Sunday, November 29, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I wonder sometimes about the glass being half empty or half full. Not because I’m trying to figure where I stand on the optimistic scale…but because I’d like to know which way I would’ve seen it if I didn’t know the psychobabble behind it. Who doesn’t?!
I’d like to think of myself as a positive person. Heck, I think I might even be tipping dangerously towards the “its all going to be great” side of the scale. The tarot deck might refer to it as “the fool”, a card I get very often in my readings. It’s the image of a boy walking merrily, not knowing he’s standing at the very end of a cliff. He couldn’t care less though. Between gravity and good karma, it’s karma that always wins and his chances of falling head first are one in infinity.
I remember reading in ‘the secret life of bees’, that people start out one way but don’t often turn out the same. True. I’ve always believed that things have a way of working out. And part of that belief has come from the fact that it’s something that’s always happened. I’m not sure how, but it always has.
Back to the half full glass, or half empty, is it?
When I racked my pretty lil brains about who this experiment might possibly work on…the answer flat out was ‘anyone who doesn’t know about the theory’. Like duh. Problem is… its one of the first few things you learn about life when you do personality tests or Type A or type B tests and what not. (I’m type A if I remember correctly). It’s a trick question that everyone knows the answer to. Doesn’t seem so tricky then, does it? If by some stroke of genius you did manage to catch a child before someone spoiled the fun by telling him the rationale behind this lil trick, I don’t even know if his or her vocabulary would be enough to render the experiment conclusive. Assuming our bright little lab rat says “where’s the rest of the water?”..does it mean he’s wildly upset about the glass not being full or curious when it will be. I know, makes no sense to me either.
Now whenever I’m taking one of these fun personality quizzes (they never get old, really.). Are you a born millionaire? Are you a good lover? Are you the life of the party? Do you have a penis that all other men envy, …kinda tests…you’ve already figured by the third question which of the a) b) or c) is going to give you the desired personality type. And if they’ve been clever enough to not make the results that apparent…one picks the most flattering ones anyway.
A part of me wants to erase the knowledge of the full glass test. In another life perhaps I’d object wildly if anyone even tried to educate me on the matter before I could take an unbiased test myself. Since that’s not about to happen anytime soon, unless a wave of amnesia hits me ( and here I sincerely hope it doesn’t), I’m going to continue being the fool from the tarot deck who might be innocent, but is atleast in the able hands of his dear friend. Fate.
Monday, May 25, 2009
We’re sitting by the river Satluj. My cousins, my aunt and I. We’ve come to this exact same spot by the river on my last trip a few months ago. And since then, we’ve longed to come back. On this trip we’re trying to relive the same excitement. If life were a formula…we’d attempted to do all the things from our previous trip…taking pictures, playing Dog and the Bone, Kabbadi…a lil trek. But for some reason…it just isn’t as much fun as the last time. Formulas don’t work for real life.
We’re now sitting by the river. Dipping the bottle of warm Mountain Dew in the cold ripples of the Satluj. The water is so cold..that we’re bound to enjoy a cool beverage if we wait a while. The exact opposite is happening with the bottles of water that we’ve carried…that have frozen in the ice box! The water is frozen…so can’t be drunk…the mountain dew too warm. In time, they’ll both be just right.
To kill time we eat the junk food we’ve carried. Some chips and peanuts. This is no time to count calories. Carefully carrying back the wrappers with us. My cousins have a little spat and the boy takes some time out to go sit alone. It’s my job to go get him. He comes. Minutes later he hits his sister like he often does. She cries. She’s consoled…the game is back on track. My aunt is sitting on a big rock. Her pink outfit against the dark rock. The digital camera and the zoom on it..is keeping her amused.
Then it happens. I ask Daisy, my cousin if she wants to chant here. By the river, in the open, under the blue sky…the sand beneath us. She agrees, a little more readily than I’d have imagined. Soon we’re all chanting….my cousins, my aunt and I. And it is amazing! I’ve never chanted in the open before this. Certainly not by the river with a rock face so big…that we feel ridiculously small. We’re down about a hundred feet from the main road. The sound of our chanting is very easily drowned by the roar of the river. No contest. But six heads, sitting upright with their hands clasped looking towards nothing…catches the attention of two truck drivers. They stand and watch for a few minutes. Amused, but not amused enough to stay too long. They decide to move along. So do we.
The trek back up is fantastic! We’re walking up a dried up waterfall. The rocks are amazing. The thorns are not. I have a few scratches on my legs. Some war wounds and blood stains to earn bragging right back home. We’ll all embellish our stories when we replay the incidents to my grandmum. And if you happen to hear this from my grandmum, don’t be surprised if there’s a crocodile thrown into this story for added effect!
I love it here. I really do. I’m so grateful that I get to take time off whenever I want. And that when I do, I have people to share it with.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Watching someone's skull being cracked open isn't exactly dinner and a movie. But I'd pay good money to watch it happen! Now, before you hop, skip and jump to conclusions about me being a freak and what not...it's only fair I tell you why!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
You're having a casual chat with a friend of yours, about nothing in particular...but that's what makes it so beautiful. In those moments, words are exchanged, things are said... and you've generally had a nice time. Here's the most beautiful part though... once the friend is gone, the coffee has been taken away (or warm water.. if like me you don't fancy coffee or tea) somethings come back to you. And you have your 'Aah! what a wonderful thing that was' moment!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
I remember as a child playing in the corridors of the palace. The palace itself, a wooden fortress, in the small town of kumarsain was a matter of pride for my cousins. My nani, was raised pretty much by Raja Badhyar singh, because he made a promise to my great grand dad by his death bed…that his wife and daughter would be looked after.
