Saturday, December 31, 2005

To Love. . .

LAUGH, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it's mirth,
But has trouble enough of it's own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

New Year??

Waiting for the shiny ball to drop

"This is definitely not how I was supposed to spend New Year's," I found thinking to myself just moments before the clock struck 12, cold and alone standing beside the hot blast of the furnace in a thrashed apartment.
While a group of strangers, I had just spent a couple of moments with, were getting sloshed in the next room, I was standing in the cold, windy night air warming myself over the hearth of an angithi (the evenings of Bangalore can get very cold). You know what they say about being lonely in crowd; I felt out of place and miserable. This is the worst New Year’s ever!!
And to think I could be with my family and friends at this instant, losing myself amidst great music and drinks. I pictured the dusty and silvery beaches of Goa, where my friends were raising a dust storm in their jaunty jalopies. My family drinking in the wine of a new year in the winter of Kasauli. I could see the glee in their eyes, feel those warm arms wrapped around me, the spirit of togetherness in each heart and love oozing out of each kiss.
It was 11.57pm and in a spilt second my mind traced through all those miles and scanned all those happy faces. The world ….. No, my world wasn’t with me. This was my first New Year’s away from home and I was bent on making the most of it, since I am a person who seeks adventures and exciting escapades all the time. But somehow, I felt my mind wandering in the crowd. ....
A gripping sense of loneliness surrounded me. It could also very much be the countless shots of vodkas and martinis that had now probably gone to my head. But here I was, on the edge of the railing, feeling the buzz and finding solace in the memory of my loved ones, from whom I ironically hide and keep away. Lost in these thoughts (a screwed up basket case that I am) like a message from the Heaven’s (more like Hell) a wind jolted me. Icy shivers shot down my spine and the tree tops tossed violently with whistling sounds, as if they were carrying the shrieks of millions and the anger of the ocean waves ripping the shores naked and bare.
Now I don’t pretend to be no do-gooder and like a page three hypocritical pooper, talk of the devastation of the tsunami disaster. But the absorbing reality hit me. Pictures I had seen in the tabloids danced in front of my eyes and suddenly it all made sense to me. On the 7th floor apartment of the opposite building, a father kissed his daughter; a couple danced on the 6th and a family spoke a silent prayer on the 8th. Scenes from the Horror flick
‘The Ring?’ I think not!
‘Be grateful you stupid fat ass!’ an inner voice shouted.
Right! Grateful. I realized how lucky I really was. I have an absolutely beautiful life. A family that loves me (though could use time away from me), friends who dote on me (regardless of my irritating presence) and a dog who can’t eat without me (catch 22 is it?) and the only problems I ever face are my weight issues, a continuous battle with zits or suffer from the monthly trauma of PMS! Whereas, the world lives in hunger, disease and worst of all alone and cold without love. Moved by my own thoughts (sometimes I surprise myself) I went in, joined my sloshed buddies on the twister board and broke some bones with my bone crunching hugs. I was drunk and I was willing to live the moment. ‘I have nothing to lose but everything to live for,’ my heart kept telling me. A peck, a hug, a phone call, a lil faith, a song on our lips, and it was 2005. I moved on to a new day with the same ole hope same ole screwed up dreams and the same ole screwed up me. And the perfect line from the most unexpected person, “Sweetie happy new year. You’re wasted enough to shine. Have another drink with me. Tomorrow is another day …” why not? After all I am the Queen of my World. And tomorrow is another day, a new day, a new beginning, a new life, and hopefully a wiser me. Probably, I overrate the whole New-Year-New-beginning idea a lot. Or do I? Whatever the deal maybe, we all screamed for a brighter and an equally wasted 2005. One guy actually resolved to stone the year away. But we all did raise a toast to a Happy New Year. So, are you brave enough to raise the glass with me?

That was all last year, at the hilt of a New Beginning. This year, Waiting for the Shiny Ball to Drop...

Monday, December 26, 2005

Hungover in Delhi Office

There are hangovers and then there are hangovers and then there is the mother of all hangovers and this morning she met me.

What began as an innocent toast to national yuletide spirit ended up with me wishing i had never been born.

So why drink? Good question (even if i do say so myself) but one that doesn't have any easy answers. My theory is that people drink because they are bored. And if any of you have been to a Delhi party, you'll know what i mean.

