Thursday, May 31, 2012

Terms Of Endearment


Words Of Yearning © Surya Murali

Tuesday, May 29, 2012



Baat khatam!!!

But, does it truly end?

It is so easy to hurt with words.  And the hurt so caused takes the longest to heal.

Every time there is a conversation, some people always want to prove you wrong, to point out your stupidity and to mock you over and over again about your other slip-ups.  Mistakes happen… some people stumble more often than others, especially when life for them is already topsy-turvy. Sometimes one feels the need to relate why the mistake happened or even how it happened. Let them get it out… they are not denying the mistake. They are not standing in the way of you proving them wrong… they already know they have been forgetful or stupid or both or worse.

If you do always want to have the last word and if you always want to end every conversation with a Baat khatam that is meant to shut everyone else up, you should be prepared to someday meet someone who would not bow down to that. There will always be someone, somewhere, who will let you have the last word when you are right but not before she has cleared her side, even when it involves admitting her mistake. If your time is precious and if you feel what the other person says is always going to be nonsense, then you are deluded to an extent that would put you alone with yourself.

The hurt you cause someone you love would be too much for you to bear… that is something all people in love should realize. When love is questioned and trampled on time and again what rises of its ashes is a terrible alternative no one should ever have to face. Wonder when some people will understand that when you mean the world and more to them… every tiny slight of yours stabs them with more pain than can be borne. Why turn someone with a heart that beats just for you in to a spiritless, soulless creature who is propelled only by the pain of a broken heart?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Strange Love Story


© Surya Murali

True Love.  There are unaccounted number of stories that tout its existence even though it is a much maligned emotion.  From eras gone by to this day, love has been an emotion that has been both tragically successful in claiming its victims and yet has been immensely profitable to the hundreds of people who have realized the sway the emotion has over human minds.

Poets of yore and songwriters of today, moviemakers, novelists and writers… everyone has cashed in on the emotion. Reams of paper & rivers of ink have been used up in tribute to this emotion. Of all human emotions, love has never had an equal. Even the other powerful emotions of hate / hatred that can change people’s lives and create enough reasons to fill history books stem from love or the absence of it.

They say true love only happens to you once in your lifetime. Some even say that it happens when least expected or when totally unexpected. Well, they also say that life happens to you when you are busy making other plans. So, we do equate life to love in more ways than one.

Now… I have questions… I always do. Why only once? Why can love not happen more than once… after all we are dealing with the finicky, fickle human heart here. Our brain and our heart aren’t the best of friends at all times… one could fall in love and give oneself up unconditionally to someone at one point of time. Things go bad, there could be a lot of reasons… bad things are always waiting to happen. So, things aren’t that great and the two people drift apart… still bound by the threads of love. Distances creep in, sometimes physical and often in the heart. The heart keeps hoping that it would turn around and everything would be all perfect again. But, the brain goes in to defend & repair mode… at times shutting down social interaction, at times creating invisible walls around you to prevent you from putting yourself through the drier only to be wrung out emotionless again. At times like these, what if someone outsmarts all the ploys of your brain, gets through its defences and once again strikes at your heart. Would that second time be true love?

There was this girl… she had never known loneliness… not even when she was totally alone. But, she wasn’t alone. She had a lot of friends… friends who liked her and cared for her and who enjoyed her company. She also had a lot of admirers, and there were well-meaning guys who wanted to get past the tall concrete walls with concertina fences she had built around her and to touch her heart… because they probably believed in love. She didn’t. 

She loved to be in her own little world filled with so much wonder that exploring it took up all her time… she didn’t have time for love. In the middle of a crowd, she could flip on an emotional switch and leave the rest of the world behind and cocoon herself in her fantasy realm. It was not much unlike a drug induced high and just as addictive.  At times like these, to the outside world, she appeared melancholic… but in her head she was having a ball.

It so happened that of all the guys who wanted to be included in her world, there was one guy who persevered harder than the rest. He understood her unlike anyone ever before. He saw the gleam in her eyes where everyone else saw a sadness, an aloofness. He alone saw that she was having a hell lot of fun in that head of hers. They soon became friends… though they were like duellists in a fencing match… eyeing and anticipating the other’s move. His concerted efforts finally broke the concertina fence… and slowly but surely they were in love. She wouldn’t have termed it love… but to her he was part of that colourful world which she loved to retreat to. Charming, charismatic, along with being headstrong and argumentative… he was everything she was.

