Category Archives: There’s this

Blocks, Money, Shame, and Me.

I have been blocked. For quite a while. Its a combination of not liking a singe word I write, not being able to think of anything to write, and not being able to write even when I do think of something, because my mind says, “nobody cares, skunk”. My mind has the tone and voice of my middle school bullies.

So, in penance for not writing when I said I would write, as well as to try and fuel my writing with a dose of brash honesty, I’m doing two things. One, I’m writing a post about all the things I feel ashamed of as a twenty-five year old non-adult. And two, I will be bringing back my old alter ego from college, ME, just so you guys can get a real taste of how awful living with me actually and truly is.

ME: I think we both know I’m not the problem in this relationship.

Shut. the. fuck. up.

Anyway, lets begin with money.

Viola Davis celbration 1
Fun!

I make so very little of it, its barely taxable. That’s right. I went to fucking law school, and stare down my parents, my sister, men, and even my friends with well constructed, cool as a fucking ice tray arguments, but for some reason, I have no money. And just to be clear, I’m not complaining about how little it is, I’m ashamed at how little I feel I have come to deserve. This is what happens when you jump into the job pool at twenty-five.

MENot that you deserve what you get now. I’m surprised you got this job. They should really be throwing you out like the piece of turd you are. They seem sufficiently intelligent. They definitely know you’re useless.

Shut. Up.

So the money – its barely taxable. And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered, but I love my friends. And I love spending time with them, and sometimes I hate myself for not meeting them or being straight and saying that I can’t meet. My wee heart sinks a few centimeters when I think about all the times I have lied and said that I already ate, or that I’m not hungry – because I can’t afford anything more than a 10 buck packet of very unhealthy chips. And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered but I don’t like asking my parents for money unless its for necessities. And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered but I really fucking love restaurant food. Or any food, but since I don’t cook, it all involves restaurant food.

And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered, but everything costs money.

And yes, I know not having money is not something to be ashamed about. I read all the moral science stories and the books that taught me to value people etc. over things etc. But it doesn’t stop it from hurting when I think about saying – I just don’t have money. I can’t hang out with you. No, I don’t want to go dutch because there’s a reason I just ordered the desert. Yes, I do want some more clothes sometimes, but the few I have were brought with a lot of care, and a shopping trip will overturn my financial capabilities for the next 3 weeks.

Next there is the house. I love the house I live in now, but to be honest, its a money drainer. Isn’t it fantastic how having less money means you have awful shit in your house, which ultimately means you have to spend more money? A better house that would cost a little more (read, more than I can afford) probably would have better plumbing. Which would mean that twice a month, I wouldn’t have to call a nice, but severely overcharging plumber to come do things I could try to do, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a hopeless nitwit with things that involve plumbing.

Except for that thing where everyone’s ass crack shows when they bend over and do anything plumbing related. That I can accomplish even without doing any actual plumbing. I know. Pretty boss, right?

So in all this, I’m pretty ashamed at the state I leave my house in. The terrible things about jobs is that you have to go do it every day. And as much as its still a cool job, I doubt I can explain my life to the big bad world of private enterprise. “I live in a shit house that breaks down – yeah, the whole house breaks down in a puddle of cat piss – every few weeks. Which means every few weeks, I’ll have a “work from home” morning and I reluctantly eat breakfast at home, and I will get a pay cut, and I will pay a man to come fix things that I should really learn how to fix myself. You guys won’t think I’m a slacker, right?”

Which brings us to the next section of shame.

Boss Dance

Clumsy as I am (Y’all know I rammed my bicycle into a parked car once?) I’m usually able to handle myself pretty well. I get a lot of satisfaction from fixing things. When I bother to. Which, as I half heartedly step further into adulthood, seems to happen about once in a never. I suppose I could figure out basic plumbing if I dedicate a day’s time to figuring it out. But I don’t. I could but I won’t. Should but I shorn’t. Maybe pick up some skills so I can cook more than maggi and eggs? Shorn’t. Maybe figure out how to do that threading thing so I don’t have to rely on irregular beauty parlor payments to keep me looking like a 21st century female standard of grooming person? Shorn’t. Maybe try harder to get my PAN card application through so I don’t have to go through insane cuts due to taxes later? What part of shorn’t don’t you understand?

ME: Go die somewhere. Please?

Yes, let’s get to the PAN card thing, shall we? I really ought to get one. I have done one thing towards it. Two if you count asking for a letter I need from the office. But I have done nothing further for it. Shorn’t, baby. In this case, I suppose, what can I do? Sit at my desk during the moments of respite in a day and wonder if flinging myself dramatically over my office’s 10th floor balcony would help life a bit…

ME: *holds up “YES WE CAN!” poster*

Viola Davis celbration 2
So. Much. Fun.

My finances are in a terrible state, even outside of basic money. I have not kept accounts in a long ass time. I just trust that because I don’t buy clothes, watches, phones, shoes, alcohol, drugs, and other shit that other peoples of the world fret about spending money over, I will be fine till the next month’s pay day comes up.

And it usually works out, but my inner organized soul weeps at what I have become. I’m not the kind of asshole who puts the bedsheets on the bed with the flowers growing from the direction of the head. What am I, some sort of perverted heathen? No! But then I see the state of my bank account, and I have to admit. Maybe I am! Youguys, I’m the perverted heathen of the financial world. I’m the Fifty Shades of Accountant Grey of the daily finance world. This, you may guess, is not ideal.

I keep wondering if I should be trying to be fitter. But that’s a whole area of life I’m not fond of. Why be fitter? I’m not really planning on holding any trucks off the ground so pedestrians can escape a crushing death. I say let ’em die. I’m sure they did something very bad. On the other hand, being healthier would mean I will eat less fried food which will cost me less money. Which in turn can only be a good thing, considering how much of this post covers money. Makes you really think about how money minded I am, right? But truly, the only people I know who don’t have to think about money either have a lot of money, or live with their parents while earning. I have to think about money around twenty times a day, roughly. Will the ten bucks on daily pick me up tea be worth it? Can I afford to have a 30 buck lunch instead of a 20 buck lunch today? I know its late, but an auto will cost 30 bucks more. Do I have the resources for that?

Shame is a pretty ugly thing to live with. Thankfully, I’m very used to it. In fact, my alter ego is mostly shame combined with a very pronounced, confident sort of self loathing. That said, its still no picnic. And of all this awfulness, the worst shame of all, the one I don’t like to think about, is the fact that there is so much more that I don’t talk about. That as annoying as this may be, it’s nothing compared to the torrents of shame I feel about every little lie, every big lie, and every mediocre lie I end up telling to hide the millions of ways in which I know I don’t measure up.If you think there is brash, complete honesty in this, you don’t want to know what I don’t write about on the interwebs, right? I have yet to find that distance from my problems and my shame to be able to craft language well enough to relate this, the simple truth about said shame and self hate – that it is always, and it guides every thought and every gesture.

I'm Fine. Is this the gin I asked for

And the truth of the matter is, you can’t always tell people you’re not going out because money, or you can’t invite them in because house is a mess, or that you’ll be late to work because you’re going to spend another morning insipidly watching as a plumber does some knocking and sucking and charges you 4 days worth of food budget. What a dickensian life, she says, as she types away on her Apple computer.

Of course, I don’t really talk about not talking about it either. Except for right now I suppose, when you lucky bastards get to know all about my neuroses and how it has very harsh, real world consequences.

I wonder if this is the kind of thing that eventually leads to excess sex, drugs, and/ or rock and roll? Will you find me begging for knives to stab at street rats to make meals out of rat meat in a few years? Will I have those red rings you see around the eyes of people who use too much drugs? Will a decade see me poofed out from history with only those who remember me personally serving as living memory… We’ll see.

But maybe, just maybe, things will be better. I have recently asked someone halfway reliable to teach me the ways of the Jedi. Soon, I plan to have accounts. Maybe, Oh god, maybe, please, please, please fucking turdburger god, I know you’re not real but if you could see your way into making me a whole different person who has accounts by the end of this month, I will so very very grateful, I will think about maybe not thinking something non-believing about you for a day.

The only other thing I can hope to do is to have better weather so I can sign up for swimming pool shit, swimming being the only form of exercise I’m willing to do. That will probably have to be in March, when going into a swimming pool won’t result in full body frostbite. Also, I will have money in March. Especially if the whole crazy accounts thing works out.

Till then, I suppose I should keep my head down, and skip meals as much as possible… that helps with being fitter (because when has starvation ever killed anyone, right?) and also with the money thing.

Don’t judge me.

Much nervous.

Billy.

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Unemployment greens, whore thoughts, and pontificating on Hard Work

Here be some thoughts on the minutiae of life, fucks.

The truly unfortunate thing about being unemployed is that it is so terribly, achingly similar to being jobless. And yet, it lacks the arcadian feeling of joblessness. The grass is green, and you can read a book lying down on it, sure. But you feel like you’re in a time lapse video and winter is coming like a wave and its going to turn that green grass into yellow strings of ex-grass in no time.

For those of us unfortunate enough to not have enough money to last our lives comfortably, being jobless is something that happens mainly in college. After college or whatever form of higher education one chooses to pursue, joblessness comes in small spurts – you get a jobless weekend, you get a jobless evening, you may even get a jobless week for a vacation.

The only long term joblessness one can get post collegiate life is if one decides to be a kept person – you know, someone pays for your apartment, and buys your clothes and food out of the kindness of their private parts, wink wink, nudge nudge. And believe me, the thought has occurred to me. There are several ways of being a kept person. You could be married, you could be what is generally known as a “mistress”, or you could just be a very demanding person in a relationship. I personally think I would be suited for being a mistress, though I could settle for marriage if its logically necessary. Either way, there’s no shame in any of the three choices. As Sherman T. Potter once said, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. And the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.”

I have also considered the fact that I will be a very good prostitute/ mistress so long as its one of those high class deals where I decide who and when and where and how much. You know, the pretty woman way. Think about it – I’m great at the rumpy pumpy, I demand nothing in terms of emotions as long as I’m not involved emotionally, I don’t go around expressing feelings like a loose cannon (most of the time), and I am just a delight to have around the house. At least I delight myself most of the time.

