Sunday, October 21, 2007

remote host dead and buried.

there are two things you can do with your sorry mortal self, thats more exciting than living in gandhinagar. listening to the radio on mute. and arguing with your dog about the trans literal versatility of the french new wave of the 60's. how did i end up living in gandhinagar? moved here from hyderabad four years ago. just when the new kid on the cosmopolitan block that hyderabad is, was waking up to disposable incomes,women drivers and public displays of affection. just when i was waking up to alcohol, alternative rock, and alliteration. i was just out of high school, armed to the hilt with a clean conscience and obnoxiously good ranks in entrance examinations. bad things, they say, happen to those who don floss before they go to bed. and i ended up in the dhirubhai ambani institute of information and communication technology. the university's in gandhinagar, gujarat. and my life, changed forever. change is good, they say. i'd love to get my hands and feet and dynamite sticks on whoever said that. a four year stint here was supposed to grant me among other things, a degree in ICT, proud parents, a beautiful wife just the right kinda dumb to follow me back to some G8 nation, a set of ties that match my socks, and the financial freedom to proactively indulge in lifestyle catalogues. a four year stint here and i don have a degree. i live in a one room tenement with a coffee mug1 for an ashtray,and a laptop for a lifeline. and i have a bad case of bronchitis. shit. this is that point in a man's life, when he starts wishing his dad was an oil baron. my love's an effective distance of a coupla small planets away and i secretly wish india invades the united states. pulling a csi on the life that was, and tracing everything back to where it started, i find myself standing on a carpet of garbage with a yellow board sticking its head out and tryin hard to convince me that it certainly was the ahmedabad railway station. yeah, that was four years ago. the filth was appalling. i have this annoying habit of drawing an unfair parallel between everything this country is infamous for and its counterpart in a much cleaner, less corrupt and more colder country. and the filth painfully reminded me of their sanitized public transport systems. and that's been a constant feature of everythin in my life, since. a split screen of the good and bad, seperated by the longitude of national boundaries.

the first semester ended. and everything started going down. she blames chuck palanuick and fight club. and i blame humanity as a form of life. i mean, here i was in a fledgling university trying to fit into a mindless system of learning and unlearning. grappling with the urge to turn into an individual, strugglin with the lack of an ambition. i was 18 and already tiring. i was young and already losing. i don't know if i did not fit in, or if i was just not supposed to, but, i started fashioning an anti-social lifestyle. out of bits and pieces of expressions of resistance and acts of rebellion. when helpless in the face of a bullying enemy, you hurt yourself. just your li'l circus of pain to show that you are not afraid of it. i hurt myself in stupid ways. i flunked and flunked again. foolish enough to imagine i was being true to my ideal.or atleast and more definitely, the lack of it. and the people. they were stupid. obvious idioicracy passin off as grave wisdom. young kids, just like me. they were all content. it was the same university for them. they lived in the same crappy city. but somehow they found the trick to sleepwalk through it. they embraced mediocrity and made peace with the lack of a meaningful youth. i knew this was not the paris of 1968. but it was too one-dimensional for an india in 2007. a software career at the end of the mono-chromatic rainbow was just not going to do it for me. i don know what i was looking for, but what i had was just not what i deemed it should be like.

and i withdrew. threw in my towel, and walked out in utter silence. not a whimper of protest. not a signal of unrest. i just switched myself off, and withdrew. i could not talk the talk. i could not cop out, in deference to a generation oblivious of the rot that set in. in a country with an irritating moral high ground hurtling towards an anchranous future. and i went through the motions. tried to be a theoretical rebel. followed the basic minimum programme of any self-respecting suicide bomber. lusted for zarathusthra. rooted for and against russel and freud. interchangeably. agreed with marx. ridiculed bush. worshipped che. and laughed at god. had the drawl of a scarred young man, with a dark past. i was living out a caricature. as pedestrian as the rest of humanity i sought to debunk. and gandhinagar did not help. neither did the university. it was a downward spiral. colorful, confusing and certainly comatose. i loved the fall. but you hit ground, someday. i hit ground 4 months ago. belated perspective hurts real bad. and truth's just as painful. i knew i missed the clue somehow. all i was supposed to do was pretend blind and feel my way outta the darkness. all that was required of me was a love for the ordinary. an acceptance of the mundane. if i could have reigned in my intolerance for the less beautiful, controlled my aggressive pillage for the higher truth, i could have arrived with the rest of them. in a comfortable straitjacket.

and i did not.

i am 232 and unemployed and unhappy. am hurting her with my lack of ambition. she's always waiting for some sign of a concerted effort. and again, i blame humanity as a form of life. at least the most immediate variety. she is my sanity. i am foolish enough to take it out on her. am scared of failing again. cynicism hits home, when nothing is funny anymore. and i am irritatingly cynical sometimes. waft across universes as disconnected as what i just wrote. thats understandable when you see that i lost the script.lost my bearings. lost my invaluable chance to end up as a nameless, faceless software professional.i don't know anymore. how world peace and making the world a better place, got around from being anthems of redemption to beauty pageant cliches. how armies of young, bright people can short sell themselves. the worst part is,i don't know if i would be anymore happy if i was anything else. i don't want to trade my consistent misanthropy to a comfortable ignorance. if i could change anything that happened over the last four years, guess i'd pass.

and one other thing, thats more exciting than living in gandhinagar? staring into deep space, and waiting for your shooting star.

1This is what happens to uncreative birthday gifts.

2He is NOT 23. That's just what he wants to believe. Hon, you're 22.
*Doesn't he jus make you cry sometimes, the sweetheart?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The 1 am Question

It always begins after he leaves while I'm still not dozing off mid-sentence. I lie there, in absolute silence, lit by the glow from the screen, very incapable of falling asleep. Sometimes my thoughts freeze while I try to decide whether to rush forward or backward. To dream or to ruminate.

That smile I fell in love with teases me to recollect, fill out that face, paint out every detail, every pore, every smooth curve that, by now, I surely must know very intimately. But, the smile is all I remember. Years with him and all I know of my love is his smile. That's all it took, really, to begin with. That's all every day is about. Keeping that easy smile intact till the end of all this. At the end of all this will be a life that can not be described. Even if he tried.

Early morning drives, pass-me-the-sports-page, pasta fights, blatant consumerism, lazing around, sweet-nothings, ear lobes for lunch, indie-movie induced siestas, disastrous meals,you-have-a-pretty-nose-when-I'm-drunk, and then this very moment, lying in the dark, feeling the gentle wave of his breathing, thinking of his smile, while snug in his arms.

Why in the blinkin world did I choose this when I could be doing that?