Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Travel Notes - Leeds, West Yorkshire


There was once a kingdom here, the Chestnut guy tells me. An ancient Celtic Kingdom called Elmet, in the middle of forest called 'Loidis'. Of course, there are no remains of it, but I believe if you walked through the city today, you could still feel the beauty of the middle ages - lost somewhere in its primitive squalor.

Its beautiful chapels have been turned into a jumble of nightclubs. No, the locals don't seem to have a problem. They love their public houses as much as they love God. Most of the churches in Leeds are small and independent, just as the town people. They find love and worship in small things - community service, clerical work and industrial labour. But what does one see in Leeds?

I also figured that people from Leeds aren't called Leed-ians (like Londoners in an obnoxious way). They call themselves Loiners.

Sounded kind of gross to me.

Loiners?

Sounds like a bunch of shags, like one of the guys said. Ah well, who cared.


The city centre (probably the smallest city centre you might have ever been to) is a fifteen minute walk from the University Campus. Located off Briggate, it houses an entirety of shops and retail outlets. You couldn't really afford anything in Victoria Quarter for all its worth (unless you have recently robbed a bank). For example, the sign at the window said the pretty red Westwood dress 'just' cost nine hundred pounds after a fifty percent discount.


Its the nonchalance of the city that touches you eventually; its life is slow, mellow, distant from the humdrum of activity. People sing.. they dance.. noone cares.noone notices. After a week of living here you might probably befriend the handful who live here. The other half you don't meet, you can recognize. Coffee bars, restaurants, underground clubs and stores.. you might know everything in a month, but something somewhere... touches you.

I couldn't describe what it is.

Monday, 28 July 2008

The best part about this is that it works.

I can say whatever I want, and the millions who read will listen. There are no can-dos and can't-do's. Its simple and easy. Its exciting and exhilarating. It sets my mind free... from the prison of my body..

I like this feeling. Its warm and fuzzy, a little like the time I first rode my cycle without those extra wheels. It was the first time I didn't have to be afraid of falling or being laughed at, because no-one was going to be around.

And finally, you turn up.

Someone who will listen to me.

Its perfect right? Its like a connection between two people stuck in different parts of geography.A bond between two strangers... a conversation between nobodies.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Random things I've noticed in the past few days

- Revathi hasn't shown signs of coming online which means either she is busy or she is ill.

- The guy in the second window from bottom seems to have washed his vest and undies. I'm sure of it as they aren't hanging on his window.

- British newspapers are full of hogwash.

- Yorkie bars and Sweet chilli chips are all I need to survive in this country.I've eaten so much over the past week.Burp.

- Listening to KT Tunstall reduces Emotional 'fuckwittage' and boosts energy levels.

- That my sister sounds like my clone over the phone.

- Cat and Uthree haven't bothered to spend quality time mailing me and I'm making a mental note of it to blackmail later.

- That NK actually seems to like that painting.

- I've been messing up my sorry brain thinking about my apparently-not-so-bright looking future.

- That I love bugging Goel.Love.Love.Love.

- T looks so awfully tired everyday after labwork that I have to bite my teeth and keep all the bugging to do over weekends.Bah.

- That both T and I are going to live on Goel's Colgate toothpaste tube till September and continue to fight over it every morning.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Birthday Woes

Today's the winner. It really was one of Those moments. Goel and I spent four and a half hours in the city trying to decide on a gift for T. Four. And. A. Half. Hours. It couldn't get worse than that. She doesn't read, so books were out of question. We weren't sure whether sizes would be right, so shoes and clothes were out, she had just bought herself a Dorothy Perkins bag so that was out as well. Finally, we were left with two options. Get something blindly, or head home.

Exhausted after an eternity of window shopping, we hurried here and there picking up a few last minute keep-asides like the cake and candles before heading home.Tired as hell. But that wasn't what fate had in store for us. Two people who had toiled hard for the perfect birthday and everything.

Five minutes before we surprised her, when Goel and I sat blowing balloons, it suddenly hit us.

They read 'Happy Retirement'.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Tamilzha.. Tamilzha? (P)unintended.

