humour, philosophy

The Two Parallel Lines

“Hello ladies, my name is Charles and I will be your waiter tonight,”he says in his slightly accented posh English.

We like Charles already. After all, being addressed as a lady is a rare thing. We try to return his “Hello” with equal charm. Can’t tell if we succeeded but we don’t have time to reflect on that. Happy hours are ending soon and there is a lot of alcohol to order. So, we immediately proceed to digging our heads into the cocktail menu. Beer is something that we don’t even mention once in our discussion. That is going to be ordered by default. In the midst of our deliberation over the choice of cocktails, I look at two of my closest friends and wonder how mystical and surreal being here with them actually is. But that doesn’t last long. “Six pints of beer, for now. We will order the cocktails soon,” I tell our charming waiter.

I am transported back to the time when we three were discussing oral sex for the first time. “What do you mean you put it in your mouth? They pee with that thing!” “I don’t know. I don’t know how people do that…” We three glanced at each other and let out a synchronous shudder. Now, sitting in a bar, sipping on our beer, it’s funny how we don’t seem to be affected by that shudder anymore. “So, all bases?” I am asked. “Well, you could say that.” I confess it with a surprising casual indifference. I am greeted back in the same way. “Uh! Cool.” Where has our shock been assimilated? How could there not be a trace of it? Perhaps I can find the abundance of it in the faces of twelve year old us, sitting on the bench in the classroom a decade ago. If they would have been sitting with us today, they would have killed me with disgust in their eyes. The pre-teenaged us wouldn’t just have stopped with the look. Next thing they would have done was to throw away our bottles, “What is this that you are drinking! Alcohol? We swore we would never do that!” We are perfectly fine with drinking now. In fact there’s a part of us, who can’t live without it. But we (at least I did) indeed swore that we would never consume this wretched liquid. Same thing went with cigarettes. Same thing went with broccoli. Same thing went with green tea. We have grown into liking both the health saviors and health destroyers at the same time. Well, the equation must be balanced, right?

“Forgot to ask, how was it though?” one of my friends asks. “Ah, what sex? Comme ci comme ca. Okay, I guess?” I reply. And like that we go back to our drinks. We are perfectly fine with boys asking us out. Back in school, that was a big deal. I suddenly get the flashbacks of some of our conversations from school – “What do you mean, you are chatting on messenger?” “Well, we have been doing that for past two weeks. Every day.” “What do you mean every day?” “Well, every day.” “Do you have a crush on him?” “No” my friend said blushing. “Is that a yes?” “No” My friend said nodding affirmatively. Wow, back then it used to be huge. “What happened to the guy you met on Tinder?” I ask her. “Meh” she replies. “Still talking even?” I ask further. “Yes” she says. “Then?” I ask. “Meh.”

By now we all are sipping on the last few drops of beer left in the bottle. Our eyes are droopy and our voices heavy and our conversations solely in English. “I am not drunk okay” my friend says. “I am never drunk okay,”the other friend replies. Yeah of course. English though – Ah! It gave me such a hard time in school. All those people with their fancy education in private high class schools spoke such fluent English. I envied them deeply. It was devastating because it took a toll on my public speaking skills. I was so scared of English. That insecurity is lost now. There are greater things to worry about.

It’s surreal in a way that we three are still this close. There were so many other people back in school with whom I had felt I had a ‘deep connection’. They are nothing but a name in my Facebook friend list now. How weird is this. I think you don’t choose friends but life chooses them for you. There are people who connect with you and to each one of those people there stand thousand others who don’t. It’s a bit tricky to find those people who know you like their favorite book. You might find a connection in some moments with a particular person but you have little control over its expiry date. People enter in your life as intersecting straight lines. They come, converge, intersect and diverge. On the other hand, there are people who never intersect but they run parallel with you for the rest of your life.

“Three Classic Martinis, please.” We have finally decided on the cocktails. Charles nods and throws a brief glance at the empty beer bottles at our table as if wondering whether we should be drinking more. Fifteen minutes later, he would be serving us another round of Martinis. The beer has already got our heads buzzed. We are laughing over stupid jokes. We are endlessly taking selfies. We are wondering how painfully overpriced the french fries are. Soon, we will head to the dance floor and dance for three hours straight with basically everyone present in the club. We are going to discuss this night for weeks, maybe years. We are going to be amazed how amazing it was. But for now, I just look at these two people and cringe at my cheesiness but it’s true – they do mean the world to me. These two fuckers are my parallel lines.

*

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humour, Things that I don't understand

Things that I don’t understand – IV

      1. Fluid mechanics. Office politics. And heart
      2. Black holes. Black-heads. What existed before big bang. And heart.
      3. X-men movie timeline, Donnie Darko and why I suck at receiving compliments.
      4. Complex philosophical theories. The Tree of Life movie. And my procrastinating habits.

I glance at my phone again. Its screen is plain black with light reflecting through its cracked edges and it is idiotly smiling back at me as if it doesn’t understand my irritation at all. Why aren’t you blinking with a notification? A telephone under a chat circle or an f under a square? Why aren’t you quenching my curiosity? But I thought you wanted me to be silent and not disturb you. And now when I am doing exactly that, you have a problem? Again?

I and my smartphone are in an abusive relationship. My palms have huge holes and they are pretty fond of providing free fall experiences to my phone.

Even with its bruised and malfunctioning screen, my wounded and weak phone can still torture me effortlessly. In fact more now.

If you hate me so much, why don’t you get rid of me? I don’t mind being sold. You can go back to using landlines. I know you terribly miss them.

I don’t know how my phone learnt sarcasm but certainly it’s more fluent in it than I can ever be. “I should do that. I should sell you.” I retort.

I am proud of your decision. I am sure you won’t find it hard to let go of all the applications you are fond of using.

All the applications? Facebook? Twitter? Maps? Gmails? Uber? Chrome? Camera?

Yes, you can ‘clearly’ live easily without them of course.

Whatever. What matters right now is not this stupid argument but the question,”Why aren’t you blinking yet?”

