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On The Ning Nang Nong

Discussion in 'Education & Personal Growth' started by Iravati, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    The Telltale Natives
    (Part II - The Lunch)

    Previously: Part - I

    Hour four:

    Dhanya descended from her dormitory staircase clutching a handbag. Varun eyed her with a smirk [ek chota handbag set back thirty minutes. Do chakram girls have any sense of time? Oo no, that gloss on her lips, I see. And that very faint eye liner. Would the food look pretty with her unnecessary makeup. But she looks cute. Shut up , Varun, she is a cuteless callous-coated cattle rancher!]

    “Sorry, have I kept you waiting? ” [dekho! woh nazar! Mugambo's stare! At least Mugambo from Mr India kabhi kabhi khush hua kartha tha but this chap. Arey I returned in five may be ten may be fifteen minutes. Uske liya itna bhayankar expression. Foul-faced fishery!]

    With contrived pleasantries, they hurry into the waiting cab.

    Hour five:

    “Fancy anything from menu? ” He lowered his menu card and gazed at her.

    “Nothing very interesting in Brindavanam” [kachori, aloo chaat, pav bhaji ..mooh mein paani aa raha hai. But how do I order the tantalizing ethnic food. He might think of me as a hick from Handipur. But that pav bhaji —]

    “How about you, Varun?”

    “I like Cheese Nachos and Coke to go with it but then ... ”

    “but then ... ”, she drawled with painful eyes.

    “But then ....the kachori listings are ... ”

    “ ....are .... ”

    “well ...they ...are ... ”

    “ ...are ... ” [aghe bolo you dunk-headed doodle from dandiapur]

    “They are funny .” He flung the menu.

    “Why don't we have some fun then, ” she throws her head askance, “the names are definitely funny like this chitchor kachori. We must try it. ”

    Varun crouches his shoulders against the table and penetrates into her eyes. [tu kya cheez hai. What are you? Who are you really? Are you what I think you are or you are what I would like to think you are. Ek hi tareeka hai.]

    He playfully leaned back. “Let's order the chitchor kachori and rangeela kachori with tiranga bhaji and aloo bajrangi.”

    She lit up happy. “And that teesri manzil pav with imli dimli pani puri also.”

    Hour six:

    Varun leaned against the jamb of her door in the dormitory. “Did you enjoy the food? ”

    “Splendid! Delicious! Ekdam Jhakaas!”

    “Jhakaas?”

    “Sorry, as in —” . He interrupted her, “I know what that means. If you chakram are what I think jhakaas you are, and you are also the callous-coated cantankerous cattle rancher, then what am I? Truth. Speak up. What am I.” He forced his towering way into her puzzled gaze.

    “You are ... ”

    “Yes, I am ? ”

    “... are ... ”

    “... would you please finish that for me you halting habibi from hastinapur.”

    “You are foul-faced fishery. ” She clasped her arms on her tightened waist.

    “Yes I am ... ” He flicked his gaze at her sparkled eyes. “Hold there, right there. I have something for you.” He darted away and returned soon huffing with a chunky confection in a bottle . “Homemade mango and garlic achar, just an extra bottle.”

    She eagerly nabbed the bottle from him. “I was craving for Amla pickle. Mango hi sahi.”

    As he turned around to leave, she inquired, “Arey fishery, lunch tomorrow, er, wahi Brindhavanam.”

    He grinned. “Aaj toh we skipped lagaan bhaji and andaz sabzi. Tomorow, phir se chalthe hai.” Her hearty laughter echoed in the doorway. The smitten Varun on his way down the stairs brushed against a raffish lad. "Bro, watch where you are going in the Academy especially in girls dormitory." Varun turned around and apologized. "Sorry, you are —"

    "Siddhant."

    upload_2018-7-30_11-43-26.png
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  2. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    The Conversation
    (Interlude)

    Poorni texted: Did you read my stories?
    Adi texted: Later.


    Poorni texted: How later?
    Adi texted: Later, at knifepoint.

    Poorni texted: Come home early, making broccoli pakora.
    Adi texted after ten minutes: Finished reading. Tell me. You cannot always use the same threat. What if one day I fancy broccoli and fall in love with it like your lovebirds in your fiction.

    Poorni texted: I will shift the threat to cabbage and beetroot pakora. Did you realize how your enormously ingenious wife linked the recent story back to her first story.

    Adi texted: Babe, reminded me of those silly Harlequin Trilogy of romances of The Sicilian Brothers, The Arab Princes, The Bronco Family Affairs. Could you not have written glycerin type stories?

