Monday, October 29, 2007

The time has come for the holidays to come to an end...This period has been amazing in many ways, but I'm looking forward now to the time that is to come...the last phase of school life.
One and a half months of school are left now. As this period approaches...the last chapter of a long and eventful time in school opens.
The times, they truly are a-changin. Thus far, the protected, restricted atmosphere that has shielded my developing years have shown only glimpses of the bigger picture. As Pink Floyd spoke of The too another Wall is being demolished. The wall that surrounds a school student. As can be seen with every fails to completely shut off the outside. I've seen more of the outside than some others might have, and it's been a sobering experience for sure. The question that remains foremost on my mind now is "Where to?"...indeed, where does one go from here?
Whatever may happen...I'm glad for the journey I've had. It's been one hell of a ride.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Durga Puja

These Pujas were simply brilliant, and I won't be able to forget this Durga Puja period for a long time now. I really enjoyed myself, and it was momentous for me in many ways.
Sashti - On Sashthi day, not officially a day of the Puja, the pandals and idols were resplendant in their glory, open for display to the public. That day itself, we started our pandal-hopping, visiting the Ballygunge Cultural, Samajsebi etc pandals. We visited Xrong Place, a new joint near Barista, and also went to Maddox Square, the traditional hangout during Pujas. The day ended listening to some excellent music played by Hip Pocket at my favourite place. We spent the wee hours of the morning riding the giant wheel at Deshapriya Park...which was crowded even at that unearthly hour. It was a great way to start.
Saptami - The day of Saptami began most auspiciously with a splendid feast at The Hub, Taj Bengal where I ate gloriously. However, Saptami was a more sober affair generally...pandal hopping continued, and we once again went to Deshapriya Park (we spent a lot of time there these pujas). Met up with some good friends and we were hanging out randomly. Didn't do much, but still had good fun. After parting with my friends, I went for a long walk, which took me past a few pandals and landed me at Park Circus. After taking a round of the Mela, and buying a little something from there, I went to Shiraz to eat. No better food than Mutton Biryani and Chicken Chaap to celebrate, according to me. It's the best for any festival.
Ashtami - This counted as my favourite day of the festival. My best friends joined me for lunch with the family at Lake Club. After having stuffed ourselves, you would have thought we'd not have the energy to move, but we did, and went to Lake Road CCD. We met up with some other friends there, and headed to Lake Gardens. After checking out the Puja there and indulging in some childish fun, we parted ways. I was to meet my muse at Forum CCD, and my muse arrived, resplendant as ever. Having not met for a considerably long period of time, the conversation went on for quite a while. I accompanied my muse to Maddox Square and later went for a walk. At this point, my muse and I parted ways...I dropped by my favourite place before heading home.
Nabami - It was difficult waking up the next morning, but I managed to do so. Met up with friends and hung out. Deshapriya Park beckoned again, and it was there that I got the call from my parents - they were going to Atrium at The Park. Now, I really enjoy the company of my friends, but I hadn't been to Atrium for a while, and the memory of the food there caused me to drop them like a hot potato (of course, they didn't mind, they weren't doing anything anyway) and head for The Park. You must be getting the extremely wrong impression that I'm obsessed with food and eat a great deal. That judgement is highly flawed, though. I am only obsessed with extremely good food...and I only stuff myself if the food is really good. It doesn't get much better than Kashmiri Mutton biryani, and I ate well. I once again met my friends and we hung out. Took an excellent video of a Dhunuchi Naach that we saw at a pandal near Poddopukur, and we visited the usual spots. As the night wore on, our company lessened gradually till only Eric and I were left. We decided to visit Mohammad Ali Park and College Square, since we hadn't visited them earlier. The crowds were huge, but we survived to see the pandals. We were going to see others, but my friend Eric, who is not used to as great a deal of physical turmoil as I was putting him through, was wearing out, and so we parted ways at around 3 in the morning. That didn't stop me, though, and with one last burst of energy visited the pandals at Bosepukur before calling it a day (or a night, rather).
Dashami - Dashami was sort of anti-climax compared to the frenzy of the days before. We did our usual visits to Xrong Place and Deshapriya Park, but the mood was more sober than the previous days. I parted company with my friends rather earlier than usual on Dashami. In the absence of anything left to see, I headed for the ghats. Now, that was a spectacle. I have been involved with immersions before, but those were of my family puja, Jagatdhatri Puja. Durga Puja bhashans are like a carnival in itself, and a huge crowd thronged the ghats to bid farewell to the goddess, prompting strong crowd control measures by the police. Babughat was heavily crowded, and Judges Ghat had less of a crowd but more idols awaiting immersion. But underneath all that revelry there was a tinge of sadness...the sorrow of the Pujas coming to an end...the four days of joy had reached its completion.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Durga Puja period is my favourite time of the year by far...this place takes on a whole new face during the festive season. Kolkata is best at this time of the year...and I wouldn't miss this for anything in the world.
The sheer frenzy and enthusiasm of the people during this time of the year is what makes the Pujas special...and as I've said before, during this phase, people seem to almost crawl out of the woodwork to take the streets.
Well, anyway...I've been trying to spend as much time with my friends as I can nowadays...somehow it still doesn't seem enough. Maybe I'm getting overtly sentimental approaching the end of school life, but I can't help it...these are the glory days.
On the subject of music, Mark Knopfler's new song "True Love Will Never Fade" and Santana Featuring Chad Kroeger's vocals on "Into The Night" is what I'm listening to most nowadays...although Dire Straits' "Romeo & Juliet" follows closely behind. You can adjudge from the songs what my current sentiments, so I don't need to bother explaining why.
I've got loads of plans for the coming 5 days of Durga Puja...will keep the blog updated with the events of Sashti, Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami and Dashami. Up until the goddess' immersion for her departure to Kailasa, I'll be revelling like a true Bong.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

