Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Day At The Mall

I'm writing this post because my cousin brother believes that one day blogs & tweets will be held up as historical documents, chronicling where we have come from as a people, giving perspective on where we are headed.
Much like Mohenjodaro, my blog is then. This thought delights me.

Therefore, I feel it is my obligation to write about my day at the mall. Not just any mall, but Ambience Mall. To non-Delhiites, this won't mean much. And truth be told, this mall isn't even in Delhi. It's in Gurgaon, which is in my favourite Indian state, Haryana (I jest, surely you sense that).
This is Ambience Mall.

It is very big. It is so big that I had to shrink its image to the smallest permissable size on this blog. It is so big that within its folds of fat, it can hold several football fields and in fact does hold several sporting venues, a brewery & a kiddy amusement park. It is so big that you could include a visit to it in your exercise regime & get a solid cardio burn (which will then be rendered redundant as you speed-walk past the food court). In short, this mall be big.

Now, unlike some of my friends, I am not a mall hater. In fact, I've developed a bit of a mall 'habit', if you know what I mean. I dig the air-conditioning, the polished floors, the yellow lighting and assorted food/beverage smells sneaking up on me as I turn a corner. I like walking past material objects I can rarely afford, because on days that I can, I forget that life is about self-awareness, self-love and trying to reach a higher truth. I have clocked enough hours to be an official mall-appreciator.

Oh but Ambience Mall. It is the strangest mix of crassness & creativity, ugliness & quirkiness, pappiness and awesomeness. It looks like it was put together in a hurry. Like some fatcat in a fatcat boardroom said - "Time nahi hai yaar, budget nahi hai yaar. Jaldi khatam karo yaar, kiraye pe chaddaao yaar." It looks unfinished, unthought of and a little dirty. It's smug in its awareness that airconditioning will get us past the front door. The BMW showroom will do the rest (it's a great microcosm of urban Indian society, this BMW showroom. The untouched, pristine flooring within and the grimy glass windows, pock-marked with all the nose-rubbing & convertible-induced drooling).

The fact that very few visitors can actually afford its merchandise is immaterial. Ambience Mall, like many of its kind, has become a picnic spot. That's alright I guess. Except, looking at all the stuff makes me kinda mad deep inside. It makes me irrationally crave the ugliest bags that Louis Vuitton could possibly come up with (scam of the century, that LV is) and then hate myself because I can't own one. To deal with my rage, I head to the Food Court to eat my feelings but then sight the brewery and get smashed instead. The booze gives me the courage to walk into the exclusive Golfworx, where I see people playing a virtual version of the most outdoor of all outdoor sports, in tiny, darkened cubicles (and they have caddies!!!!!). The salespeople there try to sell me Rs.11,000 shoes though I do not play golf. I walk out.
Luckily, Ambience has made provisions for bowling (another sport I do not play) and boozing, just next door. I am walking in when my mother calls and tells me that 3 malls in Saket (all adjacent to each other) have been evacuated because of bomb threats. It seems, the crowd that accumulates at such venues on weekends is too good for terrorists to resist. That still does not deter from my goal of not-bowling because everything is so shiny and new. I cannot leave. So I watch Delhi's Bowling Team (they look official, t-shirts and all) play. Then get bored.

Walking out, a large building adjacent to the entrance is sighted. It has several chimneys spewing out dark grey smoke. I am informed that this might be where all the power to run the mall comes from. It stops me in my tracks (Mentally. Physically it's too hot to stop. The outside world is not, unfortunately, airconditioned) and sums up my impression of Ambience Mall:

That was an awful lot of energy to bust for a bunch of people not buying a BMW.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

She Came In Through The Bathroom Window...

Over the last few days The Beatles have popped up in the most interesting of ways. On Twitter through random folk, on a fantastic art website called Across The Universe that I am absolutely in love with, then there was the American Idol Beatles week and a crazy episode in a sound studio.

Apparently, it was all a way to get me to start a new blog. So...tadaaaaa....presenting And Your Bird Can Sing ( It's a music blog about all things that make me go hummmm in the night. It's only 2 posts old (yup, one of them's about the Beatles) but I'm very excited.

