Tuesday, October 31, 2006

past due dates

How strange that I feel no shame in the thought of grovelling to the man in charge to get something done. How strange that the thought of flattery and lies and self-abasement no longer turn my stomach. Is it just something I do now?

Monday, October 30, 2006

doubting self

A friend asked me "What does one do when one loses in spite of trying, because one is simply not good enough?"
I read that sentence twice over and then sent him an arbitrary generic feel-good reply, and then sat to mull over the realization that I've never realized I'm not good enough simply because I've never bothered to try at all.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

And I spent too long...

...waiting for blogger beta

Here are the old pages:
not poetry

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

third tag

I've been tagged by another stranger. But then again, we are all family here in blogland.

So. Six things I love about my city

1. Wandering the streets with camera and journal. Café adventures.
2. Second-hand bookstores on Church street. Bookstores with chairs :)
3. Music in little pubs. Wiser youngsters to take me there.
4. Rs. 25 day pass. And the people to visit.
5. Night drives with the sibling on the Ring Road. And ice cream after.
6. Running into someone I know every time I step out of the house. And anywhere.

And I tag nobody. Nobody responds to my tags, anyhow.

All right, I tag Sow. There, now.

And for some fun.
That big fat dog might well be me :)

Friday, October 20, 2006


There is an exasperation that comes with the people who belong to us.
It comes as though expected, like hair in clogged drains and banana peels in the street. It slips in slyly and chokes the little happy moments tripping blithely through your day.
Telephone laughs. Loud voices. Easy tears. Easy fears. Silences. Noises. Nagging. Caring. Sentences repeated. Sentences not heard. Mistakes. Assumptions. Conclusions. Things people do over and over and over till they're part of their personality. Things people say over and over and over till one can predict exactly the words that are going to come out of their mouth. All the lies people tell themselves, and the lies they tell you. All the lies you tell.
Knowing the people who live in your world means you know when and how they pretend; and you know when you do, too. And it is in these moments when things are rubbed the wrong way.
Living with someone gives you time to pick your peeves. Living with someone slams you with the details.

The exasperation will get under your skin. It will grab you and make you snap and scream and sulk and scowl, and then it will hold a mirror up to your face so you can see just what a pleasant person you are.
Oh, but I need some patience.

Monday, October 16, 2006

bright lights

There is something about empty auditoriums (or auditoria. yes, i actually checked) at the end of a performance, especially the ones that you've been a part of. When all attendant families are done meeting and greeting; when all the congratulation and hugging and screaming is complete. When costumes are removed and make-up is taken off. When everyone is making plans about the rest of the night - dinner and parties and sleep. When chatter is muted and everyone's gone.
And the hall sits empty and yellow and familiar.

There's no one around but you and the empty stage, from which all trace of the evening has removed except for those inevitable little things everyone overlooks; a flower, a handkerchief, a ribbon.

And you sit in the first row of the audience and you look at where you were; and you remember where you've been.
You think about old performances: the things you did wrong and the things you did right. The time you sat, frozen, for almost the entire performance till your foot went to sleep and your fingers went numb and people told you they noticed you more than the play just because you stayed still so well. The times your school won Best Play at inter-school fests and how you were there both times. The time the stage monitors for a dance didn't work and you counted everyone through the entire performance. The time you wore new stockings for a dance and tore them on a nail in the ladies' room just before the performance. All the time you spent editing music and dialogue. All the time spent organizing. All the time spent arguing.
You think of greenrooms and make-up and losing things. Borrowed pins and face wash. Last minute panic. Little quarrels. Mixed instructions and many confusions. Rushing around backstage just because it makes you feel important. Screw-ups and fix-ups. The friends you made and the ones you lost. Emergencies and handling them. The thrill of responsibility. The practices and the hard work and all the stress and tension you've been through; all for that one perfect moment that you'll never remember anything of but the emotion, because those lights are shining in your eyes and blinding you and you can't see a thing, but you don't care because you're in that moment and nothing else matters at all.
The butterflies before every performance, and the relief after. That ecstatic sense of a job well done. The after-parties. That's what you sit there and think of.
That's what you remember.

Sometimes the best part of a performance is the afterward.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

past presents

Did you know? You can send yourself an instant message in the year 2020. Be part of the Yahoo! Time Capsule.

Almost it intrigues me.
Yea, even so. After the first half hour of laughing at the incredible people who would spend time out of today for tomorrow when yesterday's still beating them around the head, I began to see the benefits. Indeed, and I saw the incredible potential of a time capsule to effectively counter immense boredom brought on by work you don't want to do and people you don't want to see and all the things and people who just aren't around.
An email time capsule that you can not edit to make sound more impressive is a fabulous way to remember your young and (all right, just more) impressionable self.
It's essentially the point of any time capsule:
To see if you've done the things you wanted to.
To see if you're the person you wanted to be.
To see if you're different in any way. In any way that's good. Or bad. Either way, actually. (I guess those last three sentence fragments were rather unnecessary.)
Fourteen years is a long time...
Here is my tentative composition, then.

