Monthly Archives: April 2009

Back-Up Guy

“What are you writing about -in your book?” I assumed that it would be a nice ice- breaker question, especially when you are in your first writing workshop, and everybody else looks much older, experienced and scholarly then you. But half way through the question, I thought that it was a very trite question in such a gathering. So, I fumbled with my flow of words, clearly showing that I am quite a novice and do not deserve to be there. But still, I decided to go ahead with same question as I had already started it, and could not think of a new question half way through my first one.

“Ahha!” Good. He seems pleased and excited. So not that much of a disaster question as I had assumed it to be. He continues, “Its about this very normal guy, who is like always the back-up guy, like you know, who always gets this, ‘If-I-was-not-committed/married-you-would-be-the-one’ dialogue, you know, that type -it’s a story of his pain, suffering and how he finally ends up committing suicide.”

Now the hard part, he finishes and looks at me expectantly, and I have no idea as what should I say next -should I ask another question, maybe about his character, maybe something totally different like weather or local crime rate, or maybe about his favorite cuisine.

But all these seemed like totally unrelated follow up questions to my earlier one. So, I ended up asking this incredibly stupid question, “Oh! That’s a cool storyline. So, you are you going to kill this character, this lonely dude in the end.”

‘Cool’ and ‘Dude’ in my last sentence. They definitely thought that I am a gate crasher at the writer’s workshop.

“Oh, no, that’s not the end of story, it would be like very stereotypical, as you call it, ‘lonely dude’ novel, if I do that. In my novel, after the guy commits suicide, he goes to limbo, and here is the twist, God there is a female, and he ends up being her back-up guy. And…wait, I don’t want to ruin your suspense, and frankly I don’t want to lose on an almost sold copy of my book.”

“What?”. This followed effortlessly.

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David Sedaris

sedaris

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me for ‘a good read’ which was more on the lines of ‘not very serious, more of a funny stuff’. So I rushed to my bookshelf, pulled out ‘Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim’ by David Sedaris, and offered it to her. She gladly accepted it. So good so far, but I see her a few weeks later and ask, “How is the Sedaris going?”

She replies blatantly, “I did not like it, so I did not even finish it.”

Okay, so I am now looking for a word for my feelings at that time, lets see, hmm -offended might be it. Really, to me David Sedaris is one of the funniest writers, and has special place in my quartet of favorite writers along with R. K. Narayan, Dave Eggers and Kurt Vonnegut. Although I am still intrigued as to how could somebody not like Sedaris, it is like somebody not liking Santa, idea of a tooth fairy, or a chance to paint Pyramids in their favorite colors.   But, as of now, in what we consider as space-time coordinates of ‘present’, my friend does not like David Sedaris. So I start weighing my options; 1) I can walk into her house, paint all her walls with quotes of David Sedaris, 2) Burn all other books, laptops, any connection to outside world in her house, and not let her come out until she has finished reading all the Sedaris books, 3) Not do anything 4) Add her on my ‘revenge list’ and not appreciate her favorite author.

But what I did instead is just ask her, “Why? I mean, I love that guy, I think he is really really funny.”

“I think he is deliberately trying to be funny at each line.”

“But what if, let’s say, the guy is actually that funny. I have seen a few interviews of him and seems like the guy is actually that funny in real life.”

“Oh in that case, I would give it another try”, she says.

Next day, a common friend of us, returns the book on her behalf. I put the book back in my shelf and pull out my copy of another Sedaris book ‘Naked’ and find this quote somewhere in there, “I haven’t the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out.”

Later that evening, I mulled over the whole issue under a summery star lit sky, and came to a conclusion that, I learned an important lesson today -You can never become a writer that everyone adores. I wrote this bit of conclusion on paper, read it aloud to me, and then added something at the end, “You can never become a writer that everyone adores, and isn’t this thing true in general, you can never become a person that everyone adores.”

