Friday, February 25, 2011

Nana Maria's strange day

Nana Maria knew something was amiss that morning. For one thing, she took a leak standing up. At seventy-four, there just wasn't any reason for her to explore new and challenging vistas in taking a piss, for thrills. Second of all, she said, "Holy Fuck!", when she realized that she was taking a piss standing up. Now, she never said Holy Fuck! There was nothing holy about Fuck - which in her mind, was a thoroughly disgusting act that had to be endured to conduct God's holy decree of making more Catholics. "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth."

So that's how Nana Maria knew that something was amiss. So assured she was about herself, that it didn't even occur to her to be scandalized at herself. You're only scandalized with yourself when you aren't sure about your morals and the ways of your conduct. Which she wasn't. So in Nana Maria's head, this strange turn of events, was exactly that. A turn of events. a sleight of circumstance. It had nothing to do with whim. Something, had altered in the universe. Something vital, like the something vital that had caused other things to behave differently from how they normally would - like the parting of the Red Sea, for instance, or the immaculate conception or the lions uncustomary behavior with the prophet Daniel. The Bible was filled with such events. Manifestations. Yes, Nana Maria believed that this was nothing short of a manifestation. The end of the world had to be near.

Next thing she knew, she was craving for a smoke. Her tongue itched for the coarse taste of tobacco. Oh for one drag, one blissful drag! She felt her lungs heave with want - the distinct pull that twisted your stomach into a knot. The last and only time, she felt like that was before her first child - back when she was still treasured virginal hopes, when she was still in love with her husband, when she was silly. Desire that once, made her clench her insides. Gasping and staggering, like from the impact of a heavy blow. White, hot passion scalding the inner walls of her body. Wasn't she disgusted with herself for that! As penance for such unabashed weakness, she spent the entire afternoon dragging her knees across the cemented floor of the outhouse, one rosary bead after the next. That's how, for the rest of her life, carnal hunger came to be associated with excruciating pain - helping her stick to the narrow path with plenty of success. Until today. Her innards begged for the lusty feel of a cigarette between her lips. Body drawn in, cheeks taut with tension, lungs full, chest caves in and then, like a bow setting an arrow free, the sweet release. Wanton desire tossed inside Nana Maria's body like a ship in a storm while her mind tried its best to rein in this rogue, but potentially catastrophic, situation. Nana Maria had to get to the church before this demon, that seemed to have possessed her, cost her soul.

So to the church she fled, while litanies followed one after the other like ants on parade. Inside her, the craving grew spherical and physical in certainty, till it was heavy as a cold, massive, marble in her stomach. The devil touched the small of her back with icy fingers. Shivers and goose pimples. Bringing to life the huge, cold marble inside her. Unmentionable, involuntary responses from her body. Slowly it uncoiled its serpentine being, till it stretched along the length of her spine. She was certain that her desire was right there in plain sight - there for all to see. On her face, on the surface of her skin, between her nails. The dogs could smell it on her. It attracted flies like an open ripe fruit would.And it made her skin peel with the ignominy. Fear of being judged turned her face a sickly shade of green. Bile in her mouth. The midday sun turned the folds of her skin moist and sweet with sweat. And inside her, her heart skipped beats like a clumsy awkward dancer. She stumbled blindly into the somber half-darkness of the chapel.

The smell of burning candles gave her the comfort of being in one's own turf. Fervently making the sign of the cross, she hoped being in God's house would help quell that unholy feeling that still grew inside her. And yet, the need for a drag jostled in her head among the joyful, sorrowful, luminous and glorious mysteries, like a fat person in a crowded bus. Thankful for the darkness, she cringed with the ache that nearly throbbed inside. Hot. Wet. Alive. And, then, he walked in.

All of twenty-four, lithe, cherub curls and coral ears. Beautiful. Nana Maria took in Brother Peter's beatific countenance with the raptures of an epiphany. His hands, his hair, his mouth, his neck where it disappeared into the collar of his cassock, his ears. This is what it was like to be a dirty, old woman. "I'm a dirty old woman, that's what I am. A filthy hag." Nana Maria blushed for the first time in forty five years. "What's happening to me?"
There was no way Nana Maria would know, or believe even if she did, that her psyche, weary from feeling nothing, had swapped half of itself with that of her husband's. She had no idea that inside her, a mutated androgynous entity had taken form. Nor did she know that her husband at that very moment, was feeling terrible repentance for the very first time, after leching at young Cynthia's tits a million times before, and was as confused as a pygmy in the city about it. "Why suddenly? What happened? Such a sin to God - she's but a child!" All Nana Maria knew was that something was amiss!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

on love. again.

