Sunday, December 09, 2007
"Why don't you condition your hair.. and maybe style in with some Lorenza?", she said.
She also suggested, with utmost tact, some other very highly scientific procedures and path breaking technological breakthroughs that could make me look beautiful.
I had another idea. What if I shaved my head?
Generally, it is accepted that you live in the depths of you... a dimensionless centre between your face and the back of your head. The rest of the body is inconsequential to the person you are. The individuality you claim to own.
I'd think, then, that the 'who you are' is divided into you and your body.
I would love to believe that the centre of power, the nucleus of my self is that point between my eyes and the back of my skull. I live up there, I am the master of that gory space within. The dreams are mine, the nightmares are mine. Even reality is in my custody.
From this focal point, is supposed to stem a skull that grows dead cells for hair, something I've no control over, and shoots down below my throne, a neck that branches to limbs and an inconsiderate torso that collects fat in noticeable areas.
My body fails to recognize this monarchy. What's worse, the world seems to accept that my 'who you are' is not headed by me.
It's headed by my hair.
Providence has, from its basket of talent, skill and ecentricities, endowed me with a skull lushly planted with undisciplined hair with the character of vagabonds. That seems to be my quota. For ever since I can remember, my identity has been my hair. The rest of me, the core that is me, has been proved borderline non- existant. So much so, that my name registered synonymous with hair. I was synonymous with hair.
My ambition, as a child, was simple. My parents, like most South Indian parents, wanted me to be an engineer. My best friend wanted to be a fashion designer. My dog wanted to be fed. I wanted to be invisible.
That's all. Invisible. To be never talked of, heard of and cried upon. But that's what I wanted. What my hair wanted was different.
As children, we are subject to many sadistic decisions of those who control the world.
Like the rule in school that said girls with hair that touches their shoulders must have it braided. On either sides. With a blue ribbon. Like a disfigured piglet with long ears, only uglier.
My mother would begin to plait my hair every morning with a vengeance for maternal exploitation. She'd seperate each lock of the rebellion on my head like they were fighting back. Occasionally, a grunt escaped her nose as she wiped the bead of sweat on her temple while she was at it.
Such were my days, when I walked to my bus stop with TIGHT braids on either side of my ears, blood vessels popping up either side of my forehead.
"Here's Bushy!", I'd occasionally pretend to not hear, and stand alone in a corner waiting for the big yellow monster # 12 to turn up and carry thirteen other of us younglings to the school.
One day, my mother took me to a saloon. Unaccustomed to such sudden outings, I gleefully danced around her as we swam into the bright parlor.
"Hair cut for her." I heard my mother say as she pointed at my hair. Not me, mind you, at my hair.
The lady smiled. I can't remember her face now, but I remember the smile. It was thick and false from end to end. I decided we didn't like each other.
As I stared into the mirror, I realised, for the first time, that there was nothing about me that one could register for a face. Sure, I had eyes, and a nose and big ears, but so did my dog. The only thing about me that threw a party was my hair! It was now open and restless, standing in the air like it cared two hoots about the science of gravity. As I looked in the mirror, I saw my jet black character posing wildly over my head.
In shock, I looked to the floor. The witch had cut my hair! It lay on the ground, some strands still at ninety degrees, even in death they wouldn't budge. I looked in the mirror again and flung a look at my mother, who sighed in relief of the thought that the next morning was free from the torture of combing.
I looked into the mirror again, and saw myself, my self, deviod of its leader. And then, I burst into tears. Crying and shouting, I sunk into the vastness of my chair and covered my face because there was no hair to hide it.
"What are you crying for? You look nice!"
I yelled in some barbaric dialect and ran out of the parlor, into the streets, into the world, leaderless, with no identity. No name synonymous with anything anymore. I was a speck. A matchstick with no phosporous. And then, I realised.
I was finally invisible.
Years have passed since that evening on the road where I cried in shame of the coup on my life. Years later, I've gathered more knowledge and useless information about life and the soul, and I'd like to believe I have a well defined 'who you are' now. But with me, so has grown my hair, something I still have no control over, niether in growth nor in behavior.
