Wednesday, February 20, 2019

You were born in a zoo

There's a bubble floating above the world crammed with the unfulfilled birthday wishes made by kids at their parties.

Candles go snuff.
Wishes are wished very hard indeed.
People eat cake.
Parents sigh at the mess and clean up slowly, wondering if this is their life now (it is.)

The depletion of the ozone layer also corrodes this bubble, an unforeseen effect of climate change that scientists could not have warned you about.

One day in 2024, this bubble goes pop.

Nobody can quite explain the things that happened that year.

Many many grown adults discover boxes full of barbie dolls and old-school handheld video games in their cupboards.
A few old men and women are puzzled to find they have become very popular (albeit very wrinkled) rockstars, instead of the lawyers, accountants, artists, or homeless bums they thought they were.
The corpses of long deceased divorced parents are uprooted and are found in the same grave.
A shocking number of people drop dead of no cause whatsoever.

Make a wish darling. But if you tell anyone it'll never come true.
Happy birthday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A very clean slate

​The last story was set in a fun little world, one in which all humans had just vanished without a trace. This is a continuation of the smaller, less documentable events that follow.


D​ue to unforseen circumstances, a jet black mid-range roomba finds itself in the lobby of a large office building in Connecticut. It was brought down from the storage closet by the night manager who was feeling a bit lonely during his shift and wanted to see the cute robot whizz around and clean things but the lonesomeness is now all Ted's, which is what the manager had named the Roomba.

Ted has cleaned the entire lobby 42 times since the humans vanished. On round 43, its battery gives off a matter of fact half-over beep and as per the standard-issue glitch in the system, Ted veers a few degrees off course and wanders out towards the main entrance, where it putters into the empty space between 2 panes of a revolving door and gets sucked into its perpetual slipstream.

In that tiny, constant, yet constantly changing triangular slice of life, Ted faces a crisis. It can't move ahead, it'd bump into a pane of glass. It can't retreat - more glass. It can't stand still, it's not programmed to do that unless instructed accordingly. As its little infrared sensors struggle to reconcile the conflicting signals it's getting, the follow through pane of glass makes the decision for Ted and sweeps it right along. Round and round and round Ted goes, giving off the occasional beep of contact, supplemented soon by beeps that sound increasingly confused, beeps that indicate power saver mode, beeps that indicate low battery, beeps that indicate byebye.

In a world slowly dying before it can come back to life and flourish, human-free, Ted beeps one final shutdown beep and fades into black. And still it keeps getting slowly whirled around and about by the door mechanism that also dies 4 days later.

Death by battery-over, death by lack of ability to make a decision, death by revolving door - all perfectly valid and largely human ways to die.

​And so it goes...
RIP Ted.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

They won't be Bach

​I felt like writing a thing but I didn't know what. I peeked into my brain and there seemed to be a lot of tumbleweed blowing around in there so that was a lost cause, so I went to a random word generator, picked 3 words and wrote something around that. 

In honour of Valentine's day being.. here, I'll call this series Those Three Words and try to write a bit more.

Those Thee Words #1 - ​multiply | melodic | ants

​Plunk plunk plunk
Plunkety plunk​

​​In a land where the humans have all dropped dead, industry grinds to a halt. Pollution drops drastically. Electricity goes on the fritz and then goes out, plunging the world into darkness for the first time in centuries. The earth rejoices. Nature ponders about how to adjust to this new development, and takes a left turn from her current course to rewire the world. Soon, the food chain will be reset. Cities will crumble. The wild will roam the streets. Evolution goes "HM?" and continues its little dance with minor adjustments. And the world wonders what to do with the detritus and spoils left behind.

Plunk ta da dan ta da dannnnn
Da da dunnn da da dunnnn

​While the more violent of the animals have chosen to batter at the buildings and try to remove any trace of the humans that wreaked havoc upon their lands, the ant population in Sicily has decided to adopt a more que-sera-sera, carpe diem, you-go-girl mindset. Emerging from the cracks, pouring into the music room in the basement of one long dead decrepit Mrs. Fernandez, we see harmony in groups like we never saw in the great civilisations.

One baby grand piano, being played by thousands (millions? billions? how does one even quantify so many minds working as one?) of ants. Pressing down on keys, pushing down on pedals, filling the dead-dead-dying-but-freshly-alive-air with the music of the ages.

