November 19, 2011

Off the top of my head-5

Times change swiftly. Before you can blink, an era has ended and another one begins. I have always had my struggle with such transitions. Much as I like them for the growth they bring...or wait...let me rephrase that...much as I have grown in those phases, and hence, grudgingly learnt to accept them by sheer lack of choice, I have not been comfortable in them.

Vulnerability and questions hold hands together and trap me in between their arms. I walk with them flanking my sides every place I go. Most of the times, I try to ignore them and learn to live with these two shadows instead of one. But sometimes, just sometimes, the space gets too cramped. Like when I lie on my small cot that can't fit three, I feel suffocated for breath, for reason and for truth.

Little did I know that this day shall come again and make me start again. For the thousandth time. Or maybe it is the zillionth... I have nearly lost count and too tired to try to begin from the start.

There is an attic I am building within the house in my head. The house is a cosy small one to fit just me. The attic, however, is beginning to look like a palace! So much to store. So much to keep away from my daily routes and encounters. They cannot be thrown away. I don't even wish to discard them, ever. They still have the sweet fragrance of a preserved rose between the pages of a favourite book.

There is clearly just one path to take. A path of go-where-it-takes-you! Not like there is a choice. Sometimes I wonder, where exactly do I fit in, in my own life?

Am I the protagonist who courses the tale? Or just a mere extra who fills the screen.

Sadness and depression are not buckling feelings. They are like a bunch of thieves- hiding and waiting to pounce on you with stealth. And they do. Everyday. To steal from your treasure, one more of something you treasure- a smile, romance, a happy thought, a thrill... Sometimes, they steal the truth, and you don't know anymore what is right and what is wrong. What is real and what you imagined!


November 17, 2011

Off the top of my head-4

I spend half my days sipping chai in the chai gate, looking at passing traffic. Bikes, cars, cycles and all sorts of vehicles pass by and sometimes in such fast speeds that I cannot comprehend what they are. Sometimes while sipping sweet cups of "bina-adrak waali" chai- over and over again, songs begin to play in my head. And keeps afloat the hope to finish a film I've wanted to make for the last six months.

Progress is such a cheat-word. It traps us into becoming lazy. It mutates our being by making us run around in circles.

Long walks in the mornings. Chai again. The lovely calming lawn in the night. Me and the monument. A book to write. Somewhere in these, I forget myself, my film, everything. Somewhere there is a calm.

Why do we grow up and become sane?

October 24, 2011

Off the top of my head-3

There was a moleskin notebook I eyed in the Hyderabad airport the other day! Rs.1360. For film critics. Not that I am one, although I wish to be one someday! I am working towards it. Hopefully. You can never be sure of these things, can you?!

Anyway, about the moleskin notebook. It looked delicious. I wanted it. To cradle it in my arms. To scribble in it meaningful words and, like a kid who's tasting ice cream for the first time and it tingles her mouth- to give that rapture-look!

Soon. I will earn it! 

***

This time I wanted to learn to fly. Somehow, from when I was in sixth standard, flights fascinated me. They still do. There's something about them; those cottony clouds that I can almost taste!

It would be nice to forget everything earthly and float amongst the clouds. To be in the sky, at dusk, seeing the stars wake up one after the other, expecting a 'pop' sound when they appear! 

To be able to see the world like a scaled model below you and wonder at how small everything looked from above!

***

They looked like pink swabs of cotton that a girl used to dab off the extra blusher from her cheeks, and threw haphazardly, just before she hurried to meet her love waiting by the stairs. Those clouds...they smelt of the dreams of that girl!

I saw them yesterday when I went for a walk. Clouds, me and my music. A bunch of random songs I often hear. It was twilight. Slowly the pink turned indigo, as deep as the hands of a playful kid who spilt ink all over them!

A lazy wind tossed about. And firecrackers burst without a warning, like a shower of golden sparkles from the sky. Sometimes there were purple stones raining. Maybe, an angel broke her string of pearls.

There was something around that could not be seen. Something like the laughter hidden in the crinkle around the eye. You know it was there. Like an elf it sneaked upon me and made me smile. That moment I didn't care. Mid-song, I lost myself to it!

***

I borrowed words from him. His name was Michael Ondaatje. He was a writer. I was jealous of him. I hated him. He knew the song of my heart. He split it into a million different pieces. With every piece, he wrote paragraphs. He made books out of it. Every time I read anything he wrote, I feel the pain of a heartbreak. I hate him for knowing me so well. Who told him my secrets?

***

Sometimes, to be idle is to surrender. To let time bathe you. Allow the world to play its video, as you lounge in the easy chair without a remote. Once in a while you get up as your legs ache with inactivity. But mostly, you sit in the chair and watch. Restless-Lazy. Happy-Sad. Brooding-Calm. In opposites, you slowly let time get the better of you and speed up without giving you a chance.

Whatever you feel, you just don't complain. That was in the old times. Now, you know you can do nothing but wait. And hope someday, that video has you playing the protagonist.

***

Words are syrupy today. 'Pandemonium' is a cake that has gone crusty on top. 'Myriad' is a cocktail that is green and glistening. 'Chateau' is a cheesy lasagne.

Such like.

***

October 12, 2011

Off the top of my head-2

There are patterns. Predictable patterns. They bore me. Surprise startles me. 

Isn't there a delectable in between that one can live in? 

September 30, 2011

Off the top of my head-1

In a life that is increasingly becoming dependent on people, instead of the contrary; where time, money, efforts all ebb away in directions I don't seem to decide, and where I seem to have less control over anything that happens around me, little things that actually occur right, begin to add value.

It is not like I am having a meaningless life. I guess there is a lot of meaning in what I have and what I do. But there just seems to be a lot of effort and patience that is being demanded of me on an everyday basis. And more and more things fail me, repeatedly, everyday!

In times such as these, a walk in the terrace under the scorching sun with an ipodfull of favourite songs, waking up to watch Castle and messaging your best friend throughout the day, do count as things to cherish. I have never been caught in this "undefinable" state ever in life. A chronic categorizer, this phase in my life would remain to be called 'uncategorized', like the tag of this blog post. 

Interesting, yet difficult times are ahead. But as long as my wee sma' happiness are mine, I shall manage to smile.

September 07, 2011

Illundavoor Tale-5: THE NIGHTINGALE POLICE

(Dedicated to Aparna Rajagopalan)
 
Of all of Illundavoor’s tales, the tale of Srirama Iyer was the most famous. Mothers fed little ones with the story. It was what families recounted with a laugh, sitting-as if in a round table conference-just after the satisfaction of a Kalyana saapadu*, in that little time just before the nalungu** began. It was what one can sum up, as an Illundavoor legend.

