Friday, September 30, 2011

It's a good thing, I think

Meltdowns.

I have been thinking about them. Last few weeks, or maybe months, have been tense. It has now come to a point where very little tension comes from outside. Most of it germinates somewhere internal - maybe base of the spine or in the wrist or behind the left eye. Somewhere like that. Then it doesn't get an outlet and it starts hardening on the nerves. Perhaps unresolved feelings work the same way as plaque on arteries. They block flow. They tighten and constrict and then, one day, they kill.

But sometimes, something inside shifts. It could be brought on by a verse one has read or a sketch one has done. Something like that. It's like these shrapnels and pointy bits of angry, unhappy thoughts get wiped down with warm, salty water. They soften. In time, they melt and come out as tears. That's why I feel meltdowns are good. They are important. They are a more organic form of release of all the filth that collects in the brain and makes it a gutter. After one has had a good cry because of sadness that seeped through the veins, one is much more cleansed. Light. Happy. Soft.

I feel a meltdown is the mind's way of becoming flexible again.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Opposites

A yellow bird
On an orange sill
Unruly sky
And a pond that's still
In the slow sweet waltz
Of night and dawn
It wet its wings
It pecked its corn
Then it flew away
In speed and grace
A single feather
Left its trace
It flew across
Long and high
Across an unruly pond
And a still blue sky
To meet the one
It loved so greatly still
An orange bird
On a yellow sill.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Just for evidence - Part 5 or something

Today, as I'd finished my walk, one of the cops I'd complained against told me to stop and then started asking why I had made a complaint against him. It was already 8:30 and there were fewer people walking there. Then he started beckoning people and asking them if they thought what I'd done was right. That is when I lost it. I told him what he was doing was very wrong, stopping women late at in the evening and interrogating them unnecessarily. And where was the lady constable? He said that there were no women constable in the chowki. One gentleman was helpful enough to step in and tell the cop that he couldn't just interrogate women like that. Then the cop told me to come down to the police station and I said no. I told him that I had written an email about what I wanted and he could do what he wanted as well.

I came home livid. Then I called up the PSI who I'd spoken with earlier. He apologized on the other inspector's behalf.

If there ever was a time to know the law and use it, it is now.

Wonder what is going to happen in the future. How this thing is going to play out...

Friday, September 23, 2011

It could be possible

I was thinking about this today - that if one could love like she has never been hurt, it can effectively counter one who hurts like she has never been loved.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just for evidence - Part whatever (Don't remember. Too lazy to check.)

Earlier, I had posted about having written an email to the DCP of Vashi regarding an incident in the park. (The link to the DCP's email is there in one of my earlier posts I think.) A couple of days ago, I got an email from a lady asking me to speak to a PSI (Police Sub-Inspector) and gave me his name, a landline number, and a mobile number.

I called up the sub-inspector and spoke to him. He also wanted me to come down to the police station. I was really down yesterday so I said I didn't feel like. He then suggested I come over the next day after 9:30 a.m. I said okay. That night I spoke with my parents and my father again told me that I shouldn't go unescorted. He said he would come with me but I didn't want to trouble him any more.

The next day, the sub-inspector called again and I asked him if it was absolutely necessary to come down to the station. I told him my father wanted to come with me but he keeps late hours so it's difficult. Could we just speak over the phone? He said fine. We spoke. I told him what I perceived to be harassment by the police and he explained his point of view, etc. Since I didn't have any absolute concrete evidence of bribery, I gave it a harassment spin and brought in a safety issue of the area. Last thing I need is a defamation suit against a public servant.

I also mentioned that they should have a lady officer patrolling with them. After all, if the cops are going to descend on 17-18 year olds, it is only natural that a girl get scared. The officer then told me very earnestly that there is no reason to get scared. He said that with regard to interactions with general public, the police doesn't have much 'daring' anymore. (I sensed a little regret in his voice but that could be pure speculation.)

Anyway, the sub-inspector said that there is a very strong drive against all these things and each complaint that is recorded is followed up stringently. (Later, a friend who is a lawyer told me that cops actually get chargesheeted if they fail to show that they have responded to a complaint.) So, after my talk, he said that I could email a reply to the authorities telling them what had transpired.

I did that. As for now, things stand at that.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'll forget about the memories

They'll be around
The way sand in an hourglass goes nowhere
I'll find them  anyway
Strewn like wilted leaves, heaped here or littered there
This weird fantasy of having them strung
Along a piece of velvet ribbon
The fantasy of having some memories gleam
And keep some others hidden
This fantasy will shatter, I bet,
When the notion of time fades
When the heart resurrects for remembrance
And then, for remembrance, it degrades.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What can it mean?

