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Letter August 5, 2009

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Dear Dad,

Let me start off by saying that there couldn’t have been a father more concerned or wrapped up in his children’s future and success than you. The thought of seeing his kiddos lead a comfortable and cushy lives almost consumes every second of your existance. I also undertstand that you can not help it.

Let me also add that I appreciate how you have the ability to calm me down when I am hyperventilating over menial things. How you stand with a brave face when I assault you with my honesty about my feelings, every movement, each nuance, something that not many parents have to face I think (well an example of that is my brother, from whom it’s difficult to get out even a whoop of joy for something as simple as winning a game on Wii, as well as something as grand as winning the lottery!)  I realize that I definitely lie on the other end of the spectrum of being stoic when it comes to expressing how I feel, especially to you. Many times I don’t realize that instead of telling you about the actual problem I just tell you about the anguish it’s causing me. But I do realize how utterly confused and helpless it must leave you feeling, especially considering the distance between us and how used to you are to taking care of things that trouble us (your family) and well, how used to we are to you taking care of things for us!

I don’t think I want to apologise for that. Because I feel it’s my prerogative to tell you all that stuff. You are, for want of a better term, my punching bag, someone to whom I express all my frustrations and disappointments, my anger, my fears and also my joy.(And to be perfectly honest you asked for it :P)

Now I realize that it’s been a long time since I have given you any reason to smile. It is but perfectly normal for you to assume that I am spending my days here digging my grave and readying my self to lie in it. Let me assure you that is not so! I am for better or for worse a person sturdier enough to withstand the storms. I won’t do it happily, I will allow myself to get resentful toward the “whatever” who is making me go all through that, I will rant and rave, but I will try. And that’s all I am capable of doing at this moment.

But I am learning. I don’t think smiling through ones troubles is an ability we are born with. We learn from our mistakes and our experiences and need the support of our loved ones through that learning process.

But, may be , what I have failed to see all through my learning process is how rapidly that is draining the energy from you. So here is my appeal to you can you continue to be there for me, telling me how awesome I am, how an absolute genius and still not get perturbed my how I burn myself over every little problem? I am 25 remember? I am allowed to be stupid and naive simply because i don’t know any better. And I know that you think that I don’t need to go through that phase of learning since you have already done it for me, but believe me I do. However much you tell me about your own experiences in the hope that I will absorb all that and emerge radiating the knowledge but the truth is that your stories make me hungry to have my own! Something that I can share and laugh over and learn from!

And now coming to my current state of melancholy, you know I don’t believe in religion, in fact I have a perversion toward it, because so far I have only seen the negative side effects of it more than the good it does. But I do believe in God, or the Power or whatever it is (and yes I do think it is highly unfair that we are not all born knowing what the heck we are doing on this earth, that would just make things so much more simple!) and owing to all that our recent (and not so recent) conversations have been about, the books that I am reading (which almost fall in to my hands) and the stuff that i have been thinking about, I think it is necessary for me to may be brood. Like you say, only when things get so uncomfortable that we can no longer bear them do we actually get up and do something drastic to change them. Now that should not lead you to think that I might not do what seems right in the physical world because I am so drawn in to the meta-physical. It may take me longer than normal but I will do the “other” stuff as well. But in the process I don’t want to let go of the urgency and the misery that I am going through, because even though frightening and painful, I do believe that it is leading me somewhere wonderful. I read and hear about people who have achieved absolute salvation and are in a “happy” state ALL the frikkin time. I want that for myself Dad, I want that desperately.

Now all this just might be my imagination steering me in to thinking that enlightenment is what I should be working for when in fact I should just be worrying about the submission date of my next assignment. Let me reassure you that I will worry about the submission date as well but I also want to make something of the feelings that come of all that worrying. Mainly I want to convert all those feelings of worry and panic in to something wonderful i.e. a state of constant bliss. And I am doing that. No let me correct myself, I am TRYING to do that.

