Friday, 30 December 2011

new blog

since this new format is proving to be a pain, I will shortly be moving to a new one. to be continued. meanwhile Scotland is cold and windy but provides much fodder for writing I'm sure. now if only I would get to it! :)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

past forward

It is time once again for those narcissistic reflections of the time that has passed – to say “oh, how time flies!” and such. But it hasn’t really flown this year.

It’s been an introspective year, with many, many changes. Not the hop-from-one-job-back-into-another or hop-from-one-department-into-another sort of changes that my life has been centred around the last few years.

I’m now in a new country, which is why I haven’t posted anything decent in a long time. Then again, I’m not sure any of this was decent. And for a change I don’t mean this in a self-deprecating way.

If I had to pick a word to describe 2011, it might be “discomfort”. Not in the gastric or throbbing head sort of way. But for a person who isn’t comfortable moving away from stability and comfort, I’ve done a lot of changing this year. Much arguing with the voices in my head, tussles with logic against emotion, reasoning things out, trying to be patient with others and myself, and I must admit, a lot of fucking growth.

The first few months of the year were boring, normal and I thought it was all going well. Then I did something horrific, which made a very good friend’s life hell for a while. He was nice enough to forgive me, and sometimes I still am unforgiving towards myself (but what’s new) but at least I know not to get too cocky now.

Many rules have been broken. A year or two ago, if I’d broken one of my commandments, well, *gasp*, *shock* and all that. I’ve been amused to step outside myself and watch in moments. Some changes haven’t gone down well with the people I love most either, which has been very hard. Hence the tussles with the voices in my head and whatnot. I can’t say all is well, but I know I’ll figure it out at some point.

Uncomfortable, yes. And a year of extremes – extreme lows because I have been disappointed in myself a couple of times, or in people whom I value the most because I’ve seen new colours in them, but also A NEW COUNTRY. For God’s sake. It’s hellishly cold, but I’ve been told I’m handling it decently for someone in the tropics, one who is used to antibiotics at that.

A friend gifted me a diary this year, one which asks you a different question each day, for the whole year. The supremely exciting part is that it leaves space for five different years so maybe I can actually see the growth next year, or some memories at least. I’ve made some very happy memories this year, maybe because it feels like I fought for them.

One question I found a couple of days back was “when was the last time you were truly happy” and my first thought was, ‘whoa, not for ages’. I thought again and I realised I’m happy everytime I walk on a bridge near my house. No matter how rushed I am or how grey the clouds are, or how different from home, it makes me happy. A person who has negativity flowing through her blood.

It’s been a strange year. I don’t know what to make of it. I’ve had some miserable moments – pining for warm sambar/rasam, idli, my dog’s fur, a friend’s hug, the mother’s TLC when I was ill – but I’m actually very happy as well.

Strangely, I am more myself here than I was at home before I left. There was some turmoil and disapproval, many complicated things running around in my head for a while before I left, while I was trying to keep a dozen people happy and answer all their questions. Though I was happy through that too. (I know, you’re thinking “curiouser and curiouser”.) Eccentric, wonderful friends, independence, doing things for myself on my own much to my mother’s joy I’m sure... if I had a couple of the age-old friends over, the dog and the mother, and plenty of south Indian food, I’d be set forever. Oh yes, and my car. Though walking around here can be lovely when the wind is not blowing a hole in your brain or freezing your nose and digits off.

I’m not sure what I want from 2012. Answers. Many of them. Sometimes I dread returning because I know I have to handle things like a job, a cranky boss, wondering what to do about a boy, handling a mother who misses me, and such mundane things.

I suppose I could do without idli-sambar/Labrador/mother for a while more if it means not having any responsibilities beyond looking after myself. If it were only that easy.

Then again, ease didn’t make great artists I suppose. So no wonder being so uncomfortable and in such alien territory (in more ways than you can imagine) is leading to many growth spurts. And me surprising myself time and time again. In a good way.

Hopefully 2012 will not herald the end of the world as we know it. Sure there’ll be death, there always is – of some habits, some relationships, some people – but that happens all the time. I just hope no more polar bears die (no, seriously, that’s awful). Sometimes I wish I could tell the people I love, listen, there are polar bears dying, relax about the INR dropping or you not getting enough sex or having a bad boss, at least we won’t starve to death or have to eat a furry cute cub. Uhm. I assume that would not go down well. Especially with the mother.

Anyhow, here’s to a good year – I use a shadowy word on purpose because I’m not even sure of what exactly I want because I don’t know which voice in my head to trust sometimes. I wonder when they will come to a compromise. If there is discomfort for any of us, let there be plenty of alcohol and sex all around, but less babies. We’re emitting enough carbon as it is. *chinks glass of mulled wine*. Happy 2012 and end of the world, everyone! Don’t worry, I’m sure the Mayans just ran out of leaves or stones to draw calendars on.

Friday, 18 November 2011

should be loved


It’s as if there’s an unspoken promise – that I will wait.

Why should I wait? Why, when he is off frolicking in new places, meeting new people, learning new things... He didn’t promise me anything. Nobody decided anything except that it should stop once he leaves.

My boss won’t wait for me to be in a better mood before I toss out more ideas for a shitty client, my cat won’t wait to be fed, the clouds won’t wait till I’m home before letting loose all that pent up rain, the traffic won’t wait till I get to work before getting bad, my maid won’t wait for her salary, my colleague won’t wait for an explanation for that teensy mark on my neck, so why should I wait? I could get hit by a car crossing the road tomorrow.

I don’t want to wait. It doesn’t feel right. I haven’t heard from him in five weeks – monosyllabic chats don’t count. And I don’t want to wait. I would like to wreak havoc on boykind before I get hit by a car. Anna has done it with 12 boys, I’d like to get halfway there (I’d honestly like to be in double digits, but that’s not realistic since I’m ticklish with strange boys, let’s face it)... he’s probably doing it with that pretty Mediterranean looking girl I saw in some pictures, drunken eyes, pointy hat for Halloween. I shouldn’t have to wait while he gets into triple digits. We didn’t promise each other anything.

From: Maria Kumar
On Wednesday, 5 November, 6.39pm
To: Paul Cherian
Bcc: Seema Revanoor
Subject: Re: Bad news

Hey Paul,
Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you, work has been insane. And it's fine, once you get a new phone, save my number. It's 9967054549.
It was nice bumping into you as well, and yeah, it’s raining this much because I finally got out of my office and house for a bit!
I’m not free Friday night, but we could do something on Saturday. Dinner sounds good. Let me know where and when. See you soon.

Maria

I hit ‘send’.

Apparently I wasn't going to try and wait.

special


You ever know those moments when you’re doing something you *know* you’ll regret later? It’s stupid really, it was just chocolate. But that’s how it starts... you start to unravel with one, tiny chocolate addiction.

You make excuses, yeah, everyone does. Oh it’s winter, oh it’s alright, you need to store up for the cold, you’ll burn it off, and all of that wisdom from everyone. But it makes you feel like shit later and it shouldn’t. And I know I’m not gonna go jogging, who in their right minds will put on their shoes and go running in this cold. The wind would cut your ears right off, it’s not a nice feeling. Then I’d feel worse and eat more chocolate. Totally pointless.

I wish the weight would go to my boobs, but no, it goes straight to my hips. The big hips look good only on JLo, the beautiful bloody bitch.

People look at me strangely, all wrapped up in layers of fur. Like just because I have white skin doesn’t mean I’m from Norway or the bloody Highlands. Once I open my mouth, they exchange looks. ‘Ah these stupid Americans.’ Yeah, we’re stupid, but at least we don’t have mice in our kitchens.

Cheese. That’s my other craving right now. Chocolate, and cheese. So I’m sitting home on a cloudy Friday evening, trying to get cracking on essay # 847, chomping into my cheese sandwich when I heard a bloodcurdling scream. Sigh. The flatmate is back.

I take the sandwich with me.

Hysterics in the kitchen. The tiny, brown creature has disappeared, probably into my room, it being the closest to the kitchen, now smelling of cheese and all.

I’ve had it. With the screaming and the darkness and the wind and all that. I go find my nail polish remover, empty the bottle into that glass bottle (it had Thai curry paste in it) I just washed, and dunk a massive chunk of Red Leicester in it.

I switch off the lights, go to my room and go to bed. When the alarm rings, I calmly get out of bed. I fumble around in the kitchen and go back to sleep.

I awaken to a scream again. I hope she hasn’t toppled the bottle over, I’m not cleaning dead mouse shit up. I left it in front of her door hoping it would make her feel better.

Fuck, it’s 8.30am on a Saturday, who wakes up that early in December?!

I roll over, hug my pillow, pretend it is someone I love and go back to sleep, dreaming of dead mice, actors laying mice traps, writing essays, running down mountains under fat grey clouds.

Monday, 7 November 2011

see me

I would like to break you
Break you out of your reverie
Say, ‘hello, look at me’,
While you stare at, well, you.

In time I won’t care anymore,
I won’t have to talk to you like before,
I can be me,
I can be free.

Till then,
I need to fight the urge to break
The mirror in front of you,
Show you what you are missing
When you keep talking, keep insisting,
That your day has been the worst,
The absolute fucking worst it could ever be.
Stop. Think of me, think of she, think of we.
And I wonder, does she think the same as me?
How fucking tolerant are we??!

meet me halfway

Running, running, away from the cold,
The wind that sweeps you off your feet,
Wind that is that bold,
I look across the bridge and smile,
At the places I have yet to discover.

I think of her, discovering a butterfly on her way home,
I think we should discover butterflies together,
When the wind roughly pushes me again,
And I am reminded to move faster.

I see her face in the crowd,
Smiling, radiant blue eyes in stark pale skin,
Knowingly smiling from across me,
As if she was thinking of me too.

We meet at the middle of the bridge,
Out of breath with our laughter,
Laughs condensing as they float away from us,
Into the wind we forget about,
It cannot make us walk faster now,
Away from each other’s laughter.

young

“The more decadent a culture gets, the more they have a need for what they don't have at all, which is innocence, so you end up with kiddie porn and a perverse obsession with youth.” - Joni Mitchell

Happy Birthday, Joni.

