Between Pages and Places

Since November – time’s just swished passed by me. One day I was excited about moving to Pune and the next day – I was to continue here in Chennai. You dream things, sew them in a fabric with minute details leaving space for the things to come. And sometimes you don’t get to complete it, just yet. So you fold it and keep it in a trunk for another time, perhaps and pick up a new piece. Its been some time since then and many good-bad-crazy things have happened.

I’ve begun reading again, writing bits of poetry, sketching in odd corners of journals, walking to places I’ve never had time to give a second look, stalking beautiful buildings with gardens and things like that – things I’d lost touch with. And sometimes that messes your head up. I went back to college for the viva and got to get back to the good times  with the girls. Its interesting how we change – within a couple of months. Some looked different but were the same; some looked the same but were a changed person. Towards some I felt the same warmth and towards some – I just began to see them in a new light. I spent an entire week in Bengaluru – soaking up the winter sun, binge-watching horror movies with my cousins, riding under the night sky with the winter breeze blowing against us and making plans that never quite materialized. And just when I thought I was having a great week-off, things happened that I can’t quite elaborate upon. Things like these really show you who you are  and where you stand. Unnerve you. Tear you enough for you to breakdown behind trees and sit on steps before thresholds wondering what to do next now that you don’t want to go inside. It passed. I understood things and learned that I needed to accept some realities.

The most beautiful things happened, too. I’ve begun reading like I used to before but the books are different. Galadriel’s chants have been replaced by Abeer Hoque’s poetry, dragon-riders no more reside on my shelves – there are letters of love exchanged by an artist and a poet sitting atop Jane Austen’s finest. More Indian authors than fantasy-fiction. More depth, more tears, more black and white photos of things of the past, more feeling, more originality, more questioning, more understanding, little vanity, more secrets than messages and well, more insight. A lot more and yet, a lot less.

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(I’m listening to Whitney’s No Woman and have discovered these new bands called Oh Wonder ; Hibou; Foxes in Fiction and Low, as I write. Yes, that’s a lot of distraction, I know but its music, come on.)

I’ve made correspondence with some delightful people. Friends from my childhood, friends from college who I never got a chance to know better and a friend with a mind so beautiful that I want to pique it tirelessly. Their stories, my stories, our stories and everything else around us have kept me pleasantly busy. I’ve come to realize that there are really people who love things I love and see them in a way that tells stories that others can’t hear. People who see the way I do, even deeper, I believe. How I’d wish to get lost with them and go to the places we only talk about. Collecting antiques, savoring moments spent walking by beautiful street- scapes, gazing at old-houses endlessly – just being. Its wonderful to hear similar stories from a mind that’s different from everyone else and yet so familiar. When you think a little differently from others around you it so happens that you either feel a tad bit lost or try to be someone who mixes with the crowd. Either ways, you’re missing out on being yourself. But when you meet someone whom you could tell what you think knowing they’d understand – you’re liberated in a way. You’re being yourself. Alas, time makes sure I don’t pester that mind too much.

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Of course, I’ve been narcissistic here. My city suffered deep blows this entire past month. From standing in queues, penniless, to being blow away by a cyclone and losing a gem of a Leader. All said and done, the city is beginning to frown upon Decembers because of all the ghastly surprises it brings with it year after year. But then the clock never stops and we still stand in queues and stock up on candles and instant-noodles at the slightest spotting of dark clouds. We move as does the year.

Hopefully, in my next post I’ll share with you some poetry I’ve under-lined (I used a pencil so don’t frown at me) in my new books and a more interesting read. Christmas looks promising and so does New Year (Family-friends are throwing a bash at their place – a home I love because its got certain spaces that I can’t stop talking about). And there is the Birthday on the first Saturday of the year (is that somehow supposed to make it more cheerful? Or is this just a sly reminder to all you, readers?)

Hope you’re all doing well, so far. Give 2016 a chance – there’s still a week left. Great things can happen, yeah?  Happy Holidays!

Arrividerci.

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Fates Entwined

largeThe story so far :

  1. A Haunted Memory
  2. Three Strokes of Red
  3. The Red Saree
  4. Black Heart
  5. Who’s next???
  6. 3 NUMB3RS
  7. Will-O’-the-Wisp
  8. Ressurection
  9. I Watched You!

 

……

“Roses are red and Violets aren’t blue

When your body aches and your day ends

Where memories will be your only friends’

‘Catherine, where do you live?,’ asked Steven as the three got into the Jeep.

‘Why,  are you taking me home?,’ she asked.

‘Yes, we need to let your parents know you’re safe,’

‘Will I be a part of your team? Or will you drop me off?’, she asked, dreamily, opening her sketch-book.

‘What do you want to do?’ came Prakash’s voice from the backseat as he tried to position himself in a way that didn’t hurt him too much.

‘I want to draw and not go home yet,’ she muttered. Steven peeked into her book from the driver’s seat as he started the engine to see lines emerging from the ends of her pencil as she drew over the paper, furiously with a cold smile plastered to her face.

