Monday, October 31, 2011


And all the roads that lead you there are winding...

And apart from that, nothing about the long commute to the University resembles a "wonderwall".- whatever that is. Speaking of, what exactly is a wonderwall?

Yahoo! Answers says, "The concept of the Wonderwall is based on a '60s film called Wonderwall- from Psychedelia to Surrealism, starring Jane Birkin. She lives next door to a man who becomes fascinated with her, so he slowly makes holes in his wall so he can watch her through it". 

.... ...

Wasn't Jane Birkin that girl who sang that embarrassingly sexy song?

Aaaanyway, the road that leads us to the University is long and narrow and winding, muddy when wet, dusty when not, riddled with potholes and under the imminent threat of landslides during the monsoon season. Before, at least, when some VIP would come to visit, the Department of Public Works did some patch repair work, which barely lasted as long as the VIP's visit. Now that there's a helipad in the University grounds, any visiting dignitary is ferried via 'copter, so the roads are neglected.

And this is the road I have to traverse at least twice a week. It's no wonder that by the time I reach home, I'm usually a wreck.

But then again..

It takes almost an hour to reach the University, so the moment I plonk down on my seat, I put on my earphones and then there's nothing but music and the muted sounds of vehicles honking and people talking. Yes, Mr. Whoever- you- are sitting next to me, the earphones indicate that I do not wish to indulge in conversation to while away the time. 

Yes, somehow with the likes of Radiohead or Nirvana or John Mayer respectively mumbling, whining and lamenting in your ear, things just get so much better. The University bus drivers own the Univ roads, so they speed through hairpin turns and potholes, but music just makes that rough ride so much more fun. With dust coming in from the open windows and the bus practically jumping over those potholes, you do feel like you're in a continuum filled with lithiumic fake plastic trees.  Whatever that means, again.

Learning to fly- 4: 25 minutes- Khatla to Temple.. Creep- 3:55- halfway to Vaivakawn.. Slow dancing in a burning room- 4:01..Chhangurkawn- In Bloom- 4:14- Zawlnuam.... by which time the music just drifts into one another and you feel your eyelids drooping as the bus gains even more speed. Then at the point where your'e about to fall asleep, you get thrown a few metres into the air as the bus wheels over a pothole. Then suddenly Corey Taylor croons menacingly about "the unattainable, the myth that he has to believe in" etc. And the cycle repeats itself untill you find yourself jolted awake to Joshua Radin singing about a Lisa Loeb- glassed girl whose hair is always up in a bun....

And you don't want the ride to end.

If there is anything that is my Wonderwall, then it has to be music- the holes that allow me my moments of fascination despite the walls that would threaten to deprive me of them.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Oktober so far

Yesterday, October 13th, after almost a month of dizziness and extreme fatigue all the time, I went for a medical check-up where I found out I have sinusitis, a mild heart problem and low Blood Pressure. I was also prescribed glasses. There was a moment where, when the technician glanced at my ECG reading and exclaimed, "Oooooh", and ushered me to the doctor's room without saying anything more, that I found myself drafting my own eulogy. R.L.Stevenson's "Requiem 18" came to mind, about peacefully embracing death, as also Yeats' "When you are old and gray", which ironically, is about growing old. I then found out that my heart problem wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, though the doc told me that if I do not quit smoking ASAP, well... what idiot wouldn't choose life over death, eh? Specially someone who loves life as much as I do.

Last Sunday, October 9th, we had a guest for dinner. He had lost his wife this year and the once robust, jocular man I knew had become this silent, contemplative old man who cocks his ears as if listening for something. During dinner, he smiled wistfully while refusing the pork dish, and said, "She would sometimes hide a little bit of meat in my plate; it was our private joke- rebelling against our strict kids". My mom drew him out, and he revealed how lost and puzzled sometimes he felt at home, where her continual chatter used to fill the house. He said he rarely talks about how he misses her, because she had been the one he talked to, and with her gone, he no longer knows what to say to people. A church elder, he quips, "I grow better at sermonizing, but I no longer know how to talk".

