Monday, February 28, 2005

Dance Dance Dance

Dance Dance Dance

Haruki Murakami

So what’s it about then ? I only have a vague idea. Is it any good ? Oh yes. Very good. I liked this book a lot. The story made me smile. It made me feel very sad but every now and then Murakami lets a ray of light pass through the story.

The book begins with the narrator dreaming of The Dolphin Hotel. A hotel he had visited four years previously. He dreams of the hotel and of some one there crying for him. He thinks of the woman he spent time with at the Dolphin Hotel. An enigma answering to the name Kiki. He decides that he must go back to the Dolphin Hotel. Find Kiki again. Dance Dance Dance is at its most basic level a search for friendship, companionship and love. The narrator moves from one setting to the next befriending people, connecting and all the while searching for Kiki. The one he lost, the one he let get away. Just one of the many that he has lost and just as always convinced himself that it wasn’t important. He comes into contact with a psychic 13 year old girl, an old class mate from school who is now doomed to play doctors and teachers in day time soaps, a one armed poet and the sheep man who tells him to dance. Keep on dancing. Something he tries to do to the best of his understanding and ability.

The book is also a strong statement on the capitalist leanings of modern society. Go ahead and put everything on that expense account. From high class call girls to dinners to fees for chaperoning your daughter. Everything can be put on your expense account and everything can be written off. Still, for the narrator it becomes more and more difficult to write off the expenses of his life.

Murakami writes with such a laid back sense of style that it becomes almost impossible to put this book down. Murakami excels in creating set pieces with two of his characters. The interactions, the oddities of every day life as portrayed through his characters have a strange sense of magnetism. The narrator’s relationship with the receptionist at the Dolphin Hotel is the lynchpin of the book. The slow setting of terms and the formal intimacy that develops between them is beautifully written.

In the end, Dance Dance Dance is a story of love, friendship, missed opportunities and a longing for something better out of life. All told in an unbelievably imaginative style. A great story told beautifully.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Crossing Guard

As a rule I give right of way to the pedestrian. This has made me see something. When it’s a couple about to cross the road. I stop. Let them cross even though the male has made no move to cross. The woman is happy, smiling, the man looks fucking pissed. I even get the occasional mouthed thank you from the woman. The man is surly, disgruntled. Every time. Every fucking time. Why ? Have I hurt his ego ? Like fuck man, I could be running over you.. Won’t hurt to show your gratitude fucking scum. Learn something from the women who walk by your side.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Junkyard Dog

The sun is bright today. The sky blue. A nice day you would think. It gets better. There’s a cool breeze blowing and the colour of the sky is not just blue. Its brilliant. The streets are less noisy, the smoke a little thinner. It doesn’t burn when you’re stuck in front of Symphony at 2pm. Its like people have noticed and every body is just a little more gentle. The coffee is less bitter, the cashier a bit more efficient, I should go to Kohinoor one of these days. Too long. I mosey along. Everything’s okay. For now at least. A brief respite from the junkyard dog that is life. Life doesn’t bite today. In my head I jump in the air and click the heels of my shoes against each other. Today I’m Gene Kelly and nothing can stop me.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


<>”This place, daddy, there’s something not right about this place.” You’ll get used to it child. It won’t matter after a while.” “Will we be here long daddy ?” “Yes.” “Will I be going to school ?” “No.” “I think I can get used to this place daddy.” A smile on her face. Her daddy looked down at her. A tall bespectacled man with what he hoped was a smile. “I hope so Nithya. I hope so.” Her daddy never called her by name and now, Nithya felt a special glow inside her. She loved her daddy. And so they walked. Side by side. They walked, a whisper of love in every step.

The landscape changed around them, the light gave way to a gloom. Nithya walked closer to her daddy now. Even reaching out for his hand. He held her hand and she felt a lot stronger but the gloom was thick. Nithya was scared but she couldn’t stop walking. Her daddy’s silence gave no room for her questions.

