Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We shall overcome

If I had to categorize my posts in this blog, the categoies would be somthing like this:
Memory and Nostalgia (100)
Failed Attempts at humor (5)
Miserable attempts at Politics & Philosophy (4).
That list depressed me. This post is dedicated to the unexpected.
It will have no humor (no attempts that is), no intel talk and absolutely no nostalgia.

I woke up late feeling all scruffy, hot and crabby (all facts no joke). The boy had left without saying bye so I sulked for a bit. The tea tasted very bitter. I knew all the jokes in the Calvin and Hobbes and was in no mood to make conversation with the man who was sitting on my couch and watching TV early in the morning.
I was told yesterday that I am too rational. Mostly because I am not excited over the (future) color of my nail polish in December 2007. I thought I wrote a great paper, no one else did. What if I am not meant to be Dr Phish? (this threatens to take an intel route.)

I think I'll take a walk in the freezing cold night. It might help me appreciate this book I am reading more: The Baby Business, How Science and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception. But I can't tell you what that is about because I am barred from being intel.

Went to school after 6 months yesterday but nothing had changed. Except the asphalt outside the building,more hair on one friend and no hair on another. It's strange how some friends remain friends only with regular practice while with others you just start off like you hadn't even left for a day. The couple I had lunch with had fallen out of practice. So had I. We just pretended that we were feeling the same. The hugs, the conversations were strange. The silences damn awkward. (well, I could delete this paragraph since it does soound a bit like philosophy. But I think such middle range philosophy is permitted).

My phone is ringing. I need to leave the house. AT LAST. THNK YOU GOD!

And the award goes to...

I scored 22/25 in an emotionally volatile people's test. So now it's proven beyond doubt that I AM crazy. I have this dreadful habit of having to read some junk while "sitting on the throne" as boy calls it. And the first thing I grabbed in a rush was this book of emotion and IQ tests. How I wish I had tried one of the IQ ones instead. I wd have known I am mensa level. Instead I have been reassured that I am loony.

" Do you often laugh when you are supposed to cry and sob when everyone else is giggling". YES
" Do you think the woman behind the counter at the grocery store hates you?" YES YES
" In the last one week how often did you feel like breaking something valuable" (More than 7 )
"Do you often get so agitated over trivial things that you converse with yourself for hours after that" Ummm, always
"Do you rehearse right responses to things that have already happened and can't be changed"............

Now what?

Friday, January 26, 2007


Two words I learnt today....

1. Crapwhore: person (usually a woman) who has no qualms about pooping in a middle bathroom stall that is in public. A crapwhore always takes the middle stall even when there are free ones all around, usually taking the one next to you and making doing your duties uncomfortable.

A crapwhore tends to leave deadly smells from her adventures.
eg. The crapwhore was just in here so you might want to pin your nose shut.

A person who is stingy with their feces.
eg: Dude, don't be such a crapwhore, pass that shit over here.

2. habfwam: A word used when you are so tired that you can barely say 'tired.' It is basically a mumble.
Note: proper grammar doesn't need to be used in a sentence containing the word habfwam.

eg. I habfwam.
I's a habfwam.
Ughrrffm.. habfwam.....

3. bantunoshi: nah, this one is not from the urban dictionary. But may be in it soon enough.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I smell Saffron - confessions of a religion phobic

Since this is a confession, it's only fair that I give you a lil background info before you judge me. In my 28 years, I've ventured inside only two temples, willingly: Khajuraho and the sun temple in Konark. And those who read my other blog know why! Unfortunately, my decision to "say no thanks" to all the Hanumans and Shivs of the world did not go unnoticed. I've had a distant relative in Allahabad almost force me to walk inside a filthy, steaming hot temple to "admire' a grotesque mammoth Hanuman (Monkey-God). I've used excuses like inappropriate clothes, twisted ankle, sudden tummy aches and other emrgencies to wriggle out of these distant relative situations. Close ones know about my phobia and let me be.

But do I really hate religion? That actually is too loaded a question. I'll break it down into parts to make it simpler (you'll guess soon that this post is more a chat I've been meaning to have with myself and this blog is just an excuse):

I am not atheist enough to say I don't believe in god. That's too big a statement to make and that would be a blatant lie. There have been times, when someone's been ill, or I've decided the plane/car/bus I'm traveling in is about to crash or earlier during math exam days I've been dead sure I'm going to flunk. In such emergencies I've conveniently threatened or bribed god, by whispering a really retarded prayer in Bengali. It usually goes soemthing like: Bhogobann please aamaderke safely baarhi pouchhiye dao (God pls make sure we reach home safely!) HAHAHHAHAHA I'm falling off the chair laughing even as I write this! So, yah, I am a sucker enough to resort to a nobody/somebody when in need.

Is it that I like the concept of a private god but not a public one? MMM. A quick answer would be yes. I hate the concept of loud public ranting about God.

"My god is better than yours. So my loudspeakers in my temple should be louder than your loudspeakers announcing prayer time in the mosque."

That kind of thing makes my skin crawl. You wanna beleive in god, go quietly to one corner and say whatever hell you want to say to him/her/it. Don't force me to get involved. And pls for christ's sake don't wake me up at 5 am with the dong dong of your temple bells or an allah o akbar yell.

