Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sometimes at #10

I’m probably just repeating myself. I do that. Life is a long series of the same and co-incidences. I am probably repeating myself. Have I said ever before that the summer in my city is everything superlative? Quite literally, it is awesome, it is brilliant, and it is severe and probably quite beautiful, if you have a mind open enough to accept it, to even embrace it. The mornings shine like the mirror. Every reflective surface will blind you with its one wink in your direction. Within a closed room, a strange sultriness will embalm you. And then there’s the hot hot breeze, which will cool the sweat off your brow and then proceed to suck the last drop of anything hydrating from your body. It is demonic. We stand powerless in its grip. We stand hypnotized by its stern gaze. In the afternoons, the sun glares you down, no matter what protection you took, or how brave you are. Your face will burn, your nostril too and your eyes will water and the tears will dry on your face even before they had the time to disengage from your eyelashes. The remnant salt on your red brown face will taste less salty, more hot and bitter. No matter how much you try, how many times you wash yourself, you will always smell of the summer. How does the summer smell? Like dust. Dust in a dry jar. Your pores will spew ancient dust. You’ll be so dry; you’ll begin to wonder if the summer is outside you or within you. There will be this unanswered, even unqueried question on everybody’s tongue. Nobody but an outsider will ask it. We denizens know giving voice to it only increases your impatience. You’ve sat in a sauna like room, with no power, at 1 in the night, with no breeze in sight or touch. When the sweat pricks your eyes and there’s a puddle beneath you and you are still able to thank the fates that at least there’s no sun, we are insiders. We the real insiders never ask each other, “where, when are the rains?” we instead maintain stoic, severe silence and pretend nonchalance. In the privacy of our balconies, we sometimes look up at the sky and check the cloud formation and look far into the horizon, to search for that first loaded pregnant nimbus cloud. But we never rejoice before time. Sometimes, a quick summer shower catches us unawares. We look outside the window expecting to see the mirror, and instead we see fleeing delirious dogs and gray leaves slowly turning green, clean and the roads a dark black, we quickly leave everything else we were doing and go for a walk. Our summer footwear unsuitable for puddles and slippery roads, we roll up our pants and start walking. It’s indescribable, this relief, it’s difficult to put into words the joys of discovering unknown lanes and turns. New clean gleaming houses almost welcome us in; we scared of their human owners hurry on ahead. We meet several dead-end s. But the weather, the evening will last just a few minutes, so we brave up and tackle them too, and discover forgotten dead lakes and find trees, which give us privacy and some moments which are not new and not original and indeed are as old as time itself, but which this rain washed evening feels quite new and completely and unabashedly our own.


There were hundreds before you
Smells you still smell for sure
Under his shoe
It’s not your fault baby,
He tricked you
He picked you,
Not out of the blue.
He’s been standing outside your window for 17 years now,
He caught you,
He ate you,
And you smiled like a fool.
You smelt your heart,
as he fed it to you.
He crushed your eyeballs with his toe,
He tricked you
He picked you
Not out of the blue.
It’s not your fault baby,
He’s smelt out girls, Young and new,
before too.
17 years he stood outside your window,
With your eyeballs under his shoe,
You couldn’t know.
It’s not your fault baby,
He tricked you
He picked you,
Not out of the blue.

Friday, April 23, 2010

easy one for the masochist

The carpet smells of almonds I think,
I sneeze.
The hairs on my neck rise
Something screams in my head.
And this room closes in on me.
I flex my fingers
My fingernail breaks the windowpane.
I smell blood.
And like it.
The ropes cut into me.
It hurts,
And I like it.
This tiny room encompasses me
It is my whole life this afternoon.
And I like it.
I wait.
My mouth waters in anticipation.
I hear movement in the next room,
I prick my ears up.
I wait,
And I like it.

sometimes beauty

Something akin fear,
Swims in his
China blue eyes.
Several moons hang,
Almost full,
In his china blue eyes.
I wait for
His severe beauty
To break me down,
Tears well up,
And now something akin sadness
Swims in his eyes,
And I look away.

