Monday, August 28, 2006

Goodbye is too good a word, Fare thee well...

I am glad August is almost over. It's been a strangely listless month. Too many goodbyes and too much of work. And not interesting, compelling work at that, because, in that case, I don't really mind the number of hours I have to put in.

Tall and Maddy both quit their jobs. Tall's was expected--she had been toying with the idea for a while now--Maddy's was a bolt out of the blue. But either way, saying goodbye to them hasn't been easy. I met Tall for a hurried cuppa before she rushed to catch her flight. It had been a particularly busy week for both of us and we had been putting off our meeting till the very last day. Which turned out to be a bad idea. We talked of everything and nothing in particular in that half an hour. Just one of those I-am-going-to-miss-you-but-I-am-trying-not-to-let-you-see-how-much conversations, but hell, I am missing her awfully. Maddy is still serving her notice period, and she has promised to chip in for the Big Assignment that begins in a day's time, but then, she'll be gone next week. Which means post-September 6, I'll be all alone. I'll have nobody to pour out my work woes to, or go out for hurried lunches with, or meet up for coffee post-work. No Maddy to share junk food cravings and certainly no Tall to call up at ungodly hours just to have a good laugh. Life's not fair, I am telling you! (long heart-rending sob!)

In the meantime, another friend from across the seas is arriving in a couple of days' time. I cannot decide whether my anticipation is greater than my apprehension. This living on tenterhooks is not quite my style, but hello, do I have a choice!

Monday, August 14, 2006

We are so small between the stars, so large against the sky, Lost among the subway crowd, I try to catch your eye

It's midnight and I am Cinderella. I am clutching at my ragged robes and running the race that began in my mind light years ago, and one that I run a million times every day.

I reach home, my nook of hearth and fire, tired and out of breath, my mouth tasting of salt, my hair a tangled wreck, the whispers choked at the throat. I cannot be caught. Outside the sky is a million different hues of no colour. Inside, the fire's died out. I have been away for long.

Have you noticed how cold it is in here? I reach for the matches and touch a charred bit of cinder. It smells distinctly of memories. Absolute and ill-defined.

My fingers are made of glass. I am afraid they are transparent. I am afraid that when I touch you they'll break. Afraid that when I say 'no', insistently, smilingly, with practised ease, you will not hear the voice screaming `yes', begging for your attention, begging for you to take note.

My robes get frayed every day at the edges. I pull them closer desperately. It's cold in here. Transparent. Yes.

In the corner, the wicker lampshade throws up patterns on the wall. In my mind I put a figure to the distance.

So little, the hours. Before we both mouth pleasantries and say goodbye.

'Stay well.' 'You too.'

Start over and over again. Every day. Word on word. Conversation to build conversation. So that no trace of the beginning remains. So that we can clutch at familiar landmarks to tide us over. My moments missing yours. Yours, mine.

Accidents. Small and large. My fate and yours. Unknown. Uncertain. Full of possibilities.

Sometimes when I open my palms there are stubborn stains of sunshine, and I can smell miracle.

Every day this new beginning. Every day this wait for the sunshine to streak my palms.

Every day.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I am not always you, and you are not always mine, It's alright to fall apart sometimes

I had a nightmare last night that has left me drained and slightly disoriented. Even though the day, with its reassuring warmth, has blurred the jagged edges of the dream, I am scared.

Tell me something, do you tell your heart to love, more out of protocol than out of passion?

...The answer is blowing in the wind

And these...

You Are Sunrise

You enjoy living a slow, fulfilling life. You enjoy living every moment, no matter how ordinary.

You are a person of reflection and meditation. You start and end every day by looking inward.

Caring and giving, you enjoy making people happy. You're often cooking for friends or buying them gifts.

All in all, you know how to love life for what it is - not for how it should be.

Who Should Paint You: Pablo Picasso

Your an expressive soul who shows many emotions, with many subtleties
Only a master painter could represent your glorious contradictions

Your Famous Last Words Will Be:

"What we know is not much. What we don't know is enormous."

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind...

A friend put me through these tests. They are interesting. Try them.

Your Personality Is Like Acid

A bit wacky, you're very difficult to predict.

One moment you're in your own little happy universe...

And the next, you're on a bad trip to your own personal hell!

