Saturday, December 22, 2007

The deaf orator.

You can turn a deaf ear to what the world is saying. You can put on headphones and listen to loud music. But the world can still hear you. If you aren't saying anything, even then it listens to your silence. It makes meanings of the silence. It makes words out of quiet glances. It infers "practical" things from the aimless wanderings of a lost soul.
The world is full of wonderful sights. So much to admire and be in awe of. America , especially is so blessed with natural beauty. Not as much as Kerala, but almost comparable. Still so, even in such a well groomed country, when I stand at the train station, a poor old man whose fingers twitch involuntarily has more spectators than that beautiful moon over a leafless winter tree.

We could seek beauty in the smile of a flower
and feel compassion in the wide eyes of a grazing cow
But we choose instead to iron our hair
and pity a limping old man now.

Sigh. I am such a complain freak and so good at finding shortcomings in the world's behavior while still being a part of it and its flaws.
Those who say oxygen is gaseous are yet to meet you.

Color: Peach
Song: Enna satham indha neram

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The smallest of words have the biggest of impacts when used in the right places.
A discontent IF.
A disdainful SO.
A disrespectful YES.

(Good God! If for every crappy post I wrote I was given a hundred bucks, I'd be free of all monetary debt by now)

Life has its ways in the end, in the beginning and everywhere in between. Its forcing me to grow up. It is shoving BIG things in front of me and yelling SEE THEM. It is talking a foreign language and blaspheming me for not understanding. I started out with a lot of faith in people and in my God. Faith is like money, if you spend too much of it too soon, then it will run out. If you invest it in the right places, then the dividends are munificent. Its a gamble. You can't play safe and you can't risk it.

If we could chose our thoughts
But not our words
If we could contain anger
But not love
If we could wipe out despair
As we would our tears
If we could accept instantly
And forgive faster still
If we could be content
And have some left to give
If laughter was as contagious
As is cynicism
If our minds could slow down
And our hearts pick up pace
It wouldn't be such a dark world
It wouldn't be such a small place.

Color: Grey
Song: Aazmaale

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Womanly virtues.

So we are here twelve days after this thought took genesis on bunk #22. We have been collaborating with bunk #26 for a while. But that isn't working as well as we thought it would.

I've had arguments with my male friends countless number of times on this one. Chauvinism or Chivalry? There is an agreed-upon list which I never compromise on. Even with strangers. It is a genetic thing, I think, for men to presume that their opinion/action has more formula weight than that of women. It is right there when they think they can lift that heavy box but I can't, that I am more prone to making a mistake while driving than they are, that they have to teach me HTML else I'll never learn, that it is simply not possible that I make more money than them.
90% of my friends will swear that they aren't so. They're just in denial. They'll come around. I might sound too critical and judgmental about it, maybe even to the point of generalizing things. But it is true. I am yet to meet a man who doesn't have that chauvinistic streak.

For every minute you are not in my thoughts,
There are a million only about you.

Song: Ehi thaiyya
Color: Crimson

Friday, November 30, 2007

Fish traffic, Cat manners and Driving dodos.

Bare necessities. That's all I have come to need. A friendly word is a luxury and love is an extravagance.
Barest necessities.

A beggar's gratitude and an ingrate child
A tamed tiger and a mouse so wild
Withered trees with melting snow
Beauty still has a long way to go.

Welcoming arms of a thrashing sea
Internal qualms within a calm-looking me
Sleepless nights on a feather bed
The color of blood is not always red.

Clinging cloying love so pure
Flawed and clawing love unsure
A diamond's brilliance going waste
Pickled thoughts not gaining taste.


Color: Ink Blue
Song: Kanda vaa vaa (Sudha raghunathan)

Monday, November 12, 2007


Its 1.27 AM on a cold Tuesday morning.
You are alone in the lab.
You think yourself a nice person albeit blessed with a knack for annoying people sometimes.
You think you are extremely protective about the ones you love. You are also a rather fierce feminist. An aspiring scientist. You believe you have the five best men in America as your friends. They're your family you think. (Until someone asks "What family?") There is a lone man in India somewhere asking you why you haven't had dinner and that its going to give you ulcers.
Your mother wants to know why you haven't had the time to call home and that stirs some guilt. You ask if appa has gone to work. There is a smile in her voice when she relates what she made him for breakfast before he left. You sigh at the thought of a warm cozy home but tell her nothing.
Its 1.48 now.
None of your five best man have asked you where you are and why the hell aren't you home yet.
Now what does that say about all what you thought about yourself?
Get back to me in twenty two years and 357 days and I might have an answer.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Close to the End of DNA fragments.

Thoughts wander in those dark lanes
Putting out lights in those neon streets
Washing the floor with black coal tar
Salvation now isn't too far.

Drawing new lines with fully loaded rifles
Replacing love with suspicion
And faith with fear
That is why the stars never shine here.

Snaking their ways through a child's mind
Painting faces with worry lines
Quenching innocence with hate
A prolonged itch that never does sate.

Color: Black.
Movie: Munich.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

When I pause to reason my life, I lose some reason from it.

What about a mentally tormented writer? What about him?
Does a writer need to emotionally empty himself to write objectively? Does he need to be devoid of any likes or dislikes whatsoever?
I am still looking for answers. But here is an image that I have seen again and again.
Somewhere near the heart. I don't know where exactly that is present in terms of anatomy. I remember from a past biology class somewhere to the left, and I locate it more accurately but sensing its beats. Growing faster with every minute. A steel claw that so closely resembles a human skeleton. Fluid in motion, it starts picking at the "heart" with surgical dexterity. The pain increases steadily but in a steep graph. Nerve ends spark together and apart pushing at the tolerance limit. My other heart (which one is this again?) pains and blood of a different kind seeps out. A white shiny liquid - clear and fragrant. I suddenly think if unicorn blood. And that's the last thought.

I don't know why this image is a Robin Cook/Sci-fi/overlapping one. But it is.

Color: A white - shiny and clear.
Song: I can feel the magic floating in the air, being with you makes me that way.
(Why can't I recall anything else about this song)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ogacihc. case insensitive.

