Sunday, November 29, 2009

and as I fell, I heard a voice say..

It's 4am. Shouldn't you be asleep?

>Hmph. I should be dead.

Dead? Now why would you say something like that?

>I dunno. Just.

Are you afraid of dying?

>I dunno. Maybe..

Hm. Why do you think that is?

>What are you, my shrink? Lay off!

Now now. No need to be so confrontational, we're all friends here.

>Speaking of which, where exactly is "here"?

It's a place..

> my head..

..Well, yes. And no.


I can't.

>Why not?

You're supposed to figure it out on your own.

>Ah. I see.

Not yet you don't. But you will.


Well, traditionally, you'd start with opening your eyes.

>Oh wow. Another straight answer. Great.

I think you already know what I have to say to that.


>I'm asking the wrong questions..?

Oh no. You're asking the right questions, sure enough. It's just..


..the wrong time. It's too early in the story to start revealing all the answers.

>I call bullshit.

You can call whatever you like, it doesn't change the fact that I can't tell you anything right now.

We shouldn't even be having this conversation yet. There's a ton of exposition to go through first, character development, foreshadowing, yadda yadda yadda. And remember, always keep an ace up your sleeve. You gotta keep the audience guessing.

>Oh please. "Always leave them wanting more". What a cliche.

Don't underestimate the power of a cliche.

>Sigh. I suppose now you'll explain.

And how can you say that?

>I dunno. Just a feeling I have.

What kind of feeling?

>Like I've..lived this..before. Like deja vu, only weirder.

Indeed. This particular facility of yours is going to come in very handy, in the days to come. You've only been skimming the surfaces so far, floating along with the currents, but you really need to learn how to surf the waves. Now if only you could combine the two..

>The two what?

Foresight and hindsight.

>Ah. And what good would that do me?

You'd finally be able to perceive life the way it was meant to be perceived.

>In glorious stereoscope?

Something like that. But you need to take it one step at a time. You're close to the edges of it, but you're too easily distracted, too eager to make the leap. Here's an image.

>That's my grandmother. What does she.. oh.

Exactly. Remember what she used to say?

>"Nanga koode ujaad mein." The naked man jumps into a wasteland.

Indeed. As she put it, it is the prerogative of the naked, the unprepared, and the reckless, to throw caution to the wind, and jump willy-nilly into the barren wasteland of hopelessness. "What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish? Son of Man, you cannot say, or guess, for you know only a heap of broken images, where the sun beats.."

>I must confess, I have no idea what you've been going on about. Actually, I'm quite lost.

Indeed you are. You do realize there is an easy way to deal with that particular issue?

>And what would that be?

Go find yourself!

>Ah. Brilliant.

Aren't I? Well, looks like my work here is done. Cheerio, pip pip, and all that. Keep a stiff upper lip and all, the excrement, it's going to be flying thick and fast pretty soon. And I'm afraid I won't be too much help this time. It's still too early for me to make an actual appearance, and I've tarried too long as it is. I mean, you haven't even written in my grand entrance yet.

>But I don't even know who you are!

Ahem. I daresay I'm tempted to resort to another popular cliche. Summat to do with pots and kettles, if you catch my drift.

>What does that even mean??

Nevermind. Oh look, a random reference to a song that doesn't quite fit but has a deeper meaning when considered in the context of this particular incident/blog post/drivel!

>What, where??


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Incoming Message from the Big Giant Head

Greetings, faithful readers! Just a quick update, November being National Novel Writing Month, expect limited bloggery. The downward spiral story will continue in December, so bear with us! Rukaavat ke liye khed hai, and all that.

50,000 words by November 30th. Woot! :D

ps : if anybody else is participating, I'm bluechartreuse.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I'm falling. How far can I fall before I reach the bottom? I'm falling. At some point, I lose consciousness.


Something cold slithers across my face, leaving a trail of slime. I'm awake, but I can't move.

I'm lying flat on the ground, no telling where, but on the bright side, I can feel all my limbs, and nothing seems to be broken. And then I hear it. Harsh, ragged breathing, off to the left, and directly above my head. I turn my head to look, but all I can make out through the shadows is a humanoid shape, squatting over me. What the hell..? I try to stay very still but it's too late, the thing seems to sense that I'm awake.

With a flash of crooked, rotting teeth, the creature says, "Welcome to denial", its voice dripping with malicious glee.

"Wh..where am I? What is this place?"

"I'll give you one hint, it's NOT a river in egypt!", the thing replies and cackles, the sound echoing off stone walls, raucous and obscene.

I prop myself up on an elbow, and take a look around. I seem to be in a cavern of some sort, judging from the way the sound echoes in here, but it's too dark to see anything clearly. I try to get up, but my head starts to spin almost immediately, and I fall back to the floor.

"Now now cully, that won't do.. make an effort. Come on." I can almost see the cruel, mocking smile on its lips. "I dare you to move!" I fall back into oblivion, peals of laughter following me all the way.


I'm falling again. Deeper still?


I wake up. I'm in a chair. I feel too lightheaded to try getting up, so I stay where I am and wait for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. The smell registers first. The strong, sharp smell of hospitals. Disinfectant and blood. The room is strangely familiar, and then I realise I'm sitting next to a hospital bed. There's a bottle of IV fluid suspended next to it. Deja vu. I've been here before. Recently. I don't want to know who's in the bed. I don't want to look, but I can't turn my head away.


What's happening now? My arms are so small, my fingers are so tiny. I can't move again. I think I've wet myself. Oh fuck, I think I'm a baby again. There's a lot of noise coming from the next room. People yelling. Things breaking, crashing to the ground. I don't want to cry. I want to be brave, but this.. thing.. is welling up from inside me, like a dead weight rising to the surface, pushing it's way up out of my stomach and clawing its way out through my windpipe. A scream. But not mine. There's a loud sound, louder than anything I've ever heard before, and then suddenly everything is silent. I can't even hear the blood in my ears anymore.


I'm in the back of a car. Bigger now. Older. And I'm scared. I can hear someone crying. Was that a gunshot?


The crying gets louder. But it's not me. I'm lying very still. I don't know this house. This is not my bed. Someone I love has just died. Maybe if I just lie still like this, the cancer will pass me over, leave me be.


I'm at my desk now. Bombay. Every square inch of wall and ceiling is covered with posters. Newspaper clippings pinned up on one wall, a veve on another. The sea is right outside, I can hear the waves smashing against the rocks. The blade feels so cold against my skin. The blood that leaps out is hot. But I can't feel anything else. I'm just.. numb.