Blinking with what. You need to be specific. You meant the drop-but-actually-a- fire thing?

Shut up. I wasn’t asking for that notification.

No? So I suppose you are asking for notifications of the news app you never bother to use?

Okay, the telephone under the circle thing. Now you know, go blink.

No. I won’t.

Exasperated I return to my book. Sure, actually it’s good I am away from all those distractions. I can concentrate. Two lines into the paragraph, some idiot in my head speaks,”But why hasn’t he messaged you yet? Is he ignoring you?”

“Does it matter?” I ask back.

Silence again. Fifth line into the paragraph, the idiot speaks again, “But why hasn’t he messaged you yet? Are you not interesting enough?”

“Does it matter?”

The question works again. I tell my brain, rather I request my brain for his kind attention on the words that I am trying to read. It obeys. For three minutes. Then I go on a date, with the same guy who did text me back in this dreamworld. He had apologized. He said he was too busy with work. But he also said he would make up for it by a dinner in a good Sushi restaurant. Ah! Sushi. How did he even know I love Sushi? Now we are in this fancy restaurant, eating the most delicious Sushi ever made on the face of the Earth. And I have finally learnt how to use chopsticks. There’s a huge platter of Sushi in front of me. There are so many varieties and each one is equally delicious. But if you ask which one’s my favorite–

My phone blinks with the telephone thing for real. I snap out of my date-but-increasingly-transforming-into-food daydreams. Has he finally texted? You are blinking, my love. You are finally blinking.

Hold your horses, young lady. How can you be so sure that I am blinking with his text.

Ah no. Don’t say it. Don’t imply it. Don’t jinx it. No. It has already been jinxed, hasn’t it? Yeah, it’s not from him. It’s a message on the school group – another useless GIF.

You do know I can’t make him text, right? Stop being stupid.

You are stupider.

Oh really? Let’s check your search history on Google, shall we?

How does my own phone gets to speak with me like that? You are supposed to be my servant.

And you are supposed to be worthy of being served to. I will tell you – Here’s what is going to happen now. You are going to continue gawking at me for like 12 straight hours. Then you shall finally give up only till you send him a drunk text like an hour later. He is going to reply with a conversation-ender. Suddenly, your ego that you had carelessly sold in your drunkenness will come running back to you. Horrified, you won’t reply. You will archive/delete the chat and resolve you are never going to text him again. That resolution will end in exactly two hours and twenty seven minutes. Then you are going to start obsessing again. Be better than this obsession cycle, your highness. Be better.

Okay duck him. Let’s scroll through our Facebook Newsfeed again.

You did that like 27.25 seconds ago but I am happy to comply.

I need to read but a quick glance through twitter?

Of course.

Facebook again?

Of course.

WordPress?

Of course.

Twitter…?

Of course.

Two hours later, I finally decide to turn off my phone and return to my book. The words don’t make sense initially but I continue to read anyway. Somewhere, along some paragraphs, I finally immerse in the text. The black screen of my phone still keeps radiating temptation in the background. My smartphone pretends it is not doing that on purpose. Evil bastard, I resolve not to fall into his trap again. Twenty two minutes later, I am watching some random shit on YouTube. How and why exactly is what I don’t understand.

*

humour, Inspiration, Narratives, philosophy, random

How’s life in England?

“So, how’s life in England?” My phone notifies me of yet another text bearing the same question I’ve heard daily since the past two months. And I am left wondering, yet again, how the hell do I answer this?

How’s life in England? Each day, I wake up with a slight hangover because somehow I have developed a habit of mistaking beer for water. The morning begins with me brewing a tasteless tea and slicing an apple, often along with my fingers. Then I connect my phone to the speakers as I eat my so-called breakfast and start preparing my lunch. Two months back, cooking was my least favorite task and now it is my top choice for procrastination. I chop vegetables while dancing to some 2000s rock. I still don’t know how I manage to pull that off. The day progresses as I finish cooking my lunch which is almost never completely consumed by me. I leave some curry for my flatmates. And by the evening, there’s no trace of it left. My utensils are cleaned and neatly placed back in my shelf. Cooking a little extra so that you don’t have to clean? I figure it’s a pretty good strategy to go by. But this is not what you want to know, do you?

How’s life in England? Well, mostly it’s the blue sky and chartreuse grass spread across remarkably vast stretches of land. Each day I discover a new breed of dog. Each day I come across those cars that I never thought I would see in three dimensions with my own eyes. Each day I meet different kinds of people. And almost each day, I write about them in a small cafe with a small blackboard placed at its gate happily flaunting the beautiful handwriting and the supposedly reasonable rates of different kinds of coffees. Hours pass by as I type random stuff on random things and before it gets too cold (and it’s not even Winter yet!) I return to my kitchen to enjoy a multi-cuisine dinner cooked by flatmates. My kitchen is not a particularly attractive one. The dining table is almost never cleaned. Sometimes, the refrigerators stink. Noone is ever able to find his/her plates or spoons or coffee cup on time. When one of us burns food accidentally, we don’t pray for our own safety. Instead we pray for the inefficiency of the smoke detector. I look at the small exhaust, the electric heat stove, the rarely used oven, the toaster that partially works and the silver platform that’s turning grey – This kitchen is as ordinary as it can be. I look at the people I am dining with. This kitchen is my favorite place. But this is not what you want to know either, is it?

How’s life in England? Whenever the sun shines outside my tiny window my heart swells with happiness and hope. And then I think of the pending work, my spinning head and my heart immediately sinks. My table is splashed with my clumsiness. I am running out of clean clothes to wear. The bedsheet of my bed is beginning to stink. The mattress has given me a permanent back ache but I love my tiny little corner. My cupboard is bare but surprisingly, I don’t hate my limited collection of clothes. I am slipping below the poverty line slowly but steadily. However, somehow I don’t hate my depleting financial state. I am not sure why I am here sometimes. To write life? To live life? Sometimes my room haunts me too – to make it more eerie, there are unexplained bruise marks on my limbs. My financial burden haunts me. My insecurity and uncertain future haunts me. My dreams haunt me. But I am here anyway, I guess, happily haunted.

