Holidays absolutely scramble my brains. I think I’m one of those people who only function well on deadlines. All my creative output also springs from deadlines — bits of poetry, fiction, drawings just when I’m aware that I shouldn’t. Last evening I finally reached the end of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, two days after I should’ve finished reading it for the exam, but I try to believe exams are not the only reason to read books (unless they are unpleasant books, of course). I’m not sure if ‘like’ is the word I should associate with Murakami’s writing — Norwegian Wood had given me a strong and lasting depression, it’s one of the books I’m afraid to re-read — but maybe it won’t be incorrect to say I like his vision and his impact. I didn’t start reading Hard-Boiled Wonderland till the end of the first two exams but it took me in quick, its premise was interesting although I think the effect dissolves towards the end. You could tell how it was a pre-Norwegian Wood novel. Even After Dark (the only other Murakami I’ve read) is more precise and sure-footed about its pressure points, despite its much smaller scale.

I need to learn how to sharpen my kitchen knives because all of them are blunt. Just now I had to slice a lemon with the meat cleaver; the small vegetable knife would just not sink through the rind.

Of the things I’m looking forward to this year, these are at the top of the list:

  • River of Smoke, which I find a greatly unmemorable name compared to Sea of Poppies, but I can’t wait for the book. Even though I do agree with the point P made on her blog about the second book of trilogies usually being a drag. This was also the first book I pre-ordered in my life (which, of course, has more to do with the huge discount they’re offering at Flipkart).
  • The final Harry Potter movie.
  • Snuff.
  • The Tintin movie.

That is a vaguely chronological list although about these things, who can tell. That’s also only a list of upcoming things; there are existing things  that I want to catch up on like novels by Kundera and Umberto Eco and all the Woody Allen films I have not seen. I want someone to give me a collection of Pixar shorts. I want to sit at the rooftop at B&B with a chilled beer and watch a diffused gray sunset over this stupid city that does not let me go away. I am very excited about this book called Insects Are Just Like You and Me Except Some of Them Have Wings which arrived a couple of days ago (Flipkart again, thank god for Flipkart), but I will leave this for another post because I have such a lot to say about it. Also, just thought I’d mention that I do not at all feel impressed by the song called ‘Bhaag D. K. Bose’ that seems all the rage these days. Edgy lyrics alright but the tune just refuses to catch. I wonder if this will change.

I want to make pasta and chicken and a chocolate cake with walnuts in it but god, it’s so hot. The kitchen feels like a slice of hell all the time since the sun is up. I can’t bear to swallow my morning tea after 8 AM so on days I wake up late, there is no tea and I feel sluggish and can muster up enthusiasm for nothing except stay in bed and read. Or watch music videos on Youtube when the internet connection feels benevolent enough.

It’s a Sunday morning and my mother is wandering around the house talking incessantly on the phone. Chhoto Pishi, Mejo Jetthu, Chhoto Mami, so on and so forth. I’m listening to the constant chatter over the whirring of the washing machine and the splurts and hisses from the kitchen and vaguely wondering how she has so much to say, because I can find nothing to say to most of my relatives, even the ones closer to my age like Cousin A and Cousin L, who keep up this one-sided effort to stay in touch. Cousin R is getting divorced and I should maybe phone him but I always forget. I’m listening but I’m not really tuning in; later Ma will tell me snatches of these conversations and I will absentmindedly nod, repeating all the time in my head, whoa really. (Whoa really nothing. Just whoa, really.)

It took me about three hours to write this blog post because I keep getting distracted and going away. I have a few more things to say but at the moment I can’t compose them into coherent lines. There’s so much else to do. Which one is your main task and which one’s the distraction? You wonder, you forget, this flotsam-like nowhereness is your life. Perhaps.


Chocolate cake: Achieved (yet again).
Chocolate icing on cake: Achieved (for the first time).
Neatness: Greatly elusive. :|

If this is finished in two weeks and everyone around isn’t already sick of overdosing on cake, next on is a large batch of cupcakes for Christmas.

This is a post title.

Yesterday Baba made narkol diye ilish machh (Borishaali, apparently) for dinner. I love when Baba cooks and doesn’t forget that I cannot eat jhaal, so the red chilli powder (or ground pepper, or slivers of chopped green chilli and variant thereof) begs to go easy on, despite the compromise of culinary integrity incurred therefore (a great sin, as far as my father is concerned).

It made me smile the way Baba prowled happily around the dining table radiating a triumphant halo while we ate and occasionally nudging Ma: ‘Borishaali, hNu hNu baba, Borishaali, bujhechho?’ The recipe was doubtlessly off a book or magazine, but it reminded me of a long time ago when my parents just couldn’t come to an agreement about whether the day-to-day food at home should be cooked the epaar Bangla way or the opaar Bangla way. I grew up around steadily lengthening lists of “weird things your Baba’s people eat” and “weird things your Ma’s people eat”, most of the items on which I don’t even recall because what I was demanding all that time was pizza. I half-suspect there’s a secret mutual list of “weird things the children eat”, topped off with the incomprehensible mantra that either cheese or chocolate makes everything better.

Hmm. Baba is very devious, in subtle ways I always failed to observe when I was younger. (He’s also energetic and explosive, and energetic and explosive people turn me into a completely puzzled neurovore). I think Baba doesn’t want me to go away to Dilli, though verbally he is being very encouraging, nearly runs off to buy flight tickets. I think I will let him cook a few more nonchalant dinners, Borishaali or otherwise, as long as he doesn’t find out that I’ve declined already.