But first, The Rules(for Delhi Parties):

1. Do not, on pain of death, talk to anyone you haven't known for atleast ten years.

2. Do not, for fear of excommunication, introduce strangers to members of your clique.

3. If people's eyes begin to glaze over when you start talking about your exciting school picnic circa 92, parking problems in Khan market, and "the situation in Kashmir," throw in a random compliment. They'll find you interesting again.

Picture this. A room full of people. Some sit on sofas, some stand around in tight little concentric circles, everyone is staring at everyone else. New people walk in, get a drink, find a place, and join in the staring marathon. First the men stare at the women, then begin staring at other men, while the women stare fixedly at each other. (They are very few men in Delhi worth looking at. Sorry. It's true.)

After what seems like ages, a silent victory is declared. The victors smirk, flip open their miniature cellphones and make slow, sexy talk to sleek, platinum-blonde women in Dubai, the loosers sulk and hit the bar with a vengence. The women continue to stare at each other.

It's somewhere around this point that people turn to each other and begin talking. But its not so easy. Firstly, they've exhausted every topic of conversation, (refer the rules) Everything (weather, gossip, money, jobs, boss problems, cheating partners) has been discussed ad nauseam. every story has been heard a thousand times over. and over. and over.


(Personally, I think anyone who parties for a living must have the patience of a saint, not to mention the IQ of a dinner plate.)

Another good reason to drink is that it makes your life interesting. How so? you ask. Well if you get very very drunk and do some very very stupid things, you have something to feel guilty and embarrassed about for the rest of the year. A very good reason to buy a long black trench coat and slither down dark office corridors, something my sexy, evil colleagues should do more of. And finally, if news gets out, (like it will, eventually) in an act of great magnanimity you've just given dozens of other bored people a reason to BE.

Hence, I have successfully proved :

Boring + Alchohol (Preferably of a good variety) = EXCITING!

Also you can get away with a lot of things when you're drunk that would be considered unpardonable if you were sober and sane.

A bit like PMS. Eg:
Husband (horrified): You just nailed our dog to the living room table.
Wife: (thunders):PMS
Husband (shrugs): oh.ok.
Similarly (except that we are not ALLOWED to drink in office!)

Express Building: 3 pm
Snitch: Boss, Ms X is standing on top of the table yelling racial slurs at all Southie journalists everywhere.
Boss: (heal-the-world type) Fire The Bitch.
Snitch: ONLY YOU can do that sir.

Express Building: 3 am
Snitch: Boss, Ms X is pulling noodles through her nose and yelling racial slurs at all Southie journalists everywhere.
Boss: Please don't call me at this time. I'm a family man. I'm sleeping.
Snitch: But Sir, ONLY YOU can do something.
Boss (Phyllosiphically): Has anyone ever been able to calm an angry sea, foretell the future or deal with a drunk woma....purple walrus..frangipaani, hits, hits..dkdkgfdskgfks zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

On a more serious note, my editor sitting next to me is peeking into all the "Racial crap" and is wearing a queeringly disgusted exression (Features desk.... can't be more personal and racial). He would want me to write about more "serious" stuff like "making strict staff supervision mandatory on all school picnics", the "problem of parking in Khan Market" and "the situation in Kashmir."

But for that, i'll need another drink.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dissolve, Wipe, Fade. . .

Yup! That's me!
And yes! That's a Sony PD-170i a professional ENG camera.
And yes! It is the most gruesome event of Panjab University. Not tumult of the Celtic Earth plates, Battle of the Gods, Revenge of the Crusades or even the rage of the angry tsunami laden waves can topple the raw excitement of Punjabi bred male, and the more the merrier. But it was the most peaceful one of them, was the verdict in the newspapers the next day.
The Event: annual open house debate cum electoral campaign drive of the PU elections. And with all the pulsating, high electric barricading the cops put up with their gignatic and rowdy human forms; the sweat drenched, humid September morning was live with more than just excitement for more reasons than one. And especially for me. And why would'nt it be? Any director/cameraman (regardless of the rate of success or whether more such suites follow ) would remember the 'first.' My first assignment with a team of unmanageable amateurs, this director had to man and shoot nearly 4 hours of film. And having handed with the most challenging task of the day, (all the other groups just got rallies and camps, wheras we got the actual event. So much for having a nose for news.)

