Friday, December 26, 2008

This is really strange

Me having trouble getting sleep at night or being woken up by weird nightmares is no new story. But last night things decided to take a different turn. I usually don't remember what my nightmares were, let alone what they mean. My mind is blank once I wake up. But last night, I remember the last bit of my nightmare; the part just before I woke up in a cold sweat.

The nightmare/what I remember of it:
It was the usual things - violent, with blood squirting, people screaming and all that. Towards the end of the nightmare I remember telling myself to write down what just happened. Turns out that in some sub-conscious level I knew what exactly was happening. And suddenly the scenes change. I am back in my room, writing down what had just happened. I then fold the paper over and put it inside my cupboard before going to bed. After this, I wake up with a start.

Now am actually awake and feeling all weird. The clock showed that it was half past 2. I remember seeing several familiar faces being smashed and throats being slit in differnet scenes, so I decided to call up one of them and check if everything was OK. (Yes, I know it sounds silly now, but I was in a different frame of mind then) Turned out he was fast asleep, assured me nothing is wrong and asked me to try and catch some sleep. Which I eventually did.

I woke up again around 6, went through my ablutions and was about to get ready to go to work. I opened my cupboard, and strangely enough, I see a paper folded over and placed on top of my clothes.

I opened it, read it and flipped out. This is what was written, in my shabby handwriting, describing something very similar to the nightmare I had:

So, you think you have me all figured out
My choice of whiskey, the shape of my nose
When I like to shout, and when am at repose
The smell of my armpits and curve of my back
My favorite colors -- blue and lilac
You think you know me inside out,
without the least shadow of doubt

But you've missed the warning sign on my head
Telling you stories of men who are dead
Who did not listen to what was said
As they willingly came for the warmth of bed

So, you think you have me all figured out
Name, middle name, surname, nickname
bank accounts, friends, previous flames
You have it all, you proclaim
Typed out and saved under one filename
To gather, sort, file and route
After all, that's exactly for what you were cutout

I won't stop as you try in earnest
to coo and swoon me in your inflamed lust
For this is my sport, my only joy
As I watch one by one, man after boy
Walk willingly towards my burgeoning breasts
Not knowing it's their life's final sunset

Another one bites the dust
But there are still too many left
I am waiting; weaving my web of lust
Until I stumble upon the next

Now what do I make of that?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to me

It's Christmas and everyone I know are with family or friends. My plans for a quiet holiday in Shimla being canceled, I'm stuck in Hyderabad.

Thank you for all for calling me and letting me know of the absolutely great time you're having -- the oh so perfect meals and thoughtful presents, the chance memory of the old childhood joke and uncontrolled laughter till your eyes watered, the million other perfect moments that you are totally enjoying -- with family and friends.

I am just finishing up on work, writing a second post on the same day and eating cup noodles alone for dinner.

Merry Christmas to me.

Asking questions into the void - 2

Happiness is real only when you can share it with someone. Grief can usually manage on it's own. What about loneliness; at such a large scale that you don't know what to call it?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Asking questions into the void - 1

Lately, I feel so alone. I seem to be talking to myself a lot. That said, if I find someone who'll listen to me, I'd probably like to be left alone.

Sigh.

Monday, November 10, 2008

On a winter morning

Wake up to numb fingers and toes.
Stare at the ceiling for a bit
Reach out and rub your lover's back
Roll over and cuddle
Kiss.

Have the first cup of coffee together
before brushing teeth
Go back to bed.
Wake up and make love. Again.

Take an afternoon walk. Hold hands
Drop a coin for the old man by the tea shop
Smile at the little kid peeping out from the pram
Talk.

Stop by the river. Take off shoes.
Dip left toe into ice cold water
Step back. Fall into your lovers arms
Breathe.

Buy the red, heart shaped balloon.
Just like that.
Write a message and tie it to the lampost.

Stop by the corner street
Eat hot pakoras from the old lady
Slurp and lick fingers. All five.

Spend the evening cooking together
Make something new, from the recipe book
"Pressure cook for 15 minutes"
Make love before the timer goes off

Play some good music.
Read a book. Talk.
Effortlessly fall asleep.