His pace picked up and she could feel her daddy leaving her behind. She quickened and half ran. She kept up with her daddy but only just. There were others there now. Not a lot of them but they were there. Sitting, standing, playing the accordion. Nithya looked and her four year old brain screamed at her, telling her this place was bad. Telling her to shout for her daddy to stop. Turn back, she’d go to school, she’d cook for him, anything for her daddy if they could just go back. She was scared. More scared than any child should ever have to be.

The father slowed his pace and came to a halt. Behind him, Nithya in her terror almost stumbled into him. There were people here too. Walking about, some looking at them with frank comprehension, some ignoring them and some looking at them like they were dinner. “Where are we daddy ?” “Home, child.” “ Daddy, I don’t like these people.” He looked down at his daughter. His eyes filled with the pain of an eternity of loss. His daughter. If there was one thing he could do, it would be to take her away from here. She did not deserve this. Yet, he was powerless. He spoke and his voice held steady, gentle. “They are just like us Nithya. You have nothing to worry about.” Nithya believed in her daddy more than anything else. She believed him now too and was satisfied. If her daddy thought it was all right then she was sure that it was so. Again, her curiosity took over her fear. She had to ask for the entire concept was still new to her. “Just like us ? Ghosts daddy ?” “Yes.”

The national anthem

The guitarist sits on his chair. Legs crossed. Plays the national anthem. Sounds very nice. I know I should stand. I can’t be bothered.


< style="font-family: arial;">Mother daughter sister wife.
Lover friend nun whore
All of them. Some of them. None of them.
Makes no difference.
Woman. You fascinate me.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

grit, fire and Kashmir

Like grit on the middle of my tongue
Like fire on my lips
Like Kashmiri marijuana rolled clean and thin.
I cannot decide if I love you or not.

the desiccated man

His hand cuffed to the wall. His bare torso shows the mark of inexperienced torture. Torn skin. Broken ribs. His head. Its like he’s looking at me. His legs have long since given up. Withered away below him. Starting to separate at the waist. And yet his chest moves. The wonder of breath. His chest still moves. Against all logic. He lives. Three months now. Three months they’ve kept him here. He refuses to talk. He refuses to die. The science of torture is not vast. There is only so much you can do before a person dies. Everything has been done to him already. A human oddity. He scares me. Looks like he could jump up any minute and strangle me. He does not speak. Just looks at me. Planning his revenge. Waiting for his time. I motion the constables to free him. Help him till the doctors get here. He doesn’t say a word. I can only pity the fools who tied him up here.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


I walk. Its dull and cloudy and the sky threatens rain. I love this weather. I stop by my favourite book store, looking to buy a book. Any book. Have money, will spend. I do that quite often. A man stops me and asks for directions to the closest cinema hall. He’s from the north as he puts it. Here on work but work got over early. Now he has the rest of the day to kill and loneliness to combat. I tell him how to get to the multiplex which is an hour away. There are 3 theaters within 5 minutes of where we stand but what’s the fun in that ? A little girl passes by trying to sell roses to a foreigner. She should be in school but what you gonna do ? The lady buys a rose, the girl is ecstatic. I walk the pavement bumping into an occasional shoulder, exchanging glances with the occasional woman, slithering past humanity just as they slither past me. The homeless man is trying to light a discarded cigarette butt. I always think that I should give him a smoke but I never do.

I walk past Elvis offering up kati rolls and come across another old man. Lighting his beedi. Like the old man in Oliver Twist he has a brood of boys who run the parking lots. The BCC will scrap all paid parking in the city. What happens to these people then ? I rejoice at not having to pay money to park but what happens to these boys ? Mostly young men, boys who will now actually have to work for a living.

The sky opens and rain comes. A light gentle drizzle. Quickly turns into fat drops of water landing on my head. I feel like dancing. I jump into a puddle and splash water. The parking attendant looks at me. Impossible to read his expression. Probably thinks I’m high.

I reach my bike. Too soon. I washed my bike yesterday. It was gleaming. I love her. Quite completely. The rain has brought dirt on my bike. I should be angry at the wasted effort and I should rail at the Gods who would condone such an atrocity but it’s the rain and all I can do is smile. I will wash my bike again.