I saw a picture of four tiny fingers
Wrapped around a large mass of finger
Microscopic smudge of pink
Reaching for motherly warmth
A mother after a decade of trying
Of fighting off awkward questions
About her third-time-pregnant sister

Microscopic love that blossoms into
Holding hands in the park
Waiting for the school van
Playing in the sandpit
Eating some sand while you’re at it

Big brown eyes that well up
When Dad and Mom’s fights don’t stop

Love that blossoms into
Misbuttoned shirts, dirty canvas shoes
Sulky faces, trying to grow facial hair
Sitting across from the girls
Trying to be grown up

Only to become a grown up

Fighting with your wife over not being there for dinner
Having to work to put food on the table
Flirt with the colleague while you’re at it
The wife is too busy with the son
Never pays you attention anymore
Wish you were a young son again

Who wants to be ‘grown up’ anyway?

new

I have not been blogging because I am finally, yes finally, doing my masters after a four-year-long “break”. Break from studies I mean. One would think it’s a break from work altogether, because apparently if you do not have work experience in the service industry, it does not count. So there go my four years of slogging in journalism. “What, you edited and wrote millions of articles? Did you ever balance four plates on one arm? I’m so sorry, you aren’t qualified for this job, we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.”

That said, I *have* been writing. And editing my own work. Which is hella horrendously difficult! Whoop di doo.

Since poetry has always been a struggle for me and I have no time to write a fresh piece of fiction everyday, I am trying Robert Lee Brewster’s November PAD (Poem A Day) prompts. I am seven days behind already and will only get slower with my posts with essays around the corner, but what the heck. Here goes.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-stop-

My body cannot keep up with my mind:
So much to do, so much to say,
So I make an intricate plan every day.

Writing, reading, walking, dreaming, capturing,
Imagining, doing, buying, cooking, typing –
My list cannot keep up with my brain.
And so I procrastinate,
I let myself dream I allow myself to wallow,
To drink, to sleep, to eat, to cook, to stare out the window.

After all that Time I waste,
I have to speed up, work in haste.

My body cannot keep up with my mind.
Except for those moments,
When I freeze while walking briskly on North Bridge.
A brown-skinned block of ice,
Staring at the mass of grey clouds over the sunny hill,
The division of the weather,
Some rays peeping through the mass of grey.
And I sigh and stop thinking, stop walking, stop procrastinating,
I start living.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

light her up

The call came at 4.30 one Friday morning, and I thought to myself, what a brilliant start to the weekend. Then of course, I felt guilty, because that’s not what one is supposed to think when you’re told that your mother has just died. But I told myself not to be stupid. Nina would probably have laughed and apologised for ruining my chances of hooking up with the latest girl I’d set my hopes on. And she would have said, “Technically, I’m not even your mother.”

My stepmother was not much older than me, she married my father when she was very young, just twenty. I was five then. My mother had died in childbirth.

I walked out of the shower in a towel to ask my father what colour to wear, whether I should shave. He was staring at himself in the mirror. Just staring.

“Pa?” I repeated. I saw the mental shake he gave himself before replying, “Wear whatever you want, you know she wouldn’t have cared. Just try to look a little sad.” Black kurta and stubble it was to be, I decided.

We went to the hospital in complete silence. My father was driving, he looked straight ahead at the road. When we got there, the interfering relatives were already there. You see, Nina had inherited a lot of money. The only daughter of a rich business tycoon who was disinherited when she married at twenty, to a man fifteen years her senior. He forgave her of course, when she developed ovarian cancer for the first time. That was when I was thirteen. She went into remission twice, first when I turned sixteen, and then again when I was twenty. “Third time’s a charm,” I had laughed when she lay pale, a bag of bones, against the hospital bed. She had laughed with me. My father was not there to lose his temper or start weeping at the time.

I wondered why the relatives even bothered. I highly doubted that she left them anything. Pa would obviously get it all. Not that he wanted it, ironically. I had told him a few days earlier that he should just give it all away to the relatives and ask them to leave us alone forever. I knew he had no idea what to do with the money and could not bear the interferers either. He did not think that was such a good idea. “Maybe I should give it all to you,” he suggested mischievously. I was too impressed at his attempt at humour to react to that.

I pretty much did nothing at the hospital that day, aside from making sure that my father got something to eat and didn’t throw himself off the tenth floor of the hospital. But even that wasn’t pretty.

“This is the first meal I’m having after she stopped breathing,” his voice quivered over his chapati and dal. “Yes, so? Don’t worry I haven’t poisoned it. I don’t want her money yet,” I told him as I dug into my own meal. “Oh and this is like, my third meal since she died,” I said over my stuffed mouth. He just glared malevolently at me.

----------------------------------------------
The next morning, Saturday, I woke up early. I usually never rose before noon, Nina knew better than to wake me after a night of intense partying. But I managed to wake up around six that morning without the help of an alarm. I was quite impressed at myself. My father of course had not slept all night.

“Wear white,” was the first words we exchanged that day.

It would be a day when the first match I lit would not be for a cigarette but to set fire to my stepmother’s body, I remember musing. Dad and I had decided earlier that I would light the match, because his hands would be shaking madly, and we would light her up together.

Which is exactly what we did. Though I’d expected Pa to be sobbing by then (which is why I said I would do it along with him, I didn’t want him accidentally setting fire to his own foot) he was surprisingly calm. He took a minute to look at her pale, gaunt face. Her nose and mouth were stuffed first with cotton to soak up her body fluids, and then with rice. Someone had put kumkum on the middle of her forehead, I had no idea why. She was wrapped in white.

Strangely it was me found it hard to leave the pyre, though the heat seemed like a good enough reason to get away. Dad stood with me till the flames were too much to bear and the priest told us, “It’s not good to see the body after setting fire to it.” I had wanted to tell him why we didn’t choose an electric pyre was because we wanted to see her, but held myself back.

We walked away in silence, before I asked him, “Yo Pa, we’re allowed to eat today, no?”
-----------------------------------------------------------
It was like a scene out of a movie. We were all seated around a conference table at Dev, Nizam, Mehta and Associates, waiting for the lawyer to read out Nina’s will. I didn’t want to be there, but knew that my father wanted me there. “I’ll give you my dresses, toots, don’t worry,” Nina had winked at me when she was around. “Much appreciated, yo. The girlfriend will find that much easier to take off.” “What girlfriend? You’ve settled on just one girl now?” “No, I just said that to make you happy.” She laughed. “Since when have you ever tried to make me happy?!” “Well, you’re dying. Shouldn’t I try to make you happy at least now?” She reached out and pinched my cheeks.

There was dead silence when the middle-aged stuffy looking lawyer walked in, wearing his full-sleeved pin-striped shirt and steel grey trousers. He was even wearing a black waistcoat. I stifled my laughter. Nina would have found it ridiculous too, such attire in our weather.

He started reading out my dead stepmother’s will.

“This is the last will and testament of Vidya Nina Subramani. All earlier wills...” blah blah blah.

It was amusing actually. The first few things were ridiculous. I could picture her in my head smirking while she wrote it or discussed it with Mr Stuffy-in-a-waistcoat. She left her clothes to her nieces, her shoes to her sister, her books to me (though I hated reading, so it was another joke), her DVD collection to another niece and me, and her dogs to dad.

This went on for about fifteen minutes, which must have seemed like fifteen years to the nearly salivating relatives.

“I hereby leave all my stocks and shares, currently under the control of my chartered accountant S Krishnan, to my bereaved husband Anil Poddar.

My precious jewellery, all thirty seven pieces of it located in my State Bank of India locker number 291, Poes Garden branch, I leave to my son Gaurav Poddar...”

I snorted when I heard that. Trust her to leave shiny stuff to me. The lawyer continued after shooting me a death glare befitting a star trooper.

“My entire estate in Wellingdon hill station, covering four acres, and the house built there, I leave to my son Gaurav Poddar.

All the cash in my four bank accounts (in my name, Vidya Nina Subramani) amounting to approximately Rs 79 lakhs, I leave to my son Gaurav Poddar.

The fixed deposits in my name at my main bank Standard Chartered, worth Rs 1.3 crores, I leave to my son Gaurav Poddar...”

“Wait, this is a joke, right?” someone spoke up. I don’t remember now who it was.

“Please, could you leave your questions for when I finish,” the lawyer said firmly, more than asking the relative. My father murmured in agreement.

I don’t remember what came after, but when I heard my name again after a few moments, I looked up. “Sorry, could you repeat that... I didn’t hear you.”

Stuffy looked at me in resignation and read it out once more.

“And finally, I leave to my son Gaurav Poddar, twenty three letters which are in my husband Anil Poddar’s possession. Following my husband’s demise, the letters will be in the possession of my husband’s sister, Shilpa Murthy. These are one letter each year on his birthday, till he turns forty five-years-old.”

The lawyer looked up, took of his glasses and began folding the will up. The relatives began murmuring loudly amongst themselves. It was probably anger directed at Nina and me, but I don’t remember much now. I remember the ringing in my head. What was wrong with her, I was thinking, why did she leave me everything? I remember Pa asking me if I was okay, but I got up and ran outside.

I remember asking the secretary where the men’s toilet was. I found my way there and locked the toilet before making my way to the mirror.

‘Why would she do that, why would she give everything to me,’ was all I remember thinking. Then I thought of the letters, she would have probably written during those long hours in the hospital, when she was waiting to die, a bag of bones, the woman who was the only mother and sister and female friend I had ever known.

I started crying and sank to the floor as the pictures of my mother flashed through my brain.

Monday, 19 September 2011

the deluge

There was a side to me that I always knew of,
That bit that I feared the deepest.
Covered by shimmering ice,
So striking, so sharp in its beauty,
Cold to touch and fearless in its protective duty.

The ice became a part of me,
The veiled eyes and never smiling face.

I should have seen the deluge coming.

