Dec 3, 2009

Thanks for destroying my peace

Yesterday, S. showed up at my door in the middle of the night. He started shouting out my name. Then he rang me up on the phone, before proceeding to start banging the door. This even woke my neighbors up. I was awakened - I had been asleep for just under half an hour!

I opened the door and without hearing his explanation completely (he wanted a guitar or something - bull shit) asked him to fuck off and banged the door shut. I was in rage and it took me two hours to get back to sleep. I can't believe his nerve! This incident of pure inappropriate behavior shaved off an entire two hours from my today! I don't know why he would do such a thing to me.

Anyway, people who interact with me on a day-to-day basis should know this. I hate the following phenomena. Please avoid doing them if you love me. If you hate me, instead of doing these to me, shoot me in the head.

- Turning up outside my door unannounced
- Calling/banging on my door if I don't answer
- Calling me up after a long period of incommunicado

In all such cases, communication will be facilitated if you send me a message and let me know in advance. The more detailed you are the better. More often than not, I'll respond positively.

The one exception to these rules is Vinokur - forever.

Dec 2, 2009

To-Not-Do list #1 - Life at 30

Things you shouldn't be doing when you are 30

- wondering if you should treat yourself to regular meals
- deciding against, after thinking for a second, considering that you don't deserve it.
- taking home 'extra' (read leftover) food from your colleagues
- saving that up in your refrigerator for days taking little portions out when you want to give yourself a treat
- the same refrigerator doesn't work well and provides a snug environment for arthropodes to proliferate
- saying no to snacks offered at work because you don't want to start wanting it when you are alone
- to avoid meeting people at restaurants and cafes because you will be forced to eat expensive food
- to space out your meals just right to avoid prolonged periods of hunger

If you find yourself doing similar stuff, then you are a poor loser.

I'll follow up with more to-not-do lists.

Dec 1, 2009

The biggest fuck-up ever

Someone told me a few months back - 'kris, you should not put out sensitive, self-damaging things on your blog.' I followed that advice. The result - i'm more fucked than ever and I don't write honestly on the blog anymore. I think I should just go back to the way I was - whining, bitching, and being an attention whore. At least I feel better that way.

So, here's my first attempt at redemption - confession.

I have fucked my life up. I'm fucked up and I honeslty feel like a fucking fool. I don't have any confidence left in me and I am a wreck. Every fucking day of my life is the biggest pain. My life if full of things to avoid. I don't want to meet people and be happy because I get hurt by others' happiness and joy because I can't have something similar. Yes, I'm jealous. And I'm losing hair. And I am drowning in debt.

That's me. I'm sorry people but I'm the biggest fuck-up ever!

Nov 21, 2009

Another phase of deep dark depression

I have been lurking in the cold shade of clinical depression in for the last month one month so. During this period, I considered various form of social suicide. I almost was on the verge of deleting this blog and all my various social identities on the internet. I have pulled through somehow.

However, I'm still in a phase of rapid cycling between severe and mild depression. Things that appear trivial to someone else will push me into a down-spiral within minutes, and to avoid such occurrences, I have been carefully avoiding all forms of social contact.

I apologize to whomever who has been reading this blog. I'm sorry. :(

Oct 19, 2009

The Prayer Inside This Song

Vinokur wrote this poem way back in 1968 when he was in Mexico. It's about getting stone drunk (or other states in which you have practically lost your self control and conscience) and could have done something potentially disastrous. This is a kind of an apologetic plea.

The reason why I am posting it on my blog is because this is the first poem/lyric that I have worked on - to put melody/arrangement/record etc. - in about a year's time. Besides, I think I'm working on mothering our first child - the first among a few brown/white children that would beat the living hell out of the Brangelina progeny.

I think we need a name for such kids - how about Vinokris children?

The Prayer Inside This Song (Vinokur/Bass)

Please, friend, please -
I think I did no wrong.
But if I did, forgive me -
That's the prayer inside this song.

I'm trying to remember
Just what went down before.
Yesterday was madness
And this morning's bringing more.

Someone, tell me please,
What did I do or say,
That - in this phase of after-craze,
Makes worries for today?

Who was that I talked to?
What was that I said?
It seems some kind of miracle
That I'm alive, not dead.

They say I talk to much -
They say I've lost control -
But, if I can't be honest,
I'd rather fill a hole.

If I can't talk my mind, friend,
Why should I talk at all?
And if the truth is what they mean
By having "lost control",

Well - if I can't be honest, friend,
I'd rather fill a hole.
If I can't be honest,
I'd rather fill a hole.

Please, friend, please -
I think I did no wrong.
But if I did, forgive me -
That's the prayer inside this song.

The prayer inside this song....
The prayer inside this song....
Is - if I did, forgive me, friend....
That's the prayer inside this song.

Oct 15, 2009

Good or Bad

It's been so long since I heard from you
Are you there, alive and well?
Or are you playing with me and my mind
Maybe you are doing something that's holding you back

Does it help to know that I care for you?
That I'm here, waiting in hell
That I'm just hoping that you'll be kind
Maybe I did do something that made you show your back

It's so hard to tell
it's painful enough already
You know very well
At least I think you do
If you weren't lying

There's another side to this, you know
That I like being alone, in pain
Just knowing that I'm meant to be hurt
That I'm doing something that's pleasure in pain

My life was etched that way, in the past
To be ridiculed and laughed at
Just because I was what I am, my bad
That forced me to feel it was good to be bad

It's so hard to tell
If I'm really good or bad
I wish you would have known by now
That I'm a bastard, and I need you(r) bad

The End

My life has been transcribed by Eddie Vedder in the latest Pearl Jam album.

The End (Eddie Vedder)

What were all those dreams we shared
Those many years ago?
What were all those plans we made
Now left beside the road?
Behind us in the road

More than friends I always pledged
Cause friends they come and go
People change as does everything
I wanted to grow old
Just want to grow old

Slide on next to me
I’m just a human being
I will take the blame
Bust just the same
This is not me
You see
Believe
I’m better than this

Don’t leave me so cold
Or buried beneath the stones
I just want to hold on
And know I’m worth your love
Enough
I don’t think
There’s such a thing

It’s my fault, Now I been caught
A sickness in my bones
How it pains to leave you here
With the kids on your own
Just don’t let me go

Help me see myself
Cause I can no longer tell
Looking out from the inside of
The bottom of a well
I yell
It’s hell
But no one hears

Before I disappear
Whisper in my ear
Give me something to echo
In my unknown futures ear

My dear
The End
Comes near
I’m here
But not much longer

Pearl Jam - Just Breathe (Backspacer)


Yesterday, for a brief period of a couple of hours - I got out of my blues enough to download the new albums by my favorite bands. Listening to Backspacer now. Beautiful. "Just Breathe" has almost brought me down to tears.


Just Breathe (Eddie Vedder)

Yes I understand that every life must end, aw huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw huh,..
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love,..

Some folks just have one,
Others they got none, aw huh,..

Stay with me,..
Let’s just breathe.

Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win, aw huh,..
Under everything, just another human being, aw huh,..
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
To make me bleed.

Stay with me,..
You’re all I see.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.

I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw huh,..
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take, aw huh,..
Nothing you would take,..
Everything you gave.

Did I say that I need you?
Oh, Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,..
No one know this more than me.
As I come clean.

Nothing you would take,..
everything you gave.
Hold me till I die,..
Meet you on the other side.

Oct 12, 2009

The Right to Not be Polite on the Phone

I have had a history of being rude on the phone. I know that I have been - according to social standards. But don't I have the right to be pissed about somebody intruding your privacy forcing you to react and comment to questions and thoughts?

Think of it this way. You are tired, have just slipped out of your clothes, and are trying to sleep. Would you want to be disturbed - even when its your mother/lover/child is calling you? Wouldn't you want this person to understand and fuck off?

The privacy that you have is the time when you let your conscious social mind sleep. Where you can sleep naked throwing away all the societal clothes that you are forced to wear. How would you like it if you were woken up every now and then? Now, imagine the person who's doing it. Let this be someone that you really don't care shit about. Hold on, it's not because that person is lowly - just that we fucking don't have the time.

Don't we have the right to sleep - the right to be alone, not needing to speak with someone and react righteously? If yes, why am I labelled as being rude? Why don't people let me sleep? I don't want to dress up for a person that I don't really have the time to care about. And its fair.

Oct 11, 2009

27 to 30

27 to 30 - about the phase of life between 27 years and 30 years, when I'm 27 days to becoming 30 years old.

27 to 30

Stop, rewind. Slow it down.
Play. Pause. There, do you see?
What? I can't believe it.
Is that me, are you sure?

