Friday, March 31, 2006

All the Loves of my Life...

Eeshaan: The smartest 5 yr old ever! A fan of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Queen and Mark Knopfler, Roald Dahl and Dr Seuss. Not to mention...a smile and eyelashes to die for. My favourite cuddlee...anywhere, anytime. Talks incessantly and is known for smart-ass comments. Once his aunt called him an ingrate; he called her 'an ingredient'. Is cutest while doing subtraction. Seriously.

Mrinalini: She is earth and moisture and light. When I have my own harem, she will be chief belly-dancer. She introduced me to theatre and to openness and awareness. The only one I really want to marry.

Mum: The most beautiful woman I know. I could have used her name instead of 'mum' but she would never have forgiven me. She takes pride in setting her identity to 'Tia's mother.' Ours is the most unconditional relationship I know. I see her once a year, usually during my birthday or Christmas. She's dimpled and curved and dances divinely. She makes sure I don't aspire to be like her just because we're related. She never tries to shape me.

Dr. Nandan: My sociology professor in 11th and 12th std.....and my friend and mentor for life. I remember the first time we met. The Cambridge School had just opened and students had been called in to give statements to the press. Everything and everybody was trying so hard to look new and shiny and correct. In the middle of all this, I saw a dark, bearded man with a 'jhola' come down the stairs. He wasn't trying at all. He just was the most palpable thing in the room. He's watched me cry without sympathising, let me be flighty without holding me down, let me sit on his table and talk of love and movement and writing and parents and grandparents...all without judging or even grimacing. He's all the way on the other side of the country, but some part of me is always steered by him.

Mr Winter: My creative-writing advisor and one of the people who got me up on stage. We're out of touch now, but he's watched me change as a writer and had the decency to be shocked :)

Jivraj: He's pampered, provoked, torn, patched and pulled my stitches apart. He taught me the power of the body and of touch and taste. Things have changed drastically between us, but he has never stopped believing in my ability to overcome bitterness.

Neha: One of my oldest friends. A trained Western dancer with a totally hot body. She started calling me 'babe' in 8th grade...back when I still got embarrassed. She recognized my excellence as a flirt long before I did. Vice-captain of her house in school, prefect extraordinaire and the toast of every function for her dancing...honey, you rock.

Shakun: No you're not less important than everyone else above you! She's been my best friend since we were about 9 years old. We bonded over Mrs Bilimoria, our elocution teacher who perpetually had a thorn up her ass. A bright-eyed lass with curly hair and an athletic body which refuses to accept fat. Of our Band of Three (Neha, Shakun and myself), Shakun is the most sporty. I've cheered her on in dozens of basketball games, throwball games and runs. She captained her house in school and is a bronze-medal winner at YMCA for the 100 m sprint. Shakun and Neha have watched me hack my hair into weird shapes, fall in love, fall out of it, start smoking, become cynical and struggle with it, slit my jeans because I was bored,. They've seen my focus shift, heard me whine and giggle....they've been part of it only if i ask them to.
When I need to hang on, they hold out everything. They let me fall in complete faith that I'll clamber back up.

Geetanjali: A hug-freak to equal myself. The clearest person I know, with energy and enthusiasm that overwhelms. A hardcore romantic without any opaqueness about her. She's one of my local mothers.

Janaki: One of the most well-informed people I know. Ask her anything on anything and she'll have it. TnT glows with her presence. And she's the World Authority on Bad jokes. Another of my local mothers.

Roshni: My partner-in-evil. My first vodka-shot, my first cigarette, my first visit to a disco were all with her. We both fell for the same guy, then dumped him and fell for each other. Only veerrrryyyyyyy slight exaggeration there :) She's studying in Missourie now and I miss her. All I have to remember her by are some photos, a pink comb and a thong. Sigh...

Debolina: I am realizing that all my girlfriends are incredibly hot. This one is currently living in Dubai with her first husband (sorry dee :)). Boyish, totally naive and completely loyal...she turns 21 today.

