Monday, July 31, 2006

Memories from the mountains



Sunday, July 30, 2006

This one's for the guys..

One evening last week, my girlfriend and I were getting into bed.
Well, the passion starts to heat up, and she eventually says, "I don't feel like it, I just want you to hold me.
"I said, "WHAT??!! What was that?!"
So she says the words that every boyfriend on the planet dreads to hear..."You're just not in touch with my emotional needs as a woman enough for me to satisfy your physical needs as a man."
She responded to my puzzled look by saying, "Can't you just love me for who I am and not what I do for you in the bedroom?"
Realising that nothing was going to happen that night, I went to sleep.
The very next day I opted to take the day off of work to spend time with her. We went out to a nice lunch and then went shopping at a big, big unnamed department store. I walked around with her while she tried on several different very expensive outfits. She couldn't decide which one to take, so I told her we'd just buy them all.
She wanted new shoes to compliment her new clothes, so I said, "Lets get a pair for each outfit."We went on to the jewellery department where she picked out a pair of diamond earrings.
Let me tell you... she was so excited.
She must have thought I was one wave short of a shipwreck. I started to think she was testing me because she asked for a tennis bracelet when she doesn't even know how to play tennis.
I think I threw her for a loop when I said, "That's fine, honey."
She was almost nearing sexual satisfaction from all of the excitement. Smiling with excited anticipation, she finally said, "I think this is all dear, let's go to the cashier."

I could hardly contain myself when I blurted out, "No honey, I don't feel like it."Her face just went completely blank as her jaw dropped with a baffled, "WHAT?"I then said, "Honey! I just want you to HOLD this stuff for a while. You're just not in touch with my financial needs as a man enough for me to satisfy your shopping needs as a woman."
And just when she had this look like she was going to kill me, I added, "Why can't you just love me for who I am and not for the things I buy you?"

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Monsooning

The steady thwump-thwump-thwump of windscreen wipers on super fast,
the seamless drumming on the roof of the car,
the phisssssssshhhhhh of wet tires on slick city streets,
the constant fucking honking, yelling and smelly feet
the squelch-squelch-squelch of the dumbass who didn't see the puddle
Raggled birds of various feathers under awnings, air-conditioners and parapets huddled
Rivers of non-negotiable road, knee deep in black water
Sudden bursts of colour from gardens washed clean
Blasts of cool air followed by suffocating invisible ether
Deep rolls of thunder that make your testicles cringe in fear
Needles of raindrops dig holes in your face as you cling to the weaving bike's rear
Slippery slippers, mud in the bathroom, laundry drying in the bedroom, seepage behind the TV
Hot crisp pakoras with steaming cups of chai around a poker table in the balcony

I'll be glad when September comes around

Monday, July 24, 2006

My first main paper story

Get high for a pittance

New Delhi, July 9

Everybody likes to get high, each in his own way. Some ‘do’ alcohol, marijuana, coke, heroine and other substances. But how many of you know about munakka? No not the round, soft dried fruit with the big seed, but the packaged Ayurvedic digestive you can pick from any paanwadi anywhere in the city.
What makes it potentially potent is the presence of 25 per cent cannabis, along with other various ingredients like pepper, actual munakka and other presumably Ayurvedic ingredients. This little bomb cannot be eaten by itself, as the taste is horribly bitter. It has to be washed down with something, preferably cold and carbonated.
But after one of these, one finally understands the concept of comfortably numb.
The effect of smoking cannabis is very different from eating cannabis. When smoking cannabis, quite a bit of the drug is burnt away and the smoke, although affecting the brain almost instantly, doesn’t last too long. When consumed however, in this manner, every bit of that 25 per cent is ingested, lengthening the high for some times as much as six hours.
Inquiries into the appearance and legal availability at the local paan shop yield a philosophical answer, "Kya jaane sir, aapko kitna chahiye". (Who know sir, how much do you want?)
Some "users" like Vivek Kaul and his friends are hooked to it because it gets them high, it costs Re 1, and they can pop around to the cigarette shop right by his house to buy it legally. Their house is littered with empty red and blue packets with strings of them ready and waiting. "Smoking is injurious to your health," says Kaul, "munakka isn’t. Can you think of a better way to get high and clear your bowels all at the same time?"

Smoke up your ass...

Published in Hindustan Times, Sunday, July 23, Page 10..

Everyone’s got a blog nowadays. The barber who sits left of my house was asking about it. Says it’s much better than email because, “arre bhaiyya, sab kuch ka record rakhta hai.”
Didn’t have the heart to explain the purpose of the sent mail folder to him.
He logs on every evening at the cyber café right around the corner to post 2 lines on it in Bihari English. Then he’ll send an email to his brother in Mumbai telling him to check what he’s written. Well, to each his own.