The day that I set fire to the ice
And watched her burn from afar.
The flames were so high,
I thought she would burn longer,
But it lasted no more than a few minutes.

I wake up looking for her now,
That icy beauty that I once knew.
But when I look in the mirror,
I see only emotional dimples.
I can still picture her burning, screaming,
Asking me to think again.

I miss her,
But there is a side to me that I never knew of.
I don’t know where the rain starts
And my tears end, but they have settled the flames now,
All that remain of her are cinders and memories.

The rain gets harder,
The voices get stronger.
The person I burned her for is no longer keeping me from her.
But there are others.
There will be others.

I can feel the cold beginning inside me again.
The hands slowly reaching up from the ground
Where I stand,
Calling my name,
Reaching for my face.

I have missed her coldness.

But there will be others.

**for carry on tuesday.**

Thursday, 25 August 2011

leap of faith

I've made an image of lovers over the years
As I've watched them all fall, around me:
My closest confidantes, most distant nemeses.
Acrobats flying through the air,
Lithe and graceful, sometimes eyes closed,
Some eyes are wide open.

They leap, they land on their feet,
On their heads, backs, elbows and teeth,
Like cats or clumsy hippos.
Some land on shards of glass that were waiting,
Pointing at the heavens.

Some have partners, ones which help,
Firm, warm hands which hold them up
As they gaze into pools of coloured pupils.
I've seen warm hands grow slippery, moist:
Once steady acrobats go flying to the ground.

I have to applaud.
We, the ones sitting on the benches,
Have to cheer them.
I used to think we were smart,
To watch them fall,
To help them up,
To never jump ourselves.
Now I know how brave they are.
Stupidly brave acrobats.

To close your eyes and jump:
Just to feel your heart soar,
The wind whipping past you in waves,
Like you are a bird and
There is no tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

thirst

I did not realise I was thirsty
Till I came across an oasis.
Its fruit was not the most beautiful,
Succulent, sweet or breathtaking.
But it sucked me in,
Made me drink it up,
With each sip I got more dizzy.

I sit in its protective shade now, waiting.
Waiting for the time to come
When I must leave.
For my journey must continue.

But now that I have been to the oasis,
Will I always feel thirsty and think of its warmth?

Monday, 22 August 2011

time to say goodbye

**author's note: this was inspired by Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings", and is an experiment in progress.**

Boy meets girl. It’s the oldest story ever, I thought to myself and scratched my lip.

Thunder rolled on the distance. 2.26 am, my computer blinked at me. I stared at the blank screen. See, I reasoned with myself, let’s not go there. It can only end in two ways – happy or unhappy. Somewhere within me a voice disagreed. Or maybe those were the rumblings of a stomach pressured by tuna and tiramisu.

How many ways can this damn story end? I scratched my lip again. This is where I look to Margaret Atwood for inspiration. ‘Happy Endings’, indeed. Lightning and mad, mad, furious thunder. As if the gods of writing were roaring at me. So many songs, poems, stories, books, novellas, haikus, sonnets, biographies, license plate numbers, legal documents, passports, birth certificates, phone bills, were based on love. So many. And here I was, a so-called writer, staring blankly at a screen, wondering what the fuck the ‘L’ word was about.

It was 2.30 am by that time. First I had to pick a scenario – a couple, and decide how they fell for each other. Love or lust. Then came the biggie. How did it end? Miserable, or happily? Dreamily for one and suicidal for another or both the same? I sighed. Too many options, just too many options.

Fuck.

Oh wait, that’s a form of love too. Or an action.

This was going nowhere. I decided to shut up and not give in to my narcissistic authorial ramblings and just go with it. My first love story, here we go.
*******************************************************************************
Present day, Bangalore, India

“Where is he, Rudy?”

“In there, painting like a mad freak.”

The trusty roommate had opened my ‘studio’ door a crack, about an hour earlier, just to make sure I was alright and not losing my mind, like I tend to sometimes. I had stopped painting and was staring at my product when Jaya came over. She walked into my tiny studio and stood behind me. I could smell her. Over the strong reek of acrylic paint and the whiff of my canvas. She smelt faintly of the oil she uses on her hair, some sweet shampoo or conditioner and a familiar floral perfume.

“Hmm. Is that me?” she laughed.

I turned around and looked at her. She froze in her tracks.

“What’s wrong, chooch?”

“Nothing, why? So, do you like it?” I asked gesturing magnificently at my creation.

“Yes. But what was that weird look you just gave me?”

“Come outside, I need to get out.”

Abey, tell me first what that look was!”

I wondered how to tell her what was going through my head. That I adored her, even though I had known her just over a month, that I was freakishly attached to her, and it scared the bejesus out of me. That I had many imaginary scenarios in my head where she would break my heart – today, tomorrow, next week, where she did it in the past.. all crazy scenes involving my heart being shattered.

“Nothing’s wrong. And no, the girl in the painting isn’t you.” I poured myself a rum and coke and offered her a sip. She shook her head, sat down opposite me and stared at me unblinkingly. She heaved a huge sigh after a few moments of pointless staring.

“Why won’t you talk to me? I don’t understand you, I spend most of my time wondering what your various looks mean. If you tell me what’s on your mind, I can understand you better, na?”

I stared at her in silence and smiled. I took a long sip of my drink and watched her light a cigarette. I didn’t smoke but almost everybody I knew did, so I didn’t say anything.

“Rudy, where’s your ashtray?” she yelled. He obediently walked out of the tiny excuse of a kitchen, where he had been making himself scarce, and handed her his makeshift ashtray, which was a tin box from Reebok.

Haan, so tell me.” She wasn’t giving up today, apparently.

I didn’t budge either. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, or what look.”

“Ok, then tell me about the painting.” I was taken aback. Firstly, I was surprised she even cared. Secondly, how the hell was I supposed to explain a painting done out of the very hyperactive imagination and intense feelings I was trying to keep hidden from her?

I mumbled my reply. “Whattt?” she asked. I heard Rudy snort in the kitchen.

“If I have to explain it, it isn’t a very good painting. In any case, you can make whatever you want of it.”

She sighed again. “You dipshit. I get that. But what do *you* feel about it, what were *you* thinking when you were madly at it with a paintbrush, not thinking about your pretty green shirt.”

I forgot about my shirt. I looked down at it. It was unsalvageable.

Accha, I think we should stop seeing each other.”

“Wait, *whattt*?” Rudy choked on something in the kitchen, as Jaya got high-pitched. I was also taken aback by myself.

“Rudy, get out! And Jaya… well…”

“Yes, well?”

“See, I’m leaving soon...”

“I always knew that, you dipshit. You told me that two nights after we met.” She put on a fake deep voice and rose to the occasion. “‘Hello hi, my name is Dhruv, I work at a gallery. I’m finally going to go study this year, I’m going to do a course in Graphic Design in Australia.’ You think I don’t remember???”

“Yes, well…..”

“Well, what? What happened, are you scared because you like me or something?”

I raised my eyebrows. Like her or something? I thought of the last time we had sex and how I was in absolute heaven because I made her so happy with my erm, performance. And I was amazed because I usually don’t give a shit how happy I make the girl, as long as I get what I want. The thought of Jaya’s eyes closed in ecstasy with her arms wrapped around my neck and her moaning my name.. well. Like her, it seems. I tried not to spit at her.

I took a deep breath instead and looked at her calmly. “Yes, it’s because I like you too fucking much, J. And I’m leaving and I don’t want you or me to get hurt.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes.”

“Why are you so scared, Dhruv?” She moved closer and held my hand. I felt myself melt into a puddle of green boy in shirt with paint.

“I don’t know. I just am. I cannot do these intense things, it’s too scary. And this is very intense. I can do one night stands and stupid, slutty women. Not smart ones with gorgeous hair who are actually decent to me. On top of that I’m leaving so let me just save myself the heartbreak, please.” We were both quite for a few moments as she digested what I'd said. "It's time to say goodbye, I think," I added quietly.

“I don’t want you to marry me or anything but let’s just spend some time together. Please? Or, take a couple of days and think about it. I think you’re just freaking out because things have gotten steamy the last few days. So relax.” She winked at me then got up, picked up her bag and started walking away. I felt my heart sink as I gazed at her gorgeous behind, her hair swinging from side to side.. it was damp and she had left it loose, but I know it covered a shapely waist, which was also covered by her red shirt. I shook myself out of it.

She looked back at me and said, “I’ll call you in a few days. Pick up, please. And relax. We’re in the same boat. I’m not going to hurt you.” And the 26-year-old singer/lawyer left the building. I forced myself not to watch her from my window, watch her leaving my apartment complex, walking to her car [parked a couple of buildings away] and driving away from me.

She didn’t call for four days. Those were the longest four days of my life. When she finally did call, I did not respond. I imagined her with the boy who left his Tissot watch by her window. A watch I would never be able to afford. I imagined her with the multitude of men she met through her music contacts – talented people who could write her songs and poetry and woo the hell out of her.

I never called Jaya back. She came by my apartment when I was not there and cried to Rudy. Poor Rudy. Then I called her to say it was over and I wished her the best. She cried over the phone. I felt like crap but knew I was doing it for a reason.

Two months later, I left for Melbourne. I still think of her on and off. She is probably fucking the brains out of some Bangalore-based creative types, holding his hand and smiling her warm, sunshine-like smile at him. Lucky bastard. I am waiting to find the Australian equivalent of her.
************************************************************************************

For those who want a happier ending: conclusion #2

She didn’t call for four days. Those were the longest four days of my life. I imagined her with the boy who left his Tissot watch by her window. A watch I would never be able to afford. I imagined her with the multitude of men she met through her music contacts – talented people who could write her songs and poetry and woo the hell out of her.

When she finally did call, I cried. I actually cried. I, Dhruv Shankar, womaniser and drunkard and emotionally stunted painter, cried. Because a girl did not call me for four days. Jaya was very touched. We made sweet, sweet, very slow love and I got even more attached to her. I still freaked out about it, but she got used to my strange ways.