Srirama Iyer, was a Palakkad Iyer whose great-grandfather had resettled in the town of Illundavoor. In his heydays, Srirama Iyer, was the postmaster of Illundavoor. He lived in his spacious Injiperumaal Street bungalow with his ageing mother, plump wife Jaya, and his hyperactive son. His lawyer father had left him the house, and his father-in-law made sure that he got a motor cycle as a dowry*** back then. So Srirama Iyer had, what one might call, a very comfortable existence.

He was a man with a B.A. degree in English, which came in handy as the town’s postmaster. He would read for the unlettered and correspond on their behalf as well, for a nominal sum.

Srirama Iyer was a man respected by all and feared by many, as it was well-aware that he was a man with an easily ignited temper. His six-foot appearance only added to it. People generally held him in reverence and distance, unless absolutely needed.

Time went by. And with old age came senility. The once terrorizing Srirama Iyer became delusional. The son, Devan, married and a lawyer of repute like his grandfather, ruled over the household.

There were days when Srirama Iyer would start remembering things that had happened thirty years ago. At that time, they had just begun constructing a house in Tellinoor, the neighbouring town. Srirama Iyer would suddenly come and tell people in the house that the carpenter has come to repair the cupboards or that the contractor has come and needs cement.

He was so physically strong, despite his delusions that he used to haul around furniture at will. It was almost impossible to restrain the six footer!

There were other delusions as well. Of nightingale insects and daffodil insects feeding on crumbs of food that he would spill while eating. He would trace their trail with his blinking 5-year old chamaththu**** grandson Natarajan, whom they fondly called Nattu at home.

“Inga paaru da Nattu… theriyaratha… andha daffodil poochchi apdiye ennodu kaalu-la oora-pakkarathu!*****” he would startle the poor boy! Sometimes, he would recite whole chunks of letters he read or wrote in the bygone days, as a postmaster.

And then he had a quirky habit. At the ripe old age of 72, with his mind playing games, Srirama Iyer would suddenly wake up in the middle of the night and watch television. Old black and white films on Tamil channels, TNT movies and the occasional lingerie model on FTV (Much to Jaya Mami’s embarrassment).

Our legendary story begins one night in the month of Aippaci******, when rains persisted to drum on the roofs all night, and frogs croaked in the backyard. The entire household was asleep, when a thief snuck into the house of Srirama Iyer.

He entered through a window that had snapped ajar in the kitchen. Slowly, he made his way inside the house. Now, the house was very old-fashioned, unlike the one that Srirama Iyer had built in Tellinoor. Meandering passageways lead to innumerable store rooms. The inhabited part of the house was somewhere near the front.

After opening many a store room door and only discovering moth eaten sofa cushions and immobile cupboards, the thief realized that he had to slowly make his way to the front sections of the house.

Now, just as he crossed the long passageway, into the mittam******* and across to the living room, who did he see but our very own Srirama Iyer, sitting and watching “Guns of Navaronne” on an English Movie Channel!

The thief was taken aback to see that there was someone awake, right in the middle of the night, and most surprisingly, watching TV!

Srirama Iyer, noticing him, miraculously gathered his senses, jumped on to his feet and imposingly screamed, “KALLAN”******** and woke the entire house. The scared thief, grabbed the box from the table near him- the only object he could make out in the darkness as he whizzed past. He traced back his path and jumped out of the window before anyone could reach him.

When Devan asked his dad rhetorically, as to how he managed to raise an alarm sensibly, the old man seriously answered that “the nightingale police” had warned him.

After much search it was found that only Jaya Mami’s denture dabba********* had been stolen. “Toothless thief,” Srirama Iyer was often heard screaming in the afternoons at passers-by.

***

GLOSSARY

Kalyana saapadu*- Wedding feast

Nalungu**- A light-hearted post-wedding ritual involving the bride and groom and their families where games like ‘rolling the coconut’, ‘breaking the crispies’, ‘finding the ring’ etc are played amidst singing and other fanfare.

Dowry***- the payment in cash or/and kind by the bride's family to the bridegroom' s family along with the giving away of the bride

Chamaththu****- obedient

“Inga paaru da Nattu… theriyaratha… andha daffodil poochchi apdiye ennodu kaalu-la oora-pakkarathu!*****” -“Look here, Nattu…can you see? Those daffodil insects are trying to climb over my leg!”

Aippaci******- The Tamil month that falls between mid-October to mid-November, known to rain in Tamil Nadu.

Mittam*******- Courtyard

“KALLAN” ********-  rogue

dabba*********- box

August 30, 2011

Raja's Tales- 1


Long long ago, very long ago, when Raja was a little boy, he used to live in Ernakulam. He also lived in Trivandrum. Now he is so old, he does not remember where exactly this incident took place.
 
Raja and his brother, along with their cousins, used to frequent, what we shall assume from now on as, the Ernakulam Palace, every Friday. This is a story that happened on one fateful Friday, as he remembers it.
 
The King of Ernakulam lived in the Ernakulam palace. The palace was shaped like a square, open on one end with a huge mittam*  in the middle. The King used to organize huge feasts every Friday in honour of the lord. Every Friday, he would walk out of his inner chambers, stand for a minute and survey the crowd that gathered in the courtyard. He would then climb on to his special pedestal to eat lunch alongside his subjects.

The Friday Feast used to be a grand affair. Many many cooks from all over the land used to prepare the rich meal with the finest of ingredients. Work started in the wee hours of the morning and would only just about get done on time. 

That Friday was like every other Friday, except that, somehow for some strange reason, the cook had forgot the Pachchadi on the menu. 
 
The crowds had gathered, and the King was just about to come, when the head cook realized his folly. But nothing could be done and so he instructed everyone to keep mum about it. He hoped people would not miss the Pachchadi, relishing all the other extraordinary items on the menu. 
 
The King walked out of his inner chambers, looked left, looked right and twirled his mustache, satisfied at what he saw. 
As the cooks brought out urlis of food, the clouds suddenly huddled together. The world grew dark and an unearthly voice resonated, "Pachchadi vechchilaingyil, Vechchadi edukkilya!"**
 
The head cook trembled. All his assistants looked perplexed.

The King was shocked and stood still to his ground. He pleaded to the voice, "O Divine Lord! Pardon us! The Pachchadi shall be made at once". He looked at the head cook and ordered him with a look to proceed.

The cooks at once scampered to make the pachchadi. The world stood still. The clouds stayed huddled. There was something unearthly that everyone felt in the air. No one spoke a word. Ten minutes seemed like ten years. and a pachchadi fit for the gods was made.

The cooks wheeled in the urli and waited. A gust of wind blew over the mittam, sending shivers down everyone's spine. And just as suddenly as it had huddled, the clouds parted and a beam of sunlight streamed. The King gingerly took a step forward. Nothing happened. 