"So let's go tomorrow, then. I know a great place! And they specialize... in hair... like... yours..." My friend added, beaming helpfully.
I touched my head and pricked a finger. A couple of strands stood in victory of their retaliation, still painfully displaced from their rightful places on my scalp. The leader was still my hair. The nucleus of power beneath it squirmed in denial.
"I think I'll pass."
Friday, October 26, 2007
With big wooden windows and thin flowery walls.
The outsides were open to children with free will
And the insides opened to pretty blue dolls.
On holidays, the children messed our hair and kissed us and dressed us with new blue suits.
And on days their mothers fed them milk, cookies and guilt, they drowned us with laughter in the nude.
We once lived in a big blue doll-house
Which was passed from Granny to Mama to the little girl in white
And each lived with us in the day
And left us alone in the dark by night.
We loved them all, Granny, Mama and little girl and we let them love us in their own way.
But one day, Mama decided that the little girl didn't do much but play.
We didn't understand their language much
Words are harder to understand than love.
But easier than all, is to feel hurt
As we felt, when our home came crashing down.
In a big brown box, they threw the home they broke.
The big blue windows, flowery walls and all.
And with our home they threw us in,
The ones they loved, their pretty blue dolls.
When they closed the lid, we cried in fright
We cried in fear of a never ending night.
They put our box on the roof to burn
Did we melt of anger or was it the sun?
We died for them, but they never thought us alive
Did they remember the love when they left us to die?
Did they ever remember how they dressed us and kissed us?
Did they ever hear our tears and cries?
Did they ever buy a new blue doll-house -
With blue pretty dolls in ribbons on chairs?
Did they dress their new toys in new blue suits
And drown them, laughing, naked and bare?
Do little girls in white always forget to love
When they grow into Grannies and Mamas too soon?
Do they always serve milk and cookies and guilt
So old pretty dolls can burn on the roof?
Saturday, October 20, 2007
His heart is darker than the coal in his eyes.
I've decided he can never be my friend
He has far too many ghastly stories to tell.
When I pass his streets I am filled with vengeance
For the future murders he must contemplate
I can see slit throats and bloody bodies all over
his dirty and brightly colored neighborhood.
A cold shadow, my canopy, and his eyes meet mine.
Fragments of anger and chunks of fear, a shiver runs up my spine.
"What have I done that you hate me so?" his innocent eyes lie.
In silence I answer, my eyes search for his guns or his knife.
"You rape, you kill! You're a maniac, a fanatic!"
I scream in an after thought of impulse.
"You're a murderer, a lunatic, a disgrace to mankind! -
A mad man, if you will!"
He watches me in silence as my eyes begin to boil.
Till they boil and boil and boil and boil and
the froth of my hatred spills.
"You shouldn't be alive," I say, "each of you must die."
He nods and turns around and I can read his mind.
"You're a terrorist!" I shout, words he left behind.
But as he walks a defeated trail, I hear a wordless cry.
"You're as much a terrorist as me, maybe better than I."
Saturday, September 29, 2007
"Why didn't you call?"
" Was out."
"Where have you been???"
"Why aren't you talking to me these days?"
Silence. It seems the safest option when you've nothing more to add. Silence is also a little like guerilla warfare. Unbeatable, unless the enemy can camaflouge himself like you do.
"You've no time for me." *Sob*
I 'Tch-ed' for a bit as I got back to reading an article on the net with the phone heating my ear lobe. The voice on the other end rattled, whined and ached.
I seemed to myself at this moment like the burly, insensitive cheat in a striped t-shirt and old jeans that most beautiful and bruised women curse, hate and condole each other about in support groups before going home to make love to the beast.
Only, the beautiful bruised woman wasn't my girlfriend.
"Talk to me, Rae!"
"I just spoke to you half an hour back, Ma!"
We have the equations of a romantic relationship, my mother and I.
If my mother was my boyfriend, I'd probably ask her for a break.
I can imagine it.
"Why! Why are you doing this?! Why don't you talk to me?! There's.. someone else, isn't it?