I have many skills
*Smirk

But all of this, of course, was in theory. To begin with, I’m in a new city. Well, an old city, but Bombay’s new for me. The point is, I’m not even sure where one would begin to prostitute oneself. Is one supposed to find a club frequented by men going through menopause? Or are there certain neighborhoods that cater to the unloved and lusty? Who knows?

Then of course, there’s the fact that I’m too lazy to actually go about acquainting myself with the in and outs (so to speak) of a whole new profession, especially if said profession involves a lot of standing around in uncomfortable clothes. Third, I kind of had things in the pipeline when I started out with the unemployment so there was really no need to seriously consider prostitution.

But I was unemployed for a whole month. It was simultaneously relaxing and petrifying.

It was relaxing not having to wake up at 8:30 in the morning. It was petrifying to wake up at 1 in the afternoon, realizing that that’s another day when you did nothing in life.

Group krumping
On the plus side, you get to do shit like this all day.

It was amazing not deciding what to wear in the morning, but when at 6 in the evening, you’ve to tuck your T-shirt between your underboob and your torso because you’re braless, its kind of a sobering thought that you spent the whole day hunched over your laptop and that at 25, your posture is not going to be good for the future of your breasts.

It’s fantastic to stay up late not caring about alarms and such, but night-time is the worst time when you have such gems of thoughts as “Holy crap, you’re never going to find a job. You’d better arrange to die soon for the burden you are on the earth.” Of course, when those thoughts occur to you, its good to write them down for posterity, and then move on to the next funny show or movie you have with you.

But there is some beauty in the joblessness of unemployment. You can meet your friends when you want. You can read whenever you want. You can be available for emergencies. You get to clean your house more often. And more to the point of where I’m going, being unemployed really makes you think about working hard. And hold on to your capitalist horses, because this is not going to be one of those pieces on the limitless ecstasy of a hard day’s work, if there be such a thing.

I moved to Bombay five months ago, and people here love working hard. They also love talking about working hard. Especially if you mention that you have no interest in appearing to be available for work at 6 in the morning just to impress someone, you will immediately get told by your mid-level superior that he/she once appeared available at 5.

Its basically the work equivalent of you telling someone your dog died, and having them tell you that that’s nothing compared to their horse dying the week before.

Balloon Finger

How the hell is your miserable life and pathetic choices supposed to encourage me to make the same pathetic choices you did? Believe me, it does not. Every time I see a 28 year old who looks closer to 40 than 30, I shudder and hope I have the temerity to quit before I join the ranks of the zombie work force.

I love this city. It’s charming, has some beautifully well-worn buildings, leaves you alone when you want to be alone, and in the right places, is full of people who are often fun to hang out with. When it comes to work culture, however, Bombay romanticizes exhaustion to the point of … exhaustion.

Being passionate about one’s work is a privilege. Most people in the world don’t get to pick work that they’re passionate about. Most people do the work that needs doing, from being bankers and accountants to garbagemen and housewives. For those of us who have the privilege of having an education that teaches us to think beyond the obvious, and the even greater privilege of earning a living outside of the obvious, perhaps there is something to working hard.

But even so, I place more premium on being marginally healthy, getting to read a certain amount of books and watch a certain number of shows and movies, and being able to meet people I give a turd about. I suppose I’m just not an ambitious person. As long as I like what I’m doing, I see no need to torture myself with how big I want to be while doing it. And I certainly don’t understand institutions that seem to think that only those who want to be on top should be anywhere. The world depends on people in the middle. Why is a normal life, lacking in fame and fortune and making a name for yourself, such a terrible thing?

Of course, these are the thoughts that run through my head when I’m unemployed. Starting December, I am employed, and as such I suspect I will have more interesting things to think about, like pleasing my superiors beyond question (is someone from the new work place going to read this?), or what to wear in the mornings or panicking about how I’m going to balance working with thinking about a blog topic every week.

Yes, the weekly schedule is back on, I promise with a rising sense of dread. I shall have to post something every week on penalty of telling a terrible/ embarrassing secret, and believe me, over the year and a half of my absence, I have amassed a few. As per usual, I suspect the telling of embarrassing secrets, or thinking about them, will fuel posts where I have nothing to say. Such has been life, and such it will be, no doubt.

I don't care typing
Le Writing process

As for why I have been absent, I choose to keep that information to myself for the time being. Its got a lot to do with feeling blue, and possibly black, and its terribly boring and self-indulgent for me to talk about it, so I shan’t. Also, believe you me, its been done to death.

Overall, I’m aiming for the coming posts to be better than this one. This one, I would give about a 4 out of 10. I’m rusty, but I have to start somewhere. Whatever’s next will hopefully be funnier and more relevant. Or you know, I have reached the height of my potential and should give up on life.

We’ll see.

Ta, loves.

How to fangirl defend Sherlock season 3

As anyone who cares to have a conversation with me for longer than about 15 minutes knows, I am a tumblr person. Which means that when it comes to things I like, namely films, television and books, I get chatter and news very quickly. It also means that comprehensibly distilled versions of critiques and reviews of said television, films and books find me sooner or later. Recently, I read a few posts on tumblr that has brought this on, other than raging fandom feelings.

One was about how the constant fear about someone who cares about something, anything at all, is that they will start becoming a looped record about it. Every time you talk about it, you are aware of a certain section of people internally groaning – “We KNOW. You’ve talked about this before. In a different context perhaps, and with different conclusions, but why does every discussion have to be about this?”

And speaking as someone who has thought these very things on multiple occasions, and lately been subject to these very thoughts, I have to pint out it’s between a hard place and another phallic, sexual hard thing. Nobody wants people to tire of the things they talk about and consider important. However, perhaps more so with some subjects than another, you can’t rest till you talk about it because the only way to embed a manner of reasoning or thinking into the world around you is if you bring it up as much as you can. And so goes feminism and anything feminism related to film and television.

The problem with talking about feminism is how ingrained the opposite is. Because nobody has ever really ignored the presence of women in human society. In history and sociology and the rest of the liberal arts, perhaps only recently has the contribution and importance of women been studied, but in everyday life, women are always around. They are not ignored in the culture of any society, largely because is “culture” is mostly made by a phallus shaped society interested in where the penis shaped compass of their penis-minds are pointed. Which means that as soon as someone says “but the women…” the immediate response from most people is, “Yes, the women are here. We see them.” The question of how you internalize the personhood of women is often ignored because as soon as you acknowledge their presence, mostly at a phallic level, you stop wondering what other contribution they can have to your life or to your story.

Which brings me, quite fortuitously (not really. I planned this) to the subject of Sherlock. Season three has come and gone, and the results are in – “Amazing as usual, but it is not Sherlock anymore. Sherlock isn’t about how pretty Benedict Cumberbatch’s eyes are, or how much Watson loves his wife. It should be about Sherlock solving crime.” (Apologies to the person to whom this quote can be directly ascribed to. This is not a tirade against you. I have heard too many arguments of the same nature and you were the most articulate)

There is no doubt that this season has been subtly or not so subtly… enhanced for the womenfolk. The opening sequence itself, where all of our vaginas trembled with the knowledge that here, here was the perfect kiss with just the right hand placement and just the right kind of adrenaline rush and the right kind of background lighting, is proof of this. However my question is, is the value of the series itself diminished somehow because it also caters to the red blooded female? I have rarely heard of the value of something like Game of Thrones or Rome or even Spartacus being diminished because it caters to the visual fantasies and priorities of its male viewers. If I have, it comes from a largely female source where the argument is not against such catering, but in its blatant disregard for the female viewer. Take this hilariously significant plea to HBO for instance.

 

In comedy this is an often talked about issue – is women’s comedy different from men’s comedy? This is especially something that is chanted by male comedians for whom a large part of their routine consists of “Men are like…. But women are like….” But for people like Louis C.K. or Patton Oswalt, two older male comedians who have actually engaged with feminist (or rather, just anti-obscene-justifying-rape-joke-ist) critique, there is no such thing as “funny for men” and “funny for women”. Funny is funny. And for Oswalt and Louis, funny is funny because it is not coming at the expense of trivializing actual, real, and horrendous problems, but engages with them in order to cull out hypocrisy and irony and outlandishness of thought that allows for such problems.

This engagement at a less than visceral level is what has always made Sherlock as a show important. A direct adaptation, even one based in the 21st century, of what I remember of the original material would not result in the show as it exists. And it’s a good thing they didn’t go about making that direct adaptation, largely because the world has seen enough interpretations of the “genius solves crime by using his genius and then follows killer into dark alley where they fight and then genius emerges victorious” trope. Any show that wants to break ground while having Sherlock Holmes as its protagonist needs more. You need more than chase sequences and smug omniscience. You need human connection, and very importantly in the digital age, a connection with the consumers.

I don’t know about anyone else, but to me and a lot of people around me, the pivotal point of any Sherlock episode has not been the chase, or the catching of the criminal. It has been about how Sherlock uses his mind to arrive at the solution, to escape, to catch. And more than that, it is about the examination we do of Sherlock’s mind to understand where he stands, and where we stand by comparison. Even Moriarty, who by the way did not have as much a presence in the original works as does the Andrew Scott Moriarty in Sherlock, as much as he is the epitome of the “consigliore of crime” presents such a palpably delicious threat because of how much he wants to sparr with Sherlock. Sherlock the show has always been more interesting because we get to see the socially dysfunctional Sherlock manipulate and work with the real world and with real people and all their “tedious” fights, emotions and conventions.

With Doctor Who, especially in its 10th Doctor heyday, the most adventurous part of the show is never special effects, explosions and chasing aliens, but the manner in which the Doctor with all his resources and intelligence facilitates compromise and diplomacy, more often than not, by creating a team and working positively with other people.

Sherlock, Doctor Who and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer of yore are few of the shows that escape from sticking to the previously adhered to, rather male centric trope of “single savior saves the world” even while there is a titular character. All of them survive because of the team they form around each other, and the team they form around the people who watch the show itself.