The crowd broke into a thunderous applause!

mittam* courtyard
"Pachchadi vechchilaingyil, Vechchadi edukkilya!"** If you do not offer the Pachchadi, you cannot take a step forward

June 15, 2011

Short Story 26

In the flattened top, she saw the bald bony forehead.

That little suzhi (loop) was the socket for the eye. The empty complimentary space invisibly completing itself to form the other eye place.

The curved bottom looked like the toothless lower jaw of a grinning face. She finished the upper jawline with her mind's ink.

The Tamil letter ஒ ("oh") always had reminded her of a skeleton head.

June 12, 2011

Short Story 25

The auto slowly crawls by the bus stop.
Enticing.
Slowly a metronome of its engines adds a beat.

My legs twitch.

The taillights wink at me. A ravishing red lights up the stagnant streak of water, still fresh from the evening's downpour. The beats turn into a hum. The tyres screech an operatic melody. The front tyre does a little jig inviting me for a dance.

My legs unconsciously begin to tap to its advances. The antennae of its radio nods and clicks its fingers, luring me.

I pause.
Resist one last time.
And then... succumb!

I jump into its plush arms. It takes me on a dizzying ride!

June 09, 2011

Short Story 24


“…Time goes by, people lie everything goes too fast.
Time went by, and then we died, and everything went too fast.”

Julie Delpy buzzed on in the background. She closed her music player and walked out to the balcony.
The clouds were painted gray. The kind of gray that hid rains in them for a long while, stalling so much, enough to make you decide not to take the umbrella, decide not to carry a Ziploc for your mobile or wear those all weather sandals.
The clouds seemed wistful. Like her.
She rewound those memories and played them again in her head. She wondered over how beautiful it was that dried flowers could be preserved. Just like her memories- fragile, but intact; almost crumbling but never quite; pale and mildly fragrant; and most of all intoxicating.
Intoxicating. When that word opened eyes in her head, the rain poured. At once in torrents. And in the patter she once again heard the song,

“You said our love was stronger than an ocean apart
Time goes by and people lie, and everything goes too fast.”

May 16, 2011

Short Story 23


I lost my clarity the last time round. It ran between the pages of my life while I ran behind it, panting, in a wild goose chase. While I whizzed past little shops selling memories, its shopkeepers called out to me to re-buy them and claim them. And somewhere in between, fascinated by a blue bottle of the clear sea I once saw in my dream, I paused. And clarity ran away forever…

May 15, 2011

Short Story- 22

Two tracks raced to my left, fiercely competing with one another, sunlight picking little metal points to glimmer their speeds up, vying for my attention.

And suddenly unannounced, they crossed paths, merged into one in a stunt, and continued sprinting, throwing a flirty metallic grin at me, who was safe behind AC II tier glass window, unaware of their inaudible cheap words!

They then split once again into two and raced on whistling.

Suddenly out of nowhere two bright red trains, loudly sounding their horns, raced ahead and crushed both of them to death. The trains looked ancient with wizened compartments aged with remembrances- brooding and serious. They lifted their hats as if in an apology for the misbehaviour of their kind and came to a halt noiselessly.

I went ahead, as my train serpentined on, wanting to retch!

May 14, 2011

Illundavoor Tale- 4

(Glossary below the story for those of you who are not familar with Tamil)

(Dedicated to that temple pond)



“One

Two

Three”


She jumped down step after step, her two ponytails bouncing along with her. She then proceeded to jump up on to them.


“One

Two

Three”


And in this repeated activity, she somehow seemed to be content.


It was a breezy morning. She had been woken up at 5. Her mother had planted a big kiss on her chubby cheeks, and whispered, “Ezhundukko ezhundukko da kutta! Inikku Seetha chithi-kku Kalyaanam. Koil-kku poganam”.


She had yawned, rubbed her eyes together and somehow managed to go through the motions of getting ready. She had fully awoken when her mom had puffed powder onto her face and tightly wound her curly mop of hair into two fat ponytails on either side of a central partition on her head.


With trays of clothes, sweets and nuts, loads of bags of various paraphernalia, they had boarded the cars to the town temple. She had sat on her mother’s lap near the window seat and looked out.


The sky had just been slowly stirring up from its sleepy gray robes. She had fallen asleep on the way. By the time she had got up, two minutes later, they were already at the temple and the first rays of dawn had lit the town of Illundavoor.

Lines of marigold flowers had been entwined around the stone columns. The temple elephant, Kuttan, had been bathed and was surprisingly not smelling of dung. Sanjayan, the mahout was applying fresh sandalwood paste on to its forehead while Kuttan was shooing flies away, with his trunk.


The function had begun and her mother soon left her with one of the older kids to take care of the million works that crop up during weddings. The older kid had lost interest after a bit, and found another kid to play hopscotch near the temple kolam.


She had also tagged along but made to sit in the side and watch. She soon lost interest and began her own game in the temple steps.


“One

Two

Three”


She jumped down step after step and then jumped up again.


That is when he came. With his red shorts and black checked shirt. Hair neatly oiled and parted in the side, socks with a Mickey Mouse print in the middle, and a handkerchief tucked into his shirt front pocket.


He laughed at her.


“Enna thaniya velayaadindrukka?” he questioned

“Unakku enna vandhudhu?” she asked screwing up her face in offense.

“Susu!” he replied and laughed again at his own joke, cupping his hands in front of his mouth to control it.


She turned away angrily. Idiot-boy, she thought.

She walked down some more steps, putting distance between them and continued playing, lifting her red paavadai with its gold border slightly above her ankles so she wouldn’t trip.


“One

Two…”


“Un paer enna?” he questioned.

“Unakku…” she began, “Nee po! Naan unkitta pesamatten”.

“Yaen? Un paer enna? Sollu” he asked.

“Nee bad boy! Solla matten”.

“Seri sollathey! Enakku pudhu game theriyum.”


She did not reply immediately. He did not go away either. He sat on the steps. Propped his chin on his hand and looked at her jumping.


“Enna game....?” she asked slowly


A grin spread over his face.


“Vaa kaamikkaren,” he said and walked up to her. He took her hand in his and they jumped down the steps till they were near the water.


“Kaala ulla vei” he instructed.

“Ayyo vendaam! Jill-unnu irukkum” she said, her eyes looking like saucerpans, apprehensive.

“Onnum irukkaathu. Vei” he encouraged.


She slowly edged her toes to the water surface. Her little finger touched the water and impulsively she retreated.


“Sonnen la! Jill-unnu irukku!” she complained.

“Ayyo! Bayanthaanguli! Ippo paaru!” he said and proceeded to put his left foot inside the water.


Instantly fifty small fishes came and nibbled at his toes. He wriggled and laughed at their ticklish pecking.


“Dei! Kaal edu daaaa...! Meen kadikkaporathu” she squealed frightened.

