Sunday, May 23, 2010

Us and Them

I don’t like airplanes. I don’t like being disturbed when I’m asleep.

Don’t try to wake me on an airplane.

If you are a harebrained airline steward (as opposed to the fictional intelligent one, eh?) who particularly enjoys being at the receiving end of some nimble eye-gouging or clumsy rectal probing, ignore the warning.

My shoulder was nudged by a hand that ignored the warning. The hand would soon be involved in a fierce struggle to prevent involuntary colonic irrigation by a monkey with a squirt gun.

There was a voice. As I was roused, my ears were forcefully strained to tune into what seemed like a command. Over the acoustic rendition of Careless Whispers (ironic?) – the sort of airline music that would leave the world one less gay George Michael to worry about - was an emphatic command from the airline steward to pull up the window shades. I could hear myself asking why. Why must I pull up the window shades?

Windows. I like windows.

I like the windows in a suburban apartment complex.

Recently, a colleague moved into an apartment in my complex. She has spent a majority of her lifetime in South Delhi (apparently called SoDi by her and others who stemmed from a gene pool that primarily begets bigots, people who say things like mirror-mirror-on-the-wall and people who think Facebook invented ‘The Wall’. Mister Pink Floyd, I apologize).

Here’s the thing about people from South Delhi – I don’t like you.

Correction – I can’t like you.

But here’s what I do like - Irish Whiskey, cigar smoke, a 7th floor balcony view of a grid of windows lit up against the night and conversation with the condescending SoDi woman that is limited to pointing to positions on this fluid grid of lights - 5th floor, right wing, 3rd window from the edge, Aerobics Aunty; 10th floor, central wing, middle window, Chaste Chetan.

Some people talk. Some others poke.

But the both of us - we point. We peep. We peek.

People at work call us voyeurs. These, I think, are the sort of people that poke.

Once every fortnight, standing in her balcony, leaning against the parapet – we watch. We watch a microcosm of suburbia live, Live. We watch Aerobics Aunty running towards her bedroom’s left wall, on the treadmill – not moving an inch. An almost motionless motion. Four windows to her left, Protein-shake Pawar sweating it out on his treadwheel, runs to the right, runs to Aunty. Lovers unaware of their love.

Some lovers are victims of religion, some of society and some of Shakespeare. Our lovers were being kept apart by bricks, concrete and three windows.

Incognizant lovers - AA and PP, loving incognito.

Once a fortnight, we spend our evening with Scrawny Shilpa while she tries to learn Salsa (or Jazz or Kathak? Or whatever, I don’t really know! Not my fault, I can’t tell one from the other two feet away; at fifty metres they all look like conditioned epilepsy to me) or the Harridan on the 3rd Floor – the sort of woman who has perfected the art of nagging at a pitch that drives both men and dogs wild; on grounds of uncanny similarity - the sort of woman who most definitely gave birth to your ex or my ex or anyone’s ex; the sort of woman who PMSes during menopause. Here’s the definitive answer to all those Miss Worlds striving for world peace – Kill Her. Please!

Windows. I like them.

Cars - not so much. But car windows are a different ball game altogether. And speaking of car windows and games, try this one the next time you’re driving to work and are stuck in a bad traffic jam.

Peer into any vehicle that is below a car in the automotive food chain – bus, autorickshaw or a taxi. Say for example, a bus. Pick one window, perhaps the one framing the most seemingly docile passenger and preferably of the opposite sex. Look her in the eye and lock your gaze. Don’t blink. Don’t flinch. Stare.

Now that you’ve grabbed her attention contort your face into expressions that would put a Kathakali dancer to shame – lust, rage, envy, pity, resentment, hatred, awe or even epiphany. Once you’ve found the one that displaces her from her comfort zone – stick to it and hope that the jam lasts long enough to drive her to suicide but just short of her actually slitting her wrist. It’s the Moment of Mindfuck.

If you’re not alone in the car, stare together. All at once, four faces consumed by rage – stare. Stare at same pair of docile eyes. Stare till she is reduced to desperately groping for that elusive blade with her name on it. Mindfuck. Communal Mindfuck.

I like windows. Why must I pull up the window shades?

He commands me to pull up the window shades again. Why? Give me a logical reason to pull up the shades.

“Erm… hmm… Sir, so that when it’s dark, people outside can see the light inside.”

It’s summer. 10 AM. 43 degrees hot Hyderabad. It’s anything but dark. So, why must I pull them up?

“Sir, when the plane lands and if there is a terrorist on the runway, you will not be able to see him!”

Great! Why would I want to see him? I can’t see him. So he can’t see me. Right?



kamna said...

u r just ridiculously eccentric... ure the only person who could attempt to rationalize peeping... and communal mindfuck... Lol..

u spend half ur life on planes, why don't u write a book on an airhostess?

me likes the post title dedications to Floyd... sweet :)

anoushka said...

