Friday, 31 August 2012

Chocolate, cheese and chalk

Just a thought( a rather long one). Dedicated to hours of pre-lunch hunger in college.

I have been lazy and bored. And very very hungry. There's a woman before us droning about a boiler (I think) and I find it so apt to fit a full fledged fantasy into this dull hour. Sifting through the likely topics, a chocolate and cheese paradise beckons and i sink my teeth in all too readily. Love at the first bite. Sounds like something out of the menu of one of those cheesy cafes where lovers find solace in the afternoons. But this is going to be cheesy, its about cheese as well.
    There, I have your attention, everyone does love chocolate and cheese ( not necessarily together), don't deny it. If I said 'gourd and eggplants' instead, no one would look twice except to cringe away. Let me tell you a sad tale, I have terrible teeth. So terrible, that when I was 9, I had to get this root canal done on my premolar. The dentists were in shock, I was like a never seen before case. Anyway, I did endure 12 sittings and nasty looks from the receptionist at my regular haunt, the dentist's. I'm terrified of dentists. Almost as much as lizards. Well I'm not terrified of lizards, I just find them disgusting, with those scales and beady black eyes and sticky pink tongues. Why am I talking about them anyway? The boiler woman has beady black eyes. I bring my eyes down as she gives me one of her infamous dirty looks. So getting back to chocolate, it was evidently one of my first loves, root canal and all. Not that I particularly enjoyed brushing my teeth either. With my stomach going haywire and the sound of chalk scratching the board, I immediately come up with a couple of lame lines about darling chocolate and they're playing in my head at once, something like this:
 
   Silky, molten svelte or hot,
   Fragrant, crispy, smooth or taut,
   Bittersweet you caress my lips,
   Have me licking my lips.

   On rainy afternoons when the ache sets in; so
   stealthily to the refrigerator I tip toe,
   The craving builds up in sweet prospect,
   As I sink my teeth in a bar of chocolate.

I feel extremely silly and stop at once to concentrate on my rumbling stomach. Thats when someone opens their lunch box and the aroma of cheese hits my nostrils. Cheese. I want cheese. You know that smell when you tear a slice of piping hot pizza loaded with cheese? That blessed feeling as you sniff and the bite off a piece and relish slowly. Those happy moments. I look ahead trying to focus, boiler beady eyes is wearing a sari exactly the color of cheese. She's got to be doing this on purpose. I really don't like her. Dirty look again, its mutual. I think of the cube of cheese I devoured with my breakfast toast. Wish I could go back in time. Or forward. BB throws a piece of chalk at this guy who's dozing off on the first bench. I dunno why teachers do this, do they think its intimidating? Finally I hear it, the bell. The bell. For lunch. I'm off. Hope you have a cheesy chocolatey lunch too. 