Then ofcourse there are the almost inevitable side effects of religion. The superstitious anti-logic, sexist, classist and communal bullshit that come as a package. Women should not enter a temple when they have their periods cos they bring in dirty blood (GAWD. Does it strike you that without this dirty blood you would not be jumping around din donging the temple bells?).

And since I am at it let me rant about the typical Hindu wedding and the lovely sexist rituals that go with it:

Madurparka (Rare Honor) where a member of the bride’s family gives a rare honor to the groom by washing his feet and hands for him (WOW!!! How cute is that?)

And ofcourse the more well-known Kanyadaan, the giving away of the bride by the bride’s parents: "I give away my property to you. She is pretty much incapable of taking care of herself so she is your responsibility now."

And ofcourse, the polite little bit where the bride throws back rice behind her head. "Here Mom dad, I pay you back for everything that you've done for me till now. Bye. And good luck."

Ok ok, you can find 6000 cuter interpretations but the underlying msg is the same. (Ps before you start screeching. I don't mean ALL the rituals are so terrible. Yah, there are others signifying togetherness. love, blessings by elders etc etc. But that doesn't negate my point)

The list of 'isms' that come as side effects is endless.
Dalits can't enter this temple. If they do we will cut off their hands.
Non Hindus can't enter either.
A Parsi entered this temple so we will throw away all the prasad since it has now become impure (yup that happened at the Jagannath temple when Indira Gandhi visited. All the "polluted" by her pasi-ness prasad was thrown away).
We, the millionaires of India, will pledge to donate 10,000 bananas to monkeys (thanks to Lord hanuman), give crores for renovating the Chhatarpur mandir. But nah why feed the dying millions on the streets. They are after all mere humans not holy monkeys or holy cows.

I know it does sound like I am a Hindu-phobic rather than a more generic religion-phobic. Rest assured I wd have cribbed as much about other religions as well, just that I know most about the evils of this one.
So is the solution to give up all traditions? My "karvachauth" friends often argue back. Can not the good things about culture and tradition be preserved while giving up those that are full of isms? I don't know. Somehow that happy happy solution seems unrealistic to me. How do we define the "good" practices? Who defines them?
A very clever term coined by a JNU prof seems fitting here - "karvachuath capitalism" - this resurgance of culture especially by NRIs all over the world. Is the cuetsy pie, "we will both fast" kind of romantic karva chauth an example of the happy solution?

Friday, January 19, 2007

wrong side of 20s

Well, it doesn't feel any different. It never does so I guess I am doing fine (though I just glanced at our fridge and realised that out of the 5 photos stuck on it 3 are of babies of friends... that sure made me feel old even if the candle on the budday cake didn't!)

My brave little boy had got the evening all planned perfectly, though the stress is showing on his face today! The "surprise" appointment turned out to be Checkov's Cherry Orchard at the Huntington theatre. The mere feeling of entering an old theatre, waiting for the play to begin over a (so what if plastic) glass of wine is so thrilling that even if the play is as yawwwwn as "The importance of Being Earnest", you come out feeling almost satisfied. Though, it's also happened that i've come out of a theatre feeling like banging my head against a wall, I guess that happens when I paid a lot for the tickets/ had great expectations/ not even the sets and lights were worth the money or I didn't get to drink any wine!

With Cherry orchard the feeling of upliftment came with the wine, the gold & the chandeliors of the theatre, the "we are such theatre types" debate over classic playwrites vs. theatre of the absurd and the dignified looking audience. But the ambience is always easier to describe.How do I describe the actual performance?

In the 80s, when India-Russia bhai bhai (Indo-Russian alliance) was still strong, I was barely 8 and was periodically bombarded with Checkov books by Baba. So I grew up learning to enjoy his stories, even if I didn't really understand the politics. I was encountering Checkov after a long time yesterday. The play, was not exceptional. Well, I never do like straight forward plays as much as the twisted. But as A pointed out in our little theatre debate, the straightforward often have nuances which are as twisted.

So you, who accused me of sleeping through the entire play, read on... See see, I made something out of it even in my half-comatose state! The play is set in real early Russia, somewhere in the transition from feudalism. An Aristrocatic family is struggling in the new era, its finances dwindling, serfs free and their only land - the one with the Orchard is ironically being bought by a former serf.The acting was flwlesss, the sets magnificent.. but the play overall was just another grand production. The lighting, the costumes and the sets were genuinely ooh-aah-able. But the heat was somehow missing. I laughed out loud once or twice (yeah I might have missed a few joked when I dozed off!), but I wasn't moved by the apparent poignancy of it all. The pathetic looking teddy bear at the beginning of the play and the pathetic looking forgotten old man at the end of it did not push me to anywhere near tears or thought. I guess that is my only complaint, Mr A!

Post play the dinner, however, was flawless. We went to tapeo, a Tapas bar at Newbury Street. Great music, the cutest decor with sculptures of spanish dancers near a crackling fireplace and the cutest waiters! A, my veggy boy, usually enjoys the wierdest of meat through my taste buds and ordered braised rabbit in red wine, squids in their own ink and shrimps for me. The squid was intersting to the point of being almost scary (!), the shrimps were predictably yum but the rabbit ohhhhh was just out of this world. Too bad that such a pretty animal has to taste this good ("too bad that such a tastty meat has to come from such a pretty animal)! For lucky people who don't get a migraine from red wine, the sangria is recommended as well. Burp.

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