Tuesday, December 29, 2009
When nice memories become nicer and not-so-nice memories become less not-so-nice. You try and catch up with life. We meet up with old friends. You shift down a couple of gears and prefer to just cruise. Most of us are back at home, tucking in everything edible in sight, especially what goes down our gullet with considerable ease and relish. We relax our grip in our eternal arm-wrestling match against the bulge. Soft indulgent paunches show for our slackening. Smiles get wider. Hugs get warmer. Deadlines get a little less deadlier. For that one week between Christmas and New Year, it’s like the world takes one big gigantinormous collective sigh – a deep, deep breath of respite from the rat-eat-dog race we all know.
Just for one week. I hope you enjoyed yours. Happy new year, everyone.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
That was the first time Suja realized that when something really hurt, only she could feel the pain. The other people didn’t even know where the pain was, forget feel her pain. Suja quickly learnt the parts of her anatomy so that she could tell the world about her pain. “Amma, my stomach is paining.” “Amma, my leg is paining.” Stomach pain worked well when she wanted to stay home from school and leg pain worked best when she wanted appa or amma to carry her.
But when amma scolded her and when Tinky died, even Suja couldn’t tell where the pain was either. She hurt all over. Nor did she want to share the whereabouts of her pain with the world, though she did tell amma why she couldn’t eat when Tinky died. “Amma, I can’t eat amma. The top part of my thamuck is paining.” “Amma why did Tinky die, amma?” “Because God called Tinky, molle.” “But why did God call Tinky if he knew Tinky would die if he called Tinky. And Tinky was my dog.”
Amma picked her up and held her close. Amma never poked around for the place where it hurt, but she always helped make the pain somehow bearable. That night as she made her peace with God regarding Tinky issue, she asked him to take the pain away and asked him never to call Amma like he called Tinky. But the next morning the pain didn’t go away, unlike her leg aches and stomach aches. Two fat teardrops rolled off her nose as she thought about her dead dog and the way he used to smile his ridiculous smile at her. That was the first time she made her acquaintance with the kind of pain that remained. The kind of pain that the night didn’t and couldn’t steal away from your body as you slept. The kind of pain that sometimes stole your sleep. The kind of pain, that sometimes, nothing could heal.
As she bounced between the opposite sides of consciousness and unconsciousness, the pain was a disturbing droning that didn’t let Suja collect her thoughts. She was supposed to be worrying about something, so worried that she could feel it rolling about in her mouth, like a taste you tried to remember long after you’ve swallowed what it belonged to. “The baby”, she remembered and her hands struggled to feel the familiar bump. But they didn’t cooperate with her intentions and one of them had the definite weight of humanness in them. Someone was holding her hands. “Ravi…?”, she wanted to ask about the baby, ‘Was he safe? Did I kill him by being so careless?’ But she couldn’t, her tongue wouldn’t budge from its heavy stupor. Even Ravi kept moving around in the spectrum of her vision like she was looking at him through a kaleidoscope. “How did I fall? Where did I fall? Did I kill him?” At this, the pain stopped being a dull droning but turned into a very evident jagged edge that slit somewhere deep inside her being. “Is the baby coming?” she wondered and made yet another failed attempt at feeling for the bump.
Ravi’s lips moved, like he was telling her something. “Must pay attention, he’s probably telling me something about the baby”, thought Suja as she wrestled with the heaviness in her eyelids. The droning and the humming again. For the briefest second, like a revelation, clarity cleared the smoke in her disjointed senses and she caught on what Ravi’s moving lips were saying. They weren’t saying anything at all. Ravi was singing to her. Ravi always sang to her when she couldn’t sleep. And sleep was especially hard during the course of her pregnancy. That one moment of clarity was a wet towel to her feverish delirium. “The baby is fine”, and she let the pain drone on and stopped worrying about the taste in her mouth. But she would have, if she realized that it was blood that left its metallic taste in her mouth. And that Ravi was singing to keep himself from crying.
It was well into the morning when Suja gained consciousness and instinctively her hands flew to her stomach. It was empty, she knew that before she even touched the place where her beloved bump used to be. The emptiness in her was like a broken pane on which scraps of hopes and dreams clung on to with the desperation and tenacity of patches of moss. “I killed him”, a sob got stuck somewhere on its way out and her body shuddered from the impact. Strong hands of hopelessness had her pinned down to her bed and they poked and probed, jabbing her where it hurt the most. Jab, jab, poke, poke. Warm human hands pulled her away from the smothering blackness. Saving her.
