Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Want To Be a Crocodile

Photo from-http://mikeandcarol.skovron.com/blog/2008/11/big-trip-2008_21.html

In the last forty hours, I’ve watched The Shawshank Redemption thrice, constantly trying to figure why they made timid attempts to trash the movie by adding those (not) touching little snippets about hope. During the third run, I switched over to Being Jane. She was right when she said that, ‘Bad characters often thrive,’ and Mr.Wisley is equally correct in stating, “The good do not always come to good ends.” So, I like the part better where Dufresne digs a (perfectly) circular hole out of his prison cell and ‘crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness.’ I love the part when he adds the finishing touches to his freedom by making a getaway with all of the prison warden’s laundered money. I adore the fact that his victory is so all encompassing. But Red’s little speech about ‘rehabilitation’ and his consequent parole was trite. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t say no to life close to the Pacific in ‘a warm place with no memory.’

Sometimes, I guess familiarity becomes irksome. Because you have to keep acting out of habit to fit the context. You just want to leave that behind. I don’t just want to travel, I want to go somewhere and get lost. Like really lost, with no clue as to where I am, or who the people around me are. I think it would be healthy if some well meaning and motivated person blindfolds me and drops me off in some completely alien context. Perhaps there, I could explore what I really want and build life from scratch. Because I think my dreams have changed, and only a changed context would help me realise them. But you know what they say, be careful what you wish for. And I say, what you wish for, shouldn't bring you to your knees

Or maybe I should just stop watching wonky foreign movies which only make me more morbid than I actually am.

My safest future occupation is being a crocodile. A lazy one. Not one of those overtly determined specimens that made Michael Douglas’s life miserable in ‘Romancing the Stone’.

(I like the last part:
Jack Colton: Yeah, that poor old yellow-tailed guy... developed a fatal case of indigestion. He died right in my arms. Joan Wilder: I can't blame him. If I were to die there's nowhere on earth I'd rather be.)

I want to be able to bake on a sun warmed rock. It would perpetually be winter, with cold winds blowing through the trees, but the sun would be bright and warm on my scaly back. I’d dream my way through my life, dream a few fish into my jaws and dream a little more. On that well located rock on the waterfront of course. Occasionally hum ABBA. And twitch to the beat expecting the rest of the wildlife to break into chorus and the water to gurgle in time with us.

But, there is no direct flight to Xanadu.
No map to Atlantis.
So basically, I’m stuck in New Delhi with my pipe dreams. That is, dreams of watering plants with a hose. So it is a ‘pipe’ dream. Yes, this is my personal brand of warped humour and I won’t blame it on my cold. It just wouldn’t be fair to Influenza.

Friday, July 17, 2009

For a balcony............

Size does matter.

Not so much in terms of circumference, but in terms of a body's damned length.

You see XY was an unobtrusively protective father. XX was an equally protective but rather more forthright mother. And xx, well, she was the vertically challenged daughter.

Had her length been more to talk about, she wouldn't have had developed a case of standing up on tip-toe and leaning over the balcony railings.

Now seven years ago, xx's family moved into a lovely apartment.

Very discreetly, xx was assigned the master bedroom with bay windows. xx was of course delighted.

What she later gleaned from XX's more vocal concerns was that she's been given that room because her DNA donors worried that she may not yet be over her 'leaning- over- railings- so- I can-have-a-good view-of the bald neighbour's -pate', they'd distanced her from the offensive projection. Not that xx would be able to see a bald pate from the seventh floor.

So size does matter, a few more inches between the toes and the neck and the given picture would be xx's view from her room.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Verbal Jousting"

The Joyously Sweaty City

All earthlings must be happy today,
After all, it is my birthday.
- Anandi Bandyopadhyay

