Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Twinhood

This afternoon, there was a stampede in the cafeteria, caught in which I was almost killed but I managed to emerge out of it in a single piece, triumphantly clasping my catch -- a double chocolate cone for me and a double raspberry for Angel, because I like chocolate and she likes pink. She must like raspberry too, its pink.. I dunno..

And then we sat on the lawn. After we lunched on the ice cream, we lunched on more ice cream and then on soda with ice cream. Angel kept hers untouched till the ice cream merged into a homogeneous pink soda-ice cream solution. She did not tell me why, probably because she could not fit that into anything she talked this afternoon.

Angel talked and talked about how good she felt when the days were warm and sunny, like today. 'Because its only now that we'd enjoy all the ice cream', she said. And then she told me about how she wanted to fly. I tried to picture the two of us in a glider, against the springtime sky. It seemed very weird. And I don't know how many seconds had drifted before I heard her sob.

Angel was crying and nothing I said whatsoever seemed to make a difference. I wished I'd be able to hug her or at the least look into her eyes just this once but that would not happen. As a matter of fact, I have never looked into her eyes ever. Angel and I are an oppositely directed Siamese pair, with the back of her head nearly joining the back of mine. This means that while we have each other to talk to all day, we can never lie down on our backs on the lawn and watch clouds, birds or air planes, among other tiny compromises that come along.

But we don't mind being this way, probably because we are used to it. Dad reckons medical science will evolve in a few years and we could be separated to lead normal lives but Angel always retorts that we are normal. At this, someone around always remarks about who would marry us. I then lose my cool and ask them to keep their fat mouth shut.

Angel's sobs had become more rhythmic. She would still not tell me what was bothering her. But I knew what had to be done, that simple trick which always set out world right. I patted her shoulder with my right hand and said, 'Angel, stop crying. No matter what comes, I'm always with you.'

She choked midway down a sob, paused and then giggled. All was well. Then she said, 'Thanks Esme. And no matter what I think all day, you are always on the back of my head.'


Credits: Sa, for 'Esme'. :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The silver line

Bang on 8, she knocks at the door. For a reason unfigurable, she has never used the doorbell. And for a different reason altogether, she has never been late. Introducing Jaya, our domestic help, role model for multitasking and an icon in time management.


Jayamma's day starts ticking at 4 am (ouch) when she rises to offer prayers, cook for a family of four and attend to a household whose keepers leave for work by 7am. She then hurries back home, gets her kids ready for school and does not turn her back on them till they are well inside the school gate. When ridiculed of being overprotective of a 10 year old and a 12 year old, she replies, 'If they skip school, they will also be washing and sweeping like me, Amma.'


Past noon, Jaya goes home for a frugal lunch, having attended to not less than four households, followed by a siesta. Confirming her children return home on time, she insists on them completing school work before play and watches over them not wandering away in bad company. But her true woes begin after dusk when her slob of a husband returns home to beat her up and grab a greater part of the couple of thousands she makes a month. The meager remainder post thrashing manages family expenses and should also be saved to realize Jaya's dream of sending her kids to college. Owing to the inavailability of cheap liquor due to the Government-imposed ban, poor Jaya is fleeced more than ever for money which her husband places on gamble, only to afford branded liquor. Talk about investments.


However, despite being a victim of multi-dimensional harassment (all of which is too long to describe, even for an epic of woe), Jaya goes about her business as usual, pretending all is well with the world, humming a catchy Tamil number as she mops the floor clean. When asked why she has been looking peaky for a while now, she replies, 'I have stopped resting in the afternoon, Amma. The Malayali lady from the next road is teaching us to read and write. I am going there.'

Monday, September 10, 2007

Captive

Past noon and I am awaken to hunger by a construction truck thundering outside. With a momentary shake to senses, I cast a sharp look around, just in case you know. Ensuring I'm the only living being for yards around (not counting pests, plants, insects and ol' spidy), I take wing to the lunch table.

