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May. 27th, 2013 @ 10:29 am The words you meant hard; but don't anymore.
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Contemplative
Current Location: Home
I'm Feelin like: Monday morning
Music I'm Listening to: Rudra:Agam
What happens to expressions that were once meant deeply but now are just fiction? Imagine that a world's being constructed from the words you intentionally said meaning them fully. When you stop feeling those things anymore, I guess the world that was being constructed sort of gets abandoned; much like a settlement that was once on the banks of a river, fertile and flourishing, but is now unpopulated because the river changed course. These settlements are capable of re-visits, and more so if the corresponding  feelings are written down somewhere, in long mails, in diaries, in silly handwritten love letters and text messages typed under a desk while looking straight at the teacher.

All this is just an ode to the nature of what we call " the truth of being". Truth's just a feeling triggered by electro chemical impulses within the human body, just another of those things like love, hate, joy, and depression. It is as much a result of observation as it is of longing and that's why there is no one truth and that's also why truth keeps changing. Humanity is capable of also pairing its truths, much like phones on a Bluetooth pairing.

But, there are no worlds that get constructed. Everything is in your mind, and the importance of having an uncluttered mind is best expressed by Sherlock Holmes while explaining his lack of "general knowledge."

"I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

In other things, has anyone heard "Rudra" by mal metal band Agam?
May. 8th, 2013 @ 01:08 am Some Housekeeping
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Happy
Current Location: [update.bml.location.detecting]
I'm Feelin like: hopeful
So, sometimes, you get that urge to purge? Purge the shit thats been lying around in your head accumulating the dust of worry, stuff that needs to be expunged from the system? Whether its clearing the excrement of your dear depression from your blog, or deleting ultimately useless angst from your inbox, housekeeping is both tiring and therapeutic at the same time.

Housekeping's important though.If you plot the graph of life with happiness and time as its axes you'd probably end up with a series of right angled triangles, much like the roofs of those old factories and warehouses. And when you're done with some of those instant vertical drops, you cant really start the long climb to a position of  happiness without some housekeeping. Some load-shedding. (By the way, its a supremely satisfying moment when you can use that term to define any situation other than not having enough electricity to go around!)

It isnt easy, always. Actually its mostly bloody difficult. And its hell for people who generally dont like letting go. But it just needs to be done and it gives you perspective. It makes you stronger. And teaches you some rather strange lessons, like, sometimes you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and burn your house down to kill the rats in the cellar (both metaphorically only, though.)

And while you are at it, its nice to leave a marker along the way. Write yourself something in the vicinity of a certificate of change of mood. Note therein that around the corner somewhere is a vertical drop. It'll serve you well.
Aug. 4th, 2011 @ 03:31 am The Nature of my Game
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Angry
I'm Feelin like: awake
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I have become the worst sort of moron there is. One that's still wearing a tie and looking at a computer at three thirty in the morning.

I know something has happened to me. Its changed me in ways that I don't like but can't really help. I have always been a sucker for addictions and escapism is my performance art of choice. I guess this is just another never ending search for the fix around the corner.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

Jul. 27th, 2011 @ 07:16 pm Atonement
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Contemplative
I'm Feelin like: imaginative
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The day came that he realized the truth.No matter what religion he  subscribed to,his counting will not be amongst the virtuous. The Gods would perhaps forgive him. Maybe he could attain deliverance by himself. But he was sure he had sinned. There were tears, if not blood, on his conscience. He knew he had harmed and hurt and upset too many people too many times. He wasn't the sorts to labour under elaborate delusions of self so he knew very well what atrocity he was committing when he did each of those things. He wondered not of the consequences of those actions then. He believed that fate was decided by the might of his arms and the strength of his will. Every advance was planned, every castle well defended. It took a lot to get where he got and he particularly didn't mind the path that brought him there. The emperor was the emperor and emperors don't sin.

But as the years past he started losing his iron grip. On his empire and on the strength of his belief. One by one they all betrayed him. Those he could have sworn would protect him with their lives drew their swords with the intention of colouring them with his blood.At the end it was just him and his thoughts. He thought of his conquests and all he could remember were the faces of the vanquished. He remembered the days when he was lord of all he surveyed and remembered only the fear in the eyes of children. The evil that men do comes back to haunt them. He wished if he could undo what he had done. He only hoped for atonement. And death.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

Jul. 2nd, 2011 @ 06:09 pm My Song Of the Season
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Contemplative
I'm Feelin like: indescribable

When life is chaos for long enough rest starts looking like an alien feeling and peace is a vague concept in thoughts of misty hills. When change sweeps life and time doesn't show you mercy to cope, all that you look for is that next adrenaline rush. Its been a tumultuous few months for me and while I am yet to fully grasp or come to terms with most of it, some observations do strike hard enough to have an impression.

One of those for me has been the power of art to inspire. More specifically speaking, music. Some of the few moments of absolute bliss that I remember from  otherwise very hazy memories are those spent in front of a powerful sound system listening to good live music with mildly altered consciousness.

There comes a time in life where a pair of earphones plugged to you are your only weapons against the chaos that is your life. I have gone through my fair share and this one was particularly severe. There used to be a time when I wrote about the songs that moved me and yet here I am today not writing about the music that keeps me afloat. I have decided to get something to shove back at the normative me that lives inside of the actual me and continuously taunts my inaction and weakness.

How I listen to music has also changed. The last few times music has kept me sane were mostly times i spent in bed with a laptop by my side. This time around its been a phone and lots of activity. After a long time I now have a device that shows my most played statistics back to me in the form a phone that has more computing power than my first personal computer.

So it turns out that the single piece of music that I listened to the most was Dani California, from one of the few really pleasurable albums of the last decade by any band, Stadium Arcadium by RHCP. I don't generally know why I like a particular song. I mean, generally its such am instinctive and deeply personal affinity that's difficult to ever really express in words. But with this one its different. I know exactly why I am in love with this song. Its a perfect example of a talented group of artists take something made by the real immortals and do their thing around it, with it, and make it. their own.

Dani California starts off as Sweet Home Alabama and ends as Purple Haze and in between RHCP just does their own thing so well that you just get blown to pieces.  In fact if possible  I suggest one should listen to all three songs in order. With Dani California in the middle. Its enriching.

How i Wish i could listen to more world class live music!

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

May. 30th, 2011 @ 12:38 am At night on the streets of Bombay
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Default
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The measure of a place should always be made on the best it has to offer. I seem to remember only the happiest and best in both places and people. Delhi for me has always been about the winters for example and i dream of home as wet in the monsoon rains. These are of course places where i like the seasons but there are places i like  and remember for the nights. No matter what season i go there i remember the nights in Goa way more than the days.

Bombay is a stark example of how a town can be two different places twice in the span of twenty four hours. The days in Bombay are nothing but a study in how  inhospitable a city can be. Almost everyone is in a hurry and getting around or doing anything other than sitting in air conditioned spaces is quite a bit of a hassle.  A Bombay day on an average demands more effort and stamina than most other places i know. To add to it the weather is pretty horrid except when its raining.

But once the sun goes down the script takes a turn for the better. The reassuring sepia which reflects off the roads and the space for both automobiles and breeze to work the way you want them to show you what Bombay truly is or can be for a little while every day. Sitting at a sea facing public area in Bombay is one of the best things to do whatever else is happening with life. The Bombay night is warm and breezy and its a just reward after the pains of daylight.

I have been running a bit at night and i find it to be a very pleasant thing to do. Its quite safe and there is still a gatorade available if i feel i need one even past midnight. Maybe its the lighting; maybe its the unobtrusive presence of other humans, but i also find these nights to be consoling to troubled minds.

People call this town the city of dreams. I think i know why people dream a lot here. If you believe, like me that dreams are mostly a reflection of your feelings, then maybe its this night that makes people dream so much.

Posted via LiveJournal app for Android.

