Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Recently, I saw a play titled 'Arabian Night', by Silver Blue productions at the Alliance Francaise. The play unravels itself through five monologues, acted out by five people, sequentially yet simultaneously.
Each monologue represents five threads in the story. They are all part of the same story, progressing in their own line of existence. So each actor makes the mind follow the thread he or she owns, till their quanta of time expires and the mind has to stack it and shift to the next thread as it starts up from where it left off.
The threads do intertwine and the characters do interact. The playwright has nicely used time slice allocation to each thread for conveying this. When there is no interaction, each thread gets a large time slice, and takes me forward a large step through its story. When they are close together and are facing each other, the time slices get smaller, and smaller. Though the characters do talk to each other at these close encounters, the threads never completely lose their story teller posture. And at these times the mind goes to overdrive shifting between the threads, stacking and retrieving contexts that differ only minutely at present.
And there were very few props. So the entire setting is left to your imagination, even the physical separation or closeness between the characters and dimensions of the world in which they exist. I liked to be reminded that I used to like books without pictures better, when I was a kid.
One no-relation phrase that improbability drive brought into my mind as a result of this whole episode was the title of the final year project one of my seniors did, "communicating sequential processes."
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I call it the game of the eyes.
First it is tough to get her notice you. But somehow you've got to get there, a smile at an unexpected instant, a twitch and wobble of the nose, and maybe a 'wowed' mouth with bubbled eyes - now this one has to be done carefully so that any lesser mortals don't get a glimpse of this and deem you perpetually mad - might just work. So, you've got her attention, hold on to it for sometime. Now don't overdo it, she'll get bored and go away. Next thing is to look for a partial hiding place for your eyes. Well, but not a dungeon that her eyes can't reach without subverting laws of physics. Ok, now gently move your face into the hiding angle so that her eyes can't see your eyes. If you had had her interested enough, you can see she'll slowly move.
And there she is peeking out of the hiding angle and at your eyes! Make sure you smile.
Now you move to normal position. As per rules, she has to hide now and you'll seek. But rules are made to be bent, so you might have to hide again and again before she decides to do so.
If you see her smiling like a lotsa roses, the games a win-win :-)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
In Gladiator, the movie, the slave master Proximo says,
"So finally after five years of scratching a living in flea infested villages, we are finally going back to where we belong ... the Colosseum."
"Oh ... you should see the Colosseum! Spaniard,"
In my recent short trip home, I saw a small procession on the road. To do with continuous education and literacy campaign. And in front of that procession there was a group of 'chendakkar'. This suddenly made me remember this line from Gladiator. They looked kind of misfit in that setting, tarred road and banners, trying to make something, a living, out of their skill in percussion.
Would they feel a better sense of belonging if they are in 'Thaekkinkad Maithanam' instead, doing it for Thrissur pooram?
Where do I belong? ... :-)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
You are alone in the coupe, you have switched off the lights and opened the windows, you are lying with your legs stretched and a bent torso, looking out into the black night flying past outside, overlooked by a foggy half moon. The constant, rhythmic, fast paced, very fast paced, clamor of the night train is rattling in your ears, and in your head and in your heart.
Everything outside looks so dark, an occasional dim light of a street lamp, and huge vastness of barren land.
You can not hear the roar of the approaching train, until its near, very near, just a few meters away from your window. And the roar rises in an instant, to a deafening blow. A blazing column of light hits you. The blazing column of light is streaking past the window, leaving a partially paralyzed you. Only things you can make out in that are streaks of light and deafening noises.
