Friday, January 15, 2016

age, travel, earphones

The driver who drove me to the bus station from the hotel was very chatty. Among other things, he asked me how old I was. He couldn't believe I was 30. He kept repeating, "You are 30! Are you sure? Wow." Then he said I looked very young, and nothing like what a 30 year should look like. I wonder how a 30 year old "should" look like. Finally he asked me the dreaded question, "How old do you think I am?" I am really bad at this game. I said, "I don't know, I am really bad at guessing ages. Maybe late 30s?" And he said, "I am 63." So, yes, I should never play this game. Though I should have been tipped off because earlier he mentioned he had a double bypass surgery. Late 30 year olds don't usually have double bypass surgeries. Anyway, when I was about to leave his cab, he said "and you smell really good too." I did not think under my many layers of clothing, my perfume still made way to the outside world. At the bus station, I waited for 45 minutes. It was frigid. The convention center doors were closed. Right after me in the line was an Indian guy, who came to Pittsburgh to interview for his medical residency. He is a doctor. We talked for a while. He flirted in a ridiculous sexist way quoting from antiquated Bollywood movies. I wanted to get away, but I thought that will be rude. So, when another Indian guy who was also at his interview joined him, I felt relieved to go back to my earphones. 

Brahma's Memory

Memory god vigorously nodded his head. Brahma[1] was bemusedly telling Memory that he is quite exhausted, the years have advanced, he is now inflicted with osteoporosis attacking his joints, especially his knees what with sitting in this ill-chosen yoga posture, what was it called again? Memory instantly answered, "ah the padma-asana (lotus-posture) grandfather!" Yes indeed, he should have guessed as much given that the tip of some of the pesky lotus petals he is sitting on still tickle him in some of his more intimate areas. To refrain from inadvertently giggling, he maintains his severe countenance. And his teeth, his once beautifully aligned teeth just like those little white houses of Wisteria Lane, those perfect teeth all now replaced by exorbitant, over-enameled, under-adherent denture. And for heaven's sake! One day his fake teeth involuntarily chattered, and detached from his gums and fell into his intricate, ever sprouting, lotus petalled seat at such an opportune moment, right when he was about to pronounce a well-chosen curse on one good-for-nothing heaven-inmate whom he wanted to relocate back to the pangs of earth. These mishaps shall not happen again, he vows. He is ready to take a hiatus, and consults with Memory if it will be too shaming if he should just rerun the yugas[2] again? "So you mean, after the Kali yuga, we'd revert back to the Satya, followed by Treta, Dwarpa, etc?" Brahma confirmed his idea and then worriedly asked Memory if it wouldn't be too much of a leap... from cruel demons of Kali yuga to take a giant leap to being angelic beings of Satya. Can the humans adjust? Memory, to Brahma's astonishment, nonchalantly told him that nobody would remember. Furious, Brahma admonished how lazy Memory is that people should forget these scores of years that Brahma so painstakingly created. Brahma demanded Memory to explain his behavior, because after all it is his responsibility, the upkeep and maintenance of humans’ memory! And then Memory explained to Brahma how memory works. "Ah grandfather, all will be remembered, and yet not remembered, like one trapped in a labyrinth of deja vu. The present sense impressions will reconnect humans to their former experiences, they will often reconstruct memories, and sometimes they will fiercely hold onto a moment so it wouldn't dilute to memories at all, and sometimes they will unthread the fiber of a particular moment and weave and unweave endlessly until its identity is completely distorted, and even further, some will quest at a lifelong adventure to discover the true nature of memory." Brahma wasn't too convinced of Memory's elaboration; the boy is just too lazy he decided. He took a long yawn. “In any event, wake me up in some hours, Memory, don't you dare leave me in some labyrinth or else once I am up I'll wake Shiva[3] up.” And with a threatening smirk Brahma added, “And wouldn't you much rather have me awake than him!” 

[1] Brahma is the Hindu god of creation. He is depicted with a white beard, sitting in the yoga posture called the lotus-posture (padmasana), and he sits on lotus.
[2] Yuga in Hinduism is an epoch or era in a four-age cycle. Each yuga lasts for thousands of years. They are Satya yuga, Treta yuga, Dwarpa yuga, and Kali yuga. Our present yuga is the Kali yuga that started at the end of the great epic war of Mahabharata around 3102 BCE.
[3] Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction. He is often depicted in deep meditation with his eyes closed.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

theorizing unfairness

[trite and redundant alert! deconstructing Karma]: feeling sorry for yourself can of course get cathartic and for some, addictive. things seem to happen in an unfair and undeserved randomness! hence, one may completely miss the meandering lessons on Karma. those very people you hurt, harmed or ambushed under open skies or behind backs (which btw u will dutifully deny!) may not avenge. but you will be paid back in some form by someone else in some other time. of course then u will be bemused at the audacity of such n such person failing u, to whom u have been nothing but nice! u will then surmise (over hard liquor i hope) on how unfair life is! now if only life happened in perfect reciprocity, everything would just make sense! caution your criticisms. because in the big picture, and beyond our perhaps simplistic understanding of quid pro quo, life often actually can get very fair.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sachin retires

