washing the dishes and taking out the trash

So usually we have a bai who comes home, twice a day. She comes every morning around 7:45 a.m.

She starts by bringing in the clothes from the clothesline. Then she turns off my fan (very annoying, if I’m still in bed — she loves traumatizing me, I sometimes refer to her as the ravenous bugblatter beast of traal) and then heads on to the kitchen, where she does the dishes. Then she starts dusting around the house, sweeps and swobs, and takes out the trash. She finishes her work in about an hour and a half.

She comes again in the evening, to do the dishes once again; and then the routine begins again.

The point is, we aren’t really cleanliness freaks. We like a clean house, and so it’s a routine that we follow, (claims of labor rights and payment aside. I dunno what we pay her, but I assume we don’t scrimp on it.) and the house is pretty well maintained.

So when I hear the Pakistan foreign minister saying that he would like to see proof of the involvement of Lashkar or any other terrorist organization within their boundaries, before taking action against them, it ticks me off.

You don’t need your neighbor coming on over, knocking on your door, and telling you that there’s a right nasty stench emanating from your home, (coming in under his door and through his window, and he knows this for sure because the forensic guy he called to investigate said so) before you take out the trash, do you?

It can’t be all that hard to turn off Animal Planet, or whatever TV you’re watching, put the kebabs and faux Coke or whatever down on the table for a minute, get your ass up, and take out the trash, can it?

Same goes for the Indian Government, and the issues we’ve got in-house. I mean, stop finding reasons things CAN’T BE DONE. Impossible is only the lack of imagination, incentive, and most importantly, intent.

The Challenge of Terrorism?
Organized Crime?
Vaccination of kids?
Basic Provision of Food, Clothes and Shelter to each Citizen?
Protection of the Human Rights of Citizens?
Prevention of Violence and Crime?
Development of Infrastructure?
Promotion of a Diverse, Progressive Society?

Does any government actually have to be TOLD to do this? Doesn’t it come as a part of the job description? Does the Indian Government have to have it’s ATS chief assassinated before it figures it should invest in giving the police proper bulletproof vests? Does the Pakistani Government need proof of the actions of what it acknowledges is a terrorist organization, before it takes action against it? Shouldn’t acknowledgment of the nature of the organization be enough?

such a perfect day

Today’s going to be perfect, I know it. I just confirmed my reservation… I have it all planned out. We’re meeting at Wasabi today, she loves Japanese food; and then again, it’s where we had our first real date. I went and bought her an engagement ring yesterday, I hope she likes it. I’m so nervous. I know it will be OK. I know she’ll say yes, I’m so sure. Today’s going to be perfect, I know it.

Today’s going to be terrible, I know it. She’s going to visit her mother for two weeks. I’m going to be so lonely without her. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I’ve taken a half day today, so I can spend some more time with her and see her to the station in the evening. CST. Why does it have to be at the other end of town? Countless hours lost in travel, hours I’d want to rather spend in quiet with her. But I’ll do my best, every last moment counts. Today’s going to be terrible, I know it.

Today’s going to be awesome, I totally know it. Not that it could go any other way, you understand. I graduated top of my class, and am going for an interview today. It’s at the Taj. You can’t begin to imagine how excited I am… This is a place I have never been to. Mum bought me a new shirt, wishing me luck. I’m so excited. Today’s going to be awesome, I totally know it.

Today’s been good so far. No major flare-ups, no major troubles. The politicians are still on my case about that whole nationalist affair, but then, that’s the price you have to pay for telling the truth. Some clown threatened to kill me, but nothing on that either. Just a few more hours for the day to end. Today’s been good so far.

Today’s been so good. Came down from London yesterday. And here I am, at one of the Greatest Hotels in the World. So much history, so much grandeur. This place is breath-taking. I meet investors tonight. This is where it all comes together. My legacy. Today’s going to be so great.

Today’s been pretty nice. Work was the usual, 8 parts mundane, 1 part exciting, 1 part idiotic. Is that what they meant by the 80-20 rule in school? Well that’s not quite right. More like 80-10-10. Point is, work’s been mundane so far. I like her, I think I do. We spoke a bit today, and that probably redeemed the day. Today’s been pretty nice. I think I’ll take a drive on Chowpatty, and just think about things for a bit.