Apr. 18th, 2011 @ 04:47 pm A Full Circle
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Contemplative
I'm Feelin like: crushed

If you were the kid no one could stand in school, like I was, it wouldn’t have taken you very long to learn that happiness is something that has to be found within self.  There was no use looking for it anywhere else because the world (and the people around you), just don’t care that much about whether you are happy or not. At a very early stage in life itself, I learned that a basketball, with the right amount of air in it, would bounce back exactly the way you wanted it to. There was certainty and reassurance in it. It was a fact that enabled me to be happy despite the fact that most of my classmates wanted to beat the shit out of me.

 

Then I went to college and the pretty much the same story got repeated. For the longest time, the basketball going where it went, the smoke that affected my mind the same way no matter what, and many other such constants kept me happy. I steered clear of finding my happiness in another person, and I found satisfaction in my loneliness.

 

Then it happened. Someone came into my life and enriched it to an extent I thought wasn’t possible. The absolute certainty that someone other than my parents would care for my happiness over their own stamped itself into my protesting mind slowly but surely till it became the way I thought. I was an addict.

 

I was a very happy addict. Joy knew no bounds and the seeming achievability of success added further conviction till I was sure that true happiness is incomplete till it can be shared. I wasn’t lying when I told people that I’d been a fool all along.

 

Things changed. But the fact that I’d been a fool didn’t. Once you are an addict to something as dangerous as a definition of happiness that included someone other than you, you better hope the other person is your mother or something. It wasn’t my mother, in my case. Moron.

 

I’m back to being the unpopular kid nobody wants to play with. And this time I don’t even have a basketball.

 

 


Dec. 28th, 2009 @ 07:01 pm Random Things about Bombay
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These are a collection of things that I've seen heard and felt in Mumbai, with absolutely no relation to anything else in the whole wide world except that I found them worthwhile enough to write about. They are not put down in any order of preference and would seem completely trivial to some, if not most.

1. Late Night Local Train Rides

The Bombay Locals are hardly the sort of things that people would write about in the general tone and measure of a leisurely and peaceful mode of going from one place to another. And yet, a job that frequently involves the sort of timings that would entitle factory workers to double pay has given me an alternative outlook on these often maligned but absolutely indispensable (unless one is of the disposition as one of my dear friends is, that South Mumbai ends at Colaba Causeway and Mumbai at the Mahim flyover) ascpect of Bombay life. To cut a long story short, I like travelling on the footboards of trains. I have done entire waking sections of epic train journeys (being from Trivandrum, I've done my share of 2500 plus km trips, epic by most standards), cutting through the length of India, standing on the footboards of the train. The only sane time to travel on a Bombay Local on the footboard (actually, there is no footboard, its just the door) is past eleven thirty at night, and the twenty minute ride from Mahalakshmi to Santa Cruz is one of the few pleasures involved in working late.

2. Grafitti/Street Art

Very recently, some enlightened soul did Bombay a favour by taking the very uncharacterestic decision of allowing the walls on one side of tulsi pipe road from Mathunga all the way to Lower Parel to be painted/decorated by, it seems, anyone who wanted to. This has resulted in some real gems, including some stuff that cannot have been done by anyone but a professional grafitti artist. My favourite is a simple and essentialy Indian cartoon thats painted on a wall between Phoenix Mills and Mahlakshmi. It shows two groups of people pointing guns at each other. The group on the left are without question the naxals and facing them with guns are a cop/armyman, whose being pushed forward by a neta, who in turn is backed by a fat cat corporate honcho. The caption under the Naxals reads "MAO-WADI" and the one under the cops/netas/fatcat reads "MOU-WADI." Priceless to say the least.

3.Medina- Step In Combo

Mahim is an area of great interest for any sel-respecting Mallu boy in Bombay, who is looking for a good way to spend an evening with his friends. It has the underappreciated Hotel Medina, which serves the best kappa biryani I have eaten outside of Kerala, and yet does not have the sort of fame that Hotel Deluxe in Fort has. The same area also has perhaps the best watering hole for a wallet conscious gentleman, in the form of the apty named Step-In Bar. Not shady in the mode fashionable to like if you are a Lawschoolite (which means a dimly lit, dirty place), Step-In is brightly lit, and provides much required quencing of thirst at very affordable rates. If you thought Ambience or Gokul was the ideal place to get sloshed on Rs. 200, then this brilliant place tucked in a side lane in Mahim will take your breath away.

4. Intoxicated Relaxation at Marine Drive   

If you have been there and done that, then you know. If you havent, please do. It is one of my top three urban peace/contemplation spots, the others being Lodhi Gardens on a winter evening, and the Vadakkunnathan Temple grounds in Thrissur. Be careful with your slippers, though.
Nov. 11th, 2009 @ 07:47 am Rain
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It’s raining here in Bombay. The sun, so unsparingly searing for the past few weeks, has so sportingly gone absent without leave, and almost gale force winds are deposing the potted plants on the balcony from their majestically upright position. For the first time in ages, the air conditioning is hailed because it is essentially warmer than it is on the outside. It’s the perfect weather for intoxication and clean acoustic guitar based music.

Over the years, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with rain. The vagaries of fate and fortune positioned me in Trivandrum, Kerala for the first nineteen years of my existence. For a good majority of these nineteen years, I was in the habit of scrutinizing cloud movement to see if precipitation would disrupt my evening basketball practice, the epitome of goodness in life, as it then was. The basketball court in Loyola School, Trivandrum was a thing of glory and wonder. It was located in a massive quadrangle, sheltered by trees, and when a match was happening, all classes in senior school were suspended, and the entire school would be there. But the most peculiar attribute of the court was that the flooring was made of marble chip tiles. When dry, it was a better surface to play than any other, but was notoriously treacherous and genuinely dangerous when wet. Also if it did rain, the water would not seep down like the usual rough concrete courts, as a result of which I’ve spent many an afternoon, along with fellow teammates sweeping the entire court dry so that we could play. Quite obviously, rain was not a welcome visitor those days, and the fact that we had so much of it made me only hate it more.

In college, Lucifer influenced me well enough to hit upon alternate modes of spending an evening. One of the few positives results of this revolution was that it allowed me time and inclination to enjoy rain. NLS Bangalore is a narrow patch of land which would have been condemned to ordinariness had it not been for the greenery. Rain at NLS was beautiful, and many an intoxicated afternoon was spent enjoying the sight of earth renewed by rain.

Now, rain feels strange. It’s a pain to get around, but it’s also a huge relief from the scorching heat. I think this calls for a Khandala trip this weekend. ;-)
Nov. 9th, 2009 @ 10:41 pm On Activity and Nostalgia
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Contemplative
Unfortunate indeed is the man who cant look back at the days of his childhood and smile. In terms of the days of my youth, I’m privileged to have been splendidly blessed. I lived a very happy life, carefree, with not an inkling of the angst that was to manifest itself so darkly and completely much later. In addition to not being angsty, there were also other momentous differences between the me of my childhood and me now. The most pronounced difference would probably be in the level of sustained activity that was the hallmark of my existence in those days. Make no mistake, I’m not being a hopeless romantic here, and it might sound eccentric but I miss the countless hours of running around and playing in the unforgiving tropical heat of a Kerala summer. Nowadays I start grumbling about the heat and humidity I am subjected to in a twenty minute taxi ride in Mumbai, when it strikes me that I am the same human being who wouldn’t mind three hours of football in the scorching heat as a kid. And mind you, by activity, I don’t mean just sports. I miss the running. Running for no cause, motive or basis. If I needed to move, I’d run. Running defined freedom, and it almost defined existence. And here I am, the same boy grown, who frets over his laziness to exploit a ten thousand buck gym membership. Forgive me if it sounds like a condensed version f the philosophy of Forrest Gump, but it was quite something to race around randomly.

