Friday, December 30, 2005


People are talking about their faiths. Moving posts that shake you out of your slumber. Was reading Pottinger's article on why he left a coveted job of a journalist and joined the Marines in Iraq. If the world is getting bi-polar, with Muslims on one side and Christians on the other, which side do the Jews take?

Or is it the USA against the Muslims of the world? Which side do I take? What happens to my dear friend Khalid, my mechanic Assad, if I join the other side? Do we stop having beer together?

What about the communists and antigods? Should I join them? Yes, I am without a religion, but I don't mind when Srinivasa stops for a few minutes to say his prayers at the temple on the way to office. Should I be antigod, or just remain godless?

If there has to be bi-polarity, then the rest of the world has to join the Americans when they plunder a Muslim country to control their oil reserves. And if all the Muslims of the world unite, how are the Shiites and Sunnis gonna eat from the same plate? How will the converted Muslims be treated, the mujahirs in Pakistan who are bombed every week? Will they be taken into the same fold and given the same status of warrior for the sake of this war? What about the nonradical Muslims who don't want to join but write the best Urdu poetry in the world? Will they be killed before the war starts? What about the Muslims who have married Christians, or Jews, or Hindus? Will they start the war by killing their spouses?

And us, the Hindus. The millions of confused Hindus with a million different rituals and cultures. Which camp do they join? I, being a strict meat eater cannot tolerate the vegetarian Hindus. Will I let them join me? What will the Tamil Hindus want? Which land are they going to grab after Sri Lanka...Singapore?

Tell me something, where do the Cubans go? Without the former USSR, where do they go? Why is the US selling food to them now? I thought you guys had an embargo against Cuba? And are you pissed with Cuba because they are Communists and antigod and because you are predominantly Catholic?

I am very confused. Just today. Tomorrow when I drive my jeep through some abandoned wastelands, I may forget about you all. But today I cannot say Shalom Aleicheim or Salaam Aleikyum...there is no peace that I can wish for you.

If the world is getting bi-polar, let us go to the moon.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Last Weakness

the last weakness, linger on
hover around mindspace, my yellow filter
hold me back when with a violent shrug
I wake up and look around
for a green today

yellow filter's here to stay

while the strength i tasted is saved within,
for a black tomorrow
day without the sun

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Spilled to Bloodlessness is the culprit

Every time I feel I have something to write, I think of writing in the other blog. Reason being the readership. At least some people will read me, I think. Cannot tell you how immensely satisfying it is to have somebody read anything you've written. I do that quite often. Thrust my stuff at people and expect them to comment.

Some of them really puked. What mush, they blurted. Someone else gushed, how real. Because I value most of the opinions, I am left thinking what to make of my writing. Is it absolute trash? How come it made her cry then?

But since yesterday I've been finding it difficult to write. Started with the topic of an amblyopic mind, when your mind is gradually going off to sleep, when it refuses to mentally strip for you the girl in the next cubicle. And you feel let down. My mind goes lazy like that at times and I catch myself trying to bribe it. Usually with music.

Was not sure it would make a good topic for a public blog, but that was where I wanted to write. For its readership, again. How vain! Have overcome that today. If I have to blurt out, let me do it here. If I have something separately crafted for Spilled to Bloodlessness, let me post it there.

Because this is where you can goof up and laugh at yourself. But that is like a stage where once you fumble, you trip and fall. Fall where? In others' eyes? How do you care? Who are they? How do they matter? But they are readers, people for whom you write. Yes, sometimes you do write for them, don't you?
Most of the time?

This is a big one.
"Whatever I write is for them."
Them with the unknown faces and the most beautiful names.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I watched a violent movie last night. And believe me, I sat through it because although it appeared very realistic, there was hope that it'll turn happy later. Hope of revenge being exacted.