Before people are relegated to the fossil department of the world so angry with them, some animals enjoy the little good that came from humanity. Before the instruments crumble, before the earth's music returns to its natural rumble-swish-chirp state, the ants play one final hurrah to the great homo sapiens.

Plink plink.

Take a bow.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Short for Annihilator

This is Anna. 
Anna is a study in hesitation.

Anna thinks 17 times before jumping off the bed, extending one paw off it at a time, trying to gauge whether this is a wise decision or not. "Should I stay here forevermore? Should I perhaps take this bold leap to go where I actually go everyday, multiple times? Will this end badly for me?" He lands clumsily, looking startled at the jolt. He walks about the house looking worried that something will attack him, a fear not at all unfounded as he walks into a wall 20 seconds later, his body folding into itself, crumpling like an accordion. He routinely steps into the water bowl, looks at his sodden paw in dismay and shakes it vigorously. Sometimes he steps into one food bowl while eating out of another, because he just doesn't realise it's there. He starts at soft noises, jumps a foot in the air when we turn the music on, retreats under the couch whenever he sees anyone new.

Poor Anna lives in fear of his own existence.

We've gotten his eyes tested, we've taken him to the vet and asked her what on earth is wrong with him and she says not a damn thing my friends, he's in the pink of health, he's an adorable healthy little monkey. So we scratch our heads, shrug, and go on. Anna's been home for 4 years, and he's happy and comfortable with us, and with our other cat - our stupidly handsome pure white idiotcat full of swag and bluster, who takes care of him, grooms him, plays with him, keeps him company when fireworks are the sound of the season and Anna is trying very hard to will the world to go away post-haste.

A comfortable relaxed Anna looks like a beautiful loaf of brown bread.

I rub his head and he closes his eyes in rapture and asks for more. I move down to his neck, he extends it and asks for moremoremoremore, his little (usually nervous) face so incredibly smiley. I move to his back and petpetpet him and his body thrums happily. I move to his bum and give it a little scritch-scratch and I feel disturbances in the infrastructure. His muscles ripple like sand shifting on a dune, over and over again. (The kind where you have to look again to see whether it's a trick of the light or whether the shape of the dune really is changing is there a mirage around the corner is this just fantasy?) He cocks his head to one side as though he's wondering what I'm doing and hey this isn't half bad but wtf? His head swivels about looking for me, looking for the hand that is doing these wonderous and strange things, where is it? Little pulses trill through his body like sine waves - there's one, there's another, there's one more (I could plot them on a graph and figure out their frequency, what fun), all caused by the butt scratch. And when he decides he's had enough; he gets up and walks all over the keyboard on my open laptop, putting music on, sending gibberish mails to my clients, writing reams of text that will one day be deciphered to be feline research papers on the complexities of catnaps. He takes one exploratory round of my bed, walks up to me and curls up next to my feet. All is well, all is happy, until I make the slightest movement, at which point he might need a defibrillator.

I love that stupid fur factory. Poor thing probably needs therapy.

Monday, July 17, 2017

I am Jack's fetishised misery. Your good self?

Every time I'm on a flight, I idly think of it plummeting to the ground, crashing with a pretty boom. Debris and destruction and the crushing despair felt by 3 people on the ground who weren't nice to someone who died on that flight, not realising they'll never see them again. They'd be terrified, mortified, petrified, stupefied... for 8 seconds, before moving on to being annoyed at Ola Share algorithms. Because, let's face it, that rubbish thing is infinitely more infuriating than a piddly little demise.

Every time I fly I think of that scene in Fight Club, of Edward Norton on the flight, not wanting to kill himself but wanting to die all the same, hoping for a convenient air disaster. Air pocket, turbulence, stewardess running over your foot with a trolley full of tasteless cup noodles, air pocket, flight crashing right into mine, jolly good, goodbye world. Nicely done Chuck Palahniuk, you little shock-value-ho.

