Thoughts and other trivia...

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's hard to teach a dinosaur a new trick.

I had started writing this post some time back but then decided to abandon it. No, not because of lack of inspiration or because I got stuck. It’s just that I don’t like the idea of voluntary confession. Yeah, yeah, I know, by definition, confessions are voluntary...but you know what I mean so I won’t tie myself up in knots trying to explain. Anyway, midway through the post, I realised that putting it up would mean handing everyone more sticks to beat me with. And, a stick, you’ll agree, can hardly be considered the motivation a man needs to update his blog. Like everybody else, I think leg pulling is great fun but, usually, I find the exercise is more enjoyable if the leg in question is not my own. And so, with nary a second thought, the post was abandoned.

But then, time hangs heavy...very, very heavy and, what the hell, there isn’t much else to do. Like Beckett said, “Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful!” All the loose ends are tied up, everything is in order but now we must wait for another couple of weeks for the channel to give us the letter and the formal go-ahead for the series. And, so we continue to wait for our Godot, who, I think, is more deserving of the stick. And, up the wrong end too!

These boring, in-between periods, when you’re waiting for something to happen, can either drive the life out of you or force you to do things that you’ll quickly ascribe to temporary insanity when confronted at a later stage. I think that’s what I’m going to do too...go ahead right now and, if questioned on specifics later, plead innocence on grounds of having written the piece under the influence of utter boredom.

A good excuse in place, I guess, I can now happily toss caution out of the window and proceed...

Thanks to long distances, busy lives and rising prices of vegetables, I don’t get to meet my friends very often these days. But, when we do meet, it isn’t unusual for the conversation to, sometimes, find its way round to some of, how should I put it...ways. In the middle of a perfectly decent conversation, some smart Alec always manages to find a way to steer it to my way of doing certain things. To say that it happens each time would be a gross exaggeration and unfair to those louts I call friends. About seven times out of ten is more like it.

By general consensus, then, I have a few quirks. And, I humbly submit that I suffer from a mild case of OCD. (Okay, just a tad, and I mean taddest, bit more than mild!) But, it’s nothing even close to what Jack Nicholson’s character had in As Good As It Gets or what Tony Shalhoub had in the TV series Monk. Or even what Courtney Cox had in Friends. Not even remotely close. (What Jack Nicholson and Tony Shalhoub’s characters had? Had makes it sound like a damned disease.) Anyway, the post is only marginally about the OCD...but mainly about some other things. For instance...

...if you accidentally knocked something over in my in, knocked it away from where it’s meant to be...I’ll have a tough time trying to concentrate on what you’re saying till I’ve fixed what you’ve undone. On account of this, therefore, much fun has been had at my expense. And, I might add, many things have been deliberately knocked off from where they’re supposed to be. most of you, I also line my dustbin with a plastic bag or sheet. But, I think, that’s where the similarity probably ends. Because, a lot of what goes into the bin in my house, goes wrapped in another plastic bag! alleged OCD flares up when I’m staying on my own, when I’m the master of my own universe.

...I like to run through the entire lot of my socks, handkerchiefs and boxers before I use the said items again. Meaning, I will not wear a pair of socks again until I’ve worn every other pair I have. And so also with boxers, etc. However, jeans, tees and shirts are exempt from this rule.

...spoons, knives and forks follow the socks and boxers rule. response to a simple, harmless question once, I was able to come up with the exact number of pots and plants I have. I realised I could do this by recalling each one’s precise placement in my courtyard. And, believe me, I have a few.

...when washing with soap, I have to wash my hands three times. No, wait, that’s my mad nephew. I’m okay on this one...I have to wash only twice.

... with one exception, I’ve never been happy sharing my soap with anyone and, usually, do my best to avoid it. In fact, when staying the night at friends’ houses or visiting friends in other cities, just as I would carry my toothbrush, etc., I would always carry my own soap. Now, under duress and diminishing ability to stand up to the withering looks that these matters of personal choice elicit, I’m no more the tiger I used to be and, alas, have reluctantly surrendered to the ways of the world.

...until four months ago, I was taking Homeopathy medicine for a dental problem. (Looks like I’m not much of a tiger when it comes to...many things.)

