Monday, June 29, 2009

Here's Looking At You...People.

Though I have occasional bouts of acute misanthropy; what redeems people in my eyes is that everyone past a certain age is a story.
Some of these living, breathing stories don’t know that’s what they are. Of those who do, 90% don’t know how to tell theirs (urk, don’t even get me started on how resoundingly boring people can be when they tell their life stories… “ Then I was born at 7 am, and I opened my eyes at 7:02 am…” (two hours and several wishes to die a speedy death by the auditor later)…”and then I said “…tubelight. Call the electrician.” …) but bottomline is every life is enough of a story to have a book or a movie made on it.

Of course, the movies are of all kinds -- sepia tinted, pre-independence period costume movies, arty depressing movies where the protagonist just sits in a dark room and cries, action movies, comedy movies, teen ‘coming of age’ dramas, Oscar winning movies, masala movies where the hero and heroine dance around in the rain on a weekday afternoon in Venice, or ‘slice-of-life’ quirky movies about very normal people (read: ugly) doing very, very mundane things. But they’re all still stories.

I look at a lot of people around me and wonder, “I wonder why she only wears red and black. What’s the story behind that?” (I don’t work in a colony of red ants: that was an example.)

I had a physics teacher at my school, who was as vindictive as they came. But on every weekday morning after our school bus picked her up; she would take her usual place right up against the front glass of the bus next to the driver, settle in, and then take out what appeared to be the same tattered letter everyday and read it with lingering and evident pleasure all the way to school. It made me wonder about her, and frankly I itched to know what was in that letter.

I look at extremely domesticated, traditional housewives, busy with their daily work of looking after their husband and kids; and often wonder how they were when the world with all its glorious choices held its doors open for them. Did they have different dreams? What was their story? Had they a crush on the north eastern student on the mini bus to school?* How different would their lives have been if they acted on that impulse?** Had these women thought they would make a good doctor or an actress before they were told to marry someone their parents chose for them?

The paradox of my constant wondering about people’s lives of course, is that I have a horror of acquaintances*** who volunteer a blow-by-blow as I mentioned earlier. I also shy away from asking people about their lives, disgusted as I am by some of the regrettable questions I myself have had to dodge quite often from total strangers.

Sometimes it happens that people vouchsafe interesting confidences about their life to me without any prompting, maybe BECAUSE I’m not always sniffing around for information. Sometimes such exchanges are so profound or startling, indeed, that it renews my faith in how absolutely fascinating human nature is. I live for such conversations -- but they are rare, and more importantly, cannot be forced.

So I am destined to remain eternally wondering about most people; which, if you really look at it, might be best for all concerned.

*Wait…that was me…
**NOT me. He had an acne problem, to be honest.
***note to my friends to pay especial attention to the word ‘acquaintances’. I EXPECT all the gruesome details from you guys.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lotus Bum.

I occasionally get -- though they’ve been getting fewer and farther between, with the years -- out of body experiences. I won’t call them experiences, because a split second can’t really be an experience. That reminds me of an episode of Frasier. A woman calls into his radio show complaining about sex with her much older husband, and says,“I’ve been inoculated slower!”. (Ha ha.)

That was a total digression, this post isn’t about that, however much my readers cry out for it.

So going back to what I was saying, I very once in a while get a feeling like I’ve just popped out of my body for a wee second, and everything is as clear as day. It’s almost like it’s your body which confuses you. For that one moment you get to slip your skin; and as you hover a few feet away everything makes sense, everything is in its proper perspective, there is no pain, no annoyances; the things around you just ARE, nothing more. And then as though your body realizes it’s mistake, it tucks you back in with a quick imperceptible action, like a lady with an errant bra strap, and it’s all normal again.

There are other times, when I’m not thinking about anything In particular, that I get a different version of it. You know the trance-like state one goes into when you’re a passenger on a car or bus (I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re driving the thing); where you’re just vacantly staring into space until you get to point B. My eye will happen to alight on one of the hundreds of people that I pass on every trip, and I get a quick flash in my mind’s eye of a window or some such. I like to think it’s insight into that person’s life, and feel a little bit like Bruce Willis in ‘Unbreakable’, on the rare occasions it has happened.