Be wild and free,
on cold winter mornings.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wish list

Let me have the crook of your arm
Also your fingers
Give me your haunting smell and deep eyes
I want the small of your back
And the marvelous expanse of your broad chest
Your sexy ass as well
Allow me to have a few strands of your long, wavy hair
Let me keep the taste from your inner thighs
And I must absolutely have your long, patient tongue
Give me your left toe and your right elbow
The back of your neck is required as well
I'd like to have the memory of your touch,
together with your tiny bellybutton
I don't ask for too much
Just these, and whatever is left.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Polygamy is the key to a long life

Read the article

I wonder what exactly they mean by 'polygamy'. Would casual relationships count, or does it have to end up in marriage?

Cynical me

All the blessings you had counted as a child will uncover their hidden tragedies, slowly
You will continue to be alone on random rainy nights, eating without company
You will have more than your share of mourning, and no one's going to clean the mess in the morning.
your best friend too will bid adieu
your deepest fears -- they'll all come true
You won't be loved, you won't be missed
Your life will pass by, unnoticed
That's just how things will always be
And you will never be able to end this with a rhyme.

This slipped out of one of my diaries this morning, when I was frantically searching for a phone number scribbled down somewhere. It's dated 3rd August, 1998. All you who kept asking me when I turned into such a cynic --here's documental evidence for it. It's definitely been a long time.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A moment, a glimpse, or something less

The vast nameless mountains seem to echo an old tune,
along with nature's delicately sprinkled artwork of trees and rivers.
The blinding wind is blowing hard against your face, that you think
the insides of your nose are sticking together.
The rain seems to be falling with a sense of complete abandon --
the way you are smiling right now;
The sea suddenly appears, and takes your breath away
The wind, water and earth seem to be playing a symphony just for you
And just when you think everything is perfect,
the moon decides to sashay down
and brings a set of different hues along with her.
The music continues to ring in your ears,
and you decide to linger for a while longer

How easy it is to forget everything else at this moment --
numb feet, shooting back pain, overflowing inbox and fast approaching deadlines...
How wonderful it is to suddenly realize
that this is where you belong, this is for real;
That this is all there is to it,
This is you.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here. This. Now.

I like this moment. I like this time of the day when it's neither morning nor night. I like the song my player has randomly selected to play. I like the taste of coffee in my mouth. I like this moment when I can accept the fact that I'm madly in love with you. I like the effortless comfort of this moment. I like this warm feeling in my heart. I like it that all worries about family, deadlines and heartbreaks are on the other side of this moment. I won't have to live them if I could just hang in here forever. No, you don't have to wait for me. You always have such good reasons to keep going. I won't hold you back. I wish you all the best as you continue on your journey. It's just that I am really tired. Besides, I really do like this moment. Could someone turn off that clock ticking away somewhere and let my life just stay in this moment?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

After two weeks of partial starvation, I got back home this morning to find yummy dal, rice and mango pickle in the kitchen.

Little things matter so much.

You are the best, T :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

on mothers

she welcomes me with a warm embrace,
and a big clear smile on her face,
a sumptuous meal follows
and with each mouthful, the comfort grows.
after an hour's simple conversation
you know there's a rare connection.

Funny, how mothers all around the world are the same; capable of
such open, unconditional love.

(PS: The lady in the poem is Soumya's mother)

Friday, April 04, 2008

insomnia

you wake up to darkness
the clock shows its an ungodly hour.
you shuffle around. lift the empty water jug
feel the need for a warm hug.

you get up and
think of the TV remote for the briefest moment;
realize that's not the solution,
and totter your way to the kitchen

the lizard on the wall is staring at you with gleaming eyes.
was it insomnia or misery that loves company - your mind tries
to remember.

