Wednesday, March 28, 2007

SHADOWS OF OURSELVES

because it doesn't matter
and there is nothing you can do
because you are no longer the careless 16 year old teenager who thought killing yourself was the coolest thing to do

or the 19 year old pathological optimist dying to change the world

you take fellowships and go to Yale
you become a foreign correspondent and watch your kids swim in a pool with plastic dolphins every Sunday
you become a person, trying so hard to believe that your life was a success and that you are happy
that you don't realise you died years ago.

**********

Standing on the cliff of a breakdown is not a good feeling. Gulping water while your throat contracts, is difficult. Blinking hard to push back the watery veil seems futile. Typing, deleting and then typing again to tire my constant need to feel worthy doesn’t yield the same result. Because the truth is it wasn’t meant to be this way. I wasn’t supposed to sit next to a box of tissues, tempted to use them all at once. I wasn’t supposed to mull over lost opportunities and what ifs. I wasn’t supposed to hide the fact from myself that I have made a number of wrong choices that seemed right and still feel right. I wasn’t supposed to feel demented or unintelligent when all my life I have been lauded by others. I wasn’t supposed to feel envious of others rather they were supposed to be on the other side of the fence living on dry grass. I wasn’t supposed to cringe at the very thought of tomorrow.

Because I used to be somebody who lived on eternal hope.

I used to be somebody who believed that everything would go the way I had meticulously planned in my head.

I used to be somebody who savoured the pitfalls thinking, no, believing that they are the crevices in my road to Brady Bunch like euphoric happiness.

I used to be somebody who’s only life threatening problem was losing weight, the rest of it was possible.

I used to be somebody who wanted to be a somebody at someplace and for someone.

But now I relish the thought of an obscure disease ravaging my body that will put an end to it all.

Now I do not sympathise with the leaves that lose their battle against the whimsical winds or the onslaught of droplets.

Now I am drained of self pity and do not mind the emptiness within.

**********

A broom is what I need….yes… aha… found the answer…!
I need it… to ... umm.. clean.. my room.. which.. is messy… and let's see…to sweep my
dreams.. under the bed…no..no.. I can still see them..lying.. there..
wait.. uhh... just let me.. get this…. Yeah.. that's much better.. now… I
have swept... them... out through..the railing…great I can't see them
anymore….oh….wait.. I can.. they are fluttering.. away…
shimmering…dimming.. shucks.. that's a strong current ….hmmm... now that's not my responsibility..wooohoooo…guess who's... freee….!

Hey! Look at that… woah…that's pretty…wonder who chucked that out that.. window
…aha….wait wait.. its coming…here… hey… it's the most

extraordinary colour… I have.. never seen anything..like this… before!
Jesus……its pretty but what is.. it…?? Let me..ask…her… no.. actually I
don't want.. to.. uhh…just a sec… let me..uh..just ge-ttt this..in ….need a
little longer….piece of net…oh.. it is slipping.. through.. no..no.. no..
I want..it… wait…I need…it.. ..i want.. to get…this…no it's not...
getting.. away….

Hey…get back….. are you nuts… GET BACK IN!! you are going to bloody topple
over…..wait….oh good… HELP… OH MY GOD…

Aahhhh…..gotcha…finally….waaaa ??
…nooooo…….nooooo….but I got..it….

Jesus….oh god no… wake.. up..oh my god… someone help… Help….!
no…I am sorry... I can't do anything about... sorry.. nothing can be done…

hmm…whats that? God.. that's just so delightful…I hope no.. one..else..
can.. I am .. gonna…take it with me…wonder..what is it doing.. on..
her? It must've…landed on.. her….it's the most… enchanting…..

**********
Ramblings of my closest friends and me, which leave me helpless for there is nothing to say, but to accept the shared disillusionment of a certain kind of people -- who know too much -- just too much to be ordinary and yet are resigned to never realise the promise they themselves are. And it's a cycle of random words weaved together to lift a person from the shallows of their existence which is what some people call friendship or even lesbianism!

Monday, March 19, 2007

CUT AND RUN

The right knee sill carries a streak made of frozen plasma, resembling a new moon – the fleshy emboss of an onion coloured comma, bearing the nomenclature of a tender and ugly scar. The roads were graveled, hiding miniature rivets filled with soil so that they were lines, boxes, semi-circles and skeletons of colonial games with English names. New rules were invented by the kings and queens of young kids, standing at the cusp of teenage-hood and shamelessly manipulating their timid followers. The same subjects forced them to be humble masters or captains while she acted indifferent to her clout and charm.

tip-top-tip-top-tip-top-half tip-top… ho ho ha ha-I pick you
wink
kacchi-mitti
NO …go home

And they were chosen because they were the best and not just better. They were the spotlight and the silent awe. They were the envy and the pride. They were the loathing and the subjugation. She loved being them; and she loved her soiled shorts; the tanned arms and branded sneakers; the green mini-skirt flapping carelessly against her exposed inner-thighs -- effortlessly extracting desirable gasps from expected corners of the pavement or the top of a stair-case. The games were played till anxious guardians decided to drag her insignificant team-members back to the books and Reynolds’ pens, hoping to prepare regular minds for a glass-top table in conference rooms of perhaps Reynolds and co.