‘Go to Annie’s, Steve. Something tells me we’ll find something there. If she is, indeed, alive then she would have tried to tell her parents. She cared about them too much to keep them believing she is in danger. Or maybe she is in grave danger. Any which way I will find out,’ said Prakash.

A light rain had picked up as dusk began to settle and the three drove to Annie’s residence. Prakash explained to Steven and Catherine that Annie’s parents were both meta-physicists and sometimes acted weirdly but otherwise they were really good people. Annie’s parents had met in a research camp at Dartmouth and moved to India when she was just a little girl in her Mother’s ancestral home. Annie was half South American.

Samantha, the mother, answered the door – her grey hair frizzed up and tied into a bun, she welcomed Prakash with a warm hug.

‘Tell me, any news?’ she asked, calmly. Steven was almost suspicious at the lack of worry in the mother’s voice. Prakash nodded a no and inquired about Aberto.

‘He’s stopped talking, completely, son. He’s always locked up in our office – with his readings and charts. He believes she’s sending him clues from the multiverse. He believes she’s found a way. She left to see you, I keep telling him but he believes she escaped into Another Else.’

‘Another Else?,’ mumbled Catherine as she appeared before Sam from behind Steven’s hefty self.

‘Lissy!,’ gasped Samantha as she almost fell back.

Catherine’s face displayed no emotion. She tugged at Prakash, who had gone cold at the mention of Lissy’s name from Samantha’s lips, and handed her book to him. His hands shivered as he took the blank sheet to see two women under a tree watching over two girls sleeping on the grass and a note.

‘Roses are red,

Violets are turning blue

Their fates entwined,

The ends are due.’

‘Its me! Who is she, Prakash! Where did you find her?’ exclaimed Samantha still holding on to the wall and peering into the picture he held.

‘She’s Catherine, Samantha. Why did you call her Lissy and what do you mean that she drew you in this sketch?’

Samantha fell to her knees and cupped Catherine’s cheeks in her palms.

‘But she is Lissy. Her mother and I were the best of friends. I had heard that their father had deserted them after getting caught for grave acts of fraud and a business that shut down but I could never locate them. Oh, dear!’ she wept.

 

……………………………………………………

This post is a part of the “Tagged” Contest by writer Kaarthika and The Chennai Bloggers Club. Kaarthika’s book is being released on May 29.

An Other.

So often our troubles seem insurmountable and there is no solution in sight. There is fear, apprehension, hurt, anger and regret all mixed in shades of themselves.
To overcome that is natural instinct. That’s how life progresses.

But when another’s trouble makes you tear up inside and take away your night’s sleep…and when all you really wish is to make it alright for someone else despite knowing how to, is when you have evolved as a person. And the other who you want to help; share burdens with; console and take care of- is important to you.

I had read a post about karmic cycles and soul-circles. If any of that is actually true then you both are probably of the same circle trying to rescue each other and attain the next level of progression together.

That’s the beauty of being alive – wanting to intentionally help another, support another, nurture their dreams and make sure they sleep alright.

Parents do it to us when we’re young. And it’s a blessing when we find partners and friends who you can do the same for and they reciprocate unconditionally.
I think we grow everyday.

And today is that one extra day that I was given to realise this. To realise that I have the capacity to feel for another and share their worries- unconditionally. And I’m glad I could.

Perhaps

Music makes time feel less linear. Parallel Universes begin to cast forward the chance of their existence when some notes play.

#selfquote

Perhaps it’s part of a bigger para, a story, a book. Or its just a standalone feeling. From a cold heart or a mind filled with a million possibilities.

Puzzle Pieces

Puzzle pieces that fit but separated by a box.
While one’s stuck inside the walls.
The other waits outside (im)patiently
waiting for the One to jump out.

But these walls have a magic
of their own with nostalgic charms
that keep the One within its hold,
a false sense of safety.

Hell-bent to stay safe,
the One is missing out on its Other
because it takes a lot
to break out of the past.

They talk, they laugh, they plan
outings in the near future.
The Other still hopes the box
lets the One out, soon, someday.

Hope is a player of sly tricks.
Keeps two of a kind
hoping in different directions
while they’re headed in the same.

Such is life for these
Two pieces of one
puzzle, misplaced in time.
A fruit and its Jam.

Love In The Times of Professional Degrees

Love in the times of Cholera Professional Degrees. Yes, you read it right. If work from multiple assignments; hobby projects and social commitments aren’t killing you already you have the whole hormone-drive and status-quo to think about. Well, I belong to the class which doesn’t really care about the latter (or do we, subconsciously? ) 

You crash last minute to a party- meet someone by absolute chance. Things go pretty okay. And you begin talking until you have nicknames; share embarrassing stories; discuss food-politics-food again; have tiffs- basically, the point where you actually start getting used to talking to them and borderline like them.