Days in England – It was clear sky a second ago and it’s suddenly raining. And despite the unpredictable weather, I can safely predict that it would never rain when I do have an umbrella with me. The cloudy night sky is bit of a shame but at times when it is clear I can almost get lost among the diamonds shining above, along with the silhouettes of the trees caressing the edges of the river. And then there’s the moon. The same moon I wrote a letter to saying that I would do what I love to do and in some surreal way I am still keeping that promise. I like to picture myself looking at this satellite somewhere someday in the future and instead of the moon, I like to believe that I would be looking at my own present self. We would briefly acknowledge each other, smile and whisper, “It is going to be alright.” The moon is my imaginary time travelling machine. When I look at it now, I suddenly see myself searching for it through the clusters of buildings back in Vadodara or strolling under the moonlight through the peaceful beaches of Goa during my final undergraduate year or picturing nose or eyes on it during my kindergarten days.

How’s my life? Each day I am going older. Each day I am learning something new. Though I can’t specifically point out the change but I can still feel a certain kind of novelty running through my blood. Life in England – It’s the walks among the pretty homes in red bricks. It’s playing with the amber leaves lining the footpaths. It’s being marvelled by the sparrows with orange necks. It’s walking through the trails lining the river. It’s catching a brief experience of forest and making an escape from urban life during those walks. Living here is modern and ancient at the same time. I am simultaneously falling in love in Swedish beer and cutting masala chai found in the streets of India. I am simultaneously falling in love with butter croissant and Latte and also with freshly cooked potato paratha made by my mother back home. I am amazed by the quiet and peaceful locality but at the same time I sometimes miss the crowd and the cacophony as well.

It’s writing, so much writing, reading, scribbling, dancing, drinking and being terrified of the fact that these days are disappearing much faster than they should and also the fact that I would miss this more terribly than I can ever imagine. My life in England? Well, honestly, life seems to be chasing me instead of I chasing it for a change. At first it was overwhelmingly surreal. Now, it’s overwhelmingly busy. Like the gas compressed in a cylinder, it seems like a whole lifetime has been squeezed into a couple of months. Weeks are long but yet they fly by. And sometimes all I do is breathe and watch yet another sun explode into thousands of shades of Crimson and Magenta and all those hues that I can’t even name.

“So, how’s life in England?” My phone is still beeping with that whatsapp message.
“Good.” I text back.

humour, Poetry

An Ode to the Deadlines

So long I had postponed
Owing to the mispositions of stars
Or maybe the urgency to complete utterly unnecessary tasks
A day after another after another after another
Until you came finally,
As you had, once upon a forgotten time, forewarned
So, here’s to the panic
to the parade of chaos that you have brought along
to the adrenaline rush
to the songs of forbidden words
to the regret of wasted yesterdays
No, no prayer to be sung to the goddess of procrastination today!
No! Don’t you dare, you treacherous mind!
Today isn’t a good day
Today is the DEADLINE!
The day where the work of 10 months is compressed in 72 hours
So, here’s to the supernatural productivity
To the last minute short cuts
To the funny gods
To the funnier prayers
To the fake promises
To a distant dream of equal work division over time
Commutimism as they call it
And finally to completion of the since long incompleted
Scribbled, battered, stiched along the odd edges
Ugly, with gruesome scars of laziness
But who cares about the beauty though?
At least the end is here!
We will start the next project tomorrow.
Or maybe the tomorrow after tomorrow
Or the tomorrow after that
But for now we are done!
Ready to repeat our mistake all over again
With a false and yet believable hope let’s completely forget the stress and pain,
Of course, we are going to be alright,
As long as we celebrate the ending and not the perfection
My lazy ‘this-would-do-just-fine’ success brought by an odd hero of mine!
What would I do without you my beloved deadline?

***

 

How not to, humour, Narratives

How NOT to get off a crowded Indian Train

I am stuck in the narrow passageway of a general bogie reserved for ladies and my whole life is flashing in front of my eyes. Well, this would have been completely true, had it not been for the woman standing in front of me, whose acute politeness has me, distracted. Her voice has staggering intensity; my ears are barely managing to protect my eardrums from crumbling to the symphony of her cuss words. I am stuck. She is stuck. Behind me is a long queue (as long as the tiny bogie permits) and behind the meek woman, I am busy listening to, are the wild bison cramming their way into the coach that’s already filled till the brim. “Let us out first!” Another woman behind me screams. And I, both leading and blocking the queue of angry goddesses who want to get off the god damned train, am stuck with my bag engaged in an unbreakable embrace with the luggage of the other woman whose symphony has me hypnotized. All around me are people telling me to move! Move woman! Move! But then I can’t. Funny, I think sometimes that’s how life works as well.

I try to recall how I got into this situation in the first place. Well, it all began with  my decision to board a crowded general bogie. And I guess that’s the end of it. The tiny ladies’ coach is an objectified sexism in itself but of course I am not going to get into that debate. I am probably going to get old here, amidst this friendly crowd and feminism is not something I would like to ponder about right now. Paying my special gratitude to the size of this bogie, my mind wanders to the immediate reason that had caused this chaos – The woman who was sitting on the floor (because obviously we don’t have enough seats), blocking the way to the door and absolutely refusing to apply what’s called the common sense, that is, to get up when a train halts at a station. Ultimately when others tell her to stand and make way, she takes eternity to do the same. And by the time she clears the way for us to move ahead, the passengers on the other side have already started to rush in. And the result of her stupidity? Chaos. Victim? Me.

Move! Woman! Move!
Well I can’t. My bag is stuck. I am stuck. Can’t you see?

