Monday, August 22, 2005

Mi said 'Loving and relating are not the same thing'.

Yashar said 'We say we see the light, but we do not realize that we see only because the light is there'.

I said 'We all need to be screwed with skill and consideration...but we also need to be on our own'.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Guess who just called from Cal after picking up my grades from BCL!! OOohhh, the woman knows how to get to me. Wouldn't I love to put her in an oven and roast her with hoi-sin sauce!!

I had very nice session at the Vaishvik art gallery where our creative writing workshop was held today. And my driving went well today :)........ :( still no betterment in mood.

I haven't written for the last few days...and now i don't know what to say. Mmm....I'm going to be working in this bookshop called Twist N tales starting tomorrow. According to my dad it's 'like asking a drunkard to guard a liquor store'.

If my skin was branded to mark me as being of inferior race, I wouldn't feel inferior. I wouldn't complain of the pain. I would feel restricted...helplessly categorized. Wonder how the African slaves felt. The Haitians and Cubans. Even the Jews with their yellow star during World War II.

I told Ankush that my art was 'somwhat restricted'. 'There's no such thing,' he said. 'I know you're a very passionate person, so i'm certain you have it in you'. All this in regard to his asking me to buy an olive-green T-shirt for him and paint it.

Ever heard of anyone getting an upset stomach by smoking after a meal?

Monday, August 15, 2005


Just bought 'High Plains Tango' by R.J Waller, Atlas Shrugged (thanks for recommendation, honeybee), and 'The Boyfriend' by R. Raj Rao.

What I wouldn't give to be soft and dreamy and reminiscent with J. But the sustenance of our slight interaction depends on caution and remaining strictly in the present.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

In the last month, I've been bending backwards to buy books that entertain. Books I can stretch out and snack with. Just today, I bought Meg cabot and Betty Neels....and walked out of the shop feeling extremely guilty.
Is it what i know, or what i want to be known as? There are parts of my 'image' I rebel against. Sweetness, for example. What exactly am I trying to maintain? And should it alarm me if parts of me dissolve from time to time?
There's a huge debate hidden behind the conflict between the image and the reality. Whether the two even are separate.

I absorb environment...fictional, palpable...completely. I am liquid. To hold on is to restrict.

Now what?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Mum forwarded this mail to me. I'm putting it up here...partially because reading it made me miss some people, and partially so I can keep it without cluttering my Inbox. It's the speech made by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers and Pixar Animation Studios to the graduating class of Stanford.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots.
I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.
I was lucky ? I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
My third story is about death.
When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything ? all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
Thank you all very much.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I haven't been this affected by grades since I got a 45% in an English test in class 9. For all the post-modernism, all the dismantling of hierarchy, you suddenly crash into set standards and realize that they matter. The thing is, I know i worked much better than what the results show. There was a time when passing would have been enough, simply because I'd been told that that was the best I could do anyhow. All the 'supposes' and 'maybe's' are rushing down like locusts.
Suppose the gp's were right in their assessment of me? Maybe I really am a 'weak' student. Maybe I'm not upto A2 level standard. Maybe I'm not even upto the college-level here. As Dr Nandan explained in the labelling theory in is not the action that matters, but the reactions of others which subsequently leads to labels. So, if D and E got positive reactions I'd be happy receiving them?? Dr Nandan was very nice about it as was Mum. But Ahana being Ahana, she cannot help wondering if they will start to falter in their faith. Maybe she is not so intelligent, not....Ok now that is severe lack of faith on my part. I don't think the GP's have received the news yet. I've been burrowing into my bed with all their strident, hyper reactions screaming around me. Now everybody will say 'never mind, look forward', with slightly pinched expressions and will begin to monitor me with greater care.
All right, my history and sociology papers were on the same day and I had a fever and was locked into the rotary Sadan AC for 7 hours. But honestly, both papers went better than this!

Now that all that is out and I have had a good cry and consequentially a horrible headache, I shall shut down and go for my driving class very calmly and slowly.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Driving lessons have finally started. I am clueless about gear-shifting. Also, have realised the extent of my laziness. One cannot take off on flights of fancy while behind the wheel. And yet there are people who find driving relaxing!! press clutch, release NO gently madam gently. Why are you racing...? Unfortunately it's not about owning a fancy car(a 2nd-hand maruti 800!!) or the thrill of having your own mode of transport. It's simple need and independence. I was so disheartened after my class today that I didn't even argue with the auto-driver who conscientiously raised the fare by 15 rupees...which I just as conscientiously handed over :/

Here's what I wrote for my creative writing workshop yesterday:

The Journal.

What a mistake! What a cold, artful , mistake. I shifted and I was lost. Gave out and learnt to recoil. All of this for freedom. Freedom to kiss, to intimidate. To be late and to learn. I know to write. Not how to write, but to write.