as an adult my "prayers" comprised of asking god to take care of Himself. seems like a logical thing to ask, if He is to take care for the rest of us! besides, being God must be a lonely affair. we ought to ask Him from time to time on how He is doing, before He should plummet into vortex of depression, noticing what a selfish sack of whiners we are! very "religiously" thus, i ask Him to stay well, and that's all i ask of Him. i am told, however, this was not the case, always. there used to be a time when i made direct, nothing-left-to-interpretation kinda prayers, demanding that Sachin Tendulkar make a century on that day. of course i followed it up with other things in my power to improve Sachin's chances. for example, our seating arrangements! it was the single most deciding factor conducive to Sachin's performance! we committed ourselves to sitting at the same spot- the chair/sofa/floor/local-shop/window-sill as the last time when Sachin played well. to make a long story short, superstitions played out in myriad ways. howsoever difficult the bodily contorting might be, to replicate the position we were in which resulted in Sachin's last 6 or 4 runs, we braved it!
it had been quite an ulcer-inducing experience watching him play over the last 24 years. every ball he hit presented with a very real possibility that the world would end had he been out. my brother would tease me on how completely uninterested in the game i am and only stayed around up until Sachin played. i remember my father, people in the bazaar, angry pedestrians, complaining about how India was completely useless and helpless after Sachin got out, that how, acutely analogical it was that Sachin was the bicycle on which a series of bicycles leaned on and which if you removed, the rest would fall. i remember secretly collecting posters and newspaper clippings and magazines on Sachin, and hiding them under my bed, displaying which, was strictly prohibited in the house. but Sachin seemed like a man worth the adoration and loyalty. speaking of which, i was smacked across the face by my father in a very dramatic hat-trick (because of course, one slap doesn't quite make the point, and two seems incomplete, so three it is!) when i ended up, accidentally, ahem, extending my dad the same opinion that he had of me when he called me "a donkey" (direct translation from Bengali) for liking Sachin over Sourav. but enduring a few smacks for Sachin seemed okay. (not that i dared to show THAT particular kind of loyalty for Sachin before the Patriarch ever again)! another, rather amusing anecdote comes to mind when in a shameless but desperate appeal i prayed to Mother Teresa: "i will donate to you Rs. 10,000 when i grow up if you let Sachin stay." i am sure there were other cosmic reasons than this economic incentive made to Mother Teresa, but he did in fact survive at the crease. and so I followed up on my promise when i did "grow up."
in a very intimate, intrinsic, familial way, the name Sachin Tendulkar had become synonymous for many things: Indian cricket, "adda" after lunch, vehement fights between bengalis on who is better- Sachin or Sourav, empty streets on a one-day match, the batsman every boy in the block emulated, Eden Gardens' collective madness and stunned silence at his entry and departure from the field. a strange lonesome, thus, spreads now to think that we will never again see him at the crease. He was like a rockstar: perhaps, the last of its kind to show the world on how to be a "rockstar" sans scandal, sans rudeness, but with unfailing politeness, dedication, endurance, and humility. you inspired way more than just cricket.
thank you for the entertainment. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

subway ride on a hot day

i understand that people are quite literally hot headed in this weather. and it doesn't help when the train is 30 mins late, and a HUGE impatient, office crowd has consistently formed by now to board the next subway. and of course everybody is late. so when the train finally comes, i enter without getting stampeded. now, normally i avoid sitting close to anybody because like any other need-my-own-space healthy-phobia driven American populace, i have acclimated to this way of life. very much unlike the Calcutta subway riders where people could kill each other for a seat! my intention of taking the seat next to this woman in this two seater was purely to make room for another person to stand. and there was no amount of bodily attachment at the arms or wherever! we were both not quite all that fat. but my neighbor took it upon herself to educate me on mannerisms, "you know you should have at least had the manners to say excuse me can I take the seat"! so in response i had to say, "i'm sorry i did not realize you could be that selfish and unaccommodating. i was making room for someone to stand because it's so crowded." of course she decided that i was a "bitch." so i rose to the occasion of pointing her the anomaly in her observation, "clearly you are. you are the one barking for no reason." the logic of which, she did not appreciate. nice start to the day, i say! clearly however, we have developed a curious sense of personal space.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

social networks

so i don't usually socialize at the bars with the law school colleagues mainly because i find myself neither here nor there; one group is the singles group ready to soak up their law school stress with alcohol and amore, and the other group is the married persons/couples --they are there with their partner, possibly the only time in the week when they are hanging out with each other or they are together with other couples. so when people ask me if i made "many" friends in Indiana, i say some yes, but not many. in response they gasp and retort "but you used to be so good at it!" as if something rather terrible transpired. which is rather amusing, and besides there is plenty of loop holes in that thesis anyway. but here's why: one of the foundations of good, sound friendship is to witness each other making raving total mistakes after gulping down ounces of alcohol, and doing the most inappropriate of things that should not be remembered, and pulling back your hair while you throw up and call yourself a fool, and then taking you home. thus, keeping each other's embarrassing, black-eyed secrets cements lasting friendship. since bars near college campuses are the places to be where you can depend on such crucial social developments, indeed i have missed out on opportunities. but hey! one of these days i might find myself my niche-- unavailable single, who mentally mingles, and takes pictures of all the giant torts taking place all around ;) ah! my evil mind, you warm my heart!

disclaimer: lot of what is written is for purposes of entertainment. and not to be misunderstood as defamation or libel on any people or groups of people. (damn! i'm getting good at this :P )

Sunday, October 28, 2012

besides the point

I seem to recall every now and then these days what J told me some years back, when we talked for the last time (for different reasons)... he had said what I consider today as the most poignant and astute observation, "no one is put out there to love you." While that statement couldn't be any truer in it's generic sense, it also is just as true in it's specificity...

I had sometimes wished that one day in this long stretch of life, these long hours, long days, long months, and long years, there will be at least one day when I'd be in that sort of sunset when the sky is just as much resplendent as the blazing sun, sharing an equal embrace of warmth. I guess what I am trying to say is that just for one day I wished I had been in a perfect love-equilibrium.