My 5 cents -

1. You are obsessed with airplanes.
2. Atwood's dystopian novel in your hands. I'm scared. Genuinely scared.
3. You need to copyright these mindfuck games you play.
4. I thought you hated Rear Window?
5. Chaste Chetan it seems. LOL :))

Judy Balan said...

You remind me of the psycho from Phonebooth. The movie. In his defense, you're not half as tasteful. Or charming.

Why would you want to point and stare when you can watch, follow and corner? Also, you called staring through car windows, the moment of Mindfuck? What, are you in the kindergarten of Mindfucking?

But I simply love how your mind conjures up these brilliant plots, casts you in them (alongside interesting South Delhi chicks) against sexy backdrops (cigar smoke and Irish whisky) and gets you to believe they actually happened. Such an endearing mechanism it is.

Someday, you should write a book on 'Embracing Schizophrenia' :-)

notgogol said...

@kamu: You talk to animals and I'm the eccentric one? You got one shoe parceled half way across the world and I'm eccentric? Go die!

You got the Floyd references! :D

Book on an airhostess? Who would want to read that?

1. lol
2. So am I. Its feminist and all
3. ignoring
4. yeah I do. Crappy movie. Nice still though, so used it.
5. Shh.. he doesn't have to know I said that :P

@Judy: Lol. Someone is pissed.

Btw, how in god's name can Kiefer Sutherland be charming? He's Canadian for god's sake! Clearly ur taste has gone to the dogs these days :P

Let me make one thing clear - NOBODY from SoDi is interesting. They are pompous, arrogant pricks. And I wish they were in my imagination. They can go there after they give me the bottle Jameson 18 Year Old Reserve.

You can sit and have your Infamous Grouse. Bloody blended whiskey drinker. And, I'm tasteless it sems. The gall!

Sowmya said...

Just Too good...
Would be nice to meet you once :)

Raj said...

What ya convoluted plot, from a shady window to shady thoughts through the window. I was expecting more on the SoDi though. Mindfuck was the most outrageous and i hope its not for real :)

kamna said...

teri aajkal har post main li jaa rahi hai... even in the tatoo post u wre ripped apart... :-D ja marr hi ja tu.....

judy - he has this nai dilli fixation... he claims to have dined in a hotel with huge greek architecture (parthenon-ish so he says)... and to top it all, a panjabi durbaan... and he says its on the delhi panjab highway.. also mentioned indiv. TV screens on top of each urinal... some imagination he has

ps. the chick who took your case last time is from delhi... hope she comes bak to read this one :-D

Judy Balan said...

@NG: Give me a lameass Canadian to a wannabe Barney Stinson any day :P
But Keifer Sutherland IS charming. In a hot, psychotic way.

Pompous, arrogant pricks are very entertaining. How come you don't like them? Or is it like Tamil movie plot? Oooh I luuurrrve her so much, I hate her? :D

And what's with the whole Jameson Peterness? Is it because SoDi chick (in your head) might be reading this? Should I tell her about your 'quarter and boiled egg' days at Tasmac? :O

@Raj: Oh nothing is for real, I assure you. You are in the Matrix. Err, NG's head.

@Kamna: LOL. Tv screens on urinals? I wonder what Uncle Freud would have said about this. And he says he's bad at fiction writing. At this rate, he could write Sci-fi (short for Schizo Fiction, of course;P)

The Restless Quill said...

Your best post yet :)It's tight, full of references and unashamedly condemining :P. And I absolutely love that you share my condescension for those from Delhi -- SoDi or NoDi.
Also Irish WhiskEy is an oxymoron. Americans drink whiskEy, the irish, the british and the rest of the odd bunch in the Isles drink whisky.

notgogol said...

@Kamu: She won't back. I sufficiently pissed her off last time around. :P

@Judy: I do drink in desi/cheri places. Nothing to be ashamed of. I'm proud of it, infact :P

@Omanwoman: I don't hate SoDis. They're an entertaining bunch. :)

And btw lady. There are very few things that I've learnt from life. How to walk and how to Johnny Walk. So a lesson is due here -

An Irishman who spells whiskey without an e, should be burnt at the stake and thrown in the sea.

Scots, Canadians and tyros like thee, know no better and drink whisky!

notgogol said...

@Sowmya: Lol. That's the most anyone can tolerate me - once :P

@Raj: There was nothing really shady about the thoughts here? And mindfuck... its juvenile but its better than doing nothing in a traffic jam na. :)

payal.k said...

haha...hav come to ur blog after a long time n must say m havin a lot of fun! :)

notgogol said...

@payal: So what did you learn? Need to come more often okay! :)

Anonymous said...

notgogol said...

Lol @ Anon
How kind! ;)