Thursday, 28 October 2010

Killer

He died of a stifled thought
a thought
that never left his nicotine lips.

His lips were busy
faking smiles
too busy
to utter.

His eyes were busy
trapping tears
too busy
to speak.

He tried
drowning the thought
smoking it out
even at times
to swallow it
like forgotten pride.

But all thoughts
are cannibals
leaving behind
shells
hollow as a riot.

Some say he confided
in the old tree
but leaves speak only to the wind
and the branches are too twisted.


And now
we shall never know
the thought that killed a man.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Ruth and the Sar ha-mashqim

The best thing about paucity is it's like a peeler of souls.

And a certain Dylan song keeps on playing in my head...

Friday, 15 October 2010

Of crying girls and swaying Romeos..

Well, I've had a fair share of strange incidents and people, as a friend once mentioned, I'm probably a weird-magnet of sorts. I've had spoilt rich brats doing wheelies while passing by me, only to realise in utter disappointment that they went through all the trouble for a guy; I've had eunuchs praising me for my hair quality and not even asking for money ( I was so startled by this that I even forgot to thank him/her ). But one of the queerest things happened to me couple of weeks back in the Delhi Metro.

So I was on my way back from a friend's place and had boarded the blue line metro from CP ( Rajiv Chowk, if you will). It was not too crowded, as trains come, however, I knew for sure that I won't be getting any place to sit on it. So, with the cultivated wisdom of a frequent metro rider, I chose to stand in the niche between the door and the seats. One of the few places in the metro where you can lean on the glass partition behind and not worry about people jostling you in their frenzy to get on or off the train. The rest of the train was fairly empty, people sitting, dozing off and a few hopefuls standing in front of them, hoping to poach a seat or two.

As I stood smugly in my strategic position, gently resting on the glass partition, she boarded the train. She was with her friend, who quickly proceeded to take position in front of one of the seats, joining the queue of the hopefuls. She however, did not. She chose instead to stand right beside me. Under normal circumstances this would have been a fairly massive ego-massage, considering she chose to stand beside me in spite of having a million other places to stand in an empty train ( including 7 other similar "strategic" positions by the door). But as is my fate, such luck, especially concerning women, was not to be.

Soon after, I noticed, to my horror, that she was sobbing inconsolably !! And so it went on for the next 12 stations ! Everyone who got on or off the train, saw this guy (me) standing by the door, and a girl standing beside him and crying.  I am sure some people must have thought I had something to do with it and cursed me under their breath . I got a fair share of disapproving looks from women and men alike. Perhaps, some of the religious lot even conjured up visions of me being burned alive or tormented in pots of hot oil in the deepest recesses of  Hell. The more moral might have nodded their heads in dismay and uttered stuff like " Boys these days..". The feminists perhaps secretly planned my castration.
Neither my formal education nor my survival training had prepared me for such a situation. I was at my wit's end, and so did what I could do best. I just stood there and absorbed the bad vibes and looks. At one point however, I did think of asking her, what was wrong, but her loud sobbing made it difficult for me to drop in a word, fearing it may lead to an outburst.

The only person who perhaps rightfully deduced the absence of any link between me and the girl crying beside me, was this wandering "Romeo". He took a quick glance at us and then perhaps satisfied with either the absence of a link or the presence of an opportune moment , decided to stand right in front of us. He stood facing the door, his profile towards us, without holding on to anything, like a seasoned Navy man standing on the deck of his boat. But of course he lacked the skills of the Navy man, that was the whole point of his "plan" I suppose. He would glance at me sometimes, otherwise too engrossed in staring ceaselessly at the girl, and gently rock with the motions of the train. Now and then he would rock too much, just-about-to-fall kinds.

Flummoxed, though I was, with a crying girl by my side, his shenanigans, however did not go unnoticed by me. So, at his moment of glory, his coup de grace, when he decided to finally fall over towards the girl as the train stopped at a station, I caught him, breaking his fall. Disappointed, perhaps, he slowly moved on to the front of a seat far away, without a word.

