i like doing lists, i say.
here's another. five most favoritestest ads.
1. the standard chartered ad with the blind man and his coach at the olympics. i could have cried. and then ananya told me it's a true story.
2. the airtel ad now about the power of expression. too. much.
3. the old emirates ad where two africans go to europe, and for the first time ever, they see snow. they run downstairs in their pajamas, creep past the reception, and then run out to play in the snow. very beautiful.
4. the mastercard ads.
the look on da da da..
for everything else, there's mastercard.
5. the old nokia n-91 ad. with the tattoo creeping up and down those people's body. anyone know what song plays in the background? it's todally too cool. (ps. my birthday's round the corner. someone care to buy me a nokia n-91?)
in other news, time is an illusion. lunchtime, even more so. (that beautiful line is not mine, don't worry.) especially when the time you have left to eat boils down to a very hungry five minute period. also, hangovers suck ass if you have to go to college when you have one.
i have always wondered what men like for birthday gifts right from the first ever time i had to buy one. (i ended up buying a blue t-shirt for him, and as luck would have it, that's what he was wearing when i gave it to him.)
so, people. million dollar question. what do men like for birthday gifts?!
i like doing lists, i say.
I’m a city person, I have decided. I cannot live without traffic on the roads and lots of random faces everywhere. I especially cannot live without the fascinating menagerie of people, the life in the bustling, and the organized chaos. There is always an unspoken culture, a familiar code of direction, and many dimensions of the same plot.
I have always lived in a city. A fairly small one, as cities go, but a fairly cosy one. It speaks, my city. It tells tales. Everyday, there are stories that it can tell. Of people who have just learnt how to walk, of people who have just learnt to see, of people who have just learnt to talk. (It certainly hasn’t taught anyone to breathe, however. Cities don’t do that. You’re in the wrong place if you’ve come here to learn to breathe.)
This is a story of two cities that I have seen and fallen in love with. One is home. The other, however, took me in as a guest.
It is a city with culture oozing out of its walls. The curtain opened slowly for me, and this made it easier for me to take it in. As my taxi pulled out of the train station, the first thing that caught my eye was the beauty of the buildings. The old bricks, the trees in the wall, the oblivious faces to them all. As I tried to digest the beauty of it all, the place was determined to make it hard for me. It popped up a structure, a bridge, so beautiful, that it was difficult to even savor the spice of the taste in one bite.
I am talking about Calcutta. All I wanted to do was to travel the roads- to walk in the light, filtered through the clouds, under the hint of a drizzle of rain. I didn’t take any pictures, because my camera wouldn’t do justice to what my eyes were seeing. Just the roads are a pleasure.
The buildings.. Oh, the buildings! I could go on forever about them, and not be able to stop. The architecture of them all, the fusion of the structures on every road, the old and the new, the grills in the windows. The proud heritage that they all bear, the regal beauty that they all boast of. The stories that they can tell, the love that they can furnish. The contrast between The Oberoi Grand Hotel, well maintained and well kept, and a random leather warehouse- unpainted for a century, that both seemed to be built two hundred years ago.
On my very first day there, where I hardly spent an hour outside my hotel, I fell in love. In the evening, there were men sitting out on the footpath on every corner, just talking. About life, it seemed, and politics, and the world, about everything, and nothing at all. So enthralling, it was, to watch experiences being shared, opinions being listened to, with a plate of bhel-puri in the hand and twinkle of wisdom in the eye.
At a restaurant I went to one night, there was laughter in the air. A sense of Self emerged, a sense of privacy, a niche in a crowd. Like a friend put it, Calcuttans are a noisy, comfortable lot. They like feeling at home wherever they go. It’s true. I also think it’s true that Bengali evolved into what it is now, because the people found the food hard to take out of the mouth. Their language became one that could be spoken even with a full mouth. (The puchkas! The rossogullas!)
Cities, they have many towns patched together by an old grandmother into the same quilt. There is the town of the old and the brisk walk, the one of the new and striding, the town of the well-off, the town of the thriving. Mostly, there is a fusion of it all, and this is the most mesmerizing.
They all have places everybody knows, but nobody’s been to, places everybody goes to but never realize they love, places they hate, obscure places with the favorite mango juice, secret places that sells awesome biryani at three in the morning, people who gossip to you, people who gossip of you, people who you gossip about.
And what is most intriguing, is the pattern most cities follow. A network of people, most of whom will be undoubtedly connected to another by atleast one common acquaintance.
It is still in the City that I learnt how to breathe, because it is in freedom that you can breathe, and in a conflict of opinions that there is democracy. In a city there is both. Freedom, from the choices you have, and democracy, in the choices people make.
Me, I’m running away again tonight. I’m off to see the stars. There’s a movie in the sky that people have raved on about ages. It’s about time I caught it before it goes away. There’s some magic in the air that I ought not to miss. I’m probably slightly zonked by the intoxicating dose of Life that I have been given. Yes, that would be it. A buzzed headache, and a slow day.
I should make a list of the things I need at the place I’m hiding. A blanket, for example, it’s very important. It might get cold at night, and I get cold easily. Running away is simple. It’s just packing up and leaving. It’s the not coming back that nobody takes into account.
I slung my bag on my shoulders, and looked into the mirror. A mirror can show you much, and today it showed my Self. It showed me a smile in my cheeks that I haven’t noticed much earlier. There’s an adventure out there, it called out. There’s more to a smile than the curve of my mouth. My hair was in a mess. It was certainly a nice mess.
I’m running away from everything else but me, I decided. I’m giving the world a vacation. I pulled my socks on, and tied my shoelaces. I locked the door and left the key on the chair in the porch. I even grinned at the un-mowed lawn, I didn’t even curse my laziness. That’s me, and I’m not here to change the only thing I have.
The wind was in my hair. An excitement was in my walk. I had no idea where I was headed, and that was simply the best feeling. The very idea that I had Nowhere to go to was a purpose. I ate at a small restaurant at the edge of town, the kind where only patrons eat, and everyone had the same order. They’re the friendliest kind, the kind that treats you like family.
I am my recluse, the trees, my pillow, my mind, my book, the wind and the sun, my cool and the warm. The sound of the crickets is my music, the grass in the fields, my sense of freedom. But the loveliest thing, is the discovery by walking. It is like cleaning your room and finding an old favorite book at the bottom of the mess.
Yes, I’m running away tonight. To places that have always been there but I’ve never bothered seeing. To places that are me, but I haven’t had the chance to explore.
I’m running away, and I’ll never be the same again.