Monday, January 24, 2011

Cloudburst of sorts

There has been quite a lot of work in the last few days. Several hours spent in front of the laptop, in varying awkward positions and lighting. The yoga has gone for a toss, the spine protests and eyes are feeling parched. Sleep has gotten interesting, though.

In the early hours of the morning, I finally lie down. That instant, when my head hits the pillow, there’s a very intense series of pin-pricks along my back and neck. It’s wonderfully relaxing. In fact, a little too much. I have no clue how sore my muscles are until I lie down. Then the peace that hits me, hits me so bad that I feel nauseous. It’s like you’ve been carrying a knot in your stomach for a really long time. Then, whatever incident you’ve been stressing over, passes. The relief that washes over you the next moment melts that coagulated tension in your belly – and you have to go to the bathroom and throw up.

Sometimes, it feels like the body is just waiting for your permission to feel exhausted.

With my eyes closed, I feel the stale energy of the day rising from my body. The way the smell of sweat wafts from a cotton shirt. I feel this tiredness getting collected a few inches above my body and slowly rising up. It feels exactly like a day in late May or early June. There is sweltering heat. Every pore on the surface of the earth has been perspiring the whole day. Then, when the sun sets, the heft of earth’s heat makes its slow ascent to a cooler sky.

Then, with my eyes still closed, I feel it. The fatigue spending some time in the bowel of an unspent night. Next, there’s condensation. With my eyes closed, I feel it then – a shower of deep, plush restfulness.

I like sleeping like that – drenched in the rain of sleep.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mirror, mirror on the floor

Broken, hunted, down and out,
The mirror says so much before it shatters,
And in each shard of glass remains
Reflection of all that truly matters.

Friday, January 21, 2011

All that wisdom, just one day

Some days, you wake up to butter-paper wholesomeness. It's usually the day when deep wisdom comes your way in some tasty, sweet baked treat. For me, it's also the day when I head to Bandra.

Yesterday, I was to meet a friend I'd had a falling out with several months ago. This year, in a bid to reconcile, I'd gotten his number (had lost it) and called. I'd said "Hello". He'd laughed in response. And yesterday, we met.

For much of last year, I'd been very hard on myself on account of my temper. Now, it's better - the temper and, more importantly, my acceptance of it. It's there, sure. But that's not the only thing that's there. As long as it co-exists with a capacity to say sorry and mean it, it's okay. This equation with my friend, F, was always tenous. But he's someone I've known for over ten years now. And friends from so long ago become  important - like bookmarks you use in a rivetting book; the one you dip into every spare moment you get. Sometimes, one changes so quickly through life that you need these bookmark-pals as reference points. They knew me when...

As soon as I met him, though, I wondered if any of this was important. He looked me over and asked if all the salons in Vashi had shut down. I said "No." "Then the point of you looking like a hairy Yeti is...?" It occured to me that I may have overestimated the role of bookmarks in the larger scheme of things. Heck! Who'd even notice if you stopped reading?

But we had a lovely time. Went to Infinity Mall. And at 5 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon, this mall is succulent! The Food Court had just the right amount of people. Lots of those chrome-type tables and chairs were empty. We got our hazelnut coffees and bickered for a while. Then, for the longest time, we stared at the bright, smooth sky visible through the skylights. Suddenly a sparrow flitted in from somewhere. It almost did a little pirouette and flew out from a crack into the vast, blue yonder. There was so much freedom and sunlight in that moment!

Later, I met up with another pal in Bandra. We went to this really cute little Cinnabon outlet on Carter Road. There was far too much consumption of sugar than is advisable. But, sometimes, one gives in to advertising. We just happened to agree with Cinnabon's tag-line: 'Life needs a little frosting.'

I came back with such a sense of well-being - like my soul had spent a day at the spa. Then a friend called and we chatted.

Now, this friend, E, is a very intelligent chap. He is so cheeky about serious matters that you would, okay I do, sometimes worry. I'm not sure he prays. But if he does, the prayer most probably consists of him calling the Lord an 'A#!@$-hole' and meticulously providing facts to substantiate that observation. E makes us  realize that if Adam was anything like our friend here, one could really understand if God chose to forsake our kind.

