Thursday, May 7, 2015

Play it again

Time is an elusive thing. It really does just pass you by. The word 'year' on paper sounds so matter of fact. And in reality, year after year passes one by. I wish there was some way to arrest time. Because I don't feel like I have lived this moment fully yet. Just for this moment. Or this one. Or the next.

But if one really pauses to listen sometimes, time has a rhythm. Life has one. And potent wine on an empty stomach most certainly does :) 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Things to Do: NYC 2013

Mornings are times of energy and clarity. I have expended most rigorous and tenacious efforts over the last 25 years to turn nocturnal permanently. It does come naturally, I work better late at night, under stress etc. Mornings have always been groggy, difficult times for me. But I have to grudgingly admit that the days that I do manage to open my eyes and roll out of bed without injury, the feeling of having the day ahead of me (instead of just a couple of hours till sun down) fills me with enthusiasm and energy.

Today is one such day. 8 a.m. is early for me, really early. Cursory morning facebook flipping has served to be the real motivation for this post, though. A friend's status message reminded me that 2 years ago, today, India won the World Cup. Another flew a plane, and crossed off an item on his before 30 bucket list. I am not entirely sure how the two tie together, but in any case, filled with nostalgia, hope, excitement and a strong cup of tea, I have decided to make my own list of sorts.

Thing is, time's flying by. I have barely 2 months before graduation - while that's usually a happy thing, it's filling me with fear because it marks the end of the sabbatical-from-work period of my life, at least for now. And worse, it's a painful reminder of everything I still haven't managed to do (or need to do again) in New York. So here goes, let the crossing off begin!

Things (left to do in less than 4 months) in New York:
1. Watch one of the high-flying Broadway shows.
2. Walk down Brooklyn bridge and get that damn pizza.
3. Go to the top of the Empire State building and the viewing deck in Rockefeller (yes, cheesiness and pop culture have played a big role in my life. Also, God, this is embarrassing, but in the interest of full disclosure, I haven't done either)
4. Finish a book in NYPL's Bryant Park branch.
5. Get that pastrami sandwich and that salmon cream cheese bagel.
6. Spend a day at Paley's center.
7. Raines Law Room.
8. Bar-hop along the river.
9. Contemplate life in Central Park for an entire day.
10. Find a good Indian restaurant that I can recommend to friends when they ask where to go for Indian food without caveats and hesitation.
11. Try one of the famous chef restaurants.
12. Soul food at one of the historic restaurants within a 2 mile radius of my house. Clearly, I've been studying too much.
13. Get a photo with either Batman or a Disney princess at Times Square.
14. Go to the zoo.
15. Take the ferry to somewhere.
16. Be mesmerized by a dangerous Russian at the Russian Tea Room. Or just get tea there. Or vodka.
17. Do a class of something, anything.
18. Swim in the Columbia pool.
19. Go to the Brooklyn cemetery. I am really curious about why it has made so many lists.
20. Pay the Highline a visit.
And I'll keep adding stuff as and when I think of something. Hopefully, that process will be much slower than the striking off.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Day I Fell in Love with New York

I believe that if you are ever going to love a city you are living in, that realization will hit you quite suddenly some day, when nothing particularly noteworthy has happened. I fell in love with Bombay when I was 11. I was sitting on my balcony (I was on the floor) and it was pouring- the slanting, barely visible type of rain which sprays all around the main droplet's trajectory. I was reading The Junior Anthology of Poems which was the Poetry text for English Literature in 6th standard, and daring as I was at age 11, I was reading beyond the prescribed syllabus. I think it was Lochinvar or Lord Ullin's Daughter (definitely one of those romantic ones with a dashing hero). And quite suddenly, I glanced up, looked at the rain and realized I loved this city from the depths of my soul or some much. It was like this surge of joy and gratitude to just be in it.

