Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Irony at midnight

I had expected her to be home this evening. But she wasn’t. She’d gone out willfully with her friend who was a solid paragon of obstinacy. The help told me she’d refused to take a nap in the afternoon and had insisted on indulging in gulab jamuns and cream. She wasn’t supposed to have that but with her favorite accomplice in crime to egg her on, it was difficult to stop her.

A few minutes later, she walked in with bright green wrapping paper stuck to her finger. It didn’t matter. Her shiny, plump face broke into a wide happy smile when she saw me. I was the unexpected surprise. She asked me if I wanted to eat something, all the while eyeing the plate of apple cobbler. I tried to pull that away but she slapped my hand and frowned. Next, I tried to talk to her about this and that but she didn’t appreciate the distraction too much. So I patted her head while she chomped on the pie.

Next on the agenda was a conversation on her terms. She wanted to tell me about her day out – each little detail repeated several times over. I tried to reason that she needed to sleep but she threw a little tantrum and insisted that she stay awake past her bedtime. It took a few minutes of saccharine-crusted cajoling to get her to change and brush her teeth.

She looked really adorable in her flannel paisley nightie; like a little church mouse you see illustrated in fairy tale books.

When I tucked her in a few minutes later, she had dozed off in the middle of her story. Her mouth was open (a perfect ‘O’) and her disheveled hair framed a face that looked deceptively serene. There was no trace of that animated tantrum a few minutes back. (It’ll be back tomorrow though, when it’s time for her bitter tonic.) The only indication of that famed stubbornness was probably the way she still held on to my finger before she drifted off.

Just watching her breathe so peacefully always fills me up with a thudding, heart-aching love. My baby.

Every night I kiss Ma goodnight, I think of this – I probably became a mother the day I was born.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Happy Lappy

In October, I was gifted a laptop. A Lenovo. It is a handsome piece of work. What I like best is the smorgasboard of little icons that light up in capsicum green or cherry tomato lights when I insert a CD or use Caps Lock or charge the laptop. I had started typing something in October but the document now lies spitted with half-chewed words and phlegmed ideas running from line to line.

I feel quite happy using my medium of stylish incoherence. I haven’t been able to do too much with it, though. Like use PowerPoint. I had this brilliant idea that I’d do my famous manuscript on PowerPoint with my laptop propped on…well, my lap. But how do you drag objects on a laptop? I tried and I tried. I tilted myself this way and that until I started getting nauseous. Then I stopped when I finally rolled off the bed. Perhaps the only alternative is to attach a mouse to the microchipped Zeus. But I don’t want to do that because all those appendages will just make a laptop look less stylish. It’ll be like wearing a cotton slip under a shirt that is meant to be sheer. (A good LCD display does remind one of a sheer shirt. It truly does.)

So it was back to MS Word. (I have an interesting idea for a campaign of umm..let’s see, showcasing the role of MS Word in plain old civic action. So, we see a dark, dusty road – maybe 16th century Scotland. One guy with steel-grey eyes rushes forth to combat a group of armed warriors. All he has is a sword. So, when you see the final thrust of an intrepid hero, the words ‘MY SWORD’ get displayed strategically on the screen – indicating the weapon of choice against injustice. Cut to a well equipped but not flashy office space {21st century, and not necessarily Scotland}– where a particularly earnest young woman types away on her computer. And the words ‘MY SWORD’ slowly morph/ change/ fuse into ‘MS WORD’ – indicating again, the weapon of choice against injustice.) This seemed hard enough to type out, and working this on PowerPoint would be more hellish. But the effort would be worth something, I suppose.

What else? The first movie I watched (and the only one so far) on my Laptop was ‘Apna Sapna Money Money.’ Pretty good film but it was a little difficult watching it on the laptop. I couldn’t quite negotiate the glare factor. Irrespective of how I moved the laptop, a few actors were smudging into darkness like some Harry Potter flick. (No, I’m not a big fan.) Koena Mitra is seriously something! I like her. And so is Riteish Deshmukh as a girl. Not over the top at all. The movie could have done without the oranges-as-breasts jokes though. That’s what I can’t get. Just when a film is striking the right chord between witty and goofy, they have to go ahead and make it lurid.

What they need is someone who can work out a coherent, solid screenplay. (Cough! Cough!) Maybe such a person is out there somewhere. Rolling off the bed, maybe, trying to figure out PowerPoint or simply writing paras after paras after paras. (Ahem!)

