Thursday, July 10, 2008

How many of you have poems written on you?

Not exactly a panegyric, but some whole stanzas nevertheless. This from a colleague I am often mean to, and who returns my meanness in kind. But reality cannot stale her spirit; nor people, her compassion.

Over to her:

Busyboy busyboy,why do u always sigh
Hold ur head in ur hands
And always try try try

Busyboy busyboy look around you
The world is changing
And your youth is passing
Every second is new.

Busyboy busyboy,if you could just see,
How much someone wants you to be free,
To fly and dance and scream
Someday, busyboy,come talk to me.

Now this was sent over a messenger without any edits. But looks like a fairly good song to me.

Nobody ever has written anything on me. Apart from a semi-ridiculous article by my good friend Banerjee, who wanted to prove that he can create stories out of anything.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Materialism or the birthday gifts I got

Maa: A shirt, a kurta, loads of Bong dishes, and a copy of The Geeta. I gained 2.5 kgs in the last 10 days. 2 kgs come from Maa. Muah.
Dada: A shirt (you know you have a long way to go.) I did not give you anything on your birthday, but I'm younger.
Boudi: I'm sure the shirt above was chosen by her. Also, loads and loads of chocolates. I blame the rest of the .5 kgs on her. On her birthday, I gave her a phone call.
Pablo: Yet to give anything. Hovering between a pair of jeans and a rice cooker. The first one because I use his trousers a lot and the second because he'll use it at home.
Tanupam: Amitav Ghosh's latest—A Sea of Poppies. Very nice cover and I love the type face. I gave him a cheaper book on his birthday. Now I'll have to find some occassion to make up for the price difference.
Sujata: An Irvine Welsh collection with a rather long title. Read the first story on the pot. Hilarious. Not a very comfortable read on the pot though. Those who have read the story called Rattlesnake will know why. Of course, I won't mention her charming company in this list. She had lunch with me and Pablo. I'll mention that in the post on treasures. This is just on gifts.
ST: A huge anonymous bouquet (see, how I keep your name a secret) followed by a sweet poem, and then by a truncated bouquet made from the flowers of the first bouquet. I was surprised, a tad bit embarrassed, and, in retrospect, hugely touched. We all think so much about how our actions will come across: smart? cool? in? Thank you for caring more about emotions.
AA: Very expensive-looking shades. Makes me appear rather cool. Can make anybody appear a bit like Sophia Loren and Jackie Kennedy. She's got taste.

The last one deserves a paragraph or two: I got the sweetest card in my life. Mama punned on a degree and marriage—B.A. and biye; the younger one babytalked me; the older one kindly refrained from emphasizing my age; Mami beckoned me to another home; the quadruped must have drooled over my card. I know I am loved and all (very strongly by blood and others), but this card made me grin at my comp all day. Overwhelmingly, achingly, homely sweet. August it is.

In the same package came a book and a letter. The letter writer distilled her mood of capricious affection (and rather self-reflexive) in an A4 page. I wish I could write like her. When you read her you can almost hear her speak. But she's young, and I'll refrain from more praise lest she gets airs. And then the book. I am amazed how she got hold of that book. Must have taken her weeks to plan.
It is an anthology of modern Bengali poetry in English translation. Was happy to realise that I know quite a few of them in the original. Who is Carolyn Brown, btw? She's a good translator.

Of course, there are many who called. I know Didi will have something in store for me when I go home. The Ms (2 Ms) from Calcutta should quickly decide how they want to get into this list. I'll make it read only very soon.

I love you all. Some a bit more and the rest yet more. He he he...

PS: I'll be ungrateful if I don't mention the penstand I will get from my office next friday. They do it for every employee's birthday. A small gift, but they show they care. LearningMate rocks! (I sincerely hope they give me a good raise after this.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

In Haste Land

(When some people found him hanging in his cubicle, they asked, "What do you want?" He said, "I want to die.")

April has been a cruel month, breeding
Feedback out of dead appraisals, mixing
Memories of schedule variance with increment, stirring
Hopes of promotion and financial gain.

Now that is a perfectly godaweful parody of you know what, and a somewhat lame execuse for being absent on this page for over a month (I seriously wonder who missed me apart from a few people whose concern for me is stronger than their loyalty to truth), but I was determined to scribble some thing to break this spell, quite like a 40-year-old virgin visiting a whorehouse (yes, I will elaborate on this later on) just to do something different.