The sun is so bright against my eyes, I have to shade them with my hand. I'm at the Lakdikapul MMTS station. The 8:17 to Hi-Tec city is just turning the bend. My eyes are still red from last night. How could she do that to me? I'm not thinking straight, this is a bad idea, maybe I should reconsider, but by then it's too late. I've already jumped, and for one awful moment, I'm living in suspended animation, the train inches away, and I don't want to be here. The train hits me anyway, smacking into my side with a sickening thud.. and miraculously depositing me back onto the platform with three broken ribs, a mouthful of blood, and a lifetime of regret.


"Had enough, cully? No? Don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from!"


Something horrible has happened to someone I love. And I couldn't do anything to stop it, or take it back. It wasn't my fault. And yet, the guilt. Another bottle of wine, more booze to beat back the gnawing pain. No matter how far down I push it, it keeps coming back, biting its way back to the surface.

"Oh aye, I'm gonna eat you ALIVE boy. Eat you from the inside out."


I need to stop. I've been falling too long. "Ha! As if it's that easy. You're in MY world now, boy. I DARE you to move." And he's right. I can't. I can't move an inch, I'm paralysed. I'm stuck. I can't move forward. I can't do this anymore. I just can't fight this awful gravity. I can't keep running away from the past. But I have to make a stand, break free from all this. I struggle to get up, but its useless, my body won't obey me. I decide to confront my antagonist "Who are you! Show your face, you coward!"

"I'm me, who are you?", accompanied by more cackling. I'm getting sick of this. I've just been made to relive some of the worst moments in my life, and to this ..thing.. it's all just a joke? All I can do is howl in rage. So I do that. Until I'm hoarse.

And he just chuckles. "There, there. Your anger is useless here." A pause, and, "You really don't know who I am yet? All right then. Here." he says, stepping into the light.

And its a trick. I know it is. It has to be. Another sick, twisted illusion designed to confuse and frighten me. Because the face he's wearing, is my own.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Fear Itself

I came home completely plastered last night. I had intended to quit drinking with such frequency, but on my way home from work, I'd run into an ex-girlfriend. The encounter left a bad taste in my mouth, and the only thing that would get it out was a lot of alcohol. I made a detour and headed over to the Undertow. There's something about a seedy bar that puts my mind at ease. There's something about the cheap whiskey that puts my wallet even more at ease.

Flashcut to my apartment, three hours later. I'm struggling with the keys for what feels like an eternity before I finally let myself in. Two steps to the hatstand, sharp turn left and I'm in the kitchen. Kitchen sink, water, waterspout, bump, headache. I press a palm to my throbbing skull and stagger into the living room. The cleverly placed couch prevents my arse from making contact with the floor, where several splinters lie waiting, sharp, and hungry. I can sense their resentment through the haze of liquor. I'm waiting for the room to stop spinning so I can get off the couch. It doesn't show any signs of slowing down, so I time my jump, and leap for the hallway when it swings past.

I hit the bathroom door head-first. Ow. But this is actually a stroke of good luck, because I feel the sudden urge to vomit. I manhandle my way in somehow, and hunching over my old friend the toilet bowl, I let the bile out. Five minutes later and my whole body is racked with chills, my stomach feels like its sticking to my spine, and my spine feels like it wants to crawl out of my back and run across the streets, kicking and screaming like a spastic on steroids. My brain feels like its melting out through my nostrils and my liver feels like my heart, small and hard and cold like a piece of shattered stone at the bottom of the sea. I wait for the shivers to subside, and when I'm sure there's nothing else left for me to expunge, I flush the lot, and slump back against the cold porcelain.

My bleary eyes fall on Jeff Goldblum, who's been watching the whole thing. "Er, you need to uh, run, you know." he says, looking right at me. "Oh fuck off Jeff Goldblum, you don't know what you're talking about." "Um, actually, I'm quite certain that they're going to uh, be here any minute now. You'd better erm, haul ass if you want to er, survive this." This is insane. This is batshit crazy. Cockroaches, squirrels whatever, but Jeff 'the fly' Goldblum? No way. Even I'm not that crazy. "Dude, what the hell are you talking about? I'm just drunk aight?" "I KNOW that!", Jeff splutters, eyes bloodshot, "But that's what makes you so vulnerable right now, you're not completely in control, its easier for your subconscious mind to take over, don't you see? My god man, you've left the door wide open, ANYTHING can come through!" "Whaddayamean, anything?", I ask, and just then, I hear a terrible keening sound, like nails being dragged across a hundred blackboards. "What the hell is that?" "My god, they're here already!", Jeff exclaims, as the sound increases in pitch, and complexity. I can hear a wailing now too, over and above the nails. The sound is awful, and the images it's invoking are even worse. Like a thousand mutilated babies, all crying in unison, as the world burns around them, like a dog being whipped mercilessly, and howling at the injustice of it all, like the yowls of a cat being skinned alive. I have no words to describe that awful sound. And it was getting worse. And it was getting closer.

"You need to get the hell out of here.", Jeff Goldblum yells over the horrifying clamour. That's easier said than done, the bathroom window is too small, and the bathroom door is shaking like a leaf in a storm. He jerks his head toward the commode, "Quit wasting time, and go!" Into the commode? What the hell, this isn't trainspotting, how the fuck am I going to fit into the shitpot of all places? Despite my misgivings, there's a frenzied look in Jeff's eyes, and just then, the sound is right outside the bathroom, and something starts to batter against the door, each bang accompanied by a horrible, sick, squelching sound, like ruptured flesh. "All right, but how do I get in there?" "The world is malleable enough. As long as your will holds out, anything is possible. Now GO!" The door begins to splinter, cracks appearing like magic in the sturdy wooden frame. With no other options presenting themselves, and my heart beating against my chest like a ferret on crack, I take a deep breath and jump into the crapper headfirst, just as the bathroom door smashes open, woodchips flying into the air.

[To be continued...]

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In which I meet Stella

So I'm on my way to class last Thursday. It's already five past six, and class started at six. I need to file my candidacy form for graduation, today's the last day, and in a classic display of reckless brinksmanship, I haven't even looked at the form yet.

