Saturday, April 18, 2015

709 - what good things happened today

1. I was given a butterscotch cornetto which I enjoyed so much.

2. Did 5 rounds of yoga in the morning.

3. Really liked the dalia pulao that the cook had made today. We'd added in a lot of the left-over veggies like brinjals, fenugreek leaves (methi), soyabean chunks, onions, and tomatoes.

4. Wore a slightly clingy white and brown striped top with a rather snug pair of pants. It looked nice. I think I am on my way to getting into shape.

5. Went to Crossword and had a sandwich at Moshe's. Tasty stuff.

Friday, April 17, 2015

710

Some good things that happened today:

1. I had to finish creating something called a Detailed Content Outline for a course we are designing at work. Managed to do that.

2. Had momos and tea with a friend.

3. Watched an episode of Shark Tank. I love Shark Tank! I love how they usually just ask four or five questions and suss out the potential of a business.

4. Looked nice. Face looked kind of lean.

5. Stayed away from rice.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

713, 712

It was a beautiful day today. It was overcast in the evening, around 5, and the lavender blooms were lavender with full passion. They almost seemed to be reflecting individual purple glows around them. Then tonight I visited my pal. I'll call her Rose.

Rose lives in a beautiful area. There's a huge expanse of open land in front of her sweet little flat. She stays in a tiny building that is much smaller compared to the taller, swankier constructions around. Lazy dogs sometimes frolic in front of her yellow gate. There's a little vegetable store somewhere down the road. It may be a few seconds from the main road but it's like her building got handed over this sweet bucolic patch of the universe.

From the outside, you see the Tibetan flags outside the kitchen window, muted and wispy against the light.

I walked up the flight of stairs to her place. From the landing of the first floor, I could see a martini-shaped tree.

Rose's home is wholesome, in a sense. It reminds me of a forest or shrine full of simple, beautiful tokens of things that are molded with purity distilled from the concrete. It's the soft light from a longish cylinder of ivory paper-lamp. Or the cream-colored, cotton curtain in the bathroom. Or little spice jars arranged like trinkets in her single kitchen shelf. Or the picnic bench that doubles up as a dining table. Or a dainty porcelain turtle near the flush. Or how her cocker spaniel fills in just the right amount of square feet for it to be a cosy lair.

I sip tea. My friend prattles on about something. Her converation's like a stream flowing somewhere - cool, soothing, gurgling, ongoing in its own sphere. We order some food from Malaka Spice. In the pockets of shadows, we eat baos - some kind of open pavs - made with a topping of tofu and bell peppers. We munch through a couple of those with a side of veggies cooked with nuts. On their own, the veggies are insipid but the dish is made interesting with a spicy red sauce. Then we finish off with a steamed jaggery pudding served with chilled, coconut milk. That is so...musical in its simple goodness, you almost hear melody wafting through bamboo pipes.

It was a lovely evening. Corners of food, pockets of convertions, cloches of light.

It's interesting what kinds of spaces a space can be made up of.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

714, 715: Short Story: The sun shines on all days

Sunday

Gotsy rinsed the dishes early in the morning. So early, in fact, that the moon still shone outside. It peeped through the large guava tree and sweated moonshine in the humid dawn. His father would soon wake up and ask for his oats and jaggery. To this, he would add a quarter spoon of cinnamon powder. Then he would sneeze twice before slurping the whole bowl. Finally, he would belch and sleep off again. His father was ninety-seven years old and this routine had been a gift he’d given himself when he turned seventy. Gotsy turned seventy today. He wondered what gift he should give himself.

“Happy birthday, Gotsy”, came his father’s gruff voice as he sat down at the table.

“You remembered?” Gotsy was surprised. He laid out the large blue cereal bowl, the mint green spoon and the yellow jar of honey. If old age is the coming of the second childhood, Gotsy and dad certainly had the cutlery for it.

“Well, I had it written on my calendar.”

“Which you haven’t changed since the last four years.”

“Interestingly, your birthday falls on the same day each year.”

They ate their breakfast in silence. Gotsy’s father brought out a musty packet of flavoured tea leaves which they brewed together and sipped companionably. His father read out a little bit from the day’s newspaper and then yawned.

“Go to bed, Papa.”

“Are you sure? We can play cards on your birthday, if you want...or we can go for a walk by the pond. I can shuffle along.”

“No, its fine, Papa. I will go to the post office and get some potatoes and radish on the way back.”

“Yes. That should be a good lunch.”

