Wednesday, September 28, 2005


When I was in highschool after a session of wordworth's Solitary Reaper, I decided that I had to write a response poem. From the point of view of the girl in the poem, no less. While he wonders what she is singing in gaelic, she is actually wondering if he is there surveying to destroy the beauty of the place. I thought this was profoundly ironic. My teacher thought I should stick to prose.

The next poem I attempted was a year later on a boring afternoon. I remember mentioning something about the flies circling repeatedly, forlorn thoughts and devil retreating as the afternoon wore off. Devil was supposed to be symbolic of depressing thoughts, I think. Again way ahead of my time. The teacher's face became red and she asked me to heed the warning and desist immediately. One fellow classmate thought it was brilliant but when he went on to describe what devilish thoughts symbolized for him, I started considering my teacher's suggestion.

The next one came in college. As you can see I had succesfully tried to resist temptation for a long time. This time it was something about clouds reflected in a puddle. How I enjoyed it imagining that I was walking on heaven when I was young and how I walked around it now with mere care. To put it mildly it wasnt as well received as I'd have thought. They failed to see materialism, loss of innocence and other equally deep symbolisms hiding in the poem.

Only two attempts went as far as a paper after that. One was a catalogue of whatever was written in my school notebook and another about rain in an American road. So except for lapsing into a short poem under extremely stressfull conditions a couple of times, I think I can claim I am staying succesfully sober now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I sometimes walk in a park after lunch. Today I reclined in a stone chair afterwards. Sun shone through the green leaves, a crow cawed, the sprinkler moved in rhythm. "Man! how much more heaven can you have". B.B King in his interview to NPR whispered in my ears. Then they played him.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Out of God's oven

Finished reading Out of God's oven over the weekend. It is beautifully written, exceptional in its coverage of the wide, varied Indian terrain, reasonable in its research and left me terribly depressed. I could argue that it is slightly one-sided, perhaps the authors' personal prejudices has managed to seep through. Nevertheless I think it is worth reading just because of its comprehensive nature. It captures the sheer diversity of India - language, culture, politics, issues - very well. I didnt quite agree with some of the conclusions implied in the book but the fact that I didnt get terribly defensive or angry about it reassured me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Green thumb

I rotuinely kill plants. Despite my best efforts. With the undaunting spirit of the legendary Vikramaditya I buy the most lush, easiest to maintain plant, bring it home, position it in the right place, feed it all kinds of plant food, water it diligently but somehow manage to kill it eventually. I dont have a green thumb. Not even pale green. So imagine my surprise and delight this morning when I spied a beautiful white flower with a dash of purple swaying gently in the breeze. Hurrah!

I might be able to graduate to fish after all and who knows eventually even to a dog. Dreaming on.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Improvised music

I went for an improvised jazz concert and did something I hate to do and have never done before. I walked out after an hour. the cello was barely audible and when it was, it sounded like some heavy breathing. The percussion sounds involved a 'jalra', some dragging sound and some gongs. The sound that came from the trumpet reminded me of boiling rice, hooka and birds with sore throat. The various tubes and funnels that were used didn't help. I could easily see that they were very talented musicians, but despite trying very hard I couldn't appreciate the music. When my mind wandered for the hundredth time to the travails of getting an auto late in the night, I decided I should walk out. I felt a bit foolish but I compensated by congratulating myself for not being a hypocrite.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Road Trip

Did yet another road trip.

Chennai was hot. I rushed off to Connemara library as soon as I got a chance. Until last year, I was sneezing off of the dust from the archaic notecards while looking for a book. This time I was pleasantly surprised by a computerized catalogue. Just a click and a short climb up the stairs, "Narrative of the campaign..." by Major Dirom was in my hands. It was damn thrilling. They must be doing something right. I got the book in a matter of seconds. They have photocopying facilities, information folks directed me ably despite the constant frown in their faces, the fans were working.. What else could I ask for? Hm.. Maybe a web enabled catalogue.

I manage to bring rain whenever I go on a road trip. Tirupathi was crowded. Is it ever not? I did some simple calculations and came up with a staggering amount of income. Here too they are trying to put the money to good use, and are trying to modernize. I spied solar panels, windmills.. I wonder if they manage to generate the power required for tirumala. The roads are clean and well paved considering the crowd. The attendant didn't even bat an eyelid when he verified my 'internettu' ticket. The security guard frowned at me, "How many electronic gadgets do you have?", and made me walk back and deposit my voice recorder, ipod and mobile outside. (I got it back all intact without any problem after the darshan). One of these days I am planning to write a suggestion letter. The long queues, often fenced with huge metal walls can cause suffocation and major disasters if an evacuation has to happen immediately. I am surprised they haven't thought of that. They should setup one way doors every 5 feet or so.

While driving back to Bangalore rain lashed and a montage of scenes passed by. The group of teenagers playing volley ball boisterously in the rain in a small island in the middle of the river, young boys in their bright white kurtas, pyjamas and caps against the gray skies running into a lone mosque laughing as the first drops of rain fell, the white chickens clustered together in a jumbled mass of white and red come rain on shine inside a long room defining the word cooped up.. When I managed to ignore the terror evoked by the maniacal driving, I let my mind wander and dwell on the beauty of unexpected things.