Saturday, September 29, 2012

Stuck Inside

Stuck Inside
60 days till exam.
61 days till freedom.
124 days till the verdict.


Surges of pleasure in this dark abyss:

1. The Complete Haiku of Basho.
2. Studying in bed.
3. Dairy Milk Silk.
4. Willie Nelson.
5. Sunrises. Early morning rain.
6. A Rubberband journal and a purple pen.
7.Catnaps. Coffee.Catnaps. Coffee. Catnaps.
8. Blue shards of sky through the leafy canopy outside my window.
9. Cuddles. Laughter. Family.
10. Legitimate excuse for a loner to avoid small talk. Exams.
11. Quiet by Susan Cain.
12. Birthday anticipation.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Step-by-Step Guide of Having A Stroke.

This article is meant for medical PG aspirants, but everyone is welcome to read their plight.

There's a new cause of stroke that I am contemplating to request for inclusion in the next edition of 'Harrison's Principles of  Internal Medicine'. The cause is rare, affecting only people of ages ranging from 24-27 years, who are bound by a common variable of 'dreams of attaining a post-graduate medical seat'. It's 'The Deccan Chronicle' newspaper.

How?

Let me elaborate.

Picture a girl diligently burning the midnight oil for six days a week, surviving on catnaps and caffeine shots. Sometimes the words blur and amalgamate into a lumpy mass in the middle of the page and she rubs her eyes. The clock strikes 3am. She yawns and curls up on the little space available on the bed (which she prefers over a study desk), strewn with books and a laptop, only to be awakened three hours later by the weirdest alarm clock ever: a rude rooster, a (what seems to be a) gurgling cow and the synchronized wing flapping of three scary pigeons, all of whom the universe has conspired to allocate within ten meters of her window.

This is her bed, her books, her pillows and a giant yellow turtle.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Duet: On People who Gifted Me Books. On Love.

 On People Who Gifted Me Books


Only four persons gifted me books I love and thus brought upon them the misfortune of being gushed over for life by yours truly.

Ruskin Bond's autograph
There is Mannan, my classmate from medical college, who is straight out of an Austen novel- brooding, intense and frighteningly intelligent. He was in Mussorie training to be an IAS officer and I had asked him to try to get me Ruskin Bond’s autograph. A few months later he sent me a book autographed by an author whose stories populated my childhood. Thank you, Mannan. I really appreciate the gesture. He gifted me Dust on the Mountains by Ruskin Bond.









Reading it now

There is Shakeel, a friend from high school who writes like a dream. He is living a life I covet and admire; writing and getting paid for it. Someday I hope to read a book written by him. Our mutual friend, Snata, is an amazing writer too and I’m simply happy to know this talented duo. I received a book from him today; and it was so unexpected and it made me so happy. Shakeel, prepare to be gushed over for life that would embarrass you enough to hide behind doors and duck under tables whenever you see me. He gifted me The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi.





Mystical
The third is Amrita, who is nothing short of my soul sister. We have conjoined hearts and minds. She is a quiet person weaving her own world; and it’s a beautiful world peopled with soulful thoughts. I’m glad she invited me into her world where we can talk about books, movies, love, life, men and hills. She has gifted me a lot of books including Paulo Coelho’s The Fifth Mountain.









Heart-felt essays and poems
Then there is Priyanka, who is courage personified. She brims with intelligence, wit, confidence and a passion for writing and for making the world a better place. She has taken risks in life that I highly admire; she is vibrant and full of infectious energy. She recently got into MIT as the prestigious 2012/2013 Elizabeth Neuffer fellow and it makes me proud beyond measure. I cherish you, Priyanka. She gifted me Kora by Tenzin Tsundue.







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On Love



I write about love, but I’m not a lover. I read about love, but I don’t live it. I see love, but I am a mere observer. Even when I was in love, when I was a lover, when I thought I was loved, it was emptiness and detachment wrapped in a thin crust of passion, that was a ghost of some earlier self, and a dollop of forced interest. This detachment and ambiguity of feelings scared me and I tried to be involved; I became neurotic about it and felt re-assured when I experienced symptoms of romantic jealousy or missed someone, which gave a false sense of being in love, or capable of being in love. I am often swept off my feet, but never by a person; it’s always a singular attribute: a warm smile, owning a common set of books, very often it’s the eyes, or kindness, sharp wit, ambition, intelligence, a fancy pair of shoes, arrogance, clean nails, someone who dines with family, writes poems, well-travelled, chivalry works every time too, or sometimes it’s just a mix of serendipity and hormones.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Of Serialized Dreams



I often dream in soap opera format with episodes ending at crucial junctions to be continued another night. There is no strict continuity and these dreams reside in the dark recesses of brain sulci only to resurface after weeks or months.My overactive imagination, which I consider an asset, overflows into my dreams. They make for interesting insights and even belly laughs. The characters and the narrative never fail to fascinate me in their diversity and even absurdity. It feels as if a little man, who in my imagination resembles Rumpelstiltskin, opens a secret door into my mind to weave a story every night. The dreams are vivid in all senses; I can smell the ocean air, taste a freshly baked cake, touch a sticky clot of blood, hear rapid fingers on a typewriter and speak languages that I no longer understand on waking up.

