October 27, 2011

Diwali, memories and a Dil of Gold

Another Diwali has come and gone. Yet again I notice the giant, conspicuous constellation, Orion, and wonder if it's been keeping an eye on me since I first noticed it, when I was a mop-haired, half-pant wearing skinny kid in my village-like township in Chhattisgarh.

It's been 10 years since I last bought crackers. Parents' assertions that it's a waste of money and media campaigns that said shun crackers as children are employed in the industry worked. Yet another festival spent alone, wishing it were quite the opposite.

I missed being in Balco, where a festival meant all neighbourhood aunties would assemble in one house and make chakli, gujiya, nariyal ki barfi and what not. I was the one who used to get the task of grating the coconut. The 
incentive was that I'd get to drink coconut water and then eat a lion's share of the finished product. Smell of the delicacies used to waft in the houses when chakli was being deep fried or when sweets were being prepared. And when the hardwork was done, smartwork used to begin, of hide 'n' seek. Mummy used to hide the assortment and I used to seek. Needless to say who used to win.

I'm 23 now, staying alone in a room on the third floor of a residential 
apartment in the Silicon Valley of India. Alone, not lonely. But yeah, as I take the stairs to or from my room, I cannot escape the smell of these south Indian delicacies being prepared in these homes. And that brings back the memories. 

The days of yore
I don't think of them 'cuz I miss them. When we were children and the biggest problem in the life used to be a friend who was angry because we had stolen and finished his lunch. The biggest fear used to be geting caught and thrashed by our sports teacher when we used to bunk class and play cricket all day in the school. The biggest injustice life could serve was rain during our games period. The wierdest behaviour was when a friend used to get mighty upset just because you (deliberately) spilled blue ink on the middle of his steel chair on the day of white uniform. Those were the days when you used to get four gupchups for Re 1. Anyone with Rs 2 in his pocket used to be the king for the day.

And look at life now. Not that I'm complaining but yeah, those days were something... Actually, I have no complaints. As of late, life is peaceful. I'm carrying no baggage that usually wears out somebody my age. I'm still friends with all the buggers with whom I grew up, laughed, cried, kneeled outside the classroom for not completing homework, fell in love, failed in pre-boards. 

My gold jewellery

And while my Diwali was devoid of chaklis, fuljhadis, new clothes, gifts and everything synonymous with the festival, I am really not complaining. People buy gold jewellery a day before Diwali. You know what's my gold jewellery like? I've got a heart of gold, a gift from God. A heart of gold... Forgives quickly, loves truly (the bugger loves a lot).

Yeah, the side effect of wearing it on my sleeve is that it often gets bruised. While it is not welcome everywhere, it's alrite. I don't give everyone—this has become one of my fav expressions—either. Ah, this achy-breaky heart! Impurities are going; slowly, steadily, and, at times, painfully. But that's alrite, it's worth it. It's worth it.

“Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth making” 
— Ronan Keating in I Hope You Dance

October 16, 2011

How to be a rockstar

What sucks about pain? Well, that it sucks, and hurts like hell. What's super about pain? Well, the stupid emotion is, maybe, an essential ingredient in the recipe of a great rockstar. Just finished writing my second song, courtesy the frustration, angst, shame, helplessness etc I'm feeling.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, a certain Kurt Cobain was disillusioned. And he made it known through his music. And even though he passed away at just 26, he still—oh you bet—rules. You know you're famous when cheap T-shirts with your face on them are ubiquitous.

OK, God, I know I asked you to make me a great rockstar but let's not do it this way. Pain hurts. The world has had many rage-ridden, drug-driven rockstars. How about a love-bitten, pranayam-doing one? (Prayanam I do, let cupid shoot me.)

However, to be honest, I'm mighty proud of the pathetic song I've just completed. "Pathetic" is not the value judgment of the song but the theme of it. It's about a distraught, love-starved wretch who's suddenly ashamed and embarrassed for many minor reasons other cannot fathom. Why, it may even fetch us a Grammy.

A friend of mine recently told me that Ranbir Kapoor's upcoming movie "Rockstar" is somewhat like my story. In the movie, Ranbir's character gets disappointed in love and then voices his pain through his songs. For the record, I don't like Ranbir even a bit but I'm eager to watch the movie, regardless of whether I have company or not.

And pain? Bring it on. I'll write a song about it. Ha! I have crawled back from abyss. Least afraid of anything now. Yeah it hurts when misunderstanding ruins a friendship but I can't do much when I'm helpless, other than writing a song.

Talking of helplessness, it's like how an itchy dog with a severed hind leg must be feeling. Talking of helplessness, it's like उल्टी आ रही है और कर भी नहीं सकते| I wish I knew the un-yucky ways of describing it. Never mind, rockstar. Got something to say but can't/won't say? Don't say, sing it! Write it in a song and let the world know what you couldn't let the person know. Rock the world, boy!

“Baby I need you, like a poet needs the pain...” — Bon Jovi in In These Arms