Pity that chocolate chip biscuits are narrow minded. They head for the same accursed body parts every single time that they're injested. What's odious about this fixed destination, is that chocolate is a universal comfort food. So avoidance causes conflict. Which in some severe cases may serve to fatten wallets of psychoanalysts who'd have to wade through egos and ids that suffer from withdrawl symptoms.
What brought on this desire for a sugar rush? It was the excessive emotional quotient of the status updates on Facebook. I'm fine with angry, sad, wheedling, sullen, mean, dour and even abusive status updates, but the terryfyingly emotional,demonstrative and revealing ones make me nervous. It feels as though they've let themselves open to derision and I'm trying to hand back the ability to scorn or ridicule. After all, I'm perpetually struggling under the crippling weight of rather comprehensively thought out opinions which don't leave the other party much space to negiate or rather even wriggle in. But I really can't work up any remorse about having strong opinions. Apart from the flesh and blood, it's my opinions that make me.
It's rather bothersome that one of my more indomitable constituents is sarcasm. There'a nothing wrong with it as such. I just wish it could come with power brakes. That would put a halt to my wasting my best lines on people who don't get sarcasm. The effect takes a beating when I have look sheepish and explain what I meant. And it really doesn't feel right to use the same line at an altered venue or on a different subject, it would mean betraying my pride in originality.
Esoteric ideas (that baffle me when they occur to me) apart, I discovered something about Grey's evil brother Black. Sodden or soggy black is exquisite. Liquid makes black impossibly blacker and more impenetrable (although the liquid is penetrating) in appearance. That shade is not something manufactured dyes would be able to achieve, no matter how important the designer is. But the sad part is, I discovered this under very unpleasant circumstances. I discovered this when I stood in a rather beastly queue in Calcutta, sweating more in an hour than I would have in a month in Delhi. Black might have been a terrible colour to wear in that kettle of a city, but at least I didn't sport sweat stains.
Another in my long line of discoveries,was that I love walls. I adore them. Not because they afford us much needed privacy or keep the heat out. I love them because one can lean on them when completely exhausted. Of course relief at the walls' presence and it's generosity is bellied when you come away with paint on your back. Despite that, I think walls are wonderful.
On the flight back from the City of Sweat, sorry, City of Joy, I gathered that planes and pepsi don't mix. In additon to slushy feelings from the tummy region, I spent the rest of the flight twitching my nose trying to rid myself of the tingling at the brindge of the nose. I tried to pretend I was Sabrina until laughter threatened, because I really didn't want to be considered a lunatic. I love private jokes. But this was rather too huge to harbour.
City of Djinns felt air conditioned and scented. Inspite of the mercury that refused to budge from 39C.
The backlights of the cars on the highway reminded me of the need for more over-head bridges and winking cigarette butts mocking Ramadoss.
Either X or Y told me there are creatures called Ligers. I didn't quite believe them that lions and tigers would willingly breed. When X or Y supplemented what the other had said, I presumed that this..........procedure was undertaken by scientists whose brains disintegrated in some other equally vile experiment. Wikipedia put it more baldly. They said ligers were caused by accidents involving separate enclosures in zoos.
Some accident.
I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor
I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor
I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor
And I don't like it very much!
Oh no, oh no, he swallowed my toe, he swallowed my toe

Oh gee, oh gee, he's up to my knee, he's up to my knee
Oh fiddle, oh fiddle, he's reached my middle, he's reached my middle
Oh heck, oh heck, he's up to my neck, he's up to my neck
Oh dread, oh dread, he swallowed my.... schlirppp!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Butterflies in My Brain

Dear, dear, how queer everything is today!
And yesterday things went on just as usual.

-Alice in Wonderland

People pop pills, I pop olives. Minus the martinis.

Not that I need cheering up. I’m currently situated somewhere very close to the nadir of despair.

That’s because I’ve put the finishing touches to my land of make believe. It’s a wonderful place to be really.

Built to order. Custom made. Like handmade shoes. Hence, deviously divine.


In Linda Goodman’s words- A wild place where two lilies and seven white roses grow among the iris.

With background scores that engender a great deal of deliberation.

For instance, Harry Nilsson’s Puppy Song made me compile a very comprehensive list of potential pets.

I want a black cat with blue eyes that I’ll call Moscow and a white cat with green eyes called Tuscany. A fish called Melrose. A parrot called Haddock. A doormouse named Shiraz. A dog called Perrier. A tortoise called Speedy, a rabbit called Winnipeg, a horse called Abercrombie, a monkey named Duke, a chimp called Rhett. And just maybe a tiger called Euripides.

There’s a bone deep certainty that they’ll all be even tempered, gentle and charitable paragons of virtue.

I’d of course have to become hugely rich to support such a syndicate and still have a few stray millions left over for me.

And just in case anyone’s planning to sue me for intended irreverence towards animals---This is a make believe world, where humanoids can peacefully co-exist with animals without a full scale power struggle.

