Sunday, November 28, 2004

Of cocktails and graphs...

Everyone's life is a cocktail. Each ones cocktail differs from the other's.

Well..I may just sound like yet another of those innumerable homosapiens who love
to ponder upon the true meaning of life. But any other better statement coming out of the mashed matter which my brain is at the moment would just about qualify for the achievement of the century.

After a long stint of relentless work, after guzzling down nearly the whole of the insides of the coffee machine, after hours of sitting infront of the computer trying to make sense out of code which to me a month back seemed like the epitome of perfect reasoning and logic in the making...the best i can manage is the above statement.

And after is but a cocktail. Some people just dont have the punch in theirs.....while others just get heady with one sip. For some time I try to be an analyst...more like the managers who spend the late hours of the day in office with those graphs and charts, trying to decide the best way of action for maintaining the liquidity level..or simply deciding whether the lady with the bright red lipstick in cubicle 4 makes a better choice to be booted out of the company than the short nerdy man in cubicle 6. Only its not liquidity level or any employee id:12344 thats being analysed at the moment. Just am trying to analyse the composition of the cocktail that I was talking about which I happen to have in my glass at the moment.

There it is....the graph as I can clearly see it circling the rim of my glass...snaking all along the way. Looks like the ones I used to copy paste from some site right onto my project reports in college. Well it does have more curves than you can ever expect at Milan Fashion Week.

There you go...a mix of late hours into the textbooks and early hours in the coaching classes. Hmm....more of content and less of punch. Typical drink for the
first time visitors to the pub. Slow and steady rise...!! A tumultuous stretch lasting for around 3 to 4 years equivalent of the rim. High in places and meandering like a dying river in the rest. The type of combination that one expects when the visits to the pub start figuring more frequently on one's calendar and when all the sense of adventure is poured generously into the glass. More like a fiery tequilla with a slice of lime on the highs while plain old tomato juice with a dash of pepper and tabasco on the lows....!!! And then peaking for a stretch of about 6 months...seeing new highs...seeking to shoot up and away from the rigid boundary that is the rim of the glass. A combination like never tasted and tried. A combination which only a person on buddy terms with the bartender would dare to try.

A cocktail which fires up the insides with just one sip giving a hangover enough to last a lifetime, stronger than even all the martinis, vodkas and tequillas from all the taverns of the world put together and an olive to top it all. And then I see a steep fall...!! Gauging its length, seems like almost a weeks equivalent in time. No punch, no kicks..more like a citrus punch - the only punch it has is in the name. More like a person trying to adapt to a no-alocohol kind of life after the doctor has put an expiry date tag on the liver after a thorough checkup. And then abruptly the graph stops....there is no information, no figures, no status reports to go on.

The lights go off...the analyst locks his office. He has a satisfied look on his face. He has just analysed the past thru the graphs which are now safely locked away in his mind, each rise and fall burned in his head just like the nerds in the cubicles burn MP3s on the cds after office hours. But yet he is clueless about the future. Each day comes and goes...the graph has to go on circling the rim of the glass...spiralling down the stem until it comes to a point when it can't go on.
And when the last drop of cocktail has been downed and all the colored bottles of liquer cleared from the bar, when the drinks spilt by the inebriated few have been wiped away, there stands the empty glass with the peaks and troughs - a testimony of a life which was.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

strokes of joy

Well...too many things have been happening over the past 1 or 2 weeks. I had not even recovered from the extreme fatigue of the 4 day Italy trip that we had...(a rather Colossal trip I shud pun intended!!)...and voila, there we were...8 people and a bag of croissants bundling themselves into the train to Paris !!!

The L'Église Notre-Dame with its intricate stained glasswork and ambience right out of 50's movie made all the gals in the group go "oh so romantic..." almost in symphony. And as usual, the guys just contorted their faces into an expression which can be easily mistaken for a severe case of constipated guts.

