Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coffee and me

It is 6am in the morning and I am sitting listening to Clapton's Cocaine after a night of leaning my elbows on the SPM textbook watching around five episodes of 30 Rock and a movie called Ninja assassin among other random stuff. Love that song, though I have never had a first hand encounter with its main subject. Call it prudence or yellow bellied cowardice, by my 'addictions' don't go above classic rock and caffeine. Yes, I am a coffee addict. Its not that I wouldn't be able to live without it, but then, that life would just plain suck. I even tried to change cocaine's lyrics into caffeine. Doesn't work. Bastards gave the better sounding word to the weird white stuff.

I come from a family of passionate tea drinkers. Their day's schedule revolves around tea times(plural; Oh there are many. so many). I still remember the whiff of tea leaves spreading around the house at five in the evening. I remember me, a teacup in hand, taking careful baby steps towards my Grandfather's bed. The small chatters and clatters as the cup moved a bit with each step, the hot red liquid threatening to fall in the saucer. And me, walking the tightrope, praying that wouldn't happen. My Grandfather hates tea-spilled saucers. He wouldn't speak until he had the first sip and then his whole face would light up and glow in the orange sun and he would laugh, crinkling his eyes and heartily pat my back before returning to his crossword puzzle. I felt like an adult the first time I had tea, albeit mixed with an ample amount of milk. I gulped it down and beamed at my Mom. How was it, she asked. "Awesome!", I said, though it was all milk. And I got the my-little-boy-is-all-grown-up look they reserve only for special occasions. I was a tea man then. Coffee was for wusses. Coffee was a distant blur.

I think the first time I noticed coffee was while watching Dexter's laboratory. Theres a couple of episodes where Dexter has coffee and he inexplicably becomes a lot more awesome than he already is. They showed coffee to be this dirty brown liquid. They showed tired and sleepy and irritable Dad gulp down coffee with the signature heaving Adam's apple and transform into fresh and shiny Dad. They even showed him sparkle, for God's sakes. And I am like, what the heck is that?( This is how the young generation made gullible. Cartoons. I remember trying to eat raw spinach after watching Popeye. Yucky stuff. And my biceps were bony as ever. Popeye's had frickin Steam boats in 'em). I don't know when I had my first coffee and whether I liked it or not. I am guessing I must have. It was made for me. From then on, tea became associated with old over-conservative English women with a pince-nez and and a Bonnet eying me with a certain balefulness and reproachfulness which I have come to associate exclusively with certain trw teachers with a dangerous reputation, thus making me acutely uncomfortable, and saying something like " And how would you like you tea, good sir?"

Coffee on the other hand became this kinda cool beverage. I read stories of Italians drinking Cappuccinos and eating Paninis on the roadside Cafes. I saw writers sitting with their coffee mugs and typing furiously on their Macbooks, brimming with ideas. And I watched movies with a guy saying to a girl 'Would you like to come up for a coffee or something?' after a date, and the girl doing a bad job feigning shyness before saying yes. Do you think girls would have "come up" for tea? And it was not like the spinach incident. It did taste exceptionally good, that bittersweet son of a bitch. And it went well with most other exceptionally awesome stuff in the world too- mint and cookies and chocolate! Have coffee with a Polo in your mouth. Delight. It even bode well with tea- I don't know if you have had a certain drink which I have only seen sold at the roadside chai tapriwaalas. Its called 'Takkar' and it is a mixture of tea and coffee and it is not bad at all. Coffee became this intellectual stimulant for me. Tea was for slobs. I became a coffee man.

And thus began my coffee addiction. Even today, as I sip on a Mongi double coffee, a Polo under my lip, I remember Dexter's Dad. And I remember him gulping down the dark dirty brown liquid, Adam's apple heaving, which made him sparkle. And I look down on that sublime nectar with a hope that it will make me sparkle too. And then I give myself a mental slap for being so corny and gulp down the rest of it, crunching what is left of the Polo. Delight!

And yeah, about the whole Cocaine situation. They say, two things would suck without Cream- Coffee and Clapton. So in your face, Eric Clapton, you tea drinking English bastard, in your face!!

Who moved my Messiah?

