Thursday, August 21, 2014

Drunken Donuts.


We love our drinks, don't we?

But in India , we seem to take it to the next level.

I love my alcohol. I guess being a mallu , I am wired to be an alcoholic. My earliest memory is of a much older cousin, who in an inebriated state, walked over the Tambanoor bridge in Trivandrum ( which is now named Thiruvananthapuram, and is also used by the cops to see if you are drunk by asking the suspects to spell it), naked.

In the later years he went on to become a Sanyasi. The step between chemical imbalance and spirituality seems to be a subtle one. Of course, he was the family legend. He was everything I wanted to be. Naturist and a monk. Who could ask for more?

In the Sand City, I have a ritual for my drinking. Something as sacred as Jack Daniel, in my book, required that sort of devotion. I used to drink only in the night when I was alone. It had to be just right. Absolute silence and solitude was a requirement. I was not meant to be a social drinker much to the dismay of my parents. I am probably the only person in this planet who had his mother screaming at me at a party to get drunk like normal people.

Now that is how it is for a mallu.

But even I was not prepared for the things we do back home in India to have our bottle and drink it too.

Bangalore .

A city who is a lot like the fun loving young girl who has Bal Thackery as her father. The city goes to sleep at 11 pm for heaven's sake! The place probably has the maximum number of watering holes in the country and the biggest revenue the traffic police makes is from those poor souls who return home after downing a few.

The whole thing is like a well organized production. The cops will place metal barrier gates strategically on the road like a maze and then direct suspiciously weaving vehicles to the side of the road and make the drivers/riders do the dreaded blow job.

If your alcohol level is below 40mg per 100ml of blood, you are pretty much ok. You are free to go home. So that one for the road is fine as long as it stays just one. Unlike the Sand City which has zero tolerance.

Anything above that can get you either fined, vehicle confisticated, licence revoked or jailed , depending on severity and repeat offending. Its all great. They have a detailed website ( http://www.bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in ) which ensures everyone here knows the law. So its all good.

But lets be honest. When was a law made that was not meant to be broken? Especially when it involves alcohol? Personally I think drunken driving is the most stupidest thing a person can do apart from telling your wife that her butt looks big in that dress. Its suicidal. Not that I have anything against people wanting to kill themselves. Hell, its your life pal, see if I care. But drunken driving puts others at risk. Ask our Salman Bhai.

Since common sense was never the forte of our species, there are many tricks that is being employed to beat the breath analyzer. Whether it works, is anybody's guess. I certainly will not vouch for the effectiveness of any of it. Since I drink myself to a stupor in the confines of my house, this does not apply to me and like politics, government and social issues that does not effect me directly has no relevance or interest to me.

Forget mints and paan.

Apparently guava works. After a night of revelry, eat a guava fruit and you are all set to face Inspector Ramayiah and his breathing tube. Someone said its not the fruit that you have to eat but its leaves. Play it safe. Eat both.

Recently a friend of my wife told her that the most effective method to beat the test is to drink Parachute Coconut Oil.

Yep. I bet the guy was a mallu. The coconut oil as the solution to all of the world's problem can only come from a malayali head.

We believe in our coconut oil. In right doses we know that coconut oil can cure AIDS , baldness and neutralize alcohol from your blood stream.In fact if studied in depth we are positive that it hold the key to the unified theory. In the beginning, before the word, god created coconut oil.

So if you are in Bangalore partying with your local friends , don't be surprised to see a big bottle of Parachute Coconut Oil being part of the celebration.

If the drive home doesn't kill you,hopefully, the cholesterol will.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Still Clueless



I am not much on comparing. Each to its own, that's what I say.

Wife blames it on low empathy but I don't agree, it's more or less because I don't care. Different definition , same meaning...but I really don't care. You live your life and let me live mine.

But it doesn't work that way does it?