At the present moment...I'm slightly depressed, at the same time, slightly happy...does that make any sense? Of course not, it doesn't make any sense at's not supposed to. Life itself doesn't make any sense, so why should what I say make any sense?
I'll answer my own question...what I say should be making sense because as rational human beings, we should have rational and reasonable responses to related events in our daily life. But I use the word "Should" for a very significant reason here. It is because we are not omniscient and omnipotent that we sometimes overreact or underreact to very ordinary situations. We don't always use our reason and our logic to analyse our own feelings and our own situation, although we do that to great effect when it comes to other people's feelings and situations.
I am in such a predicament myself. Since I always manage to analyse and deconstruct other people's situations and problems with regard to their emotional state, and always advise them in their course of action, it is particularly painful to be in such a predicament.
There's a very fine line between insanity and normalcy...who's to say where the line lies?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Boss

Before I became a radical Dylan follower, I was a big fan of another singer-songwriter of considerable repute. Bruce Springsteen was one of my early favourites along with The Beatles and Bryan Adams. I used to like Springsteen best of all, because there was something in his throaty roar that I connected with. "The Boss", as he is popularly known, spoke of ordinary life and the common man, and I was a great fan of his music.
Although based on American themes, Springsteen's songs have a dark edge to it that a lot of people can identify with. Born In The USA, although it tells the tale of a returning Vietnam vet, has in it's lyrics sentiments that I think every country's soldier will be able to connect with. It's a matter of shame for a lot of countries, including my own, that the very people who serve their nation with honour and devotion are ignored by their own people and receive a stepmotherly treatment from their leaders. Human Touch speaks of a man's desire for the flesh and his frustration with the struggles with love. Glory Days hark back to that unforgettable phase of school life when looked at retrospectively. Thunder Road is a youth's urge to break free and run wild. Dancing In The Dark, on the other hand, is a portrait of the fun-loving and frivolous youth. I've always liked the working class themes of Springsteen.
Over the years, I've moved on from Springsteen, and although I still hear his songs, I've grown more attracted towards classic rock and the likes of Dylan and Floyd. Now, however, Bruce Springsteen has staged a comeback with the new album "Magic", where he reunites with the E-Street band to once again rock the music fraternity. Looking forward to some more of the old Boss magic to come alive.

Monday, October 08, 2007

God Damn It, He Does It Again

Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there/With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair./She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns./"Come in," she said,/"I'll give you shelter from the storm." (The first meeting)
Now there's a wall between us,/ somethin' there's been lost/I took too much for granted,/ got my signals crossed./Just to think that it all began on an uneventful morn."Come in," she said,/"I'll give you shelter from the storm."(Situation as it stands now)
And if I pass this way again,/ you can rest assured/I'll always do my best for her,/ on that I give my word/In a world of steel-eyed death, and men /who are fighting to be warm./"Come in," she said,/"I'll give you shelter from the storm."(How I feel at this point)
And there you have it...once again, as I have found soooo many times before...Dylan, without knowing me or hearing about me or having ever even bothered to know anything about an ordinary teenager and how he feels, manages to sum up my situation in a few lyrics of his song, this time around it's "Shelter From The Storm". How the hell does the man write words that seem to apply in my ordinary life every single time? It's way beyond me.
As to how the lyrics may may seem incomprehensible to you, but only I truly know how much they're relevant. I may seem to be speaking in riddles to you, and as soon as I get myself in order - which may not be anytime soon, I'll be able to explain things clearly. For now, only select friends and I know what exactly has happened.
Dylan is the master, undoubtedly.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"I know I'm mad...I've been mad for fucking years" - that was a menacing line from the legendary Dark Side of The Moon album by Pink Floyd. And I feel much the same way...I've been mad for fucking years now...I'm not normal, I never was normal...but now I'm in a phase where I just seem to have gone off the edge of neurotic behaviour.
Or maybe it's just my dramatist's brain overdosing on the melodrama...but I can't help it...that's me. "You used to laugh about/Everybody that was hanging out/Now you don't talk so loud/Now you don't seem so proud"...yet again Dylan manages to sum up my situation more aptly than I ever could. I used to find this so funny when I saw other people in this kind of state...and now I'm in it myself, it doesn't seem quite as funny.
I realise I haven't revealed what this state, but only my close friends know what kind of situation I'm in right now, and it's a testimony to our friendship that they've been so supportive thus far.
Maybe the answer isn't that complex after all, but I still try my hardest to avoid it. I'm an idiot and I know it, yet I try my best not to show it.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Coming Near Pujas Time

