Tuesday, September 20, 2005

depression over the bay

Well...it has been raining cats and dogs. I am tired of these rains. The roads are full of pot holes and flooded. It is muddy all over.

But work continues with foggy old lawyers. Today is pent the whole day in the court library poring over the ingredients of perjury. I love this job. Our court libraries are noisy, dusty and over crowded. But I still like it. There were fruitful results at the end of the day. Tomorrow was slated for the cross examination of two witnesses but the witnesses have developed cold feet. All said and done the cross examination is an intimidating event in people's lives. It is a careful manouvering of facts: a transaction that covers the black and white aspects of our life.

It is close to midnight. Half wet. There are ideas in the head. But the fingers refuse to coordinate with the ideas. Will give a better update tomorrow.

Monday, September 19, 2005

chose a difficult film

Mystic River was the wrong choice. My light hearted day with lot of hope and optimsim got pretty mesed up with paedoplilia and murders. No doubt, it is a good film. For once a Hollywood film does not give s straight equation of crime and punishment. The intricate layers of history that constitute a crime is quite brilliantly portrayed. I have no complaints on it. Actually I shouldnt have complaints.

Its all about paedophilia. Scares the shit out of me. I dont like to watch any of these violent themes. Unsettles me terribly. I like violence to be packaged like Kill Bill. Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman make me feel good. I want feel good films. Needless to mention that feel good has to be quality stuff. Is that the reason why I watch seedy romances? Maybe. But the truth is that I am also bored with those romances. How long can one watch such spineless films.

We are anyway leading lives full of sexual assault and fear of assault. It is a childish feeling that I dont want to watch it on screen too. I want the screen to be filled with big heros and heroines doing their job against evil. Hmm. Sounds irrational. I anyway didnt promise to be rational all the time.

An aside. I am really impressed by Clint Eastwood's directorial capacities. When I watched him in those cowboy films I thought he was macho. Never expected him to have such finesse. I am really surprised. It is also inspiring to see such a person who has grown old but doesnt give up and is bent on exploring his mind further. Thats the best part I guess. To be creative and passioante in ur life till the very end.

I hate people is good form retiring without making an effort to explore their lives. Unless illness cripples my body I wil continue to be a public person, nay a public intellectual. I am wasted if I dont work.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

simmering soup

Why do I have this compulsion to write everything like this? I am obsessed with this journal. I am constantly narrating to this stranger and to myself. I derive such voyeuristic pleasure in writing these notes, these musings. I have become so intensely aware of myself, my actions, my lows, my highs...my everything.

I had a lovely evening out. Showered, gelled and perfumed, I set out to walk the downtown. Spent a couple of hours ambling around in one of those huge shopping malls which has everything from clothes to coffee and books. Drifted in and out picking up small gifts for a friend who is leaving. Thought of having a coffee but it was the time of day when I would have enjoyed a vodka or a beer. But no such luck in my city. Pubs are still meant for couples and groups of friends. Of course single men are most welcome in these pubs. Not so for sigle women. We can be grabbed and squeezed. Going to a pub alone is equivalent of being a whore. So that settled the matter. Fantsised for sometime about a pub which caters only to women or courteous men who accept a woman's no to be a no.The former may be possible but I have no hopes for the latter. I must admit that it is possible for two women to spend a quiet evening. Being single screws it up.

Took a bus back home and enroute picked up a film from the nearby video library. Reached home, spent soem time with my aged father and then walked up to my apartment. Switched on the world space radio and set it to country music. Chopped vegetables, sipped some irish cream whisky and let the stew simmer. Decided to write a little before I settled down to 'Mystic River'.

Mmmm...the soup/stew really smells good. Any takers?

difficult silences

I drank feni last night. Not much. But I hav a light hangover swimming around me. Any party means lots of hard work. There is work preceeding the party and alsoa fter the party. Glasses will be all over. If kids are around and then tidbits of food is strewn all around. So it meant lot of clearing up. Moreover I was alone. Felt a little sad for myself as I swept and mopped the house last night. Tried watching a film after that. I was so tired that I just slept off without waking up even once.