Life is nothing but the corruption and systematic destruction of a beautiful ideal known as childhood.
Oct. 19th, 2009 @ 08:55 am Helter Skelter
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Contemplative
I'm Feelin like: distressed
In the late 80's and early 90's, Mohanlal, that curly haired, moustached epitome of malayali manliness, made a name for himself appearing in a series of movies where he was a common man striving in extraordinary situations that he found himself in due to his interactions with the "system." Those sensible, understated but genuinely good movies touched a nerve with the masses and ensured that our man Mohanlal would reach the ultimate position in south indian pantheon of superstars. In reality this meant that like Rajni post-Baasha, a movie in which Mohalal receives even one blow from the baddies would pose a serious risk to the tranquility of the area in which it was released.

While it is genuinely sad that if an actor has proved himself a legend, then he is banned from doing exactly the sort of movies that made him a star and is instead condemned to make crappy trash, that is not really what I wanted to write about. I keep feeling like a character in one of the above-mentioned Mohanlal movie. My crime has been to want a flat to stay in, now that I have a job and a steady income. I knew that getting a flat in Bombay wouldnt be easy, but I had no clue how difficult it would turn out to be. What should have been a fairly simple commercial transaction is turning out to be more convoluted than some of the project finance structures that I've seen. It is disgusting to say the least.

But hey, once I get my own house I'm going to be such a TV SLUT. IF I get my own house.
Aug. 13th, 2009 @ 11:35 am Update
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Its not that I’ve stopped writing. I write a lot these days, but that’s mostly lending documents. You see I’m a Project Finance attorney now. I’m one of those guys who stays in office way past the time bars close around town, and goes to work on weekends too. Well, its not that bad actually, I work in a bank and not a law firm, but then I’m not paid as well as the law firm guys are.

One of the good things about being employed, other than a steady salary and all the coffee you can drink is the fact that you are never bored. You don’t have the time to be bored. By the time you are done with work, all you want to do is sleep and by the time you wake up, you are already late for work. It’s a good way of spending time till you figure out what you would do with all the time you will have if you didn’t do this anymore.

What of independence then, what of freedom, one might ask. The only freedom you have is the freedom to spend your salary ten days before the next salary is due. The only independence you have is to be broke.

In other snippets of randomly unrelated information, the best way to star reading more is to live in a hostel with no plug points in your room. Another bit of information that I recently discovered is that the cheapest books available at most bookstores are the classics. Yours truly is consequently involved in the systematic consumption of things he knows he can get for free on project Gutenberg, but is purchasing anyway to exercise that most sacred of all freedoms, the freedom to blow your money away.
Jun. 13th, 2009 @ 12:18 am The Five Pillars of Wisdom
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Most people are storehouses of worthless information. So am I. Here are some of the lessons I learnt in the university of life, attending the college of hard knocks, taking lessons in having the shit kicked out of me and friends around me. Being a believer of the adage that wise people learn from others’ mistakes as well, this reflects lessons not just from my life, but also those of my more colorful friends.Arranged in no particular order, the pearls of wisdom given below are nothing but a preachy, hopefully funny and completely useless product of my boredom.

1. Statistics catch up/ Be careful

Be Careful. Be Cautious. Cover your fuckin arse. Murder, rape, sodomy, losing a year in college, losing your job, getting a knee in the nuts from your ex, making out with a drunk German guy, are all things that are not very probable, but will happen sooner or later if you aren’t careful. Statistics is horribly skewed. Assume that Murphy’s Laws are totally and entirely true.

2. Sunk Costs are exactly that-Sunk

Yes, you’ve been hitting on the same woman for three years. No, perseverance is not going to help in everything. Knowing when to move on is an art. If not, you might end up losing 1000 bucks in a single night of poker after losing 50 on the first hand. Realized at the end of first year that you made every wrong choice you could have made? Change, let go. The best policy is that the past is a foreign country and that they do things differently there.

3. Fuck the ego.

Accept the truth. You are just an insignificant speck in the universe. Yes, throwing a pebble theoretically alters the centre of gravity of the universe, but it doesn’t come to much does it? This is not good advice to everyone, but it sure worked for me. You will be a lot happier with the sort of scum you really are if you accept it.

4. There is no such thing as a complete Scam

Yes, you have submitted cogged projects all your post-first year life in law school. Yes, its damn nice. But be careful, you will be caught one day. Maybe not in college, maybe not at the exact same scam, but it will all come crashing down. Put a little work in. Be smart. Footnote. Keep Accounts. Tell your girlfriend the truth. Yada yada yada.

5. You are the most important person in your life/ Noone really cares THAT much.

There are exceptions to this rule, like your parents to a large extent, but its bloody accurate for 99.99999% of the rest of humanity. Don’t depend on others. That Sports Com make up might not happen. The match might be rained out or something. Go get that medical make up yourself. The soundest piece of advice I ever got was from my dad when he told me to take care of myself over every one else.
Jun. 12th, 2009 @ 02:30 am A Comeback
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I just felt time creeping up behind me and pulling the carpet from under my feet. I’ve realized it’s got a malevolent little tendency towards doing exactly that, and this time around, I was nowhere near ready. In these few days that I’m no one, I feel obligated to register my protest. I’m being torn apart from people, places and things I’ve come to love. Worse yet, I’m being thrown headlong into perhaps the greatest urban jungle in the universe, equipped only with the anticipation of modest means. As I sit at home, fattening myself on food that is tasty and free for perhaps the last time in a while, I can’t help look restlessly at the world I’m to inherit. I’ve come to the firm conclusion that it’s all some crap and life’s just one long, tough drag.

On the other hand, it could very well be fun and I hate complaining.
Apr. 20th, 2009 @ 03:51 am The Sort of Things People Think
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Over the past few weeks, with all the things that have happened, I've been contemplating on a variety of subjects. I've come to the decision that strange things interest me. For example, with all the election politics happening in college over the past few weeks, an anon senti letter being sent to everyone, and other ABC related drama going on, I was pretty amazed at the fact that none of it really interested me at all. What did interest me though, was the grafitti scribbled in the dust that accumilated on ChiKa's car when he went home/wherever it is a person of ChiKa's eminence goes to in fifth year third trimester. The grafitti was pretty stunning, and it was pretty comprehensive. Whoever the funny demented prick/pricks was/were, he/they did a good job of covering all angles. The messages ranged from the political ("Narendrabhai zindabad" and "I love Varun Gandhi") to the purely emotional ("Bombay is a shithole"), to the utterly racial and to the purely personal ("Iam ChiKa and I like to kiss.") I remember seeing it the first time and bursting out laughing. I've been marvelling at this sort of demented shit, and I have come to the conclusion that realy class in shadiness has disappeared from NLS in the past few years. Basically we dont have anyone who tells us shit like having received a BJ from Indian Women's Cricket star Anjum Chopra in a dressing room.  These are the days where I really miss Chiru.
Apr. 6th, 2009 @ 05:03 am Things that have happened
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Current Location: Hostel Room
Music I'm Listening to: Pentagram:Voice
Its been a while since I've blogged and lot of things have been happening. A small list.

(a) Yesterday I saw a guy and a girl sleeping on a single bed with a pillow partition in between them. It was the funniest sight I saw in a while. 

(b) I have started listening to R n' B because i like pumping bass.

(c) I got my first tailored suit, and have decided that all suits I own will be tailored. There is no other way.

(d) I finally know the difference between a pledge and hypothecation.

(e) The state of Karnataka has earned my wrath for making liquor so expensive. Sometimes I wished Mallya sold his airline and concentrated on making money out of booze without killing the ordinary man.

(f) Despite everything, the fifth years are still unbeaten in this years inter-class.

