Wednesday, May 30

In Which the Unlikely Rescuer is Revealed (no it isn't me)

Baron JAP knew exactly what he was going to do. He knew the perfect person to help him out here. If a retired detective (with a reputation similar to that of one Holmes, Sherlock, Esq) who had years of pontification, deduction and logical over-analyzing under his belt couldn't figure out where to start hunting for RCW, JAP didn't know who could.

He strode down the driveway (Gracefully, always Gracefully) and walked across the dusty road to the Professor's house. TR and he went back a long way to the Days of their Callow Youth. They would have a pow wow. And things would get Sorted Out. He banged on the door unceremoniously and waited.

Now to return to our heroine whom we left to the tender care of the bushes and her annoying brain. Or at least I meant to return but I'm gonna be a bad author (no donut for me) and put it off till tomorrow. I'm tired and out of inspiration today (and also annoyed with men, in general, and I don't want to write the rest of this and allow it to become tinged with bitterness (which it undoubtedly will). We shall leave that for another day).

Didja see the bracket in a bracket? How cool am i?

Also, also, how about the Unlikely Rescuer, huh? Did any of you guess? Didja? Didja?

Tuesday, May 29

In Which Baron JAP Shows his True Colors

We shall now leave RCW sleeping peacefully (like a babe in the woods - which reminds me of the time I proposed to a friend whom I was hiking with that we gracefully give up trying to find the way outta the woods we were in and just sleep under a tree like babes in the wood; she did not seem to think it was a good idea; wasted opportunity one feels) and retrace our steps to Baron JAP's mansion. The soon-to-realise-he's-bereft father woke early that morning. Maybe it was intuition. I've heard tell that parents have the most amazing intuition when it comes to their children (like how my mum knows the weirdest things about me that I've never breathed a word to her about). So maybe it was that. Anyway, he woke up early, stretched and went quietly about his morning ablutions. Now, along the way I might have given the wholly erroneous impression that Baron JAP was a slothful lush. This is actually far from true. *Far* from true.

Baron JAP, in reality was a man of discipline. A man who kept himself very fit, went for a daily jog (in spite of his advancing years he was extremely sprightly, think Sean Connery in Entrapment - I hope some people, let us not name names, are happy with this aside), brushed twice a day and twice at night and did his morning yoga faithfully. Yeah, he indulged in the distilled spirits a little more than was preferred but this was only to drown his private sorrow. You see, Baron JAP was a man who had been very much in love with his wife. Said wife died tragically (of one of those diseases that seemed to wipe out half the population in those days of once upon a time - polio or measles or some such) and no man could have mourned his wife as Baron JAP did. Every hair in his not inconsiderable moustache had drooped like one man. A strong man nursing a private grief is allowed to be a bit of a lush. No?

So, anyway. Baron JAP went about his morning rituals as he always did (this is the bit about him running around like a headless chicken that I had mentioned in the previous episode, just so you know). It was mid-morning by the time he'd showered and was sitting down to breakfast. It displeased him mightily that his daughter (the Apple of his Extremely Healthy Eye) was not at the table, ready to pour out his daily glass of morning milk. This was unlike the dear child and he was most disappointed. Forbearing to shout, yell or make a scene (Man of Discipline, see?) he quickly finished his breakfast before going in search of her. He knocked on her bedroom door before entering and immediately saw the open window. Tsk, so careless the child was becoming. He went over to close the window and as he turned around, he noticed an envelope on the pillow.

Dearest JAP papa it said in what would have been termed trembling accents if it had had a voice. Feeling a cold hand clutch his heart (which I've always wanted to have happen to me), he picked up the envelope and tore it open. On a scrappy sheet of notepaper he saw the tragic little farewell note (I've often wondered why females of the species always feel impelled to write notes letting people know where they're going, why, what for, etc. It's a dreadfully self-destructive need for self-explanation, one feels).

Dearest papa, it said, Please do not hate me for leaving you. But I feel the need to be free and so I'm going away to the city (which will have bright lights). Take care of yourself and listen to Doctor Uncle Ji. I will always remain your loving daughter,. And she ended it by signing RCW with a flourish. Baron JAP was gobsmacked to say the least. That any daughter of his could write a farewell note like this (with not even a quote from Longfellow or anyone) was beside the point. That his Eye's Beloved Apple had run away from home almost broke his heart. He sat on the bed clutching the note in one hand. And suddenly, from inside him there came a big upwelling of anger. No, call it rage. He was furious. How dare she. How dare she!!!! Moustache bristling, he stood up from the bed. He was a Man on a Mission. He would Set Her Straight. Run away, would she. Hah!

I know, I know, I said the Unlikely Rescuer would be introduced in this episode. But I find myself past the rough space limit I've set myself. To make you guys feel better, here's a question. Guess who the Unlikely Rescuer is and whoever guesses right shall be awarded a Great Honor. The Great Honor of having his/her guess incorporated in the next episode. Never let it be said that I'm not an interactive blogger. As interactive as they come, us Revealeds. Guess, guess. Hint: Look around the Blogosphere.

