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.