But my pining for a parallel universe hasn’t blinded me to my immediate realities.

One of which is that you can find shapes in trees. The same way you look for shapes in clouds.

True, most of the times they look like disproportionately small heads with big hair deprived of styling gel.

Or like a statuesque beauty with an outrageous number of limbs.

Or they look like thin, mutilated warhorses.

Or they look prosperous and potbellied, blessed with a profusion of greenbacks.

This is probably the only instance when this last is the most handsome.

It’s pathetically outrageous that out of the several hundred trees I saw lined up by the roads today, few hundred of them provide sanctuary to very lethal yet dignified and industrious beehives.

All these fluttery feelings were topped off by exposure to an extremely suspect poem.

Oh and lastly, what happens when you get a haircut that leaves you with an accidental fringe, flick, (whatever it's called in stylist jargon) that resemble Scarlett O'Hara, pretty, flighty and damn inconvenient?

You turn up on prime time national television.

And you get to speak.

And then you subside into a mental puddle because of the sheer enormity of it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thinking Thrilling Thoughts

I have to block out thoughts of you so I don't lose my head,
They crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed.
-Blue October

I could wax lyrical about how entirely wretched I feel in real time. But I’m afraid it would be so truly sincere, that it would come across as fraudulent.

I’ve played snakes so many times that I can now breeze through the motions of all thirty-six levels in my sleep. And beat my own high score. And further compound the cramps in my thumbs. And administer the deathblow to my cell phone’s keypad.

I’ve been scoring off tiny bits from my mouse pad. The explanation for my actions is two fold. First, I’m a fidgety person. Second, circumstances have added to my fidgets. So my mouse pad no longer sports the photograph of a Maserati, but the outline does resemble the borders of France. That’s saying something. And I don't understand why everyone adores the Ferrari. The Maserati's just as cool.

Before this, I always derived some perverse pleasure from looking at a poster of Voldemort on my door. It’s very conveniently located. At knee level. Not that I’ve actually availed the very pleasurable opportunity this provides. But in my warped mood, I just felt a surge of sympathy for the man. He doesn’t look scary or mean. He just looks like a very creepy, diseased and dented boiled egg with nostrils.

The entire problem is that waiting is an arduous task. It gives me ample opportunity to ‘think’. Under normal circumstances (something I haven’t experienced in some time, so it must now be sub-normal if not abnormal), it wouldn’t bother me that I am ‘thinking’ too hard or too fast, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously. But when what is awaited bears immense consequence, like an axe waiting to fall, the ‘thoughts’ that plague the mind are terribly incommodious. Especially because I was born programmed to dismember, scrutinize, analyze and perform many other fierce acts on the subject matter.

So I tried to not think.

That’s appalling sentence structure I know, but that’s precisely what I tried to do.

Instead I ended up thinking about how not to think about what I didn’t want to think about. My train of thoughts screeched to a halt at that deduction with the prerequisite theatrics and flourish.

While thoughts of avoidance are more suited to the present situation, they don’t possess much charm. Especially when they’re in competition with less enviable but far more thrilling thoughts, opinions, apprehensions that form a heady cocktail made further potent by that stray shot of adrenalin and a very freaky form of grief.

A passing thought did occur that maybe I was just working myself up even more to a very terrifying, glass shattering crescendo.

But it really was a passing thought, it flit by and I was back to soul searching.

It’s a daunting and extremely dangerous task. Soul searching when in an emotionally precarious position that is.

Introspection is a wonderful thing. But only to be undertaken on a sunny morning, a nip in the air and glass of orange juice in hand when you’re oozing contentment and goodwill.

It’s injurious to health if one ventures down that path on a very grey evening, with visibly pregnant clouds threatening, when a fine blonde film of dust is forming on dark furniture, spilling…….dust on the house help’s efforts.

Relief however, is present in the form of a gargantuan back-of-my-head. With careful effort and studious concentration, I consigned my rather irksome tribulations to the said back-of-my-head. It’s tucked just away from my conscious.

But unfortunately, such thoughts are permanently in a state of military preparedness, poised to spring to the forefront and devastate the senses.