(Photo courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald)

No Arguments

[family talk]

My dad calls me up this morning and says, “See, That’s why I did not let you become a sailor. If you had your way that day, you would have been hostage on some pirate ship on coasts of Slovenia today,…”

“Dad!!!” I said, adding “Its not Slovenia, its Somalia.”

“Whatever. No arguments! You kids never get the point.”

*****

[occupational hazard]

“I am an evolutionary biologist, and I live in Pennsylvania. Taken together, it means that as soon as I am outside the peripheries of my campus, I am known as ‘Satan’s Son’

******

[religion]

8.30 AM Phone rings

Me: hello…HELLOOO!

Some women on other end starts speaking.

Some Woman (SW) : Mumble Mumble mumble from __________faith church. I would like to read a chapter of Bible to you. Can I start now?

Me: What?

SW: I would like to read a chapter….

Me: NO! I think I understood you the first time…

SW: So, can I start now?

Me: NOOO !!! Ehm…(I realize I am sounding very rude)…hmmm…I am in middle of something right now…so I think its not a good idea right now.

SW: Sir, in that case, can I call you some other time?

Me: ahh…NO!

SW: Mumble ‘French sounding Mumble’ Thank you sir. Thak!

Thak

I throw my cell phone on bed, and start wondering, what if, this is exactly what happens when you die -you get a call, somebody tells you your crime/sin stats, and then somebody starts narrating you chapters of Bible -that too, on phone.

….Rock and a Hard Place…

earthday2009biggerOhhhh Noooooooo! Poor (polar) bear has only two choices; either drown to death or get cut by the blades of a windmill, which has been precariously placed on an iceberg a small chunk of iceberg.

Yeah, yeah i heard you, ‘gross’ and ‘insensitive you said, right?

PS: If you are not as gross and not as insensitive as me,then do something about our your earth. (I am from some other planet.

(Photo taken from www. earthday.net)

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Pied Piper of Politics

“Shitty stuff, Man! This whole politics business. Everybody is so $%#$%^& corrupt! What are we goin’ to do? Clean it like movie style, like some guy walks up and drags corrupt politician in the street. That should happen. I am telling you, somebody should do it man.”

Okay, first of all, I was extremely surprised -how many times does man sitting next to you on a train berth, use this as an ice breaker. Quite often, I agree, but it would have been fine had the guy been reading some newspaper or magazine, he was doing none of this, he was just pondering, and I was watching him ponder, and then he starts blasting off. All of sudden. And then, just to be polite, I decide to offer the guy some ideas.

“You are absolutely right, Sir. But, I think, instead of one hero dragging one corrupt politician, we should have more of a high thorough-put method to this political cleansing thing. We need a Pied Piper, who can lure all the corrupt ones and then make them jump off the cliff. Cool method, huh?”

“Hmm”, the guy looks up at me, with a look that you have when you see a mentally retarded kid for the first time. Seriously, he even offered me candy after like 5 minutes.

…Of Hate Speech, Coffee and a Genius…

[politics]

‘Free hugs’ videos that are freely available on net are one of those very few things that are acting as a detriment to me falling in social dungeons, where nihilism and philistinism are the entrenched thought and belief. I woke up this morning with a terrible disappointment in my own bitterness towards this world, a shaken belief in the ritual of good, a sunken feeling that threads of community are either falling apart or getting laced with lead. But then I saw this video of a stranger guy giving free hugs to people and I was ‘back and running’.

Talking about bitterness, what’s up with ‘Hate Speeches’? It seems to be the new shortcut to political stardom. Everybody seems to be doing it, Raj Thackeray did it, Varun Gandhi is doing it, Limbaugh does it very often, and our media that is always hungry for anything that can be remotely called a story, is generous enough to devote prime time coverage to such people. Can somebody please explain the TV news channels, that I would not go crazy if I wake up at 3.00 AM in night and there is no news on TV channel. It is okay, even if they are not 24 X 7, and even if they are so dedicated to provide us news, I would prefer a story on a New Hampshire grandma, who made a big cookie in shape of pit bull, instead of watching a madmen delivering a meaningless ‘hate speech’.

