Friday, March 19, 2010


Everything is better with a song playing in the background.
When you're driving with your shades on (in Chennai, we call it 'coolers', machi) and listening to Moby, it's a heist movie.
When it's 'Bad' by U2, your life is changing. This is the plot point before the climax, the moment when epiphany arrives, when you, the protagonist set forth on the path that opens up in tune to this song.
When it's 'Agatha' by Rachid Taha, you see cherry blossoms and late winter smells and sights befitting a hilltop town (even when you're on Nungambakkam High Road on a desert-hot Tuesday forenoon.)
When it's 'Summer Moon' by Bob Sinclair, it's the most magical nightclub, neon pinks and purples amidst tropical flowers and all the glamour in the world even if you're dancing in the privacy of your room. Sure, it helps if you're eyes are closed. 'Forever' by Chris Brown takes that moment to the next level.
When it's 'Bittersweet Symphony' (OH when it's 'Bittersweet Symphony') by The Verve, you are the coolest dude(ette) on the planet, your walk a rockstar's, the world succumbing to your nonchalant magnetism as you stride through traffic.
When an A.R Rahman song plays, it's raining in Chennai and you're back in your first year of college when college love was something you knew would happen because the trees, the flowers, the breeze were all rooting for your heart (even though history proved otherwise).
When it's 'Don't Cha' by the Pussycat Dolls, you and your best friend are panthers, marching down the sidewalk and the whole world wants us or wants to be us.

A song on my 'Therapy' playlist (Beck's 'Timebomb' is guaranteed to pump me up. I'm a rockstar screaming into an imaginary microphone. I'm a superstar (Michael's 'The Way You Make Me Feel'-oh this one is an instant-feel good factor). I'm the star of an action flick ('Alice' by Moby or 'Deep' by Nine Inch Nails). I'm a head bopping, hip hop devotee ('Jump Around' by House of Pain). I'm a clown, belting out 'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen at the top of my lungs.
For those of us (me?) who think life is a movie, the movie is incomplete without and made to order, perfectly fitting song playing in our heads, if not in the background. A crush becomes a love song that when listened to years later, will evoke exactly the same wave of feelings and the same smell of that season when it happened. Any song or album for that matter. 'Made in Medina' will remind me of my drawing room where I walked around while learning chemical equations during my tenth standard board exams. 'La Valse' and other Faudel songs will take my back to the stories and characters I spun from my imagination during a pure, precious time in my adolescence which I wish I could relive, when I lived my creations, allowing myself to be wrapped in a surreal world that was so real to me.
Well, I guess things haven't changed that much. Reality still deserves a background score, according to me. Thank you, Ipod. Thank you, musicians and artistes all over the world, for giving me music for moments.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Those other three words

It's really easy to love, trust me. Easy to say it also (well, most times). But to like someone? To actually genuinely like them? Not so easy and not so common.
A very good friend of mine I'll call MC (one of the select few people I really like) and I were talking about this phenomenon. That led me to think about the differences between love and liking.
I'm a person who's all about love, by the way. I send forth hugs and love through text messages, emails and in person. Friends, family, teachers and family of friends. Love comes easy, thanks to my inheritance of loving parents and a very demonstrative mother who shares love and kindness to all. I'm not as generous as her, being an inhabitant of a (porous) bubble. But I get it when people say "love makes the world go around".
I also get it when people say "love is blind". Because it is. That's when you ignore the flaws, you glorify the specks of brilliance. And when a cloud shows up, you get mad. You feel cheated.
But when you like someone, you know the flaws. You appreciate the talents, the charm and the goodness, but in a detached, objective way. There's no gush of love and no rush of sentiment. This person's good and you want to get to know them better, want them in your life.

When I mean love, I mean love in all its forms-affection for a newfound friend that ebbs and flows, a crush, a romantic relationship...any relationship.

Like begins to coexist with love. But like can't fluctuate. Like is steady, anchoring. Like is the solid cake base of the chocolate souffle. Love is immediate but like grows. It doesn't bubble up but it builds. Love's the flamboyant one while like is quieter, deeper and creeps up on you when you least expect it.

And that's the stuff great friendship is made of. Here's to you, MC.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Happy Birthday

Today is a special person's birthday, one of the few people left at my age (like me) who do get excited about 'trivial' things like birthdays. One of the few special people who made sure to make mine extra special even though:
they ended up making themselves sick for hyping over my 21st birthday dress,
they ensured my 19th birthday went cake-free by clubbing it with an emotional someone else's, and they helped me organise my 20th with A, B and C lists of guests and eventually leaving out a lot of nice people I feel ashamed to mention my 2oth party to.

Sigh, good times.

Well, here's to that special person, more a princess than a prince because he is pampered and loved as much as one. Here's to the birthday boy who's living it up all the way across the world and still living life as large as can be. Winning hearts the world over (ha ha I can actually say that now) and stressing about party organisation the same old way. The same way he still thinks that a crisp white shirt is the key to instant glam (true) and the same way he thinks he's Blair Waldorf (false).

Always invoking the same hilarity in me, whether he's face to face or an image on a computer screen. Making me believe in 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'. Being aware of my life's little events and mentally jotting them down so as to tell him later. Taking photos of my wardrobe selections to prove that I'm not as nerdy as he thinks. Mentally arguing with him in my head when I can hear him berating me for not being more adventurous in life. Mentally slapping him for calling my love life a Thar Desert. Making me understand the meaning of 'I'll be there for you' where 'there' is metaphysical and yet as vital.

Calling me a hundred times to discuss the Oscars and being the only one I know who gets as excited as I do about the glam parade and the debate over deserving actors versus eye candy. Calling me at 4 am from London and telling others I'm his 4 am friend, whether I'm awake or not. Calling again the next day at 2 am, hoping I'm awake and us then having a two hour conversation, officially anointing me The 4 Am Friend. Being such wholesome best friend (momentarily erase the ego clashes), the perfect best friend-one that you can show off as aesthetically appealing and at the same time surprisingly possessing durability and top quality. Making me jealous of all the numerous people he'll charm all over the world despite him being ever so desi and fussy and regimented, what with his daily routines that are so so so secretive. Adding spice to my life, whether actually or vicariously.

Getting my heart to get a taste of world travel because right now an important part of it is residing in London.

Haha! Gotcha! You can't get cornier than that. Have an awesome birthday.

Timothy where you been

I had a very profound and revolutionary insight into the concept of nationalism last night. I visualised myself being the only person to go into my HOD's office and finally 'do more than just attend class and beg to be let off early...take initiative!" I would passionately deplore the current state of international relations. Countries falling apart for want of nations, Indian states breaking down further for communities. There should be a cry to the creation of more multi-ethnic, multi-religious societies, with me as a poster girl. And I knew exactly what the solution was. I would save the world.
Of course, all this happened during REM. So, naturally, I remember nothing today.
I am hovering mid air, in the midst of a lot of words such as 'collective defense' and 'national interest'. A lot of other peoples' opinions on things I am just hearing about. The first step is to know what happened before digesting someone's articulate (read: unintelligible) take on the possibility of mutually assured destruction. Somehow, that's not the order in which we're doing this. And I'm feeling a little over-informed while at the same time clueless. Way to save the world.
So, the song of the moment is Timbaland's 'Timothy where you been'. For its pace. For Timbaland's rhythmic vocals. For its nonchalant vibe. For floating over me like everything else.