Certain characters and scenes and dialogues will always remain with me, whether I liked the parent books/movies/shows/voyeuristic peek into others' lives or not. The image of a succubus consuming people whole, a la American Gods, is forever burned into my brain and wouldn't she make one helluva patronus?! Little less growly, more cuddly and dozy, wanting back massages and chocolates and hair pettings, slaying a dementor or two before bingewatching Bojack Horseman and feeling miserable (but very productively so, don't you think?). What an excellent patronus. I would name her Alice. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Shot Story #2: The one where they all know it's a cliche

"Rin safedi madam, hamesha", he always promised with a smile to the ladies he collected the laundry from. with a special wink reserved for the prettiest housewives in Cabana Enclave. Yes, those ones whose smiles would be wider if not for all that botox. those ones, who tried extra hard to transfer the sparkle from their solitaire earrings to their dull dull lives. He could tell that they weren't quite able to manage. He could help, though. he just didn't care enough to.

He gave them just enough to get them hungry. that wolvish smile, that lingering touch on their fingers as he took their laundry, when he gave back their change, when he took that glass of water that everyone knew he didn't really need. "Haan thanda paani please"

102 was older and quite undeniably sexy, but a bit too blatant for his taste. 403 was shy, but too easy. he knew he could have her anytime. 1303 was his favourite. there was something about the way she met his eyes and cocked her head every time she handed him the newest batch of clothes, that almost seemed like a challenge.

"you know what i want.
and i know you know what i want.
you going to do anything about it then?
or are you scared?"

The sheets were his favourite. The prospect of him and 1303 falling back on those sheets on that big bed that was beyond his pay scale to even see (but he imagined it was quite big) made him pine and blush and imagine and fantasize. None of the others made him feel this way. With the others, he had the control. Not with this one. This one's sardonic raise of a perfectly shaped eyebrow gave him sleepless nights. the thought of sullying those pristine white sheets on a bed that wasn't his, with a woman who wasn't his was almost too much to bear.

So when it finally happened to be, and when the not-entirely-unexpected sordid aftermath transpired (dhobi gathers the fortitude to seduce woman- husband walks in on some rather excellent sex- husband goes from shocked to miserable to violent in a matter of minutes- dhobi grabs kitchen knife from husband's hand and tries some rather unfortunate self defence- husband bleeds out wetly and vigorously and dies- wife screams- dhobi stabs wife in panic and then sits in silent shock wondering how his life got to this juncture- dhobi gathers his wits and saves existential contemplation for another day), it was rather convenient that he was able to deal with most of the evidence rather easily.

A drinking buddy who works in the local crematorium is a good thing to have. helps in speedy corpse disposal.
A job which has made you an expert in removing blood stains from almost any surface is another. 

(Picture by Nitish Singh)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Oh look, it's a glitter sprinkled cliché.

Bye bye 2016 and all that.
After my recent bout of dealing with unnecessary but still kinda-sorta welcome perfunctory as well as genuine wishes about having a Happy Birthday despite birthdays being days when you're unnecessarily obligated to feel like a special snowflake and getting all miserable when you don't manage, we now tackle New Year.
An artificial construct of time in which we attempt to wipe the slate clean and attempt to make a grand new beginning.
Bah, humbug.

Let's now pretend you read an entire book called "New Year's Carol". At the end, this particular Scrooge grudgingly gives in to the New Year spirit (of the witbier type and otherwise) and does a Year in Review type scene. Let us begin.

