January 28, 2006

Project Progress - Ajanta called yesterday !

Yes, I finally managed a decent four pages on Ajanta, including a good-looking cover page adorned by my tribhanga guy, Avalokiteshwara from Cave 1. Going into the nuances of architecture = not my cup of tea, and I don't care two hoots about whether arches should be square-rimmed or round-rimmed, but when it comes to beautiful dancing sculptures, I can come alive (though I'd rather concentrate on the aesthetic part of it and not on whether it is made of granite or limestone !)

I wrote from the heart, about how I loved the place and why, about the restoration work going on there, which was very disheartening indeed. Bottles of the kind used for saline and glucose in hospitals were hooked up and needled into stone crevices which needed their chemical treasures. Vandalism is rampant there and people don't hestitate to deface a work of art by carving out the stories of their love lives on it. Though it is a world heritage monument accredited by the UNESCO, we Indians don't really seem interested in appreciating its treasures and preserving it.

Anyway, the teacher was somewhat overawed when I presented her with a four page missive ensconced in a folder and all. And considering my title loomed over her, well, I'm in love with the word 'enigma' too, and I titled my assignment 'Enigmajesty - Enigma Ajanta.' She felt I didn't really need to slog my ass off for one credit. Anyway, hope she feels its worth two credits and atleast gives me a high grade, if not two credits altogether ( haha, Wammy will kill her if she tries to, poor thing :)

January 22, 2006

Soporific-al obsession

My friends wonder why I love the word 'soporific' sooo much. I do tend to use it quite often while speaking, writing etc. Some good news for them, I found a new word, 'somnific', which sounds equally delightful.....but 'soporific' is just that wee bit better anyway !

January 17, 2006

Why ?

Why do people in power act like their heads have suddenly become 500% heavier ?

Why do I always feel sleepy ?

Why ?

AN OBITUARY........or......is it?

They took it away today. Forever. Far, far away from my life. It will never see me again. I will never, too.

It was a faithful servant. It always did what it was told to do. It never refused a command. It never disobeyed us. For the past thirteen years, it reduced my burden to a great extent. Why did they punish it, then? It had never put a toe out of line. Yes, it was old, and its younger counterparts promised a greater degree of efficiency. Not that I was not satisfied with the services of this longtime companion. But it seems, not everyone loved it truly, although it loved everyone. Was THIS its crime? Was growing old a crime it could be punished for?

Since my childhood days, it has been part and parcel of my life. When it entered my life, its majestic grandeur and resplendent stature left me gaping in awe. It towered over my tiny frame. I was too scared to say anything to it. But very soon, I realized that it was a very warm and loving friend.

I loved to run my hand over its sleek surfaces. I enjoyed playing with its numerous knobs and switches. Even a tiny net inside its large cavities and depths was an object of fantasy for me – a 4-year-old kid. It remained my friend through the ages. At 8, a new fancy seized me. I used to mercilessly pound its surface, trying to make-believe it was a drum. I feel bad about that now, I never thought of apologizing.

Through my growing years, it was always there, a quick fix for my work. As a busy teenager, I had no time for one of my earliest and steadiest friends. I now took its presence for granted. But it never complained. It was always there for me.

A few days back, my parents found someone better – someone who was ‘modern’, in keeping with a modern life, I suppose. This ‘someone’ was more efficient too. Faster. And it looked sophisticated. It had all the necessary qualities of an efficient worker. A deal was struck. And that deal was a death warrant for my friend. The final death knell.

Today, our new worker arrived. Ensconced in layers of packaging. It was just as expected – cold and businesslike. My friend was tested for its still unfailing efficiency. Even in its last moments, it had to prove itself. This was a crucial test. Passing the test meant it would end up as a second hand friend for someone else, somewhere in a dirty bylane. Failure would mean its true death – its body would be torn apart into solitary pieces and sold. It passed, with flying colors. And then, it was rudely dragged out, out of my life, my world. At that final second, I realized what it meant to me. 13 years filled with happy memories rushed back in a flood. They say – All good things come to an end sooner or later. This did, too. My friend left me. Forever. Forever. It heard my heart cry out for it, but it was helpless. It left me.