Before I left for Melbourne, I even worked up the nerve to admit that the ‘L’ word had somehow gotten involved. Love, not lust. She smiled when I told her, and said she knew when she saw the mad painting I completed some weeks earlier, unmindful of wearing one of my favourite green shirts.

We broke up when I left, but I had a feeling I would come back for her. We stayed in touch. We grew distant when I got busy with work, making ends meet, studies and acclimatising to a new continent. She dated a couple of other guys. One I vaguely knew, back in Bangalore.

One year and seven months after I left, I returned to Bangalore and called her. We met the next day, at a coffee shop, where she sobbed into my red shirt [much to my embarrassment but also to my delight] about the last boy she dated – a stupid sod of a Telugu boy who hit her. When I looked into those tear-filled deep brown eyes again that day, in a crowded coffee shop, I was a goner. And I think she knew it too.
*************************************************************************************

For those who want a more realistic ending: conclusion #3

She didn’t call for four days. Those were the longest four days of my life. I imagined her with the boy who left his Tissot watch by her window. A watch I would never be able to afford. I imagined her with the multitude of men she met through her music contacts – talented people who could write her songs and poetry and woo the hell out of her.

Four days became fourteen and then became forty. I was heartbroken. I, Dhruv Shankar, womaniser and drunkard and emotionally stunted painter, was actually heartbroken. I left for Melbourne with a burning hatred for all womankind in my heart. I slept my way through my first year at university with any woman I could find, and eventually the memories of her scented black hair and the mole below her left breast left me. It took a while, though. And I met a brilliant Malaysian-Indian girl named Sam. We dated steadily for eight months before we tired of each other. Sam and I still remain friends though.

I lived in Australia, between Melbourne and Brisbane, for fourteen years. I met my wife there, an American with brown hair and piercing blue eyes that could see right through me. Jennifer. We lived in poverty, got married against my parents wishes, had one child by mistake and nearly split up because we could not handle it. When Jen went to America “for a break”, I followed her after a miserable, aching three months. And I got her back. We made our second child in her parents’ home in Birmingham, Alabama.

Jen, the kids and I moved back to Bangalore finally when my parents got too old and I worried about them. They had forgiven me for marrying an American the instant they saw their first grandchild, you see.

Years later, when my son Mirav brought home his third girlfriend, I thought of Jaya again. Fleeting thoughts of where she was, what was she doing, and I forgot about her. The girl looked a lot like Jaya. I never did find out why she didn’t call me. I wondered about it for a few days, the next time I met the girl. Then, thankfully, Mirav broke up with her, and I never thought of Jaya again.


Monday, 11 July 2011

little needs

“I ask for very little, you know. I mean…”

“Little? LITTLE?” he spat.

“I am NOT done!!”

“No, you are. I am. We’re done. Bloody done.” He threw the pillow at the bed and stormed out of our bedroom.

He was joking. Had to be. It was over something stupid.. incredibly stupid. And it always was. I think this time it was over him not telling me that he wouldn’t be home for dinner.

I held back a flood of tears and crept out to see if the baby had woken up. She hadn’t. I was amazed. By her beauty and fragility, yet some unnerving invisible strength which allowed her to sleep through our worst fights. I had a feeling she was going to be just like her father. My baby. The only thing I could ever call my own.

I ran out of the room before the sobbing began, not wanting to wake her. After all, I would have to rock her back to sleep. Her father had left. God knows for how long.
I make him sound like a monster. He’s not. He’s just… insensitive? And I wondered if he was right, if I expected too much from him, as a man, as a husband, as a father. Most of all as a husband. Because he was a good enough father.

A little time, a little love, maybe a compliment here and there. He wasn’t like some other husbands who constantly compare the wife to his beloved mother, or a cheating, disease-carrying bastard. He wasn’t hiding a second family behind closed doors, he wasn’t a miser or a workaholic. But he was insensitive. Like he never saw me. Never noticed the extra talcum powder I put just before he was due home, or the trouble I took over getting back into shape after having Tina. He never noticed how glad I was to see him when he came home, or how all I wanted when I was sick, was just to be held. By him.

I wondered how long it would take before he figured it out. I lifetime felt too long. It felt like all I could see in my future was a black cloud, with bright multi-coloured toys here and there, where Tina would be lying.

I sighed and went to wash my face. I needed to get some sleep before facing the black cloud of the next day, and the villain in my stories – an insensitive husband. Sounds downright evil, doesn’t it?

--

I looked at the picture of my parents on their 5th wedding anniversary. There was tissue all around me, my nose was stuffed, my eyes were so puffy that I could barely see. I was exhausted. It felt like my whole world was a lie. Which was ridiculous. I was 22 and an adult and so many of my friends’ parents had split up or were living lies.

But for my mother to suddenly walk out after 24 years of marriage, a few months shy of their fucking 25th anniversary.. I was trying to wrap my brains around it. My aunt, her younger sister, halped put a few things in perspective. Which left me wondering why she didn’t leave when I was a baby. Why she put up with it at all. My boring clod of a father who never noticed her beauty, how she adored him.

I tried putting myself in her shoes. They seemed painful. I wondered how I never noticed in all those years. And how he never noticed. My stupid father. And my poor mother, for wasting 25 of her most beautiful years.

I started crying again.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

breathe

how many times do i have to tell them -- don't dress up for a boy, dress up for yourself!
especially if that boy isn't even worth your time.

humans are confounding. running after sex when you're young, shifting to thoughts of marriage when you're older, then it becomes trying to find a long-term partner plus good sex; not to forget people you aren't romantically linked with... friends. friends who stop talking to you, friends who accuse you of stealing, friends who claim you stop spending time with them when you're interested in a member of the opposite sex, and then there's family -- aging parents, siblings who go away and you miss, or siblings who are at home and you cannot stop fighting with.

it sounds exhausting, doesn't it? dealing with all these people and not going completely bonkers. and then handling them and wondering if you handled them the right way...? which is why i love my Labrador. it's so simple with her. it's just unadulterated love. no expectations. which is impossible from humans.

it's my "alone" phase again, apparently.

when you're around too many people, too much of the time, and you lose sight of yourself... well, it's a little scary. i've been ridiculously social the last few weeks. and i think i know why -- it wasn't a very good reason. it wasn't even for myself. it's as if i am jumping from the frying pan to another hot, steaming vessel, or even right into the fire.

so when i am handing out well-meaning advice to the girlfriends i love, it smarts a bit, it is tiresome. because i know what we go through as women -- over-analysis, expectations, standards [yes, we're picky about people we want to date or take off our clothes for], heart over mind, then mind trying to win over heart, careful weighing, talking, crying, waxing, texting, indulging... it's bloody exhausting when i see what we put ourselves through.

relationships are bloody tiring. i wish everyone was my Labrador. or bluepapercranes. who is like a human Labrador with almost non-existent expectations.

*big bloody sigh*

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

slim

children don't see what their parents see:
the same mistakes, made by half of the same blood
cells that they helped make and want to perfect

what they don't know is, they were also young
that everyone makes mistakes so they have regrets when old
children bring misery to *all* parents, not just you

cells combine, make a person, a freak accident mixture of two people
what could possibly go right with that?
what are the odds you'll have a great kid?

they're slim, i'll tell you.
real.
slim.

i'd know. i'm one of these kids.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

mr sweet


Sitara was having the worst day in the world.

Once a lawyer, she had thought life going over endless reams of legal documents could not be worse than *not* getting a story and being yelled at. So she switched over to the media. Newspapers, to be precise. Her written test was excellent, she charmed the heck out of her future editor at her interview and even managed to talk her way out of getting a beginner’s salary.

Which is why, when she *did* make mistakes, he got really mad. Forget red cheeks. The man had a round face, he was short and plump, but refused to accept it. So he wore t-shirts that were too small for him. When he was angry, these t-shirts seemed to expand around his tummy and shrink around the chest because he would inhale that much. And then he would explode. The man’s voice could carry across the ground floor of our editorial building. Besides that, his extremely long, grey ear hair almost curled up like Malayali cinema villain’s curly moustaches.

So the day that Sitara screwed up for the third time in two days, his ear hair really got curly.

“How, how, HOW can you miss environment day?! We had a fucking supplement out today? The Indian Times printed a GREEN NEWSPAPER!!!”

Sitara shuddered remembering the force of the man’s temper against the already-heavy load she was carrying. Although she couldn’t blame him. What so-called environmental reporter didn’t plan ahead for these things? Especially because she was busy planning a romantic evening for her one-year anniversary with her boyfriend. Now, she would forever remember that the day coincided with World Environment Day.

“Shame on me,” she muttered, while packing up her things.

The boss came in at that moment. She froze. His eyes were bulging out of his face as he stared at her, he was not blinking.

“Y-Yes, sir?”

“What the fuck are you doing?” His voice was very quiet.

“Packing my things, sir……?” She was almost whispering.

Then she saw it. He inhaled.

And then he exhaled.

“What the HELL are you? You goddamn lawyer people never give up! And now.. now you mess up and think you can just LEAVE?! FUCK no! I want a page one story for tomorrow! Give it to me in time for the city edition!”

She swallowed. “Sir, it’s already 3.30.”

“Well, you’d better work fast then.”

Sitara never worked harder and faster on her one-year anniversary. It also helped that her boyfriend left her her favourite flower, an orchid, on her desk when he left. [This was one of the few times she appreciated having a boyfriend in the same building.]

So at 9.47 pm that night, when she finally got home to the elaborate dinner she had planned, she gave him an anniversary he would probably never forget.

As they were falling asleep, she muttered, “You are the sweetest. I don’t even know where you got an orchid from. Our goddamn office is in that hellhole of an industrial area.”

“Uhm. Truth? You’ve been talking about that flower a lot, so…”

“Huh?”

“Well, the truth is........ a boyfriend would look for a place where he could get it no?” And Sitara melted into his dimpled chin as he grinned down at her.

There was a collective roar from Paul’s friends when he got to that part of the story about their anniversary.

“Dude! Nicely played!”

“What the fuck, man, how come these things don’t happen to me!”

Among all that, “Wait, wait, wait, wait!!”

