28 November, 2008

On musings, mumbai and self-descriptors

 Okay, I'd have to be in another dimension (which is true, occasionally) not to acknowledge the happenings at Mumbai. I'd seen the headlines and that'd been it yesterday morning. Then, of all things, a friend in Indiana started asking me about that. I was like, yeah, so... did they give a small news byte about this?
 Reply: lol, no. Full coverage on CNN as well as CNN IBN which we get along with the main bouquet.
    Amidst the carnage let there be the following words from the One Master to whom I owe allegiance:
 "...when the Sun shines out, it'll shine out the clearer . . . "
 and...
 "End? Oh no, the journey doesn't end here. The grey rain-curtain of this World turns all to silver glass and is rolled back. And then - you see it!"
 "What Gandalf? See what?"
 "White shores. And a far green country under a swift sunrise . . . "



 That's got the necessary morbidity done and over with. If being talked about earned you brownie points to celestial bliss, I'd be lunching with the saints by now. Here are a few of my favourites used to describe yours truly. Imho the greatest gems of the language have bloomed and blossomed around my not quite noteworthy persona.

  • "a person who by his words and actions will take you to the edge of your patience and then kick ur a*se to heaven." courtesy my dear cousin bro. may he rest in p*ss.
  • "In a rendezvous spannin wat seems a lyftym,ARC and his H-factor,his inherent strength n weakness,has been d subject 2much er..speculation..yet to the frustration of many, and amusement of many more,he has remained wat he was:Spirited, Sarcatic,Humourous,Erudite,Culture-Vulture,and above al,H.. 2da core.... An H.. for all seasons, . . . "    This a school buddy, master agnidipto tarafder a.k.a. Inferno:Ablaze. I guess he was talking of the various evil spirits hovering about me. H- here can be loosely translated to have the same emotional potential as 'Ya barstud!!'
  • "You're a big b*stard you know." Sasky (Swarnava Ghosh). 
  • "The Force is strong in him." Rohit Roy
  • "The best of enemies and the worst of friends . . . eh, old friendah?". Valion, Lord Stormcrow.
  • "You're crazy Aruni. Nothing else. Face it." Kaz. 
  • "Master Naru you're a 22-carat the goru*. You-you-you . . . you're just a little thing!" Master Lala Tanmoy Das, ATCL.
  • "I have a cousin in Xavier's. He's a bit weird. Mad about Tolkien." Another cousin, this one female. About five years ago the aforementioned IM was sent to a dearly hated foe.
  • "Aruni? Who's that? Oh, you. I thought your name was Naru only." Durgondha (Sulagna).
  • "You're a legend. But still a goru." M
*Cow.

16 November, 2008

We killed a Huorn the other day

There's now a multistory on the east side - there was a garbage dump before.
What was almost scary was the fact that things had remained so . . . same! Unnervingly the same. The walled-up garage with half-bricks grinning like a leering drunkard. The iron beam still buckled over the colliery store on the south side, resolutely unrepaired as ever. Paused at the battered door as circa 144 years of wizened masonry gave me a snooty glare. Trademark, I snarled. Fifteen years have passed, you effing pile of brick. Those frowning arches don't scare me no more!
My childhood home cum prison. An incarceration that almost killed me with it's gloom, it's damp, it's way of looking only into what had been before and the shadows that spread into you like a spider's web: you never notice the strands until one day there's this contended arachnid with a parlor stuffed with flies (or any other insect of choice).

The long passage with the rooms on either side and stairs leading up to locked upper rooms. The walls bulging with the damp and bloated on the desolation. Clumsy armchairs lurking about just to make sure you shattered your shins trying to navigate around them. Locked bookshelves whose keys are now lost forever in the mists of Time.

