Saturday, August 18, 2012

This time tomorrow

The beginning of August finds me in India for two weeks. First time in 8 years that I’ve spent more than 7 days at home. Its closing in on six years since I left India. It’s only when you turn into a visitor that you notice the changes. I arrive to an empty house. Everyone is away. The dog greets me with ferocious enthusiasm his nose darts right into my balls and while I roll over in pain he takes the opportunity to say hello to my ear with his long salami like tongue. He remembers me. Kids and Dogs - the two beings on our good planet I get along really well with. (But as I’m fast discovering there’s only a certain age till which you can play with a kid and I’m now officially in creepy uncle territory) The girlfriend shows up two days later and the dog forgets all about me. Gullible and Innocent deduces the dog correctly of the new member to the house and over the next fortnight proceeds to bully her into throwing the ball, playing catch, feeding him chocolate and haleem from the palm of her hand. Once he looks across the room at me – the look suggests ‘yeah….that’s my bitch’

The kids who used to work in their kirana store are all grown up with wives and kids of their own. The cashier in the bank of India in the colony who used to count out the money in a style that we assumed made him a descendant of Flash Gordon now retired walks down the road with a slow shuffle but with a nod acknowledges me. The quiet houses have long given way to huge high rise apartments that don’t sit comfortably with the existing house owners, my folks routinely complain how the apartments rob the ground of the ground water and reduce the water table. Every house still present reminds me of the ghosts of children long gone who used to form part of our cricket team, football team, hide and seek team. Mum complains about the embarrassing entrance to the colony. Something that had become a part of the natural scenery – a barren piece of land where nothing grows, cows and stray dogs laze on and occasionally becomes a cesspool of water (till the apartment mafia raised the ground by dumping rubble and diverting the rain water into our lane) is now a serious eye-sore for my parents.

The post man still comes. On his cycle dropping off the mail he’s devised a way of avoiding the dog. Just passes the mail thorough the window netting and moving on to the next house – a dedicated professional to a dying profession. The ‘junkman’ shows up. As far as I remember he’s looked 80 years of age and he’s the one person who doesn’t look like he’s aged at all. One feet firmly in his grave he totters around the yard collecting the garbage bag and cleaning the outer areas of his house in his uniform of a tattered vest, broken sandals and a dhoti bunched up at his thighs. Last month he passed his life’s savings to my mum for safe-keeping….2800 Rs. That’s about $ 55. Homeless. No family, no kids no-one you can’t help wonder if the money is actually to pay for his funeral. Sometimes around the corner of the house he sits there smoking his beedi and me smoking a cigarette a casual question on his status gets me a blank stare. The stare suggests that all we have in common is this vice so let’s just smoke and do away with the small talk. We toss our butts into the neighborhood plot and go back to whatever we were doing

The cook arrives in the morning and with her comes endless cups of sweet milky tea, joys of curd/rice, prawn curry and upma with mango pickle. For a house whose patriarch is in his advanced retired years the house is a constant state of activity. The maid for washing, the maid for cleaning, the secretary to type out letters, fill drinking water in cans, to organize, to make sense of ridiculous government laws. The unused bicycle machine has now given way to a swanky rowing machine. Three cocker spaniels long dead and gone have now given way to a notoriously intelligent spaniel called Dax who greets everyone with a ball in his mouth nudging the legs of guests with it imploring them to throw the ball so that he can go fetch it and then mock you when he dodges and darts away when you try and get it out of his mouth.

Months back on a skype call (minus video) I had explained to my Dad on using Itunes and the AV player app to load on films and TV shows. About 30 minutes into the call I got a ‘well done so well explained it’s all working great’….this time Dad cheerfully informs me that he’s forgotten everything I showed him (I know what he must have felt like when I brought a Fail report card home) so we dabble and fiddle around the computer while I load his Jim Reeves CD on dad checks his Ipad, watches Modern Family and updates his Facebook status and uploads videos for his friends list (three times more than mine). Every evening he opens up his bar and pours himself a drink and asks if I want one and the next morning has to pour my drink still sitting on the table down the drain. Maybe someday; he thinks I’ll be able to sit down with him and enjoy a glass of single malt on ice and do away with the Jack Daniels and Coke that our generation has come to embrace

 India brings out the Indian in me the double cuffed shirts and the worryingly tight trousers (I can’t help it I got big balls) give way to a kurta and a Nehru jacket – traditional wear for politicians. At hotel receptions where we go for late night coffees and at house parties that my brother takes me to I am greeted with a reverence mostly given to politicians. One kid even asks me if I am one. Then the valet pulls up with the tiny 800 and everyone goes ‘Oh’.

The Maruti 800 hundred sits outside the house. It’s the first car I bought from my salary about 10 years back. Still gives me 18 km to a litre and zips around Hyderabad’s snarly traffic like a whiz.The music system in the car becomes a mini Bollywood Hit machine churning out one hit after another. Disconnected from Bollywood I keep asking my girlfriend ‘which movie?’ Post one late night cup of brew we zip through Hyderabad’s quiet streets the snarl of traffic missing I reminisce about days long gone where I drove on the streets every day. My girlfriend plays DJ with the music system. Our relationship has always been one of Planes, Trains and never Automobiles so now for a few days we're like a normal couple driving around and I keep asking her to play songs and we agree that the new song by The Killers is a perfect road song, we both do a double take when we realise we both love Savage Garden (a chick-a-cherry-cola?  that stuff is legendary) The family, the girlfriend and I drive around town getting stuck in traffic jams and listen to Mum’s ‘The greatest pop songs ever’ CD and when a song comes on that we all like we listen to it again and again. Joyride, Walking on Sunshine, When doves cry and Sleeping child become our playlist for the holiday.

Our destination one day is to head way into Old Hyderabad where an ancient weaver has been assigned the task of making a couple of ornamental pillows and a carpet. He’s using a 200 year old carpet and 400 year old cushion covers that mum pulled out fo the attic as the model. We reach to see the most dazzling cushion covers I’ve ever seen followed by the most garish carpet I’ve ever seen. Then those quiet seconds tick by before my mother launches her missiles into the weaver and his two sons for messing up her carpet design. What the weaver had done to show initiative what put some designs into the original carpet design to pimp up the carpet. Gold thread used to intricately weaves designs which, like my mother pointed out (atleast a dozen times) resembled an army of cockroaches invading the carpet from either side. The attack is relentless and soon the weaver is on his haunches and the two sons are drenched in sweat. Mum….is not someone you mess with. She’ll cut you down in the same way that the commandoes in the first Predator movie cut down the jungle with their machine guns when they first see the Predator. This guy wasn’t even an alien. He’s a frickin weaver. What chance did he really have?

We drive by a big ground and there a fast game of volleyball is on….except the said volleyball is actually a tennis ball and the net is actually a football goal post. With the palms of their hands the two sides pat the ball across ‘the net’ and they do it with surprising accuracy and dexterity – Improvisation…..Indian’s have that in abundance. What we don’t have in abundance is electricity. The electricity goes every afternoon – it becomes a way of life. The dog, the parents take that as a cue to catch an afternoon nap. The house goes still till the cook returns in the early evening with her cups of tea.

My brother arrives. Snatches off conversation about politics, life in India trains, life in college happen over the course of 24 hours before he heads back to Delhi. For about an hour or two the whole family is together on the dining table. We wake up early in the morning and I drive him to the train station (which is frozen in time) that ride reminds me off the 5 a.m. mornings from 96-98 where I’d drive him to his cricket coaching and then head to my math tuitions. Over time us brothers have differed on things like chalk and cheese - our political views, our idea on leading our lives, one capitalist and one communist like my mother summarises we however find common ground in the ability to make each other laugh. We stand at the station platform and while we are the most awkward huggers and kissers we have that annoying predictable habit of our eyes filling up everytime someone leaves and this time it’s no different.

Soon it’s time for me to leave as well but not before a quick trip to Bombay to say hello to the Nairs where a small overdoze of conversation, Golguppas and Jack Daniels follows.  The couple is then ignored because their son and I are BFF's that make Nicole and Paris jealous. Thier 3 year old son just won a certificate for 'Good manners' so he says the meanest things with a 'please' or an 'excuse me' for example "Excuse me those are not your slippers its my fathers, please remove it." or "Please don't go today but do go by Friday" Classic.
I spent one last day in Hyderabad At the airport an old lady on her Haj Pilgrimage annoyingly adopts me and gets me to fill our her passport forms, carry her luggage and wheel her onto the plane. Her first time on a plane and she’s excited and scared. I just want to catch up with Episodes 4-7 of Revenge and not talk to anyone but I am seated with her. What follows is a brilliant retelling of India’s history, India’s partition and India’s independence seen through her 85 year old eyes Sure she can’t fill up a form but her razor sharp memory took me down the streets of Old Lucknow and it was one of the best trips I have ever been on. I couldn’t have asked for a better co-passenger. While I transit at the Dubai airport she dissapers in a blur of people being wheeled by a small reedy man in a hurry ….another one of her many bitches. Talking to her I realized we’re such a young nation. A free nation just 65 years old yet ancient cultures, civilizations, stories, people abound and form part of the Indian fabric we drape over ourselves. Where the old & young India, rich & poor  India, conservative &  liberal India live hand in hand coexisting in a system that frustrates, flummoxes and improvises like the volleyball match every day.


“This time tomorrow where will we be
On a spaceship somewhere sailing across an empty sea
This time tomorrow what will we know
Well we still be here watching an in-flight movie show
I'll leave the sun behind me and watch the clouds as they sadly pass me by
Seven miles below ma I can see the world and it ain't so big at all
This time tomorrow what will we see
Field full of houses, endless rows of crowded streets
I don't where I'm going, I don't want to see
I feel the world below me looking up at me.....”



