Saturday, October 2, 2010

Letters from the Seven Sisters... 1 - ML 01

It's barely been 48 hours since I left home and already I've crossed so many state boundaries I feel like a fugitive on the run!! To be very very honest I don't think in my sleep deprived state I would have ever been able to tell one winding road from another had it not been for one of those Eureka moments where your brain groggily wakes from its slumber (So fine!! I'm not Archimedes, you know!!) and says, "wait, I thought Guwahati was in Assam... and... and Shillong... well ...

So OK, I'm not very... umm... updated... ahem... in my North-Eastern politics... however, I do believe late is better than never... so there. So here I sit, having combated the absolute mayhem of Guwahati's streets (which, by the way, is Assam's capital... though trust me you'd never guess!!) and it occurs to me that a city's roads really speak volumes about it! And not just in the "my-god-the-municipal-corporation-here-really-must-make-a-lot-of-money!" way.

Now I'd always been a believer that roads and traffic pretty much anywhere in India remains more or less the same. It's a part of the national feeling that is India,you see. But it seems I was quite mistaken. There is more to the story...

For instance here's what an average street anywhere in Guwahati looks like... to begin with, as all Indian roads, it's imperative that all forms of possible things on which human beings can travel must be on the same road at the same time. And, of course, like all self-respecting citizens of this socialist, secular, democratic republic we the people vociferously demand our due... especially when unneccesary! A road WILL be not a square inch over 4 feet wide but there will be all of the biggest vehicles sold in this country that demand their legitimate space on it ("Tere baap ki sadak hai kya???"). And, of course, nobody will give an inch and Everybody but everybody will honk and protest angrily! By the time you get through all of that you feel like much the poor road must. ...

Now in Shillong I notice a very different... and I must say not unhappy phenomenon unfold. It's a saturday morning, the clouds have slowly drifted on to the road and settled down much like moody cud-chewing cows would, anywhere else in India. As for the human population... well, it seems Shillong moves in the back of taxis... only. There seems to be hundreds of these little black and red Maruti 800s that dot the winding streets of the hill city, each one, without exception, filled to bursting - and each one seeming to tell its own story. While in most you'll find sassily dressed teeneagers packed like a can of... well... very stylish sardines; there'll be a slightly lesser number of those that hold just as "closely-knitted" families. And there's ALWAYS a traffic jam; a miles-long line of patiently waiting little motored lady-birds... and nobody EVER honks and if they complain they must do it very very softly... It's almost incredible and endlessly fascinating to me as I sat in one of these interminable ques waiting for whatever divine force was causing the jam to just give. ...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Something's got to give!!!

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse ... the dirty water slowly seeps into the cracks in the earth, dripping through and finding itself a home in the world of the underground - the dirty water in this case being your life, of course. Or mine, to be more specific.

I remember the blissful time a few days back when in a casual rant to a friend I’d whined that something in my life had just got to give! And it did. Without any warning, one fine day the floor just gave way with a resounding crash, leaving behind a gaping splintered hole, a bottomless pit beneath and me sitting by the side of it wondering, what the hell do I do now??

Because, let me assure you, gaping holes in the floor are very hard to explain to the insurance guys. Not that you can blame them. I mean, if you plead Act of God any mortal would wonder what the hell you did to piss God off like that! Sigh... so there we are - me and the hole that used to be my floor. And we just stare at each other waiting for the guys who can actually handle this stuff to turn up and do their job.
Though, I must say the neighbours are being very nice. Really, in times like these you just recognise which people are your friends and which ones are just in for the ride, don’t you? And of course, who are the ones you’d never thought about before. ...

Anyway, I’m sure there’s a lesson in here somewhere. I don’t mean the piles of them cluttering up the desk space of my life as if they were free flyers. I mean that under all this crap the real reason all this is happening is hiding somewhere.
Aha! I got it! On this little slip of tattered paper which says ... let me see ... ‘learn to be thankful’. Hmm ... wow ... yes, that could be it, I guess. I just wasn’t thankful enough for all the good things in my life; for everything that was going right or well or even not so bad, you know! I spent all my time trying to set it all right, make it all go my way. But who’s to say that was the right way?

Who says I have all the answers, or any answers at all? May be I don’t really know anything, and everything that happens is for the best. And may be ... sometimes ... other people do know better than me. ... And why, why can’t I just sometimes ‘stand and stare’ rather that run after the other pasture? Why?? It’s as though I like worrying or something!!

