It always starts with a blank word document for me. At least most of my blog posts have been created that way. I open up a word blank document and let my thoughts assemble into a beautiful, structured, poetic mess. And then I start typing frantically. Or not. Whatevs.

Anyway, I’ve been reading wikibrands and I should learn a few things from it. It’s pretty vague and doesn’t offer any real guidelines but it’s a good read. It’s the kind of book that generally inspires you to be more productive without showing you how to. Which is good for us smart folks. But one thing that I read made some sense and I think I should try and incorporate that shit into the blog. As you know, my blog has met with a fairly decent response considering that I know nothing about blogging, am not very savvy with computers and/or web design and I’m not the kind of creative that society ogles over. I’m a different kind of creative. But I still want to and feel that I can appeal to a good proportion of the audience. How hard can that be? Wikibrands says I should try and include my audience with the decision-making and the final product. This I gotta start doing. Not a lot of random strangers follow The High Man. That has to change and the time for it is now. Anyway, if you’re reading this, you’re a part of The High Man community and you’re welcome here. You can suggest, tweet, mail, comment and in exceptional cases, write to me with a pen and paper (Neanderthal) about how this can be a better experience for you. Not just the content and/or the material, everything. Do you like the current face of The High Man? Do you have a better suggestion? Tell me. Let’s expand and make this community grow. You and Aye. You and Aye.

Like that. Do you like it when I do weird shit like that? Or do you get enough of it on twitter? What do you like/dislike? What do you really dislike? Did you ever touch yourself in a dirty place after reading something I wrote. Did you feel the need to take your clothes and call out my name at any point? If so, how was that experience? Does your mother hate you? Why does she do that? Why cant you be free to live your life the way you want to? What’s the bfd?

The goal that The High Man strives to accomplish is to create a safe place where you can feel at home. Where you can be given milk baths and cucumber face packs. Where we tickle the space between your toes with our tongues till you shriek with joy. Or not. That’s the point – it’s your decision to make. We’ll tickle your toes with our tongue. But YOU get to decide how that makes you feel. At The High Man, we spare no expense in making you feel like you’re the boss. But it’s also YOUR decision. So if this blog, nay, this community that You and Aye are a part of does not get a lot of hits, IT’S YOUR FAULT. NOT MINE.

The High Man is a place where you can be yourself. Whether you’re black, or yellow or autistic or paedophile or if you’re a paedophile that’s exclusively attracted to autistic kids under the age of 7, you’re welcome. If you’re the guy with a really small penis but gigantic testicles that make you so horny all the time but you cum too soon? You’re welcome here. There’s place for you. On the table next to paedophile #2. If you have a big penis but miniscule testis, you’re welcome here.

As my grammatically challenged college friends would saiy, “Lulz…Can you believe I wrote that during lunch break?”

True Story, except for that my college friends would never write during lunch break. And even I wouldn’t have, nobody does. But two of my regular subscribers @rajananusha and @bhartsimpson (bro and ex, not in that order) were both absent that day and I had come prepared with my laptop to college. And so during break I wrote this post.

Several days later…

I’m at my house in Ujjain, my home away from home now. And this is the first time I’ve carried a laptop here, and this is the first time I’m writing with it. Last night was Mahashivratri, a Sunday. I finished reading WikiBrands a few weeks back and am back to Berlin 1961 (thanks @rajananusha J) a little more chronologically equipped after watching BBC’s Infamous Assassinations.

About Ujjain, this piece was written for Raghu that perhaps describes best in whatever I’ve written so far what Ujjain is to me.

“You know Mahipal, we hail from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. My grandfather had a bungalow in the heart of the town, the ground floor and first floor of which we would usually rent out either to a government office and recently, to a playgroup kindergarten. I spent most of my vacations as a child in that house. It’s a beautiful place with mango trees surrounding us, branches extending into the courtyard and balconies. Every alternate summer, they’re laden with the juiciest langda mangoes I’ve ever tasted. People swear by our mangoes.  Even though our visits were usually restricted to a week at the most, the trees and the house is taken care of by the tenants and neighbors, after all, they’re the ones who get to eat the fruit.

