Arriving somewhere...

I've found myself a friendly corner by a glass wall at a Chipotle close to the university. I enjoy taking in the sights while stuffing myself with a bowl of carnitas loaded with the hottest sauce they have have there (not half as spicy as our friendly neighborhood Chaat Guy's kaara masala though).
Paid close attention to the music they play on their speakers. Tried ID'ing the songs for a while in vain. I wasn't even sure what genre they were. Felt humbled by the fact that a restaurant could play good indie-sounding music that I could appreciate without a clue about who it was by. Finally heard a familiar song on my way out (Banshee Beat - Animal Collective). 
What have I been up to other than being totally impressed by the high standard of the musical palate here? Well, I've been trying to take it easy on the overwhelming moments, choosing rather, to digest one thing at a time (and I'm not just talking about the carnitas. I like sitting at these quaintly situated seats along certain main streets with something to munch on and watch the city move in front of me. And suddenly, the world is no longer a sea of humanity and the expression of individuality that San Francisco is notorious for starts getting ever so noticeable. What do I mean by that? When I'm not totally disoriented and actually have a moment to breathe, I will typically begin getting conscious of my surroundings and the people in it... blond woman in business casuals with a little caterpillar tattooed behind her ear,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the sound of an approaching skateboard, a zero-emission tram passing by, tall man in razor sharp corporate attire walking with a copy of the WSJ folded in the crook of his tall-latte clutching arm and kidskin attache-case in the other, homeless man in the corner with all his worldly possessions inside a shopping cart beside him, girl on the train with flaming pink hair and neon-green nose ring reading a hardcover on the train and so on.
Spent most of the weekend with friendly people who made me feel at home. I'm quite thankful to them for that, goes a long way for someone in a strange land in the process of planting his feet on the ground.
I find several aspects of the so called 'American way of life' to be very strange compared to what I'm used to seeing. Pets in this country have a cushy life. The veterinary hospitals I've seen so far are about the same as those expensive private hospitals in Bangalore. Deep inside, I feel a strange painful feeling knowing that a large part of our masses have a lower standard of life than the animals here. I remember feeling guilty about occasionally driving to the grocery shop near home to buy bread and eggs. I saw one guy here who drove his monster truck, with wheels as tall as I am, to get ice cream.
I try and not compare everything I see against some unknown "ideal" and try and just accept things and get on with it, but sometimes I can't help but notice that this nation's been blessed immensely by a very gracious God. If they could only accept that very simple fact instead of being stuck in an existential hole in the ground and use all their energy figuring out if we're all meant to be deejays and homosexuals.
In church yesterday, we were shown a video of little kids in Uganda living (barely) on the brink of existence in starvation. How strange it is that those kids share this world with grotesquely obese people who are imprisoned in their own homes because they can't fit through the doorway.
I don't blame anybody for things being the way they are, I merely can't help but see these extreme contradictions and sigh.


Lit Clutterbug

How's it shakin'!  I know it's been a while since I last rambled coherently, so if you've taken the time out to pay attention to this post, I'm flattered. In fact, borrowing from the words of someone I knew a while ago, I think someone ought to present you with an award the size of a pancake for that feat alone. As always, I aim to please.

In the absence of any recent favorable developments in my life, I've been spending a considerable amount of time reading the works of some of the most formidable human beings (in my own unostentatious opinion) to have ever put their thoughts on paper. So you needn't spend your energies disputing, for example, Mr.Adams' views on the subject of misogyny prevalent amongst the peoples in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. You can have a bite out of my towel for all I care. 

Since I've already mentioned Mr.Adams, I must begin by admitting that I've been kicking myself for not getting around to reading the Hitchhiker's Guide any earlier. Helped me get through quite a bleak period, it did. Got through the 'trilogy of five books' in under a week and kept re-reading for a while after. I never imagined that time-travel, inter-galactic colonization, extraterrestrials, manic-depressive robots and, yes, towels could be so riotous. I hear Douglas Adams was the first Mac user in the whole of England. Totally irrelevant trivia. Or not. Maybe its a genius thing.

I'd also returned to the land of Stephen King with a vengeance. His knack for storytelling, his 'craft' as he calls it, is a gift. A modern day Tolkien who drinks deep of that fabled literary pool where those great men and women of yore cast their nets. Lisey's Story was admittedly rather insipid at several turns, but SK's allowed to not-impress once in a while.
Currently getting through some vintage King. The Dead Zone is a classic psychic-psycho story that goes all over the place before going totally berserk on the unwary reader. 

