Monday, December 04, 2006


So he looked up at me and said, "Are you sure he won't find out?"
I was certain. But I saw him fidgeting with the strap of my camera. It was really funny but at that exact moment I didn't like him anymore.
"It doesn't matter anyway," I said. "Let's just get out of here. The drive back is a killer."
"Yes. Yes." He said, looking up at me again.
He got up, picked up his bag and we got out of the room. I did a quick check to see if I'd left anything behind. Vinay (three boyfriends ago) had told me that I loved to leave a trace behind in case someone came looking for me.
Nikhil, the front office manager, smiled his perfectly white smile and said, "It was such a pleasure to have you over this time.”
Pleasure? We were there for exactly three days. Whatever!

Ash didn't say a word to me on our way back. He would stop intermittently at interesting locations so that I could take a few pictures and then twice more on the way for coffee and dinner.

"You shouldn't think so much you know," I told him. "It just makes matters worse."
"You don't understand Rai, I... I've got this funny feeling in my stomach."
"Ah! So now you've fallen in love with me?" I joked.
"Yeah sure, why not? That would be amusing."

It was midnight by the time we crossed Taj Fisherman's Cove. Another 30 minutes and I would be home. The roads were empty. A quick shower had bathed the streets and there were some puddles here and there. Nothing serious, just that they looked awfully pretty.
I looked at Ash. He was staring straight at the road, one hand clutched the wheel tightly and the other the gear shift.
“Pull over.”
“You heard me. Pull over.”
So he found a truckers’ lay bye and pulled over.
“I can’t leave him, Ash. I love him. Not in the way you think but I do.”
“Good for you, love. I wish you joy.”
“Stop being sarcastic. You’re terrible at it. And I thought there was no commitment here. I mean we are friends and I like you quite a bit. Hell, I like you more than most people I know.”
“Want me to send a ‘thank you’ card when we get back?”
“That’s it. You’re a fucking idiot! Drive on. Let’s just go home.”
“NO. Listen to me this time. I don’t care if you leave him or not. That’s your decision to make.”
“What do you mean it’s just my decision to make?”
“I just don’t want him to know, alright?”

I reached the apartment at almost 1:30 am. Ved was in the library, reading. He heard me come in. “Hey you! Had a good trip? Wow! You look beat. Want me to make some tea?”
I nodded and went straight into the shower.
Then at 2 am, Ved and I sat on those cushy chairs on our verandah and sipped green tea.
“I am sorry I couldn’t come, love. There was just too much work these last few days. But it’s a good thing that we still have two more days left. Let’s make the most of it…”

I want a divorce, Ved. I am in love with another man - a stupid photographer who is five years younger than me. What can I do? It just happened.

“Hey… you with me?”
I came back to the present. “Don’t worry. We’ll spend some time together. It would have been nice if you could also come you know. It was nice. I got some great pictures.”
“Let’s go to bed now. I’ll see your pictures tomorrow.”
Of course going to bed meant sex. Ved and I hadn’t had sex (with each other) for more than four days, I was sure he’d want to; and he did.

Six months later

I was sitting on my terrace… a book in hand, a bottle of wine almost finished, a candle and my favourite rug.
Aditya was in the kitchen, getting the new prawn dish he’s been experimenting with. It smelt heavenly, something that I was never going to tell him.
Each prawn looked beautiful. It had a particular shade of mustard clinging to it like a lover. The smoke from the plate danced to his tune. That’s what I loved most about him. He worshipped food and yet looked like someone who’d weigh everything before he ate it.
Putting the platter next to me, Aditya sat down, cross legged.
“Do you think we should get married?”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Why do you think I love you?”
He smiled. Took a piece of that delectable insect with a toothpick and put it in my mouth.
“I saw them today,” he whispered.
“What the…? Seriously? Where?”
“At the parking lot in front of The Ambassador. I was waiting for Junaid to meet me at Jazz by the Bay before the photo shoot.”
Interesting, said my brains. The last one year was definitely more interesting. Asking Ved for a divorce was a matter of two hours, of which, waiting for him to come back from work comprised of one. I didn’t think it would be that simple… in fact, it made me terribly suspicious.

