Friday, July 27, 2007

ladies and gentlemen

Some day I will wake up in the morning and treat the day as mundane and ordinary and not worthy of wild, passionate interest. Some day I will walk through my life on tiptoe, without ripples and without messes. Some day I will grow old and grow up and grow smart. Some day I will believe, as Manu says, that life is a "spiral of despair, and your only hope is piling one distraction on top of another, and hoping that your massive heap of delusion doesn't collapse before you die."
Just not any time soon.

Perhaps maturity lies in recognizing the everyday as ordinary, perhaps it does. Perhaps it is the greatest sign of my immaturity, this tendency to revel in incident and accident and coincidence. Perhaps it is true that a twenty-something female in a big city cannot afford to go through her life with eyes open and heart open, inviting everyone she meets into it.

There is a part of my brain that recognizes this, that sends me the customary warning signals every time I do something abysmally, shockingly stupid and reckless. There is a part of my brain wired with every ounce of cynicism culled from my wise mother (don't talk to strangers, avoid eye contact, don't reveal any personal information!!!). There is permanent commentary that dogs my every move, that stares in horrified fascination as I agree to lunches with people I have never seen, and strike up conversations with strangers, and stare at a man on a bus in an attempt to shame him into giving up the seat he is in (fun fact from T's oh-coincidental universe: actually had a pleasant conversation with aforementioned, and ended up on the same bus as him the day immediately after. this is irony.)
There is a part of me that knows in chilling detail all that could go wrong, that imagines scenarios where strangers follow me home, to work, into dark alleyways. There is a part of me that has imagined, in technicolour blurs, all the things strange men can do to unprotected females. There is a part of me that realizes I could be robbed raped killed every time I leave myself vulnerable, open, accessible.
And yet.
And yet.

Trying to convince the rest of my brain to follow any of these wise instructions feels to me like kicking a small and confiding puppy. It is as though I'm trying my utmost to retain that part of me that persists in believing that good things will happen. I have so much trust in the world that it seems unbearably cruel to break it when it remains so resilient to all that it faces.
Oh, I am aware. Aware that one day I will realize the hard way that the world is not a nice place. Some day I will learn through bitter experience that it is probably not a good idea to stare at a gentleman on the bus until he relinquishes his seat to me. Some day I will discover that strangers do not, in general, turn out to be pleasant people at the end of a long day. Some day I will stop marvelling at the wonder of other people. Some day I will stop remembering the kindness of strangers. Someday I will stop hoping and agree in entirety with that part of me that expects only pain and misery and heartbreak.
Just... not yet, please not yet.

I want to know. In the end, if I die hoping, against all evidence and in spite of always expecting the worst, that the world is a wonderful, beautiful, hopeful place, is that so very bad?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

on strangeness

Weddings are such unexpected places, aren't they?
I don't mean the kinds of weddings where you're related to half the invitees and remotely connected by a number of familial ties to the other half (not to mention the fact that you are probably eligible to be married to most of the single gentlemen present. :) Erm.) Those weddings are wonderful if only because they bring home extremely forcefully the immutability of families and traditions and the fact that any more than two old ladies together equals a dissection of past, present and future that will mesmerise and terrify and leave you wishing you never turn out like your grandmother.
No, I do not mean that kind of wedding. I mean, rather, the kind of wedding where you wander in with feelings of great trepidation, holding the colourful invitation in front of you like a shield; the kind of wedding where you walk around the reception hall and are slowly but surely overwhelmed by the feeling that you recognize absolutely nobody present, and you cannot find the bride, who is in all probability the only person who actually knows you were invited.
The few forays you make into discussions reveals that everyone present is either Bengali, or Oriya, or worked for Wipro at some point of time in their life. Which is when you walk up and down an edge of the hall in as discreet a manner as possible (getting in the way of all the waiters), muttering to yourself about how you shouldn't have come and do i know *nobody* here except the bride? and how am i supposed to get home *now*? until you run into people you know, and suddenly there are things to talk about and you feel less like a great gaby in a sari.
And then you greet the bride and groom and you run into a number of persons you haven't seen in years and make a few new friends and end up with nice boys flirting with you.
Probably. :)
And the day ends in DC after dessert, which is the way all good days should end, yes.

Meanwhile, I would like to give thanks for the amply padded posterior that saved my spine from permanent injury during my undignified tumble down a set of stairs yesterday on the way to my exam.
Yes. :(
But nothing was broken, not even any bones, so yay.

When somebody says at the end of a viva, "You didn't make a view? Birds-eye view... Such a nice project, you don't want to show it off?", you know the review has gone well, do you not?

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I feel...
expectant. As though something wonderful is about to happen. Sparkly.

Oh, I lie. That is how I felt two hours ago. As I headed home from the office. Now, however, there is a wedding reception that I will not be attending because of traffic and other animals, and I feel an extreme sense of bitterness at the world and all inhabitants.
Boss B was married today. I missed his engagement ceremony, and now I missed his wedding. Very tragic and shameful and rather unforgivable, no?

