Monday, March 26, 2007

The Little Mission Accomplished! Moments Of Life

Life is settling down again. The frenzied, running-helter-skelter-istically frantic activites of the past few weeks have ceased, otherwise run out, and things are pretty much normal again. The absence of events that shake the foundations of my hitherto sheltered and goody-boy existence is a bit of a letdown perhaps. But it also gives me time to refuel and unwind in some length of monotony, getting ready for another later explosion of calamities, and goof-ups, and wild rides and whatever elses.

So, in the spirit of leading a life of gentle, undulating monotony I went to buy cosmetic items at the Well, now this place is stacked up with all the goodies of the world (including several imported canned food items, perfumes, eating things, drinking things, moisturizing things and all), but it is just a shop. The sign outside boldly proclaims "Supermarket".

I went in, all set to buy a toothpaste and soap and come out. But you're all swept away with this sudden rush of action. Let me step back, and explain how it all began. Came about, so to say.

You know how you don't ever do the things you need to do? You keep procrastinating, and procrastinating, and procrastinating (its my new favourite word. sounds cool and its tough to type. hee hee!) and then finally its too late? Or if you're lucky, someone else does it for you. Anyway, you dont do it yourself. (also take note of how I use the word you at every opportunity, thereby bowing you in guilt and acting like it doesnt extend to me. diabolical!)

Like, how you promised yourself you'd do your assignment long before time so you could relax and take things easy later. But you didnt. And you find yourself pondering over the evils that have taken you over, as you sit at your table the night before submission date. And you're copying someone else's.

You know then? You know?

It was all a bit like that to start with. I needed a toothpaste. I needed the soap.

For the past month, I'd been borrowing toothpaste from all over the hostel. Every morning I would wake up, shake my weary fist and curse at the sun, reach out for my toothbrush, that Excalibur of absolutely horrible colour scheme (dark blue and purple), and groggily stumble my way towards the common basins. Enroute I would arbitrarily enter one of the 3 rooms previously marked as toothpaste-providing zones. This is where I took my desired fill and stumbled on. The state of affairs suited me quite well. But the previously unmentioned owners of the toothpaste tubes appeared to have issues with it. They vouched their eternal friendship and their wholehearted willingness to stand by me were I in dire straits or deep sea or other forms of water-bodies, but were I to not cease this annoying habit of trespassing early in the morning and helping myself to their goodies, I could be sure of bitter recrimination. I protested vehemently. Or as vehemently as groggy half-consciousness allows. I beseeched them to stop thinking of themselves. Look at me! It all makes sense. Its not like I have to even go out of my way. Your room is exactly on the way to where the basins lie. I dont have to take a detour or walk in negative x-direction. Its so easy. Think of me also! In vain.

As for my lack of soap-ownership, Utsav uses a shower gel. And he usually wakes up after me. QED.

So I went in. Now here's the trouble with these places full of fancy-shmancy containers packaged so attractively! I floated towards the cosmetics/bathroom-thingies racks, and suddenly I'm surrounded by strangely designed bottles full of liquids of varying density, colour, surface tension and what not. There are after-shave lotions in bottles of all possible volumetric dimensions. There are face-washes and moisturizers and skin-pore cleansers and nail massagers and body-creams and after-showers lotions and intensive skincare soaps and la-dee-da skincare soaps and shaving creams and shaving gels and talcum powder and muscle relaxants and pretty soon my eyes began to haze over and a blackness almost overtook me.

And thats how it happened. With my self-defense weakened and my armor let down so I could catch a breather. I couldnt help it! I was charmed. I was seduced. I was waylaid. I found myself buying a shower gel.

Soap runs out so fast. And I've always wanted to try one of these na? Why not? Why not? Why not??

The bottle was designed to comfort the hand that held it, with those polka dot like things poking out at the sides of it. The translucent liquid inside was dense and slightly grey. Adidas Revitalizing Shower Gel. It had the cool Adidas logo upfront, and words like Fresh!, Body Recharge, with minerals, soap free and pH balanced scattered in different lettering and alignment everywhere.

