Wednesday, October 29


I just came back from meeting my extended family for Diwali. We really have such a clean scene, no one drinking or playing cards. If I compare these people to everyone I know in Delhi, they seem like from another planet. It's become intrinsic to lose a lot of money on Diwali via gambling, apparently the more you lose, the more you gain back by Lakshmi luck. Yeah. Right. But festivals are for everyone I guess. I know of plenty of people who'll get deathly bored at my house. Playing cards on Diwali is so 'required' of everyone, I see ashen faces everytime I confess ignorance and deep disinterest in the whole activity. What?? You won't play? WHY Come we'll teach you. I figure I have enough vices to last me for some time, no need to add to the package.
My grandmom has become unrecognizable. She used to be fat like all old women and be so embarrassed of it. Now the skin on her arms is stretched out and hangs, as if there's nothing inside her to support that many layers. I held them up and saw deep scratches on them, from mosquitoes or boredom I don't know, but she knew she was hurting herself and she didn't remember the reason. It's so lifeless to feel her arms, her face. Is there even a person inside that shapeless clothing? She's not aware of anything around her, and everyone pretends as if she doesn't exist. The basic things that are required to make her live through the day are taken care of, but no one really knows what to do beyond that. I don't blame anyone, I know my chacha has done things few sons could even think of. Even if he complains all day over it, he'd be inhuman if he didn't. What can you do with someone who talks in her voice from childhood from the last 4 years. She wails all day, she forgets what I told her 2 minutes back. She once didn't remember her sons. But if you sit with her, you won't feel it. It's close to going back to when I was 3, she tells me fabricated stories about people and places, confusing incidents and histories along the way. She'll make up conversations that never took place and give dialogues befitting her opinion of that person. So if I hear that she met someone yesterday who asked her about my marriage plans or how long will I rot in Pune, I know she thinks it's high time I come back. Patience is easy when you meet someone for five hours. I would be a different person if I had to live in that house. Old age is the most horrible disease. There are many who enjoy and live through it peacefully, and most of them have the perfect partners. Amma had the all the right things in life, if only she had a man who loved her enough through all this, she would be fine one day. I really think all it takes is something sweet in the morning, and before you sleep at night. After so many years, that's all it takes to keep your faith in living through it all. If that doesn't happen, then why would someone not cry all day if it's anyways expected of you by doctors and family alike. I've told my mom that it would be alright if it all is over. I think I'm old enough to know when someone really wants to go through all this. Anyways I'm not the one taking care of her, so it's not a question of burden. But why would I want that woman, who had green sparkling eyes and a luminous face, who used to listen to me bitch about my parents and chuckle, who had an interest in every person in the family and wanted to be a part of every small festivity; be turned into this stranger who impersonates her and breaks out into desperation so that someone will notice how unhappy she is. Everything is so crazy, sometimes your freedom and your life feels so close and real to you that it's euphoric, and there are times when it pulls you down to the worst corners. For all you know, this could be the best place I'll be at.
I hope she sleeps easy for the rest of her nights.

Friday, October 17

I don't want to grow up

I've been vegetating. Even when I take a break these days, I'm still thinking of all the running around in store for the next 6 months. Maybe I just cannot work too hard, been out of touch with it for too long. And the thought of all that effort really scares me. So I'm deluding myself thinking that all I need right now is lots of relaxation and minimum activity, but ho hum, I'm bored of lying in bed all day. Have been in Delhi for 3 days now but haven't let anyone know. What's the point. I don't feel like going out or socializing. Lately, everyone I know in Delhi are just lost connections. I can't relate to most of them, call it late realization or whatever. Except some, every person seems not worth the effort.
It frustrates me to not be satisfied with any city, or any person. I'm going to be in Bombay soon, and will crib about that as well. I just hope it doesn't come to me taking the local. I swear it takes unrealistic drive to take that option. So all I'm thinking of is where all I need to go before I graduate, after all this work is over, after I get a job otherwise I'll be too guilt ridden to go anywhere. Hmm. You never know, maybe I'll be so dejected that I'll just run off for a bit.

mm. Goa. In January. NOT in December
Maybe Hampi once more. Want to see what it's like season time. Although I get the feeling that I won't be able to squeeze it in this time.
Ladakh in April
And Krabi

Will definitely cross check this in June. How much will I accomplish in so less time? It almost hurts now. That I won't have so much time to waste ever, or to travel so much more. I can stay awake to watch sunrise and go back to sleep. To know people in their best phases of their life, before money jobs and life takes the joy out of them. No matter what they say, we all will get painted the same way. I miss my dog... he'll always take me to a happier place.

Thursday, October 9

Smoking in Public R.I.P.