Monday, May 28

In Which RCW Almost Admires the lone star state

It's been a while since I've found time to continue chronicling the eventful life of RCW (yes, in my life two days away from my blog is a while. You have an opinion on that?). And I would totally understand if my honorable reader(s) has(ve) totally lost track of where we were at. In the event of this (rather unthinkable, I admit) happening having happened, one asks h.r to respectfully scroll down (because blogs get slighted easily and then it takes a devil of a lot of work to charm them out of their sulks, that is they way) and read the previous post. It's just down the hall and dead center. You cannot miss it. Really.

So, to continue where we left off, RCW crept down the driveway and out of the gate (skilfully avoiding the watchful eyes of the alert young chowkidaar - ok, I lie, the rather agewise advanced chowkidaar was fast asleep and snoring in his charpoy in the little watchman shack and nothing short of a thousand stampeding elephants mounted by a thousand screaming Chengiz Khan descendants thundering directly at his bed would have woken him up. But it seemed appropriate to add some skill to RCW's woeful repertoire), slinging her knapsack over one shoulder (hers). I can truthfully report that she stopped only once, in considerable regret. To remove a pebble from her chappals (don't you hate when that happens?). She wanted to make good speed out of the immediate surroundings of her charming village in the Blogosphere because she had a pretty shrewd idea of the sort of hullabaloo that would ensue in the morning when she was found missing.

Feeling rather full of beans (in spite of the late hour and though she really hadn't had coffee ever because her father frowned upon the beverage) and reckless with that gay feeling of adventure (adventure is totally gay, isn't it? It looks enticingly delicious, makes you feel totally cool when you're attempting to do it and then lets you down on your backside with a thump when you realize you can never really get your hands on it the way you want to) she jauntily covered almost two miles over some fields in the general direction of the freeway. Though she had never been allowed to go this far away from home, she had heard talk that there was a freeway in the north boundary of her village which was inhabited by fast vehicles that could whisk you away to a totally different world. She was very keen on trying one of those.

After the first couple of miles though, she began to feel tired. The going was tough. It was bush country and so, populated with bushes. Most of them thorny. All of them annoying. Impeding her path, throwing hurdles in the way of her progress, making her take ridiculous detours instead of letting her tread the straight and narrow. She was exhausted by the time she had crossed halfway through the second field. As all heroines are wont to do, she decided to sit for a while under one of the bushes and wait for the first signs of dawn before continuing. It couldn't be too far away now.

So she took out her bright red silk dupatta from her knapsack, spread it out on the grass and sat down on it, with her back to a bush. She looked up at the night sky. It was a largely cloudy night, with the moon a glimpsed halo attempting blusteringly to evade the clingy vapor. As she stared at the sky she saw a single star, tiny, twinkling courageously, somehow having escaped the mists of the clouds. Just far enough away from the moon to get its personal lionizing glory. It made her feel hopeful somehow, made her empathize with it. That something so tiny could have escaped the clutches of all its enemies to shine steadily (okay, a little unsteadily but still) and silently, all alone, on its own two feet made her want to smile. Wasn't that what she herself wanted to do, after all? But it's not really that tiny. You're microscopically microscopic in comparison, her brain piped up. Yes, but still such a brave thing, no? No, not really. Why do humans feel this need to first anthropomorphize every object they see, and then invest those objects with attributes that they think are attractive? Tsk, she thought, a little irritated with her brain. I suppose now you'll say that shining against all odds isn't an attractive attribute. I don't see anything attractive in it, really. Besides all the rest are shining too. You can't see them is all. If anything the star highlights human imperfections. Gah! Fine! Whatever! She sniffed, turned her back on her brain and fell fast asleep. She was tired.

In the next episode, Baron JAP Wakes Up and Runs around like a Headless Chicken (but Gracefully, always Gracefully). Then, Baron JAP Realizes his Daughter (the Apple of his Eye) is Missing, he Plans a Rescue Attempt and Enlists an Unlikely Rescuer. Also RCW Proceeds with her Journey. Really, how can any of you not stay tuned? I'm not even going to say it!

Thursday, May 24

In Which Alarms are Discussed in Detail and RCW makes her Getaway

The most annoying thing ever is to wake up before your alarm goes off. It leaves you lying on your bed knowing that something's missing, filled with this feeling of nervous anticipation (like the sort that visits you just before the question papers are handed out). It can sometimes be suffocating. That's exactly what happened to RCW. She woke up with a start at five minutes to 12 and lay there in the darkness, which suddenly seemed vaguely threatening. Something about the way the curtain moved in the breeze, whispering something sinister just out of earshot. Suddenly her decision to climb out of the window and creep away (well not creep exactly, I suppose charge would be better?) into the night with her knapsack seemed scarily idiotic. She had that distinct feeling of 'wtf was I thinking' that is such a common phenomenon in the middle of the night (and sometimes first thing in the morning - but that's a different story).