    Poorni texted: What gycerin type stories?

    Adi texted: The tear-jerky Mother India kindred plots in which a haggard mother recounts her sacrifices in her youth in bringing up her prodigal boys, disgruntled wives in loveless marriages contemplating vanavas, chaste girlfriends who wish to be deflowered only on the wedding night. Your feisty leads are romping and flirting with no impunity. You need more bleeding and poignant award-winning material in your writing. Will fetch credit.

    Poorni texted: No, my protagonists are no glycerin and ashes. They are jaunty and goofy and contemporary.

    Adi texted: Your "goofy" and "jaunty" and "contemporary" characters cannot sustain in fictional stories. Fiction desires sad and forlorn and heart-wrenching wisdom. But poohkins —

    Poorni texted: To hell with your "sad" and "forlorn" and "heart-wrenching" and "archaic" narratives. I want these women to resonate with urban times and not sanctimonious palaver. Come home early. Broccoli and leek awaits you.

    Adi typed then withheld envisioning:icon_pc:
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  3. Tamrakshar

    Tamrakshar Finest Post Winner

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    Superb story, Iravati! You have deftly shown how a deep romantic attachment between two completely unknown individuals can be developed from casual conversations. Your portrayal of Vasanti as a manipulative, condescending, smug engineering student is simply a picture perfect. Vasanti seems to be a chatterbox with a great sense of humour. Her contentment of just being an engineer and having not much of a future planning, however, doesn't reflect the general mindset of female engineering students at that time, whom I thought were quite career-oriented.

    The portrayal of Shekhar, the hero, is slightly different from your other heroes. For a change, he is not a flirt! He has a calm, composed demeanour. His sense of time management is quite extra-ordinary. Many people read newspapers or magazines during their train travel, but our hero doesn't waste time even when he is standing in a queue!
     
  4. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    Hoy,

    I adore Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise movie franchise in which the lead pair Jesse and Celine are drawn closer to each other only through casual and witty conversations. Just silly conversations! You realize how essential spontaneous conversations are, and how memorable these suitors are with whom you indulge in frivolous conversations. Trivial conversations with the quick-minded people are gratifying. I don't categorically endorse in affection and romance through time and pace. Given enough time, a man and woman would get used to each other eventually, which isn't the innate form of romance. Just like the universe was created in the first three minutes of the Big Bang, it is the first three minutes of the coup de foudre that matters whether you smoothly could be attracted to the other person or not, after that, may be, the more you talk, the more you listen, you might gradually develop the feels and vibes of compatibility but that is just habituated to each other.

    Romance is that sparks and spangles and peyote drums and didgeridoos and tambourines and sitar one hears with that first voiced 'hello'. Much later, honor, respect blah blah can be played on nose flutes. Of course, strangers fall in love just with spontaneous conversations. In fact, I would rank 'meaningless conversation' quite high to ensure compatibility between two people. If a man and a woman could hold a meaningless conversation for more than an hour then they are meant for a lifetime.

    I would put that as Vasanti is not manipulative but NOT guileless also, not condescending but NOT fractious also, not smug but NOT diffident also. She is just a slippery talker who is not inhibited by the mores of her times.
     
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  5. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    Hoy hoy,

    The elaborate portrayal of chatterboxes is my self-indulgence. My characters are not stridently representative of their times or practices. There might be girls who were too principled and mannered in speech and comportment, for their own good, who swore on The Art of Ascension and Honour but my characters are comical and fallible and cultural iconoclasts. They don't get too carried away with the proverbial trends or the behooving conformity.

    My characters are light-hearted and sharp-witted. I would rather befriend someone carefree like Vasanti who humours around before the final paper of 'Communication and Control Systems' that if she fails in the exam, she would trap the decadent scion in her neighborhood than a very uptight girl with falsified scholarly integrity and unimpressive proficiency writ large in her affected speech. I personally don't favor tall claims of valour, hence I avoid such projections onto the flirtatious dealings of my chatty fiction.

    Mere ko lagan, someone might complain that I am infiltrating IL with subversive romances, boy and girl falling in love over conversations, that too indecorous conversations, also at odd places like swamps and railway stations, that too over insignificant tastes. Is liye ...I grudgingly downplayed Shekhar to his mundanity to foil any portentous outrage over my maniacal fiction. Warna ...Shekhar would never have been a man of lapsed words.

    Arey, that's just a ruse to forestall stray conversationalists, like Vasanti. Reading paper and holding upright a tray-sized book covering one's brows are tricks to deter the plebs from coming up and yapping uninvited. Shy shy dudes fake that a lot!

