Posted in Random, Weather

Musings on Mausam

Silence pervades the hostel. Well, not silence, but pretty near. Crickets chirp outside, I am busily clicking away at my keyboard, and the raindrops keep steadily doing their drip-drip outside the window against the fuzzy static of the rain in the distance. So it’s not really silent, but all these sounds can be taken for granted. A nice little excursion into the phrase ambient noise. You won’t notice it unless you want to.

I focus on the rain sounds, on how the rain is affecting me. My typing has somehow synced with the steady dripping. Out of the blue, someone starts playing Maroon5’s Payphone very loudly. Jarring. I am unsettled. Shaken out of the rut of my mind, I go back into the rain, picking up the threads of my consciousness where I lost them.

It’s uncanny, how much influence the weather has on us. Almost as much as say food, or people. Maybe even more. We are but slaves to the elements and the atmosphere. Think about it.

Imagine it’s summer, outside it’s a bright sunny day, so you’re bouncing and full of energy. Until you go outside, and then you lose it all. The sun is up there, sapping away all your energy and your enthusiasm (this is from an Indian point of view, so summers are extremely hot and horrible) and you turn into this limp, wilting vegetable and decide a nice cool drink and a nap is probably the order of the day. The evening brings with it coolness, productivity and/or the desire to chill around with friends. The day promises productivity, but doesn’t deliver. Might, if spent indoors, with access to air-conditioning.

Now imagine it’s mid monsoon, and you wake up to the sound of steady rain, a continuous dull hiss outside, dark grey skies and a confusion as to whether it’s evening or morning. The bed seems too comfortable and inviting, and all your senses tell you to stay in bed. You give in. When you do wake up, it’s midday and the rain has lightened up a bit. So you go out and about your business, packing an umbrella, using it whenever you go out, and then cursing as to what to do with the wet floppy thing indoors. The day passes, well enough if indoors and exceedingly wet and irritating if outside. But there’s this sense of general dissatisfaction and a feel of a day wasted. Wasted? No, not wasted. But not what it could have been. Not what it would have been on a drier day, maybe.

There’s honestly few things that solicit mixed feelings more than rain and rainy days. The ‘cry in the rain, the droplets hide your tears’ and ‘splash around in the puddles and make paper boats’ crowds are out in equal force. The rains put some in romantic states of mind, and some in various moods of productivity. If you have the time and will to venture outside, you’ll find in equal number, people joyously soaking in the rain, having fun, and solitary figures moving around pretty dejectedly.

And constant rain gets on your nerves too. Mine at least. For starters, it restricts and hampers movement. Today, I was about to go out, and just at the gate, I left the group I was going with to get my umbrella. Well, my umbrella wasn’t in my room, someone had already taken it. And just then it came pouring down. Kind of sad and ironic that you go to get your umbrella and come back soaking wet. You don’t see that happening too often. Never, in fact. Incessant torrential rain also tends to come creeping into every aspect of your life, through windows, seeping into bags, ruining notebooks and making little puddles on the windowsills and creating little pockets of irritation on your mind.

Tell you what, the best weather is probably the light drizzling and/or sunny sky when it clears up after a spell of heavy rain. Especially if you stay in a place with a lot of greenery. All of nature looks scrubbed clean, there is this beautiful clarity to everything. Then, as the sky starts to clear you get glimpses of the most beautiful clear lapis peeking through (Usage of lapis was intentional there, so that you’d look it up and know exactly I’m talking about. goo.gl/images/j4jnVY, for your convenience). You end up feeling like you are striding a brand new earth. It feels glorious. A fresh start, new life, and then you step straight into a puddle and that’s about it for that.

Posted in Collaborative story

Chapter Two

“Aggarwal saab? Mr Aggarwal sir, over here,” the chauffeur called out, waving his arm in the air even after his slightly annoyed client had nodded in acknowledgment.

“It’s Agrawal, for-”

“Here Aggarwal saab, let me carry that for you,” the betel-leaf chewing man chattered on. “Arre sir, it must being very hot in Kolkata, no? How you people managing, tsk tsk. I tell you, you should…”

Rohit Agrawal rolled his eyes and tuned out the driver’s how-to-survive-in-Kolkata monologue. The only “chutter putter” he longed for belonged to someone who was probably serving jalebis to her parents at home, her eyes sparkling as she spoke about her day at work. He marvelled at her capacity to work for 8 hours straight, day in and day out, only to go home and cook food. She refused to let the hired help cook all the meals, claiming that making one hot meal a day with her own hands was her way of giving back to her parents, who had supported her throughout her rather long cycle of career changes.

“Besides, I won’t get to do this once I get married….” she had said coyly when he’d persisted.

He shut his eyes while the car sped over the Bandra-Worli sealink. He reminisced about the day they’d sat on Marine Drive, or as she fondly called it, ‘Queen’s Necklace’. He remembered how she had pointed out the street lights and compared them to pearls on a necklace. Who would have thought he’d grow to love her and her city almost as much as his hometown. True to her name, she brought light into his life. Metaphorically and literally.