Before she had time to get cold feet (I hate cold feet, which is why I always sleep with socks on. Yeah, I do. So?)thankfully, the alarm went off. With a sudden buzz that almost startled her. There's something about the buzzing of an alarm. It galvanizes you. Maybe it's social conditioning or maybe there's some deep, dark psychology behind it(I think it's because alarms are a deeply sadistic form of AI and the buzz is actually their evil cackle. That's why you feel that deep dread when you hear them go off. And you thought it was because you weren't a morning person. Tsk.). At any rate, it galvanized her and she quickly switched it off in case her dad heard it. Picking up her knapsack, she quickly opened her window. The drop to the ground was minimal since her room was on the ground floor. (How any concerned father could give his daughter a room on the ground floor is still a perplexing mystery to me. But well, let's not be overly critical of Baron JAP. He had his own problems). She dusted off her hands on her skirt and made her way down the driveway. As she passed her dad's bedroom window she tiptoed. She could hear him tossing and turning in his sleep. Overcome by a sudden daughterly impulse, she looked in at the window to get a last glimpse of Baron JAP before she set out to find her destiny.

As author I feel a decided responsibility to remark on how important a role impulses play in all our lives. If she hadn't stopped at the window this story would have been completely and irrevocably different. Gives you something to think about, huh? Because as she peeped in, dutiful daughter that she was, and watched her father splayed (gracefully, always gracefully) on the bed, with a single, fat tear rolling down her cheek (Rani Mukherjee-style) she distinctly heard him mutter "Have to go to Portugal, jaanu. Go to Portugal". This gave her quite a start (because really it's quite eerie when people talk in their sleep) and her heart jumped into her throat for a second (how unruly hearts are) as she thought her father was talking to her. But being quite ordinarily bright she quickly realised that in fact he was talking in his sleep and wiping away her tear, stopping only to swallow her heart she continued towards the driveway.

But, dear reader, in the back of her mind, the name Portugal was seared. Seared, I tell you. In nine inch red letters. Of fire. No less. Yes, yes this is in ways, a spoiler. On the other hand I might be planting a red herring. One never knows, does one?

(To be continued).

Wednesday, May 23

Red Choli Wali Thinks Herself a Think and Makes Some Decisions

The last we heard of our Intrepid (if this was Clueless I'd have said intrepid not!! but we can't have everything and this is not Clueless *sigh*) Heroine, she was gaily dancing to the tune of Lal Dupatte Wali in the arms of Baron Falstaff. Any unwary (unwary - or maybe stupid) reader could have been pardoned for thinking that that ending was in fact the beginning of a Happily Ever After. Tragically (this being a real life story and all) it was no such thing. There was no Walking into the Sunset for the two of them, no white picket fence and 2.39 kids. Nope, none of that. What happened was that as the song wound to a close, RCW thanked Baron F politely for the dance, hauled Baron JAP up by his elbows (he was a tad under the influence) and lurched down the avenue back to her casa near the plaza (listening to Volare too often, I am, apparently). And since that day, Baron F and RCW haven't spoken more than two words to each other. They've both taken to pretending not to see each other (in my opinion, pretty childish behavior but then that's how people *are* and there's nothing you can do about it). Meanwhile Baron JAP felt quietly satisfied with himself. He felt that he had achieved something that day. It's true he didn't know what exactly. He remembered being awfully embarrassed in Baron F's mansion. He remembered vaguely trying to thunder at random people and failing dismally. But the rest was a haze of distillate. He was not the most perceptive man in the world and so didn't notice the weirdness between RCW and Baron F. (Besides Baron F *was* a weird man himself and he did some strange things. You couldn't go around taking notice of all of that. Really.)

Having exhaustively brought you lot to speed, I hasten forward with the rest of the plot. One does not want to be accused of meandering (just as one does not wish to be accused of philandering unless one is blessed with Y chromosomes). RCW was rapidly becoming disconsolate with her situation in the arid desert of the Blogosphere. She wanted laughter and gaiety and pretty boys (everyone wants pretty boys, no? And what'dya get instead? Icky boys who fall all over you in bars. Pshaw and ptuii). But more than anything, she wanted to dance again. To Lal Dupatte Wali. It was that song or no other. She might or might not have decided that she had to dance to it with Baron F or noone else. (I'm not completely sure on that point. Mainly because she isn't completely sure on that point herself.) In any case, that is a mere trivial inconsequentiality. The sum and substance of her pain was the guilty need to dance, dance to *that* song. She felt burdened by this embarrassingly hideous secret wish of hers. It made her acquire mood swings, cry over the smallest things and then have bursts of uplifting and slightly eerily manic cheerfulness (oh wait, maybe she had that earlier also). She even considered taking to a life of alcohol and becoming a devdasi. But that plan was fundamentally flawed and nothing came of it (when you have a father who sucks up all alcoholic beverage within sight, it's very hard to get a sip in edgewise). She was dejected enough to think about losing her appetite. On the brink of it, though, she realized that she had to exercise some rationality. One did not give up food lightly. There were Considerations.

