Sunday, December 27

Remember a day

X stood at the kerb, staring after the car that was pulling away. Slightly tipsy, slightly dazed, he blinked slowly, holding on to the fast-evaporating feeling of warmth as fiercely as he'd held on to her. 

"You okay?" asked a tenor voice behind him. Turning around, he saw the old man, silver hair askew in the wind, smiling. "Are you alright?" the man asked again. X wasn't sure, so he considered his reply. He'd joined a group of friends for dinner and they'd been drinking into the early hours of Christmas Eve. X thought he'd seen the old man in the restaurant, seated a few tables away, but wasn't sure. He'd been largely distracted and tongue-tied that evening. Every once in a while, he'd dare a glance at her; when she smiled or laughed, his breath would catch and he'd look away and take another sip. There were a lot of sips, that much he knew.

The old man was still there, waiting for an answer. "I guess" is all X could say. It wasn't much of an answer and he could see the man wasn't buying it. "Frustrating, isn't it?" the man asked, with a mischievous gleam in his eye. That expression gave X the shivers. There was something very odd about it, but in his drunken state he couldn't put his finger on what that was. Besides, the guy was right. It was frustrating, he admitted to himself. 

"What do you mean?" X retorted aloud. It came out gruffly, even though he didn't mean it.

"Well, you kind of look like you have girl trouble" the old dude said, with a low chuckle, unconcerned about the seemingly rude tone. 

"Yea, I sort of do", X replied. And was about to continue when he was interrupted.

"Listen, it's simple. Tell yourself that you only die once. Keep repeating it in your head and you'll understand why things become, er, dead simple. Especially the next time you meet her. It'll make it easier for you to ask her out." 

"Wait. What? How did you know...". 

"I told you. It's on your face. Besides, you're not the first guy who ever got cold feet. You won't be the last. But, repeat what I say and the fear goes away once in a while."

X was about to respond when he saw the woman approaching. The old man turned around and smiled. She smiled back and X's breath caught at how it transformed her face. Again, the familiarity of it made him very uneasy. Or was it the whisky?

"Let him figure it out" she said, mock-frowning at the man. Leading him away, X heard her say "I meet you at the New Year's, right?" The old man was shaking his head and gesticulating. X heard the old man say "... an idiot" and called out to them, but they were out of earshot. Or, chose to ignore him. Either way, a passing auto stopped and X got in. 

As the vehicle moved away, he heard the old man's voice.


"Happy birthday, kiddo."

X looked out the auto wildly, now certain there was something dreadfully strange going on. The road was deserted. A shadow moved under an approaching street lamp. As the rickshaw went past it, X saw them both. She was smiling again and X heard the wind whip away her words. "It was a nice hug..."

Song for the moment: Does anybody know what time it is - Chicago 

Saturday, December 26

Stone in my shoe

Numbers are the bane of my existence.

When I was a kid they loomed because my elders never let me forget that marks were important. 99 in Math was okay, but where did that 1 mark go? Coming second in a class of 75 (and man were we packed like sardines!) was reluctantly acceptable, but why didn't I come first?

Of course, Math itself became enemy no. 1 very soon. Try as I might, the subject never interested me and in many ways, bounced way over my head. I took to English like a duck to water, and to Math like a duck to foie gras. As a subject, History fascinated me, but the curriculum left the hows-and-whys by the roadside and question papers seemed largely about remembering various dates, names and how people escaped their enemies in crates of sweets or flowers.

By the time I was in college, another number began to haunt me - height. While everyone else was shooting up like the young Himalayas, I was emulating the Chota Nagpur plateau. In more ways than one. As if that wasn't depressing enough, I voluntarily chose to study statistics for 3 years, convinced that it would give me an edge when I finally became a psychologist. Which never happened because there were 10 General Category seats in the University and the top 10 were separated by decimal points. If there ever was a meaner mode of flagellation, I have yet to meet it. 

When marks finally stopped mattering, money took their place. I'd discovered the joy of buying second-hand books, but had to balance it with the cost of petrol for the bike. Then, GRE scores came into the picture, followed by the number of zeros it would cost at various universities in the U.S. Once again, numbers influenced my choice of university. And, once I reached the U.S., they also decided my lifestyle.

Once I started working, the number on offer letter decided everything. Where I stayed, how I lived, the kind of workplaces I'd choose. A salary cut took me to the field I wanted but set me back a few years in terms of lifestyle. Living in Bombay also made me conscious of train timings, bus numbers and estimated travel times. The number on the waistband started expanding. And of course, every year, family and friends would tell me that I wasn't getting any younger. From being thrilled about turning 18 or 21, I had begun telling myself that age was just a number; that every birthday wasn't toll of doom on the social/marital bell.

A few days ago another birthday came and went. Another mark, another age, another year. Sure as eggs are eggs, trouble with numbers were still stalking me. Because as I raised glass after glass in celebration, I didn't know (and still don't) know how to get her phone number.

Song for the moment: Ordinary Superman - The Himalayans       

Saturday, December 19

Behold! The Nightmare

One of the rarest creatures in Bombay is someone living by themselves. In a city plagued by inflated rents and insane population density, not sharing 1BHK or even that vile excuse for a residence, the 1RK, is considered a luxury. And the person is branded a spendthrift.

It's a facial expression that can't be missed. Tell someone you live by yourself and watch their bottom lip curl outwards and their head simultaneously do a wiggle. Their eyes have a teasing gleam; read between the iris lines and you can clearly see them mentally say "what an idiot". Having lived by myself for a while now, this familiar rigmarole jarred. Doubts started to creep in. Was I being foolish? Selfish? Was it healthy to not only live alone but also relish the feeling? 

Moving to the U.S was my first exposure to the sometimes Kafkaesque world of room-mates. Having neither the shekels nor the spunk to live by myself there, I learned to come to terms with their varied eccentricities. It was a valuable lesson in compromise, though random flashbacks of the filthy bathroom and kitchen make me break out into cold sweats occasionally. When I moved back to Bombay, once again money talked. And what it said wasn't pleasant to hear. However, I lucked out by finding a room-mate who happened to be a childhood buddy. It wasn't ideal but it worked smoothly until he left. After which things took such a nasty turn (you can read up on Norman Bates in my posts from 3 years ago) that I finally was pushed into finding my own place. 

While I enjoyed the relief and freedom of living alone, I could feel Bombay's eyebrow raised in disapproval. Until I landed up at a colleague's place in Andheri last night after the office end-of-year party. Or, to use its real moniker, the free booze and bitching session. Due to some complicated logistics of travel, returning home wasn't feasible. So, 3 of us landed up at my colleague's 1BHK.

