Musings

Growing Up

Has had some serious growing up to do in the last week. First that, then this. You feel wretched, then you pray, and then you smile and you carry on.

Reminds me of this:

 

And this 🙂

P.S. First day in a brand new city by the way.

P.P.S. I should be damn kicked about this.

P.P.P.S. Actually watched Dubya-Man on the flight today (Fair Game; recco: great movie!) How unbelievably cool is that!!

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NO

Friends are pretty nifty beings, you know. No matter what’s going on, you can be always sure he will be covering your blind side. You can be a prat of the first order, but you know that fellow will be always there for you. That’s the best bit about friends; you can always take them for so bloody granted. Good times or bad, just dial his friggin number, ping him online, and you can get back to all those memories tinted in sepia coloured happiness.    

Blogs are equally nifty. You can write the darndest things in them. At times though there are things so intensely personal, you just can’t think of them as being meant for public consumption. But write you have to, write you must! So, you decide to condense memories over a decade and a half into a miserable little blogpost. And you just have to end up asking, a few reams of printed space, is that what all these memories are worth? 

All the times you spent together, laughed together, cried together, and were upto your necks with your usual brand of nonsense! Remember that broken window-wala incident (heh, we really did have to scoot that day, didn’t we? Poor Srinivas, or rather poor Srinivas’ window!) Or those late-night cycling tourneys, and that time where you made me crash into a car (err, ok, it was my fault! But, I was talking to you!!). Or, being pretty sure we had broken the Nerd’s leg in that 7th floor deuce ball cricket session! (I still can’t get over the sheer number of varieties we used to come up with to play cricket!) Or those insanely long TT sessions. Or those nuggets of wisdom Kaku used to let loose with at the pool table. Or for that matter, just randomly gallivanting around Golf Green. I could just carry on and on with this!

Oh, by the way, I still take exception to all the grief you used to give me over my Durga Puja attire! Pajamas and tees are perfectly good stuff! And not everyone, has your sartorial sense!

All I can come up with is Pickles, yaar, NO!

Thanks for having been always there for me. Seeing me off at 4 in the bloody morn when I was about to leave for my job; and last time I was in Cal, coming to visit me straight from your dialysis at 11 in the friggin night, just because I had an early morning flight the next day. I was bloody pissed then. I still am pissed now. But thanks man. Thanks for every single thing you have done.

It has been a privilege and an honour to call you my friend.   

Pickles, bas ab aaraam se rahiyo.

A worm, eaten as a delicacy

After much deliberation and heartburn, I have finally decided to activate the WordPress app for Facebook [Yeah, I know, ultra-cheap publicity gimmick] Turns out there are a surprising number of people, who want to stay in touch with a git like me and kinda remain in the loop as to the various antics I might be upto. Which might be a bit redundant actually, considering that my life, as I had cause to remark recently, “is nothing but work and laundry”. 

Ergo, or perhaps, yet, FB app it is.

Go, see The Blind Side if you haven’t caugh it yet. Highly, highly recommended. Great performances, brilliant background score and an OST which I plan on getting my hands on soon. And of course, Sandra Bullock in an Oscar-winning role. Also, I don’t know why, but Big Mike reminded me so much of Forest Whitaker. Mind you though, the Travolta-starring Phenomenon-wala Whitaker, and not that McAvoy-starring psychotic despot-wala version.

Can’t say so much about Shutter Island though. The one thing which I can say, is that this must be one of those ultra-rare instances, where a cinematic adaptation turns out to be so much better than the original product. Decidedly so; Lehane’s novel was err, umm, slightly iffy to put it mildly. And just by the way, either there was something wrong with the Cineworld I had gone to, or the editing was so bloody chopped off , that a sous-sushi-chef might very well have been at the helm of affairs.

Sous-sushi-chef, aah, always wanted to use that in a sentence somewhere. Well, always, as in, since the moment I thought it up, which was roughly 30 secs back. Much, much good 🙂   

Had been playing tennis with The Architect yesterday. Which was good. I busted my tennis strings though, which wasn’t all that good. Re-stringing probably costs a bomb here. Either that, or it might be time to go Lillywhites ahoy!