I am writing a lot these days, or atleast thinking about it, mostly because of the DoJMA blog. Heres an extremely nonsensical story, to be taken in the same spirit. It might lead to some deeply insightful revelation if read carefully. Tell me if you find it-
Not unlike many other stories you might have read before, this one took place in a land far far away. And not unlike them, the land had a weird-ass name. It was so difficult to pronounce that people had given up trying. Apparently, the King who named it, did so when he was on his death bed with a raging tuberculosis and a horrendous throat infection. The tubes running through his nose didn't help either. And as the subjects were hanging on to every grunt and moan of their King, he proceeded to produce varying editions of said grunts and moans when the time came for him to name it. Then, he died.

Now, the citizens of this land gave a colossal importance to the science of pronunciation. Mis-pronunciations were a punishable offence and the usual punishments ranged from severing one's head to trampling it under the feet of the royal elephant Yakuzunna. But in essence, death. After a couple of attempts which led the respective attempters under Yakuzunna's feet, people gave up trying to imitate the King's last words. Since then, no one ever spoke the name of the land. For the sake of the story, we will call it the Land. With a capital L.

Our hero is a young man, born and raised in the Land. He was an orphan. Quite understandably, no one really knew what his name was. Or whether he had a name or not. Infact, no one really cared about his existence, maybe apart from the fact that he created a distortion, albeit a meager and rather inconsequential, in the space-time continuum around him. But for some weird inexplicable reason he became our hero and the job of naming him falls squarely on our shoulders. Lets find a better solution and refer to him in his pronounic form, eg. Him, with a captial H.

As you may have perceived, the residents of Land were not the brightest people in the world. Firstly because after all these years, no one could come up with a simple name for their Kingdom. Secondly, well, they used obsolete execution methods. They were also known to think that the sun was a huge light bulb and they tried to fool the guy who switched in on everyday by calling Sunday Monday, Monday Tuesday and so on. It didn't work, obviously. Everyone knows that theres no guy! Its automatic!! Obviously, the mastermind behind the plan was fed to the royal crocodile.

Now our hero was one of the queer specimens of this race. He was dumber than horse shit. I don't know what He did for a living, but the fact that He was alive said that He did eat sometimes. He lived near the outskirts of the Land, on the edge of the Great Black Forest. Everyone was forbidden to go there. Because it smelt weird and was too damn dark. One night, as always, He was sitting in front of His fire. Suddenly the wind blew harder than ever, and a few logs of firewood rolled down on the forest floor near some weeds. He ran to gather them, but as He reached them, a queer thing happened. The weed had caught fire. He stood right above them, petrified, cause something weird was happening. The fumes rose up to His nose and as if it was divine intervention in his inexcusably lame life, He got transported into another place! He couldn't help but smile. He had all the answers! The smile turned into a grin which graduated into full fledged laughter which for some reason couldn't stop. He suddenly could appreciate the things around him better, for the first time. He took a leaf in his palm and stared at it. The green leaf stared back. He stared at it harder, daring it to respond. The green leaf stared back. This was His limit. He crushed it and threw it away and resumed His laughter.

The people of the Land heard it. A lone laugh coming from the forest. They gathered together and after much debate, decided to send a bunch of expendable people to check what was going on. The sorry bunch departed and reach the place where the laughter was coming from. They saw Him. But they thought He was not His usual self. They thought there was a glow around Him. An aura. He looked so damn happy! He was sitting in a Padmasana wearing nothing but his underpants, right in front of the flickering fire. And he was grinning a wide grin. With a glint in his eyes as if he knew something the others didn't. Then he saw the others coming and thus began his first known words of wisdom-"Gee Geee Gaaaa Gaaaa.", He said,"GEEE GEEE GAAAA GAAAA!!!" raising his arms up in the air and beckoning them to heed.

And everyone was so overwhelmed by that show that they chanted "GEEEE GEEEE GAAAA GAAAA!!!" together as one. His smile widened.

The people of Land who had stayed back heard those chants and they all came running to the site. Heres our saviour, the chanters told them. Heres our messiah. Heres the man with all the answers! Just look at him. Doesn't he look like he has all the answers?!

And soon enough, every man, woman, child of the Land chanted "GEEEE GEEEE GAAA GAAAA!!!" together as one. They bowed to Him and implored Him to answer their questions. They begged Him for solutions to their problems. He in turn, gave one last all knowing grin, and snuggled near His beloved fire and started to snore. The Messiah will sleep on it, they said, and left Him in peace.