Then one fine day, you’re scrolling down silly pictures of theirs and suddenly they’re busy too often. Boom. They’re preparing for GRE. Or TOEFL. Or something that tells you that they’re eventually going away. Just like that guy you met at the Blogger’s Meet; your best friend you couldn’t say goodbye to before he left for Germany and all the others who now post pictures standing before monuments they can’t spell with their other Asian and French buddies; your cousin who was 9-pointer and so many others. While you sit here and plan what to do for your Thesis, they’re booking plane tickets to London. Just perfect. What the hell is a person still completing their Bachelors got to do? Date younger people? Or the ones who are done with all this emigration and back? Perhaps. Uh, na.

So anyway, that’s the story of us kids trying to make our name but falling in love without a thought- getting the heart to flutter- tire its wings-put it back to sleep and get back to the grind – the regime involving your entire week and endeavor. What is love supposed to do but take the back seat? Screw it. eh?

Just random thoughts after a conversation please don’t try reading between the lines, its just blank sleeplessness. Have a nice week. Arrividerci.

Sunday Serve

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The Classmates. L-R: Myself, Jois, Hrishi and Priyo

This officially marks that its been two weeks since Joining Date. The rooms are set, more or less and we’re getting used to the week’s grind of Design, Urban Planning, Landscape and Interior design plus the electives. Some major work this semester because we are in the final semesters of Collegiate education. Next year is all practical-real-time work . There are other things like laundry and maintenance that also need your attention unless you like living like Shrek, that is. Entertainment comes in diluted forms of watching movies (Malayalam being my Choice of The Month) or just talking to friends sitting on stairs. Whatsapp consumes far too much time than I can spare. Hostel lunch during the weekends suck but the rare weekday lunch of ladies fingers and potatoes and the Friday idli-vada-sambhar comfort us enough to let the issue go. 

Just last Sunday we were all celebrating my classmate’s birthday in CCD and then we drove up to DD Hills which was a blissful experience. We sat there on huge boulders until the sun set, the clouds rolled by drizzling on us and the stars came up. We had tea in a stall while driving down; dinner at a famous restaurant in Khyatsandra before getting dropped at the Hostel almost at Curfew hour. I can’t believe its been a week, since that.

I simply don’t understand how Sunday rushed by. I remember waking up at around 5AM, thanks to mosquitoes (someone left the door open the previous evening) and replying to some message. I thought I’ll just sleep a little bit more and suddenly its 8:41AM and we rush for breakfast.

I spoke to The Parents and read a few blog posts by friends listening to Teena Marie…and suddenly my classmate enters and she’s like, ‘Let’s go for lunch.’ Its 12:27. Though yes, I got to read some great blogs. Today I focused on Ex-army and Fauji wives’ tales : Aditi Mathur and Vikram Karve Sir. And of course, Farooq-Sreesha-Shyvish and my other Indiblogger mates’ blogs. I honestly wish I read more. Arundhati Roy is staring at me from my table, ‘You use my cover as background for new ear-rings for Instagram but you can’t read a dozen pages a day from me!’

The iPod is charged so say hello to songs from the yester-years of my life. I can’t get over The Science of Sleep’s haunting background score.

I mean, are you KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW? We get one day to recoop and even that goes by so quick. I’m already worried about pending assignments and submissions. Saavu addikeraanga pa! I just pat myself for being alive. Oh and did I tell you, I still have a bit of laundry left and there’s oil in my hair that needs washing off? Oh and we have some NASA work to tend to, too. Oh and did I tell you I was writing poetry until 2AM. What is up with me?

Hoping we get things done on time. I’ve still not watched Irrfan Khan’s AIB video that’s making the rounds.

ANYWAY. Hope you had a great week. And will have a nice one, too. Send some love. I could really do with oodles of it.

Fakir Palya : A Squatter Settlement

In a world where streets

are extensions of homes

and windows are merely 

punched into walls;

Where wealth is a meal

and warmth to share

and health is escaping 

dengue and death, itself;

Where they burn old planks

to boil cheap broken-rice grains

and their entire lifetime

fits in a carton box;

Where marriages are fixed not

by love or tradition

but by the needs of the 

owners of livelihoods;

Where kids play in 

the sand that their

parents build houses with,

in unpalatable haste;

And school is an abstract

idea of keeping kids busy;

Where streets are front yards

and backyards and entertainment.

And tiny boxes are living rooms;

Where dreams are seen, love is made

and so is food and violence between

short spells of sweaty sleep;

Where people bathe upon the drains

because pipes are too expensive

and kids are washed away in drains

when the rains are excessive;

Where money is made on daily wages

and the threat of displacement and

poverty wakes them from their

light slumber: a predicament;

Such is the land where I see

children filling coins in plastic jars

Dreaming of owning cycles

pedaling them to Schools

Where women laugh despite

the scars they hide.

And men buy kids scrap

toys and things to play with

despite their bones

sticking out through their hide.

Each hut here is the same

Single rooms and leaky-roofs.

But everyone has a story.

A beginning and an end.