At this point the girl also decided to change her position and move on to stand beside her friend. I didn't check whether she continued to cry thereafter. I was far too relieved and besides, I was to get off at the next station.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Phantom of Shibpur

The Bengal Engineering College at Shibpur is one of the oldest Engineering institutions in India. Established in 1856, it started with a Civil Engineering department to supply engineers to the Public Works Department of British India. In 1880, it moved to its current location and became the Bishop’s College, Howrah.

Like most public educational institutions of that era, the college boasts of a vast and lush campus; roads thronged by deodar and palms, pristine pools and colonial style buildings lend a unique aura to this campus. In 1999, when I was an architecture freshman, it also happened to be the only and closest seat of an architecture department [other than our college, that is] in our state. As is the norm, there was a lot of interaction and healthy rivalry between our college and BEC. Also the zonal and national level competitions among architecture students under the national student body of architecture students meant, most of us knew each other regardless of which college you belonged to.

So I had gone to visit BEC during their annual cultural fest upon invitation by the architecture students that year. It was the final day of the fest and a popular rock band from Bangladesh was to perform as the main event.  I was looking forward to attend the concert and planned to stay over at the BEC hostel for the night after the concert. So I met another freshman at his hostel in order to proceed to the concert with him. I did not have any passes and he had promised to “get me in” as well as provide lodging for the night in his room.

By the time we left his room for the concert, both of us were fairly intoxicated on a heady cocktail of various intoxicants. So we tottered to the concert and as promised, he got me in. Somewhere during the concert, and given the state we were in, we managed to lose each other in the crowd. When I realised that my friend was nowhere to be found, I thought let’s enjoy the concert and I’ll find him after the show.

After the show, however, I still could not find him, mostly due to the fact of me being really high. In those days, personal mobile phones were a rarity, so there was no way for me to find him unless I physically found him. Assessing the situation I was in, in both senses of the word, I decided that the best thing I could do was to try to get back to his hostel room by myself. Unfortunately, given the large campus the college had and my state, I could not. After trying for about an hour, I decided that it was a futile attempt.

Suddenly I saw a nice white marble bench on a ground nearby. Being within a college campus, it was , I reasoned, safe enough for the night; moreover, I was barely conscious. So without further ado, I lay down on the bench.

I woke up sometime later. To my surprise, I found, that what I had thought of as a marble bench, was in fact a raised marble tomb and the ground was in fact an old British era cemetery  within the college premises. I had been sleeping over someone’s grave the entire while !

By this time, I was fairly sober and the realisation of what I had done sobered me even more. I got up and walked out of the campus. On my way back home, in the early morning bus, the entire time, I kept thinking about the feat that I had just managed to pull.


Couple of months ago, I met a friend who had studied at BE College. During our conversation, I happened to relate this incident to her. It is then I chanced upon some very interesting facts.


It so happens that the graveyard in question, is right in front of a Girl's Hostel. Some of the girls from the hostel had got up and got the scare of their lives that day. They claimed to have seen a person getting up from his grave and walking away ! And so was born another legend of the haunted graveyard facing the Girl's Hostel.


Unknown to me, I had, for all these years, and to all subsequent batches of girls staying in the hostel, become "the ghost who got up from his grave and walked away"..

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

From Miyazaki to Shinkai

Couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to the works of Shinkai Makoto in an Anime Film Festival held here in Delhi.

Shinkai has been callled " the new Miyazaki" by the press;  in my opinion,however, the two directors are too distinctive to be compared. Each in his own way leaves a mark, yet the way they choose to do so are completely different.

Miyazaki's narratives of wonder and fantasy, guide you to a world, which more often than not is viewed through the freedom of a child's imagination. His stories flow effortlessly as they inspire you towards a reality that surpasses the real. Miyazaki infuses the common with the fantastic, weaving fairytales into everyday objects, people and occurences.
In contrast, Shinkai uses his deliberate pace to construe narratives that are credibly real. His depictions of the common are hinged on subtleties of life that are overlooked, or at best, taken for granted. The strength of his characters are their realism, characters to which you can relate to without the slightest of effort. He extracts stories of modern life and emotions out of the ordinary. At times, Shinkai feels almost poetic..