His father shuffled back inside. Gotsy rinsed the dishes again and kept them away. He got dressed and wore his pale yellow shirt that Lillian had gifted him on his fortieth. It had a tiny rip near the cuff but it still looked nice. Brought out the colour in his eyes, she’d say.

On his way out, he took the house keys. He also ignored the blue pills lying next to them. “It’s my birthday. No need for them today”, he thought.

Outside the sun shone even though the world was soft and grey. The roads were dusty but full of cars and people and children and dogs. They looked like props. Like the filaments of hallucination he was supposed to be taking medication for. “You’re a cruel, cruel thing,” he thought squinting up at the sun.


Monday

“Can we go to the pond today, Gotsy?” his father looked up from the game of chess he was playing with himself.  Gotsy tuned his guitar in the corner. He would have preferred to give it to the shop but it had raised the prices and the new owner didn’t extend any favours anymore.

“Why? What’s today?”

“Today’s a good day to go to the pond, that’s all.”

“It’s far, Papa. And it’s getting cold now. You won’t be able to walk there.”

“So? Let’s go by car.”

Gotsy looked up in alarm. Why his father never understood that a teacher’s pension never went far was beyond him.

“Waste petrol to go to a pond on a day that isn’t special?” he asked.

“Yes.”

He really would have put his foot down had he not seen his father tie a hideous purple scarf around his head. He looked like a grape. A fat one, too, with his pout and puffed cheeks.

“Fine”, said Gotsy, getting the car keys. People are such children, he thought.

Tuesday

Gotsy spotted a dead sparrow in the yard. It lay small, brown and stiff – looking like a clump of the same textured earth it would soon decompose into. He dug a small hole and buried it. He looked around for a flower or a bloom of some sort to put on top of the mound. A small token, a little respect, for an inconsequential life lost in his backyard. There were no blossoms around but a wilted carnation was stuck in a barbed wire. Gotsy reached for it.

“A dead flower for a dead bird, eh? That’s kind!” his father chuckled through his bedroom window.

“I can’t find any flowers”, hollered Gotsy. What his father had said had crossed his mind. But one does best with what one finds.

“Get a leaf. A nice big, thick one. Take that one – it looks like it has oil colours mangled in sunlight all over it.”

So Gotsy did that. He got a glossy leaf from the nearby bush and laid it tenderly on the mound. He went in to get started on dinner only to find his father brewing a large pot of something.

“Beef”, said his father.

“Beef? Where did the beef come from?” Again, alarm bells started ringing in Gotsy’s head. The butcher was a miser and meat was expensive. Lines of credit did not run with him.

“It’s the butcher’s birthday today. I told him he was born on the same day as Napoleon. Made him happy, I guess. He gave me a couple of pounds.”

“Oh.”

“They aren’t the best cuts. But it will be a good stew with the radish we had leftover from day before.”

Gotsy washed his hands and face. It was a special dinner with an expensive meat. Seemed the sparrow’s death had more ceremony than his own birthday from the day before. Never mind. He changed into his pale yellow linen shirt.

“Do you miss Lillian?” His father had noticed the shirt.

“It’s a good shirt.” Gotsy spooned some broth and beef cubes in his father’s bowl.

“Yes. I miss your mother also sometimes. You miss people who leave.”

Gotsy didn’t say anything. Not everyone leaves the same way. His mother had died.


Wednesday

Gotsy watched a single orange leaf float down the pond. The pond was pink and flecked with the green of the willow hanging above it. The orange leaf stood out like a single note of melody in a silent room.  

His father was getting more and more stubborn by the day. He wanted to go for long walks now. Above the hill, out to the meadows where he’d been to school. This was not the weather. Gotsy was not that healthy son either – who could accompany his father in this very arduous task. His knees had started swelling up and raking leaves in the yard was hard. He was just about able to make the oats at the crack of dawn.

He opened his palms and saw the blue pills.

He really should have them before it was too late.

Above, the sun turned peach and golden. It would set soon.

How many lifetimes does a sun watch end? Not once does it waver though. Not once does it feel sad and full. For the sun, how does the music never stop?

He looked up at the sun. It seems to have a stoic, tough heart.


Thursday

Gotsy’s father had had enough of the oats. He wanted eggs today. “Where do I get the eggs from now?” asked Gotsy. The sun had not yet come up and the nearest grocer would open his shop only a few hours later.

“I don’t want oats. I want something rich.” his father pouted.

His father had now taken to wearing the purple scarf around his head in the house too – and through the night it seems. He went about looking like an irritable grape.

