Sunday, January 28, 2007

Masters Of War - Bob Dylan

I've heard enough number of anti-war songs by now. They usually portray an equivalent set of emotions - anger, disappointment and cynicism.

But then I just discovered Bob Dylan. And 'Masters Of War' is a wholly novel experience. The venom in his voice, which pours forth his undisguised hatred and despise. I wont give the full lyrics here. Download the song and listen to his delivery, to understand why.

Like Judas of old, you and lie and deceive.

A World War can be won, you want me to believe.

My Cat Meow At Me?

Pchh. Tsk. *disappointed shake of head*

India is a highly inefficient nation. You know that, if you've ever dealt with anything remotely related to the government. You know that since you have seen the dirty streets and the indisposed garbage.

But most of you dont know why it is so. We blame the government for our failures and we blame politicians for their corruption and we blame dogs for the smell near lampposts and we blame the sun for why we stay irritable and heated up all the time.

Bah, I say. Bah!

That is not where the issues are or where the solution is to be found from. It isnt because of them, or any other people or things. The problem lies in us.

We dont throw garbage in dumps, we dont have economy flush in our toilets to save water, and we dont all pay taxes. We dont usually cheat, but if we think we can get away with it, we are pretty much okay with doing anything. The noblest-minded person would sink to any depths if he believed no one would find out. Shame shame, puppy shame...

The problem lies in us. We are lazy. Unnecessarily lethargic. No wait. Thats not entirely true. You are lazy. You are unnecessarily lethargic. More specifically, the problem lies in you. *points a mighty, quivering finger at you through your monitor, as you pull back your intent eyes in horror and disbelief, that such a thing could actually happen and its not just a pseudo-humorous line to write under asterisks and entitle oneself to feel we're matching Wodehouse in some way, when it actually does occur and you are, as I have already stated above in the same sentence and consciousness-stream, horrified and disbelieving*

Just a simple question it was. Nothing more. Do this for me please, I asked. I offered incentive too. How many times have I asked you for anything huh? The one time that I come to you for help - not much unlike Amitabh Bachchan in which-movie-was-it where he rings mandir ka ghanta and asks God if he's doing alright - it just gets to your head, doesnt it?

Not one realistic contribution. Thats the problem with us. We just shift the blame on others. And this time I have suffered the brunt of your blows, oh you insufferably lethargic passing-the-parcel-of-the-little-task-of-kindness players!

Dhruv says: ...and I really doubt there's a widely accepted continuation to that bit. And he also insists its donkeys and not doggies.

Revealed & Rimi maintain that its neither doggies nor donkeys. Its monkeys!

Anushka does not recall there being any form of life at all, aside from the puppy in the first line.

We cant find the answer, you feel no doubt. So lets just cast aspersions on the questioner. While we, ridiculous not-to-be-bothered questionees, just claim ignorance of the existence of any answer in the first place. You smile at your mind's quick dismissal of this conundrum demanding exercise from it and type away quickly and inconsiderately at your keyboard.

Tsk tsk.

Hence are we left with no answers. No winning entries.

But the lines exist. And one day they will be found. That I maintain.

Note: went for campus rock idols held here tonight. absolutely blown away by some of the bands. in case its aired on tv sometime, do keep track of this band called public issue. the vocalist was good, the drumming seemed to be done with a firm and knowledgeable hand, and the bass guitarist smiled on and on like a colgate ad. the lead guitarist is heavenly.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Do Your Bit For Nishant - Special Limited Offer! Grab Grab!!

Chatting with someone brought me to this.

You know how you go to a restaurant with hakka noodles or chopsuey on your mind, and you end up also ordering naans, paneer, and then even Italian and all? Uff..Dont get trivial with me now. Of course I mean when you're out in a group. I, despite commendable masticulating powers and Duo Core 73Ghz Intel Stomadium configured super-stomach, cannot vanquish 3 world-class cuisines on my own. Nor can my friends, and they're quite capable people mind you. You're not expected to either. Now shush with your pedantry.

I asked you a question above. You know how...? You do na? Well, it was like that.

