Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spring Cleaning - it never ends

The advantage of cleaning via moving is the chance to realize what you value. Apparently, I value junk. 
Last night was the emptying-out-my-PC-stuff night. Not the PC itself, of course - that'll be the last to be packed, supplying the soundtrack to the shifting... just the associated junk that accumulates around it. 
I'm blown away. A veritable forest of cables - A/V, extensions, USB cords, converters, patch cords, phone jacks. Headphones of every shape and size. Not one, not two, but five MP3 players with in various stages of breakdown. Gamepads, one PS2 with a USB adapter, the other wireless bluetooth. A wifi dongle. A bluetooth dongle. Card reader. Joystick. Wireless adapters. Webcam. Three  ancient cellphones. A USB cable intended for something truly monstrous, by the shape of it's other end - and I have no idea what it is. Those tine, tiny master/slave connector thingies. A burnt-out motherboard in Iron Man colors. TV tuner. A box of PC screws. A pair of wireless headphones, the radio versions. USB fan, from that time when the PC room fan broke down and repairing it was too much of a pain. External hard disk adapter/case. Plugpoint adapters. 
I packed it all. Hey, most of it still works in some form... it's like a giant, unwieldy, electronic jigsaw. One day it will all be assembled into something awesome. 
Which will then probably gain sentience and tear me from limb to limb, according to Shelley's Law. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

How could they leave without telling us??

a little trip down memory lane, tonight. some beer, a lot of remembrance.
it's been eight years, and it's unfair.
we always had boundaries. a clear dividing line. a phase of life ends, another begins, and there's no confusion. an exam, a holiday, a trip, and a complete change in the way life was. it was a clear, simple time.
it all ended in 2002.
the last eight years have been... mushed. slowly, imperceptibly, things changed, people changed, circumstances changed.
people who swore never to be slaves to the cell now own one.
people who were always supposed to be jungli became civilized.
people who were always supposed to smoke, quit.
people who were, were icons, dammit, gained weight, shaved, cut their hair, settled down.
groups fragmented, faded away.
all the things we swore we'd do, became less and less important.
bikes have been sold, or abandoned. cars have been bought. credit cards. emi's.
places that were packed until they threw us out are empty at midnight.
weekends are slept away, the high point being a movie.
slowly, insidiously, time steals it all.
it wasn't supposed to be like this. When something died, we knew it, and we knew what we were getting in return. Every sacrifice came with a reward.
I feel betrayed by time today. it came, and it stole almost a decade of my life and gave nothing back except memories. the good times we had, slipped away in silence, and they never even stopped to say goodbye. tonight, it's just you and me, and a long, long shadow that stretches away behind us, the dark stake that's pinned us to the ground.
I feel... lost, sometimes. where did everyone go? 
is this what it's supposed to be like? wandering about blindly in a darkening room, while everything you love vanishes into the dusk? as dreams die?
I do not begrudge the passage of time. It's natural, inevitable. What I hate, and what I feel shocked, angered, saddened by, is the way it just left without a party, without a whimper, just faded away. I feel emptied out, emptied with the knowledge that something I thought I had all along wasn't there at all for a long time. That I was dancing on a dream, one that softly evaporated in the morning, leaving just a confused sense of happiness and regret.

Where d'ye think you're going? get your ass back in here! leave if you must, but do me the courtesy of acknowledging the time we had, tell me that it had been good.
Let me see what happens next. I'm tired of flailing about in the dark.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Cleaning: (Paradigm) Shifting

The Universe is with you, in the way that the guy who pushes you into the deep end of the pool is more or less moving in the same direction and is (almost) by your side. 
I took the first step in initiating Phase 1 of The Ultimate Cleanup Operation - of moving house - by arranging for an alternate and telling my landlord I will be vacating in 2 months. Promptly, and out of the blue, the plan got shot to hell by a phone call from HR - the company's allotted me a flat. Chances are, I need to prepone the move now - subject to approval by higher (Mrs.) authorities, of course. 
But it's still good. People push you into the pool so you get refreshed, woken up, cleaned, and generally snapped out of whatever rut you were in. I'm seeing a pattern, a plan here. A phase of life is ending and on it's last legs - time to move on. 

