Wednesday, May 25, 2011

An Obituary of Sorts.

It is an unnatural phenomenon when the young die young. Even after 15 odd years, my friend Sonali's demise kept hovering on the periphery of my existence; poking me, prodding me, nudging my sensibilities; the phenomenon a complete conundrum to me. More so because the elements seemed to have defeated the impervious youth at their own game. Sonali was bright, beautiful, and kind. She wanted to see the world and she did. She did this with such ferocity that the skies opened for her. She circled the world many times over. I cannot point the way to heaven but do hope her spirit is rested, refreshed, and replenished with all the flights she has taken.  

I never thought she would go away. In fact, I never believed it - for her, for me, for anyone else. There was a cloak of invincibility which was hard to shake off; or perhaps it was the obdurate nature of things that prevented me from seeing. Sooner or later I would have to  let my guard down; I did and it was scary. The water was too when it rose up and swallowed my friend. Was this the rush she desired? Did she have a moment to breathe or did she hold her breath never to take one again. What happened to the gentle rhythm of life? Were we not destined to oscillate; to glide with the ebb and flow of life?

RIP Sonali. 
For years, I've wanted to know what happened. I gleaned bits of information from here and there. I did not say good bye; well I did but not with the intention of never seeing her again. There were some regrets at not keeping in touch. I don't remember life being that full that it allowed me to fail so miserably at reaching out. It's that apathy that we all fall into; that glaze which blocks our vision. I should have allowed chinks of light to penetrate the armor. My friend Anu said let it go. I said it was unfinished business and could not be laid to rest. Other friends like Rohin, Reena, Chhabi and many more never gave up missing Sonali. She continues to come alive ever so often.

Many years ago, Sonali gave me Roget's Thesaurus. I still have it. The web almost destroyed it but words of endearment inside made it almost sacrosanct. She often visits me in my dreams which Doc Samson said was the creative force striving to be unleashed. Another friend Kat made it her mission to seek and destroy all myths surrounding the affair. She said she will find a rock for me and carry Psalm 40 with her; she said we will bury this together. I have to do this for all of us; I also have to borrow Emily Dickinson for the closing: my life closed twice before its close; it yet remains to see if immortality unveil a third event to me, so huge, so hopeless to conceive, as these that twice befell; parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell.

Thank you Kat and all who helped. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Are Pakistanis the highest paid people?

For years, I've wanted to develop the unique style of getting paid for doing nothing. Zen Masters developed this philosophy but it's the Pakistanis who fine-tuned it to an art. Maybe I should have found a house in Abbottabad - the place where Osama had been living for the past 5 to 7 years. It certainly seemed like a good place. Neighbors minded their own business; high walls didn't scare anyone; nobody noticed the growing number of non-school-going children or that no one ever emerged from that house. Pakistanis were so well behaved in Abbottabad that nothing seemed to distract them from their daily affairs; even flying saucers and helicopters were tolerated with good spirit. However for me, the most amazing thing to emerge from all this was how on earth did the Pakistanis ever figure out Zen. They're not normally given to thinking. Scheming, screaming, burning are more their style.

Forget the GDP of China or USA or any other country. These countries have been left far behind in the earning potential of any group of individuals. Pakistan has now surpassed all countries in its earnings, more so for doing nothing. They in fact got paid in billions by both Osama and Obama for sitting pretty and twiddling their beards. Obama thought Pakistan was hard at work and Osama thought the same as well. In all this mayhem, Indians watched the scenario with a smug smile. They knew how to beat Pakistan at their own game even though it was just cricket. The game can excite passions like no other and India and Pakistan can go to war at the drop of a ball or a wicket.

In reality, Abbottabad, nestled within a stone's throw of the Pakistan army, was the perfect place for OBL. There Osama lived and occasionally took time off from porn and having babies to deliver his many diatribes against the evil America and Israel. There was no way any US satellite could have found a point of attack on the crumpled bed sheet that served as the background for his many threatening video deliveries to the world. The world also watched the magic of Osama's beard turning different colors; sometimes black, sometimes grey, and sometimes even a mixed shade of gray. For decades, Americans watched the drama of Osama's beard haplessly. They just could not figure out who was supplying the hair color to Osama! Finally they nabbed the courier, dropped some water in his nose aka water boarded him, sent in the SEALS and voila just like that Osama was dead.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Old Man Osama and the Sea.