(g) And oh ya, I got a job. Thank you, its damn nice.

love you all.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 @ 11:59 pm Dread
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For you to understand the real meaning of the word "dread", you should have been really fat and ugly in school, your schoolmates should all be on FB, and the universe should be so aligned that any one of these above-mentioned schoolmates may, at any point, put up embarrassing pictures of a very fat and ugly you in a dirty shirt and with unkempt hair on FB, in an album that will inevitably be titled something like "golden memories". I live in the shadow of the constant fear that pictures from my past will catch up with me one day. The only solution out of this is that I become so fat and ugly now that those pictures wouldnt be much of an embarrassement anymore, but then again, my ego doesnt let me do that.
Feb. 22nd, 2009 @ 11:27 pm Telling Tales
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I knew someone once, who could twist a mean tale. This man was truly special. He was the ugliest mofo you ever saw, and yet he had real charm. The guy wore the dirtiest clothes but he still attracted throngs. He walked only in the shade, but when the sun set over ganga he ruled the realm. There's never been a guy like him before, and there never will be.

Now the thing about him was, he could talk. Talk like it was nobody's business. He'd have an opinion on everything, from Cricket to Frogs mating. But most of all, he was appreciated for his unparalleled storytelling habits. Whats funny about the stories is that he used to tell it to us as things that happened to him, and everyone used to listen to each and every one of the stories knowing very well that the dude was just making them up as he went along. Despite knowing that he had never ever done the fifth year he claimed to have done at his first new year party in law school, we'd sit, entranced as he told us about the video clip he took of the event with his camera phone that never existed. He told us tall tales, and we all listened to them like spellbound kids. They were just so much fun.

Some days, I sit and wonder if I'll ever meet a character like that.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 @ 08:32 pm The LA- Boston Question
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Basketball
A while ago, a visitor wouldn't have been very off the mark if s/he thought this blog was about basketball.  My inner and outer struggles conspired to keep this space clear of basketball, and sometimes, just clear, for a long time, but I'm back to my roots today.

A while ago, I read this really good article on nba.com about the Lakers-spurs rivalry in the West. As valid an argument can be made in support of that, I was surprised they hadn't written much on the fact that we are currently witness to one of the greatest rivalries that the league has ever seen. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, we are watching the third instalment of the greatest rivalry between two professional sports franchises in all of sport. OK maybe I'm exaggerating a bit there, but only a bit. The Lakers-Celtics rivalry is one that has kept the NBA alive through most of it's life and injected it with valuable attention when it was dying out. The number are impressive. Out of 62 NBA Championships held so far, these two teams have won exactly half, i.e. 31, between the two of them. Thats not just amazing, its bloody miraculous in a league of 30 where the worst team beats the best team on a good day.

It's a lot more than a rivarly between two teams, its like a clash of cultures. It's West v. East. It's glitz and glamour v. grit and determination. Its showmanship v. hustle. And most of all, its offense v. defense, the single most enduring philosophical conflict in the NBA. Unlike Satyajit Sarna, Aditya Shamlal and Karan Lahiri, who will understand, those needing explantions should understand the truth of old saying that offense sells tickets while defense wins championships.  LA teams have been fast, explosive and unstoppable scoring machines while Boston has been a shut-the-other-team-out outfit. And I'm not generalizing here. 



In the first installment of the rivalry, LA had players like Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor, people who revolutionized the offensive game of basketball, while Boston had a team led by the inimitable Bill Russel who has more Championship Rings than he has fingers, and featured players like Bob Cousy, Sam Jones and John Havlichek. In years between 1959 and 1969, the Lakers and Celtics met in 7 finals, all of which Boston won. The most memorable of these was pwerhaps the '69 finals where a remarkably talented LA swept Boston in the first two games, leading to perhaps the greatest recovery in the history of the NBA with an aging Russel leading Boston to its 11th title by winning the next four.


And then the '80's came, and while the rest of the world took a break in aesthetics, the NBA witnessed the birth of two great champions, Magic and Bird. In '84 came a series that defined the NBA. Larry Bird's Celtics, unable to match up with Magic's Showtime, slowed the game down and make it a purely physical question of fighting for the ball.

The Celtics won, but LA had learnt their lesson, coming back to win in '85 and '87 agains the Celtics. In this version of the rivalry, LA were again certainly the superior team, but Bird, McHale, Parish and Co: would make up for it with their brass knuckled tactics and sheer physicality. I guess this was when the whole idea of how LA having the stars, and Boston having the team solidified.


Soon enough Jordan came about, and as a kid growing up in the nineties, Boston and LA were not exactly my teams of choice, nor was their a champion other than Jordan. However, youtube and P2P changed my life because it enabled me to see the truly great games played before my time. That's when I picked up my fascination for the LA-Boston rivalry. And I applied the lessons in my life as I realized that no matter how much you force the action on defense, defense must react to where the offensive players are spaced and where the ball is. While there is timing involved in defense, it takes more practice time to develop offensive timing because the player movement, positioning, and spacing has to be in synch with the movement of the ball. I became an offensive player and decided that no matter how many the other team scored, I could just outscore them and win. It was only when I started playing ball with professionals when I realized that basketball is a game where the rules are such that the offfense has a huge advantage, and when two equal players play against each other, they can pretty much score against each other each and every time unless they make mistakes. And thats where defense came in. It took me a long time to realize that defense was actually the key and even when I didnt actually block shots or steal balls, if I did enough to make the player miss, I was one up because I knew I could shoot at the other end.

So, since about 2000, I became a fan of teams that played hard and good. Most notable the Spurs and the Pistons. And I fell in love with the doctrine of basketball that the great Celtic teams had put into reality. However, in 07-08, the Boston management decided to do this.



My life changed suddenly, and the team I loved the most was back to playing its original game. Bringing in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to play with Paul Pierce was an inspired move. What was more, Kobe came into his own for the Lakers and they did this.


Suddenly, everything was right with the world again. Boston and LA  had the best records in the East and West, and the 2008 finals had them together for teh first time in 21 years. I remember praying hard for Boston to win, but was sort of preparing myself for their loss, thinking how LA still held the edge with a team that also had Odom combining with the above pictured gods. But like most LA-Boston finals, the Celtics won 3-2. Even this season both teams are heading their respective conferences, and I'm on the edge of my seat.


As for my friends, I know Karan is a huge LA fan, and he has solid reasons to be so. Satyajit Sarna, being the sort of person who'll inevitably support a team that wears yellow and purple over one that wears green and white, will be on the other side. (Plus he has this HUGE thing for Kobe.) I dont know where Shamlal stands on this. But the one person I know bleeds green like me, is Vrinda Bhandari. For being a Celtics fan, for being an awesome ball player, and most of all, for being an absolute darling, this post is dedicated to you, Vrinda. :-)

Feb. 2nd, 2009 @ 05:12 am (no subject)
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Jan. 29th, 2009 @ 10:48 pm The Movies I Wouldn't Have Seen But Did
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Music I'm Listening to: Mountain: Misissipi Queen
By virtue of being in NLS, I've been exposed to a lot more music and movies than I would otherwise have been. I've decided to review some of the movies that belong to that genre, namely thing I would have never watched if I had chosen the life path that I was expected to, which was just a mallu boy studying engineering in College of Engineering Trivandrum. The movies are not numbered in any sort of order.


1. Rumble Fish



I've always had a fascination for Francis Ford Coppola's work, and Apocalypse Now is one of my favourite movies, but if I'm asked to name the one movie that he's made that I love the most, the answer has to be Rumble Fish. I didnt even know of the existence of the movie till I was in 2nd year, and it was only as late as Fourth Year that PM and Sal played this movie when I was lounging around in their room. Five minutes into it, I was mesmerized. This is one of those rare movies where each frame is dripping with raw coolness.

The characterization is out of the world. Matt Dillon was an actor i despised and never thought capable of the kind of thing he did to the Rusty James character. Naivety, the desire to be tough and cool, a fear of being alone, and a certain endearing stupidity have all been incorporated so well into the character that I have almost forgiven Dillon for There's Something About Mary. Mickey Rourke, as the Motorcycle Boy does justice to a character that in the novel, remarks that it is "a bit of a burden to be Robin Hood, Jesse James, and the Pied Piper."



