ladri di biciclette

At the moment, my brother is in Delhi.

And every time my dear elder brother (he paid me to say that, honest) comes home to Delhi, he brings with him a collection of some the most famous, influential and award winning movies of all time.

Last to last summer, it was through his collection that I discovered some great films like Casino Royale, Casablanca, The Butterfly Effect, the Bourne trilogy and Waking Life among others. There were a few Docu-films too like the Inconvenient Truth, some of Noam Chomsky's and some Richard Dawkin's; which save for Al Gore's, I didn't have either the inclination nor the patience to see. At that time, I was also introduced to Boston Legal - a series that my brother raved about.

Last time he came, which was this summer, he brought a few more classics like The Dead Poet's Society, Finding Neverland, Life is Beautiful (a favourite) and Edward Scissorhands.


So this time in keeping with the tradition, his laptop was teeming with a host of movies. I looked through the list. Dasvidaniya, The silence of the lambs, Braveheart, Ladri di Biciclette, Motorcycle Diaries etc etc. His list also included Deshdrohi which started me : I didn't expect to find that there. I quizzed him on this recent development.
'Why?' I asked pointing at the icon with a carefully chosen deranged expression on my face. This one movie, half an hour of which I had seen on cable was something that haunted my dreams.
'What? O that. It's about Raj Thackeray and all the controversy about the Non-Marathas.'
'So why do you have it?'
'Ob. I wanted to see it'
'Did you, then?' I asked, hoping against hope.
'Yesterday afternoon, yes'.
I was crushed.
'Well...how was it?'
'Good. Alright, actually'
'What?!' What was left of my hilarity had turned to incredulity.'Why??'
'You see its not meant for city people like us. You may poke fun at it, but it's essentially meant to mobilise people in Bihar and UP. having that in mind, I thought it was okay.'
I still couldn't believe him. People from UP and Bihar would *obviously* not be moved to do anything after watching something as inane as Deshdrohi. Except for maybe going and lynching the film's producer and director for caricaturing them in the form of Kamal(pronounced "Kamaaal") Khan.

I am digressing, I must get on. Well anyway, yesterday I saw a movie called Ladri di Biciclette (translated to English as the Bicycle Thieves). According to its Wikipedia article, it's an Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio de Sica, made in 1948. When you ask me if the movie was any good, need I say more than that this was the movie which inspired Satyajit Ray to be a filmmaker; and that its No.3 on the list of films considered the greatest of all time (after Battleship Potemkin and Gold Rush).

I'm not itching to write a review because it's one of those things, which when one tries to put into words they can only fail, because like music or a painting it has to be experienced... but I've talked myself into it.

[Spoiler Warning]:If you've already seen the movie don't hesitate to continue. If you haven't, you still may, for I cannot even begin to describe the portrayal of different emotions involved in the movie.

The Bicycle Thief is a story of Antonio Ricci and his family: his wife Maria and his son Bruno. Living in an era of the Great Depression in Italy, he like hundreds of other unskilled workers of his time, is unemployed. By a draw of lots, his name is chosen for the job of sticking posters around the city. But to take the job, he must have a bicycle - he accepts because jobs were scarce and hard to come by. Yet, he goes back home saddened, for he feels he must forfeit that opportunity as he doesn't have a bicycle nor the money to buy one. His wife comes to his aid and gets him the money by pawning some bedclothes at a pawn shop. Antonio thus is able to report to work and feels he has regained his dignity; that of a man of the working class.

On his first day of sticking posters his bicycle is stolen and that too in front of his very eyes. He chases after the thief but he proves to be too fast for him and escapes. Trounced and hopeless, he wanders around town seeking help from the police and his friends but he goes home a defeated man.
The rest of the movie involves him and his son searching for the missing article. But the marrow of the movie is Bruno(played by Enzo Staiola) - his honesty is touching, his naïvety is endearing and his acting is something that commands, and is worthy of your undivided attention. The way he tries to behave like his role model - his dad, his gait, the way he styles his hair or the way he struggles with the fork and knife (I still do) when his father takes him to a restaurant as a treat, ultimately resorting to use his hands.
But Antonio Ricci (played by Lamberto Maggiorani- a real life factory worker) creates magic with his acting too. This becomes apparent in the last scene in which he is torn between stealing a bicycle himself; when he all his efforts to get back his own bicycle fail. Desperate for his livelihood, and after many moments of pacing back and forth, he goes for it. He gives Bruno money to catch the tram and tells him to wait at some place and that he would meet him there. Antonio steals a parked bicycle but he is chased, finally cornered and caught. The crowd which gathers around him start beating and abusing him.

The Bicycle Thieves.

Bruno having missed his tram sees this and runs to "save" his dad. The owner sees Bruno and lets Antonio go, deciding not to press charges.'Some examples you set for your son' he says, departing.
The movie comes to a close now, with Antonio and his son both breaking down, holding hands. Antonio realizes that he is not morally superior to the thief and Bruno learns that his Dad is not perfect.




I feel like a moron now that I've given most of the story away, but still, that must not stop absolutely anyone from seeing this film. It's amazing and it's one in a million. I have the movie (with English subtitles) if anyone needs it, I'd be happy to share this gem.

Stuffy

Uninspired.

Heavy headachy head. Blocked nose. Lots of dry cough. The only fun I had last was mimicking Darth Vader's 'I am your father' line when I was being nebulized at the doctor's.

I don't know if I'm making sense. I'm seriously trying to. I hate winter. no posts for a while.

I hope I get well soon. I hope yoga helps.

The White Tiger

Finally, I got my hands on Aravind Adiga's debut novel. After a lot of weeks of waiting for it, hungrily reading excerpts wherever I could, vainly searching for a pdf all over ebook sites like esnips and going to Om Book shop twice just to be told that they were expecting it 'tomorrow' (both times)... I've got it. Luck has finally landed me with a copy and how. When least expecting it, Dad back from work, handed me a copy fishing it out from underneath several grocery items. If I had been sitting down, then I would have reeled - such was my surprise.

"Gosh were did you get it??" I asked Dad.
He smiled but didn't answer. I felt he was waiting for me to guess. I inspected it with scrutiny. No plastic bag except for a thin and slightly scarred cellophane covering. "Wait, wait! Which signal?" I asked. "Moti Bagh" he said, laughing. But his expression of mirth at once become somewhat grave. " I can't help feeling bad for Adiga. Can you imagine how much he'll lose in sales because of book piracy?" I didn't reply but just gave dad a stupid smile. I was too ecstatic to do anything but.

Probably if I was a little more sober I would have reiterated what Jeffrey archer had said when he came to India this year, which was something of this sort - "I've been told that in India, you're a good enough author only if you're books are sold at pavements and traffic signals."
But such is the tragedy of life: You don't always get to express what you would like to when the moment calls for it. What's more, it stings painfully when you get that perfect retort or witty on-liner hours later, when all the matter is done and dusted. All one can say then is 'Humph!'. So I did just that right now.

Anyway back to the book. I tore off the the cover like a hungry kid who'd just been given a bag of chips. I read the blurb and I examined the print and the cover which, quite remarkably was of a very good quality. It looked so much like the real thing that it would leave even the publishers stunned, save for a slight darkening of the back cover, probably due to the photocopying.
Whatever the hell, it looked nice.