It is a Sunday but I am working. Lawyers work on Sundays. I have to meet a senior lawyer with whom I am working. Maybe I will not go. I have to narrate a sad anecdote about him. I ahev know this senior lawyer for a long time. I respect him for his knowledge of law and his court room craft. Remember the client about whom I was narrating in the last blog? Well, the same woman went to meet him to study the case. I could not make it that day as I was held up elsewhere. My client went to his office along with her father. The senior lawyer quickly packed off the father on some errand and began to ask embarassing question. My client is a beautiful woman, fair, young and articulate.To her horror he began to quiz her about her sexual life. She was caught in a fix and found it difficult to either talk or not. After all it is a hierarchical situation. He is a senior lawyer and she is a litigant in distress. Further he also tried touching her. I think she managed to come out by mouthing some excuse.

She later narrated to me the entire story. To put it mildly I was shocked and also angry. After a long discussion we both decided to keep quiet about the incident. This is how we deal with sexual harassment. We are silent most of the times. I am silent as his presence is vital for this case. It is too late in the day to engage another lawyer. I promised my client that she will no longer go alone to meet him. I feel wretched as I make these adjustements. With me this filthy old lawyer is professional and straight if not a little garrulous. He is careful with me as I am quite powerful. But men like this will only prey on powerless distressed women. Thats the worst part.

Interestingly my client confides only in her rmother and not her father. The secret is shared between the three of us. We share and swallow this indignity.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Its a beautiful bright sunny day. It may seem that I am speaking like one of those cold climate peope. But we have had such a heavy monsson this time. It has been raining for the past three months almost conitnuously. I am a person used to droughts, water shortages and moody monsoons. Therefore many of us were quite puzzled by so much rain. But I am sure the tanks in and around our city is full. The barren countryside is so green. Farmers are happy. The rains have been so heavy that we were almost flooded. Bombay is an example. There is immense controvery about the reasons for these floods. The fingers point at indiscrminate building and encroachments on the streams and drains of the city as there is no outlet for the copious rainwater to drain away. Thats a huge subject with heavy stakes involved. An important issue but not for a bright Saturday morning. Let me leave it at that.

I have a party this evening. Its a salad party. I have decided on three salads: a). chickpea. b) vergetables c)devileld eggs. Plus there will be vodka and orange juice for the adults and coke for the children. I need to shop now for the veggies, eggs and otehr stuff. I love to cok for a party. Cooking is such an integral part of my life. I feel anchored in my home only if I cook. At the same time I am not the routine cooking types from which most women have no respite at all. I like to cook selectively. If I have to cook rice dal and curry on an everyday basis I will end up crazy. Hmm. I think by an large I lead a privileged life. But I hasten to add that I fought tooth and nail to earn these privileges. Nothing comes free in life.

This party reminds me of the film 'The Hours' where Meryl Streep plans and shops for her party. Quite a beautiful film.

I will also get a film. The day as it is stretching out looks pretty good.

marital woes

There is such a difference between the contents of what I write in the evenings and mornings. Evenings, I only have morose writings to my credit. Mornings seem to offer more hope to the world.

Today is going to be a long day. A tough trial in court. A mentally ill mother is my client. She has a child of five years old. The husband says thats she is mentally ill and ineffective and therefore cannot take care of the child. He proposes that he should have the custody of the five year old. The wife says that her illness was caused by the husband's ill treatment. She was not born with the illness. It was the violence of conjugality that produced the illness. Sounds familiar isnt it. There are many of us here who would attest to this fact. Marital incompatibility and marital violence is so common in our lives. I guess a majority live in marriages that do not suit them. But we go on for the sake of children, respect in community, loneliness, some sex, some love and so on. Not all of us separate. It depends on how we manouver some space and respect for ourselves. This does not preclude the fact that respect and space are results of major battles. Many of us do arrive at some consensus.

