Wednesday, August 22, 2007

four hundred grams that can't unfeel.

where reason fails. when any attempt at exoneration, only secretes more rhetoric. when darkness turns from the mere absence of light, to its vehement collides with night declares war on dawn submits to loss triumphs over reward secedes to guilt.

where do you look for inspiration?

four hundred grams. thats what it weighs, the heart. four hundred grams. it pumps away. in sheer darkness. oblivious, of the tragic soliloquy. wafting across your insides. mindless of the encroaching vines of sad thoughts. it pumps away.thoughtless. innocent.

why are we scared?

an overwhelming wish for unconditional freedom. a gripping prophecy, of an epic calamity. the dilated pupils. of a fast-approaching try to garner the firewood of sympathy. long for the familiar scent of familiarity. strain your ears. so you'd not miss a voice. you know the voice. you hate the voices.but you love the singular note of this one voice. that effigy you built of her. all the statuettes of cotton candy. the figurines of rum filled chocolate. the face that remains after you've joined all the dots. when you come to the end of all that you can make sense of. you hear them speak. and all you hear is that one sound. her voice. asking nothing of you. but courage. the courage to be human. the courage to react. constructively.

the courage to give up. compulsion.

you want to break free. the chains of historical submission. want to break out. of the mirrored confines of self-doubt. your heart. all four hundred grams. circulating blatant screams of uninhibited intention. to escape is to touch her. to touch her is to live again. to live again, is to look back. to look back.

inspite of the impossible.

instead, you blame. undo all the good work. turn back the sand clock. smudge your own masterpiece. you blame. invisible angels of a personal nightmare. you reconcile. to be reconfined. four hundred grams is now collateral damage. four hundred grams is now excess baggage. blame. you take stock. you do the math. you look for the leaks. crib for the plugs. self-abuse. the machinations of regret take over. the ruling deities of self-conferred misfortune, wield their iron fist.

you blame.

act like you are acting helpless. you are. helpless. you give yourself up, to the forces of death. you turn yourself in. and inside out. you cheer lustily as you are tried. tried and sentenced. sentenced to more than the lack of life. sentenced to unfeeling. that damp corner, safe from light and life? you scamper to it. smile incredulously. bored witless and free from freedom. you embrace bondage. you crumple. crusted eyelids. that once hid circling fireflies and parallel universes. stable limbs. that once rode over happy surprises and warmer sunrises. time-frozen thoughts. that once unsolved open mysteries and made movies. that never got made.

those four hundred grams. that once heard her say your name. strangely, they still do.

Monday, August 20, 2007

sadness is a smudged neon sign

Crispy chicken, a bowl of noodles and a lager. That was their last meal together. It was the cafe leopold. This unassuming but spacious bar at the foothills of the imposing Taj Mahal Palace hotel. The cafe, proudly claimed an origin dating back all of a hundred and fifty years. A painting on the wall tried real hard to advertise the cafe's international patronage, rather unsuccessfully. It did have a smattering of tourists, most of them white and some of them surprisingly carryin kids. Surprising, for it was a fullblown indian summer. He was distracted. Something really insistent was playing on his mind. One look at the clock on the wall, said it was nine. They were short on time. And he couldn't bear to think about what lay in store a coupla hours hence. They had shopped for inexpensive clothes all evening, and managed to fall for a clunky bracelet, a frilly brown skirt (which later turned out to be nothing more than a square piece of cloth with a hole cut out in the centre). From the street that housed hundreds of vendors, tryin to make a living out of cheap imitations and mispelled foreign brands, a taxi ride had transported them to the gateway of India, that colonial monument built to symbolize colossal India's submission to its relatively puny imperial ruler.It was tastelessly set alight by vapor lamps, planted inside the building. Though it did not effectively ruin its basalt charm, it did reinforce the notoriety, keepers of history in this country are known for. It was their first visit to a major monument of considerable national acclaim. And they,like a million others before them, tried real hard to register a major landmark in their lives. Visiting the gateway of India. Thats one thing you can strike off your list of things to do, in this lifetime. They knew it was mammoth, when they couldn't fit the whole structure in the viewfinder of their humble cannon. he lit up a smoke, and tried to think straight. Tried to stay in the moment and not wander to distant lands of eventual loneliness. They still had three hours together. three hours of stumbling for happy things to say. Three hours of keeping extremely crippling sadness at bay. They walked a while, along the wall that separated a permanently agitated sea and the more ordinary bustle of the city. She said something about how Mumbai could be the only city walled in from the sea. The Arabian sea. He strangely gave it a thought. Made a note to himself, that he would confirm it afterwards. She lit a cigarette. He noticed, that it was the last cigarette he'd see her smoke. Everything that day, was the last occurrence of something.

The last time they'd ride a train.

The last time he'd see her smile.

The last time they'd hold hands.

