Tuesday, October 16, 2012

À Dieu, My Friend

A few years ago, I found a friend in a chat-room online. 

We became friends out of what would come across as coincidence. But it was not merely that. That I was (and am) gay and that he is, was no coincidence. 'Dad, I am homosex' was the line which he'd used to begin the conversation. Or so I had thought. And apparently, it was a code-word among a group of Queer people online. It was a time I was still deep inside the closet, and that I did have someone to whom to speak with no inhibitions was my matter of solace. Then, he simply vanished. And the only thing about the friendship I had was a voice clipping he'd sent me when I'd asked to listen to a Norwegian speak in English (yes, this was a few years ago; no, the clipping was not in English). Then, like an idiot, I lost the clipping recently (probably while ridding my laptop of space-eating crap).

Now, I have not much tangible stuff to remember him by, but by this post, his name and his now-nonexistent email ID.

In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys describes the Creole way of bidding one farewell. She says they wish the person(s) 'à dieu'    quite unlike the English corruption 'adieu'    or 'in the hands of god'. 

Ceteris paribus, à dieu, my friend. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Les Results

     It was 11:56 a.m. on a dense, stuffy June morning. Four minutes to go, before I'd be free from a lot of things.
     Curiosity of about three months, for one. It was the day of my standard ten results.

     And again, I am in a similar position. Tomorrow, at about 1 p.m., we will be notified about our standard twelfth results, online. A part of me wants to stay awake till it's up online. Another wants to wake up just in time to find the results on my screen (O, hi, results! Been in the dark long, have you? Very well then, suit yourself, I'll be back to worry about you soon), and jump back into the comforting (?) darkness of my quilt.

     There will be a lot of hustle and bustle tomorrow. A lot of aims achieved. A lot of curiosity satiated. Some goals left not attained. Some may want to get photocopies of their answer-sheets; some may (finally!) go on a well-deserved vacations to Djibouti (yes, randomness).

     I guess I am allowed to ramble a little today? Well, what do I liken the day of results to? It's like a threshold. It's neither indoors, nor outdoors. It's neither here, nor there. It's like Nearly-Headless Nick and all other ghosts. It's a day that's there. It just exists as a means of transit between the past, of which one has had sufficient, and the future, which holds things unforeseeable. It's just like any other day, just important-ised.

     That's it.

     Let the cat be brought out of its bag! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

A Fortnight Into Adulthood

     I've now been an adult for 15 days. Perfect. But life doesn't seem much different from how it did when I was, so to say, a minor. A few friends gave me an amazing birthday treasure-hunt surprise and I had the best birthday I have ever had. I have had quite a reputation of squarely ruining my birthdays or having others do the honours on my behalf. B)
     So, this birthday was a break from the otherwise predictable groove of routine occurrences. When I had my grade 12 'Board' exams going on, and when I found time enough to write but not to blog, I made a list of things I could definitely do and definitely couldn't, once I would be 18.
     Here's the list. Discretion advised. Could-be-age-inappropriate stuff ahead. *Makes it sound dramatic*

What I cannot do:
1) Contest for 'Chhote Ustaad'. (It's a 'reality' singing competition for which I tried out only once and found it a sham. And I am definitely not rationalising -__-)
2) Get hitched. :P Yes, yes. I am just desperately waiting to turn 21! (the legal marriageable age for men is 21 and that for women is 18. I am of the opinion that it should have no considerations on the basis of sex, which it sadly does)
3) Become a juvenile delinquent and be sent to a remand home.*
4) Drink legally (yet). (The legal drinking age in India is touted to be 25. All I know is that it's not 18. O__o)

