Friday, February 25, 2011

Hangover

His head buzzed and throbbed as if it were his heart, pumping blood. The clatter of hammers outside the window didn't much help. He thought of love in the sunlight that the same window passed to him. This is right after he woke up. Right after. Everything seemed to fade off into the distance. The sky turned lighter, went farther. And the buildings, they too all receded until they were little exhibitionist models of themselves, far into the distance, content with their new-found insignificance. The Sun still as big, or bigger, and its rays, red hot, fell on his face. He sat facing the Sun but closing his eyes. The clatter's still there, the head still abuzz like a radio tuned to the wrong frequency..

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

About Me

Dear reader,

I am 30, from New Delhi, India, and work as a quantitative analyst at an investment management company in the NYC area. In my leisure time, I like to play table tennis and cricket, watch movies and mushairas, read poems and short stories, and listen to ghazals. I enjoy learning about Macro and behavioral economics, history and international affairs, statistical modeling, and cognitive sciences. It doesn't hurt that these interests also have at least some bearing in my career - sometimes only because I force them to have a bearing. Years ago, I used to sketch a lot and write short stories. I don't anymore, at least not deliberately.

This blog is a bit of a chaotic collection of my thoughts on various topics over the years, plus a whole lot of personal musings. It lacks a common theme or lasting purpose, other than to exist.

Still, if you would like to contact me, I can be reached through a comment on any of the myriad posts on this blog, which enables me to get an email alert.

Thank you,
he whose blog it is.

*Last edit: 9 January 2017

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yellow Page Tampered With

Dated 13th February 2004

Dear XXXXX,

I kept looking at you in the class today. Avanti was giggling the whole time elbowing you, but you - you think one sermonizing word you miss from the mouth of the Pope (that, face it, is what he is to you) and your board examsheets will get swapped with Raza’s. Oops. How would that be for Raza*!

Now don’t go and tell AKG, like your friend Sudhamini did with Birdie. Poor guy had only got wind chimes. Plus you know what, you guys don’t know that his Dad’s a PoW and his Mom’s not being granted compensatory employment by your revered Air Force. Ok, sorry, but this sucks. Although he sucks too. His mom’s sewing clothes now - and my sources are trusted: those who’re getting their clothes sewn! – and he’s spending the bloody money on wind chimes and a new suit for farewell. Plus for whom – Sudhamini! If I were Tony Greig I’d be saying Ooh La la, but of course I am not, plus of course you don’t know who Tony Greig is. No matter, I like you despite that*. But don’t you complain to AKG, I’m telling you.

I’ve heard your Dad’s been made an Air Commodore. Wow and kudos and ahaan big shot and congrats and all that but you know that I’m not writing to you to discuss your Dad’s wonders (except you). Just felt like giving the e-lovemail a wheedletouch. Ok, now. Don’t be angry. Just email. Your Dad rocks. Ok now don’t be angry. But it would be nice if he could get Birdie’s mom to be a sub JW ranked typist or something. I know he can.

But what the heck. This sounds like an e-lovemail to Birdie’s mom, not you. I really like you – all the crap that Sudeep and co gave you about me is shit and they’ll eat shit for being like this. I really do like you. I can’t get you what the primary whacko did, not for now, but I can - on a postdated cheque. But hey, a whack is a whack no matter how superficially special he might succeed in making you feel because his Dad has money, which, if chromosome inheritance is anything to go by, his dad must also have made by dubious, unintelligent ways – after all that’s where little whack gets his tomato-soft brain from.

You’re cute. I’m not uncute. Date me. We’d even go to see Main Hoon Naa if you want.

Your best prospect*,
XXXXXXX

*Not mean. Just kidding.