In the fridge you find rice
and sambar, on heating gives a heavenly smell
there's some curd and pickle as well
'this is going to be a good meal'-
you can hear your tummy tell.

you sit back on the sofa and stare at the ceiling
it's 3 am, and you have to get to work in five hours.
you should be cursing yourself for drinking so much coffee
but you suddenly feel very content;
you feel like you have come to the end of a journey.
there is a strange beauty in everything -
the rhythmic flapping of of curtains,
the soft whirring sound of the ceiling fan,
the random sounds that come from the depths of the night.

you measure the night between mouthfuls of rice
and watch the changing hues of the sky.
slowly the sun rises and the world wakes up,
and you feel like God witnessing it all
you come out of the naked darkness that had engulfed you,
and welcome the warm sunshine from your balcony.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

radiant mornings

waking up without the aid of any alarm,
to a soft rhythmic breathing
a delicious warmth where our skins are pressed together
clothes strewn around on the floor
sun shining through empty wine bottles
traces of your smell on my skin
the gentle heaviness of limbs

it's the perfect moment of my day
when everything is just right.

the day tumbles after that,
imperfect, dissatisfying hours of existence
lost between deadlines, newspapers and electricity bills;
but I find the meaning of life condensed in these moments of naked beauty.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Words I like

  1. bizarre
  2. kerfuffle
  3. sigh
  4. super
  5. hypergolic
  6. rigmarole
  7. nevertheless
  8. schnook
  9. depth
  10. velvet
  11. refreshing
  12. tantra
  13. jabberwocky
  14. alcove
  15. brigadoon
  16. kibitz
  17. schmuck
  18. radiance
  19. wallow
  20. pulp
  21. Quidditch

These are the first 21 that I thought of. Some of them are words I recently learned about, thanks to wordsmith. The idea to pen this down came from here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

there is always a possibility

The possibility of a fresh new start, in a new city,
of losing weight in the next two weeks,
of catching the next train to Chennai and being with him,
of the milk curdling even as its boiling promisingly,
of sudden, breathtaking rain on a hot day,
of him calling back right after hanging up the phone call,
of one more quick hug after bidding goodbye for two hours.

The possibility of sitting down tomorrow and getting that story in your head penned down,
of staying back for another day,
of being forgiven one more time,
of getting over another heart break,
of one more dumb acquaintance at the party than you had expected,
of learning 12 different languages someday.

The possibility of waking up tomorrow, and doing something wild,
of saving up enough to travel around the world,
of mastering the art of repartee,
of dying young,
of fitting into that pretty dress one of these days,
of making her the proudest mother on earth.

The possibility of going into that dream world on the other side of the mirror,
of rebuilding the sand castle over and over again,
of someone walking into the room, finding the damn remote, and changing the boring channel,
of being a millionaire someday,
of meeting that one man who would make love to my mind as well,
of marrying my best friend if I end up being 40 and single,
of speaking my mind, without holding back words, ideas or emotions,
of living two different, parallel lives in a lifetime.

There is hope to live, plenty
And an urge to enjoy bits of beauty;
In the possibility of yet another possibility-
Filled with uncertainty

Friday, March 14, 2008

my moonstone ring

7 years. I had that moonstone ring for seven years, and then I go and lose it.
I don't even know where or how I lost it; just realized that the stone had fallen out when I casually looked at my hands during rehearsals.

People say I can just get another stone fixed on to it, 'cos only the stone was lost. Technically, I still have the ring. Throw all technicality out of the window. I have lost the ring. Forever. Damn.

If I had to lose it, wish I had lost it totally. I could have watched it slip out of my finger and fall into a pit, or maybe my six year old nephew could have thrown it into the river, the way he threw my cellphone. But no, I am left with the metal caricature of the once fine and shining ring, and I don't even have the memory of my loss to mull on. Sigh.

There's a poem we had selected for a poetry reading last year. It just makes perfect sense all of a sudden; not that I ever doubted what Elizabeth Bishop had to say.