What I can do:
1) Ride a motorcycle/scooter/car once I get trained and apply for a licence.
2) Have sex.
3) Vote.
4) *Become a criminal (and be sentenced to life-imprisonment or death). B0
5) Move out (and sit in the VT subway, possibly begging).
6) Apply to hostels for adults.
7) Watch  a) 'Adults only' movies
                b) 'U/A' movies
      [And I most surely haven't watched Shaitan or Black Swan with my parent(s). :P]
8) Attend GayBombay meets/events LEGALLY. B)
9) Start a political party (?)
10) Be asked to start working for monies. :O
11) File Public Interest Litigation (PILs) and court complaints independently.
12) Skip the 'keep away from reach of children' instruction on the boxes of pills we all carelessly pop. Alternatively, I could look for children around and bug them about being children. Sadist, I. :P
13) Be called 'uncle' -__- (most children call relatively older-looking men(/boys?) 'uncle'. I once read this custom could be traced back to when the British were in India; parents of friends were then called 'uncle's and 'auntie's. We Indians generalise everything. Uncles and aunties, too. :P
14) Be called a paedophile if I happen to be interested in a 16-year old.
(He says he's post-pubescent, so no   I don't really mind the tag as long as I don't have the police hounding me :P)
15) Nerdy stuff - get my thymus gland tested and ensure that it has, in fact, not been functioning at all for about half a decade now. My parents wouldn't want that kind of an extravagance. I don't mind it. :P Did someone say nouveau-riche?
16) Give 'kids' long lectures on 'how to behave'. Aah, the joy of it.
17) Get rid of most Navneet and Sundaram books, digests and whatnot from my life for good.
18) Donate blood.
19) As somebody says, wonder how 'the moment has passed', 'the moment' being the period of peaking of IQ. IQ peaks at 17 and you (and I) get dumber and dumber. Not vegetable-dumb. Just dumb-dumb.
20) Retire to an armchair and announce to everybody around, 'Damn, I'm growing old.'

Now, I'm just going to physically do point no. 20. :P

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm Happy, I'm Gay; That's Okay, That's Okay!

     "Happy Pride," somebody said to me handing me over a gay nightclub invite/(card?), as I was walking along Lamington Road with a legion of about five hundred people. That is useless to me (I am not 18 yet, so, like, nightclubs aren't my place to be    and as if I were jumping at the occasion of visiting one).

For variety is the spice of life--
I shall bear all its colours.
      This was my first Pride March, and I did not know that you wished each other Happy Pride. Amazing. I mean, the March was amazing; Harish Iyer was in his regular energetic form; Lakshmi Tripathi in hers. It was a bunch, quite a huge bunch of gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals, and straight people (and other sexual minorities    there could have been asexuals in the crowd (and I consider myself to be more of a homoromantic than a homosexual, but never mind the details)). And we were all celebrating being us. We were all asking for a more tolerant, a more accepting attitude. We deserve it, and we ask for it.
     Perhaps the truest words in the time around when the rally took place would be Harish Iyer's    we were rejoicing, surely we were; but what was not to be forgotten was that the fight wasn't done and over. Homophobia wasn't lost to time and effort. It would take a lot of struggle, and we must all strive for that goal in mind.
That's the one thing I truly know about Harry Potter. :D
     I recognised some people I saw in my compartment in the train I took to Dadar (I did not know any of them personally) as transgenders. I was filled with a sense of united effort, of the fact that I wasn't alone. One of them was applying make-up to her face. And some people were staring    I don't know if to call it right or wrong, but they were staring, yes. And almost as if I had seen it coming, a guy kept throwing a disgusted look at the transgender folks. I found it insulting. I did not speak up, since there had been no exchange of words. When I asked the transgenders if they were heading to the venue I was going to, they replied in the affirmative, and asked if I'd like to go with them, but I told them I was waiting for my friends who had got into the Second-Class compartment (this was the First-Class compartment)    which was true. I saw them at the March too, but I don't think they recognised me.
Need I say more? I wanna... :D
     The March, as I said already, was amazing. A cute guy (and I mean it :)) somehow seemed to capture my attention (he didn't have to try hard, even ;)). Getting a butterfly tattoo on my hand (to quote Aditya, 'the screwed-up butterfly :P), a photo session (with my cell-phone, then Amey's camera, and then Aditya's friend's camera) after that, at Girgaon Chowpatty, and then a nice long journey back home with Pranav Joshi (my friend and soul-sister's   Sharvari's   brother) made my day. :)

     What is the word that brings power to all?What becomes the harbinger of courage to stand up to the world and dare to be what you want to be? Sure, Pride may have its pitfalls, but Pride takes you there. 

It's Equal, It's Equal Not

     Geeky stuff.

Integrate the following function with respect to x.

((sec^2)x).tanx dx

           You can now substitute (secx) as t and (secx.tanx dx) as dt, bringing it to the form 

∫ t dt = (1/2)(t^2) + c = ((sec^2)x)/2 + c                                                              ...(1)

           Or, alternatively, you could substitute (tanx) as t and ((sec^2)x dx) as dt, thus bringing it to the form

∫ t dt = (1/2)(t^2) + c = ((tan^2)x)/2 + c                                                                ...(2)

            My question is precisely this:

Does that mean (1) and (2) represent the same function? My knowledge and a little research tell me that they don't. But then, if integration is supposed to be representative of the area bound by the function and the X-axis, should it not be ONE single function (never mind that some functions can be expressed in more than one form involving the same variable    and that does NOT make them different functions at all)?

