Sunday, May 27, 2007

Updates

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?

28 comments:

  1. Congratulations!
    :)

    I recall hearing someone make quite an impression upon me when he quoted " There are no synonyms in the English language">
    :)

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  2. Congratulations on the marriage.. or at least the announcement of it.

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  3. Congratulations. I did hear from The Mother earlier yesterday and wanted to call but don't have your number anymore. The next time you're in town for one of your family weddings/exotic work sojourns give me a call.

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  4. When's babies?

    But no, seriously, am so happy for both of you, though a little less happy for Abhilasha. I mean, imagine living with a towering intellect such as yours for life! *shudder*

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  5. congrats! Does she blog by the way?

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  6. Best wishes for the marriage!

    And hope your grandmother recovers fast.

    Keep blogging regularly though. PLEASE!

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  7. hope your grandma has a swift recovery, and is able to take part heartily in your wedding. I am sure she will have a lot to say about your blink-and-miss wedding.
    ah the wedding, congratulations are in order as well. invitations to all readers of jabberwock?

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  8. Best wishes for your grandmother.

    And congratulations on the marriage.

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  9. Thanks, all.

    Dhruv: good to hear from you, dude! Had a nice chat with Priti aunty the other day. I'll mail/msg you my number.

    Bagchi: came this close to deleting your comment but I'm also a towering Tolerant, so...

    Alok: no, she doesn't blog. Doesn't even read mine, actually - finds it boring (ironical, considering she had encouraged me to start it!).

    Daneel: thanks, but it would be difficult for an octogenarian to take part "heartily" in a procedure that involves standing in a queue for 2-3 hours outside a magistrate's office and then signing on a piece of paper while peons demand "mithai". Might just have a lunch of some sort at home afterwards.

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  10. Congratulations , all the best for the times ahead. I can understand your state regarding illness in the family , something which I too faced when my father passed away last year. Still it takes courage to stay mentally sharp and take everything life has to offer on the chin.

    Great stuff that you still find time to write after all this.

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  11. Hoping speepy recovery for your grandmother, and congratulations to both of you for your marriage announcement.

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  12. Hope your grandmother's health improves soon.

    Best of luck for the marriage. (I'd congratulate you, but it seems a little unflattering - too much like saying "You managed to get someone to agree to MARRY you? oh wow!".)

    Oh, and for the wedding - carry lots of water. It's a long wait and the heat can be terrible. Also, does this mean we don't get pictures of you sitting on a tinsel throne dressed like an extra out of Chandrakanta with a veil of wilted flowers in front of your face? No fair.

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  13. congrats!
    and totally agree withy the salvador dali comparison. too good!

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  14. best wishes for the marriage and m sure granma will get well soon.

    Having read your posts on weddings that you attended in London(In your inimitable pot-shot style) I half expected you to have a mehmaan-sangeet-mehendi-ghodi-baraat-bidaai-suhagraat kinda fancy-shmancy weyding-shedding.So that this time around we get to take digs at you :)

    Hmmph! I shld have know better :(

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  15. Congratulations on the marriage, and all the best wishes for your grandmother's speedy recovery.

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  16. Congrats! :D
    And good wishes for your grandmother. But why not a big marriage ceremony? I would have loved to read your experience of the big-indian-marriage. :P

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  17. Best wishes for your marriage and hope your grandmother gets well soon.

    I've been reading your blog for some time. Never commented, though. Like your book reviews.

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  18. Aah! Had forgotten the 'fooding and lodging part'.

    But that's only the beginning, brother. Go back in a couple of days to find photocopies of your mugshots on the wall outside. That's an invite for people with objections to your marriage to come forward and say their pieces.

    Trek across to any police station of your choice after that and you'll find that they use the same procedure to ask for information about criminals and stuff.

    Good fun.

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  19. Congrats for marriage and best wishes to your grandmother for speedy recovery.

    -Bhakit

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  20. Congratulations on the marriage announcement.

    Completely agree with the Dali comparison too.

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  21. Mashallah, this is great news! Congrats!

    And best wishes for your dear dadi.

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  22. Jai,

    Hope your grandmum gets better soon. Best wishes to you and Abhilasha.

    Regards

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  23. Hi there! I'm sorry to hear about the condition of your grandmother. I'm giving her all my prayers and may she have the strenght to endure her current ordeal. As the saying goes, "what can't kill us, will only make us strong". Congrats by the way for your wedding plans! Thanks for sharing and keep em coming! :)

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  24. here's wishing your grandma a speedy recovery...
    and hoping you have a wonderful married life. if a spouse thinks ur blog is not worth reading it's a sign that its a match made in heaven!

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  25. Congratulations and hope your grandma gets well soon..

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  26. Congrats on the shaadi, hope your grandma's better.

    n!

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