Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Universe is a Funny Plasticine Onion





Universe


We are so full of ourselves
That in our quest to find life elsewhere
We never stopped and pondered
That perhaps for the universe
We might be an aberration to get rid of.




Funny


Funny is often scary;
Clowns are one,
And so are idiots.




Plasticine


How happy was I
Being myself, just a blob.
Now I have been squeezed.
Moulded. Shaped. Reshaped.
Into an ugly dog
That neither wags tails
Nor barks nor fetches.




Onion


Onions have to be
The most blessed critters here.
'Coz even in a brutal death
Its killer sheds tears.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Speaker Sauce - 1

Listening to songs all the time makes you wanna listen to newer songs. So my collection keeps expanding every now and then. And every time it makes a considerable growth I thought maybe I shall post a few tunes out here.


This is the first in the series. It is a very personal list of music. You can always suggest, but let's not criticise.


Sauce #1
Kode9 and the Spaceapes - 9 Samurai








A minimal dubstep-ish track. It doesn't have all the commercial wobble and filth that dubsteps has come to be associated with. What it does have is a very haunting vocal and a trumpet (horn? correct if I am wrong) bit that's sweet ear candy. Oops I am salivating.




Sauce #2
Justice - Helix








In the whole list, this would probably be the most personal selection. I've loved Justice. And the new album's just come out. It's the same 80s-synth-with-a-solid-bassline sound. But this particular track is very headbop-worthy. Don't you think so? Was that a nod?




Sauce #3
The Glitch Mob - We Can Make the World Stop








The Glitch Mob has to be like the find of the month for me. Their glitchy, boppy sound is gives a brilliant rush of adrenaline. And their tracks have enough variations in it to make it a very engaging listen.


(Thanks to GoPro HD Hero 2's video for introducing me to The Glitch Mob)




Sauce #4
The Dewarists (feat. Shri, Monica Dogra, Rajasthan Roots) - Changing Worlds








The Dewarists has been a breath of fresh air in Indian television. I don't think any original Indian TV show after Surabhi has been so entertaining and enlightening at the same time. This is the kinda show the current crop of kids can feel nostalgic about when they grow up.


About the song I have chosen from The Dewarists, I think this best represents a collaboration. Shri hasn't done anything with such vivacious vocals that Monica Dogra offers. Rajasthan Roots haven't done a DnB track. And Monica, well she's very func-ish. My personal favourite song though is Vishal + Imogen Heap's Minds Without Fear. And my favourite episode is the one with Zeb + Haniya + Shantanu + Swanand.




Sauce #5
Sigur Ros - L├║ppulagi├░












After all the electronic tracks, this one's a bit sleepy. And it never fails to move me. If I am not wrong, this is the only unreleased track from their new live performance film Inni. The Sigur Ros page on facebook has the opening 10 mins of Inni.




Just as Saucy:
Raghu Dixit - The Dewarists Theme








Amidst such stellar names collaborating and producing marvellous tune, this piece of gem from Raghu Dixit holds the whole show together. And majestically at that.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Idle

Is there a place
So far away
Where neither a gaze
Nor thoughts come to play.


Where the wind blows
To its own fancy
And the world moves
Like it is no one's to see.


Is there a place
Where I can go to
To find solace
With nay a thing to do.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our schools are a whopping success!

And that's not just our schools. But all schools. It inculcates in us the constant craving for reaching heights that they have set. Of going against odds to succeed in tests that they deliver. But above everything, it has succeeded in breeding this fear of failure. The embarrassment of not achieving. To strive to reach a level from where you can look down at heads hung in shame at their inabilities.


Failure has become a nightmare. And it all dawned with a simple craving to learn how to skateboard. The skateboard's here. There's a decently cemented path outside the house. Shoes, check. Unfortunately no safety gear. But a bruise or two is ok. What is not ok is that I cannot afford to fall. Oh the humiliation of falling on your ass when you try learning something that doesn't come easy to anyone at all. Whoever taught you to ride a cycle that's got just two wheels.