“Idhu saami oda meen. Onnum pannathu. Try pannen” he said


She held on to his hand tightly and looked at him cautiously. He grinned encouragingly. She smiled and put her left foot slowly into the water.


*****

GLOSSARY


“Ezhundukko ezhundukko da kutta! Inikku Seetha chithi-kku Kalyaanam. Koil-kku poganam”- Wake up wake up, dear one! We need to go to the temple for Seetha aunty’s wedding.

Kolam- Temple pond

“Enna thaniya velayaadindrukka?” – Why are you playing by yourself?

“Unakku enna vandhudhu?” – Translation:What is your problem? Transliteration: What comes for you?

“Susu!” - Pee

Paavadai- traditional skirt

“Un paer enna?”- What is your name?

“Unakku…” –You

“Nee po! Naan unkitta pesamatten”- Go away! I won’t talk to you.

“Yaen? Un paer enna? Sollu” – Why? What is your name? Tell me!

“Nee bad boy! Solla matten”- You are a bad boy! I won’t tell you.

“Seri sollathey! Enakku pudhu game theriyum.”- Fine, don’t tell me. I know a new game.

“Enna game” – What game?

“Vaa kaamikkaren” – Come, I’ll show you.

“Kaala ulla vei” – Put your foot into the water.

“Ayyo vendaam! Jill-unnu irukkum” – Oh no! It will be cold!

“Onnum irukkaathu. Vei” – No. It won’t be. Just put your foot in.

“Sonnen la! Jill-unnu irukku!” – I told you , it will be cold…!

“Ayyo! Bayanthaanguli! Ippo paaru!” – Oh god! Scared cat! Look at me now.

“Dei! Kaal eduda! Meen kadikkaporathu” – Hey! Take out your feet. The fish will bite you

“Idhu saami oda meen. Onnum pannathu. Try pannen” – There are God’s fishes. They won’t bite. Why don’t you try?

May 13, 2011

Joyride

there was a family of children
girls.
one boy.

they all grew up.
frocks turned to sarees.

and one lone shorts was slowly lengthening into pants.

one saree turned bridal
puffed up
gave out a baby

i was born

i went back to that village
to see if i could find those discarded frocks and that faded shorts

i see it somewhat.
i wish it other-what.

my joyride begins.

May 09, 2011

Short Story-21

They were all of a faded brown colour, with creased ears, one eye at the middle of the forehead, a stick like nose and a perfectly round mouth of pink of point three millimeter diameter.

They had transparent white wings with silver veins running through them like a leaf. And they all were exactly one millimeter tall!

hey were all spawned by the first ray of the full moonlight that hit the lotus that bloomed on the city pond. At once! And they all knew what they had to do.

They quickly organized themselves into groups of ten and took up a street each in the city. They had a red glowing mole under their chin through which they spoke to one another to convey finished work, or to ask for help.

They diligently slept behind the clocks in the houses, all day through, and in the night, they executed their evil purposes.

When people were sleeping, snores echoing off crumbling walls, they stealthily, yet quickly crept into carelessly tossed handbags and pegged up backpacks.

They made their way into little pouches and secret compartments, leaving no trail, rousing no suspicion.

And with a giggle you'd mistake for a cricket's sneeze, they knotted up all the earphone wires tangled beyond comprehension; and satisfied, they went back to sleep.

May 03, 2011

Illundavoor Tale- 3

They had become like to prides of lions! Just that they painted, instead of Urinating to mark their territory!

There were blows exchanged at rare times. Ooruga, thankfully had escaped those. They all knew he was a simpleton. And they knew he was automatically following what he was being asked to do. No party preferences, No territorial lordship!


Ooruga was not always called so. He must have had some other names. In his godknowswhere house that he ran away from when his dad beat him, that fateful night for a petty crime.


But ever since he came to Illundavoor and served mango pickle at Pandian Mess, he had been called Ooruga.

He did not always know he could paint so well. But when he accidentally picked up Sarala’s(Pandian’s daughter) colouring book, his life took a turn.


Carefully he filled the clown’s eyes.

Beautifully he painted the nails of the princess.


When party officers came around with vats of paints, Pandian, a staunch PDCZ supporter, sent Ooruga to paint the wall posters.


It was late evening. Ooruga picked up his bright orange paint can and walked to the wall that had the party;s water bottle symbol drawn across it.


His brush looked like it was having a bad hair day. But in Ooruga’s hand, it plied to obey.Referring to the paper in hand, Ooruga sketched the Tamil letters precisely to read Kannaiyya- the party’s local candidate.


The weirdly bright orange paint was stickier than usual. Slowly Ooruga swirled the paint on to the brush, and finished off the background fill. ‘VOTE FOR’, he added on top as specified.


It was growing dark and the paint started to glow. Ooruga looked at it in wonder. It was glow in the dark paint!


******

Little Ooruga, who was then named somethingelse and not Ooruga, sat with his older sister in the thinnai* of their house.


His mother was braiding his sister’s hair into two fat oily plaits. She was filling colours into her book with her new paintbox.


Ooruga dipped his finger into the tiny paint bottle. His sister hit him on the hand and wiped it off with a waste cloth.


“Vendaam da! Idhu aai!”** she said.


Ooruga grinned listlessly. His mother smiled.


“Kuttykku colour pannanama?***” she asked


“Avana colour pannavei ma…,****” she instructed the girl and retreated within the house.


His sister picked up his hand, made him clasp the paint. She dipped it inbto the glowing black paint.

“Idhulendu, raathiri light adikkum,*****” she explained.


They drew and eye with the black, washed the brush. Then they filled the iris yellow. A bizarre yellow eye that glowed in the dark that night. His sister and he had laughed over it.


“Ooh! Naan poochaandi! Unna kadikka poren…,******” his sister play-acted with the painted eye held on her forehead.


Ooruga had giggled madly.


The next day, he got beaten, he cried, and he ran away forever, with a crumpled paper in his pocket. Of the glowing yellow eye.



Ooruga laughed again. Sitting in the corner of the street, staring at his work of art glowing in the dark.


People walked past, barely noicing him. Ooruga was prone to such outbursts of laughing and crying. But he was harmless. He’d soon get over his bout and walk back to the mess and serve the mango pickle as he had done so for the last 25 years. This was just a ‘meanwhile’ cry or laugh.


He laughed again. Glow-in-the-dark Kannaiyya, he thought! As if he would open his name-eye in the night through the paint!


Ooruga got up and walked past to the mess.





