Sunday, 30 June 2013

A Cardboard Box With Your Name On It

Moving was never easy. Cities, affections or even bad jobs. So, when moving houses you assume that a new space and fancier flooring will be a breezy change. One that you will slip right into and one that will barely affect your daily life.

You underestimate the impact old walls and spaces can have on you. It's only when you stare at the darkened outlines where paintings, pictures and bookshelves were once hung do you realize- bits of you are made of concrete and iron and bits of houses are always made of blood and flesh.
There were stories your friends told you during sleep-overs. Whispered snippets of love, loss, too much giggling followed by furious hushing. There's a spot in the room where you'd always crane your head the minute you woke up- to avoid the light. The room fit to your curves, you to its.

You've walked around the terrace having late-night phone conversations while playing a game, of duck under the clothes line and come to the other side, without missing a word of what was being said. You've lived through seasons and declared that there was no chance rain fell anywhere else the way it did on your balcony. You've always sworn that the wooden floor would make deliberate loud sounds if you walked in with stilettos too late after a party. You'd learn to leave your shoes outside to minimize noise and parental wrath.
The road in front of your house curved slightly, your friends always waited for you there. Impatient because you'd promised them “two minutes”, almost fourteen ago.
Your brother and his friends, during a party, spray-painted the terrace wall with a song lyric. You let your house keep that tattoo. You were a cool parent like that.

You'd learnt to hole up in your room for days when you were upset or wanted to write. You also learnt to hide your expensive shampoo and body washes during the summer. You see, your brothers room was on the terrace and got hot water in the day. He'd want to use your bathroom and the nuances of “take a coin-sized helping of shampoo” were lost on him.
There was a rocking chair overlooking the street, where you'd stay curled up Sunday after Sunday. There were books you had to go through and that spot promised poor cell reception.


You're packing up books and growing up years into boxes. They're proving to be too small and frankly not too sturdy. You find the other earring you lost years ago, curled up under your dresser. You leave it on the bare floor because some things work better when they're not a pair. There's a book you'd bought and promptly lost, you pack it into your bag.
Your friend who you've lost touch with, had one night long ago left you scribbled messages in a tiny, tiny scrawl on the upstairs wall. You'd furiously searched but never found those so you leave  a message of your own.

And it stands there against the sunlight- once your house, now a proud, paint-chipped cement anthology of stories and secrets.

Friday, 21 June 2013

It Rained & Only The Bravehearts Noticed

There were never any surprises in life. Except when the milk got over. Her calculations were always off on that and she ended up with too much cereal and not enough milk.

Most other things, she argued, you learnt to anticipate. Death, for example. It was fairly inevitable. The very existence of something guaranteed its demise. Attachments were a dark alleyway leading to disappointments and frustrations. It amused her then, when her friends would look painfully stricken and say, "I could not see that coming. It took me by surprise. I wish I could have told." 

She was certain that the element of surprise was the most deliberate construct. People loved the mystic, and this entertained their fantasy that things happened beyond reason, and always for a reason. One that would make itself known to you, like a yogi, a few steps into the future. It was a tautological argument. Things didn't happen for a reason, they just happened and few steps into the future provided you with enough time to come up with a justification strong enough to delude yourself into believing that a grand scheme is being unfolded right now, possibly to the tune of a cosmic harp, all for your benefit. She never understood why we gave ourselves so much importance.

The only mystic she knew in life was rain. It seemed to be the soundtrack to her emotions. A fairly powerful drug that could intensify whatever you were feeling at the given moment. Loneliness turned into melancholy, happiness into crazed bliss and average prose into meter-be-damned poetry. It was why she loved and hated the season the most. It crawled softly under her skin and took control of her otherwise planned life. The rain would fall in sheets and remind her of when they were in college and had galaxies of time to spare. Large heartedness had been a fad that season and yet they marvelled each time they saw it on someone else. 

Even today rain caught her by surprise. Not by sheer timing (you just had to look out for it on days the Met department predicted clear skies). But, by its effect on her. It wasn't your skin that was getting wet. It was everything else under the surface that was soaked to the bone. You were liquid inside and you could flow to where the day took you. Perhaps into an icy oblivion, to losing yourself in the vastness of another person, or to a drink in a glass. You could intoxicate another with every sip, knowing full well that there'd be nothing left of you, when they were finally drunk. 

This was why she bolted her doors and stayed inside all through June to September. Everything else in life was accounted for. Except rain.

                                                      (This april, caught in a shower in Saket)