That was your Dad. Thankfully he is a good teacher. He doesn't grade you with a D- that gets worse every time you fall. Imagine an F from your Dad for not cycling properly. 


Schools on the other hand are not so benevolent. You make a mistake and you are gonna carry that burden through your life. Meticulously recorded into scriptures that you will have to show the world and get their witness certificate from. 


Here, Dad. I failed. Hope it makes you feel nice. It sure doesn't make me feel nice having failed. I feel worse that I have to show you the record of my failure. And to get your name on it, in a way taking responsibility for it (your son after all?) -- hand me a nice long knife instead.


By the end of it, you have sleepless nights. You are unnaturally tense going through badly printed (and awfully written) textbooks that are supposed to make you a winner. A winner of what?


If there is one thing famous people have taught you, it is that they were pretty awful at winning in all the regular stuff. When you think about it, it makes an awful lot of sense. Schools and other educational forms are so designed so you do well in existing fields. But those who become famous, rarely does so in fields that are already established. Changing the world starts with discontent towards the existing.


So what needs to go? 


Grading must go. It hasn't served anyone. In the end we are all herded into a collective. The 10th standard topper is as lost as the 12th standard gold medal holder or the 7th ranked nobody.


And what should come in?


Passionate teachers and an open-minded view of what can be called talent. These two cannot exist without each other. Passionate teachers are the ones who will know that in front of you are kids who are growing up. That they all have eyes dreaming of a future where they are happy doing whatever. It is up to them to make sure that they grow to realise whatever their dreams might be. To spot what they have a knack of doing. Or just to help them along the way. The success of this will probably far outweigh the failures of the current system.


I agree the cold realities of the world will strike them at some point. But it is nothing that cannot be dealt with. Think about it, you are dealing with them right now. Did your schooling help in any way?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jun Miyake 1 - 0 Internet

It's been a relatively easy way all this while. Find a new artist. Search if they are up on flipkart.com. Buy it from there. Or go the piracy route. iTunes music is not available in India. So there is no way I can legally buy great international music sitting in India.


So far it's worked fabulously. Smokey Bandits. Friendly Fires. Philip Glass & Pt. Ravishankar. Kode9. Whatever music I've liked, I had so far been able to source it somehow (illegally most of the time) from the internet.


But now I have come to a dead end.


Enter Pina trailer.




The music is tremendous. Artist is Jun Miyake and the track is 'Lilies in the Valley'.




And so I head down the regular route. Torrents was the first place I checked. No luck. Then I went to regular web search for 320kbps album rips. No luck there either.And last I checked flipkart.com. Both the Jun Miyake titles are out of stock and costs well over 1000 rupees.


I accept defeat. So if someone knows or stumbles on a link from which I can download Jun Miyake's music, I will be much indebted. Non-monetarily, of course.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Kamikaze Smartphone



Oh I love you, you big screened monolith of human advancement.
Designed to look sleek, while crunching numbers behind it
So I can flip birds to break structures into smaller bits.

I figure my way out through crowded streets
Thanks to your relationship with satellites.
But before I can say, 'Honey, you truly do a job commendable'
You run out and die on me saying battery unstable.

And the way you do it, when you reach your end
Haven't you heard about sleeping into oblivion?
Why is your style more out with a bang and not something a tad subtler?

You remind me of those crazy Jap fighters
Yes. Kamikaze.
That's what they called them.

You blink your LEDs and stutter and do the vibrate things.
You make a sound like you are shrieking to be saved.
When all you could've done was take it easy, save some battery
And maybe you could've lived to comment on my thank you speech delivery.

Well I guess it's your style that you wanna be a drama queen
But it spares me no frowns that it comes so soon without you being near.

Well I guess tomorrow your sister would be by my side.
Newer. Smarter. Thinner.
But put her legs into the grave and
She'll be a crazy Jap suicide bomber,
Nevertheless.

