Thursday, July 14, 2011

Questions that leave me stumped..

1) What's up?

2) What did you this summer?

Clearly, I need a life.

What I did: I read some, watched some, ate some, jogged and weight-lifted some, even drove some...and drummed, but a bit too little for even a 'some' qualification. I put my feet up. Embedded my behind into a rather phoons bean bag... Oh, and I 'finally' managed to make a french pancake without breaking it. (The trick lies in making the filling separately). Most importantly, I spent time with Ma and Baba. I often forget the joys of huddling round the TV to catch the 9 o' clock news...that's our window to the world. We like to keep it open.

What I didn't do: Engineer another financial crisis with complex derivatives and other strange financial instruments. Run around the country-side thinking of ways to effect change and improvement of the country (been there, done that...would probably like to do it a little while,perhaps). Write interesting papers (I outlined one in my head and laptop, on my own terms and not those dictated by a think tank's reigning ideology). Get coffee for some corporate honcho, and write tedious reports on construction finance and the like... (Why do I sound defensive?)

DISCLAIMER: The internships described in this post intentionally resemble those of a lot of my friends. I do not in the least wish to undermine their efforts, and do in fact laud them for having some clarity of purpose. Something I lack.


It's so much easier to read my friend's blogs and marvel at their work, rather than pen down something in my own. Check out for some insightful experiments with poetry and prose, and for brilliant photo-stories. Now their blogs are truly windows into their lives. My rather uneventful life, in comparison, could use some sprucing up (be careful what you wish for, says a tiny part of my movie-stuffed-memory). Yesterday was actually rather interesting..

It all began at 2 am where my coffee-stimulated-self could not get herself to sleep. I opened Karmel and Polasek to aid the process, and boy did it work while I held on to the leaves of its sickeningly yellow-green cover (If you're going to write a book on statistics, at least try deceiving the reader into thinking its interesting, with the cover! The only pictures it has are of histograms and bell curves). Anyhow, so once I did get drowsy, I did the whole light-switching-off, dump-the-book-on-the-drum-stool routine, not in that order...but it seemed that my eyelids were inversely correlated with the light switches. Well, that isn't entirely true..because then the solution lay in sleeping with the lights on..which too wasn't working. Do you ever marvel (or curse) at the ability of your mind to switch off while your body's still screaming for action..and vice versa? Lullabies must be invented for both parties...

So I gave up eventually..and decided to sort my cupboard. God alone knows how many clothes I've amassed over the years and hardly, if ever, worn. It's time someone who truly valued them had them. Well, that is the end of my terribly interesting story. this post should be an effective cure for your insomnia. :p

No no that isn't the end at all...later in the day..I was all pumped up to go on a date with my newly appropriated old camera (a film-run-canon T50) since my driving test got cancelled. Thought I'd head down to Fort Area and take a couple of peek-chars..possibly eat some Pizza by the Bay. ('eat at' I should say)..maybe I'd even find the much-anticipated mobile for my new room's window. Ah..but all of it went up in the air..when the rain came pouring down with a vengeance. My link to the beautiful paved stones of Kalaghoda has a tendency to go under water when the coast Gods unleash their wrath upon us suburb-ians. So I cursed the elements, while grudgingly giving into the beautiful calm that a hot cup of tea and a book can bring upon one on a rainy day.

Later, in the evening, Ma took me on another driving lesson. I really started enjoying myself...fifth gear on the Palm Beach expressway has the tendency to iron out one's frown and worry etched forehead. However, not all was I did the following 'bokami' in the span of the same evening- 1)leave the keys hanging on the door outside, while we got seat-belted and ready to roll (quite deservedly I was at the receiving end of a 'are you feeling stupid yet?'); 2) Almost hit a bike with a sudden leftward swerve just after positioning myself to turn right (Ma: 'But when I said we needed to park somewhere, I didn't mean right now!'); and the worst, 3) Worried by a bullying red bus heading in our direction at rapid pace, I steered leftwards (again) only to realize that I was separated from a parked car, literally, by a hair's breadth...we were close enough to lock in a passionate kiss...get my drift? Goodness...I do tend to lose my head when I'm behind the wheel...well..actually...I do tend to lose my head. period.

Home, we returned, after some gift hunting and bakery swooning...only to be informed that there had been three blasts in the city. Colaba, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar West had been hit during rush hour. Baba had fortuntely returned to Belapur by the time the madness hit...but, man did I retract all my ill-will towards the rain that morning! It reminded me of this story...was it by Nathaniel Hawthorne?..we read in our English class in school..something about chance..and how every second's decision can take one down a different road. It still gives me the heebie jeebies to think about it.

Me aside's insane that Bombay's been hit again. With every passing hour of last night, the home ministry kept revising the casualty figures upwards..the city will get over it. It always does. But it shouldn't. As in it should get up and get moving again, as is characteristic of the average Mumbai-kar who'd brave the flood to get to work...but we shouldn't adopt an attitude of resignation and inevitability towards terrorism. The helpless 'What can we do about the bomb blasts?' is not going to get us places.

Look at urban planning for instance. The terrorists have picked Zaveri Bazaar several times's a soft spot in terms of congestion, chaos and traffic...any novice could target the place and get away with it. The last time they thought of V.T...well of course they'll think of VT- have you seen it at rush hour? Maximum impact with minimal gunpowder and planning.. Our country is chock-a-block with people...I'm not going to get all Malthusian and look at it as purely an evil. We have to deal with the numbers in ways such that the value of human life is elevated and not undermined. The media has got it right this time- human life comes really cheap in our nation. Just this once, I wish the laws of economics (excess supply decreases price) didn't apply..

Friday, July 8, 2011

Listen in the dark, with quality headphones and the rain beating on your window

"How far should one accept the rules of the society in which one lives? To put it another way: at what point does conformity become corruption? Only by answering such questions does the conscience truly define itself." 
-Kenneth Tynan, critic and writer (1927-1980)