Bangalore was a little more complex. I was quite certain I liked the city the minute I stepped out of the plane and it was about 12 degrees cooler than Delhi (where I had been staying for about 3 months before going to Bangalore) was that July. But there was a bit of a love-hate phase (love when the campus was all green and fresh,  when the sky was orange in the evenings and sometimes even at night, when it became a little chilly in the evenings in the way only Bangalore evenings can be; hate, well, in summers in a cramped hostel room without an AC, during project submissions, when it drizzled every time I had to go to the Acad block and even when I was making the twice-a-trimester trip to the library). I think I truly fell in love with Bangalore in my 5th year, on a solitary smoke trip to Nagarbhavi (the sky of course, was orange, and it was chilly). And I sat outside Hegde, listening to something on my pod (I think it was the Juno sound-track) and I looked around me and well, it just happened. I wanted to give the city a hug and never leave it.

I've been in New York for a little over a month, and I don't know if I should be surprised it happened so soon or whether, by New-York-awesomeness standards, even this was late. People have been asking me the last couple of weeks how New York is, whether I am having the time of my life and so forth, and though I was embarrassed to say it out loud, I didn't really think it was as amazing as every piece of literature, movie, song and conversation on the general subject makes it out to be. I mean, it's got great energy, it's got tonnes of stuff happening all the time. It's always up and about, super-efficient, super-diverse. But I think I liked it more because I was expected to like it - I didn't really have an opinion of my own. And as usual, it didn't take anything fabulous to make an impression.

Today, I was ambling around college, considering whether to buy a new pack of smokes or go to the library and study. The weather was lovely, it had been raining in the morning and it was really cool and windy. The smokes won, and I decided to go to the road behind the law school building, where I hadn't gone thus far. So I walked down the road, took a left, and suddenly, there was this park which was built along a hill- not the randomly undulated hilly terrain appearing all over the city's roads (most inconveniently located, among other locations, on my walk from home to college), but a proper, almost cliff-like sloping hill. I gasped (I really did) and walked into the park, climbing down a long-winding set of stairs. There were stairs and slopes and trees and running tracks. There was an enormous squirrel which crawled up to me from behind. An old man running. A couple walking their baby and their dog- the baby was in a pram, to which the dog's leash was tied. A girl applying lip-balm on her boyfriend's lips or wiping away something from them. I walked around for a long time. It started drizzling again, and I climbed back up and sat on a bench which overlooked the slope. I pulled out my last cigarette from the old pack and smoked it. And I felt the magic of the city creep up on me. Sitting there, I dreamed of infinite possibilities, of castles, of winding rivers, of beautiful music and moving literature. And somehow, the city felt like a meeting-point of all these, a crazy mix of everything under the sun that I had ever thought about, could ever think about and of stuff I wouldn't ever understand or imagine. It was like being enveloped into a phenomenon, chronicling history while making it and silently observing it. The wind blew sharply, I took the last drag. I was acutely alone, but I didn't feel lonely. Today, I fell in love with New York. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.” 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

So much of love becomes expectations. The most memorable of all moments of being in love and being loved, a pair of circumstances combining to produce that most supremely sublime of feelings, are the quietly spontaneous ones.

"Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in.
Time, you thief! who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in.
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have missed me;
Say I'm growing old, but add-
Jenny kissed me!"

Those that make your heart jump a little like Jenny jumped from the chair, moments that were never requested and can never be replicated. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Strange Episode I Still Don't Understand

I thought of this quite suddenly today. Actually, to be fair, it wasn't all that sudden and unsolicited a thought. I was trying to think back to remarkable incidents from when I was younger. This is one of those that I think back to once in a while but utterly fail to understand even now. Either it was utterly inconsequential and meaningless or it was so poignant and full of life's mysteries that I have not been able to unravel it despite (or is it because of?)all the growing up that I have done (on an aside, I am finding it a little amusing that the more adult I am becoming, the more posts there are about growing up - I'd have thought the process would've been done with by now). Anyway, let me put the facts before you first. I know that many people hate pre-story rambling - I for one get annoyed to death by pre-story analyses and disclaimers. Okay then.

