Monday, July 31, 2006
I’m sick of reading drivel-soaked writing that drones on about “the pain I’ve been through”. Get over it man. Get over it. Move on and make space for new experiences.
There’s this girl who writes poetry about the men who flogged her spirit.
Another extols the virtues of another drippy sod’s writing. ‘wah! What poetry… I’ll open a swiss account on the kakka he drops’.
Then another blubbers because the cat didn’t poop.
O forget it. Dumper trucks.
Feeling particularly trashed.
About shit and shit.
[so who arsed you to read that crap poopy H?]
That’s it. I’m off.
Living with horror. Incensed by horror. Partaking in horror.
Victims to the vicious endlessness of pain and anger.
More pain. More anger.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Desperate lonely strains of the Blue Danube float across a vast empty hall. A young man sits at one desolate end, sipping on hot black coffee. It’s horrible. Bitter. No amount of sugar can salvage it.
Another time, the bitterness would have redeemed him of lesser sins. Today black coffee isn’t working.
Remind me again, arse dweller, why I’m drinking vile black coffee at three in the morning?
He’s not very kind to his head at moments like this.
He runs it over and over again. Stark worn-out frames that are warping on infinite loop mode. Really, I’ve exhausted every way of cringing. Perhaps I can make sense of it now. Clarity always comes when a situation has been stripped of emotion.
Wise words for a very screwed-over young man. He laughs. That’s a start.
It really sucks when you must analyse every twitch in your brain. Okay okay okay. I’m obsessing now. Stop. That’s it. No more thinking.
For a moment his mind wanders to the euphoria of before-it-happened.
But he always comes back to now-and-after.
He is very sure that life will never be the same again. Two clear phases. Two cleanly edited chapters of a very shortly climaxed book. The book that ended before it started.
Twenty hours ago, he woke up feeling like God.
Everything he would do today would be a study of perfection. The way he methodically brushed his teeth, wore on his crisp white shirt, pulled on his immaculately ironed trousers. Not a crinkle. Not a spot of dust. Just perfect.
He didn’t understand how people couldn’t comprehend the beauty of form and discipline. Everything in life can be metred. Everything can work with clockwork precision. Art is not chaotic or random. Order is inherent in Nature. Obedience is inherent in Nature. Only fools believe in spontaneity and chaos.
Today he would prove to the world that all things must reach a preordained conclusion. Destiny is the function of actions that must bear consequences in precise measure.
He smiled to himself as he set about cutting his beans-on-toast in perfect little squares, to be jabbed right at the centre and placed in his mouth. Six beans per square toast.
Beans isn’t what he’d like to be eating this morning. But nothing’s going to mar today’s perfection. His smile must stay as it is. In another six hours, he’d achieve what he’s set out to do, exactly as decided on his master plan calendar, three years previously.
The day passed by. Slowly and perfectly. And finally it was time for him to begin.
The people had settled. The murmur had died down. A heady mix of expensive perfumes wafted across. Diamonds from all corners winked back at him. There was a terse tense tautness in the air now. Just the way he liked it. Much the same way he liked the strings of his violin tuned.
He looked at the mike. A Sennheiser 2000. The best professional mike in the world. It could pick up the sound of a moth’s wings in its dreams. Perfection perfected.
He picked up his violin. Arranged a well-practiced look of distance, equanimity and composure on his face. Art must move the audience, not the artist. After a fleeting, poised, mildly dramatic pause, he played.
And he played.
And he played.
Like a lion tamer in a ring. Like waves on a surf. Like David trampling Goliath. Like Moses through the parted sea. Like Jehovah presiding over the skies. Fingers danced on polished teak. Chin commanded a willing stern. Strings obeyed. The air resonated in exact troughs and crests. And the audience… The audience sat transfixed.
Then, just as dramatically as he had started, he stopped.
He set down his violin slowly, carefully and deliberately. Stood up. Stepped forward, past the mike. And bent forward in a grand, flourishing bow.
Pin drop silence.
You can always tell how moved an audience is by the length and breadth of the pause before the applause. And this, he thought smugly, is rather good. Ah. There! He could see the audience was recovering. There… the first set of hands, about to come together. That deafening first clap that stands out. The trigger-clap he calls it. Like the tiny drop of cum before a gushing rushing orgasm.