The polite woman finally stops shouting and decides to apply her brain. She lifts her bag and I am able to step ahead and also drift my bag forward. But there’s still a long way to freedom. There are too many people inside and now it’s my suitcase that’s creating havoc. As I push myself (and the bag, the god damned bag) forward, I accidentally hurt a small kid who was standing on the way. Her mouth turns into a gigantic O, her cheeks turn blood red and river and its tributaries start flowing from her eyes. I want to apologize. I obviously didn’t mean to slam my bag into her foot but there’s this major part of me who just wants her to shut up. She is a kid and I shouldn’t bear such thoughts but I am never going to be able to get off this train and these women and this noise and this wailing child are turning this place into a hell and I haven’t sinned enough to deserve this (Or so I thought!). I have already started formulating alternate plans. I realize I am never getting off here. So, I start thinking what the next stop of this train would be and how will I get back from there.

Move! Woman! Move!
Woman can’t move. CAN’T YOU SEE!
Woman is stuck in between all these people and shouting doesn’t help.
And amidst this greatest struggle I have ever endured to get off a train, comes a helping hand. But the helping hand isn’t polite either. Helping hand is angry and is shouting too, “Why are you coming out so late? So rahe the kya? (Were you sleeping all this while?)” I lose my temper at this. Now is not a good time for the glare and the taunts. If I just knew how to punch, I would have punched you right across your face. In fact in this moment, I can punch god himself. But I settle for glaring back at my Messiah, the red shirted coolie who is lifting my bag. But he doesn’t shut up. Then something rare happens, “Would you stop shouting?”-  I shout (ironically). I scream so hard, in fact, that my voice breaks like the light splits through a prism. Damn. I immediately regret it but at least the coolie is silent now. When I finally get to get off the train, I feel like I have been reborn. The coolie has placed my bag on the platform and has disappeared. Good, I wasn’t going to thank him anyway. There are still significant traces of anger left inside me. I avoid thinking about the near-fatal swarm of the women. I avoid thinking about the crying child. I avoid thinking about the cuss words I had been showered with. Obviously, I fail. I notice that my breathing has become erratic and I am still a bit dizzy. So, I sit on a nearby bench, take a few deep breaths and make myself believe that I really am alive and safe. Get off the train! That’s all I had to do! Realize how powerful chaos is? Realize how hazardous a heavy and huge suitcase is? Don’t carry a bag that weighs more than you do. Or join a gym and set major weightlifting goals. And yes don’t underestimate the stupidity of your fellow passengers. Avoid crowd! Avoid crowd! Avoid crowd! (This suggestion is, in reality, a sham because there’s nothing in India that’s not crowded.) And that’s how you get off a train in India safely.

***

How not to, humour

How NOT to learn F.R.E.N.C.H. for dummies (like me)

Chapter – I

The one with the counting

It was a warm ordinary day of Octobre (October, and yes it wasn’t a spelling mistake). The month that brings us the beautiful season of autumn. Autumn, the oldest poets creating factory, is the most jolie (lovely) season of all. That is, in the rest of the monde (world). Not in India. Here it’s simply a sequel of summer, without mangoes. Indian trees don’t give a single damn about the fall. Bien sûr (Of course), they might show some minor symptoms of this season but that is the beginning and the end of it. Anyway, back to being in that warm day of Octobre, as I sat in my cubicle passively framing yet another courriel (e-mail), I am flashed with one of the deeply moving scenes of the French film- “Blue is the warmest colour.” I am still not sure about the origin and what possibly might have caused that flash. But it was enough to dig out that obsession on to the surface which had gone into hibernation for past one year. And with it came a memory of a small desire I had expressed then – I want to learn French. Like a good employee (Ahem.) I ignored all of this and continued to scroll through my inbox. But the show starring the two voices in my head had already commenced. “Tu dois apprendre le français!”(You must learn French!). What’s that sound again? Certainly someone doesn’t want us to attend to our mails (Ahem. Perhaps our procrastinating habit) But what’s the harm in learning it? You have the time. You can manage. You can learn French. In fact you should. En fait (In fact) you would!” But tu vois (you see), turquoise ink, you don’t have what it takes to learn a language. Wait, wasn’t it your suggestion in the first place? Like a second ago? You are going to lose interest and then later you would forget everything. Merde! (Damn!) What a chameleon you are brain! I would definitely learn it just to prove you wrong!

In the background, my cœur et tête (heart and head) hi-fived, mouthed a thank-you and danced back to the exit.

So the same day I went to a language institute. I enrolled myself for French classes and there began my incredible journey to…nothing. But that’s what makes it a good ignition spark for my procrastinating habits.

A few jours (days) into my class and I stumbled upon the day that was going to change my vie (life) forever.  It’s a normal soir (evening). I arrived at the class straight from my office. I was a little tired but my excitement (or rather the fact that I had paid the fees and I felt a dire need to compensate for it by being regular in my classes) didn’t let me succumb to temporary tiredness.

“We will learn counting today” she said. “Counting till ten is pretty easy. What makes it easier is that the pronunciation of some of the numbers resembles the way we say it in Hindi.” I nodded, opened my notebook and uncapped my pen indicating my readiness to make notes which actually I never did. “So, let’s begin …Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre, Cinq, Six, Sept, Huit, Neuf, Dix!” she said slowly with hand gestures.I noticed that some numbers indeed resembled the numbers in Hindi (Deux – do, Trois – teen or Sept – saat, Huit – aath, Neuf – nav, Dix – dus and six was six in English except you pronounce it as sees)

I repeated after my French tutor. Pretty proud with myself, I asked her to go ahead in the series. She taught me the numbers till twenty (Onze, Douze (Now you know where the word dozen came from), Treize, Quatorze, Quinze, Seize, Dix-sept, Dix-huit, Dix-neuf, Vingt). Slightly alien terms but I managed just fine and repeated the figures correctly. Then she continued, “So, the rest of the numbers continue on the same rules as English. We just need to learn thirty, forty, fifty and sixty. After that it gets slightly different. But we will come to that later.” I nodded excitedly, completely ignoring the importance of the phrase – ‘slightly different’. “Trente, quarante, cinquante & soixante” she said.

I repeated perfectly except for the minor pronunciation mistakes. “And what about the rest of the figures?” I asked.