*Thinnai- long narrow platform attached to the front of the house, overlooking the road and shaded by the roof that extends beyond the house

**Vendaam da! Idhu aai!- Don’t touch it! It is shit!

*** Kuttykku colour pannanama?- Does the little one want to paint?

****“Avana colour pannavei ma…,”- Make him colour.

***** “Idhulendu, raathiri light adikkum,”- This will glow in the dark

****** “Ooh! Naan poochaandi! Unna kadikka poren…,”- Oh! I am a demon. I’m going to bite you!

April 30, 2011

Short Story- 20

‘PRANKS FOR SALE’- the board outside the shop in Creek street read.


Old Mrs.Banham dusted the shop windows, trying to poof away the cobwebs that miraculously sprung up every morning. It was probably from the ancient street where a million spiders lived in peaceful unity.


Dust, the thickness of a ‘Complete Works of Shakespeare’, had settled on the road. People rarely came in there. “Unless they knew what they wanted,” as Mrs.Banham would say, her gray eyes gleaming for just an instant!

Old Mrs.Banham, with her frail figure, a set of pearlies she doused in Listerine every night and a mop of fluffy white hair, was not the kind you’d ever suspect would giggle if a Fartalot were to be snuck below your cushion. Neither did she appear like the kind who would clap with glee if you were hit by the Invisible SneezyWheezy. But she was very much the kind who would do both, with a ‘Mischief Managed’ sort of grin on her face.


Little childish pranks she brewed in her tiny workspace behind the shop. Her thin elbows exactly knew how not to move and set off a pile of AngelicallyAbusingChild keychains. Mrs.Banham also knew that in the secrecy of the forgotten street was the safety and success of her pranks.


Mrs.Banham was that lady who secretly dropped an Evaporating Chuckle pellet into your handbag if you looked upset. She would also carefully dust the finest WailingWeeper dust into your eyes if you were rude.


But the biggest prank she ever played was on herself. When she brewed MakeBelieveMojo on that fateful day when she turned thirty-two.


Thirty-two. That was exactly how many cockroaches she had to collect. Tears streaming with the rain and running in muddy streaks on to the gutter.


She sliced them. One after another. The prothorax aside, the abdomen beside it. In two neat rows of sixteen each. Honey warmed to feel like a cat’s paw. A teardrop. Three petals of the marigold raised on a bed of dead maple leaves. And a trickle of the glistening purple powder. Mix and heat till it turns black. Dark as thoughts. Dark as reality. Into that which would change reality. Prank her into believing whatever she wished to.


To become a widowed, successful lady, content with life, and with no memory of the past she wanted to erase.

April 29, 2011

Illundavoor Tale- 2

read http://thedreamydryad.blogspot.com/2011/04/mamis-memories-illundavoor-tale-1.html

and now...

Nasreen Gopal nibbled at the edge of her pen with a thoughtful expression on her face and eyes twinkling with a sort of un-placeable excitement. She was, in what she called, a ‘writer’s itch’, where she just HAD to write and keep on writing as if the mere thought of stopping would stifle her!

She laughed at the recollection of the incident that had been narrated. As flashes filled her mind, she began to pen down furiously, the snatches of words that could best describe the events of the preceding evening, and what I deemed was the best way to tell yet another of Illundavoor’s tales…

Little Dimple did not like Motu Uncle’s language! Such a different language from her Hindi, she bitterly thought. It wrung her soul and she tried many actions to convey to him that she was thirsty! And what was he doing? Thinking she was in need of a new toy, or a ride in the dizzying Giant wheel, giving her exactly what she had not asked for!

Little Dimple had not anticipated that her 7-year old self would be sent in the sweltering heat to the neighbouring village fair. As a matter of fact, she had not imagined that the 2-monthlong Dakshin* trip, (now thankfully coming to a close) that her parents had planned would be so boring!

All they had done so far was visit houses after houses of scary old people, with wrinkled faces and toothless smiles, forcing her to kiss their sagging cheeks. Not to forget getting her little brother Anup’s hair shaved off in some “Tripathi” where big muscled men had tonsured heads, appearing like thugs from a Hindi film, and crowds waited in cages to see a god for less than a second!

Little Dimple had been so bored when Anup was having his mid-noon nap, that when her mother suggested that she go with Pazhani uncle to the neighbouring village fair, she had agreed almost immediately, considering she had nothing better to do.

Dimple did not mind Pazhani, alias “Motu” uncle. He let her poke his fat arm with her finger and see it cave in. He also promised her (“Chinnamma”) ** that he’d let her pour water in the dent to see if it will stay. Much as she tailed along with him throughout the day, Dimple was slightly jealous of Pazhani when he told her that there was a city named after him! So she set out for the fair with thoughts of ice golas and gray green bangles.

And what did she get in return?! A rickety car journey followed by a heap of things she never asked for! Why did NOT Motu uncle speak Hindi? She tried once more at telling him she was thirsty. Miraculously, this time, he seemed to have understood and set off, asking her to wait, into the neighbouring water stall to fetch a bottle.

Meanwhile, Ramu Mama, Janaki Mami and Mr.Gopal, after having got an amazing darisanam*** of the Ramar-Sita-Lakshmanar idol, were standing nearby, talking about the fair’s proceedings with fellow villager Narayanan.

“Adhu Illai-da Narayana(It’s not like that, Narayana),” Mami was saying, “Last time the tiruvizha(fair) had more bhakti than show. This time round, calling all these actor-actresses to inaugurate the temple dances made it too commercial, I say! Namma Ramar tiruvizhakku actor Rangarajan edhukku-da?(Why do we need actor Rangarajan to inaugurate our Rama temple fair?)”

“I agree one hundred percent with you, Mami! Next time my family’s going to be in charge… and I’ll make sure we don’t do such things. Amaam… Mr.Gopal…Nasreen enga?(So, Mr.Gopal….Where’s Nasreen?)”

“She’s gone to cover an assignment in Chennai,” Mr.Gopal replied, “She was feeling very depressed to have missed the tiruvizha! You see, she always loves all this festivity.”

Thus having concluded, and parting ways with Narayanan, Mama, Mami and Mr.Gopal beat the retreat. On their way back, whom should they meet, but a crying little Dimple, sitting on ‘Mookkan’ Thatha’s(Big-nosed Grandpa) thinnai(resting stone bench, part of the porch in South Indian homes)!

Having been made to wait an annoying ten minutes, pushed and pulled around by all and sundry till she was lost and frightened in the crowd, Little Dimple had somehow squeezed her way out into the open, and chosen that thinnai to seat her distraught self. Oh… where WAS Motu Uncle?!

Motu uncle had come back with an icy bottle of ‘colour’, only to find Dimple missing. “Chinnamma….,” he had screamed into the crowd, but in vain. Scared and angry with himself to have wasted five whole minutes smoking an OC cigarette from the shopkeeper, he rushed off to the nearby telephone booth-diagonally opposite ‘Mookkan’ Thatha’s house!