Add Dennis Hopper, Diane Lane, Nicholas Cage, and Lawrence Fishbourne all doing justice to their roles, and what we have is a perfectly and seamlessly allotted characterization. And that's not all. Certain shots in this movie give me the goosbumps. The shot of the clouds passing by  indicating the passage of time took me back a long way to a sunday afternoon in my early childhood when I watched breathlessly as V. Shantaram used moving shadows of jail bars to show the passage of time in Do Aankhien Baarah Haath. The smoky look fo the movie was apparently inspired by a 1951 War movie by Anatole Litvak called Decision Before Dawn. Having never heard of it before, I decided to Youtube it and came up with this. Its a matter of perspective I guess.


Finally, there are those who have argued with me that the film's stylistic quotient is overt and hence bad. I tend to react vitriolically to any such criticism, because for me, thats the whole point of the movie. The style is important in the message, and mistake me not, this is a movie with a message. Do not forget that the book on which the movie is based won the ALA Best Books for Young Adults, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, and the Land of the Enchantment Awards. Without the style, the movie wouldnt be what it is.


2. Tropa De Elite




Why do I like a movie thats been decribed by Jay Weissberg as "a one-note celebration of violence-for-good that plays like a recruitment film for fascist thugs"? Simple, thats exactly why I like it. I happen to belive that violence plays a very important role in a third world society and this movie reletlessly potrays the side of developing countries that movies like Slumdog Millionaire don't even begin to skim. If you have seen City of God, then this movie will change you once more. In one sentence, it is City of God on Speed.

The story of how I watched this movie is fun. Kumara the dude got it from somewhere, and one fine day came yelling " Macha I have this mindfucking movie that you HAVE to see." So we saw it. And guess what? It blew me away compltely. If its true that it is inspired by real events, as it claims to be, then I'm in awe. This movie will shock you, perhaps disgust you, perhaps move you, but you will not be the same after you have seen it. I'll give you a small taste of it.  This is the absolutely fabulous opening scene.


If you are the sorts that likes gory action movies, this is you ultimate adrenaline rush. But its not just that. The movie throws open a lot of debate on Corruption in a Developing Society. Sample this.


Or see this one, aptly titled in Youtube as The Seeds of Evil.


And hey, if there's anyone out there who thought that Jack Nicholson was right in A Few Good Men when he said  "Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and curse the Marines; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to", then Capt. Nascimento in this movie will be your messiah for the next few years. He doesnt tak as much as Nicholson did, but he does much more.

At the end of the day this is one of those movies that will keep you glued throughout the time you are watching it, and leave you thinking for weeks afterwards.

3. The Thin Red Line




If you want to see a war movie, I'd suggest you go watch Apocalypse Now. If however, you want to see the best shot war scenes, you have to look at The Thin Red Line. But make no mistake, this no war movie. It's neither an epic nor an action flick. It can only be described as yet another Terrence Malick movie. The thing about this movie is despite the HUGE star cast, the movie is not about the characters. This ia director doing what he does best, indulging his sense of aesthetics. Nobody captures nature better than Malick and he's at his best in doing that here. Malick movies dont offer much by way of explanation in terms of dialogue but the visuals say it all. And the Soundtrack. What songs. The best in my opinion was "Jisas Yu Holem Hand Blong Mi" which was sadly left out of the OST. Here is a link to teh song though.

That said, the movie had some immortal lines. This is a tribute video with some of the best lines of the movie.


And to understand what I mean by the visual brilliance of a Terrence Malik film, check this video out.


4. Vanishing Point



If I'm asked which is my favourite movie of all time, I'd be at a loss to explain how I dont have one favourite movie. But if asked to give an indicative list, Vanishing Point is one movie thats sure to make the list. This was a movie I foun on Karan's hard drive and noone in my friends circle seemed to know anything about it. After I saw it, that was hardly the case. After a while people started refering to it as "that movie Jian pimps all the time." There's reason behind it. Perhaps no other movie fascinated me the way this one did. I cant really explain the reasons for that. The movie was about a guy who goes on a speed rampage on America's great desert Highways in a '70 Dodge Challenger, that most sexy and masculine of all great American muscle cars.



Maybe its the technique of storytelling employed. Maybe its the amazing shots of the desert and the road. Maybe its because I think its the greatest road movie ever made (Easy Rider does not even compare.) Maybe its the quotes. And there are so many damn good ones. Like Super Soul's "And there goes the Challenger, being chased by the blue, blue meanies on wheels. The vicious traffic squad cars are after our lone driver, the last American hero, the electric centaur, the, the demi-god, the super driver of the golden west! Two nasty Nazi cars are close behind the beautiful lone driver. The police numbers are gettin' closer, closer, closer to our soul hero, in his soul mobile, yeah baby! They about to strike. They gonna get him. Smash him. Rape... the last beautiful free soul on this planet." Maybe Its teh ending. I dont know what really makes this movie truly GREAT. But it is. Take my word for it.

Check out this trailer of the movie for some awesome scenes.


And all you Taratino fans, what do you think this entire sequence from "Death Proof" was inspired by? (The car the girls are driving is? yes, a  white Dodge Challenger)

And any Audioslave fans out there should know that the great video of "Show me how to live" was nothing but scenes cut from Vanishing Point with Chris Cornell's irritating face instead of Barry Newman's. Check it out for yourself.



Make no mistake, this is the grandaddy of all road movies. It's a great influence for entities as dissimilar as Tarantino, Primal Scream and Audioslave. And as far as the ending goes, This quote from wiki sums it all. 

"The ending (and, by extension, the overall theme of the film) has been the source of much debate. The viewer is left guessing why Kowalski insists on driving to San Francisco immediately and then drives heedlessly across four states to his death. Kowalski himself says only "I gotta be in Frisco 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon." And when Jake scoffs that he's being put on, Kowalski says, "I wish to God I was."

Barry Newman offered his interpretation of the film's ending in an interview printed in the March 1986 issue of Musclecar Review. He said, "Kowalski smiles as he rushes to his death at the end of Vanishing Point because he believes he will make it through the roadblock." The August 2006 issue of Motor Trend magazine has a sidebar with Newman, in which he explains that Kowalski sees the light glinting from between the two bulldozers. "To Kowalski, it was still a hole to escape through. It symbolized that no matter how far they push or chase you, no one can truly take away your freedom and there is always an escape." Newman also theorized that the entire film itself was an essay on existentialism. Kowalski drives to drive, with no real purpose for doing what he's doing. He decides to give his own life its definition and meaning, with complete freedom over his actions."

Maybe thats why I like it. Doing things because you feel freedom in not having limits while doing them.










Jan. 29th, 2009 @ 03:27 am Another Really Funny Recession Cartoon From The New Yorker
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Jan. 29th, 2009 @ 12:11 am Dandekar or Holkar
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( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )
Jan. 28th, 2009 @ 10:13 pm The Recession Blues
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The recession is such a bloody spoilsport. There were so many ways I could have avoided being affected by this thing but I guess when all the forces in the universe were bent on spilling the milk, there's no use crying about the milky floor.

When I joined law school, I didnt think I was taking a risk. I studied, got at least modestly good grades, and when the slowdown hit, I thought I had the risk covered. But I guess Keynes was right. There's a fundamental difference between risk and uncertainity, and I, like the ringmasters of the global free market economy, missed the bus on that one.

All this has led to a lot of soul searching, and listening to art-rock bands. My mom, who is least affected by the recession, with my Dad's pension assured, mocks me and refuses to blame the excesses of the US economy for my current condition. According to her, I should have just been an engineer. I'm sure I'd have been more fucked had I been an engineer, but she does have a point. At least there would be no uncertainity. In that case I would be certain that I wouldn't get a job.