It borrowed from various other movies, and the theme was cliched too. There's this merciless village landlord in the lawless state of Bihar. He is above law and his lumpen sons enjoy something like a diplomatic immunity in that village. They end up raping a nine-year-old girl and throw her into a ditch. Her dad, played by Indian hero Sanjay Dutt, manages to buy a gun and shoots the rapists at the court. Till this time it reminds you of A Time to Kill, and although there are tears et al, the class of a Samuel L. Jackson is missing.

Well, my point is, what should the family have done (the dad, his wife, and three children) after having avenged the rape? According to their original plan, they were all to die together by consuming poison at a secluded garage. The landlord's hired killers would have finished them anyway.

If they died at this point, the film would have been a realistic portrayal of what happens in most of rural India. I would have gone off to sleep thinking there was some kind of justice after all.
However, they do not die. Bollywood sentiments take charge of the film from that point on and it turns into a fantasy. The melancholy music that you hardly noticed earlier becomes bold and I'm sure I won't spend any time talking about it here.

There are many films like this that could have been better with a little bit of editing here and there. You should know exactly where to cut.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Like apparitions in the middle of the road that you can sometimes pass through, I can feel the dreams failing me. Sometimes flying away like some used newspaper from my car on the highway. Yes, I do litter our Indian roads. Only paper and biodegradables though. Am a philistine but not philistine enough to throw plastic out the window on a highway.

Not as a habit, only in an emergency.
And the dreams are flying away like tissues used in emergency, landing on the thorny bushes of Maharashtra and getting stuck there. I look back and they become white specks in a matter of seconds. Why is this car moving so fast, I wonder. Not fast, but a speed that makes it very unstable and wobbly. But I cannot stop to check the wheel alignment.

I don't have brakes and this highway ends only there. Yes, where I will perhaps mix you the best drink ever.
But these memories are fading and how. Memories in the form of people whom I've failed, people I've touched and felt and wanted for keeps. Flee with me to another country? Wish you met me in school? Is that a poem for me? Believe me, I just couldn't stop the car and step down even for a smoke.

There were cigars and joints. There were baths in the Suketi river. There were photos taken which too faded over time. There was the dream of watching Saurav win the World Cup for India. There were beautiful sunsets knowing the sun won't rise.

I have a bar in the car
I have a bar in this car
Loosen the seat belt and think
This isn't my last fucking drink
If you have to go, you have to go
I have to go where I have to go
See you there when I see you there
This isn't my last bloody drink
Let my nursery rhyme stink
Of Baileys, Bacardi and pink
Dreamless sleep’s coming
“Trade off, turn a fink”

Who wants to be a martyr,
Lemme have my last bloody drink.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"Where do we go?"

"Are we out of Oreen's dream?"

VG looks back. All he could see were Oreen's closed eyes. But that can mean he is still dreaming and has kept them trapped in it. In his dream that takes its own course.

"A dream is much like life, don't you think?" asked EoR.

"Because it is beyond control?"

"Because it springs surprises. Because I never knew whether I will ever get to meet you until tonight." No matter how much I wanted to all these days, thought EoR.

"I haven't poured any whisky on your head. I've saved some champagne for your red locks. The whisky was for Stella."

"VG! You have to try and come out of the dream, we have to find a way out and not get lost in its digressions. Concentrate." Who's Stella though?

And then the conversation loses its meaning. What is conversation for anyway? Is it always used as a means to an end? What end did these two have in mind? None, if you ask me . . . they were brought together in somebody else's dream. The conversation remained highly stimulating though. Stimulating being a relative term. They didn't know that my dream had faded and that I'd woken up. I was busy brushing my teeth as they continued.

"How did you come?"

"Oh, in an airplane, of course, although it was faster in the dream."

"How was the flight?" VG somehow was lost for words. All his words were there in his blog. And he didn't have the password.

"There was this Finnish guy trying to charm a Cuban woman all the way from Frankfurt to Paris. With his knowledge of Oriental art."

"You were in Philadelphia, and now you've come to New Delhi. How come Frankfurt to Paris?"