I can almost taste salt and spice…I want it so badly. I suddenly see myself whirling. There are walls all around with iridescent, flamboyant spikes and I am whirling. I feel the spikes with mellow pleasure….hear my screaming flesh. From my wounds drop a flow of words. No blood, just words.

I am wet. Tears and semen stain my incomplete purity. White and clear liquid. I touch my self. Just where my neck joins my shoulder. Downy hair, much-scrubbed , needy skin.
My collar lies quietly against it. Fragranced with oriental-smelling chemicals.

Smells!! Calcutta stirs. Perspiration, incense, jasmine, slowness….how they oozed and rose and fled. Why do my shirts no longer stick to me? Where are the anaemic, spidery fingers that moistened and plundered?

There was unanimous positive feedback from the others. So...unknowingly, I have conformed to an alien standard.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I visited someone at the hospital today. Those places hurt. The smell, the sterility, there's pain in every goddamn ion. I become a different person as soon s i walk in. I'm suddenly terrified of seeing a bloodstain somewhere, pregnant bellies nauseate me...for some reason I've always considered lying on one's back to be the most vulnerable position, and hospitals are full of it.
There was a woman expecting premature twins. She was lying on her side, a saline bottle attached to her hand, a look of....i suppose it was patience....on her face.

All I could think was that she was waiting. Simply waiting for it to start. Muscles tearing, excessive bleeding, sweat, panic ending in....what? How violent is the 'Initiation'. I couldn't wait to leave. Even the muddy footsteps on the stairs were frighteningly repellent.

Another thing that happens is that I become achingly aware of my body. The slightest pressure, the smallest discomfort is magnified and super-imposed on the screen of my heightened senses. Today my stomach started to cramp, the incessant nerve problem I have on my left side sprang up rather ferociously....evidently I absorb my environment with great keenness.

I had a chat with Scratches and 100% CPU usage yesterday. What a relief!! I miss the talk. The nonsense and the supersense and the other-sense....all of it. In sociology class the other day, we were discussing the functions of polygamy, polyandry etc. The reaction of most of the class was ..'eww' and 'sick'! I don't hold their personal opinions against them. It's just that I think it's easier to examine a concept thoroughly if you see it with 'impersonal emotion'. I mean 'eww' basically translates to shutting it out of your mind completely because it 'injures' your value-structure.
I've used the phrase 'impersonal emotion'. It's taken from 'In Praise of Idleness' by Bertrand Russell. To be honest I'm not very sure what it means. I just used t because it sounded apt. It's like being involved without being attached.
Any thoughts on this?

whine whine whiny whine...listen na...i'm trying to tell you something.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Current facial expression: extreme pout
Cause: Nobody to talk nonsense with/mrinalini not replying to msg
Solution: Sit and make up list of nonsensical abusive words to use on her

yay yay yay happy happy happy :) :) :)

oohhh mrinalini, am sorry. 'If on a winter's blah blah' just not being able to get into into it. Am reading it in snatches and flashes and swirls etc etc. But I promise to work on my patience level and review it for you. Muaah!!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Making hats out of blue play-dough...

'I grow a bit tired of the terrestrial stuff
And the celestial nonsense
Swill and guzzle and copulate and copulate and
guzzle and swill until you break up like a jigsaw puzzle
Shattered with smiling.'
George Barker

I'm reading 'Hockney's Alphabet'. It's got all the letters of the alphabet drawn by David Hockney, and there is a text for each letter by a different writer. Here's an instance:

S by Ted Hughes

Started an eel
Of strangest flesh
Nor snake nor fish
So sheer to feel
So live, so lithe
As when she slid
Out of her hole
In purest soul

On a spiral. Corkscrewed into a shock of nostril, the sneeze of glair. Squirmed flex and reflex into saliva. The slug of speech, she lubricates the shapes of air. L'onde s'enfle dessous. Sashays across the surges of perspective. Swan of vision, she shakes light bare. Singular sex of plural and the supplest of strange tails. Thirsts for her ghost keenest, the ice's wound. Sound-waves abandoned the Lusitania. Depth-charged, a sea-wprm, struggling, surfaced, stares and there

In a lens of ocean
Where happiness doubles
Opening the purse
Of lips for a kiss
With a human sigh
The wordless eye
Of end and beginning
Rears its hiss.

This is my favourite. There's 'Y by Douglas Adams' and 'An elegy for X by Anthony Burgess'.....but I love this one for its floaty feel.

And now...a confession. The reason I've hidden behind the words of others is because I had none of my own. Thanks to R.Raj Rao, I now inhabit a free-prison for writers. Every line I write brings uncertainty. And discovery.
I like paper burnt around the edges. And paper that is artfully torn but still looks carelessly ripped.

I love you