This is where fandom has become an unprecedentedly important factor. Sherlock is made by fandom. Even Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are fans of the original work, and are technically writing modern AU fanfiction to use the parlance of the fanfic universe. My question is, does the fact that so many female viewers are enamored by Sherlock’s physicality negate their equally strong enthusiasm for his process? Does the fact that the writers are keeping this female viewership in mind mean that there is nothing for everyone else to enjoy? In fact, isn’t it a good thing that the perspective and imaginations of female viewers are now part of the canon of a show rather than something left to be filled up by female viewers in fanfiction sites?

More importantly one has to consider why female viewers love Sherlock. Despite what a large number of men, including Steven Moffat at times, think it is has as much to do with his personality as his looks, and it is not at a purely romantic level. For many women, Sherlock is not a challenge – someone who appears asexual but who we hope we would be able to change. He is asexual, and for a lot of people including women there is comfort in his asexuality. Sherlock being asexual and as logical as he is means that his lack of manners and general rudeness have nothing to do with the way he thinks about you because you’re a woman. He treats women abhorrently, but he treats men equally abhorrently. He is the man who will not try to leap ahead of you to open the door for you. He will probably let the door smack you on your face. There is safety in him – the guarantee of being treated rottenly on the basis of something that has nothing to do with where he believes your place in life is simply because you are a woman. God knows he seems to have met enough world class criminal women to have no stereotypical understanding of women. In the stand up comedy delivered by Sherlock, if there is any mention at all of the separation of genders or relationships, it will probably go something like “Can you believe you tiny brains have no idea that your significant other is using drugs by the fact that he or she has started polishing their boots?! What a bunch of fucking idiots.”

It may not be the crime procedural that we have been made used to by the rather male dominated western entertainment industry, with the importance it gives to weddings, relationships and so on, but it would be rather punishing to claim that such things should not be part of a show like Sherlock. Further, saying that would imply that men and viewers at large are not interested in such things as marriage or kissing or emotional and psychological basis for human behavior and personalities. You only need to look at who writers of happy fairy tales and romantic comedies have largely been – men.

This is not to say that Steven Moffat couldn’t do with a world of improvement in his portrayals of women – which is more often than not one-dimensional or otherwise problematic, or even of portrayals of relationships. However, Mary Morstan is certainly a step up, not just in the depth of her character and history, but in the relationships she sustains with people – from using them for her own ends (Geniene?) to loving fiercely to inspiring respect and love not just for her ability to love fiercely, but for being a clever and ruthless assassin. In fact, I believe for those interested in such things, it would be thrilling – comparing Sherlock and Mary Morstan; two sociopaths with the ability to love fiercely and unequivocally when it comes to the people they care about.

To imply that Sherlock has always been about solving crimes would be very blind – it has always been about people, especially about Sherlock himself. We are all at some level masturbating intellectually to the thought of this one man’s unprecedented personality and how it interacts with other personalities. And to behave as though the manner in which he and Watson form relationships and friendships is not interesting to you would mean you’re just not interested in stories. The kind of male centered action based television where entertainment is based on one liners and very flimsy grasp of personalities, especially women’s personalities should be on its way out, even if it isn’t actually.

This is not to say that women don’t like action movies with bombs and guns. They would be more interesting if they centered around people more – people being more than just those with dangling genitals. This is of course a problem with Sherlock, and the female viewers deal with it through the mode available to it – fan-fiction and fan art. The amount of material you see on the female characters in Sherlock interacting, their origin stories, their interactions, their survival, their dreams, the realizations or shattering of their hopes, is exponential. Is it really a bad thing if Moffat and Gatiss start paying attention to the many types of viewers who are consuming their show, and allowing for merit in their interests.

This season for instance, we see Molly Hooper having a more assertive personality and overall more presence in the show itself. The fact that this has been inspired by the kind of interest she has generated, even from the corner she was relegated to in the previous seasons is an improvement for more representational and demographically and psychologically realistic television. So is a multi dimensional approach to character.

In conclusion, Benedict Cumberbatch is undeniably a very new and utterly fabulous type of hot, and yes, the show has started banking on that a little more than when it initially came out. It is also a fact that the show has started looking more at other characters as well as the emotional bonds that Sherlock is made of. We can all certainly argue about what kind of Sherlock Holmes we are used to and what we would prefer his personality to be. But assuming that the kind of personality he does have in the show and what dimensions of said personality the show chooses to display somehow makes the show less than its previous seasons is an entirely subjective argument. Even if the intention is to give a certain section of viewers what they want (namely, more Benedict Cumberbatch), that alone should ideally not be the basis of saying that the show has become something else, and certainly not something less than what it was before.

 

–        Billy

 

P.S. – I was going to write more, but something’s gotta give. It is first week back in college and I’m already more busy than I have ever been. So screw writing about fandom and India and all that shit. I’ll do that some other time.

Also, I believe I’m supposed to reveal an embarrassing secret – I once masturbated while there was another person present in the room. That person was not aware of my activities for a number of reasons which I will not be divulging. Ok. Bye.

 

Nearly Dying and Other Excuses

Ok so I’m back. And I know I’ve not been around for a while, but I never said I couldn’t take a break, and there were good reasons for taking a break, followed by lazy reason, and then good reasons again.

Good reason – I had dengue fever.And it became a problem. The kind of third world problem that just reminds me that I am in fact, very much in the third world, even if really I get the privileges of the first world. Although considering the fact that my dengue fever got aggravated by pneumonia that I probably caught while waiting in a crowded disease ridden casualty ward is very telling of the time and place, no? Anyway, I was in a bad way. Had tubes coming out of me and everything.

Apparently there was a point when they were anticipating full organ failure followed by life ending death, but they didn’t bother to tell me. I could have had a spiritual/ moral awakening, but because I wasn’t told I came out of the horrifyingly noisy Intensive Care Unit still the morally lacking, blaspheming atheist I was. I didn’t even feel the need to get emotional with my family or friends later, though I’m told they managed that bit quite well on their own. I feel like I’m not using enough commas in the above sentences, but eh…

Lazy reason – I got out, and didn’t feel like writing much…. And the hospital had made me pretty lazy. It took practically all of my willpower to get back into serious working mode for college. Couldn’t quite manage it for everything else. At least I have my priorities straight this time around with college.

Good reason – All of November is very stressful with assignments and projects, and catching up on lost time… And there were some rather stress inducing presentations that I thought went fairly well, given that I had been tripping on Kurkure out of nervousness. I appear to be smart in this new college and I don’t want to lose my edge there. I also don’t want to becoming an annoying smart person so I’m constantly trying not to say too much, and failing constantly at it.

So there. I don’t think I yall a secret or embarrassing detail for every week. I’ll just make it a big one. OK. While I was in the hospital two things happened that I previously thought would be indicators that I should mercy kill myself. 1. I had a fucking catheter through which I had to pee. This was painful, disgusting, embarrassing and I don’t wish to discuss it. 2. There were diapers involved and I couldn’t really clean up after myself so some poor nurse had to do it.

There are many reasons I didn’t kill myself while I was thus incapacitated with blinding shame about my excretory and digestive systems. I had always imagined I would be old and would have lived well before any of this happened. Also, I didn’t have the energy. Also, I hadn’t watched all the Star Treks or the Classic Who serials like I had always thought I would before I died. Also, I didn’t really know how I could possibly kill myself while I was in the ICU except to sneak a syringe full of into one of the IV tubes, but apparently that is very painful. Also, I had barely started liking my life and where it was all going so I didn’t actually want to end it right then. Finally, I kept wondering if just before going to the hospital I had somehow, inadvertently given my family or my friends the impression that they did not make me happy. I didn’t want to leave with that. I would have preferred to have one of those big elaborate pre-funeral funerals…Now that I think about it, I may be one of the few people around who casually wondered about killing myself without knowing that my body could actually give up any moment. Oh, the irony.

There was one thing I must mention that I found rather funny. The catheter meant that I didn’t actually pee… there was a bag that just filled up with my pee over a few days. So basically, I had a bag of what looked like non-aerated mountain dew hanging off the side of my mechanized hospital bed. Had I been up and about, this would mean I would have had to carry a transparent bag of urine around. Every patient in the ICU had their Bag’o’pee as I started calling it in my head, and somehow they both disturbed and amused me.

Never thought I'd use this picture in a proper context, but given the nature of above mentioned grievances....
Never thought I’d use this picture in a proper context, but given the nature of above mentioned grievances….

 

Anyway, there will be no more this week. I will start afresh with a blog post every week from next week on. This week I can’t because I haven’t thought of anything, what with frantically finishing projects for Critical Theory I and Film Theory I and Evolution of Cinema I and so on and so forth. As much as I would love to wax eloquent about philosophy and critical theory and movies, I don’t think people want to read my academic papers on the same, which is essentially the mode I’m in right now, writing wise.

I need to get back in the usual chirpy, depraved mode I usually am in for blog posts. Hopefully two to three days of writing expletive ridden notes in my writing journal thingy should do the trick.

– Billy

P.S. I livestreamed the 50th anniversary Doctor Who episode. 🙂 !!!

Also… here’s some funny/ awesome that I stole from tumblr and throw at your face.

 

Oh Benedict, why must you probe your way thusly into my heart through my vagina and my funny bone?
Oh Benedict, why must you probe your way thusly into my heart through my vagina and my funny bone?

 

:) Spock's Milkshake.
🙂

Meeting the creative types and going crazy with Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K.

We’re doing this again. Listening to Coldplay and 90’s Bollywood, ignoring the presence of the Coke bottle that suddenly appeared in the fridge today despite being very sleepy indeed and being highly passive aggressive with self through the following conversation.

me: unnngggghhhh. *type type… type* unnnngggggggghhhhhhhh.

ME: You could go to sleep you know. You could find time to write the blog tomorrow.

me: I have to start. It’s in my head. Waiting to be put down. What if it’s gone by morning?

ME: Relax. What’s the worst that could happen? You could forget to write tomorrow… find a reason to not write on Saturday, get busy with classes next week, and before you know it, this is an ex-blog, bereft of life, deceased and gone up to meet its maker in the Great Sky of Internet Light Entertainment. That’s all. Shhhh child, go to sleep. There, there.

me: UNNNNNNGGGGGGGHHHHHHH. *type type*

 

Which is my way of saying, I’m sleepy, unsure of myself and may not pay attention to things like speling, syntax or the grammar. That’s right, this is a giant flaming finger at your expectations.