“Can I make some toast instead? I’ll put lots of butter on it. It will be rich.”

Gotsy’s father nodded. He used to love the butter-soaked bread Mother used to make. So Gotsy got to work. Some insects croaked and the sharp scent of wild flowers came through the kitchen.  He sliced large wedges of farm-bread and buttered up both sides with a heavy spoon. Then he toasted them on a pan. When they turned brown like the wood on the trees, he added a couple of spoons of sugar and raisins on the crusty top. He finished off with serving bottled stewed apricots on the side.

“This is so good, Gotsy! It will kill me – all this butter – but it’s so nice.”

“Butter will kill you and it will get you back from the dead.” Gotsy patted his father’s arm.

His father laughed so hard that he shook and spilled tea on the table.

“You got your mother’s skills for food.”

The sugar had been Lillian’s touch, though. She had loved sugar. The beads on the hem of her wedding dress had sparkled like bits of sugar. The snow on the trees outside the church was like ivory candyfloss. Their wedding had had a sweet beginning.

Gotsy’s father asked for a second helping of the toast. It was all finished but Gotsy simply buttered a remaining slice and served it with the apricot. His father ate that too.

The he slept the whole day.

Friday

Gotsy did not feel like waking up the next day. His father could eat his honey and yoghurt from the night before. Gotsy’s neck and legs ached so he tried to massage them himself as best as he could. The calves were sore and the cold seemed to have set into every little hollow of his bones. From his father’s room, he could hear the strains of the lyre. His father tuned his lyre today so that he could play it for Sebastian’s son’s wedding tomorrow.   

Gotsy wondered whether Sebastian would allow his father to do that. The last time his father had played that old lyre, it was nearly fifty years ago at his wedding. It was so out of tune that it had caused unseasonal rain.

Gotsy knew that he was unwilling to wake up now because of what he was avoiding. His hands searched below the nest of pillows he slept on. Those blue pills still lay there.

He rolled them between his fingers. Outside he could hear his father shuffle about. He heard his gruff cough, the noisy way in which he handled the kettle.

If he took the blue pills, all that would be gone.

The blue pills would take away his hallucination. The blue pills would take away his father.

The sun continued to rise. Gotsy got teary eyed and took the blanket over his head.

“Gotsy! Do you want your tea now?”

“No Papa. Later.”

“Okay”. The lyre got strung outside.

Saturday

People said that Sebastian’s son had unconventional views because of the fever he had contracted in Mexico. As a result, he had wanted an early nuptial ceremony in the barn. Gotsy and his father were the first to arrive. While Gotsy had worn his old marriage suit that hung loose on him, his father filled out his own attire very well. He was very cheerful and on the way to the barn, had spoken of the various melodies he’d play on the lyre.

“What makes you think they will ask you?” mumbled Gotsy.

“Sebastian will insist, I know. They all love it when I play ‘Daffodil Dances’. It sounds like someone is tapping on the stars.”

“Tapping on the stars sounds good because that happens very far away.” Gotsy giggled.

“Hah! They won’t leave me until I’ve played each piece five times!”

The ceremony went off beautifully. It was dark and cold in the barn but there were chilli red votives on the table, shedding spicy warm glow all around. Sebastian cried into his large white hanky when the couple exchanged vows. Later cream cheese and wine was had by all.

“Gotsy! Gotsy!” someone cried out when Gotsy prepared to leave.

It was Sebastian.

“Where are you going, Gotsy? I see you have your lyre. Play for us.”

Gotsy turned pink. “No, no...I just...it’s nothing. Papa had told me to take it along whenever there’s a wedding – so that the couple has good luck.”

“I know. But your father would have loved to play it. He wasn’t even very good.” Sebastian stopped to chuckle softly. “But you are so good! You must play.”

So Gotsy had to play.

But first he asked for a glass of wine. He gulped it quickly with the blue pills that had travelled with him for so long now. He saw his father move from the front row to the back. With the first strains of ‘Daffodil Dances’, his father became a little hazy. By the time, the audience clapped and asked him for an encore, his father had floated away somewhere like pollen to the stars.

A mellow sun started to shine through.

He looked up. “Bring it on”, Gotsy thought and played the song again.




.











Thursday, April 09, 2015

716

Add caption

Source of image: www.picjumbo.com
It was a good day today. Finished a little work, made some headway with the deadline-laced writing, used a strong citrusy shampoo that made me sing in its essence of tangy healthy freshness. Walked to Inorbit to meet a friend. My wet air drying in the humid breeze. Early evening traffic. Hawkers with pretty sandals already lining the footpath. Met a friend for coffee. He's raising his beautiful daughter on his farm. She' turning out to be a lovely artist. Loves to sketch. And be by herself. We had coffee and he dropped me home.

