Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Its only words

Walking aimlessly in my driveway, it struck me that all relationships have an individual story which shapes them. We must know how to read and unfold the story or life’s lesson is lost upon us. Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of a relationship whose grammar is all messed up and we can’t seem to get over the misspelled and mispronounced words. Such relationships cannot hope to survive for a very long time for women certainly because it is said that “men fall in love with their eyes; women with their ears”.

There are certain times in life when you are with someone and things are blissful. This might not mean that there really is no problem, it only means that the ‘bliss’ is the short term side effect of the prevailing ignorance. Such liaisons are like a foreign language which sounds beautiful and poetic but it actually makes no sense unless you make the effort to learn it. The worst thing that can happen (and more often than not happens to almost everyone once in their life) is when carefully crafted words and delicately framed sentences which were strewn to form our unique story become someone else’s happy ending! This plagiarism is seldom forgotten but always forgiven because life is too long to hang on to each word you have ever written in each chapter of your life.

We write off some people we had funny or weird experiences with as exclamation marks, others become question marks for life and force us to ask, ‘what if’. Very few out of the numerous people we meet, stay for a while and share our lives with us before leaving. Such people become the commas in our lives and our life can never be the same without them. The one person whom we want to see ourselves with till the very last word of the last chapter of our life is what I call the full stop of our life. This person completes us(no matter how ridiculously old fashioned it sounds) because a full stop puts an end to all exclamations, question marks and commas in life, making everything feel just right.

With so much of aimless ambling and so many aimless thoughts in my head, I wonder if I am mature enough to get married considering that is happening very soon! However, when I think about my own ‘full stop’, it certainly feels just right.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The unknown

 "Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen."
John le Carre    

Just finished watching 'The hours'. Still a little drunk on its actuality. The 'very lonely places' John le Carre talks about can very well be inside our head. The dull echoes we ignore or the fleeting stream of thought we dismiss with a smile. So we are all a tiny bit insane...wonder why it matters so much then...this 'being sane' or 'being insane'. The instinct lies in us all.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Glass eyes

"We all need teachers in our lives."
- someone famous said it, don't remember who.

Its amusing that teachers are people who, apart from our parents, provide us with vital pieces which actually help us begin to put together the puzzle called life. From experience I know( and most would agree) that all teachers do not exactly give the right kind of pieces! Some have accents hard to understand for eg you keep wondering what an 'Overwhelming festion' is only to realize the teacher meant 'overwhelming question'! Some might teach everything they aren't supposed to teach whereas some might just take every class as you would conduct a free lecture. However, in the midst of this madness called education, you meet teachers who change your life altogether and it can never be the same. For me( avenged sevenfold would agree as well), She was one such teacher.

My first day in college and her second period with my class. She walked in dressed like someone who doesn't have a mirror. Drainpipes when bootleg was the height of fashion, silver hair that were in dire need of a dye and a scarf that added nothing to the already ill-coordinated attire. I remember thinking to myself about how she would get her act right with teaching. I needn't have wondered. The moment she spoke, sarcasm and wit took a different turn altogether. Her voice floated over the pages and you couldn't help but hear her. Once you went past her intimidating presence and edgy remarks, you could notice her obvious mysterious aura. She helped you as easily as she threw you out of class pointing her famous 'middle finger'( especially to the "young ladies at the back" like us). You couldn't hate her because you never could put your hate down to something explicable and the result was a curiosity you couldn't avoid.

Her classes progressed and we did just fair. No one seemed to shine in the class and no one did rather poorly as well. While my classmates tried to figure out the subject, I was fascinated by her. Those glassy eyes looked to me as if the tears were lingering somewhere behind them...so visible and yet invisible. Her philosophical diversions in class were a treat. It was during one of those classes where she made that memorable statement very casually - "You should be detached enough to let go of things." There, at that moment, I respected her as I hadn't ever before. I knew she had battled cancer years ago and rumors existed about her husband having left her as a consequence of her illness. Such detachment in the face of such cruelty. I marveled at her spirit and ability to let go. Letting go is much expected by everyone but much less understood by anyone.

Time flew and I got busy. Teachers changed and she was replaced for the year. The minimal verbal contact I ad with her reduced gradually. A year later the most boring and downright irking novels were taught by her. Her teaching was just fine and the text left no particular chance for any other kind of discussion. Then one day, while reading out aloud a prose by Matthew Arnold about tribal women who chopped off their own breasts to be better at archery and warfare, those invisible tears I had seen much earlier glistened in her eyes for once. It didn't make sense to me. Her incessant detachment was contradictory to her body language. I let it pass since I did not know her too well personally and surely I was no one to monitor her emotions.