As I write this, my old washing machine will already be on its way to a new home, or, to its final resting place, its grave. Home or grave - this will depend on what others think of it. I can only hope that it becomes a friend for someone else. Like it did for me. Here’s wishing my friend – my faithful washing machine a happy future….wherever it is.

January 16, 2006

From the trashcan - Matunga Uncalling

A mini South India in the midst of cosmopolitan Mumbai - that is the best way to describe Matunga. Complete with quaint and ethnic 'kaapi houses' (coffee houses), silk sari centres and tiny shops which look like they've jumped out of a town in South India, which sell all the essentials that constitute a perfect South Indian existence - appalams, sambhar powder, murukkus, all the latest Tamil and Malayalam magazines and many more things.

Sounds like bliss for a homesick South Indian living in Mumbai. My mom is one such person. And very unfortunately, I was dragged along on one such Matunga expedition. It started with an authentic Udupi lunch at Rama Nayak Bhavan, an old hotel. I have not spent a single day of my life without the typical south Indian fare. Then why we went to a hotel to eat the same old boring stuff simply belies my imagination. After a pathetic lunch, there was a customary trip to the sari shop. It started with Nalli, a haven and heaven for south Indian women. My mother made the salesman pull down the entire shop before she chose the first sari she had seen when she entered the shop. As if this was not enough, we made another trip to Co-optex handlooms, where the same procedure was repeated. And all this while, poor me had to wait and wonder why women make sari shopping such a long and soporific ritual. At the end of all this, I was thoroughly irritated and eager to return home. But alas, my father decided to visit a former teacher of his, who gave us a forty minute monologue on clauses and phrases and how teachers can’t teach anymore. Sounds like nonsense, doesn’t it? I survived all this, only to be told that a visit to the coffee house was still pending. My mother downs four to five cups of coffee everyday. As if that was not enough….

At the end of all this, I made a solemn decision – I would never ever go to Matunga again if I can help it.

From the trashcan - Mulling over mills

I’ve passed by them before. I never noticed them until yesterday. They are scattered all around the landscape of Central Bombay. Each mill distinguishes its identity with a tall tower, majestic and resplendent amidst the surroundings.

These mills were the center of major trading activities till a few decades ago. They employed millions of people in their bustling enterprises. That was the golden era. The cotton trade of Bombay was a very lucrative business. But, as they say, all good things have to come to an end. This did, too.

Strikes – a very common thing. If there was a demand put forth by the workers, the best way to get it fulfilled was to go on strike. In the 1980’s, there was one such strike. The workers’ union demanded an increase in their wages. They went on an indefinite strike. But…….there was an unfortunate turn of events. Mill owners started closing down their mills. The indefinite strike had become an infinite one. All the workers lost their jobs.

Now, with the expansion of Bombay city, this area has acquired the status of ‘prime property’. Mill owners are selling their land to private companies and builders for a fortune. And the poor mill workers – they continue to languish in the throes of their ‘indefinite’, unfortunately infinite strike.

From the trashcan - The war for my blood

Here's a selection of posts from my old blog which I've decided to trash at last.

A trip to the pathologist for a routine blood test. Or a visit to the doctor for a vaccine. Not some really earth-shattering thing, you would say. But for me, it is – nothing less than a nightmare. Read on, here’s a chronicle of what happens when I visit the pathologist.

I wake up with great trepidation on this doomsday. I am usually accompanied by a posse of three people, who will be of help later. As I enter the clinic, my heart starts thudding, threatening to jump out of my ribcage. My teeth start chattering and beads of sweat adorn my face, no matter how cold it is. Even my pathologist knows what to expect. He faces me with the grit and determination of a brave king going to war. All his assistants crowd around him, to give him moral support.

One of the assistants arrives with a syringe, some cotton, cleansing spirits and the other requisites. I start with the great war. Tears of fear start rolling down my cheeks. I scream out in anticipation of the torture ahead. Two people hold my legs tightly. A third person reinforces their hold. Each hand is in turn captured my two people. The hand that is going to be assaulted by the needle is held extra tight, just in case…. Another person holds my face tight, so that the procedure is not disrupted in any way.

