Of Cabbages and Kings

March 28, 2007

Dragons and cubicles

Filed under: Personal, Random musing — Chinmayi @ 5:59 pm

Why are there no epics written about survival in a corporate office? So what if there are no golden-scaled  dragons and rusty-sword wielding armies of orcs. We have a new breed of dragon and new forms of gollum.

Like the guy who sits next to you and who sips his coffee (one cup every sixty minutes) with a long-drawn slurpy sound so that everyone within a thirty foot radius knows he is enjoying his beverage. Or the one who likes to turn his phone-volume really high, so that he can hear it from the next building, or so that the sound pierces through our earphones and our Bach and drums at our ears until we are compelled to answer his phone. Or the one that likes to sneak up on people and announce to the rest of the office “she’s playing minesweeper”.

Yes, I get it – that’s why. Give me a wholesome fire-breathing dragon or a wicked, wicked orc anyday. Way better than a 4 by 2 cubicle with your computer screen suspended exactly where the whole office can see it and your chair backed into exactly that bit of the corridor where everyone can bump into it.

March 25, 2007

A weekend

Filed under: Personal, Random musing — Chinmayi @ 6:39 pm

It is funny how satisfying everyday stuff is. I spent all morning washing curtains, wiping window-grills and savagely beating dusty jute window-blinds and enjoyed myself thoroughly.  And while going out is fun, a weekend somehow doesn’t feel like a weekend until you have finished one book, sat in your pyjamas reading the Sunday papers in the Sunday sunlight, made yourself a cup of coffee and done some laundry.

This weekend was an excellent one- French fims, clean curtains, music at a cafe, Old Man and the Sea, pepper tea and momos, Beethoven’s piano concertos,  freshly-washed hair, new bedsheets, my grandmother’s mango pickle. Quite, quite nice.

Surrealism

Filed under: Across the Universe, Random musing — Chinmayi @ 6:20 pm

object.gif

I had never quite liked it or understood it until I saw this picture – ‘The Object’ by Meret Oppenheim– and read this wonderful article explaining surrealism in the Guardian. Symbolism aside, don’t you think something as luxuriously warm and smooth as coffee would belong in a cup like this in a perfect world?

March 23, 2007

Tell me on a Sunday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Chinmayi @ 5:47 pm

ACLU v. Alberto Gonzales

Filed under: Law — Chinmayi @ 5:37 pm

A friend pointed me towards this. A federal court ruling that struck down a law that criminalised sites that allowed children to access harmful material – it was violative of the freedom of speech.

Haven’t read the whole thing yet, so shall not comment on it.

March 19, 2007

Reasonable force

Filed under: Across the Universe, Law — Chinmayi @ 5:48 pm

An excerpt from something that Priyamvada Gopal wrote for the Guardian:

“Perhaps a guy, whether rapist or policeman, has gotta do what a guy’s gotta do, including dragging this young woman to the police van with her trousers around her knees, while she, an epilepsy sufferer, flails and foams at the mouth. It is entirely possible, meanwhile, that PC Anthony Mulhall was, in fact, using “approved techniques” and “reasonable force”. Perhaps this is why the image disturbs us. Or ought to…Perhaps what should really worry us is that we live in a time when the very definition of what constitutes “reasonable” force is expanding rapidly. And that it is taking more and more people into the ambit of gratuitous violence. What might once have been clandestine, off-camera activity, is now rapidly becoming part of the public and the ordinary.”

Read the rest of the article here.

I have heard police and army violence defended a thousand times. People insisting that we need to legitimise state-violence because it protects us from terrorism and suchlike. And I’ve always wondered – who’s going to protect us from police excesses, ‘fake encounters’, and from the military and para-military forces who are famously brutal (towards civillians) in states where they are given power?

March 18, 2007

Of books and baggage

Filed under: Personal, Random musing — Chinmayi @ 3:52 pm

I ran into some childhood acquaintances today – Baba Yaga, Mr. Silly, Mary PoppinsWilliam Brown, Teryosha and Chellappa, Puliyamchedi Rakhshasa – I cleaned out my bookshelf. My books have been spreading gradually, encroaching first on my desk, perching on the radio and nestling between perfume bottles, and finally clambering onto my bed. And while I am perfectly happy cuddling with The Night Watch and a Wodehouse, I find that the pleasing proximity of books to one’s sleeping quarters and related causes and events tends to result in an extremely alarming open invitation to invasion by all sorts of insects who display an unhealthy curiosity about one’s pillows and blanket. So the books had to be evicted.

All day I have clambered up and down my tall bookshelf, lifting-down, wiping, spraying and laying paper. After twenty three years I find (and this is an awful awful thought) that one cannot carry all one’s papers and all one’s baggage with one – there’s simply no space for everything that accumulates. So after a life-time of hoarding I have had to choose. The old math workbooks and biology lab drawings have been thrown out. Family Law and Law of Torts textbooks along with passing-fancy books such as something on the Kabbalah or on the Arthashastra have been stacked in a corner right on top of the shelf. My mother’s books have had to squeeze into whatever room was available on her bookshelf – my heart bleeds for them and the crowded squalor in which they reside, but they shall be safe, dry and insect-free until they are able to follow their owner to her new apartment. The most difficult were the old friends – Baba Yaga, Teryosha, Ozma, Mr. Silly, that old devil Chellappa and some others had to give way to newcomers like both Christabels (the original and her namesake),  Turkish Red, some other pompous sounding stuff and a whole lot of other (more frivolous) words that are as comforting as a cup of hot chocolate. I hope my little cousin who will soon receive all those books that I have hoarded and jealously guarded all these years) loves my old books as much as I did. If she does, I might be induced to part with Dennis* and Mary Poppins – I’m not feeling inclined to do so at the moment, I could cling to them forever.

Isn’t it awful to grow up and find that you have accumulated so much over two decades that you cannot possible carry it all with you and that some of it must be cast away? It is a new experience for me. I have a sequined rubber ball that I made when I was seven – it’s silly and ugly now but I was awfully proud of it when I made it. I have cards from friends who describe themselves as ‘the Animal Pound’ (we were ten – that’s our excuse) and posters that people made for me on my eighteenth birthday.

I wish that we could all have a special space to keep the things we no longer use – the devils and frog-diagrams and music written for the trumpet (that I no longer play) that are so much a part of our soul that it seems absolutely horrible to discard them.

*Dennis is the best children’s book that I have ever read. That Victor Dragunsky really understands how a kid’s brain works…it is absolutely fantastic. The stories are actually available online! [found the link at this guy’s blog – bless all finders of beautiful books such as this one]

March 15, 2007

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Filed under: Personal, Random musing — Chinmayi @ 5:23 pm

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March 14, 2007

D’accord

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 5:07 pm

When agreeing leads to adventures and firemen carry goblets…the magic of David Sedaris

March 10, 2007

Hole in my arm

Filed under: Personal, Random musing — Chinmayi @ 4:50 am

Had a hole poked into my arm today. They had to extract some blood for some silly test. I am still fascinated with the fact that when someone punctures your skin, all your blood doesn’t pour out of you! You just magically grow a little clot that plugs the hole until your skin stretches over it again. It’s absolutely amazing!

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