"Tell me when you finish it, so I can read it". It was Dad's voice which brought me back to reality. Then to a sense of angst. I was in the middle of a PG Wodehouse. What use was stopping at page 73 to start and finish another book just to pick up where I had left off, having forgotten much of the already read part. To leave it all when I was in the thick of things was not an option. I never do usually leave books half-read. Unless you'd like to count "self-help" crap as books. But never fiction.





Well now I'm down to just 80 or so more pages of The girl in blue. Seems I just have to finish it. Curse you Wodehouse. Curse you and your engaging Wodehousian wit!

Bucket list

Since this is my 25th post, I felt it should be something a little special.

I never actually got to see the movie of the same name but its article on wikipedia piqued my interest on the subject of having life goals or a list of stuff to do before someone 'kicks the bucket'.
So sometime in September, I started on my own list which I plan to stick to throughout my life. I reproduce it here in all its original glory save for a few omissions that make me sound exceedingly weird or maybe pretentious.

Probably it sounds corny, but I'll risk it and say it - this is all thanks to my mom and dad who let my dreams soar, never keeping me in check. Thanks.

Well, here it is, in no particular order of importance :

1) Skydive once. [When I was littler, I wanted to a stuntman. So there]

2) Become ambidextrous. [Practice does make perfect. inspired by my bro's attempts to try and be the same, being part lefty would be just so cool.]

3) Have a PhD. [...]

4) Live to atleast 80. [I'd like to see the future, know how it's like to be behind the times]

5) Write fiction and get it published, at least once. [Always wanted to be an author]

6) Blog till I die. [Really, even if I get no hits at all]

7) Have a large padded room to do crazy stuff in, before 30. [like parkour, flips and whatnot. First evidence of insanity, there's more to come.]

8) Visit Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, Montenegro, Las Vegas among other places. [when I was small, I wanted to be like dad (don't we all). On the last count the no. of countries he's visited was tallied at 22. If I could do that, it'd be awesome]

9) Join Mensa or some other high IQ society. [it's an obsession. When I checked last, my IQ stood at 134. Not good enough, unfortunately]

10) Get over my dismal, abominable and unexplainable fear of pitch darkness. [Its true. When there's no light source in view and I'm not in bed, I just shrivel up right where I'm standing]

11) Dance on the road. Once. [the second evidence of insanity]

12) Relearn to play the violin. [I probably knew the basics when I was taught when i was in 7th or 8th, but now I've forgotten. Seeing my dusty, cobwebby violin every time I open the cupboard under the bed strengthens my resolve to pursue this. Saved for old age.]

13) Have a one on one fight. [Only if the situation calls for it. I'm mad.]

14) Save someone's life directly and knowingly. [I smile everytime i read this]

15) Run an entire marathon. Experience a runner's high [I've always liked running, but only in short bursts. A test for my endurance]

16) Drive an Aston Martin or a convertible on a cobblestoned path. [inspired by Bond. The third piece of evidence]

17) Swim in a large warm lake, clean and clear without fish in it. (admittedly inspired by an insurance company's advertisement)

18) Win an award pertaining to my field. [whatever career i choose]

19) Perform in front of a gathering of 5 or more people. [anything, sing dance. Just to end my awkwardness in front of groups]

20) Sleep for an indefinite period of time in a ambient temperature environment on clean, fresh bedding, with absolutely no one to disturb me. [I expect that would happen only if I'm hospitalized or something, and advised complete rest]

21) Have my photo in the paper atleast 3 times. [so that its not a one-off chance. childhood obsession]

22) Fly a kite on my own. [awestruck by my cousin brothers' skills, I could never hold one in the air whenever they would hand me the line.]

23) Win 40,000 in bets/shares. [no comment, either from my side or yours]

24) In a game of soccer, save 3 or more goals and have my team win [I just love being a goalie]

25) Get Zulu cloned. [That. would. be. awesome.]

26) Do something for my parents. Make them proud. [originally 'buy SUV for dad and diamond jewellery for mom']

27) Create a professional painting [well I do like playing with colours]

28) Own three or more pairs of Italian suits. [I don't know why actually]

29) Have my own page in wikipedia. [hoping..]

30) If I ever be a dad, be a good one. [much like my own]

I vow.
{signature}
13/9/08, 1:43 pm
Aakash Institute


It is imperfect, it is incomplete, it will see some changes as I grow up.

But it gives my life a purpose.

Journal

Here are some of my most favourite xkcd comic strips, part of the series named Journal. For those who don't know about xkcd, read the article on wikipedia.







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Thanks bro ;)

TV Interview

9:45. Yesterday.

Long back from school, having learnt of the terrorist acts that were tearing Mumbai apart, I sat in sullen silence watching the news with my father.
School had been a languid affair that day, with an air despondency and glumness hanging in the classrooms.

A harried image of Barkha Dutt (the news reporter) appeared on the screen. By what she told the viewers, she had been out in front of the Taj Mahal Palace hotel the entire day. Presently, she was with the husband of a woman who was trapped inside the hotel, a man named Shantanu Saikia. The husband needed some news of his wife and the reporter required a heart breaking story. A win-win situation(?) even in these hard times. The ensuing dialogue went like this-

BD: And now I have with me a relative of someone who has been inside that hotel since yesterday night. Shantanu your wife Sabina is trapped inside, isn't she?

SS: Yes Barkha, she had gone for a wedding function, and then the terrorists..came.

BD: So Shantanu, tell me how have you been dealing with this situation, how did you get to know about it?

SS: I got to know about it when I was just coming back from work and as soon as I realised my wife was inside the Taj, I rushed here as fast as I could.

BD: Did you get a chance to speak to her after the incident took place?

SS: The last time I talked to her was at 9pm last night. Then she kept messaging me from under her bed, and the last message I got from her was at 2am early this morning. (probably early this morning felt a little more reassuring to himself than late last night, I thought)

BD: Oh.(she immediately looked downcast) Is your family here with you right now?

SS: No, it's just me. My children are at home. Me and Sabina have two very small children, my son who's 11 years old and my 14 year old daughter. Sabina used to dote on them very much...

BD: Please don't say used to...it will all be okay. (she was almost pleading)

SS: I hope, I hope, I will never lose hope. The last message I got from her was that the terrorists were in her bathroom.

BD: Oh dear.

SS: Yes. (He adjusted his glasses) And..And now today there has been a large explosion in that area. (his voice trailed off)

BD: It will all be alright, Shantanu.

SS: No, I won't lose hope. I can't.

That left me stunned. Sabina's husband was a strong man. And now his family had been (supposedly) shattered.

I sat up at night, unable to help, unable to sleep.
I wish I had cried. Maybe then this would've been out of my mind.
In my last post, G was not made in reference to my Grandmother, as some people have tried to guess. Nor does it stand for Guru. It's a name, actually. And a very good one too.

Me and, well *sigh*, the bee - 2

(...)

Today was the final of the American Center - Times Foundation spelling bee.

Didn't go as well as I planned, actually.