I understand that there are bigger issues that are to be dealt with in this country. But we should discuss this smoking ban in great detail. Because banning something as intrinsic as smoking a cigarette, in a country like India, is nothing short of monstrous. I never thought it would happen. I don't know if others around me have been viewing India from a different prism, but I've felt immense freedom in this place. Forget about the bigger picture and all those depressing things you read in the newspapers, but living a normal life in cities here gives you the freedom to do anything you want. And if you need dedication towards any vice, you can depend on India for that. You can pretty much drink anywhere, anytime. Anyone can manage to score anything from any city, why, it only takes a taxi driver to find out these details in 20 minutes. I don't need to give details on the historical presence of smoking in India, all our gods had these swirls around them. Maybe its extra sinful now because of the health drive, but I personally do not know of any man in my home village who doesn't smoke a hookah every evening, and these guys outlast 100 years quite easily. And so do the people around them. Of course I
m not being naive enough to discount the cancer argument altogether. But how much available data remain on origins of cancerous cells anyway? We just have random statement on how the non-existence of this chemical increases your chances of contracting this cancer or that. What about those people who contract stomach cancer at the age of 22? They didn't even live enough to warrant that kind of body desecration.
I think I smoke responsibly. I wouldn't light up when children are around, or when old men are around. Or when someone is really unwell. And most of the people I know follow these basic rules. Because smokers are not unidentified aliens. They are just in possession of a habit that is more socially criminal than yours. I will never understand as to why drinking is so much more accepted by every generation. My dad took me out for my first drink with him when I was 13 or something, and we end up drinking everytime we meet or go out. But even he gives me an endless lecture whenever he smells smoke on me. I can't tell him that like other kids have veered towards getting drunk, I've veered towards this. He won't get it. Apparently my liver is less important than my lungs. I've seen more people die from alcohol abuse, but I'm still encouraged to leave cigarettes by my well-meaning friends, because that's what they have chosen as the safer option. But why should any place set up these unbelievable rules that are clearly infringing my rights? The argument is that my harmful habit affects other people too, so it should be done away with. And drinking does not do that? How many people run over 12 people while overspeeding after smoking cigarettes? Alcohol is what gets you to work late, because of your hangover. Not cigarettes, they actually keep you awake. Too much alcohol also makes you violent, emotional, lecherous, loud and generally too much of an inconvenience. How are these factors not affecting other people?
India has the second highest standing in world malnutrition index. The State doesn't have funds to feed all the children here, inspite of booming production and useless imports because some Minister wants a cut in that deal. The Delhi Police has already stated they are much too busy to waste time on imposing fine on random smokers, what with bombs exploding all over the country with clockwork schedule. How can Ramadoss logically explain the application of this law that clearly does not suit the Indian budget? Does it make any sense to impose another burden on the taxpayer only because this guy wants to get his not-so popular portfolio in the limelight too. Those hungry kids be damned. I'd rather hit against smokers and Bollywood. The media covers that. If he's so concerned about the health of this country's youth, then his ideal mode of action should be to exterminate cigarettes from this country. Ban the manufacturing. Delete them from the system. But they won't do that. As it gives them unimaginable money. So they'll keep on making cigarettes more expensive, and also make it more difficult for people to smoke them. While industries based on this product as well as the people dependent on them for survival will suffer losses, the government can act like the righteous big daddy and also pocket big change in the process.
There are an equal amount of smokers in this country, isn't it a bit too harsh to expect them to climb down floors to smoke while at work? To not allow smoking sections at all in restaurants and clubs? To make them step outside in the sun or bad weather from places that expect you to pay 300 bucks for a coffee plus tax plus VAT? Why the hell should I be so inconvenienced? Can no one see that this whole thing is more than just a plea for a frivolous privilege. The other day some random woman patted me on the shoulder while I was walking on the road, telling me that smoking is now banned. Great. So now all these faceless strangers who always nursed hatred against this 'filthy' habit will collect the balls to give worthless gyaan to other strangers just on the security of this dumb law? Of course I told her to read up the law in detail to know of the exclusion of streets. Thankfully. But how many more? The coffee place close to my house has this bench kind of sitting area that overlooks the traffic on the road wherein you can smoke, from there all the rickshaw wallahs, paan tapri guys, random people in passing cars, people walking, men with ideas about women who smoke can take part in my smoking experience. It leaves such a bad taste in my mouth. It's so insane, it's like an era has come to an end. Maybe we all will get time to get used to it. And then, as it so happens in India, there'll be a jugaad to get around this as well.


Please don't listen to psychedelic music. It can get you arrested. And that is just the good part. See what I mean, no freedom. I'm waiting for the day when India will be like Russia, when psy will be so goddamn common that it'll give competition to dandiya nights. Yay!


After all that is happening around me, it's no wonder I hate going out. It's like your home has become the trippiest and safest place to hang out. That's why I'm moving again in search of something different.


It's really funny to see all these Bongs crying now. Earlier it was oh Mamta didi is such a socialist hero, yes we definitely will hold on to this land and let no one enter. And now it's hogwash like how Durga Pujo celebrations have hit a lull because of the exit of the king of small cars. Modi has again proved his smarts. This just shows that a normal human being will nowadays not even accept something he readily wants without nakhras. And when it's taken away, he'll waste some more newsprint on how unfair it is that his wishes have been answered.