Friday, 24 August 2012

Here, there, everywhere

   It's a holiday, and I'm staring at this blank page wondering what i should write about. But then there's always the last resort, taking brother's advice and writing about something i'm passionate about. Only one thing comes to mind. There, i'm brightening up at that prospect at once. Because cliched as it sounds, thats what the Beatles do, brighten up my day. And I'm sure i'm not the only one.
  The Beatles don't need an introduction. If you are wondering, they are only the best band that ever existed, ever will. Says I. And millions of devoted fans. John wrote the songs, played the rhythm, Paul played the bass and sang, George played lead and Ringo played the drums. Together they formed the Beatles, and their music influencing the world since the 1960s. They defined rock for what it is today, having explored everything from pop to psychedelic  classical to jazz in their decade together.
    My dad was playing this John Lennon documentary once, thats when i heard 'In my life' for the first time, I stopped. I stopped and listened to the song. I had never listened before, just heard. I was addicted then and there, and i'm going to stay addicted for the rest of my life. From 'love me do' to 'I want to hold your hand', they could really take the cliches of love and sing them to you in such a way, you'll find yourself falling in love. Consider the lyrics of ' All my loving', "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you, tomorrow i'll miss you, remember I'll always be true". So elementary, so unassuming, so honest. And just so utterly beautiful. Their early hits were simply constructed, yet they hold you, caress you and you're in love right there. Beatles love songs are a different brand altogether. A set of simple words, "All you need is love", thats all the Beatles needed. No flowery language, no overcrowded, over-poetic(if such a thing exists) phrases. Sincere words strung together truthfully singing of love. Thats just the lyrics. Wait till i get started about the music. Paul singing "lead me to your door" in 'The long and winding road', you can hear the stifled pain in his voice, and in 'yesterday'. The variety of music the Beatles gave the world, so staggeringly vast. They sang a lot of feel-good songs, songs which make you smile so wide and have you asking for more. Songs like "A hard day's night', "I'm looking through you', "Lovely Rita", "Strawberry fields forever", I don't want to say anything about them, i can't really do them justice. Listen to songs like 'Tomorrow never knows' and 'She said she said' for a taste of their psychedelic front, songs George wrote inspired from indian music, incorporating the elements of rock in right places, especially 'Within you without you' and ' Love you to'. If you want plain sexy, stay in bed and listen to 'Something', or stand in the shower singing 'I want you(she's so heavy). Some of their music is so heartbreakingly melancholy, I can't stop the tears from dripping steadily. A song about unrequited love 'For no one', is the best example. 'And in her eyes you see nothing, no sign of love behind the tears, cried for no one, a love that should have lasted years'. Need i say more? And I must mention 'Eleanor Rigby', a song about all the lonely people. Listen to it and you are carried off to a world where you don't have anyone who will cry when you leave. People, places and poetry. Perfection.
 I have tried so hard to work out which album of theirs i love best, I really can't decide. So i won't. I'll just sit on a beanbag and listen to all of them over and over again and smile and laugh and cry and fall in love. If you haven't  done that already, I suggest you go ahead right away. Here, there, everywhere.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A day in the (college) life

College started, *whine*. Two days into second year and I'm already complaining. At least I've got this blog to complain in. My brother's been telling me that no one's going to read my blog unless i stick to an actual topic that i'm passionate about, i've been telling him to take a bath and comb his hair. Brothers, adorable little twits. they pull your hair and steal your erasers, but you still love them.
  Getting back, college. Slipping your feet from under the warm blanket to the cold morning floor, tragedy, right there. Stumbling to the bath, hardly chewing and swallowing a piece of bread that you are force-fed by your mother. Stepping out, you're ready for the next debacle, availing public transport. Even better if you live in the part of the city where the antique buses with leaky roofs and spit sprayed windows run, at a highly unpredictable frequency, never failing to obey Murphy's Law. Anyway, you finally get into one of those beauties, and you're in for one long fun ride, complete with scores of loud, smelly women who step on your feet with their stilettos, men who leer at you unabashedly, and spitting, endless spitting. I dunno what it is with Indians and spitting in public places, they just have to do it to assert their existence. Anyway, so you reach college, elated that you made it in time. You also fervently hope that you remembered to get your college id card; since you have no strategy for duping the horde of well built security guys strutting around with walkie talkies. Finally you make your way to your classroom, where a handful of people acknowledge your entrance, while the rest are busy(discussing movies and music that you despise with a passion, sleeping, copying homework from the naive sincere student, begging the mean sincere student to let hime copy homework, pretending to be engrossed in trashy music, listening to 'english songs' on the radio, trying to walk like a model). I could go on about classmates, but i'm afraid of sounding snobbish. And classmates are probably a nice bunch of people, even if not you would've liked them to be, but to each his own i guess. 
    Classes begin at once, you wish that the subjects that have such cool names were nearly as cool as they sounded. Some classes you do have fun, you delight a correct answer that you shouted out, you marvel at something you learnt, you share bits of giggled gossip with your neighbor and grumble here and there about woes of college. Ah, the sweet little joys of life. The clock ticks, and you await lunch, you await time-to-go-home. Teachers give you random stern looks, and everyone sends urgent texts under their benches while the college authorities still pretend that mobile phones in campus are banned. Finally you are ready to go home, you are almost smiling as you board another bus, you chat and whine about your day to your sympathetic boyfriend on the phone, reach home just as the rush hour is setting in. You are ushered home by your frantic mother who sets down a truckload of food for you, while you   watch a particularly mindless sitcom. Following this you 'chill out', listen to the Beatles and sing along hoarsely, after which you start feeling guilty and open a book or two. Then you realize you've got a lot of studying to do, as you simultaneously remember that you've got a test series round the corner. Then you absolutely freak out, spend a good twenty minutes worrying, after which your boyfriend calms you down and tells you to take a break. You take his advice too seriously, spend the next hour gossiping with your mother and being lame with your brothers. The guilt strikes you again and you quickly get some record work done to humor yourself. Soon you are drifting off without knowing it( and even if you do realize it you make no effort to stay up). The day is done and now they know how many holes it takes to fill the albert hall. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