Really started my own when inspiration hit on a flight back from Goa leading to the first draft of the beginnings of a book. The book is gathering dust on the backburner, but the blog is growing with 90 posts and counting over three-odd months.

Writing is something that comes naturally to me. Like bombing the ceramic throne or checking out women. So when the opportunity to spew nonsense, vitriol and garbled rhetoric at no one in particular comes along, you think I’d say no?
Why are blogs so popular? Well there’s never any shortage of people who think they have truck-loads of ability but actually don’t. It’s the same with writers.
Most desi bloggers love to pile on the prose like they were the illegitimate sons (and daughters) of Arundhati Roy. The bigger the word, the more grand one sounds.
Isn't the Internet supposed to be a medium to reach out to a lot of people? So most can't understand or get mind-numbingly bored at pseudo-intellectual nitpicking. There are others who like to cut-copy-paste other’s views to make them sound very know-it-all.

Sooner or later, if you have a blog, it turns into your alter-ego. An online persona that only others in the blogosphere recognise you by. It gets weird sometimes.
Blogger parties (and for the most part, writer parties) are exercises in semantics where everyone tries to pull a bigger word out of the much-abused dictionary. Mind games are something I leave to the girlfriend, even at parties.
When you get your blog, you have to learn how to posture. Blogging is essentially talking about yourself. And when you have no one to interrupt you or tell you you’re talking shit, the tendency to puff out one’s chest at half-imagined heroics leads to interesting reading.
Especially when the same blogger forgets crucial details a few posts down the line and goes off on a different tangent.

Blogs have been quite instrumental in churning out opinion in our immediate spectrum, especially of late. The Jessica Lal case is the first I remember, though there might have been more before, which gave the kids at home a voice to raise at the powers-that-be.
I've figured the blog to be a fantastic way to get your opinion across as effectively as possible with minimum bloodshed.
Whether it's telling off a colleague (who you know reads your blog), hooking up with a chick (who you know reads your blog) or patting yourself on the back (you definitely read your own blog).

Formerly former boss read bits and pieces and recommended self for a shot at features editor at a local rag. Didn’t take the job but that’s a different matter.
Getting your work noticed through your blog can be tricky though. Especially when posts on the blog detail suspicious behaviour. In this profession, however, it’s good to know it’s the writing that’s appreciated in the end. The hangover’s hardly noticed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Grey, gloomy and going nowhere

Why is there a space between Lyons and Tchakovsky?

Dialogue
Sticks in your head

It's drizzling outside.
Constant traffic noise, construction noise, random telephones ringing at no one, people walking from nowhere to somewhere, skipping dirty puddles and little mountains of squishy mud and black regurgitated sewer sludge.

The sky's opening up.. the sun's trying to free itself.. no... disappeared again ..
still drizzling..
Everything smells like damp detergent and mildewed feet.

Took a nice picture a couple of years ago at India Gate.. was on one of those Kodak KB10s and have lost the print somewhere.. This weather makes me want to dig out the negative, make a fresh print and scan the damn thing..
procrastinating really..

Was heading to Connaught Place in an auto and had stopped at the light that's right in front of India Gate. Light turned green, but traffic was moving really slowly. Some dumbass up front not sure of which way he wanted to go I guess.
We pass the long rectangular boating "lake" and there's these three cars: an S-class, a 5 series and a C class standing back-to-back. Inside the passengers were craning their necks skyward with expressions ranging from anxiety to disgust, while beyond them six naked street children leaped one after the other into the lake, whooping as they splash-landed.

On the trip to Manali, when we "hiked" to the river, Jas wanted to take some river stones home. Scrabbled around for a bit, almost fell in a few times, but didn't because she had me by the shirt tails and rooted out a few cool looking pebbles.
Dug a little deeper in the cold clear water and found MY ROCK, which is now my paperweight at work.
This black uneven hexagon is smooth in some areas, ridged in some and self has managed to pull a lot of leg in the office saying it's a rough diamond.
Some people will believe anything if you're convincing enough.
One chick's eyes go wide and she can't stop staring at it.. asks me, "Really? How much does it cost?"
"35 million!!"
Like it would make a difference if I said 20 million.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Jesus Christ and Mother Mary Jane

Was Jesus a Stoner? is the mischievous title of an article about the use of cannabis in ancient Judaism in next month's High Times, a pro-cannabis magazine. Its author, Chris Bennett, likes to shock. He is the host of Burning Shiva, a show on Canada's Pot-TV, and an advocate for the medical use and decriminalisation of marijuana.

