Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Acquaintances to Friends - Floyd to Voltaire

The other night, we had a surprise party happen at our place. Few lovers of booze got together, acquaintances mind you, good old bottle of whiskey and rum to bing on fire and the occasion, 'joblessness'. No one knew everyone present and it was only 5 of us, counting my ever sober flatmate.

The music played in the background, Floyd singing laboriously about 'Money' and later 'Breaking the Wall'. A silence hung in the atmosphere, first drinks in hand, all makes a toast and the unfamiliarity so big, the first shots gets gulped for "everyone's happiness". Now I aint sure, whether there can be a worst toast to wish for, 'everyone's happiness'. That was 'UNFAMILIARITY' written all across and not exactly the show of Vasudeva Kudumbakam.

Floyd got replaced by some people I don't know, the bottle line diminished, silence turned to probes and pokes, familiarizing with likes and dislikes and catching up on conversation from tiny thin threads. Everyone goes easy initially, work, habitat and discussions on that keeps ticking. But then it can't always be personal, humans blessed finds it rejuvenating, after a long discussion on some concepts like 'life', 'sex', 'death' on a complete non-personal level. Surprisingly, this was the first non-personal talk both of us (me & flat mate) were having with a group of people after close to 8 months.

The conversations were growing richer in the green of philosophy, Floyd paved way for Voltaire, and I loved every single bit of it. I kept wondering about the marvel of human intellect and mind, one moment we were all acquaintances and an hour later, with not even half the bottle empty, everyone was feeling connected. There was chemistry in the room and that had to do with the quest for expanding the horizons of knowledge and not the golden liquid, lying still in the cylindrical bottle. It felt awesome, the philosophy everyone witnessed and lived in our lives and getting to talk about it, indeed a rare occurrence.

We parted in the morning, after having made the move from acquaintances to friends, because everyone found the other intellectually inspiring and you have to remember, we had taken the road from Floyd to Voltaire together.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Some place in the Bible, in the New Testament, Jesus says, it aint what goes inside a man, but what comes out from him, which makes him dirty.

Maybe Christ, was having a great time with his set of friends and he just cracked a joke. Perhaps all he ever meant was about attending the nature's call and not a philosophical marvel.

NB: this doesn't make me a non-believer, but rather just someone who shares a very whacky relation with the Sovereign above. And believes he is rather a humorous guy if nothing else :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Geronimo EKIA

38 minutes

38 minutes, it was all that took 24 men, believed to be consisting of, what is known as the US Navy Seals Team Six from the base, Dam Neck in Virginia, Uncle Sams Land, and presumably under half a dozen men from the Delta Forces, to put an end to Osama Bin-Ladan.

"President Obama made a visit to Dam Neck and he met with the Seals Team Six, but the members of the particular mission were not ever singled out to him." I was watching the Discovery Channel, a documentary on the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, I felt maybe made public, as part of a propaganda by Uncle Sam. "The order was to kill, not to take captive", the National Security Advisor was speaking now. Then the video went on about the a detailed narrative of the events that happened in Pakistan, a starry summer night. What added the color of propaganda to the show, was the repeated mentioning of the data recovered from the fateful house. Hundreds of hard disks, lap tops and memory sticks, it sounded as though Uncle Sam had actually raided a computer shop and not a house hiding a terrorist.

I don't plan to write about the justice involved in the killing of people , a starry summer Night in a hill station of Pakistan. Only one from the dead ever open fire, that too with a small arm and not the usual assault automatics that we have grown so used to when we hear the word 'Al - Qaeda'; which for some will be with a prefix 'in' before the justice; secretive, darkly secretive, but at the end, Geronimo is dead.

The old Apache leader who fought against the US Troops back in the last three decades of 19th century, died a natural death, or rather at-least died falling from a horse and catching pneumonia in the hospital and no fingers were pointed towards Uncle Sam for his death. Uncle Sam and Geronimo had become best friends by then and in fact he even had attended President Roosevelt's inaugural parade. While the one today, Enemy Killed In Action.

