Homecoming

Today, my hometown is my home.

Look, someone once told me that the most sublime experience with travelling is the arrival:

A subtle experience where every familiar nook and corner is seen in a new light.

So every road this Lakhnavi autowallah takes me through is as familiar to me as the back of my hand yet these roads seem inexplicably new. I can see certain aspects of the streets that I would usually gloss over.

Today, my hometown is my home

And homecoming, a delight!

I Notice an abundance of imitation arches in people’s homes in the city that I love: the quintessential Tehzeeb ka shehar. I notice the grin of the Autowallah as he pushes the gears on his Lambo. I notice construction barricades proclaiming (in proud letters) the words ‘Lucknow Metro’.

They say it’s one of the happiest cities in India. 

Today, It is, it really is. Because, gaur farmaiye:

There were cities like Delhi, where I tried to get lost

Then there were cities like Leh, where I tried to find myself.

These days my hometown is both;

and neither.

Today it seems to fit me like the work of a diligent (Lakhnavi) darzee.

Today, my hometown is my home.

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An Ode to Adobe

My frustration with photoshop is unfounded

My concerns are not well rounded

I’ve got to be more grounded!

 

So for instance:

Isn’t a pen better, more precise?

Than the pen tool,

all swanky and nice?

But they say the pen tool is mightier than the sword tool.

What a fool.

I’ve been

The pen tool, is better.

More precise than a pen.

You see vectors are mathematical constructs then, an abstraction

while ink blots are human, an attraction.

What a fool

I’ve been

To be allured by a fountain pen’s form

When anchor points are the norm.

 

 

 

 

He’s Rushing

At the speed of light

He rushes.

Lest he be crushed

He’s rushing.

In the second person

In every other person

I’m rushing

I rush.

At the speed of light

Lest I be crushed.

WordPress loves Me.

Are you logged in on wordpress?

Good.

See that ‘Write’ button up there?

It keeps us wordpeople sane, doesn’t it?

It keeps my friend Aakansha sane.

This is a humble shoutout to her.

 

Yours (my make believe readership) always,

Bipolar Bear.

 

Realizations over a Ladakhi Dawn

Think of it this way, will you?

Think of it this way: At the fringes of civilisation lie revelations.

While in the plains, among those lazily meandering river- basins, we seem to have lost a perspective.

What can one do? You see, there the skyline there is always bordered by inglorious construction.

What can one do? Perhaps it happens only when one sees land turning upon itself, folding every which way; flaunting it’s ribs, it’s bare bones; a skeleton never softened by epithelial vegetation:

Perhaps it’s only then that one realises that we live under delusions of grandeur. The simple fact that:

Even on this pale blue dot that is the earth, even on this speck of a planet; where we live; inside air conditioned pockets teeming with lifestyles, lies and lofty ideals:

Air conditioned homes, air conditioned cars, air conditioned cafes and air conditioned bars

It’s almost as if; our chimney stacks, our data packs, our plastic bags; our guns are aimed at all things bright and beautiful: The Grassland with Wildflowers, A Foaming River, an Azure lake, a Lively Pond and a Somber Glacier; A Glacier, the brightest and prettiest.

The first in the line of fire as it quietly recedes like the hairline of a forty year old.

Never complaining, only cracking into a gushing rivulet as if imitating what I imagine the death throes of a buddhist monk would be.

Everything, everything: dies for our greed.

Enough with the E.V.S. lesson.

Enough, enough with the E.V.S. lesson because in the here and now, every ‘Dying Thing’ is Ethereal. Maybe we’re only killing ourselves (Some thought! Oddly comforting?)

Enough, The sun is going to set between two ranges in less than an hour:

And the shadows, still pretty crisp, are slowly elongating.

Either way, the stark fold of the mountain in front quietly descends into a shade that seems to be bent on consuming everything.

Either way, a slight chill descends towards the edge of the crag where I sit.

 

Soon, It’s going to be a cold night.

 

Yours,

Bipolar Bear
(Not to be confused with polar bear)

 

A Spider’s Muse

I asked a spider when

will she tell me a story then

where she speak for her brethren

 

A good weaver such as she

must surely charge a fee

To spin yarns

whilst a bug she wraps and darns

 

Because a spider’s muse is a bug trapped

and gently in her web wrapped

 

“I don’t” she said, charge a fee

Also, nodding her pincer head

she said, “my services are completely free”

 

“A stay at my cobweb too is free

lie next to me

and you will see

How I’ll devour you with glee

while telling you a story or three”

 

 

 

 

Jigmet Motup, Class Three Bee

Jigmet Motup, a member of the much coveted clan called Class three bee and a Ladakhi superkid talks to Yash Srivastava, a guy who has no class. (Puntended)

“Haddh hai. Not more than ten trees in the entirety of Ladakh” I complained to a friend. The eerie landscape of Ladakh was getting to me; something that is bound to happen to a humble landlubber on his eighth day among the esoteric mountains of  Ladakh.