The beauty of the sand city is in its way of letting its ugliness be hidden...like its laborers who built it but remains the unseen, unsung heroes. It's easier that way for people like me, who by some unforeseen accident or birth defect cannot relate unless it comes from a source of experience. Even then it's from a source that's self serving. You tend to view from your own perspective and in that lies the virtue or curse, as you might deem it, this ability to be unaffected .

I don't care.

I see yet I don't feel. Thing is I don't think I am alone in this. The more I watch the game of life around me, the more I feel I belong. The only difference being that I say it and most don't. It doesn't make me elate since the easiest path is to admit to your follies and be unconcerned , than to recognize your follies and make a change. But hey, what's the hurry? We are comfortable in our little bubbles of make believe empathy and sympathy, that the need for acting upon it is never called upon us.

Life is good.

We can put a 'Like' on the Tibetan who burns himself to ashes for his freedom on the social media network, or run amok with our verbal diarrhea on female infanticide , rape, genocide, or any other cruelties that we deem deserves our opinion and we can make ourselves believe that we have played our part in changing the world .

Things are good for people like me. The arm chair problem solvers, who with the tip of their fingers can alert the world and make changes.

I blog.

I rest my case.

But then I am the lowest rung in human evolution. I am the bottom feeder. I don't even believe in my own species. If it was up to me , we would have ended on December 21st 2012.

I was that guy who was rooting for the Mayans.

I don't understand.

I don't understand why in India we have those guys standing at the enterance of a mall, going through my bill of purchase and punching it before letting me out. What are they doing? What is the purpose? What do they hope to find.??

I don't understand. I have even asked that uniformed, security guy who gets to wear a uniform and pretend to be a cop what he is doing. He had no answer. He was required to look at the bill and punch it. I asked him if it is to deter shop lifting. He said maybe. So I asked him how will looking at a bill and punching it deter shop lifting, since you are not comparing my purchase with my bill. He nodded thoughtfully and looked at me sheepishly. I realized that I was questioning his purpose. That was not my intention but he emitted the vibes of an animal who is trapped , scared and ashamed. It changes the frequency of my energy and hits me at the base of my solar. It charges the emotion of guilt. I felt bad. I backed away. Thanked him for taking the time to explain it to me. I felt the vibes change.

I still didn't understand. Perhaps its to keep the guy busy. Give him something to do. To keep him engaged. Like that guy you find in the lift. You don't really need someone in the lift to press the buttons for you but yet, there he is.

Its like in India we create jobs so that people can earn; have a purpose. I am okay with that. Like those shadow people in stores whose only job is to follow you around. I get fazed by them. They make me very nervous.

What's their function?

I don't understand.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Death becomes us



Meat gave up on me.

For a hardcore carnivorous, who believed that to save animals bordering on extinction, we need develop a taste for them, this new development is somewhat weird.

As a misanthrope with a death wish, this is not part of any diet. I have never had a physical done because I am of the old school who believes that what you don't know cannot kill you.

When I look back on that fateful day, I developed a repulsion for all animal based food product , I seem to see a pattern. A coming together of specific events to finally kick me where it made perfect sense.

I was reading K Pax. It's a three part book based on a person in a mental institution who claims to be an alien from the planet K Pax. A movie was made on the first part in which Kevin Spacey played the role of prot , the alien. What struck me about the book was his eating habit. He eats only planet produce. His reasoning is that life should not be sustained by another life but rather from its living energy. I found that fascinating. I have always felt hypocritical about my stand about life , humanity and all such crap while stuffing myself with flesh that came from dead animals. But truth be told, the book did not bring about the change. It was just fodder for my thoughts.

Then one day, someone posted a YouTube video about a cow being taken in for slaughtering. The whole video, which lasted about 4 minutes was this cow standing in a narrow corridor that leads to an entrance that is opened and shut with an automatic gate. The cow cannot see what is happening to the cow which went in before her. But she knows that something is wrong. She moves back. She tries to turn and escape but the corridor is too narrow. I saw the panic. The fear. The desperation to live. The resistance to an impending death.

I think I cried.

