Monday, March 28, 2005

on "...the way a bunch of people behave when faced with unforseen circumstances"

true to my word here is the quote i mentioned about in my last post. Ralph Waldo Emerson has a quote that has been used by Isaac Asimov to great beauty and perfection in his short story which goes by the name "Nightfall".

"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand
years, how would men believe and adore, and
preserve for many generations the remembrance
of the city of God..."

for people interested in following it up please go read up the story. i assure you it wont leave you feeling disappointed. a short excerpt from

"Asimov's breakthrough work, 'Nightfall' (1941), is acclaimed to be the best science fiction story ever written - an overstatement of course. The poetic story depicts a world which has six suns, at least one of which is always shining. The world have experienced a universal eclipse every two millennia, and lost its social organization as a result. When the darkness falls the reason for this cyclical development is revealed: suddenly the thousands of stars are visible."


things that go bump in the night

there is a queer strain about darkness. it just doesnt fit well into man's intellect. thats why we sleep at night, light up our houses and lives, even celebrate festivals for it. and of course we have endless scary tales of things that go bump in the night. no grand-parents are complete without them; and i dont think there are any childhood experiences without at least one story that runs too deep for comfort. so it has to be a given that most of man's worst experiences are meted out to him in the night/dark. or maybe its the other way round. we just think that what happens to us in the dark is worse than what could happen in broad daylight. but that is being deliberately obtuse. and as usual i am digressing from what i intend to say. *aside: i think the most interesting conversations happen when you digress from the topic*

what i do have to relate is relatively mundane. nothing as deeply involving as a philosophical discussion on darkness and its psychological impact on us. just a series of events that led us to lock ourselves at our apartments, and an above average daily dose of adrenaline. here is how it all transpired.

a jolly bunch of 6 decided to go see a movie today. heard "the hitch" was a "good lighthearted one". of course, as is unkown to most people, thats just trick phraseology for a complete chick flick, right down to the mushy bollywood-ishtyle dialogues. so we all climbed aboard the van ready to be entertained. its the kind of car that can just soak up people and not show a bulge. parents use it over here to drive their kids and their assorted friends to soccer matches. the reason for the oft heard phrase "soccer mom" on popular sitcoms. we just fondly call it "Mom's Car", complete with the capital M and C. this particular Mom being a friend whose uncle gifted the damn car to him. but its the only mass rapid transist system available on call.

but where was i? yeah, 6 jolly souls in Mom's Car heading out for the 9:25 pm show. nothing out of the ordinary in that, except for yours truly. we reach the theater with minimal unpleasantness, apart from friendly leg-pulling, and some serious skull bashing. the 2 hours of the movie go quietly, interspersed with small chuckles and uproarious laughter from one end of the crowd. that was Mom. the movie ends and we all file out, going rabid with comments about how good/bad the movie was. a cell phone rings. *cheesy cell phone tune playing* Mom steps out to take the call. we can hear only snatches of conversations. everyone pricks up at "did you call 911?" for the uninitiated this is not one of those 1-900 numbers. everyone perks up because this usually means there is going to be something worth gossiping over for days. (yeah we men gossip too!)

Mom enters looking anxious. turns out Mom's flatmate was shot at by an african-american (nigger) in an apartment complex. blank stares on all the faces. the thing is we live in the same apartment complex, or just next to it. its interesting the way a bunch of people behave when faced with unforseen circumstances. a quote on that later. a plethora of opinions, suggestions, counter-suggestions, questioning, cross-questioning, ideas, idioms, similes, analogies, previous incidents, fear, palpitation, and prayers to god later, we headed back towards home. the above was of course followed by a frenzy of cell phone activity. burning the air-waves away were messages to near and dear ones (read: girls and flatmates. the two are mutually exclusive by the way. through no fault of ours i can assure you. its just in the nature of things) interspersed between all of this were reassuring words from Mom. "Mom will get you home. dont worry". it did help to break the tensed bunch. "stay home, lock the doors and peep through the hole" was the message of choice. short, sweet and simple. all enquires were answered by "desi shot at, twice". i guess that was enough. last i heard, some desi dudes sitting in a bar next to the crime scene fled home without tipping the waitress they had been hitting on for the past 1 hour. so i guess it worked.