We started off discussing sufficiently normal topics - the bleak future of the solar system when one cannot trust one's fellow man's cobbling word (about how your newly mended shoes will last through the semester, and then they suddenly betray you after a couple of days), ornithology, fishing, student-research into the myriad side-effects of the food at the hostel mess, and etc. But as they do usually tend to, one thing led to another and he said something stupid and silly and I, chortling with delight and unmasked joy at his misery, arbritrarily recited that old favourite adage (poem/teaser/rhyme/that-thing-we-used-to-say) of our younger days:

Shame shame, puppy shame
All the doggies know your name...

Stop. Thats all I managed. This now is your assignment, should you choose to accept. I want the solution as soon as possible! I won't have a good night's sleep until I know! What are the succeeding lines after know your name? I know there are more. But what are they???

We racked our brains for quite a while. Couldn't figure it out. Kindly dial your nearest toddler or little nephew or do something else, and solve this for me!

Free goodwill blessings and all the loose change from my wallet* to whoever brings me the correct answer.

Now. Go!

* Conditions Apply.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Of Subways, Icecreams, And A Banana

I had a triple layer sandwich once. It was a very messy affair, with cheese and vegetable and coleslaw oozing out from all directions. But it taught me - never to do that again. Oh, but you shrink back in horror, I see. No I didnt give up on triple layers. I just found a way out. That it would be much more fruitful to just have all three layers one at a time. Nicer, neater, and each layer would have its distinct flavor to add in my mouth. A most nourishing experience indeed!

Thats how I give you this post in 3 parts. Each one of them is independent, and a post on its own. But notice how I cleverly mesh them together even in their individualities, to combine their flavors into one single dish of delight. The creative genius of the storytelling compels you to wonder where the three ingredients were separate and how they could have really done without each other. But they each happened independently. Its all a trick, brought together by the sheer talent and immeasurable artistic output of the writer, sweeping his readers off their seat and rendering them prostrate on the bare floor. I also, in the process, take the liberty of boosting my ego with these little little delusions of writing grandeur, in case you're the type that notices such things.


Part A - The One In Which Nishant Is All Naive And Generous

Life, I find, comprises a continuous flow in ups and downs, in expectations and hopes and in disappointment and bitter resentments. I didnt know all this, before that day when we went to Subway. Its at the Food Court, so while everyone else ordered their own choices from hither and thither, I flew a straight line like a homing pigeon towards the Subway counter.

Through the sudden surge of saliva in my mouth, I urged the blastedly slow SubwayMan to give me a 6" Paneer Tikka. Parmesan Oregano bread, single side paneer (they charge you double for a double helping, I learnt once from bitter experience), all the vegetables in the world, a bit of mayonnaise, some mint, and twice the mustard. Come now, reader, be honest. Can you beat that combination? Introspect and tell me.

But mark the sequel! Watch how Life sneaks up from behind and pats you on the shoulder and demands a share. [The role of Life shall henceforth be played by Harsh.] He was still a bit hungry after his sandwich, and after all one must share a Subway na?

Well, ya I suppose one must. You can take some of mine.


Going by the generally assumed mature adult principles of sharing, we went for it bite by bite. And thats where Harsh, or that great educator Life masquerading as Harsh, struck his blows. Having been blessed with larger, wider jaws and a far greater mouth volume capacity, he went through my Subway like a bullet through a cream-puff (Nishant's better self: plagiarism alert!) - i.e without mercy and with nothing to stop him but the dumbfounded look on my face.

I would take an average one bite, savouring the exotic-istic sauces and vegetables brought together by the pudgy hands of SubwayMan behind the counter. Harsh was a machine. He would hardly have handed me back the sub after his giant bite, and I would hardly have really gripped it again, than his mouth would again be vacuum, and his tentaclous fingers would reach out once more.

The sub was finished. The heavenly flavors still lingered on my tongue. I savoured them preciously as I saw the smile of contentment, which should have been mine, manifest on Harsh's dammit face.

I had learnt a valuable lesson. Life (Harsh) patted me on the back as we left Food Court.

Harsh (Life) can be such a bitch sometimes.


Part B - The One In Which Nishant Watches His Love Getting All Licked Up By Another

I have a bit of a cough and cold. My throat hurts and my nose runs. And we went to dinner. Understand? Do you see it yet? Its a bit painful, so I'll make it short.

I sniffed and spluttered my way through a most adequate North-Indian dinner at Manipal Restaurant. Now I had only just plugged in my iPod, when the voice of Evil (henceforth personified in the ever-smiling face and excited vocal delivery of Animesh) spoke - Oi, lets go have a softy yaar.