The producer lost her voice somewhere in the maddeningly unprecedented clamorous screams, the scriptwriter ran for cover, two cameramen deployed on stage lost their shoulders to the heavy VHS formats, the editor kept screaming to get more angles, the Chairman (the man in white looking into the crowd) more bothered about his prized PD than the rowdy gung-ho's. And the director, well more lost than even Alice in Wonderland, who atleast dealt with one dilemna at a time! But the screams went on, fights broke out, abuses flew free, a few measure ups ...........well lets not even go there. Agendas were raised; pink, red, yellow fliers rained around; flags swayed in the wind; sound systems cracked voices; tempers raged more; and then the last leader took to the stage. 4 hours later, the sounds ceased, the crowds dispersed, carpet of fliers strewn around gleamed under the bright sunshine. An empty coliseum echoed with the remians of a legacy long lived out. And finally a pat on the back, 'Editing table pe milten hai,' the Chairman smiled. Couple of hours after pack up and another 5 hours on the editing table a byte of 30 minutes, complete with the cinematic experience of 'lights, camera and action.' Tired, hungry, excited, we slept in the studio that night to wake up the next morning with a strange contentment and faces glowing with the pride of mothers.

Screening: flaws? but of course. Verdict: 19/20 and a fulfilling gleam in the Chairman's eyes. "Beta class bhi lagaya karo. Saara kaam field mein hi nahin hota. Class mein bhi itni mehnat dikhaya karo!"

Since then, eunuchs have danced, four weddings and a funeral have been witnessed (quite non-metaphorically), care-takers have wept, beggars have revealed, dead-men-walking have shared their perhaps last few traces of dreams, buses have narrated stories, wedding dancers and prostitutes have cried, remains of monuments have sung out their legacies, lamas have disclosed their sexuality, debt inheritors have lived, borders to Pakistan have allowed a peek-a-boo, '84 riot voctims have re-lived tragedies, terrorist families have spoken free; but the exhiliration of that firt 'Ready to Take camera. Take camera. Action' and the first 'Cut.....'

"No extra take can ever be as rewarding as the first frame. Compose a more beautiful scene than that and I'll proclaim you God," Steven Spielberg, Filmamker.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Post-it for Self

Effective Communication is when:-

... Krishna and Arjun walk out of the Mahabharata, and stop raging battles with the self!

... Ghalib ceases to instigate the human soul and begins to question the need to talk and answers, "Duboyaa mujh ko hone ne, na hotaa mai.n to kyaa hotaa!"

... Patience and humility creep in to overshadow the 'self', the big E - EGO!

... Communication student number 28 stands up and talks, listens, feels, reacts!

... Media student: grabs the mouth piece, being careful about what to mass communicate. Asks first, " are you communicating with immediate self and self surrounders effectively?"

... Belief that you are loved and have the capacity to love, then develop language, add context and meaning, and then communicate- but don't talk.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Where am I?

I wrote this to someone months ago.Or well, something like this. But perception changes over time. Like a rivetting cloud floating on a horizon, its not supposed to be floating around. seasons have changed. Summer to autumn to the cold of winter. So have my words, But some things refuse to change. He said he never got this. But surprisingly someone not supposed to did. Bliss, they call it. Bumped into him some weeks ago and then.........nothing. The muse had been replaced. How quaint! Takes a moment to snap away from past and not even a blink before someone new walks along.. No long distances for me, ever again...
A colour.Or is it?
I don’t think so.
But I am not sure.
Does it matter what I think?
Do you still think of me sometimes?
And of times we spent away and together?
If not quite all, do some memories haunt you?
Like when we stood on the rainy sidewalk and sang.
That night when we laughed so much that our stomachs hurt
When you taught me how to hold a cigarette like a woman.
And I buried my head in your lap and cried tears of blood.
You stroked me in silence, while my tears wet our clasped souls.
In suspended moments I slept on your side of the bed.
Your nicotine stained fingers stormed across paper, creating disjointed poetry.
Merciless, empty words about a distant, unreal life form.
With the next morning came a grey winter.
Which has carved itself inside my marrow.
Most mornings I smell of you.
Unborn flowers refuse to blush.
I didn’t choose this.
Not this colour.
Did you?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Campus Rock Idols- 2005 - Build up to the show.....

Spirit of Rock \m/
And the Underlying 'Roll'!
My Creed
"Dude this is so gay. When are ya f**^!*^ gonna play?"
Sound check
"Be kind to my amp! Its expensive"

Command the stage
"Am I the King of the world yet?"

Build into the rhythm
"Ready to headbang?"
At the hilt of the Crescendo
"Look Mommy, I can fly!!"