What'd'ya expect from a blogname like ours :D, we leave it up2 you :p

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Background Noise

This is in actuality for a really special guy whom I know reads our blog even though he doesn't comment on it. He asked me a question yesterday that got me thinking about this. All our lives have this background sound track (and OF COURSE I'm talking metaphorically here!!!). Its been there since the day we were born, which probably explains why most of us hardly even notice it anymore (or maybe most of you do, and its just me who doesn't :p). Maybe if it disappeared all of a sudden, if I went to sleep and woke up the next morning to silence, to the absolute absence of the background score, maybe then I would stop and think, and say "Hmmm, odd, something's wrong here but I can't put my finger on it", and decline into a state of miserable melancholy.
I also like to call it the Things that Make Me Happy :). Its the cross talk of the world, cept its nowhere as annoying as the real thing (remember when you'd make a call to someone and there'd be like these other people on the phone yelling about the fresh fish they bought this morning and were planning to cook for lunch, leaving you bewildered as to why your best friend who just yesterday seemed perfectly fine when the two of you were playing in the school volleyball court was suddenly hollering about fish?).
Its the cleaning lady who comes into the gym every morning (at the stroke of 7!) and nods at me with this beaming smile, as if yelling out to the world just what a perfectly beautiful day it is (even if its raining cats n dogs outside). Its the text message I read as I'm leaving my apartment to go to work, from one of my friends asking me how my day's been so far (though I've been awake for barely 2 hours :p), its the way the other "regulars" who take the same bus as me to work grin at me and yak about the weather (or if its a Monday, gripe about the weather, and about everything else they can think of actually).
Its the ping of my inbox that tells me I've Got Mail (the nicest three words in the English language if you ask me), and when I go to my inbox I see a mail from someone who I didn't think would mail me (you know who you are!) or someone who hasn't mailed me in a while (like my ex-supervisor who every now and then will send me a mail accusing me of forgetting all about him and signing off - in a huff - as Ex-Boss) or from one of my best pals asking me where the heck I am, why I haven't mailed her yet and whether I'm free for lunch or not.
Its coming to the blog every morning (as soon as I can) and reading all the comments, or the latest piece blogged by my sis and then blog hopping systematically (I have a "round" now, I know how cops must feel on their daily beat). Its taking the elevator and striking up a conversation with a total stranger about how we both hate the fact that the elevator takes so long to get from the top floor to the bottom one (since I live *by which I mean work* on the top floor, everytime I have to leave the building it takes forever to get down to the ground floor and I've had some really funny conversations with people, including one hapless, unsuspecting victim on whom I foisted a pair of my used lab gloves to dispose of, hehe). Its calling home and hearing the surprise and pleasure in the way my dad says hello (he is Always both Surprised and Pleased in equal proportions when I call, I figure its cos after twenty years of living with him and one year of living away when I didnt call home At All, he really doesn't expect me to call very often :P).
I think, more than anything, its the 'wellness' I collect. All the people I care about are fine, all the people I care about care about me, all the people I care about and who care about me know that I'm fine, and even all the people I don't care about one whit are happy and busy and perfectly willing to strike up obscure conversations on the String theory (OK OK the weather! ) with me in the elevator or the stairwell, or the sidewalk or the bus. And it makes me happy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Well!!! I might as well get myself down...somehow I managed to get the pants off...I dint CARE how I looked..I dint care who saw me..But most of all I dint care about my pest of a brother. I got into my room and sowly closed the door. Downstairs, I could hear dad shout...."Call an ambulance...QUICK!!!" Ambulance huh??? wait a second....an ambulance??? was my brother hurt??? Was he hurt badly?? The tree thing meant nothing to me..I forgot everything that second and ran down...."Amma, appa what's wrong?? Is Rishi okay?? I saw them happily, propped in front of the Tv..my mother had been talking about some stupid Rishi on some stupid Tv show!! Why did Rishi have to be such a common name?? My dad was saying to my mother "You called me here for this!!!" "No..." my mother said, "our Rishi hurt his hand playing with a blade while I was on the phone..he wanted to watch some Tv so I just switched it on.." The rest I couldnt hear..that couldn't have been appa calling for the ambulance it as the tv guy!!! "AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!" I heard my mother yell, they were all staring at me while I was dreaming, " What are you doing here without your pants??" My father nearly laughed.....my brother hooted with laughter..."Rishi....go to you're room..I'll deal with you later" said my mother. Oh! so amma did know a lot of things!! She knew about Rishi all along!! I didn't ask how..."Honey..go wear you're pants please..and come back down here" I went up to my room feeling happy for once....my mother was on MY side AND my father!!! I went into my room and saw Risi there..he was standing next to my poor, torn, ruined, wrecked, multi-coloured pants....MULTI_COLOURED!!!!!!???? RISHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Of Gandhi and Assorted Zealots