I am formally served food on a white plastic table in the family's dining room. The people here take care to supply me with atleast three variants of food a mealtime, something I call good thinking because I'm quite picky, see. On landing, I have half a second to look at what's on offer before I hear a snatch of conversation through the living room window. Three voices chinwagging, flying past my dwelling, I suppose. Three voices of my kind!

Voice 1: Excellent. I see a mango tree. That should do for lunch.
Voice 2: But we've had it just yesterday. And they're off season!
Voice 3: Notch down, sonnova dawg. We've flown nine miles breakfastless.


I struggle to hold back the natural impulse to call out that I'm at lunch, that I have sufficient food for four of us (with dessert too!) before being slapped to the reality of living in a closed space the others cannot enter. As the voices fade, I begin to reflect-- on the freedom I never had, my bargain for confinement with the breeze that never ruffled my feathers..


However, 'confinement' is a strong word to call my existence, as I'm at reasonable comfort for a domestic pet. I am allowed to rise and retire at will, fed with the choicest of food (an extensive list derived from little mistress's prolonged research, which happens to consist more of her fancies than mine.. never mind) and left to my own for most of the day, much to everybody's good. My temper tantrums are humoured upon; I am fondled more than a newborn, grab more attention from guests than mistress's prized wall piece and have never been starved or abused. Instances of me hopping on the computer keyboard, perching on assignment files and snuggling into the black helmet on a cold day are treated perfectly normal, as are my attempts to sing (although I do get an occasional reprimand when they disrupt phone calls).

Not that I have no escape. I can flee at sunrise when the good lady opens the door to collect milk, or later when the good man leaves to work or even when the good (!) girl leaves the window open while draining cups of some brown liquid. But to what would I flee, pray, when I already have a life of comfort in hand with no threat to existence, when I'm not caged or trim-winged like my counterparts and when procuring food is a mere two second flight? The only thing I have not is the company of my kind for which I'm surely not fool enough to risk the world outside, mortgaging this freedom.

I may not soar high among tree tops or have tales of adventure to brag. I may have not gone places or dated and mated but I never, too, have flown nine miles in search of an unassured meal or lived and moved in stealth dodging predating eyes. My life may be predictable, listless, yes, but it is atleast definite.

Four plunges at the rice bowl, a bite of groundnut before I grab the sweet brown chunk and fly to the window..for a solitary gaze on the mango tree.

Captive, am I?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Mirror

On the marble case
A mirror gleaming spotless
Reflects, unasked, as vision
Shows all bare.

By blow it falls,
A thousand sharp pieces
Gleaming, bloodstained, shattered
Each piece, a face.

Spite, love, envy,
Triumph, plot. Blood.
Each piece, a tale
Still shows all, bare.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Branded blunder

A guide on how NOT to spend a mighty two grand INR, written when flared jeans made women go weak in the knee.

For most of us non-earning students who need to to survive on a monthly allowance for 'material comfort', two thousand INR is a reasonably big amount. We alone know the labour it consumes to save up the dough by thrift expenditure, cutting back on junk food, entertainment and other bare necessities to acquire a grand possession which our guardians refuse to sponsor. Hear then, my tale of woe with a warm heart and be sure to learn what I did. *sniff*

It all started off with my cousin telling me how happy she was in her 10 year old jeans which she had been wearing atleast twice a week from her college days and are still in perfect condition. Cutting short her chatter on plans of making it family heirloom, I inquired the brand. Levi's, she answered. Levi Strauss. I was politely disappointed, as I rarely do find right-fitting jeans and Lee was the sole brand my loyalty lay in, having invested on a lovely new pair the previous week. I was however tempted to possess (by her description) a snug, never wearing pair of denim clothing and decided on Levi's.

Then began the grueling, for Mum flatly refused to sponsor the novelty, her argument being most of my clothes never came out of their closet hiding and that I already owned too much denim anyway. Without losing heart, I began saving up moolah, saying no to unsponsored junk and being my best at home for good bucks. At the end of several weeks, I had a slightly smaller waistline and more importantly, two grand!