Now see, I've always wanted to be revitalized. So I went for it. I've used several brands of shower gel over the past few months, and I feel I know enough now to finally be able to buy one for myself. When a shower-gel offers you a golden opportunity to revitalize yourself, you go for it. Because none others that I've seen have dared to offer that. They say recharge, they say rejuvenate, they say healthy glowing skin and all else. Never revitalize. Never! *employs his deep sober tone of quiet evil and scaredyness*

Thats how it all ended. Another timeless little incident, so integral a part if anyone yearns for that monotony of everyday life. And I walked out confidently with the feeling of having a good day's work (albeit the day was 120 days ago), the shower gel and toothpaste and face-wash in my packet in my hand.

Hmm..err...yes. I bought a face-wash gel too. Its all herbal and soap free this free and that free, not to mention good for oily skin.

Afterword: The shower-gel is good. It works. Quite revitalizing and all that. The first time I stepped out of the shower having used it, I distinctly noted a different feeling about myself. I stood still and I reached out for it again. The feeling. Yup. I was feeling revitalized. I looked to my shower-gel in my bucket. I nodded to it. I think it nodded back, one doer of one's duty to another.

Which reminds me, time for class in a few short minutes. I must rush and shower. Yeah so you guessed it. Hah. Big deal. I know I'm predictable. I must rush and shower, with my revitalizing shower gel of mineral extracts and no soap and mysteriously viscous slightly grey translucent liquid.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Snaps From Maiden '07

Not that I want to keep rubbing it in, but I do a bit. Just so you all know what you missed and I did not...

The following are actual pictures taken from the crowd at the Eddfest 07.

Ladies and gentlemen, Iron Maiden.

Iron Maiden, ladies and gentlemen.

I've always felt that the quality of snaps decide how you look back at the event itself. So, I'm going to give you only the best, sharpest pixies to watch, drool over, and curse yourself and whatever else with.

After the guitar-wielders, I give you the great man himself. Take a bow now. Be nice. Its....Bruce Dickinson!

I agree the name isnt the announcing kind in a deep whoopdidoo baritone, like Mohd. Ali's was. But still! Bruce!

It was heaven! Heaven heaven!

But you know, it wasnt all fun. We had to endure a lot of pain and obstacles to get to this. Heat, sweat, dust, the long queues. And FTN. But we stuck through. And FTN got what they were asking for.

Does it burn now for some of you? Does it hurt? Do you feel disgusted with yourself? That you missed it? That you chose futile excuses like lack of air-tickets, expensive concert tickets, car accident, chicken pox, examinations and what not to justify it to yourself?

I laugh at you. I point, and I laugh.


*points and laughs*

*keels over laughing in mockery. rolls on the ground and laughs a bit more. then gets up, the dignified young twerp once more.*

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What Is Tomorrow?

No, no. Not in the deeply profound, theological sense. Listen first.

I was minding my own business, doing this and that, when I noticed this a few days back. And then I was gently reminded of it too, by good friend and ruthless critic.

My ickle blog, my little creation, my first real (albeit not so real, really) punching bag is turning a year old tomorrow. Yup. And I bet you didnt know! Hmph!

Anyway, at this moment of realization, and upon finally finding time to write a post on this epoch-istic frivolous event, I would like to reflect.

In fact, why dont we all? As in, why dont we all take a stroll down memory lane? Checking out the trees, kicking loose stones, crunching down upon grey fallen leaves and generally inhaling the atmosphere, reminiscing on the changed times. As the wind blows across our faces, runs gently through our hair, messing up the tedious comb-work. As the trees sway, letting in bars of gleaming sunlight through dark green foliage. As the squirrels frolic and chase each other like idiots, banging into trees and what not. Pick up a picnic basket, fellow-traveller. Lets walk. Lets talk.

Let us speak of changing ways, changing thoughts, evolving patterns, pillars of great achievement, canvases left unfinished for another day of inspiration, the ideas, the plans, the times. For the times, they are a changing.

*long drawn sigh*

I was a young and innocent child, when I registered with Blogger. With young and innocent views, shocked realizations and disbelieving and wide-eyed observations of the world around me. Hence, I found it apt to label myself Confused & Baffled. It was true at the time. I find it true even now. But less often.

My blog has turned one. I didnt believe, although my delusions of grandeur did, that it would go anywhere when I sat down to come up with my blog title, my url and such like. It would go the same way that all my ambitious endeavours had gone. The initial enthusiasm would fade with time, the joy of regular upgradation would erode with days and weeks of lacklustre notice and a drying pool of comments. And the blog would go dormant. Slowly, it would die.