I feel very low today. It's odd because I had a lovely time today. I don't really have any friends in Vashi. So, if the urge strikes me to get a cup of coffee or if I feel this restlessness of just hanging out somewhere close by, I do it by myself. Meeting other friends usually involves making plans a day in advance and traveling all across the city. But sometimes, there are these moods that start scrunching in the mind - like empty toffee-wrappers. Maybe they hid a sweet treat at one time. Now, it's gone.

Today I met a friend who had worked with me ages ago.  A couple of days earlier, we got in touch and she told me that she lives in Vashi. Not just Vashi but fairly close to my house. So, I visited. Her home is in a very charming, leafy lane. It's inside a gated community that has rows of smallish buildings. They are the kinds you find in Saket and Lajpat Nagar - two or three-storeyed buildings. From the terrace of her building, we had a clear view of the shimmering creek and stark little etchings of palm fronds around it. The sky was grey and pale, sea-blue in parts. At times, clouds would part to make way for a solid, thick beam of sunlight. It was around 5 o'clock that time, when we were there. The breeze was fresh and cool, a little moist, and carried with it the heart-stirring idea of going out for a walk.

We went to a park nearby - the same park I go to every evening for a run. This time it was earlier than my regular time and the sky had started getting darker. Slowly, like pain dripping from a heart seeped in sorrow, rain fell. In big, cold drops. It was odd, walking under this light, fleeting rain. It felt as if the clouds were getting lighter but my heart was getting heavier by the minute. We walked around the little portion of the pond, spotted a couple of lush bushes with white and yellow flowers. After an hour there, I went back to my friend's place, chatted some more and came back home.

I'm suddenly feeling very weary. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's like, at a cellular level, a tiredness has set in. My blood cells are tired, my gullet is tired, my eyelashes are tired. Somewhere I seem to be nursing a deep disappointment in I don't know what. It's like the good times are not all that different from the bad times. The times choc-o-bloc with interesting activities are pretty much the same as the dull moments where nothing happens. I wonder if this has been brought on by the fact that I haven't slept well in a long time now. I am up through the night and then drift off to sleep around five in the morning. Some personal and professional matters are pressing on me at this point. Nothing that can't be taken care of. But it would be nice if all of these got postponed for later. Maybe a lifetime later. Maybe after my soul has had some time shoveling beauty and quietitude for a couple of eternities. After I have spent at least 4 to 5 years sleeping for ten peaceful hours every night. After I have lived two or three lives breathing deeply every second. It would be nice to get that respite.

For now, I can't think of anything,  to claim that. SI'll just get a glass of something cool to drink and try to do some work.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Just Evidence - Part 3

I went for a run this evening but didn't see the cops while I was there. I wonder if they came later.

During the day I had called up 100 and told them I wanted to report a cop taking bribe. They asked me the area where I had seen this and my name. Then they told me to talk to an official at this number: 27561099. I thought I would wait until I met those cops again this evening, see if they were up to their nonsense and then report. Since I didn't see them today, I haven't called up this number yet. In time, I will.

While I was running, I took some pictures my new camera phone. It's not a high-end phone or anything. I don't even know how to use the zoom function here. But I have never had a camera phone before. I quite like it. In fact, I prefer taking pictures with it instead of talking to people.

There are these pretty yellow and white blooms deep inside the marsh. When the sun goes down, these blooms just leap out with their soft, velvet-like luminescence. I clicked a perfect yellow flower growing in a bush. I also clicked the glassy lake that looks like it has been covered with lilac cellophane around sunset.

Maybe, tomorrow I will click those huge snails and molluscs.



Just for evidence - Part 2

Regarding last night's incident, I haven't been able to the police station yet. My father advised me to go with him later as he said I shouldn't go without a witness. Mum has to go to Bandra for some work. Anyway, I got these details from the Internet: http://mahapolice.gov.in/mahapolice/jsp/temp/navimumpolice.jsp

Have e-mailed the respective authorities. Let's see now.

I think I will write to a newspaper now. Somehow I don't feel right about getting the media involved. I think they have a tendency to make everything into a circus. But if in the long run, it helps someone, so be it.

Also, Navi Mumbai does not apparently fall under the jurisdiction of Greater Mumbai. Therefore I could not find any relevant information here: http://www.mumbaipolice.org/

I do believe there should be some integrated website having information for both divisions. When one is in trouble, one is really not in a position to go running around understanding nuances of police jurisdiction.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Just in case - for evidence

I go for a run at a promenade opposite Fortis hospital in Vashi, sector 10. Actually I am not sure if it is sector 10 or sector 10-A. The promenade is quite pretty and circles a little marsh. There aren't to many streetlamps there. Some nights, I have seen beautiful fireflies and all. Some other nights, I have seen a few unpleasant things. There are these little  sheds constructed intermittently. People usually sit, dogs usually urinate and some people do yoga or stretches here. In the late evenings, sometimes couples go and sit there. Sometimes, they get cosy.