Hello this is you fourteen years ago. I'm really bored. Hope you're having a better time than I am. Hahahaha we're both having this time at the same time, because I'm from the past, see?? So I'm having a time at the time of writing this letter and you're having a time at the time of reading this letter, see? Hahahahah! It's one of those fun time-thingies whatchamacallits.
There's a calvin strip about this somewhere. In fact, I think I'll go read some comics. Or some peoples' blogs. I'll make you a list so you'll know what you used to read. In fact I'll make you a whole bunch of lists. That's going to be so much fun for you! Books, music, movies, food, blog-reads! You'll have a week of entertainment!! You lucky, lucky girl!!!
And then you can see if you write better now, or, (oh, I love this part) now!
See you. Or rather, be you.
Hahaha, I totally crack myself up.

I must be the only person I can write to as a total dweeb and not worry of judgement. But then again, I'll only know for sure in 2020.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

timidity and old scores

I want to share a story. It's a long story, and I give you my apologies for that. But if you care at all, please read it. It matters to me what you think.

Once upon a time I met a guy. Once upon a time we set up a charming online flirtation. Once upon a time was my first time, and I went a little overboard. Once upon a time someone introduced me to blogging, and chatting, and the charm of esoteria. Once upon a time I was almost in love.

And then I found something someone had written about it.
Yes? Go look. That second part is about me.

What I did after I read this, I'm not proud of. I could not believe there existed in this world people who, if faced with the facts would not turn around and at least admit their validity.
(Such naïveté. I cannot smile about it yet.)

I sent him a letter.
Then, not content to leave well enough alone, I bombarded him with emails. Explain to me, I'd pleaded. Explain to me how someone so nice can have a friend as horrible as you. Explain to me how someone who sent me virtual hugs and kisses and had said "I love you" within ten minutes of our first chat could accuse me, me, of being the desperate one in the relationship. Explain how you can make blanketr statements about someone you don't know. Explain how you can take such liberties with something as precious to a girl as her reputation.
How stupid was I?
I'd wanted him to eat those words, I'd wanted that slander out of his mind. I'd wanted no one to think of me things that were based on nothing. Dislike me as much as you want, I'd always think. Just do it on my own merit.
I didn't think of it in those terms, naturally. I didn't have the self confidence to put it in those terms either. It's only now that I see that that (so many thats!) was what I was trying to say.
How stupid was I? How cowardly? How timid?
The man had given me enough fodder to rip apart his morals, his ethics and his mental ability. At every step he insulted me, and then defended his thoughts by saying I shouldn't care what a stranger thought of me. He'd defended his decision not to give me advice by saying he knew nothing about me; and then he'd said he was entitled to his opinions about me and there was nothing I could do about it. He'd shown himself, with every subsequent letter, to be crude and prejudiced and contradictory and stubborn. Blanket generalizations and unfounded accusations.

And I tried to make excuses for him because I'd liked his friend. The stupidity of a susceptible heart.

I was young and inexperienced and clumsy, but that does not excuse my behaviour. What I realized after five months is that even less does it excuse his.
I was so unwilling to blame the common factor that I wrote him letters as well. These were the kind of letters that make me think "Glenn Close!" Even then I thought it.
There is no excuse for the way I continually abashed myself, put every bit of the blame on my own head. I must have done something to give him the wrong impression. Because I knew nothing, it's what I assumed. For someone who sees sexual harassment in every lone man around, I missed just plain harassment when it was staring me in the face.
Because I liked the boy. Because he was the first person who'd ever thought I was pretty. Who'd spent an hour in a conversation with me about nothing. He was someone who'd made me feel special, and attractive, and fun, and to think it was all a lie was breaking my heart. See, I never wanted a relationship. I never asked for a relationship. I was not the one who started this thing.

This has sat heavy on my head for far too long, and I never did anything about it. What stopped me, every time, was the thought that I owed the boy. I owed him. For things he showed me. And taught me. And brought to my life. Every time I wrote a post, I'd think, If not for him.

What I know now is that nothing is worth this.

Consider the score settled, love.
Take this, my gratitude.
I wish you joy of your friends. I have mine.

Author's note: As always, after a spewing of bile, I began to doubt the statements I'd made. But then again, this pain is mine; and all I've stated here is the truth. Perhaps I'll remove this sometime. But I did not think it fair that I could get no answers from direct contact, and that's why this is here. When all I met were evasions and sentences that said nothing at all. I will leave this for that.
For the clarity, and the explanations. For the closure.
This might be a temporary post.
I hope it is.