I had noodles and now I feel like dozing off - one more summer day braided to the other ones this season.

Poem

Source: www.pexels.com
It comes like a pang for a midnight snack
Thoughts of early days of abundance
It stays on like a smile that may have beguiled
Were it not for the frozen face
Or the iron mask.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

719, 718, 717

Ill so in Bombay.

Things have been good so far.

Life at home usually is.

Realized that some friendships are going to be very very hard to maintain and so decided to let go of one of them. There is a very painful memory attached to it. Maybe it was being low energy, but it felt like there was a lot of energy required at just pushing aside that memory to just be calm with that person.

Also, opened up comments now even though they are being moderated. Some of the anonymous commenters with their diarrheatic ugliness are writing in. :-) (So, you still kept coming, yes?) I think about that girl who claimed to be my friend and look up to me or whatever else and then went on to paste anonymous comments - I wonder if it was her who commented on my family or not but then, when people feel really ugly about themselves, the rottenness takes many forms. To me, she has become the poster-child of all the anonymous commenters out there - those souls who want to belong to the cool tribe. They may live in an address that doesn't gain much currency with the swish set - so they do the token activities - a photography class, host a workshop, maybe do an overnight trek or a filmmaking workshop somewhere with enough stack of photos to show 'hey, I don't conform.' But the resentment brews. So let's say they find someone who is part of their not-so-hip suburb but who, in their eyes, is interesting because she has the 'right' creds (the way I maybe did - studied in St. Xavier's, grew up in Bandra, lived and worked in Delhi, had freelanced for a newspaper), they seek validation very very thirstily. But there may still be a fear that if they come right out and say something real or true, they may not be liked. So they become anonymous and start commenting - sometimes innocuously saying things like 'oh...this is not as nicely written as that other piece' to 'you deserve all these comments for the way you dress' to 'it's shameful how your family allows you to be that way'. I think this girl wrote all that because one day she saw her face in the mirror and felt lost and ugly. (Ditto for any guy who's done that also - on this blog or somewhere else.) Maybe they do it because there's a latent ugliness - all grey and scaly due to a lifetime of resentment that comes to the fore when something triggers their gaping need for validation that will not even be acknowledged.

Anyway, I got my work cut out with having to fight fever.

 

Saturday, April 04, 2015

720

New things I did today:

1. Collaboratively wrote a script. Today we collectively finished the first draft.
2. Drove to Law College Road. Usually I just take a rick.
3. Parked on a slope and took a U-turn on this narrow stretch while returning.
4. Played chess after ages.

Some of these unsettled me but I think, they helped me some.

727, 726, 725, 724, 723, 722, 721 - April 3rd, my birthday

Woke up to opening the door t the cook and the cleaning lady. Neither knew it was my birthday. Then the car cleaner came. He also didn't know that it was my birthday. Then came the phone call from Ma who of course knew it was my birthday because she had something to do with it. With every passing year, Ma becomes more and more convinced that I will step into some glory where THIS year, I will win the Booker or get a party ticket (which is a very scary thought) or have loads o...f money or rule the world or clean the cupboard. Then I had tea and sat in the terrace. Spoke to my lovely friends in Bombay whose light and laughter have cadenced my past. The sun shone, pigeons fluttered, some yellow flowers dusted off trees to land on the roofs of cars. None of those behaved any differently based on the fact that it was my birthday. My aching tooth did not care at all and made its presence felt very persistently. Fell asleep. Warmed some food for lunch. Read some Murakami. Dozed off again. Ma had gifted me some white palazzos that I later wore to visit a friend - who also did not know that it was my birthday. Her home is pretty - all soft lighting and pretty plants in alcoves. We chatted for a bit. Had tea. Had a warm square of mithai warmed and served with jaggery.

Drove for coffee. Watched the moon hang from the sky.

It is a very peaceful feeling to spend the birthday majorly by oneself. To soak in the sun, to see the world passing by, to be aware of yourself passing through...to somehow get the sense that even before I was in the picture, so much was already in place...that I've come like a ripple in some kind of becoming.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

728 - What stands between?

Something happened last night that at some point, I may or may not write about.

This morning, I woke up. The right side of my face is swollen because of a toothache. I haven't taken any painkillers yet but through salt-water rinsing and application of clove oil, the pain is manageable. Or just by way of being human, I am getting used to it.