Had gone to Foyles recently. As should you. As should any one else. As should the whole world. For a bookshop with a wikipedia entry like this can be no ordinary bookshop. Also went generally rummaging around in the vicinity of Tottenham Court Road, and discovered quite a few places which ain’t too bad themselves either. Next stop, perhaps next week, is this cult bookshop opposite Old Vic off Waterloo.

I thought I always knew what would be the first book I’d get out of India. I didn’t get that book.  

Had possibly, what might pass for our first NUJS batch outing here in London a few days back. The Power Couple were hosting it. Snag and Ms. Steinbeck were fashionably late. The One with ‘Em Stevie Wonder jokes, spent something like two-and-a half hours trying to figure out the way to the Power Couple’s pad. She did arrive eventually though. I though, would have been dot on time. Well, would have been, if the Tea-Boy hadn’t kept me waiting for something like half an hour at the Bank DLR. I would have probably pummelled him in other circumstances, but thankfully (for him) had a Peter Carey for company, and was feeling generally charitable towards the world around me.

But, as usual, I digress. Coming back to the batch thingie. Good, good fun. Scintillating conversation, topics ranging from Govinda flicks to abstract art, from theorizing on why people get divorced in UK, to attempting to decode that cipher called Lady Gaga; some cheap digs, some more; thoda sa PC (woh doosra wala, and that too only towards the beginning, mind you); some decidedly foot-in-the-mouth moments; a phone call to you-know-who in re you-know-what (heh), and ofcourse, glasses upon glasses of absolutely stud mango lassi. And lest I forget, a honourable note of mention goes to Mr PC who makes these friggin awesome gobi ke parathe. I believe Ms. PC doesn’t cook 🙂

You should check this link out. Was sent across to me by the Mayan. The man, for all his faults, does do something useful once in a while.

A coberra is apparently, a worm, eaten as a delicacy. So saith the novel, I am currently reading. Reminds me of the time, when I had gone along with the Robot and the Skulker to the Chinese Breakfast place at Poddar Court, and where the Skulker, in a spirit of reassurance and calm, had told a nice, middled-aged lady harbouring suspicions about our abilities to imbibe certain non-tradtional meatforms, “Hum Sab Kucch Khata Hai” 🙂

FIP, Whither Art Thou??

Kinda miss the chap’s blog. The answer to that question though, is writing a book. Or rather, that statement should be in the past tense; the book’s already been written. The Gamechangers, if yer so interested. And which, in keeping with the abiding tradition of publication sleight of hand, has its release perfectly timed to cash in on all the IPL hoopla. And which should also mean a hefty bonus or two for the editors in question. Don’t think I’d want to read the book though. 

Ancient Hindu tradition has it that there are four phases to human life; Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. I though, am of the sincere opinion that the sages and the powers-that-used-to-be missed out on enunciating a fifth, and possibly, the most important phase of ’em all; Laundry. There is a school of thought which posits that other religions like Jainism and Buddhism evolved primarily as a reaction to such lax identificatory paradigms as prevalent in Hinduism. The true trailblazers in this respect were/are ofcourse, the Digambar Jains.

Crawford’s sells this small pack of custard creams for 59p. Absolutely love ’em. For one particular reasons. Back at law school, we used to have this entire array of shacks outside our side gate. And they basically used to sell only two, no, make it three, things of note; Dim-wala Maggi (mentioned in passing here), Kismis Bars (which are bloody brilliant, and which I’ll probably blog about, along with Pudina Chips and Phantom Cigs sometime later), and finally Parle-G creams priced at some 5 bucks a packet.

These creams, if memory serves me correctly, used to come in flavours like orange, pineapple and elaichi. And used to be bloody awesome. Many must there have been days when I used to wake up a min or so before the classes begun and had to rush pell-mell into the acad block, or for that matter, those days when there used to be something shady for breakfast (which to be fair, happened only on those glorious occasions we used to be served uttapam. And a brief digression here: Imagine. Imagine, waking up, for the first time in weeks nay, months, in time for breakfast. And then Imagine, being served, but with what, Uttapam @#&%). ‘Twas then, that these Parle-G creams used to come into their own. And by God, they were a lifesaver. I might not get Parle-G in London. But, Crawford’s ain’t too bad either.