But that’s what I had wanted for sometime and it would have been a mistake to probe further. But I wondered for a while for sure. A man who was so doting could let me go so easy.
Ash was not the reason for me wanting the divorce. I had met Aditya as a party and we realised that it was meant to be. Though we didn’t want to get married – I was tired of being married and single at the same time. We had decided to move in together.

But Ash was definitely the reason for Ved granting me the divorce…
Wasn’t a very happy discovery – I had walked in on them one day when I went back to the apartment to pick up the remaining of my stuff. Take my word for it; watching two men kissing may not be the most pleasant sight. So, we all parted our ways and the happy men were happier and I had nothing to complain. Not that I have a problem with homosexuality…I love gay men; but just not in my bed.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Something else

The chocolate melted in your hands
You stared at it - for long enough
To know the different shapes
Your fingers caused it to make

Different tastes linger on your tongue
And longer in your memory
A day without care and chores
As freedoms slides in

The water boiled just right
Tea leaves adding a pale yellow shade
A wedge of lime - with baring seeds
And golden honey lacing the rim

Its a perfect afternoon you've had
That came after much desire
No chaos, no conversations
Just a table set with the right stuff

A long stemmed pale lily danced
In an even paler vase
As the breeze tricked the drapes
And blew right in the house

Miles Davis painted a picture
Sketches of Spain to be precise
A long drawn lazy afternoon
That came after much desire

A book you picked up last month
From an old second hand store
You didn't know the author, you didn't care
It was just something you wanted to read

The almonds were crushed
And embedded in the chocolate
Bits of it were stuck in your teeth
Making you grin in secret joy

The lace on the table
Dated back a hundred years
Yellow stains were a little apparent
But it was a treasure nevertheless

The afternoon will roll over
Into a boring evening
When the blaring television will tell
Tales of crime and sex in the city

Life will move on the way it does
People will come and go as they do
The chores will return along with the chaos
Giving your nights a different dream

It's that one afternoon you got
After much prayer
That will remain ethereal
And the only object of your affection

Monday, October 30, 2006

Life is twisted.
Blind corners.
And I lack a little faith.

Darn, a collision is near.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I finally got to hear Avril Quadros' voice. Amidst a launch party of many semi-drunks and an inattentive audience, I heard Avril sing.
I felt as if I was alone... barring her manager John who was really very sweet, and I had a good time trying to figure out his scottish accent in a place where I couldn't hear myself well enough.
She is a bohemian at heart I think. Her eyes burn, she walks with confidence, and yet, she appears vulnerable.
I wonder what she is all about?
My friend's husband Chris plays with her. He is on the strings and quite decent at that. But Avril doesn't need music. She can sing in an empty world and give it melody and music and everything else.
What I found most curious is that she has released her own album in Hindi. Not that there is anything wrong with the language.. but she should be singing jazz.
Bangalore hasn't really given me much... while in Calcutta, music played a HUGE part in my life. An evening at Someplace Else, a band playing old favourites to current hits would make up for everything the city didn't have. Coming to this city, I felt very desolate, as if I was uprooted from something I couldn't let go of..

But that one evening when Avril sang, just for a few hours, I was home.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Fools like me should be lined up and shot.
We don't have a right to exist.
At least not on this planet.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Time stopped for a while. It winked at me and said, “Go do your thing. I will wait.”
And I charged forward, to grab everything in sight.
Memories, photographs, smiles, hatred…just put them all in a bag and run before the clock starts ticking again.
It was the most blissful feeling, and I loved it.
And as I drove away, I smelt the paddy fields in my head. The red earth flaming against the window and of course the incessant rain. I know it will haunt me like the spirit of a dead cat that would simply not leave the house it loved. And that same old song!These are the times I wish I could kill a song. Muffle it with a pillow and squeeze every ounce of breath out of it, or perhaps hang it by a nylon rope that will leave ugly red scars around its neck. I remembered the tiny lanterns tied together with a thick long red ribbon swaying violently against the stormy winds as he sang an obscure song.You were sitting near his feet, eyes dazed in love.I was elsewhere. The end of a cigarette burned red, white, yellow and pink. Ashes flew everywhere. It’s like a horrific painting. But it carries my inner self. Protected with a saffron scarf.
But things have changed. I stole a moment and I got out with what I wanted.
Should I be complaining?
It’s just that sometimes…only sometimes… I wished I could fly away… from the verandah of this dilapidated building.
Then, I would be free.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A bridge not too far