I think I understand why the world finds it so hard to like us poor Tamilians. I mean, seriously, it cannot get worse than it already is. Its bad enough a few sorry ones like me (by sorry here I mean belonging to the strata of Tamils who can barely manage to read and write the language even though we've studied it throughout school) still manage to pull through .For instance, I still don't know how you say 'ninety' or 'nine hundred' or 'nine thousand'. Worse, I go to Madras after ten months in the UK and figure that my blessed state has taken Tamil loyalism to a whole new level - even phone card instructions read in Tamil. Jesus. Trust me, even the woman who sold me the sim card took about half an hour to figure out what the hell the instructions read.

How Paavam.That's a problem in trying to get to understand Tamil culture.People don't realize that it isn't really that we wouldn't like to be friends with everyone and talk other languages (We are really a nice bunch, you know), its simply that we like what we've got and don't expect anything more. Really. Have you noticed that we show no signs of getting bored with ourselves.Look at us: when has Sun TV ever run out of old soap operas, or Kumutham stopped telling you who that actress slept with and this director married the third time? When has Sun music run out of callers asking for the repeat of the same hit song or Spencer Plaza showed signs of being empty? We even watch the same comedy scenes and know the dialogues of every sorry Tamil film we've watched in a lifetime. And that's just it, we don't miss anything.We don't get tired of our Idly and Sambhar diet, we don't get tired of the constant everyday bickering with autodrivers considering we are the only state that still does not follow a meter system, we still have open manholes all over the city, we still go religiously to Sathyam cinemas and whistle. And that's just it. Our lives are just about enough. There are no great Tamil dreams, we know our politicians are a bunch of boneheads who are both ugly and money-minded. We even know that people will still vote for them just because of the free rice and free television sets.

Sigh. I sit back and watch my friends bickering and boo-ing down Tamil mentality and blah-blahing about the state of affairs in the future if we do not make friends with our malloo and gulti neighbours. The thing people don't get is being Tamil has nothing to do with being friends with anyone. If you are in Tamilnadu, for instance, I don't think you can ever really be anything but a Tamil. You could be half-Irish,point five percent punjabi, three fourths a Zebra and still you get to only feel Tamil and nothing else. Pathetic and awesome at the same time, right? that is exactly how banal the average person's lifestyle is.

This time I went to Madras, for all the cribbing I've made my friends from Bangalore endure, I don't think I wanted to step out of home. It just felt good- That soddy life, the humdrum of Mount road, the evening traffic, the dirty streets, uninteresting Spencer Plaza, and the fragrance of fresh Bru early in the mornings. I don't really know which part of me I'd call 'Tamil', but I sure as hell know that part of me totally, totally is.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008





A picture
of T's
extremely
pretty
shoes.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The (in)convenience of having best friends who know you so well (that it gets painfully annoying at times):

Me : re...do you think..
Revathi (cuts me short): Yes, he loves you alot. I don't think that, I know that.

Me: You know what, I got drunk last night, I even had a few cigarettes. I've started smoking you know..
Revathi (Dead silence):
Me: ok, fine..I was kidding.
Revathi: Yeah, I knew that was coming next.

Me: Are you busy?
NK: I'll be back in a while ok..
Me: Fine..
NK: I know it isn't fine and you're mad at me now.

Me: You know,, I dunno how to describe it, I felt like.. so confused, I mean.. like I hate it and like it at the same time..you know..like sort of its nice but not so nice.. but in a nice way... you get it?
Uthree: Yeah, I know. I totally understand.

Taking a bow..

I couldn't think of anything to say about myself, really. I find just about anything and everything interesting, especially things I don't understand.

Guys, Math, the stock market, and the English weather.


oh,well.

Friday, 18 July 2008

A New beginning

I don't know why I had to start writing afresh. But I think, at 22, afresh means letting go something. It means stacking up uniforms, snapshots, school-ties, frames, sweetwrappers, letters and a whole load of what-its and what-nots into a big cardboard box, shoving them in the highest loft, then breaking the ladder so there's no way you can climb up and have all that again even if you wanted to.

This blog is about the moments that follow the cardboard box shoving.

It's about the things that were, things that will be... it is about new people, new places,new coffee joints, and a few old things I still have hidden in my closet.