Friday, October 22, 2004

Wind vein

Today, I move back to chilled sinus of this cetacean house. A space that some might call an attic - but that in my opinion is pigeon holing. Today I announce the onset of winter. Yes children it is official - the dragons from summer have lost their fire and are cowering like those they terrorised.

I have bathed frequently in the last month (sometimes not more than 3 days between baths) and the world that knows me attributes it to my recently reacquired lonliness. But not even loss in love can inspire a man thus. It was my version of a saliva smeard finger looking for changing winds. The trauma of todays bath was cosmic. Only handwoven wool shawls would save me. The warmth of these shawls comes not from anything thermodynamics can explain. It is a love that the shawl and owner share in thanks for the creator of that length of hand woven wool.

The weaver of my shawl is god to me, for he is art, patience, and grace rolled into one protoplasmic entity. Hail weave rfull of grace.
I have figured this to be the reason why yuppies dont take to handicraft stuff well. It is an earthly bond and the shawl will treat you only as you treat it. If you bathe it for every haldi stain it gets, it will not be sympathetic. It is a true symbiosis.

The attic isnt haappy to have me back. Its hatch has its outh open in a shape that can only be interpreted as shock. It is shocked at my lack of facial hair and the generally presentable (this is a negative word..... trust me) nature of my clothes. I said sorry to my attic and added one more to this years never ending list of apologies. But the spirit of winter is unapologetic. If you find my farting unbearable go outside and freeze your testicles off. I will not apologise anymore.

I am the pupa where the class carefully watches as the creature appears, middle finger first, emerging unimaginbly uglier than before but happy to eat the heads of all the other pupae around the jar.

Love and lots of blood to come.

Bunkim 'Bloginder Singh' Donuts

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Why I am almost Christian

Once a year, Hindus demarcate a stretch of 10 days called Shraadein. 10 days of intensely bad luck. Im only half Hindu and that I suppose cuts the period down to five. If life must suck let it be now for today the shraads get over. My christian half might snigger, forgetting that come spring, he'll have to face forty days of starvation - or by the same discount 20. The question is, what is more unbearable: 20 days of hunger or 5 days of bad luck. Here is my testimony to bad luck.

Day 1: Ive lost my rechargables. That of course means I can't spend much quality time with Joe Satriani. When I give him time, he tells me it wont do. I try to tell him about the missing batteries but he dosent care. I try and make apparent to him the guilt when using zinc chloride batteries that I buy with hard earned money only to be with him for 2 and a half hours before the leaches in my discman suck them dry. I must also contend with the the fact that with the number of batteries Ive discarded, ive poisioned the future of 2 and a half children wholl come to me with buds instead of limbs and ask what was so important. Joe is not convinced. "Rattle your dags.... get your act together.... i cant hang around while you sort through your disorganisation issues". He leaves me in silence though 'the souls of distortion' plays on in my mind Pwaay pe pwaaywaayon. Pwayawaya wayaya ya ya waayaaon.

Day 2: I now truly regret those wasted zinc chlorides. At 14 bucks a pair and at least a hundred pairs.... thats 1400 bucks. Enough to have shown my true love something spectacular so she'd hang on to me and my dangling carrots a while longer. No such luck. She left me today and sent me back a few lines I sent her when about to succumb to the temptation of another woman. Being my own arguments, I had no choice but to agree. I suspect she succumbed to the dangling carrots of another.

Day 3: Rid of carrots I sat down to drink. Jim Beam was here to keep me company and I thanked him greatly. It began to rain unseasonally and I joked about the sky crying for me. It didnt stop crying. It beat me like a wailing woman screaming "Why? why wont you have me?" I look up to the rain to and shout back -"Ive had it!" Then the rain stops. Metaphors have left me and Im left with excerpts from filmi magazines doing cartwheels in my monkey mind. It stops raining and it is cold. The cold is always welcome and I let some in. I now speak in chatters. Hey Im Bengali..... Mister Allalone Chatterjee

