Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here's to being able to make a wish, will it true and be proud that there's still a little bit of wizard in each of us. And more than a little bit of the witch in some of us. Underneath the business suits and the piles of books and the cobwebs of high streets and Christmas shopping and deadlines and dread, there are still memories of magical forests, and dragons and winged princesses and flight. If you've ever said the words: I wish, it's still there inside.
Happy Halloween! Here's to explosive, brilliant magic.
May your cauldron bubble over.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

I muse, therefore I am.

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

I remember when I first read this book. Cover to cover on a friends' bed in boarding school. Possibly the darkest time of my life so far, with the promise of happiness a very very faint glimmer far below the horizon. I'd like to think that this was one of the most beautiful things I encountered that year. And I didn't know it then, but I'd read and re-read this many many times in my journey from then to now. And I'd use it as a float, as a foothold in the rockface. As a tiny flame, trying to light a big enough fire to burn away the cobwebs, the dust, the rot that boarding school put into me. (Yes, it WAS that bad. No,I would NEVER do it again. Yes,I am glad I did it once. But once was enough.)

And having read it a hundred times since, and looking back from then to now, I can see crystal clearly, that it has not 'replaced' my thinking (I've always disagreed with that phrase. It neglects completely neglects how fluid the mind is), it has certainly given me a lens I would not have used before.

And that is:
If this is happening, forget for a second how uncomfortable it feels and ask yourself: What has made it happen? Why am I here, is there some magic I need to extract from this? This 'thing' is pushing me deep down, but can I use it to climb higher up? Can I, in other words, become an alchemist turning anything I can think about into gold?
Is alchemy simply understanding + imagination?


That song has seeped into my dreams!

Swept up in a wave of love, swirling love.

Turned around in my sleep this morning, early early early, and looked straight out the window. Pink tinged clouds and a bird, flying straight into them. For a split second the walls of the room, the frame of the window, they all disappeared and all I could see was the sky, that bird, the green of the vines and that pink, pink, pink. From somewhere within the cloud, the pink of a rising star. Inevitable, that rising. At least that is one thing.

And God said, Let There Be Light.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


"If you're not fearful, you're crazy."
JPMorgan Chase's chief executive, on the fear factor among credit card lending

We have, as I see it, reached a breaking point in our society, our civilization, our journey on Earth, when it is completely realistic to be shit scared about the state of the economy rather than happy to be alive on Earth.

I do not wish to discuss the caveats involved, though I am aware of them. I lack the words to adequately contrast what I think is realistic and this whole other world view where economic signals are now life signals, where the prospect of cutting back fills people with existential dread, where the vibrant, desperate joy of living is somehow naive, worthless, crazy.
Hell. I must be batshit crazy. Because I'm concerned, yes, for those people for whom cutting back means cutting your chances of any sort of health, comfort or security whatsoever. Am I scared in general? No, man. I am not.
Go ahead and call me crazy.

A question

The desire to be moved. To seek it out.

Does this make me naive, or just addicted to feeling alive?

If this doesn't make you cry...

... you really need to go out and find something to be blown away by.

So beautiful, so beautiful.
Even if surreal imagery isn't your thing. The music.. the music...

To do before 30: Bold most of these.

Bold = Done.

1. Bought everyone in the pub a drink

2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain (Do hills count?)
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula (FOR FUCKS' SAKE. NO.)
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten my own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars
21. Changed a baby's diaper
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip Does a daylight skinny dip count?
38. Taken an ice cold bath
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Rode on a roller coaster
42. Hit a home run
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer
49. Visited all 50 states (In my own country? No. In the US? No.)
50. Loved your job for all accounts (Substitute: 'my work')
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country (I do not recomend unless you have a dishwasher proof heart)
55. Watched wild whales
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe (Travelled. Am still bolding it. Because it was fabulous. And I don't think it could have gotten more fabulous.)
58. Taken a road-trip
59. Rock climbing
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice
61. Midnight walk on the beach (Ditto as for dancing with strangers: one dishwasher-proof heart required. And a safe beach. Something tells me Baga was not a good choice, but it seemed right at the time...)
62. Sky diving
63. Visited Ireland (Scotland)
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Benchpressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to “Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theater
80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken (I don't think this is technically possible.)
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn't have (There are people who haven't done this?!)
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy (It made ME dizzy. Same thing?)
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office (Define 'sex'.)
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Rode a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on (Silk. But ethics prevents us from splurging on the death of would-be moths. Creatures that could fly should not end up fried and sewed into blouses... sigh.. or curtains, or those black boxers, or.. anything at all...)
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
105. Got flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug (Luuuuuurve sweet love. Should be banned, I tell you, it makes you crrrrrrrrrrrraaazzzzzzzy, whhoooohoooo!!)
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off I do NOT recommend this. (I do.)
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently (I don't think this is a big deal for most Indians. But hell yes. I speak four: English, Hindi, Marathi and Tara).
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
125. Read - and understood - your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
132. Called or written your Congress person
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over (College halfway across the world count?)
134. ...more than once? - More than thrice?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
140. Wrote articles for a large publication.
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone's heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job . (laid off. salon went bust. it wasn't my fault. i will maintain this forever.)
148. Won money on a T.V. game show
149. Broken a bone (oh jesus. yes.)
150. Killed a human being (oh jesus. no.)
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Rode on a motorcycle (Are there people who HAVEN'T done this?!!)
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (Uncle's backyard, shooting Sprite cans laid out on bricks.)
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
157. Rode a horse
158. Had major surgery
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states (visited lots of countries, do not want to measure by US states as am not US)
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi
171. Had your picture in the newspaper (Does a college paper count?)
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime (zis is first one, but I figure I'm young)
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
177. Changed your name (it didn't last)
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school,
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them
183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch!
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196. Dyed your hair
197. Been a DJ
198. Found out someone was going to dump you via Blogger
199. Written your own role playing game
200. Been arrested