So do drop by...

(Also, if you could suggest some music blogs that you like, let me know. Will add them to my blogroll on the site.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I may have scared Billu the Blog Burglar away...

So an Ode.

Twas a shorte yet sweete affaire
When ye did venture into mine laire
Withe stealthe ye hastened
To steal, not complacent
To write thine own trash, eh?

And so do accept mine thanks overmany
I pray, thou dost not returneth
But if ye should come
Tis a promise, I'll hum
A merry tune, whilst in Purgatory ye burneth

Two Balloons - 16.10.2009

Two balloons float up into the sky. One red, one blue.
The blue balloon glides like a cat when high. Folks on the ground worry how it drifts across the sky, seemingly without a clue.
The red balloon freestyles when high. For most people, it all looks a little pointless. Two wayward globes making their way across vast expanses of nothingness.
But up where the two roam, there is so much to see. There’s white, feathery cloud bits, the stray bird, the just-out-of-reach blueness. And the magnificent view below.
It’s nice, even important, to know that the bustling happens down there, while here in the stratosphere, there’s nothing to do but fly, strings sometimes intertwined, sometimes undone.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Greater Good (or What's Your Point Sister?)

'Nuff said about shit writing I think.

Truth be told there's been a lot bothering me lately. My over-eager participation in all things Twitter, the need to up the Twitter Gods (oh, there's a club...) and be the wittiest chick on the 140-character long block. The need to be snappy, sensitive, brazen yet not short-sighted, politically aware yet not an activist, to shock without offending, to offend without alienating.
The urge to regurgitate whatever comes to ones mind, no matter how inane, how irrelevant and how selfish. I have succumbed to it all.
I've jumped in the deep end and found - it's way more shallow than I thought.

Forget the psychological difficulty I'm having coming to terms with my alter-ego on Twitter/ FB or even this blog sometimes. This, for once, is not about my head.

My chief discomfort with what's happening to me online comes from what I believe to be good writing.
I have been clever on Twitter, even had a minor celebrity quote me once. Strangers have wanted to connect with me and read about my day. I like my writing online. It's forced me to stretch myself (I never ever thought I was funny. Now with all these virtual opportunities, I am pushing my own limits). My language skills and confidence have improved. But is my writing great? Not by a long, long shot.

I am, in fact, suffering as a writer. I'm getting lost in the crowd. The more lost in it I get, the more I want to be part of it. I am trying to stand out by submerging myself, hair curlers and all. I'm getting scared of writing the way I really want to. I'm scared shitless to confront the truth that I have nothing to write about.

I've spent the day watching Dexter. It is brilliant. Brilliant like Californication, MASH and some of my favourite documentary films have been (my references for good writing tend to come from TV, since I work in it). All day long, I've compulsively gone from episode to episode like an addict.The idea is brilliant, the acting superb, the direction exceptional. That's not what has me hooked though.

It's the writing, which is great. By great, I don't just mean snappy lines, ironic plot twists or complex characters, although it has all that. What makes it great is its courage. The writing has the guts to not remain in the realm of the superficial (which it could quite easily do since its premise is strong enough to base a series on). It digs deeper, it goes into uncomfortable spaces, it crosses the line - but not simply to create a stir.  It could have been a TV show about a cop-by-day, killer-by-night. Each episode could've been a cat-and-mouse tale with the appropriate car chases and I have no doubt, it would have been successful enough. But that the writers chose to go into Dexter's mind, play with his unique psychology, use it as a comment on who we are as people, use it to jog our ideas of right & wrong....that just blows me away. There's something in the writing that connects with the most primal part of me and makes me hunger for more. They could've taken the easy route like so many of us do with our catchy tweets and cynical blog posts. They went for it instead.

