Monday, May 28, 2007

men, women and the sense of direction

Ok, I'm petrified of writing long posts. So apologies for the previous one.
But now I thought I must speak and give credit where it is due. Men seem to be blessed with that really helpful keen sense of direction, that some women (me and my friend) lack entirely. So there we were, trying to find the parking lot first(and then the car), and you know those sprawling parking lots, that stretch on both sides of a movie theater, I mean that's kind of confusing, don't you think? Finding the right parking lot was a challenge too, brought back memories of the other time a couple of years ago, where we'd lost our way in the parking lot (we were a little tipsy then). So it seemed karmic, that we must lose our way again in a parking lot.
And there comes the strapping young man to our rescue, just a phone call away. Of course what doesn't hurt is that he's an IITian and a techno-financial brain. He just turned left, right and a bit more and we followed him like two blind mice and viola! there's the car. As he muttered under his breath never to let his future wife drive, we reassured him that his future wife/girlfriend would never call and say "Honey, I don't know where I am. I'm kinda lost. Can you come and fetch me?" Of course he kept shaking his head. He wouldn't be convinced, I can't see why.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time and some first-rate sleuthing

I've great confidence that my knowledge of the English country crimes is getting increasingly better. To begin with, I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for ages, devouring each and every short story, novella, episode etc written by him. So I always turned up my nose at Agatha Christie, she always seemed too "popular" and I'd read some good advice when younger to "stay away from bestsellers". Lately, I decided to shun the snobbery I had adopted(although I've yet to read The Da Vinci Code, that's the sort of bestseller that my code strictly prohibits me from reading) and took to reading the adventures of Hercule Poirot in the English countryside again( and pleasantly find myself quite addicted to it. Sherlock Holmes rules still though).

However, there is a point to this story, and I will shortly connect the dots, dare I say in the fashion of my super sleuths, the incomparable Sherlock Holmes and his literary successor (with not a bad personality I must say), Hercule Poirot.

There is another interesting book that I read recently called the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, (a Booker winner, if you want reputation). So the brainwave happened( when I was reading in a semi-daze after travelling by an auto in the Delhi heat) when in the adventure of Murder in the Mews, Inspector Japp mentions how Sherlock Holmes drew attention to certain things and the curious aspect would be that something would be amiss by virtue of its absence. Confusing?

Let me explain. In the short story called "Silver Blaze", Sherlock Holmes refers to the "curious incident of the dog in the night-time" as a way of drawing attention. And in reality, there is no curious incident. In fact,what is amiss is that the dog did nothing. And hence the curious incident that it did not bark in the night time. This is referred to by Inspector Japp humorously as Poirot's irritating habit of drawing attention cryptically to certain things like "the missing attache" when it was not missing or "the smoke in the sitting room", when there has been no smoke.

And now to connect the dots, the book Curious about a young autistic boy who is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, only there is actually an incident of the dog in the night time. So my deduction(ahem..) is that the author of the book Curious Incident..had to be a fan of both Sherlock Holmes(which is a commonplace deduction since the book is filled with references and interesting trivia about the latter) and Agatha Christie, since it was in the particular adventure of Murder in the Mews, the anecdote of "curious incident of the dog in the night-time" from the Sherlock Holmes adventure is mentioned by Inspector Japp.

Sometimes I think writers have a very fertile imagination, as they start from an idea and build a whole castle around it.
Or else, all that I have said is merely pointless because, I'm just being pompous here.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

the story of 'the paradox'

I really liked this scroll that had a message by the Dalai Lama titled 'The Paradox of Our Age'. So the expat Tibetan woman seller was a little confused. What is the meaning of paradox, she asked. My friend and I looked at each other. 'Irony,'I chipped in quite unhelpfully. How do you explain paradox in Hindi. As we struggled with all our Hindi vocabulary to get at the meaning of this really difficult word( I mean check Wikipedia, you would think quantum physics is that makes the word paradox seem like quantum physics. After a lot of hemming and circumlocutory explanations, she finally nodded in understanding.

music by igor

I was wandering in a trance when i heard strains of jazz sax from one of the open streets in Goa. It was a friendly face with a hundred wrinkles and a smile that beckoned. As I gingerly stepped in, he asked, "What would you like to sing?" Just like that. So as I sang Killing me Softly, all the lyrics seemed to make as much sense as meeting an old soul would. But I hadn't met him before. I can still see his hat, tilted to one side, his fingers moving along the keyboard and his old friend on the sax. Some more jamming later, it was time to move along. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a really old friend that I'd met after ages. "If you come back, look for a sign that says 'Music by Igor'".

Friday, May 18, 2007

me, ocd and the art of peeing in public toilets across india

It takes a lot of heart to venture into one of those shady places especially if you're suffering from you have to learn a few things about this whole exercise
1. try holding you know..if you can
2. don't try 1. if you don't have practice
3. carry lots of tissues and paper soap
4. learn how to squat by doing yoga or bharatanatyam or just learn it by not being such a dope
5. acquire peripheral vision..know where things are and yet ignore details..this will save you a lot of trauma
6. learn how to meditate..this is to generally acquire patience to endure this whole exercise
7. learn to be imaginative..this will come in handy when you have to pretend you're in a flower garden that smells like lavender
8. learn how to smile through your frowns..else insist that's how you smile..with a frown..this will be useful at the end of the exercise
9. practise acquiring selective amnesia... this will help you forget the whole thing

wedding season

so suddenly everyone i know is either getting married or in the process..and i found myself attending two of them weilding saris..btw i'm getting better at maneovering them. Two diametrically opposite weddings in every sense; one a catholic wedding replete with dancing and frolic and the other a traditional andhra wedding with bling and jasmine and silk sarees and a thousand rituals.
The hectic travelling trip was marked by lots of hills, some dogs(no friendly mountain dogs yet..sigh), good weather, bad weather, my first airplane trip(yea i know i'm 25), a bout of loozies, a lot of activity, a lot of hiking, a lot of photography(courtesy sonali), weddings (of course), dancing in a sari (quite a task), water bodies(kamlesh where art thou!), greenery, rain, mist and strawberries, mulberries and dirt, darkness, peace, changing relationships, travel friends, chilling( i know a whole list of things now that comprise chilling), rains in the hills, the sounds of a bullet in the narrow lanes, gates which lead to nowhere and guard kilometres of weed, winding paths, monkeys(including sonali and rehan!), sun tan, travelling by trains, comparisons of the bombay local and the delhi metro, cycles, hookkas and tikkas, horse-poop, dinner by the moonlight and lots of nameless people who shared the journey with us.