Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Slowly sinking, wasting...crumbling like pastries"

You can't slap a tear and turn it into a smile.
That eagle that casts a shadow on that tree that looks like a can of worms.. it doesn't mean a thing.
There's no one to go back to.
No friends.
No family.
You can't erase that from reality, anyway. That you went back in order to be with them.
They used to have those sums in Maths back in school.. a bus/car/bicycle would travel far and wide and come back to the same point in some hypothetical joke which would light up those braces and the teething youth hiding behind them.
Displacement = 0.
That's not gonna happen if you can help it now, would it?
I used to sit like that.
My face in my palms. My eyes out of focus.
Blinking always helped.
Each time my eyes closed, it felt like the end of a tunnel.
The kohl helps. It doesn't let the tears roll over and take the leap.
Dilli Haat. That day when I just sat on the round whats-its-name beneath the tree and stunned myself.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Stop shining.
If you shine, I'll have to close my eyes. And I'll miss you.
This image of you, burnt in my brain... this image.. it's fading.
Your face isn't yellow orange anymore.
With every sweep of a broom outside... with every turn of the ceiling fan, with every note of Alexandre Desplat's music, I feel the unfeeling. The numbness in my eyes.. the tears that are lashing like angry waves against my brain.. the memories that are trying to shatter into smithereens.
Life becomes a pregnant pause when the music ends on YouTube and the only other sound in the room is my breath. I mistake it for disgust. It escapes me. If only I could, too.
Yesterday, therapy seemed too expensive... as if almost a luxury. Sadness... a hobby. Closure... an exercise, an amusement. Like drawing or pottery or woodwork. An activity. Something that gets you a remark. On days like those, you grow restless when you see young boys with red eyes, waiting in a hospital queue. You want to click photos and erase the redness on the computer. Paint. Photoshop. Whatever. Make it a pure black again.
Shining eyes.
With light trapped in them.
Trapped. Yes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Don't you know I need to talk?
Need to be?
You sound... forget it..
No, don't.
At least, I don't want to be the one reminding you.
Or maybe I do?
Hang on. Hang on a moment.
What's with the accent?
Are you.. are you mad at me?
I need to be near you. And I need to talk to myself while I talk to you.
Be still. How else will I talk?
I see myself. I see myself in you.
Funny how I never knew what it means. That you're like water, passing me by.
You're so much like the sea. And I'm so scared that if I breathe you in, I'll be all heavy.
And you won't let me go.
Do you promise you won't?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


What about the love between Voldemort and his horcruxes? Draco, Crabbe and Goyle? Can I write without remembering what I wrote?
I wish I could.
I bet I could.
My soul shrinks and expands as I look all around myself.
You bring me space and I bring you time.
You bring me echoes.
I'm just a wall.
In a world, where people grow wings, I tell myself that I've grown roots.
I know you're waiting for me, like Death.
The very first time I saw you, I knew.
You and me.
Hang on. :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why Do We Talk?

You don't have answers to the questions I haven't asked you.
You don't have answers anyway.
But I do know one thing...
If I cry "Bully!", you'll cry "Bystander!"
I'll say I wanted to belong to you and your world.
You'll say I let you be, let you get away with all that you did.
I can't say yes. I can't say no.
Maybe I'm talking AT you. I was talking and you.. well you just happened to be there... you know what I mean?
Happens all the time.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Ten years of Potter are about to come to an end.
Some are old faithfuls, like the trio playing Harry, Ron and Hermione, of course. Some, like Robert Pattinson have moved on to.. er.. shinier prospects.
Over the past couple of weeks, the phenomenon of Potterphiles lashing out at Cullen's clan ("Toilet", Ed"Weird" and "Squid"ward being just a few examples) has seen a crescendo of emotions and true to hollywood background scores inside my head. Initially, I laughed at every poster that admonished Rob Pattz and his vampire state of mind.
With time, however, I have begun to see the franchise as a series for breathless adolescents and sleepless fanged people.
On the verge of turning indifferent, I decided to finally acknowledge it's presence in my life and treat it as a much-disliked but hard to miss chapter in my syllabus. (And yes, I still teach in a school).
And this is what I would like to observe about shiny things in general, with some help from "How I Met Your Mother":
The more I connect with people, the more they seem to shine. The more polished they seem to be. Squeaky clean. And I see myself reflected in them.
I am more of a matte finish girl.
Fish and women get attracted to shiny things, says Barney Stinson. I don't know about fish but I think I do because anything that's shiny is attractive because of the image of myself in it. Who doesn't love to look at themselves, right?
As for Edward Cullen (aforementioned vampire), he shines like an engagement ring in sunlight. Not that he wants to. For the record, Edward also dislikes Jacob Black's perennial public display of brawn and is known to have reacted, poker-face, "Doesn't he own a shirt?"