I've also been talking to some seniors of mine, one of whom suggested that maybe I need to look outside of a Corporate Law Firm for employment. I've thought about it, and I've thought hard, but I seriously do not like litigation. I'm the sort of person who can sit for hours on a desk and stare at a paper in front of me, analyse information, and arrange it in the required order. I like the drafting part of litigation but I do not want to run around and get it filed, and then run around again and get it heard. Moreover, I've discovered that I've accquired a certain love for the horribly manged draftsmanship of SEBI and RBI, not to mention the oft dreared DD work, which I love with all my heart. Someone told me that if i workerd for myself I would be a lot happier. But the truth is, the moment i put some effort into some work, no matter who gives me the work, and what work it is, I end up liking what I'm doing. Now, normally, thsi would have been perfect for a fifth year at NLSIU. Except, yes, the bloody recession.
Jan. 27th, 2009 @ 11:31 pm Mumbai
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I'm in Mumbai. This is my first time here. I love the city. For me it will always be the city of screeching brakes. Now I've visited all the four metros in the country and can confidently say that I love three of them and cant tolerate one.
Jan. 27th, 2009 @ 11:29 pm (no subject)
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Dec. 16th, 2008 @ 01:40 am (no subject)
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Contemplative
"Faithfulness to the truth of history involves far more than a research, however patient and scrupulous, into special facts. Such facts may be detailed with the most minute exactness, and yet the narrative, taken as a whole, may be unmeaning or untrue. The narrator must seek to imbue himself with the life and spirit of the time. He must study events in their bearings near and remote; in the character, habits, and manners of those who took part in them. He must himself be, as it were, a sharer or a spectator of the action he describes." Francis Parkman

The credo of a historian, as described by the 19th century American Historian subtly underlines the inherent assumption in it that history is nothing but a retelling, a narrative, with a narrator who tells the story in his own way. If history is nothing but an account, then it can be argued that the realm of myth and lore that exists between the truth and fiction is indeed a murky expanse of blackness and confusion. It is in this realm of uncertainty that accounts of historical events often present themselves in the popular consciousness. For example, it could be argued that the picture of revolutionary France has been burned deeper in the common psyche by Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities than many a historical account of those turbulent times. So, there must exist a zone of uncertainty, from where images often establish themselves on the popular consciousness. And when it is nothing but these images that determine history, there is great strength in the argument that the idea of the French Revolution conveyed by A Tale of Two cities or The Scarlet Pimpernel could one day be regarded to be as legitimate a history of that period and of those events as any other. Even if it is not exactly true, the very fact that it remains vividly in the collective consciousness shows the sticky nature of such accounts in the realm of perceived history.

And yet, the importance of these images is not just in the realm of creation of history. As is true with it bordering on truth, it also borders on fiction. Literature has also been defined by these accounts. For example, when Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels intending it to be a scathing satire on the times that he lived in, he expressed it in the form of an adventure novel. Here it is seen how it is possible that a narration of fact percolates down into the mediums which are usually reserved for fiction and takes their form. This can be argued to be the case in the depiction of (admittedly a very fictionalized) account of the Battle of Thermopylae in Frank Miller’s 300. What it illustrates is the fact that a medium like the graphic novel, which traditionally was not exactly the historian’s preserve, is fast becoming so. Just as fiction invades the media of truth, truth invades the carriers of fiction. Miller’s work therefore, can be regarded as a trailblazing event in the depiction of history through a totally new, previously not much tried medium. Its impact was demonstrated amply by the furor created by the depiction of facts in the movie adaptation of 300. Historians argued and offered opinions on the historical truth in Miller’s portrayal. The fact that the only movie in recent times that received the kind of scholarly interest that 300 received was Mel Gibson’s biblically faithful Passion go far in proving the veracity of the claim that the invasion of each other’s territory by truth and fiction using literature as the battlefield is one of the most fascinating conflicts in all the arts and sciences.
Dec. 11th, 2008 @ 02:22 pm (no subject)
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I'm back out in the cold. For the first time in my life, I tried, and I got left standing on the bloody footpath. I dont care anymore, about anything much.
Oct. 22nd, 2008 @ 03:23 am Back
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I feel Good. I'm back where I belong.
Oct. 14th, 2008 @ 05:36 am Of Depression and Winamp
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I’m sitting in a room typing some borderline distressed-depressed shit, when winamp decides to play one on me, and the shuffle function takes me to being a pleasantly surprised audience to the Ramones covering Louis Armstrong, and yelling out, “What a Wonderful World” in a way only they can. It follows that up with a song that I hadn’t heard in a long time, “The Best”, by Tina Turner, and there, suddenly I’m thinking its just another week till law school and that I need to prepare for the repeat I have, and the one that something rotten in the back of my head tells me I will have, when it comes. You see, for the past one day I’ve been held captive by a seething, impotent and definitively hopeless rage, one that’s caused by a lethal combination of extreme lethargy and acute joblessness at a time that justifies nothing less than diligent and determined hard work; coupled with an intense awareness of the ultimate pointlessness of the struggle that I am involved in daily.

But suddenly, the loneliness that threatened to seriously undermine my sanity has evaporated, and the seemingly unending well of optimism has just sprouted out gold yet again, prompting me to be worried about whether I will ever seriously be troubled ever in my life. And now, winamp has led me to U2 and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” They were right, the battle’s just begun. I’ve got shit to take care of, and starting tomorrow, I’m gonna take care of it. Far too many people love me far too much for me to be depressed on them. Far too much can be achieved by action, and far too much stands to be lost by inaction. Even though I’m a big believer in masterly inaction, my final punch line is to get down when the shit hits the fan. So there, world of responsibilities, of exams and deadlines, here I come, ready or not.

I’m never ever going to give up on my shit. Part of being a man, I think, is having to stand up and claim the mess that you’ve created as your own, get the flak you deserve and then sit down and try to set things right. I’m damned if I don’t try.
Oct. 10th, 2008 @ 09:10 pm One for the Misfits
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There are those who just fit in where they belong, but me, I don’t even recognize where I belong, forget fitting in. I’m a misfit, and always have been. Having been an oddball all my life, I can assure you that it’s nowhere near as traumatic as it is made out to be. It is hardly asphyxiating to not conform; I might even go as far as to say that it is enjoyable to a certain extent, providing one with a certain objectiveness of perspective, and as often seen in my case, a disdainful condescension that came out of the quixotic yet hideously misguided intuition that the radicals are the ones who really make the difference.

Admitting me into the most elitist Jesuit school in the state, my parents must have been optimistic about me finding my feet well enough. The bewilderment in my early years was straightforward enough: I didn’t know whether to be a scholar or an athlete. Little did I know then, as a dirty little boy with a white shirt that turned brown by the end of the school-day, that the very same choice would persist to haunt me through the days of my youth and prompt me to make the choices that would perhaps determine the course of my life. For most kids, an effortless solution to this predicament is arrived at by their schools, forcing them to sit down and study the history of the Gupta Period when they should be outside kicking the shit out of a hapless football. Unfortunately, I went to a school that didn’t allow students to tuck in their shirts as it would be an impediment to their personal freedom, and believed that kids should play as much as they should study. So I lazed through primary and middle school with good grades while playing in every team that our school had.

High School came, and the sheer pointlessness of physics and chemistry, coupled with the folly of youth and the reprehensible impulse to be cool made me believe that basketball was a good way to be a dude. The same logic was applied to quizzing and debating, things I seemed to be better than passable at then and I indulged in the too. This led to an interesting episode of my life’s story in which I would be the nerd who played basketball in my state camps, while being the only guy not memorizing the Manorama Yearbook before quizzes. Not fitting in didn’t seem to be a considerable difficulty then, and I managed to pass out of school with a decent enough percentage. The undeniable misfit in me rebelled against the idea of engineering as a profession, while my parents threatened me with outright excommunication if I chose professional sport. The idea of the National Law School floated in front of me as the only chance of salvation, and like a dying man clutching his last straw; I went for it with all I had.