Day began at 5:30. Woke up sleepily to see off mom and grandma who were leaving for the airport to catch a plane to go to Bangalore. Mom wished me luck for today and for the gazillionth time, apologized profusely for not being able to came and see me at the bee. I was a little relieved inside really, since I didn't want to let anyone down if I did badly there (that's one thing about me - always cynical. Have to take G's suggestion. Maybe my next post will be about G and G's wonderful message).

Fast forward to the time when me and Manu Kohli ma'am were getting ready to get to the American Center from school (I try not to bore you with details).

8:40. Both of us sitting in the transport incharge's office. Being informed that there's no transport available. Manu ma'am being given money for conveyance. Being told that the metro was our best option. It's then that I realised how the internal matters of the school were controlled and regulated; how people engineered the situation to their benefit (Now, I really can't explain anything).

We chose the best and quickest option before us, the Delhi metro. Were driven to the nearest station, Dwarka sec-12 (don't know how ma'am managed that) and after taking two tokens for Barakhamba, we got into a slightly crowded metro. And it just kept on getting more and more crowded after that for 23 stations, if I'm not wrong. I didn't mind the standing, but what peeved me was that there wasn't enough space for me to practice some more with the book held in hand. Finally after about 40 minutes of travel, we disembarked and without much event, managed to get to the American Center (remember not centre) at about 9:50.

Quickly, I got my thing-with-the-number-on-it-which-I-needed-to-put-round-my-neck and well, put it round my neck. No.10 (I was actually glad to get a nice round even number, don't know why). What followed was a very plastic interview by NDTV metronation at the Center library. The interviewer ((who I think believed he looked cool with a silver piercing on his eyebrow) told us to pretend to look around, looking at books, completely unaware of the over-sized camera. The very idea of getting us up there was to have the interview. The pierced-eyebrow guy asked me a few questions, which I answered absentmindedly.
Also, I met Amanullah (refer to comments of MATB), a nice taciturn fellow.

A few introductions, a phone interview with Samir Mishra (last years winner of the Scripp's spelling bee) and rules for the days competition followed. The rules in condensed form would sound a lot like - Get a word wrong and you're outta here.. I started gulping gallons of my own saliva.

I don't exactly remember what followed or the sequence of events, the only thing I can recall next is me up on the stage being asked the two preliminary words by Maroof Raza.

N-E-O-P-R-E-N-E. Neoprene. 'Correct'.

F-A-S-T-I-D-I-O-U-S. Fastidious. 'Correct'.

I'd get 'em right! I went and sat down onto my seat noting the encouraging smiles of Manu ma'am and my dad, who had just then come from office. Saw Amanullah tripping on a word, which I think was because it wasn't pronounced right.
After a teeny juice break, I found out I was to be in the final round. I noted with slight discomfort that this round was going to be recorded for television broadcast.
The first word now - T-E-M-P-E-S-T-U-O-U-S. Tempestuous. 'Correct'.
My second word - 'Venireman'. 'Huh?'. 'Could I get that again?' 'VENIREMAN'.

I paused. This didn't sound familiar. I got nervous.
'Umm - V-E-N-I-R-A-M-E-N' .... 'I'm sorry' Maroof Raza said. He certainly didn't look it. I was out.

A Sprigdales girl went on to win the competition, and quite deservedly too. Amanullah comforted me and said that the word was tough and took down two more people after me. 'There's always next year'. I noted the disappointment on his face when I told him that the bee was for students of classes IX and XI only. 'Unless we fail.' I added, to lighten the convo.


Photo by dad, me fiddling with mic

Venireman : A person summoned to jury duty under a venire facias. I don't think I'll ever forget that word. Ever.

A lunch sorta thing followed which saw a girl from Loreto Convent flying past me saying 'Nice blog' (If you read this, say hi).
I ate half my pastry, but it seemed tasteless, wax-like and all too creamy that I chucked it in the bin.

I wasn't a sore loser, I could have blamed Raza for his slight mispronunciation, I could have blamed the camera, I could have blamed the abruptness, the lights. But I knew I should have kept my wits about me. Asked the definition. Waited. Pondered. And then said. Instead I acted like an arse.

I felt dejected, I cannot deny that. I'm someone who's been in love with language my entire life - It's my thing. And I screwed this up. My dad had missed an important meeting to be there. Manu ma'am had probably expected me to do better.

It was time to leave. As I ascended the stairs, the campaign photos of the US presidential election candidates greeted me. It wasn't Obama who I was looking at, but the smiling face of senator John McCain.

We probably belonged to the same class, McCain and me. I think I then knew how McCain had felt while giving his speech after the results were out.

I breathed easy after that. Schadenfreude? I couldn't care.

Quid agis

15 million people are on the net.

300 million are watching TV.

22 million are brushing their hair.

4 million people are kissing or being kissed.

15 million people are drinking coke.

3.2 billion people are sleeping.

6 million are being taught in a classroom.

1.4 million people are sending a text message.

5 people are in space.

350,000 are playing football.

38 million are driving or riding in a car.

120 million people are using the bathroom.

380 million are daydreaming.



And what were you doing before you turned to the computer ?

PS - I was eating a samosa.

On music

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life—music and cats.

I think it was Albert Schweitzer who gave that quote, and it spoke to me the first time I read it in some magazine. I was not sure about cats when I read it, but I could vouch for the music part without hesitating. Cats were ok,cuddly looking but having rather selfish gleams to their eyes, not exuding the kind of infectious friendliness that dogs generally do. A week later, I discovered lolcats.


The next day, I began exploring the works of the great Albert Schweitzer.


His views on philosophy and anti colonialism are revolution for his day and his "Problem of Peace" lecture was absolutely genius.

But enough about that. I'm straying away from the main point, which is of course about the immense revitalizing potential of all kinds of music.
Honestly, I think you don't need me to tell you that. It's quite obvious actually. You've just had a bit of a tiff with someone, you recline down onto an easy chair and turn up the volume to some music from your mp3 player/computer/car radio. In a few minutes, the head-shaking and foot-tapping takes over, the initial sting is no longer felt.

I believe there are different songs for different moods. Not only that, it's that you can experience a specific kind of music in the best way possible only in a specific kind of mood. Spirits need not be elevated or exultant, it can be pensive or even depressed (anger I think does not work with music - rebellion yes, but not rage. It clouds the senses). In other moods it feels different, not having the same perfect (or rather desired) effect on you. You'll might agree that it's rather simple and straightforward if you think about it.

Personally, since I am blessed with erratic and unseasonable mood swings, I feel I can enjoy most kinds of music.
There's one quirky little hindi song that's come out recently. Its not just the song that's great, its that it's a visual treat :



There's another very good song, with the genre being "sufi-ish" this time. It's a beautiful song, a stunning interpretation of overwhelming infatuation, sung by Roop Kumar Rathod, one of the best singers in India, i think. It gives me a transient surge of a feeling somewhat like being madly in love. That makes me want to listen to it over and over again.



One other great song which I've become quite fond of recently is 'You raise me up' by Josh Groban, a cover of the original song of the same name by Secret Garden. Incidentally, though not surprisingly, the song has over 125 covers, thanks mainly to its timeless lyrics. It's very inspirational and emphasises on the value of human bonds.here, its got the lyrics too :



Here are a few more variations of this same song, the first performed on a musical saw. It is worth your while, really awesome.