Hope, happiness, and a life ahead
Pride, loneliness, not a fear of what's ahead

Unpause. Play. Slow it down.
Hey. Pause. There, do you see?
Where am I? What's happened to me?
Why do I look sad and lost?

Fear, pain, and truckload of demons
Scars, sadness, and life to forget.

Play. Fast forward. Don't stop. Ever. Off.

Oct 10, 2009

Lessons of life

Life's really your first and only school, and it is quite an average public school - albeit, with with audio-visual lessons. You really can't graduate out of it. There is no structure, a vast majority of the tests are unexpected, and the peer pressure is tremendous because of the 6.5 billion competition. And honestly, there is hardly anyone who understands the syllabus well enough to guide you when you repeatedly flunk a test.

There are good parts too. The lack of structure means that you are never really late for anything. Text books aren't really defined - you can pick up any random topic anytime - and there our minds double up as note books, thus eliminating those weighty backpacks. Furthermore, you can't really cram for tests, and the preparation (and a few of the elective tests themselves) can sometimes be well thought out and planned. The possibilities for study groups and their members is enormous.

The irony, however, is that these good parts shows on the screens of only who masticate, swallow, and digest the bad parts. For them, life can be the most wonderful amalgamation comprising parts of romantic comedies, sit-coms, tragedies, drama, action-thrillers, avant garde films,documentaries etc. You might need to choose your popcorn flavor and find a nice cozy mental recliner couch to view from. Yes, life's playing at your own personal screens and you need to find ways to enjoy it.

I think I'm one of these lucky ones who have an alimentary system analogous to the cow-folk. Yes I have frequent regurgitation and I belch a lot. Just one wish though - I wish my screen played a little bit more of happier parts. Rom-com parts too. Who has the remote?

Oct 9, 2009

Weed out your garden

Everyone's life is in the process of being lost due to a lack of direction, motivation, and a tendency to stagnate. You may say that I'm a cynic, but I'm not the only one. If you indulge in some sort of art, like I do (music), the onus is on you to prevent this from happening. Keeping company with an intelligent group of people you selectively retain after careful weeding helps in your life.

I find it increasingly suffocating to be hanging around with people having musical egos, who don't have a structured approach to dealing with music, and those who don't have a musical goal or are failing in any attempts (mostly none) to reach it. For example, I would much rather be alone in a busy train listening to inspiring music by geniuses (like Alanis Morissette, in my life right now) than stay in a cab full of feigned, pointless conversation about how good/bad a gig/band was.

You might also say that I'm a bitch, but I'm probably one of the few with balls enough to realize, accept and execute this ideal. This, I believe, is universal - to avoid bad people/things in your life. But just keep this in mind: 'bad' is relative and there is every chance that I'm 'bad' for your life. So avoid me, if you must - for your life is your garden, after all, and it's better to start picking and weeding it in springtime.

Oct 8, 2009

Forgotten facets

I seem to have forgotten what it's like not to think about anything at all - like staring out of the bus watching faces, buildings, and landscapes fly by. I seem to have forgotten what it's like to come bach home and not have an agenda to follow - like find something interesting on television and watching it. I seem to have forgotten that the time that you spend for eating is not something that should be avoided to fit in for variables - like late buses and traffic jams.

I also seem to have forgotten how what it is to live with happiness. Coincidence?

Oct 5, 2009

The case of Artists vs. Audience

So you are an artist - a musician, a photographer, a painter. You have fun doing your thing and the product, or in the other words the 'final' product, is supposed to showcase to the world the thought that went inside your synapses when your were making it. This final product apparently has the charm to win over a million hearts, thereby catapulting you to the fame and acknowledgement that you richly deserve. Sounds good. Sounds fair too. But what about the world?

The world's turning around in a frenzy, almost chasing it's own tail. And its inhabitants are busier that a humming bird's wings trying to make ends meet. Most of the world really cannot stop and stare at a painting, a photo, a song, or a poem and figure out the brilliant neuronal foreplay which climaxed in the final product. Apart from time being at a premium, majority of the world isn't wired like the artist - not even like AN artist. The world too is right!

So the artist complains to the world 'You are not being kind to me. You don't even find time to appreciate my final product and and pass on some comments. Unfair!' The world says 'Honestly, it's not that I don't care. First, I don't find time. Besides, I don't even get your art. I can't understand it. So why are you complaining?'

The court decides that artists and the world come to a truce under under the following reason: artists should go back and enjoy the process of making art! Let the product be a by-product.

On a similar note - why is it a given that art has to be appreciated equally by everyone? What if the masterpieces are just hyped up? Who decides what is good, and hence should be appreciated and emulated?

Sep 30, 2009

The Circles of Life

The gig at Hyderabad was wonderful. It felt really good to be performing on a big stage in front of a sizeable audience. But even more important for me was my life had completed a circle - one that had started in Y2K.

Back then, I was in Kerala, was in my Final year of MBBS and I had been playing guitars for a couple of years. S. was studying in Kochi and I had gone to visit him. S. took me to meet his friends from the band named Evergreen. We had gone up to their rehearsal pad - a room on the fourth floor of the building in construction that had been converted into a cozy jam pad.

I still remember standing (and in due course, sitting) in awe at the professionalism with which the band was doing their rehearsing. The drummer sounded like a metronome, the guitarists were playing on fucking huge amps, and the bassist was trying to pen in some lines - right in front of me!

I was mesmerized by what I saw and was inspired enough to make me feel that I too needed to reach this level of musicianship and professionalism. This, somehow coincided with the demise of the music TV channels from not just my life, but from our entire generation.

 

Thankfully, I found an immensely satisfying replacement in WorldSpace, the satellite radio service that had infiltrated majorly into my life. I was a big fan of - I still am - the modern rock station BOB. I was listening to Linkin Park, Nickelback (the good old days of the Canadian band), and Coldplay.

Around the same time, I heard a compilation CD called the Great Indian Rock. That CD featured the song PSP 12'' by the band Zero. That was the first time that I had fallen in love with an Indian alternative rock song. It reminded me of what Indian rock music could do – make groovy modern rock. Suddenly, things fell into place. I wanted to write songs like that - I did actually, not quite the same standard, but that's beside the point - some of them are online!

That song was written by the drummer of the band - the multi-talented musician/comedian, Sidd Coutto. Ironically, I hadn't realized that until really late, from the horse's mouth actually, on one night when he was performing at a gig in Mumbai this year.

Now, how does the friggin' circle get completed?

At the Hyderabad gig, I performed on the same stage with both Evergreen and Sidd Coutto (with the band Ankur Tewari and the Ghalat Family). Not only did I perform, I drank, ate, fooled around - all with my rock idols, who inspired me to be what I am.

Now, isn't that sweet!

I'd like to take this opportunity to credit all the idols/icons who I've performed/played with or shared the stage with, in the order idol-hood attainment:

  • Rex Vijayan (Avial, former Motherjane)
  • Sunil and Evergreen (the entire band band)
  • Sidd Coutto, Bobby Talwar, Rajiv Talwar (from Zero)
  • Jai Row Kavi, Johan Pais, Sidd Coutto (Helga's Fun Castle)
  • Teemer Chimulkar, Aniket Waghmode, Janus Sayal, Gilroy Fernandez(Sceptre)
  • ZomB Menon, Sheldon Dixon (Metakix)
  • Tony John, Rex Vijayan, Mithun Puthenveetil, Naresh Kamath (Avial)

Thank you all for inspiring me me and making me realize my dreams. I hope I can inspire someone to be/do something someday. I'd love to be tagged if you decided to write about it!

Sep 26, 2009

The irrepressible Sun

I've always wanted to write - bestsellers, preferably in the Asimov mold. I, unfortunately, can't. This title is dedicated to that dream. If you are wondering WTF - I'm at Hyderabad for a gig with Shor Bazaar and I have just come back from soundchecking under the blistering sun. I almost had a heat stroke. This gig brings my life down another circle - I'll explain that next time. Now, however, lets get me back to the only thing I'm really good at - lamenting.

Once my good friend Dennis had said a decade or so back: 'You've got to be extensively-read to start writing, Kris'. I had nodded, albeit in part-disagreement - I hate being told I'm not good enough - it reminds me of my childhood, when everything about me was judged by performance at academics. 'Son, the only reason why we are proud of you is because of your scores and otherwise, you are just a bag of shit'-type comments plague me still, you see.

