Friday, October 30, 2009

The Keeper of Shadows

Perhaps all which followed was meant to happen. There can be no better explanation and the machines of this world are oiled by no other unctuous belief. For its credit, it does offer tender sleep to many who walk around trying to reconcile that which is with what should be. I was merely walking with Henry V and Don Pedro as I have been doing for the past few years now. Henry V treats this as his sole opportunity to impress upon onlookers the sheer beauty of his breed and lineage. Don Pedro, on the other hand, took this as his only opportunity to connect to me. As crafty humans often do, I take this event as an opportunity to shower my attention on Henry V and make it difficult for Don Pedro to have my attention. Somehow, the evening hands each one of us what we want. Today was no different and hence, I am convinced that what followed was merely meant to happen. On all accounts, it happened anyway.

We walked past several trees and tired men and women pushing themselves to walk faster in order to keep their metabolic rates where doctors recommend it must reside in order that the believing soul reside longer on earth. Henry V had his nose up in the air and was slightly frightened when a rat shot suddenly out from under an overturned slipper. He barked his reprimand and we continued. That is when I spotted the bench. It was already laid there because it was meant to be there for the events to happen. On the bench was a large and largely immobile bundle of dark shadow, as the lights weren't in my favour of recognising more accurately. I stopped, much to Don Pedro's delight as he placed his paws on my hip with the "Will you hug me now? Scratch me?" look which is probably his most common and effortless facade. I tossed a "Down" down at him and he obeyed, impatiently pedaling his front paws and bobbing his head slightly in uncontained excitement. His tail swept a loving arc on the dirty walk. Henry V was already seated with his face towards the group of teenaged excitement behind us. They were already commenting about the cute dog and I am sure Henry V must been thinking "Dog? Pedigree!" The lump hadn't moved since I had stopped and I tried my best to understand what this large blackened mass could be. Before I could decide on one of many things running in my mind, the ugly mass cytokinetically split with heart wrenching slowness into a pair of beautifully recognisable lovers, her hair softly wafted in the wind from the river. They came together again to place the top of their foreheads against the other, perhaps the inevitable drawing together of beings used to being together and finding it gaspingly alien to be apart for so long a duration as a few breaths.

They slowly pushed against their heads and stood up. I noticed that they were young and hence, seemed to carry so much of humanly possible emotions and dramatic feelings. He was still holding onto her reluctance to leave, shaped as a little finger on her left hand. She was looking at his feet clad, perhaps, in patent leather and definitely less worn than his eyes looking at the top of her head. She slowly nodded her head and began pulling herself away part by part along the length of her being, head first. Don Pedro also noticed the weeping fingers which had once held hers. He should have lowered them, but he might have kept them aloft in the hope that it would be easier for her to find her way back just in case. Don Pedro, let out a soft whimper as she walked away further before trotting off.

The Capacity for Aloneness

He sat down looking in the direction she had left, and I got down on my haunches to be licked by Don Pedro. Henry V also moved closer because a dog which is close to his master is considered to be cuter. I watched him taking in the warmth still clinging on the strips that made the bench. How long could he have known her to feel that way? How long had I known Arundhati before she left? And Kamna? Somehow love realises its essence in departure. In the prospect of separation, it rises and swells, and like autumn clouds, it promises more than it can sustain. At the end, departure chips at the edges that love's mirages create, leaving us with ourselves: to be loved because we think we love. Don Pedro loves and so does Henry V, but they had the edge of being dogs from the beginning.

Henry V looked at me and I nodded my head. He tugged at the leash and I released him. He rolled down to where the man sat before steadying into a casual walk up to his bench. The lover smiled at the golden retriever and scratched Henry V's head. Henry V placed his snout on his lap and began a man to man conversation. I decided to wait for a few more seconds before walking over to put my errant dog on a leash and strike up a conversation. It always started like this before we became friends and he would speak his heart out. I have known various kinds of women in the process: workaholics, ambitious, greedy, slutty, disinterested, bored, unwilling to fight their family and society and the occasional ones who left for the guy's good. Whatever they were made of, the guy who stayed behind was always the same - saddened, unsure and wondering why this happened to him. That is where I would come in, telling him stories about Henry V and Don Pedro who have outlived Kamna and Arundhati, about my business as an architect and about Goa where I had a farm. About life and about how being alone can be as beautiful as being with someone though less subject to their immaturity. About how life is insulted the minute you are in pain.

