Saturday, December 31, 2022

4156 : Leica

 (Excerpted from a fictional piece)

Travelling through Europe, at one point, I was very close to the home of Leica. The train trudged along. Earlier I had passed by a shop with the huge Red Dot. Just months ago, I would have known nothing about this or the camera. Patiently you had taught me about the "additional micro contrast" the "soft look" and just the ethereal magic of a Lecia glass. Would I be able to know a Leica image if I saw one? Maybe not. Yet I now knew what to look out for.

The train had a steady metronome. I closed my eyes. Missing you. For everything you mean to me. Not some kind of puppy love. Middle-aged woman don't suffer puppies or love. 

Cameras were your lifeline. You knew obscure details about obscure brands and models. You said, there is something human about wanting to trap time. Imprison the this. Now. 

How do I capture you forever? I would gladly buy a fucking expensive Leica if I could even trap a peice of you. (Leica M - was that not always in your dream list?)

Ironic-  some things were never meant to be na, though?

Red dot be damned. My life is a complete mess. Fuckpool.

4157 : Sound

This constant desire to talk. To fill up this world with sound. With trite. As if its the sound of each other that makes us normal. The incessant chatter of nothing. Being nothing. Doing nothing.

The sounds that make us feel as if our world is trudging along. Versus in reality its just noise and entropy.

4156 : The end of the road

2022 has been tough. One of the strangest years I have had in terms of knowing what others think of me.

I have been shown the mirror a couple of times, and what I am seeing there is shocking. I cannot absolutely recognize myself.

Today, as a summary to the year, I feel deflated, lost and silent. I have been telling myself that at some point this rollercoaster while begin its ride up again.

I am hoping with 2022, this year truly ends :-)

Onward to silence, cameras and writing. Old skin will shed itself :-)

4155 : Dying

Dying is a strange and poetic process. Seeing it up close, is like seeing your life unspool. 

I often have wondered why cant it be easier. For the person dying I mean.

Saw this process up close and personal yday again.  As I say, I have a good "cold turkey break" into 2023.

And coffee keeps me sane. I need to go back to whiskey soon :-)

4154 : 6th one

How bad can a year end be?

Not much, except that you suddenly discovered a cache of truths. This truth breaks your mirror, crashes your ego and watches it burn.

Not much, if you rationalise that its better to have happened on the year end. There is the faint hope that tomorrow is a clean break.

Not much, if you realise you are finally alone and staring at the "true image" in the viewfinder. (Optical now, since the battery ran out and the electronic wont work :-))

I am on my 6th cup of coffee since morning. There is usually nothing much that coffee cannot solve in life. Then you have 2022 as a year. And 31st Dec as a day.

I just hit the ball out for a six.

4153 : Stationary Mouse

I switched from a regular mouse to a trackball mouse.

Still getting used to it, but requires me to use all my fingers.

Interesting skill to pick up I say :-) after 30 years of using mouse :-)

4152 : Reading List 2022 : #28 : What I talk about when I talk of running by Haruki Murakami

My final book for 2022, is a deep and yet fun meditation on life running and what it means to be yourself.

Lovely little book to offer perspective on 2023.

Read as if your life depended on it. at 192 pages brings my 2022 total to 9284 pages. About 24 pages a day.

4151 : Reading List 2022 : #27 : Exhalation by Ted Chiang

I have over 20 books half completed on my kindle. Some easy reads that I could not find time to finish and come difficult reads that I have spent hours trying to wade through but never reached the end of the road.

So possibly Exhalation by Ted Chiang has to be one of the last books I might mark as complete in 2022. I finished it earlier, but missed writing about it.

Totally brilliant read. One book that made me pause, think and think and think and think.

Both on what it means to be human and mortal. On my unfinished business and relationships.


Brings my 2022 reading list total to 9092 pages. 

This is 18/10 kind of book, which means dont miss it.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

4150 : Fire Engine

(Excerpted from a fictional piece)'

I felt my tea cup. Luke warm. Muddy warm coffee suited you just fine. You said it assuaged your "lingering mind, ", and even today, I have no fucking idea what that could possibly mean.

The sunlight was upon us, thawing the open deck we had occupied.  You were laughing, your famed guffaw which shook the table. I was cussing about someone we know, and you adored my habit of cussing. I don't cuss anymore, not as much. You brought out the best cuss out of me. Now is that a compliment?

You had these strange expressions. One of them was "we are laughing like pigs". I come from a small town in the middle of the country, and had a pig sty right behind my home. Used to hear them "oinking" but never once heard them laugh. 

As you grinned and thumped the table, you reached out and held my hands. Not simply held them, you kind of massaged them in a moist sort of way. The sexual energy was palpable. Though honestly, it almost seemed as if this did not/had not even crossed your mind.  

In an unhinged sort of way, you were always mindful. Always committed to the moment. In the middle of that "pig laugh", as you kneaded my hand, I distinctly remembered that you began singing a song. just because you heard the riff on the speakers behind us....It was a song by Yusuf Islam (I had to google that he was once Cat Stevens). You explained to me that this was his biggest song.....and you hummed and sang along with the lyrics. I only remembered this because you told me the story about his conversion to Islam.