[ Video extract from Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru (5 centimeters per second) by Shinkai Makoto ]

Friday, 3 September 2010

Come September..

It's hard to pick up pieces of a broken dream. Even harder perhaps, to pawn them and buy some time...to dream once more.
The dream had been nurtured for a lifetime, now it lies shattered...each piece bleeding me.

As we plan, meticulously, to break it apart, piece by piece, I feel like a butcher; a butcher of my own dream.

Yet a part of me, the optimist , tells me it is not the end. The dream has just entered chrysalis, to maybe morph and relive once again on wings of fire.

Optimism gets me by, but optimism can hardly dry my tears...

Friday, 20 August 2010

Back with a beautiful song..

Its been ages since I had blogged. Many issues which I had mentioned in my earlier posts and some more which  I had not, had kept me away. I would like to think, that some had missed the updates on my blog; if you have,I dedicate this beautiful ballad to you.

Couple of weeks ago, I was going through my collection of X-Japan songs. If you haven't heard them , you should. Arguably one of the finest talents to come out of Asia, pioneers of a new genre of J-rock [visual kei], their music was at its finest form in their ballads. So if you like rock ballads, do check them out.

Here's to you..



Here are the lyrics in Romaji and English

Forever Love [Romaji]

Mō hitori de arukenai
Toki no kaze ga tsuyosugite

Ah

Kizu tsuku koto nante
Nareta hazu dakedo ima wa

Ah

Kono mama dakishimete
Nureta mama no kokoro o
Kawari tsuzukeru kono toki ni
Kawaranai ai ga aru nara

Will you hold my heart

Namida uketomete
Mō... Kowaresō na All my heart

Forever Love

Afureru omoi dake ga
hageshiku setsunaku
jikan o umetsukusu


Oh tell me why

All I see is blue in my heart

Will you stay with me

Kaze ga sugisaru made
Mata afure dasu all my tears

Forever Love

Forever Dream

Konomama soba ni ite
Yoake ni furueru
Kokoro o daki shimete

Oh Stay with me

Ah

Subete ga owareba ii
Owari no nai kono yoru ni

Ah

Ushinau mono nante
Nanimo nai anata dake

Forever Love

Forever Dream

Konomama soba ni ite
Yoake ni furueru
Kokoro o daki shimete

Ah Will you stay with me

Kaze ga sugisaru made
Mō dare yori mo soba ni

Forever Love
Forever Dream

Kore ijyō arukenai

Oh Tell me why
Oh Tell me true

Oshiete ikiru imi o

Forever Love
Forever Dream

Afureru namida no naka
Kagayaku kisetsu ga
Eien ni kawaru made

Forever Love..


Forever Love [English]

I'll never walk alone again, the winds of time are too strong.
Ah, it's that what you hurts, which you'll have to live with...
Ah, this tight embrace, and this burning, unchanged heart.
In this ever changing time, love will never change.

Will you hold my heart? Stop flowing tears.
Again, all of my heart is broken....

Forever love, forever dream
Only flowing emotions, bury this intense,
trying, meaningless times.
Oh tell me why ... all I see is blue in my heart.

Will you stay with me? Wait until after the wind passes,
all my tears are still flowing...

Forever love, forever dream Stay with me like this.
Hold my trembling heart in the dawn.
Oh stay with me...

Ah, everything good seems to be ending,
in this unending night.
Ah, what else would you lose if nothing at all matters.

Forever love, forever dream, stay with me like this.
Hold my trembling heart in the dawn.

Oh will you stay with me... Until the wind passes,
stay with me again.

Forever love, forever dream, I'll never walk this path.
Oh tell me why, tell me true, teach me how to live.
Forever love, forever dream, within flowing tears
Bright seasons will forever change again and again ....
forever love...
 ___________

Notes: This footage is from the 1997 last live performance of X-Japan. The band had decided to disband,and this was their farewell performance after announcing the dissolution. Hence you see Yoshiki, founding member and the songwriter for this song, crying. Shortly after this performance, hide [the guitarist] also died.
X Japan reunited in 2007, however, hide will forever be missed.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Shifting woes and absence

Most of this month has been spent in shifting. Getting a working house into cartons and then back again in another house. The working part is still to be accomplished completely..it is almost done. Took me enough trouble to get an internet connection installed.
As for now I am back to the days of manual laundry, since the washing machine is part of the remaining working status.