Did Hemingway have Osama in mind when he wrote his book? Who is going to write the sequel of the sharks, sea, and Osama now? It took almost a decade to get Osama Bin Laden aka OBL. Taliban is upset at Pakistan because they did such a poor job at hiding Osama. US generosity and their caves had served well, both for OBL and his goats. Even though Pakistan is Taliban's sugar daddy whose grand sugar daddy in turn is Saudi Arabia - OBL's capture, death, and being thrown in the sea, now will have their women throw off those despicable garments with a greater ferocity. More speeches, from all sides of the mouth will be delivered. However, on the financial level, I am hoping that Pakistan will lose millions and millions of dollars, both from the Saudis and the US. Saudis had showered them with a cart load of millions to hide OBL in caves or compounds; the US to seek and destroy OBL. They failed miserably on both fronts. The head is gone but the body will show the world what it can do minus the head. The big fat challenge is out and there will be quite a few rounds of bombings and suicide missions to go around the world. 

So what else can the US do now? One enemy Saddam was vanquished and hanged by the Iraqis. Iraqis got loads of freedom only to turn around and curse the US. The world too joined in the chorus but quickly got distracted and dropped some bombs on Gaddafi's compound. In response one particular friend in Australia raved and ranted about labor issues and the corporate world! Others I noticed revived the issue of propping up OBL in Afghanistan. I got confused. Of course, the US has been senile in its policies. But what could be more insane than OBL starting a world wide movement (WWM) within a stone's throw of the world wide web (WWW). We'll still get to see the finger-wag and threats to annihilate al and sundry and other such blah blah blah. Obama removed the b from his name and put an s in its place, rolled up his sleeves, did a few more rounds of Golf, found some more euphemisms for terrorism, and said, that's it, if I can't get Muanmmar Gaddafi because that name is too difficult, let me try the simpler and similar sounding name of Osama; Obama-Osama. 

Maybe O also lost patience with the extreme myopic vision of the Pakistanis who couldn't see just below their nose even. Boys, Obama said, I'll simplify it more than Bush; I don't want OBL dead or alive; only dead; and let's not get into the drama of embalming the body and all that. Let's bury the body in the sea - another euphemism for throwing the body in the sea. Now the sharks are cringing and complaining from the paucity of meat and like a friend Vandana said, are protesting from all that human poisoning. If the US has to be believed and all the conspiracy theories to be disbelieved - Osama Bin Laden, dead or alive is now swimming in the sea. Considering the mayhem this man caused, he still managed to achieve a nice rhythmic movement - from palace to cave to mansion to sea. I'm wondering if Osama will have the same mesmerizing powers over the sharks as he had over people; perhaps recruit some sharks for a few suicide missions; maybe have them give up the comfort of the box or sea; go out swimming in alien waters; change their shark like habits of feeding on the ones thrown in and become more proactive; don some suicide belts, read some literature, get soaked in the ideology; become messengers of death.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oh that Spectacle of the Royal Wedding.

Yes, I watched the show and before it was over, I also thought of a quick collective prayer for my girl friends and I. It went something like this: Dear God, please make my girl friends and me (I) some sort of princesses in our next birth, preferably in the British royal family; no not those harem kind of princesses, all covered up and crap like that. Once princesses, we were not going to bother God with other mundane requests like sending a prince to rescue us because we will be hell bent on being absolutely ecstatic about existing as gilded birds. I wish I could make that just 'a one day' thing, but honestly that is not going to work for us. We need this as a long term affair. Also God if we could just enjoy a life of riding in gilded carriages and waving madly at everyone. Amen.

Anyway, now that I have the prayer out and flying to God, I can come back to describing the spectacle. I loved those hats and especially the ones that were worn by the royalty and others pretending to be royalty. I also marveled at the precarious way in which some of those hats were placed. I saw a few resting on top of the nose. There were a few behind the head. Only the Queen's was on top of the head. And being the Queen, God forbid if anyone could have ever taken upon themselves to suggest a different style of wearing a hat. She may have cried, off with his head. There were some hats on one side of the head, actually three quarters down the head. I don't know, maybe they were clipped to the ear. Any moment, I expected a gust of wind to upset those pretty things and go soaring past the gloating crowds. No, this crowd of people was not anything like the raucous soccer crowd - the belly smacking, crooning, cursing, bottle throwing, body smacking sort. This was a motley crowd hoping to catch a glimpse of a commoner turned princess. One who had made it, not by birth but by being in the right college at the right time. Location, location, location.

So, no wind or rain came by. Then too, I half wished for at least a monkey or two to take a swipe at those colorful hats and go bounding across Buckingham Palace. But these mishaps only occur in the world of colonized people albeit past ones. Nothing of the sort happened and all the silks and hats and ducks and duchesses went in - in the most respectable manner. The new princess recited the mile long name of the Prince effortlessly and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The jinx was off. I saw the Prince briefly struggle with the wedding band but then thank God for small mercies; this was the only struggle the Prince would face. The royal couple could now live happily ever after and do nothing else for the rest of their lives. The commoners could go home with a hefty debt but at least they had a Prince and Princess to boast of.