Monday, March 19, 2012

I've never prayed but tonight I'm on my knees

Paranoia. Comes in many shapes and forms. It will grab you on a good day and hold on like a Rottweiler with lockjaw. You will shake it off and the grip gets tighter. You sit in your flat and fight it. It clings like cling wrap. It clings and all you see for your efforts in the steam from your breath condensing across the plastic around you.
You tell yourself to let it wash over you. It doesn’t. Old wounds reopen. New wounds form. I’m older now. I can fight it better. Equipped with the experience of life. Equipped with the arsenal to fight it. It will win in the end; it always does. The damage. The trials of picking up the pieces from the floor. But I’ll be too exhausted to care. There is no greater darkness I feel than the darkness I have within me that keeps me company every night.
There is no darkness more horrifying than the darkness that comes to feast. Take away the good that I had built up. Castles of sand all impressive and grand that destroy themselves at the beck of the sea. The sea inside churns, groans ready to send a wave to destroy what I build.
What did we build anyway? Was it something we wanted or something that was wanted of us. I could make it stop. I could make it go away. But the darkness is a friend. A foe. A lover. A carer. Tonight it will dress up for a big meal. It will sit down with me and devour my soul. Spit out the seed.
The seed will sprout another. Spring will come. The flowers will bloom. But in the garden of APSD winter will return. It always does; harsher, colder and more spirit crushing than before.
How long before the cycle ends. Before we are free / liberated / flying away from this.
What I’d give to not carry this darkness with me every day. What I’d give not to hide. What I’d give to be liberated and free. To know I could do that and to not be a million different people from one day to the next. I wish I could do that

Friday, February 17, 2012

Three Worlds

In my cupboard there lies a framed print of one of my favourite paintings. Escher’s Three Worlds. I’ve been fascinated with the precision of Escher’s work for almost a decade now. The attention to detail is fascinating. Three worlds looks at three different places that exist in a moment in time. The water surface where the leaves float. The world above where we live and the world below where the fish looks up.

My life at the moment is an interesting snapshot of three worlds that I straddle. I slip into each world not as an alien but as a resident.

I have Hyderabad, India. Where all the things I knew are things that are still there. I’ll drive my car, suffer from road rage, have my morning filter coffee and dosa at Kamats, go for a haircut at the seedy barber down the road. Meet up with old friends, play with the dog, hang out at home with my folks, use the electrical jedi sword to kill mosquito’s, complain about the dust situation at home, observe the radicalization of my brother and hear about his handlers back in Delhi

There’s Singapore who’s primary attraction still remains the 24 hour movie theatres but trips back have become soulless, dull affairs where I just wait away the hours till my lady comes home for a few hours which makes the wait all okay but time is spent doing nothing. I’ll get lucky and catch a concert in town or get up early to have one of Kat’s magic sandwiches but the art of doing nothing is acquired through years of practice and I excel in it.

There’s Baku. Supposedly a place away from home but where I feel most welcomed and settled in. Apart from adjusting to the cold I’ve taken to the place like say the fish staring up at the world above makes a giant leap into the unknown and discovers that its lungs work in another world.

What always strikes me is interesting is that how effortless the slipping in to the three worlds are. I integrate Into whatever the day brings me. I feel no sense of excitement or loss. It’s just life as usual. Habits in one country don’t follow through in another yet when I get to the country old habits come out of the woodwork and log in for a particular period of time. Sleep at 10 p.m. in Baku, Sleep at 3 a.m. in Singapore. Wake up at 6:30 a.m in India. It happens like clockwork.

Sometimes I wish that life wasn’t ‘life as usual’ that I’d feel some excitement and joy about being wherever I am.

The Speck.

I’m in Goa. Sometime this evening the daily fireworks will go off. I’m on the hotel balcony smoking. I see a lady on a hammock down below. The fireworks light up the night sky. It’s beautiful. I like fireworks (colours, lights etc) I spy the lady on the hammock heaving her fat ass off the hammock. Quickly I extinguish the cigarette and run to the hammock to take her place. I lie horizontally on the hammock, my legs hanging out . I stare up into the sky to watch the fireworks. I call my girlfriend over. “Come join me on the hammock” She walks to the hammock. We both lie horizontally and stare at the sky. We swing the hammock side to side. A firework goes off earlier than expected. We swing. We carry on swinging.
Suddenly my eye is on fire. It’s an excruciating pain. I stagger back to the room and splash some water in my eye, I see a grayish speck slowly dissolving in my eye. I splash more water. The damn thing stings like hell. The tears roll down involuntary the ducts trying their best to flush flush flush away. It aint working. The speck dissolves in the eye. It’s left a tiny dot at the bottom.
The Speck was debris from the fireworks that went off earlier than expected. It scattered bits of gun powder and paper close to the hammock. But what is amazing is that the circumstances that led to the speck falling in my eye. So many things had to happen to ensure I was in that position at that moment when the swing was moving to the particular time the fat lady moved out of the hammock (It ain’t safe in the city watch the throne).

The speck is all about fate falling into place

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Scenes from a bus

A day a week I get up early to catch a creaking bus to the world's second largest Oil and Gas terminal. The road to this terminal is long and winding and some days you could be stuck on the bus for a good hour and something.

The ride to Sangachal is one of the most stupendous, ridiculously beautiful morning work rides you’ll ever take. Between scenes that look like they’ve survived a nuclear holocaust you encounter these huge mountains made of mud, the by-product of dormant mud volcanoes in that area (Many parts of Azerbaijan still have active mud volcanoes; apparently harmless they just gurgle up mud all the time).

Over the years copious amounts of mud have formed these ranges of bare mountains. A part of you feels like you’re in the first Star Wars movie on your way to find a young Anakin. The force is definitely strong with this place. Sometimes you catch a house at the foot of the mountain with no sign that anyone is staying there.

The ride starts off with what is an abandonned rig from the Soviet times. This thing is amazing. It sits there all by itself in the bay, with no one around. It’s been sitting there for decades now and home only to the birds that come to nest. Something about it. Every time we drive by my neck cranes left. As the road winds in you see it from afar and as you approach it builds slowly into view till it dominates the view of the sea. Killer.



On your right is a rusting pick up truck in the middle of a pool by the side of the river. The pool has a 80:20 spread of oil and water. This small pick-up truck is parked in half submerged water with only the roof and windows peeking out of the water. In the winter morning sun when you drive by it’s like that scene is frozen in time. It never changes even though you know that truck is slowly rusting away and in a couple of years nothing will be left. We drive by too fast every single time and I curse the camera on the phone for once again missing a prize winning photo opportunity. Sometimes the sun catches the screen and the car gives you a wink as you drive by.

One day my colleague Azad zooms down the highway in his swanky car; pointing out things and places. He chuckles as we drive by a half built resort. This resort is a piece of work. The owner imported hundreds of palm trees and planted them all along the entrance and the road leading to the resort. Unfortunately no one told him that palm trees don’t like to hang around in weather they are not used to. Both the trees and the half built resort just slowly die away. It’s like the owner like the trees lost all enthusiasm to carry on with their vision of grandeur.

Just before we pull up to the terminal we pass these blocks of houses. It’s looks like someone took a massive box of cardboard painted it , cut little holes in it for windows and placed it on the ground. They look like these massive boxes just placed there. I stare at them wondering who’d live in them and what would life be like in them.


All the while the Caspian sea gently laps at the shore and in the horizon you see boats, rigs and seagulls flying out into the silvery skies. Most of the passengers put on their headphones and stare out. It’s the one bus ride that everyone is sorry when its over.

Someone once told me when one moves to a new country one must try not to live like a tourist just observing and reporting. One should absorb and soak in as much as they can because the chances of ever going back are zilch and decades from now when you live that memory again make sure it’s so well absorbed that the picture in the mind feels like it was just yesterday.

With dozens of bus rides ahead of me that ride is something I’ll always remember.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sound of 2011

Playlist of the Year.

1. No Church in the Wild – Jay-Z & Kanye West. An absolutely pitch perfect blood soaked song that conjures up images of the last scene of Scarface imagined what the place looked like after the bloody shootout scene. Love is indeed cursed by monogamy.

2. The death of You and Me: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. A terrific song from the best albumn of the year. When the New Orleans Brass band kicks in the song instantly becomes a classic to be heard time and again.

3. New York: Snow Patrol. Yeah I don’t know a Snow Patrol song ranked third? Something about this song that makes me want to listen to it again and again. The whole ‘come on, come here, come out’ bit becomes a plaintive cry by a lover wishing the curve of her was curved around him. Super. Such a sappy love song and still scores.

4. Pumped Up Kids: Foster the People. Every year there’s one breakout indie gem (cue: MGMT, Empires of the Sun, Mumford and Sons) and this year its Foster the People. The whole of the Torches album is very good . You will catch the hilarious video for Don’t Stop on the telly but it was Pumped up Kids that got it all rolling. The peppy song with dark lyrics about a teen shooter going mental killing people made us all outrun his gun to pick up the albumn.

5. Sophia: Laura Marling. The breakout hit of the year. Laura Marling’s albumn ‘A creature I don’t know’ is astounding because of the fact that she’s only 21 years old. The music, the lyrics show a maturity far advanced than her years. I had Sophia on repeat for a long time. Hear how towards the later part of the song the song picks up speed.

6. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie: Red Hot Chili Peppers. RHCP channel U2’s Where the Streets have no name in their video however the song is all their own. A really funky get up and dance number courtesy a super bass and a new guitarist with tons of cool Maggie makes us all Lipstick junkies. The song just gets better and better with each listen. No-one does cool like RHCP.