as i watch your face
through the fire
that burns between us.
i pray i get over you
before the fire touches me,
for beauty till now did not affect me
and now that i stare at you
i am aware
i am aware
that i could have looked away
had you looked like me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Nighttime in the Lighttime

Toes skim the floor of the jungle
Fingers grope thick darknesses
Sudden Light hits my eyebrow,
Instantly leaks out like the salt.
Nails blue from the last attempt
Heart shaped hurts shine through
Quite black and blue by midnight
By day, pretend to be orange anew.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Under the window of my green room
Amidst falling orange autumn-like leaves
Indubitable signs of beginnings hide.
Fine veins of solemnity burst forth
And bleeds lust on lace white table-wear
                                     Patterns of longing form indelible stains.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Something like love in Empty Houses

Shoulder blades shine through silk

Cold beads break and fall

Afternoons pass in a blue acid mist

Fine china bone faces glow through the wall.

The house moves a few steps back

And overlooks the river once again

Fences fall apart, iron gates rust and faint

Wooden floors melt in the July rain.

Dragonflies fly low dreaming of the dawn

Waves rise and fall against their skin

The house has swept secrets off the courtyard

But apple cores dipped in silk scream of their sin.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

mmuuuah me

Refrain from reading if you don't like me in the first place :)

Loving one’s self is the simplest and the hardest thing to do; Simplest because, we are born that way. Selfish, filled with survival instinct. Babies are a selfish lot. Then the society and our grandparents teach us to put others first, thus sowing the seed of self-doubt. Of course, we should all love ourselves. What else is there? My universe begins and ends with me. My life, my memories are all I have. When I say I love myself, it is not pride, or arrogance; (some positive narcissism), but my belief in myself and the belief that I am worthy of your respect. And I am worthy of your love. This doesn't mean I show less respect or less love. I show more. I know. I show more than the other can and always, always, my bigness of love scares people away. I am secure about showing utter love, cos my giving of love doesn't take anything away from me, and my love for me. It may only add. But my love or friendship cannot complete you. It can only add. Similarly, your love cannot complete me. Cos am complete already, by myself. It can only add.

My friends call me forceful. Some call me a monster! I take up a lot of space in their lives. And I never make a fool myself. Cos I'll never feel foolish. This doesn't mean I don't do things you think are foolish, or that you don't sometimes think me a fool. You may, I never feel that I am. That must be scary for others no? I am embarrassed less. Sometimes I act embarrassed just to fit in. I am then playing a part. Sometimes, I am vulnerable, truly. Self-doubt creeps in, which is my (or anyone's) biggest enemy. As long as you know what self-doubt feels like, you are safe though. So sometimes I am vulnerable. Of course. OF COURSE! But you have to be Man enough or Woman enough to perceive that, and for me to open up to you in the first place.

Once Woman

I tried to fit in
But the box failed me
‘A little more to the right’
The creator called out.

I took two gulps
And maggoty soil rushed
‘Try again,’ Said it.
I did, trying to fit in.

Twisted I turned I
Difficult for a bean
Shifted I swam I
Without human limbs.

Wombs bled free
Smelt of revenge
I grew shapely
The creator sighed “finally.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Very brown hands these

Made out of mould

Smell today of

Solitary pleasures of old.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Love in an empty room
Bumps at the corners
Echoes hollow.
I sit hugging myself
Rejoicing the space
I have earned myself
with years of shutting out
and keeping away.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