Monday, August 15, 2011

To Err is Divine


How often do we make a mistake? All the time. Like this one time, I was chatting up a girl at the bar, and then I spilled my drink all over her. And then, this other time, I was, you know, supposed to do this at work, but then ended up doing the opposite, and got so grilled by my boss.

Good! You are a fumbling fool. But that's not the kind of mistakes you should be making. Be an imbecile all you want, but don't screw up on chances to screw up. The mistakes you should be making in life are the ones that you can see from a mile ahead. Something that you can anticipate.

'Anticipatory mistakes? What are those?,' one wonders.


Situation 1. Should I? Should I not? Why kill a poor flower that was happily living under the sun so that you can solve your life's dilemmas? Situation 2. Why spin a bottle over and over again, when you could have had your tongue down her throat at the first place. Situation everyone. Why shun away from doing something thinking that this day in that year these things would happen and these people would be hurt. If you can predict so far ahead, add me on Facebook, Mr. Nostradamus. I'd love to be your friend.

Brain is designed to solve. Solve what? Problems. What kind of problems? Problems that can be solved. Explain?

Problem that can be solved:
10 = 2 + x
Ans: 8

Problems that cannot be solved:
10=x+y
Possible answers: Many (I know it's a finite number, I am just too lazy to know)

If you'd throw a molotov cocktail at your professor's residence had he put the second one in your exam sheet, ask yourself this. Will you know the results of your actions? No. Then what stops you from doing it? You... don't... know?

Of course you do. You are scared. It's like horror movies. Where the scariest part is not the monster itself, but the dark staircase that leads up to it. Or the possibility of it. What does that teach us?

Climb the stair as fast as you fucking can.

Or in other words, make mistakes. Don't be scared of the unknown future. You think you have it all covered. But as you get ready to go pick up that thing from that store in your neighbourhood, know that there's a truck driver who's just slept with a whore, feels terrible about cheating on his wife, and had a bottle of rum neat, driving a monster truck that CAN get you.

If nothing else, there's one thing that mistakes attest to. It's that you had attempted something. Failed at it spectacularly too. But hell, at least you can go to sleep knowing that you had acted and not just contemplated.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Failure

If you walked upside down through the hallway of the college and stopped by to read the results sheet, you would find Tukku Kumar's name on top. The same would be the case if you walked head-up to the notice board and then did a flip. Sadly, most people don't do strange things like that. And for those most people, Tukku was the last in class. Quite a tragedy it may seem; but all was not lost in this world where hope reigns above everything else.

"Cigarette," Tukku asked the shopkeeper. It was one habit that Tukku couldn't shrug off. Just like porn, girls, booze, oversleeping, overeating and oversimplifying. The shopkeeper had difficulty handing cigarettes to a minor. But he does it anyway. Tukku thought that this was an act of conscience clearance. He wondered how the government felt when they raised tax on cigarettes. Since the birth of life, increase in tax hasn't controlled two things: sales of liquor and cigarettes, and number of bad roads.

Of course, when you are disappointed -- like Tukku was today -- you need a cigarette. But as he lit his cigarette, what Tukku conveniently forgot was that he had lit another cigarette before he checked the result. 'That one was for anxiety,' Tukku told himself. And the one in the morning? Digestion. Late night? Peaceful sleep. And the ones before. Let's not go there. Cigarette is one thing that carries more baggage than a bad past.

His affair with the cigarette lasted much shorter than even his shortest affair till date (2 days, before the girl saw porn in his phone). And the reason for this sudden turn of events was Daisy.

'Ah, Daisy.' The girl of dreams for all the 34 guys in his class. Daisy, who got dropped every day to school by her Mercedes-driving Dad who was well-aware of his daughter's 'babe' reputation. Funny, how he barely looks like the kind that could bring something of such extraordinary beauty to this world. 'His wife must be super hot!' thought Tukku wondering how he'd never seen Daisy's Mom ever visiting the school. Maybe it will be easier to get into her good books. Easier still would be to get under the wheels of her Dad's Mercedes -- who, by the way had started giving evil eyes to us boys who was always somewhere around. 'He seems to give me an extra-special glare. Have I been staring at anything inappropriate?' Tukku wondered.