The prospect of shopping for a dream pair of jeans lifted my post exam-results gloom and Mum was glad to accompany me to the store, provided I stayed shut while she invested two hours on selecting a saree. Vokay then, off we went to Brigade's Levi Square. While Mum amused herself seeing the well arranged mannequins, I told the cheeky store girl what I wanted. 'Grey, light-flare and no elephant eared kinds please', I smiled. She was obviously too dumb for the joke, I guessed, as she rummaged around, suggesting me to go for skinny jeans (or whatever it sounded like, sickly clothing that clings to your legs) which were apparently the next fashion trend. 'Try straight fit ma'am, more formal look'. Are you right in the head, girl? Are jeans even supposed to be formal? Finally she pulled it out, a possible ugly duckling, grey (thankfully not faded) but much to my displeasure, highly flared, elephant ear sorts I dreaded. Mum was pleased though as it stirred memories of 'bell bottoms' in her college days and asked me to try it on while she recollected what colours she had owned.

Trial woes. The 'regular waist' didn't even come up to my waist and forced dieting had put me between two sizes. It was nearly revolting, sliding down at the waist and flapping at the bottom. Mummeee. I look like a pheelaawar pot! Minutes later however, I was trying to hide my displeasure and buying it with grit teeth because I didn't want the trouble I took to earn it go waste, plus it carried some offer and with my dextrous skills at the sewing machine, I could be able to make it beyond passable. Well, a week later I finally decided it could not be put to perfection. Gave up rebelling and agreed to wear it the way it was.

That day I learnt that something should never be settled for if its simply not right. That day I learnt that decisions should not be pressured upon but reasoned with. That day I learnt to give an ear to what Mum says, think on it for seconds atleast instead of flat rejection and then act because grownups get it right most of the time.

Finally, a few things I want to sort out with Levi Strauss & co.

Not every denim loving woman is a fashionista. Most of us are sensible mortals and still take jeans as comfort wear which we can leisure in. What do you have for us? Nothing! If key comfort is replaced by overpriced, hip revealing, clingy, flappy stuff, the brand will soon cease to exist because we pay you for quality. Keep a section with proper waisted, well fitting trousers and with sensible store people around else I may be forced to change my career path to teach you a thing or two.


PS: Dearest cousin, the next time you think something is good, please get it for me. :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Who we are and what we do.

Tears (quite literally) in Bangalore following the sad demise of the historical MG Road boluevard and an 80-something year old building which housed the equally ancient photoshop GK Vale and Lakeview ice cream parlour. Another instance of a fragment of history, of time itself being amputated to welcome its modern counterpart. This time, the underground Metro.

Why tears, you ask? Alas, any heart would stir at an ambush, more so because it involves a century old green showcase dismantled. Because it is a quiet rendezvous invaded. Because it brings back memories, happy ones. Tear would then be little tribute to something as revered as a cherished memory, that lost love, the sole ambient light, dying melody. A farewell note.
Desperation. Frustration.

Who are we and what are we doing? Why are we treating inanimate-yet-truly-alive structures worse than parents being thrown in old age homes? Is it because some faceless visionary thought loss makes the heart grow fonder, that loss teaches us values? That, I gather, is the philosophical pretext debating with the anthropological pretext of modernization to obtain a reason to destroy; a debate which will not find a judge for eternity, both being lost causes. Philosophy does not teach mankind. It only makes visionaries. And destroys.

Why do we even create captions like 'live and let live' if adopting them was out of question before their creation? We are blinded hypocrites and happily so. This is probably the only conclusion drawn from the want of a subway station precisely under century old green boulevards (no, replanting trees elsewhere cannot replace the original), antique buildings and not a few walkable yards away. If non-livings are shown such 'mercy', one can only imagine the value life carries and what it would fetch in times to come..

The old man is dead. He will not return. Others are dying. We cannot save them. Many more will die. We will not take trouble saving them but indulge with grandeur on their graves.