I'm walking fast, smoking furiously, and thinking how it probably wasn't such a good idea to skip lunch and still get loaded right before class. I'm out of breath by the time I reach the event center, so I slow down to a more human pace, giving my lungs a chance to catch up. There's a stitch in my side the size of Texas, and my bum knee hurts like a bastard. I really need to quit smoking and start running again, I think to myself for perhaps the thousandth time. I lean against a tree, and set my bag down for a breather. It doesn't help that my laptop weighs about as much as a small elephant with low self esteem and an endless supply of comfort food. I'm just about to leave when I notice a squirrel at my feet, watching me intently. Now there's a lot of squirrels on campus, and most of them are pretty fearless and upfront about their territory, but this one's wearing a leather jacket. A tiny little leather jacket and Audrey Hepburn wayfarers, raised over its head, between its ears.

"Er... can I help you?" I venture, remembering Phil from a few weeks ago.

"Oh I'd say you could. This is MY territory bub, you better getchyer ass offa that tree there."

Now I'm not used to taking shit from just about anyone, least of all talking squirrels, so I overcome my trepidation and counter with,
"O rly? Well I don't see your name on it." (Juvenile, I know, but how else are you supposed to talk to an unreasonably confrontational squirrel?)

"On the contrary, mon frere, my name IS on that very tree which you are currently leaning your bony little arse against", the squirrel says, pointing at the base of the trunk, right by my left foot. I crouch down, incredulous, but sure enough, there it is, like miniature jungle graffiti, gnawed into the bark in letters three inches high, a single name, "Stella".


"Like I said. MY turf, bitch."

"Oi, First of all, I'm not your bitch, and second, I was just catching my breath." I can't believe I'm getting talked down by a squirrel. A SHE squirrel! Called Stella, no less.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever." She says, with a dismissive flick of her tail.

A moment of awkward silence follows, while the evening sun moves toward some conveniently placed mountains, and a chill breeze blows through campus, bending the grass and shaking the leaves off trees. Fall is here.

"Stella. That's uh..a nice name.." I attempt, trying to defuse the tension.

She affixes me with a blank stare. "For a squirrel. Go on. Say it."

"Wha..? Of course not. I mean, in general. That's a nice name."

"Well, my girlfriends call me the Seeker", she says, relenting, and winks, with a smirk.

"Ha! That's cute.", I blurt out. Well it IS cute! A squirrel called the seeker!

"Not really. You know how it is."

I don't have an answer to that. I do know how it is, and it's not exactly a barrel of laughs.

"That constant hunger in the pit of your stomach, makes you want to grind your teeth, to gnaw the mask off the face of the world, just to see what lies beneath, days when you just want to set it all on fire. Days when you can't sit still, when you have to get off your feet and just go. Somewhere, anywhere, just to see what's over the next hill, to see if there's any meaning to it all. It's not fun being a seeker. And you know when it really hurts? When you meet someone who distracts you from your constant seeking, and you settle down, take a breather, think 'hey, this is it, I'm done looking, I'm gonna settle down with this girl, and I'm gonna concentrate on making her happy' and right then, just when you decide to chuck it all and settle for a life of contentment, she ups and leaves, 'cos she's seen right through you, and knows that you're one of 'em. A seeker, a ramblin' man, and for people like us, the search is never over. That's what sucks about this job."

I'm speechless. Mostly 'cos everything she said hits very, very close to home. And then something occurs to me, and I can't help but ask.

"Wait, so you're saying you're a lesbian??"

"Oh I'm a boy, I'm a boy, but my ma won't admit it", says Stella in a sing-song voice.

"Ah." Now I'm just confused.

"Well, it can't be all bad, being a seeker..", I try to sympathize, both for her sake, and mine.

Stella smiles, wryly, "It's a dirty job, but like they say, someone's gotta do it."

"I guess that's true", I say, wanting desperately to agree, to accept that sometimes you have to lose something to gain something, but my heart's not in it.

"There are perks. You don't sleep at night because you're busy searching, but you get to see the sun rise every morning. You search for miles and miles without finding anything, but along the way, you meet a lot of interesting people. Some of them, you might even come to call friends. And when you find the smallest hint, even a tiny clue, heck, any piece of the puzzle, it feels absolutely incredible. There's no rush on Earth that compares. But then again, you know how it is.", she smiles, and since she's absolutely right, I smile back.

"Here, d'you have a smoke on ya?"

"Um, lemme check", I flip open my pack of cigarettes, but there's just one cigarette left.

"Yup, the last one, you want it?"

"Oh no. I just wanted to know if you still had that last one. Do us a favour, hang onto that one eh?
You're going to need it soon." she says, with a sincere look, but then again, how do you know if you can trust a butch dyke squirrel in a bomber jacket?

"Er.. so I don't smoke it then?"

"No. You don't. You should quit 'em altogether actually. Fuckin' things will only end up killing you. Just.. hang onto that last one." this last was almost an imperative, such was the urgent sincerity with which she looked at me. Stella seemed to realize that I had noticed this minor break in character, so she recovered quickly, and slid her shades back over her eyes.

"Well, this was nice, but I'd best be getting back to the search now, aren't you late for class?"

I look at my watch and she's right. It's 6:30, I'm a half hour late! When I look up, she's scampering off across the grass, her tail flashing in and out of sight, like a furry periscope rising through the verdure.

"Hey! Wait up! What if I smoke that cigarette?" But it's too late. Stella the Sapphic Seeking Squirrel has spoken, and split the scene.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm sailing on the seas of fate...

Sundays are good days. I wake up early every sunday somehow. With no school, no commitments to meet, no places to be, I find myself awake at the crack of dawn, watching the sun come up, glittering gold through the palm trees in the East.

This particular Sunday was better than most, a happier, mellower day than the ones in recent memory. The day started early as usual, I managed to clean my room, and my experimental recipe for chorizo con huevos didn't kill, maim or permanently damage anyone. Always a bonus. I stepped out for a cigarette, but somehow I never got round to lighting up. It was a nice day so I put my feet on autopilot like I always do for nice days, and shortly found myself outside the library. And wouldn't you know it, there was a book sale on.