More time passed by and college came to an end. The staff farewell was dazzling in all its glory. The finale included her in an avatar I had never imagined! The snow-white hair was jet black, falling in dark cascade till mid-waist; she was in some kind of a silvery dress that did wonders for her and turned her from frump to fab! Dancing to a Zeenat Amaan track, she amazed me yet again and I imagined why her husband left such a riveting woman. The last time I saw her was on one of those nostalgic trips to college where you end up missing even what you hated the most. That day, me and my friends went up to another favorite teacher( ironically Her best and largely more stylish colleague) for a chat. At some point during the conversation, a woman sitting next to this other teacher, sporting a bob-cut looked up and glared at us. My hand almost flew to my mouth. It was her. Such short hair! We had been right there, ignoring her and she probably felt bad. What she felt I would never know but the hair seemed to have taken away something from her personality as well. She didn't say much and we left soon after, flushed with embarrassment.

That was ages ago. After that I met up with her best friend on a visit to college. We were on more friendly terms with her. I learned that she was down south on her leave. Leaving college that day, I had an uncanny feeling that she wasn't alright. The way her friend had talked about her was unsettling. However, I have a habit of reading too much into things that are of no consequence and so I left it at that.

on 12th February she passed away. Her enemy, the cancer had returned and this time she succumbed. I went for the service. She had breast cancer. In my head I saw Matthew Arnold's tribal women with chopped off breasts and her glassy, teared eyes. Her ill-fitting clothes and detachment all came flooding back. Her silver locks dyed black; delicately long and then brutally chopped off. I was transfixed. No tears came but imagine they were there...lurking behind. I went home.

As I write this today, I feel a detachment. The kind she talked about. Its like circling above oneself only to see yourself. Its not hard to achieve yet its harder once you detach yourself...overwhelming in a sense. I never knew her very well, never confirmed the rumors about her nor did I find her the best teacher in terms of literary education. That said, I think she taught me something so invaluable and intricate about life without even knowing it. She enlightened me about my life too and will continue, in a big way, to influence the choices I make- to be attached or detached enough.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sleep Humming

1:45 am. Half-sitting half-lying on the bed. Not trying to sleep. Mind closed. Mobile not working. Cant one have a moments' peace? What is peace? Door Creaks. Bro laughs. Shows me a video. Babies dancing. I laugh. Still no peace. Mobile still not working. Who cares though. No one calls. 1:52 am. Mind numb. Eyelids drooping but fingers pressing keys. Bro eats 'little hearts'. I laugh again. Why? Little hearts! As Topden would say, "note the irony". Are hearts little? Maybe. I yawn. Bro asks a question. I don't hear. Bro repeats. Wants to know whether I like 'The Simpsons'. I nod. Nod again. Yes and No. Bro gets irritated. Looks into his laptop. Grumbles. I do like Simpsons. The Simpsons. Real cartoons. I laugh inside my head. Why? 'Real cartoons'; oxymoron. Bro switches tv on. 2:08 am. No peace at all. Images are blurred. Am I sleepy? Wake up. Its 2 and a half men on screen. Want to close my eyes. Mobile? Not working. Cartoons are real. Hearts are little. Babies dance. Irony and Oxymoron exist. Peace too? Sleep doesn't answer. Dreams might.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Diamonds from a shattered glass

someone to me: "Talking to you is like mental masturbation!"

This is a line etched in my memory forever. Its not everyday you hear someone say such things! Not too long ago, on hearing this, I'd laughed my head off...today, its plain sad. We don't talk any longer. On a lighter note, maybe "someone" had enough of 'self help'! lol

me to someone: "How can you hurt someone so innocent?"( just to add that this line was followed by a highly innocent photograph!)

The things i say! Lame as it sounds, it did have the desired effect at that moment...unfortunately, I wasn't too innocent for long. I did end up getting hurt.

someone to me: "Good things come in TALL packages!"

Made me feel great for sometime but when the compliment faded, i realized that the view from up here is very different from the one down there. Then again, I'm still tall and as good as I was. Nothing gained but nothing lost as well.

someone to me: "...mais,vous ĂȘtes un peu fou..." (for someone who doesn't know french, this was well said!)

It was an sms. The middle of a sentence. Oh, I haven't yet translated it it for the benefit of the non-French speakers (or 'understanders' as I like to call it). It means -but, you are a little mad. Its a universal statement coz everyone is a a few steps behind from sanity. I'm no exception but this made me feel oddly proud:) After all, learning French just to call me mad is something of an achievement. So I can take some credit!

me to someone: "Lets leave some things unsaid, its not necessary to know everything"

How many times do we wish that we did not have to say the things we want to? I do feel like it quite a lot. It started out as a conversation closer since I actually did not know what to say! It went on to become a long standing joke. Today, it actually is what it means. Everything unsaid, everything unknown.

someone to me: "I think you are a lesbian"

lol times infinity!!!! lol!! It never would have been as funny in college...after all Jesus n Mary College left no choice for us did it? (wink!) From straight to bi to lesbian to experimental to straight again. That is what college was all about...but now? no way! i prefer asexual. something sexual in there yet its only me. I think "someone" was too straight to realize that its not about being a lesbian...its female bonding, feminism, anti-chauvinism and just loads of giggles!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Urban legends: Fear no more…just turn around and run!