That crimson red dress that she had worn the first time they had gone out, the bronze streak in her hair when he had brushed aside a stray ringlet, the flush in her cheeks when he’d complimented her. He longed for that colour, vivacious and bright, and he knew deep within that he would travel across continents to meet her if he had to. What blue had it been? Ink blue? No, prussian. Yes. Prussian blue. He laughed softly. The way she had shaken her head, with a tiny crease between her brows, her lips pursing just the slightest, till he had guessed the colour right.

The arrival of his destination pulled him out of his reverie. After he had put all his luggage in place, he called her up, like he always did when he reached. Her voice instantly relieved the exhaustion that had settled within him after the flight. After deciding when and where they would meet the next day, he hung up, a soft smile playing on his lips. It did not fade away till he had fallen asleep, probably thinking about her even in his dreams.

Posted in Book Reviews, Random

Intermittent Moonshine of a Spotty Mind

It has come down to this. I have a set of examinations in four days. Three, if you’re picky about it being the next day once it’s past midnight. Personally, tomorrow comes when I wake up, or the sun rises, whichever happens later. Also, there is an assignment I need to start on, about World War II from the Russian perspective. And there is more to do. Miles to go before I sleep. And promises to keep. You get the gist.

This post is more or less what the title says. Also, I recently watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and this had been stuck in my mind for sometime. Random background music YouTube is playing from my recommendations. Seven Nation Army by White Stripes when I decided I should start (https://youtu.be/0J2QdDbelmY). Good song, it is. The Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know is on now (https://youtu.be/bpOSxM0rNPM). A friend actually recommended it way back. About two years ago or so. Intriguing song. Sparse but oddly impactful.

I’m basically writing whatever is flitting through my head. Which, suddenly subjected to close inspection decides to think smart stuff, gives up, and settles back down on my to-do list. Like I am trying to prepare a sort of analysis of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That’s one book that fits the title rather perfectly. I wish I could say I thought of that beforehand and all this chit-chat was just an artful lead up to the book review, but no. It just struck me. And before anyone who knows tells me Douglas Adams was far from spotty (for the uninitiated, he wrote the book. Books, to be exact, the full trilogy of five [I do not count the sixth][Also, yes, trilogy of five, I made no mistake there]). That was a very messy parenthesis. Do bear with me. Anyway, Douglas Adams was far from spotty, but anyone who knows that will know he thought of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for the first time while he was drunk out of his mind in a field in Germany, and then forgot about it for quite a few years until he started writing for BBC. Which classifies as somewhat spotty.

Plini’s Cascade on now (https://youtu.be/7m5XvO0Y2-Y). I don’t like it now. Not at the moment. Not in the mood for music this involved and energetic at 3:52 AM. I’ll change to Clapton performing While My Guitar Gently Weeps at George Harrison’s memorial concert. (https://youtu.be/rj4J6i_vw0w?list=WL)

Beautiful music. This is probably Harrison’s most famous song from his time with the Beatles. Impassioned lyrics about apathy, and probably some of the most heartfelt guitar work ever. But, one thing that remains unknown is that Clapton played the lead guitar for the album version too (https://youtu.be/mgIbPzGNhIM). Not that it matters all that much.

Anyway, going back along the rails of the train of thought, I encounter Hitchhiker’s. Brilliant book. No plot, some half-boiled characters and yet, what a read. Anyhow. Mind goes back to Clapton and Harrison. It is a very interesting relationship they had. Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd, the subject of several of his songs, was one of the most admired women of her era. Later, when Clapton and Harrison grew closer, Clapton fell in love with her, and eventually won her over. However, Harrison and Clapton remained close friends, appearing with each other on stage and working on each others’ albums, which is pretty cool.

Current song is Hey Jude, by Paul McCartney, Elton John, Sting, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, among a lot of other people. This is a very, very beautiful version of the song. Please do listen, even if you’re skipping the others (https://youtu.be/PgJQ6LQ8x1E?list=WL).

Following was a period where I stared off into the distance because you cannot write “Nothing”, or “Mind is blank”, and so one whiles the time away, revelling in the music. And then https://youtu.be/r8C2Tm-r0V8 comes up. No spoilers, but it forced me to change tabs and watch the whole thing. Very fun, it is. And brilliant actor, that guy.

Well, I will start reading up on my Russia and WWII assignment. Very thought provoking, since they suffered the greatest and harshest losses in the war. www.fallen.io. This pushed me to pick the topic. Please do watch, it is a very well made, informative and educating site. I will not end by saying that “War is a horror”, that we must not repeat those past mistakes. We all know that. It is not something that needs explaining. I will end with nothing. Just a silence, to let your thoughts fill the void.

PS: I know the change in tone is very abrupt. I said I’d follow my mind where it goes, as it goes. I did. I take your leave now.