Some marriages go completely bonkers. They are the ones that end up in the courts. My mentally ill client is one example. The child is the bone of contention between them. The child signifies many battles between the two of them. Except the child there is no other peg to hang their battles. The husband is trying his best to prove that she is mad, uncooperative at home, uninspiring in bed and most importantly a useless mother. He has caught hold of her medical prescriptions and letters to prove that he has ben living with a mad woman all along. The wife is battling his allegations quite courageously. She endured an elaborate seven hour cross examination with aplomb. The child becomes important for her status as that is the only way of proving that she is sane. This trial has been quite an eye opener for me in the sense that the battle for the child is not simply about maternal/paternal love for the child. It is a trial of establishing sanity. It is incidentally that the child becomes the pawn in the game.

The other side lawyers hates me. He is a foggy old man who doesnt know what marital incompatability means or that society gives a certain sanction for a husband to ill treat a wife. I dont say that women/wives/mothers are innocent. But as far as sanction and those invisible rules of society go, it is the man and his family who set the rules for the wife. According to him there should be no separations. The home is a peaceful haven where the man and woman should coexist on consensual terms. However all divorce applications are evidence of the battle ground that a family or a marital relationship is. Yet in the face of this glaring evidence we continue to espouse the cause of the peaceful domestic space. Our films, our advertisements reinforce this concept of the guileless family.

His lawyer thinks that it is all the woman's fault. Now that is a non negotiable position. My position is that we have to share faults and also understand the larger family frame in which these faults are located. It is true that my client has her share of problems. It is clear that resumption of the marriage is not possible between them. In such cirumstances would it not be best to separate amicably with negotiable terms of settlement?

But domestic battles rarely fit the rational. They are contested tooth and nail. An eye for an eye. Marriage is something in which we have invested all our money, dreams and future projects. It is a big investment. So when such an investment goes awry, the battles are truly tremendous.

The most common repsonse to a custody battle is that the child is suffering. I beg to disagree. The child moves between father and mother and gradually takes advantage of both the parties. The child also forgets in phases. But it is the adults who are worst hit. I am not sure if I will fight such a battle. I would be torn apart.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

blown fuse

I came home. It was dark. Unlocked the house and walked in. Switched on a lamp and the fuse went off. Silently told myself that I ahve to replace the bulb. Groped around in the darkness until I found the other light switch. Switched it on to see the loneliness spreading around. Threw my bag in a corner. Walked into the bathroom and switched on the geyser. My next stop was the kitchen . My housekeeper has made some food and tucked it into the fridge. I need to just cook some rice. There is nothing to do. I dont have the initiative to switch on the world space too. Walked into my office and switched on the computer. Chatted for a few minutes and then I back to my writing.

The evening is the loneliest of all hours. I cant read as I am too tired. I dont know. This is depressing. i dont want to write anymore about this. reminds me of all the lonely people on earth.

There are some who have the skill of writing poetry about loneliness. Most poetry and lovesongs are about being left alone and left behind. Coming to this interesting topic called love songs, I have a problem with the canvas that a love song spreads out. It is mostly so limited. One is either celebrating love and lust or lamenting that he/she has left. There are very few songs which cover the acres of middle ground that is there between these two extremes. Maybe that is the reason they are love songs. Exceptions are some of the blues traditions and old singers like Bessie Smith who have scripted some interesting songs. Otherwise they are all the same. Where are the nuances, where are the subtleties, where are the bylanes of love?

How do i change the way my blog looks? I dont like the green which I am inhabiting.Atleast some comments on this topic will be appreciated.