And that was the end of meat. Every living creature deserves to live. To feel for the murder of a human child but feel nothing for a fish, seems so fundamentally flawed. It seems like a convenient conscience.

Now my wife is convinced that I am going to set off in search of a boodhi tree.

I doubt it.

There is nothing remotely moral or some higher path shit that I connect to. I am way too much of an asshole for that. My actions are purely selfish and self centered. There is definitely something going on with me, but I attribute that to decades on alcoholism and possible mental damage.

But I do have a possible solution for world hunger and population.

Cannibalism.

Propagate that, get that thought process a little momentum and we will solve two of the biggest problems that seems to plaque humankind.

Two birds with one stone.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Man From UNCLE



Last week I went to my son's school to witness 200 kids make asses out of themselves in the name of Republic Day Celebration. I have nothing against today’s schools and their evolved form of education but I don’t understand and don’t appreciate being made a part of my children's educational progress or lack of it.

Let us get this straight.

I sell my organs and pay for their education. This means that the school takes the onus for my child's education. Then why the fucks do you need my participation? Do you pay me back?

Here, Mr. Tyson, please find attached in your child's diary a cheque of Rs. 20, 000, in lieu of your part in ensuring that your ward was assisted this year in his science projects, art projects, various other projects that we invented to show you that we are taking your money and making you work for it all over again.

I pay so don't bother me.

I am okay with the whole PTA thing. It’s like those feedbacks thingy. Like a shareholders meeting. You get them to report on your investment.

It should end there.

Anyhow.

While sitting on the steps of the school, far away from those enthusiastic parents who traumatize their children by actually taking part in those ridiculous events the school devise to further humiliate the very people who are working for what they are paying for, it dawned to me that these people are the reflections of me.

I mean, they are probably as old as me. I saw the men with the ear rings, goatees and the constant effort of sucking in a gut that retained its hemisphere even after the lungs was as devoid of air as our neighboring moon and saw in those minds the perpetual stage of youthfulness that never outgrows late twenties until an illness catches us off guard and reminds us of our impending mortality and the lack of time to actually screw every women in the world.

Mid life crisis is so heartbreakingly predictable and uniform.

Personally I could never understand this thing about wanting to hold on to our youth by having young girls are girl friends. You have reached a point in your life where, sex, if at all you are having it, is a weekend thing. Like your laundry day or worse your day of the 2 pegs. Sex is there to remind you that you are not yet dead, and that the thing you are married to is, for all sundry purpose, still a woman. Gone are those days when you could do it 5 times in a night and still have enough battery left in you to have a wet dream. Now if you do it once, you feel as if you ran the London Marathon.

Dating a young girl would be like putting the last bit of your remaining self esteem into a blender and whipping it to smitreens. And worse, they talk. Give me a woman who has a couple of miles under her belt. I prefer a real woman. A complete woman. The one who after sex returns to her side of the bed and goes to sleep. The ones who have seen the world well enough to know that conversations are over rated and that men don't complete them, sleep does.

A middle aged woman is beautiful. They have gone beyond the body obsession that seemed to have plagued them earlier on. Now they have attained enough wisdom to know that the man in their life is no pick of the litter either.

Thing about middle age is that it sneaks up on you.

Recently I was in India and in the Casualty Room of a renowned hospital. It was like Grey's Anatomy in there. All were beautiful. I kid thee not. If it wasn’t for the seriousness of my injury and illness, I would have been tempted to turn on my Tys charm, which involves mumbling when spoken to. It’s the carryover of having studied in an all boy’s boarding school.

The whole allure of beautiful doctors and nurses vanished when they started addressing me as Uncle.

When the fuck did I become Uncle?

Middle age creeps up on you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dear Aarya (2)


Dear Aarya,

I know its been a long time. Lots have happened. Most you know but some you dont. I have finally taken that first step.

Leaving is never easy. The first step is the hardest.

What crap! Once my mind was made, leaving Sand City was easy as apple pie. That is if I knew how the hell an apple pie is made.