October 8th, ten years ago, was also when my boyfriend lost his mom. This year, however, instead of visiting her grave as he usually does, he spent the day and the evening holding my gown, picking leeches off me and running with me on unpopulated roads at Hmuifang Tlang where we were taking pictures for Jamie and Henry's wedding album. When we got tired, we lay right down on the road, John Mayer playing in the background. We've regained that thing once again, where words are redundant and there's nothing more fulfilling than the other person's mere presence. His parents remain unforgotten, but we the living, reveled under the October moon, as they too must've done once upon a time.

 October 6th, my best friend Jamie got married and I was her bridesmaid. Together, Jamie and I have always been a little cocky, so during the wedding ceremony, we both pretended to be shy, because brides are supposed to look shy, even when they are so not. At the reception too, while her parents were giving a speech, she dabbed her dry eyes with a handkerchief, while I looked sadly on, because brides are supposed to get a little teary-eyed at moments like those.

'Course it caught up with us later on. Jamie's always been daddy's girl, and her dad is this awesome person. Everyone knew how he grieved at the thought of his little girl going away to become someone's wife, but he put on a game face, even smiling broadly as he told Jamie goodbye. That made Jamie cry, and though her new husband Henry told me to comfort her, it was all I could do to not bawl out loud. It's hard, I guess, to see someone being brave enough to let go of someone they love, and to do that with a smile, too, so that the loved one won't feel bad. That takes a special kind of courage.

October remains my favourite month. That last magical month before the chill of winter sets in.
"All things on earth point home in old October, sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken"- Thomas Wolfe

N.B: Was a little confused as to what vid to post this time. Initially posted "Deam a little dream" by Beautiful South. Then I felt this Ben E. King cover of "Stand By Me" was a little more apt- conveys hope amidst life's many heartaches. Plus River Pheonix was one heckuva goodlooking kid :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"The pursuit of Happyness"

"To be contented- that's for the cows"- Coco Chanel.
Well, Miz Coco, Im being quite the cow right now. 

the ultimate multi-color hazed dream, hoohoo
To be fair, I'm not living the life I imagined I'd be having when I was younger. By now I was supposed to have landed a high paying job, completed my doctoral thesis- twice, drove a mean-looking jeep, trekked all over India, attended a live Pink Floyd concert, drunk beer at an Irish pub in Ireland, be mauled in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, amassed a huge library, had either bungee jumped/ para sailed/ salsa'd on table tops, all with a husband and a fat baby in tow. And though I've done none of those, I find myself quite content. 

A friend screwed my thoughts up pretty badly the other day when she asked if I was really content or if I was actually more resigned to the blahness of my life, whether I had become too lazy or bogged down by the mundaneness of life that Ive stopped trying. I spent my pre-falling asleep moments thinking hard- am I really happy or have I been brainwashed into liking my life? Do I even like my life or have I lost the heart and the guts to try for more?

Am I really a cow? Content to graze and chew my cud, never venturing beyond my pasture, uncaring that there are greener ones? Or am I truly happy? Happiness, some say, is not the freedom from want, but in wanting what you have. And Im starting to think that sentence is just a whole lot of BS.

An avid fan of pseudo-psychoanalysis, I began to think that I had been placebo-ed into contentment, psychologically conditioned to accept what I have since I do not have the freedom/ gumption/ energy to seek anything more- rather like a caged bird that grows to love its cage. If Im truly happy, would I even need to ask if I truly am happy?

I'm starting to hate that friend. For all the unadventurousness of my life, I get up every morning thinking something good's going to happen, I laugh when the weather's particularly good, I sing in the shower, I boogie while I get dressed. And I sleep peacefully at night. 

Now I find myself shying away from thinking too deeply about the H or the C words. 

So this is what I ended up thinking about happiness- a false state of being induced by novocaine-ish stimuli, escapism from helplessness through a whirling dervish of emotions. 
I want a fix of what's in this needle. Sighhhhh... I hate my friend :(