This second is a Spanish opera version by Paul Potts, the winner of the first 'Britain's got Talent', called 'Por ti Sere'. Catchy.

Well, I'll end with a book suggestion, "This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession" by Daniel Levitin. I must confess, that I haven't read it myself even though I had it issued for three weeks from the library (I wish I had, now). My bro read some of it, and I think his recommendation would suffice to make it a good read.

Well, see ya.

Me and the bee

Ok, that's an annoying title which does not really make for a good wordplay. We move on, then.

Today was the preliminary round for the American Center & Times foundation Spelling Bee held at DPS Mathura Road. The morning started out rather slow, as I reached school I was informed that the reporting time at DPSMR was 11 am. The news left me quite relieved, for we could get going from Dwarka and get to Mathura Road at a slow pace, and still be a little early.
Kriti and I sat in the library getting tested and taught a few stuff by the teacher accompanying us, Ms Manu Kohli. We ended our discussions and the end of which, thanks to the way in which Americans had ruthlessly contorted the Queen's English, I felt a little punch drunk and slightly unprepared, for we had been taught British English all our lives.

We set off in a small Omni, at about 9:10. About fifteen minutes into our journey, someone in a passing car told us that we had a puncture on one of the tires. The van lackadaisically stopped at the side of the Dwarka flyover. The school somehow could not send another vehicle, so our driver, rather foolhardily really, set out to change the flat tire with spare one in the boot. His body faced the oncoming office traffic and I actually believe that he got kicked once or twice by passing motorcyclists (which were followed by angry abuses hurled by the understandably miffed driver-cum-repairman). The three of us stood on the flyover, worrying whether we'd reach on time. It was a nice place to get stranded on, actually, we were compensated with a nice bird's eye view. Manu ma'am told us that she was assuaged by the fact that the broken down van didn't have the words "DPS DWARKA" on its side, just as the ten minute procedure ended.

We were fortunately not late when we reached DPSMR at 10:50. DPSMR had a certain "old-school" charm with respect to its architecture and layout. Anyway, me and Kriti sat ourselves down on vacant seats in the hall after completing the usual registration procedures. The Director of the American, Anne Sheshadri, council was visibly pleased as she addressed the gathering, which she pointed out was because of the American presidential election results.
After a few more introductions, the main competition started quickly enough as me and Kriti 'good-luck-ed' each other. There were twenty words in all, being spoken out by a heavyset man who went by the name of Maroof Raza. I managed to write all of them down, hazarding guesses and being sure at times. I handed over my sheet with a few misgivings.

Refreshment Break. Didn't feel hungry.


Screening of a small part of the film 'Akeelah and the Bee'

All of us waited as the papers were being checked and the lucky 30 were being winnowed out.


The results were about to be announced. 'some-kid's-name' the Director bellowed. 'Some-other's'. 'Fat-girl-with-glasses-on'. 'Completely-surprised-skinny-kid'. 'Snobbish-girl-with red hair'. Nope, not me... Yet (I liked to think in those unkind moments). 'Unmistakably-nervous-kid'. Namely me.

There was an audible 'Oh-Congrats!' from Kriti as I hobbled to the front were the rest of them were standing. It was an unusual feeling. Unusual meaning not usual. it felt all weird really as I stood there waiting for the list to get over, half-expecting, half-hoping kriti's name to be called out any moment. It wasn't. Probably that is what added to the "unusualness". I loosely shook Anne Sheshadri's hand. There was a closing address with an announcement that the finals would be held at the American Center on the 20th of the month, which would be, as spelling bees usually are, an oral round.

I looked at Kriti as the crowd dispersed. 'I'm surprised', I said.
The teacher smilingly asked me how I was feeling, after the customary 'congrats'. 'I don't know. Unusual', I said truthfully. I didn't say much to Kriti as we were beginning to leave. I felt if I tried to say comforting things to her, in typical 'me' style, it would be misunderstood as mocking or condescending. I stayed quite, feeling rather proud inside but not showing it.

We got in and ma'am pointed out that I was one of the only boys who had qualified. Another thing that I was too dazed to observe myself was that I was the only guy from any of the DPSs. 'Saving Grace', she laughed. That left me really pleased with myself.

The van rode the way back and I asked to be dropped at the Vasant Enclave market, so I could walk home from there.

Well here are some of the words that I spelled incorrectly (followed by what I wrote) - aggrandizement(agrandisement), segue (seggui), maneuver (manoeuvre - darned american english). Must take care next time.

Came home and saw Johnny Gaddar.

Looking forward to November

I can't say why but November seems so full of promise. I don't really know the exact reason but it might be probably because the new month will be quite eventful, if not interesting.

A lot of things have already found their way onto my list of stuff to look out for; including the American Center - DPS Mathura Rd spelling bee, Mom and Dad's marriage anniversary, a friend's birthday, a cousin's birthday, my physics retest (due to absence, duh), some movie releases like Quantum of solace and Dasvidaniya, the first 'hands-on' Junior Doctor's club class and of course the annual fête.

I promised myself just 15 minutes off as break between doing my Psychology project and off they go right now.

Strangely somewhat, after a week of holiday, I can't wait to go to school tomorrow. It just isn't me. Must be the lethargy.


Well. I'm back.

The past few days have been unusual, but, then again with the changing weather, festivity and frequent weird little occurrences, the line between the bizarre and the mundane seems to have faded away.

Today I have poem to offer. Usually my poems are nonsensical or flippantly breezy but yesterday what I wrote was something new to me. It's serious poem. It sort of has a message. Really.

Well the process took considerably more time than a nonsense verse. After getting some inspiration, ideation took a few days, research took about a day and I had to give an entire Sunday for writing. In short, this had been the focal point of all my thoughts for more or less a week. Read the poem first, explanations and the epilogue will follow.

Bodhisattva

The engine of the Austin
Rumbled as it went along.
There was a fervid bustle outside,
But the car's passengers had not spoken for long.

'Please', a sudden voice broke the stillness
'Let me take your place.'
There was pleading in his voice,
but no eagerness in his face.

Quảng Đức looked up,
his features somewhat taut.
'Never do something for which you are not inclined
And for this,dear - you are not.'

His countenance became gentle once more
and he placed a hand on his disciple's cheek.
He smiled comfortingly and whispered -
'This path may not be what you seek.'

The disciple held back tears
then looked out the rolled up glass.
Their destination was reached.
The moment had come at last.

Quảng Đức disembarked unhurriedly
He took it as any other day.
A goal in sight,
A role to play.

His disciples meanwhile prepared everything.
Readied the loudspeaker; readied the seat;
readied the banners and themselves
for they were about to see.

With the loudspeaker in hand,
Đức's followers spoke about their people.
About the violence and injustice they faced in Diem's rule,
about the downtrodden and the feeble.

Around Đức, a ring of men
formed an impenetrable chain.
pedestrians and policemen alike,
stopped to watch on the busy Saigon lane.

Quảng Đức, sat in the centre.
He breathed placidity and calm.
telling the beads of the rosary,
he signalled that there was no cause for alarm.

'A homage to Buddha' were his final words
As he closed his eyes for the final time.
From a five gallon gasoline tank, a disciple
poured all the contents over his mentor sublime.