Most of my favourite books and films have been products of brave writing, where writers have pushed themselves beyond language, story, narrative, rules and the need to be 'successful' & popular (and nothing seems to get more success online than irreverance & cynicism).
They've pushed to dig for something more. They've not been driven by the need to impress at all costs. They've not simply relied on their ability to twist grammar to their needs. And they've realised that if they don't have anything of value to say, it's best not to say it at all.
(One may argue that the definition of 'value' may differ from person to person. Here's where I drew the line for myself this evening: I tweeted about a zit on my forehead. It wasn't a clever haiku about a zit, I was not using my zit as a metaphor for anything. I just needed to tell the world I had a zit. Any 'value' in that? I think not. And yet, that's the kind of horse-shit that I see all around me, including on news channels etc...but that's another rant)

I salute these writers because it's not easy to dodge all the potholes and pitfalls on the route to ensuring that ones work is experienced by society at large. To maintain your own voice in the din, to not sway when one half the room loves you and the other half ignores you. To know when to hit that Publish button and when to log off without a word.
To understand that the opportunity to write is a profound privilege and that the one of being read is a greater one still.

I guess my point is, I don't want to be just another wooden puppet out there, churning out words and sentences chosen to elicit a specific reaction. Ideally, I want to stop caring about the reaction completely (ya right, a voice inside me says, delete your comments section then). That may not happen immediately. But I eagerly await that day.
Who knows, by then I just might have something to say .

Friday, April 16, 2010

In Defense of Shit Writing

The post below is unmitigated shit. I know it. I knew it as I was writing it. It felt wrong but I couldn't stop...sort of like when you eat that slightly off mayo sandwich on a hot summer day. You repent after it's done but that doesn't prevent you from spending a significant part of the next day on the crapper.

Why don't I delete it?

Because there's no shame in being mediocre. At least not when I'm mediocre. I want the post to remain online, in the public domain so that I can maintain perspective. To remind myself that sometimes I'm a bit crazy and all over the place. That sometimes I do things without caring too much. That I'm only blogging, not curing cancer or building cryogenic engines.

That I spend too much time explaining myself after.
My therapist is on holiday. That might be it.

And might I add...Dey-AM, Sendhil Ramamurthy is smokin' hot.

Turn Left At The Improv Blog

Ladies and Gentlemen!...
She's come all the way from Couch-In-Front-Of-TV...She's fresh, she's eager, she's a SHE! For the first time EVER on this, or any other, stage, please give a warm welcome to....Mizzz Aquatic Static....


(Big swig) Wow. This is such a dream come true. I've spent so many years watching stand up on SNL, Leno and Lok Sabha TV but I never imagined I'd be up here, attempting to perform a standup blog. In fact, if it weren't for a lethargic download at home tying up my bandwidth, I wouldn't have made it out here at all. So special thanks to Airtel as well.

It's pretty intimidating being up here actually. Especially since I have no jokes. Also my segueways are pretty crap. No "Speaking of all those unexplained infernos lately, what's up with that Modi huh? (Narendra, not Lalit)..." or "A rabbi and Modi walked into a bar...(Lalit, not Narendra)"
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to say and mostly came up with rants.
So I compiled my list and here's what I've gotten so far: PMS, menstrual cramps,, Ranbir Kapoor's career choices and my mother.

Ummm...Miss Static? The gentlemen are walking out...

O no! Er...lemme see...BREASTS, farts, beer, God of War....wait TENDULKAR! That's right...back to your seats guys. I would've let you go but in this great country of ours, when the men leave, they take the car and the ladies with them. God forbid, should the women just walk into a club alone...
So as I was saying, Tendulkar. Yeeeeah... don't know much about him so back to me...

Besides being unfunny, another reason why I've shied away from stand-up blogging for so long is because I can't deal with the heckling. I'd like to give you a live demonstration right now. Any haters out there in the audience?

You suck!

I understand, sir, that you expected to see the live telecast of KKR vs. Mumbai Indians on a giant screen and got stuck, instead, with me. But there's no need to hurt my feelings. And more importantly: Why can't you LOVE me? What's wrong with me?? I try so hard!
(And that's a heckler I rehearsed with before getting on stage.)