Make no mistake, I am still an NRI. Which means that once in every six months, I will have to enter the Sand City and make my presence felt so that my Visa will be still valid. It also helped that I was working for the last 13 years in our family business which gave me such flexibility. So like most Indian sons, who has the longest weaning period among any animals, I passed off all my liabilities to my parents and left the country.

There comes a time in every true blooded mallu heart, where , like a salmon, he must seek the source of his birth. I wish I could say the same was true of me.

It wasnt.

I was bored. Unexcited. Mostly drunk and with absolutely no purpose. It didnt help that I am blessed with no ambition. Contentment is complacency in designer clothes. Restlessness was my motivation.

I longed to travel. I longed to get on a bike and ride. I longed to set in motion an idea which I felt had a chance, because it would be done by me. My wife believed in it. Once I made the business plan and showed it to my family, they too accepted that it had some merits, despite it being done by me. A prophet is never recognized in his home. Or like we mallus say, the jasmine on your own porch doesnt smell as good as the one on another mans porch...

India.

Reached the Bangaluru airport early morning one day, with my knapsack stuffed with tents, hiking stick,2 jeans, 2 gaberdine pants, 10 black t shirts, 10 cotton boxers, one pair of trekking shoes, 3 pairs of socks and 1 leather jacket donated graciously to me by my elder brother . My earthly possessions of 13 years in the gulf was packed into 2 airbags ( actually one would have been enough, but the sleeping bags , archery equipments , knives and other dooms day appliances took one entire bag) and had been stowed away in the hold.

Standing at the luggage conveyor belt, after getting one bag, waiting for the second one, I fell into a hypnotic lull, watching a similar looking bag as mine going round the snaking belt , out through a heavy plastic strip curtained opening, only to reenter again through another opening, much like the recycling of our sustainable souls. Woken up from my reverie by a gentle tap on my shoulder, I realized that I was the only one standing there.

The lone bag continued its unclaimed sojourn.

The finger giving me the gentle tap was attached to a tall young man in a uniform , who had a name badge identifying him as Bhoopathi.

It was quickly deduced that someone else had claimed my bag, while his own bag was now doing the circuit like a kid lost in the mall. I couldnt help noticing that though similar looking, his bag looked nothing like mine.

Bhoopathi now jumped into action. Literally. He actually jumped onto the conveyor belt, removed the errant bag , read the luggage tag, spoke into his walkie talkie and then sprinted away.

I felt like being in Bourne Identity.

Airports , like any travel center is a strange place once all the planes had taken off and all the hustle and bustle ceased into a temporary lull. You can all most hear a collective sigh. That customs officer with a handle bar mustache, turns from a ferocious gate keeper to a gentle giant with a penchant for puns.

Being an NRI, gives some an ability to see things from a different perspective. I am never one for a comparison. I believe and love the differences. Iam not one for a uniformed conformity and a global culture. I like the surprises that some may label as imperfections.

As a traveler, it helps to move without expectations. In fact, its almost liberating to just accept without expecting. In that regards, India doesnt disappoint.

After about 1 and a half hours, Bhoopathi, had tracked down the kidnapper of my bags and had him drive back to the airport. After retrieving my bag filled with stuff which has no value to anyone but me, from a man, who was now having his ear filled with words of wisdom from the handle bar mustached customs officer, I left, after shaking Bhoopati's hand, who had unintentionally given me the best welcome to a land I hold dear.

I walked out into the early morning lights of a Banglore dawn. Walked past the unauthorized taxi guys who were half heartedly bidding my attention, into the metered airport taxi.

In the taxi, I asked my driver , Sayeed, whether the unauthorized taxis ever get a ride in the face of the highly efficient and accountable airport taxi services.

We had stopped at a tea stall, where we were served delicious masala tea in still tumblers which was as big as shot glasses. After taking a sip, Sayeed, explained that they actually do.