What’s that you asked? What am I thankful for now? Well, I don’t know now, do I? I’ve got to get through this mess first, haven’t I? Really,people!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

GO BLOG ... sound advice unless ...

So, I was reading this post on Michy's blog (for the uninitiated ... follow the link!) about ... well ... blogging. And what she was doing was basically recommending that writers ought to blog for several very sound reasons, you know. One of them being that it builds contacts and puts you out into the public eye. A logical conclusion in itself ... IF there is anybody apart from yourself reading your blog that is!! But for the rest of us mere mortals ... well, it's ridiculous, isn't it? As if I don't spend enough time reading my own writing otherwise! So what purpose does this space even serve (aside from cluttering up cyberspace, that is)? (AND) Aside from remaining a(n)(unfortunately) rather personal diary ... sigh ... but then I make myself feel better by telling myself that someday when I am a writer whose works have been read by more than a grand total of one person I will look back to this blog with nostalgia. ... now if only wishes were horses!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My thought for the day....

The world is your oyster ...
if you're not concerned with survival. ...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I was floating through cyberspace today and ... you know how you tend to start at one site and then before you know what's happening and quite how it happened you find yourself somewhere else entirely? Well, pretty much the same way I found myself on the teenshealth site ... now I'm not really a teenager any more so I technically had no business being there but then I figured, you know, since I intend to write books for them it would probably be a good idea to see what teenagers nowadays are saying. ... and I find they're pretty much the same things we were talking about only vastly different in magnitude already. And I really liked the site ... so, I thought I'd provide a link here to it.

Now, if you happen to come across it ... I know it's basically an American site and if you're in India or some other part of South Asia you're probably thinking this is not for Indian kids! These things don't happen here! I assure you, they do. May be not at the same rate as in America and may be they're not such widespread social phenomena, but it does happen. Heck, it happened when I was a kid and I'm watching it happen to a lot of kids nowadays. And just saying that it's 'aping the west' etc. doesn't take away from the basic issue either. So, if you know a teenager who needs help or just somebody to talk to please refer them to the site. ... inspite of your misgivings you might be doing somebody a favour ...

Friday, December 18, 2009

The most incredible....

My last post gave me this idea of compiling a list of the most incredible experiences of my___ I must admit, woefully short, and some would say, extremely inexperienced ___ life. But what the heck! it sounded like a good idea so ... here goes nothing ...
CAVEAT: Please ignore if you consider it woefully inadequate ... or not

1. Watching Avatar... (I did warn you!)
2. Snorkelling in the Andaman sea
3. Visiting the Cellular Jail and the other erstwhile prisons more famously known as the 'sazaa- i- kalapaani' ... the once-upon-a-time dread of the Indian colonies.
4. Visiting the Tibetan plateau which is a sight to behold with its tiered many coloured sands.
5. Seeing the Kanchenjunga peak
6. Seeing a frozen waterfall ... now this one was many years back and it was such a fantastic sight that I find myself unable to say with any certainty if it was actually frozen on the way to the ground but ... well, that's how I remember it so that's how it shall stay.
7. Watching the sun rise from behind the 'sleeping Buddha' which is how the Himalayan ranges look from a certain part of Sikkim.
8. Travelling through the barren and breathtaking beauty of Ladakh (I will never forget the pink mountains and the clear blue waters...!)


Watching Avatar just knocked off snorkelling in the Andaman seas as the most incredible experience of my life!

Director James Cameron’s next had long been touted as the revolution that awaits cinema. As far as I’m concerned it has been that and much more. ... I have often heard people talk of experiences that cannot be described in words. Me ... I’ve never had that problem ... until now.

From almost the first scene and definitely from the time they welcome you to Pandora, the movie draws you into a world you have never even imagined. And through the next (intermission-less) 2-and-a-half hours it makes you a part of people who look... well, like humans that took a turn-off somewhere along evolution. It makes you a part of their yearnings, their strange rituals, and their fight against the “sky people”. And after watching the movie calling them even remotely ‘human’ sounds like an insult.

Without once showing images of a man-destroyed earth ... or, indeed, of earth at all ... the movie manages to send out a powerful message and a very lucid image of what we’re doing to our planet. And will probably do to anything that comes our way.

But that apart, for those who haven’t seen the movie or so far haven’t yet intended to ... watch it ... for an experience that transcends mere movie-watching ... and for something that is nothing short of an experience.