Hence I have resigned myself to 39 hours of ‘thinking’ very thrilling thoughts.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Barn Sized Problem

"I flat-out loved The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. In the end, this isn't a novel about dogs or heartland America, it's a novel about the human heart and the mysteries that live there, understood but impossible to articulate.... I don't reread many books because life is too short. I will be re-reading this one." —Stephen King, author of Duma Key

True that this isn’t a novel about dogs or heartland America.

True that it’s a novel about the human heart and the mysteries that live their, understood but impossible to articulate.

But to re-read it?

That’s where I lost Stephen King.

Like I lost David Wroblewski while reading the story of Edgar Sawtelle.

How I managed to finish the novel after three months of forced on-off reading is beyond me. Perhaps I just wanted to get it over with; perhaps I was in a mood to punish myself. Or maybe I just wanted to get my money’s worth.

There are sad books and there are sad books. But Edgar Sawtelle is one of a kind.

It’s stifling, yet alluring, depressing, yet oddly exhilarating. It’s scintillating in its beauty, stunning as a consequence of the author’s verbosity.

But reading was laborious, what was even more disconcerting was that the book managed to evoke extreme misery without even trying. But it seemed as if every other word, lugged a greater burden of wretchedness than the last.
The author made no appeal for sympathy, empathy or identification with the character, yet I felt as though my own voice had deserted me. I started to feel that if I spoke, I’d break the spell that cocooned me in a haze of gloom. I should have welcomed that idea, but the author, ever dispassionate, managed to command my attention. It seemed imperative, that I harbor this induced bitterness within me, since only that would enable me to continue reading.

There’s no middle ground, no comfort zone for the reader. There are moments of superlative clarity, packs of convoluted emotions, precise, but inexplicable action, tame grief and ardent stupor, and a kaleidoscope of perplexing characters.

Words are powerful. I started maintaining a diary when I was younger, but even at that age, I never wrote about anything unpleasant that happened. There were primarily two reasons for this. First, putting it in writing would mean a final confirmation of the said unpleasantness having taken place. Secondly, I wanted to avoid the probability, that I would read these entries again at a later time and they would evoke disagreeable emotions even at a later time.

So, there have been times when I cried while reading a book. For the oddest reasons. Not because they stir up despair necessarily, but because it seemed like the only reasonable reaction to something deeply ordinary yet startlingly profound in its impact.

But Edgar Sawtelle doesn’t dispense even that little comfort. The woe and dejection this book arouses, strangulates the reader. But not an expert strangulation that would put an end to the distress (eventually), but the kind that leaves you alive, only to deal with pain and a raspy voice and acute anger. Not to mention scars. And the police. And awkward questions. And sympathy.

In my case, the result was an air of brooding and a terrible early morning attitude.

In the simplest of terms- it messed me up.
There are stories that elicit powerful emotions and ideas. One’s that you don’t want to revisit, for fear, that it will reveal something one won’t like. For example, I never re-read Kite runner because I found it emotionally taxing. But it allowed me to feel for he characters, maybe just grudging respect, or consideration or acute disdain. But it let me retain some essence of what had built up inside me as a consequence of reading the book.

But Edgar Sawtelle, left me dry, bereft of any identifiable feeling. It was this inability to wrench any reaction that further infuriated me.

Even in the throes of my worked up rage, I didn’t manage to invoke dislike for the book.

It felt as if someone had snatched away my control over my opinions. A deeper look into my state of discomfiture showed me that the characters are built in such a way that they defy convention and make it impossible for the reader to form an opinion or to judge them. This defeat at the hands of people, who are essentially inanimate, further added to my disquiet.

I can’t like the book. But I can’t abhor it either. It’s a sweeping, lyrical, evocative and sophisticated story that defies any finite description. For that alone I respect it.

But I cannot re-read it. Not because life is short. I’ve re-read A suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, 1474 pages of India undiluted India several times. But because I feel it’s something to be read once, and only once, to be absorbed in its entirety at one go. I feel almost afraid that this terrifying potency and the enthralling grasp of the book might not be present the next time I read it. I’m afraid that it’ll appear just ordinary, thus enabling me to work up that incapacitated dislike.

It’s something I can’t allow. So the book will find a place on my shelf, the closed pages, retaining the death grip on its enchantment.