Just as he was straightening up to receive the applause of a lifetime, just when his chest could swell no more…
Just when the silence was about to be broken forever with an applause that would last a lifetime…
Just then, he farted. Right into the ill-placed Sennheiser 2000.
tomorrow’s another day.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
I wish I had the discipline, temperament and [how little I acknowledge my main shortcoming] the talent to write as prolifically as Gabito. Somehow saying Gabito seems almost blasphemous. Like it’s too personal. Like I’ve violated the code of reverence.
And it’s so easy to sound glib.
Saying the right things. Sounding just right. The right stutter at the correct point. Artfully playing out an interjection by your subconscious mind, projecting how it’s so evidently grappling with an emotion and the desire to express it. How shammy can you get?
Ah. If only. I wasn’t the coward that I am. If only I wasn’t so consistently unsure. If only I didn’t say, “If only”.
But he lived everything down so passionately. I think the knowledge of an early death is a good thing… especially if it doesn’t come to pass.
And being a man? Where does that figure?
Am I betraying womankind, my reluctant sisterhood by whispering this aloud?
Friday, July 28, 2006
Grasping clawing stretching, but they won’t be read.
White on black. Dancing away into the distance. Taunting teasing depressing. Mama, don’t take them away from me. Don’t strip me down naked to my bone.
What will I hide behind Mama?
I’m in tears.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
So you think this is an open door, for you to swing in and out of?
You come back here with your angel-faced quiet smile, fair hair and green eyes. Catlike. You creep in. You storm in. You plead in. You don’t care how, but you want in. It’s never mattered has it, that the fucking door has hinges that might need oiling?
The door is shut. Sorry sir. The door is shut. Temporarily out of service.
The door is shut.
But you don’t need to break it down do you? You think it’ll crumble anyway.
Bastard, he calls himself.
The loving bastard.
Open up bitch. I’ll bust your head if you don’t. I’ll bust your head anyway.
Shut your face bitch, or I’ll shut it for you.
Mummy. Why does this man hit you?
Mummy we don’t like this man.
Mummy, wake up…
Hush baby hush
Don’t say a word
Mama’s going to buy you
If the mockingbird don’t sing…
Then daddy’s going to bust mummy
Cause the fucking kids won’t shut up.
SHUT UP BITCH.
Or say goodbye. Don’t just stand there. Silently.
Don’t go about your business like I don’t exist. I’ve made you your tea, washed your clothes, cooked your dinner for the last thirty-three years. We have children together, for god’s sake.
I’ve waited for you nights, sleepless and drained with fear; till the door would click open and I could shut my eyes finally. I’ve kept daylong fasts for you. No food no water. Not till I beheld your face through a silver sieve.
I’ve prayed for you. I’ve loved you. Perhaps… perhaps I still do.
Don’t just sit there quietly.
Or say goodbye.
That was my first and last ever concert… way back in ‘98, when Savage Garden came to Bombay. D had a couple of passes to the show and she dragged me along. I promise… I really didn’t intend going. I had my exams and my uncle and aunt, who I was living with, were beginning to get tired of my ‘study’ excursions with friends. [Big clouds of reeky Anne French in the bathroom, and traces of make-up on my face didn’t help allay suspicion].
But D’s a persuasive little weasel. In half an hour I had squeezed myself into a tiny skimpy shirt and denims and we were off. It was packed. Unbreathable sweaty squashing packed and we found ourselves at the arse end of everything. I was ready to turn around and leave the moment we arrived. Just as I was whinging and cussing at D, she turned to me and said “H, just shut your face, not a peep out of you. Hold my hand and follow me”. And then D did something that I don’t think I’ve still recovered from.
In less than a second her face went from cold steely determination to pain and panic. She held my hand tightly and dragged me along [D’s bloody strong despite her wiry frame] as she pushed through people like a mad woman. Every face that turned to shout at her melted to concern and murmurs of “oh god no, please go on ahead”. I must give it to her. D asked everybody… every one of the forty thousand idiots who let us pass through, if they had “seen my little sister?” as she held her hand low down at her waist. “She’s just this high… have you seen her?”
Even I was aghast.
Within five minutes we were right up ahead, below the stage. And suddenly D was transformed. From a raving lunatic sister in distress, she was a raving lunatic.
D’s emotions are infectious. That was the first and last time ever that I screamed and swooned for an idiot up on stage, who wasn’t even making a real effort to sing.
But then again, when I think back to that day, I think what played a large part in making me agree to go at all was D’s cousin S. He’s the one who got us the passes.
I really did make an ass of myself over S.
