Of Cabbages and Kings

December 30, 2006

What we leave behind

Filed under: Random musing — Chinmayi @ 7:21 pm

Another year almost over – I take a break in the middle of the night to play a little counting game. With 2006, all that’s left behind:

1. A lot of violence – so many killed in Iraq, so much chaos. And an execution right at the end of the year to provide an ironic, blood-laced icing of sorts to a chaotic and violent cake.

2. Innocence possibly  – though this is probably a cliche and probably happens every year. I miss the sort of folks that take everything literally, that particular childlike sweet Indian way of taking all compliments at face value and talking in that almost peculiarly direct way. American sitcoms are killing that sweetness.

3. The year’s accumulated bitterness, because its too much baggage and I’m too lazy to carry it into the next year.

4. A beautiful view of hills, trees and a huge bush bursting with yellow flowers, from a window that was once mine, in a place I was glad to leave…but I will miss that view.

5. Music stores possibly – though this isn’t true of India yet.

6. Surprises. There seems too much choice all over the place – these book stores which have pretty much every book you can name. Granted that it’s awesome in its own way…but I miss that dance I get to do everytime some unexpected book that I’ve been dying for suddenly materializes in front of me.

[to be continued]


December 25, 2006

Between petticoats and paper bags – What’s wrong with Cinderella

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 1:38 pm

Nice piece in the New York Times…about the imagery for little girls – the old princess image, the new ‘hot chick image’ and how much of a difference all of it really makes.

There had to be a middle ground between compliant and defiant, between petticoats and paper bags.

Filed under: Random musing — Chinmayi @ 7:10 am

Do you suppose there is power in five hundred people praying together?

I love midnight mass. The organ, the choir, the turning and wishing eachother…and the sheer force of people – all kinds of people – standing in rows together and believing with all their hearts.

December 19, 2006

Filed under: Fiction — Chinmayi @ 4:59 pm

A man lies asleep on the sidewalk. Not a sidewalk so much as cracked chunks of cement tagging along the road. Not a man so much as a tired dusty almost-boy with straggling moustache rested against a piece of sacking and a bony shoulder fighting its way out of a hole in his shirt to pick up new scratches and bruises from the concrete. Chattering people, autorickshaws, school children, dog-fights and trucks roar past him. And he continues to sleep, his fists curled against his face. He sleeps the sleep of one who has earned his rest…who has earned the right to put his head on a rag, turn his back to the world and float into oblivion.

December 15, 2006

Filed under: Fiction — Chinmayi @ 6:23 pm

Things were so clear when he started out. His hands moved quickly over dozens of notebooks, fuelled by one thought – must be an engineer. Must be a computer engineer.

So clear. You studied hard and got into a good engineering college. Then you studied even harder and got a job at a multi-national company. After that, it was just around the corner. America with its fried chicken and yellow haired fair-skinned underclad women. Every Indian boy dreamed the American dream.

Once he was there, his mother found him a good girl who would take care of him in the faraway land, and make soft rotis just like the ones he got at home. The girl was eternally grateful to him because like him, her life’s mission was clear – marry a computer engineer and go to America. And they were the dream couple – both with exactly what they wanted, both helping build eachother’s dream, neither resentful.

They bowled over families of America-obsesses relatives with the twang that resonated through their speech – with their American clothes and gait, and with their American gifts.  And they stood at family gathering, Mr. and Mrs. Computer-Engineer-from-America, smiling wide imported smiles as everyone gaped at them in awe.

Yes, it was their dream and it was everyone’s dream. Which  is why it is so difficult to understand why once home and safely installed in their dream, he drinks heavily every night and stares at the wall with the intensity of one who has nowhere to go, and she cries herself to sleep – long silent tears – every night.

I write because…

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 6:06 pm

“I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can’t do normal work like other people. I write because I want to read books like the ones I write. I write because I am angry at all of you, angry at everyone. I write because I love sitting in a room all day writing. I write because I can only partake in real life by changing it. I write because I want others, all of us, the whole world, to know what sort of life we lived, and continue to live, in Istanbul, in Turkey. I write because I love the smell of paper, pen, and ink. I write because I believe in literature, in the art of the novel, more than I believe in anything else. I write because it is a habit, a passion. I write because I am afraid of being forgotten. I write because I like the glory and interest that writing brings. I write to be alone. Perhaps I write because I hope to understand why I am so very, very angry at all of you, so very, very angry at everyone. I write because I like to be read. I write because once I have begun a novel, an essay, a page, I want to finish it. I write because everyone expects me to write. I write because I have a childish belief in the immortality of libraries, and in the way my books sit on the shelf. I write because it is exciting to turn all of life’s beauties and riches into words. I write not to tell a story, but to compose a story. I write because I wish to escape from the foreboding that there is a place I must go but – just as in a dream – I can’t quite get there. I write because I have never managed to be happy. I write to be happy. “

-Orhan Pamuk [Read the rest of his Nobel Acceptance Speech here]

December 12, 2006

The Right to Anonymity

Filed under: Across the Universe, Law — Chinmayi @ 4:26 pm

I love the idea of this right. It is seen as integral to free speech and democratic discourse. Read about it here.

December 11, 2006

Protected: Statement of Purpose

Filed under: Made up theories, Random musing — Chinmayi @ 5:54 pm

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December 8, 2006

End of the Line – Travelling Willburys

Filed under: Music — Chinmayi @ 6:14 pm

December 7, 2006

Protected: Taking things for granted

Filed under: Random musing — Chinmayi @ 5:41 pm

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