I grabbed Don Pedro's cheeks and whispered, "Get thee a wife, get thee a wife!" before walking over to my man.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Alvibest Part Deux

I think it is high time Alvibest came back. A few others agree. Most others go, "Alvibest? What's that?". I have none to blame other than myself. Its like having a child and keeping her away from her grandparents long enough to make them forget they had a grandchild. I know, I am blabbering, but it helps to blabber at times. Blabber, don't blabber; noodles, don't noodles... :-)

So Alvibest will be back shortly. The periodicity might change. Or not. The content will be new (there's no "Or not" to that statement). Anyone who reads this and feels that they should contribute, should refer to the flier above. If you know some friend of yours who might like to contribute, you still need to refer to the flier above. For those who weren't part of the history of Alvibest, those little squares in the flier were the cover pages of some of the earlier issues of Alvibest. Sniff. I know, it is such an emotional moment! Sniff! :-D

Friday, October 16, 2009

God The Designer

I like to imagine myself a designer: of spaces, of electronic gadgets, of software, of clothes, of food, of furniture, of products, of chance meetings (between 2 friends) changing into a romance which I can hum to (much better when they come to thank me for it), of chance meetings of ingredients commonly believed to be poor neighbours in a bowl of dinner's arrangement, of posters, of names, of stories and similar excursions into the preferred real versus the stale fare we call life.
I like to imagine God as a designer, too, of similar interests and more (though I am not sure why he would spend time designing a tarantula, but then hey!). That is one of the reasons I can look up at a cloud formation and go "Hmmm. Nice one. Modeled it around a bumblebee wearing an apron?" and watch it for a while as it fades into an apron and then an apparition! But, as I always study works of other designers, I have some issues with certain choices He made (so there! Women can be happy that God is now referred to as a "He", but He still gets points for making a dewdrop!). Here is a tiny list of things I thought were ok to put down in public (oh! There are stuff I simply cannot understand but which I can only discuss with my shadow along the toilet bowl).