Bennett first looked at the use of drugs in religion two years ago in his book Sex, Drugs, Violence, and the Bible. He postulates that Jesus's ministry was fuelled by mind-altering substances, that he may have used cannabis-based oils to heal eye and skin diseases and that his very name - Christ - derives from being anointed with cannabis-enriched oil.

His politics and television career might make it tempting to dismiss him but what Bennett says makes perfect sense. Over the centuries drugs have been used by virtually all religions. Why not Christianity?
In ancient times cannabis was widely cultivated throughout the Middle East. It grows like a weed and provides nourishing seed, which is also a good source of fibre used to make rope.
People certainly knew of its pleasurable effects; it would have been impossible to harvest it without becoming ecstatic as the drug would be absorbed through the skin. And as long ago as 1935 a Slovakian linguist identified the plant known as "fragrant cane" in the English Bible as flowering cannabis, a link since accepted by some Jewish authorities.

Ancient people were fascinated by herbs and their healing powers and knew much more about them than we do; at least about mixing herbs to release their potency.
Ancient wines were always fortified, like the "strong wine" of the Old Testament, with herbal additives: opium, datura, belladonna, mandrake and henbane. Common incenses, such as myrrh, ambergris and frankincense are psychotropic; the easy availability and long tradition of cannabis use would have seen it included in the mixtures. Modern medicine has looked into using cannabis as a pain reliever and in treating multiple sclerosis. It may well be that ancient people knew, or believed, that cannabis had healing power.
Much of their knowledge, passed down through an oral tradition, has been lost and to some extent it is the modern prejudice against drugs that has stopped us looking for it. Revulsion against drugs and the hippie culture even led to the term "entheogen" being coined to describe a psychotropic substance used in religious rituals.

Entheogen comes from the Greek entheos (meaning "god-inspired within") and the word is now commonly employed in English and European languages to discuss sacramental foods used by shamans (mystic or visionary priests) to achieve spiritual ecstasy.
So what of the early Christians? At the time they were evolving, they had to compete with other religions of the Roman empire. The strongest of those was Mithraism, imported from Persia, which exists today as Zoroastrianism.
Its sacrament, Haoma, was virtually identical to what we know of soma, in Brahmanism. Worshipped as a god, soma was a strange plant without leaves or roots that needed little light and induced religious ecstasy. It was most likely amanita muscaria: a magic mushroom. In ancient Rome sharing the Haoma cemented the bond of brotherhood of emperors, bureaucrats and soldiers. Pagan Greek celebrations at the sanctuary of Eleusis, meanwhile, included a visionary experience for a crowd of 1,000 people, from drinking a potion made from a fungus that grows on wheat and produces an effect similar to LSD.

So, did Jesus use cannabis? I think so. The word Christ does mean "the anointed one" and Bennett contends that Christ was anointed with chrism, a cannabis-based oil, that caused his spiritual visions. The ancient recipe for this oil, recorded in Exodus, included over 9lb of flowering cannabis tops (known as kaneh-bosem in Hebrew), extracted into a hin (about 11 pints) of olive oil, with a variety of other herbs and spices. The mixture was used in anointing and fumigations that, significantly, allowed the priests and prophets to see and speak with Yahweh.
Residues of cannabis, moreover, have been detected in vessels from Judea and Egypt in a context indicating its medicinal, as well as visionary, use. Jesus is described by the apostle Mark as casting out demons and healing by the use of this holy chrism. Earlier, from the time of Moses until the later prophet Samuel, holy anointing oil was used by the shamanic Levite priesthood to receive the "revelations of the Lord". The chosen ones were drenched in this potent cannabis oil.
Early Christian documents found in Eygpt, thought to be a more accurate record than the New Testament, portray Jesus as an ecstatic rebel sage who preached enlightenment through rituals involving magical plants. Indeed, Bennett goes so far as to say that Jesus was probably not born the messiah but acquired the title when he was anointed with cannabis oil by John the Baptist. The baptism in the Jordan was probably to wash away the oil after it had done its work. The early Christians fought hard for followers in the ancient world, recognising the similarity of their own "foreign" god and his eucharistic meal to the Greek gods. Various sects and even the elite in what would eventually become the Roman Catholic church probably used the full range of available entheogens for baptism, ordination and the eucharistic meal.

What we now call the host might have been more than just bread. There are indications that early Christians shared magic mushrooms - and the spiritual visions and ecstasies they occasioned - as their eucharistic meal. A 4th-century mosaic discovered at a basilica in Aquileia in northern Italy depicts baskets of mushrooms. Why? This wasn't a restaurant. Could the "red mushrooms" have been the ritual meal?
Eating bread and sharing wine together was, and remains, at the heart of the Christian ritual. We'll never know exactly what Jesus and his disciples consumed at the Last Supper, but as they believed they were drinking the blood of Christ we must accept it was - if not actually hallucinatory - at least fortified by God.