It is nearing the interval of the story. And like all love stories this too has to have a twist, a period of tragedy… and in their life it came with her going away to a foreign land. In the beginning their relationship was like an elastic band… the tendency on both sides was to pull each other back… but a band stretched for long eventually has to break.  Every time it snapped they would re-tie the ends and continue. But, by then the band had lost its integrity… it was just a series of worn-out knots. The alone time she enjoyed started to close in on her… where there was a world of fantasy, there was darkness and zero-visibility.

She decided to let go. No more tying knots in the band. In the battle between her heart and brain, the latter emerged the victor and soon set about changing the rules of the game. New walls came up… stronger than before… the barbwires sharper than earlier… defences that were meant to inflict pain on an intruder.

No sooner had all the construction been completed, there came in to her life a ray of hope… that kept jabbing at the darkness surrounding her. This guy hadn’t even met her. They had been acquainted before online and even then she had a certain respect for the guy. They chatted online… sparring and duelling with words… and she found herself being increasing drawn in by his character. She had no face to put to his words… but his words and soon his voice were like a talisman against her loneliness (which she now really felt.)
By the time, they decided to meet up, she didn’t need a face… she already knew she loved him. He was to her the spring after a cold, long, dark, drawn out winter. Yet she was cautious… too cautious, maybe… she did not want to find ‘true love’ again and see it slip through her fingers. She did not want her best assets to become liabilities… she didn’t want a repeat of how her USP of finding happiness in being alone was turned against her when she fell in love.

And then… they met. There were no extra sparkle to the twinkle of stars… no soft strumming music heard only by their ears nor did the fragrance of fresh love envelop them. They met like old friends who had known each other for ages. His face was new to her… yet, the fact never occurred to her. It wasn’t a stranger she was meeting, but the man she loved. The man she was convinced she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
Her life took on a new and beautiful meaning… she loved every moment she spent with him. She enjoyed their lengthy discussions and absolutely loved their arguments and at times altercations. He was arrogant and regal just as much as he was kind and sensitive… if he was a lion, she was no pussy-cat… her claws were just as sharp and her tongue quite acerbic. And so, on the foundation of pure trust was built her passionate relationship with this amazing guy.

With him none of the traditional methods worked. Their being together was meant to be but as much as he loved her, he feared hurting her and so losing her. Though she would argue endlessly over everything else, she could not argue or convince him that nothing would make her leave. She wished he would realize that she would fight him tooth and nail to stay. There was never a question of getting hurt and leaving. It wasn’t like her to give up on something she so coveted. But, he would not be convinced.

She then decided to take matters in to her own hands… if the traditional way of getting married would not work with him, she knew she had to get what she wanted through other means. And what she wanted was to be with him… forever. 

Her folks had no issues with their relationship… in fact, they looked forward to them getting married. She was amused at the irony… in most love stories, you have to fight your folks because they stand against your relationship… and here she was about to take a decision where she had to fight her folks because they wanted her to marry the man she loved and who loved her.  But their love was too strong for her to back down… she decided that her folks would come around soon enough if they knew she was happy with him… even in a live-in relationship. It was a tough decision for her… to decide to move-in with him… against what her friends, folks and society thought was right. It was also extremely difficult for her to get anyone to be on her side… from where they stood, they couldn’t see why two people so much in love couldn’t just marry and be together and had to resort to a live-in.  But, she had him by her side as she stood facing the world that had turned against her.

Once again, she turned to what once was her way to survive the real world… she sought to be alone with her thoughts. Closing out the rest of the world, she withdrew within. It was just him and her in a small little happy world. She had no one else but him, so whenever there was the tiniest of friction between them… she would be absolutely alone… with even him outside the perimeter of her world.

And soon the girl who once never knew loneliness… had just that for company. Loneliness became her life… The loneliness of true love.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Twirling Thoughts, Drifting Dreams...

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There are these times… usually most unexpected… that my mind is a flood of images, ideas and thoughts.  There is no distinct thread of thought that stands out, but all that is swirling around is one coherent mass. These are the times I have wished for a notebook and pencil to jot them down, because I know that the longer I try to hold on to them, they would just slip away like water from a closed fist. Of course, I have my trusty phones with me… and I should just whip’em out and go crazy typing every little thought in well-organized notes in duly assigned folders. But, you see… there is a little problem… I am too lazy to type on the phone or swipe or whatever fancy method of input is required.  Now, if I could jot down my thoughts in my handwriting with something that feels like a pencil or a pen, the digital format wouldn’t bother me so much… unfortunately I do not own a Note or any of those fancy tablets (gadget freak that I am… I draw the line at 2 personal cell-phones.)

