of thin blood
and faint screams,
and horrible sights behind the screens.

of deluded fevers
festering amongst sores,
and frantic pleas at nerveless doors.

of alkaline emanations
and last-minute secrets,
and tears spattered on silent engines.

inside these sickly walls
these hosts house
too many
rusting bodies and mildewing souls.


Seen on T-shirt, and totally loving it. One shall make one for oneself.

Born to garden.
Forced to work.

On names and anonymity

This was triggered by eM, who's been having issues with being in the public eye. Having been built up to by growing demands for one to come up with a more accessible moniker. Or to be otherwise available.

And since people are nice enough to let one comment on their pages (and replying to one's smartypants comments without getting offended (unlike Leo)), and since more people are being nicer and commenting about the things one rambles about here (without being nasty, and occasionally being all fan-like (hello E)), one generally felt a little exposition was in order.

And it promises to be a long one.

Now then.

Let's start with a book called The Borribles. A children's book, which one found in one of those quaint little bookshops you find in one of the thousands of almost-identical-but-slightly-ephemerally-unique villages in Ol' Blighty. It's part of a trilogy, but the other two books are quite okay, and till one didn't know about them (one had to wait another decade-and-a-half before laying eyes and hands on the other two, since one - or one's friends - never saw a copy of the book(s) in any other country in all that time....but boy, it was such a thrill to finally find those two - the sublime joy of the book-collector), the first book seemed quite wonderful on its own, simply because it didn't have a cop-out, sappy ending.

But wait...this isn't about the book. Sorry, thoda tangent ho gaya (which sounds like a wonderful line to use - almost as good as "Galti se mistake ho gaya", and "Apna bad luck ich kharab hain" - BM could guess those at a spot, one assumes).

The point about the Borribles is that all the Borribles have to earn their names, and are named after some Adventure they have, which they get known for. Rather like the Native Americans, but while the NAs had a child name and an adult name, these Borribles are only known as 'Oi', and 'Watzit' (said in a very Mockney accent of course, the book being set in London) till such time as they get their Name.

And that concept triggered off research into what one's own name meant (yes, one does have one, which comes in handy when signing Official Documents). As it turned out, the meaning was....ambiguous, at the best. One's mater had modified a quite acceptable name with a proper meaning, but due to the modification, it was almost unique (one knows of just one other person named thus), and hence one's name had no real meaning. One has since decided on a meaning for it, and hence is quite satisfied with it. Not least because it's so unique (a little hubris is allowed, yes?).

Since then, one always asks people if they know what their name signifies - and a surprisingly large number do not. And one has since been leaning more towards the belief that people's names should mean something, and say something about themselves. Oh, some names sound wonderful, but they just don't reflect on the person. Which is not to say there aren't any people whose names feel apt. But increasingly, one looks at people, and tries to imagine what name they are, or rather, what name they should be, since their names don't quite....fit (we've all played this, one assumes).

So, one has long felt that the value of personal names is not really up to market potential.

And blogging is doing something to redress that, with everybody free to pick a moniker of their own. But even here, social conditioning kicks in, and there's an inherent need for it to be a name of some sorts. And one thinks that's simply because people need to have something pronounceable.

Now, one is aware one is being difficult by not selecting a title, or even acronym-able handle. One did not do it to be deliberately irritating, but it was only because one loves this particular expression, which one equates as "incredulous astonishment". And that quite succintly expresses one's most common reaction to most things one comes across.

It's also perhaps a bit of an sociological experiment, just like blogging is for quite a few of us - how do people react to the lack of a name? Does it take away from the writing? Does it add to the writing? Does it become more of an issue than it should be? Do people give a name of their choosing, if they find it difficult to use it in a comment-chat? The results have been interesting, if a little expected.

And those questions are also perhaps the reason behind the lack of a detailed personality portrait. Not that one wouldn't happily be a diarist - one quite enjoys BM's escapades and the globe-trotting that Szer/Professori share with us - but one doesn't feel the need to, and so one shall leave that to those who are experts at it.

No, it's more about whether and how much the lack of background details affects the discussion/absorption of a theory or observation. Which also extends to the writing itself, forcing a purer, clearer focus on the idea, and trying to get the meaning across without cluttering it with extraneous details. It's a fascinating experience, where one is forced to re-examine one's own assumptions in the light of an absence of background to give the story some relief, some depth. One isn't deliberately hiding them - well, one is, but not in that sense - one is simply not mentioning them. Except when the details are the idea, or relevant to it - such as all entries on food.


1) Of course, the no-name thing could be due to one's fascination with the Eastwood character in those Westerns.