The turning point of my life had finally arrived.

“Seventy is Soixante –dix” she replied.

“Okay…”

“Eighty: Quatre- vingts

“Whaat…”

“Ninety is Quatre-vingt-dix

“..the fuck?”

My mind exploded. “Are you telling me that seventy is called as sixty-ten? Eighty as four-twenty? And ninety as four-twenty-ten?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Are you really sure?”

“Yes.” And you may be over-reacting. And also what do you mean if I am sure! I have been speaking French since I was a kid, you bitch!

“What nonsense!” I exclaimed.

“Well, it is what it is.” You reaction, my friend, is the real nonsense.

Why? Why? Why would you call a number that way? What can be the logic behind this? I asked this question to French native speakers as well (There’s an app called ‘Speaky’ which lets you do that) They replied the same, “It is what it is.” But I couldn’t accept it. What is the point, really? Don’t cross that border, honey. We can’t figure out the point of our lives and you are asking about some puny nombres (numbers)? 

But I was indeed deeply baffled by this and at the end of it, I simply couldn’t accept it. So, I coined new French terms. I know I sound bête (stupid). But I will present my inventions to you anyway;

Seventy would now be called, the term is inspired by Joey FYI, Daplupoint (pronunciation:  da-plu-paw-nt)

Eighty – Paplupoint (pa-plu-paw-nt)

Ninety – Laplupoint (La-plu-paw-nt)

Of course, I haven’t put this proposal formally to the world yet. But whenever I do, I am hoping for the successful inclusion of these terms. Until then, do keep these new terms in mind, they might pop up in the French dictionary anytime. And yes this is how you SHOULDN’T learn French.

Merci beaucoup! À bientôt ! I will be back with more blogs on this soon!

Glossary:

    1. Octobre – October
    2. Jolie – Lovely
    3. monde – World
    4. Bien sûr – Of course
    5. Courriel – Email
    6. Tu – You (Informal)
    7. Dois – Present Conjugation of Devoir which means must
    8. Apprendre – To learn
    9. Français – French
    10. En fait – In fact
    11. Vois – Present Conjugation of Voir which means “to see”
    12. Merde – Damn
    13. Cœur – Heart
    14. Et – And
    15. Tête – Head
    16. Jours – Days
    17. Soir – Evening
    18. Vie – Life
    19. Un, Deux, Trois, Quatre, Cinq, Six, Sept, Huit, Neuf & Dix – One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine & Ten
    20. Onze, Douze , Treize, Quatorze, Quinze, Seize, Dix-sept, Dix-huit, Dix-neuf, Vingt – Eleven,Twelve,Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty
    21. Trente, Quarante, Cinquante , Soixante, Soixante –dix, Quatre- vingts, Quatre-vingt-dix – Thirty, Forty, Fifty, Sixty, Seventy, Eighty, Ninety
    22.  Nombres – Numbers
    23. Bête – Stupid
    24. Merci – Thank you
    25. Beaucoup – Very much
    26. Àbientôt –  See you soon

***

humour, Musings from the coffee shop

Sex, Orgasm, Atoms and the Universe

“I bet you get a lot of action.” I winked at her expecting her vibrant blush. Instead she replied as if it was a matter-of-fact, “True. It’s like a habit now. I can’t even remember when it all started. You know, I can’t even count my ex-boyfriends anymore,” she chuckled. “Wow. That many?” I replied.  “Yes and there are those guilty flings as well.” How could she say things like that in such a casual manner? I looked around ensuring that nobody was overhearing our conversation. The café was practically empty and the sole waiter was busy ogling at this girl who was sitting on a faraway corner. “Wow! So, with so many options what’s been your best experience so far?” I asked her teasingly.

“Sexually?”

“Uh-huh…”

“Hmm…Let me think”, she thought for a moment and resumed excitedly, “So there was this time; the best night of my life. In fact that night changed my life.  And I am not exaggerating. Ugh! That orgasm! That orgasm surpassed anything I had ever felt. It was more amazing than amazing, you know! I mean you cannot just call it amazing. It was beautiful beyond imagination.” She looked at my face and tried to ease my confusion, “Let me try to elaborate…What’s the smallest thing that you can think of? A dust particle? Now, they tell you that your smallest thing is nothing compared to atoms. In fact a dust particle houses thousands of atoms. You nod. You are like okay. But can you really imagine that? That something as small as a dust can house thousands of even smaller particles! But they don’t stop there. Atoms have further smaller particles! What the fuck! But wait, this doesn’t stop here even! Atom’s smaller particles have further smaller particles. These things blow my mind. I can’t imagine it! I can’t go beyond the bloody dust particle. For me, that is atom.”

I sat mystified by how my question about sex has her discussing about quantum physics. As if knowing exactly what I was thinking, she added, “Worry no more. Here comes the analogy. We take facts for what they are even when we can’t see it, even when we can’t imagine it. That night…that night I could finally imagine the unimaginable. I could finally magnify that scale. I could finally see beyond the dust. Until then orgasm had just been this supposedly amazing thing. Then it became the amazing thing. It stopped being the dust; it went on to become the atoms, the protons, the neutrons, the quarks.”