Something in that hand gesture, felt so fucking intimate. As if we were naked, as if we were lovers. I wish we were. I wanted more of it. Do you hear Tail, I will take it anyday. Yet, it always threw me off.

You could never be mine. I often professed, I never wanted to possess you, and yet, thats the only thing I have ever wanted in the last decade. That intimate story was the apple tree in our orchard. Forbidden and yet snakes all around tempting us. 

On that table, that day, I shifted uncomfortably. "We dont have a future.", I blurted out. You responded some trite to the effect - As a poet, if we cannot imagine, then our lives will be meandering and hopeless. We should believe in angels, you said....else there was no chance that angels could be possible.

As we parted that day, you dropped me a message which said, "Spin, lets burn the world together.". I was at a traffic stop and had read this. I started driving again, and sighed so loudly, the car shuddered, "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck."

Bloody. We could not even kiss in the comfort of this world. Our lips were dry. We could not hold hands when we wanted to. Our hands were barren. And this fucking idiot, wanted to burn the world? Asshole.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

4149 : A story

(Excerpted from a piece of fiction)

"You make me look better. Your camera, your poetry - all of this paints me red, versus I might be all grey. You have a way with words, a skill at reconstituing the moment to make it look brighter."

She paused, her eyes still staring at her teacup. She definitely had more to say, and I waited.

"All our lives, we fantasize about being the gaze of someone like you. A raconteur who can make you feel so much better about yourself than what you might actually be. "

A long pregnant pause, as she gulped down another sip of her tea. She looked up and caught my eyes. With the awkward smile - one that combines intimacy, anxiety and the feeling of being rudderless - all at that same time. I could almost detect that she was about to tear up.

After a few seconds, "To me though, today, you cause immense insecurity and anxiety. I latch onto your words, sometimes finding you ridiculing my age, my lack of erudition.".
"Your fucking books" , she muttered under her breath.

"You cause deep distress to me.", and she stopped with a finality.

I waited for a few seconds before asking in my most gentle tone, "Can I ask why?"

"I never know whether you ever see me for what I am, or are always painting me for what you want me to be. How easy would it be for you one day to construct a narrative that I fucked it up, that I stole your a night catcher?" (I remember she said night catcher not dream catcher.)

She continued, "I could be the peg on which this entire edifice rested and you would make me responsible for its fall."

Pause. "....and more so, I am aware that I might be no more than a story for you. Just a pretty fiction that you built up in your head, to weave and blend into your fabric."

Years later, I don't remember much of that day, beyond that comment.

Times have gone by. Spin, you are still my best muse. My favorite poem, my finest portrait. I never wrote the sad love songs about you. You have always remained in my cheerful stories. You are my Dream Story.

Monday, December 26, 2022

4148 : Regret

(Excerpted from a fictional piece)   

We had just finished a wrap on some fabulous snaps of yours. They were ultimately delicious (hmmm....unusual adjective you say!!). You had, appreciated the capture, but then had surreptitiously responded with an older photo of yours which you added was one of your favorites. 

Looking at it, I had asked, "Who clicked this?" and you replied playfully, "You really don't want to know, do you?".

I was always ok with "not knowing what I don't need to know", that was in a nutshell. "This photo is nice. Reminds me of Van Gogh."

You had very felt flattered and said, "Hmm.....Nice. I am that picturesque, huh?"

Grinning, almost sardonically. Had paused and asked, "You want my Masti answer or the truth?"

Something tripped you. Almost immediately, you gave me that sharp look and said, "Sometimes Tail, I grow very tired of your playful words and tricks. You can almost never compliment me, ever. You either think I am growing old, or you see my wrinkles, or you see the crinkle of my nose. For once, I thought you were praising me....but come on, hit me baby one more time."

I kind of averted disaster and told you that looked like an avant garde impressionist poster. I blatantly lied that day. Through my eyes. They bled blue that day.

Do you know what I really meant that day? That photo, I still have it, kind and bright with me. The image is a strange image. Whoever clicked it, not sure how they were related to you. In that image you look definitely repressed and drowned in a sad song. My first reaction seeing that image was of immense tenderness and a flood of emotions for you. That feeling you have when someone close to you is "out of form". The second thought was what I remembered were supposedly Van Gogh's last words, "The sadness will last forever."

Was I prophetic? How I wish I could back flip.

4147 : Crash and Bloom

(Excerpted from a piece of fiction)

Everyday possibly a million stars are blowing up someplace in the universe. Becoming drawfs and possibly black holes eventually. Gobbling up the stories around them.

I am sitting opposite you, seeing you chew away on your favorite cheesecake. You are the black-hole. I am the story. I can see myself being warped in. A Tail without a head. 

Am I being poetic? I am diagnosed with arrythmia and there is only one star that is responsible for that glitter in my life. Please stay.

4146 : Reading

This year has been a strange year in terms of reading. I have struggled to read at one sitting. My patience tops out at around 30 pages or 25-35 mins.

And yet, the few books I have read, some of them have been brilliant.

