Monday, November 12, 2007

I had a dream last night....


i had a dream last night. its a song i heard as part of the Beverly Hills 90210 soundtrack.

but i did really have a dream last night... it went something like this : Pakistan had attacked us.... Delhi was trying to fend off a blitzkrieg... we weren't succeeding because all India had to offer in the name of defence were some hundreds of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, generally used for surveillance/reconnaissance), and they were sponsored by Reliance so they were not very conducive to the whole speed, secrecy and stealth business, conspicuous as the were painted with triangles of red and blue!

ok, so they weren't all that useless as they did manage to confuse the Pakistani planes as the latter weaved in and out of the trusty Reliance network. so, now that i have set the stage, i am going to walk in for a cameo... i enter as i am leading a group of people from inside a hospital (which had somehow been wired to explode!) and being the smartass that i usually try to be, i am trying to tell them to run in a zigzag to avoid being hit by a missile (like THAT is gonna happen!), or flying shrapnel (like you can zigzag enough to avoid flying glass and things such like!) so,(and now it gets ugly) ten seconds after i break into a run, i'm hit in the neck by a piece of flat glass (large enough to serve biscuits on) and it lodges itself in my neck. i don't bleed but i know that i am dead.

now for the boring part: the rest of the dream (and it seemed like the rest of the long night), i am like the walking dead, looking all over town for my husband so that i can see he's ok and then in true Bollywood fashion, i can end my life on a half sigh-half sexy gasp, after telling him all the things i don't say when i should, all the while clinging onto precious life, for anywhere between 15 minutes to half an hour (i always have at least THAT much to say to anyone, except on the phone!).

that's it, that's the dream. in real life though, that's how i sometimes feel.... lost. dead, but not bleeding. always looking for something. not knowing what i'll say when i find it.... and then again thats how i feel when i hurt the one person who i go looking for when i'm hurt... like there is a piece of glass lodged inside of me, and no one can see me bleeding, btu i know its there. and it hurts like hell. only this time, i know what i'll say. i'm sorry. i know i'll probably be an ass again. but for now, i am sorry for what is past. and no, i cannot guarantee the future, but i'm sorry. NOW.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

No pages till page 3

i used to know this boy once… No, this is not one i was in love with, not by a long shot, though a lot of women i knew probably were - he was that sort of boy. Floppy hair, boyish, and a helpless air that made a lot of women want to take care of him, to save him from his own helplessness and, in the process, help him spend a lot of money he seemed not to know what to do with!

One day we paid a visit to his home to find him facing a crisis beyond his young years. His mother wanted to buy him a hardbound set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. He wanted her to contribute the same amount towards his home theatre system fund instead. Neither was willing to negotiate. Somehow, we convinced ourselves, in our self-declared wisdom as relatively more mature human beings (being girls, we wore the mantle with ease), that we must convince him of the merits of that horribly expensive set of ‘useful’ books.

Oh, but there was a little problem here. He didn’t know what the Encyclopaedia Britannica was! Yes, i know, we were aghast too at the time, but we soldiered on nonetheless. ‘it’s a great storehouse of knowledge’, one of us said. ‘What do you mean, like, explain it to me’, he said. We needed no more persuasion and set about our task, strongly believing that this was our version of the “White Man’s Burden”.

‘It’s got information like how many eggs does a fish lay in its lifetime?’

‘How many is that?’ (Round one to us: we had lit the flame)

‘Well, it depends on the type of fish we are talking about?’

‘What type are you talking about?’ (Round two to the boy. The flame flickers precariously, as we look at each other for help)

‘Hmmm…the average type.’ (Ah! Lord Ambiguity to the rescue!)

‘What type is that?’ (Match slipping away from us, change of tact required.)

‘See, that is just the kind of information these books will provide you!’ i said breathlessly.

Here, i’d like to believe i had won us a reprieve, but then this is my version of the story so i can afford that luxury. However, it would turn out to be a short-lived one (as is the definitional nature of reprieves) for what we didn’t know was this: never underestimate how far a man will go for a desired gadget, in this case a state-of-the-art home theatre system.

On another tangent, i have learnt this lesson well for life ahead and have consequently abandoned all attempts to dissuade my husband from aspiring for and acquiring his desired gadgetry. There’s little we women can do about that actually, so we might as well accept our man’s childlike fascination for flashy, complicated machinery as yet another bizarre fact of life. Such acceptance must be a two-way street though, so all you men out there, this is for you: a woman can never have too many shoes. Oh, and just to make you feel you’re getting a better bargain, they cost much less than your must-have technological wonders! Well, at least some of them do.