I’d issued the newest copy of Gone with the Wind from the school library in Grade 6. I read that same copy a zillion times before I had to return the book and get my own copy. But for a while I was fonder of the issued copy. The edges of a much read book turn blackish from use. For me, this was a mark of my attachment to it, my connection to that book. So until the time my own copy grew relatively ragged and ash grey around the edges, I missed the other.

Other books tell the same story.

It’s strange that The Story of Edgar Sawtelle has just a few tell-tale marks of being read. Lesser than is normal. I found this, more than anything else to be extremely revealing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Waiting for the water cycle to do it's thing!

Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key.

Alan Bennet

For a while now, I've been stuck in a limbo. Or in John Updike's words- the ugly middle position.It's not comfortable, this period of change. I remember Nigella Lawson's words as she rustled up a beef stew (it was a segment on comfort food), when she said there's comfort in the familiar.

Given my state of unrest, it would take a swimming pool full of beef stew to calm me down.

An unfamiliar tranquilizer though, might be more effective.

The sky too seems to be facing a conundrum. The ‘to be or not to be’ or ‘what to be’ variety. It seems to have settled for a very interesting shade of grey, shot with blue and tempered with black. Colleen McCullough described the color of Meggie’s gown as ashes of roses. On that note, I’d call this color charcoal blue. I’ve always been fascinated by how grey sets off other colors. It tends to accentuate the vibrancy or visual potency of any other color. This may have a scientific reason, of which I am thoroughly unaware, so to me, this phenomenon is intriguing. It seems as though, by downplaying itself, the color lends life to its brethren.

Opening the window seemed like a bad idea a few minutes ago, because of the dust storm that was threatening. But turns out it was all bark no bite. Rain’s missing her cue, still dithering about in the wings. But the smell of wet mud is beautiful. Pity my nose isn’t a little longer, and then it would’ve helped when I stuck it out of the window to catch the faint smell. The smell isn’t exotic, but it’s refreshing and carries a promise which is heady and puts a beatific grin on my face.

The last few storms gave our neighbors reason to consign their wind chimes to some corner in a box. But a bamboo chime still seems to be braving the rough gales. The sound of a wind chime is beautiful, but that of a bamboo chime, is gorgeous. The slightly hollow notes have a haunted feel about them. Contained, yet rousing.

The Beatles are going on and on about Lucy in the sky with diamonds. The refraction is definitely lighting the sky up just about now, in a lightening and thunder routine. But I’ve seen the kind that forks and twists and rips the sky into two in a burst of brilliance, so this fails to inspire, and fortunately or unfortunately I can’t go into raptures about it.

The sound of multitudes of leaves slapping into each other is uncannily similar to the sound of rainfall. It seems to be taunting all those in wait. Or maybe, it’s just a very complex case of transference.

The lights just went out. Pity it won’t last for ore than a minute. These brief cuts are the only time when we get plunged into the dark. Otherwise, even in the middle of the night, the room’s aglow with lights from street lamps. It’s striking. The blindness of these few precious minutes.

Patience is not one of my many virtues (I do really have many virtues!). I can conjure it from time to time, but now is not one of those moments when I feel like exerting myself. All this waiting has made me turn to Harry Potter. Fantasy does have its many uses.

To substitute for a real deluge, I’ll probably curl up and re-read the parts where Peeves pelts the students with water balloons in the Great Hall and where the younger Creevey brother falls into the lake and is (apparently) pushed back into the boat by the Giant squid. Or the Quidditch match with the ‘rouge’ bludger, or the one with the dementors. It may be a comedown, but I’ve always set great store by the written word.

I dare not leave the window open when I’m not in combat position to deal with any stray bugs seeking shelter from the rough weather. I’m a coward I’ll admit it. Not phobic. But just short of it.

But there is hope for tomorrow, that I’ll wake up to a myriad of blues and greens.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ramblings of a Mutant Grey Cell

"The only horrible thing in the world is ennui, Dorian. That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness."
-Oscar Wilde

Boredom is fascinating.

I’ve claimed to have been suffering from acute boredom on numerous occasions. But even in these moments, I’ve never been listless.

Just languid.

Today’s a perfect evening to be bored.

Daytime activities had caused sensory overload, leading to semi-shutdown.

A bug just destroyed my concentration. I detest bugs. Their presence necessitates violence and the squashing causes a disgusting squelchy sound which puts my dinner at risk of being summarily ejected.

