is a good bit of fun. I suggest you try it with your parents or grandparents.