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

bits of beauty

A little feather drifting in from the car window
Someone’s clear smile on the road
Chink of wine glasses
Drawer full of new stationary
Mug of hot coffee on an early winter morn
A great photo that follows a bad shot
Short, monosyllabic conversations
The sudden discovery of a ten rupee note in my old jeans pocket
Yellow flowers blooming outside the window
The evening sun shining from between tall dirty buildings
The smell of wet earth
Twinkle of a distant star
Calling your name out for no reason
Bits of poetry slipping out from old textbooks
The smell of spicy sambar from Aanchi’s adukkala
A forgotten old tune suddenly on the lips
An old couple holding hands in the park
Colored glass bangles that always break the silence
Sudden squally rain in summer
Routine dialogue that ends up in rhyme
A smile on a sleeping baby’s face

In these moments I am most content,
When nothing is said and nothing is pent
Cos in these bits of beauty
You jog my memory.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Soorchi



I wish we didn't fight so often
wish i could take back all the mean words spoken
To me, you are the only important person
and I love you more, than you can ever imagine

Coloured bangles and bargaining at bazaars
Long nights staring at painted little stars
Fighting for the remote and jumping down amma's throat
Being one another's scapegoat
Writing notes and schoolgirl gossips in gangs
Raiding the fridge on midnight hunger pangs
Early morning chores and evening bike rides
Reading together and taking sides
Confessions of first crushes and perverted joshes
Bits of poetry and evenings splashes
by the riverside.

You have taken me from ponytails to perfumes,
from fights with pillows to stilettos
You taught me there is no right and wrong
You gave me hope, that things would get better erelong
You took care of me, made me strong

When I'm in trouble, or feel like running away
The thought of you just a phone call away makes me stay
The thought of living without you makes me shudder
I'd rather be six feet under

You may not even come across this little poem
but i had to pen it down
to tell the world you're the best; no one's on par
You are my sister superstar!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Life's like that, i say

Today I went to the passport office again, to FINALLY submit all the documents and get one of the most coveted documents in the world. After being denied the chance to even apply for it on different grounds, I had almost given up hope. US is the last country I wanted to visit, and I can assure you that I'm the one who is least kicked about flying to yankee land at the company's expense. But then again, protocol, a pesky insistent manager, an even more insistent mom, travel plans to France later this year, etc made me keep at it.

It was quite a sight to see people beg, kneel, cringe and cry in front of the officers, security guards, numerous agents, fellow applicants and whoever else was there. The mothers are ready to lick every toe and grease every palm to get their children what seems to be the most coveted document in the world. There were people everywhere, sitting on benches and broken benches, on the ground, under trees, in the shade of parked vehicles; all eagerly clutching on and squinting at the papers, muttering under their breaths, counting and recounting the shabby bunch of notes inside the envelope - as if that random person on the other side of the counter would decide their future. He would decide if their dreams would come true, if their children would find well paying jobs, if they would build their own house. This was indeed their passport to a better and promising life. If passports are so hard to get, I wonder how they go about getting visas. Sigh.

I felt sick standing there in that queue. I felt as if I was turning into someone I had never wanted to be. The system and the pointlessness of it all is choking me. Back in office, while I was looking at the mirror, something inside me just snapped. I felt like I was looking at a stranger, gone further in years than in age. I felt like a tired old woman who had missed the last bus to somewhere.

I tried to make peace with thoughts and get back to work. But parallel, yet conflicting thoughts continue to play with my sanity.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Chennai Undiluted

Filter kappi. Vengaya chutney. Beach. Nidhi. Occassional showers. Vast blue sky. Photographs. Sundal. Saravana bhavan. Ghee Dosa. College. Draping saree. People. Hostel. Birthdays. MLC. Mittu’s house. Sleeping on the floor. Beach. Sunrise. Long drives. Starlit nights. Friend. College Play. Memories. Chennai.

If only I could live all my life between the warm, cosy spaces of these words.

Five days in Chennai has done good to my cynical soul. All that this wretched city had drained out of me, Chennai generously proffered again. I was staying at a good friend’s place, and it was almost like going home to Kerala. Her mother fed me well, and always insisted on one more dosa, or another helping of thayirusadam. Best of all, I got filter kappi the moment I was out of bed.

The minute I entered college, I was greeted by friends and juniors as if I was a sister, long lost at a Kumbhmela. Although it was just a few months since I had met them last, we had so much to talk about. Lunch, candid pictures, and several hours later, we all assembled at the college grounds for our Convocation function, which turned out to be the most solemn occasion of my life.