That Karishma's mother! I knew it the day you told me she makes biryani like me!"
I don't get it, honestly. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I love my mom, its a biological liability. But I wonder, since everyone tells me that motherhood is as much pleasure as it is pain, why love is, in the most basic, instinctive of forms so painful.
I try to look at her as another person, a third dimension to herself besides her being mother and wife.
She is a woman. A woman who loves so much, it hurts. It amazes me how I'm so much like her, but fail to understand her need to love, her need to pain.
Thanks for nothing, Tolstoy.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Another owns a little tiled shelter that holds the rain when it comes.
Someone else descibes how beautiful it is to bask in her day and her night
But I haven't quite understood how, because none have ever been mine.
A friend showed me his eyes and in them, how he kept the snow.
He complained that now, because that's where he kept it, his eyes had grown cold.
Another was irritated that he couldn't keep watch over his sea.
But I haven't quite understood how, because none ever belonged to me.
I met a stranger then, one night, whose God listened when he prayed.
And then another on another night who kissed his memories away.
I smiled at them and bade them luck, but my pretense showed
Because I haven't quite understood how because I've never really known.
Someone loves his own voice and loves someone else's song.
Someone cried with all her hatred all her life long.
Someone else's rebellion spilt on someone else's throne,
But I don't quite understand, you see, I've never really owned.
I would like to know, I would, but I don't know how it could be
To own the sun and the stars, the snow, the memories and the sea.
I wonder how it is to feel to have a home with a little blue window
But I don't quite know that feeling yet, I've never really been home.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I’ve made many a discovery over the past few weeks. They’re either the result of my superior intelligence or of excruciating boredom.
The product of whatever, my recent learnings will stay with me awhile till I gain more from my pointless ponderings.
They (*‘They’ here being me and whoever else will say it next) say that intellect and idleness guard either sides of enlightenment. When you thieve through both barriers, you achieve bouddha. You bathe in the torrents of the waters these banks give shape to.
You attain Salvation Light, a mild attack of moksha.
My guruism came to me when I least expected it, in the dark of the night, while I bolted the main door before I retired to bed. That was my meditation, my single focus – the lock on the front door.
That’s when it struck me. The whole world, the segregations, the living, the dead, second life, every way we’ve tried to tame and learn, contain her.. they’ve all been pointless!
I’d cracked it! The world.. the universe, the multiverses, time, space, time-space!
The world is divided into two parts.
The one you’re inside, and whatever is outside it.
You’re not excited. Let me explain.
It was when I came home. I saw my neighbour, the kind man who brought me food when I was sick and whose wife offered to let me watch T.V in her house. There was kindness and trust outside, there was temporary company and temporary love outside. Then, I walked to my door.
When I opened it, I walked in to a dark, musty room smelling dimly of fungi. I thought awhile before the lights came on to crush any larger than life for his own good cockroach that tried to run past me. There was the dark inside, heavy sighs inside, silent, angry prayers inside. There was a chunk of old loneliness and self-talking inside.
When I shut the door and bolted that lock, I was in a new zone, a z + 1 axis. There was no night any more, no light anymore, no friendly neighbour, no terror attack fright, no civil war over water, no global warming, no consumer research, no independence day anymore.
It didn’t matter what time it was, except if it had to do with proceedings with the outside world.
I didn’t shut a door, I had closed a portal.
When I realized this, I dropped my jaw. There was a mad urge to sleep with the door open, be connected with the rest of the planet.
I was overwhelmed with my new found knowledge, yet scared that my front door is a vacuum, when I figured everyone has that bolted front door that they’ve shut themselves into without realizing they’ve actually shut themselves out.
But being inside gives you protection, the sense of a safe place, possession and freedom. How ironic! That’s what we do with emotions too, I suddenly realized.
My enlightenment done, I paced around my house divinely with my bright retro halo tagging along behind me.
I was free. I had attained mild internal salvation, diet moksha.
Then came my second intense discovery.
I need a television. Either that or inferior intelligence.