I am not geography expert or for that matter a good judge of anything. I am opinionated though, not to a bothersome extent, but a just a little. An opinionated person makes a good source of writing material.

Chicago is a beautiful city. Similar and different to New York in many ways. The endless skylines in NY are breathtaking when you first see them, but they tire you with their monotonicity soon. Chicago is different, the sky lines are punctuated here and there with quaint shops, archaic buildings and my favorite rivers that run below Chicago's roads. I cannot be completely sure, but Chicago is a city walking through which will probably never tire me because there is a beauty gradient. My favorite still remains Harbor Road. But Chicago is definitely more charming than New York. It is probably just as charming as DC, but doesn't have as much character as DC does.

And since someone once asked me to try writing in Tamizh, I am trying.

En kanneer un mazhaiyaagum, en karangal un kudaiyaagum.
Un iru kangal en suryanai thondra, un sirippu en velichamaagum.
Ariyamayil nee ennai sutri varuvathu pol enakku thondriyadhu
Oru kanam nindru paarthien, sutruvadhu naan endru manam unariyadhu.

Color: Tan
Song: Laaga chunari mein daag

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happier times.

If you write a letter with your wishes in it, with all your secret crazy whims put in, who would you send it to? Is there anyone you can send it to without them laughing at it? Is there anyone who you can send it to who would take it to heart and set about fulfilling them? How much of that letter would you let your "best friend" read?
I don't have an answer to most of those questions. But what I do know the answer to is if I would let a complete stranger read it.

We'll see a happier day and a brighter sun will shine then
The rain is just here to wash away the dirt off leaves
And the clouds to shadow us from miseries beyond
Our hope is our weapon and we'll wield it free.

To Vinda, Deepi, me and a happier time.

COLOR: Mazda burgundy
SONG: Hey there Delilah (Plain white tees)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Emotional Insurance.

I am sorry if I have accused you of not being there.
I am sorry if I have not told you often enough how thankful I am for your existance.
I am sorry if I have not appreciated your presence.
I am sorry if I have tested your patience by being quiet when I should have said something.
I am sorry if I was away celebrating my victories when I should have been nursing your wounds.
I am sorry if I ever said I am busy when I was actually not.
I am sorry if I expected you to be understanding when I was not.
I am sorry if I ruined your plans by inviting myself over when I needed to.
I am sorry if I ever took advantage of your selflessness.
I am sorry if I was inconsiderate and frank at the wrong moments.
I am sorry if I ever made you feel less loved.

How much you mean to me is unfathomable.

SONG: If I lie here (Snow Patrol)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

If every word I said could make you laugh, I'd talk forever.

And there's no mountain too high
No river too wide
Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side.
Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide.
But I'll love you, until the end of time.
Come what may.

I will let a hundred knives through my thankless self, if it meant I could run my fingers through your hair one more time.
I will drink as much poison as the seas, if it meant I could breathe my last in your wake.
I will die a thousand deaths if I must, if it meant to spend a fraction of my life with you.

For those few words of care,
For those few minutes of love,
For those endless dreams that you make me dream,
For the hopes that you foster
For the wounds you have mended
I'd go through any hell any number of times.

SONG: O Saathi re (Omkara)
COLOR: Sunshine yellow

Monday, September 3, 2007

Pyar mein dil pe maar le goli le le meri jaan.

I wish that this world may contain only things that make you happy.
I wish I were the only one who could cause you pain, because I never will, and even if I do, then its easier to shoot myself down.
I wish our silences to be meaningful.
I wish I could hear your heartbeat no matter how far I am from you because it is my favorite sound in the world.
I wish I wake up to a smile on your face every morning rather than the sun's.
I wish geography had no significance in our lives.

But the truth is,

My world has only things that pain you.
I am not brave enough to shoot myself down. Or anyone else.
Our silences only showcase our ego.
Yelling is all I hear.
It's like the sun goes down on me every morning.
Every millimeter seems to stretch forever.

One last wish is to stop turning my blog into my personal diary.
One last truth is that if I did that, then I would currently have nothing to put in my blog.

COLOR: Algae green
MUSIC: Junoon

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Any cheesy title.

That is what this post should have. A cheesy title. I didn't put one myself because there were too many winners.

Every time I hit a cranky note, I try to think if things have been worse than this. If they have been, then I needn't worry because I have been through that kind of hell and back. If it is an all time low, then it probably means that time has come to stretch my limits and tread thinner ice and walk hotter embers. Time has come to become stronger.

He who doesn't leave old lands shall never see new shores.

At nearly the end of a month long vacation in India, I honestly thought I would feel very different from the way I am right now. Maybe because I still keep seeing people the way I saw them a year back, but they have changed shades. Friends, family and even foes have changed. Some smiles have become artificial, some others shine more genuinely than ever. Some are unexpectedly pleasant and some others are painful reminders of what geographical distance has done.

The sun still shines yellow
The grass is still green
It is people who've changed color
And its not gone unseen.
Some wounds have healed
Some old ones revisited
A few new gashes have cut
And necrosed ones mourned.
The water is still blue
Laughter still is music
The change is only in you
The rest is all a trick.

I am not sure if this will make sense to me ten days later. But it does not. Maybe because I am painting from a palette of emotions and not writing on clean slate.

COLOR: Mint green
SONG Beetein lamhe (TRAIN)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thought of/after/in a month?

I have denied myself the pleasure of writing for over one cycle of the moon now. And I say I have "denied" it to myself because there were thoughts that were itching to be penned but then I contained them. For no particular reason. Or so I like to say.


So much like and unlike Kumbakonam. There is that fervent bhakti. Just like in Kumbakonam. But it is quiet. Not violent and loud like in K. Calming, soothing, brings about a certain internal peace. As if to say, if anything goes wrong, let it, it will be taken care of. It is My bidding that they go wrong. In Kumbakonam, there is a certain rage, a certain fear of God, not in agreement with Him. Aakrosham is the word.

In Thirupathi, its a different kind. There is a certain jest and zest. People come there in good humor, at least I did. Smiling faces, bald heads - impossible to tell people apart. The same bhakti, in three different flavors. Just like the different flavors of friendship that people have had me taste in the past month or so. I wouldn't say I liked all of them, but they were interesting nonetheless.