I have entered the mausoleum of my childhood - the empty rooms I had filled with hobbits, Jedi Knights, mages and ghouls. Smells of mildew, staleness and neglect. And not at all like teen spirit.
We are making two rooms habitable for humans. It's a tough battle against the termites, sheltering ghosts and scuttling spiders. Sorting through my father's old books, cast up in a corner like driftwood on forgotten shores. "Transmission and distr...", "Lythall Switchgear...", "A.C. Mac...", "6502 architec...", Alec Guiness staring owlishly at me from Smiley's People, Solzhenitsyn, Hardy, "The turn of the...", "IBM main...", Peter Drucker . . . barely registering the covers as I toss them into shleves.

The garden. Or what remains of it, left to it's own devices. There was a Blood Oleander here once, my grandmother used to tend it. The white lilies are still there though. And the tree wherein lived five ghosts. A cat sunning itself proprietorily on a crumbling wall.

A Huorn I tell you 'twas, that had been wrenching apart the north wall. The workmen lopped off the branches and poured acid. I mentally gave a wretched 'hoom' as it fell. The Huorn should have torn apart the whole conceited structure, fed only by it's own ego and rootless pride. And in the rubble I could have buried the morbid past. Marked my forehead with the ascetic's incal traced in ashes. With no song in my head but the road ahead, no fanes to kneel at nor chase unrequited after my Temple, forever beyond my questing grasp.

06 November, 2008

All that jazz

 A sudden return to good old-timer's music.
 Woke up today in the morning, read something about Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgeral in the papers. The usual post-US-election name-dropping.'Blue Moon', 'Mona Lisa'. Sigh.

 Off we went on a listening spree: the Paragon Rag, Take Five , Take the 'A' train, Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, I got Rhythm, Someone to watch over me. Veering off again, the unforgettable Salut d'Amor . . .

 It's 8:12 a.m. as I begin type this. Strange, my letters seems to have gone qwerty, the thoughts trailing into a Mobius strip of convolutions. It's a bright day, crisp wintry sun (but never as cold as I would like it in this boiling city), the distant eternal life-buzz of the city - office-goers, loafers, students and listless footsores. Yet I find nothing to pontificate on, pass the once-usual Olympian judgments. No poems, stories or essays. Maybe the so-called 'bad habits' are gone at last.

    I'm beginning to understand the film-critic now. And the art-critic, and book reviewer and the teacher . . . those who base their work on the work of others. There's a comforting sense of being unworried - this mooching of the works of others: listening to the music of others', reading the words drawn from the wells of other loftier minds, walking along the trail other's have blazed.
 It's comforting. An instant bromide for the sleepless dreams, the clenched fists and restless hands of those who once tried to create. To trudge along the  crowded road, somehow. Anyhow. There's so many others like us, right?

    I was sorting through some of the bric-a-brac that accumulate magically at the backs of shelves. Mostly my old work at the Academy of Fine Arts. Couldn't resist the narcisstic urge to go through them - the first stick figures (truly dreadful, I solemnly swear), the lopsided the still-lifes, the usual leit-motifs of dreary structured teaching everywhere.
 There was a distinct break - when I became a member of the British Coucil Library. The skies were different, the tones subdued. I remember those 'arty' pseudo-intellectual years - juggling Academy and the buddies in school. Remember having made a concious decision to shun the path trodden by well-nigh every budding anybody with a paint-brush: abstractions, cubism, distorted nudes, emaciated beggars, starving workers . . .
    I did landscapes mainly. Quietly. For my own satisfaction.
    Found my first oils.

 Why do I not start again? 'No time' is an excuse (an age ago, I called them reasons) I have devised for myself. The truth: I do not know if I can anymore. And I have no wish to find out. The last of my vanities better be in the past. To be brought out and whimpered over when the mediocrities of real life smother me as always. I was too young to know if I ever had any talent in art. Or was it merely skill. And I never want to find out. Better to go on with a weary grin "Yeah, well, maybe it could've amounted to something. But you know, now it's too late...." Gives just the right aura of bygone splendor. An excuse for the present detritus.

 There, now I have truly joined the ranks of the world's citizenry of excuses. Creators, pray pardon.

 The music? I listen, as always.

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