And its over in an instant and the black night is back in sleep.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
She realized that Colonel Aureliano Buendia had not lost his love for the family because he had been hardened by the war, as she had thought before, but that he had never loved anyone, not even his wife Remedios or the countless one-night women who had passed through his life, and much less his sons. She sensed that he had fought so many wars not out of idealism as everyone had thought, nor had he renounced a certain victory because of fatigue, as everyone had thought, but that he had won and lost for the same reason, pure and sinful pride. She reached the conclusion that the son for whom she would have given her life was simply a man incapable of love. One night when she was carrying him in her belly she heard him weeping. It was such a definite lament that Jose Arcadio Buendia woke up beside her and was happy with the idea that his son is going to be a ventriloquist. Other people predicted that he would be a prophet. She, on the other hand, shuddered from the certainty that the deep moan was a first indication of the fearful pig tail and she begged God to let the child die in her womb. But the lucidity of her old age allowed her to see, and she said so many times, that the cries of children in their mother's wombs are not announcements of ventriloquism or a faculty for prophecy but an unmistakable sign of an incapacity of love. The lowering of the image of her son brought out in her all at once all of the compassion that she owed him. Amaranta, however, whose hardness of heart frightened her, whose concentrated bitterness made her bitter, suddenly became clear to her in the final analysis as the most tender woman who had ever existed, and she understood with pitying clarity that the unjust tortures to which she had submitted Pietro Crespi had not been dictated by a desire for vengeance, as everyone had thought, nor had the slow martyrdom with which she had frustrated the life of Colonel Gerinaldo Marquez been determined by the gall of her bitterness, as everyone had thought, but that both actions had been a mortal struggle between a measureless love and an invincible cowardice, and that the irrational fear that Amaranta had always had of her own tormented heart had triumphed in the end. It was during that time that Ursula began to speak Rebecca's name, bringing back the memory of her with an old love that was exalted by tardy repentance and a sudden admiration, coming to understand that only she, Rebecca, the one who had never fed of her milk but only of the earth of the land and the whiteness of the walls, the one who did not carry the blood of her veins in hers but the unknown blood of the strangers whose bones were still clocing in their grave, Rebecca, the one with an impatient heart, the one with a fierce womb, was the only one who had the unbridled courage that Ursula had wanted for her line.
--One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Ministry Of Blues at the Unwind Center ...
The guy on the lead guitar was simply awesome.
Sometimes if I close my eyes, its like driving a spaceship into and through a swirling galaxy. Streaks of light flashing past on either sides. Immersed in the high pitched electric squeal it sways violently, at times switching the burners to overdrive. Turning right, turning left, and right, and left again, on through a barrage of weird massive shapes. An occasional space rock from nowhere springs up from the distance at light speed. Just when I think its gonna take me down with it, it hits the peripheral annihilating field and explodes. A riot of brilliant colors dazzle by. And when I open my eyes, its just that guy, that guy whose bent back with closed eyes and is searching for his breath on all the six strings.
And sometimes when its slow, its like I am in the deep ocean. All around me is deep dark and blue. I am in the shape of a prehistoric monster, with a long neck, small head, huge side flaps and a long swaying tail. I am swimming around, very slowly, in the cold blue. I close my flaps and take a short dip down with my head stretched forward, gliding effortlessly. Then I stop, float with swaying flaps and turning my long neck around search for a speckle of light. I swim around searching for it, thick dark water forcing me to ballet dancer motion sequences. But the only light, is what comes from above, from above the ocean surface, far far away.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Why is man in constant quest of inputs, stimuli, new experiences, more data to process ?
When most of them know that the most blissful and serene they can be is when they are left to themselves, when life is slow, when there are less things to process.
I think, the best state a human being can aspire to be is when you are able to feel serene and blissful, when a faint smile creeps into your lips unconsciously and stays, and when the very smile can be felt in all parts of your mind that you can see.
But it might be, its not the aim that is important, but the journey itself. The machine might rust if not given enough tasks to do, more so like with Marvin - the paranoid android - with a brain as big as the galaxy and so less information to process.
Still maybe you can keep an island of serenity in your heart, amidst the sea of things to process, where you can be shipwrecked at times, calmed by towering waves and left to counting days instead of hours, when the sun sets and rises.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
She can be only like this, no matter how I treat her, ignore her, kick her under the dust of my thoughts, and live on as if she does not exist even. All it takes is to raise my eyes and look like I need. And she knows. She comes, in all her kindness, all her nourishing love, stretching her cooling fingers to touch my heart, and makes me smile, and tickles me, and makes me laugh, giggling in my ears, running her palms through my wet hair and holding my face close to her heart, and making me feel, how kind she is.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Just what are you upto, nosey kid ?! pointing that quirky looking thing at me, it lookes like a silver brick to me. And why are you tapping it here and there ?!