Here, Mami’s heart was moved at the plight of the crying child. Mama and Mr.Gopal scanned the crowds to find some search party but found none. “Times are bad and kidnappers are aplenty. Indha kozhandaiya inga vidarathu enakku seriya padalai”(I don’t think it is wise to leave the child here)- Mami’s words sealed their minds and little Dimple entered the portals of ‘Tejas’- 34 Ramar Koil Street.

Mr.Gopal informed pookkari(florist) Govindamma at the temple step about the child and asked her to direct any search party to 34 Ramar Koil Street.

Enter Dimple into ‘Tejas’, and the weeping child subdued on escaping the heat of the noon. The cheery faces of Mama, Mami and Mr.Gopal also calmed her down.

“Konde, un per ennada?”(What is your name, child?) Mama enquired, smiling and pinching Dimple’s red fat chubby cheeks.

Now, Dimple had a habit of throwing anything that was at hand if someone pinched her cheeks. Mami’s precious spare glasses became her object-of-smash this time and her anger only melted at the sight and sound of the fragile glass breaking into smithereens.

“Siva Sivaa… Enna da? Yaen ipdi ellathayum pottu odaikkaraai?(Lord Siva! What is this? Why are you breaking everything?) What is your name?” Mami asked, a mild irritation at the brutish behavior, colouring her tone.

Dimple giggled, revealing a missing front tooth and figuring out that they were asking for her name (Hadn’t scores of these weird-language people ask her the same question? And hadn’t she been instructed to say “Dimple” as an answer? Oh… how can she forget the annoying times?)

“Dimple,” she answered as practiced.

“What a cute name for a cute girl…,” remarked Mr.Gopal and pinch pinch pinch he went on her ruddy cheeks!

Dimple was enraged! How dare these old people insult her and pinch her!? Letting out a wild scream, she ran around the house in circles, madly flinging her arms and pushing every object at sight.

Now Mama, Mami and Mr.Gopal could initially not comprehend the child’s act of blitzkrieg attacks! But once reality sunk, they scooted off their old bones and started chasing the girl.

Runs Dimple into the kitchen and plop, the Chinese bowl breaks.

“Ayyoda! Idhenna kodumai,(Oh! What kind of a torture is this?)” Mami screams between gasps of breath.

Runs Dimple into the Pooja room and clang, drops the Feng Shui bell.

“Dimple! Don’t run! Dear kid… stop…stop… stop… amma… I’m not able to run,” pant-screamed Mama.

Jumps Dimple though the common window and into 35, Ramar Koil Street.

“Aiyayyo! (Oh my god!)Now it’ s my turn I guess!” screeches Mr.Gopal, fleeing out of ‘Tejas’ and into his own ‘home sweet…err…collapsing home’.

And there stands Dimple, near a life size Geisha doll that Nasreen had bought from her official trip to China- all stunned and awed.

She gave an angelic smile, turned around and looked at Mr.Gopal, saying, “Bahut Sundar hain!(Very pretty!)”

“Huh? Mmm... Whatever you say,” Mr.Gopal hastily jabbered, grinning foolishly, but relieved that the pesky kid was somehow not in her maniacal mode.

By then Mama and Mami had panted their respectful selves inside, in a state of frayed nerves and disarrayed appearance.

Dimple visually weighed the three of them with interest and finding in her mental picture, the perfect treble to play “Queen! Queen!” game, proceeded towards the oonjal(swing) and throned herself.

“Ab Suno! Tum- Soldier,” she ordered at Mr.Gopal.

“Tum Minister,” she appointed Mama.

“Aur tum-meri dost aur sevak,” she uttered, pointing at Mami.

“Main, Queen,” she declared with a beatific dimpled smile.

Mr.Gopal, having a miniscule knowledge of the national language, proceeded to explain to Mama and Mami that the devil incarnate has chosen their esteemed selves as her fellow playmates in the game where she plays the Queen.

Finding this game a hopefully less destructive one than insanely running about the house, the three meekly obeyed Her Majesty, the Queen on the Swing!

“Soldier!” she clapped,” Mujhe bhook lagi hain. Khana lao!” She pointed at her tummy. Her lips quivered slightly and her eyes welled up with tears of hunger, but gulping them down bravely, she regained composure.

The soldier instantly marched to the kitchen and brought every edible item possible to shut Her Majesty’s mouth.

After an extensive meal of 3 bananas ( “Kela mujhe bahut pasand hain!”), a pack of Marie biscuits, lime juice(“aaah! Nimbu pani?!”), chips and murukku(“Theeka jalebi?!”), Her Majesty Dimple, ordered the Minister and friend to provide her some entertainment.

“Mujhe bore ho raha hain. Naacho! Gao…,” she screamed herself hoarse. Rejecting Mr.Gopal’s desperate attempts to switch on the TV, she started crying and asking them to stage a cultural extravaganza in her honour.

Where any other power fails, a kid’s pleading and lung power succeeds. Mama and Mr.Gopal, who had never danced in their life, and never, even in their wildest moments, ever imagined to see themselves dance, performed a little jig to Mami’s rendition of “Kurai ondrum illai maraimoorthy kanna”(I have no worries, Krishna)-an ironic song to be sung when troubled by the imp of a girl.

Dimple, on the other hand, was clapping her hands in glee and swaying in the swing with the most delighted expression on her face.

“Filmi gaana gao.. Film.. F-I-L-M,” she yelled.

Knowing better to yield to her wishes than suffer the worst, Mami broke into “Unnai Ondru Ketpen”(Let me ask you something, what do I sing?) from Parakkum Paravai.

What more could have happened, one can only imagine. For one- the capabilities and ideas of kids range from the whacky and bizarre to downright innocent and wonderful. What dimple might have asked them to do might have been anything from rocking her to sleep with a story of marching on the road in a royal procession.

Thankfully for them, the infinite possibilities of torture disappeared in a whiff when Motu Uncle turned up with pookkaari Govindamma at the door. After profusely thanking the battered three residents of 34 & 35 Ramar Koil Street, Motu Uncle whisked Little Dimple away.

Just before Dimple left, she hugged and kissed Mama, Mami and Mr.Gopal on both their cheeks and with a “Nalla aadareenga! Enakku onga ellarayum rumba pidikkum! Bye bye!”(You dance really well. I really like you all.) she giggled and left!

*South

** Little Mistress

*** View of the holy rites

***

Mami's Memories: Illundavoor Tale-1

Ramu mama’s snores sounded through the common window separating 35 and 36, Ramar Koil Street, and could be heard from where Nasreen Gopal sat next door, cross-legged. With nothing better to do at that time in the village of Illundavoor, and no one to talk to (as Mr.Gopal had left to Chennai for the opening of another cafe at Mambalam), Nasreen sat playing with the ends of her dupatta. Suddenly, she thought she would go and have a mid-afternoon chat with Mami and after bolting her door, she immediately knocked on the adjoining one. Janaki Mami opened it carefully, lest she woke mama up.