7. The World as I see it - Jason Mraz: The shape of things to come from the next Jason Maraz album. Released as a free single in September, the song is familiar Mraz with a little bit of 90’s pop mixed in.

8. Make Some Noise - Beastie Boys: Hands down the best music video you’ll see this year Chocablock with celeritities galore. Starting with Elijah wood rocking out to Ted Danson, Steve Buscemi, Will Ferell, Will Arnett , John C Reilly. The song is hip-hop god. How do these guys still sound like a bunch of teenagers?

9. Home: Mumford and Sons: As the buzz builds up for the next Mumford and Sons album (they say that it’s going to be Black Sabbath meets Nick Drake) they release a single that’s as depressing, meditative and soul pulling as a Nick Drake single. Months on the road and months of writing the next albumn means we are looking at a CD that’s going to be super awesome.

10. You are a Tourist: Death Cab for Cutie. We end the top 10 with the one song that reminds me that no matter how faraway I am from home (wherever that is) and how much I miss it. I did feel a burning in my heart to get out I did always feel like a visitor and I’m glad I moved when I did.

11. Discoverer: REM: I see desolate cities and a man in a suit running down the roads with no fixed destination to arrive at. A truly pulse pounding rock song

12. No Light, No Light: Florence + The Machines brilliant follow up to their brilliant debut Lungs. The albumn Ceremonials is a true belter. The band is going to be around for a long time

13. Switchblade Smiles: Kasabian. Kasabian are in top form in and the whole tape is really very good. A top song from a band that’s hitting their peak

14. Sweeter – Gavin DeGraw

15. The Roller: Beady Eye. We end side A with Liam Gallagher’s voice crooning The Roller. The song and the video are super. It promised wonderful things to come but the albumn was mediocre. It did have some good peppy rock n roll numbers but sadly none as good as The Roller

The B –Sides

1. A.K.A What a Life – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
2. I wanna live in a dream (in my record machine) – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
3. Welcome to the Jungle – Jay-Z and Kanye West
4. Man of Simple Pleasures - Kasabian
5. Fallen Empires – Snow Patrol
6. Wildfire - SBTRKT
7. We all go back to where we belong: REM
8. Alligator, Aviator, Autopilot: REM
9. Love is blindness – Jack White’s cover of the U2 song
10. The Fly – Gavin Friday’s cover of the U2 Song
11. Superheavy – Superheavy a.k.a Damien Marley, Joss Stone, A.R rehman & Mick Jagger
12. Nothing – The Script
13. The Flood – Take That
14. Paradise – Coldplay
15. Afterlife – Paul Simon
16. Stranded on the Wrong Beach – Noel Gallagher & The High Flying Birds
17. Heartlines – Florence + The Machine
18. Girl Panic – Duran Duran (I’ll admit the video is the reason why the song is here)

Sound of the Year

1. Noel Gallagher's high flying birds
2. Watch The Throne - Kanye West & Jay Z
3. Ceremonials - Florence + The Machines
4. Collapse into Now: REM
5. Fallen Empires - Snow Patrol
6. Torches – Foster the People
7. Velociraptor – Kasabian
8. SuperHeavy - Super Heavy
9. Achtung Baby 20th aniversary Deluxe Edition
10. A Creature I don't know - Laura Marling
11. Dark Was the Night - Various
12. The Dreams We have as Children - Noel Gallagher Live at the Albert Hall
13. Ahk-toong Bay-Bi
14. Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: REM Greatest Hits
15. Different Gear Still Speeding - Beady Eye

See what it was in previous years:
Sound of the year 2010
Sound of the year 2009
Sound of the year 2008

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Quote

"Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there's the superhero and there's the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he's Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red "S", that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears - the glasses, the business suit - that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race."

- Tarantino

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Month 4

The joys of a long weekend!. No juggling time and running out of it, no grumpiness on the train ride to work the next day promising yourself that you'll make the most of a day that runs into the night.

I got here because I wanted to post a song on my facebook page but you know... no one really cares so just so that I can document why the music this year is so good here is the best of what I've been listening to:

1. Different Gear, Still Speeding - Beady Eye.
Their debut albumn and yes its very good. Liam Gallagher still has the best voice in modern day rock and roll and the albumn throws up some really good numbers. It's a top setlist and Liam refuses to lose his Lennon hangover especially in the song 'The Beat goes on'. The Roller is the coolest song on the CD.

2. Belle & Sebastian Write about Love - Belle & Sebastian.
Yeah do a search for the band on these pages ad you'll see I slagged them off for the BBC sessions but I caught them live late last year and I re-discovered all their music. The lead Stuart Murdoch is a bundle of energy - you got to admire that. So I got the new albumn and its pretty damn good. The collaborations with Norah Jones and Carey Mulligan are super but the stand out song is 'I didn't see it coming' - the video makes me smile but they all look so serious and earnest when their a real fun bunch when you see them live

3. James Blake - James Blake
Runner's up in BBC's Sound of 2010 poll. The albumn oscillates between Massive Attack territory and Gomez tijuana Lady sounds. The kid's 25 years old and has produced an albumn of immense talent. The debut song 'Limit to your love' and the video that goes with it are trippy as hell only to be outdone by the trippier Lindesfarne I and II

4. Collapse into Now - R.E.M.
U2's peer's are back after a mediocre couple of years they shine in this high octane albumn. Discoverer plays once a day on my Ipod. Its one stadium selling out song and surprisingly they're not going on tour post release. All the best, Mine Smells like honey, Everyday is yours to win is all vintage R.E.M. Stipe's voice is still new adventures in hi-fi but man he's aged. Check the discoverer video he looks all old and shaggy with that beard

5. So Beautiful or So what - Paul Simon.
What to say about Mr. Graceland....I mean this is his best effort since Graceland. I love his voice the musical arrangement the African beats, the fusion of Indian music, his honest voice, his tongue in cheek lyrics. A legend. Afterlife, Dazzling Life, Rewrite and the title track all shine.

6. See my friends - Ray Davies
Ray from The Kinks reworks his greatest hits with collaborations and everyone from Springsteen, Mumford, Metallica and Gary Lightbody show up. Lola, This time tomorrow, Better days are all given a spin.

7. Kiss each Other clean - Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine's song 'The Trapeze Swinger is one of the best song I'd heard. Its been a favourite of mine for years now. Whoever has listened to it agrees it is just a brilliant piece. So I picked up his latest thinking there would be be more swinging but the album is a departure and it works. It is my best album of the year so far. Blessed with a killer voice and an upbeat tempo the album does not disappoint and trips on the train are filled with his music.

8. The Blue Valentine Soundtrack. - Grizzly Bear
Ryan Gosling is very talented. One of the smartest actors of his generation and by the looks of it killer talent as the lead singer of Grizzly bear. The end credits of Blue Valentine is the best I've seen in a while and the song Alligator a meditating choir that builds and ebbs in a classic and the song 'You always hurt the ones you love' makes this a top addition to the year's music

So there we are. I just saved 85 people the painful experience of seeing another recommendation they don't give a fuck about.

There are some individual songs that are playing as well:

You are a Tourist - Death cab from Cutie
Make Some Noise - Beastie Boys
Union Town - Tom Morello - The Nightwatchman
Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground
Please (live in Rotterdam) - U2 (goes straight to my top 10 list of songs performed live by the band)
The Ghost of Tom Joad - Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello... just see the video it needs no introduction

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Film in 2010

and here it is my list of Top Films in 2010. A bit late but was catching up with the last of the Oscar films and now I'm cool with my list

  1. The Social Network: Best film of the year hands down
  2. Animal Kingdom: The mother is the creepiest woman this year. Must see film from the land down under
  3. Blue Valentine: Best Love story of the year
  4. The Kids are Alright: Mark Ruffalo brings easy charm to his role of an interloper in this film - a family drama for today's day and age. Julianne Moore and Annette Bening are super believable as a married couple
  5. Youth in Revolt: Thought this was the funniest film of the year. Micheal Cera is in top form
  6. Udaan: The only Bollywood flick to make my list this year and what a well told story
  7. Never Let me Go: Horror, Sci fiction, A love story. Tragic and Heart-breaking. Garfield is a star in the making
  8. The Fighter: Bale and Wahlberg light up the screen in this very good family drama
  9. Green Zone: Best war movie in ages and so well directed.
  10. Kick-Ass: Why this uber cool violent film didn't do well in the cinemas is beyond me.
  11. Despicable Me: Much better than Toy Story 3 and my pick for Best Animation
  12. Scott Pilgrim vs The World: (Full disclosure) you have to be sufficiently high to enjoy this film. Without alcohol the film is a drag
  13. The American: Scores highly because of the excellent cinematography
  14. Easy A: Reinvents the American teen comedy. Emma Stone is easy on the eye
  15. Black Swan: Natalie Portman shines in this tragic movie about a ballerina who actually 'eats'
  16. True Grit: Bridges, Damon and Brolin make it look all so easy
  17. Toy Story 3: Loved Lotso the mean teddy bear
  18. The Heart breaker: French candy floss comedy but I like Romain Duris and he plays the title role with an easy going charm.
  19. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - A twisted whodunit
  20. Shutter Island - I wish I hadn't read the book earlier as it kind of ruined the whole experience and the end but oh well; still well made and well acted.
Yes, no Kings Speech and no 127 hours. I've started to hate films that are essentially weak but get critical acclaim for a strong author backed lead role (cue: Last King of Scotland, Capote, Milk). Best Actor for the year was Ryan Gosling and he wasn't even nominated. Best Actress is Natalie Portman.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blue Valentine

Must see movie. The performances are mesmerizing. You almost feel like a voyeur looking in to the coming together and breaking apart of a couple. In a year of Social Networks and King's speeches don't forget to get blown away by this stand out flick. Love is dead folks. Before Sunrise / Sunset and all that shit you hear from everyone (everyone) who's seen it about how there are lines from the movies they've said and blah blah blah (shitcuntmothertit) please do throw up all over them and recommend this film instead



Dean: "I feel like men are more romantic than women. When we get married we marry, like, one girl, ’cause we’re resistant the whole way until we meet one girl and we think I’d be an idiot if I didn’t marry this girl she’s so great. But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option… ‘Oh he’s got a good job.’ I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who’s got a good job and is gonna stick around."