A small news item in a paper about how some residents at Indiranagar protested against a skywalk because it was being used for advertising purposes only really amused me.
I wondered if people actually can stoop so low for a publicity stunt like this... it doesnt even make sense.
A company such as Vantage makes skywalks, lovely gardens (and even maintains them) at their own cost.
Their whole idea is that people should learn to appreciate the city they live.
And at the end of the day what they get is a nutcase thinking that the skywalk is being used for advertising purposes.
A reality check: A skywalk can easily cost up to a crore for construction. An advertising hoarding on it doesn't give the company more than 20,000 rupees a month. Just how much time does it take to let that 20K touch the crore?
Don't people realise that?

Kids, senior citizens, youngsters are dying almost every week just by trying to cross the road.
Some stupid driver thinks he's too smart and runs them over, or the victim itself tries to cross the road exactly when a vehicle in close by. How much time does he save?
Probably a whole lot of it, because after dying he doesn't really need the time allotted to him for anything.

I am a little disgusted.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Some day its all going to end you know...
The last flight of steps will be over,
And you will have come home.

All the fights you wanted to win,
Will fade away in history.
And so will your victories and failures.

No one will ask after you anymore,
Some just might remember
A lost memory or smile here and there.

You won't have time to regress
Or take a few last minute decisions...
So, what have you been doing lately?

Monday, August 28, 2006

I dont want this

I don't want this.
I don't want the dream,
the reality or even the promise.
I dont want any hopes..
first hand or left over.

I don't want this life.
I don't want any love.
I don't want the money.
I don't need the job.
Just let me run free.

I dont want to see.
Or hear, taste
Or even smell...
Just let me lie under
And rot beneath the ground.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

remote control dream

I was writing about this to a friend this morning... and then thought, hey, maybe a few more people could find out... hence this post.

One famous news channel - uhmm... lets call it "Born on regular indian network goofup' (B.O.R.I.N.G) - wanted to go around the city and ask people what they think of Bangalore. They also wanted to know people's opinion on what they expect Bangalore to be a few years down the line...
A very aggressive campaign... and conducted in a very slick fashion.
They also want to promote their particular programme on print. So, they pay the newspaper the channel itself belongs it.. and asks for a story.

Story approved.

Therefore, this so called journalist goes to a spot where they are interviewing people and takes a few pictures.
B.O.R.I.N.G had also requested this journo to organise some well known (read: page 3) people of the society who would be willing to come in front of the camera and speak.
Well known people didnt happen.

What happened was about 3-4 smart college kids... who live in the city, hang out here, go to study here, understand what's troubling the city, to come and give their opinion.

But B.O.R.I.N.G doesn't want them... Cos they look young, and they dont look like they live in the city (this is very enlightening actually.. i didn't know that you could look like you lived in a particular city). So the journo interviewed a man who in not from Bangalore (has been here about a year), another girl who was wearing a long Indian print skirt and dangling earrings (that made her look like a local?) and couldn't stop giggling.

This story gave me the bigger picture:

At the end of the day whether a television channel promises truth of a lifetime or not, they are still competing against the TRP ratings of a "Kahaani ghar ghar ki" or whatever soap opera comes on TV.
Therefore, news channels (especially Indian ones and even a few international channels) have to make sure their news readers look better than a Pallavi or Parvati or Pinky or Priyanka on TV.
They have to make sure there is more scoop and gossip than there's on the soap.
They have to make sure that if people watch soap operas, it has to be theirs.

So, what we see is not news...
What we see is the glorified version of a piece of information that could or could not make a difference in our lives... But now that we have seen their dramatised version... a few sleepless nights might occur.

Eventually, that's what they want!

Monday, August 07, 2006

I have walked

I have walked the shadows of my past
And lived through every strife
Some forgotten, some I still carry
Through these dungeons of life.

I have met people aplenty
Fallen in love, cried in shame
Guilt has overtaken me
And left me to hurt again.

It’s been a curious game
Sometimes easy, sometimes weird
Seen the dance through pearls of rain
And traced the melancholy of the birds.