Back to the boy now and his story. That afternoon we trooped out, feeling all chuffed up about the powers of female persuasion. Only to return a few days later, en route to a night on the town, to encounter the beaming owner of a new home theatre system. After delicately wriggling out of an impassioned plea to watch yet another documentary on Jim Morrison (we had already watched some on his old VCR), we were led into the bedroom by the suitably smug negotiator. And lo and behold, glinting off a newly installed bookshelf was the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica.

‘But…. how?’, one of us managed to stutter. So a key was swiftly fished out from one of the drawers and he opened the glass door for us to have a look-see. The first volume came off the shelf easily, too easily, in fact, for a tome THAT loaded with eternal knowledge. ‘Well, go ahead, open it!’ And we did, only to discover that that was all there was to it, the cover. More confused stuttering followed. Another smug smile, and finally the truth was revealed. Apparently, in a fitting tribute to the ingenuity of Indians, he had managed to custom-procure an entire set of embossed covers, which would occupy pride of place in his room, under lock and key of course, for a price that left enough for a down payment on the real object of desire.
And THAT, folks, is what they call game, set and match.

We lost touch not long after the happy ending of this family saga, but have seen him on page3 a few times after that... and somehow, my mind always takes me back to the pageless books that might no longer be adorning that locked shelf.


Risks and Rewards


i feel, every now and then, that i am breaching the rules of the game, just because i don’t know what they are. given my penchant for shooting my mouth off, my impulsiveness has got me into quite a few scrapes in life. in trying to navigate the blind alley of relationships i further seem to have developed flippancy into an art form and often shy away from straight answers, usually saying the first thing that comes to my head before my brain has had time to process the thought behind it…i have no ready answers… i rarely do. But, yeah i think a lot and then i think some more and sometimes my brain’s like Schumacher’s practice run!

someone asked me a question a long time ago: how far would you be willing to go in order to make someone see your point of view about a relationship (real or potential)?
i don’t know if there is an answer, or even a limit... any personal relationship is based on some special discovery or another.. perhaps something seen by two people in one another no matter how trivial or how long ago, to paraphrase Hugh Prather. One just has to recognise the relevant sign and then follow its lead. in my humble experience, it usually takes you just where you want to go.... provided you are not howling at the moon but at a much more achievable target! so howl away till the other person just has no excuse left to not be with you!!

we are all afraid of taking the risk.... leaving yourself open to hurt is a lot like splashing your eyes with water …. the normal human reflex is to shut them tight, but you just have to keep trying to keep them open till it becomes a habit. i have always been over-cautious about opening my eyes most of the time, the flip side being that i did miss out on a lot that i refused to risk! maybe i was searching for that perfect gamble. now i know there are none. well, i guess we live some, lose some and learn some.

besides, in any relationship, you can never know which way it is going to swing till you get past your very first crisis….. for example, if one person is always looking to exaggerate the problem and avoiding the solution, however hard that may be, then the other one will forever be picking up the pieces.

oh and call me hopelessly uncynical, but i refuse to agree with those who say that romance/attraction/whatever dies blah blah blah… i agree that it takes frequent breaks, maybe even hibernates for a while, but it takes the right combination to revive it! in the end, you can be "sensible" all you want but most times you just have to play it by ear.... and if you get too involved in the “properness” of it all, you’ll never get past the pleasantries.

sometimes, there is nothing. no sign. no bells. no answers from the heavens. and things just drift... sometimes we wonder and sometimes we don't.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Marital Martial Arts


there are times when the husband and i fight and he has often asked me, at moments when we have nearly forgotten what the original issue was, why i feel the need to always win whatever argument is the flavour of the tirade. i suppose his irritation stems from the myth gleefully perpetuated by men (and some women) that the woman must always have the last word in any argument (apparently, anything that follows is the start of a brand new discussion!)... alright! perhaps. but winning?

i have thought of this at length and the answer is always the same. no one wins. anyone who thinks they do are just fooling themselves, and whats worse, i would like to ask them this: what do you think you are winning and against whom?

there are times when he makes me lose my cool enough that i get so uncharacteristically angry that i don't really know what i am arguing about in the first place.... and it is times like these when i feel like i have lost. big time. everytime. i lose against an enslaving temper, against my better judgement, against the power of good memories and pre-marital pledges, and against previous victories spurred by honest self reproach. and then i am angry for allowing the Trojan Horse of anger to breach the walls of my tolerance, patience, faith and common sense.

so, for all those who still think they won, it is nothing but a shadow of victory. can you spot your name on that glorious roll of honour? oh, and could i please have a look at that glitzy trophy?