I am starting my re-read of "Shalimar the Clown" by Mr. Rushdie :-), and "A Line made by walking" by Sara Baume.

I enjoy books as much as I enjoy music, coffee and my camera.

4145 : Physical noise

On some days, physical noise bothers me.

Totally. Just the everyday noise of the city, of the home, of the world around me.

We have become so causal with breaking our reverie.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

4144 : Sweet you rock

(Excerpted from a fiction piece)

I have been feeling miserable. Spin, you have been gone for some time now.
Have I gotten the order of those two statements wrong?

4143 : 2023

2023 has been a strange year for me. 

I have lost some of my dear friends (or so I think I have). Lost to time and (my) space. I have discovered photography again, and I have picked it up, as if I never gave up on it. I started writing again, both fiction and otherwise.

I discovered my own mom. Almost lost her. I figured that life is so much more than trudging along. Disrupted myself and destroyed my personal peace.

....and I have 6 more days of this year left.

4142 : Load up your guns

 (Excerpted from a fictional piece)

I must have written a million notes in my head. Fucking loser that's me!!

In each of these notes I want to tell you, Tail, the next time you come down to meet me, please don't bring your friends. Friends?

Yes, leave your salty words at the entrance of the cafe. Flush your schizoid camera down the pot. No need to jump imaginary hoops, we dont need a hero. The baggage you carry is better off misplaced by your airline. See your "friends" now?

Come as you are. (Fucking never liked Cobain, never understood this grunge bullshit!!, and if it were not for you, I would not even know of them.). Bring yourself in. The real you, the poignant human. Allow me to wear my vulnerability. I don't want to be preen perfect. I just want to be myself - your Spin.

Come as you are. Bring your coffee, that's fine. That's one thing that makes you human. 

Come as you are. Leave your trappings. Fucking, just come naked.

4141 : What you see, what you say

(Excerpted from a fictional piece)

You are a photographer, you say, huh? You also claim to moonlight as a poet. 

Do you know what I see? An insular, lonely and acerbic man. One who does not deal with the real world around him in any meaningful way. Using cameras and words as tools to build his own fiction. Building narratives that lull that feeling of numb, blunt the sting of the truth.

You once told me of a Ted Chiang story (which I still have not read), in which the difference between "talking" and "precise speech" is elucidated. The take away, as I understood it was, "talking" deals with versions, and hence can mean different things to different people, even if the same person says it in similar ways. It's also possible that the "talker" herself wants to give different versions. Versus "precise speech" is where you say things as you saw them, and let others interpret it - a la scribe.

You were always a "talker".  You build stories all the time. An auteur with words. You took our real world and made it your story, dear thief. 

Models, philosophizing, metaphors - thats all I ever meant to you. I never felt like a vulnerable human being with you. Behind all of this charade, was a fucking wimp of a human being. Someone who stood for nothing. Someone who was always talking, possibly lying via stories, but never listening. 

Very often I think of you Tail. Sometimes as much as 500 times a day, or more maybe. You are like a buzz that never leaves my head. In these years as I have stayed away, I have deeply missed you. I have built romantic possibilities and allusions. Yet, I know this, when I do meet you, within a few minutes you will bring my fucking edifice crashing. In a few minutes I will see you again, for what you really are. A weak undercooked dumpling, one that takes the shapes of the plate.

And you always thought I was the one conflicted? Take a pause, my love, anyone who has to deal with half of you, will die of exasperation. The remaining half might be helpful in dumping me six feet under.

You are two faced. Not in an evil sort of way. Yet, being disassociated is baked in into your fabric. You sometimes remind me of the temptation of the poisoned chalice. The meniscus (edge of the cup, dumbo!!) beckons, and yet - the red flame inside forewarns.

Tail, I am handcuffed to you, and yet I steadily choose to stay away. Go figure.

4140 : 2023

As 2023 approaches I am definitely growing more silent. More of cameras, music, books and the ability to just waltz into the night with an espresso.

This means more awkward commas.

Friday, December 23, 2022

4139 : Angels

(from a larger fiction piece)

We sat across from that fabled coffee shop. We had picked our coffee (and tea) and were sitting outside on the open deck. With me, it had to be a coffee shop, right? I would always choose a good coffee over almost any other food or drink. I never managed to tell you this. When I was in younger, in my 20s and I had still not experienced enough poisons, I had walked into a London pub, my first at that time, and asked for a cup of dark boiling liquid....and they had all thought I was apocalypse nutty. I am still the same in my head, never changed a bit. Anyway, this coffee story here is a digression, isn't it? 

We were chatting up about nothing and yet everything. Laughing like pigs. We would grin like sharks. I have never opened up that way again. You genuinely brought out the funnest side of me. I have little of it (the fun I mean), but you extruded the malt for the last drop of joy.

You were often prone to sudden changes in tone and mood. I realised it later that it comes from possibly a deep seat of conflicts and turmoils. Possibly. Today is not about that musing though.