Law school finally allowed me the freedom of doing what I wanted to, without caring about what people around me thought. In the circles I move, I’m still a misfit, but by now I’d realized that it was hardly a curse. Now I’m at that phase of my life when I don’t care about conforming, and yet do it because it makes everything so much easier. Having lived the life, and having seen so many more like me, I can say this much. Being a misfit ain’t that bad. In fact, its fun, if you look at it the right way.
Oct. 8th, 2008 @ 06:56 am Jian Johnson's Top 50
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According to Winamp, the following are the songs that I have been listening to the most:

1. Ruby- Kaiser Chiefs
2. Same Jeans- The View
3. Jacqueline- Franz Ferdinand
4. Who are you- The Who
5. Any Way You Want It- Journey
6. Turn The Page- Bob Seger
7. Love Street- The Doors
8. The Look of Love- Dusty Springfield
9. Ranjhaan- Midivial Punditz feat. Abida Parveen
10.Punjab- Karunesh
11.Joker & the Thief- Wolfmother
12.I Wish I had an Angel- Nightwish
13.Run- Snow Patrol /// Bulls on Parade- RATM
14.Knights of Cydonia- Muse
15.Elanor Rigby- The Beatles
16.Time is Running out- Muse
17.Feel- Robbie Williams
18.Sonnet- The Verve
19.The World is not Enough- Garbage /// Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
20.Hey Tonight- CCR
21.Stairway to Heaven- Led Zeppelin
22.Across the Universe- The Beatles
23.Wish You Were Here- Pink Floyd
24.Up Around the Bend- CCR
25.End of all Hope- Nightwish
26.White Shadows- Coldplay
27.Piano Man- Billy Joel
28.King of the Road-Roger Miller
29.Slow Chemical- Finger Eleven
30.Night Train to Memphis- Dean Martin
31.Alabama Rain-Jim Croce
32.Sirius- Alan Parsons Project
33.D'yer Mak'er- Sheryl Crow
34.Black Dog- Led Zeppelin
35.This Love- Maroon 5
36.Peggy Sue- Buddy Holly
37.Billy Brown- Mika
38.Jamming- Bob Marley
39.Rotterdam- The Beautiful South
40.Folsom Prison Blues- Johnny Cash
41.Snow (Hey Oh)- RHCP
42.Renegades of Funk- RATM
43.Gypsy-Suzanne Vega
44.Hound dog- Elvis Presley
45.On the Other Side- The Strokes
46.Under the Bridge- RHCP
47.Susie Q- CCR
48.Gimme Shelter- Rolling Stones
49.Sail to the Moon- Radiohead
50.The Passenger- Iggy Pop

I just went through the list a couple of times, and let me tell you, all of them are my favourites. All. There's not a single song in there that I wouldnt miss if there was a chance of it being played. If any of you haven't heard of any of the songs in there, you should take them from me. Turns out my favourite artists seem to be CCR, Led Zep, Nightwish, RHCP, RATM, Muse and The Beatles. Not bad actually, though I'm surprised not one Smashing Pumpkins song is there.
Oct. 7th, 2008 @ 11:19 pm Interesting Conversations
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Snippet one

Me: So Anna, are you telling me you intend to never marry?
Gulti Anna: Yep, thats True.
Me: So are you telling me that you expect your somewhat dubious charm to get you sex for the rest of your life? (Rhetorical question)
Gulti Anna: (after a brief pause to think) Well, yes, that's pretty much the plan.

Snippet two

Fat Comrade: Macha I havent gotten an internship macha, what to do?
Me: Chill dude you'll get one. Whats your back up plan?
Fat Comrade: To form the KPF.
Me: And What would that be?
Fat Comrade: The Kota Protection Force. Basically all my friends, they'll get together and find me a job.

Snippet three

Gulti Anna (Sloshed): Find me XY, she is the love of my life.
Me: sure, lets go look.
(After half an hour of unsuccessful searching all around the party...)
Kumara: So anna, what now?
Gulti Anna: Plan B, find me AB, she is the love of my life.

Snippet four

PM: Dude, look at him, poor guy, he neeeds to be intoxicated. He said so.
Me: What? Dude he's your professor, he told you he wanted to be intoxicated?
PM: Well, not me, and not exactly, but dont you think he looks lonely and bored?

Snippet Five

Me: Dude, this gender course that I've taken is fun. Lots to debate on, mainly feminism.
ABU: What debate? My views on feminism are simple. Every woman is a feminist till she's fucked by a man.
Me: well, then what about men who are feminists?
ABU: They arent men, they are gay.
Oct. 7th, 2008 @ 10:09 pm There's Something About Delhi
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I've been in Delhi for about five months since January 2007, which is more time than I have spent at home in the same period, and whenever I get here, my heartbeat gets a little quicker. Delhi's got a something to it that I cant just put my fingers on or express easily in words. Unlike many of the Indian cities I've been to, Delhi always gives me a sense of being welcome. Chennai made me feel like an outsider, and Bangalore glares at me sometimes, mistaking me for a North Indian, like most of my friends there, but I've never ever been called a "Madrasi" in Delhi.

People say Delhi is a sensory paradise and I tend to agree. For me, there's this smell that I associate with Delhi. The smell of spices, of street food, of activity and fried peanuts with masala. I love that smell. Unlike Bangalore or Chennai, language is not a problem here for me. The food is awesome and I don't mind not eating red meat too much only when I'm in Delhi. The climate is crazy, the people are out-of-the-world, the music is loud and repetitive and the policemen are bullies, but I havent seen a city in the world where you can walk with the sense of entitlement that you can roam the streets of Delhi with. The public transport system is awesome and there is something for everyone.

Delhi is a city of cities. While walking around in a distinctly upper class neighborhood, you suddenly come across the tomb of some forgotten 14th century conqueror, or a stone commemorating Roberts of Kandahar's great march. History hits you in your face when you are in Delhi, and so does power. And yet, there's no MNS here telling me that this is their area and that I have no right to be here. Delhi welcomes, and as a result, I would love to make it my home someday.
Oct. 7th, 2008 @ 07:29 am For You, Just in Case You See It
About this Entry
Happy
I'm Feelin like: nostalgic
There's a reason why my "Happy" Userpic on LJ has your picture on it. I do not have the slightest clue where you are or what you are up to. I'm in Delhi now and I would love to meet up with you. I've been worrying about you a lot, and I hope you will meet me sometime or at least give me a working number that I can call you on. I've never tried to understand your actions, nor do I have notions of approval and disapproval with regard to you. I just love you as a friend and am worried about you. I know you probably wont ever see this, but just in case you do, know that I'm waiting still....
Sep. 20th, 2008 @ 04:53 am Through Sickness and Health
About this Entry
Contemplative
Current Location: Hostel
I'm Feelin like: crushed
Music I'm Listening to: Element Eighty: Broken Promises

The moving tenderness of abandonment is tearing me up. It seems to be the season for rude awakenings and out of the blue letdowns. I guess it is my karma catching up with me, but I haven’t been able to sleep or study. The complete breakdown of a thought process has shaken my soul to its very core. They say love and hate are two sides of the same coin, but I think it’s emptiness on the other side of my coin of love. Maybe I do not know it yet, maybe humans are fickle, and maybe I am just a kid worried, and maybe it will all go away and maybe I am wrong. It’s strange that someone who indulges in self-pity as much as I do does not feel anything now. Someone just told me to move on. Who wants to move on? Who wants to heal?

 

I’m about as good at emotion as I am at dancing, but right now I don’t even know what emotions mean. The absence of purpose in a life that looked perfect five hours ago astonishes me and makes me wonder why my sense of loss has not registered yet. But I feel like a pet dog a family left behind while shifting. I have two options, I can become a stray again and fight other dogs on the streets or I can just starve to death. Right now, I don’t know what to do. I might just starve.