Friday, June 15, 2007
I will stop being apologetic for caring more for the happiness I find in sunshine than in the pain of a hurricane than will one day destroy the world.
I am heartless, I am told.
With such poetry, I am to choose between my fears and my hope. I bleed with all the anger and hatred my exiles have nurtured me with and pour, gracefully, of course, to my feet for your dreams to come alive.
I will stop being apologetic about crying for the miniscule lives that live within me, so I can resurrect your lost castles and empty dungeons. They have no promises for you, or for me, but I will love their cellars like they are my only home.
I will stop being apologetic about your incapability to hear my screaming, the rape of every one of my nightmares you bring to life with your magic wand, and my not being able to tell you to stop because I choke with fear that you will think me a child.
I will stop being apologetic, when I am 122 years of age, because I will be back in my exiles, which have nurtured me with hate, distrust and crimson anger. I will bask in the familiarity of the burning sun on my pale dead skin and I will cry out loud because you can finally not hear me.
I will stop being apologetic for wanting to give, provided I don’t grow shapeless from giving,
Wanting to live, provided I am not waiting for death,
Wanting to love, provided I can retain my pride,
Wanting to dream, provided I can choose to remember or forget them,
Wanting to cry, provided I don’t have to stop
Wanting to laugh, provided I have no reason
Wanting to make a choice, provided you need no explanation.
When I am 122 years old, I will stop being apologetic for being ordinary and for loving my invisibility.
99 years will pass soon.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
The windows are still shut tight to keep in all the din.
The waste basket is still full and the lizards are now rotting;
Everything's just the way we left it, the way its always been.
The sheets are still crumpled, and dirt tracks run around
From the kitchen to the bathroom and spill into the lounge.
Abandoned webs are threatening to fall onto my head,
onto the picture frames and the stereo and on the unmade bed.
Our clothes now have little patches that appeared from nowhere.
And the drinking water we left, remember? Its still lying there.
The water tank is empty and the pantry shelves are bare.
The plague just ran out the hallway, even epidemics are scared!
I missing you like mad, honey, come back before I die.
Its as unclean and unhygienic as hell in all its might.
I won't yell again when you don't put the clothes to dry.
if you're reading this, please... PLEASE........
COME BACK SAKKU BAI!!!
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
M. G. Road, Bangalore.
Twenty-two auto rickshaws faithfully stand in a line. Their twenty-two Altafs, Ravis, Asifs and Suryas of unpronounceable Pallyas rest inside their three-wheeler cars, uninterested in their jobs, in life, in the border wars… everything, awaiting the bane of their lives, commuters of public transport, to come, beg. The Arjunas of very many vast middle class categories humbled, plead, making sad faces holding onto the yellow-black chariots, looking earnestly into the eyes of the indifferent, cold Krishnas in khaki, timidly pronouncing their destinations.
“Tch.” A very definitely IT Arjuna hears, from the seventh rickshaw he has handed his ego to. Imitating several others like myself, he approaches the eighth with a sincere, almost intense desperation on his face and when turned down, immediately looks up, walking down the pavement, ignoring rickshaws nine and ten through twenty two. Like all of us Arjunas, I observe, who beaten and angry, quietly assume glorious statures of valiant losers thinking, “Fuck them. I’ll walk.”
I instantly remember Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan”, the episodes of adolescent Rama and Lakshmana with their never aging guru, Vishwamitra training them to be kingly and yet humble. Shaved little heads, clad in saffron and yellow, they bowed before each house in the neighborhood, juvenile beggarly princes crying, “Bhikshaamdehi, daata bhikshaamdehi!”
As I stand there, rejected by all twenty two khaki charioteers, hoping a twenty third will pass by me and discover a human heart pounding beneath his license badge, I wonder how this business thrives, what the ethics of this work culture are, the ethics of this reverse feudalist culture. How does King Altaf of public transport live off a career driving around a small section of town aimlessly, filling gas at his expense, and refusing every ten in twelve people who ask him for a drop?