At some point, you shifted into a sombre gear. Staring at your cup of tea, you said, "Tail, we don't have a future. We never had. We are just lighting fires in a forest, with no plan or no end.". Then you looked deep into my eyes, that look of utter desolation if there was one. If had not already known, I most definitely knew in that moment, that I was a very large sliece of your world, and right now, it was thrashing around in your head.

I remember that moment clearly. I had a deep temptation to tell you about "being in the moment, chasing joy....", the usual dipshit trope that I espouse most times.

Instead, I took a long pause and a deep sigh (and hence gave up some seconds of my life), and said, "I have always been a wannabe poet. Do you know - I chose to be one, to escape the reality that I have never possibly dealt well with. My poetry is a rope of steady escapism. Though she is not one my favorite poets, there is a poet called Mary Oliver, who says something that has always stayed with me. She says, that if as a poet, we cannot believe in angels, then there is no chance they will ever exist. Ever."

After a stretch of silence I added, "Let happy accidents happen, na?  If even we, don't believe in possibilities, then there are truly none. This world slowly ends."

4138 : Reading list 2022 : #26 : Humans Photographs that make you think by Henry Caroll

A strange litte book on photography that I started reading on a whim. And it totally did make me think, of myself, of the world around me, of what we are not seeing.

If you like meditative reading, or if you want to pause, if you want to see more....definitely a small easy read.

At 144 pages brings my 2022 reading to 8724 pages. (Images from Amazon)

4137 : Reading List 2022 : #25 : How high we go in the dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

I finished this brilliant book and it goes straight into my favorite book list. Meditative, and yet a roller coaster. 

Made me deeply meditate on what it means to be "us". What it means to be "human". What it means to be "living".

304 pages of strange reading that rocks you into a lullaby, before sending you down a rollercoaster - again and again.

I sometimes wish I could share this with someone and ask them, do you still have an axe? Do your daily tribulations still seem like a story?

At  304 pages brings my 2022 reading to 8580 pages.

Read this again, every year :-)

(Images from public sources)

4136 : Love

As I write this, my brilliant music system is playing Gymnopedie No. 1 by Erik Satie....and I am haunted by memories.

The ghosts who love a good set of keys.

4135 : Piano Jazz - 2

Never knew that I had such a weak heart for piano and jazz. I am totally in love with this music. Have been listening to it on repeat for the past 2 months.

I always associate music (and remember it) via when (at what point) in my life did I discover it.

I discovered this addiction (jazz piano and chaos), when I was at one of my lowest points in recent years. Personally I mean. Nothing was wrong, and yet all hell was breaking loose.

This music has kept me company on my longest days, on my silent walks, on days I have a song, but no tune in my head.

4134 : The coyotes have come

In the past 10 months, since Feb, I have had a series of devastating chats - wherein I have heard the strangest things about myself (in first personal plural....which means I am sitting with someone and they are telling me about me).

I have heard things that have slowly challenged my insides. Who am I? Why do I appear so different to others? Is there a "precise me", or just a series of lithograph images that I have to keep reconciling myself to?

I have felt devasted, truly have. I have also felt liberated - in the deep sense that I am no longer that ideal, that I aspire to.

The coyotes did come for me. I am a wolf. They have numbers. I have the size. Eventually both with hurt each other. Thats my epitaph. 

4133 : Jazz by the piano

Totally addicted to Jazz played with/on the piano.

My goto music in these times.

No wonder one of my favorite names now is Myra :-)

4132 : The end credits

 (from a fictional piece)

Sometimes, there is definitely no present. The future is very bleak. The past is glowing filament of what could have been.

Where does that leave us? 

With the end credits maybe.

Friday, December 16, 2022

4131 : Moon

(From a fiction piece)

You used to love holding my hands and kissing them. You would not hold them long enough like a lover would. There was nothing lingering and overtly sensual about the act. You almost made it sing like tender poetry. 

On some mischievous days, you would take my hand, and I would still expect you to kiss them. Which you would, but then almost in that split second, you would slide down and then bite one of my fingers. Never too violent, but it always hurt, more due to the surprise and suddeness. I would scream something to the effect of "ouch".

That one day, when you pulled your trick, I slapped you playfully and asked, "Fucking asshole, what are you trying to do. Your bite is not even sexual. At least not to me. If you are trying to turn me are a fucking loser. Does nothing for me."

You grinned like a bear, stared down your coffee and then said, "I am trying to bite a piece off the moon.". After a long enough pause, you said, "The moon needs new craters, na?"

In that moment, I had a dopamine and massive oxytocin high. You never grabbed the moment if ever, if you had only asked me then, to jump on your "fast car", I would so happily have done that. We could have been lovers, if only for one lucking day.

Mom noticed I smiled like a teenaged girl that whole evening.  

You and your tropes. I could kiss you and throttle you at the same time. Fucking heartbreaker of a poet.

4130 : We are doomed

In the complex I live in, a young mom is preparing 7-10 year old girls to walk a fashion parade. Possibly for Christmas celebration over the weekend. 

Every evening, she is teaching them to walk like a fashion diva.

It is exclusively girls. 

Something in that scence riles me up. I would violently oppose this for my daughter. Respecting ourselves, and not objectifying ourselves is a journey we start every single day and hold the line.