In the midst of all this angst and sorrow, RCW had a brainwave. (Isn't it weird how one has brainwaves in the midst of angst and sorrow in stories? I mean, I've been in the middle of tons of angsts and sorrows and *never* had a brainwave. Like ever.) She decided, in the true tradition of heroines everywhere, to pack all her belongings (including elaborate ghagras weighted down with mirrors, tons of lipstick and other essential cosmetic accessories, different pairs of shoes to match all her outfits and nothing to wear at night) into a tiny napsack the size of a folded handkerchief and climb out of her window in the middle of the night. She would head for the bright lights of the city (she didn't know which city but that there was bound to be some city somewhere with bright lights that she could head for, she knew for a fact).

Muchly cheered by this minor brainwave, she lost no time in putting the plan to action. When she kissed Baron JAP good night for the last time, I'm happy to inform her wellwishers that she did feel a twinge in the region of her heart. She wasn't sure if it was the excellent dinner she'd had or some sort of Cardiac Communication from her Soul. In morse. Suffice it to say, she felt a little heavy inside, a little sober. Her childlike mind was a tad troubled at leaving her dear father behind. But fathers are made to be left behind and so she didn't let it weigh too much on her mind (childlike minded people are so sensible, one feels, that they're almost Alarmingly Adultish). She set her alarm for the Stroke of Midnight (everyone and their uncle knows that you always climb out of windows at the stroke of midnight when engaged in making a desperate getaway into the darkness) and decided to take a little nap while she waited for the alarm to buzz.

(To Be Contd)

Wednesday, May 16

Perspectives XI : Cuts both ways, doesn't it?

It was a nice morning. Sun out, birds in the trees. At least he suspected there were birds in the trees. He sure couldn't hear them over the sound of the traffic. Rush hour, commute, cars zipping past him every second. He enjoyed this morning walk to the drugstore. His dad sent him out for ciggies every day. He'd used to hate waking up this early to get them for his dad but now it was the high point of his day. He liked feeling like he had somewhere to go, something to do. Liked studying the other morning people. There was the usual crop of runners - the serious ones with iPods stuck in their ears, the couples also very serious, egging each other on, the panting amateurs who'd probably just begun and looked like they would be having so much more fun snuggled up in bed right now. Then, there were the power walkers. Stepping briskly, hair in perfect ponytails, dressed in appropriate walking clothes. Mostly stay-at-home wives he suspected. Squeeze in a walk before the ten o' clock manicure. He grinned at his own sexist stereotyping. There was a girl walking towards him now. Bag slung across her shoulders, over her back. Looked like it was full of books. Probably a student. Yeah, she was making for the bus stop with shuttles to the college. She seemed happy to be out here this morning too. Not in a hurry (those shuttles came every 15 minutes if he remembered right). He saw her look up and notice him. An involuntary frown fled across her face and he saw her look around. She seemed nervous. She started walking faster, holding onto her bag tightly. When they were almost abreast she veered off the walkway onto the grass verge, so wide a berth that he almost for a second felt like a leper. Managed to walk even faster. He could almost hear her sigh of relief after she'd walked past him. He turned around to look at her. She turned around at almost the same time, still clutching onto her bag, still walking fast.

Maybe he should just get himself some white skin.

Note: Red Choli Waali goes on a Junket coming soon to a blog near you (this blog, that is, exclusive rights and all). Stay tuned, peepuls.

Tuesday, May 15

To The Next Big O *clink*

My folks have this strange way of making every little thing a celebration. You come back home and tell them that you walked three blocks from school and you did it in 40 minutes and the next thing you know there's a celebratory dinner and you're surrounded by a bunch of people - a good mix of those you know well and want to be around, those you can't stand and want to be away from and those you just plain don't know. And everyone packs into the car and chugs away to some fancypants restaurant and stuffs their faces while glowering at the people they recognise as the ones they don't like. That's how we are. So, in that fine tradition (what with it being in the vicinity of Mother's day), I'm having a celebratory aperitif-post on this blog. Because this, blog peepuls is my ninety ninth post. Yesh, yesh the big nine nine. Ninety-nine is a good number to celebrate one feels. I always wanted 99 to be a 100 (especially when Dravid was batting). Because if 99 was 100, then there'd be no pressure when you got to a 100, which would mean that you'd get to a 100 ok (course that is if you made it past 99).

My long term plan with respect to the whole celebration thing is to keep decreasing the Achievement Number by one. So the next celebratory aperitif post will be at 198 and then 297 and so on. See? Until finally a celebratory aperitif post will end in a zero at which point there will be a proper IRL celebration (drinks on me and all) and *all* my bleaders are welcome to attend :D. All of you. Yes, yes, *even* you (though you meanly decided to hold a summit meeting of the Passive Compassionists without me! Hmmph). You shall all come drink with me :D. On that day. Leaving you with that cheerful thought, I shall make my dignified exit (Ninetyniners have to be dignified. That is the code by which we live our lives).