Monday, January 31, 2011

U2 at the end of the world

In Perth where we lay our scene, it's a hot summer afternoon as me and my friends make our way to Subaico.
Today is the 18th of December, 2010. Today is a day about twenty years in the making. Mysterious Ways did it for me. I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen - the belly dancer, Bono with his long hair and the psychedelic video captured me. I remember.

Over the years the band's songs have meant different things at different times. In the dark ages 'All I want is you' played late into the night. In moments of exhilaration Vertigo, Where the Streets have no name and Discotheque jostled for mind space in my head. A very special relationship ended years back and the song from that day became Until the end of the world...the lyrics for the song eerily close to the situation, party girl started every playlist I made, sometimes you can't make it on your own became the song I need to hear when I miss my dad, their songs became the soundtrack to my life.

You get the drift. Which brings us to this day. I've flown miles to get here for this evening. I stand there listening to the crowd chatter, I see the crew work their stuff in the background, I soak it all in. Jay-Z comes on - he opens for U2, the older lot in the crowd murmur something about he being Beyonce's husband - completely unprepared for the R&B experience and boy is he awesome. He opens with Run this town and gets everyone bouncing, bounce bounce bounce - the beat goes on and on and under an hour he's done.

We wait - restless. We wait - the crowd is alive and dormant. The specially designed stage called The Claw is coming alive - this stage is a monster - the fifth member of U2 waits. The lights go down, its dark, the jungle is my head, the lights come on and go crazy, the band strolls on nonchalantly. Bono comes and stands right in front of me sizing up the audience, The Edge straps on his guitar. I can feel my throat screaming literally screaming in delight. They're all there, all body parts intact - this is exactly how I pictured it a million times and they're letting it rip - one masterpiece after another.



I call my girlfriend when Mysterious ways starts (first time I met her the line that most described us was 'She's the wave - She turns the tide, She sees a man, inside the child'), I call Arun my friend who knows how cool this is (Vertigo tour veteran) when Miss Sarajevo kicks in. I call Mum & Dad when With or Without you kicks in. This was Mum's favourite song and growing up I would hear the song constantly from their bedroom. I call baby bro when 'Walk on' kicks in because that boy has been walking on for sometime now. I take pictures. I sing along. I watch mouth agape as the screen descends and envelopes the stage. I reach out as Bono reaches out to the thirty thousand people below. I watch the Claw go absolutely ape shit - the screen is blitz, the lights just explode, the disco ball goes crazy.
The coolest part of the show is the ending of Until the end of the world. There are two bridges that flank either side of the stage. Bono stands on one and the Edge on the other and as the song ends Bono reaches out his hand for the Edge and the frickin bridges start moving closer to each other (yes I know all stage managed but so infinitely cool I came thrice) - the edge reaches his arm out and as the bridges move's closer their fingers almost touch...almost, and the bridges pull apart. Perfect. Perfect for the song as well.

It all ends too soon. Bono blows a kiss, the band takes a bow, Moment of Surrender lingers all and the claw goes back in its shell for another night.

Words will never capture the concert, nor will the photos and the grainy videos. It will linger long in my memory. I will hopefully tell my kid someday about that day I joined thousands of people in singing the Where the Streets have no name, or that I stood there right under the band and mentally ticked off #1 on the ten things I want to do before I die. 9 more to go and I'm sure we'll get there.

The setlist:

1. Return Of The Stingray Guitar
2. Beautiful Day
3. I Will Follow
4. Get On Your Boots
5. Magnificent
6. Mysterious Ways
7. Elevation
8. Until The End Of The World / Anthem (snippet)
9. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Movin' On Up (snippet)
10. North Star
11. Pride (In The Name Of Love)
12. In A Little While
13. Miss Sarajevo
14. City Of Blinding Lights
15. Vertigo
16. Crazy Tonight / Relax (snippet) / Two Tribes (snippet)
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday
18. Scarlet
19. Walk On / You'll Never Walk Alone (snippet)

Encore(s):
20. One
21. Amazing Grace (snippet) / Where The Streets Have No Name
22. Ultra Violet (Light My Way)
23. With Or Without You
24. Moment of Surrender

Top Music 2010

In the last four years that I have been documenting the sounds of the year this has been the best year for music So here it is, the top albums and songs for 2010

1. MumFord and Sons – Sigh no More
Best Song(s) The Cave, Little Lion Man, Dust bowl dance, Sigh no More, I gave you all
On a flight back in early January I gave this album a listen and that was to be the end of it. I bought the CD in November and is in my opinion the best debut of the year. Everyone who's listened to it since agrees that the CD is the reason why people like me stay up all night listening to the same song on repeat till daylight breaks. I can't think of a better collection of songs put together in a long long time.

2. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs.
Best Song(s): Ready to Start, Month of May, Empty Room
Watching the intense video for Ready to Start and the crescendo it builds up at the end of the track makes it the best song of the year. You might live anywhere in the world but no CD brings back the memories of the suburbs you grew up in than this CD.

3. Kulashaker – Pilgrim’s Progress
Best Song(s): All Dressed up, Modern Blues. A smashing return to form by one of my favourite bands. I admit its the nostalgia that makes them rank higher than some of the other gems on this list but that's fine. Nostalgia is what we need more of.

4. The National – High Violet
Best Song(s): I’m afraid of Everyone, Terrible Love, BloodBuzz Ohio. Will be watching this band live in early 2011. Very strong and improves on its predecessor (but only just)

5. Wolfgang Amadeus – Phoenix
Best Song(s) 1901, Love Like a Sunset Part II, Lisztomania, Girlfriend (a bit late, this CD came out in ’09 and fully deserved the Grammy for Best Alternative)

6. Hurts – Happiness
Best Song (s): Wonderful Life, Stay, Evelyn. This is the record Depeche Mode never made. Very strong debut; The Hurts are going to be around for some time to come

7. Flight of the Conchords - I Told you I was freaky: What a brilliant album really. One of the best TV shows that I've seen and it's really a shame that the show is over. The songs are yes very funny but they are so well crafted.

8. Florence and the Machine - Lungs.
Best Song(s): Kiss with a fist, Dog days are over, Rabbit Heart
Its a tough one for grammy voters for the best new artist. Either go for the soul stealing Mumford or the more popular Florence. (Well...Justin Bieber is in the running and with the world's collective IQ going south you never know....) To really understand Florence's vocal range you got to hear her cover of 'Halo' I guarantee you'll like it better than the original

9. Kings of Leon - Come around Sundown.
Best song(s): Radioactive, Pyro, The End
Well on their way to becoming a stadium selling out band comparable to the best in the business

10. Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
Best song(s): No one loves me and Neither do I, New fang (one angry, monster of a rock albumn)

11. Bruno Mars and the Doo Wop Hooligans - Normally don't listen to this radio friendly stuff but the kid has a really good voice - reminds me of a young Micheal Jackson

12. Broken Bells - Broken Bells. A super collaboration between Danger Mouse (one half of Gnarls Barkley) and James Mercer- The shins to a brilliant CD. More time with this and it would have broken into the top 5 for the year.
Best Song(s): The High Road, Vaporize

13. The social network soundtrack. Trent Reznor made the movie cool. There's no way that Social Network would've been interesting without the background score

14. Entourage Season 7 Soundtrack

15.Foundling - David Gray
Best Song(s) A Moment Changes Everything, Davey Jones Locker

16. Vampire Weekend – Contra
Best Song(s): Cousins, Contra, Horchata
Actually this should be #15 but I can't be asked to edit!)

17. Cee Lo Green – The Lady Killer
Best Song(s) (The internet sensation) F**k you, Bright lights

18. I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers

19. Maroon 5 – Hands All Over
Best Song(s): How, Stutter, Crazy Little Thing called love
I got a special spot for Maroon 5 and wish the albumn was better.

20. Kanye West - My dark twisted fantasy
Best Song(s)(special mention to the song Monster for the line: 'Have you ever had sex with a pharaoh, I'll put the pussy in a sarcophagus' Power, Runaway

Assorted songs that I heard and stood out

  • Can’t keep no good boy down – The Parlor Mob
  • Blood Like Lemonade – Morcheeba (Skye has rejoined the band and they've discovered some of their old mojo)
  • War – These New Puritans
  • Bring the Light – Beady Eye. (Oasis Reloaded: The new band without Noel Gallagher; everything about the band from the art work to the opening song screams Rubber Soul
  • The Roller - Beady Eye
  • She Said – Plan B
  • Space – M.I.A
  • WTP – Eminem
  • I Need a dollar – Aloe Blacc (mark my words; this guy is a major talent in the making)
  • Girl I love you – Massive Attack (one slinky Attack number, too bad the rest of Heligoland is crap)
  • Are you Ready – RPA and the United Nations of Sound (Richard Ashcroft’s new band)
  • Born Again – RPA and the United Nations of Sound
  • Swimming in the Flood – Passion Pit
  • Meet me at the Equinox – Death Cab for Cutie
  • Resistance – Muse
Another year passes us by and the search for the perfect playlist continues....but there are songs here that comes very close to that list. See you at the end of 2011.