To be fair, its ok, to dress fashionably, to be groovy, or edgy in your clothing. Thats what I call as part of our "mating dance" and I am totally fine with that. Look good, and make every effort for it.

Act, dance, perfom comedy - each of which enhances the definition of our own self worth. But, possibly avoid making a parade of yourself. Especially in this mindless manner. And definitely lets not teach this to our young children. And finally, spare our daughters....they will have to anyways fight for equity in the future.


4129 : Awkward Silence

(From a fiction piece)

We both walked into the elevator, all happy and beaming. It was one of the old world corporate headquarters in South Mumbai. We were especially in joie, both with each other and just in the state we were used to be being.

As the elevator was about to start its ascend, a couple of young 20 somethings - 1 girl, 3 boys literally skidded into it just as the door was about to slide shut.

The girl was in a green chudidar and the guys were in kurtas. We both looked at each other, almost in askance, "whats special today?" and maybe "what are the kids doing in this place?".

As the lift closed, we both were silent, so had the group that just joined us. Dead silence in that cabin.

Then one of the boys standing ahead of me, moved to the girl's ears and whispered in a raspy voice "then there was awkward silence....." and give out an evil loud laugh. 

Totally spontaneous and I just loved it. Was mesmerized by this emotion from him.

A few seconds later, since the girl was engrossed in Insta (I could see her phone) - and she had not reacted to him. He did this again, and this time a little louder. And the same "I own this world laugh".

The girl still looking at the phone, said, "These heels are terrible" and she moved her feet uncomfortably. This "own the earth" guy, immediately bent down to offer his both palms as a mechanism to step on them. He was being facetious, but he appeared totally sincere. As if, if she had stepped, would truly have cradled her feet. She shrugged not interested.

I was so into this. This "guy" who I called bhiku mhatre (post the exit from the elevator) - mumbai ka raja kaun?......

In that moment, I silently blessed (not that it might matter), our Bhiku Mhatre. Why could we not be like this? Where had we stopped chasing joy, being edgy idiotic kids? I did wonder. I wanted to tell you that then. I so desperately wanted us to be that.

I still very much want to. Bring your heels on. Are you listening, Spin?

Thursday, December 15, 2022

4128 : Fast Car

(Poem Inspired by Tracy Chapman's Fast Car)

I got a fast car,
It can get us out of here,
Pack yourself, thats all I need near,

Maybe, get a pack of smokes,
The rest of it is star rust,
Let your old self melt into the dust, 

Lets drive to the end of the road,
And then a little more, with Who,
Come along, what.....does the rain bother you?

Lets do our singing in the rain,
Like Everly Brothers, tapping on the love seat,
To the raucous rhythm of our heart beat,

Come along, heart, lets drive away,
Jail birdies giving escape to the mind,
Watch the smoke waft, see what we can find,

They will eventually come for us,
Our blood is honey, lets tempt the bee,
Their choice, skewer you or carve me,

When we grow older, there will be an opera composed on us two,
We can laugh and tell the kids, that we were like cinder,
Burning down the world on a lust and tinder,

Still don't believe me Spin? I am driving a fast car,
The playlist is painting shades of blue,
They will tell me, I miserably lost - but babe, I still bloody got you!!

4127 : Antwerp Jam by Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart

Listen to Antwerp Jam by Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart and you know what groovy is.

4126 : Nothing compares 2 U by Chris Cornell

Listening to Chris Cornell crooning Nothing Compares 2 U is so cathartic. Its almost like a lullaby to my ears.

Love Chris Cornell. Love this song.

4125: #41by Dave Matthews Band and Loneliness

I have listened to 10 different versions of #41 on loop. This is #41 by Dave Matthews Band. If you are a jazz and live performance fan, you will adore some versions. 

A good 3 hrs of this jazzy bop number. 

Why is it lonely? I dont know another human being who loves this song as much as I love it. I dont know another human being who has heard it - even. Except for the folks at home, who tolerate my unusual taste in music.

Watch this video and fall in love with this song. The most enthralling jazz performance on stage I have seen in a long time.

FF to around 9:00 minutes if you dont have patience for the magic to begin.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

4124 : Brief moment in the sun

I have been reading something strange and yet beautiful. A lyrical meditation on what it means to be mortal (and hence alive).

Its fiction and yet it is not. I have been deeply enveloped into the process. 

I have a history here. A close brush with the other side (if that is a metaphorical poetic way to put it). I am always deeply aware of my transience. It comes out not only in my writing, but also in my everyday being.

As I have been walking, meditating, my belief reinforces itself.....we are truly like fireflies. Glowing for that brief moments before we go away.

No one cares what you were, what you did....especially outside that momentary context.

I was thinking I have so much unfinished chats and imaginary conversations. With you, You, yOU, yOu, yoU......the list is endless.

Come over. We need to talk. We need to laugh. We are just fireflies. Escaping our brief moments in the sun.

Deeply melancholic. I am going to be gone someday. 

4123 : Falling

Yesterday. At night. Must have been around 2.30am.

I woke up to use the rest room.