we lost our way en route. took a wrong turn and ended up at the interstate highway close to the liquor stores. if ever life had an inappropriate sense of humor it was then. took a U-turn and glided home to safety. three cheers for Mom! endless discussions followed; the rumor mills were churning away at an all time high. nothing had created such a flurry amongst the desi's. not even when one of the surds cut his long locks, went to dallas, and married a mexican chat friend who is 45 years old and a mother of 2. (read: instant green card) but whats important is that we got to hear the event history as it actually transpired, straight from the horses mouth. oh yeah he lived to tell the tale.

this dude was walking from his home to another friends place to catch the live telecast of the last day of play (India Vs Pakistan). (whoever said cricket couldnt be dangerous). he saw some commotion and lots of flashing lights some distance away. what could be more attractive than flashing lights in the dead of the night? refer to my opening paragraph. he was instantly attracted to the scene just as multitudes of indians are attracted to (free) public displays of any kind. its instantaneous and reflexive. some african-americans (niggers) looted a 7-11 store and were fleeing from the scene. these guys had a green(?) saturn which was observed by our desi dude. those guys must have thought that an unnecessary witness needed to be eliminated and swerved around to bang him down. carmageddon! shot at him twice but, bless his soul, he ducked and dodged the bullets.

so he is now safe and sound and asleep (hopefully). we advised him to have a couple of shots of vodka to help calm his nerves down. having our offer turned down, we promptly took it upon ourselves to do the needful. smirnoff zindabad! vodka amar rahe! Mom got a little too happy and we decided it was better he bunked with us for tonight.

so thats my neat little story. packaged in pink polka-dotted paper, with a tiny blue ribbon on top.

ps: the above is a highly fictionalised account of the events that transpired between 9:25 pm CT (27th February) and 2:30 am CT (28th February) in lubbock, texas. please take them with an extra large pinch of salt. the author makes no claim to sobriety or truth. the author further thinks these are for the weak of mind.

Monday, March 21, 2005


i have been pushed. don't think i would have been able to post otherwise. even now i don't have anything to write about. but i guess i can take other bloggers' examples and write about not having anything to write about. i must say i haven't tried my hand at something like this before.

right then! i thought about that for 15 minutes. i think i am ready to write a few more lines. one step at a time. i was wondering where the inspiration had withered off to. the Point of Desperation seems to be infinitely far off in the distance. my top seems to be the fag end of an equation which is finitely bounded. where have all the piquant events disappeared off to? where have the thoughts jilted off to? why has the will wilted? why have the well travelled paths along neurons become limpid? the statements above look like they were ripped off from a GRE wordbook. just an observation.

maybe its time to traverse new pathways. even as i write i am dissatisfied with whatever i have penned down in this post. just doesn't feel right. my thinking seems to have gone off kilter these days. staring at the screen for long periods of time, trying to find meaning and recognisable shapes in half eaten food, thinking about words and their implications, wondering about people and their motivations for excessive amounts of time, listening to one song over and over for 3 days (bandeh by indian ocean for black friday), and other such meaningless activities. couple this with a high irritability quotient and childish sensitivity to what people say (or don't), and i think i might just have stumbled onto PMS in men.

the last 3 weeks have been spent in quite a bit of socialising. weekend parties, get togethers, pot luck dinners, team sports, et al. i think all of that just got to me. its almost as if i am in a state of colloidal suspension between wanting more, and disgust at the prospect.

i am sure its just a temporary phenomenon and i will be back to writing long monologues on inane matters soon. but since i am not given to thinking much on what the future might hold, i shall sulk in the present.

6 hours later: i just hit upon a very valid question. why is an admission of weakness heard as a plea for help by other people? it is something that hovers at the border of my thoughts now and then. and especially with the female species. open question to all.

i think i should put an end to this meandering post now. pox on those subversive souls who made me write.