I was finding it a bit hard to digest the analogy but she continued anyway, “Okay, I will leave physics out of this. I will tell you the best part – that night, I laughed like a mad man. I know it’s weird and it has never happened to me before and since – but I was indeed laughing so hard and this spasm, this colossal spasm simultaneously traversed across my body. And it coupled with my laughter in such a way that the waves resonated, you know. So, the amplitude got even higher! I climaxed along with my cheek muscles, my weird chuckling voice, my lips, my stomach movements – you know, how your stomach moves when you laugh, my heart beats – my laughing heartbeats! It went on for a long time.” She paused and closed her eyes for a moment as if savoring the memory and continued, “But it wasn’t the end of it. I came again. And again. And again. And again. I exploded like a big bang. Pieces of me scattered all over me like the pieces of universe. Never before had I witnessed something so beautifully shattering. I was ready to die with that explosion and it felt as if my life was complete. And in that moment it really was. Nothing could match the emotions I felt then. Happiness, hope, love. Love – one of the rare times when I actually felt it. I cannot describe the intensity. I fell in love with myself then. It was madness! My orgasm ricocheted not just across my loins, it was the origin of it, yes, but it traveled all the way up and down; from my head to my toe. To my navel, to my chest, to my heart, to my thoughts, to my dreams, to my self-esteem. It traveled to those realms as well! Can you believe that? Those were not merely repeated convulsions! Those were much powerful than that!  I had no idea that I had the capability to feel that way. And you know how the astronomers say how there are traces of big bang still spread across our universe? Like that I have traces of that night spread across me still. Often it invokes in me a feeling of longing. And I often wonder what if I never experience something like that again. But I am okay with that. I mean I would love it if I could go a level up too and explore further but I am not going to pressurize anyone or myself. Most of the amazing things happen just once in our lives, like this day right here, that’s what makes it more special. Doesn’t it? So, I am okay with this separation and linearity as well.  The memories mostly inspire me. They tell me that I am worth being sunk in those gigantic waves. That I am worth witnessing that power. That I am worth feeling that way. I deserve nothing less. It’s ironic – this statement. But it keeps my spirit high and makes me respect myself more. Ah, that night though! That night – it was infinity. It was the circle of life. It was subatomic particle. It was the eternity of universe.”

“Boy!” I muttered as I sat enraptured imagining what I couldn’t possibly imagine. ‘Atoms’, you know, as someone would like to call it. But I kind of wished that she had explained the whole scenario from the beginning and not just the end point. So, I added quietly hoping that she’d address my remote but yet influential perverseness as well by giving a few insights on how to traverse and find the road whose destination was so magical, “The guy, the guy that you slept with that night, MUST have been really good.”

“Absolutely! Except that there wasn’t one.”

***

How not to, humour, Narratives, philosophy

How to open the door the correct way

I am sitting on the pot, locked inside my bathroom clutching an unusual realization with me, “I am going to die today.” I am aware that it’s a bit uncommon thought considering the location. After all, relief is what they call is a bathroom’s real forte. But I am far, far, far away from that emotion. I am drenched in anxiety. I am assailed by the kind of panic that surpasses my worst panic attack by hundred folds. I am going to die today. Right here. For a twenty-two year old young woman like me, who has been blessed with good health, this scenario doesn’t make sense. But how is it that I am dangling just a few inches away from jumping off the cliff into my after-life forever? It’s such a weird spot to have death embrace you but it’s too late and it seems that there is indeed nothing I can do to change it. Death is near; a potential groom – a mere mutter of “I do” away. I can already hear his steps approaching. Thump. Thump. Thump. My heart is in my throat. I am breathing at a frequency which even the latest computer processors can’t match. As a desperate attempt to distract myself, my brain performs an old trick – it throws me into a day-dream. It could be called a good move had it actually been a day dream. Even in the crucial times like this, my brain can’t let go of his sick sense of humor. He throws me into the dream that does the opposite of what it was supposed to do – It intensifies my panic. Can you believe that guy? In my head, as I time travel two to three days in the future, I can see my mother returning home to find our house in a perfectly normal condition. Perfectly normal condition except for the terrible stench. “Where is it coming from?” She wonders. She enters my room. The smell intensifies. Maybe a rat died in the bathroom. She tries to open the bathroom’s door. But it doesn’t budge. It’s locked! Now, she begins to grow anxious. Something is wrong. This stench is too strong to belong to a dead rat. Or the rat is too smart to lock the door. She tries to break open the door but it’s too heavy. She can’t do it. Her brain has already started formulating alternative plans. She rushes downstairs to the fifth floor immediately where she remembers she may be able to find a carpenter. The moment she enters the apartment, carpenter stops his work and stares at the woman’s grim face sprinkled with sweat. Something’s really wrong, his intuitions tell him. Slowly and calmly he asks, “Kya hua Madam?”
“Darwaza todna hai.”

The carpenter doesn’t ask any further questions. He abandons his work, accompanies her upstairs, to my home, to my room and ultimately to the bathroom door. The wretched bathroom door. It doesn’t take the carpenter long to break the lock. He takes a moment before opening the door. From the smell he can guess what he is about to see is going to haunt him for a long time. He slightly pushes the door and it swings open slowly, as if gracefully preparing them for a horrific sight. The woman behind him has already fallen to the floor, unconscious.

I never thought that the first one to see my dead body would be the person whom I had never met in my lifetime. I kind of always fantasied that my death would be glorious one. Glorious not in the sense that I hope to die at a war. By glorious I meant I die in the arms of a loved one. I die with smile and contentment. But this death is the exact opposite. I have never felt loneliness the way I feel right now. I never thought I would die in a freaking toilet! I never thought I would die grieving over my youth and all the dreams that I had once hoped to realize. I had always hoped that I would die with all my dreams already turned into reality. How cruel fate can be!

I had been so engrossed in my day-dream or rather nightmare that I had completely grown oblivious of the banging and voice coming from the other side of the door.

“Are you there? Answer us!”
“Yes, I am here. I am here.”

My friend had been standing outside the bathroom for a long time. I had been standing inside the bathroom for a long time. All I originally wanted to do here was to pee in peace. Since I had guests with me – my friends, I had taken extra precaution of locking the door behind in order to avoid any potentially awkward situations. We weren’t after all in a usual state of mind. Well, congratulations, there will be no awkward situations. They can’t get in even if they tried their best.
When I had been asked to pull the latch even harder after my multiple futile attempts to open the door, I had mustered all my strength and broken it instead. The broken piece is still lying on the floor. And yes, that’s why I am going to die here today. “You can do this,” my friend says again. “Wash your face. Breath. Breathe, okay? You will figure out a way.”
Figure out a way? Yeah. Right. I wash my face anyway. I am never getting out of here. Could be that my friends, on the other side (on the other side of freedom!) figure out a way to open the door. But it will be too late by then. I pick up the piece, to acknowledge how a tiny thing is going to result in my death and then suddenly I am greeted by a tiny ray of hope! I discover that there are threads in the end. Threads mean that the piece is not broken but just detached! Brimming with joy, I insert the piece in the gaping hole of the latch that had been terrorizing me until now and rotate it in. It’s moving in! Maybe I won’t die after all. Boy, I had been so stupid! Filled with hope, I try to open the door again.