So, I stuff my index fingers into my ears and gently tread on the creature.

I could get back to my subject, but the icy cold blast of the air conditioner is directed to the back of my head.

Having decided I was bored, and that nothing short of a natural disaster would rouse me, I was just about to convince myself to go to sleep, when I had the proverbial ‘Eureka’ moment.

I’d decided to analyze why I was bored.

But I was stalled by the snappy retorts my mind generated as a particularly insipid song came on.

Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey

(Think Monroe clones. Cabaret dancers. War Paint)
Honey honey, nearly kill me, ah-hah, honey honey

(Why didn’t he???)
I’d heard about you before

(And you’re still here?)
I wanted to know some more

(Did you have a deathwish?)
And now I know what they mean, youre a love machine

(So was Rasputin)
Oh, you make me dizzy
(Nauseous would be appropriate)

Honey honey, let me feel it, ah-hah, honey honey

Honey honey, dont conceal it, ah-hah, honey honey

(Pure cunning)
The way that you kiss goodnight

(the way that you kiss me goodnight)

The way that you hold me tight

(the way that youre holding me tight)

I feel like I wanna sing when you do your thing

(Why am I still listening?)
I dont wanna hurt you, baby, I dont wanna see you cry

So stay on the ground, girl, you better not get too high

(Very High School Musical 2)

But Im gonna stick to you, boy, youll never get rid of me

Theres no other place in this world where I rather would be

(How about good old Bedlam)

Honey honey, touch me, baby, ah-hah, honey honey

Honey honey, hold me, baby, ah-hah, honey honey

(thoughts have been censored)
You look like a movie star

(Plastic Surgery)
But I know just who you are

(I know just who you are)

(Thank God)
And, honey, to say the least, youre a dog-gone beast


So stay on the ground, girl, you better not get too high

(Brilliant comeback)
Theres no other place in this world where I rather would be
(After all that you know?)
Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey

Honey honey, nearly kill me, ah-hah, honey honey

I heard about you beforeI wanted to know some more

And now I know what they mean, youre a love machine(fade)


Inspiration struck in the form of Google. I google everything. Including my own name.

Till last month it would display my school post.

Now. Nothing.

But I still do it.


There’s something to short sentences, they seem to have that ‘I’m-so-cool-I-don’t-need-to-be-verbose’ thing about them.

The first result (as it usually is these days) was an article on Wikipedia.

Apparently, the word boredom was first used by Charles Dickens in Bleak House. The book just went up a few notches in my estimation.
Further persual revealed that there are three types of boredom:

(a) times when we are prevented from engaging in something
(b) when we are forced to engage in some unwanted activity
(c) when we are simply unable, for no apparent reason, to maintain engagement in any activity or spectacle

No offence to existential psychologists, but any layman could have told me that. This killed any further interest in this particular article, until my gritty eyes zeroed in on the words- BOREDOM PRONESS SCALE.

But it wasn’t hyperlinked, so my spurt of humor turned tail and ran.

Backspace to search results. The very next result led me to a rather juveniele site boredom dash busters dot com.

It offers a wide range of ‘engaging’ games. Games. To BUST boredom.

For example:

Bathroom Habits Survey A funny, interesting survey of about how different people go to the bathroom. Find out what strange habits other people have when going pee or poop.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You? - A personality test that matches you with a popular fantasy or science fiction character.

Clean your screen with The Slurps Hey does your computer screen get dirty? Why not get a Chihuahua that will clean it for you. Also there are terriors and poodles for your cell phones.

Name Decoder - Find out what's inside your name.

Budapest Defenders - This is fun for hours. shoot and kill the incoming units before they hit their destination. –

School Wars - Realtime Strategy Game - Fight for turf, grow your gang and knock out the other gangs. –

Juggler - Move your mouse to catch the balls as they fall. Much easier then trying to juggle for real. –

The idea of performing a jig on my temporarily straight jacketed intelligence for the sake of dispelling boredom seems harsh, not to mention disloyal.

So I backed up hastily. Not that any of these boredom busters could’ve charmed me into lingering.

The loading of the page had an inverse effect on my already dwindling curiosity.

A huge yawn was in order.

A vicious bid at scrolling brought me to the bottom of the page, where I found searches related to boredom.

Very reluctantly, I clicked on ‘things to do when you’re bored’ and then hit back almost immediately.