  • Nerve endings for teeth: As in, God! Really? What gave you that idea? They gnash, and masticate. Job over! They don't taste, they don't burn (no one's eating volcano droppings) and they make too much noise when they chatter in the cold. Why nerves!? And then there is a root canal surgery that one needs to go through! How much easier it would have been if there were no nerves there! Tooth extraction becomes as simple as (the current scene of) watching someone else's tooth extracted. I hope Human 2.0 comes without it.
  • Burp needs another outlet: I was in the middle of Blanc Manger and the input and output (carried on the memory-wings of a delicious Lasagna) collided mid-palate. Not good, not good... mostly for others at the table. No amount of French or pouts (and French always seems like spoken with a pout) redeemed me or the lady's Arabian Sand coloured blouse (now seeming more Chowpaty beach sand). Poor design, I cried. At least the waiter stood long enough to listen before raising his eyebrows to the bill on the table. Poor design, My Lord. You should not have separated the two gaseous phenomena... I mean the one that missed the elevator and the other we call a burp.
  • Re-Sequence: I will have to give it to George for wording it the best. You sure got the order mixed up. Frankly, we think we peak and then we definitely wobble our way to the end. So wrong but universally believed like the story of Adam and Eve (seriously!? Just one rib!? Well, I'll give it to You, then). Would anyone buy such a tour package? Poor design, Sir, poor design.
  • Hair! God! Why on earth do I need hair? Women spend half their fortune (or sometimes more, esp. when it is their husband's fortune) on removing it anyway! Check with them. If they don't want it, don't give it. It needs to be a runtime variable and not a #define HAIR "YES". And look at those poor men! They so want it on their heads and you take it off and get some clueless jerk to give it a fancy name of MPB. Seriously, what am I going to do with a name? And help me understand, who asked for hair out of their ears? Really, who? Advani is not a designer! Why did you ask him!? Laloo!! God! Get real! Clear. Hair on head is always a yes. That's it. End of hirsute story. No! Only head. No! No! Ok fine... eyebrows! But that's it.
  • Growth: While on the topic of hair... why do I have to have it growing? Shouldn't my hair (which resides near my brain) be more intelligent and know what style I like most and stick to that length? As in, you don't have my hands and legs grow longer by the day and have me shear them! Brain growth is welcome (oh! but so lacking nowadays in the world around me) but you thought it would difficult to manage that!?
  • Ewww: Umberto Eco wrote a rather interesting piece on ugly and he gave ratification to my perspective on the design of the urino-genital system (at least the endpoints). They are ugly, smelly, oh-so-sensitive, poorly designed (very unaesthetic) for something which has moved this Earth around for millenia and created most of Hollywood's content and Freud's popularity, not to mention the dismal collection of papers sold as books (MnB) and created you and me. Sad! Surely, You could have done better. No, you don't need to make it like a Vegas billboard, but still... We should meet to discuss possible designs. I have a few drawing that might interest You. At least separate their utility value, for heaven's sake! Overloading is best left to C++.
  • Other coolant designs: I know the purpose of sweat, but I am sure there are better strategies for cooling down the system. Look at dogs (I know You created them, too. Damn good job! Perhaps your best work...). They just hang their tongues out. I don't mind doing that as long as you can wipe it out of that woman's head that I am doing so because she thinks that I think that she is gorgeous. Urgh! How about... ummm... cracking your knuckles to plunge the internal temperature to... then make the Sun less hot! God! I have to tell You everything!?
  • Stingy breath: Why just two holes!? Of course, I am referring to the nostrils. And so small (well, as nostrils they are aesthetic when not too big but as air inlets... too small)! Maybe the pores in the skin should be able to breath. Then small nostrils are ok. And again, why connect it to my mouth!? What made you think I would want to taste my own cold!? Or have soda come out of my nose!? Yes, I agree. We should meet.
  • Women: Well, they are wonderful. Aesthetic, at times, filling the air with varied wavelength and amplitude sounds. Not sure what else is aesthetic about them. Tresses!? Orlando Bloom also looks pretty in long hair and we also wish he would shut his mouth. There are nice noses, and chins and eyes amongst men (and if there aren't nice enough ones, that is another point of partial design which is basically, poor design). So I am trying to understand why women!? Or you could say why men (as in, let me be. So it's suddenly me in a world of women!? Wow! Nice)? From a design and manufacturing PoV, why two (or three) of a lot? Is there any added benefit? And then why make one so complicated in her thoughts and communication and hints!? If she wants you to like a dress, why doesn't she simply say so!? Why do I have to be told that this is a dress that she thinks will rock the show (which I am not sure means good or bad) and then ask me to vote for it but she will drop it if I don't like it only if I am certain that no one else will wear it and if they do, they will sink like a rock (see? "rock" again and hence, confused) and all my verdict built on the one thing that I should love her!!!? Why do I need to love anyone to know that that shade of green resembles the stuff under the fridge!!? Oh! So now I don't like her and have no sensitivity for her feelings especially because her mother gifted this to her!!? Fortunately, I have never had to run through this in my life (nothing grows under my fridge), but I have seen guys who would simply call me to know what to get their wives or girlfriends! Not because they are dumb, but because they are scared like the man in the middle of a train tunnel, clueless about which side of his will be crushed first! It helps to fall in love with books and music etc. Simple logic. And then there was always Bruno, wagging his nearly absent tail. You need to simplify that design (no, leave Bruno alone). Oh god! You so need to do that.
I could go on, but it doesn't feel fair to be the critic especially when I am still admiring your design of the brain and the musculature of a hound. Brilliant piece of work. You sure messed up human beings. Or did they offer advice while you were working!? ;-)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Tour Through Himalaya

Actually, it wasn't what people ordinarily think of in a tour through the Himalayas. Nope, no crunching on snow, now goggles to protect me from the reflecting ice, no slipping on glaciers, no Yeti (or her husband, the Yet), no frozen fingers breaking in brittle painless pieces (but I assure you my derriere was nearly there before I jumped into the Taptkund in Badrinath) and no Shangri-la experience. Of course, I will detail all the fun I had in later posts. Till then, I hope you enjoy the pictures. Do let me know which ones you liked and I might send you a framed copy of it! :-)