Observation 0588

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Only beauty, mind you. Ugliness is actually there.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Triveni

I

I seated myself, late to work, in the cab
One rascal trickled down my cheek
The driver noticed


II

آج آباد شہر غور رہا تھا مجھکو
کوئی اتلاف نہ ہونے کی کسم مانگ رہا
مہینے خود کو پاکد کے رکھا تھا
Aaj aabaad shahar ghoor raha tha mujhko;
Koi itlaaf na hone ki kasam maang raha;
Maine khud ko pakad ke rakha tha.
III

यह ह्रदय है वास्तव में बुलबुल जल का
इसके भी व्याकुल अंतर का स्पर्श नहीं संभव
पर इसको खंडित, आज्ञा है, कर लो निःसंकोच
Yah hriday hai vaastav mein bulbula jal ka:
iske bhi vyakul antar ka sparsh nahi sambhav.
Par isko khandit, aagya hai, kar lo nihsankoch.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Absentia

I sometimes write a rhyme with pen on paper,
then type it on this phone that you claim yours.
I stare at "SEND" in haze and feel zest vapour,
thinking that these lines don't have the force
that is possessed by my unmoving, almost absent-minded gaze
out of the window, seeking your face in skyscrapery maze.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mind-Boggling

"The top 1% of households accounted for only 8.9% of the income in 1976, but this share grew to 23.5% of the total income generated by the United States in 2007."*

You would say that's quite a shift, but still not mind boggling. But what when you look at it this way:

"Put differently, of every dollar of real income growth that was generated between 1976 and 2007, 58 cents went to the top 1% of the households."*

If that isn't mind boggling, the author of this blog certainly doesn't know what is.

And herein lies an intellectosocial question to the John Galts** and Alan Greenspans*** of the world. It is no CIA secret that Mrs. Alissa, through her model John Galt, almost came to the conclusion (or a proposal?) that the bottom inhabitants of the economic pyramid feed like parasites off the talents and enterprise of the top inhabitants. Although I have long doubted that she was a great possesor of humanity, I have no doubts whatsoever that she possesed mental faculties of considerable might. Which brings me to my question. Now did they, people well endowed with IQ that they were, did they really think the bottom 99% chunk was so utterly dismally unproductive that it could be responsible for (or be adjudged responsible for) only 42% of hard growth while the 1% of Galts accounted for 58% in the capitalist system that followed Alissa's vision almost to the T. I'm not questioning their conclusion****, I'm merely asking really? To this extent?



________________________________________________
*from 'Fault Lines', Raghuram G. Rajan, published by Collins Business, 2010.
**Read Alissa Rosenbaums, since John Galts are only their theoretical models.
***who led us through the great utopian-while-it-lasted, dystopian-once-it-didn't capitalist extravaganza, taking (more than) a leaf from the John Galts, and broadcasting openly their megafanhood to Alissa Rosenbaum.
****which I don't believe in anyway, and won't after four million liters of alcohol down my throat.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Morning in Bombay

3rd February 2010

It’s 6:46 by my watch. I found myself up at 5 today, even though I’d slept as late as nearly 1:30. I don’t know why, maybe I’m just nervous sharing the bed with a stranger. A male stranger, to be specific.

It’s seven now. In the fourteen minutes since 6:46 the sky has cleared from the grey of old, worn roads to the white of white shirts washed with Robin Blue. I couldn’t help watching the magic unfold from the window. By the way, he’s still asleep, my male bed-partner.

He looks like someone who worked hard at the gym, got good muscles and physique and everything and then gave the whole ordeal up to find that then the body took back on him all it’s vengeance of the years gone by when he tortured it. Sure you know what I’m talking about, haven’t you seen how bigtime gymmers all grow somewhat round in that peculiarly clumsy, unshapely way after they give up gymming? It’s just that kind of a thing with him. But why am I talking about him.

It’s my first day at work today. First day at work at this place I mean. Bombay. Crisil. Dad’s really happy with this job. Once thing he’s really happy about apart from it being a good company is that it’s an Indian company, he’s by design wary of MNCs and foreign companies. It’s the first day. I hope it is as good as it has been in my dreams.

Bombay’s beautiful but Delhi’s more beautiful. You’d never appreciate it if you always lived in Delhi, but Delhi has orderly, wide roads that cut each other at right angles. It has symmetry. Who was it who called symmetry the basis of all beauty? He had something there. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that symmetry is beauty, but I will say at least that symmetry is beautiful. But for all the breadth and beauty of Delhi, it, I must admit, lacks the vada pao.

Enough of peripheral claptrap. I miss my family. No, I’m not missing the rest just as yet but I’m sure as hell I will.