"... a great suppurating wound, a jagged gape of flesh.."

(Just to remind me about what all I should write in my next post. Which will be a while from now)

COLOR: Maize yellow.
MUSIC: Barso re megha (Guru)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

They know not life who know not this.

As much as the creator didn’t intend it to happen, the downfall of relationships is inevitable and can cause more damage than any wand wielded by any wizard of any caliber. I see men, so hopeless in their lust for their own obsessions. So vain, conspiring and conniving to achieve their ambitions that they throw aside people and things that could be more worthy achievements and ambitions than the ones they pursue. How these men shall never even realize what fools they have been magnifies their foolishness all the more. I stand outside the frames that bind these pictures to walls of perceived emotions and laugh haughtily at their ignorance. It was the bliss proffered with that ignorance and innocence that tempted me into painting myself into those pictures. Then knowledge and its acceptance nudged themselves in with time. Some call it resigning, some resentment and some more detachment. But unless you stand where I do, see what I see, think what I think and be who I am, it is absolutely impossible to understand. As I type this, some famous smells come and go in my memory – people as I had remembered by their smells, their odors, the chemicals that their bodies exuded uniquely. I feel almost like a fox sans the light-footedness.

I see the world as it is has presented itself to me and I try not to make a generalization. I make an honest effort to not group people under umbrellas of opinions and judgment. But as I said, I write them as they have presented themselves to me. Creatures who are interested primarily in their affairs and more so, who are consciously willing to scar others who sometimes willingly present themselves to be beguiled. I am not going to wear a halo and will admit that I have been involved in instances where I ’presented’ myself on either side of the argument.

I am visiting the only true friends there are – in books and fairy tales. There is no trustworthy person. There is no one who would go all out for anyone. No one is selfless and certainly not considerate.

The world is a tricky place to live in for those who believe in friendship, true or otherwise. And its simply hell for those who don’t.

COLOR: Midnight blue (for a reason)
SONG: Na jaane kabse ummeedein kuch baaki hai (Jal)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What you don't know cannot hurt you.

Whoever said that sure thought it through a lot. It is one of the patronizing statements that people make when they don't want you to know something that you obviously should know. I am not writing this because I am outraged that people don't tell me things that rightfully belong in my head, but because I am not telling people what rightfully should be in theirs. And this is not a confession, since a confession can be made only when the victim knows not, and boy, do my victims know.
I have taken a liking to being alone these days. Maybe I am growing up or maybe I am just finding new interests. I want to get back to art. I still remember the one vacation in Delhi that I spent making two paintings, there were brushes, tubes of paint, varnish, gold powder, cotton swabs, isographs, stained newspapers strewn all over the living room. It was only because the paintings looked rather good that my mother didn't complain about the mess I was making. These days, my room looks too clean - it needs some color. I think I might paint something after coming back from India. Another thing I have fallen into is procrastination. I try to postpone everything - I really mean EVERYTHING. From running a gel to using the restroom. I always have some thoughts that I chew cud over.

Some thoughts that have dwelt in my mind recently,

- If you want me to apologize, you must be ready to accept it and not counter it with something like "you don't mean that".
- If I am not telling you something, it is because I don't want you to know it. Its plain and simple.
- If we all just let people around us do what they want, then no one would be happy.

COLOR: The green in those neon lights
SONG: You're too good to be true (Four Seasons)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pushed to page two.

Since I have recently been commended for writing meaningful and (ahem) sensible things in my posts, I will try to keep the trend. But I am not going to promise. As I always say, an angry man cannot write - he can only vent. I am not sure if what I am feeling right now is anger, but for lack of a better word I'll call it that.

New flowers bloom and fill the air with their freshness
As old ones dry away in between pages of books
Memories come together in oneness
And the water is deeper than it looks.

It might seem like irrelevance to someone who doesn't know me and pure bullshit to those who do. Its your call.

COLOR: A light purplish pink
SONG: Unna vida (Virumandi)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Twice a day :O

This is proof that I have grown up .
That I realize that I don't have to throw a tantrum to get what I want. That I can simply get up and get it for myself. I don't need anyone to walk me through my life anymore. I could use some company on the way, but I can live it for myself. I don't need a cage. I don't need my wings snipped. I dislike being controlled and I dislike being a rebel more. So I simply don't pay heed.
I realize that I have knowingly hurt people - and that there are some instances for which I am not even apologetic. I am not sure if this makes me a bad person but I don't have a justification because I have not thought of one. I am not going to think of one either.
I realize that I don't have to be the nicest person in the world. I am allowed to be a little mean - everyone is. I know that because I have been hurt and I am not willing to judge if that was wanton or not.
I realize that when you try to save your pride, then you are letting it fall further in your own eyes.
I realize there are things worse than telling your mom that you made a mistake and now that you realize it you want to move on. She will understand, as always.
I realize that good friends are a rarity and that you musn't count your blessings.
I realize when you have to think really hard to remember the fun you had, then it doesn't count as a memory.
I realize that when you have to sacrifice one thing for another, both things are not worth it.
I realize I can probably never love uninhibitedly as I grow older. Primarily because the more of the world I see, the more I expect and expectations can only ruin things.
I realize that wisdom doesn't have to come with age, but then its okay if it takes time.
I realize that when some of your best efforts go down the drain, then its for a purpose. A part of a bigger plan and the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle that will eventually fit.
I realize everything doesn't have to be reciprocated. Your camera can choose not to like you.
I realize when I sleep over things, then they always seem less poignant in the morning.
I realize how grateful I am for those moments when I felt like I've achieved something.
I realize the importance of all this knowledge when I am in doubt, and more so when I am sure.

I have grown up. I would have given you a big hug if you were here now. But its good that you aren't - else, I would have never grown up.

Exploding skies.

