Saturday, July 23, 2005

… … …

[…] As they say, you can kick a friend in the arse and still expect a kiss in return…

[…] Trying to make life more interesting—thinking about learning music; taking the IAS exams, and/or the lectureship test; maybe write a book, or a script; maybe get into amateur astronomy, ornithology seems even more promising; learn kung fu, or cooking; grow a beard or go to the moon.

As you may have realized, I’m not feeling quite all right now. So until next time…bye.


Dear […],

It’s me again. Long, long time, eh? Just putting pen to paper. No idea what I want to say. Let’s see what I end up saying.

Time is 2102 hrs. Date: 14/3/01. Song going on is ‘So Much Things To Say’—‘I will forget no way/ the crucified Jesus Christ,’ sings Bob Marley. No kidding, really. The album is called Exodus. Time Magazine called it the best popular music album of the 20th century.

[Writer’s block.] Or maybe I’m just fed up being stupid.

All right, […], how’s life? I suppose the Sun has set by now in […]. Does darkness make your heart heavy? Hope not.

Maybe I should put off Marley and play something instrumental. His words poke their noses into my mind.

All right, I’ll just reduce the volume: ‘Jammin’ in the name of the Lord…’—this is another Bob I admire: Bob Dylan, Bob de Niro,….

Okay, so do you think my letters are usually pointless? Nevermind. But Kurt Cobain suicided, didn’t he? ‘Enough faking,’ his note said. I heard an album by his wife’s rock group Hole, called Live Through This. But the poor chap didn’t take the advice.

Side A has finished. I put off the tape. Last thing Bob said was, ‘Don’t worry about a thing.’ Song was named ‘Three Little Birds’. Next Vladimir Ashkenazy plays Frederic Chopin, the ‘poet of the piano’. Quiet and melodious. Okay.

I had gone home for three weeks. Returned only 2 days back. Was fun back home. I love home.

I haven’t checked my email for a long time now. I wonder if you’ve mailed me in the meantime. I don’t think you have. I’ll see when I go to the net café to mail this letter. Maybe tomorrow.

Had been to Mumbai for training. 2 weeks early last month. In Colaba. Could see the Gateway of India from our balcony. Nice place—Colaba. Old buildings, old trees. But the Gateway’s nothing special. Saw Mumbai, the city, in all its glory, its filth—saw flashy cars and gaudy prostitutes. Saw Ratan Tata driving by in a Honda City. He looked like a chauffeur.

Bought many music tapes from Mumbai—Bob Marley, Massive Attack, Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Hole, P J Harvey, Dr Dre (disgusting), Bjork, Wynton Marsalis, Cream, Lou Reed….

Saw four films there—Men of Honor, with de Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr, Red Planet, Run, Lola, Run (German) and Remember the Titans, with Denzel Washington. The German film was the most interesting. It began with a quote from T S Eliot’s Four Quartets….

Ashkenazy is playing furiously. How many fingers can a man have? There is a film called Fingers, in which Harvey Keitel plays a wannabe pianist whose father is a gangster who forces him to ‘recover’ money from people. […] I also want to learn to play the piano. May join for classes. I may also write the lectureship test, maybe the IAS exams too. Or maybe I should work on the script my friend in Kochi wants me to complete. There is also a lot of abandoned ‘poetry’ in bits of paper strewn all through two boxes kept in my room. If I could complete one story, maybe I could send it to that Asian Age short story competition. But I just don’t know how to get my ‘hero’ to jump from the bridge into the water. He’s been waiting at the Venduruthy bridge for almost two years now….

16/3/01 0930 hrs

My only companion in this room right now is […], a man with the Holy Spirit inside him. A man of god who looks like old Lucifer himself. Like Mephistopheles showing Faust the road to damnation, he is coaxing me on to the road to salvation. I haven’t yet made before him my statement of faith. Wonder how he’d react if I did. He keeps saying funny things and overinterprets the Bible wildly. He says the End is nigh—the ‘digital age’ he says is the gateway to the rule of 666, the Devil’s own number. He has also made many original discoveries—like that man has XX chromosomes because he is wholly made from God, while women have XY chromosomes because she is half of God (X) and half of man (Y). Do you remember your Biology classes […]?

[…] looks up from today’s Times of India and tells me that a 45-year-old Malayali in Mumbai suicided after killing his two minor daughters. Unemployment. […] shakes his head in pity.

Today’s paper told me that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has released. It had received rave reviews. Time Mag’s ‘best film of 2000’. (Chicken Run was runner-up.) So today at 7 pm I’ll be in my seat at Vijay, a cinema theatre I like because it shows films without an interval. I saw Unbreakable there, which I thought was a wonderful film—better than Shyamalan’s earlier The Sixth Sense, which I felt was over-rated.

And by the way […], on my way back from home, in the train, I did something that surprised me. I walked up to two girls who were in the same compartment, introduced myself and chatted away for hours on end. Two nice girls—Anu and Rose Mary—studying BSc Nursing at Gulbarga. Rose Mary was a lovely Anglo-Indian; while Anu was the intelligent type (M T Vasudevan Nair is her favourite writer). Rose likes Salman Khan; Anu looked plain. Between the two, a difficult choice. Same old dilemma for me. Rose said it was like talking to her grandfather. Nice compliment, eh?

1318 hrs
So what have you been up to? Finished Durant? I wept when I read of Nietzsche losing his mind. Madness is so terrible, yet so right. And old Schopenhauer. Philosophy is a disease. Man has not been made to think. He has been made to have sex. Really. Thinking is an aberration, at least thinking about the ‘ultimate’ things. And philosophy does not seem to aid so much in living life. Like John Lennon said, ‘Life is what happens to you when you are thinking about what you should be doing with life.’ I wonder how much really is in our own hands. How free is our ‘free will’? Blah, blah, blah….