Tukku quickly stubbed out his cigarette and popped the chewing gum into his mouth. These chewing gums seem to be getting worse day-by-day. 'Two seconds and I might as well chew some plastic flower.' Daisy was walking ahead of him. Which was strange. Where did her Dad go? Doesn't she have after-school dance classes?

"Daisy!" he called her from behind. She kept walking. Tukku called again. She still didn't stop. 'Geez! Talk about hard-to-get. She must be hard-of-hearing,' thought Tukku. As Tukku slowed down to a crawl, his morale up in smoke, his cigarette not up in smoke, but down and stubbed out, he saw Daisy's take a quick glance behind. Tukku flashed the brightest smile he could muster from the sick loser feeling inside him. Tukku waved at her. 'She'll be the biggest bitch in the planet if she pretends she doesn't know me now. And I am gonna spread all kinds of news about her. About how she kissed Rahul and then...' All his thoughts melted away into bliss as Daisy flashed a radiant smile back at him.

"Hey Duggu!" shouted Daisy.

Tukku fastened his bag and sprinted towards her. He didn't bother correcting the name.

"How are you, Daisy?" he asked.

"You smoked?" she asked back.

'Alarm bells inside heads' is a phrase that has been coined by someone who got caught in such a situation. He wished he could burn down the factory that produced that lousy excuse of a gum.

"Err.... no, Daisy! I... err.. I was having tea in that shop and there were smokers around me..."

"You have another cigarette?"

Now that was unexpected. It will be quite a shock for most people to know that a 16 year old boy smoked -- but a girl! Dear heavens, what is this generation coming to!

"You! You, smoke?!" asked Tukku, completely bewildered but still struggling to keep a straight face.

"Yeah... occasionally."

"Hmm... I didn't know that girls smoked."

"Why? Girls can't smoke?"

"No no! Please... nothing like that. But it's just rare."

"I really need a smoke. Where do you guys go to smoke?"

'Is this some sort of a ploy?' thought Tukku. 'She will pretend that she wants to smoke, then get the location of our secret hideout and then snitch it to the Class Teacher and then she will be in her good books and we will be kneeling down outside the classroom.'

"Hmmm?" Daisy was still waiting for a reply.

"It's nearby."

"Is it in that shed behind the coconut grove?"

"How do you know!"

"Rahul had told me once."

'Oh. Rahul had told her.' Tukku was seething with rage on hearing his name. Rahul was an ass. He vaguely resembled a star from some land and some age and people thought he was good looking. Balls! In fact, it was Tukku who took Rahul to their smoking zone and got him his first cigarette. Thankless bastard!

"So do you have a cigarette?" asked Daisy.

"I can get one. If you know the place, you can wait there. Which cigarette do you smoke?"

"See if they get Marlboro lights. If not, Classic Milds Lights will do. Actually, see if you get the menthol one."

'She is quite a bitch,' thought Tukku. 'Marlboro Lights? Menthol? Why can't she smoke a Gold Flakes chotta or a Navy Cut?' But all these thoughts remained inside as he flashed a wry smile and headed back to the store where he has to go through the conscience pressures of the shopkeeper.

After he got the cigarette, he quietly made his way to the shed half expecting a group of teachers to apprehend him immediately and hand him to the Principal. No such bad luck. Only Daisy sat there, leaning against the wall with her bag as a cushion. She looked up at Tukku's arrival.

"What took you so long, Duggu?"

"That shopkeeper is a chut." He stopped, suddenly realising the crassness of his language. "I mean, he is reluctant to give cigarettes to us."

Daisy took her Menthol cigarette, placed it between her lips and set it alight with the smallest lighter Tukku had seen in his life. She offered the light to a very slack-jawed Tukku who had his cigarette barely hanging from his limp digits.