“I can see more than ten outside, look! 1,2,3,…24!”

Jigmet Motup, class three bee: perennially positive.

Jigmet Motup (class three bee) was right of course. His counting? Impeccably accurate. There were precisely twenty six trees sitting at the edge of the tiny valley, a plantation of sorts. The tiny transit town of Upshi fits snugly at the bottom of this valley; an egg in a nest.

Conversations with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup #1 The one with the trees


Jigmet Motup, age 8, class three bee, loves a freebie, the ones that bag of crisps companies put in bag of crisps. 

“Look what I’ve got!”

“what?”

“A ghost, look!”

Jigmet Motop wriggles his thumb at me menacingly.

“It’ll never come off my finger” He whispers conspiratorially “It’s a ghost!”

Jigmet Motop, age 8, class three bee but going to fourth bee, on the supernatural significance of lazily mass-produced rubber thumb puppets

Conversation with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup #2 The one with the thumb puppet


Jigmet Motup, age 8, class three bee (soon to be Jigmet Motup, age 9, class four bee) is the sole inheritor of his parent’s homestay at Upshi, where yours truly stayed for a day.  

“Want to watch a movie?”

I’m sitting on a mattress. The mattress is lying on a floor, The floor lies over a roof, the floor lies on four load bearing walls which stand on the foundation of Jigmet Motup’s homestay.

“Yes!”

(Of course he does, he’s a kid)

“Minion waala movie hai?” he asks, a little tersely, spotting my minion themed laptop jacket.

“Minion wala movie hai” I say, reassuringly and open my laptop:

‘Windows’ flashes and waves on the screen.

Meanwhile, I conjure up a chocolate coated granola bar from my rucksack and offer it to Jigmet Motup, presently three bee.

But Jigmet Motup, knows better than to take strange food from strange people.

“No” he says and shakes his head and sits, cross legged, in front of my laptop and clicks on the VLC file titled Minions: The movie, it’s right there on the desktop.

I sit beside him and unwrap the granola bar.

Well, more for me, eh?

 

Conversation with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup  #3 The one with the granola


Jigmet Motop, three bee and Penn and Teller ka baap, introduces a novitiate to his art… 

 

The deck consists of ten cards, each collected very painstakingly from within ten bags of crisps.

I identify the card with the frog on it and draw it out at every turn.

It never fails to elicit a bout of gleeful giggling from Jigmet Motup, Cardistry artist.

Frowning, I ask “Why am I only getting the froggie Motup?”

“I know what you’re doing Motup. All these cards have froggies on them, don’t they?”

“No” he says, laughing a Pu-Tai laugh “Only one of them has a froggie on it, look”

He turns the cards. Sure enough, one froggie and nine sundry animals.

But I know that already.

“Choose” He says, shuffling and stacking the cards back again.

I scrunch my brows in suspicion and pick the one with the slightly frayed left corner.

I turn the card, look at it, give an overdrawn sigh and hold it up for him to see.

Jigmet Motop laughs, the scoundrel.

Conversation with Ladakhi superkid, Jigmet Motup   #4 The one with the frayed card


Goodbye, Jigmet Motup, hope your tummy always remains filled with giggles!

On my way back, the bus stopped at Upshi.

I buy a handful of chocolates and run up to the Inn. I can see Jigmet’s mother, cooking breakfast for her guests

“Jigmet hai ma’am?” I ask the inn keeper.

“Woh so raha hai” She says

The bus, it’ll probably leave by the time I get back.

“Here” I say to Mrs. Motup “Give these chocolates to Jigmet?”

She smiles.

“As soon as he wakes up”

I thrust the chocolates in her hand, turn around and prepare myself for what seems like a hundred mile dash.

 

Z.A.

 

 

 

#REF! (Relationships Gone Sour)

I work hard to not work hard.

Remember that allegory that featured some ants and a grasshopper?

I now think that that allegory is wasted on humans. We don’t need it.

See, no human is a grasshopper, we’re just one of 50 shades of ants crammed between dull grey and jet black.

Why am I getting philosophical? It’s a coping mechanism.

Why am I executing coping mechanisms? To cope with the failure of a hair-brained scheme that would have make things easier for me had it worked.

