Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Love Please!

My Dream

This is my dream,
It is my own dream,
I dreamt it.
I dreamt that my hair was kempt.
Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.

Believe it or not, that's Ogden Nash. With all that restraint and stillness, gentleness and simplicity, that's really, truly Nash. I've read a decent degree of Nash. Or so I'd thought till I stumbled upon this one in a lovely anthology of a hundred passionate love poems that I denied and protested my way into for a Christmas present.

The selections range from early 15th century anonymous and raunchy poetry to G.M. Hopkins, Seamus Heaney, Dylan Thomas, and Stevie Smith. There's also John Donne, Robert Graves, and William Blake. All in all, a reasonably wide and distinguished circle of choice.

However, some selections are not the best ones for specific poets. For example, the Robert Herrick entry is Upon Julia's Clothes. Surely you're joking, Mr Briggs!

For a poet like Herrick who wrote predominantly about sexuality, or more accurately the erotic, in love, this is a dismal, disappointing choice. Indeed, anyone who's ever read more than To The Virgins... knows that a large number of Herrick's other works are more worthy of inclusion than this one.

I have the same complaint about the Philip Larkin, which I should inform you is Annus Mirablis. I also have some gripes about the general politics of anthologising and perception—Briggs should have put in some other poets, more women poets, blah, blah.

Despite having grumbled my way here, I should also say I love the book—not only for the wonderful, if sometimes misguided, selection of poems but also for the superb production quality. The illustrations, by Suzanna Hubbard, are simplistic but beautiful, and printed on paper that's a pleasure to slide through your fingers.

Let me share this with you then, another beautiful gem from the same book.

i like my body

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new

I was an impressionable teenager when I decided that e e cummings was magnificently sublime and had written one of the greatest love poems ever. How could I not, confronted with such desire?

Eight years later, after experiencing this particular poem e vestigio, I find that I don't think much differently.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Annus Terriblis No 3

Today is three years since I accepted slavery in the IT services industry. It’s been three years of working 12 hour days, being entirely uninspired by my work, and meeting only two bosses I could really respect.

I was a delusional English post-graduate student when I thought that starting work on the Ides of March would probably be a fitting thing to do. Like Caesar, I'd also go my own doom, to a job I didn't want to do, biding my time for one year—until my dreams came to pass.

Unfortunately, two years later than that one year, I’m still biding.

This post was started at Maharaja, about 18 hours ago, over some vodka and seafood while I was watching the traffic at Chakala go by. Interesting thing about Maharaja, really. The place is an upmarket, family nip bar, if you get the Bombay meaning of the word “nip”.

No? Well, it’s a place that serves liquor by the quarter and is usually frequented by some people you’d not always be comfortable around. “Good girls from good homes don’t go to places like these.” :-)

I began my sojourns there only once I got my first paycheck. I’d go with an intriguing, serial arguer who became a dear friend over the course of many evenings and too much vodka. We’d sit, watch the traffic fly gently by, and talk about cabbages and kings.

Last night at midnight, watching the traffic pool madly around Chakala junction, I realized where life had come to for both Bombay and me. After two years of battling Microsoft Learning, their crazed project editors, content development managers, and product planners, I was unwinding after another crap day at work.

Three years ago, at Maharaja at midnight, there were only BEST buses flying like they couldn’t during the day.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Random Ribbits

Nothing makes a weekend simply sublime better or faster than some retail therapy. Make it books and food and I'm halfway to heaven—if, indeed, there is such a place.

I started it with one of my closest friends, spending hours at the Bombay branch of the best bookstore in India, browsing through prohibitively expensive editions of old favourites and overpriced but much desired new books.

Strangely, nothing works as well as book shopping, or even spending time in a book store, endlessly browsing. Not shoes, not clothes, not jewellery, not anything. I'm a strange, silly woman, I think.

Many, many thanks to a birthday many months past, an indulgent friend, and my own overwrought wallet, I walked out loaded with these:
The next day, I went into town with the said friend, another one, and the elder sibling for a trip to what a beautiful death must be like. After cutting across a snarl after snarl of hideous traffic, living in the abject terror of missing lunch, we finally made it to Apoorva at Fort.

I am not going to sing paeans to the food, describe the place, or my experience there. That's just repetitive and trite. But I will say this. Two large vodkas, prawns koliwada, fried surmai, butter-garlic clams, prawn ghassi, pomfret curry, clams sukkha, and endless neer dosa later, I was blissed out. All I was fit for was a toffee ice-cream sandwich from K. Rustom's.

Now if only every weekend was like this, I'd be more than somewhat happy. :-)


Randomly blog-hopping and I came across a fun little widget. I fell completely in love!

Monday, March 05, 2007

On Orkut

Five years ago, when a dear friend first asked me to get on Orkut, I made the mistake of asking just what you did with a site like that. A blistering sermon later, I had been sent an invite, had my profile dictated to me, and had also lapsed into sweet inactivity.

Last year, I was finally harangued into creating another profile by another dear friend and this time, I have 400-odd scraps, a 100-odd friends, and 14 fans to show for it. And yet, I somehow get the distinct feeling that the dedication to "social networking" isn't really paying off.

You see, all sorts of people have come bloody crawling out and I'm just fit to howl. For all my magniloquent loquaciousness (see!), I'm truly dreadful at small talk. Truly. Also, I quite bloody hate making it and like most intelligent folk, I prefer proper conversations, don't you know.

Now, suddenly, I'm faced with people I haven't heard from in centuries but who want to know where I am, if I am married, and what I am doing with my life. Inexorably, like a deer caught in the headlights of courtesy, I eventually become polite conversation road kill.

A number of these "friends" are from school. For me, this is excruciating mainly because I absolutely loathed school AND I was a prat. Allow me to assure you of the incontrovertibility of these facts. If I'd met me in school, I'd have whacked me on the upside of my head!

Strangely, it seems that I am the only one that remembers me like that. These people seem content to initially be friendly and warm. Later, they surface only when their homepages remind them about a birthday or when some occasion's doing the scrapbook circuit.

As for me, I just don't understand why they'd want to keep such superficial contact seeing that we haven't been in touch for aeons and despite it, lived happy, fulfilled lives. Yeah sure, you never know—we could be best friends now. But I doubt that because I know it's not merely chance that I'm not in touch with anyone from school.

But let me not tell you only about these hilarious ones. Orkut is most egalitarian and also brings some other wonderfully avoidable experiences along. Sample this.

An ex-classmate from university recently scrapped me. Now him and I, we have a chequered history for a number of reasons, but mainly because of our egos. We've attempted to get and stay in touch a few times to no great or real avowals of a friendship.

He's recently had something really great work out for him and I sent him a note off-the-scrapbook that he didn't respond to. Not that I'd really expected a response, or for that matter, even expected him to believe that I was being more than polite. Indeed, the history's that chequered.

And yet, happy as I am that he'd gotten "back in touch", I think it would have been nice if he hadn't deleted scraps expressing gladness for him. With that one click, there I was—wishing for the impossible, that we still had a little understanding between us. Sigh...

Yup, yup, it's confirmed. I am most certainly less than enchanted with the bloody thing. How can I be? It's full of all that won't or can't leave me behind—no matter how hard we try.