Sleepless

8.00 AM PT, and I have just now officially completed a totally sleepless night. Not one of those red bull powered, assignment-due-date-looming-over-your-head type all nighters, or out-with-friends kind night-out. A sleepless night full of thoughts about why life has turned out the way it is, when did I lose the control of steering wheel, and in these moments when I was not in drivers seat, how many exits have I missed. What was on those missed exits? An interesting person, an intriguing story, a brilliant idea, a hidden trail to somewhere, a village, a treasure, a monster, a disaster, sunshine, rain, fall, or spring?

How would life had turned out, if I had not made certain choices? Were these choices worth it? Were people for whom these choices were made, worth it? Did people change, or was it just me?

An old friend used to quote another of his friend, and say ‘People come into your life for a reason or a season…’. 4.00 AM miracle, and you realize; some people come into your life for a reason, some for a season, some for a seasoned reason, some for a reasonable season, some for a reasonable enough reason, some are just like monthly magazine subscriptions. Very few, but some, come to your life for the journey.

A tinge of existential crisis, a pinch of broken dreams, a brushstroke of nostalgia, an underlying canvas of longing, and you get a picture called ‘Sleepless’.

[PS: Sorry for swapping channel of this blog from Comedy Central to Hallmark. Normal programming would resume soon.]

Meditation

[Announcement on PA system in Yoga Class]

Man’s Voice: Close your eyes.

[Single note on guitar]

Man’s Voice: Focus on the sound. 

[Single note on guitar]

Man’s Voice: Focus on the sound.

[Single note on guitar]

Man’s Voice: Follow the sound. Imagine the sound wave passing through your body. Follow the sound.

[Single note on guitar]

 

Man’s Voice: Sound wave is leading you through the forest, mist surrounds you. Musical notes are guiding you. 

[Single note on guitar]

 

Man’s Voice: Move the leaves in front of you, and you see a lake. Lake is filled with emerald blue water. You can see reflections of cloud in clear water. You can also see…

 

[Electric Guitar starts…Ting Ting Tin, Ting Ting Tina Na, Ting Ting Tin Tin’ Na, Smoke on the water….]


Revenge

Give me a big enough water melon that has been dipped in liquid Nitrogen, and I will throw it on the first pretentious douche-bag I see in the morning!

Avid Book Reader

After an initial hesitation period of about 10 months, I battled my own fears, and largely motivated by closing of local Borders shop, I decided to enter the only other decently good shop in town, named ‘Avid Book Reader’. Having let ‘life’ and ‘its life-ness’ run rampart on my reading habit in last few years, I hardly define myself as an ‘avid’ book reader. So I was genuinely worried of entering a shop that so loudly describes its target market and patrons in its name. What if they have some sort of test at the gate -a literary bouncer-, starting with questions like, How many books have you read in last one week? Have you read one Shakespeare, and one Karen Jay Fowler in last one month? Who really killed Virginia Woolf? Was he the same the same guy who killed Roger Rabbit? (trick question, don’t answer that). How do you define if a book is literary or pulp? Distinguish between a literary wordsmith and a literary genius? Pick the odd one out: Yann Martel, Chuck Palanhuik, Nicholas Sparks, R.K. Narayan? And if you answer any one of them wrong, the nerd looking, feebly built, thick spectacles wearing literary bouncer sprays pepper spray into your eyes, and directs you towards another bookstore whose name lacks ‘avid’ and includes the word ‘word’ in its name, like, wordstore, wordlab, wordynome, wordstar (sound more like a refrigerator that teaches foreign language too) etc.
Anyways, since Borders closed down, I had no other option but to try my luck at Avid Book Store. Either the owner had relaxed his ‘Avid’ criteria, or the literary bouncer was down with flu, but entering the bookstore was as easy as entering a Subway chain, including the bell that warns/tells owner of customer’s presence. Exuberant as I was that my wit and literary intellect had not been put to test, I started roaming in the aisles, and as always trying hard to figure out the underlying order and pattern in how books are arranged. I was reading back cover jacket of a book detailing a guy’s semi autobiographical account of recovery from drug addiction, when I hear a woman’s voice from other side of book shelf saying, “What this country does not need is socialism!”. I am not a regular eavesdropper but its good to know your world sometimes, so following this logic, I decided to look for the source behind these words of wisdom. I discretely walk around the aisle to other side, and see this group of people, probably part of a book club, busy in a discussion, with one woman’s voice towering over all others. I spend some time around their round table, picking up random books, and pretending to read about houses, horses and at one instant, a self help book in building confidence. The discussion has now moved to poverty among students, Wall Street, and what needs to be done to improve the plight of hapless graduate students, how you can pump money into the economy without redistribution of money, and using an actual pump that pumps coins (last one was probably just voice in my head).
After multiple statements reemphasizing the harmful effects socialism might have on this country, the conversation has become more repetitive than informative, so I start looking through section of book racks that might positively interest me, and while I am flipping through a book that talks about how people who talk to winds end up attempting to fly, as winds tell them that it will take care of them, and then comes betrayal and almighty thud, I hear the socialism-hater-loudest-women say, “If I die in car accident tomorrow…”. I run to the aisle closest to book club table to catch rest of the sentence, but miss it only to catch the words, ‘…it is probably not good for country. ” I am still thinking as to what words in between could be, when I realize that I am uncomfortable close to a book with pink cover depicting a half naked men holding a semi-unconscious women, who probably just had a wardrobe malfunction. I wonder if I am better prepared for the literary bouncer now. I am still not an avid reader, but I know difference between literary and pulp.

