Thursday, December 27, 2007

my memory. my loss.

it's ironical that i wrote what i wrote yesterday because today is a day i must not forget. and i did. i forgot my dad's 5th death anniversary.

my memory: truly a thing of the past

my earliest memory is that of my first birthday. a distinguished friend of my parents gave me a rather large (and not just by a one year old’s standards) box of sweets. i don’t remember if i actually took it, but vividly remember the shape of the box. it was round, had an indented lid and it was light coloured.

i remember the time when i was four and the neighbour’s dog bit me. i remember eating bougainvillea petals off the street in ahmedabad. i remember mum buying nail polish at a store. i remember the drive back. i remember having an argument with our man servant. and the argument verbatim in my broken hindi. it was indignation on being snitched about to mum, and about how he had no right to interfere in my 4-year-old individual pursuits. i remember teaching my younger sister (3 years old then) to somersault on the cold, hard floor and gifting her with the scar on her forehead she bears till today. i remember my 4th birthday, when my elder sister dressed me up with silver eye shadow. i remember walking out of the bedroom into a room full of guests self-consciously like a bride. i remember wondering how one arrived at a date for a birthday. i remember asking my mum the reason for living the way we did. eating and sleeping alternately and to what end we did those deeds. and where it would all end. i remember my younger sister instigating us to use mum’s makeup (snow, my mum called it). and mum’s horrified look when she pulled us from behind the curtains painted in the stuff.

i remember crank calling strange people along with my sis (by now you must know that she was my partner in crime. or the other way round.) from the heavy telephone and speaking to them in our babyish gujrati. i remember drinking a glass of brandy that my dad generously offered me and dancing for an hour afterwards, much to my parents’ amusement. i remember the money my dad gave me for my splendid drunken performance. i remember my sister standing on a sofa claiming she was taller than i (and back then, i was taller than her). and i, trying to find some taller surface to stand on to outheight her. i was also simple and gullible back then.

i remember dancing gharbha on the streets during navratri nights. i remember my older friend from the opposite house trying to teach us hooligans ‘good manners’. i remember the ice cream another neighbour’s mum made. and how she waited for us to leave so her daughters wouldn’t have to share them with us. i remember the studio picture we took with our friends. i remember the identical maxis that my mum would get stitched for the both of us. i remember the world atlas being used to play ‘where is uruguay?’ ‘where is uganda?’, you get the picture. i remember flipping through my father’s highly prized collection of books to look at pictures. i remember underlining words randomly in my dad’s expensive books because i had seen him do that for a select few words.

but i don’t remember that i kept the milk to boil an hour back. not until i smell the burning vessel and milk. i don’t remember that i have to pick up diapers ‘cause my son’s running through them at the speed of light. i don’t remember to go sign the agreement for the expensive apartment we have bought. i don’t remember to share that information with my mother. i don’t remember to give the car for service. not until i find the need to use all my 49 kgs to press the accelerator. i don’t remember to wish a close friend on her birthday. i don’t remember that my husband went to work with a headache. i forget he’s got a back problem when i ask him lift the heavy grocery bag. or my increasingly heavy son for that matter.i don’t remember the name of a play i acted in.

it's possible that my failing memory is due to the fact that i’m growing older. it’s possible that my brain has decided that the supposedly important events in my life are not worth remembering. or that i am too self-centred and 'in the present' to recall the past. my brain shuts down when it comes to remembering the horrible things that i have done. or the unpleasant facts of life. i just can’t remember nasty incidents that happened to me in the recent past. but i do tend to remember some good times and brood over the fact that they don’t happen to me anymore. i’m living a parallel life inside my head. that’s more than a little removed from the reality around me. i'm just a little bit lost in space and time. i'm losing time, and losing space even faster (and not just around the waist). to a point where all the space i have is inside my head. and time has moved on at such a speed that the last few years are but a blur and feel like they happened to someone else. and to a large extent, they did happen to someone else. so the fact that i remember only things from my childhood only means that i am going back to being who i was when i was a child and am conveniently losing memory of the time when i wasn't me.

mum is going to love this theory.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

exorcism in progress...

i’m just trying to look like i’m doing something sitting at work late night, while my art director is slogging it out right next to me. i’m hoping she can hear frantic typing of the keyboard and think that i’m writing some kickass copy for an accessory leaflet. and now that i have started typing, i suppose it makes sense for me to write about what the hell i’m doing here.

