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Of words and spices

Anyone who cares for cooking and writing will know that both these art forms have a lot in common. The most important thing to know – if one wants to cook or write well – is not the plot, the narrative sequencing, the character details, etc. but when to stop, to say it aloud, that should do ; however alluring is the temptation to add an extra word or spice just for tad bit of an impact. A misplaced word or an ingredient – even the slightest one – can disrupt the ‘fundamental accuracy’ of the story or the dish.

Cooking comes far more naturally to me than writing though I would like to do both with the same flair. The ease with which I explore new dishes, ingredients as compared to narrative styles, characters, plots, etc. is because somewhere food – that specific dish – is more temporal whereas writing has a sense of permanence to it. Or so I used to think. In the last two weeks I have followed something which I have not in the last many, many years – a routine. There is a time and place for everything – reading, running, cooking, writing. Whilst following the routine pedantically, I realized the shallowness of my approach towards cooking. Fixing dinner for myself on a regular basis I realized that it was only my delusion to think that I was a better cook than a writer or at least less inhibited. My cooking – interesting, nevertheless – was very limiting. I found myself to be as apprehensive a cook as a writer – if I qualify as that. The scope I set out for my dinners was very narrow. The spices, arrangement of ingredient, consistency was repetitive to death. So, whilst every night I was having something different – in terms of ingredients – it all tasted the same for the spices, arrangement, and the consistency were just the same. To my horror, the realization dawned upon my frail self that my writing would also be suffering from similar predicament. Since then I decided to take matters in own hands to sort out my cooking and writing. I may never turn out to a cook or an author people turn to for recipes or stories but, for myself, I will know that I tried my best even if it was not good enough.

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Crisis red hot: a rather public sort of a statement

Every once so often I have a crisis. I am weaning out of a crisis as such at the moment. The crisis have no bearings or grounding in anything ‘real’: getting fired, running out of next month’s rent, being dumped, falling in love miserably or waking up with a limb missing. During these times, or when speaking of these times, fragile friends, promising acquaintances or fake lovers ask, ‘what happened? What went wrong? What precipitated it? You were just fine until the night before’, I have no answers. My logic and rationality is tested. Until now – lacking a ‘real, rational’ reason for my crisis – I had convinced myself it is a matter of hormones, lunar cycles or genetically transmitted madness. After one of these numbing crises, I had decided, sworn myself into a solemn vow, that I shall not seek the aid of pills, pink plastic blades or noose around my neck when lacking in emotions, rationality and logic. It is too messy to wake up in your own filth.

I have kept that promise to myself.

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The long and short of it: Published and still running

I am a published writer now.

Here here here ....

What if it's only 350 of the initially 1200 words written? What if the world is not heralding me as the writer of the millennium? What if the governments of different countries have not come forth to support my skills, talent, and intuitive intelligence? What if I am writing this blog early in the day when I should be finishing my thesis, writing the novel of the century, or the definitive collection of short stories?

I derive pleasure out of small things in life; in this case, a 350 word article in a weekly magazine. Courtesy good friends, Aa. and P., I got to celebrate the moment as if I had been nominated for the Nobel. I might never get a Nobel but I definitely know how it would feel if I got one.

After waking up with hangover, clinging on to a vodka soiled copy of Tehelka, and wondering where the fans (read: young boys and girls who would willingly sit at my feet desperately awaiting words of wisdom) are, I decided to evaluate my position as a 'writer' critically.

While re-reading the 350 words I had written for the 600th time, I struck me that there was something disturbing about it after all. To state the obvious, my piece is about running which I have taken up a few months back, I enjoy running so much that I have given up smoking, a habit of 13 years, to be able to run better, and I can have long conversations about different techniques of running. Not writing, mind you. All this makes me very healthy. My lungs are swelling, not lacking breath, but the new found vigour they have.

All this also makes me share a lot in common with Haruki Murakami. That is slightly disturbing.

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Clowning Around: My B'day wish list, LOV, etc. and all

Not very far into the future, I shall be setting out to live out the 32nd year of my life. My other age-conscious friends, who employ intellectual acrobatics to fight their age, would insist that they are turning 31. Not me. I am not so easily seduced by the fiction/romance of mathematics. In its stead, I think growing old has it merits of which I shall speak of at some other opportune, ripe-enough, moment.

