Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I'm in a new place reader, again, for a very little while. I'm struggling to stay myself though, holding on to my routines even when they don't make sense, simply because they are familiar. When everything else changes, we crave the conventional with a fierce, illogical nostalgia, no? This is how religions calcify. If I had to start a religion it would decree that every day begin with the ceremonial brewing of coffee. We would gather together to watch in silence as the decoction dripped down the filter, drip, drip, drip. Any fidgeting would invite a fierce frown. When we finally had enough for one cupful, it would be decanted reverentially into a special mug, gold plated plated with indecipherable carvings on the outside, preferably in an imitation of the hieroglyphics of a forgotten language. It would be stirred with water, just off the boil. Then we would pass the cup around, each taking one long, sighing sip. I'd go first, because I invented the religion.
I don't know what we would believe in, beyond the necessity of coffee. Be kind to dogs, I think. That feminism simply means acknowledging equality and humanity of all the sexes, silly. Men's rights are not a thing. Saint Mindy Kaling would have a day. So would Saint Marie Curie. Ooh, Saint Raghuram Rajan. Our deity would be a dog with a mechanical tail that wagged in blessing. We would preach tolerance towards cats and the catty. Cruelty to animals will be our greatest sin. Wasting coffee the second greatest. Maybe turning down dessert the third.
What a happy bunch of sleep-deprived diabetics we will be, in our houses filled with puppies.    

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Anywhere but here

If I had to describe myself in one word reader, the word would be restless. It's an irritating word. It niggles at you. You struggle for calm, breathe in, breathe out. How many times more before you can stop? Stroke the dog's fur over and over till he gets up and walks away. Do a hundred jumping jacks. Stop at 62 and feel like a failure. The phone rang, what were you supposed to do? Read three things at the same time, as the scolding in your head grows louder and louder. Write. Temporary relief.
I've been struggling all week for calm. For a plan and a routine. I invent excuses not to follow either. I make lists and cast them aside. They grow longer, the words larger, redder, screaming at me, apoplectic. I escape into the company of other people. In caring about them I can safely forget about me. But they do not understand. How could they? They have their lists too, although perhaps their lists don't yell at them in angry red words.
The words are subsiding now, tapering. They do not like being complained about. A few are fading away- they aren't important. Not right now, anyway. The words on top are darkening, deepening to oxblood and then black. That is how a branding by fire looks, no? Seared into flesh and memory.
I must go.

Friday, September 4, 2015

It's one of those slow, hot days. The kind of day when rising from a chair is sticky and requires considering and the dog pants listlessly. The washing machine is as energetic as ever, its mechanical whine sounds admonitory: "If I can spin, so can you." So spin we do, about our everyday tasks, scattering, then coming together, over desultory conversations and cups of too-hot tea.
I want to buy an orange dress, the colour of a setting sun. A few years ago, I would have phrased that differently. I need an orange dress, I would have said. After all, I didn't own a dress in that colour. The void in my wardrobe constituted a need. I have learnt better since. I do not need new dresses. I need food and clothing, yes, and love. I have a glut of all three. So my want is as desultory as my conversation today, meaningless and soon forgotten.
Reader, I've been working and baking, thinking, thinking, trying not to think. I haven't wanted to talk so much because talking crystallises thought and sometimes disproves it. I was afraid of what I might learn when I spoke.
This post, and every other post on this blog is terribly self-indulgent. Have space, will publish, after all. And the internet gives us all space and swallows our words whole. I wonder if this self-indulgence is harmless, or if it is portentous. The more we indulge the self the more it swallows us whole. And the internet is a black hole masquerading in white and colour: if it can swallow words, it can swallow selves too. We could become bodies walking the earth, carrying our souls in our pockets, in our phones. Every night, they get plugged into the walls to recharge, while our bodies sleep.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"And the soul of the rose went into my blood/As the music clash'd in the hall"

It is impossible to be lonely when you have the hills for company. Every time I look up, I grin and ask myself, "How did I get so lucky?" You see, reader, I've been living in this place with its wind and hills and butterflies. Its every aspect reminds me of a calendar we had one year, where every month was a different watercolour of a forest, each greener than the last. So June was greener than April and December so green, it was almost black. I won't be here in December.  
It will rain today; the wind is heavy with promise. It's been whipping me up into a frenzy all day, churning my clothes around me, snatching away my tea cup, spattering the grass with its contents, and then whistling away. I am as restless as it, unable to concentrate on anything too long. The rain will come and then, we will be calm.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"I wandered dizzy as a moth, towards the lodestar of my one desire"

There is a bug in my room. It is big and black and buzzes constantly. It is too heavy to reach the tube light, so instead, it hurls itself over and over again at the wall below the light with suicidal desperation.

I felt sorry for it and shooed it outside, but it returned the next time I opened the door, flew unerringly to below the tube light, and resumed throwing itself against the wall. "Fly away," I want to tell it. "The night is cool and fragrant; the sky is full of clouds and glows with a misshapen moon. Strange flowers bloom there, and snakes hiss in the silence. There are so many others to fall in love with, and a night is a long time for a bug."

But the bug cannot listen. It will be dead by morning. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm lonely today reader, and not even the dog will do. It's odd, because I'm quite surrounded by books and people, and I have this screen that I'm writing on that connects me to the entire world. Yet I'm strongly tempted to fall into a decline and am aweary, aweary. I don't would that I were dead yet; that would be taking it too far. But I think I would like to sleep for a long time. It's the winter, perhaps. I went for a walk this morning and the fog was so thick that we could barely see ten feet ahead. The street looked like I was seeing it through an Instagram filter. It was lovely, and chillingly remote For all that we scream that we want to be alone, the thought of being really, truly alone, without anyone to talk to or think of, is rather frightening, isn't it?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It is Diwali tonight. I went out to the terrace to watch the fireworks. There are rockets that rise up like squiggly-tailed comets and explode in showers of red, green and yellow sparks. The houses on our street are lit up. The one on our right in a mesh of multicoloured, blinking lights, the one on our right is lined with what are shaped like oil lamps, but glow through the night without a single flicker. Our house is dark save for one lamp above the gate. We are in mourning this year.
The dog came out with me and for a while, he was kept very busy. He would bark at one rocket before being distracted by another whistling past. A thousand-shot thunderbomb finally silenced him: he couldn't get a bark in edgewise.
It sounds like a thousand drummers are all playing while very drunk. There are beats, high pitched and low, with rapidly changing patterns. The steady beat every two seconds is from one of those crackers that goes up once and explodes over and over, sometimes in pink, sometimes in gold and sometimes in red and blue. Then there are whooshes from the flowerpots and hisses from uncoiling fiery snakes. The rockets whistle. A police siren wails.
The air is heavy with gunpowder. Every so often, the fireworks reveal patches of grey smoke in the ruddy sky. It is like the largest palette ever seen: the grey blends into the black and the red while the sprays of green and yellow and blue and pink quickly disappear into the grotesque mix. There is no moon tonight; it did well to keep away. Its brightness has been surpassed, a thousand times over.
Tomorrow, the children will go back to school on streets littered with ash.