Day 4: Fishing. Nothing like a little fishing to get your mind off things. I shave, have a bath and the bait is ready. I pull out pick up lines written on the back of bus tickets from college days. "Hey I sorta kinda likey likey you.... do you likey likey me?" is the closest one to usable. The friend who owns the copyright to this "concentrate of condensed milk" is now happily married. I will have to get myself spayed before I can shed enough machismo to know im going to sound stupid even before I begin.
I walk into a bar I frequent. I know these fish and their habits, so catching one is but a matter of anticipation. The german music playing is angry and the poetry sounds flawed even a few languages removed. I am suddenly German. When I turn around they look. It seems odd that a week of absence can make a "part of the furniture" bar bum seem interesting. We have never spoken and I am my only carrot. I would have used the nursing of my drink as an opportunity to glance but today my peripheral vision tells me that I am on. If only I could find out which one of them is a crossword freak, id take todays paper and say "3 across - An unquestioningly loyal subordinate..... 11 letters........... Apparatchik of course!" Id casually laugh and put the only 11 letter word i know to the task of winning her over. But she - and all the shes today are interested in me. Its almost as though they cant resist me. Their eyes wander this way in some sort of anticipation. Maybe women can smell a single man. I walk up to a shapely woman. She is the shape of the woman who just left me. She is tranfixed as I ask her I can borrow the menu card. I am not sure if I can control all thats on the tip of my tongue. Ill save it from tomorrow.

Day 5: Just woke up from last nights crying. I have never known a booger so persistent. It stuck to my nose hair like a yellow tonsil for what must have been three hours while at the bar all the way to the public loo some half an hour later. Texture told me itd been hanging around a while. Shiit! This is childhood stuff. I didnt have the strength to broach the issue in writing yeaterday and nor do I have today. I cannot go to the bar for I am now the boogerman. Today i took out teddy, amy and other stuffed childhood freids and had a tea party. Teddy spoke of his midlife stuffed toy crisis and a deteriorateing sex life. We exchanged pleasentaries and I dropped them to the cupboard with a new set of naphthalene balls. Jim beam came again but a shorter visit this time. I can feel the ebb of bad luck.

Maybe I am christian after all.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Up and Up

Ballu and Khumbi climbed up Kandodhar, the ridge behind their village leading to moraines at the base of peaks too great to be called names. Noses ran white vitriol as the boys scampered up the mountain. They started off racing to that point in the hill where new energy falls off and gives way to questioning how far you really want to go. Kumbhi arrived first, picking up pebbles to throw at the feet of Ballu who had slowed to an Ape like lumbering. "Achcha!" yelled Ballu. "Just wait". Speech gets shortened as altitude rises. He clambered up to the rock Kumbhi had claimed dominion upon and jumped onto Kumbhis back. "Here........ having fun?". Kumbhi dropped him to the ground, sat on top of him and began to ticle him. "Whos the king of Kinnaur?.... lets hear it. Lets hear it or ill tickle till you turn to stone." Wild laughter echoed a long while for altitude selects a breed of robust that is only matched by barren snow beaten moraines.

Just then a cloud stopped by to talk to the sun and shade made its presence felt. You learn to fear the obscured sun as you would a wild animal for weather moves as fast at the extreme edges of life. A hole in the cloud allowed the sun back through and the boys were bipedal again, shading their eyes. "My father says that behind these hills the clouds put out the sun fights with clouds every evening and gets put out. The sun then sleeps, gets up fresh and fights his way out." Ballu guffawed. "You son of a mule! you beleive anything your father tells you. If he told you you were a mule, you'd start eating grass also. If the sun and the clouds fought you think the sun wouln't win? Then why dosent this cloud put the sun off right now?"

"Thats because there's only one cloud" Kumbhi replied.
"Right! and there are Two hundred clouds on that side of the hill. WHy dosent the sun go the other side? And why dont the clouds fight in the morning."

"You think you know more than my father? If he wants to he can make even your father into a mule. He can squash you like a bed bug if he wants."

"My father will climb up a Sharu (Fir tree) and your fat father can sit and watch"

"Chal. Lets see. Well climb the hill. If my fathers right then hes better, if you are right then your father is better.... OK?"

