Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dear Delhi

Dear Delhi,

Let's get a few things straight right here. This letter is going to make me sound fickle- perhaps as fickle as the state of the monsoon, or the water in my taps at home.

I'm writing this letter to you to let you know that you have a secret superpower- one that debilitates anyone you choose to use it on, Maybe you don't even choose to use it; maybe it gets exercised purely by virtue of your existence. There is possibly nothing else in the world that I have encountered thus far that sets off an explosion of existential angst inside me like leaving you behind. Every time I walk out of the airport and I hear men merrily cussing at each other in a language that's so familiar, even when I walk into a WC at the airport (which has become almost some sort of a ritual) and find a faucet trying to catch my attention, my first thought is one of unparalleled joy- I'm home; and the very second thought is that I'll be leaving in just a few days. That's what you do- you make me feel bipolar. I get into that old WagonR at home after months and take it out for a spin. All those months away from you haven't affected my ability to drive on your crazy roads. This feels natural; not the clean, linear, high speed streets of far flung lands to the west. I'm on one of these beautifully paved highways right now and I can't say I don't love the sight of cars zipping by, but it's not home.

I can't say I've never complained and grumbled about you. Just last week, I was left at home without a drop of water for a few hours almost every day. I've been concerned for a long time that you're crumbling under the weight of those you support. The metro's crowded, the buses are crowded, the streets are crowded. The other day I was stuck in traffic for more hours than it had rained that day. I was yelling my lungs out that day about how you couldn't handle a single season without problems, whilst feeling somewhat ashamed at my reduced levels of tolerance. Having said all of that, I spent the entire twenty hours on the plane that carried me away thinking about you and waiting for my next return to swing by soon. 

Like every other time I've dragged myself away, I agonized about situations where I wouldn't have to leave and how I would find other things to be bothered about. Like every other time I've dragged myself away, I wondered if this was all worth it, but I guess the promise of the future must be, or I wouldn't have willingly put myself through this for the last two years. You've got me thinking about the purpose of life on more than one occasion. 

All I want you to know is that no matter how much I complain when I'm there, not a day goes by when I don't think about being back to give you an opportunity to exercise your superpower.


Existentially angsty

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Most Dangerous of All Lies

I've been re-reading my copy of The Satanic Verses; not because of the whole hullabaloo that's erupted in India conveniently before the state elections. I'm a slow reader, I've spent over a month poring through these pages, well before Rushdie announced his intent to visit Jaipur. That being said, I don't want to write a discourse about censorship vs free speech. 

The strange thing about this book is that it has a fantastic sense of imagery. Whatever you hear about the Satanic Verses in the public domain is always about the controversial chapters. The ones where he blasphemes like crazy. But there is so much more to this book. The first time I read it, I used to get these dreams with weird figures dancing all over. I remember I sat up in the middle of the night a couple of times , unable to understand what I just dreamed. This time has been relatively mellow. Amongst the parts that usually get left out of a public discourse, are these little gems I found as I started on Page 305 a few minutes ago-

"...her father Otto Cone, the art historian and biographer of Picabia, had spoken to her in her fourteenth and his final year of 'the most dangerous of all the lies we are fed in our lives', which was, in his opinion, the idea of continuum. 'Anybody ever tries to tell you how this most beautiful and most evil of planets is somehow homogeneous, composed only of reconcilable elements, that it all adds up, you get on the phone to the straitjacket tailor'..."

"...Ghosts, Nazis, saints, all alive at the same time; in one spot, blissful happiness, while down the road, the inferno. You can't ask for a wilder place..."

A book worth picking up, where legal; not just for the blasphemous parts.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Sun is the same in a relative way...

...but you're older.

Fare thee well, 2011. Like most other things last year, my regular New Year's Eve post didn't make it on time. The reason I pick those lines up from one of my favourite Pink Floyd songs is the fact that that song was central to my life last year, especially towards the end. In the beginning there was plenty of it, somewhere down the middle I was wasting a lot of it, and towards the end, I was scrambling to save as much of it as possible, just so I could spend those precious few minutes with the people I love. All said and done, it treated me well in 2011. It showed me sights, it made me hear voices and granted me a fair degree of professional success. The beauty about the passage of time, is that it never lets you stay satisfied with what it has brought you. It continues to flow, and you submit yourself to wanting more and more out of life. But without that, I guess there'd be no joy to watching time fly right by. There would be no challenge, and I wouldn't like a life without a challenge to keep it going. So I begin 2012 with a new set of challenges to face, a new list to scratch stuff out of, and quite surprisingly, no Kappal Antry quips (I was tempted to call them jokes).

I read this PhD Comic recently, according to which I'd be classified as a weirdo (by a long shot) for wishing my readers (the very few of them that might glance this way) a happy new year three weeks into it. But I'm well beyond the point of being classified that way, let alone by a webcomic. So, happy new year folks! Hope it's great for you and for me!

The story continues in 2012...