I feel flighty today.
I need to work on a document, finish the review of a course, put down suggestions for some kind of art treatment (it will all be shot down, of course, because no-one sees the merit of seeing a boiled egg twirl atop a camel’s hump. All art must be ‘relevant’. How deadly dead!) and figure out my budget. It is now getting a little irritating to be so broke so often.
In addition, I need to prepare for a test that I need to take tomorrow in office. Interesting stuff. I just took a preposition test and flunked. I should go to Hemingway’s house and die on the floor. (Or is it atop the floor? Or on top of the floor? Or perhaps at the floor? I flunked prepositions, so I don’t know.) I don’t feel too bad about it because the email for the test informed me that I was to be tested on ‘propositions’ and I had to get a minimum of 90 correct. Well, I’m not sure if I want to make 90 propositions correctly. What would that make me?
Also, a little blight on the bright tube light is the fact that I haven’t seen a movie in a long, long time. Last night, before our regular, weekly skirmish, boyfriend made a joke out about how I can stand in a ticket queue multiple times because the usher at the door keeps tearing up my ticket. I mean, it was supposed to be funny and all but for a brief moment, I just couldn’t remember why someone at the entrance would tear up your ticket. Therefore, trip to Inox soon.
Which movie? I really wanted to catch ‘Omen’ but then, I don’t know. Most probably will be going with J and C, and since C really wants to watch ‘Krish’ (I forget how many ‘R’s or ‘S’es are there in the title), we’ll probably see Hrithik Roshan. However, I think C wants to watch Krish because she thinks that the movie stars John Abraham. (She pronounces it like this: Johnabre- Ham. Like his surname is so porky.) J, of course, will see any movie she thinks has a car chase in it. And she thinks that all movies have car chases in them, even if the plot really has a car mechanic chasing another car mechanic in a garage full of immobile cars.
I am usually at her place because she has cable. Yes, she’s a good friend and all that, but then, cable – that’s why I am there. So, in the event C is playing with my dupatta and does not want me to watch Pogo with her, I try to watch Star World or Travel and Living or Zoom.
Then J comes, all washed and scrubbed and dewy fresh.
She looks at me with disdain. This is because I look scruffy, sit on the floor and gape open-mouthed at some shiny faced blond diving into a champagne-colored lake.
‘I can’t believe this. You’ll watch a travel show if it comes on a lifestyle channel.’
Well, I just slurp tea and nod.
Then, she’ll watch a little while and ask me if it’s okay to change the channel.
‘Sure!’ I say unsuspectingly.
She’ll flick to one channel after another. We’ll bypass gloss and music and drama and documentary and docudrama and a cute koala bear offering fish to a hippo or whatever they show on Animal Planet, until we see this: fumes, scratched steel, burnt rubber, and infallible people who splat across the windscreen and fall off on the side of the road but are still unhurt to start running after the whizzing car.
Having selected the most mindless of things to watch, J will settle down on the sofa and have dinner.
‘What are you watching?’ I ask aghast at what I witness. Do people purposely choose to become more stupid or what?
‘You don’t like this?!’ It's funny - the incredulity that someone will actually want to know why one car is chasing another. Horrors!
‘This is my favorite movie. I have seen this at least 7 times!’, she asserts.
‘Which one is it?’ I’ll ask, because we seldom watch films right from the beginning.
She’ll chew slowly and look determinedly at the T.V.
Silence. More screech, slam, screech, screech, screech, screech, slam, slam, slam, SLAM, SCREECH...
What’s it about?’, I ask looking at some guy using the gears for a work-out.
She’ll chew slowly and look determinedly at the T.V.
‘I don’t remember the story.’
‘Could it be because it doesn’t have one?’
Well, excuse me but car chase is supposed to be a sequence in a film, not the whole film itself.
How dumb is that?
At the first hint of an ad, I scurry to the T.V. to change the channel.
By this time, my dupatta has lost its novelty and C is back with us, in a warm, fuzzy, polka-dot night suit.
‘Mukta, you no change channel’, I hear her from behind. It doesn’t sound as dictatorial as 'Mukta, you don't change channel.'
‘What do you want to watch?’
So, Pogo it is. I sit, with C on my lap, watching Noddy chase a goblin in his red car.
Then someday, after dinner, J, C, and I go for a walk in the compound. The air is scented and cool and you could be as brisk or as somnambulant as you wish and still feel at ease. C scampers along here and there, looking for frogs. I keep telling her it’s a good thing that she doesn’t find one.