Last week or so that I have gone running, I have noticed that two cops on a motorcycle come and generally round up couples. This happens between 7 and 7:30 every evening. I used to think it was some annoying kind of moral policing. Then today, I am not sure, but I think I asked a cop ask the couple for money. While the girl had turned away and had curled herself up in abject shame, the boy was trying to negotiate the money with the cop. I was still some distance away so I couldn't hear anything clearly. Maybe I got a snatch of "I can't give Rs. 20,000 now!"

When I heard this, it bothered me. But I thought I'd let it pass because I wasn't sure. Also, it was dark and for a moment, I thought what if these cops turn on me. I don't have a phone with me because I dropped it in a puddle and now it has stopped working.

By the time I got to the couple, the cops had left. When I jogged further, I saw that they had rounded up another group of young boys and girls. In fact, there were 3 boys and 1 girl. There those cops were asking them some questions, etc. This time I stepped in and asked the guy if there was a problem against boys and girls being together in the park. The cop told me that there wasn't but they had to sit in the light, etc. I then asked him why. Then he got a little offensive and said that it was for my protection. Anything could happen if a gang of 4 boys came and attacked me since I come running late in the evening. (I think they must have seen me. I hadn't registered their faces earlier.)

I told the cop that since he comes for a patrol at the same time every day, hooligans know that. I told him that people come and drink every night after these guys go. So why are they harassing couples only?

Perhaps my choice of words was not proper. He got defensive and told his partner to take down my name and address, etc. I gave it. Then he acted all injured and said that if I didn't go out that late, maybe I wouldn't notice so many things. Then he told me, in all ominous pomp, that I should come to the police station. It's in sector 9, he said. He gave his name and said that he would like to talk to me.

I returned home and told this to my mum. She, of course, was a little worried and then it struck me that these guys know I go running at that time. If they have to try something, they will do it in the evening. Not too many people are there in the park and even if there are, I wonder if anyone will step in to help me against cops. In any case, all that is speculation.

A month or so ago, an elderly gentleman took up fasting to eradicate corruption. Today, I see that the police is asking for bribe and youngsters are giving it. I can't really blame them. They are young and afraid and, yes, ashamed. I think most of them are hiding their relationships from their parents. (I think, at least, from what I have seen that shame does more damage than greed. In the second case, the girl openly told the cop to check her bag and call her parents. She wasn't afraid. The cop then went on a back foot.)

My question is this - if one has seen a cop asking for bribe from someone else, what does one do? Where does one complain?

My second question is this - In case anything does happen to me, I wonder if this blog post can be admitted as evidence under the Indian Evidence Act. (This is, of course, if anyone takes up my cause or something like that.)

Information on any of the above two issues will really help.


Monday, September 05, 2011

Hanging out

I wonder if it has been the insulation that freelance brings on but my hanging out periods have changed drastically. I used to spend spades of time at coffee shops, clubs or restaurants. I used to go around driving here and there and meet at least two or three friends a day at separate times. I'd love to know what they were up to, talk about what I was up to, talk about what the world was up to - and then, my day filled with glittering chatter would come to a close. On my way home late at night, there would be texts on where we would meet up next and what we'd do.

All this was not even a long time back. Barely 3-4 months ago, that was my story. I don't know what has happened since then but I just love being by myself now. Or actually, that's not strictly right. I have always loved my own company but I have enjoyed other people's company as well. Now, I find it a tad tiresome.

All my friends are my age or a couple of years older, maybe, but they all seem so different. So many of them seem to have aged considerably. It's like meeting people from some other dimension. There is a certain haggardness in the way they talk and think. A certain insistence on rigidity that, in their minds, spell maturity. And no-one wants to walk. That's my biggest grievance. I don't get why people would stand in one spot trying to flag down autos, getting more miserable by the second, but not walk thirty minutes to where they are headed. In fact, that's what I think about the city situation now - the problem is not so much that the autofellows behave like jerks and go nowhere. The real problem is that today, young people (barely over 30)are incapable of walking 4 kms. Surely, that, if anything, is worrisome.

This much I know about Bombay - walking seems a lot more intimidating until you start doing it. Once you get started, you'll be crossing milestones so quickly, it's exhilarating. And then you'll get a gleam of happiness mixed with sweat on your face. That's when you will get an auto that will ferry you to wherever you want to go.

I stumbled upon this shimmering insight during the time I worked in Andheri East. From my office, which was at Leela Business Park at Marol, I have walked to Andheri station many times. That is a good one hour stagger, at least.

