Sunday, July 31, 2005


I made another one of my increasingly frequent forays into a bookshop yesterday, seeking , as ever, to dissolve the ennui of a now tedious vacation in the please-grope-me smell of fresh paper.

Armed with little more than conspicuously light pockets, i stepped cautiously into the decidedly regal premises, and felt the full force of a dozen 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' hard-bound editions staring me in the face, snickering in all their over-hyped, but i must admit, not wholly undeserved glory.

After this rather inauspicious beginning, i started looking around the vast and immensely complicated labyrinth, stumbling hurriedly past sections entitled Cookery (I've never understood the motivation for buying, leave alone writing, cookbooks) , General Knowledge (whatever that may be), Erotica ( ok, so i sneaked a little peek here), and reached Literature, quietly occupying a little corner, uninhabited but for a Japanese girl feverishly haranguing a shop-attendant for a copy of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club.

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler’s pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.

With a half-smile, and afore-mentioned fatalistic utterances, now on my lips, I look up and see a new edition of The Fountainhead, the redesigned cover lily-white and Communist Red,colurs i would have thought hardly appropriate.
Howard Roark, i am sure, laughed.

Jack Kerouac simply sits, in satori-induced stupor, not taking insult, in true Buddhist fashion, at the ignominy of being placed next to Jackie Collins(why are you here ?),and I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.

Continuing on my merry ride, i spot other masters laid to a dusty rest, Gogol's Dead Souls probably lamenting Sophocles' Tragedies (under 'Greek', you see) , Kawabata and Murakami and Ishiguro and Oe trying manfully to catch the Japanese cutie's attention, Huxley's Doors of Perception leading to Hugo's Hunchback, and so on and on and on in a never-ending rollercoaster through the literary ages.

And after three hours or so , With the customary sigh, i prepared to troop out, Neruda's clouds waving white handkerchiefs of goodbye, my pockets still feeling the same, but my spirit well and truly uplifted, when Scott Fitzgerald, genius of the Jazz Age, chronicler of the 1920s, beckons me one last time, and who am I to refuse?

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Before I die, I want to own a book-shop.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

20 something

Twenty is such an awful age. I can't even blame my deficiencies on teenage angst anymore.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed- interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing sprit- crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing you last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future.

From Trainspotting

So many choices, so little time.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


I just wish tomorrow goes by as quickly , and as painlessly, as possible .

The sun is the same
in a relative way,
But you're older.
Shorter of breath, and
One year closer to death.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Circle of Life

You could, one day, if the notion appeals to you, find yourself an empty bench in the neighbourhood park and watch the world go by, joining me, in unspoken harmony, in observing the curious traits of an unhappy civilization.

Let us, for the sake of brevity, assume the aforesaid park is roughly circular in shape, its circumference eternally lined by teeming multides of walkers, joggers et al, performing their daily exercises oblivious, or perhaps disdainful, of nature's bounty spread out like a tiny forest across the centre.

Notice, if you will, the top software company executive, attired in designer walk-wear, striding along like a pot-bellied colossus, earplugs in one ear, cell phone kissing the other. Quietly following him, his wife (by arranged-marriage, of course) looks around sadly, discontentedly, the dissatisfaction in her eyes impossible to miss.

Groups of women chatter along excitedly,no doubt playing out their own mobile version of 'Desperate Houswives', complete with fake Nikes on pedicured feet and simulated concern in hoarse voices. A single, lonely old woman then walks by, arms swinging in true Hitlerian fashion, the determination in her eyes fiercely contesting the truth which her failing body cannot hide - the inevitability of death.

Suddenly, as you look closer, a grandfather appears on the scene, pushing a little pram having, presumably, his infantile grandson. They move anti-clockwise, unlike everybody else, and get in everyone's way. The baby, dotted on its cheek to ward off the evil eye, invites broad smiles, the grandfather receives only cold stares.

Amidst all the quiet mayhem, you , and I, half the world apart, softly whistle 'Colonel Bogey's March', and do nothing.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Memory Lane

The sun today, as is its wont at this time of year, chose to hide behind the big fluffy clouds that blanketed the sky in great black portentous wisps. The wind, not daring to disturb the delicate equanimity in the firmament, blew gently, soothingly. And I, never one to pass over as fine an oppurtunity as this, walked a few miles down memory lane, to the house of my childhood.

The roads were empty, and I strode quickly, hopping over little brown puddles of water, remnants of late night thunderstorms and poverty-stricken tears. As the roads slowly began to grow narrower, and the skyline shorter, I knew I had arrived again in the old neighbourhood, three years after I had left without as much as a goodbye.

I gazed down at my feet as I walked, studiously avoiding old acquaintances who chanced upon my path, when all of a sudden, without warning, i was engulfed in an irrepressible wave of nostalgia, and thoughts safely locked away in a never-to-be-delved-into-again reservoir exploded through the proverbial floodgates, overwhelming me with the sheer ferocity of their reminiscence.

And so, i gave in, and remembered. The memories simply came rushing back.

Memories of growing up, of spending ten years of childhood,
of living in a neighbourhood that was more ghetto than suburbia,
of the utter decrepitude of the buildings, windows broken, walls peeling, pillars threatening,
of how poverty and beauty meshed so completely that you couldn't tell the difference,
of interminably long summer vacations spent playing hide-and-seek around the infinitely complex maze of run-down sheds,
of cross-breed stray dogs we christened after reigning beauty queens,
of butchers beside temples, and mosques behind, and never was a stone thrown in anger,
of people who were there before me, and are predestined to stay there forever,
of the first pair of twins i ever knew, with rhyming names and identical clothes and everything, bless them,
of climbing trees in the neighbourhood park- the regular haunt of cosying-up couples, and as legend would have it, the occasional rapist,
of strange old men with giant-size pipes and vintage cars and foul mouths,
of the jangling sound of coins in my pocket that were never enough for what i really wanted,
of the flea-market, teeming with diseased flies and a million lies, and the vegetable vendor who never gave the discount he offered the last time around,
of the first, and only, time i have stared at a teacher for a time more than that was strictly necessary,
of prodigious imaginations that would have conjured up profound visions of apocalypse at my sudden departure,
of the best friends i ever had, and lost.

And i closed my lips in a soft 'goodbye' , turned and walked away, and closed one chapter of my life.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Experiments with truth

I spent my evening today watching Rodgers and Hammerstein's singularly influential contribution to the Austrian tourism industry ,'The Sound of Music'. Cut to a converation between the Von Trapp children.

Brigitta (observing the guests in the ballroom): "The women look so beautiful!"
Kurt: "I think they look ugly."
Louisa: "You just say that because you're scared of them."
Kurt: "Silly, only grown-up men are scared of women"

We find wisdom in the most unexpected places.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Writer's block is a cruel, cruel way to die.

About Me

a recluse waiting for salvation