The past one month has been one long psychedelic trip. A lot of what I’ve been involved in is speculation. Not blogworthy material. Nothing blogworthy seems to have happened to me for quite some time now. Either that, or I’ve become remarkably inarticulate.
The world around me seems to be rapidly changing. Filmstars are dying, musicians too. Weddings are happening, and bad breakups too. A chatty, informal group gives way to a more specific, sharper one, not that I’m complaining. I’ve been reading a lot, and my To-Read list fills up quicker than I can say Netflix Contest, and yet, it’s been ages since I read fiction. Southern California is getting almost as wet as Bangalore, and all the stores are running out of umbrellas.
In the midst of all this, I’m trying to keep my sanity.
Shades of past emotions drift past me, sometimes hovering long enough to remind me of an aftertaste I’d felt long, long back. But more often, they just give me a tantalizing flash of a more creative, carefree, stimulating time, and disappear before I can put my finger on those precise emotions.
Story ideas come to me in the shower, and by the time I reach for my comb, they have left me, possibly never to return. Except for those microseconds when a similar train of thought reminds me of some or the other aspect of my stories, vanishing into thin air before I can be aware of and smooth them out in my head.
Random things have been coming back to me in the past week… some interview of SRK reminds me of how crazy I used to be about Bollywood flicks once upon a time. Watching some movies again which I hadn’t grasped completely the first time I saw them – Aayutha Ezhuthu, Siraichaalai – brings back memories of movie trailers on channels that have since ceased to exist, and of an idealism and argumentativeness that seem to have been knocked out of me. V-Day decorations bring back numerous instances of love-at-first-sight. Coming across my alltime favourite novel, RK Narayan’s The English Teacher on Google Books, after a very very very long time brings out the dormant novelist in me, the veteran of sixteen failed novel-writing attempts (most not more than a page), and the desire to create a work, nay, a masterpiece, a saga of ideas, idealism, inane humour, trivia, love, longing, self-discovery through or without a significant other… a wonderful work where there is attention to detail, where the tiny details set the mood for a deeper tale of complex human emotion. Just reading the first two chapters of The English Teacher brings up a past self and latent feelings, memories and trains of thoughts, which make me want to put the book down and begin writing something myself, which motivation vanishes the moment I put the book down.
I lie back, listening to the rain pounding outside, and soak some more in the wave of past emotion ebbing away.
I’m no left-of-center person who thinks the idea of family is past its time. I’m not exactly a disagreeable person either.
But there’s something about someone passionately arguing about something with ill-formed arguments that prompts the contrarian in me. I don’t think this is an isolated phenomenon; I see a lot of others do that too. It is extremely tempting to point out the flaws in their arguments. And if the folks putting forth the argument are extremely cocksure, you just want to pull the ground from beneath their feet and see what they do next. It’s human character, I suppose.
Years back, I was learning Reiki from a most accomplished man, who enlightened me that Reiki was probably what Jesus Christ used to heal the sick. A couple of years back, I agreed with this point of view after watching The Man From Earth, where the protagonist was supposed to have been a disciple of the Buddha (pronounced Booda), who went west to become Of Nazareth.
But there were other things I disagreed with, mainly because of his ill-formed and cocksure arguments. “What has the Western world achieved in spite of all its technological advancements? People have no peace of mind, divorce rates are increasing, teenage pregnancies are rising…..”. Back then, I was quick to anger, quick to irritation. I proceeded to launch my own tirade of how the joint family system was unfair to women, how it quashed individual enterprise and aspirations, and all the other things that were in our Social Science textbook that year (Explain the disadvantages of the joint family system (4)).
That was when I was in my early teens. Now I’m far more disinterested in what others are saying, more jaded, slow to provocation (for the most part), less involved in most discussions (as they are normally reruns of earlier ones), and steer clear of trying to contradict age-old points of view (‘Communism/Capitalism shall save the earth’, ‘Gay men need to be subjected to electroshock therapy’, ‘Diwali crackers should be banned’, so on and so forth), and prefer to say ‘Whatever’, either out loud or in my head.
So I was with a group of rather pleasant people a few days back, and one of them was elaborating on the wonders that Indian culture has to offer to its Western counterpart.
Cuisine, I agreed – exactly how they managed to eat food that had but a modicum of seasoning in it, and salads that mainly consisted of the leaf collection they acquired on their morning walk, and how they marketed sauces that hardly tingled my tastebuds as ‘Superhot’, was totally beyond me.
Our philosophies, mm, yeah, okay.
Our family values. Being a veteran of a movie like 2012, I didn’t think the US of A really required much more bombardment of family values. But this man soldiered on. He told us about a Black man attending a Diwali celebration in Florida and saying to his hosts, “If only my community had family values like yours, crime rate among my community would be pretty low”. And hence, there was assumed to be an inverse correlation between crime rate and quantity/quality of family values. QED.
But something didn’t quite match. A counterexample occurred to me.
“What about crime families like the Corleones or the Sopranos?”.
I mightn’t be getting invited to a Diwali celebration in the short run.
December 2009 shall be memorable for:
- My going at the rate of one movie a day sans television. Previous posts will attest that I am no fan of watching movies on my laptop.
- Learner’s Permit
- Four independent bits of good news that got me thinkin’, dreamin’, hopin’ plannin’ for fifth and sixth bits.
- A couple of very entertaining mix-ups.
- Two polar extreme extreme points of views from two people who were classmates, and holding my ground in the face of both.
- First glimpse of snow.
- Discovering Rick Riordan. (Go ahead and click the link. It’s not Rick Astley. Godpromise.)
- Getting back in touch with longlost kin.
- Christmas lights and snow and ice.
- Increasing my count of American states visited to two. And so far, CA Rocks.
- Finding I’m not so bad with little kids after all. And that I rather like Lego and jigsaw puzzles that I’m now seriously wondering about restarting collecting both.
- My getting interested in Rubik’s Cubes.
- It’s not so bad being called Aunty. It anyday beats being asked ‘So…. which grade are you in?’. (I induced a strong look of confusion when I replied “Er… 17th?”)
- Kids say the darndest things.
- Watching an Indian-American kid drink water and eat sugar after a mouthful of mildly spiced pulao, and saying “You can’t leave now! Have atleast some of the Chettinad-style karakozhambu!”.
- Chasing Jesus Christ and Bugs Bunny for a picture.
- Discovering the effects of rapidly changing skin product brands on skin and hair, and watching months of maintenance go down the drain. Literally.
- Discovering the effects of sinfully spicy self-made cranberry pickle on skin.
- Losing my favourite comb and having two consecutive bad-hair days.
- Rather liking impulsively planned trips.
- Not regretting impulsive shopping sprees.
- Getting awesome clothes shopping tips from an Afghan-Iraqi-Paki woman.
- Life lessons yet again.
Happy New Year, folks.