Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Impure Science

A couple of weeks ago, I met an old school friend for coffee. We were catching up and started talking about what other people from school were upto. He mentioned another friend, and mentioned how hard his life as a Phd student is. I made the mistake of saying, 'Yuck. I understand'. He corrected me promptly - 'His Phd is pure sciences dude. Its hard core.' To which I smiled politely and said, 'and what is mine, an impure science?' but my brain really said '@#$%^&*@#$*&^%!!!!!!'.

I have great difficulty, I repeat GREAT difficulty explaining to people what I do for a living. Most of the time it doesnt bother me that people dont get it. I'm spending five precious years getting a Phd in Sociology. Of course it makes no sense to anyone. It fails to make sense to me sometimes, so I cant blame them entirely. The standard response is usually '...Aha! You can tell me all about the functionings of my brain then!' No. I'm not a psychologist. '..Oh wait, so its like social service stuff?' No. Unless you're talking about all the free labour they extract from me at grad school. '...then what is it about? what do you really do?' Well, I sit on my ass, and watch the Onion news all day, and whem I have the time, I pick up jargon from fat books written by dead or dying sociologists and talk in extremely complicated ways to my fellow sociologists over drinks in the middle of the day (or night, or afternoon, or evening) so that no one can understand what I'm really saying. And guess what stupid f***s, its more fun than waking up in the morning, wearing a business suit, and looking important while you sit on your ass and punch in obscure numbers in obscure spreadsheets, breaking in between only to inquire about the box seat tickets to the next baseball game you cant even make it to because of all the new obscure numbers that need immediate punching in on a Saturday night.


Blogging = therapeautic.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Like the keys of a piano

Of late, I've been listening to a lot of trashy music and a lot of different kinds of music. Its slightly unusual on my part cos I usually stick to a genre or a person at a time. But the current state of affairs and jumbled playlist is disturbing because nothing seems to fit my mood. Maybe for once I'm not being able to hold on to a mood (hence a song) for too long.

I cant actually remember at what point I started depending on music so much, or at least where it all began for me. As far as I can recollect, it began with my mum forcing me to train in Indian classical. But I dont think I ever really fell in love with what I trained in. I fell in love with what I couldnt train in, what no one my age (7 or 8 at that time) would listen to, and that which I didnt even know the name or genre of at that time. It was my brother's collection of classic rock - his very own 'Hits and Pits'. The 14 carefully recorded tapes played on and on for the first few conscious years of my life, and are still playing in my subconscious mind. So much so that till date, when I listen to some of these songs in bars and concerts, I can sing along word for word, but I couldnt tell you what the name of the song is, or who sung it. But I loved it. I loved the powerful vocals, I loved the solo guitaring, I loved the drumming, but more importantly, my brother taught me how to pay attention to the less obvious - the bass guitar and the backup vocals. How beautifully and selflessly they blended in without making a fuss, and quietly became the backbone of a song!

Eventually when I began collecting music of my own, it had to be what others were listening to. I paid my tribute to the BSBs, the Boyzones, and all the BoysIIMen type groups I could lay my hands on. The 'yuppy puppys' as my brother would disdainfully refer to them. Eventually I moved on (or back) to the 'more sophisticated' country, rock and jazz. My taste in music changed, my situation changed, I grew older, I moved out, but all of this time, some form of music or the other stayed with me. I've let it pull me out of yuckiness, but I've also let it push me further into more yuckiness. I've allowed it to lift my spirits, but I've also let it take over entirely and drag me down. I've traveled, read, drank and slept to music. In fact for every signficant and insignificant memory in my head, there is a song. It sits pretty with my memory, almost indistinguishable from the event itself.

Now, as I sit in my room, cuddled up with earplugs, I know in my head will remain from this night, bits and pieces of 'Mama, we're all gonna die.. Mama, we're meant for the flies' and 'Oh, holy night, the stars are shining brightly' and 'Oh Lord, wont you buy me a Mercedes Benz?' And while that does confuse and disturb me more and more, it also warms me up for the next 4 months of disturbia, for after I go back to grad student life. Until then, as the days drop one by one, like the keys of a piano, I feel my life sort of rising in crescendo form, until the next phase / semester hits. And then I will slide back smoothly and start again at the beginning of the piano.

Shites! I did it!

After spending a painful one week picking a template and an appropriate blogname, profile name and description (phew!), I finally have the courage to begin writing me own blog. To give credit where its due, I am inspired by two good friends, S and P, whose blogs I secretly follow. Their love for writing and their ability to scribble freely has inspired me to carve my own little e-space, where I hope to pen things freely! Incoherent and coherent - the twain shall meet here.

As for a theme for this blog, there is none. And you dont need one either. Primarily because you're not looking for a theme when you read this. You're reading this, either because I forcibly made you read it, or because you love me and want to know me better. So well, if there is a theme, its me! As for who me is, you will know soon.

But if you need a quick preview on me, I will leave you with a depiction another dear friend, S, frequently (and very appropriately) resorts to:

P.S.: In case you're wondering what the shites in the title means and you're totally not with it, shites is the new 'oh shit' in delhi, correctly pronounced shait-ez. Like oh my god. You're so like.. dude.. like uncool. Like shites.