Shoie: My first cousin. We were bitter enemies at one point of time. Now she's 13, roly-poly, a bit of a LMG-freak but a joy. Fun, well-read, delighting in the of my favourite companions.

Sayantoni: 8 days younger than me, and my aunt by distant relation :) Aurobindo Ashram was our favourite hang-out place in Kolkata. With amber skin and a wide, wide smile, a care-a-damn attitude combined with intelligence and tenderness, she's been my anchor through many a wreck.

Vernen: A sweetheart with no idea of polite distance. Vernen gets right into you and doesn't hold back himself. Unafraid of intimacy and utterly, utterly honest with beautiful people-skills....totally love him :)

Meerambika: My soulmate. Moody and a loner, we bonded over 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'. We share talk, silences, bad porn movies and constant complaints. Oh, and we both love Vernen :) :)

Samar: Very poor indeed...has only 2 golden retrievers, a jhoola and one sweater. Oh, and the appetite of T-Rex. Samar's a nature and by taste. He's my Hindustani music coach. I'm his Bodily Contact Coach. We have a very systematic relationship. We meet 2/3 times a week, i msg him 25 times a day and hit on him 3 times a week. I have never forgiven him for finishing all my chocolate eclairs from Kookie Jar. We love each others houses. Here, he plays the insufferable guest...ordering me around and eating incessantly and watching movies and rearranging my desk-top. I go to his house to meet Steffi and Lisa, the Golden Retrievers. I love the staircase in his house. Samar's my current sensual-feast.

Dad: Ok, this is a tough one. We've been fiends...sorry friends for 21 years. We've tried very hard to reform one another with absolutely no success. He once offered to get me pink, heart-shaped contact-lenses. He's nearly as stubborn as I am and we sleep in exactly the same positions. We've put up with a lot from each other....and finally, in some weird let-down of our legendary stubbornness, we've accepted one another. And believe me, that's an achievement. We might be closer to other people but I'm pretty certain no one is as accepting of us as we are of each other...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Let's talk in raindrops
Or vernacular glass-panes
Let's touch in clothes
Fragranced in many skin-scents
Let's linger in what we dreamt
Yesterday at dusk
Let's laugh like wrinkled, just-washed cotton
Patterned in ice-cream scoops
Let's taste
Like the very first story we ever heard
And the first time we felt water
Let's be chiffon
And coffee beans after smelling too many perfumes
Let's elevate to our bodies
And strip to our minds

Let's be you, and me,
And us...

Saturday, March 25, 2006


The worst kind of tiredness is when I feel I have accomplished nothing in my day. Learnt nothing, had no good communication, no purposefully completed goal...

And yet my day wasn't really a downer. I dropped E off at Janaki's house early this morning and had a peek at this new book on the making of 'Water' told in the perspective of a mother-daughter relationship. Janaki and I both relate completely and in completely different ways to mother-daughter books. I listened to Bangla rock with Dad, slept off and on and hung out with Samar all evening. We kicked, pillow-fought, watched snippets of different movies, had a conversational threesome with Mrinalini and then he gave me a classical music lesson. role for the day was pretty much that of the Listener. Unopposing and dispassionate.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Driving has started again. With Raju, our beloved chauffeur at my side. I am definitely getting better even though my main problem remains that I don't like being in control for too long. But public transport and walking isn't as much fun in Pune as I remember in The City. Here, the beauty-spots are at least a half-hour's drive away. Pune University, Fergusson College....all haunts of Desperate Weight Watchers and Beauty Seekers. The campuses are enormous and thickly overgrown. Entire roads and crossroads are named after them. But they hold themselves aloof. Perhaps, falling in love is meant only for little lanes which lead to nowhere.

I would often walk from Hazra to Theatre Road in The City. School got over at 5:30..just between dusk and darkness. It was a straight route, filled with light and colour and smell. Each step heralded a different smell. Jasmine, oranges piled into a perfect pyramid, old books, new books, musk incense....that road and I became lovers. The heavy, City air clawed at my hair and lay in my skin. My feet stomped, tripped, touched and concentrated. There is a little lane behind Excide with a paan-shop, a deliciously-smelling roll-shop and a homeless woman.

