Monday, May 28, 2012

Kiss me, pretty protoplasm by Phillip Wylie

Life is just a passing spasm, In an aggregate of cells; Kiss me, pretty protoplasm, While your osculation dwells. Glucose-sweet, no enzyme action Or love-lytic can reduce, Our relations to a fraction Of hereditary use. Nuclear rejuvenation Melts the auricle of stoic: Love requires a balanced ration— Let our food be holozoic; Let us live with all our senses While anabolism lets us— Till—with metaplastic fences Some katabolism gets us. Till, potential strength, retreating, Leaves us at extinction’s chasm: And, since time is rather fleeting, Kiss me, pretty protoplasm.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blah blah blah

I wish I could write beautiful literary pieces. Tragic tales or quirky ones or sensual stories of love and lust or some mystical realism work of brilliance.

I wish I were just an inch or so taller.

I wish I were 7-8 lbs (bideally 10 lbs) skinnier.

I wish my hair never got frizzy.

I wish I were super sporty looking, even if I didn't play any sport.

I wish I could talk smart about EVERYTHING.

I wish I could read super fast.

I wish I were interested in all sorts of non-fiction writing too.

I wish I could drive and own a little VW Beetle (Sleek and shiny Orange, maybe with white or black or pink or green polka dots)

I wish I could sprint in heels. Or just even walk!

I wish I had a million dollars (or more, obvi!)

I wish I could be funny, just inherently, without ever having to try.

I wish I could always always listen to Elvis Duran. I truly believe that we could be friends. I hope if he ever reads this he'll think the same.

I wish I were friends with Justin Timberlake. I also think he'd be a good friend to have.

I wish I could stay in touch and actually be good friends to the friends who'd actually be friends with me...ok, that sentence went out of control.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

That thing called PATIENCE

It’s a tricky situation when one is torn between anger and sympathy. Right now, I’m flying somewhere between Arizona and NY and basically foaming at the mouth. There are two very young and extremely noisy kids sitting right behind me. Yes, I can hear that wail as they pull their lips backward and bare their teeth to screech. Be patient. Be patient. I’m repeating my mantra but patience is in paucity when a kid is yelling behind me and incessantly kicking my seat.

I glare at it, I try to see if I can put my hand between the seat and maybe pinch it a little bit (of course I cannot, but I can gloat at the thought of it…I know, sounds inhumane to want to pinch a little kid….its my misery speaking, really!) This woman handling these two kids seems like she might be from a part of the world that the western world commonly…mmm…. frowns upon. I fell into the same trap. I frowned. Hisssed. Gritted my teeth and clenched my fists (and eyes, of course!) But the situation of the man two seats beside me was worse. He was writhing in pain at the sound of all the crying, yelling, giggling, babbling, blubbering...let’s just say I am out of synonyms, at least more or less cute ones to describe a harrowing child. Where was i? Oh, the agitated man. He turned around, rubbed his eyes, blasted music on his ipod, rolled his eyes, glared at the seat in front of him till his eyes were ready to pop out. I empathized with the man but I was trying to see the humor in the situation while he was hurting. Only thing is, whenever he suffered, for some strange reason, it made me giggle, it abated my own irritation at the situation.

The man finally called a flight attendant and asked to be moved, or throw the folks behind us off the plane…somewhere down in Middle America, where God would decide their fate (no pun intended), after all, it is MIDDLE AMERICA…. (fine, read into it what you must)!