So this is what happened:

Today, in lieu of a long-overdue mother’s day present, I decided to help my mom with her Student Information Database. (My mother is a high school teacher)

It’s filled with every sort of information about all her students:

Their name, their father’s name, their mother’s name, the house that they belong to, their club, their co-curricular interests, their addresses, their bus routes, their religion and the name of their pet (If dog, specify breed) and on and on and on…

And the higher ups in administration have a fetish for coloured excel worksheets.

Which is why the teachers at my mum’s school spend the better part of their working hours cooking up colour schemes to go with their personal Student Information Databases.

The field with phone numbers are coloured in a sassy Atlantic Blue, The names of parents in a bold Cassanova Copper, The bus routes in a brave Voodoo Violet, email IDs in a subtle Welsh Brown and the addresses in a Sublime Bitter Lime.

But Excel is more than a colouring book!

It’s supposed to be a friggin’ database management system, right? I felt it was up to me to give those goofy higher ups a tour of the wonders of Microsoft Excel.

So I spend the whole day fostering bubbling relationships between the cells in different worksheets. I sat down to explain to them a few things about life and it’s struggles:

You don’t have to be told the student’s bus route twice, worksheet beta. Look! You’re a tiny but essential part of the database. Many drops make an ocean!

Why don’t you try talking to your neighbor?

Admonishing them ever so gently sometimes:

Tch tch…  No, Sheet, no! I won’t add up the number of students with ‘swimming’ as their extra curricular, you’re supposed to help me do that Sheetums, it’s character building stuff. Karo chalo. 

 

A few dozen hours later

  • Half the cells display an unrelenting #REF!
  • I’ve run out of printer ink

Maybe what I need now is a copying mechanism?

 

Love,

Bipolar Bear

Unicorns For Lunch

It’s not easy being an Instagram foodie. Baap ka paisa chahiye and restaurers ki galiya

 

“Hello.Food. Photography. Foodie. Food is life.”

“Sorry?”

“Me.Food Eat.Click Pictures. Upload Instagram. You Pay.”

“Get the fuck out”

“#YourNiceNiceRestaurant?#NiceNiceCaption?”

“Get the fuck out”

“#GotFollwersManyMany!”

“We’re listening”

 

That is to say you must be able to afford pretty much any overpriced piece of gastronomic debauchery and ineptitude, know how to look cool with a DSLR and a knack for finding the weirdest possible angle at a table for one.  We splay on it, climb under it and use every yogic posture in the book to click garbage with extra cheese on it from every possible vantage.

It’s no wonder then that only the cream makes it in the biz

The smartest Kashmere Gate monkeys

“Me.Want.Meet.Sheff”

 Supreme Food Porn Monkey, He Who Must Not Be Tamed

 

Yes, all of us are monkeys from Kashmere Gate. We visit restaurants in pairs, standing on top of each other in trench coats, sporting shades and a pipe.

It’s not about the photographs. It’s about how you click them and what filter your monkey brain decides to choose.

New Doc 2017-05-28_3 plain color processed

‘Fix it in post’ suggests Supreme Food Porn Monkey in his best selling, heavily pirated and undeniably definitive guide to being a Instagram foodie:  ‘Do a Hollywood, and always fix your shit in post.’

Ergo, a connoisseur must knows his filters.

Yeah filters.

Pro tip: Never use Clarendon  for the veggies, go Mayfair on those buggers.

Pro tip: Use Juno for that tomato gravy and Valencia for all those Bengali dishes (the yellow really pops out).

The trick is to filter the fuck out of everything that is kept on your table till even the most reticent Fondue becomes a motherload of sickly rainbows.

Pro tip: Hash tags won’t cost you shit.

Pro tip: #foodporn is God.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to call it art while you’re at it

Pro tip: Stop clicking bananas.

These are Trade secrets fellow simians, from me, the Supreme food porn monkey; From the horse’s mouth, nay: The Monkey’s mouth.

Remember, this is your passion: This and swinging on banyan branches and snatching ice-creams from scared little girls.

Oh and don’t bother to taste the dish unless it’s a banana.

Leave the tasting to the losers who like to write blogposts on food for some unfathomable reason.

Humans, eh? Hey Hanuman, give those schmucks some brains.

 

Love,

Bipolar Monkey

 

 

Some Clouds Who Wish to Become Diamonds

What happens when:

Ever shifting swirls bemoan;

Often pierced by unflinching metal birds now and then.

They dream of being a stone

Shaped, immutably, after the image of light

By a hundred metric tonnes of earth, fossil and bone

 

In fits of frustration Again and again

Ashen faced cumulonimbi roil again and again

And rain, there and then, again and again

But do these clouds truly toil?

And sweat rivers to become diamonds?

Are these really tears that drench the soil ?

Or have we been witnesses to a half-hearted vignette:

Describing a veritable foil

A season of pouring, failing to emulate

A thousand year’s broil ?