Tuesday, June 28, 2005

On Marriage

I spent some time a few weekends ago with a friend who's considering a divorce and has children to think about. The weekend after, I spent with someone who will probably marry because honour dictates it. And later, when I thought about it, felt very, very scared.

I wonder if I will meet myself, parked at the end of either one of those roads, a few green signals later.

Tis strange, really, where the road can take you, when one is merely attempting to walk along. At eighteen I thought, by twenty-five, I would be ensconced in a committed relationship, or at least be approaching one. And someday in the future, I'd be heading down the aisle. Curiously, it does not bother me that I am not even close. I cannot see myself married in real time - oh dear Christ, no! But... I still wonder if I will indeed get married someday.

I should qualify this strain of thought. This is neither some querulous, feminine dichotomy - agonizing about dying an old maid AND yet not caring about being the "better half of a whole." Nor is it the statement of anything radically new. I am simply wondering aloud - will I start down this well-trodden path as well?

Now, does this mean some part of me truly does want the "stability" marriage can bring? Or is this just objective speculation I am indulging in. And to make things a little interesting, am I way off the ball here? Am I just pandering to a thought process that is unnecessary, ergo a waste?

Apart from my usual strangeness, is this wierd?

Of Decadence and Calvin and Hobbes!

I have spent the whole day at home, recovering from a stomach infection and communing with Calvin and Hobbes. There is something so decadent about spending a rainy day at home, with hot soup and a book while everyone else you know is working. I'll burn in hell for it, I know!

These are among my two very favourit-est strips. This, I am sure, is something that will change and be expanded with the next Calvin collection I get my hands on!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

That Is All There Is

This is something I wrote in what now seems like another lifetime. Perhaps it was as well. This piece is something still held close; something very surprising I learned about "absolutes". A significant measure of time later, I am pleased to know that I would not have gone back and done anything any differently.

It is one of my greatest fears - looking back at my life a few months later and wanting to do things over. As far as choices go, I am not sure I believe there is such a thing as the right decision. The "right decision" will be proven in time. However, at the time, there is such a thing as a good decision. Mercifully, this one still remains a good decision!

That Is All There Is

"We may never meet again, you know." Even then she had wondered what he had meant and she wondered now as well. Dragging deeply on her cigarette, her mind turned to him again. For a while all he had been was a voice on the telephone. A few days later, he had become real... human... tangible. Hard, detached and ruthless, he was the fulfillment of her Howard Roark fantasy. He was an intellectual challenge... nothing more, nothing less. How he excited her!

They didn't care about each other and yet had a pulsating awareness of themselves. Meeting her for the first time that day, he had taken her home. After a few minutes of polite conversation, he had bent and kissed her. She remembered being stunned by his singularity of purpose. Now, she was surprised at herself. Wasn't that why she had gone there?

She replayed that scene in her head for the millionth time. Lying there in his arms, she had heard him ask,

"Do all your friends kiss upto you?"

"No.", she had laughed. "You should meet them. You'd enjoy the thrashing they give me."

In an unusually comfortable silence, he had spoken again. "Then why are you so surprised at my ability to detach?"

She had looked at him for a moment, and slowly answered, "Because... my friends will be around tomorrow morning and you won't."

"Doesn't that irritate you?"

"Would it help any? If I was to get annoyed, would you change your mind?"

"No, and you know it."

"Then why should I waste that emotion on you?" Brave words to cover an uncertain interior.

Thirty minutes later they had gotten dressed and she had smoked while he made business calls. She committed every detail to memory, knowing she would never see him again. He had said something about taking a break and then perhaps calling her back but she couldn't remember what it was....

A lizard scurried across the crack in the ceiling, reeling her out of her reverie. She went to the kitchen and poured herself another cup of coffee. She had asked herself this question so many times and still had no answer. "Why did I do it?" She still didn't know... or did she?

Her gaze swept across the room. The tangerine walls, the bean bags, the paintings. Her home; where she could be free and honest. She flicked a switch and Billy Joel's River of Dreams filled the spaces around her and walked onto the balcony. She shook her head, as if trying to clear it but there was no escape. She sat down, her back to the rails and acknowleged it. She had gone there for herself. She had done it to explore that part of her that he had brought to life. Gone to find out if it was indeed her responding to his verbal lovemaking? What had happened to "sex without love is meaningless?"

But it had been her and she had to accept this facet of herself. It was nothing to be ashamed of. She had taken control of her sexuality and jumped straight in. She had made one mistake though. She had expected him to call. Two weeks had gone by and she was still willing the phone to ring. Maybe this was the part of her not meant for casual intimacy. Yet part of her. Inexorably her. She smiled and picked up her favourite volume of Vikram Seth's poetry. As the indigo curtains swayed gently in the breeze, she began to speak,

"To make love with a stranger is the best.
There is no riddle and there is no test...

To rest within the unknown arms and know
That this is all there is; that this is so."

Saturday, June 11, 2005

E Vestigio - From Where One Stands

A good way to start is to explain why the name E Vestigio, perhaps? E Vestigio - Latin for From Where One Stands. It started a few weeks ago, in another city I call home, over dinner and drinks with friends. I should add, I had gone back for an interview with a "Multinational Company". A landmark dinner, this one. You see, these were people I had gone to University with. We were people who had seen each other through various nadirs of poverty and today, as corporate professionals, not one look at the pricelist - even sideways!

Conversation flowed, nostalgia and the present intermingled pleasantly and so the evening continued... or did it really? Until just before a swig from my vodka. The situation hit home with the force of a dream.The things, the life I "desired" in this city had turned into things that didn't make any sense now. And that's what's still not making sense. After having chased the other life... an MNC job (not even something I really wanted), some friends (that I couldn't even relate to any more)... for the better part of six months, what had changed. Me, my dreams or the city... or my friends... or everything?

I came back home, rejected the MNC offer and have decided to chase my real dreams instead. Now more than ever, it seems a time to do the things I never thought to start and something as simple as starting a blog being among them. Now more than ever, it seems a time to make things count.

Could any one have described the human experience better than Jorge Luis Borges... I wonder?

"A writer -- and, I believe, generally all persons -- must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art."

--From "Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems: Interviews by Roberto Alifano.