Then we all sit on a bench. I try to teach C to touch her toes, J makes erudite remarks about plants, and we look at lights shining through lacy drapes or heavy curtains. It’s one of those evenings where you begin talking of your favorite things – holiday spots, restaurants, boat-rides, books, movies. So, when it comes to movies, I tell J of sweet, romantic comedies – Shop around the corner, While you were sleeping, Just like Heaven, etc. etc.
Then J looks around and tenderly asks me, ‘You have seen the Blair Witch project?’
If that isn’t enough, she starts chortling like a hyena on hashish and tells me how brilliant the ‘Scary Movies’ series are. And of course, there is a tremulous prologue before she starts about Jeepers Creepers. I worry for her sometimes.
So, who knows, with J, I may probably go for Omen after all.
What else? SS is coming to visit me this weekend. She is vegetarian and doesn’t like to walk. This means that I can’t cook eggs and um, take her for walks. That also means, I need to get some veggie stuff, such as vegetables, in the house. Soya chunks don’t count. Oh, and SS also does not consider potatoes to be vegetables, so I am in a bit of a soup.
It will be fun having SS around though. She introduced me to Lokhandwala and the pure, filmy glow that surrounds it. People sitting around in coffee-shops discussing the ‘hero’s exit’ or ‘entry’ into some serial. (Of course, the hero has died twice before. Plots with sense get discussed at J.W. Marriott., if at all.)
Then, she helped me discover the thrift stores around Lokhandwala lanes. These stores will typically have belts with two-toned weaves and sequins in three colors and colorful felt flowers stitched somewhere between two loops. These stores will have fuchsia lingerie with fur trimmings for women. For men, there will be tiger-striped briefs. For both men and women, there will be swimming costumes in leopard-print. There will be chunky jewellery, almost the weight of the finger it will be worn on. Once, I saw a very interesting array of rings in a non-descript shop that seemed to make tops from worn-out shawls. There was a bunch of rings with interesting designs. The ring meant to be worn on the thumb had a metallic thumb on it. The one to be worn on the little finger had a little finger on it. So on and so forth. The rings for the middle finger were sold out.
So, when SS is here, we’ll go window shopping. SS is a compulsive shopper. When I was staying in Bandra, SS came to spend the night at my place. We had decided to catch a film, go for dinner, sit at Carter Road, finish off the evening with dessert and coffee at Mocha. When we reached home though, I realized that we didn’t have milk for the next day. So I asked her to wait near the building while I sprinted across to get a carton of milk. I sprint, get milk, and see SS with a shopping bag. In the three and a half minutes that I was away, she had bought a sheer black top for her sis and a pristine white number for herself.
Anyway, walking around the little boutiques of Koregaon will be fun. I was also thinking of taking her to MG Road, but that becomes a walking plaza over the weekend. And SS is allergic to putting one foot after the other to get somewhere..unless it’s to step inside an auto. So, let’s see how perambulating with Miss SS goes.
I can’t focus on any of the books I have right now. I get into these phases where I must borrow a book to read it. So, now I am reading ‘Angels and Demons’ because I can’t zone in on anything more complex than the detail that ‘ILLUMINATI’ is such a perfectly symmetrical ambigram.
Just wanted a gulp of something new to read, so read a short story, ‘Blind’ by Ann Fischer. It’s not really a story, but well-written all the same. She has written about her marriage with a guy who used to be a financial planner. The guy upped and left his job, then became an interior designer, left that, and slid into sloth before he took up jewellery designing. So, the story touches on blotches of frustration in an idyllic life. It’s how you walk into a really pretty sun-room, it’s all so pleasant and suddenly you see a small, dark lizard dart behind a rose wood shelf.
Another quick, delectable shot of short story is one called, ‘Essence and Attribute’ by Fernando Sorentino. It’s an amusing story of a man who finds a little wart on his left hand one morning. He gets deeply interested in the wart, watching it grow on his pinky. When it becomes the size of an elephant, he gives it a name (he calls it ‘Elephant’). They are then kept in a zoo where people come and throw biscuits at them. Yet, in that time, the author knows that the elephant is shrinking while he is growing. So it is only a matter of time before the elephant becomes the essence of a major attribute that lies in wait.
It is quite surreal and humorous but I suppose you need to be in a kind of a mood to want to read about a man and his wart.
This afternoon, Z and I walked to MG Road for lunch (a Lucknowi Khasta chaat for me and a vegetable Hot Dog for her washed down with Peach Iced Tea and Aqua Slush). Then we dropped into Bombay Stores and I absolutely loved the fantastic variety of candles they have. I can just imagine having a huge room with mocha-colored walls and floor and little scoops in the walls to keep these candles. And then, all of them would be lit, and the entire room would look like a warm puddle of chewy candy.
But first, let’s shape up the budget.