Thursday, 24 December 2009

Elpis

(or, The Bitch)

Lined with silver,
Are clouds.
But only
If you look.

They exist solely when
You want them to.
Clearly,
This is not always.

Inevitably, with them
Arrives hope.
She springs eternal.
A misfortune, that.
Hope is a cruel mistress.

She is not faithful,
Anyone can have her, if
They like.
She takes you in, she
Promises you the world.
She does that with everyone,
You know.

I live with her,
Nonetheless.
Her expressions are my daily bread.
Half smiles, chance conversations,
Small joys.
Hope.

How I detest that
I have no choice, but
To rely
On hope.
________________________
PS, You weren't meant to be reading the text at the top. For that matter, this bit is meant to be hidden, too.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

melancholy. what a nice word. perfect for gloomily lit rooms that have exactly the wrong amount of sunlight in them. exactly the right sound for the feeling you get after walking for fifteen minutes and feeling completely, totally alone. it's not sadness. sadness is too broad, too vague. melancholy is the recognition of sadness, and loneliness.

it is also the feeling of defeat. melancholic describes a grey drizzly afternoon, when only the important things have gone wrong for you, when only the interesting things have not worked out.  melancholy is just enough to keep you going, but not enough to keep you smiling. it's a friend being optimistic when you are convinced it's really not worth it. a bluish grey, a sad smile, a light rain, these are the things that the word melancholy evokes. it is a perfect emotion for poetry, of which I shall attempt none. of all the things that poetry is best suited for, it is melancholy that comes at the top of the list. it should only be tried by masters. apprentices like me have very little chance of capturing that fine balance, of creating that moment of joy in the midst of gloom.

two parts sadness, one part regret, a couple of memories of happier days, a pinch of despondency, a few spoons of desolation, a perfectly wistful smile, and a dash of simply being out of place and you're in the same zip code as melancholy, the most beautiful emotion of them all.

Friday, 4 December 2009

They said he was dead. He had not been seen in a week, and he had even missed an audience with the king. Not that he had ever considered an audience with the king to be of any importance; it was common knowledge that it was he who held most of the power in the court. The only thing stopping him from claiming the kingship as his own was the myth. No one but those descended from the gods could be King of Japan. He was a nobleman, a high-ranking one, at that, but he was not descended from the gods.

He had thought to himself, on more than one occasion, about how having the gods as ancestors only proved that you were inbred, and that the weakness of the current monarchy was probably a consequence of Izanagi marrying his younger sister, Izanami. How in the world could anyone contemplate that? Even the most degenerate of peasants would not marry their own sister, but the gods themselves engaged in incest.

Of course, even for a nobleman of his stature, the public revealing of these views would necessitate all the other powers in the land banding together to destroy him. They just needed an excuse, and this would be a very good one. So he kept these thoughts carefully hidden, revealing them only to himself in his most private moments.

Only last month he had stood up in front of all his vassals and their samurai and declared that he would not contest the power of the Emperor of Japan. The only ones who believed him were the ones without consequence, the ones who only came so that they could return to their small estates and boast about their audience with him. But even they were important. Without the support of the rural peasants, the might of the cities was nothing. He needed them to be on his side, or at the very least not to be on anyone else’s side. It was the rural villagers who suffered the most in every war; it was they he needed as soldiers.

And now he had disappeared. No one knew where he was, not the spies in his household, belonging to all of the great powers in Kyoto, not his most trusted advisors, not the samurai who were honor bound to guard him till their death. Even his wives were caught unawares when they were told he was missing.

He had a reputation as a shrewd calculator, any move he made would have been carefully thought about for many nights, and they were watched and observed as such. But this one baffled everyone. By not being seen, he only weakened his position. By disappearing, he increased the rumours about his death, allowing his enemies to take advantage. And even a momentary advantage could prove decisive in the political battle he was fighting.

Where was he, they wondered. And all the while, he watched, and waited.