The airport does not prohibit outside taxis. It is still the travelers choice as to which mode he/she chooses. There are still some who believes that unauthorized taxis are cheaper. This need not necessarily be true. I had traveled in one when I had come for a visit long time ago. It costed me INR 900. The airport taxi , which is metered had come to INR 800. I prefer the metered ones because it gives me a sense of actually believing I have some sort of control.

Then there is the safety aspect to the whole thing. When my wife travels alone, I insist that she takes the airport taxis. The car number along with the travelers names and destination is noted prior to the journey. So there is an amount of accountability which can deter potential hassles. And if that had not deterred the said driver, atleast you will know who you will have to hunt down and hang to dry.

I like accountability. It helps me sleep at night.

Sayeed and I traveled the remaining stretch to my house in silence. I looked out of the window, watching Bangalore walking up to a weekend. Lone joggers, meandering milk men, brown colored stray dogs sniffing around near the cart that was serving breakfast of idli and chutney to a small crowd of workers. A couple of techies, with the prerequisite laptop slung over their shoulders, ate among them. Ladies in nondescript colored saris, swept the streets - moving dirt and debris from one place to another.

Watched with amusement at the billboard advertising a leather sofa with a lady clad in tight leather with both her hands on her lower back , sticking her ample butt out , as if she had just gotten up from the sofa with a bad lower back pain.

The taxi sped on. Towards on coming traffic. Some say that Indian traffic is like organized chaos , that there is some sort of purpose behind all the chaos. I dont think so. I think its just sheer luck. You walk out of the house with the firm belief in an after life.

Its difficult to be an atheist in India. India requires hope. It requires you to have faith in that auto guy ,who is hell bent on killing you, to get you to your destination in one piece. You need to have some sort of a belief structure to ensure that you still believe that all those documents and money and time you had given at the RTO will eventually produce some tangible results. India will make you light those candles or break those coconuts or look up to the sky and murmur inshallah. Indian spirituality is a necessary part of negotiating your way through India.

I reached home. Sayeed helped me take my bags upto my flat. He declined my offer of tea. He had been called for another run.

Hugged my wife. Kissed the kids.

I am home.

I stood at the balcony holding the hot cup of tea which my wife had given to me. I stood among the potted organic farm she had managed to create in that small space. I watched the Bangalore sky line with her.

We stood in silence. It was a comfortable silence, the kind which envelopes you a second before you step into the ring.

I stepped into the ring.

I am home, Aarya. Finally. I feel a calmness.

Heard about your break up. Hold no animosity. Blame games are such emotional drainers. Get up and continue to be open. I am bad with advice and probably lame in my supposed sympathy ( I feel none). You must be laughing.

Love Tys

Dear Aarya ( 3 )

Dear Aarya,

Sorry that I havent been able to write to you sooner. I have no excuses. I was busy just imprinting everything. Seeing.

Indian Roads.


I had forgotten how mad the driving scene is in India. Having been spoiled rotten in the Sand City with its 6 lane roads , one way traffic and those voyeuristic cameras that flashes when you least expect it, I was not prepared for the utter chaos that goes down here as traffic.


I love it.


Last week , I stood by the corner of Madiwala, watching the road, while a bicycle repair guy brought to life my cycle that had been lying neglected in the building parking area. The seat had been stolen, and in the process, the perpetuater, possibly one of the kids in the building, had managed to break the back brake. I figured that I will repair the bike and give it to my son, who was celebrating his 9th birthday.


What can I say? I am a cheap father.


The shack that advertised its service as 'Bycycle Repare and Spair Parts', was a neat , clean, wooden cabin, the size of a porta toilet. Inside it hung various cycle parts like meat in a butchery.In the corner was a neat stack of tyres of various sizes. The mechanic worked outside, with his tools that were kept in an evidently organized mess, within a tin box. His other implements was a large plastic bowl with water in it, to check for punctures and a air filling set up.