"How was your result?" Daisy asked out of the blue, both of them now settled with their cigarettes.

"Bad. Yours?"

"It was ok. What percentage did you get?"

'Arrey! Why is she asking all this now? The two of us are in a rather enclosed space, smoking cigarettes, couldn't she ask something like if I was seeing someone? These girls I tell ya!'

"Barely passed," he lied.

"It was a tough one this time."

"Yeah." She had no idea how tough it was for Tukku.

"You didn't flunk for any exams, right?"

"Of course not! I mean, I didn't get great marks. But heck! I've read that most smart people in this world usually score poor marks in school."

"Oh... like?"

Trouble! That's the thing with girls. They are forever inquisitive. And stupidly so. Surely, when apes contemplated using stone tools, there must have been some woman then who feared if it wouldn't be used to harm each other as well. Well, her fears certainly got justified over time.

"Like... you know, Einstein. The guy who invented Apple computers. Facebook guy."

"Hmm... I thought they were college drop outs."

Tukku didn't respond. He wasn't enjoying his cigarette either. He felt like he was in an interrogation room and the police guy was offering him a cup of tea. You must have balls of titanium to enjoy that cup.

"So, how's it going with Rahul?" Tukku tried to change the subject.

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, I thought you guys were seeing each other."

"Yeah, we kind of are. But it's nothing serious."

So much for changing that subject. Tukku now felt even worse. The cigarette, he felt, was like a metaphor for what his heart was going through right now.

"What... what are you doing this weekend?"

"Don't know. Haven't decided yet. Why?"

See, the girls' inquisitive nature?

"Nothing."

"It's ok. You can ask me."

"Can we... can we meet? Somewhere near your place of course. I don't wanna trouble you or anything. If it's not ok for you. It's fine. I understand. But still... I haven't asked anyone like this before you know?"

"It's ok. Yeah we can meet. But not this weekend. I have to study. How about next weekend?"

"Sure... that's ok."

A few moments of awkward silence passed. Tukku had mustered up such courage to ask her out that he seemed to have no energy left to open his mouth.

With a casual flick Daisy threw away her cigarette. Tukku's Classic Milds -- which he brought reluctantly, so as not to be embarrassed in front of the Menthol smoking chica -- was still someway to go. Nevertheless, he stubbed it out.

They walked back to main road quietly.

"How come your Dad didn't come to pick you today?"

"He's coming in a while. I kinda had a fight with him. So I walked out from school."

"Oh. Ok."

"I guess I will walk to the end of the road. He doesn't like seeing me with guys."

"Sure."

"Oh, by the way." Daisy extended a badly crumpled 10 rupees note which she tried straightening out with her slender fingers.

The cigarette was only Rs. 5. But Tukku didn't have any more money to return the change. And he cannot take more money from her. He cannot take ANY money from her. All Tukku managed was to shake his head spasmodically. Then the magical happened. She forcefully grabbed his hand, opened his tightly clenched fist and kept the note in his palm. Tukku felt a rare emotion that was at the same time lilting and cheap.

"See ya then!" said Daisy.

"Bye..." Tukku managed to reply as he eyed her walking gracefully down the road.

'Damn! I wish I could've met her this weekend itself,' thought Tukku. But in a way it was a good thing as Tukku had his retests on Monday. He better prepare for that one. Can't afford to flunk again. And then it struck him. The bitch's been lying all this while. She had flunked her tests too. Of course! And that's why she fought with her Dad. And that's why she cannot meet him this weekend.

'Girls, I tell ya! Hardly ever says anything honest.'

At the school corridor, Tukku stood erect gasping for breath. But he wasn't upside down. In fact, he was almost on his toes. Because at the top of the results sheet for Class 11-C was Daisy Cherian Kalavathungal.

'Well, girls do lie,' thought Tukku. 'When I asked her how her exam was, she said it was ok. Not great. No mention of she being the topper. She said just ok. What a bitch!'