May our dreams of evolving into another US or UK rest in peace.

(note the sarcasm)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Orkut's tale

You must have come across this blog through the aforementioned socializing site, thus enabling its author to casually place you in the ranks of blog hunters on Orkut, the activity being among the few eventful things that struggle to keep the site's 'charm' (I kid you) alive these days. Presenting, then, a brief piece exclusively on the long list of Orkut's messed up things and more importantly, people.


First things first. Orkut's beginning to stink. With a senior citizenish air, I'd narrate to you about times two years ago when joining Orkut was possible through invites alone. With less than 20% of today's populace, it housed a haven for intellectual discussions, interactions between activity partners, friends and purposeful communities. Long before the site's nobility was starting to be admired happened a choking population explosion! Every Tom, Dick and Bihari who got wind of the site's existence had begun Orkutting on competition, delightfully hopeful of the profile feature titled Dating (women) and their female counterparts pooh-poohing at the supposedly kewlest online gather. Thanks to their active 'participation' in thumping numbers, Orkut's server suffered from an incurable Multiple Disability Disorder.

Then came the uber-kewlies, (more popular as Fraandship Scrappers with the average Orkut woman) who chose to stay warm and cozy within the boundaries of intellectual nothingness, SMS lingo and the sole approach line 'hiiiiiiiiii wnt 2 b frnd wid u plzzz', gleeful as long as they came across enough female profiles to try their luck, a motto the author wonders is adapted from the countless Brazilians on the site. With their signature style, desperate manner and approach, they take due responsibility for most fumes and irritability on the site. Soon, other genres were born. The spamming losers, fake profile lunatics, sex starved maniacs and their female counterparts (swearing removed in final edit, after debating). More degradation of the site's purpose.

That leaves out the normal populace who cherish the true spirit of Orkutting - catching up with friends, finding long lost ones, seeking true activity partners, participating in intellectual and evolved community discussions, conversing in 'understandable lingo' if not the Queen's English and more often than not cribbing about Orkut's lost demeanour. They keep the site's purpose alive with their effortless ability to outshine the rotten eggs in all manner, a feat that deserves standing ovation on the hour. Although this section seems to grow smaller in number by the day the author's assurance stands that it will not be wiped out, for a lone harp's note imparts bliss to all heaven, masking hell's despair (yes, highly philosophical indeed :P).


PS: Edited 14 times.

PS 2: Didn't want to repeat this after most definitions. So here it is, triggered to reach out to the needy and deserving:


WHACK!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Appointment with love -- The conclusion

Kindly read the following plot first:

http://cursed-soul.blogspot.com/2006/06/appointment-with-love.html

My version of its end:

Blandford stood stunned for a moment before reality came rushing to him. He felt he was being made to live someone else's life. Without waiting to register the happiest moment he had yet lived, Blandford dashed out of the Central, forgetting to thank the smiling woman and parting his way roughly through the crowd on the platform. Swifter than any aircraft he had worked with, Blandford ran in the direction he had seen Hollis go, temples pounding in excitement, adrenalin rushing to paralyze his senses. No, he could not hear, feel or see.. All he wanted was to get to Hollis.. fast.. faster and then he would decide what to do next. In a few seconds, he was out of the Grand Central.

Four minutes past six. The smiling waiter seated Hollis on the two seater table facing the huge glass window through which Hollis could see nearly the entire main crossing. Cars following each other, probably carrying people heading home after a day's work. The outside was slowly being bathed in gold as the sun bid adieu.. Had the woman told him yet? Had Blandford backed out like any other man would do, when he believed the old woman was Hollis? Every part of her wanted him to get through the test, seek her, come to her and the rest of the evening would be magical. If things went right, so would the rest of their lives..

He could see the restaurant outside the gate. Darting on the pavement, Blandford reached the main crossing. Cars were plying by.. the usual evening traffic. Now, fifty yards separated Hollis and him, fifty longest yards he had walked. 'God make this fast', he prayed.