I'll leave you with a gem of a song. This was recorded by Mumford and Sons when they toured India. It will give you a taste of the wonderful music they make:
To darkness - Mumford and Sons & Dharohar Project

Waiting for the miracle

So many nights have passed just staring at the blog-screen waiting for the miracle to come . It annoys the life out of me that once upon a time the writing came ...you know just like that. Snap! and I had something written down. The past year has been spent in paralysis. I've written loads...pages and pages to just delete it at the end. When exactly did I become so critical of my writing?
A rant feels stale, an opinion feels re-run, rehashed, a music recommendation is well...you know check it out on NME why here?. As the blog shows you...page after page, it was an extremely cringe worthy excersise in battling depression. But I've been depression free for I don't know two years now and maybe I'm not depression free just in a state of limbo, floating around just above the ground. Waiting to hit the ground hard, just waiting, the fall will come, impact and stuff and we will bleed over the cold hard ground but for now the float rocks my boat (haha?).

The who turning 30 thing was a revelation as I'm sure it has been for many a person who's reading this. The dreams (and oh boy did we dream!) vanish, you wake up, get dressed all the while your fucking tragic going nowhere - just another commuter with fancy cologne- I cooked prawns last night- watched another oscar nominated film-updated facebook status (not smart this time) - I mean fuck it. Really. see how easy it is to fall into a rant to avoid the shit. (The shit: Have nothing to say and whine to pass the time)

So turning 30. Boy what a drag I must say. Don't blame the age. But I have to. I had these things I wanted to do with my life - we all did but somehow we decided to settle down to what we have. When exactly did my life become about High Definition? A state of limbo.

Tragic.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Frostbite

It blows, it flickers it glows, it moans, it’s the beast raging, its alive, we all shall strive, lead a better wife, down we go, hell is a chasm, paradise is orgasm, could it be the comeback, could it be bareback, we don’t know which way she will blow, eyes burning, oozing, bleeding, living, ember burning, flicker, still, lying still, comatose, menopause, far within, wild thing, spin, make me sing, beat catches the flame, anorexia, concave, convex, obese, dead, type II, type I, he blows steam, catches the cold air, coolness reigns, far within, explodes, turns, makes it glow, embers come to life, fire burning in her eyes, we wait, we pause, we glower she growls, cat in the night, eyes light up the fight, it catches, we make it glow, ember, flow, its turns golden, crimson, we wait, arms folded, ready, wait, it could start , it does…it makes us move, it could be the bareback, I stand proud, I enter the crowd, I mingle, my head feels the shingles, I could be decayed, I turn it around, we all are awake, making it rage like a broiler plate, I type, my hands are weapons, I come into my own, I disappear all alone, who we are is replaced with Who I am, is? Interrupted, thought, impure in its decay, enfolding, the skin covering it up all you see is a hollow cave, cave…cave I like the cave I come out, I attack, I fill up the air, I’m alive like a lion breathing in the mountain air, I stand on the top of the hill with the fool on the hill, I eat him up, I drink his milkshake Eli, I am alive, blood flows from my chops.
Is there life left in this, it pulses, ember glowing, pulses, Its alive, ordinary is a far cry away, boy, you got a long way to go boy, break out of the web, deceit, suspicion, vegetation, cough, sex, smoke, smoke , man breathing in the cold air, remember, everything connects, flows to the top, erupts like a bubble, trapped in a bubble, falling up and back down, smashing to the ground, ebbing, flowing, joining millions flowing, one of them, one among them, walking among them but am I one of them?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

World Sick

Wait, let me guess you’re bored out of your skull. You spent another banal day at work yesterday, then the evening hit, you planned to work out at the gym but your testosterone left you two hours before the appointment. You fret and worry about what to do with your evening. You swear you’ll gouge your eyeballs out if you watch another DVD, you might go to the bar for a drink (but do you really want to?) you might say ‘lets do a little window shopping’ or you might just head on home to cook up some pasta; you’ll try and make the evening mellow, put on some music, open a bottle of wine, chop some garlic, heat some olive oil – you try very hard to keep yourself distracted, you zone off and troll the web, you look at status updates and photos, you pick up a book and then put it down. You pout yourself a drink, the CD – you put in another one. You look at your phone, you look at it again, you take out the thrash, you clean up, you go back to the sofa, you sit with the laptop, you check some inane videos on Huffington post, you check the latest episode of The Daily show, you look at what music NME is talking about, you read a review of a film you want to watch over the weekend, you scroll through your address book looking for a number to call, you check out how your football team is doing, you try and write and then stop at Line 2, you make funny faces in the mirror, you pour another drink, you change the cd, you lie on the sofa again, you shake it off and go do some pull-ups, you lean out of the window for a breath of air and a cigarette, you wonder what people are up to, you think about buying a telescope to peer into the houses of other people, you gaze at the people walking down below, you moisturize, you brush your teeth, you curse not going to the gym, you swear you're going to find things to do, you swear you'll sign up for a martial arts class in the evening (like that's ever going to happen) you tidy up a bit more you wait for the clock to hit 12:30 a.m before you head to bed
You head to bed. Lie there in silence, looking for the cold spot under the pillow and you wait for the sandman.

You sleep.

Repeat x 365

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Remains of the day

Goodbyes to family at airports are heart wrenching affairs. There's the shuffling of the feet, the spaces of silence, the mandatory cup of hot chocolate no-one wants but is drunk to kill time before immigration.

There's the walk to the departures section all the while the lump in your throat grows bigger. My father reaches out to put a couple of hundred dollars in my pocket, I refuse and suddenly there's a huge back and forth row that puts everyone in a good mood for that little bit.

You touch their feet, that kiss on the cheek and the eyes start to fill up. Your nerves of steel mother lets a tear slip. My Dad and I are veterans of goodbyes - we've done this four times in four years yet his eyes fill up, I let that lump grow and grow, my head feels heavy. I hug my mother in that awkward way and for a moment she's lost in my hug - she struggles to understand the tears.

You watch them depart holding their hand luggage, there's that turn around and wave goodbye and they vanish into a blur of people getting to where they need to. You stand there at the glass that separates you , the lump in your throat still threatening to explode, your girlfriend slings her arm across your waist, i worry she's going to catch my irregular breathing. She doesn't say anything - she gives my arm a couple of squeezes . I stand there for a bit trying to catch my breath and we take a quiet cab ride back home.

Its that's moment you enter home and stand at the door wondering where the past week went, heavy like a loaded gun I walk around the house tidying up. There's dad's last cup of tea, there's a sachet of empty low calorie sweetener lying on the kitchen table. There's the piles of newspaper that Mum read before bed. There's that brochure from the Hippo open bus tour, there's the water bottle for the night in the bedroom. There's that underwater world ticket. There's that strawberry jam dad likes in the fridge, there's his apple he didn't eat. There's mum's case for her glasses that she left in haste. There's the light glow bulbs that dad ripped out of the streamers that they gave to us in the Opening ceremony for the Youth Olympic games, they life there - dead and lifeless but it captured my dad's excitement for a whole morning.

We all move away from our folks - we fight, we don't talk, we groan when we see that SMS asking to log onto skype. Yet when it comes to goodbye's we become blubbering 6 yr old's not wanting to go to school.

We watch them age in one week snapshots every year. We go back to Skype conversations, we watch each other's lives via a screen and facebook updates.

....we clean up the remains of the day and the next day comes, we get ready for the morning commute and carry on with life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

At the crossroads...

and so it goes I come to another one of those dreaded crossroads in life. There’s this line I read in this book the other day. It went ‘the only things I regret are the things I did not do . It rings a huge church bell in my head. Life’s been all about taking those safe roads and avoiding the road less travelled. Unfortunately the road much travelled is again made up of many crossroads where that decision to take or not to take hits you.

I’ve been here before and while it’s been extremely inconvenient ; the light always shines through.

This time though (158 hours and counting) the light hasn’t come. I’ve made up my mind and backtracked and done this routine that would tire a hamster on a wheel and give it a heart attack.

We normally do not behave in this manner. We take a decision and stick with it. We abhor indecisiveness but unfortunately we become the things we hate.

But I see where this comes from. All my life it’s always been about uprooting and rebuilding. Build a huge fucking castle and then strap it with so much dynamite that it would make Wile E Coyote stand up and applaud.

Walk far away to my little box that says TNT and boom…beep beep.

I’m getting a little tired of it now. I want to donate my TNT to Africa , retire, build a home, smoke a pipe and rape natives.

Unfortunately this time the crossroad has a huge neon lit sign (its dark) that says ----------------->“Go here.” It’s good for you; it is the land of milk and barbiturates

But like I said the shock of uprooting might kill me. Make me weak and kill me slowly….I’d be like Catherine Earnshaw, unable to get out of bed, go bonkers, give birth to a baby and die. (or something like that)

So just this one time please someone listen to Othello and someone take that neon lit sign and put out the light and then put out the light.

I just want to stand here for a bit. I know nothing lasts forever but just for a wee bit ….don’t change anything.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ek Lund ki kahani (Story of a knob)

Avantika made my lund very hard. Avantika mother of two, lonely milf, Avantika smelling like obsession, Avantika with hair like silk, Avantika with tits like sugar, Avantika who like her G&T's, Avantika who moaned and liked nibbling my ear. Avantika who treated my lund like her third child. I met Avantika on the train.
She entered at a station after mine and behind those huge glasses of hers I could make out that she was sizing me up. We got off at the same station, its only now that I admit that I followed her out; just so that I could see her ass as she climbed up the escalator. It was everything I thought it would be and it was the first time that Avantika stirred my lund.
Everything I describe about what happened next is in slow motion. The four year old boy slipped while Avantika was tending to the baby she was carrying. Instinctively I reached to hold out to the boy. The boy fell. His head would have landed on the steel escalator had it not been for my hand that he landed on. My hand cut deep and bleed like a bitch. I pulled out a handkerchief and tried to bandage it as the blood filled up everywhere. At the top of the escalator Avantika consoled her kid and I asked if she was okay.