Carl Ruck is professor of classics at Boston University

copied from www.cannabis.net

RIP Bambi

Our oldest mutt kicked the bucket this morning.
Folks had been telling Sister and self for the past couple of weeks to come down to the farm to meet her before she left but with the trip to the mountains and other stuff, we'd been putting it off. Thought we'd go down this coming weekend but death waits for no one.

Bambi first came into our lives as a cowering puppy when we were living in the boondocks. This was way back in 1992, so she's probably out lived most of her litter.
She was the perky short-haired black and white bitch who mothered most of our current canines.
She's been the matriarch of the pack ever since Doogie the Devil died of distemper some time in the latter years of the previous century.
Age had really gotten to her.. cataracts, arthiritis, weak bladder, falling teeth, black hair fuzzed into white. Lots of dogs have died on us over the years, but she'll always be remembered.

Nothing personal

The mountains always put things in perspective.
Post last Friday's office party, where certain events occured to change my mind about leaving, self sent this mail to boss at the paper I was supposed to join.

Hi xxxx
Apologies for the inconvenience.
Am currently in Manali and there's an issue with the roaming service here. I think a tower fell in the rain.

HR here did not get the copy of my increment letter in time for me to get it to Pallavi before I left.
However, since our meeting, other factors have made me realise that I am more a writer and a job at Xxxxx would leave me with very little time to explore that.
Advice from people I respect is that this is not the right time for me to move.
Additionally, over the weekend, I have gotten the opportunity to write for the main paper on issues and subjects that are of most interest to me.
Besides, I've been in this organisation only 10 months and if the questions Pallavi at HR was asking were anything to go by, I should stick around in one place for a little longer, rather than jumping ships every year.
I should have come by, met you and told you this, but then this trip happened.
Sincerest apologies for the inconvenience


He replies with this

all i can say is that you are an asshole. and i dont like being made a fool of, which you just did. which wasn't a smart thing to do.

If I am reconsidering a career decision, how does it involve making a "fool" of anyone?
Granted I accepted the offer, but there was nothing on paper, no offer letter, no resignation, nothing and I can't help it if avenues into the main paper here falling into place.
What is the need to take things so personally?
I am not interested in making a fool of anyone. Where would that get me?
I'm interested in what's best for me.

My dad always says, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Working where I am right now is a chiller job.
And by shifting just for the money, I'll be trading in comfortable working hours and a work environment that's just right.
Can't say the reaction is unexpected considering almost 30 people left that paper citing his violent, abusive behaviour.

From the mountains to the mayhem

Ahhh.. five days of bliss by the Beas later, self is back at humid, hot home.
This time up was eventful to say the least.
Chottu, Jas, Bony and self along with Driverman packed into an Indica after the Azzurri took home top honours. The first few hours were bedraggled and bum numbing as we fidgeted to find space in the cramped car. Chottu took the front passenger because he can't fit in a back seat with self squeezed between the "healthy bodies" of Jas and Bony (who is anything but).

Burst a tyre somewhere before Chandigarh, luckily right in front of a puncture repair dude. I run across the road to the fields beyond for an early morning dump, while Chottu organises tea. We then study the map and decide to take the "short cut" through Pinjore since it cut 10 kilometres off the Chandigarh-Ropar-Kiratpur Saheb-Swarghat-Bilaspur route.
Turned out to be three hours longer because the paved double lane road disintegrates into a narrow, undulating pothole between Pinjore and Swarghat.
Spectacular scenery though.
With Driverman starting to nod off, Chottu takes the wheel and promptly busts a gasket in the middle of nowhere while trying to take pictures of purple hills rolling into green meadows.
We limp into Swarghat where the mechanic says we are hallucinating and we carry on. Stopped for breakfast of alu-puri by the curb with the spectacular Govind Sagar lake for company.

Usually cops will stop and check you on your way back from Manali. This was the first time we were stopped three times on our way to the hills.
The first was obviously a narc checkpost but once they got a gander at the press cards, asked us whether we were going to do a story and if we were carrying any guns on us.
Everybody had a good laugh at that one. Even the cops.

The second was a free-for-all. A battery of khaki men was hauling down everybody on the road to check for license and registration. One senior looking chap says they do this on the 10th and 25th of each month.
Again, innocent display of the press cards and we're back on the road.
I don't like to flash the card too much, but here in what is mostly rural India, it saves you heaps of irritation.
The third checkpoint was really a toll booth where all cars that don't have Himachal registration have to cough up cash to get into Manali. Tourism chappies doing something right.