Screams erupted from the distance,
but nobody moved an inch
as Quảng Đức struck a match and then
dropped it on his lap without a flinch.

The tiny flame magnified within moments
into a blaze engulfing Đức
Who sat with his eyes closed
projectng a composed and contented look.



There were cries from here and there.
Wailings of anger and protest.
Policemen tried to clear the barricade
of people unmidful of arrest.

The authorities could not intervene
to save the life of this priest
who sat still, peacefully, impassively
even as his destroyer's crest increased.

All those bearing witness, prostrated
before the dying man
Who was, moment by moment, breathing life
into the hopes of all those oppressed in the land.

The monk's faced charred
And the trunk began to blacken.
The body was reduced to cinders
Finally he had died - his posture slackened.

The glowing tower of ashes
gently toppled forward.
A pupil rushed to cover the corpse with a yellow robe.
As thick smoke wandered skyward.

The bystanders watched the clergy
winding up the procession.
They stood still, too shocked
to cry, to move, to show expression.

Meanwhile, sparks of revolt
had been planted far and wide.
Like cracks spreading fast in glass,
the existing rule was crumbling from inside.

That evening as Saigon's mourning residents
were about to turn in for a restful sleep,
They saw a doleful vision amidst the setting sun -
they claimed to see a vision of the Buddha weep.




The first photo you saw is of Thích Quảng Đức, taken by journalist Malcolm Browne, similar to the World Press Photograph of the year 1963(it's copyright and a lot more graphic). That is what inspired me (obviously), and in part so did one of Mystique's posts.

Diem's rule came to an end shortly, with an army coup toppling and killing Diệm that November. The self-immolation is widely seen as the turning point of the Vietnamese Buddhist crisis which led to the change in regime.

Quảng Đức's body was recremated and it was found that his heart did not burn. It was taken to be a symbol of compassion and he was regarded as a bodhisattva (leading an enlightened existence).

The context of the final stanza was so eerie that it made my skin prickly with goosebumps.

Finally.
It may not be my best poem, I may not have touched poetic excellence, but there's something about this piece which makes me proud I wrote it.

Patriots

We were sitting in class the other day. The Chemistry teacher was explaining the working principle of the electrochemical cell to a half asleep class. I looked at my watch - 9:30 which meant there were still about forty minutes left for the class to get over. The previous night had been spent by me in an insomniac state, looking out of the window, not particularly thinking about anything - just admiring the numerous constellations in the Prussian blue sky. I was gonna miss doing this, with winter and smoky Diwali (the festival of lights asthma inducing firecrackers) approaching hand in hand, this passtime was going to die only to revived next year.

Back to the point then, well, last night's lack of shuteye left me very groggy and certainly in no condition to learn about salt bridges (hey! i remembered that). The dullness of it all was reaching a mute overbearing crescendo when I heard the Indian anthem floating up from the school grounds upto the second floor classroom where I sat. The junior school assembly was evidently coming to a close.

Its effect on me was stirring: a song breaking the insufferable monotony; sentiments of pride subduing feelings of stark weariness; like steaming tomato soup in December.

Standing up for the national anthem when you were being taught was a complete no-no for seniors. It lead to disturbances, was the popular consensus among teachers. For an ENTIRE minute (about 52 seconds). imagine that. No, it just wouldn't do.
In ninth, I heard of a teacher who punished an entire class due to this abominable crime (which I'm sure took considerably more time than 52 seconds).

I looked around. The class was pretty much the same, really. No one else looked as awake as I was (not even the teacher for that matter). Nobody was standing up, as gesture of respect. Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka, Jaya He Bharata Bhagya Vidhata
(thou art the ruler of the minds of all people; Thy name rouses the hearts of ...).

Neither was I.

In a clumsy manner, I raised myself up. And stood looking at the board as if it fascinated me. The teacher was looking at me, I could feel her eyes glaring at my out-of-place frame. I tried to block it out. Jaya, jaya, jaya, jaya he! (Victory, victory, victory, victory to thee !)...Culmination. My body gradually became less taut. I looked down at the teacher. She had an incredulous explanation-demanding look on her face. 'Uh - board' I said, pointing at my eyes. It was lame, and I knew as soon as I had said it. I was sitting just 3 benches from the front, there was no need really to stand up, but what made it even more awkward for me was that there was nothing on the board worth looking at. Just a force-distribution-diagram from the previous physics class. I looked weakly at the teacher.

'Sit down' she said finally after what was a pregnant pause. I think I noted a grin on the corners of her pursed lips, but only momentarily.

I sat down feeling numbly awkward and proud at the same time.


Spinoff

Well, I got 'em. I can't really say I'm pleased with myself about the results. Sure, I surprised myself with the Psychology and Biology results, not exactly expecting the marks I so lavishly received; but Chem turned out to be a big spoiler.Well my marks are as follows (promise me that you won't judge me from now on, on the basis of my scorecard) :

1. Chem (34/70) (average or something)
2. Bio (52.5/70) - 75% , 4th in class
3. Eng (76/90) - 84% , 2nd in class
4. Psy (66/70) - 94% , !st in class
5. Phy - absent. Retest due sometime in November.

When I read what I've written, it's hard not to smile seeing that I've also written down the rank in each subject ('cept chem, I didn't have the heart to find out where I stood). Reminds me of something I heard just as soon as all the papers had been distributed - Someone from another class came to ours and asked one of my friends, 'Yaar, whats you're rank in the class ?'.My friend eyed him dubiously. 'Rank ? Who finds that out nowadays ?? That held good only till about the third grade. In 11th and 12th we just care whether we've passed or failed.', he laughed, 'I passed.'

Well that's all from here, you take care now.

In the eye of the storm

The worst kind of time of year is here again... The awkward period of strangely calm unrest between giving exams and getting them back. The air is thick with almost tangible levels of anxiety, bitterness and dread.
Let it end already, I'm going mad jus thinking about it...Come Monday, I'll know my result.

Entury

WELL, Well, well. We meet at last. It feels like ages since I've posted (save for my last teeny little post), and now since my exams are (finally) over, I think I'll make posting more of a habit.

Well, with the week long limber down period granted rather generously by the school, I think I've managed to utilize it in the most improvident manner possible. Sleeping till about 1 o'clock in the afternoon , eating fried stuff for every meal, not walking the dog and sitting in front of the comp. the whole day playing internet contests.
Which is not to say I've not done productive stuff - I've seen some rather awesome short films on youtube. I made a rather neat little list of the many films I saw and ranked them as follows :

1. The Insane
2. Hello stranger
3. Black button
4. Meeting girls
5. Spin
6. Offside
7. Fact checkers unit
8. Knock knock
9. Our Time Is Up
10. Rent-A-Person


Also, on the day the tests got over I shot into a reading jag, cosseting myself by reading three of Wodehouse's finest - Right ho, Jeeves, Piccadilly Jim and Something Fresh under 24 hours. I would have read more, but as Safary put it in TZP, "the words had started dancing" in front of my eyes - and did not exactly relish the idea of having to wear glasses.