Monday, 23 November 2009

it's the stories, isn't it? the sense of community, the belief in something greater than us, the weird rituals that evoke memories of a younger time, they can all be replaced.

but without religion, the stuff you really wouldn't have is the culture. it is religion that gives us myth. mythology has always interested me. whether of cultures of dead civilisations, like the norse and the greek, or of cultures that exist both now and then, like christianity and hinduism, or those of imaginary worlds, like batman and spiderman. it is that that would be a true loss. no more mahabharata, or sigurd and fafnir. not thinking about whether zeus is a dick for banishing hades to the underworld. no more sermonising about lucifer being a victim, not a criminal.

the stories of yesterday are what inspire the stories of tomorrow. without the stories of yesterday, there would be no stories of tomorrow.

they say the world would be a better place without religion. surely, there would be less conflict. there would certainly be less resources wasted on seemingly meaningless rituals. but there's a good chance they'll just find different excuses. and rituals only mean something if you want them to.

without religion, i couldn't climb tirupati. without religion, i couldn't look at the sistine chapel. without religion, gandhi might never have been inspired.

it's the music, really. never mind the intricate parables. it's the music. it's in the beauty of kabir. it's about asking him whether he really has any equals. it's about telling people gods are only what we think they are. it's about telling people the only thing you learned from love was how to shoot someone who outdrew you.

music and myth are the only reasons i can see for justifying religion. religion inspires people. and lest we forget, much beauty is inspired from other things we agree are not good. buddhism was the result of a man who today would be judged as clinically depressed. without madness, van gogh would never have painted the view outside his sanatorium window.

i wish i had a clever quote to end with. but i don't.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Courts of the Caliph, or, The Tigers That Roam Baghdad

The court, or courts, for there were several, of Haroun Al Raschid, king of Arabia, were magical. They were the jewels of the city of Baghdad, and they received visitors from far and wide, from the frigid wastes of Russia to the deserts of the Sahara. Haroun, known to the white Europeans as Aaron, and the dark Indians as Arun, was a great king, and his kingdom was greater still. There was little in the world to match the wonders of Arabia in the times of the fifth Caliph.

This is a story, one of many, of but one of the courts of Haroun, and may Allah strike me down if it is not the truth.

_____________________________________________________________

Walk down one of the many promenades of Baghdad, into one of thousands of gullies, past the butcher and the small time bookkeeper, and you just might see one. They are not very common, but most who come to Baghdad catch a glimpse, enough to keep the tales of their existence alive. Stories of the tigers that roam the city. They had started six months ago, just after the month of fasting, and they grew only more fantastic by the day. Perhaps, on the first day, there had only been one or two. By now, there was an entire family of fourteen, hungry for human flesh. Of course, everyone in the city had a cousin or an uncle whose neighbor knew a man eaten alive by these evil beasts, and all decried the sad state of affairs perpetuated by the city guard’s inefficiencies.

Ask a guard about it, and he will tell you ‘Good citizen, pay no heed to the mutterings of these fools. They will swindle you without a thought, and slip a dagger in your back without a warning. Break no laws, keep to the main roads, and ask no dangerous questions, and you will not be troubled in the fine city that is Baghdad’

Ask a merchant on one of the city’s dingier lanes, and he will tell you ‘Friend, be very careful. Just last night there was a sighting of a large male. They say he is the king of them all, and that he has been brought to our holy city by Azazel-called-Iblis himself. Take care, for the Devil is allied with these brutes. Peace be with you.’

And, of course, if you were to ask a noble who frequented the Court of Wagers, he would give you a smile, and nod in a knowing manner, and say he knew absolutely nothing about it.

The Court of Wagers was one of the more affluent courts of Baghdad. Not that any Court was poor, but the richest could buy the rest of the city and treat the cost as nothing more than the loss of spare change. And if one wanted to know the truth of this particular story, there would be no better time than five days after Eid, and no place better than the main hall of the Court, where a very peculiar argument was taking place.

‘ORDER! ORDER, I say! By the beard of the Prophet, STOP SHOUTING!’ said the man in what must have been the most colourful robe in all Persia, ostensibly the leader of the Court in the Caliph’s absence. While it wasn’t immediately obvious, the man was called Omar, and more importantly, he was one of Haroun’s most trusted confidantes. While he gave brilliant advice, and his view on political situations was very nearly always invaluable to the ruler of Arabia, he was incapable of getting the attention of any group of people, large or small.

‘Respected Leader, I only ask my good friend Zakir whether his chickens have hatched.’ This was Shahid, the most popular noble in the Court. His often-indifferent manner hid a most vicious wit, and few, if any, challenged him in a war of words any more.

‘Exalted Chairman, I merely bring to your attention the matter of my eggs, all of which seem to be broken, and all of which were in the care of my dear ally Shahid.’ This was Zakir, newly elevated to noble status, who had still not learned not to cross Shahid, though that would be corrected very soon.

