Friday, October 16, 2009

Style Rant

Let me tell you this. This past week has been oddly cold and rainy for October. Promptly, jackets were off their hangers, sweaters were unfolded from their half-yearly hibernation. For it was cold this week. Cold enough for me to pose around in my myriad jackets and sweaters like a er.. poser. Tuesday was especially fun in the pose-y sort of way when the sun threatened to peek through the clouds. Two rays which managed to get past the cloud barrier gave me enough reason to pounce on my sunglasses. So finally, the morning found me driving to work wearing jacket AND sunglasses and the quintessential accessory to go with that combination -- the scowl.

You know the scowl. No? It's that stone-stiff expression that is set on a guy's face the moment the frames of his sunglasses come into contact with his face. Picture this - Before sunglasses: goofy, crooked smirk ; After sunglasses: starched, straight face with zero expression. Yes, that's it. Do not try denying it. Every guy has worn that scowl everytime he has worn sunglasses. It makes you feel like that unshaven, mean-looking hunk with sunglasses in the stylish ads in a Cosmopolitan. Made me too. Only i had shaved just that morning (even cut myself just below the jaw), flicked an ant softly from my jacket without killing it and try as i might, i would have struggled to make it to an ad for Babubhai Suitings & Shirtings in the latest issue of Borivali Today. Much like most other guys.

My point here (you didn't think there actually was some point behind this rambling now, did you?) being - style is blinding. Primarily, your style blinds you. e.g. the dark sunglasses dim reality around you and you slowly turn oblivious to the noise that is the rest of the world, especially the cacophony that is the pointed laughter of your colleagues. In some cases, your style can even blind others. Ask Bappi Lahiri. Or eternal friend of the Little Master and wannabe politician, Vinod Kam-bling who is rumoured to have blinded two people attending his rally during his campaign for the recently concluded Assembly elections by simply flashing his gold chain(s?) and earring(s?).

So men, here's some advice for you. Leave the jacket-flashing and sunglasses-brandishing to me. Don't let me catch you walking around with your shirt-collars turned up. Lets not try getting that oily long-ish hair from your face with a flick of the head. And by any means, do not, and i repeat DO NOT get me started on the pout.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Return

Entries, much akin to exits, must be short, quick and effective.
So here I am.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Notes on matrimony and other grown-up matters

Last week, for a few moments, i found myself in a state of restricted motion and unable to react with anything more than a few incomprehensible syllables. And this, when there was not a hint of alcohol anywhere around or in me. The incident that caused me to enter such a state of immobility was the sight of an old friend staring away at me from a photograph with a tired yet glowing smile on her face and a slightly more conspicuous live infant in her cradled hands. Now, said friend is one i have known since she wore school uniforms, so the sight of her in a maternity gown had roughly the same effect on me as a well-aimed wooden club at the back of the head. And did i mention the baby in her arms? Thud!

Of course, once the stun-ray effect had worn off, i was all smiles and warm with good wishes for the newly-mommied friend, the sweet little baby and the new pa, who in another pic had that look of slight belief which seems to suggest, "Did I do that now?" - so perhaps a few extra wishes for the hubby-slash-daddy. What also occurred to me is how suddenly i seem to know an ever-increasing number of people who have just been married, or are in the last few laps leading to matrimony, and of course this friend already bearing offspring and what not. A college friend i am very fond of got herself bound in matrimony last month and at least two more good friends and a small army of cousins, close and distant, are scheduled to walk the proverbial aisle before 2009 sets. The only aisles i've been walking - and will be walking for some time to come - are those on buses (there was that one occasion when i got to walk the aisle of an airplane last year but the mind-numbing in-flight 'entertainment' ensured that that was no experience to store in memory).