2) If you don't like this handle - Go ahead, pick a name (again with the Eastwood). But then please co-ordinate so that one doesn't have to answer to fifteen of them.
3) This post is NOT because one is upset or angry at anyone. One just feels this is the right time to talk about it, what with the confluence of various minor threads, so one is doing so. Not to mention one cannot be bothered doing what one is supposed to be doing.


There's something fascinating about getting lost in memories. Especially when you sort of understand the basics of about they work - about how the brain has a "limited memory capacity, and will overwrite older files that are not accessed frequently".

There's something quite surreal about just letting your thoughts roam. Which, by itself, is one of the most bizarre concepts around. Letting your thoughts roam. Which is also a misnomer - because you don't let them roam...they do so as and when they please. All those vague sightings, smells, incidents, all flitting about going la-la-la, playing tag with each other, merging into one other, and generally giving short shrift to any attempt by you to get them to line up and be counted while you herd them back into the pen.

your memories roam.
And you cannot always control them.
....doesn't that strike you as very, very bizarre? Scary, even?

And what about that feeling when this big memory-party does happen - of you being inside your head, standing slightly to the back of stage-left, watching all of this happen. How does that not freak us out? How do we go back to behaving as if everything's normal, when just a while back we could feel ourselves inside our own head, somewhere an inch diagonally upwards behind the eyes, and not know why we were thinking of what was being played out around us?

It's all mirrors-inside-mirrors, and we have no clue about what it really means. It's enough to convince one of aliens.


One is dreaming of

French toast with chocolate spread.
Belgian waffles with honey. And cream.
Cold chocolate drink with vanilla ice-cream.
Egg-bhurji (akoori) on buttered toast.
Tiramisu with Baileys-on-the-rocks.
Hot jamless doughnuts. With cream
Grilled chaat-flavoured paneer.
Dahi ragda pattice.
Slightly burnt mushroom-and-tomato omelettes.
Greasy Triple Szechuan.
Goan-style prawn curry.
Kheema pav (Irani-cafe style).
Cold margherita pizza.
Raspberries and Jersey cream.
Bhajiyas and milky chai.
Pancakes with Nutella.
Falafels with guacamole.
Apple-and-rhubarb strudel. With cream.



Still with the unfinished business.

How easy/difficult is it to detect if a certain piece of literature is written by a man or woman, assuming that it's on a general, non-gender topic, and the identity of the writer is unknown?

There must be some research on this, and some sociologist must surely have written up a thesis on this (maybe the WP has some knowledge). But since one is too lazy to search for this, nor does one have access to all the world's libraries, we shall resort to old-fashioned theorising (which is always fun to do, and an excuse not to do the mundane, real-life deeds that demand doing).

Is it possible, if the writer is careful about not making such references, that readers could still identify the writer's gender? Will a bias always creep in, regardless of how careful the writer is? And when you read a piece without knowing who has written it - say a film/book review - can you confidently determine whether it was written by a man or a woman?

Thinking of which, when you (that means you, dear reader) do read an unnamed article, do you automatically make a judgment about the author's gender? Do you tend to go over the article, looking for minute clues, make a decision, then re-read the article, and place what it was written in the context of the gender you have decided in favour of? One has realised one tends to do this on occasion, and the decision-making causes a bias which the first reading did not evoke. Doesn't that say a lot about our social conditioning.

Do tell.

PS. Now one could make this interesting by asking one's readers to make a guess about one's own identity, since obviously people are going to say "A-ha, we see you've been experimenting with this tactic yourself huh?" (and if people don't say that, then obviously one is more subtle than one expected (but not anymore obviously, because one has Brought It To Your Attention (unless, you ignore it like the SEP that ol' Douglas spoke about (hey Flaffy, three brackets inside each other, and this makes it four - how cool is that huh?)))), but one won't, because is not yet ready to Reveal All, or indeed, Reveal Anything. One is being petty and childish - indulgence is asked for.


It is being a sullen, grey day. Not the kind that feels awash with the expectation of a sharp shower-burst, nor the kind that sweeps across with a crispy tang, nor even the deep gloominess that leads to incessant cravings of a hot drink and greasy fried stuff.

No, it's just being a sluggish day. And all of one's thoughts are conspiring with one's fingers to play hooky. So, instead of talking about names (and how people are obsessed about them), or about a couple of really daft articles that were read, one shall serve -

The GROPY dish.*
Main stuff:
Garlic and ginger, small bits, chopped
Red onion, sliced finely
Carrot, medium, diced.
Beans, green, sliced.
Yellow and red peppers, sliced **.
Asparagus, big chunks.
Mushrooms, sliced
Prawns, peeled
Spring onion greens, chopped
Soya sauce, sweet chilli sauce, salt, sesame seeds, oregano, green Tabasco sauce.