Psst, for those sticklers who will now proceed to point out that there *is* no aperitif and they feel cheated, I would like to remind them (gently) that I said aperitif *post*. Which simply means that the post will make you feel lightheaded, dizzy, mildly confused and bewildered and ready to eat something. Feeling hungry now, aren't you? That's always the sign of a good aperitif post. *nods in satisfaction and continues dignified exit*

Update: What the professor wants, the professor gets.

Update 2: What ph wants, ph gets. *Sigh*. This is sheer pandering now. But what the heck. If not on the 99th post, when?

Update3: JAP's request honored (above and beyond the call of duty one feels).

Szerelem, this for you :D, with lotsa love and all that

And finally Bailey..tada... cept couldn't find one of him on the rocks

Sunday, May 13

What is the difference between a riffled draw and a snatched bag?

It all happened so quickly. Looking back, she couldn't quite remember the exact sequence. Yes, before it happened she was with 1 bag, 4 credit cards, 1 driver's license, 1 Motorola Razr, pink, 1 lucky charm, 1 ID badge. After it happened she was without. It was the inbetween bits that remained hazy. She thought he had had a knife but she wasn't sure. He had cut her bag from its moorings around her neck, so he must have had a knife. But she wasn't sure. "Did he hurt you?" the cops kept asking. "Does your shoulder pain? Did he yank at it?" I don't know, she wanted to say. But she said no. She didn't think so. All her friends asked her but what happened? Where were you? How could this happen? She gave them the detailed story that she'd arrived at. The version that she'd culled by compromising what must have happened with what she'd remembered happening. They were satisfied. I can't believe you take it so calmly. She laughed it off. She was ok. Everything was fine. Just minor hassles to overcome. Cards to replace. Phones to buy.

But in the middle of the night she could see his brown eyes. Looking into hers the minute before he snatched her bag. Filled with a vindictive delight. I am taking what ought to have been mine.

Thursday, May 10

When is a premonition not a premonition?

She ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time and then the last three with a jump. As she rounded the turn and continued down the next flight, she had a sudden premonition. She saw herself tripping on a stair, falling, lying sprawled at the foot of the staircase, right next to the door. Like a scene illuminated by the flash of an old-fashioned camera in one of those old black and white murder mysteries. She slowed down without realizing it, taking the steps one at a time decorously. There had been something unsettling in that flashing scene. She reached the bottom of the stairs safely and walked out of the building into the sunshine. Sunlight fires neurons: known scientific fact. Oh fuck! Why had she stopped hurtling down the stairs? Now she'd never be able to decide if it had been a premonition or not.

Is it still a premonition if you see it happening and then take steps to prevent it from happening? Which would stop it from happening. Which would make the premonition false. Since it didn't happen. Right?

Wednesday, May 9

Choices are Impossible to Not Regret

She wanted the Steve Maddens. They were beautiful. Fawn, strappy, sexy kitten heels. The sort of shoes that were her. She almost bought them. And then she saw the Nikes. Thought about how she needed to run. Imagined that she wanted to leave the familiar behind. She bought them.

Some people should stick to Maddens.

Tuesday, May 8

I wouldn't exchange places with it

There's a HEB plastic bag waiting to cross the road with me. It bobs politely by my side, patiently waiting for the lights to change and then crosses. I watch it climb higher, rolling onto its back. A break for the sun is what it's attempting. Yayy, bag. I worry about it, though. Remember Icarus?

Monday, May 7

If I'd had coffee I'd have thrown it in her face. Sometimes I scare myself.

She 1: If only I didn't have such a big butt, y'know what I mean? I'd be able to wear a much smaller size. Though, y'know even now it's only a size 8. So, it isn't that bad, y'know what I mean?

She 2: You don't have a big butt! It's worse being me. I have no butt to speak of.

She 1: *I* think I have a big butt. I never used to have one this big, y'know what I mean? It's only since I started dating Ian. We eat so much, y'know what I mean?

She 2: Yeah, I know how that feels. It's no use just you being on a diet if he's pigging out all the time.

She 1: Yeah, but I'm totally going to stick to this regimen, y'know what I mean? Like those ads on tv. Lose two dress sizes in 2 weeks, y'know what I mean?

She 2: Haha. Those adverts are just crazy.

She 1: They remind me of my bro. He's an exercise nazi, y'know what I mean? That's why I never work out with him. I just say leave me alone, y'know what I mean?

She 3 (standing up from her seat in the row in front of them suddenly): Yes, yes, woman!!!!! She knows what you mean!!!!! We *all* know what you mean! For pity's sake STOP SAYING THAT!!!

*exit bus right*

Some verbal habits are so annoying I feel like shaking the speaker in an attempt to make them stop talking. Especially on Monday mornings.

Sunday, May 6

I am partial to Monet though I love Van Gogh for his sliced ear

Never saw so perfect a sky,
so blue. Where did those blues come from?
Even startled cypresses shriek they
never saw so perfect a sky
with boats floating on sunset rays.
The tragic inspires. Bet joy
never saw so perfect a sky.
So blue, where did those blues come from.

ShowerGod Epiphany #3: Boredom makes one do strange things, especially if one's just gone and seen too many French masterpieces (the words too many making the phrase an oxymoron).