One rather novel thing I tried out day before yesterday was learning how to bake. It started as I was sitting on the couch watching 'the foodie' on TV. The fat-guy-whose-name-I-don't-remember-and-am-too-lazy-to-find-out started saying baking cookies was the easiest thing to do, if you had enough time on your hands. I had plenty, so I jotted down the recipe and instructions which seemed simple enough at first.

I got all the required ingredients and set of to make it. With the dough having reached the desired consistency, I set to preheat the oven and butter the baking tray. I laid out little dumplings of chocolate-chip cookie dough on the tray, put it in and waited...
In a word, the first batch was a damned debacle. The cookies got burnt to the core, I burnt my right hand at two places and my left at three, and when I offered the baked goods to my grandmother, she told me plainly that they were the worst things she'd ever had the misfortune of consuming. Sinister words, I must admit but I wasn't discouraged because A) I was just getting started, and B) there was still three-fourths of the dough left in the container.

The period of time between the first two batches led me to discover a pair of baking gloves, ensuring no more burnt fingers.
The second batch was, I must say, rather awesome. It was edible, almost unburnt and smelt lovely. My gran took back her words and ate two or three, inspite of her having diabetes. The rest of the family followed in eating the cookies and showering adulations on the baker.

Well, there ends the account of my cookie baking venture. I think I'll conclude with something that I like and goes rather well with the exam fever (not the sort of fever that's a contagious excitement, like disco fever; but the sort of fever which makes you sick and wanna barf). Well anyway, here are some funny pictures collected from all over the net. Enjoy







G'day to you now

Not Procrastinating. Honest

Tomorrow, Tomorrow for sure.

Till the next time

This I think would be my last post before the mid-term examinations commence on the 25th. They get over (I think) by the 3rd so I'll be posting a few days after, like 4th or 5th.

My subject revisions are going satisfactorily well, except Physics that is. Physics is something that I was never very good at and now it seems harder than ever. Biology is manageable as long as I have enough time, Chemistry is challenging at times but interesting. Psychology and English are going rather smoothly.

I was rather proud of myself the other day - I managed to write two poems under 6 hours (I've done seven in a day once but that was months ago). Going by bus to school is a 40 minutes journey - so fending off sleep at 6:30, I managed to write something that I've never tried before - a limerick. I tried to make it as limericky as possible with the insertion of nonsense words. Lear, I hope to make you proud :

The Gent

There was an old man from Dwarka
Who walked his dog to the park-a
The dog ran around,
dragging its owner on the ground
while he cried 'wait' between resounding bark-as.


I hope you guys will forgive me for that.
And for the one I'm gonna post after this. This next one I wrote on the way back home in a seemingly empty bus (most kids were absent due to the upcoming exams). I only had Ankur keeping me company, and he was sleeping in the back-seat after laughing at my limerick (at it, not because of it). I wrote it keeping in mind my perpetual, almost psychotic fear of messing up exams. That and something a friend had told me once. Here it is in all its un-altered glory (truthfully, I was feeling rather lazy to make it better):

Examination Hall, New Delhi

The paper lay before me
Like a cold and devilish smile
Sneering at my thoughts
Leering all the while.

'It's right', it seemed to mock
'That answer that you were thinking.
Its seemly and absolutely correct'
Then I think I caught it blinking.

The liar ! It wants to mislead me !
I told myself off for falling for it
I looked at the paper in mad rage
Grabbing it, I almost tore it

The act caught the invigilator's eye
He advanced and riveted his glare on me
Pronto, I pretended to be immersed in a question
and covered the quelled paper so he wouldn't see

The evil imp passed wordlessly
I, relieved, tried to start again
My mind went blank as I attempted to recall
And it started to hurt near my jugular vein

I took out my hankie and wiped away dry tears
All the months of studying for the entrance exam
Were going to waste minute by minute
I needed to do something, I thought in alarm.

Then I noticed something I hadn't seen before
I don't really recall the reason why
Next to me sat another test-taker
Cheating was the only option, my mind implied

With my clean-as-slate yet unclean mind
And cheating as my last resort
I managed to catch a few runaway words
From the studious girl's cohort

I caught a sly answer
And hurried to copy it down
But the words which hit the paper
Were 'CANCELLED' in blood red-brown.

It was the demon invigilator
And as he recapped his steely pen,
'Cancelled' he declared
'You've failed and can't take the test again.'

A hundred different emotions
Swirled inside my being
I looked down at my paper
I felt strange at the words I was seeing

I didn't and couldn't speak up
I couldn't move - I continued to sit
I had to be heaved up
Before being told to exit.

It's a pretty annoying cliché
But a very useful one
It was then I woke up with a start
It was a dream - still undone

I looked at the calender and groaned
Waking up was the worst thing to do
I was horrified, I choked.
I was about to relive the horror at half past two.


That's it from my side from now. Don't you blame me if you get nervous halfway through your exam after remembering this. But what you can do is comment on this post.
That way I'll have something to look forward to after my exams !

OMG ! We could still be done for !

I just got to know that the collisions haven't taken place yet but rather just primary tests have been conducted in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Which means that when it will happen, the world could still collapse into itself, annihilating us all. That wouldn't make for a very pretty picture.

There is so much more chance Rossler might be wrong but if somehow he managed to have his facts right - We could be done for.

I hate it when Germans turn out to be right all the time - Like Einstein, Ballack and Hitler. Well ol' Adolf wasn't right - he made it seem right.

Anyways I hope we don't die. It would be such a waste.

Otto Rössler misled me

No black holey implosion.

Hmmm......

I wonder what it points to.

The coldest blood runs through my veins

Until about some weeks ago, I used to bug certain people like Anirudh and my own brother to add new posts for their blogs, and used to make them rather guilty for not getting off their chair and writing something for their namesakes...I've stopped now, partly because they don't listen and partly due to the fact that it has started to happen to me.

There is sometimes not enough time - and when there is, there's a lack of motivation - no topic to write about, not much stuff to write about and so many other reasons (excuses - ?).

Anyway, now is a certain time when I feel motivated to profess to the world my love for all things James Bond. Apart from the brilliant books by Fleming (I've only read two though), the movies and the soundtracks for each of the films made after 1999 (those are the only ones I've seen) are superb and tread near perfection.

I saw Casino Royale again for the fourth time some days ago and was this time entranced by the opening theme 'You know my name' sung by Audioslave front man Chris Cornell. The lyrics are just so outstanding and the intro which goes with it during the opening of Casino royale is beautifully made.

I have here the opening sequence and the accompanying lyrics. Read the lyrics first and then watch the video.

You know my name

If you take a life do you know what you'll give?
Odds are, you won't like what it is
When the storm arrives, would you be seen with me?
By the merciless eyes of deceit?

I've seen angels fall from blinding heights
But you yourself are nothing so divine
Just next in line

Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you
You can't deny the prize it may never fulfill you
It longs to kill you
Are you willing to die?

The coldest blood runs through my veins
You know my name

If you come inside things will not be the same
When you return to the night
And if you think you've won
You never saw me change
The game that we have been playing

I've seen diamonds cut through harder men
Than you yourself
But if you must pretend
You may meet your end

Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you
You can't deny the prize it may never fulfill you
It longs to kill you
Are you willing to die?