I read in a book that there are three ways of telling that we are truly blesses:

  1. That we were born as human beings capable of conscious thought;
  2. That we are born with or develop a desire to sought out the eternal truth, the path to enlightenment;
  3. That we find a Guru who can help us on our journey.

These might not be the exact words but definitely contain the essence of those words. And for better or for worse, and atleast for the the time being, you are my Guru Dad.

Now why do I want you to trudge through all these 1000 odd words of nonsense that I am spouting? This is just another attempt from me to tell you how I feel and also how I want you to feel about me. It is difficult to control what others are going through, but as a part of this universe I have a duty, nay, a right to attempt to change the things my way! So I am telling you to stop worrying about me Dad even though I won’t, but I have to worry about me don’t you see? How else will I change that if I don’t even experience it? And I have to change it. I know it, You know it and whoever it is that’s making me worry knows it.

You have to work with me Dad, understand that what I am trying to achieve or want to try to achieve is not easy. It’s surprising that we as human beings are ready to endure all the pain and problems that a simple surgery (like getting your appendix out) might cause, we anticipate and expect it, ready ourselves for it and when it happens we just sigh and say but that had to happen. But a surgery as major as changing how our brain works, we want it to be completely pain free! Now that’s just not realistic now, is it? So it is all good, it’s all going to be good, I am working on it, on being happy ALL the time. Now what’s more comforting and cheerful than that 🙂

Love always,

Bachda

P.S. I am sure you read that post titled Sharabi, now I understand that that concerns you, no parent would ever want (or want to know about) their child being in that situation, add to that the onus of being Indian, I can undertand what a shcok it was to you. But Daddyji I am 25, human and in the U.S., such things are waiting to happen! Don’t get too worked up about that. Rest assured I am being safe (like ensuring that we aren’t driving around and at home with a person I trust aka Bhai) and definitely NOT doing it regularly, in fact it was the first time in the 3 years over here. We are good kids 😛 and that’s all that I want to say. I will leave a comment in this post so that reaches your mailbox and you get around to reading it ASAP.

Another thing I wanted to add was that all that I throw up in my post in this blog, that’s almost like purging for me so you end up seeing the worst of what I am feeling (and will hopefully also see the best of it). I write when I am desperate, I force myself to write then because it makes me feel better but that doessn’t mean that that’s all happening around and in me. Like did I tell you that I had my ipod on at full volume and was dancing away like a mad woman in my room just the other day? Well I was!

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Uh-oh! July 28, 2009

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I just realized that I have spent more years doing something in which I have no desire to succeed than doing something I love because I am afraid of failing.

Sharabi July 27, 2009

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Humiliation = Lying in a pool of your own vomit, in a tub, with your pants around your ankles while somebody tries to clean you up and the brother is scrubbing away the bathroom floor.

Mortification = Realizing the next morning that your legs weren’t even shaved.

Promise = Never Again!

. July 27, 2009

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Original, myth.

Questions and Fear July 13, 2009

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It surged in me like hot foaming milk which boils over the pan and sears on the burner. Gasping for breath I just tried to focus.

Avoiding reality is my speciality! But unfortunately for me avoidance always has a timeline, when you are answerable to others there’s only so long that you can look the other way and pretend the problem doesn’t exist. The parallel universe that I spend most of my time in, though is very relaxing and peaceful, isn’t helpful. It only creates a flimsy wall between me and everything that’s going wrong in my life. But I snap out of it from time to time to break out in cold-sweat and reconvince myself to go back to my world of butterflies and chocolat trees. I realize that may be many people create a haven for themselves which is either palpable or completely imaginary. A safe place where nothing and no one can touch them. May be it’s even healthy to regress to some degree within these nooks of ours. Key phrase being “to a degree” and may be that’s what I lose sight of.

The fear that gripped my throat felt so solid. It sounded melodramatic to even me but also so very accurate!