Thursday, May 06, 2010

online identities

A lot of pre-modern cultures shared a belief that photographs can steal your soul - trapping something as essential and personal as your face in a magic box and spiriting it away. So would mirrors... during funerals, mirrors would be covered. 
You could consider it a ridiculous belief, but belief it is - the subject matter doesn't matter, what matters is your faith, your psychic investment in that abstract. Caught by a sudden, unexpected flash, Tribesman X worries about his soul, Brand Manager Y worries about revenue loss due to IPR abuse and trademark violation, Celeb Z sees a loss of image and star value... we all worry. We worry about some intangible, indefinable thing being taken away from us... yet we put it right back out there every chance we get, in other media. 
How much of ourselves doesn't even belong to us anymore? Our lives, images, plans, feelings, hopes, dreams, triumphs and disasters... all out there, all for the world to see. To respond to. To discuss among themselves about. 
When you ride a tiger, you can't get off. We aren't riding a tiger. We're riding a kraken, an island on the back of a whale, blissfully unaware of where it's taking us... 
One can say that a digital profile is as much a part of the personal self as any insubstantial notion of the mind, psyche, soul... whether it resides in the brain, the heart, the liver... or a server farm in Norway. But I believe there's a fundamental difference. A policy change in Palo Alto should not reduce my sense of self-worth. Nor should a random comment, like (or lack of them), etc. Yet - they do. We post. They respond. We re-respond. 
But more than that... why do we place so much into this? Time that will never come back. Thought. Emotion. For what? If we enjoy sermonizing from our soapboxes, we should do it knowing why we're there. 
Let's not become carried away in collective groupthink. 
Start asking Why. Start understanding what you get... and what you lose... and if it's worth it in the end. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


the sun is climbing slowly towards the zenith. the day is getting hotter, and even the breeze is gone. sweat streams off me, and the weight of the bag is getting heavier - which is weird, considering I've been eating and drinking out of it for a while now. 
it was dark when i woke up, and i'm thinking back of those few hours - packing, timepassing, making the calls and making plans. it's always a tough call, that one, when you pack - should you be prepared for everything, at the cost of a bag that weighs 19 tons and screws you throughout the whole trip? Or blithely pack bare essentials, and god help you if anything goes wrong? i generally tend towards the former. and it's telling, now. sure, it feels good to see the smiles on the faces of the people who ran out of water long back and who you helped from your supplies - but smiles don't make chafed shoulders easier to bear. 
trying to peer ahead, up, look for some shade - how much more do we need to climb? the sun is blinding. hard to see, now. everything was so clear at dawn - a world exploding with possibilities, and me fresh as a daisy and raring to go. there's a patch of trees ahead - i think i'll stop for a bit, take the bag off. catch my breath. 
some views have been spectacular, though. worth the trip. i should've brought a better camera. 
and people wander off all over the place. half the time somebody's gone off on a trip of their own, getting lost, calling to show something... exploring slows the group, but makes for a better memory. 
wish it would rain a bit. or at least some clouds. 
damn, i need to lose weight. all the samosas in the morning are making themselves felt. 
not leading the group anymore - somewhere around the middle-end, i guess. doesn't matter. as long as i don't lose the way - i know where we're all going. some might just get there first... and do what? take a nap? i'd prefer to see more of the trek... after all, getting there is half the fun. 
unless you're stumbling along in the dark, scared, lost and alone. that's not much fun if you can't handle it. 
and the afternoon is going to be even hotter, if we don't find a shadier path. need to remember that. take it slow, but not too slow. 
oh, well - take that as it comes. concentrate on that shady bit ahead. it's coming up soon. 

Monday, May 03, 2010


in one hand, i hold a fresh-from-machine espresso in a paper cup. the other, a plastic bottle i just filled from the watercooler. condensation forms and fades in the dehumidified, conditioned air. conflicting signals, burn and freeze. imagined thermoelectric drift. i feel awake. 
strange dreams. a party, a relocation, old places, new faces... ever thought about how two familiar aspects of life can become bizarre if brought together? 
caffeine buzz. 
sometimes, the bkc stretch can almost compensate for the juhu bridge. but nothing can make the andheri bit of the w.e.h. anything other than the drive up to the gates of of the city of dis. 
i like early mornings. the time doesn't matter, it just has to be before it gets used by other people. before sunup, before rush hour, before office timings, before the movie start. on that side of reality opposite the langoliers, existence gets you high. little things. smells. highlights off chrome. sunshine.