The instant I entered the house, an extremely familiar feeling of horror began to crawl up my spine. Now, before I go any further let me just clarify that my colleague is the nicest guy in the world. A happy-go-lucky chap without a bad bone in his body. But his house was/is an abomination. It is the quintessential bachelor pad. Mysterious cartons and boxes all over the place; a sofa that hosted roaches, bedbugs and other assorted entomological nightmares; a clothes stand groaning under the weight of damp clothes; dodgy stains and cup rings on every conceivable surface; a persistent smell of old tobacco; doors that did not shut properly, a toilet from hell; and of course, some random blokes who also happened to land up there for the night, courtesy his other room mate. 

As an assorted menagerie of semi-clothed, wheezing guys kept walking out of the inner room, I seriously considered whether my colleague's room mate was Dr. Who, and his room the TARDIS. I just didn't see how they could all fit in there. Perhaps one or more slept in advanced Yoga poses. Anyway, the living room was already occupied by a heaving mass of flesh whose stentorian snores would have put the wildest of boars to shame. Having no other recourse, the rest of us crunched indignant limbs into positions that certainly weren't in the Kama Sutra and tried to snooze. Unfortunately, as the background score was Krakatoa in human form, I did not sleep a wink.

At 5 am, someone walked into the room, put on all the lights, proceeded to rummage through the clothes stand and the shelves, rooting for his stuff with all the finesse of a pig looking for truffles. After that, I curled up in a ball and waited for divine mercy, who arrived when Krakatoa rose (erupted, more like), put on the kettle for tea, roused my colleague and within 45 minutes, had us driving off to Pune in his car.

Much as I hated it, I will be eternally grateful for those few hours spent at my colleague's place. Because, I now know that it was a fantastic decision to live by myself. The next time I see the lip curl, I can confidently cock a snook at the morons and ignore their judgments. 

Someone once said that no man is an island. Well, he never said anything about choosing to live alone on one. Which is what I shall do with head held high, happy in the knowledge that for me, room mates are overrated.

Song for the moment: Bullet with butterfly wings - The Smashing Pumpkins

Tuesday, December 1

Cold Shot

Unable to stitch two coherent sentences together and shape a narrative (what a horrible word that has become thanks to the internet) I shamelessly resort to writing in points.

So, either bear with me (sounds like we're doing unmentionable things to an animal) or stop reading.

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Beer and rock feels like an 20s thing. Kiddish and earnest in a silly grin sort of way. To appreciate that ride, I need friends (of my age) around me, fuelled by our collective nostalgia and desperation to cling on to the last decade.

Whisky and rock fits way better now. Snug, is the word.

And, while a cigarette has an endless, dangerously cool appeal, there are still enough neurons firing to chastise you that the warm, acrid taste of tobacco heated by fire, flowing like mist into your mouth, kissing your insides and making your neck lean back of its own accord is... a bad, bad idea. 

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Waiting for the train today, I stood surrounded by guys in formal attire (minus the coat. This is Bombay, for crissakes.). Couldn't help but notice that each of them had a sizeable gut oozing out of their pants and hanging on for dear life somewhere near the belt line. I am in the same age bracket and though I dress like I'm in college (one of the supposed perks of my job) and kind of, sort of look like it too, I feel it too. This struggle against fat which attacks unannounced and transforms every morsel of food into a part of your own personal Krang (if you don't know who that is youngling, look it up.)

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People are quitting the place I work at more hastily than rats off a sinking ship. Oddly enough, this ship isn't sinking financially. Quite robust, in fact. On the other hand, it is a creative quicksand and getting an idea through the various levels of nincompoops is tougher than breaking down the great wall of China. With a toothpick. Anyway, with blokes rapidly exiting the scene, I'm starting to feel the pinch. After all, there's only so many ideas in the box on any given day and things outside the box aren't appreciated much.

However, when one's resume looks busier than a Bedouin's travel schedule, one has to pause and er, appreciate the cacti? Not sure this alleged oasis has much water left for me.

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Much as I abhor train travel in Bombay, I've come to the conclusion that it's far healthier than taking the road. In this city, there are no roads less travelled. A few days ago, a colleague gave me a ride to Santacruz. And, rather than be happy about not having to cram myself like a sardine on the train, I was left hypnotised by how dusty, hazy and downright polluted the air is. Fascinated horror. If Delhi is the most polluted place in India, surely Bombay can't be far behind?

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If you're Indian, in your 30s and single, you are basically the third wheel ALL THE TIME. And it is a bloody fierce struggle struggle to avoid situations where you're staring idly at the damp spot on the ceiling while your friends are making gooey eyes at each other and having moments or talking about stuff that just feels couply. A social limbo dance, where the bar keeps falling till you get: married, a hobby, an infectious disease or enough books, music and the stuff that cheers/inebriates to survive the infinite winter of this social siege.

Or, find friends as socially inept as you are and hang out with them all the time.

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The danger of writing under the influence is becoming maudlin and hankering after the supposed "good old days". I've said this before but booze (or whatever floats your boat) does help grease the rusty writing fingers and, more importantly, lowers inhibitions about whether it's "good enough".

Either way, this piece got written with a little grease so if you've read this far, "Cheers".

Song for the moment - No Rain - Blind Melon

Sunday, November 22

Suited N Booted

Dear MLK Jr., 

Forgive me for shamelessly borrowing your inspiring phrase to describe a yearning that is as insipid and shallow as your's was noble and glorious. But I too have a dream. 

That one day, I will watch a movie where the male protagonist, needing an urgent change of clothes, is handed these on cue by the comely heroine or casually finds them on a clothesline or a hole-in-the-wall emporium. As he puts on the shirt and trousers, he locks smoldering eyes with the woman, the electricity in the air enough to power a small city. And then stops with a puzzled expression. 

Because the fucking clothes don't fit. 

Never, and I do not exaggerate, have clothes I have received as gifts fit me perfectly. Some well-wishers who last saw me as a small boy blamelessly assume that Nature would have taken its course, and that I'd become a strapping young man. They (and I, come to that) have been cheated by Nature, because I stopped growing in height at 17. 

Leaving school as a chap of average height amongst my peers, I returned to junior college a pygmy amongst Redwood trees. While the rest of my classmates experienced growth spurts that would have any gardener waxing soliloquent, my pituitary gland never got the memo and oiled off to a long lunch. I was left in an awkward (a word that I'd exemplify completely) shirt size; a shade too big for the largest size in the kids section and a jot too small for the smallest size in the adults section. 