The city is moving into that exciting time of the year - the Pujas. Yes, the festive season is upon us...and before long Kolkata will be thrown into chaos as crowds throng the streets. This is one time of the year when you see more people in the city than at any other time of the year. I sometimes wonder where all these people go for the rest of the year. They almost seem to crawl out of the woodwork at this time.
For me, this Puja acquires special significance. It will be the last Durga Puja I'll spend with my friends before we all move off in different directions. It might even be my last Puja in Kolkata, since I might be in Bangalore or Hyderabad next year. There's a chance I might remain in the city, but you can never discount the possibility that I'll end up elsewhere.
I feel quite alone right now. I've been trying to hang out with my friends as often as I can because I've been getting this feeling of loneliness for quite a while now. I usually do spend a lot of time by myself, but I don't feel uncomfortable with that solitude. Right now, though, I feel uncomfortable being alone, and yet I can't do anything about it. It's a frustrating feeling, and although I don't want to be bogged down by it, I can't help but being so.
It's ironic. The very time that more people take to the streets of Kolkata, I start feeling lonely. I can only hope that I'll be able to hang around with my friends more now that the vacations are almost upon us.
Somehow, at the back of my mind, I get this strange feeling that there's something else bothering me. I can't figure out what it might be.

Friday, October 05, 2007

CCD, Barista and Coffee

I'm a caffeine addict, and a dedicated one at that. i need my daily dose of caffeine...and if I don't have my customary coffee, I'll make up for it in the coke I drink.
I know that it's never good to be addicted to anything, but I think this is relatively safer than some other substances one can get addicted to. It's hard to kick the habit of a coffee and a coke a day. And plus, I enjoy this addiction. I'm not really very much inclined to stop my regular caffeine intake.
That's the reason why you'll often find me sitting in a CCD or a Barista by myself, listening to music and nowadays, writing something in one of my countless notebooks...perhaps a play or a piece of fiction I've been working on.
In Barista the bonus is that there's an acoustic guitar waiting to be played, so most of time I just pick it up and start strumming or playing something quite random.
One advantage is that with my regular visits, I don't even need to place an order in some cafes...I just walk in, take a seat and they bring my stuff. One time, I even got a free coffee because the manager knew that the first coffee was absolutely crap. These cafes are places where I give gyan to my companions regarding stuff like theatre and music etc...where I discuss life and school with my friends...and where I discuss life in general with my closest friends.
The capability of a man's brain is proportional to the amount of coffee he drinks - I certainly believe that...I don't know if you agree with me there.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Blog

I suddenly realised that it has been a year since I started posting on "Santos Meets Zimmerman". The blog was meant to be a meeting point between the everyday man and philosophical sides of me, and it was supposed to provide more of a reflection, observation and chronicle on life rather than a place to air opinions. I have provided a fair share of those too, but I think my aims have been met with this blog.
I had a couple of blogs before this, but I think this has been the one that has lasted the longest. I don't know how many actually actively peruse the bullshit I put up sometimes, but I'm happy with this blog, and my gyan sessions have been spread to the internet domain thanks to this blog. I've reviewed plays on this blog, I've covered stuff to do with school and with my life. One thing I haven't done enough is to share my views on news events and on critical assessments of movies and music, which I usually consider my speciality. I will definitely make up for the deficiency of that. I did post one good item on the music of Mohiner Ghoraguli, so I think effective measures are already being undertaken.
To whoever does read this, do share your opinions and comments. One thing I haven't had enough of on this blog are comments. Do let me know if you're actually reading this stuff.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Things I'll Miss