So, what happens to those thoughts that were setting up a spring fair in my head? Well, sadly most of them just pack up and leave… and I end up holding on to fragments like those of a dream that refuses to form completely.

This post is the result of such a session… where I got upstaged by my laziness to grab a notebook and a pencil.

I think I had some pretty nifty solution for the energy crisis – fuel hike – economical ‘Danse Macabre’. I just can’t remember what I had been thinking (conveniently!)
I even had the perfect super-hero outfit for myself… obviously, that too has been blown away… I remember a mask, though… there is always a mask!

The strange part is that I remembered what triggered the upsurge of thoughts… I was on bed, half asleep… slowly floating to consciousness from a lovely dream involving a roadside chai-ki-dukaan on the side of a road in a place that suspiciously resembled the National Geographic images of Rocky Mountains in Colorado… that and some delicious tea in those cutting-chai glass tumblers, the yummy smell of pakoras… the Nawaab playing ‘Annie’s Song’ on the harmonica… and a kiss! I wasn’t too happy about waking and breaking the kiss... but then, fully conscious now, I watched the sun rise (apparently rise… coz I cannot actually see it out my window) and in my mind’s eye it rose in a lovely dusty sky that closely resembled this…

Like  a dawn on an inhabited Mars

The power supply here has conked off… the weekly Friday anti-miracle of the Electricity Devil!
I am sleepy… again…
Lemme see if I can go have some more of that garma-garam chai at the roadside chai-wallah in the Rockies! *wink* *wink*

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Bookish Tragedy

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Among the things on my long list of stuff I hate, at the very top are people who borrow books and do not return them. It is just above people who borrow books and return them damaged.

If I had a license to kill, they would all be 6 feet under by now. That’s how much my blood boils every time someone mistreats a book.  The only other ‘inanimate’ objects which evoke such feelings in me are cars.
I am openly crazy about my books. I could go for days without an hour of sleep if I am reading. And I consume books at quite an astonishing rate (at least, that’s what my friends say).

My ever expanding collection of books is quite decent and I am weird enough to have a visual record of every book in my database. Yes, don’t roll your eyes… I do have a database for my books. A full-fledged MS-Access database.

Coming back to my rant… oh yeah… this IS a rant… and it is about some friends who borrowed books from me. I certainly am using the term ‘friends’ quite loosely here.
I have had more than one occasion where I have generously lent my books to people and have had to regret it. At times, the book never gets returned and at times they come back in such sorry states that I need to euthanize them (the books, I mean)… though you could very well guess who I really want to euthanize in these cases. :D

The classic ‘Gone With The Wind’ by Margaret Mitchell had been with me since my 6th Grade when I was first acquainted with the perils, the heartache and the romance of the American Civil war. I have been smitten by the era and the events ever since. I fell in love with the book and its characters at an impressionable age (and later with the movie).  It was a gift from a family friend who knew that I would treasure a book beyond the most expensive gifts. And I did treasure it and kept it close to my heart. In college, I ignited in a few of my friends the passion to read, or at least borrow a book and consider it a worthwhile way to pass the time.

A friend was so impressed by my tales about ‘Gone With The Wind’ that she decided to borrow the book. All my alarm bells were ringing. But, considering it all for a good cause, I gave it to her… along with a copy of Robert Ludlum’s ‘The Bourne Identity’. My intuitions are never wrong and the alarms weren’t ringing without reason… this ‘friend’ of mine, after she was done with her reading, passed the books on to another common friend (Did I mention this too is one of my pet peeves?… DO NOT pass my books on without my permission!) In spite of me pursuing this other common ‘friend’ to return my book back for over two years… there was no favourable response.

To this day… and we are talking at least a decade after college, I haven’t seen those books again.

I replaced them in my library… Just got myself GOTW in the cover I wanted. But, there would forever be a book shaped void in my heart.

My Latest Stash - The last of 60 books in the last 2 months

I used to borrow books too… it is only now that I can indulge in the luxury of buying every book I want to read. The difference with me borrowing a book was that when I returned the book, it would inevitably be in a better state than when I borrowed it. Loose pages would be stuck or even stitched back, broken spines would be repaired, crumbling edges of the covers would be taped. I generally start on a restoration project before I read the book.