Existentialists debate the meaning (or whatever) of life and turns to their bodies because sex is the only thing they can know for certain and they know the "surdity" of. An existentialist writer turns to the process of writing, and churns out masturbatory sentences that assure the poor fellow of the existence of some meaning/purpose in his/her existence. After the two previous non sequitur sentences, which reintroduced the themes of sex and writing, I will now jump to another point—meaning givers.

A meaning giver is something that gives a sense of purpose to a person. For example, my community can be my meaning giver, or , perhaps, my religion. Some people identify themselves with their careers, some with a notion of balanced existence. And, some just live in pieces, in episodes that are true or significant as long as they last. (As an aside, I think a particular schizophreniously thuddling liar is neither a liar nor a schiz. He is just meaningless, a motley of urges that are satisfied as and when they arise.)

Today I want to write about a piecemeal existence. I am not judging it; far from it rather. I seriously think that I have a strong piecemeal trait. Obviously, a piecemeal thinking process is not going to benefit anybody intellectually, but what about the rest? Think how easy things can be: you won't need to defend a losing team, you can easily change sides; you don't have to support what you say, by the time you finish saying it you will have already changed your argument; and , most importantly, you won't need to stick to anything at all—neither to your sorrow nor to your happiness.

No central meaning then? Not completely meaningless, but rather like history, which makes sense in parts. Or do we need to make sense as a whole? I mean do I need to come across as one person who likes this, follows that, eats here and goes there? Or, can I be somebody who holds contradictory likings, thoughts, ideas and beliefs at the same time, and uses whatever is suitable in a particular context? In other words, can I be a forty-year-old virgin who visits a whorehouse not becuase he doesn't want to remain a virgin anymore, but for no other reason than his casual urge to go somewhere.

Questions at the end of the post:

  • Do we need meaning givers?
  • If yes, what are your favourite meaning givers?
  • If no, what is the smartest defense of a piecemeal existence?

Btw, I forgot to tell you guys that this entire hypothesis on meaning givers is another lame excuse for not being able to continue with the bad parody of Eliot. I had to hurry, and thought that this would give some meaning to the incoherence in this post.

Weialala leia Wallala leialala

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Representativeness heuristic

Now I wanted to write something on "moral compass" or "dashed expectation" (the quotes are there for no particular reason), but decided on something "cognitive." I know its not a discovery, but I'm kind of saddened by the realisation that we are limited by our "perception" even though we are aware of such a limitation. I've been talking to M, A, P (not M's P, but my flatmate "P" whom I'll call "PA" from now on to avoid confusion) and found them disappointed with various people for the stuff in quotes in the first sentence, except for the last one. All of them agreed that it is something the last quoted word in the first sentence, but did not "seriously" consider that as a factor influencing anybody's first pair of words in quotes in the paragraph. "Representativeness heuristic is okay, but [insert the name you want] is wrong," is what they seemed to be saying, although nobody said as much.

Now "assuming commonality between objects of similar appearance" is the only way we can handle new objects/people/events along with some homework and an alert mind. But how alert can your mind be? Always? Never. I mean, come on, you cannot what is in quotes in the fourth sentence claim to understand this sentence at one go and we do not have even a total of 221 words till the end of this sentence. If 220 words with some quotes can be this much annoying/confusing/misleading, just think of all the things we have to deal with every day. Imagine how vulnerable we are to making biased judgements and what vitriol we may inadvertantly and deservingly provoke in people we wrong. There is some ingrained last quoted word in the first sentence bias in us, which we cannot do away with. I mean we can do away with ourselves but not with the bias. That's kinda Greek to know that we will all hurt people because there is something seriously wrong with human understanding. Inescapable moira! Unfortunately, the last sentence conjures up an image of K.C. Das, Bhim Nag and Nokur Chondro Nondi chasing me around College Square. Such is the power of perception and association!! I mean the association of dead confectioners. Sex, porn, more porn, deviant porn. That's my gratuitous reference to sex. I almost forgot. Whew! Such a tough task meeting your "expectations." Thank you.

And do not expect the last quoted word in this write up to mean anything special. As I said in the beginning, the quotes are there for the heck of it. Welcome!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Of Anal Shit, or killing your parents

Now that can be a perfectly normal Bengali name: Awenaul (meaning fire) Sheat (a rather uncommon Bengali surname). If you have a name like that, it means either your parents didn't know English or the urge to maul one's offsprings is not restricted to certain species of cats and lions. Against all faith in human goodness, I have to admit the second possibility because the story of the unfortunately named Anal was told to me by a friend who lives in the US. There he met a Bong couple who had named their only son Anal. I'm sure those parents knew what they were doing.

