Friday, October 08, 2010

Deer Park on Google Search

This is not envy. Or wistfulness.

When we walked together in deer park I had a sense of something. Something akin to fate – the consequence of things that make up our destinies and the awareness of a brief interlude from which to contemplate it. Walking in the shade of low trees, dodging pissy geese, we talked about everything but the one thing that had led us here. Him, stooping to avoid walking into branches because he’s so tall and I, holding back the urge to walk briskly so he wouldn’t feel conscious of his limp. I felt the weight of things we left unsaid, aware that someday I would think back to now and wonder if it was all worth it.

I could tell he wanted to bring it up. Yet, with characteristic patience he waited, hoping, I suspect, that I would utter the first word. Had I offered even the slightest acknowledgment, I would've end up unleashing an embarrassing vomit of things I had learned through a great deal of heartburn to hold back in an epic display of restraint. I trusted him. Not myself. So we walked in silence, with an occasional pretence towards light banter, his eyes intense with things to say, and mine, uneasy, troubled and shifty.

In those walks is he forever frozen for me. His earnestness, his conviction, his steady patience and his frustration.

It was the one thing we shared. Our frustration. And in that state of simmering discontent we shuffled through deer park every evening for the few weeks he was over to edit his film, to forget briefly perhaps, to share a moment of feeling fortified in each other’s company and mostly, to escape the source of our woe.

It’s taken me four-and-a-half years to muster the nonchalance to browse the internet in google-search of his work and mine – for we were making our films together, weren’t we? We were in the same overburdened rudderless little dingy in the night, weren’t we? I found my film, credited to others, stripped of every trace of the hours I spent getting tetchy, grey and broken.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t expect otherwise. I just also didn’t expect that sharp twist in my gut.

And then I saw his. The awards, the reviews and above all the honest goodwill he’s brought into the lives of all the people who featured in it.

I remembered the call he made to me in anger shortly after those walks. Righteous anger. To vent about the deception, greed and blatant dishonesty that he and his film were caught in. He spoke without pause, pouring every abhorrent detail into the phone about injustice and vengeance. He needed to justify himself to someone. To me. He knew I’d understand.

But I didn’t. I had moved on, hadn’t I? I had given up and left it behind me. All of it. I wasn’t going to look back. I adored him, but sorry, I really couldn’t bring myself to care.

How could I explain that I would come completely undone if I did?

That was the last we spoke. He couldn’t understand my apathy. Or then perhaps he was disgusted by it. I will never know. For if and when we meet again, I’m certain he will be warm and genuinely pleased to see me, as always. Because that’s what he does best – understand and move on.

Here’s to the most committed filmmaker I know. The most honest and sincere documenter of people and their stories.

A man whose passion transforms effortlessly into the most breathtakingly lyrical frames I’ve had the fortune to behold.

RJ, I’m so deeply proud of you. You make me wish I was a better, more committed person.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Heartbeat com[m]a

The other day my heart ceased up but my brain was alive.

I was sick of being told how to breathe mid-sentence. So when we had a five minute discussion on whether menu should be followed by a comma or a semi colon because no pause just wasn’t working, I said a quiet fuck you under my breath and later that night bundled up my dying imagination and made away on an escaping thought while my heart lay deathly still and cold from missing a familiar thrum.

I always become Jewish when I’m on the run.

Like Anne Frank.

And so, heavy with a deep sense of loss from leaving behind a dysfunctional heart and a significant chunk of Europe in the 30ies among other things, my bundle and I fled past people and places, skirting at the edges of memories like thieves, to arrive at a familiar scene.

My aunt’s old house in a hostile neighbourhood where people hung their children’s bums off balcony walls and flung turds into enemy houses over messy water wars.

There I arrived at the door of a friend’s studio-plus-house dressed in a white blouse and green sari. I’d never wear white with that green. Never. So I already knew something was wrong.

As soon as the door opened, there he was. Duck. Sitting squat in a shocking shirt of clumsy pink flowers with deep brown shadows, while some people I didn’t like sat around and made small talk with him. He didn’t even look up to acknowledge me. Just sniggered with everyone as I passed them by to go to the balcony, because I had business there.

Turns out, after a long journey I wanted to take a dump and the best place for a pot, as we all know, is an open air balcony because then you can pretend to your house guests that you’re just going out for a smoke and no one will ever suspect that you need to lose a load, except of course vicious neighbours.

There I was, dodging intrusive neighbourly stares by artfully draping my sari around the pot so that it looked like I was squatting for pleasure and no other reason, when I noticed Shane Warne and a few of his buddies draw up in a car to move into the house next door.