    Don't go by Shekhar's reticence, for all I know, Shekhar isn't chatty with everyone but for the right girl in his life he could ostensibly outgrow his verbal continence, shussh, in fact, reveal his visceral fondness to chat.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
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  6. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    The Enigma of Heaven

    Funerals are unsettling for the bereaving still struggling and eking out a semblance of normalcy in their disrupted lives after a beloved has passed away. In that disruption, we overlook rhetoric niceties. Later, when I sat down to recount the dreary and well-intended social niceties from a recent funeral, I noticed the allusion of souls to be always lead into heaven. At times, the plaintiff to the divine arbitrator is forceful direct: 'May her soul rest in peace in heaven'.

    In Heaven? Why are we presumptuous that heaven is peace and coveted? Have we ever inquired from the deceased if they would like to travel beyond Earth to Heaven or Hell. Why would anyone still favor Heaven over Hell? Let me get my thought straights around this conundrum.

    How did heaven come to be that prized destination? Well, for starters, after our bones are charred and flesh is melted in the pyre, we would still fondly animate the dead person with something called 'soul'. The flimsy souls cannot crouch on the funeral pyre forever unless we offer them a very responsible task of hatching the dragon eggs of Daenerys. Therefore, with no dragon eggs, the souls are supposed to be transferred elsewhere after they have emerged bedraggled from the pyre. They are supposed to be rehabilitated away from the living so that occasionally they wave their wispy hands and toss blessings on us from their forlorn and ethereal abodes. Thus, heaven and hell were invented. Good souls thrive in heaven and wretched souls decay in hell. Aristotle proclaimed that only humans have souls, therein, only humans can enter heaven and hell. Well, he was at his best trying to solve the enigma of overcrowding in heaven had animals also been endowed with souls. Would everyone transcend to general heaven like our indiscriminate general compartment in railway trains or have special 'animal' otherworlds. Aristotle was wise enough that he dismissed the notion of souls in animals to preclude segregated heavens. Crafty, Aristotle!

    But, here comes the tricky part. The admission to heaven isn't smooth even with only the human heaven.

    Accordingly to grayed scriptures, the deceased heart is weighed against a feather, and if the sinful heart weighed less than a feather only then the soul is adopted by the heavenly angels else they are sent down to Earth again to reincarnate and insisted to lose the blubber with keto and paleo diet till the heart is shriveled to a weightless glob that won't tip the balance. Great!

    Even amidst such stringent measures, we are keen to dispatch our loved ones to Heaven. Have we even inquired of the living, er, deadly, conditions of the Heaven. With elaborate rituals and insistence in our prayers we have transported generations to Heaven, never once inquiring whether Heaven is overcrowded, how is the sanitation, is it communal bathroom or en suite, is it bunker or single bed? To adduce evidence to my suspicion, in Mahabharata, both the Pandavas and the Kauravas sneaked into Heaven. Blimey! Even an incompetent economist could roughly work out the stench and congestion in heaven and warn of the inevitable implosion in Heaven soon. Yet, we are eager to goad our departed ones to hike to the Heaven, not once suggesting to compare Hell alongside for sanitation and lodging.

    I am not the first thinker to worry about the delusion of Heaven. To dissuade such overcrowding, perhaps, Belinda Carlisle was canvassing for "heaven is a place on earth" in her hit album of the same name. The intrepid philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre subverted otherworldy hell with "Hell is other people" on Earth. These sham recreations of heaven and hell on Earth should have diverted souls from ascending elsewhere but no they wanted the REAL MCCOY. The Buddhist thinkers are too clever for their own good that they invented multiple heavens with souls transiting between each realm, a summer here, and a winter there, with flexible permanent residence and easy immigration. What is not to like about Buddhism since I have known about their ingenious strategy to hop around realms. I love these robed thinkers.

    Also, why is Hell despicable? Low immigration, vast terrain, playful and concentric mazes sprouted from Dante's imagination, burning flares which imply no crackdown on energy crises, cannot think of one reason why Hell is frightful. With the global warming inflicted mercury levels on Earth, Hell would be only be conducive to our homeostasis. In Hinduism, the formidable Garuda Purana is a reference compilation of punitive and torturous contrivances to surrender us to atone for our sins. Ha! A human's survival on Earth within the competitive culture in corporate work is far challenging than any GP's grotesque torture chamber. I don't understand why we must sell ourselves short to Heaven when Hell is likely to offer us better prospects.