What do I do to not lose my way to reality again? How do I cease the existance of my second life? The one that’s only in my head? The one that’s as far away from reality as the human race is to finding out the size of the universe? How do I justify my stupidities and why should I care when I know that I am not the first or the last? How do I stop mixing the true with The Truth? How do I know what’s my reality?

What is my reality?

Should I care with a passion about what “others” think? I know it doesn’t matter, most learned AND pseudo-intellectuals will tell you that that’s not what life is about. But will they also snigger if I were to spend the rest of my life in a hole, uncomfortable may be, but happy…may be? What do I do tomorrow? Listen to whom and not run away somewhere why?

Can I? Just disappear? Somewhere?

Time to snap out of it and deal with my other world. Yes that’s what I’ll call it. Not my real or unreal lives but my two worlds. That way atleast one of my world’s is always worry free! And I can work towards making the other one peaceful as well.

I saw for what it really was. Just me. Every other thing remained unchanged. But me. And I can control me. I can control only me!

P.S. It might seem a little bizzare, and since I am not going to read it a second or a third time like usual, then may be also a little random. But there’s something going on/wrong in my life that I could definitely do without, but then again no one said life is going to be smooth (and I, apparently, didn’t learn very well how to deal with the bumps). All I can hope for is that I have strength enough to deal with all the crap which could for sure veer me off course from whatever I thought my plan was. I just want to remain calm and believe that whatever the outcome, my epitaph should never say “She was here, meh!”

ID! July 4, 2009

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Happy fourth of July!

P.S. Yes, this is a sub. The real deal will be up ASAP 🙂

Another Vitamin and something about films! July 3, 2009

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I swear I am not being paid to promote them (not that I am averse to the idea but if I were then it would be a really REALLY bad PR decision on their part since this blog is read by all of 7 people :P!). But do listen to this,

Now is it good or is it good?

Such a happy tune, just brings an instant smile on my face and fills my head with images of sun-shine, green grass and pretty flowers, and makes me want to hop, skip and jump everywhere. And if it hadn’t been raining for the past 1,748 hours straight, I would have done exactly that (No seriously, though I am not a big summer fan, thanks to the trauma caused by the heat-waves of Delhi but still wouldn’t mind if the mercury were to rise above the 70 degree mark and the sky cleared up once in a while).

So while I wait for the sun to bestow us poor east-coasters (coasters? eh makes us sound like… what else? coasters! The type that you use under coffee cups to keep surfaces ring-free “thank you for the solid description deewane” You are welcome dear reader :P), so anyway back to the point, while I wait for the sun, I will wallow in the general joi de vivre effected by the Music.

Have any of you seen What’s eating Gilbert Grape? Watched it last night (yes, after I had promised that will go to bed for my 8-hours and return all fresh-minded to write about something important, what can I say? I am fickle! *hangs head in shame*, so if you have seen the film did you happen to find Depp’s character achingly and frighteningly honest? Not in the movie I mean, but whoever created that character, to say that he did a great job, would almost be an insult. I think it’s just so difficult to chalk up anyone, any person at all, to strip away the fantasy and to put on paper and especially portray in 2 short hours the, for want of a better word, human-ness of being.

Not many people around me share my love of obscure movies. For most those are not high impact and lack a definite (and hence satisfying) ending. They are never particularly happy and filled with few but witty words and alarmingly “average” characters, who seem to possess no great talent or intelligence but just a yearning for something and may infact be just a little crazy. My brother usually comes away grumbling if I do make him watch any such movie (but boy if you were to read anything he writes (http://eastmancolour.blogspot.com/) you’d think all those would be right up his alley). But, for me, I think it’s not about the story, it’s the people in it, the whole aura of that time and that situation, of being a little mad, of being aware of your madness, of being surprised by yourself, and life. I know I made a transgression from talking about film to talking about self. But may be that’s why I like these films after all. It’s just comforting to know that not everyone has it figured out, not everything “ends” (doesn’t matter whether it ends well or badly), not everything has a message or a meaning or supposed to make you do a 180 degree turn. Sometimes stuff just happens and it fascinates you and frightens you, disgusts you and that’s all and that’s life. Even if, ironically enough, you get to see that only on screen.