Today’s been pretty hectic. We had class all day, and project work for hours thereafter. No time to think, and my Master’s application looks like it’s getting nowhere atm. I really need to get some time off, some time to myself. Dad called, asking when I’d get home. I’m done and ready to go home, but don’t quite feel like it yet. Think I’ll take a stroll down Chowpatty for a bit. Today’s been pretty hectic.

Today had better be good. He has such a temper, but I’ve managed to get him to finish work early. It’s our anniversary today. We’ve been married five years. I’ve made a reservation at Tiffin. He really loves the place, and it’s close to work, so he won’t be fussy about the travel. Last time we were there, though, he wasn’t really happy with the service. I even told the manager when I made the reservation. Today had better be good.

Today’s going to be so sad. I’ve lived in this city for the last three years, as I worked on my degree. I’ve graduated now, and need to return home for a bit. I’ve met so many fantastic people here, had such a great life here, I can’t stand the thought of leaving. The city’s always bursting with energy and life. All my friends are coming to see me off. Today’s going to be so sad.

Today’s been pretty dull. These SSC classes are really taking their toll on me. I didn’t really sign up for this level of rigor. I just wanna go home. College is in Sion. My classes are in Vile Parle, and I live in Borivli. I do the best I can, but it never really feels good enough. Think I’ll go grab a bite at Jumbo Vada Pav outside the station when these classes end. Mum and Dad are out of town, and I don’t really feel like making food today. Today’s been pretty dull.

Today’s been terrible. Work sucked, and she wouldn’t speak to me. I don’t know what else I can do. Maybe work sucked because she wouldn’t speak to me. I don’t know, I don’t know any more. Think I’ll go over to Leopold’s with some friends, and just get drunk. Today’s been terrible.

Today’s been just another day. No more bar dancers to ban, no random biharis to be shot down (what kind of dumb guy was that anyways? Kya usse pata nahi tha, ki hum goli ka jawaab goli se deenge?.) Same old, same old. Today’s been just another day.

Today’s the day we’ve been waiting for. Our revenge, for our people. Why? Who cares? They will all pay. For what, I probably have no idea. Why, I probably don’t know. What right do they have to be happy? What right do they have to live and prosper? Why should they not be held responsible for their happiness, their lives, their prosperity. They will pay, all of them. Today’s the day we’ve been waiting for.

We’re at Leopold’s now. I ordered a beer, Ok, I ordered three. I can take five times that much, it’s all good. Oh no. Today’s been terrible.

Today’s been pretty nice so far. But wait. There’s a call. It seems someone’s been in a shootout at Leopold’s. Come on boys, suit up. No one messes with my city.

Today’s been terrible. We were stuck in traffic for hours. I barely got to say goodbye, the train’s just left. I look around now, and see other people saying their goodbyes too. Is it this hard for everyone? Oh no. I hope she’ll be OK. Today’s been terrible.

Today’s been so sad. We just got here, and we’re saying our goodbyes. I’m going to miss all these people so much. Oh no. What’s going on? Today’s been so sad.

Today’s been so hectic. This walk was just what I needed. The cool Mumbai sea breeze. It’s the best thing about the city. I love this place. I hear sirens. Must be some VIP coming again. Wait. There’s gunshots. Oh no.

Today’s been terrible. I’m driving down Marine Drive now, still wondering why she wouldn’t speak to me. Or maybe it’s work that’s worrying me. In these economic times, “investment banker” isn’t the best job description to have. But we’ll smooth things over, ride out the storm, come out the other end. We always do. Wait. what’s that? Oh no. Today’s been terrible.

This day just got interesting. We have no time for back-up. These guys are serious. It may be dangerous, but then, that’s why I signed up for this job, to keep these freaks off my city’s streets. I’m going in.

She’s sitting across me now. We’re at Wasabi. She looks gorgeous today. I’m so lucky. My palms are sweating, I’m really nervous. She even said I’m being a bit strange today. I can’t possibly be so nervous. Things will work out. I know it. Today’s going to be perfect.

So I met my to-be employer, I totally nailed it with the handshake. I know it’s going to be awesome. Oh no. What’s that happening? Oh no.

I greeted my guests at the lobby. They seem to be excited, too. This is my moment. Today’s going to be great. What’s that sound? Oh no.