Now, when you are stuck in an auto or a bus in Andheri East - Marol to be precise - you can't help but count the virtues of killing oneself. After demise, the soul may be subjected to many things. However, breathing in fumes while being sandwiched between beams for a mythical Metro system is not one of them. If death ever looked appealing, it's right there. But then, if you decide to walk it, there's a paradigm shift instantly. There's an invigorating push and jostle amidst thronging crowds. Opposite steel and glass structures, you see quaint oil-lamps lighting up bright vegetables stacked on damp sack-cloths. There are pokey, little garages with their own ghastly symmetry of tyres piled high. If you look up, the fading light of the day and yellow light from street lamps weld to to form art-nouveau distortions in the sky. Large flocks of bird return to roost. Their silhouettes are sharp finger smudges against a stunning backdrop. And when you walk across the wide Andheri bridge, you witness a shifting landscape with a steady stream of vehicles. It's like portable dinner theatre.

Marol remains bizarre but becomes beautiful.

Anyway, Marol and walking aside, I wonder why I can't relate to my friends anymore. In fact, I find it really surprising that I can relate a lot more to my mother than with these friends. I'm not just talking about a 'family-type' kind of bonding. But as person-to-person kind of bonding. Mom and I are nothing like each other. She loves luxury and has incredibly sense of style. Her notions of God and money are starkly different from mine. We rarely like the same things. But I wonder how this lady understands so much - this concept of personal space. I honestly wonder where that comes from. My friends who have traveled so much, studied so much, worked so much, earned so much, lived in the same time as me, don't.

I usually like to go to smallish, comfortable restaurants and cafes. Mom usually likes anything that has a 20 feet mirror fitted in the lobby. But she is open to meeting me half-way. My friends will automatically assume that I want to go to a smaller restaurant because I can't afford a better place. Then, they'll say stuff like, "Dont worry, it's not that expensive." or "Don't worry, we'll cover that."  I wonder how my mother, who is so used to the good, fine life, understands that its not the money. But my friends who have shared much of my growing up experiences dont get that.

It's also the kind of conversation we engage in. I wonder if, after quitting a job, I have just drifted down a whole different stream. I don't understand how someone can go through life believing that living from one paycheck to another, one EMI payment to another, is the only thing that spells security. All this freelance-shmeelance is truly mumbo-jumbo to my mum. She is the product of a time when 50 years at a workplace was de rigeur.  She's not even all that enthusiastic about my freelancing decision. But she understands that it works for me and that's it. She doesn't have the necessary wordly exposure that my friends have. But this latter group cannot even begin to consider an alternative way of getting secure.

The last time my mother and I were at Goa, I could go running at the beach while she had dinner by herself. I have been to Goa earlier with friends who insist that we do everything together every waking minute of the day. If there is one thing I can't swallow, it's a feeling of being held back. And unfortunately, I find myself held back with a lot of friends I earlier liked to be with. I can't walk if they're with me. I can't eat where I want to because it's "not the right place". I can't do something spontaneous because it's crazy. With my mother, everything is possible. It's not always agreeable. But she just lets me be. She doesn't hold me back.

In the last 8 or 9 months, I have realized that my mother's my most favorite person to hang out with. Most challenging, also - since we never agree on anything. And yes, she has such deep prejudices that make me wonder how unconstitutional her psyche is. But she is one of the most secure people I know now. She can manage things on her own and trusts me to do the same.

I know that to every child, her mother is the best. But my adoration for my mom is more for the kind of person she is, for who she has always been. She didn't have to be my mum for me to look up to her. She is really beautiful like her sisters and that entire side of the family shares a fiesty arrogance about it. In fact, they all at some point wanted to be in performing arts. Unfortunately, beauty aside, none of them could perform very well. I believe my mum had pushed someone off the stage in anger while my aunt had punctured the director's motorcycle (yes, they can be quite bratty that way.)


But she's incredible at investments, keeps home beautifully and loves plush, expensive things but will never make a hue and cry if she doesn't get them. (It's another matter that she always gets them.) She likes a few people instantly and dislikes the majority and no amount of cajoling will get her to change her mind. My dad and I have forced her into some kind of democratization because the two of us invariably befriend a type mom will hate. She makes it known very clearly that her standards of living have been severely compromised due to us. She can be quite an intimidating diva and she knows it. Prima facie, she's the sort of person who couldn't be on the same page as me even if she tried! But she is. Not like the way a mother and child are. But the way two reasonable people are.

There are many things my mum could have been. I'm glad she decided to be a mother to me. If I didn't have her in my life, I wouldn't have any friends to have lunch with.

I have to ask nicely, of course.



Friday, September 02, 2011

Loser

Sometimes losing happens...
As buttery light melts over ponds,
Over debauched shorelines, over virginal fronds
Sometimes losing happens...
As handshakes freeze in peace
As freedom forges ahead, yet wholesome trust depletes
Sometimes losing happens...
When a finish line cuts through a grip
When the body teeters forward, when the mind does a flip
Sometimes losing happens...
In the shadows of sanctimonious sinning,
In the dimension of retreat and some really doubtful winning.