The decibel level dropped slightly. “Yes?”

“So if it wasn’t you, who left that flower for her, Mr Sweet?”

“No idea, dude. If I ever find out, I’ll thank the dude, though. The sex has never been better!” And he dimpled at his dudes.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

karma is not the bitch here

karma is something humans thought of
when they had evil people to curse
whose bellies only grew fatter
whose riches only grew vaster
whose loved ones only inherited millions

evil people who watched others suffer
who knowingly wreaked havoc in lives
in lives of single mothers with broken children
then later in the lives of those broken children

these people watched as others starved
others close to them could not eat or drink
who were close to dying when they finally
finally threw them out

they threw them out and they watched
as those souls spent their last breaths in this world
asking for help from anyone who would glance their way
strangers who did not know the first thing about them

karma is something humans thought of
when they saw these strangers who would help
help people they did not know
creatures left for dead by the side of a crowded city road

karma is something many wish for
they may not know what it's called
or that they are wishing for it

but at some point in everyone's life they, see what i am talking about:

a bag of bones, with the deepest, most warm and loving eyes in the world
bones which have been left twice:
once on the road, another time in her new home
by her adopted mother and brother
someone she trusted with her life

those eyes were bright when they left the clinic
they returned a little less bright
and now they are fighting to remain open

those strangers i spoke of cry at her bedside
and watch as another stranger's blood
is filtered into her system

her adopted mother does not answer our calls anymore

all i can see when i sleep these days is those eyes
warm, brown and big, looking at me like i am an angel
looking at everyone she meets, like they are her saviour
no matter how many needles they prod her with

all i see are those eyes and those bones
less than 40 pounds of skin and protruding bones

her eyes are dimmer today
and her mother still does not care

it maybe the 21st century
do you see why humans think about karma even now?

Monday, 30 May 2011

lucky

My name is Meera Lakhani. People call me Lucky. I’m part south Indian, part north Indian. Then again, if you’re from India, you would have known that the minute you read my name. Lucky is just a dead giveaway. Who has heard of a Sindi/Punjabi named Lucky… err... everybody?

I am bipolar. I still don’t quite know what that means. For me, it just means that most people don’t stick around in my life for very long. My parents could be called an exception, in several cases at least. But they know even less about me than I do. Which is difficult.

I’m in the earlier half of my 20s. I don’t know why I’m trying to be vague about myself… maybe it just seems safer. People say the Internet is a dangerous thing anyway. Anyway, my best friend is a dog I rescued when she was lying on the road, bleeding. I named her – wait for it – Cecilia. I don’t know why. It’s a very un-hip, infra dig name, I know. But around that time, I had read an oft quoted quote by some chap named Cecil Rhodes. Something along the lines of what Robert Frost said.. miles to go, so much to do.. I can’t remember now. But I was inspired. I was young, in my teens, and had just been officially diagnosed with my manic depression [I realize that is different from bipolar disorder in the eyes of some, I really don’t care. Either way, I’m sick.] I found Cecilia on the road and my heart broke. Literally. I broke down in the middle of the road, called some people, took her to the vet and helped her.

My doctor told my parents it was a good sign I cared for animals – gave me something to be responsible for. Little did they know that it would be the *only* thing I’d ever be responsible for. My dog, I mean.

I lost my job as a secretary to a fat, overpaid, snarky executive recently. I spat in his face. And I didn’t have the nerve to tell my folks. I knew I’d do it during my next high or low. So the last few days have been spent driving around, sometimes with Cecil in the seat next to me… just looking. For I don’t know what.

Then one day I rescued an animal from being beaten to death by humans and though I’ve been taken my meds regularly and all that, though it’s been a couple of months since the last “incident” [that’s what my parents called my highs and lows, my psychotic breaks] I began to think I was going crazy.

I started seeing crows everywhere. Yes, I’m sure. And I haven’t told my psychiatrist about it yet. They’ll all think I’m nuts again.

It’s like they’re watching me. So, I started reading up on crows. And I realized how smart the bloody birds are. I thought about it incessantly but couldn’t figure out for the life of me why they were following me around. Then I remembered. They’re scavengers. They can probably smell death a mile away. So maybe I was dying, or maybe they know I was so screwed in the head that I would die soon. I’m not sure.

And so. I have drawn up a list. Or rather, I intend to. Of things to do before I die. Not very original, yes, I realize that. But who cares. I’m dying. I get to be unoriginal, clichéd in the face of my mortality.

I thank the crows for again giving me a reason to wake up in the morning. So I can accomplish whatever I can before Death [I picture her from Gaiman’s Sandman. Pretty cool character, huh?] comes for me. So I’m ready when she comes. *cue for maniacal laughter that I’m not too good at*

Cecil and I are gonna be ready. Or something.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

flocks



Time: around late afternoon when the sun is hot, but not hottest, in the sky.
Place: somewhere in southern India, where the summers are scorching, where animals wander around on the roads of places teeming with office buildings and the trash the offices manage to come up with.

A crow sits on a cow’s back. The cow is patient, but begins to get annoyed when it starts pecking at her. “Like seriously. You have plenty to choose from but you peck at something 500 times your size that’s still alive??”

“Why are you speaking like a black person? And. It’s hot, I’m bored and I know you’re too tired to actually kill me.”

“How do you even know I’m speaking like a black person unless you’ve also….”

“Guys, shut up! I’m trying to snooze here.” Another cow from not-so-yonder speaketh up.

“Snooze? What have you all been listening to?” a crow spat from a tree. Yes, crows don’t spit but it was trying to clean a wing and it sounded like it was spitting words out.

“I’m bored, Ma,” another crow said. “Let’s play a game?”

“Oh for Ram’s sake, fine let’s play a bloody game.” That was a bull from the herd, sleeping by the side of the road. “You crows go and find food. And we go, find food. And at the end of two hours, we’ll see who has found the most food.”

Baby crow was excited. “What’s the prize?”

Silence. Then the bull said, “Eternal sunshine of the spotted mind.”

“EH?!” Yes, that was a chorus.

“I don’t know, I’ll think of a prize. After all, I’m tha man!” That said, tha man goes back to sleep, unaware of the traffic that shoots past him at 70 kmph on a Saturday afternoon.
--

114 minutes later…

“Wha?” The bull opened his eyes blearily. A cow looked at him from her big, dark, soulful eyes. “What are we giving the kid crow? Have we decided?”

“What’s wrong with you woman! You woke me up for this?! For, for.. for THIS?” he spat. “Screw the crow! Cows and crows aren’t even supposed to be friends, what world do you live in? I just wanted it to stop cawing in my ear and gave it something to do!”

Stone cold silence. She cleared her throat. “You might want to turn around.”

The bull did.

He saw an endless cloud of black. Flocks and flocks of crows had gathered to help the brat. Turns out he was some alpha male’s first born (yes, even crows have fertility issues now. One wouldn’t have thought it, right?) and they had decided to help him. The result was a huge pile of.. well, garbage.

Let me make it clear. Crows are smaller than cows, and bulls too, definitely. But they’re useful. You don’t want to annoy the scavengers of a wannabe metropolitan Indian city. One never knows when they will be of use. Say, when it rains and the cows need shelter. The crows fly further than the cows imagine. They’d know where to get plastic to keep dry for the first rains to abate, while the cows managed to find their way to a deserted shed the crows know of. Before you ask – humans are useless. They think of only themselves and their milk, meat, whatever. Calves, even full-grown cows, have died of things like pneumonia after being left in the rain by the two-legged mammals.

“Erm. I was kidding.” Crows flexing their muscles is funny. Trying not to laugh is funnier. So best to say least in such a moment. “Ok, wait. Let me prove it. I’ll go find some food.”

Hysterical crow laughter. Bulls do not *look* for food. It comes to them.

“This should be fun,” alpha crow said.

It was. Sort of. One and a half minutes later, a stupid male motorcyclist was lying in the middle of the road, in a small pool of blood, moaning.

“See! I told you I could do it!” Yes, that was stupid bull-talk. Now we know where the term bull-shit originated from. Alpha crow to alpha bull: “That’s not what you guys eat. You’re not taking this seriously.”

“No, no, I am! See, I never specified what sort of food or whose food. I just said food. You guys can eat this!”

Hmm. Strange. The bull was reasoning with them. Before this could be properly considered by the birds (if one can call them that), there was a big noise. Humans had flocked to the one lying on the road. In languages we do not understand, they hawed and hemmed and pointed at the bull. Two humans promptly started beating the big animal up with wooden planks from a nearby construction site. This was something the crows could not fix before it was too late.

The flock of birds and herd of mammals (four-legged ones) were in discussion as the alpha bull continued to be made mash out of.
--

It was my day off and I was bored. My bipolarness was at it again. I had stolen a cop’s uniform, bought POLICE stickers for my car and cheesy blue and red flashing lights for too. I was happy and whistling and looking for trouble. I found it.

After almost two hours of driving, when I was in some godforsaken industrial area, I came across a cow being bashed up by some idiots on the road. I slowed down and parked nearby. People allowed me to – they thought I was a cop.

I viewed the scene from a little further away and figured.. these were morons. They obviously blamed a poor, dumb animal, which could not talk, for an accident. That too a bike accident by a moron who was obviously drunk and or high or just careless.

I strutted to the men, took out my lathi and whacked the bigger one of them
He turned, eyes wild, “EEEYYYYY!!.....”. His companion also turned, both holding bloody, wooden planks, and both stopped in their tracks seeing my uniform.

“Go, call someone. Animal doctor or something.” Nobody reacted. “GO!” Some people standing by ran, some whipped out their phones. “Call Blue Cross, you son of an unmarried mother!” I swore in the local tongue.

Then I turned back to the men. I calmly whacked them a couple of times with the lathi I stole from somewhere during one of my drunken, psychotic highs. They shrieked and asked for mercy, blaming the cow. I whacked them till they got why I was mad and till they apologized for killing the animal. Well, I don’t know if it was dead, it certainly looked it.