Nothing to do with the story or anything else in particular, but I'm terribly bored waiting for my stubborn yeasts to get ready to be genetically manipulated :). Decided to ramble while I waited (for my entertainment more than yours). Two weird things that happened to me last week.
First, I got accosted by a Gandhi zealot. I kid you not, you guys. I was talking to this guy (old friend from school) on the phone, and (picking up midway through the phone call) the conversation went something like this:
Me: Have you seen Lage Raho yet?
A (lets call him that cos its easier to type): Nope (A's a man of few words apparently)
Me: (fawning over the movie) Ohhhhhh, you should totally go see it!! I reallly loved it and I'm not even a Gandhi fan and in fact I sometimes find him sanctimonious.
A: (Stony silence)
Me: Hullo? U there?
A: Yeah (told ya, man of few words)
Me: (Sudden epiphany alerting me to a possible reason for the silence. What can I say??! Never too bright on a Sunday morning) Oh... d'ya like Gandhi?
A: (with a hint - or did I just imagine it - of stiffness) Yeah
(Another stony silence while I frantically think of something (anything!) to say)
Me: Er...Not that I have anything against him. (now searching desperately for concilliatory remarks) He was a great social worker, I always thought.
A: Yeah?!
Me: (flustered by now by his monosyllabic answers and extremely polysyllabic silences) Great guy, I'm sure. Just that I never really liked him all that much.
A: Oh yeah? (and this NOT in a tone of genuine curiosity but witheringly sarcastic!!)
Me: (rallying and now a little irritated; no one withers ME with sarcasm!!) Yeah!!! I think that firstly, he probably wasn't all that nice a person to live with, considering he made his wife clean out toilets and slept with naked women every night AND considering that he was not the nicest father to his son! And secondly, towards the end, he became a cranky, old, senile man whose insistence on making Nehru the PM might well have set our country squarely on the path to disaster!!
A: (after a considering pause, pauses being his forte so to speak) Oh really? Do you have any facts to support this?
Me: Facts?? (with scornful derision of the word). This is my opinion. And I dont need facts to support it (haughtily, with my nose in the air).
A: Oh really? (a man of limited vocabulary, as well as a man of few words) Well then, I dont like the way you think!

You can imagine how flabbergasted I was. I do NOT think Bapu would have approved of A talking to people like that. Gandhian philosophy was founded on gentleness and ahimsa, wasnt it? Or did I study from a different history text book (which is all too possible considering the state of syllabi these days)?

Anyway immediately after that (that Monday in fact), I read this paper on the net (by some psychologist) that said that people tend to instinctively gravitate towards other people who're like themselves and hold the same opinions. This psychologist dude gave it like a fancy scientific term, "homophily" and claimed that people do this so that they wont have to justify their opinions to other "non-believers". I must confess I found myself aggrieved that despite all these precautions I have allegedly taken in order to ensure that I was not faced with crazed zealots who spewed venom in my face (a little bit of literary license was in order one felt), I still had to come across this radical Gandhian who didn't "like the way I think". Sometimes, life sucks, and no amount of science or theorising can change that! And also, I think someone should tell Mr.Psychologist-Dude that his theory isnt based on concrete facts (I think I know just the person ;).

Psst! A quote I read somewhere that I suspect was written by A, though the compiler of the web page claimed that it was an old proverb: "Dont speak unless you can improve the silence".

