substitutes and making do

And when it came right down to it, the claps of utterance drowned the molecular vibrato raging under the skin. What mattered was obfuscated by what made sense. The everyday forced fragments of sublime into tiny time boxes, stolen, from cab rides, movie commercials, and smoke breaks, distributed dilute into non-existence. What I wanted was short-changed by what I was supposed to want.

And then it was all downhill.


What’s your story?

Conversations with friends back home or elsewhere out of sight are like distant glimpses strung along a timeline of gaps. A rememberance of feelings collected over time. And how different is that to listening to music or reading a book.

People have a thing for stories. People are stories. When you interact meet listen to or make love, you’re writing a story of what you are feeling, remembering, and editing it with the things you want to drop. People aren’t people. We are stories and story-tellers.

what's your storyA collective mosaic of memories saved since we first met. Stories of colorful lifeforms, character, style or glamour – or humility, anger, outrage and bravado. But a character innately their own. Not mundane and always vivid. Even in their absence.

The compelling reads stick around the longest. But the artistic ones humble. And you hang on to their presences as if it were hope itself. Presences not measured by distance but by essence. The artistic expressions of life. Good after a thousand replays.

We chase through to the finish the ones that live out our fantasies, hopes, vicariously pushing our minds boundaries and life experiences. The ones that end in abject tragedy or heroic fortitude, stories of stellar creativity with spontaneos combustability, bright sparks and divinely centrilocuted vortexes.  Fragments of our own unlived life vivaciously dancing on our own private canvas to invoke for inspiration or relish.

My most memorable relationships are the best stories I have read, heard, or mosaic-ed. I am eternally grateful to the multifaceted, or zensingle-faceted, lovelinesses that have humbled me with their multiform.

MLC Stage 2: Contemplation – Who, What, How

Essentially, I am conflicted, between
a. the ego trying to deposit monuments on life’s canvas
b. the fact that the ego can only drive you to chase senseless materialistic derivatives that are temporary emollients for the soul.

Ergo, to ego or not to ego?

Should I just be sitting on my veranda, smoking a pipe, and watching a sunset?

Ayurveda, one of the only deep paradigms I have recently had a brush with, says that the human body needs to eat, defecate, and have sex in the right amounts.
Similarly, the mind needs to meditate, learn, and think in the right amounts.
And we should be fine. Apparently.


I’ve always been a night person. Never really thought about why. As I stood out on the patio tonight, looking up at the stars in a rare clear sky, I suddenly felt the space that they grant me allowing me to just be. When the day comes on and the sun goes up, suddenly there is an awareness of a need to be somewhere other. To do more. To become. To do better than the present.

The night has no such expectations. The night has no eyes.

completing the picture

Jack Kerouac said, “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”

It’s time to take a step back and evaluate the 3 decades worth of page filling.

Because above all, there must be beauty in everything we do. Including the gaps we leave empty and devoid of color.

white noise

The white noise that forms the innocuous background to your everyday activities such as washing the dishes or folding clothes, if you start observing it, it seems almost like a film is playing in your own mind that you aren’t watching. Take the voices in your head, for instance. Entire monologues from some part of the brain that is dissatisfied is grumpily murmuring dissent, or one part of you that is over the top happy is humming a silent tune that you’re bobbing to while you walk.

image courtesy: web

it comes it goes

It’s like discovering a full new you merely by turning your attention inward when you aren’t forced to do it. Of course all of this is disturbed when you try to meditate, so it’s not the same. Like the mere act of observing the unobservable causes the activity to stop. But try not to observe it, and just eavesdrop, then they don’t shut up. Do this kind of observation long enough, and you’ll see patterns emerge.

I imagine artistic and overly dramatic alternate universes. That’s my background noise pattern. A big revelation this morning. Accidents are a prominent theme given how fattu I am. Sex, for example, is another fairly common context. And another theme is imagining the full life of a character I have no clue about and seeing their imaginary just-concocted life flash in front of my eyes.

This morning while walking to the cafeteria, in the wake of a conversation I was passively mulling over, looking at nothing in particular, I was crossing the street. A car came to a halt on my right to allow me to pass. Almost as if on cue, my brain spun off a disaster in an alternate universe. A series of images play in my mind where the van runs me over –  time-lapse photography in an art film style- the driver of this white mini van misjudged the braking. The van moved in slow motion. It knocked me over and went over my left leg and broke my tibia. Cut to an image of Mo taking a flight to my city as I was carted into an ambulance. People miming phone calling ensured I was insured. I sighed in relief at the thought that I was. End sequence. No perception of pain. Very crisp images. And very colorful. As if the whole purpose of the movie was not the sequence of events but the play of color on the screen. Exactly like cinema – where the response to the display is the ultimate goal of the capture and not the experience being captured itself. If you’ve seen Nostalgia by Tarkovsky, the scene with the woman walking across the dry water pool is the style I am referring to. Or the Run Lola Run style. Just to put this in perspective.

