Friday, April 30, 2004

Would it have been just as beautiful last night, had not the moon been right above the sea? A big white moon, dominating, in the deep black of the sky. And the dark sea water that rippled in the shadows of the diffused moonlight. Shimmering silvery illusions of fairies dancing in a midnight ball.
A child’s painting, framed by the square of my bedroom window.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

So, today someone commented that adult life seems very mundane. Mundane? I don’t think so! Well, MY life is as exciting as it gets. Take today morning for instance. I needed to get to work early in the morning. Now, there is one bus that passes through the bus stop closest to my house (which is about a 5-10 minutes walk depending on the sun, energy levels and time constraints) at exactly 8:35 a.m.

When I left my house at 8:35 a.m., I had a sneaky feeling that I would miss the bus. It didn’t take any ESP to figure that out. But I had to, just had to, catch the bus. It was the time to call in Secret Agent 835. I rolled my sleeves, put on my sunglasses, slung my bag tighter and pursed my mouth.

(Trumpet sounds)
(Voiceover) Secret Agent 835

(A Mission Impossible kind of background score.)
I walked in supersonic speed towards the rickshaw stand, zig-zagging through the hoards of human bodies (that seemed like statues. You know cause I was going so fast. You know Einstein theory of relativity. You know… Aah never mind)

I jumped into an auto-rickshaw and said in my coolest Secret Agent voice, “ Road. Linking Road.”

He glared back at me ‘Boni time (first sale/earning of the day) and a minimum- fare passenger.’ But we are not Secret Agents for nothing. A thick-skin comes with the job.

Chalo. Chalo (Let’s go. Let’s go.)” I retorted ruthlessly. It took exactly 53 seconds for us to reach the main road.

Left. Left. Ab u-turn lo. Jaldi. Jaldi. (Left. Left. Now take a u-turn. Fast. Fast.)” I instructed.

We took the u-turn and the rick-driver halted at the bus-stop. I popped my head out and asked a by-stander “Has 81 already left?” Either the guy was hard of hearing, or slow-witted, or had fallen deeply in love with me at first sight because he asked me ‘what’ three times. I could hear the clock in my head ticking as I waited desperately for his answer. Smiling, while I squirmed inside. For, we Secret Agents have been taught to control our emotions.

“It just left. Maybe you can catch up with it,” he finally answered. Ha! Just? It couldn’t have just left cause I was waiting for his damned answer for ages. Just indeed!

I thanked him and turned to the rick-guy. It was the time for some quick thinking. It’s a good thing we Secret Agents excel in thinking fast. Our brains work faster than Chacha Chowdhury’s. (Don’t ask me who that is. If you don’t know, you will not know.) Plan A dumped. Plan B on. Will not take the 81. Will take 83 from SV Road instead.
Chalo. Chalo. (Let’s go. Let’s go.) Left. Left. Jaldi. Jaldi. (Left. Left. Fast. Fast.) Straight. Straight. Left. Left. (Straight. Straight. Left. Left.)
We stopped at the signal, ten meters away from the 83 bus-stop when I noticed the 84 on the other side. My super-fast brain was active again. Bus No. 84 goes to office as well. Plan B dumped. Plan C on. Will not take the 83. Will take the 84 instead.

U-turn lo. U-turn lo. Jaldi. Jaldi. (Take a u-turn. Take a u-turn. Fast. Fast.)” I said to my totally unprepared rick-driver.

We managed to reach the bus-top just in time to spare a few seconds for me to find the right change and hand it over to the panting driver. As I climbed up the bus and looked back at the rick-driver, smiling my dashing Secret Agent smile, I saw the rickshaw collapse in a heap of metal and plastic.

Mundane did you say?

(The above story, except for the end, is based on true incidents in the author’s life. The characters are not fictional and any resemblance to anyone living or dead is totally intentional. The readers sympathetic towards the rickshaw driver will be happy to know that the rickshaw survived the ordeal and the rickshaw driver got more than the minimum fare.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I am back! With a rather long post. What can I say? I understand now why they say it is bad to skip meals. You really tend to overeat in the next one.
Memories are strange. Some hit you suddenly, without any context or reason, totally arbitrarily.