Thats what I saw last night. The sky exploding with lights and sounds in colors that seemed so new to my 22 year old brain. Golden showers and sparkles, grandeur and money all being recklessly (but splendidly) spent to celebrate July the fourth. I don't know why Independence day is such a big deal in the States, they weren't even a colony. They didn't have to fight for it nor did they have to struggle to be heard on the international platform. But you don't have to sell patriotism to the Americans, they show it in everything they own. Cars, houses, streets, napkins - everywhere. The blue, white and red colors are so common if you start *observing*. When I first started noticing, it was on CinchSak garbage bags. Then the Pepsi label. Samuel Adams. America's choice, Pathmark - they are everywhere.
I wonder if Indians are equally patriotic (if this is patriotism to begin with) and just don't show it. I know I am more Indian than ever when I am in the States. But is that a common sentiment?

COLOR: Blue, white and red.
SONG: God Bless America

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Why and why not.

It was first a status message on Google talk. Gtalk status messages according to me are very significant. I would never put something there unless I was sure that I am okay with everyone I know reading it. My recent lines include

- Usually I am a nice person. Today I am just being Deepika.
- American friendships are different from Indian ones - Why and why not?
- Blackford is the place where CSHL serves "food". Today there was nothing vegetarian but for a soup that I risked to taste. And it was by far the most edible thing Blackford has made. But it was very unfortunate that it was called Split Pea soup.

I admit that I haven't known as many people in the States as I did in India. That is a direct result of having spent the larger chunk of my life in the latter country (oh what a crappy line!). So using statistics isn't fair and neither is it going to be valid. I am going to try and stick to facts and logic here. But I may digress from that and venture into a very emotionally sensitive arena. In which case I will get both into trouble and distress.

Friendship in India was a subconscious and tacit commitment. There were different levels of it. Broadly,
- The classmate to who you say hi in the corridors (sometimes).
- The outer fringe of your hangout gang who you might invite to a birthday party.
- The inner core of your hangout gang who you ALWAYS go with.
- The couple of people in that inner core who know your life like they know theirs.

When you are visibly depressed in life, the above people will react in the following ways.
- Whisper to one another in the same corridor as to what could have happened. But try to smile normally.
- Have a faint idea as to what happened but don't bother prying further.
- Know exactly what is wrong and are trying to fix it.
- Is either the obvious cause or solution to it.

When there is a mild disagreement,
- Bah! I am never smiling at her again ~ grrr.
- Either try using the inner core as a mediator to resolve things or just smile at you in the corridors from then onwards.
- A brief argument is followed by the rest laughing their asses off at you.
- Hits you on your head till you agree to what they say.

When there is a severe disagreement,
- This person's hangout group starts collectively disliking you.
- Begins to pretend that you never existed.
- A 2 day silence followed by forcible and successful patching up executed by the others.
- Will go tell your mom what a donkey you are and then hits on your head till you say sorry.

Depending on how much you talk and how many friends you have, these groups may collapse into lesser numbers. As far as college was concerned, I think being popular was slightly different from having a lot of friends but there were overlaps.

Now for the American bit - I don't know enough Americans to make bold statements as to how they are with one another. But I know enough Indians in America to make bold statements as to how we are with one another. The interesting feature is that while it was easy to make distinctions in India, it is dodgy here. Very very dodgy.
When you are on the streets in NY and you see an Indian, there are two things that can happen - either they will recognize you as someone from India and smile, else they will pretend you are from another planet and walk by with a determinedly bored look.
When you are in a work place, there is the extremely helpful Indian colleague or the determinedly avoiding Indian. It is normal desi tendency to try and make desi friends. Its not that we refuse to socialize with the others, but its just that the "wavelengths" never match. And in the definite event that we make friends with our countrymen, then there are just two simple kinds - the ones who know your life like they know theirs and the ones who are as superficial as dead skin.
(This is the emotionally sensitive arena that I was talking about, and its best I don't step in here).
As for why and why not - I think why we sometimes ignore other Indians is because the reason some of us got here was to get away from "them" and "they" followed us here. And why we sometimes don't is because no matter how hard some of us try to shed off the desipanti in us, it creeps back right on and nudges us to civilize with our ilk. But in all this ruckus there are some paaavam jantus that try to recreate the exact Indian friendship thing - smiles at Indians and is the epitome of friendly Indian colleague - but eventually just end up writing blog notes about their understanding of it.

COLOR: Butterscotch
SONG: New York nagaram (ARR)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Replacement therapy.

It is a very bad idea to be replaceable or have irreplaceable things in life.
It is a crappy, lousy, foolish and extremely dumb deepikaish idea.

And thats all I have to say about that.

COLOR: Black
SONG: Sheeshe ke gharon mein

Monday, June 18, 2007

Taxi driver in Calcutta!

Living on a farmhouse sounds so cool - and it is to a large extent. Huge fields, amazing sunrises and sunsets, being able to see the sky and stars its NY, sky can be only seen when next to scraper), crickets putting you to sleep, trees yawning out at you in the backyard, barbecues - whoa! Its a long list.
(If you sensed a 'but' at the end of that sentence, you are soooo right).

I have been at Uplands farm for about 3 weeks now. And I still am not tired of the quiet or the comparative desolation of the place. I like walking through the woods and since its bright almost until 9 in the night, with a maize-flavored breeze advertising the goodness of it, I am turning down ride offers from friends (and foes). But when I have to travel for longer distances, I call a taxi and when I do this, I am as excited about it as a kid is about a new bike.

Taxi drivers are about the most interesting people you can talk to. They know their way around and have seen more of the world, not only because they travel around, but because they see more new people in a day than I do in a month. They have seen every emotion there is on this planet, yet are sometimes naive and believe what their passengers tell them. Keeping in mind the universality issue, this is the same feeling I get with the few friendly auto-drivers in Bangalore. I think when you have to drive around town all day, having a grumpy personality is a sure downside. If I think really hard, I bet I can recall the name of every cab driver who has driven me in NY and the conversation I have had with them. I have never met a one 'quiet' driver. Or maybe its me. The most recent one was Greg. He is trying to finish his bachelors in Communications with a minor in American History at SUNY Westbury. He was arguably the most knowledgeable of all the ones I know. Not because of he was in college, but because he put his pending degree in communications to full use. He asked me a zillion questions about India that I am always so ready to answer and told me that he was German (BTW Jyotsy, I am still vouching for German men). He was black. I don't quite have such a problem with that word considering the fact that I am 'black' too. And he told me a something that he thought about the word when he was a child. He had a white German uncle and Greg apparently never understood what the fuss was with the skin color.
"I thought that he was just a really really light skinned black guy. Until I grew up and the differences began to enunciate themselves."
I really liked that line - something I will try to use in a conversation in future. It was a long drive, from Hempstead to Cold Spring Harbor - and arguably one of the most memorable.

