19 April, 2014

balance as an aesthete

 There's crisp April sunshine, the happy tiredness after a morning run (get back in shape, you ain't the age to be geriatric!) and calls home to family. It's weird the way it's dark back home now.

 Work: coursework, projects, paperwork, upcoming internship and a research position from next sem. Busy, a bit intimidating, but pretty much exactly what I would like to be doing. A long weekend with Monday included (who said only Bengal has too many public holidays - they should come live in western MA) to power through the pending, and power down enough for  . . .

 Life: watching the sunrise while jogging along a rise, breathless, out of shape, but with the knowledge that I'll get there sometime. The dance of the squirrels in the trees. The first touch of springtime. Dreams of the village of Macondo, now that the last Buendia has left. More than the stories, Marquez reminded me of the time and age that I had first read them.
    And yes, tickets. Tickets for home.

 Trying out long distance just reinforced the fact to me: I can be as into something as the next guy, but only in short intervals. A disproportionate amount of waking hours is "me" time. Which might mean a long hike, a longer book or simply discussing Asimov or Sholokhov with someone over coffee.

12 April, 2014

late night derivations

  I have known so many interesting people,  but in the most fleeting and ephemeral way possible. This never fails to irritate me.

 I dislike the way our phone calls go nowadays, international rates and all. The litany of how are you, i am fine, wish you were here (as an afterthought). And the bitter aftertaste of all the things we do not say.And the guilt we silently pin on the other.
 Walking out through Gate 4, SG and I had finished Eliot's lines for each other. It was evening, the time for reminisces and two-timings and Michelangelo. You heard it all silently, an outsider. And a week later you quote those same lines to me, as if by chance, learned by rote. To try and measure up to her maybe. The earnestness sickened me, but all men need comfort besides the aesthetic. I had tried to imagine that depth in you, in your darkling eyes and midnight tresses strewn over us in the sticky closeness of a tropical July afternoon.

 Three days before I leave. SG, AT and I on a final jaunt in torrential rain. Classics and chai. The timeless friendship that comes from who-knows-where. Bogart quotes, impromptu serenades and all. Everything that adds to the relish of being drenched to the skin and a delirious high on a cocktail of joy, nostalgia and fond partings.
 AT called just as I reach home. "Boss, SG'tar opor chaap holo. Kissu korar nei." And I think suddenly of the time we had graduated high school. AT's shirt had a hammer and sickle drawn on it in red, and the words "byartho prem jindabaad", which translates as "lost causes forever!" How fitting. Now and then. We share a chuckle and half-a-childhood. Of mud-splattered soccer interleaved with random intellectual nonsense in narrow North Calcutta lanes to Bolpur fields. Last of the Bogarts.


 Maybe I say these and more (or not at all) standing next to an Upper East Side dumpster, Your menthol and my Marlborough merging.  And then I say the truth, blurting it out like a dollop of phlegm. Words to jar You. Anything to keep Your voice quavering, or Your throat constricting as it swallows, or looking away as Your eyes swim. If You are not happy, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

 I finish writing a series summation using marker on our french windows. It feels good. Teaching machines to dream of electric sheep maybe. Haha. I love it here, despite the sudden ghosts of the past that refuse to be exorcised. Learned like most others to live with that - not much of an effort usually. It could not be better - a heady mix of glad and sad. That's life to the lees. Hooyah!

08 April, 2014

Soma Dreams - Part 2

 Following on from Soma Dreams:Part 1
  A cyber-punk take on a not-too-distant future Calcutta. Thanks to Kazarelth for starting this. After 8 years of various abandoned projects - including games, cut-scene Warcraft style movies, short films etc - we finally managed to finish something!

On fleet wings of terror, K and Dithi cannonball their way through the fleshpots of Charu Market. The flashing images suddenly gaining paramount importance in their headlong flight through vats advertizing a faultless liver or an unbroken heart. Monochrome etchings in burning retinas, limned in the high-contrast gleam of a thunderous high. Charu Market - literally the “flesh pot” - a potpourri of surrogate kidneys, ultra-modded cyberslaves and 12-inch schlongs for those not living in the rarified comfort of Highland Park and its on-demand vat-grown bio-replacements.

K sees Mandelbrot sets in the pattern of neon reflectance on rippled rain-puddles. Tinged with ultramarine streamers and other artifacts spilling over from his personal soma-induced universe into this one.

Dithi ducks into one of the more sinister biomod stalls, directed by some distant intractable clarion call in Dithi-verse. K notices  an intricate pattern of betel-leaf stains standing sentinel by the doorway, slip-sliding in some private significance. Drowned by the terror of the police chase.

Inside, they rest panting against a malformed Durga cyber (the traditional builders at Kumartuli drew the line at making a fleshly likeness of the goddess for the far-ranging tastes of certain residents of South Calcutta highrises). Dithi pukes. K ravenously laps some of it from her quivering lips as a realworld substitute for the soma juice dripping from buxom bosoms in his now-flickering somaverse. Almost time for the next dose. A dose that was not coming.


When K had opened the doors with the majesty of a Pharaoh, first thing he noticed were a few ants milling about near his feet. Ants that might have worn the ludicrously crinkled uniform of the local thana. He swept his hand in an imperious gesture of “begone, insignificant wretches!”
 A vicious thrust in his solar plexus with a battle-scarred lathi made him double up in surprise. These ants could bite! And incidentally, also saved him from a spinal fracture and possible lower-body paralysis (unless he did another legal job for the Kudghat hackers and saved up enough for a bodymod).

When K opened the door, A was listening to the Ride of the Valkyries while swinging a broadsword in some berserker Viking battle. Rising with the wrath of a Norse god of old, he and Dithi (no one knew why Dithi joined in as second fiddle) imperiously chucked the refrigerator at the shimmering shapes of the intruders clustered like Gaussian modes near the doorway.

It sailed across the unapologetic dinginess of the middle-class flat, over the huddled shape of K groaning as some vestige of the pain seeped through his soma haze and right into the face of the police raid.

In the searing clarity of heightened reflexes (or the slowing of time, did it matter honestly?) K dived for Dithi and plummeted out of the window (and into the local shitpile) as A thundered some terrible clauses from the Cyberterrorism Act in full judiciary mode at the livid policemen.

K realized that for some time he had been chewing on Dithi’s earlobe. Outside, the rain had ceased and he could hear the clamour of the usual metropolis life. They both strained to hear some dissonance, some mild inflection in the soundspace to signal their would-be captors drawing close.
Another day.

07 April, 2014


A friend mentioned today that for most conversations we look back at, we think of what else we might have said. How differently or better we might have made it to be.

 And then there are those effortless exchanges, where half-a-word is worth a day-long smile. Conversations where I would not change a single comma.

 Most of life should be a series of such exchanges, in an ideal world. This is a thought of magic unrealism that I shall strive to keep alive.

 Monday morning tomorrow. Au revoir!

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