Maybe there is such a person out there.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Oddly liberating

In a little over a month (32 days to be precise), I will be married. This means that I will no longer be single. I say this because there is strange comfort in stating the obvious. Reminds me of work. Not that the prospect of being a Mrs. Someone completely freaks me out, but I would like to cruise through the wedding preparation phase instead of closing my eyes and fervently hoping that all of this gets behind me soon.

I wonder what the anxiety is all about. The marriage itself is not a matter of contention. After all, neither of the sides are opposed to A and I getting hitched. But what I think most about is the life after – the immediate life after. I don’t seem to have a handle on what I should be doing the first morning I wake up in Delhi as a newly wed. (Yes, I do mean after brushing my teeth.) Days and weeks, I have sort of figured out how to deal with the larger stuff – of feeling like a fish out of water, balancing home and work (when I find employment), family and in-laws, budgets and splurges, my own needs versus those of everyone else’s, etc. etc. Here’s a list I’ve come up with for now:

- Keep an open mind about everything
- Read something interesting every day
- Learn something new
- Write my brilliant manuscript
- Discover a new holiday place
- Save to travel (this is followed by actually travelling after I have saved enough)
- Do up the study
- Continue to write my brilliant manuscript
- Not try and please everyone (it’s not possible and it’s not my responsibility)
- Sell aforementioned manuscript
- Learn to say ‘No’
- Learn to say ‘Yes’
- Do both graciously, and Always, always remember to say ‘Thank you.’ In the ultimate analysis of one’s amble through the Universe, one is just thankful for the chances one has got. I’ve always got enough going on to look forward to something.

Therefore, the anxiety that slips through the oesophagus a little at a time, is not about the big stuff. It’s about the details. Like where do I fold my clothes and keep them, and which shelves do I use for my books (what if there’s no place for all my books?), and how do I spend my time until I get a job, and when we do throw a party in the house, what will I do if I bicker with A’s friends, what will I do if A doesn’t like my pals, what about breakfast, and I still haven’t learnt to cook the stir-fry veggies that I like so much, and let’s say I want to go Khan market for some peaceful bazaar-browsing, how do I get there when the world and its aunty has put the fear of Satan in me about stepping onto the roads of Delhi alone in the evening.

I feel awkwardly despondent at the thought of not being able to ask for my morning beverage in Oriya. I don’t know why it seems to plunge me into depths of moroseness. I mean, there are just so many ways you can ask for ‘coffee’. It’s all the same in Oriya, English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, or Spanish. So there is no grounded reason for being wistful. Still.

Sometimes it gets overwhelming. There’s no point in talking to anyone about it because frankly, it’s as unique an experience as it is universal. I realise that it is now the time to turn inwards. Because, I can feel something tremendous and solid happening inside of me. It’s a feeling I get rarely, but have learnt not to ignore it since the last few years. It’s as if there is a very dark, yet colorful vortex between my eyes and each thought, dream, idea, wish is succumbing to some sort of a force in some kind of a pattern. I can see it happening. Sometimes, it is so intense that I can see it with my eyes open.

After many months of heightened stimulation, I finally bought a diary made of handmade paper. It has a coarse pea-green cover and a cord that you tie round a button to close it. I’ve decided to go back to writing my diary. I had gone slack with journalling ever since I started blogging. But it’s time to go back.

Ironically, moons ago, writing my blog felt so emancipating. I felt as if all these words and stories had somehow been cultivated, but caged. And now they were out. Today, when I go back to writing my diary and I see the sheets of paper straining to hold the tumble of words – words that will never be read by anyone other than me – I feel the same way.

So far, it has been an interesting reunion with freedom – my capricious muse of dancing shackles.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Here's looking forward to it...

Since I am now wiser due to carefully researched SMSes, I know that 2007 begins with a Monday and ends with one as well. It also promises to be the year with the maximum weekends, so I hope it bodes well for my marriage.

This year, I will revert to the one prospect that enthuses me to edges of excitement and generosity - the wonders of an unfolding universe.

Like...on the 31st of December, I bought 'The Devil Wears Prada'.

And on the 1st of January, A gifted me 'A Suitable Boy'.

Some connection there...and an entire year to find out. Life does look promising.

To what has been and to what is now and to what will be, we raise the Celtic toast - 'May we live as long as we want to...may we want to as long as we live.'

Happy New Year.