The coldest blood runs through my veins

Try to hide your hand
Forget how to feel
(Forget how to feel)

Life is gone with just a
spin of the wheel
(Spin of the wheel)

Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you
The odds will betray you
And I will replace you
You can't deny the prize it may never fulfill you
It longs to kill you
Are you ready to die?

The coldest blood runs through my veins
You know my name
You know my name
You know my name
You know my name
You know my name
You know my name
You know my name


I'm hoarse from singing (read screaming) it all the time but I'm still far from being tired of it.
And now the video :





If you haven't seen Casino royale yet - at least you now know what you're missing.

Frankly, I can't wait for the all new 22nd Bond film 'Quantum of Solace' releasing in about a month or two. EON pushed forward the British date to 31 October during filming, while the American date was pushed back in August to 14 November. God knows when it'll be released here in India.

And now to end today's blog I have a lighthearted parody of the new film from youtube again. Hope you guys liked it as much as I did.

It made me laff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMoJRLStD9c

Nonsense verses poetry

Among writers in English noted for nonsense verse are Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, Ogden Nash, Mervyn Peake, Colin West, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss and Spike Milligan. The Martian Poets and Ivor Cutler are considered by some to be in the nonsense tradition.

Enter me...proud to follow the path drawn out by such great great men. The title as some may have already noticed, tries rather pathetically to make an insipid wordplay pun out of the words 'verses' and 'versus'. That's how lame I can get sometimes.

Let me start with a slightly Dadaist poem which I think is the most unusual (even by my surprisingly high standards of unusualness) of the lot of 4. I wrote it in a deluded state when I was reminded of the 'nutritional information' on the containers of many processed foodstuffs, because that did really inspire the creation of this truly fascinating piece of literature:

Contains added flavours

Man - poisoned with excess zinc thiosulphate,
swollen, fell into a vat of
boiling, syrupy, red tomato ketchup.
The bottle with its natural added flavors
had on its packaging-
zinc - trace amounts.


The next poem 'Toothpick' points out (I'm serious now - no jokes, honest) the rebellious side of human character, non-conformity and shattering of stereotypes.
A polished son of a wealthy socialite swaggers into a formal dinner attired in 'perfectly shocking' denims and holding a toothpick in his teeth - this image from my mind's eye will help put this poem into the right context.

Toothpick

With a toothpick held in my mouth,
I flash a smile with it sticking out.
With a piece of wood lodged between my teeth,
I chew on it like its a piece of meat.
With a slender splinter under my tongue,
I whistle a tune which I had once sung.
With a thin little stick with my lips around,
I shock everybody in the elite snob crowd.


Well the next is poem titled 'Le poem'.I don't know if there are any grammatical errors as far as the usage of French is concerned or whether to expect a death threat from a lingual purist. It is what I call, a unique blend of French, English and temporary insanity.

Le poem

Cher
Boulanger
My order,
tu accorde.
Mais le pain
sits in vain.


Classy, innit ? French - the languge of love, trodden on pretty ruthlessly by the stampede of my creative inflow.

The last one now, 'The thought...' wants to send a message that even though everyone desires success and prominence in the society, very few people are willing to work for it. That is all I wish to say on this subject... :D

The thought at quarter past midnight

On the diwan with pen in hand,
I think of something so amazing to write,
that will propel me into the pages of history
- to attain money, power and fame.
But alas! I need my sleep, I bid my thoughts goodnight.



Now I wish to ask for a favour - would the readers be kind enough so as to rate my poems (so-called, but their still mine). Though I don't personally believe in rating creativity and view it as crude form of judgement, I believe I deserve a little chin-upping (or downing - which depends on your ratings).
Rate them on a scale of ten with each of these as seperate criteria - Humour, level of insanity and publication worthiness.
For instance a rating of 1,9,0 would mean I'm an incredibly unfunny, insane person whose poems would do rather nicely on my asylum's notice board.

Really looking forward (!) to your comments.

And that has made all the difference.

This is an excerpt from a poem (well, the poem) by Robert Frost :


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

And there I still remain standing.....

It's not the last line; but this means so much more to me. It defines daily life - the conflict between right and wrong, between morals, ethics and whether to say yes or to say no.

What matters is not just my happiness - its pride, success and more importantly, things which can't be put into words.

For this, a thousand times over

A heady, enchanting mixture of curses, yells and kitesperanto issuing from his lips. It was awe-inspiring to watch.

Bursting with life, tugging at the thin long thread vanishing into the sky, he had the bright autumn sun as his background. The moment was captured in my eyes to remain forever.

I was a spectator that day - I couldn't fly kites even if my life depended on it.

The light green kite - which was ours - looked the prettiest in the azure sky, dancing with each deft pull of my cousin's fingers, but then again beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The kite is mine, not because it is beautiful - It is beautiful because it is mine. The same could be said for love. Someone loves a girl not because she is beautiful. No, not at all. She is beautiful (for him) because he loves her.

We felt like kings of the world, standing triumphantly (for no good reason) atop the deserted four-storey building. In those marvelous moments, we had not a care in the world - the past did not matter nor did the future, for this was what was to be lived - the glorious present.

Cliched but oh-so-true.

A war of kites was raging high above, too far for me to get involved. But my cousin - his eyes shone with a madness that I could associate with no emotion I had the fortune of experiencing before. It was pure pure ecstasy. And the freshness of youth which seemed to say - 'I can do anything in the world !'.

It was magical.

Maybe this was what independence meant.

The Empty Gun

Well here's the poem I mentioned in my first post (that you'd know if you'd read it - I mean you, Rish). I worked quite a lot on it until I got frustrated and could stand the mention of the word 'improve' (as is dictated in the poet charter). Well I've reproduced it here so I'd be rather obliged if someone ( i.e ; anyone, as I want to get feedback pertaining to such poetry) has anything at all to say that could help me improve on my litterati. Here goes -


Empty Gun


An empty gun,
Like an empty promise
Can do much to decieve.
Never too early to use one,
Never to late to recieve.


The woman who I loved once,
Was at the balcony, creeping
When I saw her go.
Moving silently, cautiously,
Moving oh-so slow


The mellow tone of my voice
took on a threatening pitch
"What do you think you're doing now with those trunks at your side ?
Leaving me, is it ?
Then also leave my money inside."


She seemed rather startled
And she quietly looked below
A case lay beside her, and without a doubt
In her haste and hurried work,
Few money notes were sticking out.


Caught off-guard, she wasn't going down
Drew out a blade at once.
The girl had prepared for it.......
An expert of the martial arts.
A melee - she wasn't scared of it.


I was a cautious person too.
A lone man in a huge mansion needs security.
Took out a pistol from my pocket
Light-It wasn't right...no bullets, an empty gun.
But I could still butt it throw or sock it.


No, she would kill me before that -
An empty gun,
I need to use it but how ?
Then a thought slowly crept within...
What she doesn't know could hurt her now.


An empty gun, like an empty mind
Is a very dangerous thing.
Deemed by most as devoid of uses,
It can give the upper hand
In the deadliest of deuces.


"Now leave the money right there
and just back off, OK ?"
Said I, and pointed the gun to her head.
"I don't want it messy.
Go away now" I said.