What amazed me was the darkness in which it was operated. None except a very few knew, in fact the President, the Chief of Staff and a very few only knew even about the existence. Information compiled over a long period, watched and observed and finally put to their nations use, to kill their enemy or at least the so called enemy. No leaks happened there, there was none trying to make an extra bit of money. All this, from people belonging to a nation, who have been living there for a a little longer than the period, our nation was a Colony of the Imperial Europe. The Incas exited before and the Apaches, but I am talking about the ones running the show, in all forms of Governance.

I always have these parallel thoughts running inside me, while watching TV and with the show getting over, I switched of the lights. I wake up in the morning and read the head lines on the newspaper, with half asleep eyes and the right hand meticulously foaming the toothpaste in my mouth. I laughed out aloud, with the toothpaste spilling all over, reading the news about finding telephonic bugs and other evidence of listening devices having been placed in the Indian Finance Ministers office.

I said it out aloud "Geronimo - EKIA", this time it was not the Apache Leader, nor the Fanatic Terrorist, but the  Me & You. The message should have been shouted by someone to someone else  in our System (by system, I mean the agencies of Governance, agencies which makes revenue, everything  else sharing a same lineage combined) and my ghost merely repeating it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

curly locks

My hands lingered about the place I keep my trousers and shirts, instead of the usual bottom rack, where I have my boxers in which I go around Hyderabad every Sunday night. I didn't want to turn up looking like a tramp, the whole plan of dinner was yet to be accepted by my system. But then, her curls had got me so very hooked, I didn't want it to be the only dinner we ever went out. I pulled on the jean and a shirt and even tucked it in. To add the final touch to look like a 'gentleman', the time I was getting out, shoes as well. Gone was the rubber sandal, which denied me entry in not just one hotel. I seriously wanted to go out again for dinner, a second time, even before I actually went out for it the first time. Glued I was to the curly colored hair, even though I had seen it only from a distance, about 7 times altogether.

My fascination for the curly locks, go way back in time, about an year an half ago, the first time I saw her walking away from me. She had some friends along and they went laughing about, the curls bouncing in every step she took. She was walking away from me, the wavy curls and the genuine laughter together, would have had made me a harmless stalker, if I  had not been in the midst of a relation. I watched the curls disappear and then it was not just once that I saw her about the place I live, but always from a distance.

Last night, at a friends place I met her, by chance. I had never thought, we would end up crash at a common friends place a Saturday evening, the curls and me. But we did and the time wasn't bad. Though, she didn't have her curls down, but had got it up, I liked her presence close by me. My fascination for the curls made me never take my eyes of and she was actually quite surprised, with the devotion with which I was looking at the curls. Two good bottles of rum and 5 people, what better way to know a girl about whom you were fascinated. We split as acquaintances  and then my devotion to the curls, must have been what made her agree to actually join me for dinner, when I asked her out on Sunday afternoon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Mist - 1

The hands of the old wall clock in college library showed half past three, "Ousep must have reached by now. Damn him, the guy never picks up his cell phone when required", with a swear I redialed the number.

"I have ........ reached...can't here", the voice broke of in between and risking a scowl by the librarian, shouted into the small phone, "Where have you reached? I am in college". Maybe I was a bit too loud, am not sure because of the excitement, but then the Librarian was towering over me, with his fingers pointed towards the door. With not the slightest apology, I walked out trying to make sense of what was being heard from the phone. "Damn him, only if Ousep had used half as much as energy to talk of what I showed moments back inside the library," and I walked towards the college gates.

The glorious days of the erst while His Highness the Maharajas Government Law College, Cochin were believed to be over by people who passed out with us and before us. None of us are actually sure whether 'we' lived up to the expectations of cockiness in our protests. Personally, I believe, we never did, but to satisfy the ego, like all classes, passed out from an institution as old as ours, 'we believe, things will be different once we are no longer here and we will be the last class who could associate with a lot of traditions. All the classes to come, mere shadows of what it actually used to be'.