The pathologist begins his job. The steely needle comes closer and closer. I concentrate on screaming the hell out of my body. The sobbing and weeping has reached a crescendo, my entire body is quaking and shaking thanks to the massive internal earthquake. My eyes are closed tightly. My brain – it’s a mess, one moment it thinks about all the happy things, the other moment, about all the sad. In the midst of all this, the cruel needle penetrates my arm. My life contains itself for those crucial five seconds, my heart stops beating, my brain stops functioning. I am in a trance of pain and fear.

And then it’s done. All my handlers move back with a relieved smile, even the pathologist knows he crossed a big obstacle. I suddenly realize – my ordeal is over. Relief floods my heart, it swamps my heart. I pray to the Supreme Being, wishing that I never have to go through this again. But alas! My prayers never work………

January 15, 2006

Why you should learn to stand in tribhangi and chowka .....

Firstly, these are pics of tribhangi and chowka to give you an idea of what they are....

Cute tribhangi by Ileana Citaristi from her website.

Mindblowing chowka by none other than Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra from www.olywa.net . This pic reminds you of something soooooo perfect, you just can't stop gaping at it.........and saying WOWWWWWWWW !!!!!!!!!

Bombay.......er.......er.......to be politically correct, Mumbai, seriously, I don't know why politicians have this fetish for renaming everything - next on the list is Bangalore aka Bengalooru, Bangalore is a perfectly cool name, why make it sound like some baingan ka bharta. Anyway, Bombay is a crowded city. And SPACE, is a perennial problem.

Cut to Act One, Scene one. 6:59 am Churchgate fast. I board the first-class ladies at Andheri and immediately enter the seating area because I don't fancy standing for the next 40 minutes. After some hurried 'Where are you getting off's???', I find a measly fourth seat for Dadar which will be enough for half of my bum. Till then, I stand in position between the lucky great dames seated on two rows of seats, who are generally stretching their legs sleeping off to glory. Which leaves me with very less space to stand PROPERLY. Which is when I twist my feet into a near chowka stance so as not to disturb the great dames who will give you killing looks if you dare to stamp on their serene feet, and to avoid being beaten up by some Mantralaya wannabes before I reach college.

Act Two, Scene One: 9:24 am Churchgate Fast. By this time, the trains are sooooo crowded that there is no chance of sitting before Churchgate ....lol . As soon as the train lands on the platform, I mean, rolls into the platform, people start jumping out of it like a posse of uncouth monkeys. As soon as the train stops, first-class ladies is surrounded by a hybrid mix of Mantralaya types with green bangles, long mangalsutra, printed saree hitched up and Indo-chic jhola-carrying femme fatales heading to the big towers in Nariman Point and college kids of all sizes and shapes whom the Mantralaya types hate because of the railway concessions they get......common refrain is - Yeh college wali ladki log fifty percent fare me hamare first-class compartment ko bhar lete hain....and so on....you get the drift. None of them like to admit though that their passes are heavily subsidised by their respective offices, that is a different matter, you know......uhmn...ah....

And before you know, a deluge of people enter the compartment, if you get lucky, you are pushed in, otherwise people rushing into the compartent turn you into a chapati while poor you lies flat on the platform. Mind you, this is called first-class travel, courtesy Western Railways.

Once you enter the compartment, you are stuck somewhere in the gangway, between a hundred others along with their bags, pointy stiletto shoes/knives and hair with an assortment of gajras that are ever ready to tickle your ears and face and sharp clips that threaten to puncture you eyes like you are the Basilisk from Harry Potter, and of course, their idiosyncracies. You can never stand STRAIGHT because someone's bag is always jabbing into your sides or someone's hand is just too big or some dame behind you has an 'oh-so-BIG' bum and what not. And our first-class ladies don't like their dainty feet to be trampled on, or nudged by other not-so-dainty feet.

So......when you know you're not going to get off with an uninjured spine if you don't do something FAST, you decide to take some action. Literally. Then comes the time to twist yourself into the space between someone's slim waist and smelly armpit. That is how you use the tribhangi and master it and manage to survive the ride all at the same time !!!

But tribhangi safety has its detriments. Because the Mantralaya type standing on the other side of Ms. Slim Waist and Smelly Armpit won't hesitate to plonk her fat purse/rucksack on the lovely little physical shelf you form. As if that does not suffice, she will lash out in Marathi and tell you - 'Jaga nahi aahe tar mee kai karu? Mazya palikadchi mansa mala dhakka dete. Tu ashi ashi dole gola karun mala kai baghat ??? ' , loosely translated as - 'What can I do if there's no space. The people behind me are pushing me. Why are you looking at me with those round round eyes???'