Was watching Two and a Half Men yesterday. To be honest, its a bit like Two and a Three-Quarters now. Ultra-weird.

And now a word about food. And related follies. Had fried squid yesterday. At this place called Tai Won Mein in Greenwich. Snag’s b’day celebrations. The Soccer-Man and Ms. Steinbeck were there as well. Bloody, bloody awesome. The rest of their fare was strictly middling though. That being said, for the monies paid, the portions were humongous. Which was much, much good 🙂 There is this pub off Shaftesbury Avenue called Freud, which the Soccer-Man considers possibly the last word on pubs with “Character”. It is this dark, dingy, sub-terranean hangout, you know, and to be fair to the man, the place probably has as much character as it is possible for anything embedded in the bowels of earth to have 🙂

Laundry Day

Yesterday was Laundry Day. As also Dryer Day. Which was all much good. Apart from the fact ofcourse that most of my ganjees came out in a peculiar shade of muted blue 🙂 Which I would say was moderately good.

Today was Ironing Day. Which was strictly so-so. I have come to the conclusion that I am far better at ironing solids than I am at stripes. Which probably boils down to the basic fact that greater the contrast, the more easier is it to spot wrinkles, or as in my case, an entire truckload of ’em.

And on which note I’d also say that our current Hon’ble HRD Head Honcho has his priorities all skewed up. The chap should forget about abolishing exams and concentrate more on introducing some core subjects at school-level. Like say, ironing and cooking. And thereby preclude the possibility of having disgruntled chaps (like me) cursing themselves for not having taken up Home Science at High School.     

I had actually forgotten over the last few days/months why I liked TT so much. Rediscovered a wee bit of that feeling last night.

London might be many things. And many things it might be not. But what it most definitely is, is the world capital of static electricity. I kid thee not. On an average, I probably receive some three to four mild-to-moderate level shocks per day. Mildly entertaining. Moderately disconcerting.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Mark Twain aka Samuel Longhorne Clemens aka Josh aka, (and this is my personal favourite) Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, was in all possible respects, a Dude. You just need to read one of his novels, or travelogues, or short stories, or letters to find out why 🙂 What’s infinitely interesting though is to go through the man’s bibliography, and look at the manner in which his writing actually evolved through the years, and all the different layers it kept on acquiring.

I don’t think there have been too many other authors with a body of work, as distinct and truly varied as Mark Twain’s. I don’t think there have been too many writers, who started out penning flippant, outrageous prose and ended as a chronicler of their times; sombre, cynical, and faintly disillusioned. And defined happiness as, and I quote, “Happiness ain’t a thing in itself – it’s only a contrast with something that ain’t pleasant“. (Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven)

So, essentially, the greatest humourist of his generation would have us believe that happiness isn’t truly a tangible entity. Moreover, its so inconsequential that it can be defined only by taking recourse to an allied, and an entirely contradictory, concept. And so, the only way you can be happy, is if you ain’t sad. Bit sad, na. Its a little like defining light as the opposite of darkness, you know.

But then again, light isn’t merely the opposite of darkness. Light can also be the absence of darkness. For there to be light, darkness isn’t necessarily the logical precursor.

And neither do you need to be sad, to be in turn, happy. Happyness is a sturdy enough little thing, to be able to stand on its own feet 🙂

Happyness is when you read the likes of Pratchett and Wodehouse. And have a stupid grin plastered across the middle of your face.

Happyness is, and here’s another law school digression, spending some 40 odd straight hours on research paper submissions, and then going to a deserted library, reading Porterhouse Blue, and howling your head off.

Happyness is going to sites like this. And reading posts like this.

And at times, Happyness is about watching a certain guy score a double hundred in an ODI.

I Eat, Therefore I Am.