For all those people who say they don’t believe in urban legends, I say that you haven’t heard this one yet. I happened to hear of it during a night stay I had with my friends from the university hostel long time back. We were circulating legends and wondering whether there are actually any of them related to hostels since that would be the scariest option considering our setting. One of my friends, Alyssa, who was unusually quiet since we had plunged into exchanging legends volunteered to narrate an urban legend which she knew for a fact was true.
Engrossed and a bit amused that timid Alyssa was planning to spook us, we were totally attentive. Alyssa began her hostel legend: “one night, at campfire held in the school hostel, a few girls were discussing how scary the hostel looked at night when suddenly one of them got up to pee. She searched for signs of any toilet nearby but couldn’t see any. A little scared to go too far, she kept close to the area where her friends were sitting.
Moving along the dark and deserted hostel corridors, she searched desperately for a toilet since nature’s call was getting more urgent by the minute! Finally she located a toilet and went in to do the deed. A couple of minutes later she came out and slapped some cold water on her face to refresh herself, thinking that she’ll need to prepare to stay awake the entire night. As she was closing the tap, she her low cries coming from outside the door. Curious and frightened at the same time, she peeked outside the toilet door and saw a young girl sobbing away with her face covered by her hands.
Guessing that the girl was lost, she asked her to calm down. The little girl, her face still covered, continued to shake and said that she had come with a friend and got lost inside the hostel. The older girl sympathized with her and offered to take her to help her locate her friend. The younger girl, still crying, removed her hands from her face for the first time.
With the shriveled and rotting face that seemed inhuman, let alone childlike, she squeaked in a girlish voice: “I don’t need anyone now that I have you for company”. Saying this, she caught hold of the pale-faced older girl who was never seen by her friends again.”
When Alyssa finished the story, we were all at loss of words and afraid to even move. When I asked Alyssa how she knew that the story was true, she simply replied: “I never saw my older sister after that night”.

P.S.- This is my first attempt at scary writing! with a job that gives me creative freedom like this, I'm super satisfied:)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love and Devotion...

“I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather... Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”- William Shriner

came across this quote a few moments ago and it got me thinking. This is the kind of death my grandfather wanted. To go to his beloved Ram ji's care while sleeping or reading the Ramayan that is dearer to him than any living person. It is the Ramayan which he knows by heart, which he quotes to everyone, which he starts and ends his day with.

Today, that Ramayan lies untouched, gathering dust from lack of use in a drawer that has not been opened in ages. where is my grandfather? he like the Ramayan, lies; but contrary to his untouched Ramayan he is in the midst of innumerable tubes, pipes and machines. His ususally dyed hair (cut and colored by his own hands) is the shade of cotton and flowing on the same colored pillow he lies on. Pearl colored hair have sproted into beard though that was unthinkable since he preferred to remain clean shaven at all times. The pipes,tubes and machines have reduced him into something he never wanted to be- dependent. He is at their mercy with no consciousness of what goes around him...hope he cannot visualize himself in such a condition. That would make the machines redundant since the idea itself would kill him.

Its nothing new that 88yr old people fall ill...to be blatant, they know  that they dont have much time and even their loved ones know it. But, for a man like my grandfather, i consider it cruelly unjust that he should go like this- reduced to nothing. All his life he has lived and breathed the principle of Lord Ram. He is a self made man who believes in Karma and only Karma and nothing but Karma. A day before going to the hospital he said that even now he will continue to do his 'prescribed duty' as per Ram and will not relent at anything. A man like this who wished nothing from life except to die in peace is today fighting for his life against so many odds but still hasnt given up.

The point behind this is not to say that he shouldnt die, but the point lies in the way he is slowly dying. Even after making God his only love, he suffers at this moment and that to so intensely. its heart wrenching. I was never one for going to mandirs or praying on a regular basis. When someone goes to vist a temple i ususally sit outside coz i believe that god is eveywhere. We dont need to go to temples, we can do the same by just being true to ourselves. Seeing my grandfather live hell, i feel that life makes evens out on its own. The good suffer, the bad prosper. this doesnt mean we start doing bad things and we can get away with them, but it means that we shouldnt expect good things to happen to us coz we are good. life balances the amount of good and bad for us. It certainly seems to have done that for my grandfather. The prayers he has been doing since countless years have brought him to this. He says that he has been saved from being worse off but i say that death would have done him better. he doesnt deserve this. In the end, as they say, nothing matters. its the same with him. Ram or no Ram, he is suffering and i'm glad he is more optimistic than i am. hopefully, his Ram makes him come out of this a survivor and proves me wrong on my theory. I'm waiting for the Ramayan to be held in the hands that revered it for so long. It would be the best day of my life when that happens.