Outside this room, I can hear doors creaking open. They really should oil those hinges. Women, men speaking. A cryptic Marathi tongue. Outside this window is a new hospital that has been waiting for its inauguration for the last two years.


‘So much things to say…’

Somebody said a work of art is never completed, it is only abandoned at a certain point. I think the same is true of a letter, a conversation, a philosophy…. So…the end.

But after the end comes the postscript, right? Really, we human beings have some very bad habits.


I feel like a marooned man sending out a message in a bottle.



As for me, my life is not as exciting as yours. Valentine’s day? Didn’t even notice it. Only realized it took place when I read about the Hindutva brigade’s antics in the next day’s newspaper. Hey, by the way, met any of my type of girls there? She should read Shakespeare, watch Kurosawa’s films and of course be very pretty and nice and sweet and lovely and irresistible and gentle and…. You may relax a few of the above conditions—but you would know my type I suppose eh?


Dear […],

I seem to begin every letter I mail with an apology. ‘Sorry for replying so late’, ‘Sorry for never writing’, etc. But bad habits die hard, and I’m not too keen on killing, be it a habit or whatever. Anyway, struggling to change. Anyway, sorry. It’s like Bob Dylan sang on ‘Restless Farewell’: ‘…to remain as friends/ one needs the time to make amends; / but because my feet are now fast/ and point away from the past….’ Still, to forgive is divine….

I was in Kolhapur when I turned 25. It’s been almost two months now since then. So many things have happened. Every day changes one so much, doesn’t it? I’m all charged up now. It’s like I’ve already lived one third of my life. And I’m still a child. I’ve been looking around for so long. It’s now my time to make my choices and go out into the world to live. I’ve always felt that it’s best to live a student’s life—keeping an open mind. A student should always have a scientific temper, ie, he should be willing at any point of time whatsoever to change his beliefs, his outlook, his Weltanschauung, if he comes across an idea that is more convincing than the one he holds now. The problem with keeping an open mind is that one is never fully sure of anything. A closed mind is very sure; but it runs the risk of being wrong. How can one live without being sure? You can never make up your mind about anything. I’ve lived that life for years now. But now I feel that it’s beginning to wear me out. I mean that kind of a temper is difficult in practical life. And I’m beginning to feel more and more that life is a practical thing. I feel that today I’m changing into something I’d have looked at with contempt a few years back. To dislike the man in the mirror is a terrible thing. Even if the whole world disapproves of you, but the man living in your skin is your brother and best friend, you’re not unfortunate.

I’m fighting it though. ‘God and the Devil are fighting a furious war and the battleground is the heart of man.’ I think this one year is going to be the time that will decide it all for me. Let’s wait and see.

That much about the life of my soul. […]

Been writing a bit, but nothing finished yet. May take the UGC test in December, but I’ll decide only after I get back from home. Don’t think I’m taking it easy. You know what? I’ve even stopped going to films so that I can sort out a lot of the things I have to. I can’t change more than that. For almost the last ten years, that has been my strongest identity—that of a cineaste, a lover of the art of films. So, as you probably realize, this is the real thing—just me, myself and the mirror now—a face-off. Only time will tell in what shape I’ll get out of this.


Dear […],

Got your mail. Glad to know you are as crazy as always. Hold on to it brother.

I’ve not been checkng my mails for the last week because I was on tour in Chalisgaon, Dhule and Jalgaon. Got back today morning. Travel helps you realize it’s not just your neighbours—people are the same disgusting creatures wherever they live. Or maybe I’m not in a good frame of mind today. If truth changes with time, we, her lovers, are in trouble, aren’t we?

By the way, let me know your postal address (so that I can know your address and still not write?).

So how’s your world turning these days? As for me, well, I’m ok, I guess.

The only film I’ve seen after returning from Kochi is The Pledge, directed by Sean Penn and starring Jack Nicholson. A good film about promises, obsession, truth and madness, based on a book by Friedrich Durrenmatt.

My mind I think is doing pretty good these days. I feel my character is changing. I’m becoming harder and tougher, I think. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my work […].

[The music in this café is atrocious. Disgusting and loud. It seems to be the kind of music only some twisted pervert would listen to, yet this is probably the most popular music in India today. Kids will learn to think they enjoy it by hearing grown-ups praise this kind of stuff. If the lyric was in a language I couldn’t understand, I would have thought the song was about the sex life of zombies or something. In the background there is the theme from Tim Burton’s Batman, though.]

Nowadays I exercise regularly, I brush my teeth twice a day, and I no longer have a moustache. Can you see where my life is going?

I’m still too busy for girls. What about you? Rose, Jasmine and Lilac?

‘A woman is like an elephant. Kind of interesting to look at, but I wouldn’t like to own one.’ – W C Fields (?).



As for me I’m still here in Pune. Bought some music for myself today. Saw Monsoon Wedding yesterday. A wonderful film—funny, touching, perceptive. I’ve cut down on my movie diet drastically though during the previous few months. Trying to row the boat of my life, rather than just to flow with the current. Trying to be diligent. Visited a library today after many days and browsed through the literature section. It was like meeting an old girlfriend after a long while and realizing why you were so deeply in love back then. Let me see if I can set that flame alight again. I want to badly, but there is so much to fight. Like Wordsworth said:
The world is too much with us:
Getting and spending we lay waste our lives…


Right then. Keep mailing. And keep smiling.




Anonymous said...

'Life is just what it is'.

The Living!