     And that's all, folks. The comments section is open to geek-giri.

Monday, January 23, 2012

There's Light...And It's Clean Too!

     Today, I got down at Dombivli station from a really crowded Ambernath train (to those who care to understand) and crossed the foot-over-bridge and headed home. As soon as I reached platform no.1, I realised that what I thought were banners, were in fact banners.
     It took me not by surprise, but just by mere curiosity. And I headed towards the table they had set before the banner, and I soon realised that it was a cleanliness-awareness drive organised by a certain 'Inner Wheel Club of Dombivli West', and that they were urging common people at the station not to spit and not to litter, and how people on their part can prevent diseases from spreading by following some simple rules as those. To me, it seemed pretty trickling-down, surprisingly    as in, I hadn't really seen an awareness campaign speaking to the common masses; it was usually college-educated students (who were indifferent) or schoolkids' parents (who thought they knew just a little more than the 'preachers')    these people spoke to anybody, just anybody who came around. The women told me that I mustn't litter or spit, and that I must try to tell others not to, as well. I, in turn told them that I already did so. They smiled at me, understandingly. 
     I took a pen they offered, and signed on the pledge-chart. I was, after all, happy to see change, some change, that had come up in my rather mundane world.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Easter-ed Eggs

     I have just decided to let two eggs hatch.
     We have a lot of pigeons in our town, so there are a lot of pigeons courting and a lot of pigeon-poop, and the cycle, as a result, remains endless. I found two pigeon-eggs in a flowerpot that had nothing growing in it, and so I thought, why not let them just grow. And after about twenty days, I saw two chicks. Ugly to look at, breathing hard, and covered in a yellow, hair-like layer (of skin?). Between then and five days from then, I touched one of the two chicks once. I could feel its pulse on its back. It didn't cock, it didn't try to peck me. It probably thought I was its mamma.
     And then, around after five days from then, after I had shooed the mamma-pigeon away, I tried putting my hand down near the chicks. The chicks had opened their eyes by then, and one of the two (which seemed to be the healthier chick) tried to peck me. I heard its beak go *tut*. Then, the next day, I found two eggs in another pot that we'd left dry.
     Today, I thought I will not have two more pigeons being born in my house. And I shooed the mamma away, and instead of throwing away the eggs, placed them elsewhere, just anticipating a change of minds. And I kept standing there, and waiting to look at how the mamma-pigeon would react. During the day, what's inside the room isn't visible from the outside. And the pigeon returned, only to scratch and scratch pointlessly at the earth. 
     I shooed it away again, and re-placed the eggs where they belonged.
     I never got to choose where, when and how I was born, and I certainly don't get to choose if others are born or not.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Going, Going, Gone, for 2012!

     It was afternoon already, and the feeling had started sinking in. The year was (and still is) ending. Possibly, this is one of the last documents I mentioned a 2011 date on.
     A lot has happened in 2011, must still be happening in many parts of the world, for it's New Year in Japan just now (yes, I looked it up :P). I am no record of history, but I am pretty sure many people were born in 2011, many have died    and many must have been stillborn. Many must have had windfalls, many must have gone broke, many must have got a means of earning, and many must have lost their means of livelihood. Many must have tried and succeeded, while many must have tried and failed    many must have got buried in the debris of their losses, while some may have found a way to rise from their own ashes.

Random, nice picture. :P

     Some may have found their God; some may have questioned Its existence, and some may have stopped believing . Many must have made new acquaintances, some may have 'taken it to the next level' and some may have split up. Many must have brushed people away, and while many got brushed away, some people must have watched, some must have heard.
     Some people must have learnt to tolerate, a few must have learnt to speak up for what they are, and many must have given up hope. Many must have numbed themselves to pain, many must have learnt to enjoy sadistically meting it out. Many must have learnt to converse in newer and newer computer-languages; some ancient 'dying' languages might have died while you possibly were at learning a computer-language.
     I think, a lot of people must have seen the eclipse take over the moon completely, while many must have watched Eclipse, albeit the twentieth time. Many must have got up at five in the morning to watch the sun rise, peek over the horizon, while many will have pined for a minute of sleep in their mosquito-infested surroundings. Many must have stared in bemused wonder at what the magic-word electricity is, and yet, many must have been unable to pay to see the magic happen.
     Many must have spoken, criticised, debated, argued, fought, rioted, killed, massacred, abused, raped.
     Many must have been spoken to, criticised, debated, argued and fought with, killed, massacred, abused, raped, begged for a better way of dying.
     Many, I hope, must have wondered at how beautiful life is, while many must have thought how pointless it is, for the Earth going round the Sun to finally arrive at the same place every 365 days.
     I am not sure which legion I have belonged to. Maybe I have been a bit of everything. I've done all I have, and I have tried, unsuccessfully, to peek into the future and I have thought and got nostalgic and sometimes regretful over the past. I've bettered myself, I think, at writing and singing, and have learnt to both love and hate myself    to have multiple points of view. I have learnt to hate Economics (and still having to do it,) have let myself fall for Psychology (and some other people :P). I've jumped out of a running train and have made out in the oddest of places, have been clingy and at times, (startling even myself,) courageous. I have had flings and have unsuccessfully tried blending in    all before finally agreeing to be    not stay    myself.
     I have hurt, I've been hurt, I've forgiven, and pretended to have forgiven. I've forged some excellent relationships, got some broken, and whatever it's been, it's been worthwhile.
     I've grown up a little, and so has Time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giving Without Another Thought?