Finally crawl into Old Manali and The Dragon at half past five, dog tired but the view is fantastic ar as usual and hot showers later, we hit Moondance Cafe for dinner and eye candy.
Since self was clean out of maal, the first priority was to secure some.
Bumped into Mr Miyagi outside the German bakery and he says hello with hash in his hand. Not much, about 4 spliffs worth for 50 bucks
Picked up more from Biloo the next evening. Bumped into some of Delhi's raver crowd too. They'd come from Kasol for the party up abover Old Manali and like typical "im a hippie, im cool" behaviour, were booming chillums and rolling spliffs, sitting by the road.
These misguided folks don't know the C of chilling.

The party was delayed by a few days due to rain but it happened on Thursday night. Didn't sound very exciting, though clueless trippers seemed to enjoy it.
We have a very simple rule of thumb, you go to Goa to party, you go to Manali to chill..

It's nice to know somethings will never change here.
You can still roll out of your room, down the stairs and across the tiny lane for a ten-rupee coconut covered chocolate ball at 3 in the morning.
The lasagne at Il Forno and the Manali chicken curry thali at Johnson’s Café can still floor you. The view from the rooftop of the World Peace Café in Vashisht is still the unobstructed panoramic Kullu to Solang spread.
The forest between Old and New Manali is still an ethereal place to be as skyscraping pines and mossy foliage filter out the commotion so you can imagine you’re in Lord of the Rings or Van Helsing country.

You also, always always meet some really interesting people from all over the world here. Not just obnoxious Israeli backpackers.
Bita, Rachel and Jacob were sharing the room down the corridor from us and we got talking over Monk and coke. The three were Aussie film makers from Melbourne, travelling south east Asia making a documentary on female infanticide.
In conversation, we found out that Jacob was David Boone's (the Aussie cricketer with the handlebar moustache) nephew, Bita lives in six different cities and has no fixed address and Rachel, like Bita, is a Bahai and prefers Zambia to India.
Also met Martha and Frida from Finland. They'd been doing the adrenalin trip - rafting, cross country skiing, mountain climbing and more in Ladakh and were passing through Manali on the way to Rishikesh for 2 weeks of yoga and meditation.
At this, Chottu looks at them, looks at his paunch and sighs.

The only activity we got around to doing was the hike through the forest, down to the Manalsu to collect river rocks, take pictures and get stuck in the chicken wire fence.


The eyesores have increased here with increasing construction. Where you expect to see lush green forest waving down at you on the way up, you have Shah Rukh Khan telling you Airtel is with you here too while huge chunks of mountain have been eaten out by wayside motels and dhabas.

Some years ago, when we first did the climb in daylight on bikes, we spotted a bit of leftover paradise on the way up between Bilaspur and Mandi. It had been drizzling the whole day, but the sun had come out in the valley to the left and when we crossed this particular spot on the right, I think we all saw it at the same time and stopped with an “Ohhh!”
One giant orange flame of the forest tree dominated, surrounded by purple lavender trees and yellow-flowered trees (who’s name I don’t know) with a carpet of multicoloured wildflowers and a spirited waterfall gurgling through the scene.
A rent in the clouds saw the whole place lit with sunshine after the rains like a cosmic artist saying, “Eat your heart out Van Gogh”
We all got off, crossed the road and ran up the hill to take a closer look. No one brought out the cameras as we had packed them from the rain but it’s a sight I will be loath to forget.
This time around, the spot where I remember it to be has been hacked out of the hillside.
There’s a trucker’s garage there now.
They also sell spares.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The office party

Probably the one time when all the stiff upper lips loosen up and get silly over company-paid booze.

The wildest office party I've been to was the Easter bash in my first year in GE.
Big bosses had hired out the lawns at the South City Club in Gurgaon and the five bars around the acre of green were like beehives swarming with buzzing drones.
In the great tradition of the American college party, each bar had a 10 gallon keg which attendants kept pouring bottles of Kingfisher into (along with quite a bit of ice).
One giant dance floor with all the latest 'hits' blasting out from a Sirdie DJ's mixer was hardly big enough for the teeming mass of sweaty bodies wanting to bump and grind with the hotties.
Don't remember most of it, just Baba offering me a spliff and then running around the lawn with my shirt open yelling, "Superman, Superman, mighty flighty Superman"
Also remember trying to force my way out of the crush on the floor to grab a beer, making it till the edge and some chick who looked vaguely familiar asking me if I want to dance.
Must have slurred something at her, because she grabbed my hand and pulled me back in.
I was still bouncing from the earlier track and hadn't realised they had switched it to that sick-as-shit Celine Dion number from Titanic.