‘Revered Arbiter, I simply must declare my consternation at both my associates, who refuse to let a poor man like me speak simply because of a trivial matter concerning poultry.’ This was Abbas, who simply liked to make a racket, but almost always ended up winning any argument he faced, having an uncanny knack for choosing the right side.

‘SILENCE, OR I’LL BEHEAD THE LOT OF YOU!’ thundered Omar. This tended to get the attention of most mobs, but it had little effect on the nobles, who knew that the most he could do to them was lock them in jail for a night.

But something else happened, and it was this that caught everyone’s attention. The Caliph entered the Court of Wagers.

Immediately all five hundred nobles knelt in obeisance to their king, and immediately the Caliph gestured them to rise again. He walked to the throne, which was always empty, and sat next to Omar, and watched as if expecting something.

Zakir had a grin on his face. With the Caliph in attendance, Shahid would not be able to fool around and would have to concede the argument. Abbas, on the other hand, was disgruntled. There would be no frivolous wagers today, no trivial matters to be concerned with. Today they would be serious.

Then the Caliph spoke. ‘Tell me, then, for I could not help hearing and my curiosity was awakened. What is the matter concerning Zakir’s eggs, which I understand to be in the possession of Shahid Hassan? But wait, this tale cannot be told by one who is involved in this matter. Hmm. I believe Orhan the poet is here today, is he not? Orhan! Come forward, and recite this tale as best you can, and mind you do not choose sides!’

Orhan the poet was, in fact, a terrible poet. He could not rhyme to save his life, and his grasp of meter and rhythm was almost non-existent. But by luck or fate, every other noble called Orhan in the various Courts of Baghdad wrote poetry that made one shiver. There were four others, and all had, at one time or another, been personal scribe to the Caliph. Not Orhan the poet. Which was why, in a display of supreme irony, it was Orhan who could not rhyme whom they called Orhan the poet, and he had had that name for five years.

And so, a tall man with a grin that spread from ear to ear, presented himself to the Caliph and his friends in the Court of Wagers, and spoke thus:

‘Dear Friends, and Ruler of our Baghdad
I will endeavour to speak the truth, lest I be called a cad
And end my lyric quickly, for I do not want to start a fad
Of long winded verse, to which a meaning cannot be had.

My friend Zakir, two weeks ago, declared to the world
News of his joy unbounding, of his happiness unfurled
And his smiles lit up our cosmos, on our Court he twirled
But on his joyous moment, a spot of bad was hurled.

For when Zakir told us of a fortune he made from eggs
Shahid, who of humanity must be the lowliest dregs,
Said if he were a poultry merchant, he would run away on the fastest legs,
From the hatchlings of his product, which would surely taste of pegs

Thus this wager began, a fortnight ago, in this very exalted hall
Zakir gave Shahid the best of the eggs in his thrall
And said the chicks hatched from these eggs will be able to fight in a brawl
And even perhaps fifteen lions maul.

Today it came to light
That the eggs were out of sight
Shahid alleged they’d go home without a fight
But Zakir never saw them, which brings us to tonight!’

The brows of most nobles in the audience were furrowed as they tried to sort out the maze that Orhan had constructed and a few groans erupted from those who had never heard such a butchery of language, but Haroun was not the Caliph for nothing.

‘So Shahid insulted the quality of Zakir’s eggs, and the chickens hatched from these eggs, and wanted proof. But two weeks later, these eggs have gone missing. Perhaps the chicks have hatched, perhaps they have not. But they are now missing, which is what the argument is about, yes? Very well. Shahid, what do you have to say for yourself?’

‘Oh Awesome Ruler of all Arabia, I must now speak the truth. I was afraid this matter would come to this, but it seems that I must bare all.’, Shahid said in the gravest tone he could muster.

‘The truth is, my lord, there is a tiger loose in the city. I am afraid it is indeed this same tiger that has eaten poor Zakir’s chicks, and that we will never see the quality of them’

A hush followed these words. No one dared lie to the Caliph, not even Shahid. But any mention of a tiger in the city was surely jest? Shahid’s face was as solemn as a judge at a murder trial, and the king himself looked troubled by this news.

‘Leaving the matter of the tiger aside,’ the Caliph said, ‘Surely Zakir can just supply a fresh batch of eggs, and end this matter?’