As I returned to the bed and closed my eyes again, I recall this deep sense of falling - of losing control. The very same feeling you have in the micro seconds before you pass out. I had this immense loss of balance. 

This was not a dream. This was real. For some reason, my first thought, is this what dying feels like? Dont know why my mind jumped there. Whatever the reason, I kind of felt ok in a weird sense, I knew that my awareness was still kicking in - even if this was the actual death process.

A flurry of images and thoughts and this deep sense of losing control. I remember three distinct faces in that jamboree of images.

By now, I was sure something was happening. Then it stopped. It must have been less than 2-3 seconds in all. I woke up, open my eyes and stared into the darkness. Some ambient light, otherwise all was quiet.

This is what it feels like.

Possibly. Falling.

4122 : Reading List 2022 : #24 : Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

Take a simple love story and spin it into a heart breaking tale of wisdom. 

Only Murakami or Kundera can do it.

Re-reading this book after many years. Loved it totally like the first time. Totally awash by its spirit.

At 230 pages brings my 2022 total to 8276 pages.

4121 : Reading List 2022 : #23 : Novelist as a vocation By Haruki Murakami

Easily one of my favorite books of the year, and one of my favorite from the Master himself.

Loved the book. Its deep, meditative and still a light read. Only Murakami can pull that trick.

How much has a single stranger made a difference to my life. And that answer lies in someone like Murakami or Kundera.

At 198 pages brings my 2022 list total to 8046 pages.

4120 : Reading List 2022 : #22 : Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges

I loved this book so much. A hard hitting statement about our lives. Its Republican leaning, but thats truly beside the point. There is so much the book makes us think about.

Definiely recommend a read.

At 232 pages brings my 2022 reading total to 7848 pages.

Images from public sources

4119 : Reading List 2022 : #21 : Identity by Milan Kundera

In the past 7 years every single time I hit a wall, I go back to Murakami and Kundera. Today is about Kundera. I re-read Identity by Milan Kundera.

There is more wisdom in this small book, than some philosophy 101 uni course. Read, love and be mellowed.

At 176 pages brings my 2022 total to 7618 pages.

I would implore all of you to read and fall in love again.

(Images from public sources)

Saturday, December 10, 2022

4118 : Hey Love 2

 (Excerpted from another longer fictional piece, from within my repository)

I have never gotten used to the phone ever. I preferred meeting in person always. (Sometimes that is so unbeknownst of an introvert!!)

I was on the phone today and the network stood up on me. For a brief second, something in me wanted to say “heylow, heylow” in the singsong way I had perfected from the times when we talked often.

I caught myself just in that split second and returned to my regular “hello”.

You would always greet me with so much love, as if you were rolling your tongue and smiling at the same time. When I complimented you on this, you gave me this long rigmarole on why energy is important and blah blah……I was bored in that moment. Totally.

But…..even today, I would  give something precious to just call you, hear you say “Hello” with the tongue rolling….and then hang up. 

We both could play this game for hours. I would sign up for this. What stops us? My phonebook does not know you anymore Spin.

4117 : Hey Love

(Excerpted from another longer fictional piece, from within my repository)  

“Hello”, that greeting from you sounded like a police officer’s usher. I would rag you immensely on this. How could you “love me”, and then greet me in this drab way? Your quirks were like Saturn’s multiple rings.

It must have been months, one fine day, you called and say “HeyLove”. It was your “hello” sounding like “heylove”. More than tender and warm, I found this amusing and, at later moments charming. 

The way you would sometimes croon “haylow, heylove, heylowe” at a cadence. This would happen often when we could not hear each other well, or when you were trying to grab my attention.

Many years later, you confessed, you had were imitating Kurt Cobain from “Smells like Teen Spirit”.

In my car, Bluetooth is configured to auto answer the call. Its my roulette version of answering a blind call. Every single time, I wish, even today, that as soon as I answer, I hear a gruff voice saying “HeyLove”. 

“Tell me, my Kurt, my love.”

4116 : Hooked onto John Lee Hooker

I have always loved Blues.

Now I am falling in love again with John Lee Hooker, Steve Winwood, Cale and the rest.

4115 : Tortoise

I often become a tortoise. For years. Friends have always lamented that I am weird.

So here is how it happens. I either go incognito when I am

- Stressed or grappling with something which is taking a lot of mindspace. E.g. If someone is terminally ill, I find it hard to engage on something I might consider trivial.

- I am in deep focus mode (like Cal Newport would say).

The weird bits, is both of these happen at least a few times a month. The rule though is, you can still reach in, by either calling up a few times, or messaging more than once.

This is different from ghosting. This is turtle do.

4114 : Palindrome

Yes, I am a Palindrome today.

Friday, December 09, 2022

4113 : ZZ Top

I am listening to ZZ Top after 20 years. Wonder why I stopped listening to them.

And I am grinning like a pig. Its a total riot.

Love ZZ Top. The kind of music......that makes blues makes sound like Dirty Dancing.