Not wanting to leave my torso feeling lonely no doubt, my waist joined the melee too. Trousers and shorts therefore either choke off all circulation or slip off with all the soundless finesse of any on-screen towel. 

Then there are those kind-hearted souls who glance at me thoughtfully and think of me as a native Tom Thumb. Their idea of clothes for me misses the mark by about 3 sizes, leaving every protuberance startlingly visible. 

It's a great pity that custom-made clothes are out of fashion because I was born for them. I don't have all my clothes tailored because good outfitters are hard to find and their fees so dear, I could only afford a loincloth. Besides, (and consistently enough) I can't, in all honesty, call my body a sartorial dream. It is more a jumbled mound of boulders than an elegant crag; a baobab rather than a pine; a yam rather than... Anyway, you get the idea.

So, whenever I receive unsolicited gifts that happen to be clothes, I sort them into 2 piles; the swaddling type coveted by shepherds and children in Bethlehem mangers, or the hideously tight collection favoured by greasy, sunglasses-sporting men and certain film stars who shall remain nameless.

 Meanwhile, I wait to discover the clothing line that understands my pain and welcomes me with nice long-sleeved shirts and smart trousers that fit me like a dream. Needless to say, I will provide my saviour enough doubloons and shekels to send their children to fancy universities, on foreign junkets and help with a lifetime's supply of dental care. Until then, I shall make do with that sad and defeat-soaked word - 'alterations'.

Don't even get me started on shoes. 

Song for the moment: Middle Man - Jack Johnson

Monday, November 9

For your life

If someone were to say that India is largely a patriarchal society, I doubt we'd hear too many dissenting voices. Deeply ingrained in the so-called culture, it isn't an ideal state of affairs, but you do what you can to go against this norm. Once in a while though, you can run across some particularly outrageous notions that'd fell you faster than an Andy Roberts bouncer. 

At home, for many years, Diwali has been a low-key festival; lighting lamps, making the effort to be at home and maybe taking stock of the guest-driven mountain of sweets & savouries that accumulates despite our weak protests. A death in the family means there is no celebration at all that year. And early this year, Alzheimer's claimed my grandfather. Naturally, when the topic of Diwali came up, I was mildly surprised and asked why the discussion was even happening. 

Various relatives looked at me quizzically (admittedly a common expression) and explained that we could celebrate Diwali because my grandpa happened to be my mother's father. To say that I was astonished is putting it mildly. Here I was, naively under the impression that the lack of celebration was a mark of respect for the dearly departed only to be corrected and explained to that it did not apply to me (and my family); only my grandpa's sons and their families need mourn. 

Mother. Of. Fucking. God. 

I suspect the expression on my face must have been something substantial because it swiftly quelled anyone who brought up this little bit of cultural legalese. It's one thing that we need to live in a male-dominated society. It's another that funeral rituals are basically rigged to keep the women out. And it's completely WTF that, long after the smoke & ashes have drifted away, we're still tied down to this ridiculous standard. 

The long and short of it is that we won't be celebrating Diwali either. Not because it's culturally called for, mind you, but because I think we shouldn't.

The hysterical part of it all is the fact that I know my grandfather would have agreed with them and not me.

Song for the moment: Let's dance - David Bowie

Thursday, October 22

Anyone can play guitar

This is a bit of a tech post. Unless you're interested in very amateur Linux talk or curious about my computer adventures, you don't have to read on.

In my last post, I'd written about finally letting go of XP (still think it's the nicest Windows OS) and switching to LXLE, a lightweight distribution (distro) based on Lubuntu, running on the LXDE desktop environment. It is primarily for ageing PCs like mine, though it will function just as well on newer computers. This post consists of layman observations and some experiential info after having used it for almost a week.

First off, LXLE is easy to install and I strongly recommend creating a Live USB using UNetboot.in (which you'll have to download) and using that to install the OS. I mean, use a thumb drive rather than a CD/DVD to install. The steps are simple enough and your intelligence level would have to be dangerously close to that of the average Indian politician's for you to fuck it up.

Since I was getting rid of XP and not dual-booting, the override process was very simple. If you do choose to dual-boot, there are simple and excellent videos on YouTube on how to do this with Windows+Ubuntu. This would follow the same steps. Here are just 2 videos that show you how easy the installation process is:

1. https://youtu.be/9O6yU_yvlS4
2. https://youtu.be/3HANcetKsqc

I've used the 2nd link when dual-booting my other laptop and it went off without a hitch. When downloading/installing the OS, remember to choose to install the restricted extras which are the codecs for Flash, Java, Mp3s, etc. It makes life easier, though they can be installed later.

Okay, back to LXLE. The boot time is around 2 minutes, which is a little slow, but that may be because it's settling in. The reviews peg the boot time to under 1 minute, which is seriously quick, if you think about it. Like Ubuntu, LXLE shuts down fast (10 seconds).

The default desktop paradigm is XP, though you can choose between 4 others. I'm still trying to figure out how you can change between these. FYI, paradigm basically means where the start button/panel is located. In the Unity paradigm, it's a column on the left, and Gnome 2 has it at the top of the screen, etc. XP is familiar and there's nothing wrong with it.

LXLE comes with the Libre Office Suite, including Writer, Calc, Impress (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) amongst others. If like me, you tend to largely use Word, you shouldn't have any trouble with Writer. If you use PowerPoint, Adobe PS/AI and Excel heavily in your work, Libre Office will disappoint you. You are better off dual-booting or using Wine (Windows Program Loader) to install and use MS Office in LXLE.

Mozilla build of Seamonkey is the default browser and if you're used to Firefox, this is almost the same. In some design ways, Seamonkey is even nicer than Firefox. You are free to download Firefox or Chrome (Chromium) too. LXLE comes with the Lubuntu Software Centre where you can search for and install various packages/ software. You can also run online searches for Terminal commands to directly download and install software. However, if you're easily confused by large strings of commands or are more of a point-and-click person, use the software centre. And as you will read later, the software centre can't solve all your problems.

LXLE comes with default (and nifty, might I add) photo viewing and editing software (Shotwell is one), Video viewer (you can download VLC) and PDF viewer, so no sweat there. Audacity audio editor is also pre-installed.

My 2 favourite features of LXLE are the random wallpaper feature (featuring some seriously stunning photographs) and Guayadeque Music Player (which I've written about before - see a previous Ubuntu post). To me, they are the sensory highlights of LXLE.

