Blogging might be sporadic for a while (warning: whenever I’ve said this in the past, it’s been immediately followed by a flood of longer-than-usual posts). Things have been quite tough in the last few weeks – major illness in family, which has meant lots of hospital trips, general unrest, and having to balance work, personal life and other things. Without going into too much detail, it’s my grandmother – she’s in a lot of pain and the whole thing has also been very stressful for my mother, who’s not in tip-top physical condition herself. We’re hoping things settle down but the forecast isn’t good. More hospital stays likely in the coming weeks.
Doesn’t seem like the best time to be announcing good news, but my longtime girlfriend Abhilasha and I are tying the knot sometime in July – it will be a metaphorical knot, since it 's going to be a registered court-wedding thingie. Had wanted it that way from the beginning anyway, but it’s turned out for the good – if we had planned a big ceremony of some sort, it would almost certainly have had to be postponed, given the current situation with my grandmother. This way we get it done in a quiet, no-fuss way.
On other fronts...reading has been very slow: I’m currently moving between Milan Kundera’s The Curtain, Mukul Kesavan’s Men in White and the English translation of Manna Dey’s autobiography. Movie-wise: apart from the usual, soul-nurturing doses of 1970s kitsch on TV channels, I finally saw the Cary Grant-Katharine Hepburn starrer Holiday, which I’ll try to write about sometime. Also A Scanner Darkly, which I wrote about in the post before this. Not much else. More later.
P.S. Whenever I visit a state bank or a public office, I'm reminded of Salvador Dali's surrealist painting "The Persistence of Memory", with its landscape of melting clocks all folded up, signifying the endless stretching out of a moment, or a place where time has become irrelevant. At the district court, when we went to submit the wedding-application papers, we watched a notary prodding away at a typewriter that looked like it had come into existence in the 1950s. It took him 15 minutes to produce one copy of our affidavit, after which he stoically got down to the business of typing out another version – exactly the same as the previous one in all details, except that a couple of names had to be interchanged. It was like stumbling into The Land that Time Forgot. Given even a 1995 version of MS Windows, it would have taken a few seconds to print the first version, change the names on the same file and then print it a second time. But this was a world where computers didn't exist. And it wasn't a corner of an anonymous village in the hinterlands (the type of place that is sometimes described to us urban bums as "the Real India"), it was a district court in a posh colony in the nation's capital. In this setting, Mr Dali would have been a Realist.
Nor is unnecessary duplication of effort the only way to stretch out time; the language used in official documents is equally crucial. All my years of working as a sub-editor have taught me nothing, for I now find that one should never make do with a simple word like "force" when you can also use five of its synonyms in the same sentence ("...without any undue force, coercion, duress, pressure, restraint or persuasion"). Also, Abhilasha and I find to our dismay that we will now be expected to provide each other with "fooding and lodging to the best of our resources". Who knew?