Laugh, dance, get your dose of serotonin. Perfect work music.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

4112 : Now I know

 (Excerpted from another longer fictional piece, from within my repository) 

"Friends for life", I said. You, Tail, never ever agreed on that. Life for you was always transient. You shrugged with your cynical violence. We were sipping coffee in the middle of a strange alien city. You had ordered some black bullshit. I never understood how you drink that dark piss. In as many words, I always told you that.

I had stuck to a regular cappuccino.  In some time, during that chat, you abruptly left for the restroom. You were gone for a few minutes. I busied myself with the phone. 

You returned carrying a small tray and a cup of tea. I smiled and said "Tea after coffee?". You smiled and said, "Yes, why not?".

We both shared that single cup of tea. I abandoned my shitty coffee half way through. It was soon evening, time to go back to our nests. I held my arms around your back. Encircled. Like two young kids. As we walked, I laughed like a pig and said aloud, "The coffee was very bad."

You said "hmmm" and smiled. The typical evil, cynical smile that only you can emit.

I looked at you, knowing that sheepish mischief was at work,  and asked, "So what are you not telling me?"

You almost blushed and then said, "Nothing re.". I swear you blushed that day.

"Tell Tail. You know, I will hunt you to your death, till you don't tell me what is it that you are griping around with. Now."

".....and you thought tea after coffee was 'odd'?"

It took me a few seconds to see what he was saying. He had looked at my eyes when he had said the sentence, but now he was looking ahead. With a small wispy grin. "Seriously.....", I said, "You noticed?"

I could not believe it. You were unbelievably adorable. I could see in your eyes, you were being utterly honest. Fucking lord, you had actually noticed that my coffee was god-forsaken. 

I looked away and smiled. I did not know what to say. Immediately tightened my hold around your back. A warmer and closer clasp. In that single moment, I knew. 

I simply bloody knew.

4111 : Us and Them - 2

(Excerpted from another longer fictional piece, from within my repository) 

You sat at the white table. Almost silent, but never quiet. You spoke a sentence now and then. Something light, something topical, something to fill up the moment. I knew, though, that our silence bothered you. In the past, when you would be more open, you had called it the pungent silence. I had truly hated you in those moments.

Today, though, I see your point. We have a repugnent silence. That awkward nothingness, that is actually anonymous, but yet riles. As you speak the meaningless trifles, I register nothing. Almost nothing. It occurs to me, you are trying to be someone who you are not.

Not the first time it has occurred to me. I had always loved you. Until one bright day, when I saw your rough edges. Then some more. To a point where all that was left was spikes and spears. You always told me "Spin, there is nothing I dislike about you. I like all 1000 pieces of you."

Fucking hell. Fucking liar. I never once believed you on that. Never. And every single time you called me Spin, I would intentionally call you "Tail". I liked the name Spin then, and love it even today. Yet, something today, about that name sounds so hollow. Shallow too.

Something in me bothered you. Deeply. My imperfections. My aging, possibly. My biological slowing down. You never admitted to it. Ever. Even today. I am here clutching my heart and all wonder. Tail, I expected you to be honest. That's all. 

Your black humor never bothered me so much, though it sometimes did. When it did, I told you so. In response you lost your edge, you blunted your humor to a point of being pliant, and less abrasive, your speech and tone gained a tone of obsequious boredom. The voice of a broken tail. 

Tail, today, I saw you steal a glance at my hands. Your eyes lingered for a moment longer than necessary. I noticed. In that moment, my heart fluttered like the old times. I prayed to my dear Ganesha, give this fucking idiot the courage to lift my hand and kiss it. With the gentleness like he once did. With gay abandon. With joy, and woo me like a love-struck teenager would.

Tail, as you sat there talking - none of the topics I remember, I see a broken and lost soul. Someone I care for immensely. Someone I would love to fly away with. Someone who I would love to be with forever. 

In that same moment, I also see, that that might never ever happen. You have built a fortress around you. In that fortress sleeps Tail. Spin has no gatepass. In that cage, you are the one who is trapped and isolated. There is no possible "us".

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

4110 : Us and them

(Excerpted from another longer fictional piece, from within my repository)

You sat at the edge of the white table. Looking at you, I noticed your wrinkles and dark circles. The thinning hair too. The imperfect you. You hated me, Spin, for saying that.

Clutching onto my coffee cup, with my sweaty nervous hands, I reminisced. We had steadily grown apart. Grown older. All but an arm's length separated us, and yet, I just could not get myself to kiss your hand. A simple kiss - not out of romance, or love, but out of the oomph of everyday tenderness. Like I once would, without a thought, without a reason. A gentle kiss, to tell you that I want to walk with you in your shoes. Allow me, Spin.

We go by names. You go by names. You were and always will be Spin for me. Why do I say that now? I loved the Spin of you. My interests in physics made me romance the idea that we were two discrete particles with connected Spins.

Your aging always bothered you. You thought others would stop loving you as you aged. You believed I had weaned away due to your age and grime. Let me sing to you, Spin - I never stopped loving you in these long years. I saw you for your 1000 parts and grew attached to each of those 1000 parts. Inch by inch, like Saleem Sinai's grandfather (inside jokes hated that too!!)

