Monday, October 25, 2004

Bacchanalian Revelry and Masochistic Pleasures

At a meeting the other day I saw this beautiful exotic-looking specimen of the fairer sex. Though I was instantly attracted towards her, something about her appearance revolted me. It took me some time to understand this dichotomy of my reaction towards her appearance. This girl was wearing a diamond nose ring and she had each of her ears pierced in six places. She was wearing beautiful ear rings (12 of them) and was looking very ethnic in her cotton salwar.

Now I have no problem with people using their bodies as a medium of self-expression through various kinds of body art – tattoos, piercing, etc. In fact I think a tattoo or a piercing at the right place looks extremely sexy. And I thought this particular girl looked very hot because of the piercing. However, I cringed at the thought of her or anybody else inflicting such pain on their bodies. Friends inform me that the process is not at all painful and it’s just like getting injected with a big needle. The process is also very swift because these days they use a device which resembles a nail gun (a shudder just ran down my spine while writing those two words). I remember accompanying a four year old cousin to her first ear piercing some ten years back. I also remember her laughing all the way back home and me having an expression of sheer terror on my face. It had taken me a month to get over the barbaric ritual I saw that day. The scene still haunts me sometimes in my dreams (I need a drink to calm my nerves).

I am back.

Now I am certainly no chicken. As a kid, doctors never had a problem injecting me. I never even winced at the sight of a large injection (and oh boy! I got many of those, me being a clumsy dolt as a kid). I have even received two pairs of stitches on the back of my head and I still have the marks to prove it (though now they have been covered by a good growth of hair). And yet I would never have the courage to get a tattoo or a piercing (not that I want one). Something about this whole piercing business smells of masochism. I understand how creating an image for oneself (through the clothes we wear, brands we sport, etc.) is so important these days when the first impression means everything (I would have never called the girl exotic, sexy or hot sans her piercing) and yet how far are we ready to go with this. It has to be a certain pleasure we derive from inflicting pain on ourselves which warrants such extreme (think nail gun) measures.

Personally, I am big fan of pain. Pain can do a lot of good. Its power to inspire is unmatched, and till my search for a muse remains fruitless, pain remains the acting-muse. Not that I have to go looking for someone to pain me, but there have been instances when under the effect of Bacchus’ greatest gift to mankind I have asked a few inspiring pugilists to land the real McCoy bang on my face. One chap actually obliged me and I was left with a cut an inch long inside my mouth which made eating anything impossible for the next one week. I will always remember that chap because it turned out to be a very fruitful week in which I wrote feverishly. But never would I condone the act of piercing.

Trudi: You know how they use that gun to pierce your ears? They don't use that when they pierce your nipples, do they?

Jody: Forget that gun. That gun goes against the entire idea behind piercing. All of my piercings, sixteen places on my body, all of them done with a needle. Five in each ear, one through the nipple on my left breast, one through my right nostril, one through my left eyebrow, one in my lip, one in my clit... and I wear a stud in my tongue.

Vincent: Excuse me, but I was just wondering... why do you wear a stud in your tongue?

Jody: It's a sex thing. It helps fellatio.

Lance: Don Vincenzo. Step into my office?


Lance: Hey, whattya think about Trudi? She ain't got a boyfriend. You wanna hang out, get high?

Vincent: Which one's Trudi? The one with all the shit in her face?

Lance: No, that's Jody. That's my wife.

Pulp Fiction

Friday, October 22, 2004

I Lost to my Voices

The voices in my head just told me -
You are never coming back

We spent some good times together
You and me, me and you.

But the voices drove you crazy
And so you went far away.

Far away into the void of nothingness
Where your own imagination

Does not revolt and bite you in the ass.
Where the phantoms of your dead neurons

Don’t trouble you in the middle of night
While you are fighting the minions

Of the ancient gods of Valhalla.
Damn! Damn these voices.

I should have drowned them long back
In a small puddle of creative fungus

Which is now so cheaply available,
In large cans made of tin at the mart.

I should have gone away with you
And left this comfortable numbness behind.

No one would have wept
I assure you, except a few

They would have written an obituary,
Not for me, but for those wretched voices.