I’ve been shot thrice in the chest. These guys were prepared and well armed. I shot one, but I don’t know if I managed to kill him. I hope they get him. They won’t be allowed to mess with this city. We won’t let them.

The dinner’s going fine so far. The manager has been extra-careful since I warned him. Oh no. There’s gunmen in the room. They’re covered with blood, not their own. Oh no.

Gunmen opened fire in the hotel. I don’t know what’s going on. They took us through the kitchen, we’re hiding in the safe room now. I hope it’ll be OK. For her, for myself, for all of us. We can hear footsteps. They are coming. Save us, someone, please.

I just heard about the incidents in the city. No bar dancers to tackle, no petty criminals. These are organized terrorists. What do we do now?

We’re making our last stand. Everyone else is dead. But we showed them. We showed them they don’t deserve to be happy, or to have wonderful, fulfilling lives. Who did they think they were? We showed them. We brought them into our own personal hell.

And though the small battles might be won, everyone’s lost. The World might change forever, or it may remain the same. There is no justification for terrorism. There never has been, there never will be.

“Forgive them father, for they know not what they do,” he once said. We take that back today, in the name of all civilization. Amen.

posing . for . a . photograph

this was a photograph I took of the Taj a little over a month ago. I don’t want this to in any way be perceived as a lack of respect to those who died in the terrorist attacks of 26/11/2008 in Mumbai; just a record of what this hotel meant to the city, being right across the road from the Gateway, arguably Mumbai’s greatest landmark.

Mourn those who are lost, mourn some of our ideals and ways of living that we will no have to relook at. I don’t know what else to say right now.

Words from the New York Times:

Anand Giridharadas, who writes a column for the International Herald Tribune, sees the Taj Hotel as unique. He had this to say:

Anyone, anywhere who has lived in Mumbai was gasping at the sight of a burning Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel. That is because it is not your average hotel.

It is not another Sheraton or Hilton in the business district of another world city. It is the aorta through which anything glamorous, sentimental, confidential or profitable passes in Mumbai. Its major role is to serve its guests, who come from around the world and elsewhere in India. But it also serves the local city in a way that few hotels in the world could claim to do.

If a momentous infidelity is being committed on a given night, or a billion-dollar business deal being inked, or a recklessly brilliant idea being hatched, there is a fair chance it is being committed, inked, hatched at the Taj. Mumbaikars who can afford it have their most romantic meals at its Wasabi restaurant, accept marriage proposals in its Sea Lounge, land job offers in its coffee shop.

Non-guests are forbidden to use the pool. But so many Mumbaikars enterprisingly bring a towel, furnish a fake room number and dip into its manmade lagoon.

It stands across from the Gateway of India. Those who would not dream of paying $3 – a decent daily wage – for one of its fresh-lime sodas sit outside the hotel, leaning against the stone wall on the sea. They take in the scene; they admire the finely dressed people breezing in and out. They know that it is not their time for the Taj now, but, should a fortune bless them, it is in the Taj they will spend it.

Few other hotels of the world could say they were built out of spite.

Legend has it that Jamsetji Tata, a nineteenth-century industrialist, was once turned away from a hotel in British-era Mumbai because he happened to be Indian. He decided, in a strange kind of revenge, to build the best hotel in the country, outfitted with German elevators, French bathtubs and other refinements from all around the world.

The hotel became, for many Indians, a symbol of the overthrow of the indignities of the colonial age. And it became a symbol of the best that could be had in a city paved with dreams.

to . freeze . what . is . fleeting

“All forms of beauty, like all possible phenomena, contain an element of the eternal and an element of the transitory / of the absolute and of the particular. Absolute and eternal beauty does not exist, or rather it is only an abstraction creamed from the general surface of different beauties. The particular element in each manifestation comes from the emotions: and just as we have our own particular emotions, so we have our own beauty.”