I was talking to my brother yesterday, and I dropped in a question about the ongoing elections, “Heyy, so whats going on with the elections?”

“Nobody is interested in them, IPL is on, right?” [IPL: Indian Premier League]

*****

[quotation]

“I am a genius at making coffee…ehm..its like…like, my last name should be friggin’ Starbucks or something”

*****

[fiction]

{excerpts from BIOGRAPHY OF AN UNUSUAL GENIUS}

Realization of your own genius self is an unusual, slightly disturbing, but in most parts, an ornately pleasant feeling. But more than the feeling itself, the act that leads to that realization is more intricate, seemingly perplexing, but an invariably simple experience. Later in your life, when the reluctant society has accepted your abilities, talents, or actions as a work of genius, you are always asked this question, “How did you realize that you are a genius?”

….

I was taking down notes in my class that day and my pen slipped out of my fingers, started falling from my desk, and that’s when it happened, my thighs closed in on the pen and caught it in mid air, before it could touch the ground, before it could fall and establish that I am a normal person just like everybody else in the room. That’s when I realized that I am genius, I can do what none of you can, I can catch pens in my thighs. That year I dropped out of school and went to organize the State Thigh Catching festival, which I won, and have invariably won for last thirty years now.

….

My third gold in the double trap Olymipic ‘Catch falling objects with your thighs’ was a tense one, that stupid son-of-a-gun Papua New Guinean, came really close to defeating me on a day when my response time was more due to an onslaught of flu on my immune system.

Till this day, as I rest on my hospital bed, I replay that event of first realization in class, in my head, in slow motion, as the pen falls, my thighs move in, and then…

*****

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Delusional, Dilemma and Detritus

[Fiction]

Doorknob turns a quarter circle, and my room’s door graceful in its slow sliding movement, opens, gently pushes the wall with its stopper-spring at the end of its movement, revealing a gush of cool breeze into a trash can of sorts, my room. I, immediately turn to greet my visitor but there is nobody. NOBODY!

First time it happened, I assumed it was my roommate who wanted to say something, but then all of sudden, after opening the door, decided that there were more important things in life, so he turned back. I checked with him and as it turned out, he was not at home since morning.

But now, after it has happened for like 100th time in a day, its freakin’ me out!

Called my friend after watching her missed call.
“Hey, sorry, missed your call!”
“What?! I never called you!”

Damn! Shit! Either those shitty transparent centipedes floating in air, have acquired the art of opening doors or as Vonnegut would have said, those chemicals in my brain are messing up with me. I am delusional.

(Thanks to Debbiee for this post. Had it not been for her room’s partly haunted, partly straight-out-of-‘Hitchhiker’s.., and partly ‘on-crack’ door, this particular anecdote would not have existed, or at the very least, not existed in this space time coordinate of this temporally stationed spatial archipelago of universes.)
*****

[Dilemma]

I am gently pulling out one petal at a time from the whorl of chimeric pink-red colored rose, reciting these words after each action; ‘Should I join Twitter..should I not…should I..should I not….’
*****
[Weird]

I am listening to an album called ‘Beautiful Garbage’. Among the fast punches that I am receiving on my eardrum, with the fluids in my brain experiencing tremors, I am noting down names of hypothetical albums on my yellow notepad.
Rhythmic Cacophony
Alluring Drudgery
Delightful Detritus
Winsome Turds _________ (can’t think of an alternative name now! Ha ha)
Snails in Hyperdrive (that’s my favorite)
Aesthetic Genocide (that’s gonna be so damn controversial)

Seriously though, I have a headache after listening to songs like ‘Androgyny’ and ‘Shut your mouth’ (ironical huh!) by the band ‘Garbage’.