I always like to have a private conversation with god. The ones without any frills formal introduction, no formal prayer. Just a one-to-one talk where I do all the talking. And there I go ask forgiveness for the nasty looking brat who bullied me in kindergarten, eating all my lunch one hungry afternoon. I ask god to forgive "miss-snooty" who made fun of my dressing sense in high school. And then I emerge out of the prayer room, an apostle of forgiveness and god's own "ombudsman", my ego a lot heavier than my halo !!! after the church, there we are again, the octet and the bag, minus the croissants (its amazing how all that praying kicks up your digestive enzymes) standing infront of the Opera. Opera always reminds me of Bianca Castafiore with her earsplitting "Ah my beauty past compare, these jewels bright I wear!" in Tintin books. And the Opera had each of its glass panes intact in place...doesn't look like they have many performances going in there. And neither did i catch a peek of the crème de la société with their status precariously balanced on their monocle, their stares sharper than the even the sharpest staccato octaves and chords of the opera divas.

And after everyone vettoed, almost in unison the suggestion of attending a performance in there (dunno what made me suggest it in the first place...would you buy split personality with a weird taste!!), we were on our way to see the one and only 'La Tour Eiffel'. And voila, there it was staring at us magnanimously, bestowing upon us the sudden realisation of the promixity to the monument which probably has lent its glory to many a movies in the already cluttered romantic genre.

Our decision to climb up till the second floor of the tower was inspired more by the lesser tariffs than by our faith in our daily doses of energy drink. After a nearly 300+ steps (frankly, i lost count of them after sometime) climb and 32.5 curses later (i remember each one of them clearly though...that 0.5 was thanks to my friend punching me halfway through the profanity, more out of frustration than out of her sense of righteousness...with due 'respek' to her elementary school moral science classes) there we were on the first floor majestically poised above an even more majestic city !!!

And with the help of the friendly information boards (which surprisingly had notes in English too), we were trying to locate major landmarks in the maze of buildings, each not much different from the other. And there I was pointing out the Musee de Louvre to the tourists around me who looked all confused and lost in the maze of concrete below...Entry my dear turned not-so-dear friend
hey what you doing here? come over to the other side...The Louvre looks so cool from there!!!
There goes my last shred of dignity etched onto the metal in deep marks 'Born Loser' alongside a barely visible 'ich liebe Gunther'...marks of love by a deutsches Mädchen

After a 360-degree view of the city, there I was walking up to the second floor, not any wiser than I was before about the Parisian landscape.

There's a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

The sheer excitement of making it sans a stretcher to the second floor was dampened only by the extreme fatigue in our legs and the mad rush to catch the lift to the 3rd floor. And there we stood amidst gaping mouths of tourists and clicking cameras and couples romanticising the moment with all their hearts. The feeling that you have standing up there, up on a monument which you have always dreamt of visiting only through the heavily marked and dog-eared pages of the history textbook, staring down at a place which no author however expressive, no artist however imaginative can do justice almost felt like we had conquered le tour Eiffel. Had someone handed a flag to me at that moment, I would have planted it right there as a silent witness to our great achievement.
That probably explains the number of names that have been etched out up there in the metal with anything ranging from ball point pens to car keys.

With the night sky over Eiffel and the blue beams spanning out, the city just lit up as though in celebration of the beauty that Paris beholds. But I liked to imagine that it was our 'conquering the Eiffel' that they were celebrating. The commercial streak in me makes me think that probably a champagne store up there would do glorious business !!

Tired limbs and frozen hands
not one can descend to earth
when energy does drain out
of bravery there is a dearth

so there were the eight travellers
in the farthest of the far corners
returning back to reality
may god bless the elevators

Well..I am just hanging on to the last shreds of our dignity by putting our descent to the earth in the elevators in prose. Poetry was probably invented by someone who wanted to present all his failures in a glorified version to the world.

And when you are so tired (more at the heart than in the bones), the exhorbitant costs that people quote for the souvenirs just doesnt reach your brains. And having spent almost a fortune on buying a distorted piece of metal which looks like the Eiffel put through a thousand compresses and run over by a million elephants drunk on mahua for almost everyone back home who would put himself through the torture of listening to our French experiences in lieu of the souvenir, we took the metro to one of those corners of the city which reminds us of home.

And what better than a dinner in a restaurant serving cuisine from back home to end the fabulous day !!! So fate be it, it was 8 souls with satisfied appetites and grumbling legs that returned to their homes that night after a trip to Paris.

The 4 kilometre walk back home from the station did nothing for our legs but it was during this walk that we actually ruminated about the day and there it was..the realisation staring at us right in our face, just like the Eiffel did earlier in the day !!!!