Ushering Nasreen into the huge dark storeroom, Mami at last opened her mouth, “Onna thaandi-ma nenachen! I was just thinking of calling you to help me clean some old trunks.”

“Of course, mami. I was so bored,” Nasreen replied, “Tell me where to begin!”

Mami and Nasreen went to one end of the room where about five sturdy trunk-pettis stood. Mami opened a dingy green one. It was full of photos, papers, letters and certificates.

Nasreen and Mami patiently went through them- Mami as a blushing bride – her now beautiful self, looking more vibrant, more beautiful and young; Mama on his graduation day, wearing a trailing gown; Mama and Mami’s son, Suresh as a little boy –now working in America; Mama’s numerous articles with rejection letters from various magazines and newspapers he had sent it to out; Suresh’s various certificates singing praise of his scholastic and non-scholastic prowess. The twosome carefully dusted the aging stuff and segregated them, neatly putting them in the transparent folders in various albums.

Next came a brown trunk with a golden plate reading Janaki Radhakrishnan. Mami began, “I used to study in a convent. I’m just a sixth pass; but I always was a good student. I used to take all my clothes in this trunk when I went to the hostel. But after my sixth standard, my father,” and she paused and fondly ran a finger on her father’s name etched in the gold plate and with a sigh continued, “My father lost all his money in business. He couldn’t send me to school. My mother- who cared more for my father’s money than him- took ill on hearing his loss and I had to take care of the household. She died after a few years and later I got married to your mama. My father passed away ten years back.” she concluded, memories clouding her face.

Mami opened the trunk and what an assortment of clothes there was! Incidentally, Suresh was enthusiastic about plays and dramas. He had been educated in the nearby town, known for its theatre culture. He had taken part in many plays and Mami had treasured all the costumes he had worn in them. She had made most of them herself. Nasreen could see what deft fingers Mami had- the sewing was intricate, the embroidery very detailed; and the sequins and chamki patterns, exquisite. Rich materials for the Rajas from old pattu pavadais; old shirts reduced in size to fit the lad; a perfect policeman outfit made from Khadi (Mami revealed that she had got the buttons from a retired police officer who had been their neighbour then!) and plenty of others. A few dirty ones they kept aside to be washed. Mami decided she had better donate the good ones to some orphanage but Nasreen very much doubted if these fanciful clothes would comfort anyone but a dramatist’s theatrical soul!

Next was a huge black trunk with brown leather straps. It contained old utensils- silverware, bronze ware (the bronze almost about to do the disappearing act) and lots of other stainless steel paathrams and plates. Mami could tell her who gave her which of those items precisely after all these years. “Ah… this dabba,” she would begin, “Devika of Tillainathan Road gave. She is now in Muscat. This piththalai paathram, my Ambuja Mami gave when I went for her golu. She was my mother’s cousin’s wife. Now this silver plate- Mama was gifted this by his senior-most officer during our marriage. You see, he worked for the Indian railways then in the accounts department,” and on she rattled as Nasreen picked one or the other object and enquiring a “who gave you this?” or a “Oh, really? Amazing!” Mami decided to give a few items to Shanti, their maid. She kept them aside.

She then opened a red leather trunk. Lots of walking sticks were there. Nasreen was amazed and enquired, “Oh…you’ve preserved all your family’s walking sticks? Mami you are some hoarder of stuff-letters, photos, utensils, clothes and now… sticks!’

“No… no… this is totally Mama’s doing. When he was young he loved to play with walking sticks. He was a very bright boy and everyone loved and petted him. Whenever anybody died, they left their walking stick to him. If they didn’t, he took it anyway! This one here is his paternal great-grandfather’s who lived to be 94. Look at the material. Pure sandalwood. Smell it. Oh… wait,” she said and wiped it clean before handing it to Nasreen.

“Smells good and mami, it’s still so sturdy!”

“Old things never die. They live on due to the love and care once bestowed. Now this was his maternal great grandfather’s. He was 80 when he died. This is scented rosewood. He was a very rich man, a diamond merchant way back in those times! He had to travel alone and through dark forests. So this one has a built-in sword to threaten the thieves who dared threaten him. Mama still believes that two notorious thieves of the nearby forests were never found after his grandfather passed that way once! He claims his grandfather killed them and threw their bodies to the vultures. I don’t know how far it is true. But yes…there is a sword inside,” and she drew out the sword á la Jhansi ki Rani (incidentally, didn’t that rhyme with Janaki mami?)

The sword gleamed in the dark and a chill ran down Nasreen’s spine. The sword still looked sharp and polished with not a peck of rust visible. Nasreen mouthed a ‘wow’.

Mami then took another walking stick and said, “This was my father’s. He bequeathed this to Mama. My father was a famous lawyer. He used to carry this always with him as a mark of dignity. This is a very finely carved one with gold edges.”

And on she went, detailing the history of every walking stick. The last trunk remained. Mami opened it and it gave out a rotting smell on opening. What a sight Nasreen beheld! Old drishti lemons hung once over the door; alums of every shape and size; a dozen rosary beads; a cardboard sheet having some weird circular diagrams in what looked like blood; different packets and parcels of age-old manjal-kumkumam-vibhoodhi; tiny crystal rings, beads; radium balls; twigs and other odds and ends!

“Goodness! Mami, what on EARTH is all this?!” Nasreen exclaimed.

“God’s blessings and a few great yogis’ gifts and good-luck charms,” Mami triumphantly declared.
“These…? Mami! You are just being superstitious!” she said, puzzled, as if that was the last thing she had expected Mami to be.

“Rubbish! These are prayers,” Mami retorted.

“A nice way for these Yogis to dupe gullible people like you and swindle off your money!”

“Dear me… no! Why… Yogi Devadutta gave me this ring so that I recover from Measles and the very next day there was not a spot!”

“Oh Mami… it was just a coincidence! Come on… throw them away! It stinks!!!”

“Heavens no! These are precious properties that have guarded our house all along! I dare not throw them away!”

“OK… Let’s assume these are God’s gifts!”

“What?! No need to assume! They ARE God’s gifts!”

“Alright…alright…they ARE God’s gifts and their power has already been utilized for some purpose or the other. So now, you are free to throw them! You don’t want an insect raid here, do you!?”

“Konde! No!!! Even now they have their magic”

“God Mami! You are so naïve!”

Mami was so taken aback that she cautioned, “Nasreen… don’t ridicule God! You won’t believe it, will you?! Fine. I’ll make you believe. See this?” and with determination writ clearly across her face, she proceeded to show Nasreen a radium ball and a stick and continued, “A kudukuduppai kaaran gave me these. If I chant the mantra he taught me and rotate this magic ball thrice anti-clockwise and twice clockwise and then lift the magic stick five times chanting another mantra, Suresh will call within an hour! Remember he calls only once a week? And he just spoke yesterday… now keep that in mind and see if it works!”