Unlike in Ubuntu 15.04, the Terminal is called ROXTerm and can be opened using Alt+C or Ctrl+Alt+t. Why am I telling you this? Because the one spot of bother I ran into was using the Printer.

Installing a Printer on LXLE

I plugged in the printer (HP 915) using the USB, wanting to print something, only to find that the printer wasn't being recognised. This was odd because LXLE, Ubuntu, etc. are usually thoughtful about things like this. I did a bit of searching online and found that others had the same trouble as well. This being a Linux distro, there are kajillion forums and links on how to try and solve the issue. Whatever I tried, didn't work, leaving me more disappointed than frustrated. As luck would have it, I then stumbled upon an old 2011 link (updated in 2015) that gave a solution, which would have to be executed using the Terminal. It took a little while, needed a little bit of reading and finger-crossing but happily for me, it worked. If you're interested, here it is.

That's about it. So far, so good, with the printer installation being the only complicated bit I had to figure out. Perversely enough, I actually enjoy tinkering around with this kind of stuff, so it wasn't too much of a bother. It was also nice to share the solution on the LXLE forum and feel like I'd actually accomplished something. Happy Dussera indeed.

P.S: One bit of a piss-taker is that iTunes will not work, even if you use Wine. Since I have an iPhone as of now, it's a shitty situation, but there's not much to be done, unless those Apple fucktards release a Linux version of iTunes. Not holding my breath on that though. 

Song for the moment: Plump - Ali Khan

Saturday, October 17

Monkey Wrench

December 23, 2006. I'd only been in the States a few months had finally nailed a precious on-campus job at the Communications Studies department. The first semester was over and a sepulchral silence settled over the campus and residential areas around the university as the Christmas and New Year holidays commenced.

I sat at my desk in the silent office building waiting for quitting time (everyone else had left hours earlier and I was simply manning the fort) when the phone rang. It was my room mate, Grandpa. "Chote, tere liye kuch parcel aaya hai. Pata nahin, baxa hai. Aake dekh le." is what he said before hanging up, leaving me nonplussed. I hadn't ordered anything and wasn't expecting any parcels or letters, so what was this box?

Eventually 5:30pm rolled by and I left for home at a brisk pace. On opening the door, I was confronted by the startling sight of Grandpa leering like he'd seen a particularly comely female. Though it was his natural smile, it still took some getting used to. I was about to ask him about the box but the question froze on my lips because I spotted the logo. DELL.

At first I couldn't believe my eyes and assumed it was a joke by my room mates. But there it was, heavy and sealed with all the official documentation. On opening the box, I found the note from my folks wishing me a happy birthday. And then I found the white and silver Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop which they'd arranged for a relative to buy and ship from New Jersey. I think that was the last time a birthday gift genuinely stunned me.

Since it was from my folks, the tech-specs were pragmatic rather than woo-hoo! But it was a very respectable laptop; solid and dependable, packing a 60 GB Internal HD and Windows XP. From the very beginning, I took good care of it, avoiding dodgy websites, shady downloads and the like. Though it weighed a ton, I hauled it everywhere, using it to read books, watch movies and of course, start this blog. It was on this laptop that I perfected the ability to type in pitch dark at speed and till today, I struggle to reach the same ease on other keyboards.

The first time the laptop gave me trouble was in Cambodia when the CD drive inexplicably conked off. Since I've chronicled that in posts from 2008, there won't be a repeat. But that little flake slowly become a growing snowball going down the tech hill. The battery performance nosedived after a few years, which was followed by the system itself. Though the RAM was enough for the superb XP OS, programs started slowing down and dragging and anti-virus only made it worse. My preferred browser, Firefox, would take ages to load and I was unable to run more than a few programs at once.

Eventually, I cleaned out the laptop, installed more RAM and things improved. And then came the fateful announcement from Microsoft that they wouldn't support XP after April 2014. I began to do my research on the possible solutions. Yes, the simplest would have been to buy a new laptop with top of the line specs. But, there was nothing wrong with the actual hardware. A Mac was out of my budget and I honestly didn't see what the hullabaloo was about. At heart, I'm still a writer and all I need is a word document program and the Internet.

Since I was living in Bombay, the Dell was my Poona-based PC, crammed with all the critical stuff. I got a second-hand laptop for Bombay, which had superb hardware but only came with XP on it. That's when I knew it was time to take the plunge. I'd heard, read and kept up with Linux for years, always curious about this highly praised OS and its derivatives but also scared about its technical side. Earlier this year, I did a little bit of experimentation, dual-booting the Bombay laptop, installed Linux Ubuntu and fell in love with its simplicity and elegance. But what was I to do about my old, faithful Dell which was still on XP?

The answer was LXLE. And today, after 9 years, I backed up all my files and folders, plugged in the Live USB and said goodbye to XP. I was sorely tempted to keep it going till December 23rd, giving it a neat birthday send-off, but didn't see the point in that. The laptop was limping and the OS was tired so, in a way, there was more dignity this way (Okay, maybe I'm starting to sound like Joaquin Phoenix in 'Her'). And once I installed LXLE, I knew it was the right decision.

It is basically made for laptops like mine, i.e. old but serviceable. It'll be supported by the Linux community till 2019 so I'm happy to have given the Dell a new lease of life. After all we've been through together, it was thoroughly deserved. And yes, I'm still writing blog posts on the same laptop. Who would have thunk it?

Song for the moment: Into the great wide open - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers    

Sunday, October 4

I know what I know

If you've been reading this blog for a while (okay, even the last few posts), you'd know I regularly ponder the dodgy choices made by yours truly that have left me in a awful situations. The fact that these choices also lead to posts of dubious quality but fruity language is cold comfort. The fact remains. To quote Forrest Gump, I am not a smart man.

Why? As I write this, it is a peaceful Sunday night. At my age, this should signal much conviviality. Instead, I find myself in the bedroom, sitting hermit-fashion on the bed, shovelling an early dinner out of a bowl (plates are overrated), moodily tracking the sporting murder at the Emirates Stadium and listening to people 30 years older than me having the time of their lives in the living room. You heard me right.

The pater is hosting one of his quarterly parties. Mind you, calling it a party is rather generous. Because it is more a guys' night out (for everyone but the pater of course), involving booze, fatty foods they wouldn't touch normally with a bargepole and a lot of laughter. Here I am, a respectable (reasonably) member of the early 30s crowd, pootling around the house with only the gentle shushing of the rain outside for company. There they are, men way past the hill (and in some cases, paunches bearing a startling resemblance to the aforementioned geographic feature) cheerfully quaffing down stuff and living it up.