"Am I? But i distinctly remember the German stewardess. But aren't we in a dream? Or is it New Delhi where we met? Where was the party?"

"In his mind, and he has lost the key to his mind I read once. Which means..."

"...Which means we are actually nowhere!" exclaimed EoR. "Nowhere is where I wanted to be all my life. At least for once."

"Where do we go from here?" VG sounded a little disturbed. He was missing his Toyota and also the old merc he was about to pick up next month. Missing a car? In a dream where there aren't any roads?

"We can walk. Or wait for a short story."

"It is wonderful being lost with you," he smiled back. "Oreen once lost his way coming to Belmont from San Jose. He wanted to stay lost and not step out. At least we don't need to find our way back home."

"Look, there's an apple tree!"

The Party

When I have nightmares of all my frnds having come together for a party, I break into cold sweat. It goes somewhat like this:

Strunk&White is Jewish but doesn't remind you of Woody Allen from Anything Else or Ben Stiller from Keeping the Faith. He is a nice gentleman with some wacky remarks up his sleeve. He can keep an entertaining conversation going without any Christian bashing. Strunk comes in and picks up a glass of orange juice.

As I introduce him to my Buddhist friend AnandaDasa Bhikkhu and the two of them exchange smiles and more, in comes the neo-nazi in his DM boots. Yes, none other than VG with his head shaved.

I start sweating from that point. A nice Jewish guy and a neo-nazi in the same room. While Bhikkhu is more detached from the real world, dwelling in higher plains, his alter ego Puzzled Private walks in every time Bhikkhu walks out. And Puzzled has bought this idea that Zionists are behind 9/11. Some theory, and like all theories, sounds very buyable (oks, viable) despite being full of shit. Don't tell Private I told you that.

By now people have gone ahead and opened my bar, which was replenished just the night before the dream. And in my dream, the bar is big.

VG, surprisingly, does not proclaim his Naziness to the world as he does his baldness and very soon I see Strunk and him engaged in a conversation about Sufi music. They both turn out to be Nusrat fans. Eddie Vedder isn't mentioned.

AnandaDasa walks in. Puzzled went out for a smoke. They still go out for a smoke in my dreams because Aaron's still very young. AnandaDasa tries talking about gods and strength to Aaron, although I have sanitized my house against gods. I even have a multi-insect killer spray for anytime a god peeps in. Marmaladeskies is reading out an Oscar Wilde text to Spider Girl.

So far, so good. My sweat has dried and things are going rather smooth. Religions and beliefs have been shelved for the sake of this evening celebrating music. In the background is Peter Gabriel's score from The Last Temptation of Christ. They all come together as human beings, celebrating life.

Enemy of the Republic walks in. VG stands up, dazed. They walk out together, and the dream fades.

No more enchanted days.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What makes an Indian proud

Yes, a little bit more about our very own Indian cultural heritage. Before I start, let me leave aside a handful of men and women who have managed to evolve into human beings, while the rest of the 1.2 billion remain Indians.

Flashback to 1994: A Japanese girl in a 5 star hotel gets raped in Varanasi, our oldest city, reeking of uncleared culture.

Today: A senior police officer becomes a transvestite and starts dancing around trees claiming he is Krishna's wife. And the media (in any form) laps it up. Nobody takes him to a shrink though. No, I cannot be politically correct today. So what if I too wear a bra at times?

Today: Senior members of parliament caught taking bribe on video.

Flashback to 2001: Tehelka reveals people at all levels (ministers to army heads) taking bribes. Result? The ruling party makes sure the portal is closed and that these investigative journos have criminal cases against THEM! Thankfully they were strong human beings (as opposed to Indians) and could come boldly out of that crisis.

India is the rape capital of the world. Indore, Delhi fight for the top spot.

Nobody has killed Bal Thackerey, Deve Gowda, Narendra Modi, VP Singh, Chandrashekhar (he takes one virgin boy every night), so far.