Oh you stopped.
What are you staring at in that? Jerking your head in disappointment, eh ?
There you go at it again !
Let me tell you kid, just don't dare me too much !
Friday, September 08, 2006
A thousand shrill voices fill the world around with a mysterious fog. They reverberate in the still morning air. They silence chirpy birds. They prick sleeping leaves of the Gulmohars. They silence me, and a chaotic mess of a mind thats mine. I stand spellbound, for minutes, a thousand shrill voices raising and falling, in wavy intervals, out of tune, off pitch, tending to run apart like a herd of gazelles, but yet spreading a most calming bliss into this world from the compound of that red colored building.
On days am late enough to be on the road at nine, am treated to this. This enigma, created by little children in the school near my office building, every morning at nine. On close listening I could figure that they were chanting,
Asatho ma: sath gamaya:
Thamso ma: jyothir gamaya:
Mruthyor ma: amrutham gamaya:
Lead me from falsity to truth. Lead me from darkness to blinding light. Lead me from death, to immortality.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Fall in love, with senses. You'll be moonstruck by the smile. And be amazed at how a voice from far away injects itself into your head and lights fireflies. Wonder how you could think up all the amazing nonsense. See how you can't prepare yourself for watching a shooting star, but only know it after you've seen it. Learn that all it takes to fly is just missing the earth.
Fall in love, with feelings. You'll know, a moment before when shes gonna be sad. How some little act of yours is gonna light up her heart in a flash. What makes her scream with anger. When she needs to cry. How exactly she would want to do that thing. Why she likes it. When she needs to be pampered. What would entice her. How she wants to feel she's doing things worthwhile.
Fall in love, with philosophy. When you'll realize, above the sea waves of your senses and your feelings, that you indeed love. When there are some things you know for sure. When it lives inside you and you don't look for proofs that it exists.
I think, it ranges from a high pitch screaming roller coaster ride to a squishy pink strawberry mousse and red wine at the end of a sumptuous dinner.
Monday, July 17, 2006
On my way to office in the morning, I start early to office these days, about 8.30 in the morning, to beat the traffic mainly, and its about that time all the little kids ride out to their schools. And today, I was rather slowly riding, listening to by black cat's sweet purring, and this queer scene caught my eyes.
She was a very little girl, tiny infact, perched on the back of a black Bajaj Avenger cruiser bike, and her dad was in front, on the way to drop her at school. She had a typical oversized green school sweater that reached almost till her knees, covering her skirt. A bit of her checquered skirt was though still visible on one of her legs. She had one feet of her placed on the pillion's footrest, and this left her in a queer position of having to hang the other leg free in the air on the other side as her legs were not long enough to rest both of them on footrests. Still, her tiny shoes were not falling off for the little buckles. She had nowhere to hold on that black beast, and could only huddle onto her dad's shirt in a full embrace, but even in full stretch, her hands were barely reaching till his rib cage. Her head as a result had to be held to a side, with her cropped hair constantly being ruffled by the wind. She had a pale face and I couldn't exactly decide whether she was smiling as the wind caressed her face.
I passed the Avenger in a minute, and for a moment, she looked up and through my helmet's visor, my eyes locked with hers. They still had that indecipherable expression in them.
Would he be loving his daughter so much, doting on to her, like Rhett Butler, when he would pet and love his little blue eyed girl, Bonnie Blue Butler? Taking her to walk with him in the evenings, adjusting his large strides with her tiny steps, and answering her thousand questions. Maybe taking her for a ride in his black beast, with her perched in the front, her hair blown back by the wind.
And she, what would she be feeling. Her life is just starting, there's so much of it awaiting for her to breeze through. So far away from now, would she need him then, just the way she needs him now? And ... would she ever regret having to need him like this now?
