Thursday, May 29, 2008

On the phone, over the top

I was talking to my aunt on the phone who was updating me about my uncle’s health. (He’s recently been admitted to the hospital for a heart condition.) In the background, my bratty nephew is apparently trying to tie a ribbon around the receiver. My aunt who hasn’t had enough rest since the last few days tries to ward him off like a fly. “Shoo! Not now..I’m talking…come later…”, I hear her telling that two-feet volcano.

And I hear a lispy, baby voice retort, “Why? Who is more important than me?”

Oh well…..

Monday, May 26, 2008

thank you and goodbye!

it’s been a few nights of frenzy
and chaos to the core
it feels new and crazed and beyond reason
and it’s felt this way before

it’s been a few nights with no sleep
with dreams scabbing in the fore
clumps of Orion stories
stale grubby crusted lore

in the dead of night
on the crest of light
poetry tip-toes to the door
sends a kiss and darts right out
and it’s been that way before

so now the doors are bolted
and latched and sealed within
around sometime when the moon sets
i hear the doorbell ring.

poetry stands with a jug of tears
at having upped the score
you lose a muse, you win a ruse
and it somehow matters no more

no more the orion stories
no more streams of lore
no more memories or moments
to use, misuse and explore

there will be everlasting newness
splices difficult to ignore
that will never jade or fade away
or solder to a classic ‘before’

Monday, May 19, 2008

Can’t help falling etc. etc. with you etc. etc

I have moved to Hiranandani, Powai, this Sunday. So far, it’s been only one day, and it’s been supremely good.

A quick list of why my bed, by books, my view from the window feels like a groovy kind of love:

I share a beautiful little house with two other people. There are two comfy, slouchy cane chairs hanging in the living room; there’s also a nice black leather couch on an endless, endless marble floor

A roomy kitchen, two fridges, and a really charming area outside the kitchen to have dinners and breakfasts and afternoon tea in

A reasonably big bath

Twin-beds in the room with a sweet little ledge to sit and read on

A terrace

A garden that offers that the most heavenly bouquet of redolent fragrances at night; that and pretty sights of the moon and clouds…all those traces that went into the writing of ‘She walks in beauty’

A marvellous walk in and around the fountains and garden spotted roads of Hiranandani

A quick distance from the place I worked in earlier – the place that filled my life with such innocent, excellent joy for three whole, nectared years

The most poetic detail of all borrows one of Kazuo Ishigoro’s title - ‘A pale view of the mountains’…from everywhere you look

It’s a beautiful dream…this place.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Amused in the auto...despite myself

It's been a long, frenetic week. So long and so frenetic that I couldn't write about it while I was in the midst of it; I couldn't whistle about it even when it was over. But I decide to do some breezy articulation just before the next, frenetic week begins.

The thing with long, fenetic weeks is this - it exhausts one to think about it, much less remember the interesting factoids (and by interesting, I only mean infuriating - hindsight is such a delightful palliative). So I thought I'd write about something that made me chuckle.

Not very strangely, the incident happened while I was in an auto. (And though the phrase doesn't sound as sweetly romantic as 'while you were sleeping', I guess it could be the title of a movie. Small-budget, independent film or something. A play, at the very least.)

Anyway, it's around 10:15 p.m. some night when I'm returning from office. I'm wearing a skirt which, by virtue of being bright yellow and pink, attracts looks of aghast and interest from people on the road or in neighboring vehicles. Aghast increases and interest piques when gazes travel to my face - it's wrapped in a dupatta (pink and yellow) with only my eyes visible. Now, in the best of times with adequate light, my face in such a situation looks a little scary. I can only imagine what people must be seeing in the seven shades of darkness that pervades Asalpha.

But no matter. I was almost done with a difficult portion of my work and was doing cartwheels in my head. So I guess I disregarded the first 10-20 glances. When I reached Ghatkopar station though, I had stopped doing cartwheels inside my head. Instead, I'd adopted a more sober mental stroll around the to-do-list for the next day. My elation in work matters is usually short-lived.