An auto stops right in front of me and jumps out Ousep. Embraces over, we head to 'Mallika' to soak down couple of beers and wait for the rest to come. "Chackochi and Sidharthan wouldn't be long, get some beers for them as well", Ousep shouted from inside the car, while we stopped near the Kerala Beverages Corporation near to the High Court. Things were prosperous, people were happy and I had all the more reasons to feel the happiest person on earth. Some news I wanted to share with my friends first, drinking good whiskey and swimming in the pool at the middle of meadows in Vagamon. "There shouldn't be shortage of wine," I shouted to Ousep walking with two cartons of beer, "come, help me". We didn't wait for it to reach home to open up the beers, a little foam spilled on to the seat, which I ignored and started taking big swings.

Chakochi and Sidharthan joined us in the Mallika and the beers went missing faster than anyone could ever imagine. The rain had settled into a rhythm and we waited for Thangal, abusing him not just once. "Thangal these days seems to be a synonym to the slang 'post' " Chackochi said and none were brave enough to disapprove. Because the person involved is Thangal, you can never be sure until he comes. There was this legendary incident where Thangal made Sidharthan to extend his stay in Mumbai for 2 days and got his tickets modified and then never turned up.

The second time Chackochi rings Thangal, everyone hears the sound of Thangal's car. Boy all of us can identify that sound in any sleep, in fact we have slept so many nights inside that car, up and down the hills of Munnar. There was one week, wherein we drove on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to Munnar and all we did was smoke couple of cigarettes at Top Station and then drove back. Standing from the Mallika, with the cars arrayed below, I felt a sense of pride. My friends been doing good, we have been doing good or rather our families been doing good.

Everyone wanted to know, why this sudden urge to go to Vagamon. All they got was directions to drag their ass back to Cochin on a particular friday evening of June. Not everyone could make it, but four of them did and then the other two had real compelling reasons for having not come. This was the best about us, none really asked for reasons on journeys which seemed to be heading towards blissful times. I never told them the reason, but then they stopped bothering, rather started on the whiskey to buy and the grub to eat en route.

The rain had stopped for a moment and we started in Sidharthans car, first to get more wine and then to Vagamon. Thangal had this sudden want of making a visit to the Masonic Lodge near to Cochin University, the time we studied in Cochin, there were talks that this bungalow was the meeting place of some secret group worshiping the dark forces. People saw expensive cars coming together and a lot other suspicious activities, and the cops been bribed to keep it hushed, the same urban legend and this one a rather University legend. This was a well maintained bungalow in a huge estate close to the University campus. Some of us paid a visit there coule of years back to find out the secret and from all that they saw there, it had the looks of a Free Masons Lodge. Thangal, wanted to make the jump, tress pass into another man's property and check out again what it holds. With not much of talks, we just went ahead with the idea.

We jumped the walls at about eight and there were no signs of the dobermans said to be guarding the estate. "I have even heard, the guy has a double barrel gun as well", Sidhan said aloud, which did bring a chill in my spine, amidst all the warmth given by wine. But it looked abandoned, no signs of human activity for some years now. Maybe we have all been away from Cochin, none never heard that this place been abandoned. There was a wooden thing lying in the front porch, which seemed like a symbol, and Ousep picked it. With all the knowledge imparted from Da Vinci Code, trying to make sense of the wooden piece, we started back to the car. This time we opened the gates and walked out and Ousep carried the wooden thing with him. He had this habit of collecting weird things as memoirs of journeys made or things he did and the Skoda made very quick progress towards Pala amidst talks of how stupid it was to have gone there to the bungalow again.