Twisted memories, reckless laughter
Wet kisses and an endless fall
I have woken up to nothing
And yet to find it all.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How bizarre

I have never known such a passionate kiss. It made me weak in the knees and brought some old butterflies back. A kiss that was demanding yet amateur, hungry yet shy; a kiss that blew my mind.
I have never known touch so closely. It broke my heart. It walked straight through by body and pierced it.
I have never known anything like this.

We don’t share a relationship. I have shared the rain with him, a walk with him, pasta with him… I have talked to him incessantly without wondering whether he gets me or not. I have brought back the old me just for one single moment.

Honestly, I cannot explain what we share. I don’t know him and yet I know him completely. I have never found time to discover him and yet, with each passing day he reveals himself.
It’s not love; that I’m certain of.
Maybe just a frantic search for something we can’t have. Or can we?
The question remains.

He will never read this. That’s the beauty of it. He doesn’t have to. He doesn’t need to. He lives in his world of charm and aspirations where I strive to achieve something that I cannot have; a piece of his life for me to have.

My friends think I am a hopeless romantic. For me love is something that walks through my door too many times a day. Not true. I just like being in love, for the shortest of time or longest of moments. And that’s what keeps me going. Slight pain can cause a stir, a touch – a storm.
That’s what I live for… an everlasting shift of emotions to take over me.
That’s what I live for…eternity from the simple joys of life.

I know he will never read this… but someday I hope he knows what I am talking about.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fakin' it

I hate it when you fake love.
I mean we could be friends
We could have sex
But where did this love come from?

Did I say or do something?
That made you think I loved you?
A whimper, a caress? I just don’t get it.
Then why make me love you?

Then I see the same words
That you share with others.
God fucking knows what else,
It’s quite a depressing thing you know.

Okay, so we did have a good time.
I did kiss you till my head buzzed,
And dreamt of you every single night,
And swore to ‘cherish you forever’ and all that.

You’re ugly, you’re despicable and you’re fat.
There’s nothing to you that I really want.
I wish I could strangle you.
At least, then you can’t fake love.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What’s so special about the way I survive?

What's so special about the way I survive?
It's just a mundane job... from one act to the other.
A fake smile goes a long way, a dollar even further.
A small lie wins me lovers, an empty praise, friends.

I haven’t made many promises, broken even less.
I have lied, I have pretended to love, smile, cry.
I have watered plants, watched them grow.
I have killed them with my hands.

I have lost many thoughts in the sea of words
I have stood before the sun, and drunk its orange poison
I have hidden under the stars when there was nowhere else to go.
I have jumped over the moon and reached a new dimension.

So, what’s so special about the way I survive?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Liberation - Concluding Part

