Psychedelia

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.

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.

Beezee Busy (And South City Psychedelia)

Life’s been a bit busy these last couple of days. Might get a lot busier in the days to come.

Met Ambrosius yesterday. For the first time in around six years. Chap hasn’t changed a whit. The man’s sporting a mush now, and is up to weird and wonderful things in the auditing world, but that apart, he’s still pretty much the same.

Met quite a few NUJS-wallahs yesterday. The usual gang, up to their usual antics, at the usual place. Also saw Larry’s stealth techniques in action. Which was kinda redundant considering the fact that the person he was trying to hide from, had already seen him!

Had gone to South City a couple of days back, and there was this guy there who was trying to flog me some free trip abroad. To lay my hands on which, in his words, “Sir, you just have to answer a very simple question”. My natural query was obviously, “Which is what??”. To which the man replied, “Sir are you above 24??”. That, presumably was the question. Bleedy weird demographically-inclined freebie scheme.

Reminded me of another time when I was browsing at Starmark. Again at South City. Then this chap comes up to me, thousand-watt grin on his face, and muttering something which sounded vaguely like same, same, same….I thought I probably had earwax or something, and started ‘eh’ing and ‘umm’ing around. Same difference; more of the same, same, same…. And this time followed by exaggerated hand gestures. Then, I got it. Both of us wearing the same type of jacket. Which probably was cause for celebration. So we shook hands, and thumped each other on our jacketed (blue-striped rectangular on black) backs. I think I even remember my exact words, “Aah! You mean our jackets. Ok, lets shake on that then”.

And lastly, in terms of South City psychedelia, an honourable note of mention goes to the South City Phantoms. There’s this Wodehouse yarn about a chap called Blister, who proceeds to pop up at the most inopportune of times and places, and scare the living heebie-jeebies out of a chap called Plimsoll. The South City Phantoms are a bit like that. Almost everytime I go there, I’m invariably bound to find them waving at me. As a matter of fact, I am surprised only when I don’t see them now 🙂 The only obvious difference from Blister being that they are two in number. And, that the antics of the Phantoms are rendered even all the more remarkable by the fact that Mr. Phantom is off studying in Singapore.

Two current ohrwurms: Waqt by E.P., and Ud Chalta by Nitish Pires. Hadn’t heard those two in ages, and suddenly they are in infinite replay mode.

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)

Zurich is No More

Zurich is no more. Long live Zurich.

Many might there be Picadillies, and French Loaves and Cream and Fudge Factories, but there shall be (was) only one Zurich.

Got into a fight today. With an auto-wallah of all people. In re two bucks of all things. But as always, a fight though triggered by specifics, is never about them. Nor can it be broken down into disparate components. A fight is always about generalities, of principles, of sahis and galats, and similar platitudinal excesses 🙂

Today, the entire sequence consisted of the auto-wallah pocketing ten bucks instead of his usual eight; of being almost run-over in rush-hour traffic; a 100 metre dash behind the offending party; a proper shove-session in front of the traffic policeman in front of South City, who true to form, washed his hands off the affair, with the exception of proffering a suggestion to register a complaint at Jadavpur P.S.

Then, trundling back to Lord’s; being accosted by the Auto-wallah there who had somehow tracked me back, and being threatened with dire consequences if I registered a complaint (and at which point, I truly lost it). A psychedelic 2-3 minute hand-to-hand combat session, which almost culminated in my shoving that git’s face into a vat of boiling oil where jalebis were being fried. And finally, getting back two rupees.

A honourable mention goes to the Skulker, who was comrade-in-arms, for the entire bit till we trundled across to Lord’s and whose cell probably still has stored, the offending auto’s license plate number.

Also, on a slightly more personal note, the most psychedelic moment of the entire episode probably occurred when in midst of grappling with that jackass, I picked out a complete stranger and asked him to hold on to my specs, so that I could let loose. For in sooth, though I mind not specs, they do hamper you, come fights. That, and also in terms of utter psychedelia, abusing him in English 🙂

Saw me a movie recently. Thought ’twas alright.

I still remember the first copy of Sherlock Homes I ever picked up. I must have been in Grade V then. Rajpur Road used to have this really old bookshop called Jugal Kishore. I’d got it from there. I think I even remember the first story I read; The Adventure of the Speckled Band. And I was HOOKED. Next year I came to Cal for the first time. The first bookstore I visited was Oxford’s. The first books I picked up were The Adventures, The Case-Book, The Memoirs, and The Return of Sherlock Holmes (I read His Last Bow only a couple of years later).

Guy Ritchie’s Holmes though, is not one (only) of cobblestone streets or meershcaum pipes. His is one of kinetic excesses and excess coolth. And one, who is, a tad vertically challenged. The greatness of true literature is that often it not only leads itself to translations, or transliterations, but also to transmutations. Take Mahabharata; you have Mrityunjaya by Sivaji Sawant, Randamoozham by Vasudeva Nair, and Yajnaseni by Pratibha Ray (a strand later  taken up by Chitra Divakaruni), all of which use entirely different narratives in respect of the same overarching structure. And more pertinently, succeed in doing so.

Whether Downey Jr.’s Holmes also falls into the same category is for you to decide. I though, for one, shall stick out my neck, and say, verbal fencing and witty repartee apart, there was little to distinguish it from say, a cerebral version of Van Helsing.

Foucault’s Pendulum (has me hovering in suspension)

Really, this book by Eco takes the cake. Its the most fiendishly obtuse book I have ever come across. So much of assorted arcana, literary miscellany in one book does, at times become too much to handle. Started the book around a couple of hours ago and have reached a stage where one of the protagonists has devised a BASIC program (yeah, really!!, the actual code is given) for his word processor. This is nothing compared to what came before that ; ‘isochronal majesty’, ‘sapiential metaphors’, ‘diadactic pretext’, ‘damnation of panta rei’, ‘chthonian world of gas guzzlers’ and whatnot.
And what is even more exasperating is the fact that I was preparing myself for a nice, easy session after my last read, Pamuk’s Black Book. That, in itself, was quite something. And now this. You know, it literally makes you yearn for stuff like Grishams, Baldaccis, Forsyths which you can literally race through without expending either too much of your time or energy.
Still, I’ve got to finish this work so back to Mr. Eco’s unabashedly convoluted semiotic-obsessed arcana which God-alone-knows how manages to masquerade as literature.