I had some grub from the Land of Carib today. Something called (and quite aptly so) Jerk Chicken! And, which, in case you are wondering, was pretty darned pathetic. So, the basic philosophy as appurtenant to that particular delicatessen would appear to be: You Eat, therefore You Are. A Jerk, of course.

To be fair though, the only reason why I tried that stuff out was because it was called Jerk Chicken. Which would kinda vitiate the a posteriori part of the above paragraph. And thereby render, members of my tribe, and all those attracted by snappy appellations, as A Priori Jerks.

Played tennis recently. In sub-zero temperatures. And in rain. Much, much good 🙂 Took the first quarter of an hour just to warm up my limbs though. Not to mention the fact, that no matter how hard I hit the ball, the blasted thing never seemed to carry. Later, while chatting up with this cricket-maniac South African tennis coach (who incidentally, I almost managed to persuade to relocate to Mumbai), I was told that at current prevalent temperatures in the City by the Thames, tennis balls suffer from something called the Dead-Rubber Syndrome. Which Ain’t Good. Neither is rain for that matter. And twits playing in such weather should be confined to straitjackets at the earliest available opportunity. To quote him, “Yer crazy, man”.

Reminded me a bit of playing with the Foul-Mouthed One at BTA though. Think Monsoons. Thinks puddles the size of swimming pools. And two maniacs sliding all over the place like a bloody show of Icecapades. Strangely enough, if my memory serves me correctly, the reaction back then (from the Admin-guy, I think) was pretty much the same. Almost verbatim stuff 🙂

I am not sure whether I’m a big fan of open-book exams. I am a big fan (ok, make it moderately big) of Cinnabon. Especially their Carrot Cake, which I haven’t yet tried, but which looks oh-so-bloody-scrumptious.

A Week

Been a week now. Almost to the hour. 

Last few days have sure been pretty hectic. An accelerated version of an accelerated version of a law degree; Scouring around the city (and Gumtree) (and Moveflat) (and lots of other places) for somewhere to stay; Futzing around in general; And the COLD.

The funny thing about locating acco in London (for me, at least!!) is that, taken cumulatively, I must’ve spent at least some 50, 60 hours on websites like Gumtree and all, either searching for acco, mailing ’em flat-wallahs, or for that matter, replying back. In London itself, I must have easily gone to at least half a dozen places. Not to mention shortlisting two places, and almost drawing up and signing a contractual agreement with one of ’em (Sorry IC and Am). But at the end of it all, (and after, (heh) a thorough perusal of the terms and conditions of the aforementioned contract!), putting up at that place, which I might have very well finalized from India itself.

I know I’m a git. I just keep on reinforcing the fact over and over again.

Immigration clearance at Heathrow takes a long, long time. At least, now it does. 1 and a 1/2 hrs is a lot, don’t you think. Still, I shouldn’t complain too much. Given that I’d forgotten to lock my suitcase when I loaded it in Cal. And got it back with all my stuff pretty much intact. There’s something called gratitude after all 🙂    

And finally, a word about the COLD. In Cal, I had a bit of a rep for being an Eskimo. Which was kinda redundant, considering the fact that Cal is almost entirely populated by Bedouins. AND, has a predominantly Bedouin-Land-like climate 🙂 ‘Em Desert-Dwellers should come to London though. And find out what ‘COLD’ really means.

P.S. Here. Cookies. Are. Seriously. Good.

P.P.S. Portobello’s probably more of a Haat, than a Haat itself.      

P.P.P.S. Dunno why, but walking on Bond Street, whilst wearing a monkey cap seems like an amazing, amazing thing to do 🙂

Astounding Alliterations for the Absolutely Unabashedly Asinine

Before that, this:

It has come to my notice that this git has been making one too many unwarranted, not to mention completely unsubstantiated allegations with reference to yours truly. Now, I’ve been long aware of this git’s git-like ways, so that really ought not to have come as a surprise. Be that as it may, spreading canards amongst friends is one thing, bad-mouthing in front of teachers another, but to smear and and tarnish someone’s fair name in this hallowed realm of cyberspace, is something I most certainly shall not stand for. No, Sirree, No.