The age at i am is one where the elders in a regular Indian family start assuming that it is their duty and service to society to hitch every human young and single and rid society of the evil that is the unmarried youth above the ripe age of say, 28. The first wave arrives in the form of the generation two levels over - the grandparents, the great-uncles and -aunts and of course the Seniors' Special - the unidentified, crotchety relative, generally found in family weddings, who pinches your father's cheeks, then yours, comments on how much weight your mother has put on, launches herself into a serious discussion on how it is vital for today's kids to realize the importance of an early marriage set up by the family elders and proceeds to rattle of names of families in the community who house eligible single members of the sex opposite to yours. The second wave, the mom-dad generation, joins forces with the first soon - more orthodox the family, the sooner the amalgamation of forces.

Thankfully, my family seems more relaxed in these matters. Either that or they are resigned to the fact that this son of theirs is what is not so kindly known as a lost cause and they should focus instead on rearing the younger son for matrimonial bliss. Not that i am opposed to marriage, really. Or am i? Weddings are fun, come to think of it – free food, lots of it, happy people everywhere. But then i pass this judgment based on the weddings i have been to, none of which were mine. It’s the parts after which seem to be what i am averse to. To be specific, i am referring to the parts from the next morning onwards, lest you comment harshly on my sanity. But maybe the daily dribble of marriage won’t be too tough either, will it? At least it did not seem so when i played house with my neighbour at age 7.

Eureka! I know exactly what i need to do. That’s what’s going to get everyone happy – me, the family elders, the guy who sells crockery articles which are gifted to newlyweds and which end up lying unused for the first 16 years of marriage when the couple decides to pass on the same unopened gift to another unsuspecting marrying twosome in an act of typical middle-class thriftiness. You know what i’m thinking about. Yes, that’s absolutely correct. I need to find myself someone to play house with.

Friday, February 13, 2009

From "Midnight's Children"

Most of what matters in your life takes place in your absence.

Now what else to do but agree?

Sunday, January 25, 2009



It’s an odd feeling (in the head, to be precise) to be holding another man’s hand by a busy Pune roadside on a Sunday afternoon. That’s what occurred to the man whose right hand was grasping another’s left. At least a minute passed before they could venture on their expedition to get to the other side of the road weaving through oddly heavy traffic in a city otherwise known for its afternoon inactivity. The man with the occupied right hand, the odd feeling in a twenty-five-year-old head and the black shades shielding his eyes from the January sun was the younger of the two. The older man wore a watch with a tattered strap on his clasped left hand, hints of wrinkles above his brow, signs of grey in his sparse hair and black eyeglasses with frames thicker than those on his new, younger companion. The youngster made small conversation as they approached the other side. But he didn’t let the turmoil in his head show. Nary a word about the dirty politics at his workplace or his statuses as a failed son, misconceived friend. Not about his educational ambitions or the ambiguities of his professional dreams. Not a word about his quarter-life crisis. All through the few minutes they were together, the young man noticed that his older fellow traveler never lost the smile on his face. The older man clearly seemed relatively less affluent and afflicted by a handicap graver than something as abstract as ‘quarter-life’ crisis, yet a serenity seemed to have rested permanently on his otherwise blank face. And contagious it was too. By the time the duo got to the other side, the younger mind was calmer than it had been a minute or two ago. Hands unjoined. Ways began to part. The young man bid his roadcrosssingpartner goodbye, felt another odd feeling – this time of much-needed calm - and carried on along the same road, adjusting his sunglasses and staring at the sun for a moment or two. The older man smiled in no particular direction, mumbled a silent blessing, adjusted his own dark glasses and then slowly turned right, accompanied by another companion – his white-cane-with-red-tip.


It’s an odd feeling – she thinks it’s coincidence. How is it possible that each and every time her phone rings, flashing his name, she catches herself thinking about him ?! Perhaps she knows the answer but she wants to avoid it for as long as she can. What she does not probably realize is that there is no coincidence in this at all. How can there be – she keeps thinking of him all the livelong day. He could call an hour or two (or even more) earlier or later and she could still find herself with the same thoughts in that twenty-five year-old head of hers. What, however, she does not know (and is actually coincidental) is that at the other end, he goes through the same odd feeling too. What she also does not know: he too calls it ‘coincidence’.


Twenty five. Quarter life crisis. It’s an odd feeling indeed.


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