               But this is not about mangoes. It’s about what I do in the 4-5 days that I spend there. We never had cable and we recently disposed off our antique bush television. Those trips were about meeting a set of close relatives, visiting a set of temples and chilling out (literally, should you visit around Christmas. One winter, when I was in eighth or ninth, temperatures hit as low as 1.5 degrees Celsius). During summers, there were madhushalas set up at every nook and corner that serve fresh sugarcane juice. There was also “famous kulfi”. My God it was good stuff! But how does one spend the rest of the time? All of the above activities take at the most a day”

               Mahipal was listening intently, clueless about why he was being given a homily on their family’s vacation escapades.  

               “I for one used to read. As would Saheb but he usually had a bunch of things to do – property tax, renewing lpg cylinders, minor repairs, bills, etc. There’s usually someone over to meet him at any given time during the day. While they’re there, my dad’s obliged to give up his Hindu Dharma or Gita Shastra book indefinitely. Some of them are nice. They leave early. Most aren’t. They have this dire need to explain to us that life in Ujjain is just as hip and happening as that in Mumbai. Some would go off on a nostalgia trip and start reminiscing about the 60s and 70s where they were accidentally part of some mildly entertaining event. Every year it’s the same story, slightly more dramatic and with a few candid insights about what they were going through as Dilip Kumar (or a look-alike) was addressing a sea of people who they were part of for a few minutes. The highlight of the story would be their claim that he made eye-contact with them for a second or so. And then their version of it takes a turn for the spectacular. They claim over the earlier claim that Dilip Kumar chose them to lock eyes with because he saw the vast untapped potential in their acting abilities. And that of course, is not baseless. They took part in the school play and an entire primary school’s worth of audience clapped and applauded for it was the polite thing to do. They regret the los opportunity to become a film star and spend their days imagining what life would’ve been like if they had taken up Dilip Kumar’s offer and joined the film industry on his recommendation. 

My mother would be in the kitchen, constantly making tea for our esteemed guests, careful about which one to add sugar to and which to not. Then she’d place the cups in a tray with their handle pointing outward if there’s no sugar in it, specifically instructing me to serve that cup only to the diabetic uncles.

Amongst all this, I used to have little or no role to play. I just had to make sure I touch the guest’s feet when they arrived, smile when one of them exclaimed how grown up I looked and answer politely when asked about my studies. Then I could go back to whatever I was reading, leaving my father agonizing about not being able to do the same. I’d fall in love with whatever reading material I could get my hands on out there. It’s the only constructive way to pass time. I’d take a bag full of Archies with me which I’d finish off on the first night itself. Then I’d start the book that I took. Now this is challenging because I don’t know if it’ll be good until I’ve read it. So I’m skeptical and cautious. I reach for the newspaper…alas! It’s in Hindi. After a failed attempt at reading it, I pick up some of the English newspapers I had carried with me the last time I was here. The newspaper is yellow, naturally yellow, not like the business ones, a slightly paler shade from having stayed on the shelf for nearly a year.

I browse through it. The sports section. It brings back memories of the test match that was being played at the time. I read the rest of it and without realizing, the rest of the bunch. And between the feet touching, elaborate meals and late night chaat outings, it’s almost enough time to read the Archies again!

The newspapers were an accident, but a beautiful accident it was. It got me started on the debates on the controversies that were going on then that I had lost track of with time. It was like reading a book of short stories. Some of the cricketers had retired, some of the politicians imprisoned, some dead. It was, on the whole, quite an experience. So the next time, I carried even more newspapers so I can I leave them there. It’s like planting a tree. You think of the fruit you’ll get when it’s all grown up. I used to wonder how long I’ll be able to keep up the ruse but the optimist in me thought that as long as there will be newspapers, there will be old newspapers. And look at this – I haven’t read these books for ages! I almost feel like a child again. Tonight’s going to be fun Mahipal!”  

Mahipal thought he was obliged to share a story about his native place. “I went to my gaon in Jalhandar last year Sahab. I visited Delhi for a day. It had changed a lot! Just like Bombay. Malls and traffic everywhere.”

“I’ll need some fresh sheets and pillow covers Mahipal. Have the cleaning boy arrange for them please” Raghu was in no mood for Mahipal’s chronicle of Delhi’s metamorphosis. Just as Mahipal was about to leave, he got a call from Pramod. “Dude! Where are you? Meet me for a drink”

               “Now? I’m at my father’s place. I just finished dinner.”

“So? Come meet me Leopold in an hour. It’s the only place that stays open till late at night.”

“But Sir”

“Come na pussy! What’s the matter? Daddy won’t let you play?”     

“Alright fine! See you there”

Alright, now if you’re still reading, I gotta ask…are you into me or something?