Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mind wanders

I was at work, typing away through a headache. Thought it would be nice if the day ended with me playing with something cute. Something cute, at first, but unknownst to me it would get bloodthirsty when the moon peeps out. I'd have my arms round it and it would stiffen as the hour approached. I would feel its blood turning cold, and its eyes getting clouded for a minute. They'd be grey and rheumy. It would give off a faint, but noticable stench...of evil. And then, just as I am about to nurse it, it'd get a bluish-purple-scarlet glint in its eyes. It would breathe out sharply, and my skin would get lacerated.

A single, thick, yellow tear would run down its wrinkled rubbery face.

And then the next minute, it would be small and pink and cute. Fitting nicely in the crook of my arm and the nape of my neck. My own sweet, double-faced wizard of a shark. My shark called Oz.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A good day

One spectacular evening…one that began when the sky yawned and the first shower of stars got sprayed out. Stars that looked like icy confetti. The evening stretched out like the sky above and the sea before. The sea where ships and horizons and shorelines melted and fused and morphed into a platter of fantasies.

One morning…that began with the howl of wind and crack of thunder. With a friend sweetly massaging my feet and then getting up to make hot, ginger tea. A morning that was to be a regular April Sunday and got tipsy with fun. A morning so special that it doomed one to expectantly look up at summer skies forever after to catch a bit of mystery magic.

One dusk. Driving back home on Palm Beach road – open, slick, and dark. A heavy-lidded winter evening. And in one second…in a split-second… all the lamps along the road get lit at the same time.

One afternoon. It’s Kashmir and I’m eight. Sitting by the fire in a houseboat. Am with my grandparents. Grandmom is unwrapping a pista-colored Paschmina embroidered in fine silver and pink. My grandfather has dozed off, after reading some new petition or the other. It is warm, and oddly melodious. Like when such beauty and such stillness meet, there will be music. The fire crackles and a little bit leaps out onto the wooden floor. I quickly waddle out of the way, but remember how beautiful that hot, little spit of flame was. A tiny butterfly made of fire that flit away into nostalgia right away.

It takes a lifetime to collect exquisitely carved morning, noons, and nights; to have enough for a perfect day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Getting milk

This city is definitely a creature of the night. After sun-down, the energy changes to a light throb, instead of the rabid gush of day time. The roads are slightly empty. The weather's mussed with an almost-winter coolness. It's difficult to articulate it...whatever 'it' is...but you feel it. A little electric blue crackle blitzing somewhere around you. You thought you saw a flash, you thought you heard a snap, you turn around and it's not there...oh, wait...there it goes again.

Nights are when Mumbai breathes. Lets out a deep, restful sigh. It's still busy and still noisy, but people now would stop and notice a shaft of light if it filtered down from somewhere. This is when the city dreams...eyes flickering in semi-consciousness...as much asleep as awake.

Last night, I was at Ivy Lounge with my cousin. Saw Nandita Sen (I think that's her name), the actress. Very, very pretty. Lumniscent, actually. Her skin positively shone, like it had been massaged with gold dust. Cousin and I had our wonderful chats, where I was once again berated for having no focus in life, how I should be writing a book, etc. etc. It was his birthday, so I didn't harass him too much.

He didn't want to be out (which is exactly where I wanted to be), so we picked up some pastries from this darling, little cafe on Yari Road. It's got books, nice coffee, an assortment of cakes, cane furnitures, sky-blue walls with beach scenes painted on them, and most importantly, a good vibe. I really wanted some coffee, but they were shut. On seeing us, they opened up the cafe, though. We took some Dutch trufles, chocolate fudge brownies, and slices of my favorite - a date and walnut cake. Cousin asked them if they'd sell us some milk as the grocery shops would be shut at that time. They actually gave us a packet of milk - for no extra charge! Of course, we insisted on paying up, but it was so darn sweet of them!

The last few days, my nerves have been so frazzled. Work, sprained neck, no sleep, incessant snapping...but this incident just washed it all away. These people didn't even know us. They could so easily have overcharged us for the milk they didn't need to give us in the first place...but they were willing to give it for free.

There are days when one is so fed up of people. So fed up of their greed and vile grabbing. Their thoughtlessness. And then, someone does this. You know you'll be remembering this incident for a long, long time to come.

After all, one takes one's victories where one finds them. Especially when they happen in the shadow of ennui and the coolness of the night.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Middle finger type of mood

I am really upset today. Lost my cool after very long. Yelled so loudly at a cabbie that he started crying. Of course, saying sorry after that was of no use. Scraped my car against a tree. I don't understand why people create such a hue and cry over cutting trees. All those things should be uprooted and burnt, so that people can back up in peace.

I hate this...this having to meet human beings every single day. Why can't I just get a job where I could sit somewhere by myself and work?

Also, I wish the year ended. I wish the world ended. I wish I ended. I wish everyone ended and all those damn trees got razed to the ground. Maybe that's how I'll end. I'll be under a damn tree when it gets razed to the ground.

Life is so funny. And Death is a stand-up comic.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's Diwali?