We are the Mukherjees. We lived in a four-story mansion in north Calcutta. Generations before us have been lawyers and doctors and scientists and everyone knew about us. We commanded respect and no son or daughter of the family has done anything to go against the values that have been set aside especially for them, with two brilliant exceptions, of course.
My father is a painter. My grandfather had thrown him out of the house when he voiced his desire to become an artist by profession. Granddad tried reasoning with him in the beginning.
"Why can't you study law and paint on the side, like a hobby? Why do you have to jeopardise what we have built? Why can't you be normal?"
My father, I hear, had kept quiet because he knew that no reason would satisfy his father and left quietly when he was ordered to do so.
With the help of his friends, he found a job as a designer with an advertising agency. There were no computers in those days and artists who could swallow their pride and actually surrender to commercial work were welcomed with open arms. He did pretty well actually. In the next five years, he got in touch with twenty writers, designers, sales people and opened his own advertising agency with an account for a hair oil given to him by a friend who worked for the company. In another year's time, my father and his agency had six major clients and ten other clients who worked with them intermittently. He bought an apartment in south Calcutta and began living there.
Seven years after being thrown out of his house, his father came to him, saw what his son had achieved for himself and begged him to return. My father didn't have any issues on that but he never sold the south Calcutta flat. He knew that property wouldn't be easy to come by later.
He was married to my mother in 1970 when he was 30 and my mother was 19. My father was extremely annoyed that his parents would fix his marriage with someone young enough to be his sister, but they were persistent. My father was told that my mother was extremely good at running a home and would bring about a balance in his otherwise maddening life. I think my father had married ma pretty much reluctantly. I was born after seven years of their marriage. My father wanted my mother to finish her education (which she never did!) and not produce babies within a year of marriage.
I was a rebel child. I wore shorts and rode bicycles. I learnt how to fix the car and climb trees. I learnt how to knit, stitch, cook, paint, dance, sing, swim, play tennis, and ride horses and so on and so forth. My father didn't want another child and so he brought me up to be a boy and a girl at the same time. I was his pride factor. He named me Mrinalini, after his mother as I was supposed to have taken after her. It was my mother who called me Rashmi because she thought my formal name was too long.
I finished my graduation in English literature and continued in Linguistics at the master's level, much to my mother's horror and father's delight. Soon, my mother began to look for eligible bachelors for me and my father would discourage it all the time. I knew that if I wanted to escape the matchmaking acts then I would have to escape quickly. But till then, I was stuck. My degree was another year away. I had fallen in love for the first time when I was 15. He was my neighbour. Aditya played the flute and wrote love poems all the time. We had met during a local celebration and were together from that moment on. I would sneak out on Saturday afternoons when my mother would be asleep and go over to meet him. We would hold hands and talk about the future. It was rather silly, when I think of it now, but there was a major learning that lay underneath it all.
Aditya and I managed to get away on a Sunday (I still don't know how!) and for the first time, we had sex in a farmhouse that belonged to his family. I was eighteen. Sometimes, I wonder what my mother would do if she found out that her precious and eligible daughter was not a virgin anymore. She would probably hang herself. It's a risk I haven't taken yet.
It was after my high school that Aditya went away to Bombay for his graduation. We used to write to each other all the time. The Internet was our best friend. But it lasted only for a few months. The frequency of mails reduced and soon there wasn't much to write about either.
Both of us were busy with new friends and our new lives. College changed everything and I was swept away by all that. I also saw a few other guys casually and slowly began to grow out of my teenage romance. I think Aditya and I stopped corresponding altogether when I was in my second year of college. Later he wrote to me telling me that he was leaving for London to finish his studies in neurology. It didn't hurt me much but it was sad to say good-bye to a part of life you want to cherish forever.
Sometimes, I still wonder. When my mother talks about a 'nice' boy for me, I wonder if she would ever, by chance, of course, fix me up with Aditya. We were neighbours after all. The irony of it would be that I don't think I could accept being with him. Things were different then.

My thoughts were broken when I heard my father's car moving into the driveway. He had returned from his golf match and that meant lunch would be served soon. I looked at the watch and saw it was almost 2. Thinking sure helps time to fly. I ran down and met my father. He looked happy, must have had a good game. Lunch was served at 2:30. I noticed two of my aunts had decided not to stay for lunch.
After lunch, my father came up to me and said, "Can you come to the library after you have helped your mom to clean up?"
I wondered what my father wanted to talk to me about. I was a little scared, to be honest. It wasn't everyday that my father wanted to speak to me in private. After I had helped ma put away the dishes, I went up to the library.
My father was sitting on his favourite armchair with some papers in his hand. He heard me come in, so he looked up and said, "Sit. This is important."
"What is it, baba? Something wrong?"
I was too nervous to ask him anything specific.
"Mrinalini, you are no longer a child. I see you growing up everyday. And each day you make me proud. I don?t know if there is anything else I can expect from a son or a daughter. But there must be something that you would want to do for yourself as well. I have never asked you what you wanted because I wanted you to find it for yourself. I cannot imagine you as just someone's wife three or four years down the line. Therefore, I am going to let you go. I want you to go out into the world and make your place. You don't have to do it the way I did but I am sure you will find some way or the other. I don't want to be like my father who had to throw me out because we didn?t see eye to eye. Whatever happens, I will always see eye to eye with you."
With that my father settled all the papers he had on his lap and gave them to me. Along with that he gave me a key. Tears had welled up in my eyes. I couldn?t see what the papers read, I only wanted to hug my father tight and cry. The papers were a part of the property that he was signing over to me. And the key was to his flat that he had so preciously maintained for so long.