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Can’t Read Poetry in Public (CRPiP) Syndrome

I realized, I just can’t read poetry in a manner that sounds like ‘string of meaningful words set to a rhythm and rhyme’ to audience. Here is how my attempts at reading a poem by Ginger Andrews sounded.
Original Poem

“cleaning out my refrigerator
and thinking about writing a religious poem
that somehow combines feeling sorry for myself
with ordinary praise, when my nephew stumbles in for coffee
to wash down what looks like a hangover
and get rid of what he calls hot dog water breath.
I wasn’t going to bake the cake”

My first attempt:
“cleaninoutmyrefri and thinkiabouwritirelegious…..”
So my director goes, “No, you are going too fast! Slow down a bit. Lets do it again”
My second attempt:
“cleaningout my refrigerat A-n-d thinginabout…”
“No No No! Still very fast! Speak each word clearly. People should understand it”, says a visibly frustrated and concerned director. Okay, realization is slowly dawning on me that people are not getting even a single word of poem, and all this while I assumed that they are spell bound by my deep baritone.
My Third attempt:
“(cough)…(cough again) cleaning out mY REFRIGERATOR (clearing my throat) andthingingabout….^&%$….”

Director: (wordless initially and then says)…Go again
Fourth attempt:
“Dgingdoushou chingne totou gimshe ktainshignhm…”

By 7th attempt it sounded like an entirely different language, something that might have been a child born if Latin and Sinhalese made love to each other.

(Few more attempts)
Now, I am just doing it so that my director can fill pages for his book, “How NOT to read Poetry”.
Unanimous agreement by my theater group: Some people just can’t read poetry, no matter how hard they try.

I have started to believe that I might be the connecting link between human species that started reading poetry aloud to people, and the species that carved paintings on stone  -I can read a poem but it sounds like a stone rubbing against another stone, and on its way it creates an artistic cacophony.

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Why Germans then?

I was having usual ‘neighbor’s talk’ with Ted, when this interesting bit happened. Here is the excerpt of that conversation.

“Hey Ted! A Polar bear attacked a woman in Berlin Zoo.”

“So…it has finally started…” he said and started looking up towards the sky.

“What do you mean? What has started?”

“End of World. Animals eating humans, nature finally waking up and taking revenge of human onslaughts on it”

“Pardon, You can’t be serious. It was some stupid lady who decided to walk into Polar Bear’s enclosure for some entirely unknown, inexplicable reason.”

“Oh really! You don’t believe me. Okay, why did it start with Germans then?”

Bleep space Bleep space Bleep space BleEEPP!!!!

Okay, I am not going anywhere. At end of the day, I have nowhere else to go other than this blog. And I realized that my work here is not yet done; your brains are still intact and gosh, I have to wait till they explode due to reading trashy stuff.

Why am I not quitting?
Good question. Ehm…because there are elections in India, a French girl (I think) commented on my blog, a guy in Guinea Bissau killed a 12 meter long snake with bare hands, N. korea decided to have some fireworks, many movies made it to theater, I am going to move alone to a studio apartment in next few months and landlord asked me not to lick walls as it might cause lead poisoning. I just could not float through all this stuff without saying anything.

But since it is spring time…ok at least in some parts of the country, not here, its snowing today, and it was all soggy yesterday…anyways, spring calls for some changes. I thought of going in complete isolation for a week but that plan did not work out, so I might just move a few things here and there on this blog, maybe change the header, or maybe not.  Maybe I will add a few more pages; maybe I will ask celebrities to write guest columns. Maybe…

Oh! And regarding the title of this post, stop guessing what swear words are those, because they are none, it was just a prank, a belated April Fool’s Day Prank.

Just keep smiling and as Matthew McConaughey would say Jus’ keep livin’.

PS: Heard this nice song sometime back. But the video is not for faint hearted. So don’t say I did not warn you.