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.

Day 16: A Song That You Used To Love But Now Hate

Trawling across Youtube in search of an appropriate song for this post, I discovered how many of the songs that I loved as a child/teenager are songs I do not hate, though I’m definitely less crazy about them. Songs I haven’t heard in years filled me with complete happiness. Even the Britney Spears songs I used to like still sound quite alright. (There are other songs by her that I furiously dislike, but then I had never liked them in the first place.) I’ve grown out of metal/goth/emo music completely as well, but I still stand by most of the songs that I really liked.
So this is a bit of a cheat.

I think it was S (yet another S, what to do?) in UG1 who ruined Linkin Park forever for me with his masturbation-and-impotence interpretations.  It had been a three-four years already since I had stopped plugging them 24/7, and it was undeniable that the constant whining had begun to get on my (ageing) nerves, but I have never listened to Linkin Park with a clean conscience again.

Day 15: A Song That Describes You

Well, I wish I was that cool. This is a wish-post, for a song that describes me more accurately would probably be something emo and embarrassing. (And I haven’t given it a thought, not being the best fond of self-description.)

But I don’t think I’ve related more closely to any single line in music than the one in the refrain of this song. It had been my signature at several forums for a very long time. And I don’t think I could’ve ever filled a song challenge without including this song at some point. It just wouldn’t have been fair.

Day 14: A Song That No One Would Expect You To Love

I sometimes feel dismal about the Hindi songs I must put up for this challenge. There are songs I like more but cannot find a category in this list to fit into. I quite enjoy the song I’m going to post right now, even though it probably won’t feature among my top ten favourite songs from Bollywood. The point of this category is to post a song that no one would expect me to love, right?

So yeah, the main love song from a wholesome, family-watching-type Bollywood film is usually not my cup of tea. (The song that features in the first trailer, you know what I mean.) The Udit Narayan-Sonu Nigam (or alternately Alka Yagnik et al) school of melodious love-song voice leaves me out cold. I like the second or third song from the soundtrack of a regular Bollywood film, if at all. I like a well-written item number — all the good poetry and good singing these days can be found in item numbers. Unfortunately enough, I really like the main love song from this film that’s absolutely rubbish otherwise. Its words are stuck in my head. The singing (guess what? Udit Narayan!) and arrangement are unremarkable, but the faint touch of the transcendental in the lyrics absolutely does me in.