But it hasnt. A year gone, and its alive and kicking. In fact, its aliver! And it kicks higher a bit! I love my blog, a lot more than I did initially. It truly belongs to me in the true sense, for good or for bad. Its mine own little achievement. Every post a victory, a task completed, giving me endless satisfaction.

I shall leave this post unfinished. There's more to write tomorrow. Its a big day. Is there a surprise planned for me? What you giving me? Tell na! All kinds of gifts, in kind or in cash (I have change, yes) are most acceptable. I accept most major credit cards (provide CVV number neatly written on separate slip, thank you). If all this is beyond you, just send a nice sweetish greeting, ending with "All Hail C&B! The Magnificent One!" and I shall be pleasantly surprised, I promise.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hallowed By Thy Name* - Iron Maiden

*No it isnt. I didnt get the name wrong. Its intentional.

It is an insanely cruel ordeal for a non-stop chatter-monkey who has his mouth forever working at x (a very large number) rpm and a continually evolving vocabulary to throw at you, such as myself, to find himself at odd ends to describe, to illustrate, or to otherwise paint a vivid picture of his life's experiences. Seriously, I kid you not. I mean it. You dont know how excruciating it was to have to end that sentence.

But thats not the point.

The point, the nub, the crux, the focal point of my words is that this is one such blessed ordeal. What does one say when a weekend vacation can be reminisced only through a couple of hours in it? When the memories of a road trip to another city, and of the two days spent there are entirely eclipsed by the memories of a glorious two hours?

How am I to find just the right words to express our fatigue, our exhaustion as we waited through a queue from 12 noon to 3, and then sat inside Palace Grounds under the glaring sun for another two hours, waiting for the concert to start? I'll give it a shot.

Apprehensions rose first, along with average temperature, as Campus Rock Idol winners FTN came and made glorious fools of themselves, headbanging and guitarbashing till they were packed off to an ignonimous exit by raised middle fingers and orchestrated cries of "F*** You!".

Then came Parikrama, creating a new bigger and better name for themselves and garnering thousands more fans, with an unexpectedly fantastic performance of purely original songs. The sun still blazed down however, with no signs of relenting. It was tougher to keep going back to the stalls to grab a glass of water. Bottles werent allowed, and no one would dream of giving up his place, however distant from the stage. The crowd had closed in towards the stage in a wide arc, as the countdown to Maiden finally appeared to have started. Perspiration, mixed with the rise of red dust at every step, and blended with the mutual body warmth of thousands of active excited metal-fans, came together to cook an atmospheric curry stewing with putrid smells and jolting with that tang of sharp adrenaline that passed in the throng from one body to the next smoothly like electricity. We were glued to our places, our aching shoulders held up straight as we looked around at this - our brotherhood of rock-devotees, tired and ecstatic at our current shrine.

The minutes passed by. Lauren Harris came and screamed her head off for a while, asking Bangalore to come on(!!!) in some vague, ambiguous way. She received her fair share of raised fingers, waved goodbyes, and cries of f*** you (interspersed with a bit of perverse but clever f*** me!. Lol).

We were waiting for Maiden, and we'd waited too long, tolerated too much exhaustion, ignored too much thirst, too much pain, to watch some young chick try and sing out of tune and have the nerve to ask us to come on. She passed too, like the idle wind that troubled us not.

And this is when words fail me. The entry of Iron Maiden, the rush of guitarists armed, the blast of arc-lights, the various coloured lights we remember from 80s concert videos, the power-guitaring to their latest album, A Matter Of Life And Death. Bruce Dickinson ran, sprinted and jumped, and at one point of time climbed and then slid down a 20 ft tall truss. All the while singing, screaming, shouting with vocal chords that never once wavered in their strength, their resilience, their intention. All we could do was watch in awe, in disbelief, first at them and then at each other.

We are at Maiden!!

What followed was an experience that I cannot do justice to right now. It was too magical for that. I wont ever forget it. Not least because of what Bruce said - There will be more rock concerts, more Maiden, but all of you guys can say that you were here when Maiden first came to Bangalore.

And its true. India's first rock-metal concert. I was there. I shall smile when I see people downloading videos of it a few years hence.

Maiden in Bangalore '07? Yeah, I was there.

I was in that chorus of a 50000 people when we sang, yelled, screamed, shouted, blared, and otherwise burst out in true emotion:

Out of the darkness, brighter than a thousand suns.
Out of the darkness, brighter than a thousand suns.
Out of the darkness, brighter than a thousand suns.
Out of the darkness, brighter than a thousand suns!