रहिमन वे नर मर चुके जे कहुं माँगन जाय l
उनते पहले वे मुए जिन मुख निकसत नाहिं ll

(Says Rahim, that those that keep asking for, are dead;
but the ones who refuse to give have been dead for longer.)
     They say that the simplest words convey the deepest sentiments. I am not sure they remain simple ever after that. I was speaking to a friend of mine on Facebook and I, suddenly, thought I should write something I can, about Rahim's doha I've typed out above.
     I have been in a number of situations where I have had to ask for things from people, borrow    a pen, a pencil maybe. How dead am I? Is self-reliance above all other merit? It is a matter of killing your pride, a small part of it, when you go asking for things, when you don't have things you need. But how much is it your fault? In my case, it was, for I have just been careless. But what is it about the hundreds of thousands who beg on the streets of the world? They might be a part of rackets to 'loot' people. But I don't see how they have an option against it. It's like a magic trick gone wrong, like the magician losing themselves to their own game.
     At the same time, I have been at the giving end. A good ten people hopped into the First Class compartment today in the morning, and they apparently did not 'look' like people who would waste a bulk for something like a one-day train-travel by 'First Class' in Mumbai. A man refused to let an old man share some part of the extra-long seat he was occupying. Fortunately, there was enough place elsewhere, so the old man got to sit. The people had got in at Dadar and were about to get down at VT. That is quite short a distance, and there is hardly any crowd between the two stations. I wonder how different or difficult it would have been to give an old man some place to sit    in fact, only share a part of your seat. Many of those people might not get to see Mumbai again in their lives. They might not be able to pay a hefty fine if asked for by a Ticket Checker, but that is another story altogether. How much of a role does a poor person play in their 'attempt' to remain poor for generations?
     And another subhashita in Sanskrit comes to my mind.

एकेन तिष्ठताधस्तादन्येनोपरि तिष्ठता l
दात्रुयाचकयोर्भेदः कराभ्यामेव सूचितः ll

The relationship between a giver and a taker is demonstrated well by a hand above another, it says. I wonder what shows the relationship between the hoarder and the beggar    if there is one at all.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Day Granny Cried

Her eyes blinked;
The thinking, moist eyes.
And drops of salt filled up,
And quickly disappeared.
They weren't pearls of joy.
They came from a land
Of discarded love.
Of let-down expectation.
Of the wooden stove
And of frustration.

Though wait I did,
For the tears
To flow,
And be forgotten,
They disappeared,
As if by magic,
As some may say    
As if by courage
Or by all earthly power
She could at once muster,
Or, perhaps, absorption. 

Her strong, steel eyes
(For that they were.)
The thinking, moist eyes    
They looked out into space,
They hoped,
To find Hope.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

They Live There

     As we stood facing a wooden artefact bearing words in an Arabic-like font, the man told us that it said you don’t bow before to anyone but before Allah; you don’t go begging to anyone but to Allah.

     And as I stood there, I also stood in one of the many shops at the marketplace at Mahabaleshwar, a hill-station in Maharashtra. Mahabaleshwar, I was always told, is famous for strawberries and cool climate. It is not that I had not visited Mahabaleshwar before, just that I was too young (I was about 2) to have concrete memories about anything then. What this recent trip to Mahabaleshwar taught me is something different. What I seemed to have been harbouring happened to be a 2-dimensional image of a township having a thousand dimensions to it. It started with mulberries, and it just almost never got less complex.