Today, I got molested by an autowalla. He kissed my left knee. As soon as it happened, I thought of putting it up as my FB status message. And then I started thinking, what happenned? I have been in this city for the last 16 years. Travelled alone by auto for at least the last 14 years, sometimes as late as 12am, and more than a little drunk. And noone, noone, even made a suggestion. How was it different today? How did I allow my left knee to be kissed by an autowalla? One, I took it from Basheerbagh at 6:30pm. The time was most decent. The place, usually busy, on this curfew laden day was pretty deserted with truckful of policemen loitering here and there. Signal 1
The said autowalla struck up a conversation with me, and I responded. Signal 2. Then he complained about, how many petrol pumps through the city have been shut the whole day and he wanted to fill petrol at the closest one. I very politely and nicely said, “Koi baat nahin.” But as I was entering the pump, I realised I was smoking, so did the petrol pump attendents. They signalled me to stub it. I did. Within the auto, cos I thought stubbing it outside, won't be safe. It was then that the autowalla realised that I had been smoking. He was outside the auto, he put his hand on my knee. This had never happenned before. And I wasn't expecting it and before I knew, on the pretext of picking up the cigarette stub, he leaned over my knees and kissed them. After 4 of them kisses, I pushed him away, asking him, “Kya kar rahe ho?” He says, that smoking is not allowed in petrol pumps. By then, I had already given him Rs 100. It's a common practice to pay the autowalla in advance if he's going to fill petrol. So, he gets back into the auto, and starts, and I sit clutching my bag to my chest, stunned. It's been long since anybody has touched me without my wish. It was creepy! And I was so disappointed with myself for not having shoved him harder or slapped him. But the first thing I wanted to do was go home. Be safe. I considered my options. Get out of the auto, I would have, if I hadn't paid him already. To let him violate my knee and pay him 100 bucks for it, was insult to injury. That wasn't an option. I could have fought with him for money and screamed at him, but that wouldn't have hurt him. I could have slapped him, but I wantedto hurt him more than a slap. Also, violence begets violence and the petrol pump attendants were his friends and the roads were deserted. The truckful of cops were more scary to me than a lone autoguy. I thought, I thought. I wanted to hurt him. Whats the only place where it hurts human beings the most? I thought. Ego. I decided. How to hurt his ego? I wondered desperately. He kept talking to me about the curfew. The same topics as earlier. I didnot reply. Stoic face and silence. Then he started asking direct questions like if I wanted to smoke now and if he could buy me some. More stoic silence. It helped me. This few minutes of silence. For we were by then on busier roads and my anger had become more finetuned and I was replying to him in my scariest, rudest voice. Just saying, “Nahi” and “Chalo.” Then at the khairatabad junction he stopped the auto and got off and I asked him, “Kaha jaa rahe ho?” and he came towards me and said, that just a minute and then asked me again if I wanted to smoke. I said “Nahi.” again and he asked again. This time I screamed. I have this Inhumanly loud, screechy voice which sounds almost insane. It sounds like the next thing I might do is kill you with my bare hands. I said, “Nahi!” in that voice. Then I think he got a little unnerved. He got into the auto and started driving. Real slow. I could feel that he was itching to turn back. But he had stopped speaking. He asked for the time once and I said I dont know. By then we had reached Ameerpet and I still didn't have a plan. Out of habit, I asked him to take a left towards Sri Nagar Colony. I usually take that diversion cos the traffic is better that way. Today with the curfew it didn't matter, but I asked him to take the left anyway. When I say ask, I actually mean I screamed at him. He sounded really hesitant to do that. He kept saying, “But Kalyan Nagar is that way, where are you taking me?” Then I realised that he is thinking that I am going to take him to a place and get him beaten up by my friends or the police or something. I played on and kept ordering him to just shut up and go straight. 30 more seconds on that road and he stopped,saying that I am speaking so rudely to him that he doesn't want to go any further. And he offered to give me 50 bucks. I still sat in the auto. Then he insisted and thrust the note in my hand. Then I got off. I wasn't sure which way to start walking, so first I went behind the auto and then I went passed him and started walking ahead. Now, I know he thought I did that to note down the number plate. Believe me I wasn't thinking about it. I was just happy. I was smiling widely. Bennet called and while recounting the incident to him I started walking towards home. A few autos stopped, but I just couldnt get in. I wallked almost an hour to get home. My feet have blisters. And I was so upset with myself. I felt that I had internalised intellectualism and feminism to such an extent that I'd lost my primal reaction. But as the hours pass by, I think I handled the situation very well. There may have been other things I could have done, like walked off from the petrol pump itself without asking him to return the money, or screamed and cried and hoped some men would have roughed him up. But, I couldn't cos I would have been doubly upset then. First, at what happenned and second at how I had to depend on others to help me. Also, I was too angry to cry.

