Welcome To The Machine

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thirty Haunting Cruises.

I will always remember the first time I saw you.
At the first fleeting moment.You glowing-orange ephemeral prescence. The smell of your hair.

Why do you hurt me so? Why do you treat the other guys the same way you treat me. Didnt I hold you in your dying moment. Even when you were at your caustic best.Didnt I bear your cruel sting?

Come with me.Lets relive those moments. Let us enjoy those stolen glances and the whispered secrets. Let us be partners in crime once again. Tomorrow will never know. Tomorrow will never find out.

Let us enjoy the privacy that only a badly made movie in a run down theatre can provide. Whispers exchanged in the stillness of the flickering screen and the lost conversations of the characters.
I want to drown myself in somebody else's worries. Because mine seem too heavy to carry.

Remember the time we swam to the surface. Towards the moonlight.Of how it gave us hope. The light at the end of an almost infinte tunnel. Of how I held your hand when you were wearing a gaze of distant wonderment.And a green top?Of how we washed away our worries together. Werent we looking at the same stars then, hoping the same hopes?

Tomorrow has no room for us. Yesterday only gives me big sacks to carry. Please be my today. I need it.
Flash a smile. Please let me know youre happy. Even if youre only going to be happy with him. The one who Arachne poked with her needle as she wove her master plan.

I feel like crying. Now that youre gone. But I cant shed these tears, for I will surely need them later, as it seems so painfully obvious today.

I miss the strange European sophisticate presence that you emanate. Your eyes the scan the room with cold detachment.

You will always have a place in my dreams.However I cannot offer you a place in my reality. Unless you want to be mine alone.
I want my reality, to keep my sanity.

I miss your cooking .I miss you. The dark descriptor of a kettle.
Our time has come and gone. I wish you well. Au Revoir.

We will always have Surat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Maximum City

This is ,I hope, what will turn out to be a 4 part series. Lots depends on enthu of course. They are not in chronological order. They work just the way memory works. By strength of association to current runnings in the mind. They will, several years from now, find themselves pushed into dusty bookshelves in the archives of my mind. I need these memories well dusted. For so many reasons.

The Lost Conversations Of Churchgate.

On the overcast evening of the 21st I found myself in Churchgate. After much research. After imposing my hindi on several random shopkeepers in Colaba. I was looking for used books. They dealt in no such thing. In a tone that clearly displayed their distaste for kept books, they directed me to Fountain, Churchgate. They bought and sold the new stuff. To firangs.

A good number of dukanwalas in Colaba were making money off the average firang's sure-to-be shortlived obsession with India.
With the bidding price of nearly everything sold there following a convergence pattern, strangely reminiscent of the bisection method.He says hundred I ll say fifty.

Churchgate. Six neat shops. Welcoming you with the comforting smell of the yellowed page.
Stacks of unsold books acting as abutments. The first among the shopkeepers hid behind his corpulence, a big stack of Reader's Digests. Trying to sell the cheap thrills of Mills and Boon and Shobha De.
From what I could garner(sample), this was the hangout for the erudite Mumbaikar. Couldnt see how De had a place there at all. But that could have been just a bad statistical sample.

A female walks in.But before that be warned. You shall from this point onwards carry the burden of my hindi. I am not called shortage for nothing. This is of course in the second shop.
" Aapke ke paas Albert Camus hai kya?"
"The outsider hain". I was surprised to see him use the more accurate translation of the french title.
"Mein pad chuka hoon". In my vague attempt at cheerful badinage with a fellow existentialist, I told her you ll get most of the stuff as e-books. Quite easily. For free.She told me she prefered books. And then rested her hands on the Indian fiction section.
Ya existentialist females don't exist. Thats true. And I am glad that it is.

I go ahead and ask the dukan wala.." On the road hai kya?". This is in keeping with my strong insistence on buying On the Road off the road. He said" Kerouac nahin hai mere paas. Kaal aayega." This jolted me. This school dropout knew his business. Mumbai does that to you.

i throw in a few more names. The Electric Kool Aid Acid test. Fear and Loathing. Not there.

Suddenly , like it has happened to me a million times before , my mind goes blank.My mind and its incredible ability to take sabbatical only during crucial moments. Hopeless.

In my moment of desperation, I call Sandeep. At rs 1.5 a minute. Thank You Vodafone.
Sandeep's mind faltering just like mine." I cant recommend books under pressure da" he says. Or something to that effect.
" Have you heard of John Steinste...(not clear)".
" John who?"
" John Stein....(nc)"
"Of Mice and Men da"
" Oh Steinbeck!" I told him. That brought down a barrage of names in my head. I thanked him.
The dukawalla, who had been hearing everything with rapt attention, added" Grapes of wrath chaiye?" I nodded. I asked him" Faulkner hai aapke pass".


Faulkner stirred something in him. His eyes lit up. He hadnt sold a faulkner for ages. Fuck grammar. He was obviously excited. He gave me As I lay dying. Good. Then there was the Dostovesky section. I spent quite some time there and bought nothing. He knew his market well. He immediately offered me a book by Woody Allen., because I spent a considerable length of time staring at The Idiot.

Just then a flock of birds walk in. Oozing class. Possessing none of the bawdiness of the average diamond polishing-skoda driving-party hopping Surti.

( To be Continued on Request...)

Sunday, June 15, 2008


It is with increasing conviction that I have come to realize, that I might never attend a live concert that I might truly enjoy. Most of my favourite bands can only have a real reunion if a particular dose of a psychotropic had gone through someone else's nostril, or if JD Salinger had never been born, or if fame hadnt unleashed all its trappings on some of our more talented men. I cannot find a better way to make this point. Like Siddhartha I suffer.

Each individual ash particle that emanated from John and George's body apparently rotated about its own axis on that fateful night( Refer previous entry). Rant reviews galore!!

No band shall ever cover the Beatles when I am not there in Madras. A great pestilence will sweep the land , and all that is sweet and pure will be gone.

I place such blind faith in poetic justice.