In that future, of being 32, I have decided I want the following:

Boxing gear (Sandbag + Gloves) / 4 GB RAM for my PowerBook G4

Latest 3G iPhone / Champagne with Starwberries

Not necessarily in that order.

I have been getting a lot of flak for being vocal about my desire for an iPhone. I have been called fake and pretensions. Someone even asked me whether somewhere in my family tree there is a yuppie-puppy punjabi from Karol Bagh. I do not blame them, at least, out rightly. I shall just not let them touch my iPhone. As of now, I carry a Noika, the cheapest of their models. Expensive phones do not amuse me. But, heck, people, it's an iPhone. Apple. Mac... those who don't understand that sentiment, I am sorry, but even 'beauty will not be able to your souls'.

Such specific detailed listing of my desires/wishes, I do not recall being able to accomplish earlier. My refrain in those moments of deep questioning was 'I don't know. I really don't know'.

But I know now. And what still, I can justify every of the wishes listed.

Is it, I wonder, a severe case of Nicotine deficiency? Is the lack of it clearing my system towards higher austere destinations or is it (the lack) surreptitiously taking over my system making me into an iPhone carrying, Kidrock listening, The Secret reading (and worse still believing in it, is the universe at large conspiring for me to have that iphone) person.

Or. Or. Or …

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Bottom biting: Irresistible as Chocolate

Anyone - with half an ounce of grey cells and a sense of humour - who has seen the ‘Dark Temptation: Irresistible as Chocolate’ Axe advert will call it anything but ‘indecent, repulsive, and obscene’. This is how MIB has categorized it and urges the advertisers “to refrain from airing the said advertisement”.  

The narrative sequence of the advert, bordering between surrealistic and science fiction, is not too complicated. A man, getting dressed, spray himself, generously, with the Axe deodrant, Dark Temptation, and on his way out he transforms into a ‘Chocolate boy’. And, well, women want to, hmm…, eat him up because he’s made of chocolate. While walking the road, he sweetly offers a bit of his ‘chocolate’ nose to women eating ice-cream as flavouring (was this the repulsive bit?). Visiting another sick woman-friend, he wiggles his ‘chocolate’ hand to amuse her. It does bring out a darn’ good smile on her face. My favourite bit of the advert is when traveling in a bus, a woman, nonchalantly bites into his bottom for a piece of his, well, ‘chocolate’ bottom. Sweet! (On second thoughts, was this the vulgar and indecent bit?)

I am not too keen on chocolate. I do not think I would flutter, if man smelling of chocolate is passing by. I like sweat and grime. I do. I watched the advert, over and over again, to figure what the ‘indecent, repulsive, and vulgar’ bits. On the third viewing, the advert was outright hilarious and anything but sexual.

The ‘chocolate’ man seems like as if he is high on LSD. The smirk is permanent and suggests some serious damage to important parts of the brain. The smile, the eyes, the walk, the look do not drive the women; they just want the chocolate. The man seems to incidental to the whole situation. 

I would admit, it is a slightly over-the-top advert but it catches one’s attention and, I reckon, does what it is supposed to do, convince men that if they use this deodorant strange women would want to bite into their bottoms. Is that the message? It did not work on me. I do not fancy either chocolate or ‘chocolate’ men. I will not want my man to smell of chocolate. It’s like having a deodorant which smells like Pepperoni Pizza. I know, I know … for the chocolate lovers, this is a deeming comparison but I do not know any better. What chocolate does to you, Pepperoni does for me. 

Ah, well …. 

And, is biting into the bottom really that ‘vulgar or obscene’? I think not. 

There could be very serious, sexual implications of biting into bottoms but that is not what this advert projects. 

The kind of bottom-biting this advert professes is that of the Sunday-afternoon-lazing-around nursing-hangover-semi-naked-but-not-sexed-out-loving-in-between-zodiac-reading-munching-into-the-lover’s-bottom. 

It is actually kinda’ quite cute. Maybe I will take to chocolates, finally.









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