Thus goes his working day:
King Altaf religiously gets out of his house at 4 a.m. and rides to a bus stop awaiting tourists, wanderers and travelers from afar. He does this with dedication till 8 a.m. demanding a 1 ½, double or even triple on the meter. From 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., he rides around in circles, stopping at every chai-cigarette shop he sees and when he’s acidic enough with tea to burn a hole through his intestine, he looks for a well-endowed tree and climbing slowly into the back seat like his bride awaited him here, he sticks his feet and Paragon slippers out to the world and goes to sleep.
When he’s woken up to need more chai and a cigarette, he rides around again, and then again, stopping for lunch. No one daresay waste his time asking for a drop now, a man’s gotta eat when a man’s gotta eat. Later, if it’s a hot day, another evil, knowingly full, seductive tree will possibly entice him to take another nap. A man’s gotta sleep when a man wants to sleep.
By evening, King Altaf is so bored by his day, all he wants to do is go home, or meet a friend, visit the local bar, do a couple of joints and relax. And so begins the riding around, looking for that one blessed individual on the face of this city who wants to go to Murphy Town, which is on the way to his home in Babueswar Palya. That too, he will only trade his privacy if the stranger begging for a ride in his blessed little caravan is willing to pay double the fee the meter says he should.
As I grind my teeth, inspired by these thoughts, rickshaw No. 23 passes me by. I wave frantically and exasperated, he stops.
He thinks a bit.
“Ulsoor mei kidhar?”
Putting on my best poor kitten in a wet blanket face, I reply. “Lake ke paas.”
He begins to think. I begin to pray.
6:40 p.m., Sunday,
M. G. Road, Bangalore.
I sigh. Making appropriate noises, I begin to carry my bags into the benevolent rickshaw, deciding King Altaf is not my most favorite man in the world. As I see his arm acrobatically turn back to turn his meter on, I begin to calculate the fare when my mind is suddenly confused by the familiar dreading sound we Arjunas hear so very often by our free-spirited Krishnas.
My one foot in the air and outstretched arms with bags before me, I am left behind as King Altaf yanks the start lever and zooms off, his auto roaring at me and road it has left behind.
Angry, tired and feeling betrayed, I scorn, cursing in my mind the most truly malicious curses I’ve flung at anyone besides my seventh grade math teacher. Groceries in both hands and shoulders humiliated by a heavy bag, I begin to walk.
“I will never take an auto again!” I foolishly declare within my head, and a couple of voices in there smirk.
The calm, smiling face of actor Arun Govil who played a magnificient Rama in “Ramayan” appears in my head and I want to ask him what he would have done if his daatas behaved this cocky. Not one, not two, but all twenty three he’d begged that Sunday evening.
“Liftaam dehi, daata rickshawm dehi!”
Sunday, April 08, 2007
A little blue parakeet-ling stuck his head out and smiled at the world he was to share with the rest of God's funny imagination. I'm sure as hell that as soon as he broke out of his shell, he tipped it over and poked it with his nose, finally liking it enough to put his foot on it, holding it tight, like to say, 'Mine!'
My aunt picked him from a pet store in this bustling loud marketplace that brimmed with activity. She was looking for a little one. In a crowd of over ten little parakeets, she heard a tiny blue scantily feathered little chick yelp, pushing through the rest to chase a ball of hair.
She named him Max, and brought him home. Max was love at first sight for anyone who he met. He was playful, he was insane, and Max believed he was human.
A year back, Max was given to me to look after. I remember being extremely worried about my new responsibility and feeling very guilty everytime I stayed out leaving the blue wide eyed bird to stare alone into darkness the night through.
I decided to not love him. He was a bird. I mean.. not a dog.. not a cat.. a bird. And a micro tiny one at that. Max proved me wrong very soon.
One day, he sat on my head as I fed him. The next, he slept on my chest as I read.
Max did many things to show me it didn't matter if I didn't love him, because he did, regardless of whether I forgot to feed him, or change his water.
Max died today. I don't know how or why, but he was dead in his cage on his way to meet me after a long vacation I came back from.
I wish I could have him drink coffee from my mouth just another time. But I figure Max needed to go. He won't sleep on my chest again. And I'll miss that and him.