-> Fry garlic and ginger briefly in oil at medium heat, add red onions, continue frying till soft.
-> Add beans, carrots, asparagus, soya + sweet chilli sauce (1 tbsp each should do). Stir fry for two minutes.
-> Add prawns, cook for about five-seven minutes (or till done).
-> Add mushrooms, peppers, spring onions, salt, sesame, oregano. Stir fry till mushrooms just start releasing water.
-> Stop.
-> Add a tinge of green Tabasco sauce, and serve - on its own, or with plain rice.

The colours themselves are worth it.

Variation 1 - Ditch the asparagus, use green peppers instead.
Variation 2 - Ditch the mushrooms, put baby spinach leaves.

* Green, Red, Orange, Pink, Yellow (well, it was either that, or PORGY).
** Red peppers only if using orange carrots - not those sweet red carrots


Guide to Blogging - Blogger Rights

* You have the right to blog anonymously. Anything you blog about can and will possibly be used against you in real life. You have the right to your thoughts. If you cannot find any thoughts, you will have to rely on your own idiocy when you blog publicly.

* You do not have the right to plagiarise, but you may link to and refer to other blogs.

* You have the right to be curious about anonymous bloggers. You have the right to make assumptions, but do not expect your assumptions to be close to the truth. You can try and work out details of their other lives and their identities, but you do not have the right to demand such details. If they have been known to offer the same to others, you may also request the same.

* You have the right to have expectations of blogs and bloggers. If you do, you are more than likely to surprised by who they are, what they write about, and how they write.

* You have the right to read blogs without commenting. However, bloggers who allow posting do certainly appreciate a comment.

* You have the right to comment on blogs anonymously. Anything you say may or may not be responded to by the blogger. You have the right to type freely, but not to abuse. You cannot hold the blogger responsible for not knowing when it's you who is specifically commenting anonymously, if you have already commented before, unless there is a clearly established way of determining which anonymous commenter you are.

* You have the right to be paranoid about blogs, blogging, bloggers, and anonymity.


Random observation

One has realised that one finds it easier to select and highlight things onscreen using a mouse, from left to right, rather than right to left (directions from one's perspective, not screen's).

One supposes that's because of the way we learn our languages. One wonders if those with Arabic mother-tongues feel the opposite? And what about those with Chinese/Japanese mother-tongues?

One is curious.


In somnus, veritas.

There is such a mystery about sleep, even though it is one of the most fundamental things we all share. But for all that, we know and understand so little about it. And are so helpless before it. We take it for granted because....well, because all of nature does it. And we know the basic reason behind it - to grant our bodies time to repair and rest.

But when you think about it, it just feels so....constraining. Not because one wishes for longer periods of wakefulness so one is made to work more or think more, but because even when you do want to go without sleep, your body will betray you after a mere 3-4 days. You just cannot fight it, and you will fall victim to it. You have to sleep, and that's it.

(Although one wonders if it is possible to go without sleep for several long periods, if one does not do much work through the day? Would the body then still need that rest-period, or would it not, having been in a semi-somnolent state through the day?)

And then one used to wonder why people are so much more open and liable to tell secrets when they are sleepy or just waking. Now, professional interrogators will tell you how sleep deprivation causes the brain to stop functioning properly, and how it then can't conjure up the strength to put up barriers to hold details back. But that does not explain why normal people are more honest when they're sleepy. What about all that pillow-talk, and bed-time secrets? Why those? Surely people know they're going to say something important, which they probably don't want to.

One thinks it's because sleep, at its basic level, is the closest thing we experience to death. The body shuts down, and we are in a limbo-world, where in a sense, we do not exist anymore. Our physical bodies are not needed, because in our sleep (and dreams), we can fly and sing and dance and run and more.

And so, just as those nearing the certainty of death do not feel the need to go through the charades and mental masochism that we inflict ourselves in daily life, so do we all, as we near our sleep, feel the need to just let go and tell whoever is asking (or not asking) just exactly is on our minds and what we did and what we want. You just get to that point where you don't want to fight anymore, don't want to hide anymore. And so you blurt it all out.

Of course, we can always deny it the next day. And blame it, ironically, on the fact that our body and mind were tired, and so were not thinking straight.

Is there a point here? Sure. Make sure you gag yourself when you get sleepy around nosy friends and/or lovers.

Goodnight folks.