There are two 'walkways' in pune I have made friends with. One is the lane leading up to our building (see post rubble). The other is the short-cut from Samar's house to Baner road. It's over a muddy, dug-up field. Both of these are un-named and unplotted. They're short, rough and haven't been pampered. Come to think of it, most of my friends are like that.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Way of a Staccato Speaker

Imagine being caught in mid-blink. Eyelashes frozen, quivering...eyes staring in desperation.

That's how I speak. I have ideas, delighting in their form, anecdotes that may bring us closer, observations waiting to make a difference...
But I will stumble mid-sentence...mid word. My breath will break into pigeon-hole syllables. My tongue will shrivel, my mouth fills up with irregular moisture.

They gave me reasons. The divorce, the change-over from left-hand to right-hand, insecurity, nerves.
I believed all of them. And then stopped.
I went to therapy. To speech pathologists. I did exercises o regulate my breathing and relax my muscles. I suppose they helped.
I don;t like to read aloud. But I gave a book-reading for 50-odd people. I gestured, stuttered, panted through it. A teacher came up to congratulate me. I told her it had taken guts. I'm not sure I didn't mean that literally.
I sometimes twist my words so as to avoid the pitfall alphabets. 'm', 't', 'b', 'k'. I talk best when I'm drunk, when I'm sick and when I'm sleepy. I've develped alternative means of communication. Writing, gestures, touch. I've given recitations and done theatre with all my love.

My world consists of those who mimic and those who understand. Those who ask and those who avert. Those who listen with sympathy...and those who just listen...

Monday, March 13, 2006

Going on

Exams up from the 28th...a fact I'm blithely ignoring. Finally finally had a chat with Roshni. It's not the same as hearing her hilly voice going 'tarpor jaboi na nakee?' with an extra-high note on those last 2 'e's. ' It rubbed off on me about a month after knowing her.

It's been raining off and on for the past three days and there's been an energetic wind. And I have been lusting. For Calcutta, for deliberate talk and silence on fierce, grey afternoons, for breathlessness and black-and-white movies, for a graceful, curving branch of wet, white bougainvillea...

Janaki, Akash and I listed some of our fascinations yesterday.
Mine are walks, water, alliteratives and touch.
Akash's are film, books, music and children
Janaki's are highways, rivers, elephants and children.

I'd like to know yours...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Tales of Long Ago

It's been a long no-blog zone but I can explain. Shuchita had chicken-pox and unfortunately the computer is in her room. So for two weeks, I had to be contented with poking my nose round the door and sending silent, amorous messages to the computer. Ah, but such torture is not to be borne.
I had a very nice 21st birthday. It was ushered in at midnight with champagne, good Pune-iite friends and my dad reminding me that I wasn't grown-up enough to 'do things without his permission.' I've got lovely presents, including Worldspace Radio from TnT and Sumitra, 'Anna Karenina' from Samar (which he's bugging me to read so i can pass it on to him), a totally bohemian statuette of a Red Indian from Prithvi, 'Eats, Shites and Leaves' by A. Parody and a book on literary criticism from Ankush and a very curvy vase from Meerambika. From Dad and Shuchita...a giant teddy bear, a scrabble-board and dictionary (yeah), solitaire earrings (yes, my dears) and pretty skirts. So that's my hoard.
I'm planning to buy 'Collected Short Stories' of Tennessee Williams and Huxley's 'Brave New World'. 'The Old Man and His god' by Sudha Murthy sounds pretty good too.
Janaki had a serious talk with me yesterday evening. More on that, though, when it's better crystallized.
Shuchita and E are going to Calcutta on Friday for a week. I completely envy them. It's months since I touched my city. I miss it most on warm evenings when there's a breeze and everyone looks eagerly out at the moving leaves, pretending it's nothing but knowing that only that slow movement breaks the gauntness of humidity. But then there's a click and the picture has been stored. I must return to my adopted of many.