It all started like this. One day, D announced that her cousins B and S were coming from London, and that it was our duty to show them a good time. And so, I took permission from my uncle and aunt for yet another night out to study.
I left home in my dowdiest shirt and got to the sharabghar in M’s sexy blue top and moonstone danglers. M and I were all geared up for some sharab, lots of dancing and girlie gossip.
And then I saw S.
To just call him a pretty boy would not be fair. I noticed other things about him. The cute ring in his left earlobe. His unbelievably sweet smile. His eyes.
I think I drank too much that night.
I definitely danced a lot.
I also thankfully don’t remember all the things I said to him as I clung to his neck.
The next day and the day after that I tagged along with D, B and S like a lost besotted puppy.
B and D were kind to me. Very kind.
Three days later, D & I boarded a train to come home to Delhi on our winter vacation. That night cousins B & S came to see us off. Just as they were getting off the train, S hugged D, and then he turned to me. For a moment I stood there wondering what to expect. Then he opened his arms, hugged me and planted a kiss on my cheek.
A kiss on the cheek that took me over the moon and back for many many days after.
A few weeks later, D pulled me aside one day, looked deep into my eyes and said, “I have something to say to you. It’s about S”.
My heart stopped.
D continued to look at me. I looked back at her -- frozen in an uncomfortable moment of wanting to scream my lungs out and ask her to continue, and not knowing how to arrange my face to look nonchalant. Eventually I think my face just did what it had to. I stared at her dumbly.
D spoke then. Finally. “H, S just came out to the family that he’s gay. He has a boyfriend in London”.
Even today, they point me out at family gatherings smiling indulgently, and say “there’s the girl who had a crush on our S”. I just smile back and lower my eyes shyly like a good Indian girl. What else can I do?
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
The twin you never had.
The more gregarious, vivacious, successful image of you.
The half you always knew existed. The bone-blood-tissue other you know would complete you in a going-back-to-the-womb, of-the-same-egg way? The companion you always wanted to play with. The bestest friend that could’ve been. The dearest nearest closest buddy you could dream up. The little voice you spoke with when you were sad, angry, mad at the world. The someone who held your hand when you cut your hair angrily behind a locked bathroom door. The someone who applauded the craphead who emerged from the selfsame bathroom.
The someone who saw you as you saw yourself… sometimes attractive, sometimes haggard and ugly. Sometimes invincible sometimes so utterly lost. The someone who didn’t think you crazy when you’d clench your teeth and hit your knuckles against a safely padded mattress.
Someone you seem to understand so clearly that it feels like you think their thoughts, know their fears, desires and deep dark innards. Someone you could dip your hands into with your eyes shut, and know the warm sinew that would cling to your fingers, like it was yours.
Someone whose skin could have been yours. Whose smile could have been yours. Whose ears nose mouth could have been yours. ENT specialist.
What if they were to intersect? Would space and time halt to make a brief but pointed statement? Would we just carry on with our lives, occasionally wondering what might have been if…?
The obituary column bore the picture of a fifteen-year old boy that day. Born: 21st Sept. 19__.
That’s my birthday!
This boy is my age! He would have been seventeen like me.He’s my birthday brother.
What am I going to do about it? Damn. Damn! I have to do something about it. He could’ve been the twin I never had. Damn. Damn. But he’s gone. Damn. No no no stupid girl. Don’t cry. But.
Snip snip snip.
What am I going to do about it? Should I call his parents? Should I visit them? Should I say they can share me with my parents? Should I learn to love them? Damn... but I wanted to love him. He’s my birthday brother. That’s him, in the paper cutting in my diary, my twin, my brother.
They’ll think I’m mad. Juvenile. Stupid. Obsessive.
Damn. What am I going to do about it?
He wonders what she’s thinking, as he kisses her eyes and nose. Wilful, pointed, upturned nose. She has a funny nose. He taps it lightly with his finger. He’s being cute and she indulges him with a smile.
A paisa for your thoughts. What’re you thinking? Right this moment. Now now now.
She turns over. Not now sweets. Let’s get something to eat.
She’s decided it’s time to turn another page. She won’t do it herself. There are ways of getting him to do it.
Always. It’s the boredom that hits her first.