Love takes up space. Large and small. It makes us claustrophobic in cubicles and fills up a large room, like light from a chandelier or even music from a harp. Love is abstract and yet, you can see it. In people's eyes, in ordinary things, in purses, in between sheets, in between fingernails and in between legs. In the folds of their skin, in the folds of their clothes, under train seats and in between sofa cushions. On tops of tables, in photoframes, in dreams, in phone memory cards, in shoeboxes buried in cupboards, in incomplete sentences, in lost and found boxes.

Love takes up space. Solid space. And when it leaves, it leaves behind emptiness - palpable, visible emptiness so thick and so hard and so huge, you wonder, how emptiness could ever get this heavy, in the first place.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

crib, crib, crib

Mummy: Dannie, eat your crow and stop complaining.

Dannie: But mummmmmmmieeeee…do i have to? i hate crow!

Mummy: Stop fussing child and be grateful that it's warm. so many children don't even have that. And you are hardly a child. You're a stupid, unmarried 27 year old.

Dannie: Now, don't bring my age into this.

Mummy: (mockingly) Yes, yes princess! Of course i will bring your age into this. At your age I had two children.

Dannie: (muttering, but not quite soft enough) Ooh some accomplishment, that!

Mummy: What's that? see? This is why you end up like this. With a mouthful of horrible tasting crow. Stubborn, arrogant little hussies like you deserve to eat crow all day. Eat it now.

Dannie: (whiningly) AAI HAY-TE CROW

Mummy: And yes, you have a choice, right? Be thankful you still have the option of eating crow. it's not too late. You can still make amends for your stupidity, idiocy and arrogance. But remember next time you're tempted to do something really dumb, your elders know better. And listen to us! remember how you yourself fell with your face in the mud - all your fault, ketto? If you've learnt your lesson, well and good for you. Sit there quietly and eat it fast, it's getting cold now!

Dannie: (To myself, softly this time) oh geezzz…like crow isn't enough, she has to top it off with gyan and butter it with those godawful I-told-you-so's. Damn you, ex-boyfriend. I hope you fry in eat-crow-all-day-hell. It's your fault i'm being subjected to this. grrrrrr!

Mummy: Well, since you're eating all that crow, you might as well eat your own words. There's a whole lot of them leftover. Eat them fast, before more people get to know about your foolishness. For once your big, fat mouth will be of some use.

Dannie: ( meekly. very, very meekly) yes, mummy.

*** and this is how i feel about being inducted into the great proposal thamasha slash circus. Now i know why people throw in the towel and say "Go ahead, oh great parents, and find me that perfect person who has been evading me all this while. I'll be the dutiful son slash daughter and do as you say. i fall at thy lotus feet." The peace and quiet, as promised in the brochure of dutiful children and arranged marriage, is tempting, i must say. As long as they are busy finding people, they stay occupied enough to stay out of your hair and will quit complaining. Aaah, bliss! So here i am, taking back all my words, and giving the parents the green signal. But ha ha..conditions apply :D

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

one more letter to docomo and i'm done!

dear docomo
It's true, it's only been a few months since we made each other's acquaintance. But as my service provider, I think we should cut to the chase and get to first name basis. Pronto! So I think I'll call you Doc! Like that? Knew you would. Wow, are you feeling this like i am?

Anyway enough of pleasantries. Now that we know each other a little better there are a few things I'd like to tell you. For starters, I DON'T want to wish Barbara Mori a frikkin Happy Birthday at only Rs. 50. OKAY? Have we got that straight? It's not like Ms. Mori is going to see my message and go "Hmm..Dannie reeemembuured (mexican accent, people) my birthday. How thoughtful of her!" Dude, that's some scam, you're running there. How many idiots blew fifty bucks on that stunt, huh? I'm curious about those figures. Okay, moving on. Stop barraging me with messages about sizzling chicks having fun. If I wanted to see one of those, there's something called a mirror, hello!? So stop it with the twenty-five service messages, already? The ratio between real-people messages and docomo messages is depressingly skewed in the latter's favor. KNow what that makes me feel like? Super shitty! And what's with the chick-stuff? Blonde babes doing aerobics, dazzling models in gold swimwear (Oh help, where are my shades), unlimited download of most desired Namitha, mobile wallpaper of south booties, sorry, beauties Mamtha and Aishwariya (BARRRF), FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! You think I'm some kind of dyke? WOMAN here, people! Send me something like beautiful young men playing rugby in bare minimum, and THEN you have my attention. All this chica stuff, not happening! You're barking up the wrong tree. And is Rambo Forever video games the best you can do for me? Now I'm offended. How sexist are you, Doc?