I do have a sincere request to all those in the habit of borrowing books to read from their friends, from libraries and book-lenders. The pages of the books, the book as an object may not be as indestructible as what is written in them… but, an unspoilt book would help pass on what’s inside to a lot more people if it remains in one-piece, without its pages being dog-eared, without its spine being broken by being left around face down, without coffee & other beverages being spilt on the pages, without oily fingers making the pages translucent… and definitely without being used as an insect / spider smasher.

Respect books. As it is, in today’s age, they are soon being replaced by electronic equivalents and for someone like me a whole library at my fingertips in my phone or tablet would not match up to that single book with crisp pages that smell of printing ink and wood-pulp… a book that can be felt in my hands and that can transport me to a world which is all of its own… beautiful, romantic, sly, dangerous, happy, desperate, tragic.

This post is dedicated to all the books in my little library and to all those book lovers who take efforts to preserve their treasures.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Jumble In The Head


My blog feels a little neglected! *pouts*

Well… this blog, at least. I have been going pretty strong on my other blog… My World In Three Dimensions. (Hah! I managed to sneak a link in here for my design blog). Tee hee hee!!!

It’s been quite some time that I have looked at my flaws and cracks… it has become a rarity indeed. I need to pull up my socks. Naah… too hot here… barefoot would do, I think. Hmmm… in any case I need to restart the thinking process… kickstart the slumbering blogger in me… and devote a bit of time to other trivial pursuits.

Since returning to India I find that I have a whirl of thoughts in my head (‘creative ideas’ is what I would like to call it… mom just calls'em crazy)… and I even found some interests I haven’t had earlier… for example, a craving to bake cupcakes! Yeah, I do believe everything is better with a cupcake. Or a muffin! Mmmmmmmm.

See... they made this post better. Much better!

Do stop drooling now!


And no... I did not make these!

Er… moving on. I hadn’t expected my transition from Kuwait to India to be smooth. And it hasn’t been.  Ironically, when I was back in Kuwait I used to get all suited and armoured and ready to defend my country’s honour if someone as much as mispronounced the name… now that I am back here, I really don’t see what I am defending. To be honest, my return has been kind of a let-down for me.

One of the reasons could be that I am no longer in that safe haven, the cosy paradise where I spent my years of growing up… I see Bombay through a wholly different set of eyes from the ones that peeped through the heavy green foliage of Anushaktinagar. It is not a picture I like.

I need a title for this post. I am not gonna call it ‘…’

A little jumbled up in my head… am I? Come on! It happens to the best of us. I was watching the Iron Man series right now… not that it has anything to do with this. By the way, I loved The Avengers. :D

I love animation and fantasy. There’s this person who thinks I am a cartoon! Well, if I were a cartoon, which one would I be? What would I look like? Would I have super-powers? More importantly… would I have a mask and/or a cape… or would I be wearing a body suit cut-away at all the ‘right’ places?

Oooh! I am gonna work on that… a super-hero costume for myself! *Let’s hope this bit of crazy does not last long.*

I want to take up some adventure sport… just for the heck of it. I am not at my fittest… quite the opposite. And I think I want a tattoo… I am going to get an earful for the supposed ‘vandalism’ of my body… and no, not from my parents!

Looks like it is going to be a long night! Technically, it is summer here; the nights ought to be shorter. Aah… that could explain why the sun is already throwing shadows at me by the time I prepare to go to bed!

I should start working on my next model. Not ‘my next version’… although, there’s a thought… but my next 3D model of some wacky interior design idea that floats in to my head while am supposed to be busy preparing for the CISA exam next month (the book of which, by the way, I haven’t yet opened.)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

L o r d R a j: There's A Hole In The World Like A Great Black Pit...

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Nice to have someone mirror your thoughts...

L o r d R a j: There's A Hole In The World Like A Great Black Pit...: I have probably posted this earlier. Just felt like doing it again: I had him! His throat was bare beneath my hand. No, I had h...

Monday, May 07, 2012

My Other Blog... It's Got Design!

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Let me get it straight away that this is an attempt at self-promotion. 

Now that I have gotten all such scruples out of my way, I can get on with the job.