That is when you give them a nonchalant dreamy look and start doing your first tribhangi. And the better the tribhangi, the luckier you get. Very soon, Ms. Rucksack called Purse will manage to move far away even though 'Jaga nahi aahe' because anything is better than standing next to the epicenter of the earthquake that you are. People realise you are potentially dangerous material and give you some space to emit all the molten lava.

That is when you can snap back to a sane Samapada and make them all wonder if they were just daydreaming........

January 12, 2006

Project Progress - Natyasastra done !!!

I finally completed my paper on Natyasastra !! This one started way back in August. I got an English translation of the book only in November. Some stupid thing always came up and I was never able to complete this till today. Though the paper's not upto my usual standards, I'll work on it again in the vacations to my satisfaction. I couldn't even read the entire book this time. I'll do that for sure later. For now, it just feels very good to sit with 10 printed pages which I can submit at college tomorrow. This is like one big five month old load off my head - the formal submission of this. Now I can read my Natyasastra once again, in peace.

I got a cool new font on MS-Word called Papyrus, which I used a lot, especially while quoting from the book. And of course, for the lucky touch, I've used my favourite hasta - Sukhachanchu on the cover page. Right now, I'm sitting with sukhachanchu shaped stars in my eyes !!!

Next on my agenda is the one on gharanas. I've finally settled on Kirana gharana, because Prabha Atre, who is my favourite Hindustani classical vocalist belongs to that gharana. Yeah I know, sooooo many things depend on my favourites, don't they ???

Ajanta is on hold, but it should be done by next Wednesday, hopefully. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

January 09, 2006

Someone teach me HTML and all that hi-funda stuff !!!

Poor me was just trying to add links to my blog and I went and did something plain weird. I just copypasted the Blogger code and changed "Edit-me" to the link I wanted, and well, I just ended up changing the font size to something drastically big and weird. And the strange dark blue colour that all my links have just refuses to go away. Anyway, I don't wanna try any more tricks, I love my blog the way it is. But if I could just add a few links so that they are IN UR FACE, it'll be good....

January 08, 2006

My college projects....

Here is a lowdown on what I need to do in the next one week.


Group projects on:

1) Exploitation of Dalits ( why is it always exploitation, why can't we highlight their art and their colourful music and dance, instead of always talking about how marginalised they are)

2) Newspapers ( courtesy a real-life Ms. Trelawney who is desperately trying to teach us CRITICAL THINKING, the closest she'll ever get to that is making us think is whether attending her lectures was a sensible decision, while lying in the ICU)

3) The Last general elections ( I thought we had seen the last of that one.......from a teacher with a branded Ph.D from the University of Rock-ester who is probably very nostalgic about our country, which is why she is trying to get juice out of a very dry topic like this)

4) Obsessive-compulsive disorder ( Now that was something we chose ourselves, and somehow, we obsessively started work on it almost 45 days before it's due to be presented :) )

5) Enacting a play [Thanks to a second-year chick who ran away with the play we needed, a lovely job by Girish Karnad, titled Naga-Mandala, we are reduced to doing a Ruskin Bond bore-logue, ( no offence meant Ipsita :) ), but old Rusky is a wee bit boring and I admire how can he stretch one line into a sttttttttttorrrrrryyyyyyyyy]

Individual assignments: (Trust me I'm enjoying these but it's just that they are at the wrong time in the right place)

1) Natyasastra as a text ( Really amazing topic, wish I could lug around Manmohan Ghosh's fat translation all the way to college and back more often, this one is soooooo big, I don't know what to write about. It's like letting a butterfly loose in a flower-filled garden)

2) Write on any gharana of music (That is fun, and you can spend hours on ITC-SRA listening to music from different gharanas, but when you have to submit a project in one week and when you know your teacher is not going to give you marks because you listened to a particular Brindavani-Sarang 25 times in succession, you know what it is like...........)