So far I haven’t put it to the test, viz, follow these unsuspecting people home and check if the grills on their window match the one in my vision. I’d rather not, because this makes me feel like I have a superpower and I don’t want proof that it’s an eye infection or mental disease. Though totally useless and unreliable; a superpower is still not something you sneeze at.

Do any of you have a superpower? Let me know if you do and we can form a League Of Totally Useless Superpowers for the Betterment (or not) of Undeserving Mankind. (LOTUS BUM).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What's the deal with famous people?

I don’t know what it is about famous people that fascinate us so. Whenever I get some spare time on the computer I hungrily devour everything there is to know about famous people.

They’re not always predictable ones -- I just googled Rani Lakshmi Bai and then Ben Cross in succession, one leading to another through the whole 1857 rebellion-The Far Pavilions- Ashton Pelham Martin (my first love)-Ben Cross progression.

Yesterday I looked up Igor Stravinsky and George Harrison, and that led to Don Henley…I go where my thoughts take me. Long live Google and Wikipedia, I say.
I anxiously read through facts about their childhoods. Facts which, if a boring acquaintance were to share about his or her own life, I would condemn as the most boring thing I’d heard all day, and pretend to fall asleep immediately after. There’s just something else about famous people; darned if I know what it is.

And look at this whole Shiney Ahuja thing. (‘Shiney’… did his parents think he’ll turn out normal with a name like that? He must’ve been beaten up routinely in school.). Shiney and his wife ‘Anupam’. A marriage made in heaven ... the groom is called ‘Shiney’ and the woman has a dude’s name. (what’s up with that?)

What you all know and are groaning that you have to read about here as well is this: He has raped his possibly underage maid. No he hasn’t touched her, this is preposterous. OK I might have had a little consensual sex with her… Of course he hasn’t, my husband is a good husband and a great father… Ok I might have had more than a little sex with her… No the medical reports make it clear it’s rape, does he think he can get away with this because he’s a famous actor, etc etc.

Kudos to the victim for stepping forward and I hope he is castrated and rots in jail.

But wait! The media won’t leave it at that…over and over and over goes the looped tape of Mister Shiney in a tight t-shirt being bundled into a police van. We all watch agog at the same footage over and over and ‘tsk tsk’ disapprovingly. All the while there are women out there being raped in our country every minute. Raped and then raped again. But hey the media’s not interested, neither are we, because is your rapist’s name ‘Shiney’, madam? Not even Goldy? Then get over it. Such things happen.

I am not making the pompous point that the News should just be a long list of all the nameless victims of rape across the country to the exclusion of all else, because that’s not possible and people would stop watching the news. What I’m trying to say is, we shouldn’t fool ourselves into believing we would’ve given this young girl a passing thought if a famous actor hadn’t been involved. In fact, even now, we’re interested in what his wife is saying more than what the victim’s name is.

It’s just bizarre about celebrities. However stupid or boring or ugly they are as people, they’re as irresistible to us as a Shiney (ha ha) trinket to a magpie.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll have to google why Jeffrey Archer went to jail.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Shall I tell you what ELSE annoys me? The word ‘obvious’. It looks innocuous in itself, but hides a wealth of smug, know-all, if-I- get-more-full-of-myself-I’ll-burst patronization I am yet to encounter in any other word.

Why are you angry with me?
I think it should be obvious.

(If I’m asking you it’s not obvious. And there’s no need to torture me further, because really I care enough to ask you and you should be happy about that.)

What does the word ‘equity’ mean?
I can’t believe you asked such an obvious question.

(I’m sorry, were you born with that knowledge or did someone tell you, you pompous git??? Now quit wasting my time being snotty, and just tell me.)

Is the earth flat and does the sun go ‘round it?
Zounds! Thy asketh the most obvious queries!

(I rest my case.)