I had been forced to fall prey to the sleazy educational system and my conservative lower-middle class upbringing, where the only goal in life was to score well in exams. On top of that, I chose something - I must confess that I love Medicine and Orthopedics, but they are just too restrictive - which wrecked any chance that I had to explore the loopholes in the system.

Now, I'm staring down the hill, with the best part of my life over, with very few memories that I can cherish and carry forward. I have a pathological uneasiness to get into discussions with others about books, music, paintings, movies because I feel ashamed to have not read/heard/enjoyed/watched them. I have self-esteem issues and am pathologically approval/attention-seeking and depressive.

The message is this - please choose to have better childhoods.

Sep 24, 2009

Confessions of a chronistically-challenged soul

Here's what I do in life: (a) Full-time day job which is interesting but taxing on the brain, eyes, and my time (b) Full-time musician who plays for four active bands (c) Full-time PR guy for at least two of the bands that I play for.

This amounts up to one thing - Bull-shit personal life. From no time to talk to my friends to lack of sleep, from not running errands for weeks to not getting time to read the newspaper, from closing the browser when someone pops up on chat with 'Hey, long time!' to not getting time write/rehearse by myself.

People, I'm sure, must have made a wonderully elaborate explanation about me and my excuses. There are a few people who I promised to meet up (for dates) with after a telephone conversation. They must think that I'm acting pricey. My friends who call me up when I'm in the middle of something and end up getting an answer 'Hey look, I'm really busy now. We'll talk later.' Well, this is how you lose friends.

Sooner than later, this will take it's toll. I realize the need to be away from the knife's edge. My schedule needs to ease out. I don't want to break down. It's my only life!

Sep 21, 2009

My latest goal in life

Most of who know me know that I'm a teenage girl trapped in a man's body -insecure, weak, and terminally depressive. However, there are times when I turn into this ruthlessly aggressive persona, and use my words like curare darts and end up hurting people who I love. That's probably I relate to Fiona Apple's 'Criminal'. She's so fucking honest and brutally naked in her lyrics. My latest goal/aim in life to be as cool as her, write such songs, and sing them as well as she can. (Sigh!)
Fiona Apple - Criminal (1997)
I've been a bad, bad girl
I've been careless with a delicate man
And it's a sad, sad world
When a girl will break a boy just because she can

Don't you tell me to deny it
I've done wrong and I want to suffer for my sins
I've come to you 'cause I need guidance to be true
And I just don't know where I can begin

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Heaven help me for the way I am
Save me from these evil deeds before I get them done
I know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand
But I keep living this day like the next will never come

Oh help me but don't tell me to deny it
I've got to cleanse myself of all these lies 'till I'm good enough for him
I've got a lot to lose and I'm bettin' high so I'm begging you
Before it ends just tell me where to begin

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of love

Let me know the way
Before there's hell to pay
Give me room to lay the law and let me go
I've got to make a play
To make my lover stay
So what would an angel say, the devil wants to know

What I need is a good defense
'Cause I'm feeling like a criminal
And I need to be redeemed
To the one I've sinned against
Because he's all I ever knew of looooooooooooooooooooooooooove
Yeah yeah yeah uhh uhh uhhhhhh...

Hey hey hey haaayyyyyyyyyyyyy yeahhhhhhh yeahhhhhhhhhh hiyee ehhh...

(PS: If I ever were straight, I would totally make a pass on her.)

Sep 19, 2009

Dates

What's there in dating, you might ask? Most of us have achieved varying degrees of satisfaction in finding someone, and being with that person, in a relationship. Some of the lucky ones still are with their special someone. For the rest, there is a choice.

A person with relatively high self-esteem might sit back and hope that some magic will happen and justify 'When you look for something, you won't find it.' A person with the same level of self-esteem, but with a desire to reach the goal, might re-start dating and still have sufficient immunity to heal the process of emotional wounding.

However, for people like me, with varying moods and a whole extra-large pack of depression and low self-esteem, it's a minefield. Every date is a potential dagger being thrust into your back, so that when you fall, the dagger can go no way but in.

I'm like a decorticated dog in a Pavlovian experiment - which failed to get de-conditioned to love and pain. I wish I could stop this vicious cycle. I can't. So be nice to me.

Aug 18, 2009

Shor Bazaar's Savita Bhabhi (video preview)

It's here! The "Savita Bhabhi" video directed by Varun Agarwal (from Last Minute films) has just been uploaded on FaceBook. We don't yet know how to upload it on YouTube. Until then, here's the link.

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=234123750370

I think too much of my yellow teeth is showing. But I still love it! What do you think?

Aug 12, 2009

The Queer Azaadi march


Update: For more details on the march, please visit the Official Queer Azaadi blog.

Dear friends,

A few weeks back, when the Delhi High-Court read down Section 377 of IPC, I felt liberated. I was ecstatic - most of my friends would remember. I'm touched by the wonderful support that I received from my friends and their friends (unfortunately, not too much from my family). Since then, however, a few staunch right-wing religious fanatics have filed cases against the ruling at the Supreme Court, and the court will now decide with the government about implementing the High Court ruling.

Yes, that’s right - the government, ministries, and the Supreme Court will now decide the fate of millions of gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities in India. Currently everyone at the Centre is playing it safe, and despite realizing and confessing unofficially that criminalization of homosexuality is primitive and unethical, taking an equivocal stance. We have a long road to go ahead, a tough battle to fight, and quite honestly, we need support.

This weekend, on the 16th of August (Sunday), Mumbai will have its 2nd annual pride march titled "Queer Azaadi March." The march will start at around 3 pm on Sunday at the August Kranti maidan, go towards Girgaum Chowpatty, and finally come back to the maidan itself. You can expect the colorful participation of the minorities, a universal phenomenon at all pride marches.

How can you help me/us? By marching with us, of course! It might sound redundant, but I’ll have to state this – You do not have to be queer to march. Throughout history, straight (heterosexual) people have always shown their solidarity toward sexual minorities by choosing march by our side. You can give us tremendous support us by marching with us, as would my straight friends and band mates. 

Why is this important? If the turn-out is huge, the march will be a huge success and that will be a strong message to the important people at Delhi. It will definitely help tilt the stakes in our favor for permanent decriminalization of homosexuality.
So, I request you to please come and march with me! I'd be most grateful for the support. I will add the details of the march below. Also attached is a Time-Out Mumbai article, which had photo of me, about the pride march written by my friend Vikram Doctor (TOI/ET).

Queer Azaadi March ‘09
  • Day Date & Time: Sunday 16 August 2009, from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Pre-March Assembly Point: August Kranti Maidan (Gowalia Tank) at 2:30 pm (Nearest Railway Station - Grant Road)
  • Route: August Kranti Maidan => Nana Chowk => Opera House => Girgaum Chowpatty and Back.
The march will take place from 3 to 6 pm. Like last year we will start from August Kranti Maidan at Gowalia Tank, from where Gandhi gave his call for the British to Quit India, and we will march through Nana Chowk to Opera House and to Girgaum Chowpatty - but where last year's march ended there, many organisers felt this was too short for all the enthusiasm, so it will probably be extended to march back to August Kranti Maidan.

Thanks to the success of last year's march, and the enthusiasm created by the Delhi High Court verdict, a lot of people are coming for the march from other parts of India and even abroad. Celebrities like Celina Jaitley and Milind Soman will probably be there. It’s going to be a blast! 

But while we hope everyone has fun, there is also a serious reason for marching. We have won a big victory in the Delhi High Court, but it is being fiercely challenged in the Supreme Court. We need to call with all our effort on the honourable judges of the Supreme Court and the government to respect the verdict of the Delhi High Court and to let freedom stand for the queer community across India. Last year's March was to call for azaadi; this year's march is for it to stay.

You could help just by persuading friends and relatives to come - we are VERY keen on extending this march beyond just the queer community to show that this is a human rights issue for all. Or by offering to host some of the many people who will be coming for the march.

Despite the Delhi High Court victory we do realize that many people will still be wary of marching openly. We respect these concerns and have accommodated them, like last year, by making lovely, colorful masks available for free at the venue (just come a bit early to make sure you get one). Apart from this there's the fact that, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, we have deliberately broad based the march to make one not just for queer people, but for anyone interested in basic human rights issues. 

A lot of mainstream supporters will be coming, so if it is a concern, please be assured that being seen at the march will not necessarily label you as queer - but it might label you as someone who believes in human rights for all!

See you at the march!