– Charles Baudelaire

“Images of broken light which
dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe”

– The Beatles, Across the Universe

on the end of capitalism

was watching Larry King this morning, there was a Michael Moore interview going on. Moore makes some excellent points, but then goes on to talk about “the end of capitalism, and you know what, that’s a good thing.”it’s not, and arguments like that are rather myopic. Capitalism, Democracy, and other such systems are “free states” of being, movements if you will. “Free-market capitalism” isn’t to blame for the financial crisis, it’s due diligence of many big firms, or their (and governments’) downright complicity in a variety of frauds, in the name of “freedom” and the “free market”. To quote wiki, for a second, “Free market economics is closely associated with laissez-faire economic philosophy, which advocates approximating this condition in the real world by mostly confining government intervention in economic matters to regulating against force and fraud among market participants.”What the banks, the auto makers, and other firms did is no different from the profiteering that rises of oil and war, of piracy, of the ‘liberal’ accounting practices that have been the downfall of companies in the past. The failure of both governments and firms in this crisis is more symptomatic of lazy, greedy minds, which is certainly not a characteristic of the ideals of free market capitalism.

a funny joke

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.”Why?” asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.”I’m a panda,” he says at the door. “Look it up.”The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.”Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.”So punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death

in . quiet . contemplation

too long a sacrifice
can make a stone of the heart
a dream not realized
a stone left unturned
to forget heaven’s part
in the workings of the heart

an echo of time
a cycle that, though it doesn’t repeat
sometimes rhymes
a world we tried to save
as dreamers and dancers in the mist
a world we now forsake

to live life
is to ignore life
to think about life
is to forget to live
to forget to live
is no living at all

turning and turning into the widening gyre
where the falcon no longer hears the falconer
the center fades away
what was once is forever lost
even though the sun rises again
bringing a new day

renews the world
as it once was
restores it to the wasteland
the world we live in
the mind has no answer to
we wait.

– Aditya Anupkumar

this one’s more a vessel, to interpret ideas i find fascinating, from the very obvious ones (Yeats, Twain) to the slightly more subtle, (Tolkien, Jordan, and a few others.)

the existentialist’s burden

I must confess, that U2’s Pop album has always been my favorite. It had the panache of Achtung Baby and Zooropa, tempered with the memory of the innocence of The Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum. Pop was genius, it was also a spectacular show.

The fault lines of the self, only glimpsed in early U2 were laid bare in Pop. It was an almost Nietzschean rejection of all that came before, and in that sense, probably a catharsis that the late ’90s demanded, before they rebooted, with All that you can’t leave behind and How to dismantle an atomic bomb.

Within that record, Please has always been my favorite. I like to call it the existentialist’s burden. How does one become an existentialist? Most of us are engendered into some religious way of thinking, long before we ever engage with Sartre or Camus or Heidegger or Kierkegaard. Please raises an interesting question, in that; whether you take Camus’ endless dances of master-slave relationships, or go back to Nietzsche’s unflinching embrace of life; you more-or-less do away with the notion of ‘faith’. The Lion of “I Will” defying the Dragon of “thou shalt”. Love on the other hand, is best explained with a grounding in faith of some form, faith being integral to its constitution. On the one hand, Camus didn’t see a problem with it; on the other, Sartre did, and went along a rather destructive path of the unflinching deconstruction of the various forms of it.

Nothing profound, just an observation.


Please, U2, Live at Rotterdam


Please stop fighting, please

Let’s talk, please

So you never knew love

Until you’d crossed the line of grace

And you never felt wanted

Till you’d someone slap your face

And you never felt alive

Until you’d almost wasted away

You had to win, you couldn’t just pass

The smartest ass at the top of the class

Your flying colours, your family tree

And all your lessons in history

Please, please, please

Get up off your knees now

Please, please, please Leave it out

So you never knew how low you’d stoop

To make that call

And you never knew what was on the ground

Until they made you crawl

So you never knew

that the heaven you keep You stole

Your Catholic blues,

your convent shoes

Your stick-on tattoos,

now they’re making the news

Your holy war,

your northern star

Your sermon on the mount

from the boot of your car

Please, please, please

Get up off your knees now

Please, please, please

Leave it out

‘Cause love is big and love is tough

But love is not what you’re thinking of

September, streets capsizing

Spilling over and down the drain

Shards of glass, splinters like rain

But you could only feel your own pain

October, talk getting nowhere

November, December Remember,

are we just starting again

Please, please, please

Get up off your knees now

Please, please

‘Cause love is big, it’s bigger than us

But love is not what you’re thinking of

It’s what lovers deal,

it’s what lovers steal

You know I found it hard to recieve

‘Cause you,

my love,

I could never believe

Please, please, please

Get up off your knees now

Please, please, please Please, please, please Please