P.S.: Jacob is also shiny, but probably that's just sweat. Sorry, not important.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm Too Young For This Shit

Ted Mosby (of How I Met Your Mother) seems to believe in a list of all the stuff he thinks he's too old for. On the show, he and his friends call it The Murtaugh List, after the role Danny Glover played in the Lethal Weapon series.
Well I'm gonna go with stuff I don't understand. Transcending categories of "couldn't", "wouldn't" and "shouldn't", I'm just gonna settle for "don't".
Yes, I don't think I can understand this stuff.

1. Words like Forever and Never.
2. Definitions - like "friend", "relative", "love", "happiness", "success" etc.
3. "Time". Beat it nerd. Go watch someone else bat their eyelids.
4. People who say they "found" themselves. If they WERE hiding till now, what's to say they won't fall back again?
5. The use of Comparatives and Superlatives. I don't think they'll ever come up with something like "Superlative Psychology". What's that again? "I'm the best and f*** the rest"? You're really gonna go with that?
6. Answering "why?" satisfactorily. Can't be done. Trust me.
7. Trust.
8. Me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sustainable Development: Can Tata Photon help?

I didn't mean to be hesitant about naming this post. But I never really thought I would have such an official sounding post either.
The thing is, over the last couple of months or so, people around me can't stop talking about recycling. Reusable waste. Like?
  1. Nek Chand's Rock Garden in Chandigarh.
  2. Last year's hard-bound exercise books being piled onto the floor at the school where I teach.
  3. My grandfather's car, with its sensitive wipers raised like canine hackles when the rains come unannounced. Someone washes it everyday and gets paid for it.
  4. The Himalayan Village at Sonapani, an eco-friendly resort. Solar panels for sale at the small local shop on the way back to the Kathgodam Railway Station.
  5. Ravi Gulati, our fellow camper at Sonapani and co-founder of the NGO, Manzil, and his presentation titled "The Story of Stuff".
  6. A sudden dearth of plastic bags all around me, except the khaarbooja waale bhaiya (fruit vendor) near my house. (Yes, I was happy he had a carry-bag.. so sue me.)
  7. Endless Rituporno Ghosh Bong movies with names like Utsab (Festival), Noukadubi (Boatwreck), Abohomaan (The Flow) where someone or the other must face the herculean task of getting over a slowpoke and involve the audience in the long, arduous entrails of the entire process of "moving on".
  8. An ex-colleague, talking about my ex-company and x amounts of barley. Read beer.
But that's not the point now, is it?

The point is, I desire of becoming a person who has no emotional excesses and simply moves around randomly like a gas molecule. It strikes me as odd now that scenes from movies that my parents called classics seldom have the impact on me that they promised. It strikes me as odd that when I talk to someone who once held a special place in my heart, unknown to myself, I skip details and forget to mention events which I cannot deny to be important in my life. I remember them the moment I hang up. And yet, something tells me that I hadn't forgotten in the first place and that it was simply, a well organised conversation. Nothing I would regret later. No loose ends. No way back? Maybe.
Now I call that cleaning up my act. I will allow myself a moment's envy of my cousins who have a full-fledged flaming episode of OCD that they can recognise and report. Washing helps. Cleaning my clothes, my room, my floor. Realising that I have far too many blacks in my wardrobe and wearing yellow to work with perfect nonchalance. Relying on melons for dinner. A colourful shirt for a dazzling summer.
Knowing that I can provoke without regret. I can offer myself for company without letting my passive-aggressive tendencies take over.
I can sustain this. I can turn the page.
Somewhere, something I read in Linda Goodman's description of the Capricorn woman comes back and haunts me. Apparently, this woman can look into the eyes of a frog and see a beautiful prince instead. Funny how Ms. Goodman skipped the steps that led her to this. Like Annie Lennox sings.. there's an open door in my room.. and it didn't just get there by itself.
You know?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Summertime..and the Living is Easy..