No more words were said. I took everything he gave me and went to my room.
Somewhere in the middle of the night I realized that it was liberation day for me. My father had given me the wings I dreamt for so long but was too afraid to ask for. I could take my first unquestioned step into the world.
I moved out two weeks later. My mother cried like a newborn baby and my father proudly drove me to my new home. He didn?t come up.
At the gate before bidding me farewell, he hugged me and told me, "I never wanted another child because when I saw you the first time, I knew that you were all I wanted."

Liberation - Part I

I heard my mother calling for me as soon as I walked into the house. I responded, sighed and went to my room to take a bath.
It was a Sunday and on Sundays our house was a lunatic asylum. It was always bustling with activity and we barely managed some breathing space. I remember seeing faces of relatives I had never heard of, visited or saw again pouring in every weekend.
My mother often would say that it was my father who attracted our relatives from all over. I never really got around appreciating it much. And the best part of it was that my father disappeared every Sunday morning to play golf before these people came and returned only for lunch.
Living in a city has its disadvantages. One grows up with liberal ideas and it is difficult to understand the mind of someone who cannot imagine that a girl can stay unmarried even at the age of 22. I rarely got involved in these kind of issues which were the usual 'hot topics of discussion' when my aunt seventeen times removed would ask my mother if she was looking for a 'nice' boy for me.
I counted five heads by the time I reached my room. Today was going to be a killer. I probably won't even have time to complete my assignments. Damn, I would have to stay up late again tonight. My bath had to be over in five minutes because I heard my younger cousin coming into the room and knocking on my bathroom door. I told her I would be out in a second, and when I came out, I saw her poking around my jewellery box. "How many times have I told you not to touch my things, Meenu? It?s really annoying, you know." "Sorry didi, I was only looking."
And with that she left me to get dressed.
One of these days, I am going to strangle the girl. And if I cannot muster enough courage, I am going to take her to the terrace and lock her there for a couple of hours. She gets on my nerves all the time.
"R... A... S... H... M... I!"
And I really wish my mom wouldn't holler like that all the time.
"Be there in a minute, ma," I yelled back; serves her right. She has always told me that girls from decent families never shouted. As soon as I went down, my mother called me into the kitchen."You need help or what?" I asked.
I had made her promise last week that she wouldn't make me cook when those annoying aunts and sisters and grand-some-things were around. She had this horrible tendency of using my culinary talents to show off.
"Please dear, just for today. I am making five different dishes. How will I ever cook lunch in time, you tell me?"
"You are making five dishes for breakfast?!? Are you out of your mind? Why can't you make something simple, ma? I just don?t understand you."
"You will understand all of this when you get married. Then you have to keep so many people happy. At that time, one course, even if it's breakfast, will not do."
"I hope you aren?t planning to get me married to the Maharajah of Jaipur." With that I sat down to help her.
"You know, Rashmi, Mrs. Sen was asking about you the other day. She was saying that her nephew who is a software engineer in the US is planning to get married. I told her that you cannot even think of it till you finish your masters, but she said that maybe you people could meet when he comes down for Christmas. What do you think?"
"I think that you better concentrate on your curry if you want to serve these people a decent meal in a decent time. And if you talk about my marriage again, especially with me, I will run away and marry some useless actor from the local city film studio."
"Dear God, what nonsense are you talking about? Your father and I will have no respect left. We will have to hide our faces in shame. What will people think? Mr. Mukherjee?s daughter married a vagabond. Tell me now, Rashmi, are you seeing any boy of that kind?"
"MOTHER... If you want my help, then do something about it. I cannot have you spoil my cooking. And I asked you to give me three onions, not two." That was the end of the conversation.
For the moment, at least.
I knew, of course, that my mother had already pictured me walking hand in hand with a ruffian and romancing near the lakes. God! When will mothers change a bit?
Breakfast was served exactly at 9:30 and went on for an hour. Aunt A had to tell my mom about Uncle C's daughter who didn't do well in her graduation exams and how Grand Uncle D was very unhappy about Aunt F's son who wanted to marry a girl outside their caste. I was, of course, thinking where I could buy some rat poison easily.
Suddenly, Meenu asks this ridiculous question. "Didi, don't you have a boyfriend? Ayesha told me she saw you with a tall boy outside New Empire the other day and you were smiling and talking to each other."
Silence. For ten whole seconds. Then I heard thunder and lightning and then it began to pour.
"Rashmi, what is this that I am hearing? When did you go to New Empire? And who is this boy? Oh my god! What has become of my daughter? Will she never learn? I teach her all this. Give her a good education, let her go out alone, even allow her to wear western clothes. And this is what she does to me?"
Five gallons of tears poured out incessantly.
"When did Ayesha see me, Meenu? Ask her and come back. I never miss classes. So it is almost impossible for me to be standing in front of New Empire. And I don?t have any 'boy friend', Meenu. I am too old to engage myself in such trivialities. And mother, if you cry anymore without knowing the truth, I will have no choice but to stop speaking to you. So please don't force me."
That did shut my mother up. For whatever be her disappointments with me, she knew that I didn't take my education lightly and wouldn't even dream of wasting my time when I had classes to attend. I also kept myself busy with various activities and haven't been involved in romance per se in a long time. What happened before is a different story altogether.