I get into the bathroom and very tenderly brush my teeth. It's really bright outside. The shadow of a pigeon perched somewhere falls on the wall I see through the bathroom window. It coos. Suddenly, there' sound of gushing water from a flat close by. It stops. Then I hear a trickle of water somewhere else. The water gushing from the tap inside my own bathroom is noisy.

My head throbs so I close my eyes. I wet my fingers and rub my temples. I go out and sit on the bed. There are different noises. I look out and there's a tree that looks like a bottlebrush tree but may not be that. It has clumps of thorny, bristly, pointy sharp needle type leaves in a muted yellow. A dusty yellow. Like if you had a yellow desk and never dusted it for months. That yellow.

All that I have heard and all that I have seen is outside me. But it is also inside me now. Everything seems to get inside. The body - these arms, legs, stomach, ankle, finger, neck, collarbone, cavity - all seem to be formed of memories. Of whatever I have seen so far, for so long.

What is this body then? What does it stop? What does it allow?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

729 - a poem and a toothache

Around 9 p.m. spoke to mom. Had started feeling feverish by then. Then the searing pain around the tooth started. In a couple of minutes the ear was hurting and one part of the throat was sore. While driving back, my hands were shaking on account of the pain. In a 10 minute drive home, had to stop twice because I couldn't steady. Reached home and fumbled endlessly for the keys. Clamped the affected tooth by mistake so I was immediately brought down to my knees because of tha...t blinding pain that zipped through my spine. (Just what all is the tooth connected to anyway?) That's the impact of pain in one tooth. ONE TOOTH. Nothing seems worse. No existential crisis where you feel empty. No heartbreak where you think you've lost your one true love. And I don't care about all that stupid poetry and those doofus lamenting songs. If you can write poetry and SING...you aren't in all that much pain. So, in case I live through tonight, here's an ode to a lesson I learned:

Not for an everafter
Or an absolute truth
Have i willingly prayed so hard
As i have for a decaying tooth.
Tooth – you cause so much pain
And you are fairly hard to rhyme
Which is why no-one writes about you
More than half the time.
But please duly note this poem
That I write while painfully sucking a fruit
I chose you tonight unequivocally
Over a foreverafter and the absolute truth.

If this ever becomes a music video, I'd like Deepika in there somewhere wearing a dress in yellow georgette with dull gold sandals (oh hey! toothache seems to have subsided...everybody likes her, apparently.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

730

Massive toothache. The day after I slurped many glasses of white wine at Malaka Spice after nearly six years of no alcohol, I think, caused the body to rebel, revolt, and just give up.

The toothache is really bad. I am very averse to painkillers so I haven't taken one yet. Thus far, I've relied on salt and warm water rinses and pressing clove oil. Late night, it was so bad that I woke up trembling and very frantically tried to remember what I'd learned of EFT. I still remembered the sequence of the tapping so I did that. There was slight relief so I could sleep.

Still hurts badly though. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

731 - It's not a small thing

To wake up in the morning every day, to see how the day goes - in whatever fashion...this way, that way, or coagulating like a time clot in a small little rut, and then to see it end.

It's not a small thing.

And every form of life does it. Every frame of phenomenon does it. Feels good to be a speck in this massive tide of courage - the tide that begins something knowing that it will end. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

732 - On account of it being national poetry month or international poetry month or something like that yesterday

Knotted through the days,
Slipping through the hands,
With a sea on the standby,
We waited for home.

Ships crossing by,
Skirting green lands,
With mountains on the alert,
We waited for home.

And home came slowly,
Bloody, tear-soaked and grand
Our fortress against time,
Our castle in the sand.

Friday, March 20, 2015

746, 745, 744, 743, 742, 741, 740, 739, 738, 737, 736, 735, 733 - The evening I saw Jeffrey Archer

He looked tired and signed book after book. Sometimes he'd look up to give a wry smile to an eager reader. I have been an eager reader but I was not in line to have any of the books signed. I was on the second level of the Crossword store and felt bemused at this person who signed books, it seems, with effort and exhaustion. 

I remember reading his books and feeling so close to him. His stories had this 'gather around' vibe and every time I read a story, I gathered around. My favorite stories of Jeffrey Archer are:

1. The Prodigal Daughter: There is a part where the stern governess is returning to her hometown after having taken care of Abel's daughter, Florentyna, for many years. The governess has been stern and distant in the early years, softening only to drive Florentyna to be better read and better groomed. Yet, the when the train pulls away, this governess says a proper goodbye, goes inside her coach, and sits down. Outside Florentyna runs on the platform or is weeping profusely or waving hard or something like that. The governess doesn't look out. She just feels tears trickle down her cheek as she sits with legs and hankies folded.