It was Omar who spoke next; he knew the rules of the Court better than anyone else. ‘Any new batch of eggs will come from chickens different from the ones who laid the first batch, for Ramadan was a week ago, and the chickens have all been eaten. It is not a fair wager anymore, which is what I was trying to tell these fools. What must now be determined is whether Shahid is responsible or not, if he is, he must pay triple the original wager, and not enter this Court for a period of no less than three months.’

‘Very well,’ the king said, ‘I suppose it is a matter of whether there is indeed a tiger in the city and if it did indeed penetrate the house of Shahid Hassan, and whether it did indeed kill and eat the chicks of Zakir the eggseller. Very well. I do not believe that Shahid would lie to his king, whatever the reason. Of course, this means there is a tiger loose in the city. Something will be done about it, of course. If that is all, I declare this Court finished for the day.’

And the king rose, and the entire Court rose with him. As the king walked out, he said, in a whisper heard only by the ones standing next to him ‘I do believe lying to the king is punishable by death, but not before the eyes are plucked out and fed to the one who is guilty.’

To his right, walking with him was Omar. To his left, standing, was Shahid Hassan.

_____________________________________________________________

Baghdad is a city of much splendour. If you were to walk down from the Court of Wagers, past the large camel emporium on your right, and turn left at the building that used to be the Court of Jesters, you will come to the most famous inn in all of Arabia, the Sea of Stories. If you were to enter this inn, and ask for a pitcher of wine, you would be directed to a table not far from the entrance. At this table would be sitting the few men in that inn who partake of alcohol, for has not the Prophet spoken out against it? And of that number, one bearded heavyset man would be called Sohail.

If you were to buy Sohail a few drinks, he would tell you his profession, that of zookeeper at the largest zoo in Baghdad, one of the city's most attractive spots. And if you were to buy him a few more, and ask him specifically about the tiger exhibit, he would confess that for fifteen thousand dinars, he sold one of the three tigers he was planning to introduce to the city the next week. But if you pressed him, he would not tell you to whom, for he himself would not know.

And that is the tale of the tigers that roam Baghdad, and may I never know the peace of the Prophet if it is not true.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

There are different sizes of infinity, yes? Infinity means huge, by definition the largest thing in the universe. But there are things bigger than infinity. Namely, infinity.

Think of the number of numbers between one and two. Infinite. Now think of the number of numbers between two and three. Infinite. So how many numbers between one and three? Infinite. But logically, the infinity between one and three is twice as large as the one between one and two, or two and three.

Each person is an innumerable number of people. This is true. Each person has millions and millions of facets, each distinct from the last. But some people are more innumerable than others. Some people have a larger infinity of people in them, some people seem to have no infinity within them at all. There are some who are more complex than any string theory you've come across, who don't seem to make any sort of sense. There are none who operate purely on logic. Despite what the TV shows tell you. Despite anything you hear about Asperger's, or any other syndrome. They are all us. We and they, we are the same, only different.

So does the size of the infinity we are make us different? Of course. Does it make us unequal? Does diversity imply inequality?

But then, doesn't it? The circumstances of my birth affords to me certain privileges that others are not given. It is the very existence of these inequalities that drives the human endeavour.

But the aim of the human endeavour is to end these inequalities. Given enough time, one assumes it will happen eventually. Eventually, we will be equal. Think about it. They will wake up in the morning without fear of discrimination. They will go to sleep not worrying about race or caste or creed. A world which is much more perfect than ours will exist, and they will live in it. Am I painting you a picture of heaven, or hell? A world where there is no war. No violence. In its logical extreme, no sadness. There is a webcomic, somewhere on the internet, that goes something like this: 'With one pill we cured sadness. And art.'

Is perfection that terrifying?

There is, somewhere in the definition of perfection, a clause about infinity. Like the guy said, perfection does not have limits. Perfection is being there.

There are moments, rare and not often recognised by me, when one feels the perfection of creation. When physics and mathematics come together to show me something I'd never have suspected. When Sanjay Subramanyam sings a Ritigowla that stuns me. Whenever I hear MS sing Jo Achyutananda. Perfection is there. We just can't reach it as often as we'd like to.

What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly. If perfection were not impossible, it would not be worth the effort.

Perfection is truth is beauty. Perfection has no limits, is infinite in its scope, and pretty much does what it likes.

Monday, 31 August 2009

What is inspiration?