Friday, March 02, 2007
The Attic isn't too big. Its dark and dusty, and she doesn't like it in there, though she's never been beyond it. There are many trunks of different sizes and she's stored many memories there, locked them up. But now, she can't remember where she put the keys. They're probably in other trunks, but she's lost their keys too.
She had a friend who lived on the other side of the cobwebs. She was bigger, stronger and she was very angry. Atleast, most of the time, she was. She had no trunks, no keys, no boxes and no memories to store, either.
Once, a five year long discussion took place in the Attic. The older girl and littler girl sat down on either sides of the cobwebs and decided to bartar their belongings.
"I have many memories." The little girl said.
"I've none." The older one said.
"I can share one with you, but you'll have to look after the keys then", the little one added.
The older girl smiled for the first time in eons. She was thrown a bunch of glittering keys in iron and malted gold. The little girl pointed towards an old large trunk and the older girl watched as it dragged itself to her side of the Attic.
She ran her fingers around the trunk, and pushed the keys in. She heard a click when the keys turned and wide eyed, she opened the trunk. She peeked in and excitement poured a drop of bravery in her chest, and when she brimmed with the courage only curiosity brings, she climbed in.
For a long time, the little girl looked for her friend, but never found her. She called out in pain, she cried and she wept. She couldn't find her friend and she didn't have the keys to her memories either.
She's too little to crawl across the other side of the cobwebs, the curtain between her growing older and her infancy. She knows her memories are in there, and her future's drowned in them. She wishes she could save her friend, but she is, only, the litle one. There's not much her mind allows her to do.
So there's a lonely little girl in the Attic upstairs, sitting amidst many locked memories. She knows the keys are right behind her, and she can remember whatever she wants to. But its too dark in the other side of the Attic, where her friend disappeared some lifetimes ago.
I hope one day she'll have the courage to remember. And I hope when she does, she's still a little girl.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Neeraj loves his wife Archana. (The names have been changed because I don't remember what they really were.) She loves him back, but loves herself more.
Archana is, what I presumed from one episode that I dared to watch, a doctor. She is characterised with long rebonded hair and oodles of makeup. She wears only striped sarees and heels. At home.
Neeraj, is ugly. No, really. UGLY.
And, if he's at home all day following his wife from bedroom to living room to fight with her in a blue tie-dye kurta that does NOT suit him on how she is NOT the ideal wife, I also presume he is unemployed, but rich.
Now, cut to a kid in school, an oily kid with oily plaited hair who is supposedly cute. Her father, who looks like he needs babysitting himself has a crush on her teacher.
Cut to the teacher. She dresses to school like its the Principal's Bar Mitzvah. She's barely twenty two, and is very mature and loving and has failed in love. So obviously, oily kid's diaper bearing father doesn't interest her. She loves only the one she lost - NEERAJ!!!!!
Back to Neeraj in his blue hideous kurta. He tells his wife their kid is the head of the football team in school. She thinks that's ok, but what really rocks is she's going to London for a conference where only 1 in 1000 are selected to attend. Neeraj is upset, and tells her she is not the ideal wife/mother and even her hair's fake.
Uncle's got some 200 sons. They all live together under the same darned roof. All his sons are married but only one of the sons is the reincarnation of Lord Ram. His wife, as you've guess by now, is the clone of Sita.
Uncle comes back one day with a new wife, who's not really his wife but a prank on the family because the women in the household are too liberated.
Aunty is scary looking, but is apparently the world's best mom/wife. Why so? Because she accepts her husband bringing in the new wife who really reminded me of my headteacher in 6th grade. She even.. sob.. GIVES HER THE KIJORI KI CHAAVI!!!!!!
Obviously, Aunty #2's a bitch.
Raj (name changed for lack of memory) looks like seventh grade drop out. He's RICH so hell cares. He's apparently a spoilt kid (duhh!) and has recently been resurrected from the dark side of anti-tradition and all because he's in love. With a hooker. With a hooker who last seen, dressed like Akka Maha Devi.