I remember most of my dreams as they get chronicled the next morning. Some are funny and has the recurring character of Woody Allen as a belly dancer who crops up without warning in random dreams. Some are sinister where I get murdered by a Sphinx or Prem Chopra. Often I fall off a cliff but hold on to a tree branch or rock and then my hand slips; I see my head crushed and oozing blood and brain that is washed away at high tide. I see Nagini swallow a certain professor of community medicine. I live many lifetimes in what maybe a fifty minute dream. Some are filled with intricate details, and few are tedious where the whole time is spent in doing things like trying to make a perfectly round chapatti and just when I am done a monkey appears and gobbles it up. I have found myself in a large dark room with a dying candle in a corner and suddenly a blinding glare envelops me and a crowd of pregnant women bring in a sand-timer and turns it over. Often I am 'happily married' to Sheldon Cooper and we live in a loft filled with books and have weekday-specific dinners.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Smorgasbord: Dating Readers, Ephron's Neck, Calvino and Me, Being Jane Morris, Birthday Blues, Wedding Whiff


via urban sketchers
I spend a considerable amount of time trying to understand how my words and actions get interpreted, because more often than not people read between the lines for non-existent revelations. I lack the social graces and the ability for small talk; I get nervous when the onus of conversing with strangers or more than one person befalls me. I can't talk about the weather, the people in front of me might not be readers and that eliminates books as conversation starters, I stare with my eyebrows raised to show interest, my mouth freezes in a half-smile and to heighten the creepiness I check the time every fifteen seconds. My tongue utters sentences that seem alien to my mind, I curse the unbearable length of a minute, I feign nonchalance and tip my head back but tip it further than I intended to and my chin hangs in an awkward thrust towards the ceiling, and heaven forbid if I have food in front of me, my lap is littered with crumbs. The  funny sentences, the smart one-liners, the queries about the pet and the travels, the sympathies about dental work and humidity-assaulted hair, and interesting trivia about Einstein or Madonna come to my mind usually a day after the end of such disastrous conversations. Despite the utmost caution with which I tread in making my point across, I often send innumerable wrong signals. My list of faux pas when it comes to interactions with people other than those in the inner circle of friends and family is longer than Sheldon Cooper's failures in detecting sarcasm.

Today I re-read this article about dating 'a girl who reads' that I had read a year earlier. I present an excerpt from the article; it's a lovely message that only lovers of book lovers will understand thoroughly.


"If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

They Haunt Me In The Shower



Five sentences crowded in the left column of the newspaper jolted me this morning. I read about earthquakes, bombings, accidents, murders and cardiac arrests everyday; newspapers make sure we wake up to witness the end of lives in solemn obituaries or gory details or just few indifferent words. But these are snippets of wars in foreign lands or riots nearer home or a bespectacled old woman lovingly remembered by her sons and grandchildren, and even though these deaths aggrieve me, their anonymity cushions the blow and makes it only a fleeting presence in my memory.

How does the death of someone you know affect you?

I don't mean the intimate circle of family, friends and loved ones or the innocent victims in distant, war ravaged lands. I’m writing about those in between, the people one might have known, met at some point in their lives and maybe had talked about the weather.

A good friend of mine from high school traced me through an online social network and we ended up sharing the latest gossip, reliving old memories and promises to meet soon. She used to ask the weird questions and when we were in the eight standard she made me choke on a burger when she asked out loud ‘Does pubic hair turn gray?’! She spelled it ‘trigonometry’ but pronounced it ‘trikonometry’. Her hands were never tired by the animated gestures that accompanied every sentence she spoke. Every night her mother shook her curly hair to drive out any mosquitoes before she got inside the mosquito net. Time and distance had faded her from being a close friend into the sphere of a mere acquaintance and I forgot about her in pursuing the mundane activities of my life. And one day I received a text message informing me that she had died following complications of a regular cholecystectomy! I wasn’t devastated or cried throughout the day. I envy people who can do that. I was sad, and profoundly so, but I didn’t shed a single tear. I was amazed at my own calm and strength in handling the emotional blow. Two years on, I avoid any conversation that brings her up. The grief refuses to ebb away in a gush of tears.

Why I need a spade?

I've an all important exam coming up in four months, and I don't dare procrastinate when it comes to preparation.One of the downside (or upside) about having a blog is that, I feel like writing despite the questionable presence of readers.

This feeling can be hazardous to exam preparation as random ideas come to me when I'm supposed to be memorizing latest drug names and their actions. And once an idea unfurls and words crowd to shape it, supreme effort is required to curb the temptation of blogging about it. I have never been good at curbing temptations and would toss my books away to start typing furiously. And since I also have the attention span of a hyperactive five year old locked in the world's largest toy store after an overdose of sugar stimulants and an espresso shot, I tend to digress from writing my blog post to read my favourite blogs, check weird cat photos on facebook, go through every item on my google reader and follow twitter trends!

By the time I push the 'publish' button, a particular species of fly (I forget the name now) had completed its life cycle and I tear the hair out of my already sparsely populated scalp in frustration. Time waits for no one and its mocking at me even now as I type these words, "1 minute = 1 MCQ"! So for the next four months, I'll activate my facebook profile, write a blog post, update my twitter status, read my favourite blogs and revel in everything the world wide web has to offer only once a month or maybe in December or when something worth writing about occurs.

Where's the spade? I need to bury my laptop in an undisclosed location.