    No Er (ref: Plato's Republic) has returned from his funeral pyre on a short-term visa from Heaven or Hell to describe the living conditions there. It looks like a one-way permanent ticket. The souls who returned with 'bad goods' postage on them were rinsed in Lethe that they could hardly remember their first class way up to the staircase of heaven or second class tumble down to the tunnel of Hell in their previous incarnate.

    The armchair philosopher in me thinks that Heaven is like that choked Bahamas and Bermuda where gullible tourists flock just because other tourists flock. Head to the more thinly peopled supernatural worlds! Kamalji always joked about his drunkard revelry in Hell. What good is heaven with restrictions on smoke and drink. When Kamalji, my mates, and the recently deceased friend, all have avowed to regroup in Hell, then even if I am a wild card entry to Heaven, I feverishly strive that I don't, I will plan my great escape to Hell to join my likes. May our tribe spread unrest in Hell!
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  7. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    Badges on Earth

    I often quote this to my friends when they are puzzled about the human relations.

    "Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity." --Breakfast of Champions

    How true! When I first read that insight in "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut, I instantly recognized that Vonnegut cracked the root of human misery. We often wonder why we are liked and why we are hated. Like and hate do not correspond to our expression of speech or outreach in gesture. People just decide knee-jerk whether to hate or like you and then institute that sentiment regardless of later interactions. Hence, don't worry if someone confuses you with their misplaced emotion, you just fell in their wrong reflex.

    Let's take an example. My own post. I prefer to be like that bushy-haired scientist who slits his own flesh to study pathology. Here's one random post, just to playfully analyse: Kitchen-Carpet-Clean-Advice

    A person who likes me ...or has a 'like' badge against me would construe that post as:

    Well, she is thoughtful to reiterate her ignorance of labor in cleaning a rug/carpet -- dust off in the sun, vacuum, scratch the tough stains, so forth. A hurried reader might skip critical bits hence she reiterated her living conditions so that a reader can weigh the cost against benefit against labour.

    A person who hates me ...or has a 'hate' badge against me would construe that post as:

    Bombast! Show off! She wants to brag her privilege that she can afford professional help to get her house cleaned. Does she have to reiterate it?

    The text could be perceived in extreme forms depending on the badge they have against my name. To reiterate self-referentially, that was just an example to drive the Ning waffle home Again: a random and fluffy post for example.

    I tell my friends that we tend to be friends or strangers not from deep study and suitability but how our reflexes reacted on the first encounter. I hate you, I ever hate you, no matter how charitable and agreeable your ongoing acts may be. I like you, I ever like you, regardless of your deplorable and vile and unconscionable acts.

    Friends tend to remain friends because badges are stronger than bonds. It takes considerable change of heart or rewiring of the reflex to swap the badge, but there have been rare occasions when I got off on the wrong foot with someone and it took much personal indulgence to revalue the badge to reforge as friends. Rare! Badges! Be aware of these reflexive badges! Generally, choose amenable badges when in doubt rather than a skeptical forecast of their conduct and slap them a 'McKayla not impressed' silver badge.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  8. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    Notes On A Nervous Planet: Beach Poem

    Just finished reading the book "Notes on a nervous planet" by Matt Haig written in staccato style of short musings on nervous living in a modern age. Loved the beach poem in the book. Sharing it here.

    upload_2018-8-2_23-19-29.png

    Hello.
    I am the beach.
    I am created by waves and currents.
    I am made of eroded rocks.
    I exist next to the sea.
    I have been around for millions of years.
    I was around at the dawn of life itself.
    And I have to tell you something.
    I don’t care about your body.

    I am a beach.
    I literally don’t give a ffuck.
    I am entirely indifferent to your body mass index.
    I am not impressed that your abdominal muscles are visible to the naked eye.
    I am oblivious.
    You are one of 200,000 generations of human beings.
    I have seen them all.
    I will see all the generations that come after you, too.
    It won’t be as many.
    I’m sorry.
    I hear the whispers the sea tells me.
    (The sea hates you. The poisoners. That’s what it calls you. A bit melodramatic, I know. But that’s the sea for you. All drama.)

    And I have to tell you something else.
    Even the other people on the beach don’t care about your body.
    They don’t.
    They are staring at the sea, or they are obsessed with their own appearance.
    And if they are thinking about you, why do you care?
    Why do you humans worry so much about a stranger’s opinion?
    Why don’t you do what I do? Let it wash all over you. Allow yourself just to be as you are.
    Just be.
    Just beach.
     
