The weekend was yellow...bleached with white-hot streaks of the November sun. We took a walk in the afternoon, up Zig-zag road sidestepping splinters of light in the dappled shade. At the bend of Carter Road, one could spot the ocean. It looked homey. It looked like it was on vacation. It looked like it was taking a break from being expansive and had just folded itself up into comfort. It looked like a pool.
We went to Juhu at night. Entered the quiet, nice part of the beach. The part that doesn't have rows and rows of stalls, and waves and waves of people. It doesn't have chana garam hawkers, or people shoving sticks of kulfi under your nose, or giantwheels throbbing in acid-purple and hooker-red lights. It’s a smallish stretch with a nice, little dosa stall on a wide bulwark. Had dosa. Liked it.
Walked ahead. While friends got busy with entertaining themselves, I tiptoed farher into the sea. Sea that was ready for concert. There lay, in front of me, a thick layer of dense, lighted, smudged up air. I couldn’t see anything in front of me. The only way I knew I was by the sea is because I could feel it lap at my feet. And I could hear the wet, throaty roar. And suddenly, as if from a closet of darkness, waves came…one by one, building up strength, to break at the shore.
The sea seemed to be carrying messages from a dark, unseen beyond. It seemed happy. It seemed yellow.
Cousin moved out to a Byculla hostel the next day. Treated me to a nice lunch at Yellow Tree Café right by my house. I had a light, herb tea with some apple and rosemary pie. From where I was seated, I could see a little tree from the window slats. The tree wasn’t yellow, though. It had white flowers, thick ribbons of green leaves, and a sudden burst of magenta blooms.
We cabbed it to Byculla. Empty roads. Shiny, large bus stands near Worli, a skyline that, if possible, looked even more stunning in the daytime than at night. The sun shone on. Bright and full. Yellow.
Some friends came over. Made perfect cups of tea…thrice. They liked it so much. Listened as a friend gabbed on and on about the difference between Khar and Bandra. Listened as he asked me what the heck I was doing with my life. As he asked me how, when I die, I’ll have nothing notable to show the world. And then asked me to make him another nice cup of hot chai.
Later went back for dinner to Yellow Tree Café. Was dining with a friend this time. Slightly more formal. Several notches more grown-up than my cousin saying “Thanks for everything”. The place was now pretty and lit up. Beautiful people smiled and chatted. They sipped wine. I met, what had once stolen my heart many years ago, the Long Island Iced Tea. Paid homage by having a Coke in exactly the same kind of frosty glass with twists of lime. The place has a lovely collection of cookbooks. Was inspired.
Crossed the road and came back home.
Got a friend’s message – the same, tea drinker – “Really, muks…what are you doing with your life? Time you thought about it.”
So I thought. My life, perhaps, will not be markedly different from this weekend. Segmented into meals and outings with friends, and chats with families, and stolen perfect moments by the sea alone. It might not be the robust, full-throated song that carries over valleys and echoes forever. It will, who knows, be nothing more than a simple smile that reached the eyes.
I’m not doing anything with my life. That much I concede. But sometimes, I can guess what my life’s doing with me.
It’s painting me yellow.