 

So I met my batch-mates. As I predicted, I’m not faring well in the comfortable socializing department. I’m making friendly acquaintances but I’m ashamed to admit that as soon as I find myself in a slight lull in conversation/ comfort I give in to my instinct to say sayonara. It may have a lot to do with the fact that I’m less eager to please than I was the last time I had to socialize with a giant group of people. I was seventeen then. And much like the magazine, I was fluffy, optimistic and full of body image issues and self-doubt. Now I’m twenty two, and much like Frodo later in the book, I’m short, damaged, corrupted and burdened with the one ring of power and a glorious purpose. That last bit was Loki, but you get my gist. Insert analogy between one ring/ glorious purpose and what little remains of body image issues and self-doubt here.

Seriously though, u gaiiiz, I find the outside world very strange. The only people I knew from the outside world two months ago were my parents, my cousin (they’re old enough to have dealt with a plentitude of crap, and have therefore acquired a hard edge), my sister (who is quite dark in her own way, not to mention a social worker/ researcher and therefore a bit less fluffy in her mind), and Delhi N, who I always mentally put in a bubble separate from the rest of the world. And she’s no bag of happiness herself.

And then there’s the new college. First of all, they all have a lot more experience in “the real world” than I do. Most of them have held a job for at least a year. Most of them appear more confident than I am in their ability to do their thang, and their thang involves making of artwork and conceptualizing stuff I’m not sure I understand completely, and awfully enough, in the usual artsy-fartsy way, I’m not sure I’m supposed to.

But here’s the weird thing. They’re…. not the darkest people I’ve met. They don’t do politically incorrect jokes. They don’t have immediate, instinctive, outspoken and often misconstrued opinions about the people they meet. I’m sure they have opinions about everyone including me, but they seem to keep it to themselves for the most part. They all seem…. Lighter, fluffier, than the fare I’m used to. I would know how to deal with opinionated, rude people, because honestly I’m a bit of one myself. I don’t know how to deal with social niceties and positive conversations and what is clearly a silent, persistent, and possibly non-judgmental sizing up of everyone around on some hitherto unknown-to-me meter or art knowledge/ ability-meter.

I’d know how to deal if it was judgmental. Open judgment is easy to deal with – you examine if there is veracity to it; if there is you decide whether it is a problem that merits attempts to change on your part; if yes, you change; if no, then fuck what people think. I’m just not good with meeting new people.

Especially when they’re so much… happier? Very few of them express even a mild cynicism about what their lives would amount to, or what the course in college would mean. Even fewer find dark humor funny. It’s not naïveté; as I said, they’ve clearly seen more of the world than I have. They just seem to have so much faith in the world. As though they’ve never met some of the people you meet in law schools and lawyer’s chambers and courtrooms, let alone spent five years making their concerns part of your problems, even if its in an entirely abstract manner. As though they haven’t had to deal with administrative bureaucracy, tough decisions about what their position in the world is…. as though their whole lives and every decision they ever made has never been questioned and rebuked by people. As if they’ve not questioned it themselves and they never intend to question it.

Wow. I sound chirpy.

There’s the rub, though – I’ve always thought that you need to be a little mad in order to write or create properly. You need to have something unhinged that helps you see what others don’t, before you can put it on a canvas, or build it in a museum, or write it on a word document. Like Van Gogh, or Poe, or dare I say it, Hemingway?

Side note – a good song for such thoughts is the following. it came up randomly on my playlist. I really like Jones Street Station, and not just because Danny Pudi is fucking adorable.

 

I especially believe the must-be-slightly-mad-to-be-creative hypothesis to be true because I have noted that though others may have differing opinions, I always think of the stuff I have written when I’m unhappy with my situation in life to be some of my best works. They’re funnier, snappier, and they have something to say that I would personally like to read. For anyone who hasn’t worked it out yet because of some sort of mental deficiency, I intend to write stuff in a humorous fashion. And as I pointed out to a fellow pop culture enthusiast as we left college for the last time, all the good comedians came up with their best stuff when they were unhappiest in life.

Seinfeld wrote/ created Seinfeld before he met his wife. That show is one of the most hilarious things that happened on planet earth, but if you ever stop to think about it, you realize it could not have been written by someone who is entirely psychologically healthy. Seinfeld in fact has said that his wife saved his life. Sadly, we can all agree that before his life was saved, and during his presumably unhealthy phase of dating teenagers and general nihilism, he created his best work, and nothing has ever been quite as good since his life got saved. What a waste.

Louis C.K. is the one man on earth who I would marry and be faithful to for the rest of my life. I don’t care if he’s actually a humongous metaphorical dick in real life; I’d still suck his probably normal sized dick for the rest of his life. One of the most erotic dreams I have ever had involves me continuously making out with Will Ferrell (I had just watched Stranger Than Fiction) who somehow morphs into Louis C.K. (In the dream I’m really happy about this miracle, as I would be in life) who proceeds to grow grotesquely old even as I make out with him. And I do mean grotequesly. His face gets puffier and at the same time wrinkly like a ninety-year-old’s. He gets fat(ter) all over, and his stomach starts peeking out of his t-shirt because oddly enough, his t-shirt is not growing with him. Much like the honeybadger, I don’t care and I continue to swap oral fluids with him, while also swooning at times.

The stuff of the most potent fantasies.
The stuff of the most potent fantasies.

The reason I would do this for Louis C.K. is because I love him. Also, he is the funniest person I have ever seen do stand up. Also, his show is the most excellent of all U.S. TV shows I watch. I mean, look at this-

 

And I have had a thing for red hair ever since Rose from Titanic.

And yet, what you see before you is the result of years of stand-up. This man has been peaking for the last few years. Also, he has been divorced for the past few years. Before this, he was married, with children. He had tried to find happiness and had sort of succeeded. It took a giant steamy wet piece of turd on his personal life (if one chooses to look at divorce in such negative terms, which most people do) for him to acquire that little something extra so he could achieve the potential you can see gleaming through his work before the divorce. I would marry him despite this, make no mistake. But I would be willing to be his depraved live-in mistress just to save his craft. I went there, motherfuckers.

As for myself, I always wanted to be slightly mad. Of course as many of my faithful readers know, I did acquire a certain madness (long bout of depressive behavior, suicidal thoughts… you know, the usual) for a while and it took a lot of effort and work to be rid of it. What sanity I do have, I hold dear. Which is a conundrum, I know, but I try and make it work. But I do know I can’t make do without the dark side; much like Captain Kirk from the original series.

Maybe my batch-mates do have dark sides that they keep much better hidden than I do mine? Yes. Let’s go with that. I’m not the only depraved one full of blind confidence and self loathing. Everyone’s like me, they just hide it better. Yes. That’s the one. Boom.

–          Billy

 

P.S. – though I’m not much for self help myself, this really captures why I love Louis. http://bridefied.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/daring-greatly-exposing-vulnerabilities-with-louis-ck/

 

Socially Functional Sociopaths and Shonda Rhimes and Shit

I’ve been watching Shonda Rhimes recently. I don’t mean I’ve been watching her through binoculars while she bathes or anything. I’ve merely been watching Shonda Rhimes’ show Scandal. I have no idea if it is critically or publicly acclaimed. I like it enough – it’s fun and makes you question things and something about Kerry Washington’s lips makes me want to have sex with her, or possibly watch her have sex with someone. Thankfully the internet supplies me with the uncensored version of the show which does have an adequate amount of sexing Kerry Washington. My god, I’m a freak.

Be that as it may, one of the weirdest things about Shonda Rhimes’ shows is the people in them who are in love. They’re all scared and stupid and full of beautiful crap, as is the case with most people, but somehow they all get to a point fairly early where they tell the person they’re in love with. I don’t understand either of these things – the being in love or the telling. But we’ll leave the former as being symptomatic of any number of amateur psychology reasons that you fuckers will be glad to come up with. What’s interesting to me is the telling/ confessing of love. That is a very curious thing to me.

See contrary to popular opinion, I do have feelings. They’re perhaps not as strong as what is considered normal and I have been known to not pay attention to them, but they do exist. I have never been in the business of telling them to people at a moment’s notice. I’m don’t just go about willy nilly revealing my love for being the little spoon while being the big spoon for a pillow to people I sleep with, or my need to have my friends think of me as smart if not competent. No, I like any other normal person keeps these horrifying hoomun (that’s how you spell the slang for homo sapien, right hoomun scum?) tendencies to myself till I inevitably tell people via the internet.

But then there are Shonda Rhimes characters who have their own insecurities and what not for a good while, but inevitably, about three episodes into first realizing it, they end up shouting or whispering or blurting or in some cases eye fucking out the truth to the concerned person. And they all seem so fucking happy about it. As if being in love is the most wonderful thing they ever felt.

Eye Sex 1

Unless being in love is something like having your first major crush at age 12, with the whole heart pounding, stomach butterflies, constant smiling situation (Oh person from adolescence whose name is Adi, having a crush on you as freakishly as I did may have ruined me for other men), I don’t see how that’s possible. Whenever I’ve come close to having feelings since crossing the age of 13, I usually felt disgusted with myself. On rare occasions I’d feel neither good nor bad about it.

The point being, I don’t go any of the above routes in expressing my loving hoomun feelings. Perhaps there is a name for people like me, and as much as I would like it to be high functioning sociopaths or mad (wo)man in a box or selfish bastard [perhaps I should pay respects thusly to Sherlock or Doctor Who or Community every week till they come back into my life?] I can’t take credit for those terms, and I really like taking credit. So how about, let’s see… socially functional sociopath? Get it? Cause I’m sort of emotionless but appear and am nice, friendly and marginally competent at parties and other hoomun gatherings? Competent enough to land a place in college based on an interview/ viva thing recently.