He wants to marry her. Samskruti/Samskaar/Maa TV fan club head, his mom, will castrate him if he does so. So he thinks of the most brilliant plan in the world.
He tells his mom his Vivian Ward is a princess.. No kidding.
His mom falls for it. She wants her son to marry her.
A good man has impregnated his wife's sister's neice's mother-in-law's uncle's step grandmother and has lost his memory.
An evil man has impregnated his wife's sister's neice's mother-in-law's uncle's step grandmother and is dead.
The rebirth of a fire fighting woman has come back into the same household and will take revenge on the family because she died 20 years back and remembers even what color underwear her daughter, now aunt wore then. According to logistics, the woman who was her great grandmother in her last birth who is still live, kicking and making parathas should be atleast 178 years old.
Grand daughter who once insulted her father not knowing he was her father realises her father was really her father and wants to take revenge on her grand mother because the director said she should.
I yanked out my cable connection.
I wish my life was half as interesting.
Actually, maybe not.
It'll take me a while before I pay attention to my life again. I'm still gloating over poor Hot teacher's lost love with color blind unemployed man and bad grand daughter who has no clue how the rash on her back has anything to do with going to bed in sequin saris with the lights on full blast.
KKuch KKeeda hai.
Friday, February 09, 2007
The beauty of this trip back home was it came after 8 months of not seeing my parents and finally being there, I was thrown off balance with the amount our relationship had changed, or evolved.. as I like to believe it did.
I coincidentally got in touch with a friend I haven’t seen or heard from in seven years. We studied together from the time we were six till the time we were seventeen. Somehow, though we shared nothing of our lives or feelings with each other, had nothing in common, not even basic value systems, we called each other best friends.
Childish incidents and years later, we finally fell apart, probably for our own good.
Seven years later, I met her, this vacation and we talked just the way we did when we were in second standard, or in fourth.. or pre university.. and we still contained the same childlike comfort levels.
She still asked me uncomfortable questions and I still gave her with non committal answers.
Her voice was still the same, she still looked the same and trust me, I couldn’t believe anyone could still be the same person seven years later. She hadn’t changed in thought or soul.
Which set me thinking.. maybe I hadn’t changed either.
My mom took me to an ancient temple her family had just discovered in the outskirts of the outskirts of the outskirts of a wannabe city-but-really-a-cool-looking-village.
I walked in and realized what they mean when they say you can’t breathe when you see something this beautiful.
The temple was rock carved, ancient and virgin, and was the birthplace of two warriors who were now worshipped as demi-gods in the village.
A forest grew around the temple and you couldn’t possibly imagine something this beautiful could stand in a jungle of thorns and everyday weeds.
I heard overwhelming stories about how these two very great men attained god-ship and the Brahman in the temple showed me the dried lake they bathed in, the old wood cradles they slept in as infants and the weapons they carried.
A few days later I left my parents and the home I grew up in for an extension of my holiday. It felt strange because the house too seemed like my mother now – beautiful, affectionate, once mine, and solely mine. Today, they were both other entities besides being just my Amma or my home.
Anyway, mush apart, Hampi was terrific!
A vivid description of the history and archeology and shopping, you’ll get on Lonely Planet, so let me get down to what REALLY got me kicked.
The morning my friend and I left Hampi, we sat down to savor the last of our free identities and freedom here.
Over a Tibetian breakfast in a little shack there, we listened to the birds, the river and a bunch of stoned firangs singing off tune.
Just then two people entered the shack.
The woman, atleast sixty, was Israeli and her British companion, an excited little man of atleast seventy led her in.
We couldn’t help but notice how excited the two seemed and they sat down discussing how the hash brown potatoes were nothing like hash brown potatoes here for the next fifteen minutes. The chemistry between them was so charged, I felt much older for a while.
Then, we eavesdropped. (Sorry, Mrs. Beautiful Israeli Woman and Mr. Handome Brit Man)
We learnt the two were once seeing each other, thirty years back. For some reason, they went their ways then. He got married, she was too, and somehow, six months back they got in touch, probably on the internet.