I also loved Archer's short stories. In fact, I preferred them to his novels. I don't remember the names of the stories now but here are some of my favorite ones.

2. Old Love: Okay, this is the name of the short story that I do remember. It's a story of two people who meet in Oxford and fall in love. They become professors in the same college. They can't have children. They spar and smile and life goes on well in the idyllic campus life of Oxford. (I think it's Oxford. May have been Cambridge.) They have a steady ritual of solving crossword puzzles together. They compete to see who gets it right first. I think the woman dies of cancer. The man, after having lost a friend, partner, and lover of many decades, continues life as before. Apparently, one of the last things the couples had fought over before the woman passed away was what a particular crossword clue meant. One day the man's friends come over to see that he had killed himself. He had found out what that clue had meant. He'd left a note behind that read, "Sorry. Had to let her know."

This story is special to me for so many reasons. First, the story itself is comforting. Even though there is suicide and death, even though there is childlessness and the hazy sheath of 'What-if's - even though there’s all that, the story is plain, simple and comforting...like toast with butter and sugar. 

The other reason this story is really special to me is because I read it when I was a teenager or had just started working. My mom and I were having difficulties communicating or just being civil to each other. I remember having vowed that morning when I left home to never ever talk to her again. In the train, I had read that story and loved it so much that I wanted to tell Ma. I rushed home and since the ego was still in place, I didn't actually tell her to read it. Instead, I stuck a post-it on the relevant page and scribbled: "Read this." And left it on her pillow.

The next morning, I had breakfast in the cold, alienating 'Me-against-the-world' silence of the dining table. My mom came in with some food and plonked it on my plate. She ruffled my hair and said, "It was a beautiful story. Had to let you know."

It wasn't me against the world then. And breakfast was good.

3. There's a story of a man who is sharing a cup of tea with a stranger at a tea center. He knows a lot about London. He describes the streets, the senses, the history, the people, the food, the phobias of the city so vividly that the stranger, a Londoner himself, is impressed. Only when the book ends do we come to know that the man talking about London is blind and he has never been to the city. He has only heard about bits and pieces from others and has had people read out about London to him.

4. There's another story of a middle-aged British couple who take a trip to Turkey. They are not very rich but they have always wanted to visit Turkey. They use up their lifesavings to get there only to be befriended and paired up with a loud, rich American couple. The Americans want to spend all their time with them. As a result, the couple are anxious because they are running out of time and money on their trip which literally is once-in-a-lifetime. On the last day before they leave, the British and American couples visit a store to buy Turkish carpets. Now, carpet stores mainly sell two kinds of carpets. Some are overtly colorful and very florid for the tourists. Some are in subdued shades with sparse detailing for the people who know and the travelers who research. The American couple bargain loudly for the most vibrant carpet and come home. The British couple return later and go through the rituals of a typical Turkish bazaar negotiation - they sit on the floor, share cups of tea with the carpet-seller and choose a carpet in ochre and sweet designs of trees. The carpet-seller is pleased with their research and brings down the price for a valuable carpet so that the couple can afford it. 

Those were the stories of Jeffrey Archer that have stayed with me over the years. And until that day that I saw him at the bookstore, I had felt very close to him. Like we were related. He was an uncle who'd come visiting and share the very best stories with me. He knew what I'd like and I think I was his favorite. But that day, he was so far away. I saw him in flesh and blood but he could very easily just have been a photograph on one of his paperbacks. That is exactly what I was afraid of before I landed up at the store. Still, I guess it was good I went. There has to be some way to thank the author the young girl in me is so grateful to. One of his stories had brought me closer to my mum one morning many years ago. 

So, thank you, Mr. Archer. Thank you for the tales. Just had to let you know.





Monday, March 02, 2015

749,748,747

You know what I'd like to do? Just travel everywhere, share meals with people, maybe walk with them, and ask them and record their insights on how do they cope? Really. How do they do it?

I was in Bombay over the weekend and the weather was scrumptious! Rainy, moist, fresh, clean and the Powai lake lay before us like tear-filled grey eyes. Then something happened at night and I was sad again. How or why does it happen? This sharp swing of moods?

But now, on looking back, even though the night was sad the day had been spent well. I think it was Marquez who'd said, "No one can take away the dances you've already had."