Why then madam, you ask, are you up here in the first place?
It has come to to pass recently that I have become loved by a fairly large group of unknowns on the internet. This can be as gratifying as being loved by one or two close friends or relatives. A retweet on Twitter or a 'Like' on Facebook can gladden my heart almost as much as a phone call from a school buddy or a Get Well Soon card from a neighbour. Being loved by an unknown is also less stressful. There's very little one needs to do to receive validation. Mostly, just logging in will do it.

Yes, you cannot fall asleep in the arms of an unknown Twitter Follower or open joint bank accounts with a blog commenter but what really matters is staying in the spotlight. Lovers will leave, family will disown and friends will either betray or move to another city.
Only FB friends and Twitter followers will remain. And even if they don't, there's plenty more where they came from.

(Mizz Static...the bar shut down a while ago. The guests have all left. We're pulling down the shutters now.)

Finally, there's the freedom to spew nonsense. I once thought of writing a book but the publishers wanted it to have a point. Catch up with the times, editors. Nonsensical self-indulgence is where it's at. Today I tweeted about how my toe was turning purple and 3 new people started following me. That's a best-seller right there.

(Madam, please)

Fine. I'll wrap it up. You've been a great audience. Just don't throw stuff at me.


And since I've suffered blog theft recently, I must say that the Modi references may seem similar to other RESPECTED bloggers' tweets but I swear, I wrote mine before I read yours, youknowwhoyouare.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Shit Has Come To Light

It has come to my attention recently that one loves not with the brain, not with logic, not with intellect, but with the heart.

(...Yeah well, that's just, ya, your opinion, man...)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yeah YOU

To the Gentleman stealing ideas from my blog: Trust me, sir, there are far better writers in the blogosphere to pilfer from. Having said that,
I'm on to you.
I'm watching.
I'm everywhere.
So be afraid.

(What's tragic is that you get more traffic on your blog than I do...why then?)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slim Pickins

31 and single. And here is a brief history, in dialogue, of why that might be:

Me: I believe that marriage can be a beautiful thing, where two individuals come together because they are destined to teach each other karmic lessons of love...
Man: Yeah I know what you mean...I've noticed couples start looking like each other after a few years of marriage.
Me: Why can't we go out for dinners and movies in public like normal couples do?
Man: Because I'm your boss and I say so. And listen, I want that 'How Cement Mixers Work' script on my desk by five.
Me: My favourite part of a man's body? His eyes.
Man (Well...boy, really. He was 16): What colour?
Man: A writer for TV, huh?
Me: Yup!
Man: Saas-bahu serials?
Me: Non fiction.
Man: But why not? I watch those serials all the time, they're great.
Me: Remember that awesome conversation we had about life, love, feelings, emotions and puppies?
Man: Yeaahhhh...
Me: So...when I told you how I felt, what did you think about it?
Man: Dunno man, don't remember. Had some brilliant maal man...
Me: But I told you important stuff about me and you!!!
Man: Sorry man...drag?
Me: Hullo?
Man: Hey!!! Where you at?
Me: Ummm...I'm with AnotherMan.
Man: Faaaccck!!!
Me: Are you drunk?
Man: Fuck man, I love you man. I just love you. But I tell you, man...I gotta tell you this...
Me: Yes?
Man: Don't ever fall in love with me, ok? It'll ruin everything.
Man: Gotta light?
Me: Nope.
Man: Go ask that other dude for a light, no. Here, take the cigarette. Go light it.
Me: Ok.
(Cigarette lit, triumphant return)
Man: Fuck! That guy didn't even look at you once.
Man: Writer for TV, huh?
Me: Yup!
Man: You know, you should do an MBA.
Me: If you want us to have a future then I don't want to hear about other women ever again.
Man: You mean you don't want me to tell you?
Me: No, I mean NO OTHER WOMEN if you want to continue with me.
Man: Yeah...about that...I don't think so.
Man: How much money you got in your account?
Me: Errr...don't remember...
Man: Let's go to the ATM and check it out.

(Doomed to a life with cats or bullets dodged? - who knows....)