Between the new house woes, laundry, getting used to the switches and the goddamned summer, I have rarely had a chance to blog. But soon...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Threats and dates

My mom's been bitten by the "Why is my son single?" bug again. Dark days await me now.

Irate that I am not paying heed to her repeated appeals to "go out and meet people", she is planning to take matters into her own hands.

She warned me today that unless I get hitched by the time I go back home , she is going to set me up for blind dates the next time I am home.

"You won't even know, I'll arrange for you to bump into people...the kind of people you like.." was her chilling threat, delivered with characteristic sweetness.

"But we had a deal.."

" Then go out and meet girls. Work will keep happening, don't give me that excuse. Why can't you just find someone for yourself ? "


I better have some answers soon [ must rope in dad ]...or postpone my trip home.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The Salad bowl

An interesting interview with historian Ramachandra Guha which I stumbled upon during my search for the Indian identity..


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Buy me a beer?

Weekends have become quite a luxury. I have been working everyday for the past few weeks.

Average sleeping hours are 2 hours per day now, 4 on days when I am extremely lucky.

We are over worked, understaffed, way under financed.

What used to be the amount spent in a weekend night at a pub, is double the amount I can afford to spend in a week now.

Some have fallen.

As if to add a bit more chutzpah, my landlady has decided to return. Which means I'll have to find a new place now. Not a good thing to do when you are in the middle of a financial crisis.

It's not easy , but failing is not an option...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Of Navy commandos, good music, a BIIIG mistake and budweiser [to say nothing of the flash drive]

A week of hard work and long shifts deserves a brilliant weekend. For once, I guess, Murphy was looking away [except for a brief instance, which shall be elucidated later on in this post] and I got a brilliant long weekend.

So it was the weekend of Easter, three days to boot ! It was also the weekend, that Nitin had decided to come from Cal on his annual break, so we knew that the word party would feature quite prominently...since Nitin was on a holiday!

Friday morning, I get a message from another friend, Rizwana, saying she had braved the dire journey to Noida from Delhi, across the plains of Mordor Sarita Vihar. So we met up at the nearby Barista for a nice afternoon chat over some coffee. Or so we thought !
Unknown to us, however, the dark lord was rising, in the next coffee table !

He cut into our conversation with the polite unassuming question:

So you're Bengalis?

Perceptive of him, I must say, considering we had been constantly talking in Bengali for the past half an hour, at a coffee table beside him.

Umm...yeah!

Aha! I've been to Calcutta. My ship was docked there. I'm in the navy you know..

At this point, I begin to wonder, whether the Navy has a course in accent training, a very peculiar accent at that, almost American, yet with a softer T sound...as if he suddenly becomes Italian when he reaches the T's and D's.

I am here waiting for a friend, just walked over from Delhi..

Walked...the man said walked. I stare surprised......also note that the Navy also probably has a separate uber-secret course titled  How not to sweat and look fresh out of an AC-car after walking 10km in 32°C heat.

Could have taken a metro, I suggested.

Damn, never occurred to me. That's clever...actually coming here after a long time..

Next few minutes we listen agape, over our now-cold coffee, how he has flown F-16s, had had 8 to 1 dogfights with a Sukhoi against F-16s, out Krav Maga-ed the Mossad and among other things was part of the crack team for 26/11. Several sagas of his heroism continued.

But mistake him not as the brawny-type, for he also teaches at IIT and IIM. He is one of the best men our country has when it comes to the subtle martial art of the EMP [electromagnetic pulse, for the uninitiated]. He also had some useful tips and tricks on how to run our country as well as Bangladesh [where Riz is from]. The latter included Riz taking me to her country and making me a leader, so that I can build bridges there !!

Anyway, soon the Helen that would launch his ship arrived and offered us some much needed respite.