So tell me, who writes your messages? The alliteration…whoa, too much. February fantasy, January jiggling, December ding-ding, November naaansense! You guys more cheesy than a double burst pizza, i say! And you send these messages during workhours. Don't you have any sense of ethics? These are man-hours that people are paying for WORK not for DOWNLOADING PICTURES OF SKIMPILY CLAD WOMEN FOR 30 RUPEES, ONLY!

And you must think me really dumb, no? Expecting me to believe when you tell me that Mr. Arun No-second-name and Mrs. Rani-no-second-name-again has won twenty seven mobiles each and it's my turn to win fifty android phones by answering how people at Docomo think, with a) their butt b) their brain. PUh-leaze! If you think I'm so stupid as to fall for that and part with three rupees to answer that, you are mistaken my friend. Such a dumb Doc you are! I mean, when you bullshit, try and bullshit a little convincingly. Give those people second names. and give those messages a little credibility with the benefit of punctuation ad grammar. Your messages read like this now, "Ms. Leela and Mr. Ramesh have won a mobile, wat u waiting for: Rose is a) Flower b) Alien." Do me a favor, save it! I know, to actually do something about it, i must dial some customer number, which i have no clue of, because you've not done anything useful like sending me THAT, oh no! But even if i dial some number, I'm afraid the CR person might try to force some horrid caller tune down my throat instead of helping me by ACTIVATING my Do no disturb profile. Doc, you must o something about this.
Yours most sincerely

Sunday, February 6, 2011

the undoing of me

I willed myself to ignore it. And it, in return, willed my eyes not to waver from its disgusting being. But this was me - dannie - who could refuse to acknowledge the existence of anything like it, without the slightest twinge of guilt. I could walk by its types, oblivious to their presence. But no, here i was, visibly disconcerted by it. Something had changed in me, and it made me as twitchy as jerry mouse being eyed by tom. I was entranced. It stuck to my thoughts. It grabbed me by my face and made me look at it like a forceful husband. It was a fingernail running down a glass pane and it wrecked my morning. Me, who was curled up on the sofa with a hot mug of black coffee, going about the business of having a good morning - basking in the mellow sunlight, now stared fixedly and stupidly into space. It was an itch, placed squarely and inconveniently in the middle of my back. And i was in unholy agony with the need to scratch it. A fly in my soup. A needle in my spring mattress. A little black ant in my perfect tide-detergent-white heaven!

Thus ensued the war of wills. Me still in denial (but failing miserably). It still stubbornly following my thoughts like a former lover-turned-stalker. It stared fixedly at me, making me look at it, against my wishes. I look the other way, it crashed a crystal vase inside my head. I directed my thoughts to something else, it overtook me and waylaid me in my getaway, like a cop in a seedy crime thriller. I distracted my self with a sip of coffee, it startled me with a yell. It was uncomfortable. And i was getting jumpy. But no, i refused to budge. And it refused to give up. All the while, it beckoned to me with its index finger, like seductresses do in movies. Wow, it even had well manicured, red fingernails.

Finally, it became too much to take. My resolve broke. I placed my cup on the floor and huffed to the kitchen. Got a rag. And wiped that miserable smudge off my perfect white floor. That stupid thing that had practically ruined my lovely morning coffee. Me, Dannilla, erstwhile reigning queen of unapologetic super messes, who could be blissfully unaware of hanging cobwebs, dust balls that one could go bowling with and colossal messes that could give the colosseum a complex, was getting affected by a tiny little spot on my floor. Oh heaven help. What on earth is going on?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Talking corp, talking crap. Poet-ate-o! Po-tah-toe!