Friday, May 4

Falstaff and the Red-Choli Waali

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to any living people (even bloggers, who can loosely be termed people, after all) will be consistently and furiously denied. And also vehemently.

Once upon a time, in the faraway land of the Blogger Barons, there lived a particularly intrepid Baron called Falstaff. Baron Falstaff was one of the most interesting Barons of the land because noone knew *anything* about him. Ladies would stand outside the gates of his property whispering to themselves, wondering who he was, what he did shut up in that grey, towering mansion and why it always felt like rain within its walls.

As Ms. Austen astutely observed, a single man in possession of an aura of mystery and superhuman intelligence must be in want of some solitude. At least if she had been present in that land, she would have astutely observed that. And as the author of this tale has observed often and often, anyone who wants solitude or privacy is just asking for public interest in his affairs.

Now the Blogger Baron Falstaff lived in a land of The Curious. Everyone knew everyone else and this whole not knowing bijness was driving all the leddies crazy. Vying with each other they tried to get his attention. They threw clever quips at him as he read by, they dropped Shostakovich's, Dostoyvesky's and leading observations on controversial topics like whether sestinas in iambic pentameter were more sophisticated than haikus in blank verse and so forth in his path. While Baron Falstaff had been brought up very well and was never obviously rude to any of these fine leddies, he committed the fatal sin of refusing to dance with them. This, of course (in the tradition of all good stories) annoyed one partickler leddy in this illustrious land, called the Red-Choli Waali (the leddy that is was called Red Choli Waali, not the land). She was the heir to one of the other big-shot Blogger Barons of the land, called Baron JAP.

Baron JAP being a doting father and Red Choli Waali being the apple of his eye (JAP's eye), he would stop at nothing to make Baron Falstaff dance with his daughter. So, though himself an illustrious holder of many lands, overlording many serfs, still he professed great admiration for Baron Falstaff, he haunted his mansion, sent him invitations to all the parties at his own mansion, offered him the prime cuts from his table, the usual machinations of a scheming, fond father. Baron Falstaff, while luxuriating in all this attention and admiration did not bend from his stance of not dancing with the leddy. One rule for all the leddies, basically was what he was thinking. And being a very logical nobleman, the sort who doesn't like things being out of place or irregular (some might call it OCD, and the rest of us can only stand back and applaud their perspicacity), he wasn't even close to agreeing to dance with Red Choli Waali. In fact, it can even be argued that he didn't suspect the dastardly plan of Baron JAP, lost as he was in abstractions of obscure Iranian poets.

So, where were we? Haan, yes so Baron JAP finally decided to take things in his own hands, tired of waiting around. So he twirled his moustache (he had a beautifully luxuriant moustache that was his one vanity -always excepting Red Choli Waali that is-which he oiled everyday and dyed a magnificent red, because red is the theme of this story and I know it's kind of harsh to give him a red moustache but he's in *my* story so he'll just have to lump it), wore his favourite red lungi and clasping his beloved daughter by her arm, dragged her to Baron Falstaff's mansion.

Now, you might have noticed that other than being mildly annoyed at refusals to dance with her, Red Choli Waali is a pretty pathetic female, allowing herself to be all slighted and dragged around and suchlike, but such is life and this story, being a real life story, has pledged to be true to itself.

So sadly, we have Baron JAP dragging Red Choli Waali down the dusty road (was very dusty, no monsoon rains yet, everyone looking to the skies every day that sort of thing) and on reaching the doors of Baron F's mansion, he yelled "Oye Falstaff, ki khobor?". Baron F, rudely awakened from his perusal of Hatef's immortal line, "All things difficult to reason become easy when with full goblets of wine you are dizzy", had only time to yell back "Aami bhaalo, aapnar daya", before Baron JAP had charged into his mansion with RCW in tow, now looking worried and a little ill at ease (and who can blame her? quite the awkward social situation). Baron JAP looking wildeyed but still jauntily twirling his moustache stood a little defiantly in front of Baron F (now that he had rushed in, he was unsure of how exactly to start proceedings, it's a tough business this). Baron F, a little regretful over the lost Hatef still managed to be politely rude and refused to make this easy (and indeed why should he?). Turning glacial by degrees he eyed askance at Baron JAP.

Meanwhile a little to the back and the left, RCW stood with heaving bosom, doe-eyes moving from JAP to F and back to JAP again, wringing her dupatta (also red) and panting (a tad too loudly for the occasion which outta have been more like a silently charged man to man confrontation type thing, but what with JAP feeling a little foolish and F being totally bewildered besides just not being *into* these testosterone based activities it was turning out to be a little bit of a failure). JAP who felt somewhat obligated to make the first move at this point (having stormed the castle and all) cleared his throat and thundered, "Baron Falstaff" or at least tried to thunder. But being a naturally timid man and also because of the sheer frightfully glacial appearance of Baron F, he got out only "Ba-" before he fainted dead away (quite gracefully considering his age and weight).