And thus ended our tryst with the navy super commando.

Part 2, Evening and THE mistake

So of course, after an afternoon with such a super soldier, the next thing you want to do is go out for a beer..

Of course, it is a tremendous bonus knowing that one of your loved bands would be playing at the pub and that you've got a friend on a holiday and a few more to tag along.

So we ended up at TC where Boomarang was playing.

And they were kind enough to have "happy hours till the cricket match is on" happening. Soon good music, ample beer and a meeting of friends took over.
Very soon as is usual with me, I could no longer restrict myself to the bar stool and ended up in front.
Furious headbanging ensued...

A guy hugged me and said something, some girls smiled and said something , for me all I could hear was the music, and of course the beer helped. And then it happened !

I think I'll regret this part for long, very long.

One girl came up to me, smiled and started rubbing her hands all over my back.
Not once, not twice, five fucking times!!!
And then Murphy smiled. 
I was so drunk and into the music, all I could manage was, turn and smile back at the girl...no name, no phone number! Damn!

Minutes later, realisation and inconsolable regret dawned. But too late, she had left !

Part 3, Saturday and Sunday

Much of Saturday and Sunday was spent moping and trying to kick myself.

As if by way of divine consolation, a friend of mine asked me out for lunch on Saturday. "It would involve pork" she messaged. So pork and laughter, coffee and happy times followed. After she left, I was again back to reflection and "Fuck-I've-been-a-Moron" mode.

Now, this is where the divine consolation outdid itself. An almost outrageous demand I made for a 16Gb flash drive to a friend I met later in the evening, since-I-have-been-a-moron-and-deserve-something-as-consolation, was granted with her approval. She actually bought me one that very evening !

And so the night was spent with friends with more beer, now-and-then-popping up regret and playing cards.

Next day, another friend, Vijay, arrived from Bangalore. In the evening, while we stood on the terrace, cherishing Budweiser and old memories of times spent in a dry state, it seemed that indeed this has been an awesome Easter weekend..

But, for that...

Friday, 26 March 2010

Boomarang

Well, I've been all praises for this band lately. And tomorrow, I go to see them live, again !!

It is only fair then, I share some of their music...






Enjoy!!

Holy Shmoly !

Kang Min Kyung is now my Facebook friend !!

Jeez...I know, I may be acting a bit like an adolescent here, but what the fuck...she like accepted my friend request.

I think this just about made my day. I can dwell on this simple non consequential fact for at least a month and be happy; after that see it again, and be happy again.

Had I been a physicist, this would have laid the foundations for a perpetual motion machine..

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Stirfried beef, tattoo and a promise of good music

After ages of designing, redesigning, changing the concept, fiddling with vector handles, napkin sketches, being inspired, I finally came up with a design for my second tattoo on Friday night. It was true to the original concept and matched the style of my first, which was essential because it was to be inked above the first.

So there I was, at the tattoo artist's studio on Saturday evening accompanied by Joseph. I got my second tattoo and am delighted about it. It looks like one big tattoo on my arm now, but is actually two different tattoos, now isn’t that clever or what?

You don't get any pictures of the tattoos though. I am very possessive about my tattoos. I don't pick them from dime-a-dozen tattoo flash books or sites. I spend days and nights designing each and every one of them. Each holds a very special meaning and signifies a part of me. These are parts of my soul, things that have been and will always be a part of me. So there..

But of course, I could show them to you in person, if you are that curious..

Somehow the cost also matched, exactly the amount that was allotted for it. This also meant sadly, that the after party of the tattoo had to be cancelled.

But anyway, the afternoon had started with a beer at Joseph's and ended with a delicious meal of stir fried beef in coconut. I was also gifted a pack of the beef curry. All in all a very satisfying weekend.

Also in news, I hear one of my favourite new bands from the North East, Boomarang will be playing next week at my college fest. Obviously, next week looks good.

P.S. Happened to browse through the Rolling Stone magazine's [Indian issue] list of top 25 Indian bands; the only band from the North East that seems to have made it to the list is Soulmate. I love the music of Soulmate, personally I would place them in my top 5 bands from India, but I find it hard to believe that they are the ONLY band from the North-East that made it to the list. Clearly these guys were not looking hard enough..