I love book sales. Growing up in Bombay, some of my happiest memories are of Sunday afternoons spent browsing at the used book stalls in Churchgate. Delicately improvised shelters made from discarded plastic sheeting and bamboo poles, bound together with string, rope, wire, and glue, they stretched all the way from Flora Fountain down to the old Parsi well at the edge of Cross Maidan. Rain or shine, the booksellers would be there, setting up their wares at seven in the morning, and taking them down at nine, every night, like clockwork. I think that was one of the first places I felt the touch of probability, of the hidden workings of the world. When I visited Bombay, and book-street, for the first time, I was eight. I had never seen so many books gathered together in one place. An entire street lined with books! I was giddy with delight. My parents worked their way from shop to shop, picking out a novel here, a textbook there, bargaining with the dealers, asking them for such and such book by such author, this writer, that poet. Me, I didn't know where to start or where to stop. So I just ran from one end of the street to the other, drinking everything in, reveling in the glorious decadence of it all. More books than I could read in a lifetime! TWO lifetimes! I was the happiest eight year old on the entire planet.

When we finally moved to Bombay, I would visit book street every chance I got. I often played hooky from college, skipping class to hop on a bus to Churchgate, exchanging last week's book for another, and then catching another bus back to Girgaon chowpatty. I'd leave my body behind on the beach, and let my mind go wherever the book took it. Across the ocean, past Neptune and Pluto, backwards and forwards through time, over strange battlefields and under magical seas, living whole lifetimes in the space of one afternoon.

The annual Strand book sale was another treat. The used book stores in Lucknow gave me a taste for comics, science fiction and Agatha Christie. Book street nursed me on Kafka, Sartre, Jung and Nietzsche. And Strand introduced me to poetry. Neruda, Eliot, Woolf and Alighieri, all in one place, eager to grab my eye, feed my soul. I devoured entire volumes, whole stacks of books, and my appetite just grew. Smoker's Corner was another old haunt, that yielded many treasures, and satisfied many a mid-afternoon craving. Amidst all this chaos, my parents' personal libraries were the snack shops I would frequent between meals, having Ed McBain or Eric van Lustbader for an appetizer, and Wodehouse for dessert. And no matter how many books I read, there were always more to be had. It was heaven on Earth. A patchwork introduction to literature, but an education nonetheless.

Book street isn't there anymore. The street vendors were evicted by the municipal authorities years ago, and though you might still find a few secondhand booksellers in the area, it's just not the same. The Strand annual sale still happens at Shanmukhnanda Hall, but it's getting smaller with each passing year. I guess it's hard to compete with large bookstores like Crossword. Smoker's Corner hasn't changed too much, small enough to stay under the radar I guess, and they still carry those Doctor Who paperback serials I used to love as a kid. Time passes, Bombay changes to Mumbai, the pavements become spotless, unobstructed, and much too clean for the likes of me. Migrants do what they do best, never pitching their tent in the same place too long. Stay awhile, share what little you have to give, then move on.

But the book sale today brought all the happy memories rushing back, of a time less complicated. I breathed in the used book smell, and within moments, I was a child again, fresh-faced and eager, new-made, innocent, and desperate to read everything I could get my grubby little paws on. :)


I love California. The sun shines bright and true every day, even when its raining. And days like today make me love it even more. Of all the places in the world I could be, it's a strange and beautiful train of coincidences that have led to me being here. There was a time, not long ago, when I would have given anything to go back in time and change some things about my life. Avoided a lot of hurt, much too much guilt, and a fair amount of pain, both given and received. But looking back, putting things in a certain perspective, seeing my life by the light of this bright new Sun, I realise I don't want to change a thing.

Wherever my feet take me is where I'm meant to be, enmeshed and entangled in life's radiant web, surfing the wave of synchronicity every moment of every day, just... being. Borrowing a pretty phrase from Audrey Niffenegger, as long as there is world and time enough, I'm going to keep on keeping on. The ancient alchemists, the wanderers, the seekers, the founders of secret orders, guardians of 'secret' knowledge, were all deluded, misguided, following imaginary trails down paths leading nowhere. Every place on this planet is the center of all things. The cup that holds the water of life, the place from where everything begins. The origin.

Stop where you are, empty your mind of all conscious thought, close your eyes, and listen. Can you hear it? Can you hear the sea? From deep within the chambers of your heart, the distant echo of all that could have been, all that is, and all that will be. Like a wave crashing through time and space, swirling all around you, all the time. We're adrift on a sea of choices, an ocean of infinite possibilities, and though we can barely begin to comprehend the sheer depth of meaning behind it all, the important thing is, we can try. Come, ride the waves with me. All you have to do is let go.

...and beneath my feet, over my head, in the spaces between my ears, the waves are crashing, crashing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Secret teachings of all ages

Strange dream early this morning. I'm working at Silk Road, and this lady comes up to me, looking very pretty, with her headscarf pulled down tight over her hair. She asks for a bowl of rice, and some cocoa beans. "The rice comes with my order, yes?", she asks in lightly accented English. Just then, the phone starts to ring. I quickly tap in her order into the system, and answer the phone with my free hand. It's Sajid, the owner, which is strange, 'cos I thought he was in the kitchen, cooking. "Hello, Joshi?" "Sajid bhai?" "Are you coming in to work today?" "...Erm, but I'm already here.." "Oh good, can you check on the rice?" Things are not making any sense. I look up to check if there's any customers coming into the store, but there's nobody there. Not a soul. Where'd the pretty girl go? I put down the receiver, and head to the back. As I lift the curtain aside, I'm confronted by a bright glowing light. I step in through the doorway and find myself home, in my bed.

For some reason I have my phone in my hand, flipped open. I lift it to my ear, cautiously, and it's Sajid again, "Joshi? Are you still on the line?" "uhrr..buh?" "Listen, if you're already at work, just make sure the rice is ready, and get started on the Chicken Tikka Masala, could you do that?" "Oh..uhm, uh huh" "Great, I'll be in around 12 or so" and hangs up. A quick look at my alarm clock (ha! some alarm clock) tells me its just past 11am. Great, I need to haul ass or I'm gonna be late for work. I strategically roll out of bed and onto the floor, landing hard on my left hip, (Yes, I meant to do that) grab my clothes off the floor and leap into the shower before any of my roommates decide to take an hour long shit. I'm showered, shaved and out the door in five minutes.

It's nice and bright outside, plenty of sun. I'm still thinking about the dream, trying to make sense of the imagery. So I empty my head and try free association. Cocoa beans, coffee beans, stimulants for the mind. The rice comes with her order. For some reason I'm thinking of a bowl of salt. Like the pagans use in their rituals, to symbolise the Earth. A saucer of salt for a magickal disc. The material plane with a pentacle drawn through it. A bowl of rice, a saucerful of secrets, pink floyd! The cover art for that album was designed by Hipgnosis, purveyors of fine art and 'hip', secret knowledge. Much like a dream conveys hidden knowledge from the subconscious mind to the dreaming self. Six degrees of separation and we're back full circle. Interesting.