Sneaky Happy Cox

So here, after a suitably word consuming and meandering introduction (It’s what people expect. I’m a panderer. It’s my nature.) I’m going to list without numbering, the number of ways in which people like me show affection. I’m not alluding to sexual affection exclusively, especially because that is usually expressed by having sex or by some seriously disturbing sexual fantasies. Apart from hopefully tickling the funny bone you have near your elbow, this will allow me to waste a bit of time looking for/ stealing appropriate gifs from tumblr. This is one of my sexless porn equivalents. Others include those pictures of vast libraries you find on the internet, some TV shows and those pictures of the interiors of wood cabins and other cozy woody places. Not a euphemism.

If I like you when I first meet you, I will very likely talk to you for a while and just past the stage where we’re all,” we should find out each other’s names and digits and facebook hashtag or something”, I will leave because I don’t want to ruin it. If we meet again, we may exchange above given details. Then if you start messaging me too much, or poking me or inviting me to Farmville or whatever it is you people keep asking me to do just because my name starts with an ‘A’, I will hate you in heart in heart (dil hi dil mein for those who don’t know NALSAR inside jokes) but not enough to spit on your dead skull. Just enough so I keep pretending I have to go give my dog a bath every time you try to chat.

Sometimes, people like me tell people that we love them just to appease them when they seem to be distant or needy. This does not mean that I don’t love them. In fact, it means that I do love them, but not at that very moment when I’m telling them about it. At that moment, I’m exasperated and I want to assure this person that they matter, even though as previously mentioned, they matter in that moment as a person who is not letting me be awesome. And I hate it when even if I DFTBA, someone cockblocks my A (Google it assholes). So technically, I guess in that moment when us Socially Functional Sociopaths (or SFS’ if you’re cool) tell you after you doubt us that we love you, we don’t even like you. We’ll love you later, when you’re not being a little bitch, bitch.

As soon as I have a little alcohol inside me and its hit me in the slightest, if you’re a friend I compliment you about anything in a voice that does not sound strained, it means I have a great deal of affection for  you. Now be careful, I don’t mean regular compliments like “your dress is pretty” or “when I look into your eyes, I see the universe and all of time” or “you’re grammar is fantastic”. I mean compliments that seem all life-empowering and shit. Here’s a recent one I pulled out for my friend Voldemort (it’s a code name for a woman) – “I can’t ever imagine you taking shit from anyone, like, ever. You’ve always seemed too smart and strong and powerful to me to ever take anyone’s shit. Ever.” Yeah. So people who are not friends with me because you’re dicks without taste, that is the kind of life affirming crap you’re missing out on. I’m sure Voldemort wouldn’t mind that I’m using me heartfelt compliment as an advertising tool to acquire other friend investors. Also, if us SFS’ are drunk and we tell you we love you and then list off a set of your failings, it means we love you, but we’re being honest and telling you that sometimes you suck. You may return the back handed compliment any time and we’ll be happy to receive it, so suck it up.

When we yearn for you in a romantic fashion, we have a myriad of ways to deal with it. My personal method is to go to my room after a bad day of being angry with myself, then I will literally bang my forehead against a wall muttering, “Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.” That doesn’t work in a practical sense, but I do end up thinking its silly which leads to me not paying enough attention to it. In my experience, unless its some kind of life changing romantic feelings, most of said feelings will go away if you don’t devote enough time to them. I know a fellow SFS who becomes mean to her crush by nitpicking on every tiny flaw they can find in the person. Another SFS buddy does the fuck-every-other-available-person thing. These are not the only ways one goes about shows/ deals with romantic feelings as an SFS, but it’s something. And most importantly, we don’t fail eventually and then go about telling said person in a supremely heartfelt and articulate manner about our endless love for them, like these fuckers from Ms. Rhimes’ playbook.

Fuck these guys, am I right? Seriously, I'd fuck both of them.
Fuck these guys, am I right? Seriously, I’d fuck both of them.
Yeah. They say shit like this. I'd fuck both of them too. Her more than him.
Yeah. They say shit like this. I’d fuck both of them too. Her more than him.
Yeah no shit. Normal went out the window along with my breath when you started eye-lovemaking each other in the Oval Office. JK LOL ILY. I hate you.
Yeah no shit. Normal went out the window along with my breath when you started eye-lovemaking each other in the Oval Office. JK LOL ILY. I hate you.

No. These characters clearly exist to make people like me believe that nothing in real life will ever compare to the feelings we can have in our imaginations. The only time two actual people have looked at each other like this are Marina Abramovic and Ulay.

Skip to 1:10 if you’re impatient. Read up on them if you’re not. Basically they used to be partners and lovers. They hadn’t seen each other in ages.

And they weren’t even together at the time. They were reminiscing. Without words. Just…. I have to go cry.

Alright, another manner in which us SFS friends tell each other about feelings is by saying “you know you’re special” very angrily. Because we both know we shouldn’t be special. Special people should exist for other people. People who regularly tell each other things like “you’re my person” and “you’re my best friend” and “I’ll do anything for you”. The closest I ever came to express how much I care was when I got shitfaced drunk on my last night in college and I shamefacedly whispered to a friend with whom I was just making up to “please don’t take _____ away from me”, ______ being the friend whom I was deathly afraid would one day have to pick between me and my feuding friend. I know it’s complicated without names, but just … think about it for half a second and you’ll figure it out. If you could figure out Bilbo’s speech, you can do this much. Anyway, I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life.

If you’re my parents, I personally show affection by being my worst self around you. Nobody else gets to see that whiny, snot-nosed, crying, under-confident, angry, door-slamming, passive aggressive, weak nightmare. I show all of these tendencies to my friends, but never all together. By extension, my sister and my dog get to see this as well.

Now its important to remember that no matter how similar our symptoms, much like AIDS, SFS is acquired in a myriad of different ways. Some are psychologically and/or physically scarring, others are merely regular sad experiences that an already fragile mind chooses to filter by becoming an automaton as far as possible (this last one is me if yall idiots didn’t already guess). This means that the manner in which we interact with our very first social group – our family – is going to be vastly different from the manner in which we interact with friends, and never in the same way. Some SFS’ are extremely friendly with their parents. Some have a love-hate relationship. Some have an angry or even non-existent relationship. Shit’s complicated.

So next time you encounter someone who seems to grow aloof as you get closer, do not despair, they may be suffering from SFS, which as I have clearly demonstrated is not a made up disease that tries to excuse first world fear or insecurities about people liking us. Nope. What you want to do with victims of SFS is grow really close to them and never mention said closeness till you’re both hammered. And try not to have casual sex with them. They will be very suspicious of you afterwards.

That’s all, folks.

I am very happy this week. The in-between-ness is over! I have some basic stuff figured out. I know where I’ll be for the next two years, and in the meantime I know who I should be talking to and what I should be doing in those two years that will help me with doing more things I want to do. Let’s not bore you with these details, mah frands. I will tell you I’m going to be studying Film Studies with a heavy emphasis on creative writing of all types. At Ambedkar University. Ha! I will be seeing Shivaji Panekar on a regular basis. And though I only recently found out about him, I was excited enough at the prospect that I had to calm myself down in case I started gushing incoherently during the interview. I’m excited and apprehensive and nothing in my life is as blah blah, you don’t need to know about the ecstasy of my inner soul right now. You don’t care. You don’t know me. You don’t know my life. Okay?

Okay.

Also these are books I got from Daryaganj. I shall read them. You read them and weep. Or see them and weep, I guess. Whatever.

IMG_0562

Ok. Ta.

Billy

Why I’m elitist and against all men in all of earth.

I know I didn’t post last week. There was a really good reason. I can’t tell you about it, but it was a legit reason for once. And once that reason was over on Friday I spent the rest of that day and Saturday curled up in my bed in the fetal position, looking for something on the internet that would distract me from desperation and fear and the awful in-between-ness of life right now. I also ate hot dogs and momos.

Embarrassing secret in lieu of said non-posting – Sometimes I look down at my boobs and stare at them for a while, simultaneously thankful, exultant and critical. I have been assured that this fascination with having boobs is not entirely abnormal. Either way, yes, I look at them and hold them a bit and wonder if I could do a Molly Ringwald lipstick trick from The Breakfast Club (I can! I just checked. With the right support, I can! Ha!). None of this is sexual. It’s just another version of nail biting, finger tapping, ear-rubbing, hair twirling. Just something you fiddle with while doing something else.

Over the last few months, I have witnessed my friends go through a lot of gender/ sex based trouble, from being ogled at unwillingly by regional news cameras to learning about the number of ways in which we put ourselves down in the workplace. What really made things awful was when a friend had to learn how to deal with stalker behavior in the workplace.

Before I get this going I want to set down the usual caveats – I do consider myself a feminist by which I mean I don’t think there’s anything wrong or right about women waxing, not waxing, crying, not crying, having sex, not having sex, charming snakes, not charming snakes, falling in love, not falling in love, not having babies, not having babies… That last is because

h
Why would anyone want this coming out of them?

Coming back on point, being the clearly militant feminist that I am, my views on this subject may be not very balanced and may in fact be highly vagina leaning.

Also, I haven’t watched Raanjhana despite Abhay Deol’s presence, so this is NOT a review. I’ll merely be talking about a certain disturbing trend in Indian cinema that I have alluded to in the past – “Love” being continuously represented as creepy with just a hint of completely cuckoo stalker behavior. And yes, I have read Shobhaa De’s views on the film, as well as the reply from the director, as well as commentary on said reply. Allow me to get a word in edgewise despite having no authority whatsoever other than a lifelong affair with movies and having a uterus.

Despite all my clever book learning and rampant elitism and intellectualism and other isms of the same nature I, like many other ism fetishists, automatically accepted what my childhood told me was irresistible – the guy in the movie who is strong and insistent and determined and grabs hold of the girl and plants one on her and convinces her that he deserves her and that she should be with him and give him a daily taint licking. 90’s Bollywood left no doubt in our minds – the thrill is in the chase. You cannot possibly do anything less than declare everlasting love or crude lust in the process of wooing a girl. And that’s fine. It’s a movie trope and definitely a more problematic one than most gender-wise, but fucked up machismo oozed out of practically everything Bollywood, so whatever.