Update: Its quotes like this that really got me thinking about the kind of guy he probably was : All crime is a kind of disease and should be treated as such. -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).
Who says things like this?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Er..I cant, I mumbled to my dad who was looking at me like I was crazy. In all honesty I couldnt blame him. "Really honey, we ask you to look after your brother for one day and you dont even seem able to do that", said my mum in what I can only describe as reproachful accents. I tried to look sheepish and then figured since they were talking to my butt it really didnt matter how I looked. "I'm sorry", I said, "but it wasnt my fault". "Rekha", said my dad talking to my mum as if I wasnt right there in front of them, "she's just a child. Dont yell at her like that. Let's get her down from there first". "Yeah, yeah, NOW she's a child, when she sulks and yells at being asked to look after her brother for One Evening, or grumbles that she needs her Independence, then she isnt, I suppose", muttered my mother. "Um...amma, appa, a little help here", I suggested. It seemed to me that it was about time someone did something about my situation, instead of addressing exchanges on my upbringing to each other. "Akka wanted to climb the tree", piped up Rishi, "I told her not to",he added virtuously. "You're a smart little boy" beamed my mum at him. Yikesss! Could almost throw up. Thank God for my dad!! He was at least trying to help. I heard the phone ring inside the room, and my mum bustling off to answer it, trailed by a triumphant Rishi. My dad looked at me and said, "Now what do we do with you?". I could hear a smile in his voice. Yeah, yeah! Laugh away!! "I dunno, appa, just want to get down, really". "Fine", he said, "I'm gonna catch a hold of your legs and try to drag you back in." Was he serious, did he think this was some sorta joke. I was suposed to dangle from my legs?? What was he thinking!!!!! "Ummmm..do you really think that will work?" " yeah, yeah trust me. I've climbed outta dozens of window sills like this. Now on the count of 3, let go of the branch..1..2..3..". Praying to all the Gods I knew, I closed my eyes and prepared to let go of the tree. "Hari, Hari!!! Come here At Once", I heard my mum yell in a shrill voice that I'd never heard her use before, "Something's happened to Rishi". "Rishi?!!" I heard my dad exclaim. "Honey, you have to stay there, hold on to the branch. I'll come back as soon as possible." What!!!! What!!!!! He was just going to leave me here and go just cos my mum was making a big deal about Rishi again!!!!! But before I could say anything he'd left the room. Just perfect I thought, trying to crawl further up the branch. At this point I didnt even care about my pants. I was alone, miserable, the whole world seemed to prefer that brat of a brother to me AND my arms were aching.

oops! No time for that..nearly fell off the window!!! Okay this was a really weird position to be stuck in but I still yelled at my brother...' I did this to rescue you, you little pipsqueak..I cant help it if boys like you have brains on their feet!!!!.....' By this time my brother had swung over me and gone into my room!!!!!!! EFFORT WASTED??? I Think sooooo! Oh MY GOODNESS!!!! I was going to fall i knew it and what about my pants..okay i don't care if my pants tear...UGH!!! im going to kill the little rat!!!! Just at the right ime...what should happen??? Mother dear and Father dear enter!!!!!!What are you doing climbing a tree at your age!!!!! Get down at once!!!! Okay!! This was just great! Easy for them to say!! How was I going to get out of this mess????

Monday, October 23, 2006

I swear, that boy was living proof that Darwin was right! He didnt even need a prehensile tail really. Well no point standing around. The rescue act had to begin. "You are in such trouble, Rishi", I muttered as I clambered onto the window sill. Now, for the lunge to the branch, which always was scary cos I knew that one of these days I'd just miss it altogether and end up on the ground with a broken head. Though that would serve mum and dad right. What can I say, I'm a vindictive person :). I managed to cling onto the branch and then heard a ripping sound. OMG! I turned around to see that the cuff of my favourite pants was caught on a nail on the windowsill. Excellent just what I needed! OK this was getting a lot trickier now. I could tear my pants and get to the safety (using the word loosely) of the branch of I could try to wriggle outta my pants, thereby saving them, though ending up pant-less on a tree branch outside my house. Hmm. Interesting choice. "Akka" piped up Rishi. Silly brat. "Dont even talk to me you idiot" I shrieked. "You cannot believe the trouble you're in". He grinned cheekily back at me. Maybe if I tried to ease myself back on the window sill I could unhook myself from the nail? I'd never tried this before (the rescue operation normally ended with Rishi helping me climb down the tree!), but it seemed worth a shot. I gingerly felt around for the window sill with the toes of one feet while not moving the other (in case my pants tore anymore!). Well, now I had one foot on the window sill, one dangling by the pant hooked on the nail of the window will and my hands at full stretch clawing the bark of the branch. "You look like a bridge", chortled Rishi happily. Ugh if I had even one hand free I would have slapped him.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

