Saturday, May 8, 2010

Like I have a Deadline

I don’t remember saying that each post would deal only with a single thought. If I did, maybe I lied. Make room.

When I reached the canteen that day, I ordered masala omelette and masala tea. I was obviously bored and could do with some spice. And I was glad that I was the only one around. I had my back to the cashier and the huge softboard on the wall with students’ scribbles all over it. It was mostly all scrunched up but you could make out the huge lopsided “Joys” someone had chosen to define on that great snowy expanse of white. It’s nice to find reminders of happiness. Anytime. Anywhere. But I still chose to sit with my back to the serving counter. It gave them room for gossip and gave me scope for imagination.

The tea had all the spices you could savour if you wanted to confuse yourself in solitude, without sugar. And frankly, that helped me crawl out of my skin. Kept me inches away from perfection and therefore, interested. But a little later I realised someone’s calling out from the counter. A golden yellow mound of Maggi had appeared magically just behind me and a smoking cup of tea was almost inconspicuous, next to it. At that moment, when your eyes meet those of the quintessential canteen “bhaiya”, you realise you’re a regular and perhaps a citizen. He expects you to understand that it’s late and that venerable coat clad figure hidden behind a newspaper (and yet with broad rimmed spectacles neatly folded beside the salt container), needs to come and take what he ordered. You volunteer at this point because in that nanosecond that Time plays a trick on you, you placed yourself in an assembly line and decided to do your bit on the conveyor belt. You chose to belong. You chose to play a role.

Does it freak you out sometimes when you realise that as a writer you might be observing all around you but when you actually sit down to write, a part of you has wriggled out yet again and is now watching you write?

I mean when can you really and truly be completely inside you? Maybe there’s a Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle for human behaviour as well. If only I could illuminate behaviour and not influence it and cause it to change in the process. This image has been with me for quite some time now, isn’t it like being in the climax of Enter the Dragon? Being surrounded by mirrors? Can one really have a relationship with a mirror image? There is something so unnerving about symmetry. About the axis or plane of symmetry or whatever it is that they call it. Lateral images. I would prefer an S to an M or an A or a W.

I tasted a little bit of that tea I brought back from Kerala. The Kanan Devan Hills Plantations’ Natural Ginger Flavoured Green Tea. It tasted so much better when it was something I was fighting for. I think I boiled it too long and now I feel like throwing up. Or is it because I tried reading Jean Paul Sartre’s “Nausea” last night?

I like that green.

1 comment:

  1. I am half-awake and no one but the mirror makes me realize the plight without surprise but with with a childish acceptance of it. i am overwhelmed even if the exact lateral image of A is not V for Victory. at the same time I still cling to my memories and parables of experience. The metamorphosis is not quite complete as yet, but the mirror shows I have already become the beetle. Zig zagging in pursuit of the Green Volkswagen.