Friday, July 14, 2006
Sunday, July 09, 2006
.... but he remembered how he stood on the terrace and saw her leaping over a high green hedge at the end of the lawn. The hedge seemed too high for her little body; he had time to think that she could not make it, in the very moment when he saw her flying triumphantly over the green barrier. He could not remember the beginning nor the end of that leap; but he still saw, clearly and sharply, as on a square of movie film cut out and held motionless forever, the one instant when her body hung in space, her long legs flung wide, her thin arms thrown up, hands braced against the air, her white dress and blond hair spread in two broad, flat mats on the wind, a single moment, the flash of a small body in the greatest burst of ecstatic freedom ....
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Taking my guitar out after eons, I undertook the painstaking task of tuning it. Tuning the guitar is some part of this whole exercise that I like much. The blue guitar, tuned long long back, I had kept it with slacked strings so as not to bend the bow over a long period. Now how does this process of tuning it makes you smile? Resonance. You tighten the lower string, listen to it, and as you have no reference, what you can do is make sure that it sounds sweet. Now you tighten the upper string, to just about the same tautness. Then you start from the first fret of the upper string, press your left index finger on the string, and strum it together with the lower. And you listen for resonance. No, it is not to be heard, they are both beating in frequencies off by miles, and the beats die down fast. You move to the second fret, press the finger again, and strum. Beats, but you note with a little dismay, no resonance yet. You move again, to the next fret. Same dying beats. Next, and the next and the next. And then just about when your starting to frown, you have pressed your finger on some fret, and strummed it together with the lower.
'Clinggggg ...' .. again .. 'Clinggggg ...'
Like a distant church bell tolling, the strings are beating together, resonating, like a beautiful circle that feeds itself, and you, have that stupid smile on your face, just the same one you'd have inside when your girl bursts out laughing for the horrible PJ you just cracked.
And I smile for a few seconds more, listening to the church bells again ... and again.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Once I used to think they were sadness, orangish yellow under the dark night sky, on the black road, and silently humming, standing still with incredible sadness. A sadness so heavy and deep, that you could almost feel it in the night air hung over the deserted road. Until a few weeks back, on one fine night, when I was back from a week's stay away, I stepped out to see that all of the orange yellow sodium vapor lamps lining the road in front of my home have gone, and instead there were bright white fluorescent bulbs, laughing, a certain kind of mocking laughter.
I looked around, and all of them were gone.
But I found a single one, left behind, a last leaf, at the very end of the road. I wonder why they didn't change it.
And now at nights, when I go near that sole orange yellow light, I feel, its rather strange, I no longer feel they were sadness, but instead bright cheer, heart filling smile of happiness, spread in the orange yellow night air, over the parked cars standing still, over the fallen dead leaves, and the black asphalted road.
A lonely, joyful, bright, yellow smile ... and silent night all around.
Monday, March 06, 2006
It feels good to be back and near you.
You know what? I've grown.
Okey, I know, I'll never look grownup to you. Take that hand off my hair! ... no! now! ... ey! .. mmm .. , just a little up ... not with all the fingers ... m ..
Listen, you know what? I am not that lonely now. Yeah, you were so understanding, I don't remember ever having to explain to you why I'm sad. And I don't think I could have also, if somebody asked me. But you never did and, and ... !!! It irritates me when you smile like that!! ... don't rub that hard! ... m
Did you miss me? Did the winters trouble you?
I'm sorry to have been away. But I had to, you know, right? I know you do. And you know what? I was happier, smiling and ... mm ... making friends ... succeeding ... and you know, sometimes you just feel that you have achieved something ... yeah .... okey, okey, for a short time!!! ... see! you have all that skin of yours cracked and crumpled!!! .. do you ever look after yourself ??
Oh! you got new friends! exotic species they are! Do they bite you?? They'll sing? yes? aha! can I hear? what? not now?!!
Eeesh! my legs! can't this crazy guy run somewhere else!
When are you getting your hair cut next? ... is it September yet? nearing is it ? I'll come then to make you warm, m? ... you do it because you feel hot is it ? Then what about the winter?
!!!! Don't say that!!!! I have grown up and I can understand things !!!
I hate your laughter!!! its so idiotic!!! can't you just make one noise instead of a thousand!!!
mmm ... shall I crawl to that cozy hole on your lap? I'm ... its a hot day, isn't it?