As I heard them chuckle helplessly, I couldn't help feel jealous at first. But then, I heard the pater laugh too. Not something we hear very often nowadays. And when I think about that fact, I am suddenly and simultaneously shameful for being petty-minded and happy because he has friends who will make him laugh every now and then. It seems to be a funny role-reversal in my life. I have become (or, as my "friends" would no doubt remark, am) more of the concerned yet curmudgeonly father, while, for one evening, he's become the carefree young man entertaining his friends.

Considering the life we've had, he's had, I'd have to be a Grade 1 asshole to begrudge him this moment. So, I will end this here and go do what any parent would in the situation. Check on the boys, ask them if they need anything and serve them some snacks. That's a choice I wouldn't regret for a minute.

Song for the moment: Have a nice day - Stereophonics  

Sunday, September 20

Just a gift

I am at work, in an office without windows.

It is 4:10 pm and the floor is buzzing quietly. Like the whole nation, the office is on its tea break.

In the canteen, I fill my mug with dishwater masquerading as tea, and am walking past a cubicle when I stop. I smell it first. And then see it. A familiar blue cardboard box on a new colleague's desk. She's from Poona too.

She catches me looking at the box in incredulity, smiles knowingly and tells me to open the box and take one. I'm still unsure if it's a prank but I open the box anyway.

And there they are, rows and rows of whitish biscuits with light brown edges.

I bite into the crisply convivial, buttery crust, and a tsunami of homesickness washes me away in a whirlpool, even before I can appreciate the taste.
 
And it is 4:10 pm. A different, quieter Poona.

I am cycling home on my red Hero Ranger.

The sky is blue, the sun is warmly friendly and a slight breeze brushes away the heat.

I have whizzed down the Abhimanshree Society slope, challenging myself to see how far I can go without pedalling.

Now, I take the turn into my lane and glide through the gate into the parking lot of my building, already off the bike and balancing one leg on the pedal.

I chain lock the bike, climb up the 2 flights of stairs and ring the bell. The door opens and I can smell the tea simmering on the stove and the aroma of curry leaves and coconut.

I wash up, sit on the couch before the TV and watch cartoons, eating dosas washed down with the tea.

I'm lost in the maelstrom of this memory spiralling around itself, day after day after day for many a year.

Is it the closest I will ever come to heaven?

I take another Shrewsbury biscuit.

Song for the moment: Summertime - Norah Jones  

Saturday, September 12

Outside looking in

So, here's something that happened to yours truly for the first time. After work on Thursday night, a few colleagues and I headed over to a popular new restobar nearby. None of us had been there before and it took us a while to find the place.

It was the last working day for one of the guys in my team and we wanted to celebrate it with a quiet drink and a good meal. My team-mates and I are all over 30. One of them is a father and another is about to get married in a few months. Though were dressed casually, all of us were in jeans or trousers and covered shoes. None of us looks remotely threatening.

Anyway, we get to the entrance and the guy at the door gives us a cursory glance and says "No stags allowed". I was nonplussed. And then, outraged. Because, there's two ways to look at what happened.

1. We were being punished for being single men / men not accompanied by ladies.
2. We weren't deemed acceptable enough to enter.

Indian men do not do themselves any favours. There's too many stories out there about guys getting drunk and creating pandemonium or misbehaving with other customers, usually women. So, in a way, my sympathies lie with long-suffering restaurateurs who have to deal with these assholes on a regular basis and watch their business suffer. However, I have a BIG problem with this blanket assumption that all single men are assholes. And I'm willing to bet that if we'd been single firang guys, we'd still have been let in.

Point 2, if anything, is worse. Any restaurant reserves the right of entry. And the fancier the restaurant, the snobbier the staff, particularly the ones at the door. But this place wasn't of the uppermost rung. If anything, their website claims that it's a place for artists and innovators to collaborate. And the average artist looks like a hobo. We were dressed well enough. On what basis were we deemed 'not good enough' to enter?

Is it because we weren't rich-looking? Or a few shades paler? Was it our beards? Our very normal clothes? The fact that none of us is tall and good-looking?

Needless to say, I called up the manager the next day and let him have it. Politely. Because, like I said before, I can sympathise. Single Indian men as a species is a problem. And there really is no way to separate the wheat from the chaff, of which there's a lot of. He told me what I'd expected - female patrons had complained regularly about being harassed, which forced the management to put a blanket ban on single guys. He also says that single guys are allowed but it's a judgement call. I wanted to ask how this worked without the potential patron being completely insulted but gave up. The guy then offered an apology and assured me that I'd be let in on my next visit.

But is this really the way to go? Instead of letting the doorman take arbitrary calls on who should be allowed in, or completely banning single guys, would it not be better to employ some extremely efficient bouncers who could deal with assholes? I'd suggest that the cops be rung immediately too, except for two problems. The cops usually hassle the restaurant. And the troublemaker can whip out the classic "Do you know who I am/my father is?" line, at which point the cops take cover.

Of course, the real solution and therefore the toughest is to ensure that guys know how to behave in public. But who am I kidding? So, should I try to not remain single simply to reassure restaurateurs? No guarantees there since boors are boors, regardless of status. Also, can I be surprised that the reputation of the average Indian male makes women vary?

No wonder, guys drinking at home is catching on.

Update: Discussed this issue with the sister, who agreed that arbitrary calls on which stag gets in are wrong. But, she agrees with the management that, till such time as a viable solution is found, a blanket ban is the only way to go. However, she also points out that ladies being at the table/part of the group doesn't stop guys behaving boorishly either. What a sorry bunch of bastards. 

Song for the moment: Victim or the crime - Grateful Dead

Monday, August 24

Local boy in the photograph

Just when I was on track to keep to my '2 posts a month' target, work amped up. And in Mumbai, once you have a significant amount of work, I'm not sure you have time for anything else, barring the commute. Which also means there's nothing to write about.

That is, until I was asked to go to Bangalore for a weekend TVC shoot. Now, I've always liked the city. Of course, it was a lovely little place about 2 decades ago. And it's neither little nor lovely any more. The combination of the IT boom, nefarious politicians and inept city planning have left their devastating mark on Bangalore. And bad as it is, I don't see it getting better any time soon. It takes way more than outraged tweets and open letters to bring about 'real' change anywhere and the same is true of Bean Town. Sadly, I'm not sure any well-wisher has that kind of power. So, every visit I make to Bangalore depresses me.