RCW was most taken aback by this turn of events and wrung her dupatta harder, looking wildeyed in her turn and calling to Mother Earth to come and help her (in her head only and not out loud cos y'know she felt a little silly actually saying the words). Baron F, however being a singularly unflappable kinda guy (and also having faced this sort of situation before) calmly (but with a wrench of regret) poured the rest of the wine in his glass on JAPs face (in an attempt to revive him of course and purely because there was no water in sight) but to no avail. A little worried (cos he didn't want the cops coming into his house now), Baron F knelt down by JAP and was most relieved to see his eyelids fluttering. JAP stretched out a scrawny hand and yanking the surprised Baron F closer to him whispered words in a failing breath.

"Please just dance with my daughter, the apple of her mother's eye, once, dear Falstaff. This is a dying man's wish", he gasped out, "and also pass me some more wine, I tasted some of it and it was pretty good, which year?". Baron F, while a little flummoxed by all these requests did what any card carrying member of the Land of the Curious would have done, he knew better than to dishonor a dying man's last wish. It was not to be thought of. He was a Man of Honour. So handing Baron JAP (still sprawling but gracefully on the floor) a glass of wine, he clapped his hands. Twice. The sound of a record settling into a gramaphone could be heard loudly in the silence in the room (spoilt only by JAP slurping wine and RCW still panting a little more heavily than was ideal). Through the golden tube of the gramaphone came the sweet, unmistakable starting chords of the song. RCW waited anxiously, still wringing, wondering what was happening as slowly through the room echoed the words, "O Laal Dupatte Waali.."

Suddenly feeling calm, muchly cheered up by the good taste displayed by Baron F, RCW dropped her dupatta and entered into the spirit of things. JAP feeling much better now, leaned back on a convenient diwan to watch the show and for the first time that year, fat raindrops fell from the laden skies on the dry dust. Plop plop.


Thursday, May 3

Still More How To Gyaan

In the fine tradition of this blog (flaffing since '06) I present you another in the series of How To that was first featured many moons ago (three and a half months' worth to be precise) in this very hallowed space. It is the duty of all super-intelligent beings to educate and uplift the less fortunate (this is part of the mission statement of Flaff, Inc) and with this laudable purpose in mind I shall now expound on How To Understand and Grapple with the Ever-Increasing Profundity of English Proverbs and Catch-phrases. Often and often it has been made manifest to yours truly (which is a fancy way of saying me, originating from the letters written by Mid-Victorian forgers and imposters who never used to sign off with their real names -duh obviously!- and hence were identified as 'yours truly' serially numbered) that people do not perfectly grasp the meaning of the fine proverbs handed down to us by our ancient English counterparts. To my keen and perspicacious mind the reason for this is immediately apparent: the lack of understanding of the true meaning of the proverb. This is mainly because of our faulty school system (which works on the principle of if it's fixed it can be broken) and its inability to explain the fundamentals to young, enquiring minds.

Consider this simple example. Many of us are familiar with the phrase 'You can't have the cake and eat it too ', yes? Now, most of us have a misguided understanding of the phrase, imagining naively that it means once you've eaten the cake it can't exist in its original physical unblemished state anymore and hence, it cannot be had. This (obviously) misbegotten idea that not only fully misses the point but also dangerously leads one into the realm of metaphysics and relativity is a typical example of How English Folk Wisdom is Mis-hunderstood. Having buried myself in literary research for a long time (3 minutes and 45 seconds now, including a break to talk to a nosey chap who came around to my bench) I would like to respectfully submit that the actual meaning is far different from the purported one. What the proverb says in truth is that when you have a cake, it's normally for your birthday. And when you have a birthday cake, you obviously have to have a party! Cos sitting at home alone ogling your birthday cake and hogging every last bit of it yourself (while satisfying) is a little...well, on the lame side (this is not to say that this has not happened in the past, of course, but it's not ideal for digestive purposes). Now, once you decide to have a party, this inevitably involves guests (those pesky people who'll talk too loudly, laugh too hyenaically, drink too slurpily and eat you out of house and home). And as the cleverer among you must have realized this will most definitely result in you not having even a single piece of cake left for yourself. Ergo, it is *impossible* to have your cake and eat it too. See? Not only does this proverb explain to us why having a birthday party is the most ridiculous thing in the world, it also has an underlying, deep philosophy that helps us understand why really good birthday cake is hard to find at birthday parties.

Now, I understand that having had your eyes opened (as Nash would say, gone are the dark clouds that had you blind) you must be reeling under the impact of this revelation and its many ramifications. So I shall leave you with the gentle admonition that it's vital to always investigate deeply any proverb placed in front of you in order to understand fully its scope and breadth. Some of you might think that *this* is what proverbs like Don't judge a book by its cover are hinting at. But you would be grievously wrong. *Grievously*.

But that is another post.