Every time I drive and some jerk pulls up too close in front of me in my lane and suddenly, I visualize the full chain of events resulting from me not braking on time. When Mo drives and does so in his usual flamboyantly flagrant style (read God speed), there are brief periods of time when I imagine each and every potential car crash we could have gotten into. Like a video game race track with cars flying into freeway boundary walls like flitted flies.

Another example: my workplace is full of characters that do not talk much. So these people become just moving images to me. And sometimes, when I am dazed, sleepy, or distracted, I catch a glimpse of this character from the corner of my eye and Voila! A full film plays in my head in like 2 seconds. Somewhere in the weeks of silent observation, my subconscious strings together vague hairline observations about this person, and suddenly in a dream state – out comes this flash about his/her life. What he eats, whether he has a sister, how shy is he, how many kids does he have, what’s his secret identity, how he will nearly die, how he will get a prosthetic and a heroin addiction that he will triumph and marry his cousin who would take care of him, and how I will save the day and his life (sometimes :P). I have to admit though it happens more often with males than with females – so there is a gender bias there. And the character must essentially have intrigued me to begin with.

Very often this movie in my head is a narrative – just like Fight Club. In fact, if I could have it my way, Tyler Durden (male) and Georgia Lass (female, Dead like me) would narrate each of my movie sequences all the bloody time. And Soo would provide all the backing dark humor visuals – always comic book characters.
On the days I do yoga – the ability to watch the full length of this self-subconsicous-directed feature film is enhanced. I can even do it while working, or when half asleep – sometimes even direct the film. But the film doesn’t stop playing. The smoke keeps swirling. With a lifetime of a matchbox to go yet. Or half.

Everyday observations

When you spend most of the day in silence, the small things get their volume turned up and the big things tend to appear gaudy and you designate them to a mental background. Probably the reason why trance works for my head now.

In unexpected stretches of mental silence – mostly inspired by being in an environment where nothing induces the guilt of not following mass trends – I find myself observing and glancing sideways with glee at peculiar phenomena in my life. I get excited about them like a little baby.

For example, the snooze function on my phone only allows me to snooze it for 9 minutes at a time. Like what a choice of numbers, 9. Not 5 or 10. Not 15 or 12. 9. Imagine what must have gone through the brains of the dude who wrote the code. It’s so cool, it’s not even binary. The perfect mix of the odd in the world of booleans and evens. No you have no clue what this means, like if you set your alarm for 8 15 and snooze it, the next time you wake up it will be 8 24. That’s not alarming at all. So you snooze – and snooze – till you reach a round figure. Ok at least I do. It’s a game I play with fate. I resign myself to waking up at the next round figure my phone alarm will throw at me. And that usually takes about 45 mins to happen. Do the math. Isn’t this like amazing? Every morning I can’t figure out the math though so I end up getting late. Yea – btw – I am back to my old ways. I get to work by 9 30 am. Barely.

And thair sadam cannot be made with brown basmati rice. First of all basmati has no business being brown in the first place. I want to sue the company that thought this up. Perfect waste of awesome grain. Basmati mein baas hi nahi hai.

Other interesting facts: Labradors, my roomie tells me, do not have the signal processing power in their brains to tell them when they are full. So the ladies in the house – Molly and Jasmine – are the house bhikshus. They do the rounds with a box in their mouth and the most amazing pitiful pretty faces that beg me to find it in my heart to feed them. I can’t. They also can’t stand being alone. Leave them alone for too long in the dark and they will start barking at you as soon as you get in the door. Also, until the lady of the house comes back from work, these girls hang outside my door and lay there.

The bearded dragon is gone though. We miss his staggering panache.

All this may sound all banal – but they have become relatively important observations. They are of significance and stem in some form of non-processor-driven stimulus.

I still can’t make good sambhar though. See now that makes a HUGE difference to me. And the idlis, sambhar and chutney in Mylapore are TO DIE for. Can’t imagine San Diego can’t beat the fare here. MCafe should put the Madras back in their cafe by going to Madras first.

The sad thing about these everyday observations is that by the time you are done acknowledging how preciously and simply beautiful they are, they have stopped dealing with the recollection and memory brokers in my grey cells. So then I retire the post theretum.


Sublime experience that automatically quells the wording enzyme:
Stern Grove

(pics from the web – will put up my own soon)

Thanks to Shanky and Kailasha – we ended up having a surreal and sublime music fest experience in one of the most awesome venues.