How do I express my emotions? Words failed me. As I saw my friends turn around and head towards the Softy place. As I followed behind them, my throat choked with sorrow and phlegm (not flem, thank you Kyra) and anticipated depression. I sniffed silently; I wiped my nose. They just ordered. I stood right next to them. They clasped their cones, and began licking like nobody's business.

Thats about when they noticed me, standing alone and forlorn in the softy-devouring crowd.

Nishant? Nahi khayega?

My face broke into a look of utter pure emotion - my pain expressed in my eyes, and my helplessness evident from the lines drawn across my forehead. Or not. But he got the picture, nodded silently and turned away, licking away all the while at his Softy.

He didnt say anything, but his eyes conveyed his apology, spoilt only slightly by his hands shoving the softy into his mouth.

I'm strong. I took it well. Just sniffed and turned away. I couldnt see it anymore.


Part C - The One In Which A Miracle Happens...Really Happens

I have a cough and a cold. Bit of both. Oh, but you know that already. Well, there are a whole bunch of things I'm supposed to do about it.

I was walking back from class, towards hostel. Its on the way that I usually just stroll past the fruit shop. I look in the other direction, and pass on. Today, I stopped. I turned towards it.

My feet moved, and before I knew it, I had a banana in one hand while the other hand was handing over 2 rupees to the vendor. As I peeled it, the dammit of it dawned in my head.

I, who had silently sworn to never consume a fruit I wasnt forced to. I, who had never willfully held a banana in my hand, despite my father's oft-repeated words-of-wisdom on their calcium content. The same person was now buying one, out of his own money, and peeling it as we speak.

Its a miracle!

The banana was quite good actually. Its supposed to clean your throat and intestine and all. I suppose it must have. I felt acutely conscious of having lived upto family expectations (so what if my gpa isnt all that great?), as a goody-goody rush rushed through me.

I think I'll go have another today. And maybe an orange too.


These incidents have gotten together to bring me to a state of realization. I know more about me now. I am humbled. I have grown.

Aside from learning to never share any form of edible item with Harsh, and bearing the pain caused by not taking care of myself. Aside from all that.

Fruits are good. Being able to eat icecream is good. Food consumes me (and not the other way around).

Monday, January 15, 2007

Home Away From Home

You think you're leaving home, and the thought is depressing. You think you're going away again to that strange land, of unknown language and staring locals, and the thought puts you down.

But when the bus stops, and you step out in that cool breeze and blazing sun, the gravel feels like home. The pollution-free wind, clear sky and silent morning air feels puts you at peace.

I walked up my hostel stairway. As I reached my floor, turned towards the room I shared with two other room-mates, as I walked along the corridor, even as I entered the room, I did so waiting for that feeling of xenophobia and homesickness to return. But the moment I walked in through the door, and later when I sat down on my bed, I began to realize it wouldnt come.

This is home too.

PS: Went for dinner to Saiba's (one of the posh restaurants here) upon invitation from a friend's parents who had come to drop him off. We reached the restaurant just in time to catch Shinny Ahuja attempting a dance thing and majorly embarrassing himself in front of the audience, at the Star Screen Awards. The guy cannot dance! Good actor though. Why need he do this? Tsk tsk.

Also learned that Manipal Academy Of Higher Education has risen from Deemed University to full University status. Henceforth, to be called Manipal University. We like to call it ManU. Hee hee! I study at ManU! Get it?

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Call Of The Wild

Aaaah...Hmm...Well. Holidays are over then. Its time to go back to Manipal. I've had a mixed vacation of sorts. But its ended well, and the thought of going to where Engineering Drawing classes await, is a bit dreary.

Let me see how the vacation went. Analyse. Look back. Retrospect [is that even a verb?]:

I shopped [now I understand a guy's blog should never have this as point #1, but then I had to go again and again so often that I feel I must]. Once even purely out of the goodness of my heart.

I roamed here and there, without aim, breathing in the joy part in City of Joy.

I met some really old friends. Also went out in innocent merrymaking with others.

Had bitter arguments and sweet conversations. All for the good.

Checked out my old school. It seems to be doing okay without me, much to my egotistical amazement.