From TimeOut Mumbai: Why We Want To March
Vikram Doctor, Mumbai

When the Delhi High Court delivered its wonderfully liberating verdict on Section 377 the most obvious and immediate opposition came from religious homophobes. Their dogmatic diatribes must and are being countered, but there’s probably little chance of any real dialogue with such blinkered people. But I’m hoping that’s not the case with other strains of opposition or discomfort. Like the one articulated by antediluvian Congress politician, Vayalar Ravi. “As far as I am concerned this is an issue of the elite with which we do not agree,” he said, using the standard tactic of political elites to dismiss progressive issues that don’t fit their agenda. 
 
A more nuanced argument came from those who welcomed the verdict, but warned that too bold a coming out for the community could invite retaliation and also confirm the homophobes’ charge that this was a flamboyant Western imposition on Indian values. “Will the nasty jibes stop now that gays are ‘legal’? I’d say ‘Hold those exuberant celebrations’. The time to pop the bubbly is still a distant dream,” warned Shobhaa De in The Week, while Santosh Desai in The Times of India noted that blatant displays of difference could backfire: “Imitative acts of protest, like some of those seen at the gay pride parade make it easier for those already anxious to label the movement as being frivolous, derivative and elitist.” 
 
They may have a point. When you’re trying to convince people gays and lesbians aren’t frighteningly different, it is perhaps not the smartest thing to do to march in public decked in rainbow colours and having a blast. “Milord, these people, they want to have fun,” spluttered one of our opponents’ lawyer during the Delhi High Court hearing, and it certainly true that a Gay Pride march, along with its many serious messages, is also an occasion for much fun. So why, at the time of writing this, are queer groups planning to organise another Queer Azaadi March just like the one we had last year? 
 
Because, in a way, it’s the real answer to Mr.Ravi’s dismissive remark. With a few honourable exceptions, the elite gay and lesbian crowd and their friends were never really involved in the campaign against S.377 because their position meant it never mattered for them. Ms.De, always the social observer, described this world in The Asian Age: “educated, urbane, well-travelled cool guys as comfortable in Miami as they were in Mumbai. This new breed was predominantly gay… but determined to stay in the closet.” She went on describe a power gay mafia in the entertainment and fashion world who employed gay stylists, designers, music directors, cameramen… who all created images of muscular, sexualised males and skinny, desexualised females for their private appreciation, which the unknowing public lapped up and internalised. 
 
I have to say I find this a bit glib. Of course, I know gay people in Bollywood, though hardly in the numbers Ms.De seems to know. (I also know plenty of straight people who create the images she describes, and plenty more who appreciate them quite simply because both men and women like looking that way). But what I don’t get is a direct connection between them and the fight against S.377. Yes, their use of gay themes raised the issue in India, but very few have been publicly involved in the fight, apart from Wendell Rodricks. In general the elite gay crowd has never been much interested in gay rights, because they had faced no problems, and perhaps even feared some with a more open gay culture. 
 
So who wanted the law to change? The ordinary people who faced real problems. The gay college students who was bullied and called names and saw his name and number written in the toilets. Their mothers, who support their resistance to the bullying. There’s the butch lesbian woman who got dirty looks, and sometimes even direct confrontation, when she got into the Ladies compartment in the local train. Or the hijras who face the same problem, and even worse treatment from the railway police, getting beaten up and even sexually abused, which they don’t dare report, because the law makes them criminals. 
 
Then there are the workers at organisations like Humsafar who have government funding to distribute condoms and spread awareness about AIDS among men who have sex with men – but who are still abused and harassed by policemen as they go for their work in the evenings. Or there are the two women who fell in love in a small town in Punjab, but when their relationship was discovered they had to run for their lives, and now struggle to survive in the big city. Or there’s the gay couple who have been together 30 years, but are afraid that when one of them dies his family will throw the other out of the property to which they have no joint right. When they tried to buy a flat, their loan application was brusquely rejected because their relationship was illegal. 
 
I could put names on every one of these ordinary Mumbai stories and, and still have more such stories of people whose struggles to cope are made all the harder by the knowledge that the law considers them criminals. None of them would consider themselves part of Mr.Ravi’s elite, yet these are the ones who have organised to fight S.377, who have contributed from their small earnings for the costs of the case, who have dealt with their fears of exposure to give testimonies that can be quoted in court – and who came out to march last year. And this year it is these people who want to march again, not to shock and titillate the public, though they know that’s how most of the media will treat it. It is these ordinary people who want to march to prove to themselves that they can – and to prove to this city that their stories are this city’s stories too. 
 
As it happens, I think the last time I met Ms.De was a couple of years back at an event that was almost literally a dress rehearsal for these marches. This was a fashion show organised by the queer community at Damodar Hall in the Marathi millworker’s heartland of Parel East. Whatever attitudes Ms.De might take in her writing she is always gracious and a good sport in person and she readily agreed to be the judge. With not a single elite gay designer or director in sight, but a crowd comprising of half queer people and their families, and half Damodar Hall’s regular (slightly surprised but appreciative) audience, the show presented glamorously bedecked drag queens and stylish lesbian drag kings, tight T-shirted muscular gay men and one bi woman friend of mine who had gone for a high heels, corset and whip look. 
 
Ms.De sat appreciately through it all, and even gave a speech in Marathi at the end. She didn’t tell the participants to hold their enthusiasm then, so I hope she’ll understand when those same people come out to march. Not in any expectation of immediate or easy change, but with the knowledge that our first steps must be taken, with sequins and style, in the streets of Mumbai.

(Courtesy: QAM, Time-Out Mumbai)

Jul 29, 2009

Shor Bazaar's own "Savita Bhabhi"

Shor Bazaar, my band, have just released a single based on the porn comic strip heroine "Savita Bhabhi." Personally, I believe Savita Bhabhi.com is a very genuine and creative concept - at least, from the point of view of our society. I see her as person who defied the stereotype of an Indian woman, always bound by restrictions and rules, suffocated of a right to express her feelings and desires.

It is unfortunate that our Government decided to ban the website. I feel that the echoes the discrimination towards sexual minorities. Hence, this song feels like a liberation - a tribute to freedom of expression, the freedom to be yourself.

Shor Bazaar's "Savita Bhabhi" is out for free download all over the internet. I'll list a few sites below. I request all of my fellow blogger friends to listen to the song and if possible, talk about it.. on blogs, forums, networking sites etc. If you do, please send me a link so that I can share it with the band and the rest of our fans.

- Shor Bazaar Blog: http://bazaarshor.blogspot.com

Also, these are some links to Shor Bazaar on the internet. Again, please feel free to send these across to your friends and families. Promote free music. Promote freedom!

Jul 26, 2009

The cat's out - Noise Market single 'Savita Bhabhi'

Noise Market's new single titled "Savita Bhabhi" is just three days from being released. If you are wondering how, why, and where, please read this. Sunday DNA (26th July, 2009 - Mumbai edition) has an article on it which can be read here. The lyrics of the song are posted on the Noise Market blog.

Please support us by spreading the message and joining these social networking sites.

:-)

Noise Market links

MySpace
Twitter
FB fan page
FB group

Jul 22, 2009

Soliciting Help for Freedom of Expression

I have some great news. Noise Market is releasing our first single in a few days time. Although the song's still a secret, it is about freedom of expression! I am asking for your help for the same. I would give you the links to the pages where it can be downloaded for free. All I ask you is to spread the message around if you like it.

Do we have a deal?

Jul 5, 2009

'Now that we are legal, make it illegal to harass us'


This is an article that I wrote for DNA which got published on the Sunday DNA (Mumbai edition, Page 9). Read the text version here.

Here's a JPEG version.

(Thanks to Vinokur for all the help!)

Jul 2, 2009

I'm legal!

I'm trembling with excitement. It has happened! Section 377 is beind read down! I'm legal! I thank everyone who was part of this wonderful, remarkable journey! Get ready to see me in drag!

Jun 18, 2009

Unfinished conversations

So I've been thinking about how everyday we say 'Look, I would love to have carried on this conversation. We'll do it some other time. Eh?' So many people, so many relations, so little time. Try this. Go to your inbox and browse through the e-mail exchanges with friends, family, and acquaintances. Every conversation seems to have ended with an unanswered question with a few loose ends.

Some of such ends are trivial. 'Howz the weather in Mumbai?' etc. Some others are painfully sharp. Sharpness is relative. From a 'Would you like to meet me?' which went unanswered to 'What do you think about my work?' which got ignored under piles of things to do.

Foolishly, we add on things to your schedule. From dates to gigs, new stuff has to happen. Life doesn't seem credible otherwise. What will happen if people suddenly forget me? Yet, we forget that the more important people in your life, some of them who have gone through the endurance test of life with you, supporting you when you needed, are given the boot.

We are really mean people. Please pass on the meanness-extinguisher!