There I sat at the signal, minding my own business, furrowing my own brows, and kicking myself figuratively for being such an ass over estimating time improperly. Suddenly I noticed the guy in the auto next to mine.

He seemed to be nice enough - or would have been, if he were not practically hanging out of his auto gawking at my face. He was staring hard - with an expression I can't quite explain.

In my mind I imagined his friend telling him the plot of a horror film on Star Movies. As his pal explains the plot, this gawker unconsciously conjures an image of the ghost that murdered a whole town or something. And at the signal, he just happened to be thinking about the film and spotted veiled, dark eyebrow glory. The ground shifts beneath his feet (I love Rushdie and I believe he will win), and he's scared. (That's the expression I got, by the way.) However, even at the risk of losing his life to a ghoul from netherworlds, he continues to stare.

Ghoul is extremely irritated. I look away and try to ignore him, but unblinking stares a little hard to shake off. Finally, at that interminable signal, I pull down my scarf and bark at him, "WHAT!?!"

My voice is loud and shrill and causes a few people to focus onhim. My auto-driver puts away his comb and peers into the man's face, the gawker's auto-fellow turns behind, the jaywalking pedestrian stops in his tracks to figure out what's going on.

The guy is taken aback, but only for a second. Coolly, he looks at his watch, looks at me and says, "10:45."

The signal turns green and we're on our way again. No-one notices, but someone in an auto is chuckling ghoulishly...despite herself.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

City traffic

This morning was horrible. I was stuck at Sion for two whole hours for some inexplicable reason. The roads were not any more dug up than they usually are, and there were only two cars with busted tires. No major accident or anything. I do feel a little pathetic now; for being disappointed at not finding any worthy calamity to attribute the delay to.

In any case, there I was – stuck near Sion station, crawling one inch every ten minutes. If I shut out the cacophony on the road, I could hear the silent simmer of my blood boiling. So, to ward off an ulcer and not pop a blood vessel, I decided to think of something nice. But my eyes kept darting to my watch and a huge blanket of curses kept getting thrown over my lofty intentions.

I once worked with a really smart lawyer. He was also one of the more optimistic souls I knew – which made him some kind of an oddity amongst his ilk. He told me that when one gets tired of a city, one must regard it as a tourist; not a local. That way, one can bear the drudgery more easily.

So, I just pretended to think that I was in Bombay for a few days and would be going back to Chandigarh soon. (I love Chandigarh, by the should be the capital of this country as well as some three other places, maybe.) So, I tra-la-la-ed in my head and looked around.

I saw a huge, plush, healthy tree to my left. A healthy tree in Bombay is more of an oddity than an optimistic lawyer. So I was surprised and pleased. I marvelled at its glossy leaves, its colourful spurts of mustard-colored flowers, and its strong boughs. I took in the deep tones on the trunk and barks and I smiled at the way it swayed to a gentle breeze. The quiet contemplation was coming along just fine until I noticed a strip of something white hanging precariously from a clump of leaves.

It was an underwear.

Really! Traffic on road, underwear on tree - the things you can’t explain in this city!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Summer again

It’s the last time a bubble
Would waft my way again
With tints of clouds painted
And shades of forest rain

It’s the last time a sunset
Would break across the sky
Swirled with innocence of an open heart
And rhythms of a sigh

It will probably be a while
Until a shock of orange leaves
Flutter in perfect harmony --
The way beauty bereaves

And perhaps from this point on
Clouds won’t be rented by eagle wings
Or afternoons dazzle with fruity songs
The kinds dragon-flies sing

The lotus-shaded twilight
And crushed jasmine dawns
Wane away so silently
Leaving an extended night forlorn

With a smiling sobriety,
all seasons seep through the sky
But there’s something quiet and tragic
When summer passes by

The light, the youth, the pathos
All drowsy deaths they die
But bequeath innocence of an open heart,
and rhythms of a sigh

Note: I was in Pune this weekend. I don't know if I will go there again. This is an ode to that uncertainty.