Of course, he didn’t exactly say that but I have no doubts that in his head he thought worse things…and back to my point. So the man got moved, he requested a seat as far back in the plane from the menace behind us as possible. While he was getting up and collecting his things he turned to the man sitting next to me and mumbled a few words, incoherent for the most part, except I caught the words “must be from Afghanistan or something.” That was the point when all traces of sympathy wooshed out from me like how shit gets magically sucked out of the toilet in an airport (or a bus for that matter) Yep, it made the same “whooooshhhhh”, slightly scary noise. They must be from Afghanistan or something?? The nerve of that man! Annoyance is one thing but stereotyping to such an extent, and then proudly voicing it is a whole different thing! Let me clear some things out so that it’s easier to understand why the man might have thought so. The woman was wearing some kind of a headscarf. Did not look Muslim to me (I mean the headscarf) and I had earlier heard her talk in a language, which once again did not sound like….errm, Afghani? What is my point here? Beats me, I’m just writing stuff down while kids are yelling behind me, but at this point I feel for the woman. She’s handling two rambunctious kids while flying alone. The kids are creating enough ruckus for anyone to be ostracized, but on top of that she looks different because of her un(American)conventional clothes. Imagine what she must be going through? Avoiding glares, being apologetic, trying to keep her kids in control. Dude! It’s not like she’s lounging while her kids are bringing down the house. She was invested in the effort of calming down, what seemed like two very energetic, under 5-year old kids! The kids weren’t troubling the world on purpose. They’re silly kids. What do they know about right and wrong, polite or impolite. Kids are by far the most beautiful and genuine creatures alive. Expressive without guilt or remorse, innocent, helpless and frigging cute actually (except when they’re crying and then they’re plain nuisance) But my point is, it wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t the poor mom’s fault. And nope it’s not “that man’s” fault or mine for lacking patience.

It doesn’t seem like we live in a very patient world these days. Driven by a drive to be driven (I mean it that way) we expect the world to churn outcomes in our terms. If we wait a second longer in a line we start clicking our heels, and clucking our tongues. If there is a slow person walking in front of us we get agitated, we move to the left, then to the right, then clear our throat a little bit hoping that they’ll hear us and let us pass. We’re rats. Always scurrying around. Always antsy. Always agitated. Always, always, ALWAYS in a rush. No goal but always the rush. The earth’s turning at its own pace and as bizarre as it sounds it seems like we’re trying to outrun it! There is no moral to my story here. I talked to the little kid behind me, she/he giggled at me, said hello, darn cute! Wish that kid would never cry and stay cute. Of course that’s not gonna happen but I’ll be off this flight in the next couple of hours any way. I like poetry, and at times like these the poem Leisure by William Henry Davies always comes to my mind:

What is this life if without care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Out of the oasis and into the desert.

Its taken a while but the realization of how different life is outside of MoHo is slowly trickling in. I work for a completely male team i.e. everyone is male, and I am the new female addition.

Having studied in an all girl's school for 7 years and then an all women's college for 4 years, one would think that this experience would be quite a shocker. Contrary to such belief it was pretty banal. Men are men. Awkward for most part, or maybe cuz they are IT men? Who knows. WHat did surprise me was the inherent tendency to belittle women. Not in a malicious way, necessarily, but in an even more tragic manner. In a very normal way.

We were out to get lunch, 4 guys and myself. I am the youngest of the lot, straight out of college, doe-eyed and an immature newborn to the world of IT (even though I am less technical, such that I am a consultant). Come to think of it, maybe I should have allowed myself more maturity, nodded in the right ways, pulled my hair back in a tight bun and barely smile except for a stern matronly pull of the lips. Alas, that defies my character. My persona. So I smile a lot, wear bright clothes, tie my hair loosely and (here is the KILLER) order Very-Chanilla Italian Soda for beverage when everybody else ordered DIET (freaking!!) Coke. Who drinks diet coke!! Drink the goddamned real think of you must drink soda...ahem, anyway...

So we were getting lunch and I had already gotten a few weird looks for Verry-Chanilla (if you haven't guessed it by now, that is a distorted, sort of wanna be cute form for Cherry-Vanilla) but ignoring that I was drinking along, trying to keep track of conversation and figure out how to eat the open sandwich in front of me. Thats when the guys started talking about basketball and how one team really sucked.

Someone says, "oh blah blah X plays terrible"
Someone else says, "oh blah blah blah...I should start watching women's basketball instead"

*burst of laughter around the table, i stay quiet but have an amused/confused look on my face"

Someone else else says, "well watching team X is like watching women's basketball, so why switch"

*burst of laughter around the table again*

Thats when one of the guys looks at me and with a sheepish grin says, "No offense"

Should I have replied, "None taken"? Cuz that would have been a lie, but then again I didn't act quite offended either...Maybe I should have smiled and said "Fuck you, you male chauvanist pig" or simply stormed off, or said, "well, I truly don't think you should be making such comments" Unfortunately, all I did was ignore the statement and pretenD that nothing happened. The more I thought about it the more I was affected by the conversation, my lack of reaction, or late reaction for that matter.