I think you can live life through these films, it may sound silly but the sense of freedom that envelopes you as you become one of the character watching the others in real time instead of on screen is indescribable. And “boring” films like these offer the most realistic and achievable existence, with the added advantage of being fictionalized and as a result a more idealized version of life. Ofcourse, it depends on what your definition of ideal is! And since most of us do spend our lives within the confines of society and follow certain pre-set rules, the depiction in these films, surprisingly, seems most unrealistic of all. We have managed to make something as natural as life itself a tedious journey where chunks of it are already chalked out for us and more or less everybody follows the same pattern. This absolutely baffles me since humans have done all in their power to dissociate themselves from all other creatures of the earth but have ended up living as instinctually as them! The truth is that if we were to interpret our lives on a graph with respect to the Universe then it wouldn’t even amount to a minuscule dot! But in that nothingness we have to try and find something. Why? I don’t know. And either we, as a race, have never completely understood or have somewhere lost what we are supposed to be looking for.

O.k. I think since I have been able to put my point across as well as a half eaten earth worm and have most inconveniently veered off from the topic at hand to talk all zen, I’d rather let the films speak for themselves. If you haven’t already been put completely off my kind of cinema then do check out Harold and Maude, Benny and joon, What’s eating Gilbert Grape, Muriel’s wedding, Freaks, Hazaaron khwaishein aisi, The Darjeeling limited, Salaam Bombay, The Little Terrorist, Grey gardens (the documentary), The Reader and In which Annie gives it those ones. These should manage to keep you marveled and frustrated about being a human long enough. Any other recommendation/s are gratefully welcome.

P.S. In the spirit of all things bizarre I will quote something from Henry David Thoreau (from Walden), it’s quite a famous quote, or atleast the commercialized version of it is, what it being in the ‘Dead Poet’s society’ and all, but in it’s entirety the words have an urgency and rawness that Thoreau could not have been clearer about. And I call it bizarre because at first glance and casual reading the whole thing seems intimidating but it simply is not!

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

BREAKING NEWS (or how the eff do I change the font color to a bright red?)? July 2, 2009

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Tweet from CNN (and may be the first time twitter seems not completely useless!)

An Indian court on thursday (i.e. today) has ruled that “consensual sex between adults of the same gender is legal in the country”

http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com/2009/07/02/indian-court-gay-sex-is-legal/

Needless to say this is a great victory for the LGBT community in India. There’s a shitload more that I want to write. But since it’s 4:00 in the morning and I have already churned out one post, half-drafted another and totally OD’d on the Vitamin string quartet, may be it’s better that I get some sleep first so I can have atleast one coherent thought! (By all the claims that I am making you’d assume that I should post more often, but trust me, the matter that doesn’t make it’s way here is even more garbage and my continuing tribute to crap-writing)

Do look out for a ton more addendums.

Vitamin! July 2, 2009

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I have been living under a rock!

How else do I explain my never even knowing about this, considering that Nirvana had the privilege of being the first band of which I bought an album with my hard-earned (o.k. hard-saved pocket) money and that the music of violinists with unpronounceable names (mostly of baroque era) are something of a guilty pleasure, of which not many people know?

I think it’s absolutely divine and was hooked as soon as I opened Christian Lacroix webpage. Oh, that’s how I stumbled on to this beauty, while lusting after a chiffon dress (it was this simple, gauzy creation with pencil-thin horizontal stripes in the softest red color you could imagine), exorbitantly priced, which I will never ever buy, but will still drool after like Pavlov’s dog, that’s what I wanted to check out and this started playing. I had to find out who this was by and search for a free downloadable mp3 somewhere (hey I may drop designer names like an heiress but I still am very cheap :P). This is Vitamin string quartet, comprised of, and quoting wikipedia here ” a rotating collective of Los Angeles musicians widely known for its tributes to cutting-edge rock acts”.