We were talking about relationships and got around to my fixation with tall men. I am, at a visceral level, very very certain that only tall men can understand me. In fact, only tall men want to. For other men who are not 6-3", I usually seem to be someone they figure out in a few minutes. Then they proceed to label and file me away in the category, "I know her type." Tall men are different. They listen. They understand. And if they don't, they ask. Shorter men only talk. That's been my observation.

As far as E is concerned, my life experiences could very well be a bowl of dirt (which is what he calls most vegetarian dishes anyway...and I'm vegetarian; so his loathsomeness must have pretty much hit the 'Hazard' mark.)

He asked me if I had any guy friends who weren't 6-3". I had plenty. He asked me how they could 'get' me and 'understand' me and 'ask questions' if they were short. I replied that it was easy for them because they were only friends. They were not attracted to me. And when there is no attraction, there is usually more understanding. Hence, the friendship. Hence, no romance. "It's friendship, isn't lover kind of love."

E, very solemnly, remarked, "All relationships are the same feelings at different levels."

And suddenly, at midnight, my thinking took on a few highlights from the day gone by - freedom, sunlight, and little bit of frosting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What's that shade?

I thought of a lipstick shade. It's bright orange - safety orange, in fact. With some cool undertones of coral and just a wee bit of tangerine blended with those burnt orange hues that mark FabIndia curtains. Now that I'm thinking, I may as well throw in some pigments of pink and terracotta. So, what do we have?

A shade so snap and pop that it unnerves. To be put on lips that can turn delectably vile and scorching. Not everyone can pull it off, though. It will only suit those whose spirit will be searing enough to match that unabashed orange-ness. You see it on a woman and you'd want to be careful around her. A woman who wears that...and wears that well...can easily get to be the wrong side of deadly.

I'd call that shade 'Sarcasm'.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy 2011

Sometimes, I imagine the heart to be like this – a honeycomb made of crystal. It has a million little chambers and each chamber nestles a tiny blob of emotion. These blobs are the most distilled form of feeling. So, one crystal chamber will probably house a violet blob of gratitude. Another one, a turquoise blob of acceptance. Maybe, there will be an angry red sphere of resentment. Or a smoky, charred blob of ire.

Inside each of these blobs hides a fragrance. It’s a fragrance so subtle, you’d never guess it’s there. And there are a million such magical scents. One blob may have the scent of warm toast and butter; another, the tingle of a pine forest. Somewhere else, in that structured miasma lies the perfumery of mangoes ripening in the sun or powder freshly applied on a baby’s neck. Each of this is a secret seed - in that blob of feeling - in that huge honeycomb I call a heart.

Time, as we know it, can probably begin and end. Yet, that scent may never amount to anything more than its original seedling avatar.

When I think of this heart, I see how beautiful it is; how ornate its fragile design; how intricate and plenty its layout; and how deceptive its true purpose of ornamentation.

This heart is a prison.

A magnificent prison, no doubt, with masterful, illustrious inmates such as wrath, love and glory, maybe. But it’s still a prison. Designed to contain and restrict.

Sometimes, it doesn’t stay that way, though. As one may glibly observe, life happens. People lapse into careless-carefree grooves of existence. And with that warmth of innocent living, these blobs of emotions begin to grow. Not all at the same time. But a few, depending on where the light of life falls.

Maybe, the little sphere of forgiveness will get bigger - because you just had to accept someone’s apology and it was excruciating.

Maybe the globule of love expands – because you were forced to rethink what you could offer someone you cherished.

Or who knows, maybe jealousy gets fed and bloats away.

Slowly, when these blobs enlarge, they fill up their neat, crystal chambers. They start straining on those delicate walls. Then, one day, they push so hard that these walls break.

With this shatter, the little seed of fragrance pops out and gets released.

As each chamber in the honeycomb splinters, these blobs melt and ooze into each other. They swirl and gain momentum. Then other walls crash away, latent scents get unfettered and coat the world.

Finally, I reckon there will come a day when life, through its massive fullness causes those million partitions to crack. And the cavity of honeycomb will have a heaving, fragrant sea of love and peace.

The heart will, then, no longer be a prison.

So, this year, here’s what I wish for you…may your heart break…and may you break free.