Friday, April 3, 2009


Bliss. Quiet oblivion. Unknowingness, fuzzy images (sometimes) surrounded by darkness. A curtain away from reality.

I try to fight the shadow, swim back to consciousness, reaching for the veil to pull away the darkness and see my window.

Tiny slits open. A flash of light, and grills, very conspicuous in my frame of vision. Steady breaths get steadier, slow with the rise and fall of my chest. I sink back into the darkness.

How long has it been? Half an hour, an hour, ten minutes? It feels like seconds...

I reach out again. A watch appears in my head, numbers and a voice, my voice saying "Nine. Work at nine."

Now I can imagine where things are... I see the window, the cupboard, the clothes. Though they have no clear outlines, I ready myself for the familiar.

With a great amount of energy and an equal measure of will power, I force my body to sit up. My head follows suit.

Hair obscures vision. I draw my hand mechanically, like the driver of a machine, wipe the hair from my face and let it fall lifeless. I lean against the wall and sleep again.

I jolt awake. I've had a dream, but that is not the reason for my wakefulness. Strangely, I am alert. My body is mine again and my head connected with it.

Refreshed, I stand, steady myself from the slight spinning. Then down a glass of water and I'm off to the loo to pee.

If I just had the time...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

To me

I know it's seems odd and not possible, but somehow I have the word 'journalist' written on my job profile.

As part of my job, as is with every journalist especially the arm-chair sort, there's not a day that goes by without calls. The constant introductions every five minutes, the repeating of names (like mine or Sholin or Jolandra or Balakrishnaprasad Subramania Kumaran Harisundar Chattopadhyaya, without insult to anyone or any community) over phoneline static, the interpretation of Hindi-, Bengali-, Konkani-, Kannada-flavoured English.

It was going great yesterday. Everyone decided to speak to me, although most times the conversation ended with: "I don't know much about this. Please contact Mr/Ms X, who will be in a better position to answer your query." I finally got the elusive Ms X and rang her up.

(Heavy traffic sounds. Honking)

D: Hello, may I speak to Ms X please?

X: Yes, speaking.

D: I am Dielle D'Souza calling from the P... A....

X: Who??

D: (very slowly, trying to be very clear) Dielle D'Souza from the P... A...

X: Yea? ok?

D: I'm doing a story on dolphins and I wanted your help. I spoke to Mr S and he told me you work with dolphins. (bla bla bla)

X: Yes, I do, but who did you say you are again?

D: I'm Dielle D'Souza from the P... A...

X: Is this a joke?

D: (to self) What?? Would I call sources to chat them up just for the heck of it? Waste money and time? Introduce myself to random strangers who will almost never get my name... and screw opportunities for developing a source like I did the other day?

D: (in conversation) No, this is not a joke. I'm sorry to disturb you but I'm doing a story on dolphins and was told you work with them.

X: This is an April Fool's joke isn't it? (laughing) Who's this?

D: (almost cracking up) No, this is not a joke. I'm really doing a story and I need your help.

X: (between bouts of laughter) I'm sure this is a joke...

D: No Ms X, it's not. (watching everyone around crack up incontrollably and finding it very hard not to laugh)

X: Listen (laughter), could you call me back at 8 o'clock please?

D: I really need your help. Will you be able to speak to me then? (to self: and not think it's an idiotic friend on an April Fool's loose-end)

X: Yes yes. Call me at 8.

D: All right then. Thank you.

(Puts phone down. Bursts out laughing)

Call at 8:05pm unanswered. Story up with someone else's two-line quote.

Happy April Fool's Day.............. to me!

Note: This post was not meant to hurt the feelings of anyone/any community. If anyone/any community does feel insulted, I apologise profusely.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy April Fool's Day to U

Oh yea... April Fools Day. I've never really been made a fool of (intentionally, on this day.. otherwise.... yea!). I can't remember fooling anyone, except mandatorily my mom, other than someone we'll call U.

It was a pretty stupid thing but U got fooled anyway. It was over the phone of all things and U was completely baffled. U had called earlier and I pretended I couldn't hear. When U called again, I pretended like it was the first time U had called that day. U thought the first call had been placed to someone else and U had said things like "idiot" and "stupid" when saying "I can hear you". The only other person registered under 'D' on the mobile phone was probably Dean of the University.

Now, U wouldn't want things like that, would U? The call lasted about 10 minutes, seven of which consisted of "But I'm sure I called you. Who else could I have called? I know I heard your voice and you said you couldn't hear me" and "No... there's no one else at home and this is the first time this phone's rung all day. I was studying near the phone and if I didn't hear the phone, it means it didn't ring. Think logically, will you?"

Thoroughly confused, U put the phone down. I let it lie for a while because I knew U would spend most of the time wondering what just happened.

Surely, when I called again after about half an hour, U was still confused. I asked U about the problem in chapter 5 and U said it was left out.

I put the phone down, but not before saying "Happy April Fool's Day".

U pelted stones at me the next day.

Happy April Fool's Day to U!

I live for vacations

I really do live for vacations. It's the thought that I'll eventually be off again that keeps me going in the first place. Not the hope that I'll be first on the team, or that I'll get a salary hike next month (well, maybe that too!).

How far along can you go without a break? And I'm not counting weekends here. Those are the breaths of fresh air mandatory for your survival in this wicked work world, where you break through the surface at the end of every week to grab the life-giver.

Cynically, weekends are the days you're given off to recuperate so you can work the next week to the "best of your capacity". Don't for a second think they're actually wishing you a good weekend when Friday comes round the corner.

Weekends or week-offs (if you're one of those unfortunate souls who slog a six-day week) are the days unofficially assigned to you to finish your laundry pile-up, pay your bills, explain your late nights to your landlord, and cook for the rest of the next seven days. That's the only time you work for yourself. The days when you're the boss, not counting the landlord of course, and the state of your house clearly tells how much of a boss you are.

Too bad for those several years and a couple of kids into a marriage, where wifey dear is undoubtedly boss of home and hearth. For those, like me, sworn to a life away from home with room mates and flatmates, landlords and neighbours, it's the tussle to keep everyone happy including yourself, the hope that you'll make it through the week without a complaint that you left the gate open and the dogs came in, or the pulling of lots and unspoken authority on who should clean the dismembered rat lying outside your front door.

I've seen shared houses where logs on the wall spell out chores for the week down to who pays for the milk on which days. Horrible stories of money-hungry roomies and landlords who stake out lobbies and kitchens reminding you day after day that you owe something to someone. Worse, stories of how roomies are tricked into paying for another's bed and breakfast.

Strangely enough, it's an interesting world. One that you can get tired of easily, hate all-at-once, but never really escape. I suppose it's the human obsession with the fact that one must belong - to a family, to friends, lovers, spouses, God, past, present or future. It would be so easy to just float into oblivion. But then, would you belong to oblivion?

As I said, I belong to vacations. It's the closest to oblivion for me. I can leave the dirt of office politics and forced ethics behind and get to a time that I designed. No work, no laundry, no schedules, no tempered expressions.

Just me.