Wednesday, May 2

Happy Feet

She painted her toenails last night. Pale, pale, pale pink. So pale that it looks like silver with all the grey bleached out of it. You wouldn't notice if it didn't catch the light now and then. She lotioned her feet, admiring their inherent pinkness. Aloe for extra moisture and then wrapped up safely in socks. She went to bed, comfortably aware of her soft, babied feet. Work, the next day, in borderline uncomfortable heels, closed toes, stockings. A quick run in the evening (it was a beautiful day), cotton socks, clunky keds. A walk around to her neighbour's for a chat and a cup of tea (hadn't seen him in a while), stuffy little black slip-ons from NY&C. But all day, underneath it all, she could feel her feet smiling.

It's what's inside that matters.

Tuesday, May 1


So, having successfully finished Tag Week, shamelessly resting on my laurels, bathed in the gentle glow of fulfillment and satisfaction, some thinking was done (not by me of course, but my stupid brain which doesn't know when to quit).

Y'know those people who tirelessly work towards making this world a better place? Sweat shining on their brows as they give talks in air-conditioned rooms, sipping from a bottle of Evian, explaining how global warming is an awful threat to mankind and the best way of stopping it is to make hungry Mexican farmers hungrier. Or faces frozen into expressions of righteous indignation as they inform us that taking thousands of lives of people who happened to be born on the wrong side of a border is perfectly acceptable, an inevitability in fact, during our march to Save the Earth. Or charmingly candid smiles on their faces as they expound on how people of a certain religion are in fact naturally violent, something in their blood, no doubt caused by all the animal flesh they eat, always a threat to us, the more superior, the more human humans, no? Yeah, those people.

Well, my brain's decided that it's time I joined their ranks. Shoulder to shoulder We shall stand, making Lives More Meaningful, and No, We Are Not Condescending or Superior or Hanything Like That *stares icily through newly acquired monocle at the captive audience (mainly this guy whom she's managed to chain to a chair in the basement of her apartment)*

Getting back to matters that matter, let me recap (Got a tad carried away back there. I don't *really* have a guy chained to a chair in my basement *laughs nervously and wipes sweat away from brow with trembling hands*). As I said, my brain did some thinking and came to the conclusion that this whole tagging funda is not managed properly. We (my brain and I) believe that it lacks umm a certain something. Like, most importantly what do we learn from this tag bijness (we're great believers in learning)? Is it of any use to anyone to know that I'm not upstairs at the moment (unless you're a cat burglar in which case we empathize with your interest but respectfully point out that you don't know where we live anyway and so you couldn't really have needed to know that)? Or that if there was one place I'd like to be it's Rotterdam (I mean, even if I made a successful lab break I'd still not go to Rotterdam cos now I know that all the Feds will be sent there directly, no?)? So, basically we feel that some drastic reforms have to be made. By all you guys. If not now, then when? If not you, then who (never us, of course, that's against our creed)?

So, the thing to do now, in the true spirit of reform is no, not to form a Board (we're the Post Modernist Reformists and we fashionably scorn Boards of any size, shape or kind) but to come up with better tag questions. That'll help us gather vital information.

Like think of this tag, right? The first question is If you could be a spy, which one would you rather be? James Bond or Matahari? Now after this slightly sinister but still zanily funny question we fill in a few random, normal tag questions, like have you ever stood on your head and recited the 9 times tables followed by are you smiling now, things like that. And then, sneakily, we slip in this question, Male?. Now some smartasses will answer with quips or wisecracks (morons, the lot of them) but most people will give you a straight answer because they'll deem it an irrelevant question and quickly move to the next one to be all smartassy about, no? Sykology, people, is a powerful tool. Now, having gathered this information we once more lapse into random tagspeak. And then in a masterstroke, we quickly ask What is your sexual orientation?. Of course none of the taggees will blanch at this or think it too nosey. If it's on your blog, it's private anyway, no? And voila, we now have more than enough material to write up a paper and send it to Social Texts (a very influential journal read by everyone who's In The Know) by simply correlating the fact that people of a specific sex with a specific sexual orientation will always want to be either Bond or Mata. Thereby providing extremely vital information to RAW who now need never worry about gathering Intelligence, monitoring movements, sending counterspies and all that. Pshaw. Those times are past. See how with one master stroke tags can be used as deadly weapons of mass destruction (this of course was found in Saddam's bunker, a hard disk full of completed tags, extremely classified info btw procured from one whole informer)? As soon as RAW realizes that there's a spy on the loose, all they'll have to do is find his/her blog, locate the relevant tag, gather the requisite information and then they'll immediately know whether to look for a man swigging martinis standing next to a black sportscar with impressively funny looking gadgets affixed or a black veiled red-lipsticked cigar smoking Russian accented lady on a train. See how simple it all becomes? And they say espionage is a complicated business. Hah!

Zis is vy hit is said zat life is a lot simpler than ve vere led to beleef.

And now, to work leetle children (and the not-so-leetle ones, like TR's ours is also an Equal-Op blog). Let's see pen to paper, hand to keys, neurons to the forge. Onwards always to more superbly executed learn-from-able tags. Chop chop. *goes back to laurel-resting and glow-bathing, humming Imagine softly to herself in that slightly mad totally eerie fashion (think Anne Wilkes, Misery) that's been in horror vogue since the 70s*