Made some degree of sense out of whats been wrong with my head. Not that its going away, but still. Progress is progress.

Saw a gaggle of pretty girls at Park Street and, as I assumed my cool unconcernedly concerned (alternative: concernedly unconcerned?) gait, tripped right in front of them on a damned cobblestone.


But by far the most amazing and fantastic and wonderfully unexpected incident was this. I was trundling along at Pantaloons, muttering under my breath about the dammit prices, when I saw my old junior school class-teacher on the other aisle. She had taught me in Class 1, and I hadnt seen her since. I went up to her and wished her. And she looked me up and down and said, "Nishant."

My eyes went wide as saucers. How does she remember my name? I asked her. She gave me an amused smile, directed at my look of utter gasping amazement, and said something about obviously remembering. I couldn't stop gushing. I have a feeling I was blushing like crazy too. I spoke to her for awhile longer and then floated away on my 9th cloud.

Beat that! My Class 1 teacher remembers my name! I didn't think anyone could (or would). Its been what 12 years now? And hasn't my face changed a minuscule bit? I had a bit of a stubble, which I dont think I had then. And I'm taller and all obviously. I thought about it all. And I've come upon a conclusion. I guess this proves what I've had an inkling about for a long time now.

I'm just absolutely impressive. There isnt any question about it now. No one can forget the sight of my dearly cheerful face and my lovely smile that lights up their eyes and minds. There is something about my natural charm that has made them still recall that young superlative boy of years six. Even though there life has since been bound in shallows and in miseries, taming and training nasty little pokemons, they remember the wonderful days of educating (and indeed, in the process, even learning from) this bright little boy-wonder. Yup, that must be it.


Is it this other thing a few people sometimes seem unduly eager to point out? You know, all that ridiculous tosh about me still being slightly immature and childish in my ways? That I never really grew up. I do expect quite a few comments along those lines. But I stand strong. I'm more mature than you could ever be. So there! *sticks his tongue out*

We stick with opinion presented before.

Anyway, before I close, I feel this need to justify my thing about shopping over and over again. I have reached a bit of a conclusion as to that as well. The next time, when I go through the mundane hours spent picking out cloth, and draping myself with it in claustrophobic trial rooms, and I regret the sheer amount of time I'm wasting at it, I shall be reminded of that one golden day. The one golden day when I made a purchase which gave me true inner satisfaction. Its really why we shop. The day a feeling of brotherly love, peace and contentment washed over me, as the counter-guy swiped my money off my hands and quickly stashed into his register. I shall remember that day and I will smile. And I will feel a bit of all right. And when my mom knocks on the door, sweetly asking me if I've fainted or something inside and what the hell is taking me so long, I will oblige her. I will hurry up.

For on that golden day, I bought these. And my life is better for it. And the roses are redder, and my self-confidence is soaring once again, and I can't stop it with the overly elaborate descriptions that have nothing to do with anything.

Ladies and gentlemen, my new pair of absolutely jhinchak Converse sneakers.

[notice the halo on the side. they are blessed.]

Now I bid thee a thousand farewells as I leave my so-ugly-its-bloody-beautiful city. Leaving feels just as bad as it did the last time. Perhaps more.

But don't worry. Dont cry, my dears. I will be back. Posting shall continue from Manipal, as regular as ever. There there. Dont cry. There there.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My 60-Word Saga

Let It Be

I looked up. The moon glared down. I crumpled beneath.

I felt the night inside me; the cold slowly numbing my pain. Get up.

I looked up. The moon hid; stars shone light. Strength. My jaw firmed. I got up, suitcase in hand. I didn't stumble once as I walked away from her door. Inside, they continued to kiss, unaware.

Sixty word stories aren't easy at all, I realize.

Which is why, I tag Dhruv, Anushka and Anju.

*assumes his awesomely ominous voice* And you, Nims!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Went To Nicco Park!

The entry wasnt all that exciting though. It costs Rs.230 (!?!) to buy a ticket for entry and all rides. I spent the first five minutes at the spot ranting about the price to my similarly outraged, yet bloody less vocal, friends. An accompanying chorus can be so soothing, but do they understand?

Nicco Park. It hasnt changed all that much you know. We went on the Tilt-A-Whirl, which tilted us and whirled us around quite adequately to everyone's satisfaction. Cheers to the Cyclone, which was simply amazing. We went twice! Despite an offensively long queue of ruffians trying to use their repulsive demeanour to cut across our line. We held strong though.