I must have been around 10 yrs old then. One would think that a double-digit age would imply some amount of responsibility and sense, but lets not forget that it is me we are talking about. Please don’t misunderstand what I just said. I was extremely smart. In fact (blush, blush) dare I say I was the mastermind behind most of our plans. My problem was that I seldom gave thought to the consequences. Which, some of you will scoff, implies that the plan is incomplete. But for me, at that age, the plan itself was the vision. And the vision was the plan. The other details mattered not.

As I was saying, before I interrupted myself, I was around 10 years old then. We had just shifted into our colony in Baghdad. The campus was at a nascent stage. Everything was still being built. We had to live in tiny caravan like houses, which could be dismantled in a couple of hours. (We actually ended up living in those caravan-houses for our entire two and a half years stay in Baghdad). There were two rows of these cararvan-houses, built close to each other like on a Lego board, which ran parallel to the campus wall. The area between the wall and the houses was dug up, presumably to build a garden sometime in the distant future. Baghdad, much to my surprise, had turned out to be a green city. In fact, it was fairly disappointing, because I had kind of hoped that we would be living in the desert. The colony was my only consolation. It was dry and very desert-like. It was not unusual to spot a scorpion or two.

Anyways (How I hate it when I keep interrupting myself!), at the end of this parallel-to-the-wall-dug-up-stretch-of-land was a tap that leaked. As children, every little thing is fascinating. And the leaking tap caught our attention. We noticed that a huge pool of water, about two feet in diameter, would accumulate every morning (and then evaporate in the cruel scorching sun’s heat). It all started with us playing boat-boat in this tiny puddle. We used a thick carton (it was really thick) opened out and folded into a raft-like thing. As you can imagine (though we were considerably lighter then) that we would barely manage to stay afloat for two seconds. THAT is when the brainwave struck me.
What if the whole area of dug up land was filled with water? It would be like a river. Oh the possibilities!

But who would switch the tap on? It required presence of mind, unbound courage and supreme intelligence. Who else but me?

That night, I dressed in black. I intended to paint my face black as well, but my mother seemed suspicious when I asked her for shoe-polish (I never ever polished my shoes.), so I decided against it. I waited till it was quiet outside (Though considering the few number of people residing in the campus then, it was quiet all the time!) and stole out. Walking in the shadows, I managed to achieve the task without attracting any attention at all. I was the lord of the night. The Queen of the shadows of the dark.

The members of our group met that night at a club dinner, and I gave them the nod of my head. The job was done. We were all very excited but we dared not discuss anything in front of our parents.

The sun rose the next morning, bright and shiny. I woke up bathed in sweat, rudely being shaken by my mother. Oh Oh! Not a good sign. I gave her my best first-thing-in-the-morning angelic smile. No change in her reaction. I knew then that she knew.

I don’t really remember much of that morning. Except that there was a lot of screaming (You know how mothers can get sometimes!) and a lot of crying (Yes, sometimes the Queen of the shadows of the dark also cries.) and a confiscation of my outdoors-playing rights for the next three days. Apparently, our plan had been successful after all. The whole area had got flooded as per our plan. Unfortunately, it had also drained out the colony’s entire water supply. And the over-flow of water had short-circuited the electrical wires. So no electricity and no water.

But boy oh boy! Did we have fun or did we have fun. Playing in our river of water. That is, once our parents dared to let us venture out.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I have been convicted on two accounts- disgracing the supreme art of blogging and subjecting innocent fellow bloggers to utter crap.

This blog is henceforth suspended for an indefinite period.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Got myself a lobotomy, so I don’t indulge in memories past. Chopped off the tongue that tasted, sliced the nose that smelt, scooped out the eyes that saw, cut away the ears that heard and severed the hand that touched.
And that, my friends, is ‘closure’.
Perhaps all the flowers have dried up in my valley. Perhaps my valley was never green.
I have stopped tearing petals from flowers. Stopped relying on luck to attest answers to questions that have ceased to matter.
There is a strange kind of comfort in standing outside in the hot sun, below an AC on the second floor, as tiny dewdrops of water shower on you morsels of hope.
I wish I could talk to you once more, only to tell you ‘I told you so’.
I know I should not have been surprised. And I know it should not have hurt so much. But I was. And it did.
I feel like I have been betrayed all over again. For, though I knew it was bound to happen, I had hoped from one obscure corner of my heart that still believes in miracles that I would be wrong.
All I am left with is an unbearable numbness inside of me. A resigned acceptance of emotions spent in vain. And unsuccessful attempts to suppress the growing feeling of inadequacy.