Let me look up, to your face ... geee ... mmm ... what? can't I smile?
Hey! don't drop your hair over my face!!! that too half dead ones!!!
gee ... can I keep this one ? ... I've lost the last one you gave me.
Okey, okey, I'll keep this safe.
What time is it?
Can I sleep? Wake me up when the sun sets, m?
I'm going away tomorrow morning.
I'll keep it safe.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Are we just the product of our history, minted by our past, from the day we are born? History is exactly what it means, it can not be changed. Thinking backwards, as a conscious individual we have no control over how our history is initialized, where we are born into. But does that mean its all Brownian motion, that a life is just life and nothing more?
Life is not just something that you let yourself to be taken through, swirls and rapids, and settle to the inevitable looking, all too real, pseudo peacefulness of whatever state it leaves you at. At the soul of it, that is nothing but plain defeat.
Life, at the very least, is not a predetermined course which leaves you no choices. If looked at in a mathematical way, its rather an outcome of a bunch of probabilities. Probabilities laid out in front of you with slider controls, as in front of a music director trying to compose a song. And you can set the probabilities, high, low, medium, a little too much on the edge and so forth and expect the outcome to be in a certain way with high degree of confidence.
As a minor extremist example, say you want to die of lung cancer - take those slide controls, start smoking, you might find it difficult at start, but you can easily get addicted to it, and start yourself on pan, ghutka and what not, might not be so easy, but that stage will pass, and you can be sure with a high degree of confidence that you will be contracted with lung cancer eventually. But you can't be hundred percent sure, but thats the deal with probability. And say you want lung cancer out of your life like plague, again take control, stay clear of all of the above, might not be easy, but you can get yourself to being used to it, and can be sure with a high degree of confidence that you will not get lung cancer, but yeah, not dead sure. An extremist example is an understatement for this one, but the concept should be universally applicable to many aspects of your life.
One important thing to note is, although setting the sliders might seem very artificial and mechanical tweaking with your life, the music produced is real. Either you let the sliders be on their own and don't care or you set the sliders. Both ways the music is real, it becomes your reality, and there is really no way to tell if it could have been only this way. History can't be changed. You will eventually forget that you tweaked the sliders with great effort.
There are many things you can do, be with, or experience, that can possibly leave you pleasantly contented. It might look artificial and hollow. But if you keep doing more of that, with a very high probability that becomes your reality.
And there are many things that you can do, be with, or experience, that can only do nothing but suck out your faith in everything. It might look inevitable. But if you keep doing only that, with a very high probability that becomes your reality. And do you find yourself asking "This is my reality, how can you say my reality is worse and your reality is better?". The question itself is stupid.
Here, it is assumed that a joyously peaceful state is better for human beings than a resignedly peaceful one. But tweaking with probabilities is not fool proof, coz its just a percentage certain. To end this,
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I am lying face up, down under these tall green grasses, a few lilac blue flowers on some of them. My hands outstretched, and the grasses forming a tall green wall around my body lending me a patch of dazzling sky. Dark brown earth feeling soft underneath and crushed grass blades and weeds. It is raining, big sparkling drops falling from the bright sky. Drops falling and splashing, on my forehead, on my eyelids, on my chin, on my lips, on my open palms, feeling like little pin pricks. All around and above the rain is crashing down onto the grass blades making them rustle. I try to keep my eyes open to the blindingly lit up sky, and watch the bright rain fall from nowhere. Rain flows over my body, jumps down and soaks the wet mud till it turns juicy, supple and kind. Rain cuddles around me, making a tender puddle around the perimeter of my body, for tiny drops to popple. Rain, rolling down my face, kiddish yet lovingly insisting that I close my eyes. I lift my right hand up, turn my body slowly, slowly to lie on my left side. I clasp my palms and push them between my knees and fold my legs. I close my eyes. Some stray bird flying over might muse over me lying here like a mirrored question mark.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Suffocation might well be one of the most uneasy, weakening feeling a human being can experience.