I am very sure of that. I mean, of my unflinching love for you. That day, I had driven a good 4 hrs just to get some basic time with you. I would have happily driven 12 hours for the same few minutes. 

Dont you see it Spin - I dont hope for a better future. I dont even hope for happier times.

I must admit though, I have never felt comfortable with the space between. The chasm. You never understood coffees, but "us" sings to me as much as the twirl of this light roast. I have always fervently wanted "us". 

Monday, December 05, 2022

4109 : My Bluebird's tale (by Charles Bukowski)

There's a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I pour whiskey on him and inhale

cigarette smoke

4108 : John Lee Hooker

As I listen to John Lee Hooker and Thelonious Monk, it occurs to me that this evening and the moment is out to submerge me. To pour their gummy on me. 

Life in slowmo, an inching dance of devastation.

4107 : My love(s)

Jazz, coffee, poetry and photography - all started in my life as an aspirational state. As an example - I liked someone (either as an artist) or as a friend (who listened to jazz say....).......and then proceeded to imitate him/her.

That's how each of those slippery slides started many years ago, possibly.

Today, years later, though these have become vertible sources of joys. I crave and am addicted to these experiences. But more so, I can see genuine beauty, a genuine symmetric purpose - almost an inherent universality built into these.

If my journey is something to go by, then it appears - beauty and a deeper sense of connection require years (sometimes decades) for them to become a genuine source of fluid joy.

Would this also be true for human interactions?

Sunday, December 04, 2022

4106 : What happiness could be

I am at one of my favorite eateries in the world. Its a small hole in the wall kind of place, which serves some of the finest food and coffee.

I was talking to the lovely lady who runs it, she finally got me to re-think my aversion to light roast coffee. (I started with light and medium roast, but eventually now almost drink dark blends or single origins).

I have been sipping a light roast all day today. Something I bought off her store.

Though what struck me (and this post) was something more instructive. As my friend finished her call, I sat around - glanced at the cafe (small 300 sq ft place). Full of baking equipment. A tiny Bose Speaker playing Charles Bradley - Good to back home. The lady, and what I assume to her partner and her son - all focussed on their work. The lady continuing to bake and cook food as she continued through the motions. With almost a pious zen like rhythm. 

As an example, the son (I assume) was busy making boxes to pack the pastries as they waited for the next customer to walk in. In the midst of this, the mother (the lady) walked upto him and admonished him about packing something wrong. And this kid must be 15 years old.....

I have always wanted to open a cafe. A jazz cafe to be precise (blame Murakami to put that idea in my head). And I could not imagine my dream being different from this fav eatery of mine.

It does not cost much to choose happiness. I compulsively almost never choose it. And today the instruction at this coffee house was, that happiness is a poem written by us. The lady and the coffee showed me the way.

What a memory to file away. 

4105 : My world through a cracked lens

 So I am at this fancy coffee shop. The shop is lovely. I am entrapped by its beauty and I choose to capture some of these in a camera.

As I click some photos....a helper walks upto me and says, fairly curtly, "cameras are not allowed."

I apologize and put the camera back in. My friend is chomping on food. As I stare into the coffee and the world around me. Almost every other of the 20 tables has friends who are all out with their phone cameras. 

Constantly clicking. 

A part of me is lost. What sort of a fucked world have we created?

A world that snorts up their own arse.

4104 : Where have the conversations gone?

I am sitting with you. And I do wonder, where have all the conversations gone? At what waypoint did we lose the mojo?
The joke is on us, and all I can do is muster a smile.

4103 : Air playing the keyboard

I am with a friend, who is on the phone. I am staring out onto the street. This is the middle of a crowded Indian street.

Then I see this kid (slightly portly) - white shirt, red tie, grey trouser - walking back from the school possibly. He is alone. He is awkward. 

As I stare at him, I realise that both his hands are moving in the air. He is playing the keyboard or the piano. He is walking, but his eyes are on his hands, and the imaginary piano he is playing. 

I am mesmerised by this.

The world is magical due to individuals like him. Totally into his own game. There is also a lesson for each of us in this.

4102 : I dont belong here

As I sit down for some conversations and interactions with even "loved" ones. I realise that I dont belong there. The dissociation is kind of intense for me, since I am actutely aware of it.

I am also aware that the real conversations have disappeared. No long do we talk about the things that move us. We instead talk about the mundane and the safe.

My mind is not there. Its not elsewhere too. Its just locked in.

4101: Down and out

So I am at this fancy eating place. Everyone busy in their own little private tribulation at each table. Everyone's battles are their own graveyards. As I call it, the world of shiny happy place. I am slightly lost. I stare down at the door. Not sure what I am expecting. 

In walks in a devout couple. Symbols give them away. (I am in India, and I am Indian, so I know what I am saying!!)

The father walks in first, holds the door for someone. Thats when I notice a daughter, walking using a walker - she must be guess. She is Down's.

The mother is trying to help the daughter, and the father politely tells her in Tamil, "let her come along, she will manage."

Eventually the girl (Down's) walks in and they very slowly trudge to their table. The father is still smiling. The awkward smile of knowing that this is all there is to the world.