Inspiration is the chase of the indefinable. It is when someone produces something he is not normally capable of producing. It is when, out of the ether, one shouts ‘Eureka’. It is when circumstances, when all the little things and the big things, culminate a moment of clarity. It is a thing of beauty. Like all things of beauty, if you don’t take care, you will lose it. And like all things of beauty, its value triples when it is lost.

It seems easy. To tell a story, to hum a tune, to paint a picture. All that one needs to do is to do it. Big deal. Except when it comes down to writing, the words aren’t there. The music sounds awful. There is no perspective in the lines, the car and the passenger are the same size. It isn’t easy.

And when those moments do come, they boggle us. What is one meant to do? I have a phrase, just a phrase in my mind that is my so-called inspiration. All I know is that it has the potential to be brilliant. But potential doesn’t do it alone. I know I can tell the story, it sounds brilliant in my head, but writing it seems impossible. Where have the words gone? I’ve been saying this for a long time. Where have the words gone?

the words have left
but there is a memory
and an itch, in the back of my skull,
in the place they should be.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lakshman

Sumitra apathyam bhumaan Soumithri


I've spent the last two three weeks of my summer reading, or rather rereading the Ramayana. The version at home is Ashok Banker's, so it isn't the most classical version, but it holds true to the story very well, and manages some fresh interpretations at the same time.

But that is not the point of this post. The point is the tragedy of my namesake, Lakshman. Lakshman, the most underrated hero of the epic.

Lakshman makes the biggest decision of his life when he decides he will go live in the forest with Rama and Sita. He's been married, depending on what account you read, between four days and a week. Let's say a week. So, having been married a week, his stepmother sends his brother into exile, for fourteen years. Our man, being the supremely devoted brother he is, leaves with Rama and Rama's wife. He never once looks back.

He leaves at the age of sixteen, and comes back at the age of thirty. I mean, that is a long time to be away from your family. He goes to live in the forest, away from his mother, away from his wife, and lives with his brother and his sister-in-law. In the entire fourteen years, he makes only two mistakes. Two mistakes in fourteen years seems very close to no mistakes in fourteen years. But these mistakes aren't normal ones, they form a good part of the story.

First, he cuts off Surpanakha's nose and ears. The reason seems simple. She's a rakshasi. She's obsessed with Rama. She doesn't take the hint when offered to her. So he resorts to force. BIG mistake. She comes back, howling for revenge, with her two brothers and an army fourteen thousand strong. But this being an epic, they are easily dealt with. A few devastras, and the army becomes just so many piles of dust.

But this brings the matter to Ravana's attention. And Ravana takes one look at Sita, and he wants her. So he sends Mareecha in the form of a golden deer, and Rama goes after it, but not before telling Lakshman to stay with Sita. So, when Lakshman hears the asura cry 'Help' in his fake Rama voice, he doesn't want to go. But Sita tells him to go. Mistake number two. Lakshman rekha and everything aside, he still left on a wild deer chase. And Sita gets kidnapped. War starts. Thousands of vanars and bears die. Almost the entire rakshasa race is wiped out.

And what happens in the war? Lakshman gets taken down by Meghnath. He defeats him later, but he didn't get it right first time, did he?

Lakshman's main role in the Ramayana is as an example of unswerving loyalty. He never questions his decision to stay by his brother at all times, regardless of the cost. But on the way, he also serves as a foil to Rama, emphasizing his perfection by being imperfect.

I know that in the story, he doesn't mind. But I, who am named after him, mind.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Vampires and werewolves
Sitting in a tree
If only, if only
They couldn’t see me

I can see them clearly now
In the clouded, gloomy night
With their fangs and their claws
Tis a terrifying sight

I will die, this night, this dawn
I will not see another day
They will take my blood and life
And after that, I cannot say.

Monday, 22 June 2009

random scrawlings




click in the highly unlikely event that you want to see these enlarged

the lack of hands is due to lack of motivation, nothing more.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Bad Poem of the Day

See the kite, in the sky
Merrily, merrily flying by
Wouldn't it be nice, to be just as high
We're only human, we can but try

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

i just think its interesting how any word, noun, verb, or adjective, if put in the past tense, becomes a euphemism for drunk.

he was tabled last night.

it was not funny how boarded they were.

im going to see how personal computered i can possibly become

*

I've been watching much monty python recently, possibly because my half hour of internet a day does not allow more in depth viewing (all the shows i watch are about forty minutes long, and theyre mostly over, anyway) but i think it has helped to cement the place that english schoolboy humor has won in my heart. its brilliant for the dark, dark humor, the way they just fling obscenities around, the incredible way they refuse to acknowledge the notion of the punchline, the satire of culture, and, of course, the song and dance routine they just break into every now and then.

i still havent managed to watch the meaning of life in its entirety, but i have watched most of it, and it is one of the most disturbing things ive ever seen. the middle of the film, where youre supposed to find the fish, just freaked me out, but i have no idea why. but it IS hilarious, and you should watch it, though whether you want to do it in the company of your parents is another issue.