For Adrianne

Dear girl, you have smiled at me for no reason.
And I have smiled back, reading your mind.
You held my large working hands and
Clasped them with your tiny digits,
Giving me faith, hope and courage with each passing day.

With every bit of heartbreak followed an embrace
Acceptance without an explanation.
You let me cry without asking questions
Yet you didn't let my heart bleed dry.

I am not amongst the stars as you were told
Those fairy tales are not for you.
I am everywhere, inside, outside, over and above
The grey skies; watching you, holding you
Showing you a life that will not let you give up.

Unavoidable Circumstances

There is no escape, he whispered.
He crawled out of the bed and trudged to the bathroom. It's going to be a long day today and an even longer night.
She hadn't taken his call. He hadn't wondered why.
It's more like a routine anyway.
Drenched in sweat, sprawled across the bed, she would probably be watching her partner from last night break out of sleep. And she would be wondering if he is the one.
It's the same story from which there is no escape.
He bathed and dressed like every day. Like everyday he took his car out and checked for petrol. And like everyday, he grumbled about the traffic as he drove to work. And like every day, he idled away his time thinking of her.
He imagined her before him, under him, above him.
He thought of the only time she came close to kissing him; the only time he was allowed to touch her.
He thought of the only time his brain exploded when he left her place for the last time.
And like everyday, she lay alone on the bed, staring at the ceiling and wondering if it was the right shade of white. And like every other day, tears were rolling down her face as the man she just had sex with forgot to kiss her goodbye. And her heart broke like fragile china as she knew she would never see him again.
And like everyday, she got up, cleaned up and drowned herself in work.
Memories from a distant past were erased. At least, for the time being.
Two faces. Two names. Same city.
A cringing pain. An unsolicited failure.
A relationship ending because it had no time to begin.
A pathetic illusion from which there is no light.
A song which has no tune or verse.
A life from which there is no escape.

Learning to be domesticated

I have been waiting for a while now
Giving you looks thats not hard to understand,
Wanted to make love while the morning was young
And then the phone rang;
Your mother had dozens of things to say
Some stranger wanted a wrong address
In the meanwhile, the milkman came
With bills i dont really care about.
The rent is due sometime today
The cable guy needs to be paid
My cook needs instructions for breakfast
How does one steal a moment here?
A lot of paperwork to be done
Calls that need to be returned
Its funny when this side of the bargain
Is invisible when you decide for life.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The better deal

A was reading all the mails... she was crying.. quite shamelessly. B was in the next room. God knows what he was thinking.
A came out of the room and told him what she had done...What she didn't do was walk out of his life...
Maybe because they were in a different city. But it was her city.
B sat... no explanations... just some words that appeared to be Hebrew to her.

Where did C come from? And mostly, Why? Why did she know every little detail about their life... Why did she know when A came home, how she behaved etc? Why did she think she could be friends with A at some point of time?
Friendships don't come cheap or free.

There was no more dignity left, no more pride...
And B thought it was okay.. something that would pass over them..
Well, to hell with it. Life is not about dependancy.. It's about working together.. and various other things people tell us all our lives.

A didn't really have a social life. She went to work... worked...Came back home.. mostly late. Sometimes, she would catch a movie with her girlfriend.