Monday, April 12, 2004

I share a multi-faceted relationship with my roommate Sharon.

The Child
Me (posing for her): Sharon, does this dress look nice?
Sharon (without looking up from her laptop): Uhun.
Me: Can I wear these sandals with the dress?
Sharon (without looking up from her laptop): Uhun.
Me: This lipstick?
Sharon (without looking up from her laptop): Uhun.
Me: Can I grow my beard?
Sharon (without looking up from her laptop): Uhun.

The Mother
Me: Sharon, you better clean up this mess right now. Look at your room. It looks like a pigsty.
Sharon (guilty-faced): Yeah I’ll do it.
Me: When?
Sharon: Soon
Me: I don’t know why you can’t put things back into the right place. Just keep everything back in its right place and there’ll never be a mess to clear up.

The Wife
Me: …and I got such a good deal at the market. Imagine Heinz Baked Beans cans at just Rs. 30 per can…
Sharon (busy working on some office work she has got home): Ok
Me: You’re not even listening to me.
Sharon: I am listening while I work.
Me (in a very hurt tone): You never listen to me.

The Husband
Me (Tring Tring): Hullo. Sharon?
Sharon: Yeah.
Me: I am going out with friends for a drink or two. Don’t wait up for me. I’ll be late.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Awright. For those who actually attempted to count the number of oxymorons in the post dated March 23, there were a total of 26 oxymorons. Zat ees raight! All of twenty-six.
The list is as given below:
1. act naturally
2. find missing
3. resident aliens
4. pretty ugly
5. almost exactly
6. twelve-pound ounce cakes
7. tight slacks
8. genuine imitation
9. living dead
10. Good grief
11. silent scream
12. soft rock
13. passive aggression
14. butt head
15. terribly pleased
16. alone together
17. small crowd
18. Government organizations
19. Peace Force
20. extinct life
21. child proof
22. Synthetic natural Gas
23. plastic glasses
24. tape live
25. definite maybe
26. Now then
Most decisions in life are tough to make. But when the decision-making is clouded with love, duty, fear and guilt, it becomes all the more tougher.
My friend’s father had his second heart attack in 1994. The doctors had informed the family that he would live for around another ten years. After that, it would all be borrowed time.
The first few years passed knowing that there were more to come. And before they knew it the calendar struck ten. 2004.
My friend was crying when she asked me today whether she should return home. Her father’s been experiencing chest pain for the past two weeks. “Should I go? Should I stay? What if I never see him again? I have been away from home so long. I have not been around him. How will Mamma cope up? My older sisters are married. I should get married. At least that will be one worry off their chest. Marry someone in Dehradoon and settle down there. I have to look after the family business. Isn’t it why I got into advertising? I don’t know what to do..…What if he dies without me by his side?”
I think it is worst when you know that someone you love is going to die in a while. To know that it could happen anytime. Perhaps it is better when death comes suddenly. The shock of sudden death is the only thing that helps preserve one’s sanity.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Do you think about me as much as I think about you?

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

How come pneumonia and mnemonic are both pronounced knee-mow-(nia/nick)? Am I to blame then if I spell mnemonic as pnemonic? Sometimes I hate the English language.
I have no excuses. No reasons justifying my actions. Only that I had to do it. I am not leaving you behind. Just taking a turn into a road that leads to a different life.

Monday, April 05, 2004

I am surprised at the increasing number of live-in relationships in India. My live-in relationship happened during my post-grad years and it wasn’t something I could talk about openly. Call me a hypocrite if you will.
Like all such relationships mine happened suddenly. I didn’t even realize he had moved in till I saw him making his own comfortable hole in the corner. He was not what I had imagined the most important guy in my life would be like. He wasn’t the tall dark handsome guy every girl dreams of. And he had a moustache! I had never had a fascination for moustaches. But when it came to him, his whiskers further endeared him to me.
I grew to love him as time passed. He wasn’t very popular with my other friends. But they do say that love is blind. He was my biggest comfort. My love.
Our relationship ended as suddenly as it started. I still remember that day. I woke up in the early hours of the morning to find him chewing my hair. Yes, he was CHEWING my hair. I admit I had put oil in my hair the night before so it must have been tasty. But what the *#&@!!
That day I called the carpenter and boarded up his hole. I had learnt my lesson and how! The next time I get into a live-in relationship I will think it over a hundred times. Especially if it is with a mouse.