I can't go back in time and even if I could I would, most likely, not do anything too differently. Why? I don't know...I admit it, I don't have the courage, YET, to stand up to such mockery. But I definitely will. Courage comes with experience and confidence in one self, and thats exactly what I am working up right now. Well, that is the hope at least. So piece of advise for anyone who does not have an immediate reaction, or does not know how to react to such "little" things that are the building blocks to discrimination across the world...choose your battles. We can't take everyone and everything on at all times. We pick our battles, we strengthen our defenses AS WELL AS our offenses, we build courage, tighten our armors and sharpen our swords and we fight, but in due time. You can't make a warrior without practise and a practised warrior is one with scars. Don't be afraid to get scarred. My little anecdote was more like a scratch but don't be afraid to get brutalized in these "real world battles". Jokes, burns, sarcastic remarks, belittling conversations, disbelief in ablility and what not, the list goes on. Scars will serve as reminders. Dramatic as this sounds, lets not ever forget. We still are second class citizens in a patriarchal world. MoHo was an oasis. The desert is where life begins. Wooohoooooooooooooooo!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Every morning, I have a similar routine. I rush out of bed, trying to cling to my sheets till the last ticking second possible, hitting one alarm off after another (yes, I set three different alarms). I get up, hop around, rush to the train station, get sticky, sweaty, and smelly (BO spreads. legits).

And once I get off the station, I always always go to the little hole-in-the-wall Dunking Donuts store to get a coffee.

What do I get everyday? A Hot Coffee, Medium, with Cream and Sugar. Oh, and on a paper cup please. [[Note: I am not much of a go green person, though I wish I were, but Mariko told me that Styrophome cups were bad for health, and environment, were not easily degradable, and animals could mistake it for food...I think the health part really got me asking for paper cups...hmm...ok, sorry about the digression!]]

Anyway, when one gets the same thing to drink, around the same time, every morning, from the same guy - his name is Ali, yep, just Ali - it becomes a habit. Both for the customer i.e. ME and the vendor i.e. Ali. Every morning when Ali sees me he gets that paper cup ready and pours me that medium hot coffee (original blend, mind you, and god forbid NOT decaf!) with cream and sugar. The cup exchanges hands, I pay and I leave. Routine. We humans have such a habit of falling into a routine.

But today something changed. Something different happened. The world as Ali and I knew was about to come to an end.

This morning, I got off the train in more of a rush than usual. I was slightly late as I had to wait for 4 trains before I could squeeze myself into one. So, not surprisingly, ONCE AGAIN, I was hot, sweaty, smelly and annoyed. I briskly walked to DD, cuz America runs on it, obvi, and stood in line. I wanted something cool today, I though, and without giving any more thought to it, I asked for a medium ICED coffee, with cream and sugar, paid for it and waited on the side.

But when Ali saw me, unaware of my change of plans he quickly got my medium coffee with cream and sugar ready in a PAPER CUP!

There stood Ali with my cup in his hand, a smile on his face, greeting his "loyal" customer, unaware of the betrayal that had taken place. The lady who had taken my order barked an order at him immediately.

"Iced coffee!!"

I stuttered, mumbled that I would take the medium coffee, reached out for it but our bond of medium coffee with cream and sugar on a paper cup had already broken when I decided to switch drinks. He had a long line to cater too and he simply dumped my coffee and gave me an iced cofee, with an icy look in his eyes.

Feeling awful, I left, with my iced coffee tinkling, swirling, and swooshing around in the cup.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jesus Christ!?

Will this city ever cease to scare me? Amaze me? Scare me? Amuse me? Scare me? Confuse me? Scare me? Throw me off me feet...did i mention scare me?

So me and my roommates were walking back from a nice quiet dinner, very close to our apartment when this lady comes up to us and asks, "Whats at the end of the road? You need to tell my friend, she is too scared to go over. Says its dark there. You need to tell her that its alright, there is a park there."