COLOR: Peacock blue
SONG: Tere aankhon ke siva

Friday, June 15, 2007

An Arrow.

Why the word universe? Why?
Its not universe. Its as diverse as it can get. There isn't one language. There isn't one color. I know in saying this I am geographically limiting us to this earth, but yet, I see nothing "universal" about the universe unless I make some gross generalizations. I amn't a generalization kind of a person. In fact, I hate them. Its one thing to call two similar things similar. But pulling in a third thing and forcibly similarizing it is plain cowkakka. But I am not going to dismiss this entire thing with a 5 line glance. I am going to dedicate some space to seeing what is it that is similar in all of us and I will try making the least possible amount of generalizations. And this is sincere attempt to justify the person who called it the 'universe'.

Languages - I can go on and on and on about it. But I think I'll try symbolism for once.
The Arrow.

What a simple, elegant and yet powerful symbol. I think there isn't one place in the planet I can think of that doesn't know what it is. Maybe some remote village in India. But then, they're somehow always not a part of the regular universe (See Swades for more information) and I am going to let it be that way. An assumption in mathematics, approximating it to zero. It can be giving directions, it can be on top of a letter indicating that its a vector, it can indicated the proceedings in a chemical reaction, it can be used to denote lineage - just about every scientific and social realm uses it. Splendid.


COLOR: Off-white
SONG: Milky way (MLTR)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ulaalaalaalaa oleyo! Ulalalalala leyo!

Ad jingles and ads themselves. After all the heavy stuff that I usually write, it came to me as a relief that I can still write feather stuff.
That Kingfisher jingle evokes so many memories. The earliest one being meeting Dravid in the lounge of a restaurant when this was playing in the background. Then singing it on Laksh's bday. When we won DC. And more recently, when Anand anna went to Puerto Rico :)

Ad jingles are different from regular music. People who create jingles are usually much more creative, less redundant and moreover they can achieve a memory feat with the amnesic also. In the sense, that a good ad jingle must make you think of the product immediately. The idea behind this is that the more you think of the product, the ad jingle will coax you to buy it. It is a strategy that is cleverly based upon human shortcomings in self-control. The Kingfisher ad jingle is probably the best one created in history. Even in the most sophisticated restaurant, go to the restroom and sing ~ Ulaalaalaalaa oleyo! - and 80% of the times someone will think out loud ~ Ulalalalala layo! - almost instantly. It makes you think of a swimming pool and cold water (or beer) immediately.
The quality of Indian ads these days is so pathetic. There is rarely, if ever, a good one. American ones are worse than the Indian ones. Most American ads are only about proving that they are better than their competitor, its never about creativity or making an impact. I haven't seen Indian TV for almost a year now, but in the ones that used to be showing - I liked Coke ads better than Sprite (Pepsi is just real crappy, Fanta is okay, Mirinda is cool), Hutch was good but Airtel caught up and got better (ARR ROCKS!!!), the Anti-smoke campaign with Urmila et al was good, bike ads were total waste wonly and car ads were no better (Maruti had one with a cute Punjabi kid that was nice) and there was this one Greenply ad that I remember distinctly about a kid who starts speaking Tamil that I loved.
I had a friend, Sharu, who used to always wonder how it would be if we had a channel that only showed ads all day. She would like that. I am not sure I would, not in NY atleast.

Since all I have been doing is humming the Ulalalalala layo!, I don't have a poem. But there is a song that I recently came across. I really liked its picturization in Moulin Rouge ~ nice notes and lyrics.

Never knew I could feel like this
Like I've never seen the sky before
Want to vanish inside your kiss
Every day I love you more and more
Listen to my heart, can you hear it sings
Come back to me, and forgive everything
Seasons may change, winter to spring
But I love you until the end of time

Come what may
I will love you until my dying day

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste
It all revolves around you
And there's no mountain too high
No river too wide
Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side
Storm clouds may gather
And stars may collide
But I love you until the end of time.

COLOR: Cherry Red
SONG: Come what may (Moulin Rouge)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Mazal Tov

Language. I have written and thought about this so many times before but I always feel I haven't expressed what is REALLY on my mind adequately or with real quality. This post is going to be yet another futile attempt.
Mazal Tov. That is Hebrew for good luck. A Jewish classmate taught me that expression. I really took a shine to it and have been dying to use it in some context but haven't found a suitable debut for it yet. There is such a nice ring to it when I say it to myself. Mazal Tov! And when he said that to me, there was a certain warmth in it. Maybe because he expressed it in his native tongue that it sounded so personal and heartfelt. But how can such a foreign noise evoke so much thought in me? Its the same feeling I get when listening to Turkish music- the lyrics are so powerful. I don't know what they mean but I somehow know it is about love and betrayal, and similar emotions. This amazing blend of phonetics and ISPs awes me so.

This bridge you built won't stand long
It will collapse to a heap of pain
You used your strength to make it strong
But their hate made it all in vain
This bridge has its recipe all wrong
Break it before you go insane.

It must have stood on love and trust,
But it stood on want and need
Hold it up if you must,
But they'll bring it down with greed
It will all be blown to ashes and dust
Upon which will grow no seed.

Don't you cry, weary wanderer
You just have to walk some more
For sometime, be a launder
And wash off all those sores
Learn to look not back but yonder
And your mind is no one's whore.

This is the first time I am using a slight obscenity in my writing.
And it fits as beautifully as a joey in a roo.