What becomes tedious however, is the inevitability of success in all these movies. Bollywood would have you believe that this behavior will actually be appealing to a normal woman. That the girl, who angrily rejects the guy who man-handled her under the pretext of synchronized dancing while being surrounded by at least ten other men, actually turns her back to him and smiles “secretively” at the oh-so-charming antics of her secret love. That she actually likes being followed home (For lack of anything typically Bollywood popping into mind – Sarfarosh) and taken pictures of without her knowledge (Kaho Na Pyaar Hai) and basically being eye raped every time she encounters the guy (Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Main Hoon Na, ). And yes, it is imagined visual rape as soon as you’re obvious enough to make her aware of your constant ogling, angelic background choir and imaginary violin playing notwithstanding.

And this chain of not-real-events replicate themselves in cyber space pretty well. Believe me, I have nothing but love for the www. It gives me books, movies, music, games… without it I would be forced to watch regularly scheduled television for entertainment. Oh and porn; I wouldn’t have porn without it. The internet is a revolutionary platform for the socially ill-practiced – your shy people, you introverts, your asocials, your high functioning sociopaths.

Ha! Sherlock!

All of us thrive on the internet.

On the other hand, introverted and shy roadside Romeos now have a platform through which they can virtually cat-call/ manhandle/ make things uncomfortable for a girl by sending messages such as “rain drops r falling on my brain and my whole heart is in love with uuuu!!!” or “sexy picture” or “I am always with u, u don’t know me” or “I called ur mobile from in ur home after I broke its lock. My love is 4ever.” Note the bad grammar – it will become relevant soon enough.

At least unlike amateur creepy photo-stalking or torso grabbing while dancing, Raanjhana’s creepy behavior seems to largely be based on wrist cutting and other forms of emotional blackmail. The former by the way, wouldn’t even kill you unless you keep the cut wrist submerged in water for at least a few hours as you wait for a slow death to come along (I know because I listened in 10th grade science and read a few detective novels). However, this does not make the “you’ll eventually get the girl to fall for you after years, nay LIFETIMES of creepery” lesson less irritating.

At the risk of sounding like I’m facetiously pacifying a simmering crowd, as far as considerations of different cultural backgrounds and socio-economic factors are concerned, I’m never one to dismiss them. I spent most of my last semester in college debating in in its favor and writing papers about it. If you hit on a girl in a club in India, she will most likely be messaging ten people her location and your description at that moment, because she’s never had a good experience with being hit on by a stranger. In other countries, nobody’d give a rat’s ass. If you talk to a guy in a mildly familiar way in some/ most small towns and villages, there will likely be an assumption that you’re interested in them. In Delhi, it probably means that she may or may not be interested but you’re going to ask her to ride on your Freudian Bullet motorbike repeatedly. In law school it means she has no feelings for you and she’d like to stop talking to you soon.

The problem with the real world, especially the real urban world, is that when boy from who cares meets girl from city, feces goes down, motherlovers. I’m not saying all guys from who cares indiscriminately fall in love and become creepy. But I am saying that under most circumstances, largely due to the kind of turdy idea of “romance” said boy is brainwashed with largely because of movies (because let’s face it, Indian parents are unlikely to talk to their children about love and/ or feelings) and other boys who watch movies, as soon as boy has a crush it becomes something intense that illicits the kind of awful poetry that Elizabeth Bennet was talking about – it’ll drive affection away like my dog drives away rats. And as soon as something intense is recognized, the boy goes on to woo the girl in ways that all sources of romantic information (movies and perhaps songs) have shown to yield positive results – hack her social networks, stalk her where you can, write aforementioned poetry (for lack of a better word), tell her about all of the above, ask her out, and when she says no, either be disproportionately disappointed or stark raving mad, bad mouth her for “leading you on”, and if you start having too many feelings, hope to exorcise her ghost by sprinkling/throwing acid on her face.

I understand that its not entirely one person’s fault that they were brought up in a culture where rejection by a girl meant gun shots (Punjab and Haryana, as I pointed out to a friend who didn’t see the problem with Rose’s fiancé angrily shooting at her and Jack in Titanic) and/or acid before one could achieve closure. It’s learned behavior, and it doesn’t mean you’re a sick individual. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s making the long suffering recipient of your badly written poetry, your e-cards, your eye-rape, your bullets and your leftover household acid, VERY uncomfortable.

Sometimes your behavior maker her too angry – about someone online stalking her and violating her privacy – to actually go about her normal life without seething; sometimes she’s uncomfortable and frankly a little scared of what your invasion of her personal space means for what little freedom she has been afforded by an already unsafe city; sometimes she’s uncomfortable and upset because even though she tried to tell her boss about how she was feeling, they told her you were from a small town and so she should probably excuse your creepiness as the behavior of a “die-hard romantic” and try to be kind and perhaps not lead you on in any way; sometimes she doesn’t like being made responsible for your feelings, sexual or otherwise; sometimes she’s uncomfortable because she didn’t want to die at the hands of an asshole with a gun; and sometimes she feels bad because she looks at the mirror and can’t see a recognizable human face anymore.

Of course, some of these uncomfortable feelings are worse than others. However, as a member of a functioning society, boy from who cares, don’t you think you should try not to make her work life or her social life or her life in general uncomfortable in any way, just because you felt something? I’m sure you have made some male friends who were born and brought up in the same culture as her. Ask them where you went wrong. And perhaps ask your employer to tell you how you can act so as to not make the workplace an uncooperative space for everyone.

And don’t give me your claptrap about small town, “pure”, “unconditional”, “unfiltered” emotions versus the “polished”, “hard headed”, “emotionless” mentality of the Big City. I don’t see people raising such a fuss in favor of small towns when a girl feels those “pure”, “unfiltered” emotions for a boy of a different caste, or when a girl tries to passionately run away with a guy in lieu of those “pure”, “unconditional” feelings, regardless of her being from a city or village. This is not about small towns being better than cities for the soul. It’s about men believing they have the right to jizz their feelings all over women, who should be so grateful for said feelings that lack of reciprocity is an insult worthy of anger or emotional blackmail or violence.

As for films, there are some instances of non-creepy devotion and/or wooing that can be an example for most young men – Jab We Met is one. He likes her but at no point does he make that her problem and he doesn’t creep her out, or emotionally blackmail at any point. Oddly enough, Faizal did a perfectly spiffing job as well in Gangs of Wasseypur, though I suspect that’s largely because that girl would have very likely bitch-smacked him all the way to the coal mines had he tried to make her uncomfortable. Wake Up Sid is another. Oh well, I guess these are largely based in urban settings.

Wait, no. There are examples in almost all 90’s cinema as well as current Bollywood, city-based or village-based, that accurately depict how most normal women would react when they’re creepily hit on by men they don’t like – it’s the villain. The villains in most Bollywood films at some point or the other creep on the heroines in highly discomforting ways. Usually, the hero steps in to save the day, and puts the villain in his place, but that’s not the point. New Informational Ad:-

“You there. Yes you, the man who regardless of where you were born and brought up, is confused by the myriad of ways in which girls will not like your moves, literal or figurative, or worse, think of you as crazy, out of balance murderer. You know asking for permission for every little thing doesn’t work. But when you send her a mail detailing the dream you had of watching her sleep and waking up to masturbate about it, she gets a friend to call you up and threaten to feed you to rats. Don’t worry. We have a revolutionary system that helps you navigate these tricky waters, and it requires no additional learning apart from the same sources you learned your current creepery from and mistook it for charm.

Next time you feel those intense feelings for a girl, and you start thinking of all the ways in which your favorite heroes from the movies got their girl, STOP. Now, think of that same movie and remember when the villain troubled the girl, and how bad she felt? Now every time you want to make the girl fall for you, or hack her social networks, or write poetry about her and send it to her two weeks after having first met her, don’t imagine yourself as the hero. Imagine yourself as the villain, and think of her friend who calls you to inform you about how and when you’ll die and where your body parts will be hidden as the hero.

You can talk to her and even mildly flirt with her, but as soon as she gives the slightest indication that she doesn’t want to hear it, you are no longer the hero. But you can avoid being the villain, and instead be some kind of side character. Telling her she’s a bitch for “leading you on” or “friend-zoning” you, or pursuing her even further, or cornering her and following her in further attempts to make her fall in love with you, makes you the villain. So does throwing acid at her, raping her or murdering her or anyone she cares about, but that should be obvious. Your villainy would give her the divine right, acquired as just compensation for eons of female suffering at the hands of assholes, to tell you to fuck off, and then to cut off your penis and make you give it a blowjob, in that order.”

Yes, I know. How very elitist and pedantic and feminist of me.

Too sleepy now.

Bye fuckers.

–          Billy

P.S. – I know this theme is not as colorful as the previous one, but at least you don’t have to strain your eyes in order to read it.

Magic, Making Out and Feminism

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m on my period. [Good beginning to blog post.] Maybe it’s that my dog is also on her period (she has it worse/ better. On the one hand she’s spotting all over the house. On the other, her dog brain don’t care, bitchaas). Perhaps it’s because it arrived after more than a month’s wait (such a wait is a gift whenever it comes). Maybe I really miss some parts of college life right now what with the group chat I have with my friends seemingly dying down a bit. It could be all of the above – why I watched Practical Magic and felt nearly sentimental.

For those with hanging genitals and/or no cable TV in the early 2000’s, Practical Magic is a movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock in it. They’re modern day witches coming from a long line of witches all of whom are rather kick-ass, give people chlamydia without any physical contact or even having chlamydia themselves, cast spells and nets and shit, and some of them fall in love sometimes. It’s also the movie because of which, no matter how old and wrinkly he gets, Aidan Quinn will always retain a sexual position in my mind – figuratively and literally. He’s the police chief guy in Elementary, for those of you sorry asses who don’t know. This is him.

 

Nice
Nice blue eyes but he’s a bit too normal and white for my taste under most circumstances. But man oh man was he good at slamming Sandra Bullock to the wall and making out with her. I got a tingle at that when I was 12 and I’m proud to say the tingle reaction is still strong for that scene. It tells me I haven’t lost my romantic streak.

 

This
This is a younger picture. You can sort of get what he had going for him back in the day.