"Chal" said Ballu confidently heading in the direction of the path that lead to the pass - a pass that only occaisionally in the peak of summer was used by herdsmen en route to the river valleys when other passes stayed closed.

They both walked with a defiant step, each confident that their fathers would be proud when they got back with stories of vicory. In preparation of the cold, Kumbhi put his hand inside his sweater and waved an amputated hand at Ballu before wiping the snot off on his sleeve. Ballu pulled his sweater up to his ears and did a little monster walk as the sweater pulled at his lower lids. They laughed and both hands and face were back in the pure but niting air of the upper reaches.

Things slowed to a rythym and Ballu hummed a tune about how children who misbehaved grew Yak horns. He made to horns and poked them into Kumbhis side. THere wasnt enough air to run already.

Walking amid the start of the moraines, they played hop on the larger boulders and picked up round stones and pretended they were potatoes. "Give this to your father so he can get stronger and fight mine." said Kumbhi picking up a round stone twice his palms. Ballu took the stone and rolled it down saying his father didnt need it.

In a while they reached that part of the mountain where their snot trails left cold reminders and wiping made them sore. The deception of mountains accompanies even the most seasoned walker as hope always interferes in knowing impossible when he sees it. Ill race you to the top said Kumbhi and they ambled the best they could, a far cry from a run but the best their dynamos could deliver. A sliver higher than where the race began, Ballu called it quits and sat down to a slightly bloody nose. Dizzy he buried his face between his knees and snivelled. Khumbi back tracked all of his three step lead and stood by Ballu in concern. When Ballu stopped snivelling Khumbi bent down to talk:

"Are you OK?" .... Ballu nodded without raising his head and inhaled heavily. "Are you hungry?" asked Khumbi. Ballu nodded a no. "Still," said Khumbi "have a potato" holding a round stone infront of Ballus face. Khumbi roared at his own joke and ballu managed a snigger. Khumbi offered his hand and Ballu got up. The ice had melted. They were on the same side.

Walking was now all about baby steps.... many many baby steps. Time would have stood still except that when the sun met whatever it did across the pass, the cold would come seeking to sweep up all stragglers. That was still far away but not to be ignored. They both grew in age with each step, deepening the crows feet that would landscape the sides of their eyes in years to come. Frost and Ice now interspersed the rocks and hands tapped on thighs to remind the body of their existence.

Silence. Nothing but the sound of air filtering through moist sweater collars. The pass was now wihin a stones throw. Now there were no stones and no possibility to throw them even to test their estimate. They made secret time calculations but fallibility as a concept sets in early in high altitude folk. They continued nonetheless.

The ridge of the pass came closer even as they grew disoriented - not trusting anything but the sound of the crunch under their frozen feet and the promise that they were making progress. Khumbi reached first and stuck his hand out to Ballu as he made the last two steps. They sat speechless and reeling.


It took a while for the fog behind their eyes to lift. They dropped jaw inside their sweaters and sat higher than the reference point of mean sea level would have us beleive. There facing them for the first time in the life of village boys, was infinity not hill obstructing their view. Just hills and fake potatoes going far beyond what their frozen little minds could comprehend.

They sat a while and let a bit of cold in. "Chal bhai" said Kumbhi beginning to walk down. They walked down a little unsteady at first but gaining in the confidence of their step with every moment of triumphant realisation. Halfway down (psychologically so) Ballu remebered their bet. He took the early bird initiative to distort reality.

"See I told you there were no clouds." he put his han on Kumbhis shoulder.
"Are you blind? you didnt see the clouds? Which way were you looking?"
"Im not a mule.... you want to go back and check?"
"Chalo.... lets go" retorted Kumbhi
"If your nose want so weak we'd go back, but if you die, yourmother will make Yak butter out of me"
"Make excuses. Make excuses."
"OK chal... you want to go again?" said Kumbhi and began walking upwards.
"Come on lets go, our mothers will be worried"
"If you insist" said Kumbhi triumphantly strangling ballu in the crutch of his arm and elbow. "Ill make yak butter out of you even if your mother dosent".