I had explained to him , largely in mime, what I wanted done, since my language skills does not exceed beyond Malayalam and English; and that too is claiming too much. Since it doesnt take a high IQ to figure out what was wrong with the bike, the man set to his task with a focused intensity.


So while he worked , I watched the traffic.


India is a celebration of contrasts. It also exhibits a patience and tolerance on the roads that one finds rarely in the Sand City. There was a family of bulls in the intersection where 4 roads meet and is kept in control by a traffic light and a traffic cop, who was now more interested in how my cycle was coming along. Ramiyah, the traffic cop, in his white starched shirt and the customary walkie talkie was busy fining vehicles on a random basis, when he could tear himself away from the gripping scene of my cycle getting a seat.


The bulls lazed in the middle of the intersection, while the vehicles swerved around them to their destinations. There were buses filled with beautiful people, autorikshas carrying people and in some cases , things one normally does not see being carried in an auto. The one I saw had a man with building scaffolding in it. Obviously a painter, with his washed to oblivion shirt which in some past life had a color that was now a greyish shade. He was getting down with the tools of his trade, when the large metal scaffolding hit against a parked scooter , causing it to fall down.


Ramiyah, was not amused. He said something in Kannada, which must have been directed at the painter's eyesight. The scooter owner, who was sitting at another shack,which seemed to be an eating joint, near the Cycle Repair shop, casually got up and righted his scooter with one hand, while holding onto his piece of dosa in the other. He then moved the scooter away from the parked auto so that the painter had enough space to unload. After which he went back to his seat by the shack and resumed his breakfast.


Ramiyah, by now had realized that the battery of his walkie talkie needed to be recharged and handed it to the cycle repair guy, who took it and plugged it into a socket somewhere inside that small cabin.


Horn seems to be the most integral part of a vehicle on the Indian roads. I probably must have heard more horns in the 1.5 hours of drive from the airport to my apartment, than the 15 years I had spend in the Sand City. In India, the vehicles talk.


There seems to be a language of horns here. As I stood there and watched, I realized that it was not just a cacophony of noise, but a pattern of established sounds , much like the singing of the blue whales. They were communicating!


There are the short blasts which stood for , I am here.
There are the long ones, which stood for, I am behind you and I am in a hurry.
There are those medium blasts, which says, what the fuck!
Then there are those, continuous beep beep beep, while the vehicle weaves its way through traffic, much like the 'make way, make way' chants of the Tamil pilgrims to Sabrimala.


To integrate myself back to the Indian scene, I realized that, I needed to relearn the language of the Indian roads. I decided to join a driving school and get myself an Indian licence . Mainly I wanted to get over my fear of the perceived aggression of the Indian roads. This was brought home to me while I walked back to my apartment pushing my repaired cycle. I saw in front of me a gang of children, dressed in red checked shirts and kakhi shorts, with knapsacks on their backs, weaving their way through the onslaught of Indian traffic. They were all around 9 years old. I do not know if the traffic made way for them or they found a way through it. Either way, there is only one way to learn how to swim:


Be ready to get wet.

I will update you how that went. How are you? Enjoy the solitude that has fallen on your lap so unexpectedly. Seperations need not be lonely. You take care.

Love

Tys.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dear Aarya *

Dear Aarya,

This is going to be a very random letter. It hopes to meander along like the long winding roads I have spend the last few days in. Don't hope to see any points . These are just observations. Mine. Observed within the limited space of my head , processed and filtered by the colors of my past and expressed , with full awareness of the futile attempt, in a language that doesn't speak you.

So, shall we begin?

I was in India last week. I love going there. Its the surrealism of being in the desert one second and then driving through the winding roads of Uttranchal hours later, that gets me. Its like time travel. Two days back , I was freezing my butt out, warming my internals with several shots of tequilla, with the Himalayas laid out in front of me. I am not capable of defining what is sensed. I am okay with that since it seems to limit the sensed into the paradigm of words. Insulting it.

You can watch the Himalayas. You can watch it for hours and the eyes drinks it in, like the dry ground that meets the rain.