The only notable disappointment was the Flying Saucer. I went for it reminiscing of the time when I last went on it as a little child, and had afterwards promptly fallen on the grass outside, vowing to never go on it ever again. This time on, I found it lame and slow and boring. Utsav and I spent the duration of the ride discussing how the mechanical equipment beneath us worked to maneouvre the saucer. We figured it out. Small mercy though.

This was followed by Striking Cars (fun as always) and a short time spent on unexpectedly rewarding birdwatching. As we walked out, beautiful fireworks were released into the sky behind us. All very flattering. There was no need really. But thanks all the same.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Cannons To His Right, Cannons To His Left...

Into the Valley of Death (read: Mall)
Rode Mr.Jain.

I'm a good boy na? I am, I am.

I went shopping today. Now I understand that some of you do not quite grasp the gravity of the situation here. For you. Take a look quick, and I'll wait for you to catch up.

Meanwhile, there are those of you who are better informed. I didnt go shopping for selfish motives of draping myself in cool what-nots and adorning myself with junk stuff. I had to buy a birthday gift for mum. Birthday tomorrow. *waits for the 'awwws' and ' sweet!'s*

So I went.

Now what exactly do you buy a mum for her birthday? I'm clueless. I was at City Center now, and roaming like a nomad gawking at the shop windows and entering and exiting Shopper's Stop every 3 minutes. I suppose jewelery and perfumes would be proper gifts.

I shivered towards the jewellery section (it was cold) at Shopper's Stop. I looked at a few shiny shiny things, and pointed at them. The cool-faced person behind the counter coolly said "Rupees 3500 only". Only. I walked away shivering (I was shaken).

Now its really tough choosing from jewelery you know. I never knew the kind of hard work girls put themselves through. How do you know if you want the pink shiny neckthing or the blue shiny neckthing? They look the same to me. And they manage to smile and laugh while they make such tough spot-decisions. Amazing! I stared at a weird bracelet for like 17 minutes before I thought it was too tacky. I went here, I went there. Nothing.

Just rows of attendants looking at me. I guess my appearance, low-waist jeans and shirt pulled out, didn't quite fit me in as the ideal customer in their Jewelery and All-Things-Fine Section. It was then that I saw it. I stopped dead. It seemed perfect. A clear crystal table piece. It was carved like a rose, with a long stem. It shined with the colours of the spectrum, in the light being shown on it. I gazed at it. It was just right. Even the words I would write in the card were coming to me in a flood. I was so happy - possibly the same joy one feels on throwing open the casement window of castles in faery lands forlorn, or what every girl feels no doubt on finding that right thing she's been shopaholicking for. I turned it over to see the price tag. Crap!

Way over the allocated budget. I quietly put it back and stalked off. Darn it! I'll just buy a damn perfume or something. So off I stalked to the perfumes section. The attendant very wholeheartedly showed my 4 or 5 rather attractive looking bottles, before I could make clear that I wanted women's perfume. He continued showing off his vast collection of Hugo and Axe, until I repeated more firmly. Then it must have dawned on him perhaps that I was a man of my words or something, because he finally brought out a set of female perfumes.

Now, here's the thing. How do you, as a guy, test women's perfume? Can I spray it onto myself? Is that okay? Well, I did that. The guy sprayed it onto my wrists. Three or four different types. I didn't like one. Which was a silly conclusion, because now I was walking around giving off the aroma of women's perfume. Three or four distinctly different ones.

It was when I was walking out in finality and with empty hands that I saw a little shop there, with strange looking bags and beads and necklaces and things. I picked a quite neat necklace sort of thing with beads and stuff. Took me all of 5 seconds to decide. I wrapped things up with a card, scribbled into it. And now I'm done. Going to give it at midnight.

I'm a good boy na?

This Just In

I was thinking.


I wouldn't like to wake up one morning at the age of 60, a multimillionaire tycoon with hot supermodel girlfriends and a large mansion in California, if what I want is to be an author who mattered, and guitarist to a few songs I love.

I wonder...if you see how we cant be both. And which is the tougher path.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost (The Path Less Taken)

I forgot to put in this one in the last post. Append please.