Jun 9, 2009

Photographical interlude

Last week, I was clicking like a madman. No particular reason why. I guess occasions for some nice photos presented themselves. The problem now is that I don't have time to edit them. Interested souls can check out the Peter Parker FB page.

May 29, 2009

Photography: The MySpace Secret Show

I'm getting a little too engrossed with photography I guess. I went to watch Black, Scribe, Motherjane at a MySpace secretshow the other day. This is what I did... umm well, apart from rocking my ass out!



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What do you think?

May 26, 2009

If I promise, I deliver

People at work call me uncle--not just because I'm like decades older than most of my colleagues. I wear these old fashioned clothes, you see. Formal trousers, shirts, and a fedora. Yeah, that's true. Here's proof.

May 25, 2009

Pearl Jam - Present Tense

Rob inspired me to listen to Pearl Jam again. Not surprisingly, I stumbled on this song from 'No Code.' The lyrics are so very apt for my life.



Pearl Jam - Present Tense (from No Code)

Do you see the way that tree bends?
Does it inspire?
Leanin' out to catch the sun's ray
A lesson to be applied
Are you getting something out of this?
All encompassing trip

You can spend your time alone
Redigesting past regrets, Oh
Or you can, come to terms and realize
You're the only one who cannot forgive yourself, Oh
Makes much more sense to live in the present tense

Have you ideas on how this life ends?
Checked your hands and studied the lines?
Have you the belief that the road ahead
Ascends off into the light?

Seems that needlessly it's gettin' harder
To find an approach and a way to live
Are we gettin' something out of this
All encompassing trip

You can spend your time alone
Redigesting past regrets, Oh
Or you can come to terms and realize
You're the only one who cannot forgive yourself, Oh
Ah, makes much more sense to live in the present tense

May 23, 2009

Younger Than Jesus

Vinokur sent me this T-shirt which he picked up at the New Museum in NYC two weeks back. He had been to an exhibition titled "The Generational: Younger Than Jesus." All the artists featured in the exhibition are under 33 years of age (like Jesus H. Christ). I had received this T-shirt (which was the reason why I'm more or less fully out of the closet at work) and I wore it to a metal gig tonight. A friend of mine loved the T-shirt and took a picture of it.



Thank you Vinokur!

May 17, 2009

6-day cycle

Vinokur observed this first. My depressive cycles are 5-7 days long. This time, probably the worst ever, lasted 7 days. I don't exactly know what triggers it on and off. I feel much better now despite nothing really changing in my life. Vinokur thinks that I should seek for help. Lithium, in his opinion, could be the magic bullet.

For me, with my set of friends, this should be easy. But I can't make myself do it. The last time I went on anti-depressants, I had to discontinue because of the expenses of drugs. I know Lithium isn't that expensive and I could technically try it. But then, I would have to do regular blood tests for monitoring the serum level.

I'm not going to afford that. Also, I'm not going to find time for that. Just forget it.

May 16, 2009

This Old Wound

It's amazing how songs sum up your life at any particular point of time. This one's a good one. Chris Carrabba has always been on my list of people to emulate. I love the way his songs sound lamentful and earnest. I couldn't find a YouTube link to it. But I'm sure you could find the track somewhere on the internet.

Dashboard Confessional - This Old Wound

Well I've been bleeding well from this old wound,
Cleaning it with salt, so it will still feel new.
And sometimes eyes turn black, and sometimes scars are tracks.
But every time you're gone,
I wish that you'd come back.

And everyone watched me waste myself,
and everyone cheered at last.
And all of them found it comforting.
It's better it's me, than them.

I think I'm doing well from what they say,
They've taken both my belt
And shoelaces away.
Well I believe in luck...
I think I do.
Well I'd believe for sure,
If ever I saw you.

Well I've been fanning flames from these old coals.
Feeding them with tinder, and hoping they will grow.
Well I've been savoring what I can't hold.
A blind belief in goodness
That doesn't seem to show.

Well I've been bleeding well from this old wound.
Cleaning it with salt, so it will still feel new.

May 15, 2009

The pleasure of working

Going to work is the only thing that I look forward to everyday.
  • It provides me with means indulge in something interesting.
  • It provides me a comfortable working space.
  • It provides me with time to listen to music.
  • It provides me with Internet, without which life would not go on.
  • It provides with a semblance of stability - no computer crashes, regular timings etc.
Everything that leaves me alone providing room for introspection is a potential disaster. First thing on that list is the act of coming back home to my computer and letting my mind wander through the amazing list of 'things that could go wrong.'

Only very few things could possibly keep me un-worried when I'm not at work.
  • Gigs, which give an opportunity to do something challenging and fun.
  • Alcohol could made a difference had I been able to afford it.
  • IPL too to some extent, but my PC has made even that a dreadful thought.
I'm really thankful to my job. It keeps me preoccupied, and therefore, happy. Or should I say, not sad?

May 13, 2009

Bipolarity

It's amazing how my mood cycle is periodic. Right now, I am a goner. People at work are shocked to see me locked up in this amazing shell. From a very chirpy, talkative person who liked having fun, I had become a monster, who would not make eye-contact, not talk, and avoids all sorts of communication unless it was absolutely necessary. People are intimidated. Of course, they would be. They should be.

They don't deserve to face the end result of my problems, most of which I can't blame anyone except myself. I agree that most people, when faced with difficult life-situations, prefer having someone, or something, to blame. I'm too proud to do that. I'm too proud to regress into a state when I can start blaming others. Another possible reason, refreshingly sadistic perhaps, is that I might enjoy the suffering.

People at work approached me with a myriad of ways to help me out and I have obviously refused to be helped. Not because that would make me any weaker. I just don't want to loop them in my pain. I know perfectly well that life is up and down. But, when you are left at the 'down'-side too long, when you have no tangible hope left, when everything adds up to your to-solve-problem list, when you twist and turn in the night without falling asleep, when you have a series of nightmares in sleep, you'll feel bad. You ought to if you are normal.

I'll don't want them to stop enjoying their lives. Who knows how long they will stay that way?

May 12, 2009

My only wish

There have been innumerable instances of people writing about their wishes. From fairy tales to puranas, from poets to bloggers, people have written countless paragraphs on what they wish. Some wish for a change on a grander sacle; reduction of global warming, or the end of a civil war. However, some others, poorer souls like me, are selfish.

Like me, they want change in their own lives. Change in terms of success, wealth, marital bliss, and so forth. Yeah, I'm a sucker too. But I don't think I am going to ask for all that. I would want to wish for one thing.

I wish for a big, fat eraser to wipe away my past. To start afresh. To forget all the pain that I have endured. To fall asleep without twisting and turning through the entire night. To enjoy the present without worrying.

May 10, 2009

One further step forward

This must have caught at least half of Mumbai by surprise. A friend of mine, who wasn't even in Mumbai, made it a point to remind me about its significance. Yes. An article about gay marriage. Gay marriage in India. On the front page. On TOI. On a Sunday.

Talk about India progressing. Read the article here.

(Courtesy Times of India.com)

May 7, 2009

Life's fucked up

Life's fucked up when your computer freezes every 2 minutes. Like this.

May 2, 2009

Dial MUSIC for rescue

In the second week after starting work, I explained to a senior colleague of mine about my mental framework. The alien work environment, work-related issues, and the new people that I was working with were acutely affected me. I detailed the various traits that were manifesting in the ageing me-the bipolar mood disorder which veered usually to the depressive side and some attention deficit symptoms. I was letting external factors like the chatter between colleagues affect me. Not anymore.

Back then, the mp3 player was not such an important, essential part of my work-routine. Now, it has become a savior. Every working day, I spend about 8-9 hours listening to songs while happily typing away at my keyboard. It gives me isolation and entertainment. It gives me a space which feels more like home. It gives me a wonderful chance to listen to all the music that I have always wanted to listen to. The playlist needs an overhaul twice or thrice every week. 

Thus, in the last two months, I have rummaged through the discographies of artists like Michael Jackson, Madonna, The White Stripes, Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, Kanye West, Eminem, Depeche Mode, Limp Bizkit, System of A Down, Elton John, Fiona Apple etc. Every now and then, there is the occasional song is inspiring enough to necessitate a mini-break from work for research on the artist, album or the song. Thus I have come to know about the profanity of Serg Tankian's lyrics, about the wonderful production in Madonna's songs and about talent of the the most remarkable musician on the planet, Michael Jackson. I have also come to conclusion that the British pale in comparison to the American stars in the world of Pop. Rock is an altogether different playing field, I know.

To whomsoever it may concern: try adopting my strategy for maximal work efficiency.