The book results for my search was a lot more intriguing.

Boredom - by Alberto Moravia, Angus Davidson, William Weaver - 340 pages
Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind - by Patricia Ann Meyer Spacks - 316 pages
A Philosophy of Boredom - by Lars Fr H Svendsen, John Irons - 180 pages

The second book seemed promising. Literary history of a state of mind.
The description stated- This book offers a witty explanation of why boredom both haunts and motivates the literary imagination.

Is that why I’m still bothering? Is boredom the aphrodisiac of wannabe literary paragons? Is it a state of overwhelmingly latent creativity?

I was wondering whether I was making sense. Unconsciously, I’d bothered the ‘shift’ key one too many times and sticky keys came on.

It’s a sign.

I should let boredom go. Let sleeping dogs lie.

But searches related to boredom grabbed my eyeballs again.

One said ‘boredom cures’.
Does that mean boredom cures something or does that mean cures for boredom?

It’s sad we’re past the days when Wren and Martin lorded over grammar and punctuation. Such quirky conclusions would never have occasion to emerge.

I vowed that I’d ditch my dalliance with boredom. I’d just check ‘things to go when you’re bored.’ That and no more.

I skipped the first few and clicked on geocities.

Had I possessed a weaker constitution, I would’ve dropped dead. Because pity for the people involved would’ve robbed me of lifeblood/ lifeforce take your pick.

And I don’t even have a piece of clothing spotted with Caesar’s blood to sustain me.

So I’m giving up.

But I did learn something very important.

Not really.

I’m just being ostentatious and portentous to add glitter to the end credits.

The best cure to boredom, or listlessness, or black humor, or towering rage is Google.

I can practically hear my search engine sing:

If you change your mind,

Im the first in line

Honey Im still free

Take a chance on me

If you need me, let me know, gonna be around

If youve got no place to go, if youre feeling down

If youre all alone when the pretty birds have flown

Honey Im still free

Take a chance on me

Gonna do my very best and it aint no lie

If you put me to the test, if you let me try

Take a chance on me

(thats all I ask of you honey)

I'd have felt better about this post had it been conceived during the witching hour.

But no such luck.

I need to find a four leaved clover.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting Drunk on Non-Alcoholic Beverages:A Thought Experiment

The only thought experiment I truly pursued was Scott Adams’ God’s Debris. Intriguing piece of work.

But it has nothing to do with my own thought experiment, except perhaps with the part where I filch a part of the book’s name in order to add character to my title. It’s strange really how hard I find it to name a piece. I’ve been known (to no one but myself) to give up writing about something simply because I was too exhausted by my efforts to think.

But as an author in my Grade 12 English textbook said- ‘Not even a stuka bomber can distract me.’

Research on moral development for my psychology project led to an interesting quote by Mark Twain (who does have a penchant for saying what all of us think, but are too afraid to say) - “Morals are an acquirement- like music, like a foreign language, like piety, poker, paralysis- no man is born with them.”

Wise words.

And in general societal terms I am amoral when it comes to alcohol. (I also enjoy passive smoking. Especially because Papa’s brand of tobacco had an alluring woodsy flavor that borders on being vanilla, but just stops short)

For the following reason.

I always found Dad’s after work relaxation techniques incredibly fascinating. Apart from everything else, it included cleaning and tending to his innumerable (beloved) pipes and nursing his drink.

As opposed to the genial, boisterous and generally exuberant atmosphere in our residence, evenings at a friend’s house were rather somber, where family members tread carefully once the head of the household returned from work. He was irritable, snappy and quick to offence.

He didn’t drink or smoke.

Now in no way am I saying that only alcohol engenders good humor. But my six year old mind fell back on age old tactics of associated learning and I deduced that a reasonable dose of ethanol worked wonders for a man’s temperament.

I have never felt any pangs to consume alcohol. I like being in control and my eighteen year old brain is acquainted with the not-so-rosy effects of alcohol on the human nervous system.

But the idea of intoxication is captivating. On paper, the idea starts off innocently enough, a series of very innocuous changes such as lowering one’s guard, feeling limber, happy, sappy……………..

But more often than not, the likes of Captain Haddock loom large in my field of vision.