All this reminds of the shit humour, in every sense, I read in The Dilbert Blog yesterday. I am disgusted, but I'm sure I can stoop lower. I want you guys to create names that, in English transliteration, bring out the worst in humanity and instigate deeds that make Oedipous look like a saint.

I have done my bit in the title.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Fry my balls

I did two things with the title: removed the punctuation (from Fry, my balls!) and added irrelevant reference to sex (in this case a sexual organ) to make it sound more interesting. Up to you what you find interesting though.

This I thought would be a nice title for something on Stephen Fry, the admirable writer who taught me this rascally subterfuge for starting short prose pieces. Well, I must admit that Fry did not teach me in person. Also, I'm not imputing the stylistic bastardy of my prose to him. Moreover, I am also sure that in person he is not as horny a style rabbit, itching to impregnate everybody else's prose, as it appears from my previous sentence. Just that I like his prose and the liking is almost physical (ah! that must have done it).

Sometimes you rush through the pages of a book as if the last page has the address to the shop selling the perfect cure for your seven-year-old eczema. But, of course, you do it only because of your less curable disease of plot teleology. Prose assissts in the denoument of a plot. Stephen Fry's prose is autotellic. You may open up any page in a book and start reading without at all missing the pleasure. Somewhat like pornography or a manual of sex. Position 73 is as good as position 69 in the Kamasutra and starting there won't be in medias res at all. I know this analysis of his prose is grossly oversimplified. Someday I hope to write on all the perverse pleasures of his prose.

That said, I will not write a review of his books here. I am re-reading Paperweight now, and felt like trying out his title strategy. It goes well with my stated intention of including non sequitur references to sex in my post. Also, I wish my prose gets his prose's nose and eyes, I mean syntax and cadence. I'll be happy see my blog grow up to be a paperweight.

And as his alter ego, Donald Trefusis says, hugely to you all.

Update: I remembered that Fry has a novel called Stars' Tennis Balls (or Revenge in some editions, a clever remake of The Count of Montecristo. Must have been at the back of my mind when I wrote this. Turns out that my balls are not that irrelevant anymore.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Limeyrock, Limey rocks

Now Shaurya started it all. How he did it I dunno, but he had this brainwave for a prose counterpart of limericks. He calls the thing limeprose, as in leemay-prose. In the evolutionary scale, changewise, it's still self-replicating amino acid. But the good thing is that Shaurya has not forbade us to assist the thingy in reproducing itself. And here I am, doing unmentionable things with an unevolved idea.

The first thing I'll do to the thing is to rename it: Limeyrock. Sorry Shaurya, but, oh well, why bother. You don't even know that I've done this.

After renaming, I'll offer a sample of a limeyrock, which is not close to limerick at all, just formless prose as I like it. A hint of the Absurd too:

"Way to go", said Diego.
I, "But we don't have to rhyme."
He, "All in good time."
I insist, "But this is prose."
Callous Diego, "Oh, really? How gross!"
However, by then I was thoroughly disgusted
By Diego's vapid carelessness
And, being the creator, decided
To take firmer control of the creative process and made everything prosaic
Except the verse-like form,
Which I kept as a concession to Diego,
Who inspired it all in the first place.

(This a repeat from a private networking site. I kinda like it. It's a nice limeyrock. Just try reciting this in a party after a lil bit of self-deprecating preening and watch how it falls like a rock in the conversation and sinks in it. I know I'm pushing it, but try Vodka lime while doing that.)

Now you try.

PS: Did you guys know Anoushka Shankar writes rather pleasant absurd verses in English? Must be her curly hair.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pornography, or making a blog popular

On the eve of my second blogpost I was wondering how to make my blog popular, because nothing else in the blogworld matters to me. Having people appreciate my prose means nothing to me. So, go away. But, sex, porn, more sex, deviant sex, deviant porn etc etc.

There you have my strategy to make my blog get more eye balls. I'll embed my posts with references to sex and golly it sells. Or better still, write some hate speech, and in India it's really really easy, given the number of holy cows and soft targets. I love eating cows and hate who want to ban cow slaughter. Hah!

Eating cows and having sex with horses in in our religious scriptures. Hah! Hah!

Now tell me who's better: me or Raj Thackeray, eh?

My next post will be on how to reduce exclamatory aspirates in your writing. Not mine. Your writing.