Some more later. I want to now read what others have scribbled on their blogs. My readers maybe wondering about me. Is this the way I spend my evenings? Yeah, most of the times they are as uninteresting as today.

morning ragas

Yesterday's low has pased. The morning is beautiful. I have this steaming cup of coffee on my table, Hindustani classical music playing in the background and I can manage atleast an hour of writing before I rush into the survial game of bathing eating and going out for work. My ideal time to wake up is a little before 6am. Its being competitive with the sun rise. But he always beats me at it. The dawn with its colour of the sky, the silence and the moist dew makes it the best part of the day. I am a morning person. The few days when I dont wake up early makes me very disorienting.

An hourof reading or writing in the morning gives me a sense of purpose to my life. Before setting out to towork, i believe in working atleast a couple of hours to set the pace for the entire day. I may seem a moralist. My intution is that productive work requires an immense amount of discipline. It may be writing fiction or non-fiction, filming or photograpghy. The passion does not emerge unless one has invested long hours and thought in it. Quality stuff is not a freak entity or a matter of luck. I am slowly realising the hard work that is present behind the scenes.

Coming back to my blog. I rememebr telling my readers that this blog began with the purpose of recording the minute things that make up our lives. It was and continues to be voyeuristic in its objective. A person who may be following this blog should be able to get an intimate sense of the perosn writing it. I very quickly realised the difficulty of sticking to my everydayness. It has already become boring to talk about my lows, showers, toilets and masturbations. To indulge in the self needs a different energy. Or writing skills that bring out a certain quality to the mundane. Or maybe a different concept to frame the mundane. Otherwise it simply stays as the mundane. I cannot boast of such writing skills or a framework. Instead I am planning to write about the ideas that animate me. It may be a film, a friendship, a newspaper article and so on. The mundane will find its space in these locations.

My next post will be a review of the film Jagged Edge that I watched on television last night.

Jagged Edge

Jagged Edge was filmed on HBO last night. Glenn Close acts the conscientious tough woman lawyer. She is defending a 'big' man who is alleged to have murdered his wife. I willc all him the husband. I walked into the film pretty late so I am not sure about the first part about how he contacts her or how she ends up being his lover too. So she is his attorney and his lover too. Defends him in court during day time and fucks him in the night. The typical Hollywood plot. She is a lawyer who believes in sending the guilty to prison and also makes sure that he is indeed innocent before she decides to defend. That is the Hollwood's conception of most lawyers, especially female. They need to have a cause and they believe in the cause to such an extent that they also have to become the accused's lover. Yeah, I am being sarcastic.

The accused goes to trial. It is a close fight between the defence lawyer and the District attorney. Witness after witness coems to depose of the adulterous character of the husband. On one level any new witness throws the defence attorney into anxiety that she may testify against the husband. On the othe rlevel our defence attorney is also upset about the promiscuity of the accused some of which he has revealed and some of which he has concealed. So the trial runs on these two themes. A note on how the husband is alleged to have killed. He masks himself in black top to bottom and brandishes a jagged knife. He ties the woman's hands and legs to the bed post and then plays around with the woman's body. He cuts nipples, makes incisions in the vagina and so on and so forth.

As the state's witnesses start streaming in the defence attorney begins to have her doubts about the husband. Witness after witness recounts the promiscuous nature and his plans of eliminating the wife. Glenn Close is not convinced of the husband's innocence. She is on the verge of giving up the case. At that point miraclously there appears a single line note asking her to bring a certain Julie Nelson as a witness. Glenn Close rushes to Julie Nelson's house and summons her as a witness. Julie Nelson testifies that eighteen months back she was assaulted by a masked man with a jagegd knife and a rope. She of course lives alone in a mansion facing the sea. Julie recounts the gory details of her nipples being slashed and so on. More importantly she points a guilty finger to another witness who is a waiter in a club with whom she was friendly. This same hunk of a witness has also been more than friendly with the deceased wife.

