Saturday, December 25, 2004

Le Moron

Thinking about:

* “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?”

This is perhaps the most misinterpreted line on stage. Juliet looks out of her balcony, her eyes searching far and wide for the pilgrim who purged his sins by her lips. And she calls out – Where are you Romeo?

No. Absolutely not! She is not asking him for his whereabouts. What she really means is – Why are you Romeo?

I didn’t know this till a few days back. But now that I know, I am haunted by it - not by the Bard or his tragedy but by the provider of this piece of knowledge.

* Obese dogs springing off with a ‘boing boing’ sound after crash landing on someone’s tummy.

* Red eyes. I wish I had them permanently. It’s not the looks. I never bother about them. Mine is the face which sank a thousand ships. It’s all about the devil and Al.

* Humility and the lack thereof in yours truly.

* Percy Sledge and how right he was.

* Finding a small unassuming puddle of muck and drowning myself in it. ‘Dumb ass moron’, say the voices. I agree completely.

* Spiky and Duck. I am so happy for the two of you.

* New Year Resolution – find a wall, turn towards it, start running, gather speed and smash into it. In case the brain survives, repeat. If destroyed, repeat anyway. If I am still a moron, then repeat (this is going to be an infinite loop)

* Fork ( ) command and unrestricted processes and how I once brought the Vanavil network down. Will you shut up for crying out loud?

* Pretentious pseudo-intellectuals and the genuine gems of intellect. I know a handful of both. I would like to tear apart the former and invite the latter to a book slam.

* The fly, the raven and the dead poet. Need to get back to writing. But first, practice for the resolution.

Ok my head hurts and there is a big bump on it and I still can’t stop thinking about the first few (top two actually) points. Sleeping pills or booze or driving with my eyes closed?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Down the River Styx

Over the last two years I have gone to Bang-a-whore (ahmm, old jokes cease to be funny - Bangalore) over a dozen times for both work and pleasure (who am I kidding? Always for pleasure, just this once also did some work on the side). I always had a thing for the city despite the fact that my time there was spent entirely on the triangle of MG, Brigade and Residency roads.

The first few journeys were limited to Pecos (that beacon of light for all children of Bacchus), Purple Haze (gone down the drain over the years), the Bunker (still enjoy their UV lights) and Corner House (hmmm, this place sells the best ice cream in the world. At one time I tried to persuade the manager to change the name of their best-seller ‘Death by Chocolate’ to ‘Life by Chocolate’ citing the fact that chocolate is an aphrodisiac and helps the process of procreation).

But preferences change over the years – now Styx (best rock in town) is in, Cosmo Village’s voluptuous bartenders beckon and Zero G’s dance floor is inviting as always. Spinz (I don’t think I got the name right, whatever) sucks – it’s a crappy place best suited for all ye wannabe yuppies out there. The L-Squares at IIMB rock and the people there will be in my heart forever.

The reason I just took off to Bangalore was quite simple – needed to get some perspective back in life (really?! That’s not what you said earlier in bed darling).

I wanted to go there for two things – to take another look at the world I have left far behind (the world of corporate jobs, formal clothes, presentations and working 50 hours without a break) and to list out the things which would complete my fragmented life and calm the voices in my head. Bangalore gave me a taste of both these worlds at the same time.

The world I have left – I could have kicked the corporate asses to kingdom come. I always gave the best presentations in class and no one looks more killer than me in formal clothes. This world called out to me like a wailing siren (waiting to devour the wonder-struck sailor) but I survived. Been there, done that – I am at peace with what I am doing with my life – writing it is, writing it shall remain. No second thoughts.

The world I want – I already know what was missing in my life. Bangalore just manifested her and put her in my arms – albeit for a very short time. ‘Silence’, command the voices in unison. Silence it shall be.

While in Styx with some old cronies, remembered spilling beer over a close friend a couple of months back and got a little sentimental. I immediately ordered a Bull Frog (vodka based cocktail) to remember BluePuss and the other Horrors. Man we guys rocked. I realized that life was good because I have the best friends in the world (wherever they are and however they may be connected). Remembering the advice a friend gave a few days back –

When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on
Don’t let yourself go, everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

Sometimes everything is wrong. now it’s time to sing along
When your day is night alone, (hold on, hold on)
If you feel like letting go, (hold on)
When you think you’ve had too much of this life, well hang on

’cause everybody hurts. take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts. don’t throw your hand. oh, no. don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

REM Everybody Hurts

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More Random Ramblings (due to the lack of coherent thought structure)

* Kids are capable of extreme cruelty. And no, I am not talking about angst-ridden teenagers. O Nay! I am talking about those cute little shits running around as if there is no tomorrow. Yes in my most humble opinion kids can be evil. And I am not talking the ‘Omen’ kind of evil (Anti-Christ reborn and 666). I am talking about your average regular 6 year old.

My mom started teaching again and a few days back I was waiting for her outside her school in my car (I got there about an hour earlier than expected). So I see these little kids playing. They all seemed really excited about something and were huddled together around a boy who was holding something in his hand. Curiosity took the better of me and I got out of my car to take a look at what it was that had spellbound those kids.

In his hand the boy was holding nature’s very own helicopters – dragonflys. Now I absolutely love these creatures for their terrific shape and amazing mobility and for the sheer genius that the universe employed to make them. As a kid I used to run along with them, imagining I had wings to fly. I felt happy that kids were still kids and got excited by the beauty around them. But what happened next left me shell shocked.