Dark in the Upper East Side? Ermm.. Straight up I was confused. Being the smart-ass and kind-hearted wanna be that I am, I stepped forward with a helping hand. (Not to mention, I am also the least experienced in NYC, both my roommates have lived here way longer than my paltry month and half!)

"Oh, at the end? Thats York Avenue. Very happening. [[note: I'd been to York Av. ONCE before]] Lots to do. Lots of light, bright. No need to be worried or scared. You should go!!"

As we're moving on, literally a step away from our apartment, the lady who wanted us to convince her friend starts blabbering about religion. There's something very eery about a middle-aged woman, moderately fashionably dressed up, at about 9:30 at night, asking us about whether we were good catholics, whether we went to church regularly or not, where we believed in Christ. I won't lie, I was scared.

"Erm, I don't believe in religion," I said. My friends were both behind me. Smartly quiet, smartly without retaliations or answers.

"Let Jesus into your hearts, he will show you the way, he will show you the light, the reason for living."

In my head I'm chanting...ram, ram, ram, namah shivaya, om namah shivaya, om namah shivaya..but on the outside I'm nodding my head, in agreement with this fanatic that we've met RIGHT OUTSIDE OUT APARATMENT..telling me to embrace Jesus.

Oh my GANESHAAAA help me out here! "ok, goodnight" I try to see. Does , she listen? ...yeah, what do you think? of course not! jesus loves you, jesus this, embrace him....i'm nodding my head, smiling, brining out my diplomat best, nodding, smiling, "understanding", "appreciating"...Jessssssssus Christ, was I scared!

She eventually left. We were shocked, to put it mildly. You never know what ticks people off, and i sure as hell dont wanna tick anybody off in this crazed city..

Religion is a way of life. What's my religion? Ermm...i dont know, the statue of liberty? Manhattan? The Subway? Dunkin Donuts? My computer?? hmm..

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A sob story.

I finally moved into a new and more permanent place. Temporarily permanent, whatever that means. Everything around us is probably temporary, who ever came up with the word PERMANENT? hmm. But here I am, with a lamp to keep me company is a cute cubby hole! The best part of this room is that its got windows and right outside is the fire exit. Can't WAIT to get on that.

On my way here I was talking to the taxi driver. He was from Egyp and been here for the past 17 years. He probably has a family here too (and in Egypt). He told me that he went to Egypt every 2 years. But he's here, working hard, in the land of dreams and such a happy man too. Its the fact that I didn't have to struggle with too many things growing up that I don't appreciate a lot that I have. Not appreciate it enough though...

On a different note, I was on the train a few days ago, waiting to get off at a certain stop and a lady came in and sat next to me. She was crying her eyes out. Sobbing. Red, blotchy face. What did I do? Turned away. What did everybody else do? Stared for a few seconds and turned away. I wanted to ask what was wrong, but how could I help? My stop was coming up. I can't even say that NYC made me heartless, after all, I'd only been in the city for a few days when this happened. The incidence made me wonder how decenticised (sp??) I have become to human emotions. Maybe we have all, but I won't speak for somebody else's experiences.

I can't ask her what's wrong bhanera. What if...what if she wants some money? What if, what if she wants to...TALK? I don't have the time for that. Best look away. Stuff those ear phones in and look away. Bury my nose in my book and look away. I can hear her sniffles and groans, but I'd rather look away. Apple is a wonderful company and has done a great job of blocking such pitiful noises. God bless ipods. I repeat my "look away" mantra. Its sad. Real real sad. I wish I had the courage to just ASK what was wrong, even if I couldn't help, at least ASK. Even if I didn't care, just an acknowledgement of the fact that she was in pain. "Is everything ok?" or "Are you alright?" She might have answered in a thousand different ways, but the least she'd know is that I can SEE that she is in pain, I can HEAR it, and if nothing else, I'd tell her that I was sorry that she was in pain. She wouldn't find help in me. Nor would she find a friend. She would, never the less, find that her emotions were not lost in the confines of a metro train.

I hope she is doing well, wherever she is.