SONG: Aao huzoor tumko (Karunesh)

Friday, June 8, 2007


Thanks to J.K.Rowling for that word (or the contortion of the original one).
After the credits have been given, now the time is to tip over the mess on to the warm blood. I really have no clue how I came up with that. But the more I think of it, the more I think that I am indeed marinating thoughts in warm blood.
The post.
When I was in India, I used to always crib about not being offered a choice. A choice of courses. Of not having to attend huge family parties where I know no one. Of going where I want to and being who I want to be with. A choice of being who I want to be professionally. An endless list follows. I think this is what gave rise to the 'American dream'.
CHOICE is what the States is all about. You have a choice of talking to people or not, and you will not be judged for it. You have a choice of classes. A choice of places to live in. A choice of people (trust me, I have seen enough people in NY to last myself a lifetime in a jungle). EVERYTHING. Every supermarket isle has like a hundred different kind of brands for one product. Every program has a thousand different classes you can take. Everywhere. And people like having so much to pick from. Most of them do for sure.
But I personally wonder if so much choice doesn't confuse them. I know I am. Currently amidst a lot of issues that need me to pick. And its not like peace rules after picking. Then I am wondering and worrying if I made the right choice. And the worse part is, I have known by experience that if the choice is wrong, I find that out in the most painful way, that too after it becomes an irreversible decision.
I am now yearning the Indian dream. For when I was dreaming that, I was just cribbing. The American dream is driving me crazy.
That is the longest ever prologue.

If you had to paint me a color
which one would you do?
If you had to write me in a word,
would the choices be few?
Would paint me blue and free?
Would you call me fancy?

Its the rain. Thats what shrinking my thoughts.
I think I'll write a book.

COLOR: Midnight blue (just thought of someone whose favorite color this is)
SONG: Ashqolmez (Turkish pop thing, I am sure its not spelt that way)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Thick marshy silence.

And suddenly one day, no one knew why - it all became so quiet. The silence took over so suddenly and sunk in so deep, that no one could prevent it nor deny its presence. It hung about like an aura, repelling all social advances. It built around a flimsy fortress that though many could break with a little effort, no one cared or dared to.
Global freezing. Where there were icy stares, cold words exchanged, chilly howls and cool attitudes. Everything was sub-zero.

Thick as resin it pours all over
And paralyzes thought
Freezes it in disarray
Makes it look like drought.
And from the bog emanates
the stench of solitude
Silence is a temporary analgesic
that allows you to brood.

Just 8 lines again. What is with it?
Oh, Who is John Galt ?!

COLOR: Yellow
SONG: Merke merke (Kanda naal muthal)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Pay Day.

Some people get lucky. Their luck amazes them, makes them happy and eventually, if their luck is persistent, then they get proud of it. But that pride is false. When you have earned what you have by hard work, then the world and the people around you associate you with the word "deserving". That feeling right there, is pride. True pride. Justified pride.

The first rain after the summer
The first flower after the snow,
They all speak of toil
And that is all I know.
I know not how to speak of my work
I know not how to sell,
I just give it the best I have
And my work speaks for itself.

For some freaking reason (Ya Hari, I will always say that) I cannot seem to emote beyond eight lines. Maybe my next post should be titled, "Eighth line". Well, maybe.

COLOR: Peach
SONG: Poo vaasam purappadum (Anbe Sivam)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Of similes and metaphors.

Sometime back when I had a really crappy simile for my status ("My mind is like a dissected frog, it can't hide anything even if it wants to" ; BELCH), Satyam adjusted his to a good one - "Grad students are like similes, they can't all be good."
I remember writing about puns and double entendres before, but similes and metaphors are classic turfs. More recently, I read about triple entendres, and realized that my imagination is a mere fraction of the person who wrote all that. All this is in my mind because I am thinking about a few lines I wrote last morning (last morning?? Is that formation correct??)
Love and politics are the same: Promises are made that will be forgotten, it cannot be won without foul play and some point of time, everyone gets sick of it.

Of all the things to write about in this world, I think love is the easiest. Most people understand it and have an opinion about it. All my thoughts are coming out in a disjunct fashion because I am not thinking continuously. In fact, I am thinking very rarely.

Glory has been deceived
Blood has been shed
Valor still screams out
And the enemy has fled.
Sharpened minds and knives
Connive to kill honesty
Fanged tongues and poisoned hearts
Claim it to be amnesty.

COLOR: Olive Green
SONG: Ethanai kodi inbam vaithai iraiva (Bombay Jayshree)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

If you think this is the worst, just you wait!

Everytime life throws something at me that I cannot handle alone, all help is withdrawn and suddenly its a test. To see how well I can manage. Sometimes I emerge from the quicksand successfully, but mostly there is just me flailing in the quagmire while onlookers can just wish they could do something.
The thing is I cannot be helped. I need to heal myself. I need to fight my own battles. I wish Ma could just be there to watch me, her very presence would energize me. Just to know that if I fell, someone would cry and rush to lift me up.

At my doorstep there stands a boy
Alone and asking to be adopted
And since with him he brings only despair
I hence name him disappointment.

He smiles at all my efforts
And laughs at all my failures
He wails when I pay him no heed
And finds his way back no matter where I leave him.

COLOR: A turquoise that isn't blue enough
SONG: Tu kaun hai (Lucky Ali)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Axes.

One of the favorite things that my dad told me is that "The world revolves around two axes - Gravity and Love." Oh how I wish he were wrong, but I know he is not.

When it gets to you
And eats you from within
When it scavenges all the logic
And it makes you sin.
Its where gravity seems to come from
And the axis of your world
The sunlight that makes you squint
And the darkness so absurd.
Its all that you want
Its your past and now
Its all you wish you didn't have,
Its also called LOVE.

COLOR: A violent orange.
SONG: Tera jadoo chal gaya (How appropriate)

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Lovechild dies.

Grammar. What would the language be without it? How would we make sentences? How would we make sense?
I know I am just reiterating facts here. But thats the safest way to go when you are in extreme emotion. I keep turning my blog into my diary. I try not to write when I am at my limit, but it is an inevitable form of expression. But I am going to refrain from writing a poem and butchering this space any further. I hope the next time I come back here, it is with a calm, composed mind that has write-worthy thoughts in them.

COLOR: Black
SONG: Why should I care (Avril Lavigne)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Purple feathers.