The seers of a temple are accused of murder. There seems to be ample evidence to prove that. Indians still want to lie at their feet and worship them.

There are conmen and magicians who claim to be reincarnations of earlier sadhus and manage to con people. We see our prime ministers coming to touch their feet. Sadly enough, these peddlers of spirituality (or ism) find a lot of white takers. Next time you see a white guy come to India trading his money for spirituality, tell him the truth.

A goverment tries to talk about controlling population and gets toppled . . .

What is our culture? That of hospitality. Of humility. Of fabulous dance and art forms. Of music the world has borrowed from. Of history and famous historians. Of literature in the various languages. Of mature customs stemming from reason. Of being a good samaritan.

Focus on that. Focus on what can make you proud. Focus on the future. Build roads, send electricity to all the corners of India. Ensure proper irrigation. In your beloved India thousands of farmers commit suicide every year. A tribal woman's hands were chopped off because she refused to withdraw a rape accusation. Female foetuses are aborted in millions. Dowry amounts in Andhra Pradesh range from 50 lakhs to many many crores. Where is the emancipated Indian woman? Buying dildoes and watching strip tease while her dad spends his entire life's income paying for her groom? Oh yes I know where they are: they are all in Delhi, wearing huge bindis and khadi and talking about communist ideals. In the most impeccable English. Now that I mention communists, some bloody Prakash Karat says there should be labor laws in IT and ITES companies. Bugger off with your ideals. Here your people at least have jobs and you want to send the investors back to their countries? Like you closed Dunlop and Bata in West Bengal? What do you do with the retrenched people who have to end up begging or work as gardeners or maidservants? What have you done with the numerous suicides? You couldn't even buy body bags for them, you shithead.

And in the midst of all this crisis somebody from the middle of nowhere comes up with a new name for Bangalore! Boss, there are many things to take care of in your culturally rich nation.
If you really care, open your eyes.

A change of name is the last thing we need.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bengaluru and kukumbaar

Now that they are changing the name from Bangalore to Bengaluru for the sake of holding on to their "culture" (man, some word that!), I guess it is time for us to move on. It seems they will now teach English through Kannada. Exactly the reason I cried on the first day at Banaras Hindu University. A professor was teaching English essays in Hindi. What is happening to India?

What the fuck is happening to Indians? Or were they always like this "only"? First the Bengalis decide we don't need English till class VI. The result? All the engineers who first learned English at the age of 11 were missing from the interviews and group discussions of the world. Potential employers stopped coming to Jadavpur Univ (a prestigious name in Calcutta) because the guys who would otherwise fare well in the written tests, would not appear for the interviews. They were shy. They fumbled. Tongue-tied while other students (maybe not so bright) were taking away all the jobs. They could speak better English after all.

What is the problem you guys have with English? Why do we have to call Bangalore Bengaluru or Oracle Orakulu? What would Larry Ellison say? Why does cucumber have to be pronounced kukumbaar? Haven't you realized that had it not been for the English, you would probably be a medieval nation where women would have to cover their heads and stay home? Haven't you realized that had it not been for English some cities would not have existed on the Indian map? People would not have held jobs, or you wouldn't be riding a cushy merc at the expense of the taxpayers today? You, the bloody ministers, the upholders of "culture"?

Hold on to your culture, while I get some gravel to fill the potholes on the roads.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The English Teacher

Apex Information Services were closing down their offices in New Delhi, and all of us "abstract writers" were about to be out on the streets of Delhi. We were mostly scavengers and hangers on, moving from one city to another looking for some work. Most of us had come out of Calcutta, because Calcutta was dying. For us, New Delhi offered many dreams.
We were all busy looking out when one day I got a call from a government school in Taki, on the border of Bangladesh, to teach English. A government job! A job where you can actually get paid for not working all your life. What else could I ask for?

Back to Calcutta. In a bus to Taki.