As they crawled away, I called the real cops and waited for Blue Cross before I made a run for it.
--

The crows watched, bewildered at what she was doing. After it was all over and their friend the stupid bull was carted off to animal hospital, they agreed on one thing – if anyone got the best food that day, it was the policewoman. To have two numbskulls begging for mercy, almost begging to be her food, to be killed and eaten by her, was thrilling. Especially since she had done it to save one of them, and not out of boredom.

Alpha crow announced what they were all considering. “The two-legged mammal who saved Bull wins. Since there was no prize discussed, she wins our loyalty. We will keep an eye on her and keep her safe from harm. No human who did that is normal, maybe she is off in her head.”

“I think you mean off with her head,” his female partner whispered.

“I meant crazy, not headless, you chicken!”

And they all dispersed, shaking their heads at the strange happenings of the day. That lady was one of them now. Whether she liked it or not.

Monday, 23 May 2011

it takes two

I walked into my best friend’s house, right past her mother and brother, into her room and sat on her bed. It was six in the morning so I had to shake her awake.

“Humflpilghsphugt.”

“Wake up. Anna. Anna. Anna!”

Mission accomplished. She blinked at me through quarter-open eyes and then tried to sit up. I braced myself for impact. It came, sure enough. I got whacked on my upper arm. From a friend who is a state-level squash player, that can hurt quite a bit.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?? Are you insane? This is why I bloody said I’d go with you! Why didn’t you call me yesterday, do you know how worried I was??”

I winced. In a matter of two seconds, her tone changed.

“Sweetie, are you ok? What happened there? Tell me..”

“I couldn’t do it.”

Silence. I heard a crow cawing outside her window. I was afraid she might try to stone it to death.

“What?” She had gone very quiet.

“I couldn’t do it.. I just couldn’t.”

She took a deep breath. “Ok. This is manageable. We can fix another appointment and I’ll take you there myself.. it’ll all be absolutely fine, don’t wor..”

“I don’t think I can do it.”

More silence.

“What’s wrong with you? You don’t really have a choice, do you?”

“I do! I can keep it! There are so many people who are desperately trying to have kids and can’t. In-vitro, taking temperatures, freezing eggs.. they do all sorts of shit! And I can just give them a baby!”

“Right. If that even is an option, what is going to happen to you?”

Before I could open my mouth to answer, she continued.

“You’re 16. Six-fucking-teen. And you’re in India. Your folks don’t even know you’ve done it!”

I heaved a great, big sigh. “I know, An. But I thought.. well. I donno. I went there and I was all riled up, ready to go through this. Then.. It occurred to me that this is actually a person. Will be a person. And I’m wiping it off the face of the Earth because I was irresponsible and too chicken-shit to do anything but that. I mean.. what if this is the next Gandhi?!”

She gave me a supremely skeptical look.

“I mean.. this is someone’s best friend, first lover, someone’s life partner and parent that I’m wiping off forever! It’s a goddamn person!” I was very high-pitched by then. Anna would have normally shushed me but she was pacing and biting her lower lip.

“So. What would you like to do? Have you told your idiot boyfriend?”

“No. Obviously he’ll freak the fuck out. He’s 19 and slept with a minor and got her pregnant. So…”

I heard a dog barking. It was barking at a bawling baby. The universe could not have been clearer.

“Listen. We’ll do something. I’ll skip this year at school or something. I’ll talk to my parents. If they disown me… well, they won’t. They love me too much. I just… I’m keeping this baby. I mean, till it pops out. Then it can go wherever it wants to. Or the gods want it to. But… I can’t kill it. I… I just can’t…”

“Oh sweetie, don’t cry. I may slap you, I’m so stressed out. I’m sorry that I maybe being a bitch but… I’m just worried for you. You’re so smart and cool and this could ruin your life.”

“It won’t. I know it won’t.”

“Annnnnaaaaaaa!”

“Wait. Mom’s probably worried cos’ we’re yelling. I’ll be right back.”

Once she had left, I sat down on the edge of her bed. I was scared out of my wits. I didn’t know what I was doing and maybe she was right. I hated my emotions and hormones. Obviously they would tell me to keep it, that’s what they called maternal instinct. Or something.

I put my hand on my lower abdomen, close to where my jeans were buttoned. I couldn’t wear those for much longer. It had already been two months.

While I was deep in thought, trying to calm myself down, Anna’s brother walked in. I didn’t even notice. When his hand landed gently on my shoulder, I jumped and squealed.

“Nikhil! You scared the shit out of me.”

“Are you okay?”

I paused. Could I be honest with him? Would he also freak out? “No,” I whispered.

“I figured.”

We sat together in silence for a while before he said, “Are you keeping it?”

“I think so.”

I turned to look at him and found him already looking at me.

“Does your boyfriend know?”

“He doesn’t even know I’m pregnant.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to drag him into this. It’s my fault.”

“No, I know why you’re not telling him. But why are you keeping it?”

“I don’t know. It feels wrong to abort. What if it ends up being another brilliant squash player?”

I looked at him again.

“We have to tell her at some point,” he said. “I can’t lie to someone living under the same roof as me. Not forever.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll handle it. We should have told her earlier, when it happened. But better late than never. Anyway, I'll tell her. It’s my fau..”

“The hell it’s your fault. I should have used protection!”

“Sshh. She’ll hear us. And, it doesn’t matter now. We’ll figure something out.”

“I’m so, so sorry, Preethi.”

“It’s not your fault. We were drunk. And it takes two. I didn’t even expect you to be so nice about it… I mean offering to drive me to the clinic and all.”

“Yes, well… mom’s brought me up well.”

“You better go. I’ll talk to Anna. Don’t you dare think about telling your mother.”

“Ok.”

As he left, his sister walked in. “Ok, so here’s what we’re gonna do….” she began. I lost track of her, deep in my own thoughts about the universe and babies and encounters with friends’ older brothers.

Monday, 16 May 2011

surrender

“What if I just stop running and give in to all the madness?” I found myself thinking.

After having lived abroad for five years, I missed home. I wanted to come back. And I did.

By that time I was 31. My parents were gentle in their requests for information about my relationships while I had been gone. It seems they were sure I had found someone to settle down with and never worried that they’d have to “arrange” for a boy.

The rest of the north Indian extended family were hyperventilating though. Forget 31, even 28 was nearing an expiry date when it came to the Indian wedding market. And I, having been brought up by fairly open-minded people in an extremely open-minded metro, and living abroad on top of it, was not prepared for the circus that awaited me once I got back.

Picture this: I land in Mumbai after hopping across god only knows how many continents, seas or countries, and my grandmother toddles in at 2 in the morning to ask what my boyfriend looks like. Because she wants to know if her great-grandchildren will be decent looking, she says. I stared open-mouthed before my poor mother ushered her back to bed.

For the next two hours, my parents calmly explain the situation to me – how they have fended off queries for my hand in marriage, how they were sure I’d be against an arranged thing, how they were even surer that I would find someone for myself during my time away. “After all, you’re such a smart cookie, and so pretty too,” my mother smiled at me gently, tucking my hair behind my ear.

I had to pinch myself to check if it was a dream.

It was close to two months after my return, as I was standing by the French windows in my uncle’s house, mulling my esoteric existence in a suddenly traditional set up, when I finally decided. Against all the advice of my equally esoteric friends, I would give in. I would stop running.

Love had let many people down over the years. My own parents had met through their family. So what if I barely knew the man I might marry. Sometimes we think we know people and find we don’t know even the first thing about them. The more I obsessed about it, the more it seemed to make sense.

I find myself today, with a supremely calm exterior, dressed not in my finery, but in fairly normal clothes (to keep at least a part of the typical boy-meets-girl-and-family deal different), sitting across, well, a boy. Or a man. Whatever. I find myself resisting the urge to pinch myself again and check if this is real.

Even before he opens his mouth, I know he is not the one for me. But I am not worried. I’ve stopped worrying and obsessing, I’ve surrendered to the process now. I didn’t expect to find my match in the very first guy I met.

I smiled at him and wondered how to tell Mr Electrical Engineer in a Pink and Blue shirt that well, he wasn’t quite esoteric and strange enough to suit my needs. Then I thought back to the very first boy who had a crush on me, in school, and how till today we remain friends despite the feelings not being reciprocated.

I took a deep breath and opened my mouth to say something.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

ode to the S trio

this has been lying in my notebook, incomplete, for a while. seeing as how I'm still not able to get down to writing, I figured I might as well put the first two up. the third will have to forgive me.

these are short, short poems [??] for the only males who ever have and ever will love me unconditionally - and vice versa.

I love you boys and hope you're running wild with each other in the doggy version of the Elysian fields.

--

Sport the Beagle

he came to us as a tiny ball of fur,
huge elephant ears that we couldn't begin to muster;
large, brown eyes set in tan and white fuzz,
like liquid gold with a puppy smell and energy buzz.

we named him Sport, better known as Sporticus,
he was no-nonsense, loving yet firm, caused no fuss.
you see, he went blind as a baby,
and it left him a little bit more wary.

he added to the chaos that I called home,
he was my rock, his ways were set in stone.
he loved me with all of his heart and giant ears,
that's something that never changed with ill-health or passing years,
he was also partial to those who rubbed his belly,
his fierce snarls and hound howls would reduce to jelly.

Sport had a cream colour, soft, such a soft tummy,
a long, loooonnnggg tail we could spot from even far away.
he loved food almost as much as we loved him,
after epilepsy, eating from the garbage was his biggest sin.

he always warned us of strangers and never ran astray,
he knew he couldn't leave his family for even a day.

i'll always feel sad about the way he went:
catching infection when i was away, then epilepsy,
when i returned after a semester, he was totally spent.

i loved him like i did no other:
you see, Sport and i were very similar.
he went blind, and i got hurt,
he became wary, and i became curt.
but that didn't stop us from loving,
loving with all of our broken heart.

may my Beagle be well-fed and happy,
with his brothers Strike and Sparky.