Have you ever thought that love can smother you from inside, spread itself as a gelatinous fluid through your innards, its exhausts clogged, and make you gasp? And no, I don't think the answer is to shower that billowing love inside you over all around you, love all, no, this love is just not that kind of love. This love is rather something you nurtured within you for a long long time, something that evolved with you, something that is too much inherent in you and something that finds expression through someone dear, very very dear. Where can that love go, if the someone dear is taken away from you, when you are helpless, and couldn't have done a single thing to prevent it?
On February 11 Saturday, Bhavaniamma, a retired school teacher who gave birth to her much awaited kid at the age of 62 had her loving dear taken away from her. The apple of her eye that she kept under her wings drowned in two feet water when she was away for a few minutes. In her long long wait for him, she married at the age of eighteen, after twenty two years of marriage her husband died of cancer not giving her a kid. She married again, but was not able to have a kid then too. She made her husband remarry to see a kid born, sure one was born, but she was driven out then, not even being allowed to see that child. Then at the age of sixty two she went through the test tube procedure, and carried her longing in her womb for ten enduring months and gave birth to her wildest joy in life one and a half years before. Can you imagine how much she would have loved him? Can you imagine what she must be feeling when he is gone, taken away from her at the flip of a second?
I hope, just hope ... that among tons of people who would tell her that its fate and past and we can't change it and to come into terms with it, there is one .. just one .. who would not say any of these things .. but who would hold her chin up, smile at her and kiss her forehead.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
I recently re-liked one thing, something that I haven't done for a long time .. which is riding my bike along the deserted midnight roads.
Absolutely deserted, at one o' clock in the night, save the lazy yellow sodium vapor lamps and the black black road ... my bike, she doesn't have a dazzling headlight, nor can she do anything more than sixty kilometers per hour .. but she can still make me go slanting into the curves ... sway .. and make me feel like inside the red Ferrari coming out of a chicane ... and suddenly mortal fear is instilled by an approaching blinding headlight .. and you see you are riding into pitch black ... but it goes away, the yellow lights spread their lazy smile again ... and you raise the shield of the helmet and feel the cool breeze flowing in ...
And music, how do I hear music when I am riding? ... :-) .. do I put on an earphone and and mp3 player? .. nay ... :-) .. I have a way to produce better acoustic effects ... now I don't know how to describe it .. it is done by pulling some muscles near your ear.. or inside .. upon which you feel your ears are blocked to the outside ... some kind of a membrane swells inside ... and you feel less sensitive to the sounds outside .. and also you start sensing the tiniest sound you create inside ... amplified ... and I sing ... :-) .. and it trembles inside me ... bassy shrill ... and the acoustics are incredible ... :-)
and I sing ... "Ride in to the danger zone!!" ... and continue to fly .. :-)
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
In that little park, on that paved walkway,
A blissful morning, chirping birds here and there.
Nice little breeze, and just a little sunshine,
Just perfect time, to get a short walk.
I was slow and sluggy, she leading my way,
She leant on my right hand, my left had that bag.
She was pulling me hard, the air was so fresh,
Her laughter filling, cheeks a lil blush.
She ran in circles, me standing still,
She calls from behind, I turn, and she runs.
She smelt the flowers, sneezed, shook her head,
Her wavy hair, floating blithely in breeze.
She had a glimpse, guess that bag caught her glance,
She came jumping down, with an eager, thin face.
Her little finger pressed on my right wrist,
Such a ringing voice, asked me, whts in tht bag ?
I knelt down and smiled, her face still held up,
I said its just, a butterfly bag.
Butterfly bag! she said in a gasp,
how could it be, they just fly always high.
I said its real, she crooked her face,
I said its real, she started to cry.
I said ok, you'll see it open,
But don't blame me then, they'r so prone to fly.
So I stood up, unknotted the bag,
Just for a second, the world stood so still.
Millions is meager, there were so many there,
Bright yellow flies, in blossoming flight.
All in one second, every one of them flew,
All I was left with, just my empty lil bag.
She was still standing, her face still held up,
Said in a sad tone, you let it fly!
I knelt down again, prodded the one,
That was sitting, just on her hair.
It too flew high, her eyes sparkled lit,
I held her close, and kissed her cheeks.