This was just getting PLAIN SILLY now. OK......I admit it..it was okay to 'baby' sit my brother (if you can call him brother) once in a while but this was just IRRITATING!!! Just because the stupid thing can't take care of himself doesent mean I have to do the job!!!It would have been fine..almost fun if it wasn't on that particular day.......but now I couldn't go to my friends house for the sleepover. Atleast if my parents could understand...but nooo they wouldn't even listen. "What are you doing?" called a voice behind my head. Was I talking to myself again...Oh it was that pesky kid. "what does it look like I'm doing?" but he had gone..good ridance..okay i'm being mean..it's not his fault that my parents won't let him stay alone....*SIGH* life was just plain bugging sometimes. "Hiya!" I heard a voice from the window. "Hi.." wait a second.... From the WINDOW!!!!!! "Rishiiiiii!!!!!!!!!" He's done it again. My little brother was hanging upside down from the tree outside my window and waving at me!!!!

OK you guys, I know this isnt the beginning of a "Diwali Dhamaka" silly story writing competition BUT I had to tell you this (and knowing us when we DO get online at the same time we'll end up getting distracted by insane thoughts and other random assorted gibberish, y'know the sort we specialise in :p). Its Saturday afternoon, raining outside and I was half asleep and browsing (not books but the Net). And I came across this blog called Jabberwock. I added it to our links list. Goodness me guys, its chock full of books! So many of them. Y'know how you read a review and then you sorta ear mark it and decide that at some point you're going to get around to reading it AS SOON as you finish your exams, or clean the house or cook dinner or whatever else that appears IMPERATIVE at that time. And reading his blog I felt like all my pigeons had come home to roost!!! All those books put off for later or whatever and now the accumulated guilt weighing down like a mountain of books literally sitting on my chest!!! I almost feel overwhelmed by the number of books there are that I thought were interesting and havent read. Think of the number that I havent even heard of yet!!! Scary, no?? Anyway I then thought of this bit I remember reading somewhere about how books have to be chewed and savoured or some such thing (I think it was an essay by Francis Bacon on the different types of books or something) and then this other bit I'd read that said the eternal reader is an idiot or something to that effect. But unfortunately it doesnt seem to have worked! I'm still wracked with guilt and overwhelmed by the sheer MULTITUDE of unread books weltering out there in the world. Well, chin up and stiff upper lip (though I suppose I dont need that ne longer since I'm thankfully not in THEIR country nemore) and I will soldier on (I suppose people have lived through worse crises though I cannot imagine what those could be ;). To think that just yesterday I was feeling buoyed by the fact that I finished reading BOTH The World is Flat AND Thank You for Smoking. There is no rest for the weary, apparently.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

ok now she was seeing stars, this whole thing was just too surreal!!! in any minute now she was going to faint or so she was hoping. Where did all the blood come form? Who was hurt? MOST of all what was her MOTHER doing here??? Wait a minute that wasnt her mother, just someone who looked like her mother. This was becoming too much like a bad bollywood movie now! "Who are you" she asked, or was that voice only in her head!!! But the illusion spoke, "I am Molly!!" Molly? who Molly? Suddenly the illusion aproached her, oh my god she was going to have a heart attack.. " Help me" said Molly, "I've cut my toe and it wont stop bleeding". " But WHO are you?" she asked. " Im your new maid, didnt the landlord tell you?".........

"What is wrong with you, honey?? Stop screaming!! Do you want the cops to come down here?" It was her mother's voice. Her ear was clearly sending messages to her brain that it was her mother's voice. What could her mother possibly be doing in her kitchen surrounded by blood?? And she'd thought the day couldnt get worse!! And all this for a stupid book report. Why oh why hadnt she just left the damn thing behind and gone to college. Sometimes she baffled herself. She reluctantly lowered her hands from her face and decided to open them. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, after all. "That's better. Now, just stay calm and listen to me". Definitely her mother but the voice was now coming from behind her. Goodness this whole scene was becoming unbelievably bizarre. Could she be dreaming? Nah, it was against the rules, after all.