Soon enough, the fame of the Saviour grew. The immortal words "GEEEE GEEEE GAAA GAAAA!!!" were carved on buildings and door frames and any damn empty walls. And then those walls would be covered with flowers and incense sticks and coconuts which would go bad and smell in a couple of days. But more kept coming. Some brilliant guy had the idea of putting it as a t shirt slogan and became a millionaire out of it. Then he expanded the line into caps and bumper stickers and keychains and became a billionaire. They tried in vain to find out about His past, but then as I told you earlier, no one even knew his name. All this did was expand the veil of mystery over Him. And thus, He became more popular than ever.

The businessman, as a gesture of gratitude for his good fortune, decided to hold a ceremony in His honour. He was escorted in a royal vehicle into the city. People rejoiced as they saw their God walk on earth. They threw roses at his feet. They made up songs about him and sang them. He sat, taking it all in, with his trademark grin on his face. As He was being taken to the venue, He saw the Royal elephant Yakuzunna in its shed. He suddenly pointed at it and shouted "CHICHI!!!"

It was the God's will. The name of the Royal Elephant was changed to Chichi.

The ceremony began. After the kindergarten kids, school kids, high school kids, their mothers, grandmothers, girls from the local arts college, the top Rock band in the Land and a fire martial artist- clown duo performed their entertainment acts, it was time for Him to speak. It was exactly at this time, when, sadly for Him, our hero came to his senses. And the first thing He saw when He came His senses was tens of thousands of people staring at him, waiting for him to speak. So, he did what everyone who would be in this situation would do. He started screaming his head off. And thus, all the tens of thousands of people started screaming their respective heads off. And He was shocked out of his senses. His all knowing smile was wiped flat off his face. The Lord foresees a disaster, they said, and scampered around like a bunch of sea rats in panic.

And He did foresee disaster. For, at that exact moment, entered a mighty angry Chichi. And he ran through the crowd trampling random people, reached the stage, and with one flick of its trunk, flattened the frail life out of our hero. He was dead before He hit the ground. And so the elephant took its revenge.

As for the people of the Land, they saw the great powerful form of the elephant, mighty and grand. They saw it defeat their God with a simple trunk flick, the easiest of elephant killing techniques. As if to assert its awesome power over Him. They saw its huge form, towering over everybody, daring them to come forward, to retaliate.

And everyone was so overwhelmed by that show that they bowed in front if it, together as one. And they implored it to kill their enemies and destroy their foe. The fact that the elephant create insanely huge distortions in the space-time continuum also impressed them.

...and this is how the people of the Land found a new Messiah.

Gods must be crazy.

This is a post I wrote yesterday for the BITS DoJMA blog. A couple of inside references you might not figure out, but then, I love private jokes, so, suck it and read-
This blog has become my only source of inspiration to write. And when I think about it, its not a good thing at all. I mean, what will I write after this gets over? Anyways, a post written a couple of days ago caught my attention. It was about atheism. And how atheism was awesome you didn't have to care about lotuses in your stomach and cobras in your spine when you are an atheist( I am sorry man, but too serious writing gives me bad bowel movements. So let me just have my fun, no offence meant, to you and your faith :P .)

There was a time in my childhood, when to sound cool, guys would be like" I am nonveg! I love chicken!!"(read Louuuu!!). It was the time when we thought that either you are a 'veg' or a 'nonveg' and the word 'Dangerous' could be substituted by a much simpler and yet million times more effective 'DANGEEER!!'(pronounced 'dainger'), by getting rid of its clumsy appendage. At that particular time, when a guy proclaimed that yes, he did consume the flesh of a fellow animal, we would all catch our breaths in awe and look at him as if he was Clint Eastwood and/or the coolest guy on the planet. The rest of the discussion would later get into digressions of whether blood is visible in the dish and the correct way to eat a around a chicken bone. When I became a non vegetarian, even I became the awesomest guy on earth to my brother's friends( Who is seven years younger than me.) for around four and a half minutes before he decided I was stealing his thunder and landed his cricket bad squarely on the pinky of my left foot. Coolest guys in the world don't weep like little girls. Anyways, my point is, now that most of us are over the fact that yes, we are animals and we do eat other animals and that is life( Again, so sorry dude. Completely unintentional), the question, 'do you believe in God?' has replaced 'Are you a vegetarian?'. And if you are an atheist, then you are on top of the food chain. Agnostics sound a lot cooler, though.