The distance that separates me with the land that effects me, probably taints my feeling for it. I heard a man who lives there mention something about 'ghar ki murgi' . I realized I was hungry.

Food.

India is an assault on the senses. After the relative routine filled life in the Sand City, just stepping out into the Indian roadside is akin to exposing all your sense organs to an orgasmic high.

The smell, the colors, the pace, the noise, the silence,the tastes, the people....the people...

The food.

Dhabas.

Eating fried pakodas, steaming rice ladled on with hot lentil, topped off with tea.And that was just breakfast. Far cry from the customary dosas and idlies. Assault but so tasty.

Peeing on the road side, seeing a pile of shit, covered with flies. Watching the flies flicker for a while when the splash from my piss disturbs their delight. So natural. Things are where they are supposed to be.

Industries. Radisson Hotel. Ginger Hotel. Co existing with the two children who , dressed in tattered clothes play with the sand that clothes the earth.

Life goes on. Undefined. Until pointed out.

My land. My people.

I watch TV. Every Indian news channel talking about pornography. Something about ministers watching porn during a parliament session on their mobiles. I see the fuss, the debates, the outcry .

India. Ever questioning. Seeking , yet refusing to see the cause. To see that porn is a creation of our own rules we have established upon ourselves. To hide, to cover, is to make something natural into something stronger. When denied, it becomes desire. Something to covet. Porn gives us the illusion of fucking another without the complications that comes with a relationship.

We are a horny species with self imposed restrictions, creatures led by our libidos, tied to a single partner for the assurance of our continuity. So we find ways. To indulge, yet, conform.To fuck several without moving an inch. Every one is happy. Porn is a necessity. It has to be , otherwise it would not be there.

We care not for the industry that has arisen due to this want. The innocents that parade before us for a fleeting wank.

India is sex. It is sensual. It flaunts itself in every nook and cranny. It is beautiful but not respected. We unload ourselves , then hide behind our morals and the convinient culture, pointing our fingers which was holding something else a second ago.

I guess that's how it goes.

Painting something black to make ourselves look fairer. Or the other way around.

We are all guilty of it, so I guess that makes it okay. Guilt is easier when it is shared by everyone. Theres comfort in the falsehood of righteousness.

I trekked a lot. Walked up through the forest of deodar trees to stand in front of an ancient Shiva temple. Next to it stood a structure made of stone which was the rest place for the priests or worshippers who had to spend a night there.

Have I told you, Arya, how one day I lost the ability to pray? I do not know when it happened but it did. I could no longer seek for anything outside myself. My wife worried about the days I spend in the mire of hopelessness , like a child who had lost both his parents. I felt alone. Then one day , I learned to walk alone. No. Not learned. I think I started walking only from that day.

I sat outside the temple for a while and then I walked back down to the house where my lunch was being prepared. I smoked the marijuana that seem to grow here like the weed it is. I ate freshly plucked oranges , sliced and sprinkled with rock salt. I shared one with the 2 children, who watched me from afar, with no trace of emotions. I was thankful when they accepted and silently ate the same.

I took pictures. Soon got bored of it and stopped.

I stuck to looking.

Back at the Delhi airport, the gigantic hands in mudras that served as the interior decoration betrayed the generic similarness of all international airports world wide and proclaimed 'This is India'.

I walked upto the immigration desk to face a man with a poker face. He looked at my passport. Scrutunized it. 'From Kerala?' he asked. I nodded.

' Ninte perentha?' he asked , with an accent that clearly stated his northern roots. I gave him my name and said I am impressed. He said he has a lot of mallu friends. Don't they all? I replied. He smiled.

I like India. Its my kind of place. Its not everyday we get to visit and select the place we hope to die in one day.

So how you been, my friend? I am dying to know.

Love Tys



* This was written long ago after my last visit to Uttranchal. I wanted to do a travelogue written like series of letters. This was the first attempt. Then, I guess, I lost interest.But upon seeing this in my draft, I thought I will share it.