We have strident scenes between the DA and our lawyer who is now convinced that the wife was killed by her lover and not by her husband. The next day the jury declares the husband "not guilty". There are scenes of jubiliation and that evening Glenn Close rushes to the husband's house and spends the night with him. The next morning we find a rosy Glenn Close with the 'morning after' look fondly looking at the man. The happy man goes out on some errand and in the meantime Glenn decides to change the sheets on the bed. Remember women lawyers are lovers and also good housekeepers. We see an impressive closet with piles of clean sheets. As she is pulling out a pink sheet she touches something metal. Her curiosity is piqued. She throws the sheet aside and fingers the metal. It is a typewriter. She pulls out a sheet and types. The type is similar to the letter that she had recieved informing her about Julie Nelson. Now Glenn Close knows that she has set free a psychopathic killer. She rushes out with the typewriter wrapped in her coat.

Late in the evening the husband calls GClose to enquire about her health. Our lawyers spills the beans and says that she knows it all. Within a few minutes we have a masked man breaking the window in the lawyer's apartment and walks into her bedroom. Glenn CLose is freshly showered with gel in her hair and a white terry robe lying on her bed. The man in black and the woman in white. As he advances GClose pulls out her revolver and kills him at point blank range.

Yeah. Its a film. And we should not expect realist narratives here. But that does not preclude us from exmainig the assumptions of the film. For this see the next post.

Have to rush. Shit, shower, eat and rush out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

tired thoughts

hmm. Why am I writing this blog? To answer this question I began to look at many blogs that constitute this blog world. Maybe it is for many reasons that one writes. First the interface of the blog is so good. Rather than writing on a white page of the word document, it is elegant to write in such a window. Two, I am in touch with my writing. Three, the distant hope that strangers will read it and comment.

But I suppose at the end of the day it is a way of keeping in touch with yourelf. If someone reads it, I see it only as a bonus. Life does not offer too many bonuses anyway. It is a capitalist world. For a long time I thought of maintaining a journal but it never took off. The few times I wrote has been such a treasure trove for me. The journal is so important to keep track of thought processes. To know what your state of mind was two months or two years back. I forget and and only listen to what I am today. I only hope that I maintain this.

More importantly this journal has the privilege of being anonymous. I can write anything. I hope to explore this terrian far better in the coming days.

It is time to turn in. Feel too tired to even take a shower. But I cant sleep without bathing. I carry the pollution of the city. I am feeling lonely. Inexorably lonely. I have to cook my dinner. I hope there is something good on television. Otherwise how do I sleep. I dont even have a book to read. I should fix the bed lamp. The world space music is also boring. I think when one is on a low everything looks and sounds boring. Boredom is the outcome of depression. sighs. I am sure I will walk out of this if I sleep well.


Writing my Journal

I rushed home this evening to write about my day. It is a thought that has been spinning in my head. To be my own voyeur, to indulge in that complete narcissism has been a pet fantasy. But to frame and map the experience into text has been a daunting task. Never gathered my courage to do it. I thought that I cannot attempt to write something like this. I felt that it would be banal and uninspiring. But for some reason today I feel inspired to write. Maybe I feel ready to start that first foray into writing stuff like this. I am scared to name it as fiction. I don’t know. Let me first recount how this idea began.

Yesterday was one of those relaxed days. Good work at the court and a sense of fulfillment. Added to that there was nobody at home to ask for my attention. I had the day all for myself. I wanted to please myself and relax. I have only two or three ways of relaxing. Either get a good book and read or watch film. Yet another way is to chat. Years of chatting has however shown that it sucks your energy far more than it relaxes. Howver I chose to chat. Chat holds a certain thrill, a promise of the unknown. I slept through the afternoon. Woke up around 5.30pm feeling refreshed and relaxed. I made a cup of tea and settled before my computer. My computer is in my office that I have set up with great care and attention. A neem tree ponders outside my window. A focused light which falls directly on the keyboard illuminating just that portion and nothing more. The right kind of light, a mosquito repellant and the world space radio playing jazz in the background. The weather was cloudy and threatening to rain.