The Enchantress of Florence kept me up several nights on a recent visit to Trivandrum. I definitely think Padma Lakshmi's departure from his life did the man a world of good. His first post-Padma Lakshmi novel, The Enchantress is a throughly researched effort that seamlessly blends fact, fiction and fantasy to constitute a single volume of unadulterated Rushdie with generous doses of his signature brand of wit and wisdom. They say that if you call something flawless, it means you haven't looked hard enough. And believe me, I've looked. So here goes, at the risk of coming off as a pretentious little Rushdie-fanboy, this one was perfect as cats. 

I've described the last couple of weeks of my life in books fairly accurately. Props to you, for sitting through this. Currently listening to Savoy Truffle -The Beatles as I write this from an uncharacteristically cluttered desk. 


a little hello

I've moved into a new comfort zone. A typical day in my life consists of waking up in my skin and taking it off, bit by bit, as the day progresses. It's getting pretty toasty here these days y'know. I put them fully back on before scurrying homeward and into my safe little box in the evening though.
Is this what they call 'traveling without moving'?
Whatever it is, I think I'm fine for the moment.
Examples to support preceding statement :
1. I'm watching an amazing story play itself out around me. (More on this later)
2. Lamb of God @ Palace Grounds, May 15th! (Opeth. Check. Porcupine Tree. Check. LoG. ...)
3. I'm enjoying church.
4. No more of this insane college. Just exams and then jump.
5. Deadmau5 and Heinlein make sure I'm in decent company.
6. Booster Juice is now in my neighborhood. I'm stoked! Now somebody get Chipotle to open one up here please.
7. Ah, and new musical possibilities.



I find myself looking inward a lot these days. I used to live a cushy life shielded from serious injury and I may have been described at the time as a manipulative young man with a penchant for having a good time. I'd twist, bend and break all sorts of things around me to have it all my way. Not so, now. My situation can be compared to when you find out that a price has to be paid for the delightful objects your credit card has been spewing at you.
Responsibility, foresight and maturity have taken some beautiful relationships away from me.
Leave me alone, he says.
Now I bask in the realization of the fact that I live alone in dimly lit room. A little box tucked away in a far corner of Eden. Not a soul within earshot.
Told you I'd been getting introspective lately.


Blustering Baboonery

Don't think coz I understand I care
Don't think coz I'm talking we're friends...

I like Sneaker Pimps. They sound like they're cool with having no excuse for having no excuse.
Er... I'm not exactly sure that last sentence made sense, but you get the idea. Had a generally good last few days. Good days are had to come by, I should know. I'm grateful for the people who put me in a cushy place by choosing to hang with me (what a drag it must be for them poor folks).
I hope you're a beach sort of person, we'd probably get along. And I don't mean bikinis, broad shoulders and cocktails on a five-star private beach when I say beach sort of person. Oh, and definitely NOT the type that pretends to read Theroux lying on your belly in the sun. I had something along the lines of taking pleasure in watching dead turtles wash up on the shore or chucking rogue crabs back into the ocean in mind.

Now I'm also against carpet bombing in air warfare.


I watched a half-moon hover upon jagged snow covered peaks of the Himalayas. Standing before a mountain on a cold night with a bagful of eclectic mix of memories and reasons for why I was there is quite an experience. Some ubiquitous ancient wisdom resides among the mountains without a doubt. And sometimes, if you peer hard enough into yourself, it hits you hard for just a fleeting moment. This can either cause one to reel and fall hard or help to finally find one's feet.
I can't place my finger on which category I fall in.
Or maybe that's just it. I fell.


Jamais vu

There was once an old woman who lived in a little cardboard box under a busy flyover in a crime ridden part of the city. She would wake each morning at a wee hour while other creatures still slept soundly around her and spend time in prayer after which she'd cook and peddle idlis by the wayside. Her clientele mainly comprised of drivers of school vans and autos. They usually flocked around her steaming pushcart before they headed to pick kids up for school. All these folks liked the woman a lot and sometimes ran errands for her or bought supplies for her for no reason other than her blatant poverty.
One day, she hitched a ride in one of the school-vans to the market. The driver said he'd even wait for her to finish her shopping so he could drop her back. The woman was very touched by this and let him in on a secret.

She said (oooooooooo000OO000000ooooooo000000000oooooo0000000000000000oooooooooo000

The driver was very upset and didnt return to the steaming pushcart for weeks. Soon, it was found that the man gave all his belongings to the first ashram he found and lay in the way of an oncoming train.
The several pieces they brought of him to the hospital were all pronounced dead.

The woman burst into tears when she heard the news and regretted telling the man her secret.
Days turned to nights and the nights turned to weeks. Soon, people forgot about the dead man and his place as van-driver was taken by a jolly fellow and the folks who dined alongside him at the steaming pushcart found him to be more congenial and helpful than his predecessor.

[Note: This story is not done. Will add more to the above at each sitting. And edit. Or altogether pull down the damn thing. Ok?]