They decided to meet, here in Hampi on a decided date. The two came alone, leaving behind their families, but once here, didn’t know how to contact each other. Mr. Handsome Brit Man went all over the place to every inn asking them if Mrs. Beautiful Israeli Woman had checked in and a week later, he found her, and instantly recognized her.
We sat there listening to the two so lost in their past and so oblivious to the world around, suddenly snapping back into the present, feeling awkward, and then gliding back in, lost in memories.
I wish I’d stayed longer and been evil longer enough to know what happened to the two after that Tibetian breakfast. But we had a flight to catch. So a silent prayer said to the couple, we picked our bags and departed.
I’m back now, and my ex-best friend, the warriors and their history, home and the inter-nation lost love story all are part of memory, a past vacation and old photographs.
Hopefully, life will seem interesting enough now on!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Or do we?
I've a strange one, to most ears that don't belong to the village our clan's named after. "Tonse".
I've been called Thomas, Tonsils, Tonez, Tonnes and what not by waterhogs and teacher waterhogs in school. How difficult is it to say Tone-say?
Atleast it means nothing.. as in, the godly portal of all knowledge by and for man, and any animal that would remotely be interested in synonyms, phonetics and definitions and the capability to handle the internet says it means nothing.
Atleast I'm not Timothy Allen Dick.
But again, must we carry our names over and over generations, pass them onto our children? Is it an absolute necessity? A friend told me its so his father's name is not lost.
I don't think his child would ever refer to his grandfather by name.
And how much can I glorify the past of my predecessors, endorse their existance, keep alive the memoirs of their lives by carrying around the name of the village they decided to inhabit?
Heck I didn't know what my father's name was till I was four.
I thought his name was Daddy.
I also wondered how my grandparents could be that uncreative.
All my friends' fathers' name were also Daddy, or variations of the same!
Ah well. It's better than Rae Daddy.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
I had met mine two years ago, in a gathering of many like minded people. We were all hooded men, women, and children who attended a convention meant to burn down fear. We had different fears, we were different people, but we were all like minded men, women and children because we decided our fears needed to burn.
Of the many people, a man stood hooded, too. By the end of the ceremony, when everyone shed their fears and ripped down their hoods, I remember standing at the gates when I turned around to say goodbye. I wore a mask, as I always did, and was pleased no one had noticed. I wore a mask of stark nakedness, and many believed I had shed my hood, flung my fears into the fires among the many first.
But as I turned around to leave and say goodbye, I noticed a man far behind me, holding onto his hood, shielding his face and holding onto his bag of fears. He had saved them, and the pain of seeing his fear turn to ashes gleamed in his eyes. I was touched.
As our brothers and sisters left, I said goodbye to the hooded man, but I knew I didn't mean it.
Within half the year that followed, we met many times and in those meetings, I wore different masks of different colours, shapes and sizes, and I felt silly because he still wore his hood. A wry smile, though, always peeped through that fibre, and we both knew the truth in our lies.
We never fought about our hiding from each other, and for some reason, found comfort in our anonymity. He or I, never questioned our lies, and when the truth produced itself, we swallowed it without trying to taste it.
Together, we built a dream.
To realise our dream, came some clouds, some rains, some love, some pain. Some friendship, some heartbreak, some hardship, some mistakes. And together, we began to construct. Sometimes losing authority, sometimes having too much.
Two years later, after falling apart, misunderstanding things that never were understood, forgiving, forgetting, building and rebuilding, failing and falling, we let ourselves go.
Our dream has realised. Its probably not the best vision in the world. Its probably not the best story ever told. But to me, I have my guide and our clouds, rains, hurt and friendship, love and our dream before us.
Today, I watched as our dream, my dream unfolded. I cried in my heart because I couldn't believe I had finally woken up. And when I did, I found my masks gone. It felt light, and I am happier without them. As I turned around, ready to burn my masks and the fear of my face, I smiled at my guide. I realised then, that the pyre stood high, and his hood was long gone.
Thank you for letting me dream, dada.
Thank you, my friends, for giving me my dream.