They walked along the wall, trying to photograph the entire gateway. They stood there, looking out into the sea. Her words now. Describing how the view of the sea was different from her own home town. He cud sense the strain in her voice. He knew the strain in his own voice. A strain that asked difficult questions but demanded no answers. They crossed over, onto the other side of the street.

The last time they'd cross a street.

He held her hand, while they gazed at the windows lining the entrance to the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. It housed stores of all major insanely-expensive brands. There was Dior, Versace, Zegna and Bvlgari. They wondered how Bvlgari was pronounced. They settled, amicably on vulgari, more for the prices than any consideration for Italian linguistics.They looked around for a place to eat. A few blocks away was the cafe leopold.

the last time they'd dine together.

The time was nine, and they had two hours to go. The food arrived, carried by a waiter, who couldn't have been out of place in any bar,anywhere in the country. He was inoffensively unspecial. Before he finally ordered crispy chicken to go with the lager, he had stared at the menu, unnaturally long .Trying to avoid her eyes. and trying to choose from the extremely wide array of cooked meat on offer. Beef and pork, aren't exactly a regular presence on menu cards in this holy fuckin country, he thought. But this place had quite a few additions for both supposed blasphemies. Somehow, he felt a new surge of respect for the Cafe Leopold. He had never eaten beef. And she doesn't eat meat. They settled for chicken. He fiddled with his food, forcibly calm. And finally gave up half way into it. He cleaned the lager up, while she twirled a single strand of noodles with her fork. they were both contemplating. two hours from now.He was biting his lip, now. while she was fighting to stay collected. She begged him to take care of himself. Repeated invocations of the word love, rent the air.He said he'd be fine, knowing he wouldn't.They decided to have the leftover chicken packed. For the imaginary great dane, loungin around in their imaginary beach house.

The last time, they'd get their food packed.

They got into the taxi, and left for the hotel they were staying in. She was tired. they'd walked a million miles that day. Rode trains and Shopped long. She rested her head in his lap, and slipped into sleep, real quick. They were drivin past Haji Ali, a place of worship for almost everybody, when he first broke down. He looked outta the window, strugglin to fight back resurgent memories of the month gone by. Then it happened. A trickle down the left cheek, and his first thoughts were to stop it from landing on her, resting on his lap. He pressed his eyes close. And wished they'd keep riding through the night. An hour to go. He stroked her hair back from her head. A million vehicles sped all around them. Some expressed their anguish, and threatened with unspeakable violence ,behind them. A million people, with things to do, people to see, families to get back to, nightmares to run away from. Crowded on that one stretch of road. All at the same time. He cried his heart out. While his baby, slept in his lap. He kept stroking back her hair. He kept lookin out. At particularly nothing. But he could see pain. It was a smudged neon sign advertising bath fittings. But he could see pain.

The last time they'd be in the middle of so much traffic.

They reached their hotel. She took a bath,changed into clothes they bought that day.He tried real hard, not to give in. He was determined to keep it as less sad as it was humanly possible. But its human to not want to be alone. Its also human, to look around the room one last time, and break down into your love's open arms. And he did just that. They kissed like they were breathing life into each other. They kissed like they were never gonna kiss again. They kissed and cried. And hugged, in sheer hope of fusing together inseparable but dead. Inseparable. and never mind, dead.

The last time, they'd kiss and cry.

They trudged down, got into the hotel car. It drove them insufferably fast to their destination. They got the bags out. He made a couple of inquiries, and it really was time. They walked leaden footed and heavy hearted, to the door. The bags, her luggage, stacked on a trolley, They got to the entrance for international departures. It was time. There they were. At the end of a glorious Indian summer. The cruel glass door. The point of no return. This is where they stop. This is where they last hug. This is where they last cry. This is where they kiss.For the really last time. She goes into the door. Turns back, looks at him. A rush of vignettes from a parallel universe, where everything around implodes. Crashes into itself. Disappears. and she can run back to him. And they can both go home, to their imaginary beach house, with the imaginary great dane. A parallel universe, so wished for, it could be real. She turns back one last time. He raises his hand, limp and detached. She smiles, from behind the eternal sadness of an unfulfilled wish. And then, she disappears.

The last time, they'd see each other.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

elemental weather and a bed by the window

There's something about rain that makes me, well, not pause and ponder really, though that sounds so much more profound; jus stay up incredibly late and watch it wash all the sickening heat out of my city. I force myself to think sad and for once, I, the queen of all things gloomy, can't come up with one stifling thought to go with the stifling weather. Been very very long since this last happened but I'm calm, laid-back and not thinking of any one thing in particular. All I can see is the simple fact that I've changed so much. Random thoughts and everything that flashes by leads right back to this: that I've changed.