I believe in God. I believe He has yet to find me, but I do believe in Him. Heres the thing- the question, 'do you believe in God?' is one of the most personal questions you can ever ask an individual. And as in every scientific discussion, you cannot move on unless you define the premise. So the more important question here is what is God. If you say that God is a half naked man with a chiseled body and a flowing white beard, sitting on top of the best tanning-spot-cloud in the sky and sipping a chilled Elixir of Life, then yes, I am an atheist. But then, that is not what I mean when I talk about God. My idea of God is very different than that, and thats what I mean when I say its a personal question. Not very scientific, I know, but works for me.

I believe in God because, from what I have learnt about the vastness and the diversity of the universe through science, I feel it would be utterly arrogant on our part to say that there is no entity which drives it. I believe in energy, cannot be created, nor destroyed. Formless yet omnipresent. Neither good nor bad. And I look at it in awe and reverence and I bow down before it. They say 'ekam sat'- God is one. And they think of unity in diversity. They think of Allah being equivalent to Ganesh and they swoon around about Hindu Muslim unity.They say God is present everywhere and they pick up random boulders and colour them saffron and adorn them with flowers and coconuts and incense sticks. The language of the Vedas has been dilapidated and twisted and murdered. Energy is present wherever matter is. Energy is one. And one only. Ekam sat. And this phenomenon is what I deeply appreciate. So, yes, I believe in God. This one.

The key to the puzzle is religion. Religion, though superficially is all about God, is one of the most social things you can do. It was devised for society. Basically, remember when you were a child and you were told stories about Santa Claus and the Tooth fairies and a certain 'Bagulbua' who would carry a jute sack to kidnap the children who didn't sleep on time. Society is like a naughty child. A dumb naughty child, mind you. It loves Himesh Reshammiya and Britney Spears. It 'roflmaos' on CID jokes( I love 'em!). It reveres Rajnikanth. It screens TV series exclusively about people eating bugs, snakes, shit, rodents, crustaceans, lizards, shit, amphibians and the shit of the aforementioned species among other things. How the heck are you going to explain to them the true meaning of God? Or even take their help in finding it?

Also, the intelligent folk among the people wanted society to be good, crime free and peaceful. So, what they did was, they said there is a man in the sky watching all of us, and if you do anything wrong, he will punish you, for he is God. Now heres the funny thing. The 'intelligent folk' had the liberty to decide what was 'wrong'. So they confided and wrote big fat books about what was right and what was wrong. This is what we call ethics, in philosophy. Which differ from society to society, well because they have different books. Plato has different ethics, Aristotle has different ethics, the Bhagwad Geeta speaks of different ethics. But basically, it was all for the betterment of society. A novel plan. To make it sell, they cooked up stories about these men in the sky. But then, if you look at those stories carefully, you will note one thing. God was the perfect man. Every philosophy describes a perfect man. A man who follows all the ethics laid down in the philosophy. The elephant God was given big ears and a large stomach because it was an allegory for a person who 'Gives every man thy ear, but few thy voice.' The reason behind the presence of the moon on the head of Shankar was to show that the God of destruction is not hot headed. As in, if you have power, you have to be prudent enough to use it. And religion, is man's quest to be the perfect man. To acquire these qualities.

A long time passed and obviously, the 'intelligent people' became greedy. They invented stories for their own good. The beautiful, flawless plan became tainted. They started looking at individual interests rather than greater good. And this is how religion is how it came to be. Biased, partial and seemingly unreasonable. But it has rooted itself so deep into society that there is no way they can be separated. Today people actually believe in the bearded man, the forbidden apple trees, a heaven and a hell just like they believed in the tooth fairies and Bagulbuas in their childhood. They don't eat meat in certain months because they think that their God told them to do so. They take lives of other humans, because their God told them to do so. Eh well, the Gods must be crazy then.

Bottom line- I believe in God, but not in organised religion. And belief is a very funny thing. It can bring hope to one while bringing despair to others. Its beautiful in a weird weird way, you know. And the beauty of it is that people are so sure about things they don't even know exist. Its not very scientific, but then, works for me.

Now the lotus in my stomach is screaming to be fed and watered, so I better take care of it before it grows roots in all the wrong places... :P

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