Next thing I remember is waking up the next evening.
Get to work and the guys in my department are pointing and laughing. This vaguely familiar chick walks by, smiles and says "Hi, are you feeling better?"
I "huh" back at her and she looks shell-shocked
I ask what happened, and one helpful gent tells me that that woman and me had been climbing all over each other in the middle of the floor - right till they shut the music and told us all to fuck off home.
This is why I hate getting drunk.


Last office party we had was when the paper threw a shindig at QBA.
One anonymous gent passed out on a sofa, then rolled over and fell between the sofa and the table in front of it.
Two waiters came over to pull him out, one grabbing his head, the other his feet.
But the sozzled fucker had one arm stuck under the table and the more they pulled, the more danger there was of all the plates, bottles and glasses on the table crashing to the floor.
So they just left him there.

There's one more tonight.
QBA revisited. Should be worth a laugh

Goa fever

Neon New Year's Eve 2004

Hahahahahaha.. just found this


Look to the left behind the woman in white

Elevated!!



First time in Elevate.. blasted out of my brain

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Life is what happens to you while you're planning it

I have to give two months notice here or two months' basic pay (which would rip my wallet to shreds)
The new paper wants me to join by the first of August.
Now, I can't tender me resignation here till I get my offer letter from there,
I can't get my offer letter from there till I give them a copy of increment letter from here
I can't give them a copy of my increment letter because I lost it.

So, I emailed (you always have to email these things somehow) the respective HR person for a copy, but I believe she is yet to check her mail...
When I get the copy, I have to fax it to respective HR person on the greener side, who will then send me my offer letter and only then can I resign formally.
From which date, my notice period starts.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Screw the dilemma

You ever gone home from work and realised "what the fuck was I thinking?"

Met RS this afternoon.
Wheels are in motion.
Time here is limited.
Better bucks here I come.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Damn the dilemma!!

Ex-ex-boss called this morning with an interesting proposition.

Features editor at a daily newspaper with at least 50% hike in pay.

Although the rag's reputation isn't quite as hot-shot as where I work right now, it belongs to a group that boasts some seriously hard-core journalistic experience, not to mention pots of money.
I see it as a challenge really, to turn around the paper (or the features section anyway), plus the pay is pretty fucking good, the work atmosphere there is chilled out and since I've worked with that group before, several staffers are either friends or "hey wassup man" associates.

What's really getting me kicked is that this is just my third year in this field where most of my peers have been at it since college with sundry internships and the like...

However, I've settled into this place quite nicely too and though there are the occasional piss-offs, it is quite comfortable.
Or complacent.


edit:
Ah.. fuck it..
I'm pretty happy with my scene here.
Probably just stick around and wait for National Geographic to get to town, hopefully some time next year.
People in office reading above post and asking, "You shouldn't say all this.. might affect the move.."
Huh?
I don't work for the KGB and I don't think resigning or joining a work place should be any big secret.
Straight up is always the best way.

second edit:
Just had one intense discussion with OneLeggedMonkey and The Dionysian over whether or not the above decision was the correct one.
OneLeggedMonkey was going on and on about how the money and the fancy visiting card can mean I can wrangle a deal to get back here or anywhere with a fatter wallet and juicier credentials.
That the book I'm trying to finish will get published faster with the former asset.
Maybe true, but I doubt it.
Doubt that it's true that is.
I really don't want to go through all the trouble to find out for sure anyway

The only 'journalist' job I really want after this joint is at National Geographic, the rest are all whatever.
I have no clue if I'm good enough, but I've wanted to work there ever since I first realised I could write. That and the stack of yellowing Nat Geo mags my grandparents left with us.

For me, if I have to think twice, I'd rather not do it.
I rarely think twice about anything.
It's really as simple as that.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Mountain roads, take me home

Jas just called ordering me to take leave next week as Chottu and her are planning a trip up to the misty mountains..
Haven't been up in 2 years and with the humidity in this city slowly steaming my brain.. need to get the fuck out asap.

Just hope everything goes according to plan

It should be raining. When its raining there are fewer annoying tourists, the filth of New Manali is washed away and the fishing is excellent.

Can't wait to get on the road again!!
First real vacation since Goa 2004!!

edit:
Ok the excitement is getting the better of me.
Especially with the frantic phone calls over organising the taxi, cancelling the taxi and booking seats on the Volvo, cancelling seats on the Volvo, shifting departure to Sunday night (from Sunday morning) and hyperactive paranoia on leave dates on matching.