And then he saw Hollis. Seated behind a glass window facing the crossing, she was looking directly at him. Blandford felt blood prick as it flowed along his temples and his throat went dry. Almost constantly, they smiled. He could feel Hollis' eyes gripping him, pleading him to climax the seeming endless wait. Finally, the signal on the crossing changed and Blandford took three steps across the road, the eye contact unbroken. He had barely managed to see the big black blur from nowhere speeding his way, when he felt his insides freeze. The smile had not quite left his lips... his eyes still open, Lieutenant Blanford fell.


Forty nine seconds later, Hollis saw Blandford's eyes close. In the few moments they had together, he had managed to mutter, 'I love you'.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tomorrow's tale

It will be tomorrow in some time. I should re-live usual monotony. I can only hope that the 'usual monotony' is atleast packed in an appealing package. Things would then be pleasant. I can probably exercise 1,18,622 neurons in the centre-right region of my cerebrum thinking what the package would contain, whether it would lead me away from clockwork tracks, offer a blissful retreat or impart a lesson or two that would change my life forever...

I'm afraid, that's just Part One. Unraveling the package would perhaps follow with a series of involuntary workout for the 1,18,622 neurons. Pleasant surprise, shock, heart break, disgust, euphoria. Just about anything. A fiasco of emotion, mental exhaustion and temporary sensuory paralysis. And then rolling incidents, placing myself back on track and pinching myself to accept the happenings as 'normal'. I may then dread to see another tomorrow, unravel another package and re-live another unexpected emotion, the weakling that I am.

No thanks. I'm content with the monotony. Bring it on!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pain

Pain is the force that makes me feel the air with an illusion of hope and face disappointment. Pain is the monster that makes me see the world beneath a mask of truth. Pain is what awaits me behind every door I unlock, compelling me to acknowledge its right over me. Pain is the dominance to which I have to surrender.

Pain is the stitch in my side, the tears that well up behind my eyes. Pain is what prevents those tears from flowing down but dry into nothing in the lump of my throat. Pain is knowing I mean nothing to the ones I care for. Pain is loving someone who forgets me. Pain is the injustice that goes unnoticed, pretending everything's fine, dreading what would come tomorrow. Pain is what fades my smile the instant it is born.

Pain is a bird with a broken wing, a fish trying to live on land, my dreams fading to oblivion. Pain is a music that was never enjoyed, a miracle which earned no reward, an achievement that will never be recognised. Pain is not knowing and having to wonder. Pain is that endless wait for a loving gesture. Pain is a tear in my mother's eye. Pain is witnessing an emotional goodbye. Pain is having to say goodbye. Pain is not being able to say goodbye.

Pain is knowing words can kill. Pain is knowing I will die soon. Pain is knowing I will die before I accomplish. Pain is knowing I was not born to accomplish. Pain is someone telling me I'm not good enough. Pain is nobody loving me as much as I need to be loved. Pain is nobody wanting my love. Pain is wanting to die. Pain is someone saving me when I want to die. Pain is all that is there in my life. Pain is life.

PS: I am one of the strongest persons I have not known.

Monday, January 08, 2007

An evening with you

Lets sit by the window of our top floor apartment. Turn off those lights and let the room be bathed in the light of the candle I hold. I see your face.. your eyes that mean the world to me.

Blow out the candle.

Darkness for a moment. Then, light from the far-away-yet-so-close skyscrapers seeps in and I see your eyes again..those brown eyes.. Shania Twain playing in the background.

Looks like we made it
Look how far we've come my baby
We mighta took the long way
We knew we'd get there someday

I look down at the minscule people walking back home at this hour, possibly drunk after a night of clubbing. The fact that they stay up past 11 just to get drunk always went over me. But do I care? I have better reasons to stay up till dawn.

A momentary shrug and I look back into those eyes. Who cares what the world does when I have you by my side? The light still dim, a blanket warming us..

You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're the one I want for life

And the blown out candle still in my hand..the clubbers still walking by..