*

i came up with my very own pj yesterday
whats the difference between a zipper in the front of your pants, and one in the back of your pants?
one's for easy access, and the other's for easy- wait, i think i shall stop there.


*

i am also severely disturbed by the lack of creativity in my head, though exams may have something to do with this. perhaps it shall return to me in the summer.

*

apparently, becoming juvenile sometimes does have its downsides. i was arguing with a friend about whether it is possible to shed skin by rubbing vigorously. in the spirit of scientific enquiry, we tried to find out. now, my hand has some sort of artificial burn on it.

*

and, before you leave, i have more bad haiku

leaves falling in autumn
free for about ten seconds
before they hit the ground

Sunday, 19 April 2009

there is a new hitchikers guide to the galaxy book coming out.

Douglas Adams is dead

WTF?

i say again

W T F???

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

on the deaths of stories

the death of a story
is pretty pathetic actually.
i mean, after multiple attempts
one just stops bothering
and then, it's dead.
gone.
finished.
finito.
and, in the words of salman rushdie,
khattam-shud.

and one thinks,
how bloody amazing
that it could have been.
quite frankly, no one in the
world
could have written
like i would have written.
but the half remembered dream
that inspired it
and the half written draft
that survived it
are both forgotten,
and collect dust,
somewhere in my mind
somewhere on the internet
somewhere that's not here, anyway.

gods, the melodrama, i hear you say.
but even stories deserve a eulogy.
however badly written
however badly said.
it was a good story, and it died
before anyone heard it
before anyone told it
before anyone but me
managed to forget it.
doing maths is like
walking through a maze, hoping
to find the answer

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Today, i tried to make some mushroom risotto type thing, not least inspired by swaroop

so, it said,

(bold bits are actually what it said. plain bits are commmentary.)

1) Chop mushrooms of various kinds (dried, button and chestnut) and soak in hot water for fifteen minutes. Read to understand "Chop whatever mushrooms you have and dump in a bowl of hot water." (I briefly considered putting the mushrooms in the kettle and turning it on, but decided this does not fall under experimentation, but rather ways to demolish your kitchen)

2) Chop one onion and two cloves of garlic finely. Interpreted as chop half an onion, because one is too much work. No garlic in the house, so dumped garlic powder instead.

3) Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, and add onions and garlic. Again, no olive oil in the house, so in goes sunflower oil instead. Our one large saucepan was used yesterday to make aloo curry by k chitti, so i am now using a smallish saucepan instead. Fry gently for ten minutes. Too busy sorting out my ipod and laptop configuration, so i just put it on lowest flame and jiggled my ipod wire until the laptop recognised it. Simon and Garfunkel now starts on impossibly soft laptop speakers.

4)  Add rice, and cook for five minutes. This goes smoothly, and then my itunes suddenly decides my ipod does not exist. Loud swearing occurs, and delhi 6 cd is now used as replacement music.

5) Strain and add mushrooms, but do not throw away the water. Add vegetable stock. Much hunting occurs, first for strainer, then for mystical vegetable stock. Strainer is finally found in random cupboard. Several cubes of unopened vegetable stock are found in dark corner of fridge. Itunes dies. More loud swearing, this time in several languages. Finally decide to open windows media player and play the cd through that.

6) Add half the mushroom liquor, and stir until absorption.Then add the other half, and wait for that to be absorbed. Not too difficult, one might think. One would be right. But once the water got over, i was left with lots of hard rice that hadnt been cooked. So i used all my cunning, and put my extra boiling water from my kettle into the pan. Stir.

7) This is the point where i took initiative. because what the instructions don't tell you is that it takes bloody forever for the rice to cook. empires have risen and fallen in less time. so the flame is now on high, and water is being added as fast as it possibly can. I eventually give up, turn my music off, and go report to higher authorities (k chitti). I am told to make it cook more.