Of the million times I've waxed eloquent on this little hill station, I think I'm going to go over board when I get back!
If I close my eyes, I can see myself walking up Circuit House road, left into Johnson's Cafe for fresh fried trout and crisp cold beer out in the verandah.
Sitting on one of those giant moss-covered boulders in the forest-park looking up at the skyscraping pine trees as the filtered green light washes everything teal.
Doing the thigh-burning 3-and-a-half kilometre trek up to Vashisht while smoking a joint just to prove that pot doesn't fuck your stamina, getting to Vashisht just in time to sink for a few hours in the hot springs
Poi on the terrace during the day
Fire poi on the terrace at night
Hariramji and some of the most killer hash around. First met this tiny toothless old shepherd (think Mr Miyagi from Karate Kid) on the first trip here and have had the good fortune to bump into him every time I've gone up. He's gotten friendlier with each trip too. The last time I was there, we met him when we were heading down to New Manali to catch the bus home. He got very upset we hadn't met before, so he took me up above the guesthouses of Old Manali to his house in the village, made his wife get me thick, sweet yak-milk tea and slapped a big dark slab (about 4 cm thick and bigger than my entire palm) in to my hand.
"For you baba, only 600"
Couldn't fucking believe it.
Hope he hasn't kicked the bucket. Would hate having to go score from someone else.

Older dealers some how are so much more refined in their dealing.
Mike, a regular though some what inaccessible pot dealer in town is one funky guy to know.
He's a 65-year-old grandfather who lives with his wife, daughter and two grand children in a bustling part of South Delhi.
Close enough to all the action but confusing enough so the cops and random customers don't harass him.
When you go to score off Mike the first time, it's pretty bizarre.
He'll be sitting on the living room sofa, watching Friends with his grandkids. His wife will be sitting somewhere nearby knitting or sewing or doing embroidery. His daughter, a school teacher, will be in the kitchen.
You come in, say hello to every one and then at an unspoken word, one of the kids will go into the bedroom and pull out some stuff from the trunk under the bed.
The other will fetch the chillum and switch the fan off, and everybody goes back to watching TV.
Chillum boomed (and Mike's always had the really good good shit) and transaction completed, (no haggling allowed) you try to negotiate the steep winding staircase into the lane and the maze of lanes to where you parked your car.

Some time in May, had gone to Paharganj to score and met this ugly fucker who was trying to peddle me this black gunk that didn't smell anything like hash.
Being drunk and quite stoned, I bought what seemed like 2 tolas for 1100.
Three days ago, I smelled munakka for the first time nstead of just popping it in and chewing.
Yup, you got that right.
Never going to score from PG again.

The almost perfect weekend

Saturday night and new neighbours threw a house-warming blowout.
Interesting crowd, eclectic conversation, plenty of alcohol and sporadic spliffs made this quite the fun night.
For a change, social conversation in Jungpura did not involve which is the most expensive car in the market, who's buying what stock and how much money was spent, blown, lost on useless activities.
Laksh landed up just as I was getting home and one last spliff later, passed into comfortable oblivion.
Woke up around noon, rolled some leftover Mary and headed to Erato's to help set up and offer suggestions on interior decor.
She has a very interesting house. First-floor affair where the rear balcony is actually the front balcony and the light switches are hooked up to the fans.
There's a serving window that drops down into the kitchen (like a drawbridge) so suggested a mural of the Red Queen's castle with the magic mushrooms, enchanted forest, March Hare, the white rabbit and the whole manic Wonderland scene.
Popped a bottle of Himachali apricot wine, guffed on pasta and sat around waiting for the plumbers, electricians and carpenters to make the flat livable.

Strolled home and Sharky called wanting to hook up in the evening.
So when he came by, we scored some beer and munakka and proceeded back to the terrace.
Kbeer called while we were on the way saying they were picking up tickets for Superman Returns and if I wanted to come along
Had been dyi9ng to watch that movie, so jumped at the chance.
Sharky left later in the evening, so headed to the SecondFloor for more beer, idle conversation and televised sport before we left for the movie.
I must say I was sorely disappointed. Lois Lane was a cardboard cutout and Superman is now a daddy. Almost 2 decades after Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman and this is the shit we have to watch.
Kevin Spacey was Dr Evil (from Austin Powers) than Lex Luthor and the only Indian dude in the movie - Kal Penn - didn't even have dialogue. Suppose he's telepathically linked to the bald man with the funny head.
Don't go to the cinemas to watch this... borrow or burn a DVD.. just not worth the money...