You’re so special
Like the three limbed lizard
That darts on my wall
Two tails of
That tell me who you are
Wherever you go
I’ll follow you
I’ll follow you
Like that song on the radio
Plays on my lips
They loop in my head
Like the rays of the sun
Shimmering, gold spun
When I see you through my window
On a black highway night
I’ll follow you
I’ll follow you
That you are.
lunatic lizard lover/ Wasted on the moon
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
For 'They' Them
catch a falling star
and shove it up your arse
'cause you think it's going to save a rainy day
and here's my literary brilliantine, shiny spanking brittle.My Wit
Is so Brit
Stiff at the bottom
And stiffer on top
Somewhere in between
While circumventing the queen
In the bylanes of London
It got lost.
It would be a sin
Nevertheless, Ogden Nash, zindabad!
And here’s quoting my newfound hero:
So that’s who I remind me of
When I consider men [and women] of golden talents
I’m delighted, in my introverted way,
To discover, as I’m drawing up the balance,
How much we have in common, I and they.
[skipping 4 stanzas]
In comparison with men of golden talents
I am all a man [woman] of talent ought to be;
I resemble every genius in his vice, however heinous –
Yet I only write like me.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
All it takes to walk away are a pair of feet and the will to walk. Why doesn’t she ever remember?
What should I do? Should I stay and wait to see if they’ll ever return? Should I just turn around and walk away too? Perhaps I should wait. Good girls always wait.
She crossed her legs, rested her chin on the racquet, and shut her eyes. I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry. Maybe I should keep my eyes open. What if they come back and think I’m asleep?
I hadn’t noticed how green the grass is at the edge of the court. Sigh. Did I say thank you to the ball boys? Did I wave at the audience? Did I say how I liked playing with him? Do any of them know how much they mean to me? Hmmm. But… why? No no no no I’m NOT GOING TO CRY.
Just then, as she was snorting back a big sniffle, she heard the sweetest little laugh. Like something between a pocketful of glass marbles and a hundred crystal bells.
“Hello little girl, my name is peter pan, and I don’t brush my teeth on holidays.”
A silver-toed imp in muddy green corduroy sleeves feet firmly planted on the ground, one bruised knee and shiny bright brown eyes stared at her curiously with an outstretched hand.
As she put her hand in his, gingerly, he grinned a blinding flash and when the girl could see again they were at the edge of a magnificent oasis, racing through green grass and trees, tripping, falling, laughing and running.
They ran like the wind on light toes and silver wings, swinging through the air whipping past big leaves and chasing orange dragonflies. That’s where they shaved my head once, and that’s where I was a prince. This little stone used to be my house, that there, used to be my garden; and this, he paused fleetingly... this is the brook by which my mother knitted me my magic sleeves. Then he kicked a large fuming pile of rubble. And these? Ha ha. These are the dragons I’ve slain. I’ll kickkkk their collective arses till they hound me no more. The little girl laughed with glee. In a flash, her own monsters seemed to shrivel up and fall away.
Then he pulled her to a denser part of the jungle, amidst thicker trees and taller grass… till they finally came upon a beautiful lake at the heart of the oasis.
The little girl was spellbound. As she stood there lost in the beauty of the lake, she didn’t notice that peter pan had slipped away.
A soft breeze with the faint sound of a pocketful of glass marbles and a hundred crystal bells played up as she turned to thank him. It swept around her neck, and caressed her ears. Then she heard a sweet little whisper, “Whenever you think of me little girl, come here. In a lifetime and a second, we’ll be babies again.”
He played me a song.
Wherever you are
I’ll sing along.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Vimalananda too says that only what you experience and how you experience it is what matters. Objectivity is overrated.
Perhaps it is. Perhaps it isn’t. I really can’t be bothered with it.
Right now my head is like a post-monsoon tropical jungle. Teaming with rot and growth. There’re things that need to be amputated. Things that need to grow. Things that should get a chance to live. New ideas that must see the light of day… and yet… is the soil fertile enough?
Right now, I wish my mind could go beyond pointless cerebral masturbation and get on with the fucking business of producing.
And I had promised that under no circumstances would I defile my space with any sort of profanity. Haaah. So much for self-imposed-restraint. Poopy.
Right now John Donne is God once more. He always always know just how to say the things I would like to say... succinctly, perfectly & with a flying stinging kick.
There’s a monster in my head. And right now it’s feeling peevishly peckish.
Great, and now I've gone ahead and nearly sliced my index finger off. It's very dramatic to see your blood dripping everywhere. Vindictive little cliche goading me. Spiteful shite.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Watching helpless little pint-sized babies die with cold indifference. P was three years old when a shuddering, panic-stricken nurse, with armpit high gloves and three sheets of distance between ‘it’ and herself, brought him to the care-home. Swathed in three dirty sheets lay a half smothered baby weighing six miserable little kilograms with a stomach so distended that he couldn’t stand on his legs. P had tuberculosis. P was severely under-nourished. P was HIV positive.