The filming location happened to be a devastatingly charming old house somewhere off Magrath Road, dripping in history and nostalgia in every nook and corner. I was particularly haunted by a drawing titled 'Musical Evening at Pottery Road' c 1975. It showed a group of people with various musical instruments having the time of their lives. And then it struck me that the scene had taken place 40 years ago, just around or before the Emergency happened (which closely affected the family who owned the place). For me it was heartbreaking to realise that the people, places and moments that made Bangalore such a quaint and lovely place have vanished. In fact, if you do a web search for Pottery Road, the news talks about how it is now struggling to deal with filth, potholes, local gundas and civic apathy.

Still, one of the few happy highlights of my trip was a visit to Toit, where I tasted the nicest beer in India (so far). The place itself is beautiful and vibrant and the jolly atmosphere brought on by excellent beer, great food and the plethora of stunningly cute women all over cheered me up considerably. It was a perfectly ordinary moment of people having a nice time on a warm Sunday afternoon. And yet, these moments are so rare.

I don't know about the future of the city, but hope Toit continues to do well. There's not much charm left in cities nowadays and places like Toit certainly help hold on whatever is left. And unless Bangalore wakes up and does something soon, its niceness will only live on in photos and paintings. And that would be a pity.

Song for the moment: Ordinary Lives - Bee Gees

Sunday, July 19

Something great

A few months ago, I got a second-hand laptop to use in Bombay. Though a little old, it came with amazing tech specs, including i7, RAM and loads of space. In terms of the OS, I wanted at least Windows 7, but it came with XP, which was a bit inconvenient. However, that tech cloud did bring a silver lining because it gave me an excuse to try something I've been wanting to for ages, that is, switch to a Linux-based OS.

Open to experimenting though I may be, I did not want to completely let go of Windows, so I configured a dual-boot with XP and Ubuntu OS. There are enough and more excellent Youtube videos to help do this and it did not take me long. Here are a few quick remarks on my experiences.

Ubuntu is free, amazingly light on system resources and I don't have to worry about installing anti-virus software. The Ubuntu help community is excellent and usually answers every question one could have. The layout is not terribly different from Windows and it will take you little time to get used to navigating through it.

In terms of software, I found everything needed at the Software Centre, another handy-dandy feature. It works like an App Store and has practically everything you'd need. Advanced users can tinker with various features using the Terminal, and codes and instructions available online on the forums. Firefox is the default web browser, which is my preferred choice anyway. The Linux version of Chrome, called Chromium is available for free but needs to be installed.

For those who need iTunes and MS Office Suite, the only solution is to dual-boot. The free Libre Office Suite that comes with Ubuntu is based on the Open Office Suite and is perfectly fine if, like me, you largely use only MS Word. The dual-boot is necessary for advanced users of Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook as you'll find Libre Office and Thunderbird inadequate for your work. Sadly, there is also no Linux version of iTunes and I have trawled through the forums for an adequate solution and am yet to see one which has mass consensus.

And then we come to music play, perhaps the raison d'être of this post. People of a certain age will understand my continued amazement and gratefulness at hard-disk sizes of today. Now we transfer any amount of music from friends without a second thought.10 years ago, we'd be agonising over what to delete before we added new music. In a way, our music folders were pruned for efficient listening, versus now, when I know there's music on my PC I haven't heard in years. Anyway, old habits die hard and I dutifully transferred a load of music onto the laptop. And then discovered Guayadeque Music Player.

An Ubuntu-only software, it comes with 4000+ internet music stations from across the world. And that ladies and gents, has effectively killed regular music for me. Unless there's no internet (a very infrequent thing), I don't need to access my regular music; instead I now frequently listen to stuff I'd never have come across and can change genres at will. Regular tech-savvy folk may be aghast at the perceived value reduction of Linux here, but hey, it works for me.

So, if you have an old laptop that's gathering dust, I encourage you to wipe everything off it and install Ubuntu and give you computer a new lease of life. You really have nothing to lose and could actually have all to gain. In a way, it's like Lego for adults; you could tinker around, keep your noggin active and find that you like it.

Update: You can use MS Office Suite in Ubuntu with Wine. What more can you ask for? Check it out here.

Song for the moment: Love in Spain - Ypey

 

Saturday, June 27

Jockey full of bourbon

If you are in advertising, is it almost impossible to be an optimist?

In an interview, David Droga, resident ad-world genius and founder of Droga5, the agency any creative worth her/is salt wants to work in, said he was an optimist. Which, if you consider how long he's been in the game, seems a staggering attitude to maintain.

It got me thinking. Has Droga's approach anything to do with the fact that he is a genius (albeit an incredibly hard-working one), whose ideas usually translate into wonderfully effective and memorable (is there a difference?) advertisements? He was born in Australia and started working there. Did that help mould his attitude and craft?

This exercise could go on forever and there's no chance I can distil the elements of his success. And yet, being an optimist, a cheerful person, having a positive outlook on life may be critical to one thing - wanting to wake up and go work in advertising.

Because the average Indian agency attitude goes something like this:

Servicing folks are reviled for being brainless, spineless, client-lovers, simply transporting work and feedback from client to creatives

Planners and their strategies are considered less useful than the greenish fungus that visits the back of the fridge annually

Creative people are assholes, who simply won't make what the client wants, or worse, create something so horrible that Oppenheimer himself would nod in approval

Management is either hated or pitied, depending on how accommodating they are, and to whom
 
Clients - there are no words

The daily levels of negativity, the machinations, the disappointments and frustrations, have to be experienced to be believed. Even at the agency I work, which is not a bad place to be at all. And yet, people are quitting it. Why?

Industry-wide, we are all just ordinary people. With other talents, other dreams and many worries just like anyone else. All of which have been put on the back-burner so that we work late nights and weekends on minuscule salaries so that advertisements can be made.

Only to find that the end product is usually criticized fiercely by morons who sit on their high horses spouting logic and philosophy on Twitter, or that modern day horror, the Open Letter.

Or worse, completely ignored (Dave Trott estimates that it happens with 89% of advertisements in the UK).

Or, horror of horrors, is absolute shit. 

An ex-boss used to say "You're only as good as your last campaign". Think of the number of ads that get made on a weekly basis and you'll understand the stress inherent in that statement.

Maybe it is better to be like Droga or Piyush Pandey (apparently, a man who keeps the room in giggles all the time). But, mimicking their advertising talents seems less troublesome than being as optimistic and cheerful as them.      

Song for the moment: Got a right to sing the Blues - Cee Cee James

 

Tuesday, June 16

Heaven will know

They say time heals all wounds.

'They' don't know what they are talking about.

Some hurts stay angry and raw forever.