A good dinner from Pala, rich in meat, poultry and pepper and then finally some freshly baked muffins from the Anns bakery, made sure our gastric juices been put to very good use. With the tummy full, energy levels boomed again inside the car and slowly we made the climb from Pala to Vagamon, from the heavy rain drops into a heavenly drizzle of mist. The sign board read Vagamon meadows, 6 KM and we stopped at a regular small waterfall that one gets to see during the monsoon in the Ghat roads of Kerala. Visibility had become almost nil now, it was getting impossible to drive up ahead and we did the safe thing, pulled up and started setting our party table, read the cars bonnet, with the parking lights and two indicators working as the lighting for the event.

Some good whiskey, couple of pack of smokes and then some bites, it was all that was there, but then for a moment felt it was everything I ever wanted in life. With the drinks poured and Thangal holding up his smoke to give us company, we had our first shots neat. For the second drink of that pit stop, the water flowing from earths bosom, served the purpose and whiskey had a taste I never knew before. Soon, the small waterfall started looking like the 3D animated waterfalls in the movie 'Avatar' and when all four of us  sipping the divine mixture of earths tears and whiskey, shared the same feeling, I knew we were sloshed.

The scene was set and I told them, the reason for having made this trip. I have cleared the Indian Civil Service examinations and  interviews and has been asked to report at Delhi to go for training. There was a moments silence and then a huge cry of happiness and drinks went flying in the air. This was the friends, that they failed to depict in the hindi movie "three idiots". The line from the movie, "when a friend fails, one feels sad. When a friend becomes first in class, you feel more sad" acclaimed by quite a few, never becomes true here. The Indian Civil Service, a dream which all five of us shared, but destiny made everyone take a different path and finally when I made it there, there was no envy in the heart, rather a sense of pride, for me having made it.

It was, as if through me, all four of them were living their dream. They shouted at the cars making the climb down, "our friend just cleared the civil service" and then I remember the dancing and the spinning and ________________ !

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I been reading 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' and pondering about the concept, 'quality' for some time. Laterally for a change, instead of vertically, trying to be 'Phadreus'. There was no motor-cycle involved for me to make the travel, but sure there was the destination. Ente Keralam (my Kerala), just like 'Bozeman' to the protagonist, shared a bond much beyond words to me. Train Number 17230, my ride and I tried sink in the travel with the clatter. Un-eventful by all standards, and having not gone an inch anyplace from the coordinates I been on 'quality', I stepped into the rain, and I wondered maybe this is what 'quality' actually is. You can feel it, see it, sense it, but try how much ever there is no actual defining of it. From the heat and dust of Andhra, to the lush green of Kerala and the drizzles which lasts forever, that could be what quality actually is. The quality of the environment !!

Similarly in all spheres of human existence and in nature, one is always in clatter with quality, but defining quality, not my cuppa coffee. I was living it, I was making small talk to the auto driver. We were talking about the weather forecast and soon what started on the rains went to 'smart city', 'corruption' and finally the huge amount of 'Indian black money in the Swiss and Cayman accounts'. Quality all over again, human beings who knew about the world they were living in, the landscapes and the terrain, which I seldom found in people from other states in India belonging to the same socio-economic background.

Becky's bark made me forget the heaviness of not making any progress with my thought and boy I barely managed to hold my ground the time she made a jump for me on all four, and the big pink tongue, making way to my face. We didn't let Becky normally do that, but once in a while with the excuse, sudden rush of emotions, she gets away with licking us on our face. This time I didn't want her to lick on all the dirt on me from across a thousand miles and I asked her to stop and she did. Sat down, the obedient dog and snuggled her face close to my legs. I am very much proud of her and then what was that of her which made me proud, brought in the old friend 'quality' yet again. The quality of living that she been given and the quality of attention that dad been devoting on her, has paid of beautifully and she stands a very tall, healthy, obedient and loving dog. I am proud of her 'quality' !!

I found quality everyplace, now that I looked for it. But yet defining, a task my mind failed to comprehend. Two scribble pads I used while in college, was lying on my table. Some one has been fiddling with my books, but then, it didn't matter, there was nothing that I was afraid to let anyone know. Or maybe it was, I got brains enough to never write down anything which I never wanted the world to know. Hypocrite, the thought on quality brought in a different perspective about myself.