Corporate talk has officially gone COO-COO (that's cuckoo for you uninitiated twerps) All this acronym business has gone out of hand. What is wrong with saying “For your information”? See when you talk business, you mean business. So if you opt to talk business in ambiguous acronyms - you're asking for trouble. Like FYI also expands into Fuck Yourself Immediately or Fuck Yourself Imbecile. Nice! I can just about imagine a nice email to the boss that reads… Dear Sir, FYI here are the figures you requested. See? Told you? There's just too much left to interpretation. Now if I were the boss, I could tell my dear lowlifes (cos that's what you are if you aren't the boss- anything below the boss is a lowlife. Take it from a lowlife) to spell it out. No ambiguity with me. Thank you very much. Not just that, FYI is so incredibly rude. I've only used it when I’m bickering with someone. And whenever anyone mentions FYI in their emails, I'm thinking "God! What did I do to piss you off, NOW?"
The experience of having someone throw abbreviations and acronyms at me, is not unlike searching for one particular song in a 100 GB iPod. Without a search button or a helpful happy doggy pawing the ground. Oh, I’m getting my OSes mixed here. But you know what I’m talking about, don't you? I have to jog my memory to place WTF is he/she talking about. Like when someone asks me "What's the POA?" I used to want to ask back "POA? If I knew what POA is, in the first place, perhaps, I could enlighten you about what THE POA is." But the first rule in the book of corporate rules is Act like you know - don't ask questions. And do it well. So I act. And give vague answers. Or simply act difficult. Which BTW, I don't have to do any acting for, because by nature, I'm difficult. So difficult, I could put it on my CV. But since it’s not like me to brag, I try to be modest about it. But thankfully, now I know what POA is and I see no chance of misplacing my POA. So, yeay for me!
So we were saying - acronyms. Funny how it sounds like paroxysm, no? For some reason, ASAP always made me think of Kiss my Ass. I refuse to think that has anything to do with the inherently difficult person that I am - but with the structure of the two - too much relation going on. Like they're first cousins or something. But it's poetic don't you think. It's almost like a knee jerk reflex. Someone says ASAP to someone else, to which someone else thinks 'Kiss my Ass'. If the someone else is a little politer, 'In your dreams', would be what they'd think. By ASAP somehow awakens the green hulk monster in most of us and the aforementioned someone is treated to an ugly green rear end.
Then you have POVs which sounds like something you'd stuff up people's rearends, if their corporate rearends weren't so stuffy already.
and PFA which sounds like a choice south Indian abuse
and CTR. This one had me look at with my head tilted at several and different degrees. Every time I saw it on my joblist, I'd freak out. CTR? What the hell is CTR. Am I in trouble? Am I in trouble. Mayday. Mayday. Where is the damn papercup? Then i stopped panicking. Cos Client To Revert looks a lot nicer on your jobstat than "this lazy ass hasn't begun work yet!"
and BAU Business As usual, people. The corporate jungle is like a prison movie and we're all just bitches. So let's hear you say bau bau!

and then there are not so common ones which are very, very entertaining if not anything else.

AFLO - Another flipping learning opportunity
AHYOA - Asshole of the Year award. The award which probably holds the world records for its sheer number of contenders. (including yours truly, heh heh)
BEER - This one's just asking for trouble. Imagine this baby popping up in the 72nd slide of a 300-slide PPT? You might as well have a farewell party for your attention span. You've lost your audience. Rush to the "Thank you" slide with the dufus smiley and do your good deed for the day. Sad though, considering how pompous and grand sounding its expansion is in factuality - such promise it had. check out what i found on the net. Behaviour, Effect, Expectation, Results. The headings by which to assess performance of anything, particularly a new initiative. A great discipline when working with a team or delegating another to conduct a review, when it's important to keep the review focused. HA HA HA that's wishful thinking!!

But now for the mother of all stupid corporate acronyms. An acquaintance I made last week. And since I heard it with my own ears, I know it's in circulation among the who's who of the biggies. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you BHAG - pronounced beehag. I'll give you a moment here. I know! I know! It’s a little too much to take. Smarties who have heard of the term before, don't show off. Stop doing your ho-hum routine, already. Okay now, back to our lesson in strange corporate talk. (Geez, imagine how these corp folk would pillowtalk. Ugh!)
Back to BHAG. No, it has nothing to do with that bitch slash hag some of you might call boss. And it's not a term given to the boss-shagger. You have to admit it brings to mind 'shag'. BHAG is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. WTF, i say!! Why God, why? In this age of degeneration..there is such degeneration. Big Hairy Audacious Goal for crying out loud!! It brings to mind, at least my mind, a viking with bramble bushes for armpits. Why viking? Cos somehow it reminds me of Hagar the Horrible. And it brings to mind many other things. But it certainly doesn't make me think of any Audacious Goal. It makes me think of things too gross to mention. Ewww. To think in these days of political correctness which renders every conversation a potential landmine, it's alright for BHAG to be part of the vision/mission/dishum dishum statements!! Like I said, it's all gone COO-COO!

P.S. My apologies to all of you who will be COOs someday.