Because Time itself is a cruel reminder.

Of happy moments. Of conversations. Of hugs.

Gone forever.

Of loss. Of emptiness. Of an aching beyond description.

There forever.

Some wounds cut so deep.

They sever. 

Song for the moment: Lucky Guy - Modern Talking

Saturday, May 23

Sludge Factory

I am not an expert.

This post is not another bullshit (heaven help us) 'Open Letter'.

It certainly doesn't take an infuriating 'So-n-so is wrong/right. Here's why' stance just to create controversy and get read.

It is simply my feelings on a certain matter. Without any (and I mean ANY) concern for someone else's opinion on the matter.

The above statement was a polite way of saying 'Keep your fucking comments to yourselves'.

Are you in college? Just out of college? In a boring job? Jobless? Dreaming about a better profession?

Don't join the Indian advertising industry.

Advertising attracted the slovenly. The edgy. The bat-shit insane. The dreamers. The hopers. The witty. The artistic. The dynamic. The intelligent. The strategic. The TALENTED.

Back in the days when there was just one channel, fewer choices of products and people actually read newspapers, these people had a good time, nay, a great time. They came together and made some lovely commercials that people still get misty-eyed over. They wrote bold, stand-out stunning stuff that leaves today's bunch wide-eyed with admiration and more than a dash of envy.

On a regular basis (compared to today), a body of work was created that people liked and disliked in equal measure. That got the man on the street, if not talking, but pausing, pondering and then walking. That was remembered. How did they do it?

Allegedly, in the golden age of advertising, people walked into office late, drank at their desks, puffed on tobacco and more with impunity, worked even later into the night and went out to drink and party some more. And out of this came the genuinely great stuff. Did it sell a lot of products? Who knows? But it certainly gave the product an edge over the competition. 

Somewhere along the line though, agencies and the people running them began to suck client dick. A lot of it. Now, anyone who is getting fellated on a regular basis isn't going to object. In fact, they're likely to get a swelled head (pun intended) and get fanciful notions about their criticality to the process of creating a great advertisement. Like a creeper takes over a tree, they began to voice their 'opinions' hesitantly and furtively at first, and finding no objection, did so with increasing vehemence. They always knew their product. They knew their target audience. However, they began to imagine that they also knew how to get the attention of their potential customers, creatively. Rather than focus on communicating the details of the product to the agency, they began dictating what details the advertisement should communicate.

The very same advertising geniuses who had fingers on the pulse of the common man paused in their dick-sucking, considered for a minute and figured it's better to let the village idiot voice his opinion every now and then. Because, you know, how much harm can he do?

A lot, apparently.

What is the scenario today?

1. There are 1-2 agencies 'known' for their creative work. This is largely because the geniuses running the place are shrewd politicians. The rest of the agencies are holding on by their fingernails, doing work that no one notices, and hoping no one notices. All of them are sucking a lot of dick.

2. There are a handful of great creative people leading agencies. But they've done their time, had their fun, worked their magic when the world believed in it and are now warming chairs, wondering why their juniors are so hopeless.

3. The common man doesn't give a flying fuck about advertisements.  Especially because they are more boring than a block of paneer.

4. The brightest minds are joining advertising, coming up against multiple walls of internal agency dumbfuckery and external client bollocks. And choosing to bail out of advertising, leaving only the also-rans and those who do not have the luxury to change boats mid-stream.

5. A lot of stakeholders (clients, agencies, etc.) think a 'Like' is as good as a conversation about the ad and are pouring their money into the blackhole that is digital marketing.

6. Twitter, that gutter of outrage, trolling and barely-baked logic, is alive and well, giving the heebie-jeebies to clients. (Seriously, who the fuck will not buy a mattress because the print ad used Malala to illustrate a point? The fact that it got noticed, ironically, did not get noticed.)

7. Clients want to pander to 100% of their customer base, forgetting that people are not Daleks and have varying likes and dislikes. That is, the phrase "One man's meat is another man's poison" has been well and truly forgotten.

8. Hardly anyone remembers the Zero Sum Game. And Bernbach forbid, wants to tell the client about it.

9. Wit, negativity, irony, sarcasm and anything else with an iota of danger or joy in it has been buried. To be replaced by heavy doses of drama/emotion, pointless wackiness and, my personal favourite, the 'A for Apple' style.

10. Every award will be earned by politics, canvassing and mutual back-scratching. Your talent and/or a great piece of work will not be enough. 

And what else? On average the pay is poor, the respect negligent, the hours, long and the stress, stratospheric. In the race to fellate as many dicks as possible, as many people as possible are getting shafted. Your colleagues exhibit various degrees of cynicism, depression and misery. Forget happiness, even a smidgeon of steady satisfaction is rare.

Sure, you'll hear the occasional "All the frustration, stress and tripe was worth it because a great ad was made" but no one believes that is sustainable. Like lemmings, people will come and go, their places taken by others, and the morons at the top will tell each other that all is well. And continue sucking each other off. 

Don't join Indian advertising. Unless you hate yourself.

Song for the moment: Angry Chair - Alice in Chains

Monday, May 11

You won't let me down again

Bikes may refuse to start.
Booze may leave me bloated.
Buddies may screw me over.

Books, on the other hand, won't let me down.
Lesson learned.

Song for the moment: Stay Away - Nirvana

Monday, April 13

Game, Set, Match

Their eyes met over the net.
He paused his serve, captivated by her verve.
She glanced through her racquet, imagined how handsome he'd look in a jacket. 
With a smile on his face, he served what he thought was an ace.
She volleyed it with a smack, all the while smiling back.

T'was two love at first sight.*

Song for the moment: What's love got to do with it - Tina Turner

 
*Inspired by a true story

Monday, April 6

Smooth Criminal

The devil and god were squabbling. 
Unable to decide what the most precious thing was. 
They summoned the greatest thief ever - Z.
Z was ordered to steal it.
What 'it' was, wasn't specified.
Whatever was chosen and stolen by Z would be worthy.
Z stood in front of the two ancients and pondered.
Just as the immortals were beginning to lose patience (typical of those for whom time doesn't mean anything), Z nodded slowly, smiled and left...
Came back empty-handed.
The devil and god were not amused. 
They asked, in no uncertain terms, what the heck Z was playing at. 
The reply stunned them into silence.

"I stole a kiss".

Song for the moment:

Tuesday, March 31

Memory Canyon

When it's raining, ginger tea and mirchi pakodas are best. If that doesn't warm the cockles of your heart and leave you looking at the world with a benevolent eye, then nothing will.