For the first time Avantika took off her glasses and all I thought about was imagine those doe eyes looking up at me while she sucked my lund. I tried to act concerned and patted the boy head but all I was really thinking about was angling into a position to see Avantika; who was squatting down. Specifically to see her ass crack for a memory to jerk off to later. Avantika’s ass crack was covered in a tiny silver thong, the lace going all the way down making my lund throb. I came back to reality when Avantika asked me if I was okay and I kept saying I was. She insisted we go to the doctor; one that she knew worked nearby and soon I was staring at her ass as she climbed up the stairs of a walk up apartment.

Lunch followed. Curry staining her baby’s frock, jokes, stories on Pune, we lived on the same street, she was 38. Cougar town. Second marriage. Husband travelled. Condo living. Housewife but was in advertising before life happened during advertising plans. Phone numbers exchanged. Promised to be introduced to lots of single friends of hers who’d love to date me. I didn’t want to date. I just wanted to douse her jwalamukhi with my warm cum. I got invited for dinner.

Dinner; jazz music playing in the background , kids were put to bed early with the help of some Benadryl. It was just the two of us sitting on a sofa framed between photos of her husband and her. Pati. Patni aur who for the millennia audience. Husband far away selling fabrication material for air conditioners in Shanghai and his wife - Avantika between my legs with my jeans pulled down giving me a blow job while looking at my face with those big doe eyes, the glass of wine slipping from my hand making a stain on the white sofa.

I shagged her on her shag carpet, on the dining table with rocket salad stuck to her ass, shagged her on her bed while her husband’s smiling face looked down on us, shagged her in the bathroom with her head banging against the shelf dropping her Gillette glide razor, shagging her before we slept, shagged her in the morning before I left. She let me out her face looking a mess; mascara stains making long dried black tears on her face, her hair a tousled mess, her night shirt carelessly unbuttoned. Her nipples making bumps against the soft fabric.

That was the end of it.

Then why am I writing to you from a hospital bad?

I underestimated the consequences.

I reached home . My wife opened the door. I had told her it was a late meeting and I mumbled my way to the bedroom. The last thing I wanted was for her to taste another woman on my lund.
I showered; changed and reached for my phone. 15 SMS’s in five minutes. I messaged back. ‘I’ll cll u l8r’ – another 15 sms’s followed. Her English was not that good. In-fact her ass had a lot of blotches. Her tits weren’t firm – my wife looked much better. It was the morning after and I realized that everything I made her out to be was made in my head. Avantika was a great one night Milf but I needed to put it aside and carry on with my life. Avantika didn’t let me .

SMS's became calls. It became difficult to explain to my wife when I left the room or ignored the phone frequently I met her again a week later. She wanted to divorce her husband and wanted us to move in together. I told her I was married. She created a scene. Stainless steel cups flew and I ducked, the other customers looked on. I ran out from the restaurant, my head bleeding from a cut.

Avantika showed up at my house after a couple of days. I had just come back from work and saw her as she sat there with my wife and was telling her about my SMS’s before the dreaded dinner. She told her about the mole on my back, the scar on my thigh. Wife left. Promised to make my life hell. It was only Avantika and I and there was nothing else to do but to fornicate.

It was after-eight hours in my house just like it was the last time. This time there was just silence and grunts as I fucked her so hard making her scream . Pleasure at the thought of hurting her coursed through my body. Pleasure that turned to quick disappointment when her painful expression broke into a big wide smile of pleasure, those doe eyes wide shut in moans of delight.

I tried harder till I had spent myself on her back.. I laid down next to her and told her ‘Bitch get out’ It was then that my wife returned home and saw us lying there on the bed and like a mad woman rushed out only to rush back in with a kitchen knife yelling ‘AAAIIIIII’ I’m sure her Chinese ancestors would be proud of little Atilla the hun It was not a first time lucky shot. She had to take a couple of swipes while I ducked and dived but when she got lucky she swiped it off clean.

My proud lund lay there between the sheets while I bled like a mad man and whimpered like a dog on a chain too long. I whimpered and cried as I lay on my side and watched my wife storm out of the room; her back disappearing in a blur of tears. Avantika was crouched in the corner, covering her nakedness and once she heard the door slam; she got up and started to put on her clothes. “Bitch” I shouted. Call the doctor bitch” Oh bitch” She gazed at me for a minute while I writhed and called her names. She reached for the phone dialed the ambulance. Later she came over to me and hunched over me – just like she had done when her boy bumped his head on the escalator.

I was lying on the wooden floor, my hair a sweaty mess, my face streaked in tears and snot, curled up in a fetal position . She giggled, ruffled my hair and then walked over to my lund. My formerly proud lund that used to fly . S
he picked it up and I noticed for the first time that she never did have a wedding ring on her finger.
She walked over to the bathroom.
I heard it splash into the toilet bowl with a plop.
I heard the flush, flush it away.
I imagined it going round and round in the toilet bowl; its final wave of goodbye to the world and then it was gone.
______________
end of Lund.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

You said you'd wait until the end of the world....

For the oil spilling thousands of barrels in the ocean everyday for what seems like eternity destroying the fragile ecological balance of the gulf. For the Americans who are learning a hard lesson in Karma for your highways, hummers and oil guzzling drill baby drill ways, for Iran that don’t understand the word ‘sanctions’ for North Korea Kin who cant understand South Korea Kim, for Israel for turning Gaza into a glorified concentration camp to avenge the holocaust, for the planes crashing and burning in Libya, Afghanistan and India, for the suicide bombers the world over who are crossing their fingers to hit a jackpot of the worst kind, for the great pacific garbage patch slowly introducing death to our food chain, for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy who waited all their lives for justice too come to little and too late; for the zillions of red bull swilling twitterati who’s rage is a creative 7 word tweet, for the kids who’s idea of exercise is getting on a Wii Fit, for every fucking parent who nods in approval every time their child asks them ‘Mummy can I throw this’ before adding another plastic bag into a ravine in the Himalayas, for the 15 year old Nepali girls sold to the sex trade in India, for the Africans who know no better since the time a bottle landed from the sky in God’s must be crazy; for Jacob Zuma who can’t stop fucking everything he sees, for a prayer to god to please give inspiration to Pope Benedict to molest Justin Bieber, for the blind rut that religion today is stuck in, for Hindu godmen who’s greatest magic trick is not creating a gold necklace from ash but how they continue to enrapture millions into blind faith, for each Asian who thinks the white man is a god, for single friends who show you the left hand of fun, womanising and debauchery but cleverly hide that right hand of loneliness and despair, for Hollywood that produces mind numbing summer blockbusters that are ruining what film means to me, for the red and blue shirts in Thailand – get a new color you fucks, for me for letting it drift away...to see the sun shine on someone else's day.
....For all that, the end of the world is upon us. Goodnight and Fuck you.
Goodnight and Fuck you playlist
Saltwater – Julian Lennon
We didn’t start the fire: Billy Joel
Imagine – John Lennon
I’m outta time – Oasis
Waiting for the World to change – John Mayer
Until the end of the world – U2
Weapon – Matthew Good Band
Fake Plastic trees- Radiohead
Devils and Dust – Bruce Springsteen
Hey Ma – James
In the Name of the father – Bono and Gavin Friday
Welcome to Lunar Industries - Clint Mansell
Waiting for the miracle – Leonard Cohen

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave

Once in a blue moon a book comes along that chews up all your nails, takes away all your sleep and you end up only thinking about the book, the prose and the way the magic unfolds.

The other hand makes no bones about letting the magic unfold. It, in fact tells you to wait and watch how the magic unfolds. You buy this book thinking its a cheap marketing gimmick to not tell you what the story is about - just that you are in for a wonderful reading experience. The past month I've been accosting everyone I know and asking them to read the book and that's all I can say. Whatever I read in the rest of the year will, I know pale in comparison to The Other Hand

Thursday, May 27, 2010

High Violet by The National

Sneaked out of office for lunch with the girlfriend and she bought me a copy of High Violet by The National. A CD that the BBC is calling a potential albumn of the year. I discovered this band a couple of months back and have been playing and replaying their sublime CD 'The Boxer' time and again. Fake Empire literally became the song I slept and woke up to and then when I moved appartments I had Appartment Story on loop. So my joys know no bounds to own a freshly pressed copy of High Violet.

I mean just give a listen to the first track 'Terrible Love' and you'll know why excite is coming to me fast!
Thank you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Love me Like a Sunset....

Love me like a sunset,

move in – move out.

Set in set out.

Make in – make out.

Take me up and take me down.

Light it up.

Set it off.

Move.

Sway, sway…sway……

like the sunset take me down.

Moonlight my sky.

Seagull my nights.

Sway…sway….

Line up that cloud.

Disappear in the twilight.

Dissolve, evolve, energise,

burn, scorch, cool.

Love me like a Sunset.

Drench me in the light,

sway …sway, hips sway they all say.

Make it mine.

Love me like a sunset.

Send in the alarms, put up the chimes.

Let the wind blow in – blow out .

Sway. Move,

drape all over me,

Love me like a sunset.
Fill me up –

Fill me in on the day that has gone and been.

Blur my evening;

smudge my perspective.

What is wrong, what is right.

Empty the crowded streets;

hang me out a bus, soak in – soak out.

Take me up and Take me down.
Sink my toes into the sand,

stand on tiptoe,

dive in,

feel the water all around,

slow it down,

down down.

Come up , come around.

Love me like a sunset......

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The boy with the Jockstrap

We all have that dream to strut around the beach in our swimming trunks with our muscles glistening in the sun. But most of us end up like a prototype for a future Homer Simpson.