I used to love getting drenched in the rain, a love probably inherited from my dad than cultivated - dad moved from one rain-soaked city to another and missed his rain-soaked land as much as I miss mine now and made sure his kids see him fly into raptures the moment it started drizzling.
I used to love being around people, being surrounded by people I know, chided, bossed over, being loved, belonging. I used to be a rotten sister: younger brothers were never meant to be loved, I willingly submitted to the stereotype of the elder hence smarter sister and was about as big an asshole as indifference allows.
I used to believe in friendship.
I used to believe in love that is forever.
I used to believe in God. completely. without any doubts.
I always wanted to look better than I already did.
I was convinced I'm one of those lesser beings who are solely responsible for the world being a mediocre place that just about runs.

I will watch the rain from a distance, stretch my arm out and let the drops slide down to my elbow and admire the path a drop takes almost following my vein, but I will not let the rain really touch me.
Friendless, but glad. I used them all, most used me and am now left incapable of trusting anyone but myself.Yes, I care about my brother now and watch with concealed respect what the kid's turning into.
Am not so sure about God now and not being sure almost means not believing in her/him/it.
A trip across half a planet and a million reassurances later I'm comfortable in my skin.Yeah, it does help that my hair's so breathtakingly perfect, these days.
The world is still a mediocre place but if it runs at all, it is because of me. alright and because of a coupla others.

And the best part? Only he knows how much I've changed, I suspect he quietly nudged me into evolving, and yeah, into feeling such love for myself.
I almost can't recognize myself from a coupla years back but I am the me I want to be now and for a long time to come.

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
- Yeats

(Perhaps a little vain, but hey, self-indulgence is the theme of this blog.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

no road that is right entirely

my room was annoyingly warm and I was letting the summer torpor take over my senses when I hear someone knockin at my door. the evening had been exceptionally noisy, live right next to the freeway, so keep hearing sirens of all kinds all the time and today it was as if everyone in the city had conspired not to lemme doze off. find mike at the door wanting to know if I'd like some pizza and then before I could say anythin he hits me with the news. no, actually, he assumes I already know it.
the bridge two blocks from our house had collapsed taking about 50 cars along with itself into the mississippi. the very first thing I thought of was that I could've been on that bridge had it not been for the annoying warmth that's supposed to mean summer out here in the twin cities. and this thought was followed by a dozen very very selfish thoughts: if I really were on the bridge and something did happen to me, how in the world were people back home gonna find out? it was a long long time before I bothered to find out anythin about deaths and injuries.
two minutes later we were all sitting in dan-the-new-guy-upstairs's room eating his cold pizza wishing whatever obscure music he was playing could drown the noise from outside. there were half-hearted attempts at conversation and awfully sweet kool-aid by jan.

should we bike over and see if we can help?
naah, we'd only get in their way.
you're with CivE, did you hear anything about this earlier?
naah, I do roads from Albertsville.
is your phone dead too?
a collective dejected yeah.
does anyone wanna watch the boondock saints?
what, in the blinking world, is the boondock saints?
can I get help for my dynamics homework?
lying blatantly: oh. dynamics isn't really my thing.
don't you just miss your family terribly sometimes?

yes, my friend, more than you can even imagine.

especially when I'd been as silly as is humanly possible when I last spoke to the love of my life and if something did happen to me, that stupid conversation would be the last thing I'd leave him with. it's tragic enough having to go through my daily routine all alone, only letting him know what I can and choose to put into words. the last thing this relationship needs is a disaster. the worst thing i can think of is everyone who cares for me back home waking up to some kinda bad news and then realizing that they've slept through the event and then that they're completely helpless. yes, I do realize I'm obsessed with something very improbable.
what are the chances of me being on a bridge minutes away from my home when it finally chooses to collapse?
oh, very high.
but we don't ever imagine that anything so huge could really touch our lives significantly enough. don't we all make decisions about our careers, lives, and if you're us, children's names like we've conquered death? and don't we truly regret years misspent and this need to plan for the future, all the time, when we realize how delicate the present is? hell, a little less laziness and I'dve been on my way to the library and later found myself in the HCMC.
think there's a telugu word for this post. or wait, was it sanskrit? smasana vairagyam?

just wish I was in a different place and I had the sense to choose the roads that lead there.

the customary poem,

By Louis MacNeice

If we could get the hang of it entirely
It would take too long;
All we know is the splash of words in passing
And falling twigs of song,
And when we try to eavesdrop on the great
Presences it is rarely
That by a stroke of luck we can appropriate
Even a phrase entirely.

If we could find our happiness entirely
In somebody else’s arms
We should not fear the spears of the spring nor the city’s
Yammering fire alarms
But, as it is, the spears each year go through
Our flesh and almost hourly
Bell or siren banishes the blue
Eyes of Love entirely.

And if the world were black or white entirely
And all the charts were plain
Instead of a mad weir of tigerish waters,
A prism of delight and pain,
We might be surer where we wished to go
Or again we might be merely
Bored but in the brute reality there is no
Road that is right entirely.