For me, taking a bike ride or a stroll comes a close second. A long time ago, when my friends were enthusiastic about bike trips, taking one in the rains came with mixed feelings. Sure, you enjoyed the rhythmic rat-a-tat on your helmet, but only for about half a minute. After that, you tended to focus on how wet you were getting, particularly in the socks and family jewels departments. Of course, there's nothing quite as soothing as taking a long, hot shower, accompanied by a rum & coke (or whatever you want) after the ride is over. It's as close to a meditative state as you're likely to get.

Now, there's less keenness to experience the pain before the pleasure, everyone reasoning that it's just as simple to get into the shower with a suitable beverage without the hoopla of the bike trip. Can't really argue with that. Still, whenever I get a chance, I do take my Kinetic for a spin in the rains. And I chose my words carefully there because the bike is, in fact, trying to kill me. I'd written previously about the Kinetic Honda's propensity to skid in the rains so it won't be repeated here. But its reputation does force you to focus on the act of riding rather than letting you watch life whiz by. If you're lucky though, you witness things; tiny moments that are part of someone else's narrative but become indelible bookmarks of a day in your life.

Friends/Lovers

They walk in the rain, slowly, savouring the pleasurable respite from the heat, looking at each other and smiling secret smiles of intimacy. He holds his hand out slowly, unsure about how she will respond, and she may see his momentary terror and choose to not break his heart so she gives him her hand, and a unsaid sigh of relief passes through him, and then a spark of joy as her fingers gently twirl in his.

Bullet Generation

He is goggle-eyed by the wind and the moment, his heart hammering harder than the engine of the Bullet. His elfin face is framed by a yellow handkerchief tied like a bonnet and he holds on to the handles for dear life, experiencing something he may or may not remember years later. The old man sitting on the seat, the actual rider, has a rakish mechanic's cap on his head that oddly seem to fit right in with old-fashioned square, metal spectacles. His back is straight, his expression serene. The lady in the green sari in the pillion seat sits regally, as if it is her throne. Perhaps it is. She is enjoying the ride, the drops of rain streaming past her face, the wind failing to disturb her hair-bun. The bike goes past a Kinetic and she locks eyes, just for a fraction of a second, with the rider. He smiles, she does not.

The languid grey clouds see everything, and say nothing, leaving the scene stilled against a backdrop of whispers from the wind & water.

Song for the moment:

       

Sunday, March 29

Heat of the night

Contrary to what the phrase connotes, an Indian summer does not lead me to think of life favourably. The monsoon has a certain romance and the winter lends a cosy, rosy bonhomie to things. I can wax eloquent about the delights of the rain and become wistful about winters. But summer? All it does is leave me feeling like one of those dish-rags your mom put out to dry but which fell off the line and is now dangling on the ledge, beaten by the whims of fate.

The only good things about the season are mangoes, panna, kokam sarbat and that delicious Puneri invention - the Mastani. Once upon a time we eagerly looked forward to this horrible season because 2 months of vacations came along but that's in the past, when vacations actually meant freedom (after a fashion) unlike now, when I simply want to crawl into bed and be left alone to nurse my chronic fatigue.

Bombay has already started steaming. I try and leave early for work to beat the heat. But in the oven that passes for the train bogie, forced by the morning rush to experience more physical intimacy with my fellow man on a daily basis than I have experienced with any woman in a while, any deodorant is about as useful as a pick-up line is to a marooned sailor. I may apply it copiously and strategically, but when you're spat out of the compartment at your destination, you smell like a rather suspect cauliflower. Though my social skills have made me an expert at cold showers, an actual one is also a lifesaver at the end of the day when I feel like something the cat dragged in. And, heaven help us all, it's still only March.

Finally home in Pune after a hectic month at work, I have been gifted 2 drizzly evenings. It is indescribably lovely to sit staring at the grey skies, listen to the gentle hiss of the rain and desultorily read a book, particularly when I have no energy or enthusiasm to do anything at all. Heck, I even took the bike out for a spin. But more on that later.

Still, some other poor sod (read farmer) is suffering the flip side of this weather, so that tempers my glee somewhat. But that's life.

Song for the moment: Walking in the air - George Winston

Thursday, February 12

We still have dreams

Working in an ad agency has its perks.

You get to dress pretty casually. You can turn the air blue by swearing and no one turns a hair. The scenery is usually quite nice (though your favourite author manages to dent that statistic). And punny jokes fly thick and fast. So, overall, not bad.

However, one thing that can stick in your craw, particularly if you entered the game a bit late and are right now over 30 is the age factor. Most of your colleagues will be at least 6 - 8 years younger. So they can drink you under the table without even trying. They're über-thrilled about stuff you don't find mildly amusing or interesting any more. And, their musical tastes seem completely off your map.

For example, a couple of younger colleagues and I happened to be discussing music from the 90s. I mentioned Scatman John, Cotton Eye Joe and other worthies, only to be met with a blank look. This wasn't confusion, mind you. Just total incomprehension. For once, I felt old. The funny part is that my colleagues aren't fresh off the boat of adolescence either. Bizarrely enough though, a whole generation seems to have wiped off any music that wasn't totally contemporary or completely classic (think 60s, 70s) to them when they were teenagers. Quite unlike my generation, which has remained loyal to the sounds of the 80s, cringe-worthy disco-pop and all.  

Anyway, what triggered this post was the refrain in a piece of electroswing I was listening to today that seemed frustratingly familiar. Suddenly, it brought back memories of lying in bed, listening to a tape over and over. The moment is so crystal clear that I can actually see the brown brick wallpaper, myself wedged into a corner of the bed, the room lit only by a red night-light while the tape recorder played the song for the moment:

   
P.S: My colleagues haven't heard of these legends either. Ye gads!

Friday, January 16

Don't wanna dance...

...but sometimes you have to. Because.

So you could either grit your teeth, fume, clench & unclench your shaking fists and let your face slowly turn red with very, very familiar frustration and rage or you say "Fuck it" and groove to the situational music.

If you choose the latter, here's the song for the moment:

 

Thursday, January 1

Daylight

Rather than blather
Words like turds...

Let's kick off 2015 with something by Neil Gaiman that I wish I'd written.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. May your coming year be a wonderful thing in which you dream both dangerously and outrageously.
I hope you will make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and you will be liked and you will have people to love and to like in return. And most importantly, because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now – I hope that you will, when you need to, be wise and that you will always be kind. And I hope that somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself. - N. Gaiman
Good luck, one and all.

Song for the moment: Rocker - Miles Davis