Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just.


Driving back to our house from Manhattan after a good day and a great show and muskrat love starts playing on the radio and we all listen to it and I am writing postcards and just a little amazed by how little it takes to make perfection.

Like pink balloons adorning the front porch of a house in suburban new york, or cobwebs on the window sill at Junior's cafe off Broadway, trapping the last rays of the five o clock sun while I'm into my third spoon of devil's food cheesecake already and outside a young man speeds by on his mobike with his girlfriend's laughter hanging in the air like white linen on a clothesline in harlem.

Perfect day.

Like a crisp sheet of white paper.

Like a full house.

Like a standing ovation.

Like music and beauty, intricately entwined. And quietly heartbreaking.

Like acorns and fire hydrants whizzing past on the highway as meatloaf starts playing on my ipod.

Like a single dewdrop on a thin blade of glass.

Like a thin blade of grass.

Like a sunday in Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A brief guide to some less popular career options


A brief guide to being a muse:

First, find a sufficiently impoverished artist. If this is not possible, a poverty-stricken writer or director or, if truly desperate, a poet will do. A typical example of this specimen has long, unkempt hair that is usually a nesting ground for various insects, small birds and – in one recorded instance in 1874 – a very frightened kangaroo. His face tends to be typically oval-shaped, unless it is round or perhaps square in which case it is not, in fact, oval. He is also conspicuous by a look of perpetual failure and a general state of sulkiness.

Second, strive to look as muse-like as possible. Try to be genetically-endowed with impossibly long legs, an exquisitely small curvy waist, voluptuous hips and goddess breasts. Remember to exhibit at all times a perpetually pained expression not unlike that of one who’s just walked past an open sewer. One is advised to grow to be a staggering 6 feet.

Refuse to wear clothes as a mark of protest against society’s obscene fascination with materialistic possessions. As one will soon learn, this stance will stand you in good stead when one realizes that a poverty-stricken artist will usually not be able to afford Prada. Gucci maybe, but not Prada.

Do not talk. Ever. Merely grunt when spoken to. When one desires a ridiculously expensive object of no functional value whatsoever – as a muse, being unreasonable is a way of life and a deep philosophical principle – a light tip of the head 1/8th of an inch in the general direction of the desired object will fetch instant results.

Strive to be as volatile as possible. In fact, the more explosive your mood swings, the better a muse you’ll make. It helps slightly to break a small but expensive object from time to time. As your inspired artist/poet/writer/struggling dentist will typically be monetarily-challenged, this may not always be possible after a certain point of time. In which case, one may try breaking windows, doorknobs, body-parts and an egg occasionally.

As a muse, you will be required to do something sufficiently inspiring from time to time. This being the arrangement, in exchange for free food, housing, various shiny objects and the undying adoration of a struggling albeit genius-before-his-time-on-the-brink-of-stupendous-success artist. Or if not an artist, at the very least, a mildly disillusioned plumber who feels he was destined to be greater things, like say, Picasso.

But not to worry, evoking inspiration is effortless for a muse of great talent. The easiest thing to do is to drop one’s clothes, and stand poised in a state of heightened rapture, one’s face glowing with the borrowed radiance of the rising sun. Of course, it is easier to exude a quality of heartbreaking beauty if one is not an over-weight East-European hag with a rather conspicuous mustache. If this is unfortunately the case, consider instead living in absolute darkness and find a sufficiently disillusioned dentist to inspire.

A brief guide to being an intellect:

Intellects are those strange creatures whose sole aim in life is to one day have an entire closet full of tweed jackets with leather elbow patches and 7 pairs of horn-rimmed glasses. An intensely annoying high-pitched nasal voice is highly desirable. If one is doubly blessed with a lisp, then this may be the perfect profession for you.