May 1, 2009

The middle-finger show

I admit it. I’m thoroughly ashamed of myself. Yes, I am an immigrant in this crazy city who was complacent about his democratic duties. When I saw the young man, quite good looking, embarrass thousands of Indians in the tea commercial ‘Jago Re’, it didn’t occur to me that I was one of the persons at whom the commercial was intended to castigate. I had voted twice for the last two Lok Sabha elections and I somehow felt that I had done my job. As I have written earlier, a conversation with my Mom made me realize my folly.

Yesterday, when I came to work, I was invigorated. I went to http://www.jagore.com and completed the formalities. I have a voter’s registration form printed out that I will mail and ensure that I don’t miss out on this whale of a democratic process. Then, in the evening, when I went to the supermarket to get milk, I was embarrassed once more. I was about to pay at the paying-aisle when the young man, hardly 18 I think, asked me ‘Sir, have you voted?’ I said, with a wry smile ‘No. But why?’ He explained to me that all voters who had exercised their right are offered 2% discount for all purchases at the mall. I was impressed. The Tata enterprise, which has nothing to cheer about after the Nano’s predicted flop-show, had taken some initiative.

But the real thing was yet to hit me; something that would make me feel even worse that I how I had felt yesterday. I was shocked, shocked even more after browsing through the series of pictures in TOI featuring Bollywood celebrities posing for the camera after their wonderful deed. For some weird reason, voters in Mumbai got the ink-mark on their middle fingers. Most of the celebrities didn’t think twice before posing—they simply gestured ‘up yours!’ For those who are unaware of this faux pass, please take a look at some pictures. Or even better, read this and this on the TOI website.



Apr 30, 2009

Out at office

When I went to the GB Sunday meet a couple of week’s back, I talked about how easy it is for me to be out at my present workplace. When I applied for this job as an academic editor, I had sent in my CV which had the link to my blog. Obviously, had gone through it and a few bosses have even commented on it. That really made me comfortable. It felt like liberation—from the perceptibly homophobic milieu of a municipal hospital—and I felt happy. During the first week itself, a colleague of mine came out to each other. He is out to everyone and hence I expected a similar response to me. What do people talk about when they have their lunches and snacks together anyway, I thought?

Not personal lives! It was naïve from my side to have even expected that to have happened. Yesterday, I came out to another colleague. It was coincidental and happened over a joke on the messenger installed in the LAN. Later on, in the evening, as I was sipping my freshly brewed heavenly filter-coffee, I had a conversation with her. I explained to her that I thought that everyone knew citing the aforementioned reasoning. She told me that I don’t look like one. Oh yeah, I don’t look faggy, I know that. I have a beard, I don’t look scrawny, I don’t have a gym-toned body, and have no effeminate features. The list could go on. I don’t know if I should feel glad about being a non-stereotypical gay person or feel sad about acknowledging the social norm of stereotyping gays.

I still think that a few more are aware that I’m gay. If they don’t they will come to know soon. Either through word-of-mouth or through the soft-toy that sits atop my monitor—a pink cub bear wearing a muffler! That’s some statement!

Apr 29, 2009

Things that I learned

Things that I learned from the wedding reception that I attended yesterday.

- Don't ever attend parties where you won't have a reason to be.

- Don't expect 2 month old colleagues to replace your friends.

- Don't go to a party on a dry day.

- Don't miss doing something that you love for something that you dislike, which you are forced to do.

- Learn to say no. Firmly, but politely.

- Don't attend parties to beat away your blues. Talk to friends instead.

Apr 28, 2009

Unplanned wedding

It's my CEO's wedding today. I had almost forgotten about it until a colleague of mind came to work dressed in a suit. I started noticing that colleagues were bringing in changes and stuff. I could eavesdrop on conversations about what one should look like/what one should get as a present etc during the phases of silence between songs on my mp3 player.

I was sure that I wouldn't go. There were many reasons. I don't know this guy, I don't have company, I can't afford a present, my depression etc. I and the two senior colleagues sitting on either side of me were trying to decide on attending the function. Sometime in the morning I got the icing of an excuse - Rob had planned for a rehearsal with Noise Market.

I kept working on and on. The HR team even arranged for a group chat to make sure that none of the office could excuse themeselves out. I was confident. I had typed 'Totally, nailed it!' as a response to the question 'Have you all made plans?'. And then came the face -off.

I am, as is obvious, very bad at saying 'no'. A senior came and talked to me as to why I shouldn't bunk. All my excuses seemed to go up in smoke. I gave in meekly. Soon I was on the phone calling for rescheduling the rehearsal. It was a big mess. I hate cancelling plans due to personal reasons.

Now, as I wait for a bus to take me to the railway station, I feel like a Congress candidate. I'm dressed in white kurta pyjama, and am heading to a dinner to binge on food and get drunk. Hope it comes off well. Anything to break this jinx of depressive evenings!

Apr 27, 2009

The most expensive gym in India

Yesterday, as I lay on my bed lazily watching the action from IPL-2, I realized that I there is no way that I can contort my body to make me look thin. The flab, amorously referred to as the love handles on the sides, was too obvious. I must have put about an inch of fat around my waist in the last year or so. My jeans have become uncomfortably tight.

It's ageing, malnutrition and a lack of exercize. I hate it. I don't want to look like my Dadr my uncles. All seem to have had 'A+'s in a corpulence course or something. I don't want that. Besides, I am tall and lanky. I'd look absurd with a tummy.

Despite my finances, I want to somehow get back into shape. As a preliminary step, I googled for nearby gyms. I found a few hits. After all, I was living in an area sprinkled with posh housing colonies. But one of the hits really sparked my interest, hope and curiosity. It was a new gym which had opened recently atop the big shopping mall next to my building.

I looked up its website. It said the largest gym in India with the best facilities and stuff. It had a spa, yoga classes, hair clinics etc. I knew it would be expensive but wanted to make sure I couldn't afford it. After a cusrsory call, I walked into this monstrosity yesterday evening.

A cheery young lady interviewed me and took me around the gigantic gym. During this, she had asked what my estimate was regarding the pricing. I said I can't afford anything above a 1000 Rs per month. I should have known better when she started giggling.

When she showed me the rates I was astounded. 1, 50, 000 Rs per year!! Whoa! There went my pipe dream!

Apr 24, 2009

Dress code

In the last few months, I have dressed up in a similar fashion for my gigs. I haven't blogged about it yet, I think. Well, it's an addition of a hat (cowboy/fedora) and a tie on a shirt/trouser combo.

It's a gimmick. But it makes me feel different. As is evident, rock music has always been associated with style and dressing. Any musical concert transcends the realm of music to invade that of a stage performance. It's rehearsed, there is a stage with props (guitars, amps etc.) and the characters sometimes have scripted lines. So why miss out on the dressing part? Why not separate yourself from the crowd?

Dressing up is always nice, I feel. Shopping for it is even better. I had a few semi-formal shirts and trousers (back from the hospital days). I spent meagerly for the hats and the ties and that's it. I have a look. I'll let you judge it when I put in a few recent pics of mine. Soon, I promise.

IPL 2

People have been rubbishing the season 2 of IPL for many reasons. Most of them stem from the little known fact they themselves are rubbish. The zing of the crowd is not there, matches are not exciting, lesser boundaries hit and all that.

It's been a week since the tournament began and I've been following all the matches either online (at work, while travelling etc.) or on tv (at home, gigs etc.). I don't see their point. The pitches have been unpredictable and so has been the weather.

Sure, the teams took about a couple of matches to acclimatise. But it's much better than the feather beds on offer on the subcontinent. Fidel Edwards could bounce Dada, Warney could bamboozle whom not, and Viiru could smack a punch.

The matches have surely more interesting than last year. Apart from the strategy breaks that have been introduced, Modi and co. have done it again! Bravo!

Apr 18, 2009

The importance of not being idle

Time is so precious. Every minute that I spend awake needs to be planned. Work takes the largest share and so, managing time at work becomes even more important. No newspapers, no movies, no actual entertainment. No personal life, no friends, no dates. Every e-mail that I need to reply becomes another entry in the daunting to-do list.

Travel to work and back needs to be planned. The earlier you reach work, the lesser you spend on a bus. You could save 10 minutes on some days. Once you reach work, systematic and strategic execution of different tasks ensues. A coffee-break or a pee-break could be planned. You could choose to have lunch alone (and not with colleagues) in the pantry while brewing coffee, thereby saving about 10 more minutes.