Six kilograms. That’s less than the weight of all the food we consume in one week.
A government official responsible for education in a high-prevalence state said that children shouldn’t be told about sex. They don’t know what it is. If we tell them, they will get corrupted.
D is one of the many little boys living on the street who can’t understand why E didi and her friends talk about safe sex and protection when there are no small-size condoms available. “Didi how are we to protect ourselves then?” E has no answer. Governments don’t talk about these things.
The Chief Minister of a northern state announced a few years ago that his state had “nothing to do with HIV”.
S is thirteen years old. Everyday he must take his medicines at 7am and at 7pm. The other day he saw a bollywood film on TV with his adopted brothers. S thinks the heroine is very beautiful. He wonders who he’s going to marry. But then immediately, like any other football-obsessed thirteen year old he dismisses the idea. Who likes girls anyway? R is relieved that she doesn’t have to talk to him about relationships and sex right away… but for how much longer can she hold off telling him how his HIV status is going to play a large part in his relationships?
K was just eight when she watched her mother die in pain. Then her aunt took her home. But the neighbours started saying things. K’s aunt realised that her own children would suffer if she allowed K to live with them. K was abandoned without ceremony.
K wants to go back to her aunt’s house, but she doesn’t know the address.
Watch your parents die in misery.
Get told you’re a dirty diseased ill-omened child.
Get told that you will die, before you’ve learnt to live.
Get thrown out on the road.
Get slapped, kicked, pushed.
Most children affected by HIV are pushed out of their houses once they are orphaned. There is no foster-care system here. With the kind of discrimination involved and the cost of medication, very few are taken in by relatives. Government-run care-homes turn children living with HIV away as they claim they are ill-equipped to handle opportunistic diseases. Fewer still have access to health care. Most end up on the road where they must adapt to street brutality – emotional, physical and sexual.
Nobody talks about them. Nobody talks to them. Arses like us sit in cars and watch them at traffic lights begging for money. We have many notions – about the kind of money they make by begging; about how all of this is a racket; about how they just use the money to buy drugs.
Arses like us also talk about the magic of childhood.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Friend and I slumped back in our seats. When you’ve known your friend for over eight years, very closely, there are few things to talk about. It’s as if mid-marriage crisis hits the relationship. Things hang thick between you. Things she said. Things she did. Thing she didn’t do and didn’t say when she should’ve. Times she should've been there for you when she wasn't. Neutral spaces like Baristas make you want to open up painful conversations in a casual manner and get issues out of the way. But it doesn’t happen. You just end up asking whether it’s going to be tea or coffee. Flavour? Anything to eat? And then you settle back once more to look around, trying to understand what stages those other people are at in their relationships with those they seem to have so much to say to.
At the far end, in one unobtrusive corner close to the counter sat an old man. He had a blue-black, over-cultivated wig and large soda bottle glasses. His gaze was pulled asunder by a pair of disobedient, aging, sad eyes. The wig parted very unwillingly at the centre low down on his forehead.
As he sipped on his coffee slowly and deliberately, he looked at everybody who passed him by, pointedly and unabashedly in that once-twice-thrice over kind of way. At first it was uncomfortable to think of an old man sitting alone like that staring at every pretty young thing that went by, so purposefully.
But as he sat there just looking, increasingly it seemed like he was seeking a flicker of acknowledgment from anyone at any table, anywhere. But everybody continued to chatter, glancing up occasionally only to see who’d swung the door open. He seemed to be taking forever to finish his coffee. Just sipping and watching, a slight trembling at his wrist, each time the cup came up. But nobody looked back at him. Not one person.
Then finally after ages, very slowly he pulled himself up. It took a good thirty seconds for him to straighten up completely. He shuffled forward a bit. Stopped at table. Stared at its occupants for a long moment or two, and then shuffled on. Yet nobody seemed to notice this old man with his bright black hair and wide set gaze. A full minute later, after making many stops at many tables, he was finally out of the door. He patted his wig lightly with trembling hands, drew a deep breath and stepped out into the flow of people.
Just then I felt best friend’s hand on mine. Our eyes met. And just like that I knew she knew what I was thinking. She smiled, and suddenly I realised how glad I was for all the years that she’s been in my life.