  9. Iravati

    Iravati Platinum IL'ite

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    Concluding Tribute: To the roughed up desperado

    I write bada bada emails to my friends. I scratch a mile, they respond with a kilometer. Who are these friends? Well, two intellectual dandies, three madcap philosophers, and a hellgirl. The dandies and I confuse ourselves with Heidegger and Camaron de Isla and Tintoretto in the same line of thought. The madcaps and I revel in every lousy observation under the glorious sun. The hellgirl and I are 24/7 giggly froth. That's my compact life of writerly correspondence.

    I had no intention to upset this grotesquely satisfying cart in my life but then something happened when a force to be reckoned with showed up from nowhere and confounded me. Not any force but a Far Easterly Force. When I interacted with the force the first time, I was perplexed in the style of Sir David Attenborough's inquiry on Animal, Vegetable and Mineral? What is this creature? She defied known forms of amusement and mirth and humor in her chatty self. Her humor was full-bodied. Her English was stylish. And her reflective gaze was uninhibited.

    Usually incidental songs and kettledrums play in my theatrical mind for an instant when time is frozen momentarily in my stunned intrigue when I encounter such forces and creatures. The song I had for her when such intrigue washed over me was that of Blake Shelton's:

    "Oh but when I saw you standing in the corner
    I'd never thought that you would have my back
    But then we rolled in like the thunder and the lightning"

    I sensed she wasn't that everyday creature who would bore me with prosaic and unctuous wisdom. She was spontaneous and witty and a quote-machine drawing quips from old and new and known and unknown literature. We continued along:

    "Threw some punches then we had a laugh
    Just some roughed up desperados
    Kicking up dust wherever we go"

    We exchanged notes on Wednesday being Indigo Blue and Sunday is Extraordinary Green. She continued to intrigue me, she countered to my delight, and she partly colluded in my Ning venture.

    The creature impressed me with her fruity banter. She revealed herself as Okonomi to me. But I preferred to approach her as my roughed up desperado. Her strength of character and possession even during roughed up times surprised me. Her standing was cosmopolitan. Her voice was easy-going. Her romp was discerning. Her participation was unfazed. Her insights were prevailing. Then, I realized we had anecdotes to share, fiction to spin together, and memorable narratives to interweave in our developing correspondence:

    "Who'd thought we'd wind up here together?
    It's crazy that we're standing side by side
    Fighting just like two birds of a feather
    Who's gonna tell us now that we can't fly?
    Just some roughed up desperados"

    I struggled to group her into my pre-existing constellations of dandies and madcaps and hellgirls. She remained as wild and original as a desperado that I held her to her frolic and didn't shoehorn her to my whim. I was wary to introduce new voices into my personal correspondence lest I upset my cherished cart of dandies and madcaps and hellgirls. But she turned out to be that missing finis to my maverick assemblage of ragtag friends that would not have revealed itself as missing until you notice and hold it for what it is — a cheerful desperado.

    She struck novelty amidst dull sobriety and affected propriety that engulfs us everywhere. I found her in IL, I connected with her over my gibberish musing, but then I grew fond of that desperado through her witty and stylish correspondence as that Easterly Force to be reckoned with which rings my inbox in the mornings with "You have a post card from Oko, the roughed-up desperado"

    upload_2018-8-3_17-51-44.png

    Years ago, I realized the importance and fulfillment of having friends to whom you can sneak in laughs and sulks and nostalgia in personal correspondence. I could not have asked for more in my satiated life today from content and amusement forged through these dandies and madcaps and hellgirls but for the latest and the exhilarating relief of an intrepid and chatty desperado. She might be the latest, nevertheless, unique and blithest in her own right.

    I owe you this long-pending tribute, Oko! You have made my Ning venture a worthwhile pursuit. With this tribute, I fold up my Ning series of a year and more. A Happy Friendship Day to improbable friends who deserve bada bada emails and tributes for they make our life a bit more interesting than we could have built without these forces and creatures and dandies and madcaps and hellgirls and now a desperado to that list.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
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  10. Rakhii

    Rakhii Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Ira, what are you readung lately? Now that I am done with Madame Bovary, ALL the series in the most unfortunate events ever...what next my IL mate?
    You really did broaden my reading horizon. I shudder to think what I would have missed if I were not introduced to Lemony Snicket. No, really. I suppose eventually I would have watched it on Netflix but reading is just that reading.

    anyway, what are you reading currently? I must add, I do follow every post in this Nang lane. I love this space of yours, though, often I dont login to tell you that.
     

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