The boy proceeded to tear off the wings of the dragonfly one by one and then squashed the remaining body of the creature. And all this was done to a loud chorus of cheers by the other kids. Then a girl standing next to this boy said – lets catch some more and kill them all. The kids started running around frantically in pursuit of those magnificent creatures. In the next ten minutes they went on a murderous spree and killed over a dozen helicopters. I was so outraged at this collective brutal act that I wanted to enter the school compound and butt whack them so hard their next ten generations would have trouble shitting. Some how I controlled my anger and realized that I could squash them the same way they squashed those innocent dragonflies.

In retrospect I realized that what they did would leave no guilt in them. Kids don’t know concepts like guilt and remorse and this very innocence and purity of their cruelty makes them so dangerous. I swear by the universe that I love kids and am still one at heart or at least would like to be one. But what I saw left me puzzled.

Came back home and saw the news for a change. Three rag-pickers (aged 6 to 11) killed a 5 year old boy because they had decided they didn’t like him. And they weren’t affected by this at all even after the police arrested them. They simply failed to understand the seriousness of their actions. I didn’t know what to think of this whole situation. Luckily there was little Ashi (my neighbour’s 5 year old daughter) who restored my faith in little kids. She has been my spiritual guru for some time now and gives the best advice on all aspects of life. When I told her what the little kids in my mom’s school did that afternoon she just laughed about the whole thing. Then she proceeded to chase her little dog around my drawing room and brought a big smile back on my face.

Innocence is not dead. Not yet.

* Spontaneity is so over rated and so misunderstood. All of us admire it and crave it. But there are very few who can wield this powerful weapon. Some call it wit, some call it charm. I call it a practiced art. ‘Hah! Are you listenin' to me, son? I'm givin' ya pearls here.’ Being able to reel off line after line of rib-tickling humour and being able to charm the ladies (or charm the gentlemen depending on your gender and sexual orientation) requires endless hours of practice. To be able to leave a lasting impression and whisk someone off their feet requires deep thinking and introspection. So all ye romantics out there listen carefully – there are no spontaneous people in this world – all us charmers are good actors who pretend to be making this stuff with the back of the toenails of our left foot.

So you! Yeah I am talking to you O Red Haired One. Next time you are setting me up on a chance encounter with such a gorgeous, beautiful, adorable, magnificent, stunning, ravishing, pulchritudinous girl, don’t give me a message at 6:30 pm to tell me I am going to meet her at 7:00 pm. I will be left speechless and stunned (yeah, me - speechless) as I was today. Give me at least two hours because every creature is unique and one has to think about all the things one should say and things one should hold back.

Well at least you tried. It’s a beginning.

* Going to Bangalore this Friday on a much needed vacation - will be there for almost a week. Also need a break from this virtual world. Need to spend some down time and clear up (or maybe clutter up) my head.

* Opus I

This silent call you make,
A silence so raging loud

I fear the world knows its meaning.

If you fill every corner of a room

Where can I look?

If I close my eyes

the silence becomes louder!

There is no escape from you.

The only way out

is in.

- Spike Milligan

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Collective Sigh of a Thousand Vacuum Cleaners

Easy Clean Dust Buster 5000 was the latest and most sophisticated offering by the UDirtyVClean Corporation (headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts). In fact it had been more or less responsible for resurrecting the fortunes of the almost insolvent Corporation.

The 4000 series with its latest Stick design had failed to fire the collective imagination of the usual suspects who bought the products offered by the Corporation. They complained that it resembled the now obsolete broomstick both in design and functionality. It also didn’t offer any comfort to their sore bottoms, a feature they had deeply craved ever since the High Council had decided to replace broomsticks with vacuum cleaners. This had been done during the harsh winter of the Chinese year of the Green Monkey.

Feeling the heat from its clientele, the Corporation went back to the design board and created the 5000 series. It had a bold upright design with luxurious seating and extra storage space for spells and incantations. They also threw in the brain of a benign logo-phobic (the only one available) to make the new series more user-friendly.

The prototype of the 5000 series, Serial Number H/AL1138 was sold to the head of the High Council. Behind her back, she was known as Her Royal Highness of Prolixity for her ability to stun everyone with an endless barrage of words. This more often than not caused the listeners to drown themselves in a small, unassuming puddle of an anorexic bat’s blood.

Her verbosity meant that in a state of rage she could spew any dangerous spell from her extensive repertoire of dark magic. And this worried the good-natured and humane Easy Clean Dust Buster 5000 Serial Number H/AL1138. Not only was 1138 the official carrier of her royal posterior, it was also the mobile storage unit for all her powerful magic. Countless times it had seen innocent but curious bystanders turn into aardvarks, flamingos, guinea pigs, lion tailed macaques, Caribbean rhinoceros iguanas and even puss and fungus just because they had been interested in listening to the words of an old hag riding a shining brand new vacuum cleaner.

“This had to stop”, thought the simple minded but well meaning 1138 to itself, its one horse power motor making a loud roar - the world must be rid of people who use their lithe tongues and dark words to stupefy others - death to the exploiters of the word. And thus began the great Vacuum Cleaning Revolution in the Chinese year of the Rooster. What had began with a roar ended with the collective sigh of a thousand vacuum cleaners. And only I, the short story writer, am left to tell this horrifying tale of annihilating suction. But no listeners left.

© 2004 Anshumani Ruddra

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


One of the happiest days of my life - 41st Convocation of IIT Madras held on the 30th of July 2004 - here receiving the degree from one of my favourite people on campus, Prof MS Ananth.