...when I used to buy a pair of jeans in my growing years, the first thing I would do after getting home was to wash it and make it look like it’d been worn a few times. Obviously, I don’t do that any longer. Now I just buy jeans that look old. Nah, just kidding...I don’t always do that.

...when I’m making my rice at night, which is about 3-4 nights a week, and the whistle on the pressure cooker blows, the thought that the cooker is going to explode passes my mind at least once.

...after a bath, I don’t dry my hair with a towel...not even in the bitterly cold winter months. I let it dry in its own sweet time.’s almost nine months now since I last had my hair cut. But, because I usually wear my hair really short, it hasn’t grown that long. In the coming week, however, it’ll all go.

...when I have no plan to buy, I don’t much like going into bookshops and music stores. Not even to look around. I think it leads to unnecessary frustration.

...I swear I have some hidden, inner weirdo magnet because I attract all sorts of strange people. I don’t feel safe even at home because, sooner or later, they find me here too.

...for a very long time in college, I would insist that Sting’s full (assumed) name is Keith Sting.

When you’re in the middle of something, have you ever had the feeling that it isn’t going too well? Well, I’m getting that feeling just now. So, without further ado, I think I’ll stop now. But, as compensation, I hope the powers that be will allow me to lead a sinful life, in perpetuity, without having to worry about the consequences. And, without having to answer any awkward questions either.


Blogger Szerelem said...

oh dear!that sounds a lot like me...i have a bad reputation as a clean freak of sorts and very few people can put up with living with me...i still maintain im not that bad!
At one point when i was living with my cousin i wouldnt be able to sleep unless the curtains were drawn across the windows properly. So if we ever has a late nite fight she would promptly get up and mess up all the curtains coz that was a sure way to distract me...!!
i would like to think im not that obsessed anymore.

2:16 pm  
Anonymous driftwood said...

Hmm. Some quirks I could relate to.

I was petrified of dentists till about a year ago myself. But once I had an RCT done by this excellent dentist, I'm not so afraid anymore.

And as regards my-soap-is-my-own quirk, switch to bodywash. That way, um, you know, you won't have to deal with the bit that cleans someone else's body parts, for it's already down the drain.

3:05 pm  
Anonymous driftwood said...

And we seem to share almost ditto taste in music.

3:20 pm  
Blogger MockTurtle said...

I wouldn't worry about it. We all have our pet quirks.
When someone touches my left ear, I have to quickly touch the right one to restore balance.
I had a room-mate in college who couldn't clean his teeth if anyone was watching. Since the wash basin was not in a private area, we were usually able to ensure that he never got to clean his teeth in the mornings.

7:04 pm  
Blogger Salil said...

Everybody has quirks. Life (and people) would be quite boring without them. Don't bother too much about them.

Although that was a quite interesting post you had going - no reason to stop, as it certainly was going well.

1:52 am  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

second-to-last point noted.

6:13 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Szerlem: That's what we all like to think...that it can't be that bad :-)

Driftwood: Bodywash? I've tried it once...Anyway, this isn't so much of a problem at home. It's those wretched people I call friends who object :-)

Almost ditto taste in music? That's nice :-)

Mock Turtle: I definitely wouldn't want to be in your room-mate's shoes... imagine, not beig allowed to brush your teeth.

So, when we do meet in Vegas, I might be tempted to test the touch-the-left-ear theory :-)

Salil: Right, I should've gone on and given you more ammo :-)

TR: Ah, so you caught on! :-)

5:10 pm  
Blogger km said...

Oh, this is fun. Keith Sting, Ghost?

And that pressure cooker quirk is not a quirk. I've seen 2 cookers explode (daal-rice expertly plastered all over the ceiling) and it ain't a pleasant sight (or a pleasing sound.)

(the second-to-last point is the best one and yet you have simply glossed over it. Who here wouldn't want to walk into your Gallery of Strange Encounters? Let's hear 'em, pal.)

6:46 pm  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

a sinful life is the life for me. sign me up.