When you invite friends over, make sure to have none but the most boring people in the history of mankind invade your abode. Serve only shredded duck in oyster sauce canapés and foie gras with fig and orange blossom chutney – carefully fashioned into exquisite mickey mouse shapes. Always serve wine to your guests. Remember to announce that is only the best fleufdelablooblahbleh, made with grapes hand-pressed by Louise the X1V himself.

As an intellect, you are expected to be well-read. Take pains to pepper your home with books. Playboy does not count. The more incomprehensible, the better. If you can, always surround yourself with books by French authors. It helps if it’s the original language. It also helps if one actually knows French.

A good reply to the question, have you read (insert book title here) would be: Not recently. This absolves one of resorting to mendacity.

Have highly-opinionated opinions on everything, particularly life, philosophy and the universe in general. For reference, try Kierkegaard and Nietzsche for Dummies, 2nd edition. Whenever anyone objects to your opinion, invoke the double-core induction theorem. Hence proved.

Never enunciate and always speak with a drawl, as if it is too much effort to discipline one’s tongue to frame a coherent sentence. In fact, the less understandable you are, the greater your intellectual standing among your peers. When faced with a particularly difficult philosophical question, remember that square root of negative 73 is always a good answer.

Invent your own philosophy. If you can, invent your own system of ethics. Do not, however, invent your own language. That’s just plain stupid. If somebody objects to your system of ethics on grounds of deep flaws and blatant moral relativism, invoke the double-core induction theorem. You will soon realize it’s a good theorem to know.

Hence proved.

A brief guide to being an insufferable snob:

To paraphrase a famous green furry er person: Be or be not. There is no try. In the same vein, one cannot become a snob. One is either born with the gift, or isn’t.

Never call anyone by their names. Snap your fingers instead. If you can, avoid any sort of tedious labour, like snapping fingers. You will find a barely perceptible flick of your fingers in the general direction of the hired help should be sufficient to elicit response. If one is forced to use words, choice vocabulary includes: garcon, slave and minion. While talking to entities of lower bearing, make sure to scrunch up your nose like you’re in the vicinity of a dead animal in the advanced stage of putrefaction.

Refuse to drink any water except a particularly obscure brand of water bottled at the foothills of the glaciers of Ukraine. When it comes to clothes, only wear obscenely expensive brand labels. And no, made in china does not qualify as a brand label.

Ostentatious display of jewelry is considered tacky. Instead, request your local cosmetic surgeon to inject your cheekbones with 200 carat Belgium-grade A diamonds set in gold. You may die, but it’s a small price to pay for such a noble cause.

When you die, leave your house, cars, diamonds, and all your money to your dog. To not seem like a heartless wretch, remember to leave 64 paise and a wad of used chewing-gum to your bastard son.

Of course, it helps greatly if in addition to these traits one also possesses a shit-load of money. Preferably old (read: inherited) money and a ‘name’ – not the ones they call you behind your back. It’s always a good sign if one can trace one’s ancestry way back to one’s own father. If one finds oneself insufficiently endowed in this regard, fret not, find a decrepit old person and get married immediately in the presence of a lawyer and two witnesses. A Russian oil-baron is always a good choice.

Happy hunting.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Of scraps and other debris


Sometime last year, or perhaps the year before, I joined orkut. After months of holding out, refusing to join another pointless networking site, was finally coaxed, cajoled and charmed into doing so. It wasn’t all that bad, although the lingo did take a little getting used to:

– Hey, she scraped me!
– Eh what, who? You got in a fight?
– No man, I’m gonna scrap her back once my boss leaves, he’s hovering over my shoulder looking into the comp.
– Er… right. Have fun ‘scrapping’.
– Yeah, I’ve got 1900 scraps already.
– O…k… (freak)


And so it went. To be fair, I did meet up with a whole lot of childhood and school friends and other such ghosts from the past. It was nostalgic and quite charming, ‘scrapping’ each other and howling over the time I burnt a hole in my friend’s chemistry observation or the time she got a book thrown at her for snoring during assembly or the time we high-fived everyone as they left the exam hall, cuz no one, no one attempted the 10-mark geometric progression proof. Sigh. Good memories.