Sometime back (in 2007) I came across the software known as Sketchup (which until now is owned by Google but soon would be heading to Trimble). It is a 3D modeling software, simple and delightful to use. I have always been everybody's (in my family) go-to girl whenever they wanted a lay-out of a new house or someone to knock on for ideas to design or renovate their houses. I have always done this with AutoCAD, a software that attaches to you early on if you are an engineer. Amazing as it was, the staid black-screen of then AutoCAD bored me and I easily switched to the real-time 3D of Sketchup.

I started with simple house designs... trying to incorporate one wacky design element in to each plan at a time. Most of them were plans for a proposed home for my folks in Kerala, India.

While looking for ways to get my models to be more presentable and eye-catching (Sketchup couldn't provide realistic models without a plugin) I came across SU Podium... it is an absolutely easy to use plugin for Sketchup.
These two software helped me a lot in my lazy quest to do simple design work without being an expert 3D artist or even a competent 3D modeler. I found I had a lot of spare time in my hands in those early years before I moved to Kuwait and I put them to some 'creative' use. I have ever since been addicted to creating both architectural and interior design. 

I have worked on free-lance projects as well (and earned a bit from the hours I put in)... so, this work has been satisfying in more ways than one.

I have this other design blog 'My World In Three Dimensions' which is where I display my designs and ideas. 
These are the first steps to what I hope is a satisfying (and lucrative) hobby which I might even consider as a career option in the near future. Fingers crossed. :)

Here is a sample of one of my earliest designs:

Color Quartet Lounge

Do visit my design blog and leave your comments on the designs there... that should help me improve or even get a new spin on ideas.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Answers to the Capsule Puzzle

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A few days back I had put up a puzzle... based on an artwork by Grégoire Guillemin. And I had promised I would put up the answers... So, here they are.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A Time To Chillum!

A 3D model of a chillum (hookah) I made using Sketchup as tribute to those lovely moments

Here’s remembering the wonderful time I spent with Nawaab saheb at the sheesha-joint in Salmiya, Kuwait.  Oh… those heady days of courtship (which, by the way, still continue over the phone) were moments we both looked forward to with a heartfelt earnestness.

Also, they were mostly the only times we met… once a week… times spent together in a lovely restaurant with hardly anyone else around to bother us. The seating for three next to the huge plate glass windows overlooking the parking lot (to keep an eye on the Denali)… with two seats occupied by us and the third by my purse, was the perfect place for a long undisturbed tête-à-tête. The place was perfect… we had a good view of anyone who came in to the first floor by the lift and the staircase and at the same time anyone invited to join us would spot us just as easily the moment they came in. Also, there was a spare table and chairs available for the times when friends were made privy to some of our meet-ups.

On Saturday afternoons, when we usually met, the place was devoid of the noisy crowd that would generally gather there in the evenings.  We would sit there for hours chatting up each other… talking of anecdotal titbits of our lives, arguing about ideological differences, if any… or just discussing all matters from the mundane to the metaphysical! All this would be accompanied with the most delicious plate of Spicy Potato and soft khuboos  (an Arabic bread).  It was also here that I had my first experience of smoking a sheesha / chillum… the taste wasn’t bad and the fruity fragrance of lemon and mint was quite a thrill. Though, it did make me light headed soon.

What actually made the experience worthy of being cherished forever was of course, the stimulating company of Nawaab saheb… the light-hearted banter, the at times serious introspection on more important issues, the naughty flirting over drinks, the exchange of updates about the week gone by… Yes, those were heady days indeed!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Here's A Little Game...

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Here is this neat piece of art called Famous Capsules by Grégoire Guillemin

The game is to guess as many characters and / or shoes, movies, games or whatever form of entertainment they belong to.

I could answer only about 50 of them off the top of my head... and I would need to think and look closely at the images to answer the rest. I would be trying out for the answers... meanwhile so can you. :)

The answers will be posted when I manage to find all of them... obviously!

Easter Egg

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I know... it is well past Easter indeed....
But my blog was off for a while (the alien attack mentioned in the previous post)... Yes, now the aliens have given my stuff back to me... almost.

This post is to breathe new life in to my blog... and what better to post than an Easter egg (symbolic of new life, spring... blah.. blah)

Here's an egg I painted while I was having my usual bout of insomnia... took me around 20 minutes from start to finish. I was actually hungry... and was going in for an after midnight-snack in the form of a sunny side-up... but then I figured it was already the morning (really early morning) of Easter... so the egg ended up all splattered in color before it ended up in the pan!

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