Was she ignoring B? She didn't know that. But B wanted more attention... Fair enough..He found that attention from someone else.. Apparently, C managed to give him more time (on the phone and email of course!) even though she had a crazy work schedule and a child and a husband.

Looking for something that is beyond the ordinary explanations of life... That's what A read in one of the e-mails.. not the exact words.. something like that.

So, A and B fought with each other. B wanted to work things out (how do these things work anyway?) and A wanted to kill him.
B promised her stuff. A didn't believe him.. not after this...

Marriages failed every day.... That day, a long, thin, invisible crack appeared in theirs... And like most old houses, it will continue to be there till one of them decide to sell it off and move on.

A needs more answers.. but no one is offering her any because she 'doesn't need to know.' Fair enough, one day B wouldn't need to know either.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

From nothing to nothing

I have been waiting a long while for the right moment to start my book. My mind offered many excuses to delay the inevitable.
And then 2 things happened; a friend passed away and I went on a cruise.
Two completely unrelated events changed my life.
I want to talk about the cruise first.
It was arranged by my company and the whole team went from Bombay to Cochin to Goa to Bombay.
We had a lot of fun and learnt a lot about each other on the ship. In a way it was very enlightening.
And then one night, at 2:00 in the morning, I stood on the top most deck of the ship. I looked down and saw the waves break into foam against the ship, I saw the wake that we were leaving behind... and around me the dark, black ocean.
I realised how small we really are against the vastness of the water, how our existence is inconsequential... I realised that we are nothing. This life is nothing... whatever we make of it, or don't make of it, at the end of the day, we are just memories that wait to fade into time.

Coming to my friend:
Anu was my sister's age. Bright, pretty and full of life. That is how everyone described her.
What I noticed only after she died was her passion. She was a journalist and at her memorial, her friends and family put up some of her work on a soft board. I read some of it. It exuded a lot of her will power, strength and love for whatever she ventured into.
And then one fine day, she died.
I learnt that there is no point in waiting for tomorrow.
There is no point in waiting for something to happen.
We have to do everything right now.
That's the key word 'now'.

So, I have started writing again. Am not going to wait for that perfect moment, cos the perfect moment is right here.
Right Now.

Monday, January 30, 2006

House Hunting

The dreaded moment is not far away... a few months to be precise...

Rajesh and I have to move out of the flat we had been renting for about 8 months now... (but we did it up so well!)
Of course, the owner doesn't have a choice in the matter.. he is not evicting us.. just coming back to the country...

So, we decided to buy... at least if we keep the EMIs going, no one's going to throw us out (or can they?)

Buying a home in Bangalore is like shoving a hand into sand and looking for that perfect shell.. your fingers get dirty along with your clothes, feet etc... you might find despicable objects leaving traces on your hands and if you're lucky, some sort of insect will try and make friends with you...

So you come back the next day and try digging somewhere else... same story...different day...
Maybe, if you hold on to your hopes, you will find that dream home... (I wonder if that word exists though)

In the last 2 days, we have seen three apartments.. None of them were bad actually.. except the first flat had an excuse of a kitchen; more like a phone booth really.
The second one was quite nice except for the fact that it had a large dumping yard in front of it.. the funny thing is that this flat is most expensive.. I still haven't been able to figure out why... the location isn't exactly the best...
The third was quite a curious apartment.. it has hospital tiles all over.. is cheap... not bad.. except that owner wants a part in cash.. up front..
Okay then, we don't really belong to the 'oh yeah, cash no problem' category...

Does it sound like I'm complaining... am not.. Just thought it to be a very interesting experience...

A couple of tips to those looking for a house:

1. Don't wear great clothes.. Brokers (if you are using one) think you have a lot of money if you are dressed well.
2. Don't ever comment on the cost of the flat.. even if you like the price.
3. Don't look happy to see something you like. Keep a poker straight face.. in fact, find some fault if you can.
4. Look out of the window and see if you can touch the next building's wall with your hands... if you can, move on. You don't want neighbours to be that close.
5. Make sure you can turn around, brush your teeth, change your clothes in the bathroom without bumping in to the wall or door.

That should help.. in a way...

And see at least 5 to 6 homes before you decide...