Every scientist has one other thing on his mind. By other, I mean other than science. Ben has ice hockey. Nick has cricket. Linda has smoking. Watson is crazy. Stillman has politics. Bruce has wives. Everyone has something else. For me, its my blog. I keep procrastinating writing down the lines in my head. They're like SDS gels - if not blotted onto blogs soon enough, they'll diffuse away into the buffer and be lost as an unknown ion forever. I don't know whether me writing so electrophorically has anything to do with the fact that I have had time to think of little else than work. I don't think many people in the scientific community blog, so my thoughts rest to be interpreted.

Give it a name

I've trodden that path before
The one in front of you now
Soon you'll turn your back to it
But don't ask me how.

The person I thought was you
Turned out to be a mirror
Although you are just a reflection
Your presence is much more clear.

If you were me
And I were you
Would it all then be false
All that's now true?

So what is it called?
And who do I blame?
It's a little more than love
Just give it a name.

COLOR: That of those ridiculous feathers sitting on my desk that belong to Jen
SONG: Baby drive my car.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


That spike of anger.
That spears up your system and wants to jump out of your throat. That right there, is what takes your tolerance away from you. That which gives you a big big writer's block.
Only a calm person can write good literature. An angry man can just "vent" his feelings. He cannot write. He cannot create. He cannot imagine. He can just vent.

Let me look into your mind
Let me walk through that maze
Let me see whats inside
and why you are in such a daze.
Let me feel your anger
Let me prick your pain
Let me love that love
that makes me go insane.
And when I am in there
Let me make new wounds
Let me wreck your peace
that you have so carefully pruned.
And on my way out
I'll tumble down some dreams
I'll break open some seals
I'll rip apart some seams
Just to let you know how it feels.

I want to vomit all over you right now.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

beats me.

Churning out thoughts helps me forget hunger. And somehow improves the quality of my writing. Though what I need right now are carbs, I will suffice with words. I imagine myself to be a hungry albeit splendid author, whose writings no one wills to read until his death. Almost all of that is true, and I leave it to guessing as to which part isn't.
At one point of time, idealism plagued my mind. And then reality hit me. Now I am just indifferent. If you just live your life the way you want to, without bothering anyone else, no one will ask you questions - atleast not in the States. I am happy that America is America and that India will always be India. I like the indifference here, but I love my sense of familiarity there.


We may not speak the same tongue
We may not be from one land
But still we sing the same song
For the same thing we both long
We fish in different waters
But fish for the same fish
We have different sorrows
But for the same laughter we both wish
Different are our colors
Different are our ways
Different as they maybe,
To the same God we will pray.

Color: Burgundy
Song: En mel vizhunda mazhai thuliyei.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Oh don't ask why, oh don't ask why!

I am on the verge of starting to write crappy blogs. That are mostly "feelings" that resemble cheesy TV sentiments. I want to write better than I did last time. But it is very hard where there are a billion "cheesy TV sentiments" that are eating your head.

I raise my thoughts, pure as milk
And the world curdles it all,
I wish all people of were one ilk
And all by one name I can call.
I strive to be someone someday
And I act the way they do,
But I can't then listen to what I say
For to myself, I'm not true.
Though of very different plume
All birds do fly,
Then why for must I assume
I am someone else and try?
My logic right it may seem
But from logic, this does wean,
Someone lives the dreams that I dream
Someone makes me be unseen.

Color: Maroon
Song: Flowers on the window, TRAVIS.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Colorless dreams fighting furiously.

I don't know if I already have a post with that title, but I like it for some reason. Not blogging for a week is like fizzing up a 2 liter bottle of ginger ale and leaving the cap slightly unscrewed. So that there is a little leak, but not enough to combat the pressure.
That sentence has so many layers in it. If I explained everything, then I would sound like someone who overanalyzes and tries to make too much of things. But it is true that I was slightly unscrewed and didn't have enough to combat the pressure :).

Tere sangh jeevan ki dor bandhi hai.
This is something that should have been written in verse, but I like it in prose better.

Blind to the obvious, can't hear the wind in my ears. My mind is shut and sealed; all the liquid thoughts bobbing in it, caulked from the caustic world. All the volatile thoughts push against the walls giving me a pain I can't quite verbalize. It makes me laugh out loud while crying louder still on the inside. It makes me want to thank God that I am not mad yet, but yet begrudge him for not making me deaf. It makes me want to throw stones fiercely in serene waters, and wish I were a stone myself. It makes me want to slap myself for being who I am, but also hug myself and say it's all okay.

Color: The color of LB
Song: Ninaithu ninaithu (KK)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Half my sky.


It is a strange way to start a post, saying hello. But I am very intrigued by a vagary of things right now, and my blog is playing the role of my daily memoir.
It is easier to misunderstand people rather than understand them, and life has taught me this lesson from the wrong side of the desk. I used to yell and scream and ask to be understood, but now I just laugh quietly. And I have come to realize that it doesn't matter. Some close associates have demonstrated this in their own unique ways, but all within a week. Close associates. Why don't I call them friends??? I wish I had the explanation. I could use the cliched wavelength funda, but then thats what it is - cliched.
I meet people who don't care enough about who, but more about what and how. And I have met those who care about who, what and how. And then those who are all about the who. The last category is sometimes mistaken to be obsessed, in love, romantic or caring. I think its unadulterated bullshit. I think if its about the who, then you should let who have his (could be her too, but for lack of a common pronoun in English) life. What sense it makes to curb someone from doing things you don't like? Doesn't it defy the very 'unwritten law of love' (which by the way is to love someone for "who they are", which then again is debatable)?

Friendship is to share your sky.
Trust is to show your night sky.
Honesty is to claim over only your sky.
Peace is when everyone has the same sky.
And love is to give someone shelter in your heart, not taking their sky away.

I'll be the villain
If it makes you all heroes,
After all to make a million,
You do need half a dozen zeros.

Still Intrigued,

Saturday, March 10, 2007

As you reap, so you sow.