So I was around 7 years old, visiting an aunt with my brother. My cousin had a Tibetan Lhasa called Boney. My cousin was 9 years old and very fond of Boney. One day, after lunch, it was time to take Boney for a walk. My brother and I tagged along. I wanted to hold Boney's leash while we walked him. My cousin said that he (Boney) had a bit of a wild streak, and it might be a better idea for him (my cousin) to keep the leash. But I was adamant. I said I would be careful and hold the leash tightly. So my cousin gave me the leash. It was all fine for the first ten minutes, Boney trotted along sniffing plants and eating mud. Then, as on most occasions that come with warnings, things went awfully wrong. Boney caught sight of a dog from an enemy camp and decided to chase him. He tugged and tugged at the leash. Now, interestingly, from the point of him spotting the evil dog to him escaping the leash, it couldn't have been more than a few seconds, and given that almost 17 years have passed since the incident, I would be excused for not remembering the exact sequence of events very clearly. But I do. I remember that Boney tugged at the leash, and I held on to it tightly. Then he tugged again, but I could have controlled it long enough to let my cousin grab hold of the leash or the dog and make sure he didn't run. But I didn't. For some reason I can't put my finger on even today, I let go. I do, however, remember that I had reasoned it out perfectly in the second or two that it took me to make the decision. And even today, I regret what followed, but I do not question the decision itself- it seemed like the natural thing to have done then. Anyway, once I let go, Boney ran off at a surprisingly swift pace for the lazy dog he otherwise was. I turned to my cousin, fearing some sort of angry outburst, the confidence of my well-reasoned decision slipping out me at an also-remarkably swift pace. He did not have even the slightest frown of anger on his face. It was a look of responsibility and concern, and he told me and my brother to go back to the house and that he would get Boney. Given that he was only 2 years elder to me, I felt I could, despite being the cause for the entire drama, have a say in the matter, and I said, why don't we go and tell Mausa what has happened. My cousin said there was no time, that the other dogs would bite Boney, and took off after him. I then went back to the house with my brother and waited anxiously for my cousin to return. I had sort of assumed that Boney would not be found - I mean, how would my cousin be able to tell where exactly he had gone to chase the evil dog. As it turned out however, this was a fairly frequent thing Boney did, and my cousin found him quite easily and was back within fifteen minutes of our return. Both he and Boney had some cuts and bruises on them - from bushes as also from the strays that were lurking about in enemy territory. I was now scared out of my wits. I expected that my Mausa and Mausi would be highly displeased that my irresponsible conduct had resulted in injuries to both their son and their dog. But before that, I expected that I would get a scolding and a lecture from my cousin, who was after all, 2 years elder to me. Now, this is the part I absolutely don't get. My cousin went and washed himself and Boney and put Dettol on all wounds. He then gave Boney his food and came into the hall, where my brother and I were sitting quietly and squirming, and cheerfully started talking to us. Like nothing had happened. I kept waiting for there to be some disapproval, disappointment, anger or at least an I-told-you-so. Nothing. It was like he had forgotten the episode. He did not even tell his parents that it had been my fault - he cheerfully said that Boney had slipped away yet again and went to the doctor bravely to get the wounds checked.

I cannot for the life of me, to this day, understand why he wasn't at least a little angry with me. Agreed, Boney used to slip away frequently. But this one was my fault. He should at least have asked me why I had let the leash slip or not called out to him when Boney tugged. He handled it with a level of responsibility and maturity and un-snitchiness that I was not aware existed in the world. I get love for your dog, I get that he risked his life and ran into a swamp full of strays to save him. I am sure most dog-owners would do that without batting an eyelid. But I cannot sufficiently express how much his behaviour vis-a-vis me baffles me even today. Like I said, it probably meant nothing. It probably means that this cousin of mine has the essence of goodness that all spirituality is supposed to fetch. I remain confused by various aspects of the episode and why it means so much to me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Full-time Friend


'How long do u think I'm gona remain depressed?'

'I say 1 month 26 days.'
':P I am serious.'

'So am I.'

'I am getting a lil tired of this sadness routine.'

'Thats when I get back.'

'Oh god. Who'd u go to exotic place with?'

Some things are so intensely private and so beautiful, you want to shout them out to the world. If you've been in a friendship like this one, you'll want to write a book about it.