Full circle, like the rim of a bowl, like a great big ball of fire, up in the sky. Fragments of a stolen lyric run through my head. "Little by little, the night turns around". There's a change coming. I'm on the wrong track, barking up the wrong tree. I need to change my trajectory, chart a new course, reset the controls.

Halfway down the street, passing by the library, there's something else in my head, a poem I seem to half-remember from somewhere...

The thread in the hand of a kind mother
Is the coat on the wanderer's back.
Before he left she stitched it close
In secret fear that he would be slow to return.
Who will say that the inch of grass in his heart
Is gratitude enough for all the sunshine of spring?

Suddenly, Champu (#12)

These are the ongoing chronicles of my roommate, Chimanlal Champu. Boldly going where no man has gone before, or indeed, should ever go again.

[Champu on... water bodies]

Anirban : When I was a child, I went to swim in a river.. the current was so strong, it almost dragged me along with it..

Champu : How come river has current dude? River is surrounded by land, you must be swimming in a lake!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Insomnia-Alcohol-Hallucinogenic-Painkiller Fun Time

I've been having some trouble sleeping. A few weeks ago, I fell quite ill. Ever since I got better, I've been staying up all night, only sleeping at dawn. So last night, I decided to try a little experiment. I decided to drink myself unconscious. Not a very good plan, in hindsight, but that's hindsight for you. (Funny word, hindsight, brings to mind a vivid image of being confronted by your own arse, having just pulled your head out of it.) Seven in the evening, and I'm loading my liver with Jager shots. By eight, I've tossed the shot glass out the window, and I'm hitting the bottle straight up. Ten o'clock and I've polished off what was left of the six pack of Guinness I bought last weekend from Safeway (that club card gets you some great deals!). At this point, I'm well loaded, but still not sleepy. So I bust out the thinking pipe, and read a few research papers. The tedium wears on into the watches of the night, but the gates to the realm of Morpheus are yet fastened tight against me.

I pop a couple Vicodin, and settle down to watch the season premiere of House. Ironically enough, House is in rehab, and though the opiates makes everything nice and fuzzy, its somehow still not enough to get me sleepy. Its time to bully my mind into submission. I settle down into bed, close my eyes and pretend to sleep, but you cant bullshit a bullshitter. I'm wide awake. And relaxing my body is just making things worse, my mind is running rings around itself, like an overexcited puppy on a mixture of coke and meth, digging up ideas and memories long buried and humping every tree in sight.

(No, I couldn't think of an analogy for the trees. I'm not a genius aight, or I'd be getting published in seven different bloody languages and have my own personal coterie of bitches instead of posting on a blog that nobody reads and lying awake in bed at 5 in the morning and wondering why I'm alone and where my life went horribly wrong.)

This is ridiculous, I think to myself, grab my jacket and cigarettes, and head out the front door. Then I head back in, put on some pants, and head out again. The night air is cool and refreshing, and my head clears up a little bit. My mind begins to slow down, and I'm beginning to feel pretty good. I feel even better after I accost a passing dumpster and introduce it to what I had for dinner.

When I turn around, there's a huge cockroach on the pavement blocking my way. Its as big as my thumb, cross my heart. My first thought, catapulted right out of my limbic brain, is to kill it. But then I'm a higher mammal, see, I can think twice before I do stupid things. (I said I CAN think twice. Sometimes I do stupid things even though I know they're stupid in advance. Told you I'm no genius. Though I DO share a birthday with Isaac Asimov. My claim to fame!) So I decide to let the poor bastard be, and step over him very carefully. My heads spinning just a little bit, and the stars are making alarming patterns in the sky, so I decide to have a bit of a sit. Good call too, 'cos this is the point at which my legs refuse to obey me or carry me any further. So I float along back to my stoop, and light up a cigarette on the way. When I get there, there's someone waiting for me. A gigantic cockroach called Phil. I know he's called Phil 'cos hes got one of those white tags (with blue borders) pinned to his thorax, "Hello, I'm PHIL". This is a rather disturbing turn of events. Phil is, well, gigantic. He's sitting on my stoop, a cigarette dangling from his lower mandible, and scratching his abdomen distractedly with three of his five claws. And then he turns his comically tiny head, and fixes me with his beady (I know they're technically 'compound eyes' but his head was so damn tiny they looked beady to me, k?) little eyes.

"Well, look who decided to show up" Phil says to me. "Who, me?" "Yes YOU, ya ninny, who else is hallucinating at three in the bloody morning around here?" "Oh, yeah, ha ha" I manage a weak laugh. "Siddown man, you look like you're gonna fall down. Remember survival tip number 15? Works for epic drunks too." So I pulled myself upto the stairs and sat down next to Phil, a peculiar feeling of unreality washing over me. A few awkward moments passed. "So.." I attempted feebly. Phil eyed me askance, with some disdain. (Or so I think. Its very hard to interpret the emotions off a cockroach.) "Yeah?" "So... how's it going?" "Oh well, you know how it is. Just the usual. Surviving, y'know?" I nod in agreement. "Yeah, I hear you." Another few awkward moments pass. "So.. you're some kind of figment of my imagination huh?" Phil shrugged. "I dunno, I'm just here cos they said you had some questions for me." "I do?" Huh. This is news to me. And who are 'they'? "Yessir. Apparently you do, so ask away, and I'll do my best to give you answers, and we can both go to bed, yeah?" "Oh, well, sure."

A beat.