The sun was just setting, and the sky was a brilliant orange. The wind was blowing in that cool, careless way that it does only in colleges or schools with large open grounds and big, old trees. The excited chitter-chatter slowly died away, and the combs and Kohl pencils were artfully tucked away. The speeches begin, and although you had planeed to doze off as you always did during the morning assembly, something makes you sit up and listen to the Principal’s speech. After a few minutes, you realize you are getting goosebumps. Although the chief guest’s address was really long and made no sense, the message had gone home. We were all grown up women now, with a lot of responsibility towards our family, college and country.

Later at night when I was sitting by the window and looking at the sky, I suddenly felt very grown up; very mature and old. It was like I missed out on adulthood and slipped right into middle age. Maybe it’s the monotonous work I do, or maybe it’s because I stopped writing. So I promised myself that I’m going to write more from now on. All those ideas for short shorts have been long pending. I have been sticking to my New Year’s resolution to read two books a week, and this one is going to be a slightly late addition to the list.

Watching sunrise at the beach is one of the most satisfying sights ever. Chennai wakes up at 5 in the morning (or maybe even earlier). During the auto ride to the beach, the sudden whiff of fresh coffee from a road-side shop puts a smile on your face. The beach is dotted with people who are exercising or just walking around, vendors selling this and that, the laughter club guffawing away, occasional romances and holding of sweaty palms, eve-teasers, policemen, and the list can go on. Everything is alive and there’s a joy all around.

There isn’t much to see in Hyderabad in the mornings. The cab ride to my office is quite uneventful (maybe this is because I live in the city. They say there’s a lot of local flavor if you travel away from the city. but it's no fun to go hunting for it. the beauty lies in seeing it when you're not looking for it.) All the same, I like to go to office early. I like those ten-fifteen minutes to myself before the day begins, and before the others come in, carrying the entire outside world on their shoulders. It prepares me to face all the small talk and fake conversations that punctuates my days here; it helps me spend the day per the schedule; moving from room to desk and back to room, from meeting to meals and back to the computer screen. One monotonous day that follows another identical monotonous day. Sigh.

Tara and I plan to go to Chennai every month, so that we can come back refreshed to face this depressing city. Looking at things that have happened to me in the past few weeks, it feels like a year in Hyderabad is preparing me for the rest of my life.

This is by far my most explicitly personal post, and I'm writing this between sending polite emails to dumb customers, getting documents ready for my passport, phone calls from the advocate, my mom’s phone calls @ 2 calls every hour, monosyllabic chats with a dear friend, and so on. Work beckons, and this is it for now.


(PS: No, I am not going to remove comments moderation. I enjoy reading what you all have to say from my inbox, and prefer not to share it with the world :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

For Sale

There is a sadness in me, not of grief
A haunting emptiness, with no relief
Kerfuffled thoughts, messy baggage
Not clear, regular problems that's easier to manage .
Don't want to talk and make it a conversational piece
It won't help make peace
I could cry my worries away
but still find no reason, to wake up day after dismal day.

I don't matter to that man sitting on the chair
Or that woman, combing her long, silky hair.
If I snatched her comb away, and poured my heart out
I know she wouldn't care.

The once brightly lit spaces of my heart
have reduced to dark, sullen corners.
It's up for sale, but has no takers.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tata Nano

According to the World Health Organization, New Delhi, where the incidence of respiratory diseases due to air pollution is about 12 times the national average, is one of the top ten most polluted cities in the world. While our GDP has increased 2.5 times over the past two decades, vehicular pollution has increased 8 times. The level of coarse suspended particulate matter (SPM) in air is also on the rise. And to top it all – the launch of Tata Nano, the one lakh car – realizing the dream of every Indian to own a car (so what if it’s without a/c?) Of course, it comes with promises of reduced pollution, super efficiency and all that crap.

Time to bid good-bye to that secret parking spot of yours – it will be taken. Get used to the feeling that the roads are getting narrower by the day. Start to notice that profound deterioration in air quality. Say hello to longer traffic congestions, deteriorated olfactory sensations, and the like.

At the global level, care to know what the availability of cheap cell phones resulted in? Read this. At the rate we're going, we'll get there soon, and I've a feeling that air pollution and waste management won't be our only worries.

Who reads this stuff, anyway?