A bus ride could serve as time to check your e-mails and reply to the ones which don't need research or meticulous atrticulation. You could even cramp in those mundane FB rounds! Every opportunity that you get to walk doubles up as a 'catching-up' phone call.

Where does all this time saved go? Its wasted by computer crashes, internet outages, delayed/postponed meetings, reheasals and inexplicable indolence of people. It makes me sad and angry. After all,time is so precious.

Apr 16, 2009

Vote Unvote

Today, my vote will not be casted. My voter's registration is in Kerala. The last Lok Sabha election was held when I was still there. I realized that Kerala was going to the polls tomorrow during a conversation with my Mom yesterday.

I asked her how I could change it to Mumbai. She wasn't sure and suggested that there were ads for voter registration in the media regularly. In retrospect, I remember the jaago re series of ads. But I never thought that I'd need to re-register.

I guess I was lazy to act. Hopefully, by the time the next election comes around, I'll be able to vote. Anybody knows about postal votes?

Apr 13, 2009

Independent

i got independent at work this Monday. That means that I can plan my workday according to my requirements. That's some relief! The last month saw me miss just about everything in my social calendar. Not only that, I struggled to pay my bills, run errands etc.

I don't have net banking activated yet. It's stupid and retro, I know. This week, I hope to carefully plan each working day to finish all the pending tasks I have lined up. Let's see how it works out.us

Apr 12, 2009

The photoshoot

We managed to get the photoshoot done. Thanks to a colleague from my new office, who woke up at a ghastly 7 AM in the morning just for that. 'Noise Market' hung out at a the beach at Marve and my friend kept on clicking. I just got to see a few of them and some of them look really good. I hope I can provide a link as soon as they are uploaded.

Speaking about photos, I was alarmed to see the following picture at Cricinfo.com.


A glance by those who are interested in Indian cricket would wonder why they don't recognize any face among the players. Look no further. You aren't staring at Team India. It's Team Afghanistan!

Yes dear friends. This is team India.


And this is the team England jersey. Also, the Team India's older jersey is in the frame.

When I first saw the promos for the new jersey for Team India, I wasn't sure. When I saw it in action in New Zealand in the limited over versions of the game, I liked it a lot. Now I'm suspicious.

Who copied it from who? More importantly, what's the real point in having colour jerseys is many teams are difficult to distinguish between each other? Finally, why does our team look like team Afghanistan?

Apr 11, 2009

Looking for photographic ideas

So, we need to take a few pictures of a rock band with the elements. It has to look cool, yet not cliched. It has to look spunky, but not corny. What is the ideal setting? Would you pose with your guitars and stuff, look at random angles and stuff and that's it?

Give me some ideas, please.

Apr 7, 2009

Microcosm of India

At work yesterday evening, I was informed that I had a new assignment with a close deadline in hours. I had to write something creative on India in a weekly newsletter that our company sends to our clients. It was weird. To work on a new piece at such a short notice. Since I had already been blogging about BEST buses, it was appropriate of me to write about our beloved trains. This is what I came up with.

CONTENT DELETED

Apr 3, 2009

The incredible BEST buses

I have heard and read a lot of negative stuff about the BEST buses. Stories about how careless BEST drivers are, how people get run under them and how they never seem to stop at the stops published in newspapers and weblogs regularly. Even I have had rough deals with the 'red' buses during my 4 years of stay in Mumbai. But in the last year or so, I have had the chance to closely scrutinize the BEST experience.

I can't believe it! They are fast, they are punctual and they are brutally efficient. Not just the buses. Everything about the BEST bus system is! Their amazing frequency, the way they make their way across difficult stretches of the road with specialized BEST bus-only one-ways, the every-half-a-kilometer-3-seconds-only stops, the organized queues at bus stops, the elderly (and only they) can enter from the front entrance, etc.

Even the bus conductors are chillingly efficient. They hardly take 3 minutes to vend tickets to the 'optimally boarded' bus. They have separate compartments in their purses for all the possible options of coins that they would need, and giving back the change is done in a fraction of a second. The list could go on.

I take just 20 - 25 minutes in the mornings to travel on one to my work place. That becomes 15 if I manage to beat the rush hour. I almost always get a seat and sometimes I get the luxury of using the entire two-person seat. Thanks to this luxury, I can read my newspaper and e-mails through the journey.

Believe it or not, both buses and trains are more comfortable than being in a rickshaw sputtering along a crowded arterial road stopping virtually every second. Get this clear - I'm not an Earth-hour activist. I'm just suggesting that mass public transport, and in my case, the BEST bus system, is far better and efficient than any other form of conveyance. Try it. You won't regret.

Apr 1, 2009

The 'the' story

I think I have got myself lost in the 'definite article' conundrum. A bane for most non-native English speakers/users, the problem is by far the most difficult one that I face at work. I spent about 3 hours extra at work trying to understand why the 'the' should be used and why it shouldn't. This 'the' business is extremely taxing. Hell, people at work told me that I looked tired; I had gotten to the office about an hour early and stayed back three hours longer that my job needs me to.

The tiredness must have been because didn't get a good night's sleep. Something hurtful was churning inside, something that I've been very secretive about, on this blog at least. The other reason might have been the 'oily face the untrimmed beard' phenomenon. I had forgotten to carry my facewash after using it in the morning. Tonight's quota of sleep wouldn't manage to wipe off the couple of years from my face before I show up at work tomorrow. I spent a couple of hours dabbling with the guitar, trying to sing some Dave Matthews songs. Well, I did an admirable job with one song.

That, though, leaves me with a 20-something list of stuff to work on starting tomorrow morning. Those include talking to the just-wed Ray, planning a few evenings with people (which I would have to eventually cancel, I guess) and figuring out some dafty tricks on Excel (or Google spreadsheet) to make a nice, wealth-management spreadsheet. It sure looks like I'll need one for at least a couple of decades or so. Judging by what one of my work-colleagues had to say after reading my hand, I might as well think of investing my non-existent savings.

The amateur palmist had nonchalantly commented 'Kris, you are going to have an arranged marriage!'

You know your life sucks when...

Scenario 3
  • You have to make excuses like 'I eat healthy!' and 'I despise junk food!' when your colleagues are ordering from McDonald's
  • You have to ask 'What's the cheapest thing on the menu?' regularly
  • Your daily budget for food is so low that you have to skip meals to adhere to it
  • Your refrigerator promotes the growth of fungi food items
  • You avoid rickshaws even if you could save an hour in travel
  • You walk four kilometers at 12 midnight after a long day just to save 6 rupees
  • You plan to meet people during evenings on weekdays and every evening you ring people up to cancel plans
  • You haven't watched Slumdog Millionaire 2 months after its release
  • You have 3 days of unread newspapers in your backpack
:(

You know your life sucks when...

Scenario 2
  • You need to buy a couple of mugs, a pen stand and a small pillow cushion for use at work place
  • You pick up lovely stuff at Landmark, only to put them back on the racks in front of the salesman because of their price
  • You have to explain to the salesman 'I'm not carrying cash, you see.'
  • You wander off to the perfume section and find the same perfume that you had so fondly sent to the love of your life, which never got to him
  • You ask for its price and walk away without making eye contact with the lady at the counter
  • You go down to Archie's gallery, to find even better, but still unaffordable mugs
  • You end up pushing and shoving inside the smelly Big Bazaar to buy your stuff for under 300 Rs.
:(

Mar 30, 2009

You know your life sucks when...

Scenario 1
  • You start planning to shop for new clothes after a couple of years
  • You keep Rs. 1000 for buying three pairs of jeans, a couple of shirts and new underwear making up your mind to do the shopping the coming weekend
  • Then you realize that you don't have money to pay your monthly bills and wonder whom to borrow money from
  • You take your torn jeans to the local tailor who sews them up making them short and ugly
  • You proudly wear these jeans at work only to realize that even the roadside vendors have better jeans than yours
:(

In the last few days

  • I got busier and busier at work. I enjoyed almost all the 'work' that I did excepting the fact that I had to work on more than a single document because of the 'reviewing' process that my documents need to go through.
  • I understood that I thoroughly dislike being close to deadlines.
  • I read up a lot about astronomy and the solar system.
  • Because of my nature to try and finish as much of work that I can, and because I want to reach back and do as many things as I can, I end up NOT taking little breaks at work. This usually makes my brain exhausted, and thereby, my efforts rather unproductive.
  • I postponed essential stuff because of work and poverty.
  • I understood that the my dreams are so far away that they are unacheivable.
  • I realized that my life is in a total mess.
  • I missed being in touch with my friends because of busy schedule. I can't forgive myself for that.
  • I realized that I'm going to be poor for a long, long time.
  • I realized that I tend to worry a lot more as compared to people of my age.