The first page of one note pad read - "middle age is the time when narrowness of the waist and broadness of the mind, exchange places". I don't remember, whether I wrote it actually or just copied it down, I used to write these kind of things once upon a time. Then a note on Prometheus, describing him as, "the man who swept down from the heavens bringing the gift of fire. He changed man from savagery to civility. WRONG MOVE !!" There was nothing more about it also, I don't remember when I wrote that or ever read that. I remember Prometheus, was not sure from 'Ayn Rand' or 'Homer', but the note gave me no clue.

Then the Seven Avocato Postulates (it was a group name, that my friends decided to call ourselves. In reality we never went much beyond making the 7 postulates and Avocato some high school dream, which was tried to be made true at a later stage and never worked.) But the postulates read as fine as everything else from that era of my life:
1. Insanity is the only means of relaxation.
2. It is lonely at the top; but hey, at least you eat better.
3. Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
4. Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large numbers.
6. Aim low, reach your goals, avoid disappointment.
7. Every man is innocent until proven broke.

The 5th postulate was missing, I didn't remember what it actually was, but sure must have been cocky as any one of the other 6. The things which led to these postulates, I don't remember, but the postulates still hold. Some more pages after, I find not my hand writing, but a feminine one and signed, "I was lonely and bored. And you joined me, without me asking for it. Thanks Jo !" The signature gave way the writer not the hand writing, I was clueless. Could have been anyone, my sisters, cousins, friends, romances, the lustful relationships, thankfully the signature cried out her name. The writer of these lines, I met her the very next day by chance, when I had gone to meet my friends. Asked her how she was and thankfully restrained from asking how her husband was, though I knew the guys name and theirs was a marriage which started of with the boy filing a 'habeus corpus' to marry the girl. Something cautioned me about her reply, "ask another friend for my  updates. Loads to tell. I am in a hurry and rushed." The other friend filled in, from habeus corpus to divorce by mutual consent at the threat of a dowry and cruelty complaint, all it took was about 8 to 10 months.

Feels funny, all this talk on trying to describe 'quality', and hours or restlessness and for some few moments, when I was being updated about her, I had completely forgotten 'quality'. Guess metaphysical ventures can take a back stage when wanting to hear news about people !!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

marijuana for the Limbs !!

It has been couple of weeks since I had a rush of emotions or feelings, which I felt to be noted. There was no stopping to my writing, but the mode and context a little different than the graffiti on this wall. I wrote tax memorandums and advices to clients,  plenty everyday, in fact I guess I wrote more memorandums in these past two weeks than I did the last couple of months.

Muscle juice has brought back normalcy to my life, to a greater extend. I am slowly falling in love with the iron, the time I hold the cold steel, my conscious knows, the tissues beneath my epidermis will reveal in the new activity they are to be doing, the straining of tissues, its breakdown and growing more in strength with each passing day. Biology lessons from class nine, put into practice at a very later stage. But enjoying it nevertheless.

The weightlessness of the mind after a joint of 'cream', which makes its way through the mountain passes from Afghan, is the best I can try describe the feeling my limbs have everyday riding back home from the gym. My tryst with cream was pages from my internship days in Delhi. It was no surprise that some adventurous law students, sprawled close to the landscaped roads around Supreme Court, associated with some big names in the world of litigation, ended up possessing the treasure from Pushkar. The third time I took the smoke in and held it, I felt myself floating in the white smoke. Weightless, swaying with the wind, my mind traveled many a place in the smoke. I am experiencing it all over again, but there is a slight difference, with the cream, the weightlessness started from the chest and slowly spread out. But this time, it is the limbs making me feel weightless, muscles so very strained and finally reaching a point of weightlessness. The mind feeling bliss in the knowledge that the weightless limbs growing in stature with each passing day.
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