Fuck off and leave me alone

Some thing really pissing off happened this past Saturday.
Local music correspondent read the post on munakka and was inquiring further into the subject.
Same correspondent had to give me a story for my page but was busy making hers, so instead of sitting with a thumb up my ass, I thought I'd go down to the paanwadi and pick up some smokes and then head to the cafeteria to grab a bite to eat.
Wasn't in any real hurry because afore-mentioned writer takes her own time on the job.
My meal is interrupted by the chief sub who's apparantly going through one of her extremely frequent and unnecessary panic attacks over nothing.
My pages have never been delayed on my account.
Even if I have to skip out of office every alternate Monday to drop by the Riyaz meet.

So when I walk back up, you can bet I was fucking pissed to hear this woman telling every one, including my editor, that I've gone to "do drugs in the parking lot"!!!
And not just any "drug".. but munakka!!!!
Like I'm some hard up rickshaw puller in need of a fix.

I'm not a confrontational person and hate to raise my voice. So I ignored the entire issue despite listening to the entire bitch-fest happening right behind me in my editor's cubicle.

Dear Chief Sub:
I come to office to do my job and go home
I'm not interested in your petty office politics and malicious rumour-mongering
My pages are done faster, better and more efficiently than most of the people in my department can manage and if my bosses have no problem with my work, keep your nose out of my private life.
Getting stoned in the office makes no sense at all to me. Especially with your paranoid suspicions.
I get high on my own time, which is more than I can say about several senior editors in this joint.
Our senior music writer, for example, is almost always trashed, even bright and early in the morning.

It's hardly her fault really. I can understand that when people get to her age, frustration and senility take the better of whatever grey matter they have left.
Plus this woman lives for high-blood pressure.
And if she has it, she makes an honest, all out attempt to fry everybody else's brain with her psychotic paranoia.
Why can't people just mind their own goddamn business?

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Elevated on one fantastic Friday

Yesterday was bizarre.

We have a rat problem in the office. First noticed it when a bandicoot the size of a mutton tikka roll jumped out onto a chick's keyboard a couple of days ago.
Apart from the near heart attack her sudden screech gave everybody, we had to endure with the nauseatingly heady smell of rat poison being sprayed under the desks.
So when the nearly foot-long cat bait crawled out from behind the lockers, into the aisle to die presumably, my neighbour MrThapa leaped out of his seat to grab it by the tail and wave it around to the obvious horror of those around.
One of our photographers ran up to take pictures till everyone got bored or busy and left it alone.
SuperBossMan came by to shoot the breeze with my ed a little later and was standing with his back to the rat. Took a step back, stepped on its tail, and almost hit the ceiling when he heard the squeak and turned around.
Left office and headed back to Jungpura and Dee's place to watch Argentina lose shamelessly to Germany.
Had smoked some of Dee's pretty good shit and drank some beer when Baba called wanting to know if Elevate was a possibility.
Yesterday being his birthday, the trip was on him.
Staggered home from Dee's place and Baba landed up soon after.
Smoked another spliff, drank some more beer and left, meeting up with Vibu, Mandi and Shakester in the parking lot.
Dropped some Lucy, smoked some more pot, did a little MDMA and headed up.
Xenomorph from Germany was playing .. music was a little wierd because he was playing it "live" on the guitar.
Fucking up his set by adding unnecessary meaningless distortion right when the beat and the energy picked up.
Got a little better when Dale came up and spun some proper dark.
Also now acknowledge the woofer at the foot of the BodySonic floor to be the best bum massager around.
Don't think the Lucy did anything, although the MDMA was one happy happy happy trip.
Especially the second time round.
Smile smile smile, bounce bounce bounce, wave wave wave, smile bounce wave.
The guy behind me chanting fuck fuckitty fuck fuck fuck...

Delhi's stoner crowd being the close-knit "Hey you look familiar, have I tripped with you before" type, dawn at a rave is always deja vu.
The chick with the psychedelic braids and hot pants who you've been tripping on all night turns out to be your sister's friend, the guy with the giant afro and purple pajamas used to play ball in school with you...
and with the MDMA going full blast, it just felt really really nice to be chilling with people you've always been chilling with and not the complete strangers everybody is in the night.
Some time just before dawn, discovered some munakka in my pocket which I split with Mandi and that little cocktail kept me alert, alive and ready for action.
Except for the sudden, immediate urge to bomb Pakistan.
A good shit about a half-hour after a good hit some how always seems to make the trip last longer. I guess the paranoia of holding it in disappears, lightening the load so to speak.
Left at 6 because the bouncers wanted to go home, and everybody came over to smoke a spliff. But not before Mandi's extended philosophical debate with Xenomorph on leather pants and break beats.
Came home and discovered Shakester used to work in the same office as Sister, Kbeer, Chottu and Raka. Also latter and Mandi had come by for the birthday blowout and we had boomed a chillum, which was really freaky considering I thought this was the first time I was meeting them.
Small world just gets closer.