And as I blast this, full volume, at 1:17 AM (don’t panic, I have headphones on, something I have been doing since I was 14 (i.e. listening to music before going to bed), a habit which will definitely render me deaf in another 5 years) I am totally inspired to take up the violin!

Happy listening!

Edit: Also check out their tribute to Guns ‘n’ Roses’s November rain. One word- N-I-C-E!

Just call my name… June 28, 2009

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Michael_jackson_bad_cd_cover_1987_cdda

I fought it with all my might, but it’s 4:47 AM, and I am drunk (btw I make kick-ass mojitos)!

Michael Jackson is dead and after my first reaction of utter and complete disbelief (Why?) the news made me sad. He wasn’t my idol, I hadn’t listened to his music in some 10 odd years and I did find him weird like the rest of the world. But he was a part of my childhood (from a distance thankfully, I think…oooh dead-guy-burn!)

Even though I don’t recall the exact year that he was first supposed to be in India on a tour but I do remember the frenzy. The era of only 2 channels on the T.V.! Javed Jaffery hosted a show every week on D.D. Metro either a month or 6 months prior to the impending arrival of the King of Pop. I was 8 or 9, definitely younger than 10, and I and Bhai would spend our days listening to the sole MJ cd we had (Thriller) and practising our moon-walk. Since I couldn’t understand the lyrics I obviously wasn’t that “involved” but Bhai practised MJ’s signature over and over again and then finally carved it on his arm with a compass needle. I remember thinking that was so cool, and if I didn’t have the pain threshold of an amoeba I definitely would have done the same.

I did do what I could though. Like when Mum got us each a helium balloon from the weekly bazaar (a special treat since it did cost Rs2/-, twice that of a regular balloon) Bhai and I, each tied a paper to the balloon string reading “MICHAEL JACKSON IS THE KING OF POP” and released them in the hope of it landing in the hands of another ardent fan. I am sure that happened (I still am bitter about the loss of that balloon)!

I also remember my cousin buying my brother 2 MJ posters as a gift on his birthday, and strangely enough while I vividly recall the image on one (it was the cover of his ‘Bad’ album) I have no idea of the other. We stuck it on the only available wall in the room, over our grandma’s bed, on either side of a Madonna poster that we got for “free” after collecting some n number of pepsi bottle caps.

Even Dad liked MJ’s music and let us watch Javed’s show on T.V., coz he’d watch it with us, we even taped some of the episodes because we had gotten a VCR recently and no one had even heard of reruns! And I remember being crushed when he cancelled his tour the first time around even though there was no chance in hell that I could have made it to the concert (I don’t think any 8-year old could have!) I remember not being this crazy about any other artist just for his or her art, so I guess that does make him my idol, even if mainly because of older sibling pressure and influence. I think one of the things I truly am proud of from my teen years is the fact that I never was crazy about any of the 90’s boy-bands, still can’t name any of their singers or songs. So Damn Proud! I did fall in love with Shahrukh Khan though, only because a friend was head over heels and wouldn’t stop talking about him. Did all the normal things like kiss his poster goodnight and write my name with his last name on all my notebooks, but just for the heck of it. He wasn’t MJ! MJ sang, danced, wrote his songs, and composed, had a female guitarist, bought out toy-stores for orphans and could moon-walk. He was the coolest person EVER. I am sure it had something to do with Dad reiterating at every available opportunity that singers are the true artists and actors just..umm…actors, nothing more. In all the years that followed no one could reclaim the hold MJ had on my heart, I didn’t love him, I respected him, with all that an 8-year old’s heart could muster.

And now the legacy of his music is demanding the attention of the world once again. Twitter crashed, 65,000 texts per second on the at&t network- pure madness. It might be short-lived but I am sure it’s not fickle.

I hadn’t listened to his music in 10 years. I haven’t stopped since yesterday. Your death made me sad Michael. I never knew the person but I loved the star! (Even of it took me 2 days and a lot of alcohol to write about him). I will miss you.