3) Ajanta caves ( Well, visiting the caves was fun and there were lots of things I'd love to write about, but when there are SO MANY OTHER ASSIGNMENTS TO DO, GOD HELP ME !!!! )

4) Work at an NGO [ I found it very amusing when a particular girl who has no hair to speak of offered to give my hairstyle ( what she felt was ) a much-needed makeover as her NGO service ]

Any help out there, fellow bloggers ???

January 06, 2006

Lecture notes – 1: Psychorific

Another soporific lecture. Sleep is overpowering me again. It’s Psychology today. Psychology, such an interesting subject, isn’t it? But, Ms. Purple Sari with purple jewellery and purple shoes with a purple voice and a purple frown, manages to make it sound, well…in subdues emotions……boring!!!

For very obvious reasons, I won’t mention her name, (after all, I need my marks too, at the end of the dayJ). Let us call her Ms. Purple Sari then. A diminutive horror with tiny shoots of hair on her head, who was never taught how to smile. She comes to class and shoots from the lip, mouth, throat and so on, for I don’t think her tongue can handle her speed, the dizzying rate at which she goes on, 100 words per 10 seconds (I measured, you see…..). Very evidently, her drone can be deciphered by only one human being. She Her Herself. She attempts to crack jokes at times, but the straight-faced manner in which she fires her JOKES rarely makes us sit up and realize it’s a joke.
I’m generally very conscientious about paying some lip service attention in lectures. But relentless attempts to stay awake in this class have gone in vain. Invariably, by the end of the lecture, I’m always in the kingdom of dozedom.

Lecture notes – 2: There’s love in the air!!!

Love is in the air!!!

She comes into the class and greets us with…. guess what?? A smile J. Ms Purple Sari with purple jewellery and purple shoes with a purple voice and a L, has finally learnt to smile. And in addition, she’s stopped dressing like a monochromatic matching center.

Why this sudden change in her ‘students are meant to be shown their place’ attitude?? That is THE hot topic we love to tear apart of late. The prime suspect is – lurrrvvveee!

Nowadays, she has developed a penchant for this ‘dupatta-swing’ style of dressing, something very liberating compared to her earlier stuffiness. Her hairstyle has metamorphosed from the perfect ‘not-a-hair-out-of-place’ bob to a messy brown. She’s not exactly young, for your information.

So that is Ms. Purple Sari turned Ms. Dupatta Swing. She is droning on at top speed as usual, but, she stops at intervals to let us say a few things.

Today, what surprised us, was this – she walked into class at 10:10 am and started taking attendance, with around 10 people out of 60 in class. Slowly, people started pouring in and the lucky ones did not miss their attendance. But at the end of it, she actually granted attendance to all the not-so-unlucky latecomers, with especially, er, u know what looks at a certain species. Whether there’s something up her sleeve or whether I need a cataract operation, God only knows………

January 04, 2006


I'm reading the Namesake right down and its kinda unputdownable, which no book has been for me for a lonnngggg time. But the Katha series are fun too:)

January 03, 2006

Happy New Year, umhn.......nah

The New Year is here. A year full of what not, all the adjectives in the world.

New Year Resolutions for me......dunno seriously, I mean, resolutions are meant to be broken, why make them in the first place then??? One of my first resolutions was giving up my duddu-bottle for milk:), sigh.... it took me 2 more years and a whole lot of chocolates and bournvita to give that one up.

Life is becoming hectic and even more hectic. The last vacation passed in the flurry of working for a very shitty company, supposedly India's BEST event management firm ( my, its good their clients don't now what they're like). During the oh-so-short one week Xmas holidays, our doting college teachers loaded us with homework and a whole lot of other projects, presentations and blah to keep us busy, good kids, away from partying, the likes........you get the drift.

So, basically, I've not had any proper vacation since June. Thats the exalted BMM, Bachelor of 
Mass Media for you.This Xmas week was spent in trying to create a SEMBLANCE of a VACATION which we all so desperately wanted, needed and solicited. Spent the 31st rocking, keeping all assignments and assorted crap aside. On Jan 1, although most of us didn't get drunk, we woke up with a terrrrriibble hangover. The End-of-vacation syndrome, it is called. 

Known to afflict all college students drastically, it well, makes you feel ......you know how.

Too bad I have to start the New Year feeling like this totally miserable person. I need some serious pep ups.