Tagged , , ,

Noises and Money

[Conversation]

(Loud Crashing Noise, somewhat similar to a stainless steel vessel falling)

“What was that?”

“Sound of my dreams getting shattered!!”

“No, it was something real. I mean real sound -somewhere close.”

“So, my dream shattering is not real to you. You think I am lying?!”

“No.”

“Then what?”

“Umm..Nothing.”

“What? Say It”

“Your dreams are quite sonorous.”

 

[Quote]

“…the problem is the money. Not the concept of currency per say, but the idea of a raising some scraps of paper to special, somewhat mythical, status of ‘money’, and you can use this money to buy food, shelter, energy in terms of gas, and even more money. Moreover, no body understands what it is, countries just fail, collapse and go bankrupt.

My solution is to just decide one day that paper money is defunct, and make ‘bananas’ as our currency. Firstly, it is edible, and thus can be eaten when its valuation goes down. It is also energy in terms calories, an quite a good source of it too. It can be used to generate more money by planting more banana trees. So essentially it is self sufficient, self propagating system of money .  Lastly, nobody can’t hoard on to it as it will go bad after sometime anyways.”

 

[Music]

I have started liking country music. At least songs by Gregory Alan Isakov.

Caution.Ice Cream.

A road sign that says ‘CAUTION, Ice Cream’ is bound to stir more intrigue than circumspection. Even more so, if you are traveling on an exceptionally hot day, in a car that seems to be made of more glass than metal. So here I am, traveling on CA-180, with the sole ambition of reaching the point where this winding highway ends, somewhere at the foot of some giant monolithic granite rock in Kings Canyon. At one curvaceous turn, there is a sign board that says ‘Caution. Ice Cream’. Firstly, ‘ice cream’ is one of those words that completely masks any emotion written (or implied) before or after it. If one day, the headline in ‘News of the World’ would have said ‘Aliens land on Earth and Steal Ice Cream’, the general mood among public would be that of sadness generated at lost ice cream, completely overlooking alien landing. Secondly, ‘Ice Cream’ is hardly, if ever, preceded by word ‘Caution’. The only possibilities I can think of is, if an ice cream parlor is on space-sharing agreement with a weight-loss clinic, or somebody somewhere using his extraordinary creative thinking decided to name a flavor of ice cream ‘Caution’.

Thus as expected the sight of such a sign just makes me and my friends anxiously wait to eat ice cream, instead of being cautious about some giant ice cream cone chasing lonely travelers in desolate parts of this largely uninhabited area. A few hundred yards down the road, we see this log-cabin gas station that does not look like a stereotypical gas station. It has something called ‘a double gravity’ gas pump, and while I stand and stare at the marvel of 2X gravity, my friends go inside to order ice cream. As a probabilistic co-occurrence of two different space time events (usually called coincidence), a biker stops to fill gas at this pump. My immediate thoughts are that ‘Wow! This pump works’, and  that my friends should not miss out on this extraordinary event of past paying a visit to future, so I rush into the log cabin creamery. As soon as I open the partially broken door, I hear these words “CLOSE THE DOOR!…THERE ARE LOT OF FLIES”.

My eyes anxiously search for the source of these words, and without any difficulty they land on this twenty something guy, whose countenance is suited to play “Draco Malfoy”(or Lucius Malfoy). There is nobody else in the creamery except Draco, and my friends. No one on the counter. No one with an ice cream cone in hand. Nobody shamelessly staring at the glass that separates people from ice cream. Actually there is no such glass in first place. Even without entering the creamery completely, I can tell that their is an uneasy feel to the place. Now, I suffer from a condition that I myself define as “Confusion Induced Embarrassment and Vice Versa Syndrome(CIEVVS)”. So, I am standing in middle of the door, unable to decide whether I should stop flies from entering, chase the ones that have already entered, tell my friends about marvel called double gravity, feel empathetic for Draco’s condition (a losing battle against flies), or just step in, and apologize. The latter seems like a slightly more sensible option, and I decide to take that course.

“Am sorry!” I say while stepping into the cabin, and things return to normal. At least, as it seems, for him, as he goes back to working on his meal (a pack of chips, a sandwich, and a Pepsi).

I, on the other hand, am staring at the ceiling which is a taxidermy museum of sorts. Hanging in the middle of room is the skin of a dead mountain lion, gazing straight into the the face a dead bear. Rest of ceiling is filled with skins of lot of small animals, all facing towards the battle scene of a dead mountain lion vs dead bear. The whole scene reminds you of a boxing match where the boxers refuse to fight, and audience refuses to leave (but everybody hangs upside down from ceiling like spiderman).