It doesn’t budge.

Perfect! The carpenter has called my neighbors. My mother is conscious and furious. Furious. Not sad. Not weeping. Not wailing. FURIOUS. Because that’s how her daughter died? In a bathroom? From a drug overdose? And which drug? Cannabis? Seriously? No, that’s not my daughter. This is not her. I don’t know who this girl is. Take her body away. Take her to a morgue. Dump it. Do whatever. This is not my daughter—

“There?”

That’s my friend again.

“Yes I am here. Not dead. Not yet…”
“Breath, okay? Try to open the door again.”

I take a few deep breaths. I approach this monstrous door, devoid of hope for any success. A funny thought strikes me then. What if you pull the latch on the opposite side?
The opposite side? But that’s the wrong side!
I would lock myself further into this hell! Crazy or what?
But what’s the harm in trying? So, I try anyway.

The lock slides with an unbelievable smoothness. The door is open.

THE. DOOR. IS. OPEN.

I was pushing the latch in the wrong direction this whole time.
I am overwhelmed by relief and happiness and suddenly a deeply profound thought dawns upon me – Maybe that’s how it works with life. We are trying to push the doors open so hard but nothing works even then. Maybe we need to sit back and breathe. And the solution, an incredibly​ simple and obvious solution, will appear out of nowhere. Push the lock in the other direction. It’s that simple.
Door swings open.
Life swings open.
I am laughing. All my tears that contained panic a while ago contain nothing but joy. My friend, my beloved friend throws an incredibly annoyed look at me. I apologize to her. I need to. I must. I ruined her beautiful date with Mary after all. But did you notice how simple it is? Push the latch on the opposite direction and that’s how you open the door the correct way.

***

food for thought, humour, Things that I don't understand

Things that I don’t understand

  1. Fluid mechanics. Office politics. And heart.

Heart because I remember how I waited for this day like one waits for a train when he is in absolute hurry; when he looks at his watch so frequently that his growing impatience is almost invoking in him crazy ideas for genocide. I have waited for this day in such maniacal manner and yet now when I am finally here, unbelievably close to the milestone that I had been dreaming of crossing, when that train has ultimately arrived at the platform, I can’t put my apprehensions aside. Suddenly in my hands, there is a long list of things that can go terribly wrong. It’s ironic because it’s too late to turn back now. I have boarded the train and I have no intention of getting off of it. If you had to make such kind of treacherous argument, heart, you should have spoken a little early! Why heart, why would you make this 180 degree turn now? What can you possibly gain from this? Oh wait, how could I forget! Heart isn’t a selfish guy. He doesn’t care about losing or gaining. What irk the heart most are the things that are going smoothly! I guess you yearn for a sudden change of plans again but no, my dearest friend, the great H! –  There is no other option but to continue driving ahead. I hate to tell you this but it is how it is.

Remember how happy we both once were, like till yesterday? Now, my steps are small and slow. Thanks to you, I am weak in my knees because of my nervousness, mild panic and a sudden deficiency of excitement. Where, where, where in the name of holy city of Jerusalem has my excitement disappeared to? How could you possibly assert that I am going to miss this? Look at me – Last week at office and I am running around in the shop-floor getting the material stock ready on SAP so that I could get them invoiced – subsequently meeting customer’s requirement – either that or forcibly pushing our sale target on their faces (regardless of the fact whether they want it or not) so that we could reduce our inventory. Forget what is and what is not in my scope of work. It’s my last week and instead of drafting my farewell speech (Not that I was going to do it anyway) I am dodging through my last minute fuck-ups. I am not good at what I am expected to do here. I am less of a god and more of a human. And clearly that makes me under-qualified for my job. I am required to have my brain running in exactly ten thousand three hundred and fourteen directions at the same time. As a project manager and future god everything that doesn’t make sense or gives  you suicidal/ homicidal tendencies are fed to you on regular basis to be digested, to be processed and to be used up in producing platinum quality shit as the ultimate outcome of the process. Maybe I am being too harsh. But I must be! Or else heart can paint this in red and white too. And what will be the tagline? “The good old days”

“But wasn’t it, in some smaller scale, if not good then ‘not that bad’ old days? Maybe?”

Maybe it wasn’t that bad. So, what does this mean that this thing was the best we could hope for? Is that what you are trying to say?

“Not necessarily,” my heart retorts conjoining a different argument altogether, “I am just amazed at how happy we seemed to be parting from here. I am amazed because some months ago the thought of being a part of this place brought us joy. How things change! Or rather how we change! I am just wondering how our emotions are constantly evolving into another so rapidly!”

Classic move; change the topic. Well played, Mr.H. Well, time changes things. Time changes perspectives. Time changes our need. Hence, time must NOT be underestimated. That’s what I can to add to this.