I am no exception. I have dreamt of having a near perfect chiseled body and while doing my hourly gazing in the mirror I fantasise about me playing beach volleyball in my Levis jeans .

But for someone who’s content reading a book this is a tough dream to accomplish. Of late I’ve been thinking about it more often. It started with a pull-up bar in the apartment and then push-ups and now I’m ready to sign up with the local gym.

Today is Day I of training . I look forward to embarking on my journey from most intelligent man in the room to the dumbest jock on the planet.

Urban Dic defines a jock as: Signs of a jock: Rude, arrogant, stupid, beats up people, dates only cheerleaders and hangs around other jocks

Can’t wait!

Somewhere on the border of Iraq


Teōtīhuacān: Because Oil is God.

‘Where’s your water bottle son’ /Erm its in the car/ Better carry your water son or you’ll be pissing dark stuff all night/ Ermmm…/ The best way to know if you’re dying is to look at your piss son/ Right / It’s all in the piss son.

And so began my visit to the site where the fourth largest oil reserves in the world are pumped through thousands of pipelines. At one point I was standing on top of a Oil tank about 30 meters tall and 20 meters wide. I was literally standing on top of millions of dollars of oil right there. I trudged through a sand storm (very different from a dust storm) in my overalls, helmet, boots with the sand whipping my face as I saw the process of how thick sludge is converted to black gold. It was a heady experience. Kuwait went through a massive modernization project after the war. Even now after two decades you can see the damage caused by Saddam’s evacuation as they set many oil fields on fire across Kuwait. Saddam also channeled all the oil into the sea and set it on fire – the wall of fire that prevented the armies of the world from entering Kuwait by the sea.

Fascinating.

I trudge along visiting one gathering centre for the oil to a place where massive attack pipes are being laid under a six lane highway. The area is full of construction workers with helmets, dark glasses and handkerchiefs around their faces . You don’t know if they are looking at you or just staring into space. You wave and they wave back. Eyes – hundereds of them following you around as you walk around in your iron clad boots feelings bit like Tony Stark.

The well planned Oil refining units looks like a set out of a James Bond movie. Iron staircases leading up and down, across pipes and installations. You walk with a sense of your impending vertigo on these stairs while below you the oil makes its way to the Pipe trains that push the oil to various wells where they will go on to make petrol, diesel, Vaseline, your phone, your shampoo, your shoes and....I can go on but you get the drift.

I stand there thinking this is what its all about. War is just about business within , without.

100 years is the time frame the Kuwaitis have given themselves before the oil runs out. 100 years of drilling and transporting the oil that mother nature took millions of years to make.

As I leave the sand gives me a huge whipping. Its stuck to my face, its in my ears, I blow out sand. Mother nature’s way of making you pay for the rape of her land.

Fascinating

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wine and Women: Part II: The story of Eth

In Kuwait absolution is a permanent state of mind. There is no drowning your sorrows in alcohol...

Most trips to a restaurant make for hilarious moments. There I am sitting with hardened veterans of the SAS, biceps bulging from every corner and when the waiter asks us what we want to drink, in one voice all go 'Pepsi'

But across the city the two million expat populations brews their own liquor at home. I had the (dis) pleasure of having a glass of finely distilled wine delicately named 'Australian Red 1994' ...not a good year trust me.

That glass of wine was just ethanol and grape juice and it knocked me out like nothing I've had before . Rocket fuel burning my throat on its way down to burn a penny sized hole in my liver. I spent the best part of the next day walking around like an aimless derelict .

Apparently I had it easy. I heard on the grapevine (the pun is lost on no one) that one bright spark popped open a can of Budweiser Non alcoholic beer and popped in a shot of 'eth' .

What no one told the poor sod is that Ethanol takes 40 hours to dissolve so what he proceeded to do was to drink 100% proof alcohol , pass out and had to have a tube shoved up his dick to flush his stomach. Ouch.

Eth is drunk in copious quantities over the weekend (being Friday & Saturday...because its Jhumma on Friday and Filipino Chumma on Saturday)

Eth makes people do stupid things like kidnap a young filipino and drive her to the desert, gangrape her and leave her there. If that doesn't give you a chill have a glass of eth.

Eth can be your worst enemy, it makes you the rashest driver in the most dangerous city to drive in the world. Making for headlines everyday in the newspaper about another wanker who totalled his car off the highway; the other headlines (like the search for the 'Salmiya Kisser' who accosts young women in Supermarkets; kisses them and runs away. Apparently his two day stubble is leaving massive scratches across the faces of many a nubile expat.) pale in comparison to stories of Eth.

Eth is your best companion on the dinner table. Everyone has a story to tell about Eth...between shots of eth everyone has heard a story about Eth fucking someone over.

Beware of Eth.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Wine and Women: The story of pussy. Part I

Wine and Women. Two topics that dominate all conversation in Kuwait. Pussy and JD are two things that are rarely available in town. Pussy is your regular over the hill beached whale. Se gets to relive her glory hole days by being centre of attention for a couple of years more. As my know it all colleague informs me...'a year in this dump and even a camel starts to look sexy'

I'm a big fan of progressive nations like Belgium and France that have banned the hijab after watching from close quarters the obese uni brow equipped women here I am convinced that banning the hijab is a mistake of colossal proportions. Maybe your radical Imam wanted to spare you the sight of all these ugly women walking around.

In the lift the other day a woman walked in front of me. I didn't get a glimpse of her face. She had that nice apple bottom but for the life of me I couldn't see her face (it was like that Roald Dahl short story with Uncle Oswald in it). When her floor came she turned around to excuse herself out of the lift and fuck! it was a really really good case of the body of baywatch and the face of crime watch. She was so ....'damn bitch you are one ugly looking bird'

No wonder she tried to hide her face .....see if she was wearing a hijab we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I am trying to get as faraway from myself as I can.....

I want to reach down to my toes make little slits with a knife at the end of each toe and slowly peel the skin of my body right up over the skull and then put it in a bucket of warm soapy water and scrub with a gentle loofah till all the dust comes off . Then follow up by soaking it in mousiterizer before I wear it back on. I mentioned dust in the older note but nothing's prepared me for the past 24 hours. It started as innocently as a gust of wind and from the sand dunes of Iraq in rolled a dust cloud that sits on top of this city and my head like the worst case of syphillis you'll never see.
It's flipping everywhere and it fills you up. It cakes the bath tub. It raises a puff when you sit down on the couch. It covers the remote, the kitchen table, the curtains. You look around for that elusive hole to catch where its coming from only to give up tired and sit down on the couch to gaze up at the air vent letting in a steady stream of dust.
You sneeze it, you spit it out (pittoey pittoey) but it never leaves. The sun creeps up to 50 degrees and in the heat you are blind. Visibility is 30 metres and this is no Delhi fog. It's Hell.
From Hell. I can now tell you that I've been to hell and I can tell you it's everything they said it was.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Sky is a landfill

Theres dust everywhere. Dust on your clothes, dust on your glasses, dust forming a protective layer all around you.
There’s dust when you sneeze, there’s mounds of it stored for the future when dust ceases to exist. It fills you in. Welcome to Day IV of Kuwait.
Strangely optimistic I carry my camera around hoping for an oasis. A memory to capture my month here. But it’s just one dust pile or another barren landscape. I get drawn to the flares from the refinery like a moth to a light. The fires dance out in funny shapes and it helps kill time as you stare mouth open at the dozens of flares all lighting up the evening sky.
The food is kebabs, pita, falafel’s, saffron rice the mandatory slice of onion and sugarcane juice. I eat in the silence that is my apartment.
The silence is another thing that is all encompassing. It follows you around reminding you of how low you sit in the food chain. You feel the silence as your pajero whizzes past a dozen people hanging out the back of a truck waiting to reach the highway to clear rubbish with their hands.
The heat; a friend of dust and silence withers you down. Makes you wince, makes you moisten your cracked lips, the heat seeps through your clothes. Desolate and tired pavements that you walk on ain’t no friend of yours.
Work starts at six in the morning and starts to wind down at six in the evening. 12 hour days everyday. Most have been doing this their whole adult life. Day in and day out just the weekend to chill. The weekend is Friday & Saturday. (Jhumma on Friday and Chumma on Saturday)
There’s no drink to drown yourself in. I wasn’t looking for redemption but redemption found me. Redemption is Kuwait city.

The Sky is a landfill playlist:
How was it for you – James
Sometimes – James
1901 – Phoenix
Lisztomania – Phoenix
No Tears to cry – Paul Weller
Little Bribes – Death Cab for Cutie
Fade In-Out – Oasis
Fake Empire – The National
Apartment Story – The National
Mistaken for Strangers – The National
Empty Cans – Mike Skinner and the Streets
Turn the Page – Mike Skinner and the Streets
Sun it Rises – Fleet Foxes
The Sky is a landfill – Jeff Buckley

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Don't...

...jump in a cab in an Asian country, drunk as fuck hug the cabbie and say 'Me love you long time' followed by 'je voudrais titty bar'
That will get you ejected out on the pavement and you'll lose your chance to stick it to an obnoxious cabbie by throwing up in the back seat

The birth of the Have's and Have nots

Back in the day the only thing we obsessed about was stationery. Stationery decided the level of social acceptance you had in class. The better the stationery the better your chances of being 'with it'

You had the army kids with their Rs. 30 Hero pens which were insufferable. The ink came out from the nib in thin scratchy lines and after writing half a page you couldn't be bothered with homework really.

You had the bottom of the food chain - Reynolds ball pen users. Rule #1 was never hang out with the Reynolds ball pen guys. They'd do embarrassing stuff like hang out at the tuck shop to buy refills for their pens. Ball pen refills. Ugh.