"Um. I cant really think of any questions right now." Damn. "Oh that's okay. I'm a figment of YOUR imagination remember? I probably already know what you're gonna ask." "You do?" "Yup, just gimme a second" Phil takes a long drag on his cigarette, and blows the smoke out through every single trachea. (It looked very impressive, and I think he just did it to show off) "Oh wow. That one again?" he shakes his head in amusement, and looks at me with what seems an awful lot like condescension. "er..i guess.." I have no idea what he's talking about. "Dont worry mate, the answer's a resounding yes. Just hang in there." says Phil, and slaps me on the back. He's pretty strong for a six foot chitin based insect, 'cos I almost lose my balance, barely managing not to fall. "Er, yeah, good to know..I guess" I still haven't the faintest clue what he's talking about. "See, the thing is, you already know what you have to do, you just need to go ahead and do it y'know? We're quite a lot alike, you and I." "We ARE?" What could I possibly have in common with a gigantic cockroach? "Mmhmm..we're both survivors, in our own way, and thats just the beginning. Don't even get me started on the metafictional possibilities this represents..hehe", Phil chirruped, pleased with his wit. "Wow, I guess I never really saw it that way", I said, even though I didn't quite see it yet. "Anytime, man, that's what I'm here for, in a way. To help you see the world from a different angle. Geddit?", he said, wiggling his antennae. I nodded weakly, trying very hard to follow. Phil nodded to himself, and stubbed out his cigarette with a flourish. "Well, guess that's that. I'll be on my way then. Be seeing you", his voice sounding like he was fading further away with each word. "Oh, um, okay sure, yeah" I managed, surprised at the abrupt exit. I mean, I was just getting used to this whole being-granted-wisdom-at-3-in-the-morning-by-a-gigantic-cockroach thing. "Oh and by the by, that other thing, I wouldn't worry about it too much if I was you." he said and actually winked, no mean feat for a creature with no eyelids, and then just sort of.. disappeared.

I sat on the stoop for a while after that, just getting my bearings. What just happened? It was pretty clear I'd just had a very vivid and disconcerting hallucination, but what did it mean? Am I a cockroach who's dreaming he's a man or is all that Kafka I read back in school coming back to haunt me? Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something. Or maybe I should just lay off the alcohol and the hallucinogenics for a while. Bleh.

I stand up, finish my cigarette, and look to the East. There's just the slightest hint of dawn. The most ineffable feeling of inner peace and well-being bathes me, like a warm glow, and just like that, I know its all going to be just fine. Sometimes all the answers you need are what you already know.

I'm off to bed. It looks like its going to be a beautiful day :)

Surviving the Streets (#2)

Always, ALWAYS acknowledge people you know, even if you've only met them once. A smile, a nod, a tip of the hat goes a long way. What goes around, comes around. 'Cos loneliness is worse than hunger, worse than sadness, worse than anything dreamt of in your philosophy. And you might have friends now, but when you're all alone and one step away from the edge, an unexpected smile could save your life.

Suddenly, Champu (#9)

These are the ongoing chronicles of my roommate, Chimanlal Champu. Boldly going where no man has gone before, or indeed, should ever go again.

[Champu on... the joy of yogurt]

Champu : Dude, you can only truly appreciate curd after eating ass-burning items
Me : ... (!?)
Champu : I'm serious dude! The feeling you get after burning your own ass, and then soothing it with curd... *sigh* ...awesome...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Riding The Bus

Its late evening on a Friday night, and I'm just off my shift, enjoying a leisurely smoke at the end of day's play. This random guy comes up to me and says "Hey, bro. You got a dollar for the bus?" Instinctively, I shrug, and spread my palms outward, universal gesture for "Wish I could help you, but this recession's been hard on us all, especially us starving student types. Whaddagonnado?" But then I remember I've got some loose change in my pants pocket, and the guy looks like he really needs the money, so I arrest him with an upheld finger, while I fumble around for the 75 cents I do have to give. He palms the money, dips his head in gratitude and disappears around the corner. The wrong corner. The closest bus station is round the other side of the block.

The streets have their own language. A hidden alphabet, a lingo, a code. Its a knack you pick up, how to communicate complex ideas via a shrug of the shoulder, a tilt of the head, an incline of the left eyeball and a quiver of the right nostril. I can go through some days without opening my mouth or uttering a single word at all. The semiotics of the sidewalk. And like every language, each speaker imbues it with a little bit of himself. There's a multitude of dialects, a glorious cacophony of voices, a miscellany of inflections and tones to choose from. The same idea can be referred to in many different ways and by many different names, while retaining its quintessence.

Like the 'bus'. The bus that goes nowhere. Sometimes, if pressed, the aspiring passenger will reveal that the bus goes to San Francisco, sometimes Fremont or Sunnyvale, but more often than not, the furthest the bus gets is the nearest liquor store. Or the closest fix.

You think I'm being cynical. But when you sit on the same stoop on the same street every Friday for a whole year, and the same people come up to you every time, and ask you the same question, its kind of difficult not to get just a little bit jaded.

In the Ramayana, there's this really clever bit about a shape-changing demon called Mareech. The demon acquires the form of a beautiful golden deer, captivating the senses of Sita, so much so that she begs her husband Rama to catch the deer and bring it back for her as a pet. Rama, prince-in-exile, is an accomplished tracker and hunter, but the golden deer is much too fleet, and eludes even Rama. Long enough for Ravana, king of the demons, to abduct Sita, who is left unprotected and vulnerable, while Rama chases the demon Mareech. Eventually, however, Rama sees past the illusion, and slays the demon.

The parable uses the simple metaphor of the 'golden deer' to indicate the folly of being captivated by the material world. In the end, Rama uses an arrow, much like the magickal Sword of Reason, to 'kill' the demon, thus destroying the illusion.

The bus that goes nowhere, like Mareech, is a thing of hope. The golden deer, fleeting promise of a better tomorrow, always JUST out of reach. If only I could have another dollar for the bus, I'd make everything right, just one more dollar to get all my shit back together, to make it through the night, to make it to the morning of my tomorrow. Just one more dollar, I'm telling you man, that's all I need.

But you of all people know how it is. Another day, another dollar. Just one more rung to the ladder, and one step closer to the edge. Its a hole that never ends, a bottomless pit into which you can fall forever. Fall long enough, and you forget you're even falling anymore. Round and round the circle goes, where it ends, nobody knows. When you're lost and far from home, its kind of hard to get a grip, or to summon the will to break out of a comfortable rut. Easier said than done, and all that jazz.

Funny thing is, a dollar is a dollar is a dollar. You could invest in a decent fix with a dollar (if you know the right people, and speak the right street-jive), or diversify your portfolio with some liquid assets to help you get through the night. Or you could see that dollar for what it really is, see all the potential condensed within it. If you want it to be, it can be a doorway that can lead to anywhere. Even home. Grab it, hold onto it, and stop falling. Take that dollar and get on the bus. The real bus, the one with wheels and a driver and a destination. Ride that bus through the night, until you see the sun shine down. And you just might find yourself in a better place than you were at before.