The imaginary visuals of lifting a cut glass specimen does seem supremely exotic. A realistic view is usually obliterated by more exquisite frames from black and white movies where a fair maiden with white gloves that went past her elbows and satin heels would delicately help herself to some champagne from a flute that is a refractive wonder. It enables the man with a smirk and slicked back hair leaning lazily against a piece of exquisite furniture to single out the aforementioned woman.

There’s something truly decadent and hedonistic about enjoying the dizzying range of effects of alcohol. Not all. Just the first few. Because excesses lead to hangovers. And hangover’s a bitch.

So they say.

And I’m rather inclined to believe it.

I’d honestly hoped my very limited exposure to the substance would clear away some of these concepts or misconceptions whichever may be the case, that plagued my highly alert mind.

The occasional ministrations of cognac with hot water and lemon drove away any traces of a troublesome bout of cold. But first hand experience of drunkenness still eludes me.

But I did almost discover that one can feel high simply by a thought experiment.

It started by choosing a goblet as the desired glassware for consuming chocolate flavored soy milk. And the choice of music included- Bubbly (Colbie Caliet- do not attempt unless you can stomach a healthy shot of estrogen), Wicked Little High (Bird York), Life Could be a Dream (the Crew Cuts), The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel ), Thank you for the music (ABBA), Across the Universe and Norwegian Wood (The Beatles, the latter even refers to wine), Changing partners (Patti Paige), anything by Cliff Richards and DEBUSSY!

There’s no physical resemblance between wine (good or bad, red or white) and chocolate milk (soy or otherwise).

One is red, or crimson or some equally seductive color or some precarious shade dallying between transparent and yellow and the other is a colloidal brown (and the heavier chocolate particles tend to sediment and sink to the bottom of the glass).

So looking at the liquid will not evoke any revelation.

But the fact that you’re holding that delicate bit of glassware and not a sturdy glass that would suffer endless punishment alters the way one treats the beverage, no matter what it may be.

Run your finger along the luscious curves of the goblet and then along the fragile stem and the entire perception of the resident liquid changes. The pace, the enjoyment and the consideration that is extended to the chosen drink is also affected simply by a modification in perception and approach to consumption.

By the time the play list ran its course, drinking chocolate milk had definitely turned into a heady experience as opposed to a routine action aimed at further solidification of bones.

Another incapacitating cold brought on another occasion to consume alcohol, even if the quantity was purely medicinal. The timing too was perfect. Three weeks before my exams. What better time to drown in the smooth, golden depths of cognac.

A carefully measured amount was poured into the snifter. Warm water was added and so were lemon drops. I nursed the infusion till it was stone cold, hoping that I’d performed all the motions a seasoned drinker (drunk???) would perform, ranging from sniffing to twirling and swallowing with a studied look of pure bliss on my face.

And I honestly do believe that I felt as though my joints were greased by the time night fell. I almost believed that my head swam. I almost believed that my eyes were going wonky.

The latest in the series of my experiments was drinking Sprite in a beer mug. I persisted with the slow and steady form of consumption even after the fizz had performed a speedy defection. I even hunched over the mug trying to summon dejection from somewhere near my big toe to fit the desciprtion of a generic beer guzzler.

Alfred Doolittle’s rendition of ‘With a lil’ bit o’ luck’ seemed to be the perfect accompaniment. So did Stereophincs’ bartender and the thief.

I’m not the only person who felt this way apparently. Jug Suraiya had written a rather foggy short story called- A Tika for Jung Bahadur, in which a very sorry excuse of a director sits drinking plain soda in a bar, hoping that observers would think of it as vodka and tonic.

The illusion does last.

It does.

Until even the average experimenter discovers that his/her cognitive skills are as active as ever.

CONCLUSION- It’s simply too much hard work to evoke intoxication. I managed to enjoy and spice up the consumption of the mundane, but I came no closer to getting drunk. I merely suffered from exquisite delusions of grandeur, until I lost the zeal to keep up the pretense.

Until I fence with the real thing, I’ll just stay high on life. Or the weather. The shapes in the cloud. Birdsong. Book dust (I’m certain it’s as potent as cocaine). Unfermented grape juice.

I (don’t quote) warble-
“The Lord above made liquor for temptationTo see if man could turn away from sin
The Lord above made liquor for temptation -
With a little bit of luck,
With a little bit of luck
When temptation comes you'll give right in………”