 

 I don’t hate anyone except myself.


Aug. 29th, 2008 @ 03:42 am On Feminism
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Impact
Current Location: Hostel
Since the day in first year that I admitted to a couple of friends that I had put in a chapter dealing with the gender perspective in my first year history project on "Hero Stones and the Glorification of War," (Herostones or veeragals were stones with carvings or pictures and script on them which glorified a certain local cheftian or warrior and was a holy spot. My main point of attack was the cheap shot that if there could be a herostone dedicated to a brave dog, why is there not one dedicated to a brave woman; but thats another story altogether and I'm straying from the meat of the issue, so it shall suffice to just say that it didnt help lessen the blow of the 45 minute lecture I got on the day of my viva.), I have been questioned many times on where I stand in my view of the feminist cause.

Well within the limits of reason, there are those amongst my friends who have accused me of being a "closet" feminist while others have labelled me a "pseudo" feminist. It is true that I took the "Gender, Law and Human Rights" Seminar course, but thats because I thought it would be easy (which it did not turn out to be.) It is also true that I have doen numerous projects on gender related issues, but then again, I've done a lot of them on secularism also, mostly debunking it, while believing in it frevently myself. The truth is, it is tough for me to take a stand on feminism. It's mainly because I don't have a convincing enough answer to one question. Why did evolution happen such that the gender roles allocated to women have alway led to their oppression? Many people have given me the most moronic answer to that question, namely that men have always been physcially stronger and hence were able to dominate women, hence making almost all societal relationships between the two sexes a complex power-domination dielectic. Some might mistake truism-faff like that for an answer, but I'm not one of those. I ask further, simpler questions. Like why was the male stronger in the first place. Was it a freak of nature or a careful selection by the laws of evolution? Frankly, I like to go to the root of things, and this one still remains unanswered, so I'm still cloudy on the issue.

But what do I think then, of issues like equality of the sexes? I'm all for equality, as my "Gender Discrimination in the Workplace" project in LPD, or "Women in the Indian Nationalist Movement" in History II will stand proof of. But I'm a rationalist and my quest for equality ends where the reasonableness for the equal treatment ends. In other words, I like the fact that women and men dont compete together in weightlifting, but I'm totally pissed off with the idea of a seperate Women's Grandmaster norm in chess. I do get pissed off with stereotypes, but I also get pissed off at people who assume absolute equality of the sexes as the optimal state of being. Men can run faster and lift hevier weights than women on an average. The Beijing olympics stats will prove that. No amount of assumption can get past these simple truths. So why harp for equality when its not reasonable is my point.

But this does not mean that women should not be conisdered for basic combat duty in an army for example. Assuming that a particular country sets 100 push ups, a score of 9out of 10 on a weapons proficency test and a particular score on an endurance test as the crieteria for one to become a combatant, I'd not favour setting up lower limits for women. But if a woman scores the requisite, she cannot and must not be denied from being a combatant. Of course, this is assuming that the levels prescribed are the true requirements that a combatant must have to be on active duty, and not atrificially created ones to discriminate against women.

To sum up, I dont really know where I stand on this one. As PM remarked in gender class, "we are nihilistic feminists-we believe in nothing, but from a female viewpoint."
Aug. 24th, 2008 @ 03:20 am Me, The Tennis Fan
About this Entry
Basketball
I'm Feelin like: sleepy
Music I'm Listening to: Journey: Ask the Lonely
I love writing. I've been writing letters to all and sundry, which could be why I haven't put up much here. Anyway, I had a conversation with the most eligible bachelor in law school, and him being a huge tennis freak, we ended up talking about tennis. I admit I was a bit immodest about a game I've played only a few times in my life, but I've been a fan all my life. I'm not a big fan of the tennis that happens these days, all this Federer and Nadal bull shit. While I do find all the baseline power hitting fun, I still think the lost art of the serve and volley, as practiced by the immortal Stefan Edberg is the ultimate expression of beauty on the tennis court. Stefan Edberg was something else. His serve was such a thing of beauty,much like the Iverson crossovers and the Magic no look passes. Violently unpredictable, and followed by a mad lunge to the net, that serve was a sureshot percursor to some unbeleivably feather light touches which sent the ball to places that make opponents give up trying.

If you had seen Lakshman on-driving Warne in that immortal Kolkota test, or Jordan taking that last shot in 1998, you know the sort of feeeling I'm talking about when I think of Edberg's greatest moments. There's nothing like it when an athlete is playing godlike at the world stage but few champions can do it with such beauty and delicacy as this man. Stefan Edberg in the '87 Australian Open agianst Pat Cash and that breathtaking five setter with Becker in 1990 was in that zone. I don't know what's happened to that sort of game these days. I guess it just doesnt stand up agianst the superior baseline hitting of these days. But I'm sure, if Stefan was playing now, he would still be lunging, diving, and reaching balls and despatching them for the ballboys to pick in ways which conjured up images of sheer genius. I'm embedding a video below and its of Edberg embarrassing Becker at Wimbledon. Watch it to see what I'm talking about.

Aug. 8th, 2008 @ 02:36 am Music
About this Entry
Impact
Current Location: Hostel
Music I'm Listening to: Muscles: One Inch Badge Pin
If anyone who reads this thinks that there is better music on the face of the earth than the last 2 minutes and 10 seconds of Stairway to Heaven, please tell me. I'd like to hear it.
Aug. 4th, 2008 @ 02:05 am College
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Default
I'm a fifth year. Finally, and after much anticipation, I am in the last year of my college life. While the certainty of leaving this place has not struck me fully, I have just realized how much I love this place. At the risk of being labelled a total cuckoo, let me assert the simple point that for me, this is home. And as my English teacher's English teacher wrote in his magnificent poem, The Enterprise, "Home is where we have to gather grace."

That's right. I'm not complaining.  I've never been able to say I hate this place, and I feel we lawschoolites often talk down about life in college for no good reason. Apart from the simple yet overwhelming fact that most of the people I call my closest friends stay in this enclosure, there are any things about NLS that I am thankful for. For a confused nineteen year old syrian orthodox mallu boy, the independence that he breathed in the air of his new college was intoxicating. I still remember vividly gazing in amazement at my first quad party, more specifically at the level of interaction between the sexes, which was way beyond the limits my parents would have chucked me out of home for if they ever caught me at it.. That the independence went to my head is evident from the number of mistakes I made. But oh, what wonderful mistakes they were. Making mistakes is one of the best things that can happen to stupid, arrogant jerks like yours truly. What made my mistakes truly magnificent was the ultimate fact that they didnt matter that much. When South Park tells you that there is a time and a place for everything and its called college, you cant help but agree.

Also since I'm on the trip of being tastelessly sentimental about college, and being nostalgic before I know its over, allow me to point out that on a rainy day, there are few sights more beautiful than the stone path that weaves its way around the campus. It's a green campus, NLS, and say what you may, in the rain, its the sort of verdant that stirs the soul. I could also tell you about the sepia tinted postcard feel that the meaningless incandesence of the halogen lamps soaks the acad block in. But, you'll just call me a nut anyway. I'm the same nut who found peace not in churches, but on the poorly lit NLSIU basketball court at three in the night. I'm the moron who sits on the new hostel terrace and marvels at the beauty that bangalore's mindless urban planning has brought about. It's a small compund, this college, but its beautiful, it's filled with very special people, and its home.

I'm not the french-bearded, afro-haired, jesuit-educated, pompous arse that I once was, I'm just as liable to be hauled up and beaten the shit out of, but smarter. But as one of my fifth years and the only senior I ever was in awe of  told me with a smile in a swanky Delhi pub in my third year, some people liked the stpid pink-shirt wearing me too. I'm neither proud at what I am today, nor ashamed of what I was then, but I liked the years in between. They were by far the best on earth. And that I owe my college.