8) I begin to realise that the rice began to burn and stick to the sides of the pan about ten minutes ago, 'round about step 6. Not as easy as i thought, then.

9) Vigorous mixing occurs. Suddenly realise, that official instructions have not actually ended yet. Add grated Parmesan cheese and butter. Stir until these are absorbed. Gosh, a lot of absorption seems to be happening. Typically, i find that there is no parmesan cheese at home, grated or otherwise. I settle for random red cheese slices, torn and thrown in to the mix. also half a tsp of butter.

10) salt is added, though the instructions don't actually say it. everything needs salt, period.

finally mixed it again, and discovered that the burnt bits mixed with the non burnt bits to make everything look brownish, which is the way mushroom risotto is supposed to look.

by this point i am so hungry i will eat anything, which is probably why i actually ate it. on the other hand, the other nutters people at home thought it was fabulous. It's amazing i have not gone mad yet. yay me.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

HOPE!

hopehopehopehopehope
hope

hopehope
help/hope/help.
hope.
help.

results are today.
along with flute exam.
and parent teacher meeting.

hope

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

dreams live, and dreams die. maybe not in the classical sense of the word. they don't breathe, they don't eat, they don't sleep. but they grow. the more you think about them, the bigger they get. dreams affect who we are. people have dreams, and those dreams have the potential to change lives, changes nations, change the world. but on a much smaller scale, dreams can be extremely personal. and, if you choose, they change who you are.

i had a dream. i watched it pop into my head, fully formed. i watch it now, apparently being beaten into submission by logic, by reason, that i cannot deny. it is dying, and i suppose, this is something that happens to everybody. in the words of the philosopher Jagger, 'you can't always get what you want. but if you try sometimes, you get what you need'. this is a eulogy, maybe, for a dream that inspired me, and got me to work hard without people constantly telling me to, and, in the end, didn't come true.

maybe this would be a good time to quote the godfather. every man has but one destiny. i like that one. makes me feel slightly better, somewhere inside.

I've always had this extremely strange and totally unjustifiable conviction, that second wasn't as good as, it was damn well better than first. i have no idea why i feel this. at all. at all, at all, at all. maybe it was just preparation for this moment. maybe this moment came about just to see what I'd do. who knows?

i suppose, really, that if i give in, i don't have proof. and im scientific enough to want proof. all the evidence is not in favour. all the evidence says : nope, you're not good enough. and no matter how many people tell me i am, i'll never know.

according to parallel universes theory, there is, somewhere out there, an alternate version of me who is disappointed because he got into cambridge and not into LSE, and LSE is where he really wanted to go.

if i accept what has just happened, i'll make my life much easier for myself. and sometimes, what is easy happens to be what is right, making it not very difficult to choose. what i have to find out, is whether this is one of those times or not.

at least i wrote it down.

and this might be why i do an MA in oxford.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

nannu vidachi kadalakuraaa (segues off into complicated ritigowla tune)
constantly listening to it now...

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Time’s an interesting thing, isn’t it? There are so many things you can do with it. You can spend it and buy it, kill it and waste it, use it and lose it, and it’s always there. One of the most important things to learn about life is how to manage it (that’s what I’ve been told, anyway. As far as I know, the only thing time is, is irritating. You close your eyes for three seconds, and eight hours just disappear. They call it “sleep”. I call it an international conspiracy, probably concocted by the CIA/FBI/aliens from Mars/Xenu). If I had a penny for every time I got shouted at for “wasting valuable time” I’d be rich enough to bribe Cambridge into giving me an offer. I’ve never wasted a day in my life. Sure, there was the forty eight hours spent hunched over the same laptop, pausing in the middle only for sleep, food and bathroom breaks, but would you call watching seasons one and two of prison break a waste of time?

Free- I mean, study periods are brilliant examples of how each and every one of us uses time to our benefit. The last time I had free periods, they were at the end of the day, so I took the opportunity to engage in some physical exercise. Does it matter that the exercise consisted of walking home? (The answer, out of interest, is ‘Of course not!’).

But in essence, time is only one thing. Time is change. It represents stuff becoming different. Most of the important things in our lives happen because of time, like death, decay, war, the release of yet another iPod, and the latest issue of OK! magazine.