This Summer, they should know about this flame inside. This gigantic tongue of fire inside that destroys what it tastes. You should make it run. Make it chase something. Watch as it spreads in a circle and dances like the devil. You should watch when it takes over. Applaud. This fire chases the good in me. It chases all that is happy, contented. My memories run like refugees, spilling the past over in small threads and crumbles. The fugitive prays for the rain. I don’t have the rain in me yet. You see the skin running dry, droughtlike. Nothing works on that parched terrain.

The fire reigns inside. This is the fire I inherited. And I need the slimy and the unctuous. To survive.

Why would you put it out? Something so primal. So bright. Let it flee. Create a burning desire and then destroy it the moment it takes shape. Let it scorch the vessels you so lovingly build with your earth and your water. Let it burn.

I was born of fire. The light. The chaos. The screams for mercy. The heat of emotions. I couldn’t last in a suit. I couldn’t behave myself. Because I couldn’t fight the fire even if you forced me to. Fire smells like home.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hanging Up

I don't know why the title makes me think of scenes from disaster movies like 2012 and Vertical Limit. Jerking spiders with crooked legs, dangling off threads of silk. And for some reason, a doe-eyed student with thin, Voldemort-like fingers.
What do I say to that? The dry spell is inexplicable. And anyway, I find myself explaining too much these days. My address, my career, my weight, my food habits, my generation, my hairstyle, my wardrobe, my silence, somebody else's words, my absence, my affinity towards my neighbours, my fevers, my redness, my blacks, my lights, my journeys, my Facebook status messages, my irregularities, my strangeness, my familiarities.
My need to stop.
My need NOT to.
All in the name of impact.
And this, when I'm in between two trips to the same place. Sonapani.. one. Sonapani.. two. Someone's counting the milestones on my road to boredom.
A brief spurt of activity inside. Me with my curls. Twists and turns. Poker-faced, I do my job. I make meaning, even with my eyes closed. Dreaming.
People. People. People.
Is that all there is to it?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why Love is Blind

A professor once told me that there are two ways in which you can interview someone.. as a miner digging deep in search of facts and truths and lies and as a traveller, floating by, in search of a story.. nothing else.
I used to think there's a bifurcation possible; that one can be either of the two and that one MUST choose.
But I think it's really 'me' vs. 'everyone else' now. When I tell my own story, I flow. I create. I remember what I need to and want to and forget all the rest. I travel without a map or a planner. I travel for the sake of travelling, illuminating each and every corner of my being.
But when I listen to another, I feel like I'm stretching. I don't know that topography. I don't know the weather there. And I want to be safe. So I ask questions that have 'right' and 'wrong' answers. In other words, I find excuses for not travelling.
I'm both a miner and a traveller. What you bring out in me depends on how I see you, therefore.
It's a bit like the Sun and the Moon really.
At night, you don't mind travelling to the realms of the impossible. Dreaming. Believing. Taking leaps of faith.
But it's daylight that exhausts you. You open your eyes. You begin to see the loopholes. The crevices. The obstacles. The 'not-worth-it's. Suddenly, everything has a name. They catch you red-handed because the light shines and they KNOW it's you.. they KNOW it's red. And they THINK they know what it means. Yes, memories of the night hiss below the surface as they let the past interfere with the present.
What would you not do to be sure?
Maybe. Perhaps. Wonderful, wonderful words.
Why do you want to see everything? What about the sense of touch? Why can't you feel?

What If God Were One Of Us?

They named her after Durga, the Goddess with ten hands and a reputation that makes her uniquely Bong, or so I believe.
There's something distinctly hazel about how she makes me feel as I walk into the classroom. It's a bit like her hair and her eyes could very well have been black, but she holds them back.. so much so that they fade to brown. Uncertain whether to declare themselves.
Her earrings make me nervous. Rings, that remind me of my childhood.
Thin rings of gold which glitter in the afternoon sun and threaten with how pure she claims to be.
I used to think she's stuffy and organised to a fault. I used to wish she left her seat more, danced more, ran and never stopped. That was before I came to know about the divorce.
Blink and miss. A quiet end to her surname on those immaculate, laminated brown paper covers.
I could think that it's rude of her to sternly push away a classmate who wanted to ask me a question (about how Sports transformed Jesse Owens' life).. just because she had got to me first.
I could scold her or make a moral out of the episode and bore her to death.
I chose to laugh instead. So that I'm with her, on her wavelength.
And so that she laughs too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Man. Machine. Madness.