Friday, March 16, 2007

TOW Nishant Tries To Be All Diplomatic And Break As Few Hearts As Possible

The trouble, one soon discovers, with a hectic and busy life is that there is never much time. One tends to be, so to say, busy. And that is an especially tiring inertial state for one who has hitherto been only bored before, not to mention utterly exhausted of the inactivity in his life.

One is constantly doing this or doing that. If both of those are done, one must then get started on yesterday's bits of thats and thises. And then the next day's. Life, instead of being the meandering river we imagined it to be in our dull dreams, becomes more in the nature of water rushing down a breaking dam. Its out of control, its destructive, its powerful, and there is a lot of it.

The blogger of this little space on the blogosphere would like to announce his imminent departure by overnight bus to Bangalore, to catch Iron Maiden live on their Matter of Life & Death Tour. Without giving too much into extraneous emotion or excess words (for he is short of time), he would also like to rub it in for all those who would willingly step over 3 cats and a field of mines to be there as well. But alas, cannot.

*does his much rehearsed and Im-there-you're-not-dhinkichiki jig*

He feels he must confess to feeling a couple of tangs of pity for his few readers, for he seems to be constantly chasing them away by drawing them, as if by unbreakable strings, into his wonderfully amazing life of eternal fun and frolic. He would like to let it be known that he does feel a deep-ish empathy for some of those who took the useless efforts of making their jealousy and envy vocal on more than one occasion. He asks them to be patient, and remain faithful. Perhaps one day there time too shall come. They must not lose hope. Its after all, all they have.

This blogger would now like to run and quickly pack his little bag, for time is running short, and the bus will otherwise leave without him. He needs to eat and stuff, pack and stuff, say goodbye to his people (C&B Lovers & Fan Club - Manipal Branch), and board the bus quickish.

Tra la, folks!

Dont cry now. There there. I'll be back, my dear. When the fields are white with daisies, when the sun shines upon us all, when a cool breeze blows across our lands, and when Iron Maiden has moved away and out of Palace Grounds for good, I will return. To you. And you. And you.

Be strong, my people. Bear my absence, the lack of my tender words of caustic cynicism, and my ever-growing Moses complex.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Now now. I can explain. Don't turn away like that. Don't say you dont care. I can explain everything. I know you can't do without it, and you hate it if I just vanish so, without saying a word, without leaving a letter. Especially when I left you hanging and yearning for more.

Well, here's the thing. I didnt befoul myself or anything. Nor did I catch a horrible sickness. Except for what I see might well be a slight fit of megalomania. But never mind.

The thing! Its this. I've been busy practising guitar. This chap next door, friend of mine (Whom I shall S henceforth. So may you.), wanted to audition for western vocals at the big hotshot fest coming up here. So he asks me to fiddle around with my fiddle* behind him while he plays. Keep the beat, so to say. Maintain the tune. Play background guitar, in other words. Or, lend him an air of preparedness and sincerity bestowed immediately when you dangle an accompanying guitarist in front of a panel of judges.

Well, anyway. So I said yes. And we'd been practicing a while. Last to last night we performed. At the basketball court, bang in the middle of campus, with a crowd of a 100+ swooning fans. With jittery hands, which later went icy cold, (for this was my 1st time in front of a lot of people) I strummed along.

[Thats S. And me.]

And it was good! Or so I hear! It was awesome, and absolutely unexpectedly brilliant, I also hear! We didnt get selected! *mutters angrily*

Now that doesnt affect me much personally. Point is, I was goood! Or so I hear. I couldnt really hear myself while I played, for some reason. It could have been because of the nerves. Or maybe I entered a higher realm of concentrated consciousness. Perhaps thats what it was.

Dont snigger! And dont you dare cough purposefully, or hide your smirk, or raise your eyebrows.

Since then, time has once again fallen short. And I must run even now. But, oh yes, the Goa stories will come up shortly. No, I haven't forgotten. Yes, I know how eager you are. Aaannnd, yes I know how angrily jealous you are about it. Which is why it most definitely shall come up. With pictures and everything.

Just let me conjure up some free time. Oh, and it was Behind Blue Eyes I played.

* Cheapskate! Cant you not think along those lines? Sheesh, it was just an innocent statement. The 'guitar' was called a fiddle before? Remember? Like in Julius Caesar, Brutus asks his boy to fetch his instrument, and strum it a while to help him sleep? sick creature, you sniggered at that too didnt ya?