12:20 am  
Anonymous chandni said... we're all weirdos as we seem to have found you and stuck on :)

I think a lt of people have very similar or otherwise quirks!!

every time the pressure cooker is in use, I also think its going to fact I dont go near it at all unless absolutely necessary and then scurry away as quickly as possible!!

enjoy your quirky behaviour...its fun :)

9:53 am  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Don't feel guilty about laying bare your quirks. everone's got them. People say I'm close to OCD when they read mu blog but I beg to differ. Idiosyncrasies, yes. OCD, no.
Oddly I do share a lot of your peculiarities.
"if you accidentally knocked something over in my house..." Yup right on there :)

" response to a simple, harmless question once, I was able to come up with the exact number of pots and plants I have. I realised I could do this by recalling each one’s precise placement in my courtyard." Yes that too. As with most everything in my house. Books, CDs, cooking utensils, cutlery, name it.

"... the thought that the cooker is going to explode passes my mind at least once." I just learnt my friend's sister got burnt from the exact same thing. So it happens. And do be careful.

"...when I have no plan to buy, I don’t much like going into bookshops and music stores. " Same here.

"...I swear I have some hidden, inner weirdo magnet because I attract all sorts of strange people. " Ha ha ha....I thought I had a secret talent for that.

"When you’re in the middle of something, have you ever had the feeling that it isn’t going too well" I usually don't have a problem with that except at times during an exam I'd get bored of writing and just quit answering a question even if i knew it. And ended up losing points.

We're with you :)

10:19 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

KM: Yeah, yeah, go on...make fun. But, beware of boredom. When it strikes you, remember, I'll be there to have my revenge!! :-)

You had the cooker burst twice? OMG!!

Cocaine Jesus: I knew I would find a few takers for the sinful life :-)

Chandni: :-) I think the way you behave around the cooker pretty much describes my own behaviour :-)

M: You know how many books, CDs, cooking utensils, cutlery, etc you have? Wow!! Incidentally, just between us, at that point in time, I had about 210 pots and plants!!

"...when I have no plan to buy, I don’t much like going into bookshops and music stores. " Same here.

Thanks for that. It helps to know that others feel like this too b'cos it isn't something that most people ca understand. :-)

11:28 pm  
Anonymous **Silvermoon** GEL said...

As someone who has as relative with severe OCD, it's technically a disorder but feels like a disease and there is no cure. (There is treatment, but it's a very tough disorder.)

Many of us, me included, have many quirks. Some would not seem like quirks to others and some would seem "weird" to certain folks. We all need to be comfortable with otherselves and it sounds like you are, which is the most important point!

You're brave to confess your info. I'm careful what I reveal b/c I crave the safety net of anonymity I have here.

3:20 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

SilverMoon**Gel: Oh yeah, I'm quite comfortable with myself, at least as far all this is concerned. Honestly speaking, when I don't want to, I can completely not care about what others say. But, as I said to M above, sometimes it gets a bit difficult when even friends will not understand your problem with going into book stores and music shops when neither is planning to buy :-)

About anonymity, alas, my cover is blown :-) I've already met a couple of bloggers and two more meetings are likely in the very near furure :-)

5:30 pm  
Blogger sattva said...

ghost, :) :) :) if it helps,
i couldn't bear it when people moved my curio or my vase even a wee bit, tho now have been forced to 'surrender to the ways of the world'.

i never towel-dry my hair or blow-dry it, even if it is snowing...but i thought that was perfectly normal!!!! i still cant brush my teeth in the presence of anyone. i refuse to share my towel even with my hubby, and he makes it a point to use it as often as he can! the books in my book-case are arranged in order of size and ppl better not change that :) and the small spoons and the big spoons in my kitchen have to be arranged 'just so'.

loved the pressure-cooker paranoia, btw :)

6:59 pm  
Blogger J said...

Temme more about the boring, in-between periods, when you’re waiting for something to happen.

7:45 pm  
Blogger J said...

And I wash my hands twice for like million times a day. My skin peels everyday.

7:46 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Sattva: :-) Thank god I'm not alone ;-)

There was a time when I could enter my room and, in precisely five seconds, be able to tell if someone had been in there. Everyone knew how I didn't like having my things moved around so, even if they tried to cover their tracks, I'd still be able to tell b'cos something or the other would be just a wee bit out pof place :-)

Yes, not blow-drying or towel-drying your hair IS normal :-) even if it is snowing and bitterly cold. I haven't done it for almost 20 years and am not starting now!! About the brushing your teeth bit, lucky you don't know Mock Turtle (above) and his college mates.