Now, this may sound like its straight out of a movie about jaydaad, and vaaris and what not..but my grand dad, in all seriousness took the raja’s vachan….and that’s the reason why the raja himself found a match for my nani in a 16 year old orphaned lad, Charandas mahant. She was 12..and remembers playing marbles with him, Only they didn’t use marbles…they used walnuts….from their own tree mind you!
You can see then, how this palace was important to my family. My nani’s grown up there, my own mum (the hottest 38 year old the world ever lost) ran about in the palace and my 12 and 13 year old cousins..until very recently studied in the palace foyer. A part of it was converted to a school.
I remember seeing the palace last year when we shot on the palace steps. A large part of my cousins and aunts and uncles, nani in the centre…posing for a family picture. To put it in perspective, this palace, The Hira Mahal…is what the gateway of India is to Bombay. I know, it serves a very inconsequential practical purpose…but it’s a part of its DNA. It’s like the mole I have under my right eye or the one I have on my left shoulder..you might consider it cosmetic….but they’d ask about it if they were identifying me…wouldn’t they?!
It’s in ashes now, this sprawling palace made of deodar wood. A short circuit started a fire that quickly spread through the corridors. The palace was on fire for hours. And the fire brigades that made a futile attempt to reach here from simla and rampur (both 2 hours away) were too late.
It’s in ruins now. A gaping hole at the very centre of the town. If you hadn’t seen it in all its glory, its hard to imagine why anyone would miss this thing really. From the day I arrived here, I’d been wanting to go in. I finally did manage to climb over the burnt wood, hoping it wouldn’t give way and send me tumbling down about 20 feet. My cousins followed me in, but only slightly. The main courtyard is massive. I remember going in once with mum to meet her friend, the princess. Now, I only saw an empty wooden chest which agreeably might have been full of riches at a time. The tulsi plant at the very centre has managed to come back to life, Kumarsain’s very own phoenix.. and the wooden steps that lead to the raja’s personal chamber are intact. I climbed down. Scared of the legend that the Raja’s spirit still lives here. Curious to see if he will greet me. Hoping he wouldn’t!
I’m not sure what this did for me. But I feel at peace. The place makes me sad every time I see it. And it scares me because my own aunts and uncles have heard shrill sounds of crying late at night from the ruins. I’m not sure if it’s true…one part of me hopes it is.
The palace has gone from being fact to legend. And legends are only complete with ghosts. I’m hoping for one here. The stories then, will live on. A part of the palace, with it.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I'm not sure you'll really understand this until you're in this situation...but for some strange reason...my cousin and me had been yeeeeeeearning to have ice cream for a long time while a little north from simla.
To put things in perspective, in the city...everything is available everywhere all year round. I'm talking about a place where ...asking for bottled water might be too much. And I'm not making this up, i was told water is "off season" when i asked for packaged water at atleast six stores in kumarsain! Apparently, people don't drink water in winters...and certainly not from a sealed bottle!
You can imagine our delight then, at holding three yummy baskin n robins cones in our hands! We even shamelessly asked the woman at the counter to take a snap shot of us eating the damn thing. She was more than amused! The ice cream...heaven!
It's fun living away from the city from time to time. it's good to take a break. But honestly, i do enjoy picking up boxes of cereal without having to check expiry dates...or eating stuff at 2 am..or ...you know ..doing other things you do all the time in the city. Bombay needs me. I can feel it more than ever! How the city survived without me for more than a month, i cannot imagine...but the saviour, ladies and gentlemen, is back!! haha!! ;)
Saturday, January 24, 2009
After a shoot in Patiala for CNN IBN, I'd decided to head to Kumarsain (about 80 kms) from simla where my mum's family is. While the notion of going to the hills might be romantic, the road that leads there definitely isn't! And if the dusty roads weren't an issue, the state transport buses hit you in the ass like a fucking hard baseball bat! The pain in my ass at the moment, was the himachal transport bus that I had boarded in Chandigarh.
It was probably my state of complete confusion, the lost look on my face, of just the sheer desperation in trying to find an easy way to reach simla from chandigarh..that probably let Jitendra to encourage the conversation i'd first begun. Long story short, after wondering if we should take a cab for 1500 as opposed to a bus for 100 a passenger...the vote was clear. Now we were sitting on the second row behind the driver with the sign "you can do online BOKING" with us. As they say, if you stare at something long enough..you think its right...and i'm really beginning to wonder if the word booking has two o's..or is it indeed boking!?
The guy was as cool as they get. He was on his way to attend a course in simla he knew nothing about. He didn't know how many days it would last, or what it would teach him...he didn't even know where exactly it was in simla...what he knew though...that he was on his way! Adventurous... you bet!
After discussion finances and interesting ways to make money and sharing our ideas on entrepreneurship vs being an employee...our chat had strayed into the area of ghosts, god and of course personal experiences. My stories always get juicer with every narration. I expect that others embellish theirs as well.
Our man began telling me all about aghoras that are these tantrics who do strange things to break from the cycle and death and birth. Our chat continued despite men furiously digging their noses. Bumps that i feel now, but i didnt...then. And ofcourse even as we passed places called fagu and matiana (which i would ordinarily laugh at) and amusingly enough a place called nanni..when i was on my way to see my..naani ;)
It's easy to make friends of course.. through the course of this journey, we'd both trusted each other with our luggage and wandered off several times...and at the end of it all..really we were n no hurry to reach because the chat about Aghoras wasn't over. Well we did. And now i can't wait to pick up the book. I like the idea of travelling with a friend. The trick though..if you don't start your journey with one...make sure you at least finish with one.