(For DollaRapper, BlueBaglady, AngryOvercoatGuy, BugEyeWanda, and all the rest of the downtown gang. May you catch your bus, and may it see you home.)

Surviving the Streets (#15)

If you haven't eaten any solid food for three days, and feel like you are going to fall down, you probably are. Sit down.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Suddenly, Champu (#35)

These are the ongoing chronicles of my roommate, Chimanlal Champu. Boldly going where no man has gone before, or indeed, should ever go again.

[Champu on... mixed metaphors]

Dude, sometimes I feel like a frog.
Like a frog in a pond, you know?
And the ocean is so green!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Freedom of Speech

Right, so this one's about blogging. I haven't been able to sleep for a few nights, and the insomnia pixies have been visiting me fairly regularly for the past day or two, messing with me in broad daylight at times. As a result, I find myself trawling the web night after night. Mostly I just find sweet FA, but sometimes I come across something cool, new, and useful. I'm pretty sure the people who read this blog fairly regularly (yes, all three of you) read other blogs as well, besides posting on your own. So this story might be familiar.

Its pretty damn awful to realise that what we take for granted is a privilege much prized by some, and each day is a struggle to stay connected, to stay online. Each post a subtle thumb of the nose at the establishment.

So I'm adding one blog from each country mentioned in the report to my blogroll. Right under my beautiful mugshot. Right hand side of the page, ya just can't miss it.

So get clicking. And together, we just might change something. Lets make each hit count. Vive la revolucion!

Edit : And of course, in my revolutionary zeal, I overlook the simple fact that not every blog on the intarwubs is en Anglais. This is going to be harder than I thought. 'Cos google translate..well.. sucks. But I'll be putting them up soon as I find 'em. Right, then, as you were.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Suddenly, Champu (#19)

These are the ongoing chronicles of my roommate, Chimanlal Champu. Boldly going where no man has gone before, or indeed, should ever go again.

[Champu on... pregnancy]

Dude, did you ever notice how girls become fat after marriage? I think its because of sexual intercourse...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Doctor, I'm hearing the voices again...

Via Wikipedia : "Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a real-world environment whose elements are supplemented with-, or augmented by computer-generated imagery. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in meaningful context with environmental elements. The term is believed to have been coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell."

Proposed is an AR application that is capable of interpreting visual cues from the ‘real-world’ environment and making decisions based on the same. It will deal with vast amounts of data, collected from day-to-day life, and provide the user with meaningful information based on such data in the real-world, in real-time. This is an app intended for the system conceptualized by Pranav Mistry et. al. of MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, details of which are available here.

The application, (which I'm calling 'Third-i'), would function as a virtual secretary, primarily concerned with notifying the user with relevant updates/reminders/information pertaining to appointments/deadlines/events of potential interest.

The system is customizable by nature, and the user is actively required to input his/her preferences into the database for optimal functionality. Based on the user’s preferences, the system designs an optimal schedule for him, (the schedule can be adjusted at the user’s discretion) and proactively issues ‘reminders’ to assure that the user adheres to it.

To illustrate, suppose you indicate your interest in live music. At a later date, you’re walking past a store, and you see a flyer for a rock concert. The imaging apparatus of the augmented reality system ‘sees’ the flyer, (i.e. captures an image of it) and scans it for relevant information (such as showtimes, dates, ticket pricing). It correlates and compares this information with your schedule for the day of the show, and queries you to gauge your interest. If you indicate your interest in attending the show, the system creates an entry in your schedule, checks online for the best prices, and makes a purchase based on your authorization.

The application could be customized to user-specification, as a permanent companion, able to issue alerts/reminders/event updates in real-time, either via e-mail, pop-up alerts or (my favourite) in the form of in-ear voice cues. A fully personalized 'avatar' for the application if you will, with the clipped tones of a butler; the sibilant voice of a beautiful woman; or even your dad, yelling at you to get out of bed and get your ass in gear. The options are limitless. And you'll never forget things like anniversaries, birthdays, and appointments again! XD

Suddenly, Champu (#56)

These are the ongoing chronicles of my roommate, Chimanlal Champu. Boldly going where no man has gone before, or indeed, should ever go again.

We're at home, eating dinner, and then suddenly; Champu.

Me : So I heard Abhishek Bachchan is going to be in the Indian remake of the Hangover..
Champu : O rly? Dude that guy is not hot
Me :
Champu : Dude, they need someone who is a little hot, and mischievous..
Me : ...
Champu (thinking aloud) : Hmmm.. now who are some hot, cute looking guys...?
Me : ..!..


EDIT Bonus Fact!

While I'm typing the fact above :

Me : [typing]
Champu : Dude, what're you doing? [trying to look at the screen]
Me : Posting Champu Facts
Champu : Oh. [continues to watch]
Me : ..?..
Champu (frustrated that im slowing down) : Dude, type faster man! I'm waiting to see what it is ...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Them Bones

I'm at Molly MaGee's. Saturday night. Johnny Cash playing to the patio, walking the line, keeping himself sane, while America hunkers down, lies and misdirection flying thick and fast in the eye of the Cold War. Somewhere in time, there's a Russian girl trying to catch my eye. Another place, another time, and I'm lighting Elena's cigarette, her eyes gleaming turqoise within the flame. Now I'm drunk and puking my miserable guts out in an alleyway somewhere in San Francisco, clutching my side because it hurts like I've lost something very important.

The stars move on and keep on going. In circles, in spirals, constellations morphing into mocking figures, leering at me, smug like only the dead can afford to be. And I'm on my back and not moving, not getting up, lost in time, lost in space, miles away.

And I'm three years ago, eight thousand miles away.

Then I'm here, here and now, but you've gone and moved away.

This is the tragedy, here in the now, even though I'm here I'm still eight thousand miles away. Two years ago and counting backwards all the while. Now its one, now its two, and three's the worst of all, 'cos I haven't even met you yet and everything is telling me you're coming in fast. The sun shines through my window one day, and the light is strange, translucent, as if filtered through your hair. But surely you must see, this isn't how it could possibly be. Because you're still one year away, and getting closer all the while, and wherever you are, you're certainly not here.

Apple-cinnamon jam, and toasted bread and melting chocolate, and the taste of your sweat in the hot summer heat of your room. And I'm seventeen months ago, eight thousand miles away. And this is here, this is now, I'm three city blocks away but you've gone away again I don't know how far or how long.

Not that it matters, 'cos my chains are learning and they're tight and they're binding and they keep me still. Tied to two years ago. So many miles away.