Finaly, the pressure cooker paranoia, see KM's comment above - he's had two burst on him!!

J: Hi!! Tell you more? Right, and hand you that stick I mentioned in the post? :-)

No, thankfully I don't wash that many times. So, what do you do for the peeling skin?

11:37 pm  
Blogger J said...

I loorrrrvvvvvveeeee pulling off peeling skin :D

11:29 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Ouch! :-)

11:30 am  
Blogger Szerelem said...

Wow, i feel so nice after reading all the comments here =D
Apparently I'm not the only one whos super paranoid about silly little things!
Ghost, what did i tell you? I'm really not that bad =P

6:23 pm  
Blogger sophie said...

Lovely jaunty post - quirky -
and i love quirky -
i am with your on the soap -
and the hair - not the garbage
bags - you shoot in video -
35 ml or 16

i will be in India if you need
a Pix editor.

have a great day!

7:12 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Szerlem: It's such a relief, isn't it, to know that there are others like us :-) For instance, that not towel- or blow-drying the's such a huge relief to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't do that :-) So, I guess, you're right :-)

Sophie: Like I said above, it's such a relief to know others also have similar quirks :-)

Yeah, I've only ever shot on video. I've worked o film, both 35 and 16, but my own projects have all been shot on video. Do get in touch when you're here :-)

11:42 pm  
Anonymous Passing breeze said...

Ah, Ghost, the comfort of the familiar can be relived infintely without nausea.
What are quirks actually? Familiarity safety tags to hold your self-view together? What happens if you tear away a strip of quirk from your being? Do you lose a part of yourself, or get to redefine yourself afresh? What happens?

8:52 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Passing Breeze: Hmm, so you'd rather have one size fit all. Quirks are a part of what make us different from each other and, therefore, interesting.

Besides, if you think about it, I'm sure you'll find you have a few too :-)

11:59 am  
Blogger Essar said...

For a post that you were almost reluctant to write, that's a really nice - and more importantly - an honest one. :)

5:30 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Essar: I'm sure you must've heard... honesty is last refuge of the bored :-)

5:54 pm  
Anonymous fact and fiction said...

That's a pretty comprehensive list. Maybe you stopped too soon... the most interesting ones, like possible chorophobia (unless your next one is on your phobias)might be of interest to readers.

My best quirks put on an appearance after I down a couple. That's when I go up... I mean, I begin climbing whatever is available.

Apart from that I've been told I am territorial. The minor of it is, I prefer to have my bathroom for my eyes and use only.

BTW, I like the feel of your site, and enjoyed the content. When r u letting me read the archives?

6:01 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Fact and Fiction: Possible chorophobia? Definite, I'd say. And, you forgot anthropophobia :-)

Come, come, you're being modest now. Many of your good quirks are on show even when you're not under the influence of the spirits. Yes, and how can we forget the bathroom :-)

Archives? Soon...

7:16 pm  
Anonymous Passing breeze said...

No Joad, I'd not rather have one size fit all. Those were not rhetorical questions. Just that I lost a lot of my quirks suddenly, and I don't know, yet, whether I have lost my self or found my self.

9:41 am  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...

Passing Breeze: Odd, but that pretty much sounds like me :-) Like I said, my coughOCDcough only shows itself when I'm staying on my own. Or, at least, becomes more obvious then. And that makes me wonder...which is the real me?

10:11 am  
Anonymous passing breeze said...

well Tom, I know what you mean. I have this friend who strictly ate only one dish a meal, even if there were a spread. I mean, even in a party, a wedding... anything. And no power on earth would persuade him to do otherwise. And then he one day ate more than the mandatory one dish... and voila! There was a profound transformation. I almost didn't recognise him after that.

4:52 pm  
Blogger grasroutes said...

This might go unread, because this is an old post of yours. But I had to tell you. Ghost, you must meet Karan Thapar one day. You're sure to hit it off. I just read his HT column, and his OCDs are quite the same as yours. Kindred souls, the two of you. :-)

3:44 pm  
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