Mar 21, 2009

Working is fun

This is my first entry into this blog using Microsoft’s speech recognition system. I’m really not that tired after a long day at work, yet I feel lazy. I could have attempted to login and write something from my mobile phone when I was traveling back from work. But somehow I didn’t. I cannot explain why. Perhaps I wanted nothing to do with text after working at text all day in the office.

At the office though, it was fun working on an actual assignment. It was the first time that I had ever been given one! It really felt nice working on a scientific document rather than an exercise. I was intimidated by the set of guidelines that I was supposed to follow. It was almost as if the instructions were towering over me with phrases like 'do not forget' hovering like monsters.

But it was fun! I did not feel the hours fly past. I sat almost five hours at a stretch without even taking a break to go to the toilet. At the end of it all, I felt like I was over-editing the document. I guess I will learn from my mistakes. But I hope I don't make a lot of them.

Mar 20, 2009

It's easier this way

I could have blogged from either work or home yesterday using a computer. I didn't choose to do it at work because of ethical and privacy issues - anyone could read what I type. I didn't do it from home because I spent the entire evening worrying about how to pay my bills next month. I was bluesy enough that I didn't 'talk'/'reciprocate' with Vinokur.

Well, at least until we learned some grammar theory from the internet and refreshed the concepts of the obliquity of the ecliptic, equinoxes, solstices, precession of the equinoxes etc. Astronomy is kick-ass and it felt really good to be doing things that I last did in College as a teenager.

Today morning, on my way to work, on the bus that I ride to reach work, I feel more relaxed to talk about the big issues that float in capitals in my vitreous. At least I don't feel wrong about doing something unethical. And unlike my PC at home, the phone doesn't crash!

So the big questions are - What do I do? Borrow? More?

Mar 18, 2009

The intimidating list

My computer crashed yesterday. It was just a 'usual' crash. It sent me into a panic. How am I going to fix it. How expensive and expeditious would the remedy be? Can I find time to fix it?

I managed to re-install windows on another partition and fix the internet and basic hardware issues yesterday night. But I slept at 3.30 am. I have the daunting task of fixing up the rest of the hardware now. Once done, I could hope to carry on for another month at most before another crash.

With the new job and frequent rehearsal and gigs, it's going to be impossible to start doing away with my to-do/to-fix lists!

Fuck!

Mar 15, 2009

Misery

It seems that my life needed to give me a reality check to balance it first and then to counter-balance so that I feel bad. A year of poverty, despair and aimless wandering is not letting me forget its bitterness. I spent the entire afternoon and evening shuttling between traffic police chowkies, municipal garages and police stations trying to find my scooter. But it’s still missing. Nobody knows why it was taken.

The careless security guard at the apartment building says that it was my mistake not to remind him and the rest of the security guards that the scooter was mine. They said that people in the apartment building have been wondering whose vehicle it was because it was in such a shabby condition. Since no one had taken any responsibility for the vehicle, they had presumed that it was junk and had let the towing guys take it away.

I agree that I have not used it for the last 6 months or so. I didn’t have money to buy fuel. I didn’t have money to eat, remember! How could I waste money on expensive petrol? Because I was not using it, it grew dirty and obviously I didn’t bother to clean it and make it look owned. Fuck! I was planning to save some money up from a couple of months at work and then spend it on the scooter to get it back up and running.

I feel bad. I feel bad for letting this happen, for letting my life drift away, for letting poverty in, for being optimistic and ambitious to let myself do what I did.

Mar 14, 2009

This is fun

People associate work with anything but fun. I know that it is too early in my work-life to start arguing against this fact. But I am enjoying my life even more these days. It just seems like my life got structured. I have a routine to follow and I have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day having finished a certain set of tasks that I am assigned to.

I have not started ‘working’ working at my job yet. The five days so far have been full of lessons and exercises in English grammar and literary styles of academic publishing with the occasional lesson about how to increase the efficacy of your work in Microsoft Word.  There has been an instance of a colleague giving me a scare stating ‘I hope you you have ‘fun’ even when you are doing ‘real’ work!’. But that’s not the point really. I’m talking about my life. Life has become more fun after work has started.

I get up everyday at around 8 am and listen to one of the news channels while sipping coffee. If my newspaper gets delivered - the delivery of newspapers in my building is anything but reliable - I get to read a bit of the Times of India  as well. After a shower, I dress up and go have breakfast at the roadside dosa-shack. The bus ride to the office is the time for me to start reading some Wiki article about a subject (Greek mythology, for example) that is interesting or relevant to what I and Vinokur had discussed the night before. By 10 am, I enter my office smelling nice and fresh and start my duties for the day.

Work starts with lessons, which are boring, and exercises, which are interesting. Whenever there are long lessons, I take a mini-break bychecking my e-mail or reading up an article in the New York Times or magazines like Nature, New Scientist etc. Such mini-breaks take just 2 minutes at a time and really help me feel a little fresher to tackle another block of material. I usually refrain from interacting with my colleagues when I want a break. Most often, they are busy with whatever they are doing. But I prefer things that are solely under my control. Reading an article in the NYT can be started and ended whenever I want. Talking to a colleague cannot be,  as it needs the agreement and co-operation of the other person.

Soon it is lunch time and I have my delicious meal at a vegetarian restaurant in the same building. That’s my big break. I come back in about half an hour refreshed and spend more time with grammar. Around 4 pm, I get a little bored and I need my coffee for rejuvenation. More work afterward and voila, it’s seven! Time to leave from work. On my way back, I usually follow up with more stuff from the Wiki article. Once I reach back home, I enter a clean home with freshly prepared food at the kitchen counter – thanks to my new maid. After my shower, I start finishing up my e-mail and FaceBook stuff and start a night’s discussion with Vinokur about something of common interest.

The result - a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day. Maybe, I should have started working two months ago!

Mar 13, 2009

Coffee and the office

One of my expectations at the new workplace was the availability of good quality, machine-vended coffee. I don’t know why I thought that a good vending machine would be waiting to be serviced by me everyday. My first experience was at Xander’s office which is a part of the establishment which held the biggest newspaper in Mumbai and shared a common building with the offices of a very popular radio station in Mumbai. Coincidentally, I have had coffee at two other offices, both belonging to other radio stations. The coffee was consistently excellent everywhere and I was expecting the same.

My current workplace doesn’t have a vending machine. In the sub-office that I work from, there is the option of making your own coffee with the elements – boiling water (from an electric kettle), milk powder, sugar and coffee powder. Being the coffee-nossieur that I am, I was skeptical. Hesitantly, I made my first cup of improvisational coffee yesterday. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected. I made two more today and both of them were just as good. Or bad. I really wish I knew how to make the best possible coffee out of the resources that I have. If someone knows I would appreciate a helping hand.

Vinokur advises me to first pour a small amount of water in the cup at first. Then, you are supposed to add all the ‘powdery’ ingredients and make a paste. Finally you add the rest of the water. But I need to make something like a cappuccino. I mean I need the froth on top. You could even sprinkle some coffee powder on top to make it even more attractive. Please comment.

Mar 11, 2009

The Update List v 2.0

More updates!
A few days back, Kris had typed in...

So I have been acting crazy and not updating the blog. To my faithful readers, I apologize for my abstinence. Other people have said sarcastically 'Finally, it's nice that you shut up. I was getting tired of Engayging bull shit!' to stuff like 'Did you grow a brain or something and get back to studying?'

The answers to those comments are this - It's MAH blog and I'd blog as much as I wish to whenever I possibly can. Just that I have been so friggin' busy. Check out the updates to find out why. Oh and my studying is over and done with - I got my Masters!

About a month back, Kris had typed

The last time I had not blogged after a life-changing event, I decided to muster up all my courage and try to re-create the pain and suffering in words. I started out pretty well, but I stumbled and fell hard on my face. Hence the jagged teeth and the weird face. Here I am facing the similar situation. The point is that it is not same.

My life has been beautiful but exhausting in the last few days. And despite feelling like an adolsecent chimpanzee checking his thoracic cavities resonance, Momma time (did I confuse the gender again?) has been unkind to me.

Since I have been blessed with rebelliousness since childhood, especially with parents, I have now taken the first steps to putting a few strokes of colour on the portait of my life. In the coming days, you will see updates springing up like blossoms in the spring, like stars in the dusk and like notifications and 'pokes' on your Facebook profiles.

I will add them all under this post as links. Looking forward to insightful comments and suggestions and more to calm the bellowing chimpanzee inside me.

Yours,

Kris Bass, M. D.