Your Blog Should Be Purple

You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.
You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.
You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's all about the money, Da da dum dum, da da dum dum

Went on a brief sojourn to the city of lakes. I went on work actually, but it turned out that the work bit was incidental. So, enjoyed a lavish, rain-soaked mid-week break in the lap of luxury. There's something to be said for wealth. It makes life look like a gooey chocolate cake. Sinful, tempting and impossible to resist. But tell you what, all the time I was there I was happiest when I went for the boat-ride in the middle of a drizzle, or the time when I was wandering around town looking at the curio shops, bargaining for sandals and trying to glean as much folk-lore about the place as I could. For the rest of the time I was missing my parents and certain people so badly, that I was wondering whether I have a serious miss-you-at-all-odd-hours disorder. Otherwise why in the wide world would I miss them so insistently when I was revelling in such heady opulence?

I am telling you, there's something seriously wrong with the way my nervous system functions!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'll be there for you, When the rain starts to pour, I'll be there for you: Part-I

This morning I woke up feeling like it was my birthday. My inbox was flooded with e-cards, my cellphone beeped messages from friends wishing me happiness, good cheer, love, prosperity and the whole works. It's apparently friendship day today.

Now, days such as these have very little value in my life. It's a nice feeling to be loved and appreciated, but, hell, I don't need a particular day in the year to celebrate my relationships with people. I live the celebration every day in my interactions with them. But I promised a friend who was particularly offended when I told her this, that I won't play spoilsport today. So friends, past, present and to come, this one's for you...

Any commemoration of my friends is incomplete if I don't begin it with my oldest surviving friend, Sunny. I met him at a tutorial, when I was a shy, gawky 13 year old. He used to sit on the bench ahead of mine and blot out my taciturnity with his non-stop prattle. It didn't matter to him whether I followed the conversation or not, didn't matter if I only listened with half a ear. He wanted to talk, and talk he did, irrespective of his audience's response. You wouldn't believe it if you listened to him then, that this guy could keep his mouth shut for even a nano-second. Fact of the matter is, he can. He is one of the best listeners, I discovered later. Over the years he has patiently borne the brunt of my various sob stories--beginning from my maths phobia to my sundry other grievances against life. He has been genuinely happy when I have achieved something, been the first to be my side when things went wrong and has never quite given up on me. My relationship with him is kind of idyllic, touchwood. It has the fairy tale touch to it. No shadows, no cloudy days, just unadulterated trust and sunshine.

And now he is getting married to this other dear friend of mine in a few months' time. I met Gruff around the same time as I met Sunny, a year earlier, to be exact. But we became friends, much later, in the last few years in school. Our friendship has been chequered, like most friendships, with intermittent volatile patches threatening to undo our years together. Gruff is funny. She can be caustic as caustic can be, and so funny that she'll keep you in splits all the time. She has gone through a lot of upheavals in life, and just when she was ready to give up, she turned to Sunny. And things changed. The first time I met them after they started going around, I was surprised by the calm and the softness that had come in to her. Our relationship too has settled down. As we discuss our respective New Lives To Come in agonising details, I smile in my mind thinking of the years stretching out in front of us. We still have a long way to go.

And of course, if I am talking of friends from school, I can't miss Caustic. He was Sunny's friend to begin with, but as is the way with life, the relationship percolated till he was our friend as well. Caustic and I have never seen eye to eye on anything. Much of our association together has been spent in squabbling and arguing and getting mad at each other. But somehow we didn't quite let go. (Caustic has his own theories on this, by the way!) I think the only time we kind of resigned to the fact that we were friends was when we both moved out of our city to work in two different parts of the country. I don't think I have relied on anyone more in that initial year because he seemed to understand and we could get down to sharing our respective opinions without getting in to a cat fight. It didn't last for too long though, for whatever reason. Now, we have a kind of uneasy truce, more because I don't let him be otherwise. The last time we talked of our status quo, he had asked me `What are you trying to make up for?, Why are you interested in my life?' Here's the answer, Caustic. Because I have a habit of staying stuck on relationships, even when it's over for all the other parties involved in it. It's because I feel it's such a waste not to be able to look beyond the genuinely good times that we've had.

But anyway, since this is a happy post, I'll move on to the rest of the gang from school. Arty, Mystery, Quiet and Funny. Funny and I speak occasionally, mostly at his own initiative. These days he's in to Kundera and Marquez and we have great book discussions. I love his sparkling wit. We don't expect much from each other. No mails, no sms-es, few phone calls, but we are friends. Bonded for life. That's all that there is. And we are happy with that.

I have not been in touch with Mystery for a while now. But together with Arty and Gruff, we had our band of merry women once, and we have had some amazing memories together. I don't miss her anymore, like I don't miss Arty much, but I love them both still for being part of those good times, and when we meet, I know we'll not be pressed for conversation.