I occasionally wonder as to what will become of me. For a very long time, my aim has been to go in for law after school, and in this last year, things haven't really changed. But what I do wonder about now is what is going to happen to a hyper-active character like me once I go to college? Will it be the same, or will things change?
For example, Theatre. Over the last two years, I have become greatly involved in theatre, and I've begun to make a name for myself, however small that name might be. Will I continue theatre even while doing law? I don't know...there are people I know personally who have continued with theatre despite being in of the more prominent examples of them being Deborshi Borat. Deborshi has been a crucial part of Theatrecian despite being in NUJS for about 3 years now. So it's not impossible to do theatre and law, although it'll be considerably more difficult for me if I'm in a place like Bangalore, and even more difficult if I'm in Hyderabad.
Another field I will definitely miss is quizzing. Right from my junior school days, I've been involved with quizzing at the inter-school and later, at the open level. The victory in the Doon School Quiz brought to a glorious end 10 years of school quizzing...and I doubt if I shall get to do too many more quizzes.
I'm gonna miss hockey for sure. Those gruelling training sessions over the December-January period and the fun we had with characters like Chesney and Wayne...I wonder if I'll ever come across anything that comes close to the fun of hockey matches and hockey practices. I've never been too brilliant at it, just about consistent enough to retain my place in the 2nd Division team, but I've had great fun.
Football and rugby are sports I wish I had played more at school. Especially a sport like rugby, because LMB's one of the very few schools in the city...forget city, even country...which promotes a game like rugby with passion. I've played very few matches of rugby...and I sorely regret it now that I'm about to leave.
School fests will be what I will miss a lot. Yeah, even College fests have their own flavour and charm to it, but it's an altogether separate experience with school fests. I've met a lot of amazing people thanks to fests, and I've used these fests as a place to compete in good spirit and good humour. It's been great fun all the way...and it'll be hard coming back to see succeeding batches competing in these fests like I once did with mine.
Although it's all coming to an end, I'll enjoy this time while it lasts.
"It's something unpredictable, but in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life"

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dylan's Influence

Bob Dylan has been my inspiration. In my writing and in my ideas, the works of Bob Dylan have played a crucial part in moulding my individual manner.
Dylan didn't care much for building a facade and presenting things beautifully. That is why till today he sings in his characteristic raspy drawl. In fact, for him, that was the best way to sing...he insisted, "you gotta listen very carefully, but I hit all those notes"...his ability was to strike you in a way that other singers never managed. In spite of his harsh voice, listen to "Like A Rolling Stone" by Dylan and then listen to it rendered by any other singer, Dylan manages to get at you in a way that no one else truly manages to. And the quality of his lyrics is something that you don't need me to explain. There have been several miles of paper which have been dedicated to both explaining and analysing his lyrics. "When you ain't got nothing/ you got nothing to lose"...very few people can write simple truths as effectively as Dylan.
Dylan might not have had the external gloss that we have come to value, and in his concerts, he seemed to sermonize more than he sang, but that's something I appreciate and admire. Up until the Newport Folk Festival, 1965, when he plugged in an electric guitar, he stood alone on stage with his guitar and harmonica, linking directly to the audience. Even the time he went electric, and had his backup in The Band, he still focussed on a simple goal...making music. And what beautiful music it was. Apart from being lyrically brilliant, songs such as Like A Rolling Stone and Mr. Tambourine Man have a melodious quality to it as well.
As a writer, I identify with Dylan's constant insistence that he didn't have any message to convey or anything to protest about despite everyone trying to label him a protest singer. He kept telling anyone who would care to listen that he didn't know what inner meaning people gained from his songs...because he just wrote them...he didn't know what to make of them...that was for the people. I too, don't think of a greater ideal to it all...I simply write. When I start writing, I just keep writing...I don't think about what people might make of it or what it should sound like...I just write. Maybe people think that's the approach of a bad writer, but I don't care. To me, writing is simply a means of letting my thoughts unload in any form...whether it turns out a good result or bad.
I feel a lot like what one of Dylan's more recent numbers say,
"People are crazy and times are strange,
I'm locked in tight, I'm outta range
I used to care but, Things Have Changed".

Monday, October 01, 2007

The 3 Ts

I have developed my own theory of late, which I shared with a few friends. What I postulated was, that in life and in any field of life for that matter, it's a matter of 3 T's which is most important...these being Talent, Technique and Toil.
One might argue that the first two Ts have not much difference between them...that Talent and Technique go hand in hand, but I disagree. To me, Talent is an inborn ability, a natural specialisation or innate skill. However, that should not be confused with Technique, the skills which one has been taught or trained in. Technique for me is the method and execution which is developed by training, guidance or coaching. And lastly, Toil is is simply hard work and the effort one puts into making the best use of one's talents.
Everyone makes use of a different combination of these 3 Ts. In life, and in any field of life, what makes the difference between success and failure is how you make use of these 3 Ts. I have often ignored the latter 2 Ts, but most of the time I've tried to use my talent and ability to work hard to get me through most challenges. Okay, enough of gyan for the time being