Ergo, I propose an entire sequence of posts on THE Git. You’ll hear anecdotes; you’ll hear tales told. You’ll know why THE Git was also known as The Body (aka btw, as The Shark). You’ll hear the truly heart-wrenching tale of how the man lost his mush. You’ll be informed as to when THE git was on the verge of submitting the single most awesome memorial EVER, but being THE git he was, how he developed cold feet at the last moment. Or why he was once found crawling around in a law firm library. Or for that matter caught kicking a poor hapless female, who was unfortunately sitting in front of him. And perhaps, the greatest revelation of them all, what does THE git have against hygiene? What primal need drives him into abhorring all kinds of daily ablutions?? For all this and more, just tarry a bit, patient adept, cause my patience is running thin, and the appropriate hour for a GIT-post would appear to be nigh.

Now, that:

In my second year at law school, classes used to be pretty much joyless affairs. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don’t think I’ve been ever as bored out of my friggin’ skin, as I was that summer. And as you know, zing is what makes the world go around. If there ain’t any zing, there ain’t anything. So, for the few classes I used to be present for in that semester, and in face of teachers who either went motha-fatha-motha-fatha at the lectern, or had hand-movements and speech inflexions, which would have done a flight stewardess proud, I had to do something. Anything. The following 🙂 I give you, The Astounding Alliterations for the Absolutely Unabashedly Asinine:

  • Amnesia : The ambrosia of the asinine.
  • Poetry : A parody of pantomimed polemics.
  • Man : A modicum of meandering mendacities.
  • Passion : Platitudes of platonic perversions.
  • Siesta : Soothing somnolence, served usually in shade.
  • Quarrel : A quorum for the overtly querulous.
  • Essay : An inscription of infantile inanities.
  • Short Story : A smashing smorgasbord of senile semantics.
  • Denouncement : Damnation of decidedly didactic dimensions.
  • Fastidious : Feisty finickyness foisted on the firmament of fallacious fisticuffs and foibles
  • Tantrum: Trenchant trials of tedium typified tangentially by temper

(1. My initial POA was to have an entry for each letter of the alphabet. Unfortunately, I attended far too few classes for that.

2. Further, in relation to the two luminaries I’ve alluded to above, I missed a better grade by .05 in both their papers. Anybody from NUJS would know what that means. As highly evolved a Karmic comeuppance scheme as I’ve ever seen.)

Some 12 years back, it used to be 2/2 Bakralwala, Nashville Road. Today it is B 10/17 Green Towers, Golf Green.

I had no words back then. And even now, I don’t really know what to say.

mnesia : The ambrosia of the asinine.

Poetry : A parody of pantomimed polemics.

Man : A modicum of meandering mendacities.

Passion : Platitudes of platonic perversions.

Siesta : Soothing somnolence, served usually in shade.

Quarrel : A quorum for the overtly querulous.

Essay : An inscription of infantile inanities.

Short Story : A smashing smorgasbord of senile semantics.

Denouncement : Damnation of decidedly didactic dimensions.

Fastidious : Feisty finickyness foisted on the firmament of fallacious fisticuffs and foibles

Tantrum : Trenchant trials of tedium typified tangentially by temper

Of Fosbury Flops and Angst-Ridden Ditties

Read a piece yesterday about how Air India chooses to treat Sarods and maestros (Had blogged previously about Air India’s unsurpassed consumer relations skills here). The moment I read that though, I couldn’t help but think of this classic video:

Never knew locating decent acco in London would be so much of a goshdarned  hassle. I don’t think I have researched as much even for my final drafts! Hell, for my IPC paper…., but, I digress 🙂

My stomach’s screwed up. Like, seriously seriously screwed up. Its currently doing Fosbury Flops and Ferris Wheel imitations every half an hour. Like  clockwork. Of Swiss Vintage. From the Old School. Probably serves me right; Karma, comeuppance, the works. There’s only so much cheap, Jewish fast food that one should hog! (Do not worry 🙂 ; the only way yer getting that reference is if you stay in Golf Green and/or frequent the narrow bylanes of Bijaygarh)