It all comes out so effortlessly. So smoothly like it knows where to go. And it slides in there and stays. From there it spews noxious thoughts. Thoughts that diffuse to more places than my mind and make new nodes and spread like malign cancer. I am an extremely upset biologist now.
The seven deadly sins need some rewriting in the new world.
#1: Lust - Love/Desire of a sexual nature.
#2: Gluttony - Love and hence overindulgence of food.
#3: Greed - Desire/Love of too much.
#4: Sloth- Love of doing nothing.
#5: Wrath - Love of anger.
#6: Envy - Love of another's possessions.
#7: Pride - Love of self.

It doesn't require a super alignment program to figure out that each sin arises from the love of something or the other. So indeed there is just one deadly generic sin - LOVE.

Is it me? Is it you?
Why have things morphed?
why do I see black
where white was before.
No matter how hard I look
I can't see the colors.
I squint, I stare
I play truth or dare
but it refuses to show
I tease, I beg
I stoop down so low
I woo, I plead
But the colors don't pay heed.
They say the sun has risen
and its day time now
But i still see darkness
for as you reap, so you sow.

Color: a sad purple. Mauve, if you must.
Song: Tanha Tanha, Rangeela.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The ulterior design.

There is monotony in the graph until certain limits, then some thing comes to life. And it changes everything. Life revolves around it. Life is synonymous with it. Everything is arranged so that it syncs with it. Its amazing the coordination that we orchestrate when we want to. Like a whirlpool with a center of its own, hurling away things that don't fit in, drawing in things that can revolve around its center. I suck at making similes.

This one time, since my imagination has run out of ink, I will plagiarize, but give credit of course.

Full many a gem, of purest ray serene
the dark unfathomed caves of ocear bear.
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
to waste its sweetness over the desert air.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Rit and Hun.

A lot of thoughts, some planted, some unwarranted, some trash from my neighbor and a couple of my own. They all play hide and seek in my untended mind. Each trying to find someone else to latch on to. Someone to tag to so that they sound louder. I need an organizer inside my skull now. That alphabetizes, prioritizes and categorizes those rascals and gives me some peace.

Such perfectly timed stones are pelted
Into the puddle of my naive mind
Some naive and some perversion
some honesty and some diversion.
And the evening sun
Leaves behind a murkiness
It dawns upon the stone-thrower
that no one watches anymore
And he dumps them all in one swift motion
A muffled scream shoots out and he frowns
And the blackness plays ally to him
Thats how the puddle of thoughts drowned.

Monday, March 5, 2007


When you force something into your life for a while, pretty soon it becomes a habit. Its amazing how that works. And sometimes even when you were initially averse to it. The mind is an amazing feat.
Plagiarism. Plucking lines from someone who thinks just like you, but emotes much better. It is justified if the thoughts are the same. My water, your tap.
Double entendres. They're a class of hilarious albeit slightly vulgar English usages. Though some obvious ones show up in regular conversations, it takes a clever person to make a REAL one. They're more difficult than puns to frame, more subtle when it comes to their interpretation and definitely require a better command of the language. I lack all three.

Shards of glass screaming by
spear their way through.
A bubble swells, rises
Bursts, spatters blood on the walls.
Quenches the parched land
And stains the thoughts.
Blind rabbits playing under jaundiced skies,
Happiness saved as drafts for later
love sent into exile.
No artist wills to paint this frame
no God wills to give this a name
Only my starved imagination feasts
To feed you reading beasts.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


Kanda naal muthalai kaadal perugudadi.

I don't know how much love a human heart can hold, give and receive in all. I am not sure if it is even quantifiable. I am sure there are a lot of people who are loved like crazy and appreciate it. And then there are those who are unaware of it. And then those who wait in the hope that such crazy love will be bestowed upon them someday. Finally those, who fool themselves that they are indeed bestowed with it, if not for anything else, just to keep face. I don't think they are ridiculous, for who doesn't want to be important to someone??

Tickled with a thought, I brace myself for a sneeze.
Pricked with hate, I shrivel into my shell.
Much easier it is, to pretend than to ask,
For love I mean.
You can't blame Punxsutawney for seeing his shadow
Who doesn't want spring after a long winter?
Who doesn't want to smell the fresh breeze?
Who wont for love, their pride sell?
Who can, true love, truly mask?
For the air so clean
For the seeds of time that you sow
All the hate will simmer and sinter
And then one day you will know,
That I loved you with my heart and soul
With all the love in the world and more.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


You know how sometimes, there is so much happening around you. And you can't control it. So you just let it all be, and stand back and watch? This is one of those.

A piece of the moon lies on the floor,
Unnoticed, wanted no more.
Outlined in speckles of stray light,
But with the sun, it can't fight.

I don't think I have it in me to complete those lines. Its all inside my head. I wish it would just go. I wish it would.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


When I don't know what is wrong, I just pretend that everything is fine. That doesn't fix it. But it makes me less unhappy. I don't know why I am in such a pensive mood. Why I am not thinking before I put down words, like I usually do.

Can I call your name,
when I know you wont hear?
Can I be insane,
without any fear?
I wish you would stay longer,
And I could ask you to love me more.
But how can I ask these things?
They've been claimed before.
Maybe its your eyes,
Or maybe its mine.
But where I want to see truth,
I see treachery and swine.
You sent me solitude,
When I needed peace.
You pushed me over the line,
When I was just at the crease.

From the frying pan

Here is one, written on the 7th of Feb. I cant think of an apt title. And I am too satiated to make that effort now.

I try to understand. I try to reason.
I try to laugh my way through. I try to contain.
I give my love. I give my soul.
And if you ask, I will give you more.
But still you hurt me with words and deeds,
Heedless of my heart that pleads.
But this song was never meant to be sung,
But from where has this hope sprung?
Hope is for those who see the light,
Hope is for those who want to fight.
I am blind as you can see,
And to fight there's no strength in me.
Yet there burns a little fire,
Fuelled by my desire,
I am alive for it burns,
But alas, it burns me alive.

Ayn Rand.

I wish I could write like her. Then maybe science wouldn't be so significant in my life.
I decided that this is where all my poems go. One by one. As I write them. Some may take their time to gestate and arrive, but they will get here when they are meant to. I like the first two. Lets see if more decide to come.