OK No need to panic...take a DEEP breath was what her mother would say...no no no...she would propably be admitting herself into the mental hospital by now. She should just go into the kitchen and check. There was propably nothing in there. Who was she kidding?? It was obvious that there was a serial killer waiting for her in the kitchen. Now she could really picture her mangled body lying on the kitchen floor. Ok..she was ready to go in. The walk to the kitchen door seemed to take atleast a whole year!! FINALLY!! She was just a step away..thia was it..maybe she tould take a lamp like they do in those old-fashioned movies. It would at least make her feel secure. She grabbed the lamp her mother had given her..it was hideous anyway. She opened the door..slowly. She rushed inside like she had seen them do in movies. And she stopped. This was serious. There was blood all over the kitchen floor. She covered her eyes. Had she just seen what she thought she had seen?? Had someone actually been murdered in her own kitchen floor???!!!!! Before she could top herself.she screamed..a loud long scream!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

OK, was she losing it completely?? She knew that LOTS of people thought she was weird and a little FREAKY frankly but was she, could she be a stark and raving lunatic?? What did that term mean anyway. How could you be stark raving mad. Maybe she hadnt REALLY understood the phrase fully. OK OK Hold it, she instructed her brain. Now was NOT the time to wander off in meaningless gibberish thought!! A girl had to stay focussed. Sometimes. Very rarely, but sometimes! Had she really seen someone looking out at her? She remembered her mum telling her that it wasnt safe to live all alone in a big city like this one. And she bitterly imagined her mum talking over her lifeless corpse to her dad or someone saying "I TOLD her. I told her that living alone was a bad idea. She wouldnt listen to me. Kids these days..." and shaking her head in sorrow. Probably sad that her daughter wasnt around to feel humiliated by the fact that her mum had known better!! Oh well, the bullet had to be bitten. She debated between calling the cops, shouting for help (which would frankly be the most humiliating thing she'd EVER done) or trying to open the door with brute force. She somehow doubted brute force would work but it had to be worth a shot. On impulse she tried the handle. OMG! The door swung open!!! She could have sworn she'd locked it in the morning. She took a quick peak around the door to see if an axe murderer was hiding behind the door with a blood stained axe. Check, noone there. She decided to venture further inside. All the scene lacked was thunder, lightning and eerie music. Why oh why had she meticulously turned all the lights off. A sound, a definite sound!! She heard it coming from the kitchen. The kitchen!! The place with all the sharp knives and wannabe weapons of destruction (mass or otherwise)! Should she go check it out???

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

UGH!! Sometimes people were soo gross!! She decided that she she didn't have any time for worrying about some guy..if there even WAS one. She hurried a little bit more cos it looked like she wouldn't make it n she was soo close.........OK! she made it! All she had to do was find her spare key...where was it by the way?? Oh no!! This day couldn't get any worse!! She sat on the steps leading to the house and groped around her bag....she searched under the mat too. Somehow she had this feeling that someone was staring at her..she turned around to look straight into the house..and she could have sworn she saw someones face peeping outside, looking at her..from inside her locked house!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Should she just run back home and get the book report? Did she have the time? She looked at her watch! Yikes!!! Hardly 2 minutes for the bus to arrive. But it was ALWAYS atleast 10 minutes late. Ran on Indian Standard Time, didn't it? For once she was glad she lived in India. Imagine if she lived in one of those horrendously organised countries where everything was on time, except her. Horrors!! She decided to make a dash for her report. What did she have to lose? The day COULDN'T get any worse!! As she turned to run back home (or at least walk really fast, no point running in this heat, a girl had to be practical), she caught a glimpse of movement from the corner of her eye. She could have sworn that she'd seen this guy duck behind the bus stop wall. What was with that? Oh, probably needed to take a leak she decided. Sometimes it sucked to live in India!!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

OK wat was she going to do??? The bus clearly wasn't going to reach there soon and that hadn't stopped staring at her either (such a disapproving stare too it was) Not that going late had bothered her much before..but still that stupid Ms. Nandu was going to yell at her again and it would be the fourth time this week. That auntie wasn't making it any easier to relax......ohhh when wold she reach college...OMG!!! She'd left her book report at home...could this day get ANY WORSE!!!!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

One already. She'd never make it on time. Not that that was new. Maybe there was some point in all those new fangled time management classes and what not. She tried to imagine some alternate universe in which she was always on time. Every hair in place. No safety pins holding up any of her clothing. Nah! Didnt work. Her sense of identity would be lost. And her friends would probably be disoriented. To say nothing of her family! Imagine a universe in which her mum couldnt call her up and tut-tut disapprovingly at what a mess her life was. Or worse imagine her mum not having anything to say to all those aunties, no sentences beginning with " You'll never believe what Bablu's been upto now". Probably ruin her mum's life altogether. She chuckled to herself and noticed an aunty on the bus looking at her like she was mad. She hoped she hadnt been talking aloud again! She hated when that happened.