A pressing sense of unease not entirely unconnected to my exposed bum wormed its way into my belly as I watched this scene unfold. Shane Warne and his band of boys were loud and unruly, their energy infecting the air so rapidly that soon the whole neighbourhood looked like it was going to explode into world war three in which atomised faecal matter vaporised us off the earth – ashes to ashes, shit to shit. Meanwhile the house guests were deciding on an orgy of some sort. But Duck, ever hesitant Duck. I could sense he wanted to say something on the lines of an apology as I struggled to clean my bottom discreetly, when someone gave me farkin’ CPR.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Last night Robert Downey Jr. fell in love with me, and he pranced about my head causing me excruciating bouts of heartache, because he’s such an imp.

And K, who’s married to F, a philandering Dutchman said that I should be patient, because he does love me, doesn’t he?

I s’pose so.

So I hung on every word and every glimmer in his sparkling eyes, while he hopped in and out with dizzying frequency in leotards and a billowing white shirt stuffed into a tiny waistcoat, claiming with each fleeting flit around my brain that he truly madly did care for nothing else but my ROI-ignorant head.

That’s how much I adore Robert Downey Jr.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking. About things. Variously. And how introspection is a deeply committed job that requires nothing short of 24 hours each day for any sort of breakthrough. Time that I can ill-afford because, hello, there are meals to be worried about and then eaten and then worried about again – because if your digestion’s screwy then introspection is a far thought residing in near about the 10th foot [or if U’s to be believed then the 25th kilometre] of your large intestines. But my digestion’s okay.

It’s just that I do have a job right now, and however little time I try to devote to it, there is the inevitable sitting-it-out at my desk, slamming drawers officiously, sharing MY VIEWS across the desk with A who ignores me as much as she can and tapping at my keyboard that I’m contractually bound to do.

So, much as we’d like to believe that I spend hours pondering the depth of my navel, as S, recently America-returned, says – not of me yet, though – I’ve a lot else to worry about. Like the singular strand of grey that I found lurking in my eyebrow.

That’s serious. When did the post-40s tip toe around my eyebrows?

But this isn’t what’s been occupying my thoughts lately either.

Meandering. That’s what’s been bothering me. And the inability to focus long enough to construct a legitimate sentence because bastards are just so much easier to produce.

Okay so this came out wrong. No really. Don’t judge me.

It’s just that I like the word bastard.

Pay heed now class, there’s nothing such as a ‘bastard’. It’s a state of mind. And the muck’s in your head if your state of mind insists it’s a bad thing.

Now repeat after me.
Bastard rhymes with custard
It’s gay and tart like mustard
It’ll never leave me flustered
‘Cause I love a jolly bastard.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I’m fairly angsty in private. And, I'm fairly serious about making lists. So if it’s in a diary, I really must’ve meant it.

Discovered in my travel plus lists diary, from a year and half ago.

A list. And an insight.


Somewhere deep down, beyond layers of lycra and Maybelline Glow, some place hidden, there are parts of me that wouldn’t trade anything for being from India. Parts that will never relinquish the sense of wellbeing that’s about being Indian. Parts that prefer being washed over being wiped.

Monday, January 18, 2010


As a writer, increasingly, because with practice comes profusion, you see merit in giving everything a slogan.

Including people.

Especially people.

M [not THE M-monumental, but our writer M – yes we have a writer now, for a brief pause to my daily insanity] was very pleased with his. It was my welcoming gift to him.

It goes: Because one ego’s not enough.

And though this happened several months ago, even now when I ask him why he is the way he is, he responds with less gratitude, more pride and no shame: because you said so yourself.

Today, in an act of considerable generosity, struck by sudden inspiration no doubt, M composed mine. Just as I was breezing past him, on my way to the ladies’ let, because that’s when most of our significant conversations happen, when I’m breezing past him to let.

I said, breezing by, when you eat five cheese pasta with bacon, the guilt will kill you before the cheese does. He said, it’s five cheese pasta with bacon. Guilt has no place between a man and his five cheese pasta with bacon. I said you’ve got to be kidding. He said why? I said BECAUSE. He said I’ve got it.
It goes: I’m lady H. Fark off.

Friday, January 15, 2010


If you let words sit in you too long, they ferment and become a bloated palimpsest of rancid phrases and overfed sentences that bear little resemblance to the lucid ideas they once were.

And they make you ill.

There is a piece of work, a spot of writing, the thought of which once sent happy tingles through my head. It was my private pleasure spot which I would fondle with delight every now and then in anticipation of epic gratification. It was the perfectly located itch waiting to be scratched, the epicentre of a giant orgasm that my client was about to experience, the promise of paradise where all good prose is meant to repose.

So I admired it and stroked it and nursed it and fussed over it, afraid to let it out for fear of being overwhelmed. Sometimes the thought of it got so unbearably exciting, I had to put it away promising myself a quiet moment in which to really indulge the joy of expressing it.

Somewhere between then and now, It became a tumour.

A turgid, insensate knot of mangled phrases that have mutated beyond recognition from overstimulation and are choking my head.

So now I need to cauterize it.

What a charming start to the year.