  1. This Year was unintentionally very active. I played a lot of Ultimate for most of the year . I ran a LOT. At times, diligently. At times, for the sake of it. Running just because I've committed to a faceless running organisation that I will run this Sunday so faaaine let's do this thang. Let's see if I can do this less mechanically next year. But as a result I stayed in shape this year. A shape that wasn't entirely opprobrious to me. Good stuffs.
  2. I had a lot of fantastic and bizarre food this year. This included Chocolate Cheese Pizza (wtf but gimme), Nutella Sea Salt Cookies (be still my heart) and Bellpepper Tequila cocktails (blech, kill me now).
  3. I made an attempt to stop being a wallflower. Or... to be less of one. Sometimes, I succeeded and revelled in the temporary spotlight I had purposefully waltzed into while gritting my teeth. Sometimes I cringed and wished the spotlight would sprout Usain Bolt legs and go away. Sometimes I tripped over my words, own shoelaces and other people's metaphorical outstretched feet and retired hurt into a corner. This has been a fun and terrifying experiment. Let me continue this. 
  4. As a side effect of point 3, I made friends this year! Don't roll your eyes at me, social butterflies of the world. Until now I was coasting on the same 6 and a half friends I've had for a decade now, who love me enough to understand when I veer violently between incessant chatter and radio silence, so getting close to new people and discovering different types of fun I can have with them was exciting and gratifying, and has made me a much more interesting person.
  5. SOLO TRAVEL WHATTA FUN. I travelled alone to Thailand, getting over many misconceptions of what I need, what I like and what I fear. I had a surprising amount of fun, learnt to like myself a bit more, and gave myself a dhobi-list of things to work on.
  6. This year was a bit muddled in my head. I struggled a lot with anxiety of some sort or the other for most of the latter part of the year. Work related, family related, general life-is-overwhelming-me-please-let-me-die-now related. With the help of a couple of friends who are like family and one wonderful husband who I'm honoured is my actual family, I'm doing a bit better now.
  7. Gimme some looove. Ok fine keep your love, I'll just hug the many accolades I got  this year to keep myself warm at night with those. 12 half-marathons done. Advanced open water scuba diving certification attained. What bling, what swag.
  8. I wrote a tiny little bit more than I have for a while, with a nutso Instagram account for my cats, and general creative writing assignments that were done impromptu through whatsapp messages with some cuckoo friends. Yay. 
  9. The feeling of coming home, crashing into bed and being surrounded by 2 furry little feline bodies who mew into my ear, lick my hand, furiously demand head-rubs, and trustingly settle onto my chest, curl up near my ear, or snuggle into the little space between my bent knees as I sleep on my side might just be my preferred panacea. 
2016 was tough, but pretty fantastic overall.

Happy New Year guys. I wish you zero hangovers, a lot of great action and the love of many little animals in 2017. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

The drilling noise isn't particularly deafening.

Recently I've been duplicating bits of me through piddly stories and opinions, and leaving them with new people I meet. 
Some will hopefully stick around and imbibe more, making my presence larger, more tangible, more real. 
Others will leave, taking bits of me to places I'm present only through vague memories and once-upon-some-times. 

From having an apparent chronic inability to approach new people, to talk and to share, to becoming a tad more outgoing and trying to drill a little hole through the shell I've been hiding in for a while, I'm doing rather better than I expected to.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Existence suxbro

Sometimes I shake myself out of a reverie I didn't even know I was in - an extended state in which I continue to function, to go through life without actually being aware that I... am. I am alive. That I exist. That what I'm doing, what is happening to me, is actually really happening. It's not nice.

It's unpleasant, suddenly becoming excruciatingly aware that I'm an actual person with thoughts, doing actions that have consequences, thinking thoughts that have repercussions, that will eventually all lead nowhere, like one giant round in the hamster wheel of life. What then makes it worse is the immediate realisation that what you just felt is also real. It wasn't just a bad dream of self-awareness and reality. You're in the dream, and you're going to be stuck there for a while. And then it happens again and again, a miserable looping feedback mechanism of realisation and despair, of revelation and helplessness, that eventually fades, only to hit me again when I least expect it, making me sway on the spot and mutter "oh no...", to the minor confusion of those around me. 

What can one then do but mournfully, balefully exist. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm not even a morning person

My favourite part of the day is actually just 15 minutes in the morning. That brief shining window of time before I *have* to get up and go about my day. Before making breakfast, feeding cats, running off to work, for those few minutes I can lie in bed with my eyes closed, listening to what's happening around me.

The cats are fighting under the bed. A train toots in the distance. Cars horns have started honking. The fan is too fast, I'm cold. I feel around for a blanket and wrap it tighter around me. I realise I have a much better alternative, shrug off the sheets and wrap myself around the gently snoring bear of a man next to me. He grumbles and settles into a new comfortable position. A cat wanders by and curls up in the warm space between us, purring loudly, sending happy happy vibrations through us both, arching his neck for a head-rub. I've never seen as much bliss at a simple touch of the hand as this cat gets out of constant soft head-rubs. 

All this only lasts for a few minutes, seconds even... The other cat shows up and starts demanding food, phones start beeping, trains need to be caught, milk needs to be boiled and the day starts to buzz, and I hope it continues in the same pleasant, happy vein it began.