Friday, June 19, 2009

Life, suspended

The word "auto" never ceases to amaze me. Autorickshaw. Auto, the self, inspires a sense of freedom that one can't explain while taking any other mode of paid transport. A taxi seems very upmarket - like you would walk out of a mall holding a gazillion paperbags and wave for one. Calling it a cab is even more deprave. To be honest, when I first started calling it a cab, I just couldn't stop - "Cab" "Flag a cab" "Call a cab" etc.
An Auto on the other hand free, open, odd-wheeled and stands for that: the self, the independence.

One has broken the terms of the house arrest and ventured out in an auto. Fwee. But that was in the evening. Before that -

One little boy, in the house behind ours, refuses to get out of the shower. Squeals of protest.
One little boy, in the other house behind ours, annoys the hell out of his mother, and gets it from her. Squeals of fear.
One little boy in the house facing ours, a year and a half old, figures the doorbell out. Ting Tong Ting Tong tingtongtingtongtingtong.. Squeals of joy.
They all squeal in tandem.

One speaks to a friend, tells him about the unbearable heatwave which has claimed lives and ones brain in the process. One even manages an apology for whininess in the midst of profuse sweating.
"What's the weather like?"
"40 degrees, and it's only 10:30 am."
"That is nothing, 45 degrees here"
Okay, yours is bigger than mine. One is sorry, for having told you that one has air-conditioning at home.

Ma calls one for the nth odd meal of the day. One brilliantly stuffs themselves.

Dad calls, asks "Tell me, what's happening?"
"Breaking news: The milk got spoilt."
He changes the topic, "Is it raining?"
"Yes", one says, "Two drops fell."
"It's a sparrow crying."

One then gets back to hobnob the loverchild, the mac, which crashes for the 10th time. It perhaps rebels. One had decided to call it Macartney, but now thinks Macavity suits it better. Evil evil. Too much thought. Brain collapses under the pressure.
One then takes a break, guzzles water.

Ma uses the opportunity, the gap in one's mind, to ask if one is hungry. Considering how much she hates being even in the vicinity of the kitchen, even the question is a valiant effort.

One calls a zillion people. Or chats. Or emails. Or uses telepathy.
One speaks to another friend. He calls one a girl and a tube-light, in no necessary order of preference. That's a bad exit strategy in a conversation. One has never pretended to know all, then why is one being drowned in conversations involving undecipherable jargon, and then being judged for it? If you were that smart you would be able to explain it, instead of calling one a tube-light.

Meanwhile, one forces Ma to watch the Blue Umbrella. Halfway through, she promises never to watch another movie with Pankaj Kapur in it, if he is the one who has indeed stolen the umbrella. Fine, let's wait. She lusts after the umbrella too, "When you go to Japan.."
We are a dramatic family.

Dad calls again, with a more oddball question than ever "If a ball is thrown up in the air, when it reaches the ground what will be it's velocity?" One answers, to the best of their abilities. "And the force?" "Mass times g, no?"

It is the evening - one finds their way to a small DTP store to print five sheets of paper out. Five, no more. He prints. "This is the best I can do." Two people walk in requesting for help with download. One little gigs, two little gigs.

One flags an auto. Negotiates. Refuses. Walks off. One plays games in which noone loses. He chases, agrees. So does one.
One then rides with the wind, two little sparrows cry, dusk settles like dust.
That auto-ride smells of humus in the soil, of hope of rainfall in the air, of the little rebellion in the sky and more importantly, of all pervasive freedom.


PS: Bits of fiction.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


When life gives you lemons, make a lemonade. Or wing it right back and add lemons of your own. That is not too difficult, since lemons grow all year round. Mangoes, on the other hand, choose summers. One must suffer to enjoy the fruit. We are but slaves to the king of fruits.

I'm sitting in the middle of a heatwave. Home, and virtually under house arrest. You know snowstorms in movies - same situation, less fur. I am such a weatherwhiner. Leave me in any situation and I will complain about the weather, save for the fragile season of fall -- I'll never complain about the fall. Or mangoes.

So yes, it is 40 degrees. Clothes stick to you. Dust finds it's way to the table top. The milk gets spoilt. The kids don't play on the street. The schools are closed. I haven't written a word for two days. People have been visiting. People have been visited. I have watched enough bad movies to put me off bad movies for a lifetime. This firangi apple is getting baked. My brain is getting fried, my wit has melted. I'm just a bundle of reflexes.