When a book costs you less than 50 rupees, you better believe that it's a classic. And a portal through time missed by the bungee-jumping yahoos all around you, ironically.

The other day I picked up 3 beauties inside the campus:

1. "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by David D. Burns, M.D.
2. "The Perfect Vehicle: What is it about Motorcycles?" by Melissa Holbrook Pierson
3. "Theory Z: How American Business can meet The Japanese Challenge" by William G. Ouchi

Walking back home, three words cropped up in my consciousness as I trudged along, panting.
"Man. Machine. Madness."
I liked their rhythm. They compensated the lack of soundtrack music quite well. And for a moment I forgave Hans Zimmer for not winning a Golden Globe this year for Inception in the "original score" category, despite tracks like "Time".

But that's not the point. 3 books. 3 words. Which is which?

You'd think I wouldn't begin reading if this wasn't sorted out. :)
Strange how my fingers solved it for me. It doesn't get better than Motorcycles. Because, like the author says, if you're travelling at that speed on a Motorcycle, you want to be seen.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Celebrating Darkness

A travelling womb. Hysteria. The fear that this thing between you and me is a mirror. Acquiring. Losing. Sending messages to a mobile phone that chooses to be switched off. Hiding when people aren't seeking you. Trying to find words that hack away at this silence all around us and within us. Two stories. Intertwined. Parallel. The snail and the bird. A patchwork. Tomorrow, the colours might change their names. Their significance. Turn on the lights. Turn off the lights. Over and over and over again. Let it burn out.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bum Buttery Flit Fluttery

Seriously. I mean there's apparently something known as "The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain." I don't think the ukulele is a British instrument. Or maybe the name isn't British but the instrument is masquerading in Britain as something else.
Anyway, it's not bad when you play Greek stuff on it.
Youtube throws up a track called "Misirlou" when you run a search. Apparently it's good for a Jewish wedding as well as for belly dancing.
(Although I think my ears are hot mainly because of the untimely white rum. French Toast in white rum. Not a bad prescription when the mercury jammed at 3.7 and dipped no further. Uncomfortably, uncomfortably numb.)
You know I finally figured out why I don't like getting photographed.
I'd much rather be a bird in the "loverly spring" and fly away. Not a parachute that has to float down.
A photograph doesn't let you travel. Or scratch your itch.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Did I Hide Too Well?

The Nokia Xpressmusic Mobile Handset jars my senses. I am blocking friends on Facebook. I'm too scared to close my eyes. Feelings lurk behind the paintings in art galleries. They don't speak to me any more. I have been pretending that I have Writer's Block. Everytime my mobile stirs, I hold my breath. I don't want to walk. I don't want to climb. I don't want to shout. I can barely speak.
I don't want to go to a gym anymore. I got my hair straightened. I can cook you a meal. My hands are soft again.
I'm a girl. I'm a girl. I'm a girl.
I can learn.
I can try.
You can teach me.
I'll watch you play. I just asked the score. That's all.
I'll hold on. I'll work on the brakes. I'll smile, not just inside. I promise to bleed when you cut me. I lent you my silence. Please don't give it back.
We're neighbours. In my mind.
I'm sorry I closed the door.
I'm sorry.
We were like Mark and Callie, remember?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hunting. Gathering.

Can I put that in my CV? "I hunt and I gather"? Doesn't it show androgyny at work or something? (My birthchart says I have equal masculine and feminine influences anyway).
Or should it be in my Facebook status...somewhere...someday...
The other thing is I tried incorporating "purr" into the words to make it sound like a feline fetish but I got nothing. Made a couple of sandwiches. A lazy lunch as the mercury continues to drop. A cup of "Lean Tea" went quite well with it.
Oh and you don't need a can opener.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It Was The Song, Wasn't It?

It all started when I walked into the turkey being chopped. I managed to glide out without letting the emotion spill over, but when I returned, I saw birdfeet and birdnails - teeny tiny ones. Strewn on the kitchen floor - almost like my own nails - after one of my hasty encounters with the nailcutter.
I pushed it back.
But a couple of nights ago, when I was at this Winter Jazz Fest at the India Habitat Centre, listening to a Cinematic Jazz track named "Losing Control" from the movie named "Ratatouille", I kept thinking of a sickle or a kitchen knife, making sudden contact with my knuckles, my fingers, my skin. Hacking at me. Continuously. It didn't help when I dug my fingers deep into the recesses of my overcoat pockets.
Oh God I don't think I can continue this.