I wake up on Diwali morning and realize that I don't have kandeels, lanterns, flowers, or diyas to decorate the home. There wasn't any time to get any because I was living the joyous life of working the graveyard shift.

But I'm up at six a.m. anyway, since I spent the previous night talking to a cousin. The morning is cool with the faint stirrings of Mumbai winter...winter that is not really a color so much as a hue. Slightly foggy, slightly misty, slightly grey...but a perfect background to bright orange lanterns and sparkly white and blue lights lit up all along Pali Hill. I run up the zig zag road, wanting to fill the lungs with sharp, fresh air. I walk down Carter Road, watching groups of happy construction workers have tea and biscuits next to a pile of bright Diwali decorations. They'll probably take them to deocarate their homes. I feel a little sad, a little left out.

But a stall, bright and magical in appearance calls out. Marigold garlands beckon. Fuschia, turquoise, red, gold, and silver lanterns beckon. I hoard up on them quickly. The lady selling them gives me the sweetest smile. On the walk back home, I stop at a grocer's. Get a little carried away at seeing brown basmati rice and palm oil and diyas with Roohafza pink wax. Buy them by the kilos and dozens and end up with packages weighing a hundred kilos.

It's still early and it's Diwali. Wonder if I'll get an auto to take me home. I do. Rickshaw fellow, very sweetly, turns the auto aound and helps me with the baggages.

I reach home and immediately start decorating my home. My sweet, charming, Bandra home. It feels like dressing up a baby...I do it lovingly, joyously, carefully. Then I put out the diyas, try to work out a pattern in the small little patch that the door opens out to. And kneeling down, I first light up one diya. One tiny tip of wick. And thereafer the glow...it's amazing how such a small little flicker seems to eat up so much of the darkness...how this little flame can pour out so much warmth, that it feels like it can drive away dankness from the largest voids.

It's beautiful. It's strong. And it's so much like that intense calibre of 'survivorship' every single soul has. Like the realization that a sun only gets eclipsed...not wiped out.

Rise and shine, people.

Happy, HAPPY diwali!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hail him

In a country called childhood
where he knew he'd be king
He built a palace of sunbeams
And trained nightingales to sing...
...of stories of waterfalls
That fell into the night
And fortresses of dust-storms
of formidable heights
He guarded the valleys
With skies crotcheted like lace
But by the time his country was a republic
Children had left the place

A no man's land to call one's own

It lays spread before me
Merlot blanket of time and tide
This glossy breadth of upheavals
That, in due course, would subside

Some day this will be paradise
The home about which I’d lied
But this eternity, it’s a wasteland
Where hopes and tears collide

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Looking forward to Saturday

I swear my work is self-mutating. It’s impossible that I’m working close to 12-14 hours every day on something, and it doesn’t seem to end. I get really impatient when I’m on a project for very long. It’s like having something stuck in your teeth for months.

Last night, I reached home at midnight. I ate a bowl of daal and vegetables. I sat and chatted with my cousin who was telling me of a flat in Bandra available for six thousand rupees rent per month. It’s got a terrace. And sea-view. ‘ Is that possible?’, I asked myself. Anything’s possible, I told myself.

I really want to take a quiet four hours off. Four hours of not having a gnawing sense of urgency in the pit of my stomach. I’d gone to town this Sunday, and it was so glorious! Those areas – Kalbadevi, the book-sellers at V.T., walking to Gateway, getting drenched in silver, cold rain, and watching ships docked in mist…these scenes, those smells – they just fill me up. But Monday happened, and that sheath of peace just got lifted, crumpled, and thrown under the bed.

Even if I work this Saturday, I’ll definitely get some kind of a spa treatment. I think this is how I’ll begin my Saturday…take a long, slow walk along Carter Road. Preferably, watch the sunrise. Then go to Joggers and sit there for a bit. From there, I’ll walk to ‘Just Around the Corner’ and have a large, steaming cup of hot coffee and some warm waffles with syrup and honey. I’ll rest it up good and proper, leisurely reading ‘Burnt Toast’ by Teri Hatcher. (It’s a very nice read, by the way.)

I’ll return home and have someone come by and give me a pedicure – that warm, soapy water relaxing my feet, the massage with scented creams – all making my feet nice and supple.
Then I’ll shampoo my hair with some frightfully expensive shampoo my mum’s bought me (it comes in an ivory bottle, for god’s sakes), wear a chic white, strappy dress I’d bought from Peddar Road, my vertiginous Mango shoes, and go out to lunch. I think I’ll go to Olive. Sip some iced-tea, have a warm salad with a creamy, herb-flavored dressing, finish off with a slice of pie.
Then I’ll come home, change into my favourite pair of soft, stretchy denims, a peacock-blue and gold cotton kurti, flats, and head off to work.

Looks like Saturday, I have a date…with a touch a class.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Hello October, I've been waiting...

Larks flying in the topaz sky
Melodies engraved on a Saturnine ring
Buds, timid, yet waiting for applause
Moon looking like a spot on a butterfly wing.