The shining stars were left smarting in sweaty shirts clinging to the media-prompted notion of perfect bodies with no choice but to return home, switch on the air conditioning and dream of a life writing books without Reynolds pens.

She believed in equality and fairness since she headed the unchallenged hierarchy and could afford to philosophise -- strengthening her belief that rebel was her favourite word and the karmic circle was a curse she could live without. There was nothing to do except to steal whiskey and give meaning to dark songs that left bitter tastes on a talentless tongue while she endlessly waited for her body to say goodbye to growing pains and welcome unwanted hair.

Years later, the scar on the right knee sometimes smells of her reign over some familiar streets, multi-storey buildings and forgotten names, successfully bossing around another set of human mass in the hundreds of cubicles.

She loves writing the book of her creations which is strangely believed to be creative fodder for regular minds with the window overlooking a strange road.
This time it is cobbled without any mind games interrupting the rhythmic clatter being played. She stares sleepily at the face her heart hopes to love for eternity and beyond, even if nothing of that sort exists and time is mere regeneration of cells till some of the important ones refuse to keep up.

“mmmm…. hmm…. gooooo…. lemme sleeeep”
“love you”
“…mmm… miss you”
“‎yeaaa… orange… no…grape fruit”
oye!!!
“not the curtainsss”
“hate youuuuuu”

She waits till noon to wake up and drags herself to the bathing tub. There is no place for unwanted hair and lots of chemicals are waiting to realise the current media-prompted notion of her perfect body. If she panders to the sun’s need to shine exquisitely on her mocha coloured skin and unkempt hair; if she satisfies the urge of raindrops to soak a purple skirt and black boots sculpted over smooth calves –- the sun will always make her smile and the rain will gladly drench her blues away.

She tip-toes to the kitchen, as she does care about the wet patches she is leaving behind. She does not remember when she decided to worry about the unnatural habitat of mould and fungi she has been fostering secretly, but knows it won’t be too inconvenient to get the carpet changed. In all honesty, she imagined it to be a good excuse for another weekend escape to quench her craving for sex on the beach. Ok grape-fruit does not compliment the hot sarmale he had cooked for her. It was time for orange juice – the fresh kind.

And while the mustard mini-skirt flaps around, nobody on the pavement notices and she is free to skim through some foreign books she can’t read yet. He runs around blocks after blocks, looking for her messy hair, her mocha coloured skin, her toothy smile and the slightly plump calves. He does not care about an incomplete rehearsal or his sulking peers. He only cares about the sunlight lighting up her perfect face as he puts his arms around her and squeezes her.

“goooooo now… you are so silly”

She pulls away from him, knowing well that his hungry lips should not be allowed the taste of her talented tongue for long. He laughs and winks at her, hating her charm but killing her with his own.

He disappears around the corner, leaving love behind for all to envy.

She turns around and starts running like the twelve year old girl she could be, leaving the oranges unattended.

Her feet –- amateurs -- when it comes to the art of high-heeled locomotion and her heart –- hopelessly in love with the cobbled streets, but unaccustomed to its highs and lows, betray her dream.

She tripped.
She cut her knee.
She woke up with the sun blinding her tearful eyes.

Friday, March 16, 2007

HAIL TO THE DECK Part - III

So, who knew the third installment will arrive so early.
The iPod died today.
Again.
The second one.

"Well, when I am old and possibly crying over a dying iPod with the deck still serving my battered soul, I will read this post and laugh uncontrollably."

Hmm... the timing couldn't have been better. I obviously plan to retreat in a deep meditative trance during the cumulative 11 and a half hours I am poised to spend in flights during the next 7 days. Add some 14 more hours spent staring at my own reflection in various floor tiles of the airport lounges and who the fuck needs an overpriced piece of revolutionary technology that changed the way people listen to music.

I dunno... what was I expecting Mister Jobs... they obviously don't last more than 9 months.

"You should let me love you
let me be the one to give you everything you want and need

Baby good love and protection
make me your selection"


SKIP

SKIP

FUCK

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ARE WE MADE IN HEAVEN HON?!

Mummy o mummy tu kab saas banegi………” (dear mother when will you become a mother-in-law).

And so goes the song (from the movie Khatta Meetha) that not only made me laugh but also gave my mum an opportunity to take my case and enquire about boyfriends, if any. Those were good times; when I could brush off such prodding questions with Oh-I-Can-Survive-On-Canned-Food refrain; when I could get away without being held responsible for any heart attacks, by telling them that I will marry a girl so that the household work will be equally divided; and when my jeans were never the reason for raised eyebrows at a marriage related formal ceremony.