 

Getting back on point, I always liked the movie. Because it had magic, pretty girls and that hot make-out session. But I watched it again, admittedly for the make-out, and I realized I like it now for additional reasons. Let’s discuss said reasons while also being feminist-y, shall we? In a fun, sexy way.

One of the new reasons to like the movie is the Bechdel test. It’s a simple three step method of identifying holistic portrayals of women in works of fiction. First, there has to be more than one named female character in the work; Second, they should at some point talk to each other; and third, they should talk to each other about something other than men. As a guy on TED put it, if someone outside of our planet tried to understand us based on our popular culture, they’d think this never happened. And surprisingly, Practical Magic passes the test quite well. And its surprising because most of the movies I like for things such as “magic”, “pretty girls” and “hot make out” usually don’t.

Which is really sad for people like me. I like girly shit like hot make-out sessions and pretty girls in movies. But for the most part while I watch movies in which they’re present in abundance, I can’t help but feel a wee bit cynical. I’m not saying I’d criticize an otherwise good movie for not passing the Bechdel test, but it’s a bit… disorienting, after you’re made aware of it the first time. You suddenly realize that you’ve very rarely seen a film which even touches upon the manner in which women think or talk, without making an utterly one dimensional, mildly misogynistic caricature out of you.

One way of putting this in perspective is with the example of Brave – which is a good movie for the most part, but not as fun(ny) as I was expecting from Pixar. One telling complaint from a viewer was that both the main characters were women and all the guys were sort of left on the sidelines and had very little to do with the plot. To which many a feminist/ woman calmly replied – “Welcome to our world, cuntface.”

I understand why this is a problem – there just aren’t enough women writers in the entertainment industries, and unfortunately this is a trend that seeps into even the newest and awesomest avenues of entertainment. The internet is barely becoming popular as a ripe field for sociological study, and usually I try to base arguments or ideas on (or off) books, movies or TV shows, or if none of them pay off, on news.

But YouTube is a new media and if there’s anything Lizzie Bennet and a recent not-more-campy-than-usual Law and Order episode I sat through proved anything, it’s that New Media cannot be ignored. Or at least it should not be if one wants to have one’s “finger on the pulse of our generation” … which let’s face it, all old people want that and Bob Dylan is one of the few references they’re likely to understand. If they don’t understand us, how could they distract us from the shit they’re up to? Wow. That was supposed to be funny but it came out in Britta Anarchist. Take that reference, old people. Ha!

ME: Stop pussyfooting. Get to the point.

Right. For the most part, I love the kind of stuff Youtube provides me with – vlogbrothers, Hoezay, ZeFrank, TheViralFever, Daily Grace, ComedyOneNetwork, Lizzie Bennet, Laci Green…. largely men. As John Green pointed out, mostly due to safety concerns and the general assholery of people on the internet, very few content creators, even on YouTube are women. Because no woman wants to be stalked (or worse) and then have to listen to people say, “See? if you hadn’t coveted and hogged all that attention on the internet, this wouldn’t have happened.” Which of course means that the content on the internet, like in Hollywood and Bollywood is largely made from the male perspective with very few relatable female characters or interactions. Which is fine, but as I said, a bit disorienting…. refer to the Brave thing.

Take for example one of the latest Viral Fever videos. I love those guys. And I don’t think sexist or misogynists at all (though from a meta comedy perspective it would be hilarious if they were) but the one about Men Who Understand Women sort of made me feel weird. For the same reason that Pyaar ka Punchnama made me want to reach into someone’s body and tug out their pancreas. Why were the girls universally illogical, irrational and manipulative? And why were the guys illogical, irrational, pathetic, desperate and unable to see the basic lack of maturity and various other flaws in these women?

I know the biggest defense guys have for this is “You’re only angry cause they’re going for the hot girls.” To which women like me, heterosexual with a ranging-on-voyeuristic appreciation for women, would say, “I will cunt-punt you, motherfucker. We don’t like it cause not only are you going for these idiots, we hate that they’re always given the character of idiots in movies just because they’re hot. A lot of smoking hot women don’t make me want to throw up. I would pay to watch men go for either of the women in Practical Magic, or for Kristen Wiig, or for either of the women in In Her Shoes, or for the women from Friends (at least they’re not one dimensional), or for Annie from Community, or for Elliot from Scrubs, or for Tina Fey in everything, or for Ann from Parks and Recreation, all of whom are very conventionally hot people….. excuse me while I go watch some man on woman porn.”

This particular ViralFever episode was really not bad. The above ire was actually directed at that turd-testicle of a movie – Pyaar ka Punchnama – I say it like Malfoy says Mudblood. The ViralFever skit was funny in parts. And I have no problems with men not understanding women and making a skit about that. I just need a little diversity in the type of women they talk about. It’s early days yet and they’ll probably (hopefully) be good at that. Or I’ll be left trying to make a show about women not understanding men when they say things like, “ey babe, I love you” half a week after having met us.

At a personal level, Practical Magic reminded me of college, especially the Midnight Margarita scene where they all dance around the table, laughing about men, magic and being labeled (mostly as witches, but also as sluts and cat-killers, etc.). It made me think of the time we threw a nineties themed party for a friend and danced to such classics as Hit Me Baby One More Time and Rock DJ. Also, did the ball-dance with imaginary partner around the pool table to Pehla Nasha, the whole motherfucking song, because what else do you do when Pehla Nasha plays? Also belted out Kiss From a Rose, I Want it That Way and Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha.

It also reminded me of the times we got together, with or without alcohol and told each other about our problems, fears, jokes, dirty thoughts and other such things. On one occasion on a train to Goa we made up a whole rap song with background vocals and human beat-box. It was called “Slut-Bag Ho”. It was a post-modern, feminist re-telling of Roxanne. Or it could have just been the product of a raging endorphin and adrenalin high.

So I guess it’s a bit sad that while normal, smart, pseudo-intellectual men have Dil Chahta Hai and Boston Legal and any number of other shit with which to reminisce about good times with, we normal, smart, pseudo-intellectual women have to scrounge till we find a few things which make us nostalgic. For people in Yotube and other internet or independent arenas who want to know how normal, flawed, smart women interact with each other, here are a few references – Leslie and Ann from Parks and Recreation, the girls in Girls to some extent, the sisters in In Her Shoes, the women in Community to some extent…. The fact that I’m finding it hard to come up with more pop culture references should really speak to this.

Oh well, off to watch some TV. We finally got Comedy Central.

All of this is obviously not as important as the fact that we may have a genocide assistant/instigator as our Big Cheese in the not so distant future. And as that whole situation plays out, I may write about something related to it, but right now, this is what I’m talking about. It has to be at least as logically relevant as lingerie mannequins that cause rape, right? And I know that was last week’s media talking point, but I don’t care. Fuck you.

Also, have started on my first John Green novel – Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Then there’ll probably be a Terry Pratchett followed by The Fault in Our Stars. Wish me luck.

 

–          Billy

Is my development arrested? And other mind-mastrubatory thoughts. While walking.

I have gone walking for the past two mornings. I don’t mind it but its one of the last things I would pick for a regular exercise regime. However I have no choice because my foot was in a cast less than three months ago and apparently I can’t afford to stress it. Usually I don’t agree with what doctors tell me to do unless there is some overt pain or discomfort, but this was the first time I was ever in a cast and I don’t care to repeat the experience by far. So instead of jogging and pretending to be healthy in the giant park we frequent, I’m stuck walking and because of the short stumpy nature of my legs I’m barely able to walk faster than uncle-aunty speed at the park. Which is a giant shame what with the existence of fifty-year old (I’m guessing) men who jog past me with round, protruding bellies. I don’t know how that happens, but it is simultaneously comical and disheartening given my walking pace.

But the good part about walking is that unlike while jogging I’m not constantly thinking “oh fuck oh fuck, man this is hard. Just imagine yourself with Jennifer Lawrence’s body. A shorter version. Nope not encouraging enough. Crap my lungs, MY LUNGS, WHY IT NO FUNCTION? I DON’T SMOKE, WHY IS THIS SO HARD ON MY LUNGS?? Ok relax, it’s functioning. Motherfucking ball crushers, this is hard. Ok ok, time to bring out a hot guy from TV running in front of me, just out of reach. Who will it be? Louis? No, I love him but that’d be funny-sad. Colbert? Not today. OOOOH. Matt Smith. Matt Smith is doing his jaunt, walk, cheeky smile thing at me from right ahead. Jog towards him, Billy. Jog right at him. Get to him and you can be the next Good Queen Bess. And you can try and sneak into the TARDIS. Oh yeah…”

Instead, because of the lack of strain on my lungs (can’t say the same for my calves) I can actually think random thoughts that stop just short of profound. And like with pre-sleep conscious dreams (there’s a scientific word for those that I can look up on SciShow but I can’t afford to be distracted by Youtube right now) the thoughts are usually about whatever I was obsessing about just the night before. In yesterday’s case, this was Arrested Development. I re-watched the third season and then watched the fourth. Somewhere in the middle of the latter, I began to think of it less as comedy and more as morbidly funny social commentary on the American ease of life. Not because it wasn’t funny but because it was funny about exactly what the title says – the manner in which people remain stuck, not growing, never really learning, primarily because for some reason everything you do is to affect other people, specific people who will also never really change and so you’ll just never grow.

If you didn’t notice, somewhere in there, as always happens, my brain made me the center of this problem. What if I’m stuck? Is it to family? To college? To friends? What if I have never learnt anything? It’s possible. My teenage diaries are very embarrassing to me right now, but the basic way in which I think has not really changed much, has it? But now, I may be aware of it, so have I not changed? Whhiiinnne. Mehmememememe. And that of course brings it back to why all of us do things we do.

Personally, if I really examine myself, I think my need to write and not compromise on that wish is based primarily on my innate lack of appreciation for permanence. This is something that took all of my resources and tears over many different sessions of “talks” with my parents to convince them of. I don’t think they’re (primarily my mom. My dad just thinks I’ll probably change my mind) really comfortable with or even believe that I don’t plan to get married. Very few people in India are unaware of the pressures of getting married. It’s practically a necessity here and sooner or later my mother will want to broach the subject seriously. Or maybe she brings it up jokingly every three to six months in the hope that one day me or my sister will answer without giving her a Lucille Bluth look.