I miss Quiet but. She and I had a strange equation. We wouldn't talk for months, but when we did we would pour our lives out and depend on each other for advice and good sense. Ever since we moved cities, we slowly lost touch and now with her marriage and new job, we have ceased to send the occasional sms as well. I missed her wedding. We had a teenager's pact a long time back, that whatever we did, we would be there at our weddings. I broke it. I know she doesn't mind. We are past that stage. But she matters to me. I know that too. So Quiet, count me in whenever you need a friend.

I love you guys for all that you mean to my life. Amen.

PS- River and Sunshine and the rest of you, I promise you'll have your turn soon.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Of no fixed address

I am in transit. It's my last couple of months in this place, that has been my home for the last two years, before I move on to a new address. I have never been particularly fond of the city, but thankfully, I can't say the same of my shelter. There's something about it that makes me feel all happy and peaceful inside. Even when I am not really feeling either of the two emotions. But at the end of the day when I come back to my attic room, with its modest furnishings, forever ailing wirings, and mad jumble of books that stare at you from every available corner, it's as if I have returned to my own space. Which is what a home is supposed to be all about. I know. But then, a place of shelter is not always home. And often, a home is not all that you want it to be.

I have had a sedentary life for the greater part of my twenty-six years. It did include shifting house once, but after the initial fuss (and a terribly protracted one at that) I grew to love it so much, that, about a decade later, when it was time to say goodbye, I realised that I had accumulated too much baggage. It was difficult to move on, without leaving behind something or the other. Half a memory here, a bunch of sunny smiles there, bits and pieces that I just couldn't sweep up in my palms and get back with me for lack of space.

So when I moved to this new city, I decided to carry everything with me. The collection of an entire life. Not that it's been a very long life, but enough years to pile up the luggage. Lots of memory, lots of light, lots of truths boxed up neatly amongst moth-eaten wisdom, boxes of shadow, boxes of hope. But I never get down to unpacking completely. I have been looking out for a shelter which would be big enough to fit all my knick-knacks since. I almost found one a couple of years back in J school, in a charming cubby-hole called Room Number 25, but it was a temporary arrangement and the next tenant arrived as soon as I began unpacking.

Ever since I have been cautious about the baggage I accumulate. It takes a lot to keep the ones already there in ship-shape condition, and I can do without the added burden.

But I am afraid that when I leave this place, I might just find my hands a little heavier with the weight of associations that I have gathered here. It won't hurt for long, time will take care of that. But I'll probably miss the box that carries reminiscences of acquaintances made over board games, chocolate truffle pastries, girls' night out and easy concern, with terrible longing every now and then.

This is what I hate so much about packing. I never know what to take with me and what to leave behind.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lost in the dangling conversation and the superficial sighs, Are the borders of our lives

The static,
Crackles over the telephone
Even as I try to piece together,

And then you tell me,
The static
Is the conversation.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Would you be happier?

I like contemplating growth (or the lack of it). But if you ask my flatmate of three years, Fish, she'd probably tell you that it's my fetish for tabulating things which I find more compelling. (I admit, I am a bit of an organisational freak, but let me also tell you that Fish is in the habit of exaggerating things quite a lot. I mean, what's the big deal in writing the exact order of chores that you want to do the next day, or a list of things that you need to buy when you go out to the market, or...well, you get the drift!)

But, to get back to the point, this post is about the exponential expression of the assumed wisdom. So here goes...

1. That letting yourself love someone is easier than what I thought it to be.

2. That old friends don't change colours.

3. That I can lie awake all night, then go to work the next day and still be happy and cheerful.

4. That when you are holding someone really close, if you are still enough, you can hear your hearts beat in unison.

5. That sometimes words don't say much. It's just a means to keep the conversation going.

6. That I should probably get the hair cut that I have been planning for the last eight months.

7. That sometimes all it takes is a bit of sunshine to make me ridiculously happy.

8. That the day I learn to save, will be the day the world witnesses another miracle.

9. That I don't like doing things half-way. I need to do a job well. Period.

10. That all said and done I can be so lazy sometimes that I amaze myself.

11. That I can be mistaken where I am convinced I cannot be.

12. That I need a new cell phone badly.

13. That I am more impatient than I ever knew.

14. That I am as fortunate as fortunate can be.

15. That if you reach out you'll always find me. Well, mostly.

16. That sometimes people, including me, do not see the obvious.

17. That communication can often be at cross-purposes.

18. That sometimes I have to let go of a bit of my composure to assure people of my affections.

19. That I am more often than not, disastrous with expressing my emotions.

20. But. Obviously.

21. That I am pathologically attached to all things old.

22. It's a compulsive disorder.

23. That all you need to do to soothe me is to hold my hand.

24. That a lot of my time, everyday, is spent in meaningless exercises such as this.

There, I have said it now. This appraisal is a closed chapter.