Strangely. 2 weeks ago, I had had a nightmare, where an auto driver I was talking to very nicely came and sat on my lap and then went ahead and tried to rape me. I dont know if he succeeded or not, for I had woken up.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Language First

Over the 5 years that I've been writing in here, all the comments my posts have received have been appreciative. (Mostly cos they were made by friends). Because of these kind comments, I now believe that my writing appeals to some people and that i may be a good observer and expressor of emotions, or even a good writer. However, before my blog happenned to me, pre 2005, when i wrote offline, in my diary, there was one person who really enjoyed my writing. Me. My words seduce me.

Till my first standard (or till I was 6) I studied under the W.B board in a bangla medium school in Calcutta. I was being tought long division and geometery at the age of 6. As a direct result of that and the long hours I had to spend in school, I hated school. I was learning english too. We were being introduced to meanings of all words english. The book, i still remember very well, was this bangla-english dictionary. And it was my favourite book. I would study english all the time. I was great at spellings. At the last exam i had in that school (we had 2 hour exams with 100 mark question papers, yes! At age 6!) i scored 99/100 in English (don't ask me my maths scores, i dunno i donkare)

The next thing i knew, i was uprooted from W.B and placed in LilavatiBai Podar High School, Santa Cruz, Bombay. I.C.S.E saved me. For the entrance interview, I remember, I sat with my father while Mrs Marker, the then principal, asked me questions in english. I only half understoon what she was asking. When she asked me, “What is your favourite subject?” I replied, “ Maths, english, history, geography, bangla...” Because I knew the meaning of the word subject but not the word favourite. She was so kind. She asked my father to set me some sums to solve, so she could check the standard I was used to. My father did. Thankfully, he left out the long division. I did the addition, subtraction, multiplication, division easliy enough. After another 10 minutes discussion between Mrs Marker and my father, I learnt that this was to be my new school.

When school started in June, I saw that my class (the 2nd std) hadn't reached division yet.

I remember not being able to understand a word of what was being said in class the first day. Hence, I dont really remember the first day at all. On day 2, i sat next to this girl, whom i heard humming a bangla song. I eagerly asked her, “Tumii Bangaali?” She nodded and she became my best friend and interpreter. Nivedita translated everything for me.

I remember, the whole class, after finishing what the teacher had set for us, would turn to the teacher and ask her if she liked what they had done. My fiercely independent 7 year-old self would baulk at this. Why did she have to like what we had done. It took me 5 days to realise what the class was asking her was, “Is it like this?”

The first year i received some after school coaching in english. And slowly i was at par with the rest of the class. Much later, when my family moved to Hyderabad, and I joined Gitanjali mid-term and yet scored much better in english than most of the class, I think came a full circle in some way.

Slowly, however, my written bangla became rusty. (My handwriting even now looks like a 6-year old's). I still read bangla and I still thought in bangla. In the mental arithmetic classes, i would do so badly, cos i knew my tables in bangla and it would take me some time to go, “7 8s are? (Shaat aashte chhaappanno) 56” [in fact some things you can never relearn, and I still multiply in bangla]. But whereas the rest of the class was still at 10 times table, i had learnt till almost 20 in Calcutta.

My parents were such bookworms, especially my mother and so i had learnt to read bangla at a very early age. My grandparents would parcel loads of bangla books for me to read after we moved to Bombay. When I would be done with them, i would start with terribly inappropriate (for 7 year olds) adult books by Shooneel Gangopadhyay and the rest. I would hide and read them in the loo (hmmmm so that's where that habit came from!) and get caught all the time. Thankfully, my parents wouldnt make a big deal of it and my mother and her mother were so appreciative of my thirst for knowledge that they would try to answer whatever questions I had. (I now return the favour and explain the more new-fangled things that they dont understand). I never asked them, “Where do babies come from?” cos I was precocious enough to know that that was a secret and i'd made it my mission to find out on my own. The 'India Today' and the dictionary helped.

Now, I think in english. And no I am not sad about losing bangla as my natural first language. I was so young when i left W.B that i never picked up any bad language. And everybody knows, your first language is the one in which you can curse the best.