But that’s about a quarter of the issue. As I mentioned in my previous blog, my family isn’t rich. We’re comfortable; and luckier than most people. But we’re not rich. Opting for things that are not immediately rewarding economically have to be weighed carefully. Not because we really want to be rich but because we don’t have trust funds or nest eggs or whatever you call a giant bank account full of crazy money that is given to young people when they’re twenty-one.

So it was an uphill battle. It was complicated and uncomfortable to explain to my parents that I can be and have been severely down in the dumps with bi-daily suicidal thoughts and crying sessions because of certain career choices that I forced myself to make, namely law and law school. It was equally weird to declare in a mildly sob-y but determined manner that I actually don’t plan to get married and I won’t be having kids. I’m not against marriage but I think its unlikely and its not one of the things in the list of stuff I want to do in life. Which means I don’t plan on anything happening in that area. I have no ambition there. And since getting married, having children and having a comfortable, settled life is not part of the plan, surely I can aim high and play the stakes as far as the rest of my life is concerned. My obstinate teenage self feels like I have the right to refuse to compromise on the one thing for which I do have plans. For which the argument is that I can’t starve while I “find myself” etc. etc.

It’s not that I don’t plan to not settle down with a normal job (even if its dull. I actually don’t mind dull work. My friends could always count on me to edit, number pages on their moot compendiums, stuff like that. Wow, this is one way of putting my years in law school into perspective) to make a living. But I don’t intend to find out at thirty that I can no longer go to college and do a post-graduate course that I like and at least try to find out if I can actually make something useful out of what I like doing – writing.

That is what finally got through to my dad. He said something about never having tried to go for football, which he was really good at, because he got too busy being a good student. I think he’ll regret mentioning that to me. He has a pattern of saying things like that and regretting it a few months later when I quote him back to him.

So here I am, living with my parents, writing entrance exams for interesting post-graduate courses and hoping for a positive result. If that doesn’t happen this year due to a number of reasons, I’ll be working for a year at an already determined office and then try again. At least that much is settled.

Which brings us back to arrested development. During the walk I got to wondering who my plans were for. Not romantically, but generally, who are they trying to impress? Maybe its my parents. Or my friends. Or maybe everyone who ever made me feel little. I could be a complete shite and start saying “I intend to impress myself” but that’s complete shite. Maybe I just want to be immortal before I die. Careful, my Godard is showing.

But speaking of movies, I’d just prefer to go the Roger Ebert way – I’ll make myself happy and tried not to make others unhappy. Blerg. Maybe. Tsk. Really, I can’t really speak too well to my intentions or inspirations. I don’t think it matters much. I’m no shrink and even if I was I’m pretty sure there’s a rule against mental masturbation. Too Late. This whole post seems a bit like me on a Saturday morning. Oh well.

 

I know I’m supposed to post twice a week but I realized I can’t. What with preparations, mopeyness and no stimulus, I will only be able to pop out pure drivel worse than this. But for last week, here’s the embarrassing secret – I had a weird dream where my college’s VC made a kissing move on me. I didn’t push away and it stopped in like 5 seconds. And I chastised him for it with a very marmy sexual harassment lecture. But I woke up and wanted to hammer my head in. Maybe it was my brain reacting to the excellent grades he gave me for his seminar? Doesn’t make it better.

I’m going to go watch a silly Comedy film or The Skin I Live In to get that off my brain.

Ok.

 

– Billy

Kirrin Islands and Bad Adult Decisions

One of the many magicks of books, apart from what Carl Sagan wrote, and what I will always hope to accomplish, is nostalgia – the great human weakness, second only to the neck. As far as I can see, there are different types of nostalgia books can give you, of which I have managed to experience two. I don’t know if there are any more types, but I’m assuming there are, purely for science reasons.

The first one I experienced is weird, not to mention highly dubious in its categorization as “nostalgia”. Without going the Oxford dictionary route, I assume nostalgia is longing for a bygone experience. The kind I’m talking about here is not really for your own past experience. To get really technical, its longing for the bygone nature of what our collective consciousness tells us we should have experienced. I realized a few years ago that I have reached the age where it is impossible for me to read Enid Blyton’s children’s stories, by which I mean stories like “Ricky the Magic Pixie pays Daisy Bumble an erotic visit” without shuddering at how innocent we all used to be. And this is very likely true for stories like Famous Five and the Five Fine Doubters (hehe) as well. But as soon as I do read them, especially the ones where parents seem to have no concern for their children’s safety, I feel utterly nostalgic.

Which is weird because my parents never let me go off and have adventures with cousins who were rather progressively supportive of my transgender identity. In fact my parents insisted that the world was no place for people below the age of eighteen to go wandering off by themselves in. Assholes. But despite this lack of adventure, I nostalged. I know that’s not a word. And as I discovered with my friends a few months ago, we would always feel that way when we even think about the Fine Doubters (and Dog, actually) or the Adventure kids or the O’Sullivan twins for that matter.

We were in Palolem beach in Goa on vacation and when we went on a boat ride to spot dolphins (we saw their fins but not their bodies. That was enough to cancel out the money-back-if-you-don’t-see-dolphins guarantee) we kept asking the boat guy if he would take us to Kirrin Island. One of our friends, who seemed to have not been brought up right, asked us how we knew the island we had been eyeing was called Kirrin Island. And we all looked at him as if he were an alien. Because in a way he was. It was like he never shared in the experience of knowing what Kirrin Island was, and how we all longed to go there.

None of us got to go to Kirrin Island as kids. But as kids, we were all nostalgic and longing for friendships that would take us to Kirrin Island. I doubt any of us had that. We got a chance to relive, or really just live the Kirrin Island experience, just by mentioning it, with friends, on a trip, without adults. We never really got to Kirrin Island in Goa either. The boat guys were not authorized to stop and let us live precious memories, apparently. I think I would have cried of happiness if they had let us get off and stroll around any of the beaches we saw on the numerous Kirrin Islands we saw on that boat trip.

So that’s one kind of nostalgia that books get you. Where the things you see remind you of books, and somehow it makes you nostalgic for the experience of the book even though you never lived it. This really happens up to a certain point. Till you’re a certain age, or more importantly, till you’re a few experiences short in your life, everything in a book is the first you know of whatever its about. That’s probably the reason there was such sweet magicks in reading at a certain point of time in your life, before you have lived enough of life to start being reminded of yourself in everything you read. Or maybe that’s just because after a certain age, all of us become self-obsessed, which I think is the true goal of post-modernism. But at some point, we get there. You live enough and you will already have experienced things you read in books.

And this applies to everything – love, friendship, success, loss, sex, felony, failure, notoriety – you name it, you’ve felt it. And so when you read it in a book, it either becomes a revealing memory of your own experience, or a disappointingly untruthful rendition of your experience. The latter is extremely true of sex. Sex is very perfect in books and porn. Nothing goes awry and everything works like clockwork for the most part. Sex in real life is not perfect. And it’s a lot more fun than perfect porn sex could ever afford. As for the other experiences, even if you’ve not felt them, you have some inkling of how they work, probably because your friends have felt them.

That’s Type 2 Book/ Movie/ TV Nostalgia – where what you read makes you cry not because its unimaginably beautiful and you’ve never felt it, but because its horrifyingly true and you have felt it. You pick up Judy Blume’s Just As Long As We’re Together and you start crying because your friends seem to have left you, at least you thought they did, and really that was the book, wasn’t it? You watch Dead Poet’s Society and you start thinking about all the ways in which you gave up on the life of your dreams for the sake of safety, or in my case, stubbornness and pride. You watch The Oranges, and you start wondering about all the lives you’ve blown through like a leaf on the wind, wreaking havoc, breaking happiness and doing things you shouldn’t have done. You read Eleven Minutes, and you think about the time you put on the dress and the red light and walked the streets for money…. Raaawwwxanne. You read Summer Sisters and you cry because you have sisters – biological and virtual.

You read The Book Thief, and suddenly you’re twelve years old again, and here’s a book which brings you new experiences, none of which you know, not all of which you want, but you can’t stop reading it because you long so much for a life worth reading about. Or in my case, you long so much to write things worth reading.

Either way, books (and movies and songs and TV shows and really, anything made by pot-smoking writers in dark rooms) leave you wanting more. More of what you didn’t have as a child and will probably never have. And more of what you already lived through, just for the chance of doing it right this time – this time you’ll have the guts to leave the place that makes you unhappy, this time you’ll talk to your friends rather than assume they left you, this time you won’t hurt people, this time you’ll go to the boy who loved you since he knew you and not put on the red dress. And they make you want so much more from life – you want to climb mountains after Paths of Glory, make movies after Hitchcock, live bravely after Doctor Who and keep friends after Harry Potter.

And you would think we’d hate things that make us dream of more without ever telling us that we may not get there, but as the Tenth Doctor said, that’s not how human beings function. It’s not just the mountaineers that want to climb mountains “because it’s there”. It’s all of us that want more – because it’s there, waiting for us to make up things like “love” and “friendship” and “chicken nuggets” and once we make it, we want to grab for it, because it’s there and why shouldn’t we? And then we graduate to bigger things like “happiness” and “failure” and “pizza”, because why not? It’s there, waiting to be made, given definition and to be grabbed.

All of which goes to show that (1) We’re very magpie-like, us lot, aren’t we?; (2) Books and TV and movies are awesome; and (3) I’m really into Doctor Who these days.

–          Billy

ME: This is not very funny. I stopped wanting to read this mid-way.

me: I know. I’ve not gone out of the house for the past two weeks except for essential activities. Very little source material except for books and TV. And I can hardly write, “Did you watch the Office Finale? It made me laugh and cry. It was awesome.”

ME: Shut up. You don’t even have good excuses. You better have something funny and awesome for the next post.

me: You can write the next one. I’m sure the internet doesn’t have enough vitriol in it. I’m sure that’ll be a welcome change for people.

ME: …… Shut up.

Here’s some fun stuff

Abed Batman Poster

Abed, You're a god.

The Office

And for those who don’t know me, and don’t know what more to expect from this blog…

Degeneration of My Mind

Kbai.