Sometimes - A FiftyFiver

Sometimes they wonder. Sometimes they think clearly. Thoughts coming as a crystal clear stream, flowing gently but continuously down into the valley of their minds.

The thoughts are their own, not fed by others. Their pondering at once amazing, yet so obvious to them. They were always curious.

What do I want really?

Only sometimes though.


Its part of a really cool chain started here. Go see.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Planet Swimming Into Our Collective Ken...

Fifty Five Word Fun.

It speaks for itself. There's a cracked dam kind of overflowing nature to the posts at the new place currently. So it would do us all good to keep checking it every hour or so. Go go. Even I'm a member! Oh, but dont let that put you off. I haven't written much yet. The rest are all good, fun people.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

We Left At Midnight...

We waited at the station. The train, due at 11:40 pm, was late by 10 minutes. Typical. I looked towards the horizon it would come in from, in eager anticipation. I felt a vibration in the tracks below, and the sounds of the train came from the distance.

Pick up the rucksacks, guys. Its come. We're gonna have to rush in.

He he. We were going to sit in the general class. Our first time. We scrambled in to grab our seats. The train will be gone within 60 seconds, we were told. It didnt budge for 20 minutes. We just sat there, feeling a tad silly after our frantic, hurried invasion of the carriage.

Now, trains have a tendency to do this to you, dont they? No matter how excited you are, you fall asleep in little time? Or was it just the fact that it was late at night? Anyhow, thats a little later. At midnight, we brought out the stashed fruitcake for Harsh, sang softly (not risking the ire of fellow passengers) and got him to cut it with a Swiss knife. The Gerrard jersey which was supposed to be presented about now had been conveniently left behind in the room, so we couldn't gift him anything. Sigh, the trip itself would have to do.

Looking around a bit, I checked up the people around us. This chap, with a moustache pasted across his face, was sleeping with his legs up against his chest. He wasnt very tall so he'd conveniently folded himself up on the seat itself. Another guy slept on his back, on the 2nd tier, his head resting on a small leather briefcase, and his feet lofted on a suitcase. One guy was sleeping up on the luggage-holding ledge you have on the side. General class is a bit of a free-for-all na?

Everyone, unanimously, was sleeping. Quite contentedly too. What else could we do in such circumstances? Within a few minutes, the conversation dried off and we plonked off too. There's never much space in a general compartment. So if you want to sleep, you lean and kneel and rest and lie on each other. I put my head on Pratik's lap, who put his head on my shoulder. We slept.

But only for a bit. I woke up, with a nagging pain in my back, and Pratik woke up, with a nagging pain in his nose caused by me waking up because of the nagging pain in my back. We re-adjusted. I sat straight and slept with my head against the wall, and Pratik put his head against my (mighty) shoulders. As my eyes closed, I saw another guy we hadnt noticed before. He was lying at my feet, on a sheet he'd spread on the floor. Probably came in while I was sleeping.

I woke up again, after what seemed like an eternity of hard labour. My back, my mind, my feet were numb, as though of hemlock they had drunk. The man beneath my feet had vanished somewhere. My half-open roaming eyes caught another new entrant, sitting clutching his head with both hands, opposite me. Why is he holding his head like that? Is he crying? The hands slipped off. His head gently rolled on its socket, coming back up. He was sleeping.

My eyes closed again. You've seen that painting of The Last Supper? How Jesus and Mary are supposed to be joined at the hip and lean outwards creating a whatever significant alphabetical space between themselves? Well, thats how we slept this time.

With a jolt, I was woken up. Several jolts. Harsh was shaking me by the shoulder. We've arrived! Quickly grabbing the rucksacks, we rushed out onto the station. It was 5 in the morning. Still quite dark. The full moon, a brilliant vermillion, stared down at us. I stared at it, wonderstruck. What in the world is that??

Lunar eclipse. Chal, jaldi kar.

Oh aah. We walked into the chilly night, laughing, smiling, carrying heavy rucksacks. Ready to try our first spontaneous decision, our first vacation together. Our first adventure trip.

Welcome to Margao Station (Goa), announced the lady over the microphone.


Note: More information and (eagerly desired I'm sure) vivid details about the fantastically suddenly planned trip and what followed, to come up soon enough. Watch this space.

Note II: As in, the space above this. Thats where it will come. Watch it.