Update: Edited. All I've left are the links. To publicly posted material. Nothing more. I couldn't follow through, and I couldn't make it stay. I haven't asked permission. I haven't given warning. I have not covered my bases. The pain I'd cause is not worth the settling of old scores. Do you blame someone because you were too inexperienced and naïve to know any better? Or do you leave well enough alone when everything is done even though the memory rankles as much today as it did five months ago?
*sigh* I await further developments.
Update again: *sigh*, ow.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

old things

So it's been six months since I got here. And a few days more. It seems, at the risk of sounding trite, rather incredible. I've been happy here. What I'm missing are the new people. No one stops by any more, alas. But then, I think I post too often. Absence and the heart fonder and all that. The key is, to take a hiatus, and leave something fun to see.
Here are my pet posts, picked. Backwards.

social calls centennial passing bogeyman been a while the brothers singh more ventures ventures out of my face post forum too much input cobblestones! heavy in my name ol spirit sing theory :) crochet matrimonial café again running jam pictures king café mice late fool

There are twenty nine of them. If you run the mouse over, you get pretty green special effects. I promise I'll reply to every new comment I get. Really.
Someone tell me when I get boring.

social calls

* (yes, go down and find it)

Now, a few days ago, I had the pleasure of walking around my current part of town to visit old friends and neighbours*. It was invitation time, and personal delivery was felt to be the most thoughtful way to go about it. Hence, come sunset, witness me trudging along towards old haunts.

I visited five residences in two hours, in itself a feat, and then proceeded to do my duty in each one. I explained in detail the current situation of my studies, my mother's work, my sister's practice for the recital, the trials of arranging an arangetram; the traffic, the roads, the weather.
I then proceeded to partake of the food on offer (at every house, o' the horror. tea, biscuits, juice, bananas**) depending on whether my audience
a. possessed a son in foreign lands (two families)
b. contained elderly members (three families)
c. rejoiced in new arrivals (one family - and that kid is adorable)
d. had just had spats with neighbours over street dogs (one family) or
e. had just returned from holiday (one family).
I also smilingly denied the first reaction to the invitation at every single place of visit.***

Then I discovered, to the accompaniment of indescribable feelings, that I was, in fact, enjoying it all. And hence found myself face to face with a startling and disturbing thought. I am not my mother. I am my ancestors!

* Ah, more remniscence of Jo March.
P.S. This particular footnote wasn't really necessary; I just wanted a new meme to adopt (Plus it's a nice alternative to those parentheses. Also, it has shades of Terry, and you know that's all I need.**)
** Well, some of you know; ekcetera, ekcetera, bugrit.***
*** And here's where you return to the singly asterisked sentence. viz, the title.

* Damn. Necessary, this one. See, once upon a time, we lived in a particular locality (for four years), then moved elsewhere (for three), and then moved back within walking distance of the first (three years ago). Which naturally explains why I hadn't seen any of my erstwhile neighbours in six years.
** That was at my music teachers'. Two smart, funny, energetic cricket-loving delightful old ladies in a little house. More people like that, please.
*** "Oh, you're getting married, ah? Never told us! ahahahaha." (phe.)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

comic interlude

It seems to be one of those little rules of this wonderful thing called life, that a day (or a week, or a month) of grand epiphanies and solemn thought be followed by such moments that will leave you shaking your head ruefully for aeons.
Last night I misplaced my phone.
This happens on a fairly regular basis, because I have four bags I cart around depending on the situation, with the phone actually in the current bag for preference. And when I'm at home, a whole new set of locations enters the equation - the tops of the television, the computer monitor and the washing machine, any place in any of the three bookshelves, the sinks in the bathrooms, any of our four beds, my cupboard, my mother's cupboard, my father's cupboard, the balcony, and anywhere on the floor I might have dropped it.
The usual practice when I've misplaced my phone is to call it. That sets off the loud and insistent ringing and every member of the family currently in the house is roped into the rescue efforts. The average is two calls before it is found, and I was, until recently, justifiably proud that we'd got the system down to such a fine art.

Last night was different. My phone had been on low battery for a few hours before it went AWOL; and when I called it, instead of the reassuring sound of the ring tone I'd been saddled with by Hutch (completely against my will), I heard instead a poorly recorded automated message telling me the phone I was calling had been switched off. Panic ensued in short order.
I systematically turned the entire house upside down, all the while whimpering "my phone" in a pathetic little voice, aware that there were far more important matters in the world needing attention. After about an hour of concerted effort, we'd found numerous items previously given up for lost (isn't that always the case?) including my mother's spectacles, assorted stationery, and a coat hanger (don't ask). We went through every room in the house, some of them twice, but to no avail.
I went to bed desolate and disconsolate and phoneless.

This morning, my mother found my phone. In the freezer.
The joy of life.