Thankfully there is homefood. And mangoes.
Edited to add: Thankies to youth icon Manu for the first line.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Life, delayed.

Airports are fascinating places to observe life as it passes by. Which is what I am doing now. Now, if only I could speak my mind. The din of the drill is just blinding. My mind can't see what it wants to write.

Still - 

I walk.

A little girl stretches her legs out on a trolley. She gets a free ride. Whee. Three humans walk through the pyramid of trolleys. No, not a pyramid, but a queue. They lend direction. Whee. People walk around. Two people talk to their own left shoulders. "Sho cute no baby?", a young woman whispers into the ear of an old man, albeit loudly. "Baby"? I turn back and look, I extrapolate to fit their story as I hear snippets of a language which was once familiar.

Indulgence, temptation, reward - the ad for a credit card company screeches, blinding the one remaining sense.

Dad calls. He considers me incapable of finding my way around the hundred metres worth of distance. Fly I can, walk I can't.

Like a sniffer dog, I hunt for free wireless. Sniff sniff, I lean against the wall. Refresh. Sniff.  I give up. Packet data not available. I breathe. I discover little boxes of viagra in the makeshift pharmacy with chastity belt of a rubberband tied around them. I peer. People stare at me. Why would someone would leave their nose prints on a pharmacy window?

I read the first five and last ten pages of  a new book  in a crowded bookshop, standing, as my backpack blocks the way of everyone that walks the aisle. The ordinariness of his writing is punctuated by the "excuse me", "excuse me" of all the people who want to take the shortest route to the other famous book.  Also ordinary. Everyone wants to find the quick route to easy writing. 

In the coffee day lounge, people drink beer at 8 in the morning. In the newspaper, a Sanjeev Kapoor lookalike  finds innovative things to do with Rose syrup. Oh wait, that *is* Sanjeev Kapoor, he has shaved off his moustache. On India TV a channel finds a mega thag, someone who poses as God.  Someone switches. On another channel, Women's bill becomes a priority. Someone gesticulates.

Dad calls again. Miles to go before I sleep.

Two drunk people talk in the quiet recesses of their brain. To the outside world they are mumbling. Someone looks surreptiously at me.  I stare back. Someone judges. Do I look like a loose woman?  I look at him as he guiltily squeezes ketchup onto his potato chips.  He then licks the leftover ketchup off his fingers. 

Now, Ma calls, all nervous. "Can you find your way?", she questions.

I ask for a coffee. 
"No, just coffee." 

I put two single-serves of sugar in it. 
Indulgence, temptation, reward.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Winter of content

Cyn said my writing has subtle layers.  Needless to say, I am immensely flattered and in lust with the term. I feel this blog is suitably and fashionably dressed for winter, hiding dry flaky skin without making the subtext look fat. Warm but dirty for heater or not, it's hard to shower in winters. Noone speaks here, for the words somehow freeze as the people open their mouth to say something, and yet, in a way, it's cozy company. I know you read me. More importantly, this blog hibernates. And a lot. 

I find it intriguing how much people get trapped in their blog persona and land up making it more onedimensional than it was originally intended to be, at least the eminent bloggers do.  One could argue that the blog represents one part of their personality usually linked to the one moniker, unlike the real names which come with  baggage and history. So time after time, eminent  bloggers are forced to deliver the quality assured fun, and they eventually become petrified of failing. Sometimes you can see the effort which has gone into placing the sentences, balancing the tenses, and deleting the words over and over again till the expression is right, but then the mood becomes trite, no?

It's your ego that limits you -- "I am a famous blogger, you are not, so whatever I say has to come out right". Admit it, it occasionally could be filed under selfcentredness - "Ten people read this blog and comment. I get gazillion site hits a day. Hell, I even have trolls. Whatever I say should sound right, and should get loads of comments and people should love it".. The numbers don't give a blog the legitimacy for it's existence, it's the content.

You people are immensely talented. I don't read you because of the number of comments you get, or because you are popular or controversial. It's not your mugshot, or the curiosity about your real name. I like to read you because you have ideas, opinions and observations which are original, as opposed to link whores who would be peddling your stuff back to me. 

Seriously, I would rather read an honest post than read a famous post.  So, disable comments if it bothers you, be unafraid and write an honest post today, wouldja?
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.