     By fortune or misfortune, you decide, we got to stay at a hotel in downtown Mahabaleshwar. And although the service provided wasn’t good enough (and I contradictorily also wonder if it ever is), I got to see the people of Mahabaleshwar—not just people who claimed to represent it, but who truly did. I realised, not because of any particular incident, but because of some instinct in me, that the peoples, diverse as they are, are bound by a caring love for one another. You cannot get one to scheme against another and you would not have people gossiping there (not that I tried to get them to). People of commerce may now disregard what I sensed as professional courtesy and that by safeguarding one another, they were preventing their own downfall, but I still will say it is amazing—it is something we city-dwellers haven’t yet perfected.

     It is also very interesting to note that the population in Mahabaleshwar is a mixture of people belonging to different faiths. The first day, I wondered if the people who existed there, merely survived or lived in harmony.

     I was at the shop I spoke of in the beginning—as we exited the shop an old Hindu woman selling combs came to a man cleaning that part of the shop where wares were colourfully placed. She extended her palm, clasped his palm, and said, “Kaisa hai, Farookh,” and smiled. I turned towards the road and smiled; they lived.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saying No

     Psychology has taught me, and many others, that humans do what they do in order to experience pleasure or avoid pain. And along with that, since we are social animals, we do things not just for OUR pleasure/pain-avoidance, but also for others'.And during that process somewhere, we start accepting pain or giving pleasure a pass so as to please others. And that sometimes is tantamount to saying 'yes' to things you might detest and 'no' to things you might want totally.
     Take, for instance, this writing workshop I could have attended today. It was a continuation of another half of it that got done last Saturday (when it was actually supposed to completely get done), and hence commanded an add-on price. I have always been someone who is perpetually in a dilemma or another, and ends up saying yes to practically every second object of gratification. And I said no, with another friend of mine, to the rest of the workshop. That meant we missed out on a LOT. But we had learnt something. And that wasn't enough, but was a lot.
     So the next time you say no to tea or coffee or a smoke or a joint or any other crap, remember you aren't alone (that is if you find it difficult saying no in the first place!).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cleanliness Before All

     I just got done with reading Ruth Rendell's 'Adam And Eve And Pinch Me' yesterday, and found it a very good book. A psychological thriller (that is what I would call it), it explores what happens when Minty Knox's delusions collide with the reality she lives in.
     My Sunday morning had brought in a fresh set of chores    mum asks me to do work a little every weekend    when she is out, teaching. And today, apart from serving food to my grandmum and feeding the crow and running a few errands here and there, I did not have much to do officially. However, I have always had a minute OCD for cleanliness. As if specially designed to be read one day before clean-up, Minty Knox, who has more than what people would simply put down as a penchant for tidiness, happened to me. I usually try not to take up tasks when there is too little time, for when I begin with cleaning and de-cluttering things, the cleanliness bug (Ouch! Is THAT a speck of dust there? *eyes greedily*) grows at its fringes and I start cleaning up everything. I cleaned the dustbin today and cooked something and also cleaned the kitchen counter. It's a thankless job, but seeing all the crap make its way into the dustbin gives me a sense of satisfaction.
     I haven't studied    needless to say, that. But when compared to other Sundays, I feel a little less worthless today. Why, I shouldn't be damned if I said I do feel worthy of joy today. And satisfaction. And a bar of chocolate. And some nice sleep.
     Whoa, whoa, whoa! Wait. Is THAT a speck of dust there?
     *Eyes greedily*

P.S. The cleanliness bug got a bit too far today.

P.P.S. The cleanliness bug made me delete the extra 'friends' from Facebook. :P

Sunday, August 7, 2011


     Love is perhaps the thing we humans are most hypocritical about. We like to award that wonderful emotion brickbat after brickbat. I've heard cynical statements about love, and sometimes, a little reluctantly, have agreed to some parts. But when you are in love, you tend to draw exceptions     as much as you'd like to believe you are not in love, you end up knowing you are. I don't mean to say you always know when you are in love. And I am not speaking of spiritual, familial love. I am speaking of romantic love.
     And many times, that love is unattainable. It's been for me. And you hang on to it for some time. Hoping, the brainless romantic that you are, that you might as well get them 'back'. Maybe you do, maybe you don't. If you do, you explore a new facet of yours; if you don't, well, you again explore a new facet of yours.
     I've realised that love is not all bubbly, but rather confusing sometimes. Not careful    sometimes even ruthless. Sometimes 'perfect' (to others), and sometimes abusive and possessive. But it is what makes us different from other animals. We don't love to procreate. We love to love. And the stupid purist that I am, I hope it remains that way.