When people talk about air, often a few times do they talk about air smelling of fear and/or incoming doom. If I have to draw a parallel, air inside this cabin smells of unwelcome-ness. After patiently waiting for somebody to appear at the counter, the guy who was earlier so concerned about having to fight flies, turns out to be the owner, and after having patiently finished his meal in front of us, steps behind the counter, and gives us ice cream. Under normal circumstances, you are greeted by a nice warm smile in ice cream shops, but here, it is a completely different scenario. This situation is somewhat like Amtrak ticket counters, where if it was for the man behind counter, they would always run empty trains.

An about-to-fall-cabin, more dead animals than living beings in the shop, and ‘you-smile-I-shoot-you’ demeanor of the owner create tension levels, best portrayed in Western Classics. The air is so heavy by now that no one is saying a word. We are all talking using silent gestures, or at least hoping that we all somehow telepathically are getting access to each others escape strategies. Draco is also not saying any words because I think that is not part of his nature. I don’t even remember if I said ‘Vanilla’ or he just gave it to me. There is door behind the counter that faces a closet,and on closet’s door there is a poster, depicting rays of light coming from a source (presumably God or a star or both) under the words in bold font saying ‘I am the Door’.

In the meantime, I am thinking, if credit cards are not accepted and I am not carrying enough cash, which place would my skin be hanging on the ceiling. Will a dead me get good seats to watch the battle between a dead mountain lion and a dead bear? It turns out that creamery accepts credit cards. When we pay, Draco seems more angry at having less ice cream in store, then having got money for it.

Me and my friends get out of the store, get into the car, after driving for a mile, we hear the first words in a long time when my friend says, “Didn’t it say CAUTION.ICE CREAM back there?”

 

Lets Start Over Again

Eight months, and not a single word on this blog. Shame on me!

First few months of my not so prolific blogging period, I blamed everybody and almost everything, for not writing. After some time, I got bored of blaming too. So, I stopped that too.

Afterwards, I decided I will drive down from Pennsylvania to California to get some interesting ideas and life experiences to talk about. Road trip has done many wonders to many lives in many movies (The one in particular that I like is ‘One Week’ by Michael McGowan). Well after 6 days of driving across this vast and widely diverse country, I thought I had a lot to talk about, but again I failed to put that ‘so much to talk about’ into words. Maybe, sometime soon, I will be able to tell you here, how people in Indiana/Nebraska drive while reading magazines on dull straight roads, while, there is a Punjabi-owned Gas Station in middle of desert. I will tell you about the salt flats, and my fridge magnet collection from road. My road trip ended at Davis, a small college town in California, which is my current home. A place where even after 6 months, I have not settled in. There is a lot to talk about this place, my gradual Californication (not in the sense of the popular TV series) mixed with a nostalgia for Pennsylvania wilds and winters (Yes, you read it right. I missed Pennsylvania in winters).

Also, somewhere in the middle of all this, I made a trip back home to Delhi. Family, friends, frenzy and fun. Lots of fun. Delhi, how much it has changed in two years. How in my heart I always feel I am a Dilliwallah, but when people asked me about Metro routes and bus numbers, I replied, “Sorry! I am not from Delhi”, and then felt sad that I had to say this in a city where I grew up. Anyways, more on that later.

Then one day, I sat down on my new chair, placed my macbook on my newly assembled Ikea table, hit play on the ‘Chariots of Fire’ from my playlist titled ‘Blogging’ (a playlist that I had made earlier weekend), and then I stared on blank screen for next 2 hours. I think I might be the only person in world with a blogging playlist.

Then in last few months, I looked for a perfect blog to make a come back.Then late today, in a moment of revelation, it occurred to me that much like everything else in life, there is no perfect topic/blog to make a comeback. So here it is, lets start over again with whatever we have. Shall we?

Birthday Post

“As you get older… some of the things you love might not seem so special anymore.  And the older you get, the fewer things you really love.”

-Hurt Locker

When a few days after your birthday, this is the only dialogue that is ringing in your head, you know that you are getting old. Yes, ladies and germs, yours truly is getting older. Turned 25! TWENTY FIVE.

As you grow older…you are battling your own inconsequentiality in this scheme of space and time. You realize that your own elemental existence, is nothing but just a temporary speck lying on the more permanent threads of time. Space, that seemed so easy to conquer, is actually defeating you on unanticipated battlegrounds.

But, thats not all I have to say, because blessed I am, for having friends that make this getting older special for you in more ways than you could have ever imagined. It is because of friends like these, that I can say, “To hell with the inconsequences, to hell with the insignificance, to hell with time and to hell with space! CHEERS to TWENTY FIVE”

Return

I nearly forgot I had a blog. Why? Well, here are the facts, and here is the reasoning…No, lets dump the reasoning, dump the facts too. What matters is that I plan to make a return, but I am emotionally drained out. Life has been smooth sailing on certain plains, and rough on others. If anybody is interested in ‘What happened?’, my answer lies in this quote by Summer Finn from 500 days of summer, “What always happens. Life.”

Oh! did I tell you, I love ‘500 days of Summer’.