From here

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Midweek Restock

A new weekly theme, to be stored on these pages :
Re-visiting some of the old quotes that used to pepper my walls, cabinets, cupboards, drawers, notebooks, novels. Underlined, scribbed on my jeans (boredom, dentist's office, spare pen, don't ask), scrawled on enough post-its to keep 3M in business. I loved them, I used to navigate by them. Some of them jumped off the paper (or my jeans) and straight into my blood. They're not words anymore, they're ideas by which I live. Constantly tested, retested, recrafted. The only life worth living is the reflexive one. And now, after a long long slumber in the world of just living living living, I think it's time to stop looking out the window and into a mirror. And as someone or the other once said, the best mirror is an old friend.

Here are some of mine.

Every week, I will visit up to 5. And see if they still fit.
Some weeks, I will meet new ones.

Here goes, the first round:

1. Perspective: Use it or lose it. (Richard Bach)

2. Sadness is merely a wall between two gardens. (Khalil Gibran)

3. The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in suffering and injustice. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. (Richard Bach).

4. Da molte stelle, mi vien questa luce. (Dante) (From many stars, this light comes to me.)

5. You only see the tree by the light of the lamp. I wonder when you will start seeing the lamp by the light of the tree. (Don't remember who by)
The perpetual student is going to be teaching a class next week.
On the same masters she did.

Points to note, of relevance when the jury's out and she's on tenterhooks:
1. She asked for this. Not in a mystic ask-the-universe kind of way. She took an appointment with the course supervisor and said: IWANTtoteachonthiscourse, please please please.

2. It is a masters course.

3. It is the first time she will teach.

4. She has gaps in her knowledge that you could drive a truck through.

5. Instead of filling these gaps, she is obsessing over the following:

- What to wear
- What colours should be on the powerpoint
- If skin looks simply awful on the day, will they think I'm more adolescent than they are?
- Does simply thinking in this way make me more adolescent than they are?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

How to create the perfect writing table

  • Warmth: 1 radiator positioned just under the table. Warms feet, overjoys the heart. Last house had no such luxury as heating.
  • The view: 1 picture window directly in front of the table. It must open ALL the way in the summer, and be firmly shut in the winter: not a molecule of cold is welcome here. With a view of a quiet street (nothing to distract people-watcher type every two minutes), framed with baby blue neighbours' house and deep green vines from the neighbours garden (simplicity itself and all the more genius for it.)
  • The light: 1 street lamp on the other side of the road. When it snows, it'll be like golden rain. When I'm thinking in the dark, it's a warm honey coloured friend who keeps it from getting scary- the darkness within and the darkness without. Warm table lamp with beautiful yellow light, gifted by The Man. Keeps the street light company. Together, the three of us, thinking in the golden dark.
  • The friend: A pot of pink dahlias in the corner of the window. More foliage (are people who are indifferent to the sight of green leaves fundamentally disconnected from life??), more flowers. Something else that breathes, apart from me. Someone else to appreciate the heating.
  • The hardware: One trestle table. Wide enough to be able to push the laptop to the very edge and type with elbows comfortably rested. Long enough that there's space for typing, writing, spreading out books (India After Gandhi, Pride and Prejudice); articles (Ecologically Effective Social Organization as a Requirement for Sustaining Watershed Ecosystems) and rough bits of paper, scrawled on in different coloured inks, splashed with every highlighter I could find in Staples. The perfect height, so I don't have to look down at the screen too much and my feet aren't jammed into the floor. The right chair - Spare, from the dining room table, padded with one pista green cotton cushion from Aldi and one rani pink silk from Mama.
  • Peace, sweet peace and a cup of tea in my Eeyore mug.
  • Food and spine tingling kisses in the next room.

Just musing

An insight, unedited:
When we push people away during the hard times, are we in denial?
If I let you hold me, it means something is wrong. And I don't want anything to be wrong, I don't want to be in this pain, I want to fine. So treat me as if I am, and we can all pretend effectively.
So much of ourselves is 'made' by how other people treat us.
And we rail against it when everything's fine, but when it's not, do we use this as a tool?