--

Strike the brindle Boxer

tiny, brown and striped with pure white socks,
that he grew to be the biggest was one big shock.
size didn't matter hough, he was purest of heart,
he couldn't hate any living thing, right from the very start.

his giant brown eyes bowled Ma over as soon as they met,
she was his and he was hers, something she'll never, ever forget.
sure, they loved others too, but she was his Big Momma.

though biggest in size, Strike's brain was disproportionately small:
he never understood our fox terrier's smartness, though he stood so very tall.
as a result, he was often conned into doing stupid things:
marking territory inside his house, running away as a young 'un,
all of which got him scolded by the human beings.

Strike however, loved like it was the only thing that mattered,
if you looked into his eyes, all your logic would be scattered.
he was a gorgeous Boxer brindle who never, ever lost his temper,
maybe a few crows and cats were the only ones who saw him and scampered.

he was the second of the three to leave us:
the way he went, oh boy, caused a lot of fuss.
lots of blood, no eating, skin and bone,
stitches, couldn't stand up, it all left us torn.

he suddenly left us in a flash,
eyes open, tongue hanging, heart still.
i skipped my final college year trip
ran home and fell apart like potato mash.

our gorgeous, much beloved Boxer boy,
we hope you're running amuck with your brothers and toys.

Monday, 2 May 2011

gargoyles in my head


I have never been unable to write before.

bluepapercranes suggested I write, pour all my guilt and fear into one of those morbid pieces I usually concoct. At the time, I was still in shock and didn't even consider it. Now, two days later, when the guilt is still gnawing at me every minute that I'm awake [it's possible I dream about it too] I think about something I could write. But it always comes back to the same thing - screeching tyres, the smelt of burnt rubber, a lot of tears and so on.

People are saying "it happens", "everyone messes up", "what is the point of beating yourself up about it"... it's all true maybe. But I find myself thinking things like, "what if I had killed someone", "if I had let him drive, this wouldn't have happened", "what if my grandparents and uncle could have seen me", "what if there was another car in front of me"... I'm grateful that it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Grateful for my friends and family trying to be supportive, not leaving me alone with myself for very long.

I never intended this blog to be a place for personal rants or whiney posts. It's just that I seem to have writer's block for one of the first times in my life. And somehow, I'm okay with that. If I wrote a marvellous something right now, I'd feel better about myself. I wouldn't hate myself as much as I do now, I wouldn't be as disgusted and angry with me.

And I don't think it's time I felt better just yet.

Friday, 29 April 2011

cocky

I’m in excruciating pain. If life has ever bitten you in the ass just when you were walking on air, you’d know what I mean. This is agony.

I can see very clearly though, why it happened. I got stupid. I got cocky. I stopped thinking, my emotions and over-confidence got the better of me, and WHAM. I fell down a multi-storeyed building, unfortunately accidentally taking someone else with me as well.

Perhaps at some point the people affected may forgive me. Perhaps. But how long will I take to forgive myself?

So much for always being in control.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

no second thoughts

“We are such funny roommates. This has to be the best morning after ever!!”

Of course, by then it was 10 pm, she was half asleep while we were discussing nefarious activities of the night before, and I was rolling on the bed cackling. I had to agree with her though, while I watched her run off to pick up the phone. It was her boy from the night before. Thankfully though, the one I encountered wasn't going to call me anytime soon...

--

15 hours earlier. . .

The sun was up. Fully. And I was exhausted. It still hadn’t really sunk in, what I had done. Even with the hand that curled around my stomach, playing with my belly-button.

“You have such a hot body.”

“You sound surprised.”

“Well, it’s usually covered.”

I raised an eyebrow but he couldn’t see it of course. I was too tired to argue. But my nerve-endings were waking up again. The boy had very long fingers. A good thing. I now know, I like men with long fingers.

“You know, I kinda like to finish what I started. And I don’t think you’re finished.”

Ten minutes later, I was pretty sure I had finished. I found myself laughing.

“I’m sorry... I know I tricked you.”

It was the easiest trick I ever played. Two hours earlier, when we had rolled into bed, he removed all my clothes but refused to have sex with me. “I’m tired of fucking women. I want to make love. I’m sorry. I hope you understand.”

“Uhm.. What, you want me to marry you?”

He laughed.

“I thought so. So shut up and do it.”

He laughed even more.

“You’re such a bossy bitch.”

I smiled in the darkness.

Strangely enough, we talked a while before I seduced him and got what I wanted. Twice. And I didn’t even do it consciously. The talking turned us on apparently. He was very gentle. And it was probably difficult to be gentle when you’re 6’2”, fucking someone’s brains out. He covered me with the bed-sheet when I felt cold, he wrapped one long arm around me and nuzzled my neck. He told me how fabulously hot and intelligent I was, and even laughed when I said I picked all the wrong guys. “You have nothing to worry about, sweetheart,” he said. And strangely enough, in that moment, I believed him. Though I had to tell him that I didn’t like being called ‘sweetheart’. He wasn’t surprised.

Tarika and I were talking about this later. “Good. You never believe your sister and me when we say how beautiful you are. I’m glad this guy told you, and that you believe him.” I didn't have the heart to remind her that I only doubted myself because the last two men I fell for hadn't touched me even with a bargepole.

It’s quite amazing what a little intimacy will do to your life. Your underwear feels sexier, your stomach feels flatter, you walk with more oomph... I always thought it was such a goddamn cliché. I mean why would gorgeous, amazing women need a man to validate them?

I think my questions have been answered.

I had expected him to be gone by the time I woke up. I heard his voice, though, after my phone rang. He had a very deep, sexy voice. He and Tarika were laughing and playing with my dog. Somehow, it wasn’t awkward at all. We went back to being friends in a heartbeat. He didn’t try to hug me goodbye and he understood what I meant when I sent him a monosyllabic text message many hours later.

“Thanks.”

He knew I wouldn’t want to analyse the previous night and turned the sms-talk into a request for books. Something I didn’t forget. Somewhere between warming up to each other and him seeing a side of me only one person had ever seen before, he told me about his ADD. How difficult it was living in a family of geeks when he was growing up. I remember thinking, “Even this one is messed up?”

But he wasn’t. He had a gargantuan family, slept around a lot, rescued drunk friends on bike escapades, tried to read one book every two months, ran one section of a business, all at the age of 26. A surprisingly normal guy. The type I never fell for. But the perfect guy to lose my ‘one night stand’ virginity to.

This was probably one of the few times in my life I didn’t have regrets.

“You’re welcome,” his reply said. “Thanks for being you.” Smileyface.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

(anti) love

I am reading a book called Into The Wild now. And it is very inspiring. And impractical. I don’t see myself giving up everything, burning my money, and living among the trees. Yet, I somehow come across as [and enjoy coming across as] a nature lover, animal lover, whatnot. Slightly hypocritical no?

I wish I had the balls to do something like Chris McCandless. bluepapercranes and I were discussing this yesterday, and [literally and figuratively] we really don’t have the balls. She took a jump into a field that she loves - teaching kids for almost no money - which does not involve hours bent over a computer, her eyes tearing up, head throbbing, back withering. Now she wanders around barefoot in classrooms, giggling, hiding her tattoo from the kids, singing songs and teaching them grammar.

Love is a bit strange. It involves so much courage. Something I don’t think I have anymore. I had it once, not-so-long ago... but now I’m bitter and cynical almost to the very core of my being. I’m not saying I don’t love. Fortunately or unfortunately, I do. And very passionately at that. But I just don’t have the courage to believe in such love anymore.

I love writing. But I won’t give up my paid job at what is now a sad excuse for a weekend newspaper, and I won’t just plunge into it. And I’m not taking any chances with my life. I don’t think I have the balls.

Robert Lee Brewer said to write either a love poem or an anti love poem yesterday. I’m not in the mood for whiney poetry anymore [see below; also bluepapercranes may just kill me], but Brewer’s prompts do tend to bring out some writing from me. I just don’t know which side I am on this post - love, or anti love. I guess both. I believe in it, but it hurts too much to take chances anymore. [please don’t ask me if I’m talking about a boy!] I’m just going to go with the flow, and see what happens :)

Thursday, 14 April 2011

speed demon


Car horns blared and wheels screeched. If I had stopped I may have even smelt something that always put me off – rubber burning, or rather the smell of tyres when they aren’t built for speed. Mine were, fortunately.

Traffic was a bitch. It always was. And I wasn’t the chief minister or leader of the state’s opposition, or even some inane IAS officer or High Court judge. I was nobody. A common man, albeit married to the most brilliant woman in the world, with a mundane and monotonous job, and a lousy hatchback of a car.

Chennai roads were not built for speeding hatchbacks, even if they had Japanese tyres – potholes, people crossing on a whim, cows, bullock carts, stray dogs that think they’re Superman’s best friend and try to fly across in peak hour traffic, not to forget the millions of two-wheelers and auto rickshaws.

The roads definitely weren’t built for people dying either. Why the goddamn hospital had to be a billion miles away, I wouldn’t know. And the goddamn paramedics had even refused to let me in the ambulance so I had to jump into my trusty hatchback and follow. Sans the screaming siren and all. So people thought I was a freak and mostly didn’t allow me to pass.

The aforementioned brilliant wife was standing by the road, waiting for me to pick her up, when she crossed (the signal was red). Some bastard knocked her down. Right in front of my eyes. A massive 4WD with the ruling political party’s flag flapping away at the front, very proudly, knocked down my 26-year-old photographer wife, gorgeous and intelligent and carrying a shitload of equipment. If she wasn’t, she would have just caught a goddamn auto.

I cursed myself for not leaving office sooner to pick her up and cut through one more red light, screaming at the two-wheeler who tried to overtake me from my left. Moron.

I felt like I was having a panic attack when I saw the next red light. The ambulance managed to get ahead by as much as about 50 feet and I had to get to it. Stat. Of course, traffic wasn’t allowing me to. I turned off the nasal girl on the radio and put on some Pearl Jam and stepped on the accelerator. That was after I took a puff of my asthma medicine. Of course, I didn’t actually have asthma. I just smoked too much and kept it with me in case of emergencies. Like this.

