Thursday, October 29, 2009

Illness

I lie still
Woe begotten,grief stricken.
The dust on the window sill
Stays unmoved,almost forgotten.
My eyes flicker;
Trying to grasp the intangible.
I start to bicker;
Attempting to list the interminable.
In all this time
I have danced,lingering on numb toes.
In all this time
I have wilted,confiding in bitter foes.
I conjure rhymes;
My senses flung upon some distant shelf.
My mind mimes
The trappings of my former self.
I wait for the day
When my life will again be trite.
For I cannot stand to sway;
Singular in diminishing might.

P.S. The after effects of the seasonal flu.When one desires to be healthy, it is more comforting to walk with both feet on the ground than with one's head in the sky.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It Helps to Miss the Bus

It literally helps to miss the bus.Especially if the nature of your search for an idea for a blog entry verges on the desperate.I spend three hours a day commuting to and from work and cover a distance of nearly thirty kilometers one way.People living in parts of the world, where long distance travel is trivial and the infrastructure makes one's burden a tad lighter,might scoff at the number.It takes a seasoned Bangalorean to understand that thirty kilometers nearly amounts to the first hurdle of a dreary pilgrimage.My employer is kind enough to provide transport,thus saving me the ordeal of inching through snail-pace traffic.The only catch here is that I need to be present at the bus stop at 6:50 am;something that my occasional tardiness doesn't permit.

When I miss the bus,I rely solely on the benevolence of Bangalore's ubiquitous transport provider the B.M.T.C. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation has buses coming in various colors,differing in the provision of air conditioning,comfortable seating and vehicle suspension.The B.M.T.C. has a set of air conditioned buses popularly called 'Volvo buses'(there are other buses manufactured by Volvo which have no air conditioning but only the air conditioned ones come with the 'Volvo' moniker).For the remainder of this article I will use the terms 'regular' and 'Volvo' to refer to the different types of buses.

Travel in a 'Volvo' comes at a higher price.While 'regular' buses are packed with a diverse mix of individuals,'Volvos' go nearly empty and house either 'IT professionals' or ignoramuses who have no idea that the tickets are priced higher than usual.One can't help but feel piteous towards these oblivious travelers who pay the price for ignorance with a quiet grimace.'IT Professionals' belong to a different creed altogether.In 'regular' buses it is common to see school children without shoes,construction workers with shovels,bangle sellers with stacks of their wares,poultry sellers carrying hysterical chickens,eunuchs looking enviously graceful in saris and I once saw a turban clad man carrying a primitive musical instrument.Going in a 'Volvo' is like moving through a delusional alternative world where everyone,barring the average ignoramus, is affluent.This is the world of IPods,Blackberrys,noise reduction headphones,designer clothes and accessories and accents that are a hodgepodge of the American and the local.

As one approaches the IT hub,the commuters turn unnecessarily 'hip' and the bus conductors,politely multilingual.Passengers are guaranteed the pleasure of being addressed as 'sir' or 'madam' as opposed to 'regular' buses where the average commuter is treated to a derogatory 'aye'.One can no longer see demure college girls struggling to keep their balance as the bus swings precariously.People flinch self consciously even to ask each other the time.

It helps,occasionally,to miss the bus and witness,with wonder,the great divide.An extra hour of travel with four bus changes is far more gratifying than staying put in the company shuttle that gets you to work in a jiffy.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Living to Write

It takes a little more than being well read to be a convincing writer.Feigning experience sometimes impedes the thrill of a riotous imagination.Writing that lacks the richness and the tangibility of reality starts off as something promising and turns frigid and limp towards the end.If all that is meant to be written has already been written,then new writers need to encircle a little more than what lies 'outside the box'.

Here are some of the things I intend to try before I write

Faith:If being an agnostic implies spending quality time on the fence then it is only fair that I give equal weight to the existence of a personal God as I do to the nonexistence of one.

Standardized tests for admission to business school: Writing one of these tests is very tempting;the cycle of preparation,rejection and acceptance appears nearly as lucrative for a book premise as the cycle of death,birth and reincarnation.

Appearing on the cover of 'Good Housekeeping': How else can I come up with something like 'Mrs. Dalloway'? One might assume that I intend to work as a traveling salesman in order to envision something of the magnitude of 'The Metamorphosis'.Fortunately,Kafka wrote about what was within and not without.

A visit to Calcutta:I must ensure that I travel either on foot or rely entirely on public transport.The suffocating humidity and immeasurable wealth of the city makes enough fodder for a thesis.

A visit to Paris:I need to convince myself that one needn't live in Paris in order to experience a personal renaissance.

Regular trips to government offices in India:I need to understand bureaucracy in order to capture the sheer joy of a life without it.

Going for a month without internet access:I believe that such a measure will bring forth a personal renaissance.

I urge my readers to suggest other things I can try before I write.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Little Quietude

Death makes us silent.The bewilderment of survivor's guilt and the sheer futility of repeated cross questioning leaves us tired,ambivalent and in a rut.Death leaves a glaring void;a finicky desire to remain rooted and not move on.I wanted to avoid posting this on my blog but I feel the need to purge in order to progress.

When I watched my father succumb to a long illness,I held a presumption about my ability to accept things without vulnerability and irrationality.I was wrong.Grief came in the most unlikely form and left me choking and overwhelmed with the myriad list of possibilities.Like that of never having a father to give me away on my wedding,or that of my unborn children never getting to know their grandfather and the cruel reminder that my widowed mother has to seek comfort in the faded memories of a marriage that lasted thirty four years.

I also lost my dog,a constant companion of twelve years,last week.Ironically,four months after my father's passing,in a way that was excruciatingly similar.My mind is filled with images that are brutally beautiful and poignant.I want to shun any trace of remembrance and start over as though nothing had happened in the first place;something of an impossibility when there are former belongings and photographs strewn all over the place.

I realize that this entry is a tad personal and pitiful.I wanted to share this as I know I am not alone in my tryst.