kicking off my shoes

Umm,  hello. I can't believe i'm actually nervous. I mean, no one's looking at me right now. I have written before, of course, in letters, and journals, and creative writing competitions that i never won, but that was when no one was watching. And reading.  Wow, i'm nervous.              
Probably i should begin like this: The reason i wanted to blog all of a sudden, i'll just spit it out, I failed my driving test. simple thing, could happen to anyone, but I am just so good at exaggerating everything.  I met a couple of my friends last week for lunch at a classic punjabi dhaba, and over butter chicken they discussed their respective blogging experiences. sounded fun. just like playing the violin, learning swimming, learning to drive sounded like fun. Anyway, so i said to myself, do i want to try this blogging stuff too? and then today morning in the shower, i came up with a number of ideas, with grand headlines, pictures and all. Out of the shower and the call came, that i'd failed the driving test. What got me really upset: they'd told me yesterday that i passed. I mean, i didn't drive that very badly. sure, i sped up during a left turn, but that was only because the inspector guy bombarded me with a number of pointless questions,( " what do you study?". -"Which college?" "where's your college?" "how is college?'). Now why is it any of his business how i find college? Anyway, i turned too bloody fast and he failed me. So i called up my driving teacher that evening, and he tells me that i've passed. Yay, i even go break the news to my grandparents. 
And this morning he tells me there's been a mistake, someone called 'Lumina' passed the test, and they thought it was she who called up. Now i definitely spoke extremely clearly, my name's Sramana, and its not my fault they find that so hard to follow. 
Truth is,  i dunno how exactly i should pronounce my name either. I'm bengali, and a bengali would call me 'Shromona', like all my relatives and puja association aunties do. But I dont call myself that, i say sramana, something between a s and a sh. Is my name really that hard to say? because i've heard just too many colorful versions of it. Like there was this one year i took part in the daandiya. Haha, i still can't believe i did, it must have looked so absolutely ridiculous. So daandiya, i had this partner who was a bff then, only the f didn't last for long,( i'll tell you why later, if you still want to know) she and i dressed up all ritualistically every night for the dance. I dunno how we managed to walk, let alone dance in circles, with all that fashion jewelry on. But we did, and i won this title, 'best dressed' something. Yay *clapping hands*. And the announcer, some glittery suit clad guy, called rajesh or something, he says, "best  dressed blah blah award, goes to 'Semolina'. And everyone's standing there wondering who on earth had the misfortune of having their parents name them semolina, when my then bff tells me that its me he's talking about. seriously, semolina, thats something my grandma makes marvelous porridge with. 
 Thats one. And this other time a girl and i were at this quiz competition. We killed it, we couldn't make head or tail of 90 percent of the questions. Haha, so during the prizes, we heard they were giving one away for the ' best team name'. We'd named our team 'quiz tzarinas',( Grand name, i know, for people who couldn't answer a thing). Anyway, they totally bought that name, my teammate's brainwave paid off and we got 200 bucks and a baggy t shirt each. coming back to the point of saying all this, the guy on stage says"---- and S. Ramana" Sob. There. they ruined my lovely name again, and my classmates teased me about it for months. I mean, there were a thousand people there, and i didnt even beg them for the baggy t shirt and cash, least they could do was say my name right. Well there it is, completely defeats the purpose of having a rare, unheard-of name.