If Taki Government School is famous for churning out the highest scoring students every year, it cannot be very far from Calcutta, I thought. My interview was at the Taki Ramakrishna Mission School, which I thought would be equally good. Such pleasant dreams should always come with a good day's sleep and I happily dozed off in the bus. When I woke up, the road had become narrower and there was this huge river I could get glimpses of through the trees. Taki turned out to be a village after all. Very green, with lotus ponds and a view of Bangladesh across the river that made me yearn for home. That is where home was.

As I walked toward the school through the rice fields, I thought how it would feel to work here, in this small village with tricycle vans and bullock carts being the only modes of transport. A stark contrast after the Mercs and Land Cruisers in Delhi, but what the hell, I don't drive one of those!

The wall around the school had a lot of political graffiti on it, but that is nothing new for any Calcuttan. The communists believe in voicing their opinions through political graffiti on walls, something that apparently started with Mao Tse Tung in China. He wanted an otherwise silenced generation to come out with their grievances on the walls. Bengalis being a very loud race incessantly voicing their unwarranted opinions at tea stalls and in buses, I could not see the reason behind writing on walls, but they were there anyway. Loudly announcing their obscene presence.

There were many candidates who had come for the same interview. Despite my English having a thick Bengali accent, I realized I was the only one who could speak any English! That boosted my confidence a few degrees. I will have a good time, I thought. Soon it was my turn and I had to enter a room where I first got a glimpse of my interviewers. One swamiji in saffron seemed to be the principal, and there were others here and there, watching me. That is when I realized I was the only candidate without a moustache too. And then came the questions.

"Can you tell me the difference between subjectivity and objectivity? With examples?"

This was a fat man with fat, black glasses. I pretended not to have seen him holding a chit of paper under the table from which he was reading out the questions. After each question he had this contented look, aah, one-question-well-put kinds.

"Tumi toe shohorer chheley, tumi ki thakbe ekhaney?" (You are from the city, will you at all stay here?)

I tried to convince them that I was fed up of life in the cities and that I wanted to settle down in a beautiful village like theirs. I guess I was even ready to worship their goddess Kali for the job, complete with her blood and gore and necklace of skulls.

When I came out, I knew I would never hear from them. I even had to teach a class of 30 odd students, for whom I had to translate each sentence I read out from an Oscar Wilde text. I had a good mind to tell them about Mr Wilde's sexual orientations, but controlled my devilish urges for the sake of my life.

Waiting for my bus back to Calcutta, I met this young lady who too had come for the interview. Probably a little late.

"Do you think you'll make it?"

"Don't think I want to," she smiled back.

The romantic dream of life in a laidback Bengali village was gone. I was busy looking for a ticket back to New Delhi, my city of my kinda dreams.

Monday, December 05, 2005


A pub in Koramangala was the last thing I expected. That explains the skepticism on my eyebrows as I entered Legends of Rock. On a Monday evening.

Already having downed a couple of pitchers of beer at Pecos, we were here to check out the ambience, the sound (BOSE), and the huge plasma TVs . . . we found some guitars signed by Satriani, Mark Knopfler, Sting, and some other gods of guitar. And there was Eric Clapton on the screen in his half pants, singing with BB King, who was enjoying himself to the hilt. Could not recognize the other two men (one white and one black) who were playing with their eyes closed. Now that is when you are praying, I think. Praying to the goddess of music, eyes closed, playing with your soul. It wasn't soul though, it was pure blues.

One guy with us was singing along. Bad Co., Sting, you name it, he knew all the songs by heart. He was singing along as we ordered some vodka and a Cuban cigar. The cigar was passed on from one pair of lips to the other . . . and i still don't know who to attribute the sweetness as I smacked my lips . . . the lipstick, or the tobacco?

There were guitars everywhere, as I said, and there was this huge relief of a guitar on the cieling. You see it everytime you look up to blow out the thick blue cigar smoke.

Apparently there's live music too. Lemme chk them out and let you know abt it. But till then, it was a welcome change from the crowded pubs on MG Road. As I walked out, the frown had given way to a contented smile.