She was shocked to see my weapon
Her eyes betrayed her calm face.
"I-I'm leaving you ___ and I'm taking some money as well"
"You're stealing, you damn thief !" I cut in.
That made her as mad as hell.


She threw her dagger at me,
With all her might but little aim.
It missed me by a mile.
"Ha !" I laughed out
"You're all mine now" I said with a smile.


I still pointed the gun at her
And advanced with delicate steps.
Stopped when I was a few feet
away, and the gun inches from her.
She would still not make a retreat.


She started backing out now
with slow and trembling steps.
"Don't kill me" she cried.
Still with valise in hand,
she fell over the balcony and died.


---****-****---


I called the ambulance
much later than I called the cops.
I had enough money to handle both -
Enough for the police to mishandle evidence,
Ample for the diener to renounce the doctoral oath.


An empty gun like an fallen ganglord,
Can still hold much power.
Power that is still immense.
Power to turn the tables,
power to influence......


I pondered much later,
the events of the day.
The mode of death the girl deserved, she got.....
And then slightly satisfied -
Atleast my gun didn't have to waste a shot.


There. It's a little long isn't it ?( like most of my other poems). Do comment if you like it, and suggest alternatives if you don't - even if the post becomes dated. C'mon - please.

Anything is welcome as long is it is not an indication of the reader's imbecility.

'But it rained' ---- Parikrama

Swirling heat was rising up from the baked summer earth cruelly mocking its habitants ....

And up in the sky a cloud could take it no longer - It broke apart and the earth was blessed with rain.

All this time, I was sitting at home trying to while away a rare power outage, cursing my dependence on machines (as I am cursing right about now). I picked up a dynamo powered radio (hand-crunk) and turned it on. Most of the (popular) stations blared fizzed-up remixes and pseudo - hip-hop. I switched to AIR and was pleased to find one of my favourite old Hindi songs playing. It was 'Main shayar toh nahin' by Shailendra Singh [I used to think Mukesh sang it, you know - Mukesh (JG's granpa)] . I began listening at that climactic moment when Singh croons


"Main toh uljha raha uljhanon ki tarah ,
Doston mein raha dushmanon ki tarah....
Main dushman toh nahin"


The rain was wetting the plant pots with vengeance and my dog became restless as was its habit when it rained. It wished to wallow in the cool rainwater outside in the patio - I let it and joined Zoulo as it whooshed past my legs.


I could understand why rain had become such a integral symbolic aspect in so many film sequences (I forgot which ones - help me out here) in the past and the present.


Sad scenes were incomplete without a downpour as tears mingled with rainwater and get washed away....The anguished sufferer is left desolate in the rain in a pitiable state.


Happy sequences had showers of rain to signify an outburst of joyous and exuberant emotions.


Fight scenes needed rain to wash away blood and sweat when the hero and villain were engaged in free-for-all fisticuffs.


Romantic settings could not do without drizzles to illustrate the lovers' unity against adversity. To show their love and intimacy, they would be shown huddled under a single umbrella (or better still with no umbrella at all - but embracing each other and carefree in the the downpour).


Suspense and horror movies had accompanying thunder and lightning to go along with them, to intensify the drama and to induce that 'edge of the seat' effect, if not overdone (if overdone, it tends to be a bit irksome).


And dance sequences...( :D)
Put bluntly the same rules for romantic scenes apply and....rain makes clothes figure -hugging (!), which goes very well with hot numbers.


Being such a harried multitasker the rain is still kind enough to raise my spirits on a boring day such as this.Here's my thanks.

First : Even Stranger

After school the other day, I cut a detour to the park, right from the bus stop, along with the bag and all. It had been an unusual day, with the frequency of unusual days experiencing a sharp increase over the past few weeks in my new section. What had really made me feel rather awkward were numerous small things such as the fact that silently studious ( and some rather boring ) new admissions way more than half the class; the fact that even though I wanted to , I failed to pluck the courage to make new connections, even though I had the psychological confidence-booster of being an ol' boy and they being new adms.

The fact that I felt largely out of place among my new classmates and friend base. Their language was riddled with innuendo ; their jokes - as they believe them to be - were full of tasteless double-entendres and unfamiliar slang.

You could in fact call my presence a learning experience ( albeit a horrid one ) with me learning new words every day.

To take some time out from the day's fast-paced idiocy I sat on one of the park's many vacant benches in the lush green park covering approximately two acres of land ( I think its three times as big as the school football field ) . It was right beside a temple with a towering Hanuman statue; Beautiful as it was I didn't really care much for temples - I am an agnostic theist ( that's another thing that worried me - If God really exists and I didn't believe completely in him my whole life, I'd be in HELLuva lot of trouble when I die. ) but I always fancied the nicely maintained park attached. Though occasional litter was a bit disconcerting, this is Delhi after all - not utopia. Delhi is close I agree but not completely what one would expect from paradise.

With some quiet stolen time ( I managed to put away the annoying thought of studying for the 100 marks maths test to be held on Monday. Maths was too off-putting . I had still not managed to convince anyone that psychology was way better ). I proceeded to take a much battered note pad from my bag ( which I always carried around ) & sought to improve upon an earlier poem which I had written - 'Empty Gun' .The bad poetry with its skewed rhyme scheme (A B C D C )needed correcting, but at the risk of sounding immodest the idea was really good ( its about a guy who manages to kill his ex using an empty gun ).After a few minutes of pondering for an elusive ( and exclusive ) word to rhyme with 'unworthy' ( I got earthy but it didn't fit in ), I gave in and decided to sit still and just soak in nature ( undoubtedly the easiest thing to do ).

I noticed a young guy (from the northeast - I noted from his features ) was studying me intensely from across the park. Though he was a stranger I now felt completely off guard and cursed him mentally for ruining "me time". Within a jiffy I noticed that the starer had approached my bench and was looking at the still open notebook. I was startled when I realised that he had been standing there for a long time and said (lied most probably ) 'nice - very nice'.

Taken off guard, I managed a fake smile.

We began speaking to each other next he got to know about me ( kid , 16 , strange , DPS ) and I him ( 19 , from Darjeeling , works in Hyatt regency as a chef in a Chinese restaurant named - how sordid - China Garden ). He invited my family over as if he owned the place which was childlike but nevertheless was touching.He told me about his schooldays with a nostalgic sigh in his voice and a dreamy glaze over his wide eyes. He did Arts in 12th and passed from a local school with 56 % ( which he tried to convince me was a decent score ).

He spoke with anger in his voice about the 'bloody' state government which he berated for not giving government positions to hill people from Darjeeling districts. He then handed me a pamphlet which had ' Gorkhaland Jansakti ' written on it in bold blue letters. He then cheesily urged my dad to come for a 'samm-aye-lan' (conference ) . It was intended to educate the people about the injustices done to Gorkhas.I took the pamphlet from his hands and lied that I'd convince my parents to go.It was his off day and my time off was nearing its end.

It was 3:30 and I was a late. As I stood up from the cool grass to go , I remembered to ask his name.' Dipankar ' he said smiling ' you can come discuss life with me on any Tuesday ! '

Its one thing having an hour-long talk with a friend ...but with a complete stranger - its something else. Try it out it wont kill you . honest


There !! My first ( and rather long too ) blog completed. Comment to make me feel better.