Saturday, 19 December 2009

'When' Diagrams

Bookstores always bring out the worst in me. An hour spent leafing through novels and comic books well beyond my modest budget is all it takes to send my vows of austerity up in flames, leaving me in a Gollum-esque trance that I am fast growing used to. I even devise a few 'get-rich-quick’ schemes on the journey back home. Thankfully, good sense and laziness have prevailed, and my plans of robbing Nescafe haven’t seen the light of day. Yet.

Rummaging through that wonderfully haphazard dump of paperbacks that is Midland Book Store, my eyes fell on a yellowing copy of Tom Sawyer. The jaunt down memory lane it incited was, perhaps, inevitable; for Mark Twain's magnum opus was the first book I’d ever read that wasn’t illustrated by Anant Pai. I spent a good portion of the next hour in the Kids section, fondly flipping through Enid Blytons and Robert Arthurs. Beyond a point, I don’t think it is possible to look back at any book without being transported to the world we lived in when we first read it and recalling the inchoate hopes and dreams that guided our lives then. Books, movies, songs- every experience in the world is partly controlled by an imperceptible parameter of time, what I plan to call the ‘when’ factor when I eventually publish a treatise on the subject.

I saw ‘Wake Up Sid’ a fortnight ago. Much to my own surprise, I ended up liking the movie. For once, Ranbir Kapoor’s dressing sense didn’t make my eyes bleed; worse, I even liked a few of his T-shirts. Miracles, indeed, shall never cease.

Monday, 7 December 2009

And so it goes

The Corniche on King Faisal Highway remains my favourite promenade in the world, with Thomason Marg and Nanda Talkies Road filling up the second and third spots respectively. The place is Bahrain's answer to the Bandstands and Palm Beaches of the world- one of the few saving graces for the otherwise barrenArabian landscape. Stretching from the Bait-al-Quran, a 6 storey-museum dedicated to the Quran, to the swank Financial Towers, the path is almost symbolic of the one the island country has taken in the last three decades on its road to development.

It has been seven years since the last time I took a walk down the Corniche. What was once a daily ritual is now no more than another bookmark in the yellowing pages of fading memory. Seven years. I was another person back then. I was even called another name by my friends and relatives. In all the million changes in me between then and now, the Corniche still remains just the way it was. I suppose we all have our own special spots in the world- places that serve as reminders of all that we've lost to the unforgiving march of time. The Corniche is my spot.

Faith is never a matter of choice. For some of us, it is the mere accident of birth that determines our eisegeses of heaven and hell. Then there are others who believe that nothing in our life follows a pre-ordained script, that all stories are essentially a series of coincidences. And yet, there are junctures in all our lives that even the most skeptical of us looks back at and wonders if the hand of a greater power was indeed at work. Sooner or later, we all realize that things we once took for chance were really inevitable or, as the great Danny Boyle would have put it, written. I have reached that point now, as I stand before a board adorned with notices of a strange shade of pink, still firmly in the clutches of unemployment.

Two weeks from now, I will return to Bahrain, with or without gainful employment. No matter how horribly the next two weeks pan out, life can never be too bad as long as I can still take walks along the Corniche.