The difference between now and a few moments ago is exactly that, a few moments. But in those few moments, a lot could happen. I don’t need to tell you what, you’ll probably find out in a few moments anyway. And in months, or years, the amount of stuff that will go on will boggle your mind. Will Rafael Nadal win Wimbledon again? Is there a chance Israel and Palestine will work out a treaty this time around? Are they producing another season of Scrubs? All pressing questions, and they’ll all be answered in about a year.

In twelve months, most of the people in my year will be in university. And some of the people in my year will go on a gap year. About this time last year, I was thinking to myself ‘A gap year’s got to be the biggest waste of time anyone’s ever come up with. Who wants to spend a year doing work experience or something when you could be in university, where you’re planning on going anyway?’ Now, I’m thinking ‘Hmmm, I’m really desperate. I really want to get an offer from Cambridge. So maybe I’ll go on a gap year, and everything will work out for the best!’ So yes, it’s taken me a year to get to that decision, but other decisions don’t take nearly as long to be made. Deciding to wake up this morning, that took you about fifteen seconds, didn’t it? (It took me five, but that’s because I got up late. Again).

Time is the difference between life and death, you and the university student across the street, a respectable sixth form newsletter-thing that gets published when it’s supposed to and a really late eight page spread that is good quality, but not on time at all. I was told that I’m responsible for this. All I can say is “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” (that was actually a line from Douglas Adams, but you can say I thought of it if you like. I won’t mind). It’s what makes life exasperating, because it never goes fast enough between 3.30 and 3.45. It’s what makes it enjoyable, because there’s nothing like getting up at seven o clock, realising it’s Saturday, and sleeping until ten. Some uses of time might be better than others, but no use of time is actually a bad one. That is, of course, only my opinion, and the next time I get told off for making a paper aeroplane there will be a little murmur in the back of my head, and I won’t actually say anything.

And if you’ve learnt nothing else from this article, I leave you with this: You’ve decided to read this article. And you’ve even finished it. And you can rest easy, knowing that is will be the worst use of your time today, and the study period that you have today, that you do nothing in will probably be more productive that the time you spend processing the last 800 words.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

writing poetry
had always been a mystery
to me

writing prose, though
that always seemed to flow
i wrote prose like a pro

but its really strange
there's been some awkward change
to my writing range

my mind now fills with verse
when i write stories i curse
that ability is now in a hearse

i can quite easily rhyme
ive adapted to another clime
but i long for a younger time

i was once able to stories write
once i was an author bright
but i will compose verse this starry night

and maybe one day it will return
reason not rhyme will my mind outchurn
i wait for it with deep concern

will then my verses die away
unable to compose will i stay
what will happen i cannot say

but it is still my sincere dream
to compose stories that do not seem
to make people with agony scream

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Dear child, understand
If life were to be
All it's cracked up to be
We wouldn't have to work,
We'd just sit around and shirk
Our responsibilities.
And the philosophies
that make us able
to sit at a table
and workworkwork
and fight the thoughts that lurk
in our heads that say
Oh go away
those philosophies would never exist,
if life were grand.

Dear boy, you must know
If life were not
a watch forgot
in the middle
of an arid wasteland,
if one never suffered
the disappointments that work
hand in glove
with mistakes that shove
one's train off its ideal path,
one would never grow.

Dear girl, as you sit
and contemplate
visions of a future date
of a life fulfilled
without water spilled
from the cup of life,
know that there will be strife
I will be brief
but cause you grief
the happy ending
is still pending
it must be put together
bit by bit

I tell you this now
keep the promises
that you've made
do not let your resolve fade
and when the time comes
you can open the door
and walk to the shore
there will be a boat
to avalon

Saturday, 3 January 2009

as if i needed more proof that my life continues to be a soap opera for the entertainment of whichever deva is responsible for me. not for me clean breaks and fresh starts. oh no. just when you think the villain is dead, up he comes again with a new face and the same gun that he never fires. he just threatens to. holds it up and says, 'i am going to fire this gun', at which point the serial ends and one has to wait for the next instalment. in this case, that will probably be a week from now. stay tuned for more exciting plot twists, and see you next week roughly the same time but not the same place.

i haven't been given an offer from cambridge.

but neither can they be bothered to say 'you're crap. we don't want you'.

i have to live in tension for the next week (what's new, eh?) and then go for my exams. this new torture is called 'the pool'. highly imaginative, no? the english called the tank that because they pretended they were working on a water tank, and the name stuck. i wonder what this 'pool' does.

just
bloody
brilliant