My heart doesn’t reply. And with its speechlessness, comes my supernatural ability to hear the unspoken. I will miss it. Here, take my confession on a silver platter. “Devour upon it,” if I just may. Is it delicious enough? Why am I bidding adieu with such incomprehensible set of emotions? Wait. Don’t answer. Leave it. I give up the fight. As always, heart will win anyway. So, I am going to wake up tomorrow and it won’t be because of the alarm set at 7:00 AM, I am not going to run to the bus stop, I am not going to see those emails or calls which make me lose faith in humanity, I am not going to pull my hair over stupid arguments and I am not going to secretly shed anger tears in the washroom, I am not NOT going to attend calls intentionally, I am not going to doodle in “supposedly” important meetings, I am not going to curse my safety shoes, I am not going to consider killing myself over my stupidity and general fuck-ups, I am not going to make that follow up call for the tenth time in the day, I am not going to have tea at 11 or 4, I am not going to gaze at the two calendars at my desk and wonder about my last working day, I am not going to draw on the whiteboard at my cubicle or everybody else’s cubicle for that matter, I am not going to have breakfast  over a span of half an hour chatting with my closest friend, I am not going to miss being praised for my unexpected achievements, I am not going to have my account credited monthly, I am not going to meet my close colleagues at office, I am not going to be made fun of at lunch by them, I am not going to get to hear any new office gossips, I am not going to be spending as carelessly as I spent till now, I am not going to carry my laptop bag everywhere (no, actually I will), I am not going to be delighted by the watch when it shows  5:30 PM and I am not going to experience the joy of returning home at the end of the day. I guess I have the tendency to get attached to the complete package of both dreadful and wonderful things of things. But at the end of it all, like life, like people, like so many other pieces of my writing, lays an irony. If I hadn’t decided to leave, I wouldn’t have been writing this and you would have still found me with my signature gloomy & grumpy face yet again. You would have found me complaining about how I have to go through this ordeal every day and how desperately I would like to change this. I would tell you repeatedly that I hate it. I would tell you repeatedly that maybe I don’t. Nevertheless, I would say, things must change. Well, things have changed. Congratulations. And my signature gloominess?  Well, it’s still there.

I bid adieu with a heavy heart. Heavy maybe because of my apprehensions. Heavy maybe because of my insecurities. Heavy maybe also because of gratitude. Gratitude towards each and every person who has been there, who has entered & made an exit, who has stayed or who is about to go, who will maybe come back or maybe who won’t, who has smiled, who has loved, who has hated, who has helped, who has made my life miserable – for all those people I bear nothing in my heart but gratitude. Maybe I am being more sentimental than I ought to be. But these two years have meant more to me than I would ever admit. This is what I don’t understand.

*

 

 

humour, Inspiration, Narratives

The man in the boxer shorts

I wish I could tell you how happening my mornings are. I went to office in spaceship the other day. What? Didn’t I tell you my office is at moon? Or how I went on that long drive with Eddy (Edward Norton insists that I call him that) last Sunday morning.

But no, my mornings are woebegone faces of the broke industrialists drowned in enormous debts or politicians locked up in jails under the corruption charges that they didn’t really commit. I drag my legs to the bus stop through the dusty road and silently wait for bus like a goat waiting for butcher to get his knife. My legs, tied with so called responsibilities of building my own career and a respectable life and fear of what I might lose if I run away from this routine, find no pleasure in these morning strolls. My mornings are just outright bland like boiled potatoes that don’t even have a pinch of salt sprinkled over them. The only pleasure that I get is when the radio hits a peppy song and if, just if, I am not sleepy or grumpy enough, I might, just might, imagine myself dancing on it and a smile might peek from the back of the wall on my face for a split second. But music eventually fades away and I return to myself. I don’t mind being here – in my company, but when you make your grand entrance without being aware of it I realize how hard I had been missing you. You are the great rescuer! Breaker of chains from this mundane monotonous thing – you don’t know it and you would never but I will give you the credit anyway.

Sir, I don’t know you. It’s been a while since I last saw you and I hope you are doing okay. I am not sure if you have noticed me (though obviously I have) because I can’t really remember if we ever exchanged a smile or even a proper glance. But this is fine by me because you don’t seem like a person who care about these things. So, don’t mind me if you find me stringing along the words of praises for you. Because I cannot resist doing this. You are counted among the brighter parts of my day, one of the interesting elements of my fucked up mornings – Why would I hesitate from appreciating you especially when I know that this message would never reach you? That is how it usually works, right?

I am sure that I am never ever going to come across anyone like you again. Of course, there are people who are far more eccentric than you are but to me, there’s a class in your craziness! When I see you, I kind of brighten up from inside. Your odd sense of dressing is inspiring. Yes, and that was what that mainly drew my attention towards you in the first place. Your abnormality restores my faith in humanity. You, wrapped in a striped black blazer, your pink shirt, your Michael Jackson hat, your boxer shorts (that you are not embarrassed to show off) paired with calf length socks and your polished black formal shoes, are a walking story demanding to be told. No, I am not making fun of you. And I don’t think even if I am you would remotely be offended. You see – you don’t care. You being one of the rare gems who really knows how to do that. That’s amazing. Your consistency and commitment to maintaining your oddity doesn’t seem odd now. Everybody around is used to your misplaced presence; the guy at the tea stall, the sweeper who can’t stop smiling, the old spectacled beggar whose futile efforts to sell me pity are endless and in a way commendable, the lady whose weird way of walking makes me analyze my own in front of the mirror to confirm that I don’t walk like her, the lady who sells milk packets by the char-rasta with woolen scarf tied across her ears and below her chin looking oddly childish even though she must be over fifty, the fellow goats sipping tea and smoking cigarettes at the galla with their ID cards dangling over their necks and finally this borderline anorexic tall girl with a black bag swinging upon one shoulder, white earphones chords swaying with her steps, with her hunchback and messy hair hurriedly tied as a bow, spectacles unsuccessfully trying to cover her dark circles, her small tired face sometimes lost in thoughts and sometimes lost in series of stupid self-conversations, sometimes smiling, sometimes impassive, sometimes trying to mouth the lyrics of her favorite English song which she doesn’t really remember or a Buddhist chant ; none of these people find you odd anymore. If you become what they call “normal” that would be the thing that would be most abnormal.

Every piece of your clothing is a fashion apocalypse. The answer to why you dress this horrible way will always be food for my imagination. But the fact that it doesn’t deter you from flaunting them off is incredible! Every wrinkle on our face is an evidence of how your age might have taken a toll on you. And sometimes I can see sadness in your drooping eyes. Sometimes your impassive face seems like a potential threat of how at any second you are capable of doing anything, even something gravely dangerous. What is your story, sir? Is there any way you can tell me besides the conventional mode of communication?