in advertising i mean. i hope you can see my eyes boring into the floor with shame while i say this. i’m almost waiting for the hand of god or someone like that to hold my hand and say, ‘it’s ok. people make mistakes. it takes all kinds to make the world. it’s a dirty job, i know. but someone needs to do it. when your turn comes in hell, i shall put in a good word, so you don’t burn for too long. just long enough to scald you bone deep and remind you till eternity the profession that you so passionately got into.’ ok, the last bit is not making me feel good. and i don’t even know how much truth is there in it. the passion bit i mean. true enough, that’s what made me jump headlong into advertising. also the fact that it seemed like the easiest thing to do. but i don’t know where the passion is anymore. and it’s not anywhere else let me assure you. to be true, the work still hasn’t become a chore. i still give it my best shot. but i’m not that kicked about burning the midnight oil shooting some strange beggar on the road to win an award that no one ever will remember a few months hence. but even that would be better than what i’m doing right now. trying to make leaflet copy out of some technical copy. not even original writing, mind you. now will you feel passion for that? so why is it that i’m doing this rather than watch my one year old play the most charming antics in the world?

the money? yeah, so the bucks have been trickling in. but not enough to match my increasingly expensive lifestyle. and we all know that the rate of inflow is always the same as the rate of outflow. and yeah, i could think of 10 better ways to make money at this point, when i’m almost brain dead. and selling my body isn’t one of them.

the awards? it would be wrong to say i haven’t seen them. but it would be even more wrong to say i have seen them. because hardly anyone ever knows or cares about the ones that i have won. to be honest, i didn’t know about them for a long time myself.
it feels petty to even hanker after them at this point. when i have started believing that the profession itself is unethical. yeah, it took me more than years to figure that one out. and coming from someone with so few ethics, that is saying something.

after thinking over it for about 2 and half seconds, i have come to the conclusion that i am staying put for only one reason. inertia. i have no bone in my body that is self-motivated to go and do something useful. sure i think about it a lot. even talk about it. even though it is to myself. but never, i mean never, have i done anything useful to earn money. sure i have done many things useful, but they never made me any money. and i know that it’s not impossible to do. we all know people who believe in what they’re doing and make a difference and manage to make a living out of it. it may be possible that i can do it some day as well. but not today. not without somebody behind me to shove me into that sea of goodness.

also because there’s something in me that doesn’t want to give up on the big dreams of making it big in the big, bad world of advertising. there. i have said it. there’s something in me that doesn’t die. it’s not hope that some day talent will win. it’s not even hope that some day talent will knock at my door and say ‘i am yours’. it’s the inherent badness that makes people like me chug on for years on depraved years in the profession. it’s taking me time to exorcise the badness that’s deeply entrenched in my system. and then i shall be ready for that dive into the unknown puritan sea.

here's to shamboy!

this post is a long due tribute to the person who initiated my blogging career (one that never really took off, i must add). i'm going to start by vowing to seriously start blogging regularly. and i don't mean with the regularity with which we meet up. i know you probably keep dropping in to my page to see if i have updated my blog, and more importantly my thoughts. let me assure you, my thoughts are always in motion(backward motion sometimes, but still in motion). it may even be possible that you have stopped looking into my page giving up on me. so i'm gonna make sure i email you this post and con you into more page visits for the next few years.

a tribute is probably not a good time to tell you this, but i must also confess that i don't drop into your page as often as i used to. (i miss shampoo factor though). another repercussion of my rather busied domestic life but more due to my lazy writing life. i also don’t write much at work if that makes you feel any better.

this is probably a good time to talk about how life has changed since the time i started blogging. i got married, then moved like 4 jobs, moved to another city, had a baby. you found a girlfriend, broke up, got your sis married off like a good mallu boy, found another girlfriend (about whom of course i had no clue for a long time), got married, moved to another city (thankfully mine, though i don’t know how that’s affected both our lives), moved jobs, became a globe trotter. and of course, in all this time, i have posted maybe 10 times? i know it’s nothing to be proud of. but then i just finished listing all the things i am proud of.

so here’s to you, shami, and a friendship that has lasted 7 long years, thanks to the internet. there’s little chance that that will change. though my blogging pattern certainly will. and that’s a promise.