You were the only one, who knew me,
Who had peeled all the lairs and found me

Buried deep within myself. My own voice
Muffled by those who wanted to reign supreme.

You were the only one who heard me and my voices.
But you have now gone far away,

I remember everything about you
But will never see you awake.

Only in the land of dreams
Did you appear before me.

I remember your every curve
But I know you are not coming back

The voices drove you away
They wanted me for themselves.

They have won,
And we have lost.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Song to be Sung by the Father of Infant Female Children

I figured out something when I was twelve years old. I was a bright, precocious brat with a simple view of the world. I figured that elders (anyone who was older than me) had nothing to offer me as far as knowledge was concerned. Considering I was so young, this notion might look childish, but today I can add the weight of a decade of experience behind it. In my humble opinion elders have not been responsible for a single bit of knowledge in my head – either it was already there and I just needed to discover it or else I was smart enough to figure things out on my own. Elders may have played the role of a guide in some of the discoveries but given enough time I would have stumbled upon those hidden springs of knowledge on my own. A very egomaniacal thought but I stand by it.

However, it is a completely different ballgame when it comes to learning from younger people. I firmly believe that we grow dim-witted as we grow older. Our thoughts start following a fixed pattern and we lose the gift of being amazed and excited by life around us. No wonder even our imagination takes a big beating at the hands of age. And creativity, don’t get me started about that. As children we have so much potential and we lose it as we grow older.

Any new thought/idea/knowledge that has entered my brain has been through people younger than me. And so I had the other great revelation at the age of thirteen. I needed a younger sibling – a little baby girl who would enlighten me about the truths of life. Never thought about having a younger brother because I expected he’d turn out like me and the world couldn’t handle two of us. The sad part was that if my theory of transfer of knowledge from younger to older brains was true even for others than I would contribute zilch to the mental growth of a younger sister. At least I would be able to play the protective elder brother who beats up any punk that comes close to his little princess. I imagined I would make a very cool elder brother. As fate would have it I remain the only child of my doting parents.

And hence I come to the next more crucial point. My mental growth is now almost stagnant; it has remained so for the last couple of years. I have come across younger men and women who have contributed to my intellectual growth but it has happened in small bursts spread sporadically over time.

That little baby girl is very elusive. Someday she will wake me from my intellectual dormancy. Till then ...

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
Contrariwise, my blood runs cold
When little boys go by.
For little boys as little boys,
No special hate I carry,
But now and then they grow to men,
And when they do, they marry.
No matter how they tarry,
Eventually they marry.
And, swine among the pearls,
They marry little girls.

Ogden Nash

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Hoping for a Sinusoidal Life

Wonder of wonders! I have been making money doing things I absolutely love and through which I never intended to make any dough. Yeah, so it’s not a lot of money. But it’s enough to treat friends to a good dinner and a movie and maybe some booze this weekend. I can see the gleaming eyes on the other side of the world, eyes which didn’t get to see the ‘chickhhheen’. But let me assure the owners of these eyes – I missed you all. Go ahead treat yourself to the ‘Horror $120 Lola and Nicky’ package. It is highly recommended by one of our kind in Texas.

Yesterday I was part of this reading which was organized to give the audience a flavour of the six books which were nominated for the Booker Prize this year. The reading went well. I read excerpts from Bitter Fruit and Cloud Atlas. I was thinking Cloud Atlas would win. But these judging panels never cease to amaze me. The award went to The Line of Beauty, a book which is so pedestrian it makes Sidney Sheldon novels look like literature. Let’s hope that David Mitchell (who wrote Cloud Atlas and was nominated for the second time) is third time lucky.

Life is going on at a steady pace, which can be a good thing, but I prefer a sinusoidal curve. I some how feel that inertia has set in and I am waiting for something big and drastic to happen (ok I have a vague notion of the kind of thing I’ll call drastic, so it wouldn’t be a bolt from the blues). For now my fingers are crossed and double crossed. It is ironic but even a steady and assured upward-looking future is sending me into a depression. Carpe diem, that’s what a friend said. How?

Right now I feel what Rembrandt would feel if he ever saw this (lucky him, he’s dead).