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Sometimes I feel I am stuck in a Gaiman comic

Sometimes I feel I am stuck in a Gaiman comic
moments playing out panel by panel ;
gritty, discordant, surreal life threads
tinted by a dark smile.

And I wait
to turn the page
perhaps revealing the panel with you in it
or perhaps
the panel with the dark ankh eyed dream sibling.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Move over Zhi Yi Zhang, Kang Min Kyung is my new heartthrob

*siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhhhhh*

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Spamming made easy : gracias Google Buzz !

So I do not Buzz anymore.

As you are aware, I have somewhat of an OCD about unread mail. Buzz made it so easy to have scores of unread mail and buzzes everytime. Obviously, the prospect of 100s of unread mail sitting in my Inbox if I did not check mail for a day, was too much for me to handle. In an attempt to  save myself from this lethal threat, I had turned off Buzz.

But little did I know of the Machiavellian plans that this innocuous application harboured in its dark electronic heart.
It so happened, that inspite of turning it off, it continued to stream buzzes from me through my gtalk status.
While I was happily listening to my playlist and chatting, each song change in my playlist [which reflects in my gtalk status] was filling the inboxes of my happless friends as a new buzz from me. Soon, some of them reported back to me that I was filling up their mailboxes with my song list.

Thanks to Buzz, a simple act of listening to music  was making me a spammer !

There you have it  - spamming for dummies.

Step 1 : Sign up for  Buzz [it  links to your gtalk status by default]
Step 2 : Make sure you have "show current music" feature enabled in gtalk
Step 3 : Put on a long playlist
Step 4 : Sit back and enjoy while Buzz does the spamming for you

Monday, 1 March 2010

Challenges and piss-offs

One thing that greatly pisses me off as a designer is when after working really hard on something, trying all the variations and possibilities, the client chips in with his “design”.

Seemingly innocuous remarks like make the text bigger, try a bit of this colour, make it a little bigger are stuff that can make us borderline homicidal at times.
The root of the problem of course lies with the fact that most people have little or no understanding of the processes or sensitivity involved in the creation of a new design. Everybody feels they can improve the design; you can, if you understand the bigger picture. Otherwise refrain.

At such times, I always recall an incident from my past work life. I was a fresh graduate then, working as a motorcycle designer at one of the Japanese big four.  We were having a presentation with the marketing department to finalise on the new graphics of a bike. The presentation stretched on for some time, everything from sales figures to production schedules being discussed.

Suddenly, the head of marketing remarked “ Why don’t we try this colour?”

My boss, a Japanese designer of considerable repute , was enraged.

What he said to the marketing head, can be roughly translated as :

Please leave the design to us. We don’t tell you how to sell, so please do not tell us how to design. You are in marketing , you understand the market and selling. It is our job to deal with colours and graphics, we are the designer ne* ?”

No wonder the design team considered him a rockstar.
I learnt a lot from that man and I still owe my sensei.


Incidents such as these are not uncommon. See here for yet another example.

That is the sad part; you never ask a doctor “Probably you can try using 6 stitches instead of 8”, yet  you want to do our job better than us.

watastachiwa designer desu ne..

* ne is a Japanese affirmative interrogation ending, but it’s essence cannot be translated, only understood.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Save Stripey

 

Join the roar, help save these beautiful animals.

www.saveourtigers.com


Thursday, 14 January 2010

Death of the Monday Blues

I have loved every Monday since October 26, 2009. That was the Monday I killed the Monday blues.

When each Monday, you walk into your own studio, into your own company, into the company of friends driven by the same passion, Mondays are what you look forward to.

Each Monday we inch one step closer to our dreams of changing the world..

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Too-oh-won-oh

Happy new year everyone. I hope this year fulfills all your dreams, I am certainly hoping it will mine..well, maybe all except the one involving me going to Japan and getting the fullback tattoo...I'll keep that for the next year..can't be too greedy, no?

On this note, I leave you with a song that mirrors a wish of mine..