As advised, Mami muttered some incomprehensible mantra and performed what Nasreen believed to be a “ridiculous act with a peepul stick and an ordinary radium ball!”

She completed the task and put everything back into the trunk, locked it and placed it back. The day’s work had been done.

Getting up she took the utensils and the clothes. Nasreen and she came out of the store room. Mama was leaving for his evening stroll.

Minutes trickled by and the tension slowly began to show on Mami’s face. She was so keen on proving her point. Lest she hurt Mami’s feelings, Nasreen quietly helped Mami in cutting up the urlaikazhangu for dinner.
Only five minutes remained of the challenged one hour. Mami looked upset as she roasted the urlai. Just as she kept the vaanali of nice brown oil soaked urlais on the counter, the shrill call of the telephone was heard.
Mami ran to pick the phone. “Hello?”

“Amma… Suresh here. For a while I kept having this weird feeling that you wanted to talk to me. So I called… is everything OK…?”

*
That night, Nasreen wrote in her diary,

“Whether love or superstition reached out, I shall never know…’

 **********************************************************************
Reference:
MAMI: Aunty
MAMA: Uncle
DUPATTA: a shawl or coverning worn on a salwaar-kameez, a traditional Asian dress.
TRUNK-PETTI: A trunk
CHAMKI: a type of glittering flat sequin
RAJA: a king
PITHALAI: brass
PAATHARAM: a container
KHADI: hand-spun material
DABBA: a container/ vessel
GOLU: a Hindu festival during the Navrathri/9 day season where people arrange dolls of gods and goddesses on steps and perform holy rites for 9 days.
MANJAL-KUMKUMAM-VEEBHOODHI: turmeric-vermillion-sacred ash
YOGI: a saint
KONDEY: a child, called affectionately.
KUDUKUDUPPAI KAARAN: a soothsayer who rattles a rattling-drum
MANTRAM: incantation
PEEPUL: a tree
URLAIKAZHANGU/ URLAI: potatoes
VAANALI: a wide-rimmed vessel for deep-frying
AMMA: mother.

April 28, 2011

Stories

Some stories never end. Like little plotting phoenixes, they prepare their own rebirths! A never ending comma.

These are the kind of stories that sky-rocketed themselves into outerspace at their very opening paragraphs. And then the cosmos had so many things to discover, forget and refind.

It is said that the stars laugh at the continued fascination they have for themselves.

These stories live happilysadlyfightinglypeacefullyquietlynoisily... and they live ever after!

April 03, 2011

Short Story-19

It was one of those days. Long hours of work. Sitting in front of a computer. She was typing away on the keyboard.

It annoyed her that it had dirty marks on it. All the vowels and a few consonants. The O had a small patch to its top left corner. The F was barely visible. Aah, all the swearing secretly on chat!

The V had a fingerprint etched, almost! Her print for her boss's name. The numerous mails she had to type with Vimala in brackets, before she could get her signature. 

The control, alternate and delete keys were also not spared. Her rotten system that hung every two seconds. She needed ctrl+alt+del for surviving with it!

She scratched away at the dirt slowly. She noticed how crumbs of the doughnut she had everyday was lodged between P and [. How a line of dirt ran between the function keys and the numbers on top. 

The num lock glowed.

She sighed, and typed
Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,
She pressed the dirtiest of them all enter key. Thrice.
[Vimala Sriram]


March 11, 2011

Short Story- 18

(Attempt at a piece of love-writing. Bear with me if it sounds dumb and hollow! :P)

Last night, you came in my dream. After...what...ten months?! And today, I've not forgotten you. Yet.

All those words are coming back. The ones you used to sweet talk me to silence. How could I speak? Words seemed so inappropriate. I was hoping my silence was more eloquent.

The same colour rushes to my face now as it did when you used that voice of yours to claim me for your own. This time, the colour rises for other reasons- anger? pain?

Or is it embarassment? At having bared open my soul to you and let you camp there? It took me so long to painfully pull out keg after keg that firmly kept your tent down. And every time I removed a keg, my flesh hurt. Smarted with all the love I had just imagined.

Thank god for the distance that separated us- then and now. Blessed distance that kept me safe from my vulnerability.

But sometimes, I wonder, would distance have actually made these plain talks, real? Made meaning of what seems like a stretch of once-upon-a-times?

Today you refuse to go...image stuck in my eyes. Persistance of vision and memory. The colour of your smile...once a cool aquamarine to my senses, now a murky un-understandable brown. Those little crinkles around the corner of your mouth...perfect geometric lines chiselled on to your face, now an ambiguous clutch of arrows shooting out everywhere. And then those almost brown eyes...aah... those that were both warm and cool, trusting and loving; now an intangible white mass with a black pinprick for an iris!

What happened to you? the you I knew, talked to, laughed with and shared life with? Did he die? Did he disappear? Did all the hopes and promises sublimate?

You have changed, and hence, I have changed, and when in dreams we meet, we live another lifetime, the one I once wished into my life!

*****************************************************************************

Coming soon... the journal pages from my two week trip to Landour(the lovely lovely world of Ruskin Bond)! :)

Blogsville, I am back! :D

January 18, 2011

Short story- 17

"It had set into a rhythm. A long chat after work. Lazing in the room. Settling with a cup of food and her. They'd talk. Endlessly. About everything. Sometimes about nothing. It was a ritual. It meant something. Or so he thought.

But the more deep the waters got, the more the swimmer's life is tossed into the mercy of the sea. And thus one day, when all this depth of sharing and caring and meaning grew over bearing, he panicked and ran.

A coward."

Grandma looked up from The children's tale book of the big bad world. The kids looked at her with eyes full of pained anticipation.

She sighed. Then smiled. And continued to read.

January 15, 2011

Published!!!!

Presenting
Kavikala: a visual poetry project, in collaboration with 33 artists and
33 poets, aka the Madness Mandali. Check out my illustration at 0:26 secs. Yay! I'm published! :)
Check it out here!

January 11, 2011

Short story- 16

She scribbled and a tear smudged the paper. She folded the sheet and gave it to the grave-etcher. Her eyes looked pained. She nodded and departed, leaving him standing with the folded bit of paper.

He picked up his tool bag and slung it on his shoulder. He opened the paper.

"Here lies the grave of a coward who couldn't appreciate the beauty of things he had. Who played a million lies throughout his life. A man, who despite being loved truly, did not want it. A man who died, in the end, wishing to change his past. May his pitiable soul rest in peace."
© Dryad's Peak
Maira Gall