Worse it was Gaurav Talwar, Anshu Chandna, Rulhan who'd use Reynolds...and they wouldn't even buy them. They'd come on exam day looking pathetic and ask for a pen and someone would grudgingly hand them their back-up reynolds which you'd never see again.

(The three names mentioned above were (hushed tones) repeaters - they had flunked the year and were repeating the year with us - the junior batch. Of course 'repeater' was the polite - African-American term the real nigger term was 'failure' but you rarely called them that apart from the elite (racist) top 5 that mocked their failure by hollering 'ay failure' across the classroom. Everyone avoided the failures (I'm racist too though I barely scraped through every year I didn't flunk)

I did however sit with Anshu Chandna... no one sat next to him because he had polio. I thought it was very big hearted of me to sit next to the polio kid ...I was like a male Mother Teresa nursing the downtrodden. What people don't know is that I sat next to him to observe his walk so that I could perfect my polio impersonation... It lasted all of three weeks. It was rubbish. The bugger smelt like fuck (yes you have polio but does that hamper the bathing process??), there were groundnut shells littered in his desk drawer and Reynolds refill packets everywhere. For a failure he sure wrote a lot)

You had the our-parents-are-too-poor-to- afford a god pen but you still got to write well pen - The white Luxor Pilot pen. Rs. 15. All white with a blue dot on the back that you could remove to fill ink into the blotter. The blue bit all chewed up to kill time.

Luxor also had the much sought after Pilot V-5 Hi-techpoint. The use and throw Blue wonder that let you see how much ink you had left. It cost Rs. 45 and you needed to save every rupee of your miserable pocket money to buy it and because, all kids were stupid, instead of using the pen only for special occasions- you used it for everything even when there was nothing to write about because it wrote so well. You felt posh writing with your expensive instrument. So after 5 days you were back to whatever nimrod pen you were carrying (I is a army kid as well so it was Hero ink pen and my bottle of Chelpark ink)

There were the Camlin Rs. 10 ink pens that one bought in dozens...each one of them hemorrhaged and died at desks but you lived in some twilight zone where you though that one of these pens would work beautifully. It never did. Ever.

Soon the Reynolds lot had an opportunity for an upgrade - the Rs. 8 Stic pen. All blue masquerading as a V-5 but didn't miss the eye of the elite in the classroom. The stic was actually a good pen but after a while the soft tip would fray and make the writing look rubbish.

and then there were the elite Marwari kids. The kids who had imported Parker Pens before they came to India. The Parker pen was looked on with much envy. It wrote in a thick lovely mess and you could curl your letters and practice your signature with a flourish. If you were nice to a fat rich kid he'd let you use your pen for a half hour class.

My dad had a Schaeffer ink pen. It was the most delicious ink pen I'd known. My dad would joke that the pen was all he got in dowry and had been with him since the last 15 years. I used it occasionally but it wrote too thick and my teachers didn't like it. I once day pleaded with dad to please let me take it to school and he told me I'd lose it and I promised I wouldn't.
I lost it....carried the guilt for many years and the day I earned my first salary I went straight to Walden in Hyderabad and bought a schaeffer ink pen for him.

Later came the uber cool cartridge ink pens. They mean mofo's were efficient and fast. They'd write just the right amount of thick and you could be proud of the pen. Make a big show of changing the cartridge like you were loading a gun to assassinate someone. The cartridges cost a bomb so some kid brought a medical syringe to class and he's use the syringe to re-fill the ink. Soon everybody had an injection. When fights broke out we had more needle marks on our arms than junkies in the park and the injections were banned from school and the expensive cartridge ink pen met an early death

Each trip Dad took abroad brought a whole stack of Bic ball pens and god I loved them but like Jesus I handed everything to the people around. Fair weather best friends who'd hang around long enough to ask for a pen and never share notes and homework once they had made use of my good fortune.

I still have the first pen stand I got. It sits on the table in front of me and holds a Bic, a Schaeffer Ink pen, a Cross ball pen (gift from the Nair's to jump-start my writing) and an assortment of stationery that I never use.

Sitting here in front of the laptop staring into space I find inspiration in the closest thing.

What am I going to write about next? The joys of my duvet?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our worst fears lie in anticipation

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated and yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find me unafraid .

Worried maybe. That the years will take the edge off. I find myself thinking constantly that ten years from now I'll look back at my dreams and aspirations as nothing but the follies of youth. I will sit there on my chair my bulging waist line straining as I reach for another cigarette from the pack lying oh so far away while my little off-spring plays on the carpet purchased at Ikea to join the millions in their little nesting culture.

I'll gaze admiringly at my house and tell myself how well I've done. I will be content, happy. Calls I will be making calls to check on my friends.

I will worry about tax, I will plan holidays home, I will break a sweat wondering about my next medical appointment. I will surf the net on ways to keep your cholesterol down. I will make appointments with the dentist. I will worry about erectile dysfunction, I will carry a planner.

The future is neutered.

Neutered and happy. Happy in the ignorance that we just merged into the million who commute to work everyday. That face that blurs into the crowd. A real nowhere man. Sitting in his nowhere land singing all his nowhere songs for nobody.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Goodbye J.D. Salinger

I remember the first copy of The Catcher in the Rye I owned. I was 14. If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is what I was doing when I read it and why I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth but I'll tell you anyway because It had been a very tough year.

My folks wanted me to join the Doon School in Dehradun. It involved tons of tuition, an expensive entrance fee and well very many sleepless nights thinking of how this will finally make me a man. (Actually the fact that I am still a child can be put down to the fact that I did not get admission in the school that made Vikram Seth a wanker). All our relatives kids had passed through Mayo or Doon and in keeping up with the Jones's I was destined to join the ranks of a Doon boy or a Mayo boy.

Since I specialize in giving away the punch lines these days you already know I didn't make it. Instead I studied in St. Thomas's College Dehradun (why it was called a college and not a school involves a very boring long winded story which I will not get into). A school for shopkeepers sniggered our relatives which was not true. It's just that the school/ college (fuck it) resided just after Paltan Bazar the place which housed the ghastliest shops and alleys caked in dung and smelling of incense. Goels, Aggarwals, Jains, Guptas all studied at my establishment only to run home at the end of school to sit in the shop. All were fantastic in Math and athletics and being in that class I had a feeling that I was riding for some kind of a terrible, terrible fall. But I don't honestly know what kind.... It may be the kind where, at the age of thirty, you sit in some bar hating everybody who comes in looking as if he might have played football in college.

My teachers thought I had shit for brains. Crying on report card day (I only did it so that they'd give me that extra mark to pass) flunking the Doon entrance test. Algebra, kilos of books, tuition, more tuition. Tuition with Vishal Sagar who'd break an egg in his head when the class would start and slowly massage it into his scalp while he explained a particularly tough trigonometric equation, tution from Mrs. Sen for Bilogy, tuition from Mr Krishnamurthy, tuition for Geography from Mr. Ravi Verma, tution for hindi from Mrs. Katoch, tuition on English grammar from Mr Sen's daughter with the St. Bernard's but I didn't go for the extra study too much, at home no-one could understand how I was studying so much and failing, it all boils down to the fact that I'm the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It's awful. If I'm on my way to the store to buy a magazine, even, and somebody asks me where I'm going, I'm liable to say I'm going to the opera. It's terrible.

So as you see it was easy to fall in with Holden. I found him that same year on a dusty shelf of a cousin's house. I was smitten with the cover. It was a musty book, the pages yellow with time, bits of cement stuck to the pages, proof of a recent renovation exercise in the house but what killed me was the cover, just the title and Salinger's name on a white background with a bunch of rainbow lines on the top left. My cousin asked me to read it. Mumbled something about John Hincley Jr. and the book was mine. It stayed with me till I met a girl who was all keen to get a bit of reading done. I figured she likes the same music I do so she's honest and she'll return it dumb I know but she was real dumb, I mean I gave her my favourite book and she comes out and tells me she might be a dyke how dumb is that? If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's dumb? Nobody. (or maybe I never recovered for being left for a woman)

I bought another book, gave it away, bought another, gave it away. It happened again and again, it's like I wanted the whole goddamn world to read the book. I gave up a couple of years back and now Mr. BananaFish does not own a copy of the one book that ever mattered.

I watched Conspiracy Theory and smiled at Mel Gibson's collection of The Catcher in the Rye's and how he obsessively buys it when he sees it. I watched Will Smith's monologue on The Catcher in the Rye in Six Degrees of Separation on repeat, the Gin Soaked boy became my favourite song because of the line 'I'm the old school in the tie, I'm the catcher in the Rye' . I read what a twat Hincley was, what a twat (II) Chapman was and read phony books like Vernon God little because they said in the press it was the second coming of Salinger. I bought more rye and gave it away. I fantasied about opening a school for children who didn't have anything in life. That school would be their salvation or they'd fall of the cliff.

Every disappointment, every step I took backward. I just read the book and everything was okay. Holden went through worse. It's okay, get on with it. Come to think of it I don't remember ever re-reading it when life was super, it was like comfort food. It made me feel better almost immediately. I looked for Phoebe W. Caulfield in every girl I met and then the obsession with the book just vaporized. The book became a part of my personality and I'm not obsessed with myself. I'm not a phony.

I was in a place far away when I heard. There were a couple of mails that I read in a half asleep half hungover state. They were condolences. Like I'd lost a family member. I read and re-read every asinine tribute to Salinger all the morons of the world united to say and all that crap about what the book meant to them, helping them through adolescence and all that rot. For me it meant something too... but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth



J.G Ballard. Frank McCourt. J.D Salinger within months of each other. They're falling out of the sky. Age they say. But they live forever.