When are you coming home? Not that it matters, I'm not really here, this isn't me, I'm just a pretender, shadow in time where's my light? Even moths know that they will burn. Me, I'm just a passenger, trapped in a temporal Moebius strip.

A smell, a taste, a fragment of memory, and I'm gone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Silence and sleep, like fields of amaranth lie

A shadow slips through the night, flitting across the street. In the half-light of the waning moon, the figure is barely discernible, but we can see that it is a tall, man-shaped thing. The stranger seems to hesitate for a moment, as if unsure of whether to go down Main, and then turns left down Beale street. He reaches the riverside, and climbs over the embankment, wading into the shallows.


The sun beats down about his head and shoulders. Sweat mixes thickly with white face-paint, and clots into his synophrys. His lips feel chapped and thick under the crimson lipstick smeared over his mouth. Feet hurting, the slap slap slap of his oversized shoes on the pavement becomes a mantra. He marches on. Ti-i-i-me [slap] is on [slosh]my [slap] side…[slosh] yes [slap] it is [slap-slosh]. The gasoline sloshes in its jerry can, happily syncopating the rhythm of his shoes.


The night is young. He runs a hand over his scalp, feeling the smoothness of it. It pleases him. He heads down towards the waterfront, walking briskly down Folsom. He moves with a certain confidence, sure of where he is going, and exactly how fast he wants to get there. Striding across Spear street, he looks up at the bay bridge looming overhead, like a leviathan in the fog. It pleases him.


The sun. Warm. Love the heat.


He stops in the middle of the square. People are milling around, busy with their daily routines. He reaches into his pocket and takes out a) a book of matches b) a piece of green chalk c) a feather.
Nobody spares more than a second glance at the clown in the polyester suit standing in the middle of the square. Not even when the clown plucks a feather out of the air and draws a green circle on the ground, around himself, precisely 4.5 feet from the instep of each flappy foot.


A vulpine smile reveals crooked canines, flashing in the moonlight. As if competing with his teeth, his knife glints in the dark too, for a brief instant, before the blade disappears into the woman's entrails, like a thaumaturgist's trick. Now you see it, now you don’t.


The gasoline soaks right through his suit. Passerby halt in their tracks and stare at him, stupefied. He glances back morosely, an exaggerated expression of pure longing on his face. Then he sets himself on fire.


Open sky. Taste of the sea on the wanton wind. The smell of her perfume, carried on a breeze.


A single drop of blood drips off his earring and onto the toe of his shoe. His face smeared with gore, he chokes back the thick, sickly sweet taste of menstrual blood, and a howl gurgles its way out of his throat. Echoing into the night, he announces his presence to the audient void.


I am a bird of prey. Your poets and visionaries write odes to me, and what I represent. My eye sees all of creation, and all of creation fears my gaze.


The harbour is silent, the world asleep. A body floats down Wolf Creek, drowned in whiskey, or river slime, or both. A whore leans against a doorway and watches the shadowy figure make his way up over the embankment, onto mud island. The light from the tip of her cigarette is twice-reflected in the blue of her eyes. And behind the wall of sleep, all is silence, silence.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Life is not a box of chocolates.

Unless some of the chocolates are poisoned, some have worms burrowing into the nougat-y bits, and some are actually just attractively packaged ca-ca.

Life is a constant struggle to actuate our own reality. Our consensual reality du jour. We strive and struggle to survive, most of the time making it through the days like sheep, eyes and feet fixed firmly on the ground, wallowing in the banality of it all without even realising it. Leading the life of man, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short".

But at night, when we sleep, we can dream. In that realm, gravity holds no dominion. When we are in the space between, we can let go of everything, and learn to fly. Dreams are our doorway into the infinite possibilities of the multiverse, the place where ideas come from. Ideas can be fragile things, ephemeral and fleeting, but once we embrace them, give them room to take root and grow in the fields of our mind, they can lead us to the very edge of the horizon. Bringing an idea into the real world is akin to venturing beyond that edge, breaking from convention and pushing the limits of our horizons.

The realisation of an idea is a beautiful moment. Quite literally, entire worlds turn in the balance, in that terrifyingly sublime interregnum. What was once in the future, is now here in this reality. Hence, via corollary, as corny as it may sound, the future is here.

And when the true future hits, it causes shockwaves to ripple through the very fabric of time and space.
The advent of a true future is an event of revolutionary proportions, by the very nature of its existence. Sometimes the revolution is small, affecting significant yet minimal change. And sometimes the magnitude of the idea causes a revolution of such impressive proportions, it has the potential to become the new zeitgeist.

This is after all, what the history of our species teaches us. This cyclical change is the basic principle, the very politics of our evolution. A revolution, then the slow rise to equilibrium, followed by a brief period of stability before decaying into stagnation, and then..another revolution. Another revolution... like the wheel.

And sometimes.. Just sometimes, perhaps only once more.. before we evolve ourselves right off this plane of existence.. there comes an idea, an image, a neo-archetype of such absolute brilliance… its like the gnosis of fire.

So get up off your arse, and go make something. Act out an idea, paint a portrait, write a book, create an equation, compose a song, start a fucking revolution, i don't care what you do. Just light the fuse and run like crazy. Immanentize the goddamn eschaton. Go!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Radio Mash Up Mini Mix : Tales from the Desolate, Lonely, Soul-Crushing Parts of Rev. Joshi's Travelling Salvation Show

Yesterday, I discovered that the second hand computer speakers I picked up at the flea market have unshielded wiring, which means they can pick up radio signals. I unplug the lead, and a flood of sound erupts. At night, like barely heard snatches and whispers of conversation from another room, sibilant and strangely soothing. This morning, a Chinese news radio station intermingled with the signal from a frequency playing Chicano holiday music. A glorious cacophony that permeates the air, and envelops me in its warmth. Blissful, happy, I sink back into the bright red couch, and close my eyes. Through some strange twist of karma, though I'm asleep, I can still hear the radio play. A monotonous, droning voice is reciting a string of numbers. Could it be? After all these months, a transmission from the dreamlands? I strain to listen, and manage to make out the following curious lines, amidst the static.

The transmission ends, and a weird noise, like a deranged monkey attempting to violently copulate with a theremin, takes its place. I wake up, discomfited and unconcerted, my forehead covered in sweat, and my lungs on fire.

What does it all mean? WHO is responsible for these messages!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009