But then, there were also the other kind, the truly scraptastic stream of spelling-challenged imbeciles with a fierce aversion to vowels and a burning desire to ‘make friendship’ the way other people made, say, car engines or 700-tonne bridges. I stopped orkuting, because there’s only so much of ‘hi i m suresh frm choolaimedu chmical enginr I wnt 2 mk frndshp wid u ad me pls’ that I could take. And then of course, as these things usually happen – more often in Meg Ryan movies than in actual reality – something happens that makes you go… hmm.

Perhaps it would be easier, to simply copy and paste the entire exchange.

The one that started me off on this rollicking rhyming spree. A scrap, from an absolute unknown to me:
Hail! Devourer of Pratchett style fantasy
The gurgling gargoyle has deigned to write thee
While ranging through Orkut in search of life forms
That can weave worlds with words, songs with syllables
And 'tis now your turn to engage in boisterous banter
In rambling tales that up the tree of life do squirrables
Speak of thine own self, of dreams and rants
Of homoerotic fantasies and marxist slants
Of rambleworthy nightmares and ridiculous fears,
Of events causing both laughter and tears

Me:

Shalom. Hello. And greetings to thee.
Scavenger of scraps, and other debris,
The time has come, the eggman said,
To speak of many things,
Of dreams and rants and traveling pants,
And a walrus that sings,
I have, you see, no fantasies – homoerotic especially –
But for what I lack, I make up with my stack,
Of maoist bags and communist tees,
As for boisterous banter and rambling rants,
And elementary penguins and hare Krishna chants,
Drop by, oh amusingly alliterative one,
To my blogspot, at squarerootofnegativeone
But while we’re here, sipping ankh-morpork beer,
Let me toss in your bowl and orkut hole,
A hi, hello and how do you do
And throw in for good measure, a truly orkutian treasure,
hi i wnt 2 mk frndshp wid u.


He:

Ohmigod Ohmigod Ohmigod! Now what do I do?
My pretensions to poetry have been exposed through and through!
Yikes, shites, bring out the kikes
That I may vent my frustrastripes
Upon their backs, bellies, and gripes
That erupt from my failed pen in floods of tears
May turn to foamy head, and thence lager into beers!
But hold, for I have yet one weapon still!
If rhyme be a crime, then prose shall be my pill!
Friendship with thee I certainly shall make
For now 'tis not just reputation at stake.
Granny Weatherwax did hint that things would go astray
But never once mention my tongue'd have to enter the fray!
O exalted one, I lay my pen beneath your feet
Let's can this cranberry, and go grab a bite to eat!


Me:

A bite? Why, yes, I think I might.
It would, after all, be a welcome respite
From endless work, and dreary disquiet
Thus said, I accept, your timely invite
To travel and traverse across the multiverse
Swimming past stars and swinging by seas
Taking flight by night, past moons of green cheese
Past suns of red, past leaves of lead,
Past discs on elephants that by turtles are led
Past restaurants diverse, at the end of the universe.
We shall rest on clouds, going from bed to verse
Till daylight cracketh, as sure and as true
As Dorothy and her ruby shoes, two
And the house that fell on all she never knew
But for the dog that was spared and a scarecrow, shit-scared
And a tinman, some sheep, and a lion that weeps
While my guitar gently creeps
Across skies of blue that a winged-monkey flew.
So pick up that pen, while I grab my wand
And together we shall go far and beyond
The limits of time and the restraints of rhyme
To Valhalla and oz and Scarborough fair
And penny lane and the sorcerer‘s lair
As for your tongue… well, the night is young
But for now I think,
We shall make do with ink.

----
To be continued? Well let’s see. And in the meanwhile, here’s to scraps and things much verse.

*chinks mug of ankh-morpork beer*