Now that I wear the 6 yards of utter confusion to such functions, the joke is used as a threat against me. “If you have decided not to clean your room then let me know. I will get you married off so that you can no longer trash my house and I can invite guests for dinner without sending you a memo.” Funny? Yes. Exaggerated? No.

The process of marriage is comical and the marriage procession, an opportunity for a side-splitting laugh. But then it always has been. It is a conjunction of contradictory forces, and here I am not only referring to the families. It is full of anticipation and guarded responses, the clichéd happiness and sorrow, loud, boisterous celebrations and Chinese whispers (definitely about the number of gifts given away and received), proclamations of love in front of hundreds and furtive glances and of course overweight aunties trying to do a little jig with young svelte figures with an acquired demeanor befitting for the queen’s arrival. The run-up to various ceremonies ending in a big bang, which is if one escapes the bullets fired by the over-enthusiastic sidekicks, then a big collective sigh of relief.

Now the journey of this phenomenon is amusing if not hilarious. The pre flower-child era was the time when Stockholm syndrome was identified. Strangers getting married and pushed into a life of forced commonality. It didn’t matter whether the groom with his side locks covering half his face was not much of a looker as long as he was a government employee. Post that era love marriages made their presence felt along with Che Guevera. The theatre screens as well as the public vision were dotted with sightings of couples expressing their love for each other till death do them apart. In certain cases, where the caste/class or religion raised its ugly specter, before anyone could say be careful of what you wish for, the lovers got what they wanted. Then came the blasphemous live-in relationships, the anti-Christ of the moral world. The albatross still squawks around a couple’s neck although many are swerving towards this option, reason being that nobody likes to get divorced over something like ‘I don’t like to sleep on the right side of the bed’. Then there are the Shaadi.coms of the world. Malyalis, marathis, mangloreans, you name it and they have it. Well the retail boom is not doing too badly for the Indian couple now is it? And finally the karmic circle of this ‘thing’ called marriage has come to the point from where it started. Yes, sons and daughters don’t mind getting hitched up again through their parents as long as their partner doesn’t earn more than they do and do not have a bigger ego which will be taken care of by default if the former prerequisite is satisfied.

It sounds like an epic journey, and has all the looks of for the next Travel and Living series although I will not mind playing the blushing bride (whenever the threat comes true) and regaling some dim-wit like Saira Mohan about how it is all a dream while my friends provide the laughter track.

(Since I am on a brief sabbatical... might as well publish PP's brilliant notions... and also thank my favourite moron for contributing another post.)

Thursday, March 08, 2007

RED AMBER GREEN


Today she got scolded again. Not because she broke anything but because she was chewing tobacco, her replacement for ice-cream that she loves so much. She doesn’t know that a certain day exists when she should feel overjoyed at being a girl. She looks at me with certain questions in her eyes. One of them being whether at least for today her father will not beat her mother and the other being that can she get some loose change for a chuski. I can answer the latter in affirmative but not the former. The newspapers are literally screaming with fervour reminiscent of a church choir. Joy to the world, joy to the woman-kind. At least that is what all the newspapers are trying to preach. But wait there are certain statistics sprinkled around just to let one know that female foeticide still exists. Girls still hold on to their position on the list of things to be bought and sold. And dowry deaths are a dark secret for many families. But then that shouldn’t stop us from celebrating the Women’s Day. That should not in any way prevent us from eulogizing the lives of Indira Nooyi, Shabana Azmi and all the voices that make the discourse on feminism music to the ears.

After all the hype generated, thanks to new-age journalism and multinationals selling wonderful merchandise at discounted rates “only for today”, I am left with an amalgamation of feelings that range from angst, despair, helplessness and rage. This day does nothing to my self esteem and I am probably voicing the opinion of many all around the world. But then its for sure that such statements are going to be countered by scathing remarks relating to my upbringing in an upper-middle class environ and my utter disregard for those who actually believe that a day is enough to recognize the efforts of fellow crusaders in different parts of the world. In no way do I want to denounce the good work but my, rather large, bone of contention being with the specification of a day. Why do we stop at a date and not go beyond it. Why not celebrate a different story everyday. Why not fight everyday against the injustice meted out to many in the public domain. Why not make everybody aware and not reduce it to a ritual of a series of stories of successes that appear on the T.V screen and the newspapers. Why not pursue issues that concern women from time to time and not be reminded of it on an annual basis -- Why not stop obsessing over the different leagues of feminism and just concentrate on making our voice heard.

Well some were doing just that outside my office on the road. Women dressed in all hues marching ahead with a belief in their hearts and on their lips to get the reservation bill passed. I would have been happier if this sight and sound was not thrust upon me because of a certain date. And somebody else who would have been happier must be the little girl in a white frilly frock who skipped in the sun while her mother shouted the need for equality in the parliament, must have been a great holiday for her.

(Remnants of idealism ... creations of PP)