I got to my wife after a couple of minutes. I knocked down a girl on a bicycle in the process, but it was her fault. Women are gorgeous and smart, but they can’t drive to save their lives and they should bloody accept the fact.

It had been 27 minutes already. Twenty seven long minutes since that white monster of a car had knocked her down. And I had no idea what shape she was in. I saw the hospital on the horizon and somehow, I didn’t feel any relief. I think I knew she was already gone. Maybe she was never mine to begin with. I always wondered what she saw in a poor sod like me.

**********

The boys had been glued to their gaming console since early evening, but hunger made them look up around dinner time.

“Where the hell is Samir, dude? I’m hungry. Is he getting pepperoni or chicken bbq?”

“No idea. Both will do. I may even eat mushrooms now, I’m so fucking hungry.”

“He’ll be here soon. He was stuck at office.”

The first guy looks up. “Office? Shit, that’s in fricking another state, dude. He’ll take another hour at least.”

Boy number two groans, but the third interrupts. “Chill, man. The psycho will be here soon.”

“How do you know?? Have you ever driven on that route at 7pm?”

“You know that strange psycho-ass trick he has of following ambulances and pretending he’s the son or whatever of the person inside? He’s probably doing that. He texted earlier saying he’d be here in 20. So shut up and wait.”

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

maybe baby

Maybe next time...
I'll ask a question when I think it,
instead of weighing the pros and cons and deciding
everything is better left unsaid.
After all it is never safe to let people
into my head, my thoughts, my feelings.
What if they get scared, or they see... me.

Maybe some day,
I'll actually say something when it strikes me.
Maybe I'll be more open about why I was hurt,
why I am the way I am,
why I don't agree with you and think you're full of s*&^,
maybe I'll ask 'how do I know if I'm "in love" with xyz',
instead of letting her talk about inane things
when my head is in a cloud
and I'm only pretending to listen.
Something I'm very good at.. pretending.

Maybe next time I won't have to pretend..
just maybe

BG

Blonde hair, highlighted by endless hours under the outback sun,
muscled arms (that's all I could see),
tattoos aplenty.

We called him BG,
he looked like a hippie.

We saw him first in the dark,
before the sun rose on our little tour.
We were not on his bus.

Glad for no distractions from nature,
We got the chatty, funny guide,
not the hot one with a body from an ancient Greek statue.
The one who couldn't cook
but had us in splits for three days.

But a year later,
we still talk about BG.
Not the funny guy.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

what if..


What if my family were all ordinary people..
Would I be ordinary, pleased by ordinariness and hence a happier person?
Would they not have been afflicted with air crashes, strange fatal diseases and suffering?

What if I let go of my mother when I was younger..
Would I have met someone in a strange city and been ‘normal’, i.e., had a couple of relationships by now?
Would I have stayed away from the people who loved me, made me love them, and then hurt me?
Would I have been smarter?

What if I had never been let down..
Would I be less suspicious, less cynical?

What if we were always happy people..
Would there be no hunger, poverty, over-population because of our selfishness?

What if we were not alone..
Would the other inhabitants of our spaces be our friends or foes?

What if I had not missed that flight to Sydney..
Would I have met my mentor or potential life partner in the check-in line?
What would I have done with the 300 dollars I would not have spent on another air ticket?

What if he hadn’t gotten on that flight..
Would he have picked other life partners for his children?
Would my sister and I even be here today?
Would we have curly hair, and me, a face like his which reminds my mother of him everyday?

What if I could forgive people, go easier on them..
Would that make me at peace with myself?
Would that lead them to hurt others or me again?

What if our lives were all written out..
Do our choices matter and do we make them?
Do we even matter at all or is it all for someone else’s supercalifragilistic plan?

What if none of us were really here, and we’re all imagining that our pain or happiness or ambition is the most important thing in the world?

--
prompted by: deep

Sunday, 10 April 2011

a day before monday

10.55 am – Time to wake up befuddled, in a sweat. No, my pillow is not alive. My alarm is not ringing. And for a change I am wide awake, ironically on a Sunday morning. I feel useless, a waste of my mother’s beautiful genes, if I remain in bed any longer. My mind drifts.. Wishful thinking. I sigh.

11.10 am – I find the dog, rather, he finds me. We rejoice in finding each other. My roommate makes me coffee. Bittersweet because she won’t be here for very much longer.

11.20 am – Time to weep over the newspaper. Again befuddling because I can’t tell the difference between truth and lies.

11.45 am – Television. Inane serials, delving into other people’s lives because we are so bored of our own.

1.00 pm – Email, Facebook, blog updates, some more news. The drunk friends are contemplating their hangovers and the happenings of the previous night very intently.

1.20 pm – iPod. Some sad love songs. The day begins to unravel.

2.00 pm – Lunch with self and then washing some dishes. The phone rings. My soapy hands ignore it.

3.00 pm – I return the call, listen to some more depressing (but very good) music and head to shower.

4.00 pm – New shades. Summer is here after all. I head for a much-needed workout of my body and distraction for my brain.

6.00 pm – Friends. I’ve forgotten I was ever sad. I make inane remarks and re-discover an annoying Hindi film song, I eat, drop the friends home and head back.

8.20 pm – The dog is asleep but says hi. The roommate is out and my parents are away. My heart feels like everything happy has been sucked out of it.

9.00 pm – After staring into the darkness, someone I am supposed to interview cancels. I break down. I hate work.

9.30 pm – A light-hearted chat with my oldest friend.

10.00 pm – More television.

10.40 pm – I sit down to write. Has all of this really, *really* been over a bloody boy??! When is it going to stop? I pray it is PMS. The boy is not worth it if he is that blind. And nobody can make him see. Bloody befuddling boy.

pandora

Chaos.
Complete pandemonium.
He opened Pandora’s box.
Let loose a monster
Who was once an apsara
Radiating light.

Love is supposed to heal, she thought,
Not unleash my demons.
Her bubbles of venom spewed forth,
Dispelled love thoughts lay smashed on the floor.

She looked back at them.
Returned to grind them deeper into the ground.
Nothing is as empowering as revenge,
Icy cold revenge, she found.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

psycho 27


I’m tired. And sad. Things which I try never to be. Tired means what I’m doing in the first place is not good enough for me. Sad could be because I’m not doing what I want to do, or that I don’t know what I want.

Or it could be more personal, I thought, and took a deep drag on my cigarette. What did I really want? Or was it a who?

Some years ago I had decided not to get too involved with men. I had bad taste in them. Maybe because of daddy issues, or the endless men I had seen in life who let my friends, family and me down. Who knows? Either way, I was always attracted to the messed up ones. Which made life quite difficult. Unfortunately in countries like mine, casual sex was frowned upon. Especially for women. So not only was I deprived of a boy, I was also deprived of sex. I’d like to think that I wasn’t pining for an actual fuzzy, warm relationship, that I wanted just the sex. But though the rest of the world could fall for that act, I knew the truth.

There was only one thing that could cure me of my daddy issues. Or it could make me worse: emotional, suicidal, crazy. “Love”. I hated that word. It was overused, overrated, misinterpreted, pointless, confusing, and a whole lot of other things. But apparently part of me wanted it. The fuzziness of it all. I shuddered.

I had always thought love was biological. Based on sexual urges, unconscious attractions to men whose babies we unknowingly (or in psycho cases knowingly) wanted to bear. And men, well it was simpler with them because there were no emotions there. They were just built to spread their seed. So this whole love business was pretty much a sham, and based on chemistry, science, cells.

Except I was 27 and apparently my cells had started giving in to the psychosis that takes over when you get older and realize what you want is security. A big guy to prove you wrong about men, who will take you out, be suitably overprotective, charm your family, buy you a cat, try and cook you dinner but actually burn it… I cursed loudly and lit another cigarette.

The beach was dangerous at night, especially for women who were alone. But I had made friends with the dogs there. I made sure I carried a weapon, my cell phone, and that I took the car with the bright red POLICE sticker on it. (Fake of course).

I took off my shoes and walked towards the water. It was further away than I thought so I plonked on the sand, halfway across. I saw an actual cop’s car pass. The cop got down and shouted at some guys loitering around their parked BMW. I rolled my eyes. The richer they were, the more arrogant the lowlifes got.

“Nouveau riche,” I muttered.

I lay down with my arms behind my head and looked at the stars, lost deep in thought. I thought about the douchebag I had recently fallen for. Well, he wasn’t all that bad. He was rich and confused, but otherwise quite a gentleman. Most other men would have asked me out on a date, bombarded me with text messages, asked to hear me sing (I had voice training as a teenager but didn’t want to be a lousy pop star) and thrown themselves at my feet if they knew I liked them.

This one was like the type I usually fell for. Messed up. But he probably wasn’t as messed up as he thought. Just weak and confused. Sometimes I felt like kissing him, at other times I felt like beating him to a pulp. I probably could, too. Part of me didn’t even know what he was really like. Whether he was weak or whether I just wanted to see the weak side of him so I could get over him. Not that it helped.

I had tried everything. Travel, singing, taking a break from work, drinking, socializing, but none of it worked. For some godforsaken reason, I wanted the confused, rich boy.

I sighed. I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. It was drizzling so I hesitated before pulling it out. It was my mother. I got up, brushed off the sand and prepared to head home before she called again.

That was when I saw him. He was standing in front of my car, staring at the number plate. I blinked. It couldn’t have been him.

He turned and saw me. But he didn’t move. His hands were in his pockets, he continued frowning at me as I made my way towards my car.

“What are you doing here?”

“What are YOU doing here?”

“I live here. You know that.”

“On the beach?”

“No, nearby.”

I showed no reaction. I did know he lived nearby. I ignored his reply and went to my car, opened the door and turned around to say goodbye.

I screamed when I turned. He was standing two inches from my nose. And he kissed me.

It was a kiss I had imagined many times. I was so busy handling the million thoughts in my head that I forgot to really feel the kiss. When he drew back, I stared at him for ages. Neither of us said anything. Then I asked him to pinch me. He did.

And then I bloody woke up on the beach, soaking wet because it had started raining.