I switched on the computer, connected to the broadband internet connection and logged onto yahoo messenger. This almost seems like an advertisement for Yahoo. Logging in and then finding your friend gleaming yellow on the yahoo window is one of those pleasures which a chat addict will alone know. A conversation followed with this friend whom I will call G.

G and me have been friends for a long time. We are ‘net’ friends. We keep bumping into each other on and off. We share news about the good things of life like films, music and other meandering stuff. In the course of these conversations I mentioned my desire to document the routine aspects of my life, in a sense to be my own voyeur. The concept of voyeurism generally evokes only sexual parts of the mind and body. But to begin and conclude with the body reduces the force of voyeurism to the linear and the obvious. G and me began to discuss the possibilities of simply documenting the grumpiness of the morning, the small little chores that we go about without giving a second thought. The idea of watching and remembering what we did this morning without excluding any aspect either under the garb of trivial or dirty was the objective. We talked a little more about the Manisha Koirala film which had a similar theme where a young boy watches this woman going through her day. He watches her as she wakes up, brushes her teeth, spills the milk and so on. He watches her cry, when she is ecstatic, when she is defeated. The film was badly made but promised a good theme. On this note G and myself promised each other gory details of our day.

My evening on the net continued for another three to four hours chatting with other friends. One old and one new. The old friend is literally an old man, a story teller and one of those agile elusive men best suited to this medium. It’s a breeze to speak to him. On the other hand the conversation with the new friend was troubling. It traveled on a sad note and ended rather abruptly. I went on well past midnight and finally disconnected out of sheer fatigue. Unlike other times I was only physically exhausted but not depressed.

I walked around the house in a disoriented way. Pulled out the food from the fridge and set it for heating. Cant deny that I felt a little lonely. Finally finished the long day with a shower, dinner and some reading before I hit the bed. The hot water shower made me feel a little better. I slipped into a faded soft night gown. I tried the television hoping to find a film to engage me but to my ill luck it was not working. It was softly raining with a nip in the air. My back was aching sitting for so long before the computer. A dull ache. I had no good novel to read. One of those pleasant books that lull you into sleep. I was too sleepy to read the old Mills n’Boon. The events of the day, the conversations were passing noiselessly through me. I knew that tomorrow was not a very hectic day and decided to sleep late. I wondered if I should watch the film “Cinderella Man” tomorrow which G had mentioned. But a film would definitely distract me from writing the journal. I was weighing the various projects on hand. The excitement of writing this journal was already taking shape.

And then the lethargy of getting up to switch off the lights. I cursed myself for not fixing the bed lamp. It was too much of a bother to fix it now. With my sheet trailing behind me I switched off the lights. It was such a joy to snuggle into bed, grope for the sheets and then as the darkness settled to see the lights of the street crawling into your vision. The world felt so small and intimate. To the whirring of the fan I snuggled again, turned on the side, pushed my face into the pillow, pulled one leg under my chin, covered myself with the sheet and closed my eyes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

primetime hassles

I woke up early to post some more thoughts. But today I have had the excitement of creating my own blog and publishing it. so most of my time went into creating, naming and all deleting cookies etc. Learning to be savvy in this world. Hey, but its great fun. And I was so busy doing all this that i forgot the way time raced. Reading various people's blogs is also so interetsing. Literally the underbelly of normal people's lives. My phone was almost silent except for one call froma friend who si lonely but seems to have no clue about dealing with it. Listened to her patiently for sometime watching intently at the clock ticking in front of me.

I have to rush. I hate to chop onions and green chillies to make breakfast. Thank God there are some bananas at home. The breakfas is therefore oats and bananas. Oats and cornfalkes is a pro-woman breakfast especially for Indian women who have to produce these enormous breakfasts.

Have to go. Will log in again after I get back.