Saturday, November 10, 2007

Been here before?

Meeting your old pals from school is a feeling that we all look forward to. Strange, but from the first glance itself your friends try and notice the changes in your personality. Some of these changes are commended and some bluntly criticised. You start rolling a joint and here comes out the skeletons from their closets, as if the person just sneezed.

“Hey, even you…eh?” one of my mates says, with that I-just-caught-you-in-the act expression on his face. “Well, that’s the best I could ever afford. You know, they call it the poor man’s drug.” I say, still trying to be on my guard but failing every second as pretentiousness starts subsiding.

“Why do you use so much paper man?” asks another. I think he was trying to showcase his hidden talent but wait, here comes the revelation. “Man, I used to smoke through the papaya stem in school.” What? Papaya stem? People smoke weed thorough papaya stems. But he didn’t stop here. “You reckon the time when I used to steal this poor dame’s lunch box, I used to be really hungry ‘cause I was stoned,” he says and now he’s got that I-am-such-big-stud look.

“Yeah, I remember you running with her tampons while you were searching for her lunch box, you moron.” Laughter, almost infectious, rocks my little room while this other friend cracked up. “So, you were stoned all through out, even when you took out the packet of tampons?” the same guy asks my was-a-dopehead friend.

“‘Course I was. But I really didn’t understand the fuss about it. All the women thought, I was a pervert but I never had a girlfriend who could educate me about all these things.” He said looking at me, and I could sense some kind of spite, as if we were the guys who dated all the women in school.

He lit up the joint. He obviously didn’t know that it was hashish that came all the way from Manali. He thought it to be the good old ganja we smoked since school. This was probably his first time. He took a drag.

“Shit, what the heck is this? This is not ganja that I smoke,” he says. “Yeah, this is not your papaya-flavoured thing. This is hashish,” I say.

“Fuck…fuck, you guys are making me do drugs. I want to puke now. You guys are still evil.” He kept on cursing and swore that he would not come to see us on a dry day when booze is scarce. But like old school pals and for old times’ sake, he helped us finish the joint.

So here it was, my sweet revenge. My war against those of you, who just carry a pretentious been-there-done-that type of an expressionless face, has just started. I am sure you haven’t been and haven’t done that.

Just another diwali musing

You are too old for these firecrackers. You could have written a story about the purple goblins and their filthy habits. You could have waited for these goblins to attack you from the Northern Ridge but you wanted to burst firecrackers. Now you wait for your companions to tell you that your imaginary friends are just as mischievous as you.

But haven’t you played this game before? Say when your favourite team wins the match, you open a case of beer and after getting little tipsy, you start looking for firecrackers. Same goes with the national victories. Wars and marriages too. For all that you know, you love that burgeoning pyromaniac to come out of your head in its true avatar. There is something primeval in you that force you to burst firecrackers. If there are no firecrackers, or say you a warlord, then you start shooting in the air. It is form of expression that lacks all aesthetic clarity and cannot be predicted.

Firecrackers are a big industry now. Newspapers tell you that there exists a competitive market with Chinese crackers making its presence felt in the narrow lanes of Punjabi Bagh or Lajpat Nagar in Delhi. Some of the firecrackers look pretty, some without the noise and some don’t burst firecrackers at all. The credit for the evolution of this new species of human beings goes to the forests and the greenery (more primeval than man but under threat).

This new species of human beings who do not burst firecrackers have a heightened sense of civility. They know that the burgeoning pyromaniac comes from that stage of human evolution when all the folk and the kin wielded weapons at each other and participated in mass loots. Those were different times.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Meet Mr McShakespeare

“You left for the clouds. I found Shakespeare in me.”

This is McShakespearean tragedy. The Shakespeare in me was recognised towards the end of day by my workmates. Through out the day, I struggled with “Shakespeare on steroids”, but apparent reasons to have such a headline for a story on Shakespearean exhibition in the Metropolitan Gallery of Washington, will always be ignored.

The problem arises when one realises, it is the boundless thinking and chained soul which makes the Shakespeare inside everyone, board a ship and run towards the distant shore.

But you left for your near one. Your eyes did twinkle more than my computer screen. You handed me a disc and decided to call it “Tipsy CD”.

And then you again came back with your proposition, “What if that tin of cheese, meant nothing more than a gift?” It was almost like: What if Shakespeare decided that he would stay in some corner of the planet and fish like Santiago?

The mockery of “American novel” is not an easy task. There is no one called McShakespeare, here. McShakespeare is no less original then Tom Sawyer and Finn. The American rebellion was against the European vanity. Even Shakespeare would agree to that.

In this age, Shakespeare would have been amused to find his characters turn into a can of Brussels’ nut manufactured in California -- carefully branded along with the existing universe of literature.

The American way of looking at the world was (or still is) like: “What’s your catch today, Santiago?” It transcends vanity or prudishness of English and something more primeval and profound – challenges.

Shakespeare in me is a challenge. He is McShakespeare. He is the nouveau-riche. He is American, consumer of freedom and democracy. He wouldn’t care if you wear the vixen’s fur.

In defence of Gaali and gullible

Abuses were hurled at this man for every second, when he wished things would change. Those who scored better their peers when they were using expletives were just meandering lunatics. Their abuses would meander around their mothers and sisters. They would always be centred on Private Parts™.

The abuser is not interested in the history of slang. His passionate use of abuses comes from a deep contempt – which pampers his little (male) ego. He, certainly, is an impatient man, who cannot stand the intellectual curiosities of his peers.

So he decides to read activist literature for three years. His sobriety levels improved and finally rested somewhere above his own existence. Most of the time, his stoned platitudes would read like ‘what-if scenarios’. No, this is not meant to be confused with hypotheses – which he detests. His persistence with the use of ‘what-if’ is forceful – to the extant that he would do anything to prove his premises to be true. He deliberately avoids a tautology, because there are no conclusions to be reached. This is just his observation and then analysis, and then a decision. This is his only reason for choosing to abuse.

Abuses generally do not follow a structure of an argument or syllogism. It sounds more like a command: “Open the door!”

However, abuses/expletives are based on reasoning. (I know, I would make it more problematic, if I rationalise. Saying this, my folk might launch a civil action against me). But does thinking (which can be loosely connected reasoning, if I am permitted) lead to abuses? It may lead to a very intelligent retort or some sarcasm. So then, why this use of language?

After much deliberation, I felt it was the slackness of thoughts. We essentially are not thinking creatures. Abuses are mere grunts. We are “lazy” like tigers and bears. Something drastic must have happened to us which makes the “missing link”. I almost feel that I am going to come back to the same question again. Now, it is more like: Why do we come up with intelligent retorts?

My friends say that a good retort without being abusive is an art. Someone said it was progressive.

But then (by the means of this post), I ask, don’t the abuses reflect social hierarchy, the conditions of the society and also the peripheries of a civil society from where these expletives arise?

Coming back to our man, who abused me just now (feeling ignored in this discourse). He says that these abuses/expletives use some kind of syllogism which is completely dependant on the situation which gives rise to these expressions. I was surprised that even he attributes “laziness” with the use of abuses. He thinks most men have carry a little dictionary of slang with them and more the slackness (could be also anger!) to find exotic retorts, more crassness in their abuses.

In his own words: “If I am too lazy (or angry) or not in that intellectual plane to come up with a smart one, I would pick out the first word from my dictionary of expletives and say “fuck off!”.