(all happy post-thoughts later)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

grown ups

The question is not whether I am right, but rather whether it is right to try and find answers from others. Is it not strange that someone who does not believe in the power of a holy man to tell her how to live her life will happily take advice from ordinary people?
The mistake I make, perhaps, is in thinking that others are wiser than me. The mistake I make is in assuming that something is true only because lots of people say it is.
Does that not make sense?

There are things I must realize on my own, and decisions I must make. Hoping that someone else will show me the way to do that is foolish. There are always things we can learn from other people, always. The things we learn, though, are not the things they tell us.
(I learn more from words not said. Do not you? I feel as though words are just so much illusion - they give you nothing but new confusions and new ways to say things that mean the same and not. They are tools we use to hide what we really feel. How is obscurity worth more than clarity?)

I am the age I am. I have been alive for twenty two years. that makes me an adult, you say? Why does it? My being any age does not mean I will behave (or think, or feel, or speak) the way you (or you or you or you) think I should; purely because of the fact of how long I've inhabited this space in and around my body. It does not even mean I should.
The things people forgive each other may be what makes them wise. There is nothing but stupidity in prejudice and arrogance and bigotry, so how can tolerance not be wisdom? And if someone cannot not forgive me a moment of selfishness or doubt or fear, it reflects not my immaturity, but theirs.

Doesn't being your self mean you decide what that actually means? How else am I wise one moment and not wise another? Or patient one day and impatient another?
Being mere words (mature, responsible, selfish, cruel) that other people will find easier to understand makes you less than you are.
Is what I think, anyway.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

weekend guests

There is a code of conduct that parents expect from their children, isn't there? there is certainly a pattern of behaviour that my mother expects from me unconsciously, or subconsciously; and it seems as though I rarely seem to live up to that code. It is not a conscious neglect on my part, rather it is my determination to always behave the same way in all circumstances. Is that so wrong?
As long as I am within the four walls of the house, and as long as I am outside the house with sufficient distance between me and my parent, I am a terribly model child. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't have a boyfriend. I don't spend too much money, I rarely come out late without a call home first, I don't stay out at all hours of the night.
The problem arises, of course, when my mother and I occupy the same pace and time with anyone not in the nuclear family, and incidentally, always someone who happens to be extended family or close to that. Why this should be, I have no idea. And then there are fights and recriminations and I end up crying about what a weird inhuman non-person I am.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

talking analogies

If I were to imagine it, it would begin with the balance. The scales. The accounting.
(backlog, bank balance, accumulation)
And if I were to imagine it, I would have a plan written out for me; my fate, my destiny.
I see it as... plans. Perhaps - of a house.
But then, I think, it seems more. More than a plan - a concept. A hint of a house, a wish of a house - basic spatial arrangements - a requirement, an instruction, a brief. Flexible.
And when I imagine it, the purpose of life is to get this house built. And keep it built.
So I will find people who will help me with the blueprints. And the materials. And the curtains, furniture, windows, carpets, paint, wallpaper... And the plumbing.
And when I imagine it, I find someone somewhere with whom plans overlap so that we can build our houses over and beside and inside and outside and through each other's.

Hmm. Analogies are really very unwieldy things. Because now I'm thinking neighbours, and countries and walls and fences and apple trees in the garden; and I'm thinking maintenance and home loans and who will mow the lawn after the house is built; and frankly, frankly - this analogy can be carried a long way. Pretty boring way, too.
I just thought it up because I could. Isn't that the best reason?
Life as a House. Somebody already even made the movie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

more mondays

When a day begins in the middle of a three and a half hour long phone conversation that will be remembered for a month, you know it will be a good day in spite of itself.
Nine hour workdays would not be so bad if you could spend them all reading SPOON when the boss is in the room and spend the rest of the time with your head pillowed on your arm with drool dripping onto your sleeve and your mind somewhere and somewhen that your body cannot follow.
Even an hour and a half of drawing and a slightly painful site visit can be offset by a walk to the park, a child in the grass, a squirrel in a tree, and a soothsayer in your face offering to tell your future.
And when it is set in conjunction with a letter you carried around just so you could post it in public, and ended up handing to the man in the mail van just as the afternoon pick-up was to be effected, then you know the day is one for the history books.

I could have done without the people, though. Everywhere I went yesterday, I saw them. There was a time I could be sure to surprise a pleasant reply out of a stranger on the street with a smile and a secret, but suddenly every time I step out of the house all the faces I see are closed, and all the eyes I glance into are dead. Perhaps being away for too long has removed people from the background, but I cannot ever remember so many missing persons wandering my city.
Traffic was a nightmare and lunchtime was heartbreak and the park burned at me till the soothsayer came by.
It weighs heavy.
Does having more humans mean less humanity for each?