A summer’s night, so many summers ago, the warm touch of humanness. “The up part of my stomach hurts” “Amma why did Tinky die?”Amma’s soft, cool hand on her cheek. Amma’s soft, cool hand that had long withered away to dust in the heat of the furnace fifteen years ago. “I killed him.” Ravi’s firm, warm hand touched her cheek; no less gentle, no less kind, no less loving. “I killed him.” “No, you did not. The accident did”, Ravi half sighed, half gasped, like his lungs couldn’t decide whether to contract or expand, exhale or inhale. His hand travelled down the bed like a blind five-legged spider, seeking for hers just by the sense of touch. They were both blind spiders, seeking each other in the darkness, groping around, reaching out for each other – through the sense of touch. Each seeking each other’s pain. Trying to find it, to compare wounds and heal somehow. Seeking the sorry comfort of empathy.
Suja, numb, traced shapes on her husband’s head as he sought respite in her warmth. Each repeated movement of her finger was like carefully flicking back the pages of time. Behind her eyes that stared fixedly into space, she replayed the events of the last evening.
Vishnu was a handsome boy and when he smiled, his eyes crinkled so small but one could still see the warmth they emanated like the rays of sunlight that stole in through the gaps in her roof on summer evenings. He had just stepped out to meet some friends. And he’d kissed her before he left for letting him take the car. “Amma you’re such a dear!” Suja heart tore. Strange how the sweetest memories develop jagged edges just by the altering of circumstance. A dirty, mean trick like stealing from a blind beggar; like a thorn in a rose. Suja was the one who answered the phone. She heard it first, but she didn’t tell anyone. She couldn’t. She had passed out, clutching at her stomach.
Ravi’s tears made a wet patch just beneath which her heart unwillingly pounded on. Her own tears slipped down silently mixing with the wound on her lip. Bitter and sweet. She wrapped her arms around Ravi and he tightened his embrace. Suja knew that pain was very personal and no amount of prodding and poking would help determine the exact point of the origin of their pain, nor would it help to feel or partake of each other’s pain. Suja also knew that this pain would not go away. But for now she would hold Ravi close and try and bear it.
(i wrote this story a long time ago when my aunt had a miscarriage. and she had been longing for a baby. she still is. somehow losing a child seemed significant then, though many good women i knew attended their children's funeral. call it a prayer, call it a requiem - this is my little something for all the mothers who have had to bury their babies.)
Friday, November 20, 2009
The diamond nestled in their fangs.
Put your hand in, the snake will bite;
Don’t put your hand in,
Your heart will bite.
The poison will course your veins, nevertheless.
Bite the wound, suck the poison and spit it out.
But there’s no way,
To eject the poison
Of a dream gone to rust in your blood.
There’s no way
To get the dream out of your blood.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
“I’m sorry, but do I know you?”
“Yeah, we spoke. Remember?”
“Did we? I don’t seem to recall.”
“Well I’m not surprised. I’ve changed much since we last talked. So how have you been?”
“Well, what if I have changed as well and I’m not entirely too kicked about talking to you?”
“Oh. In that case, I’m sorry. But it is a pity cos I have changed for the better since we talked.”
“Oh really? And who is to vouch for that, may I ask?”
“Well, for one thing you would remember me the next time we spoke”
“(shudder) I certainly hope I won’t.”
“But that is just being plain unfair.”
“No it isn’t. It’s resilience. I’ve learnt to fight back.”
“Intriguing. And what is this that you have learnt to fight back against?”
“Disappointments. Angst. Agony. Hurt. None of them can affect you if you don’t remember.”
“So you’re telling me that you don’t remember anything at all?”
“No. I mean, yes, I’m telling you that I can remember nothing at all.”
“But that’s just ridiculous. What about happiness, joy, childbirths? You don’t remember those either?”
“But how can you possibly do that. How can you leave those behind?”
“Oh I can.”
“And love? What about love?”
“Love? (Laughter too shrill to be icy) Love is just foolishness. Anyone can afford to leave foolishness behind.”
“Ok forget love like romance, flowers and sex. But what about love like romance, flowers and sex?”
“Hmmm? What about it? Those are just tangled weeds and smoke. What they do hold against the cold sweetness of indifference?”
“What about longing?”
“That? Do you know how easy it is to jam every emotion in prescription pill bottles? Their caps are so damn tight, to keep them child proof.”
“Somehow, the sight of pill bottles make me feel cold and clammy inside.”
“You’ve got too much emotion going on with you. One day you’ll realize that they’re nothing but deadweight. And you’ll abandon them like old friends.”
“Your analogies are disturbing.”
“There you go again. Are you going to be this dramatic through out?”
“And these pill bottles, what do you do with them?”
“Oh I bury them. Oh I know that they poison my well water. But it’s certainly better having my blood poisoned and turned to lead by having their contents inside me.”
“Their contents being?”
“Oh do you ever let off asking questions?”
“You have dirt under your fingernails.”
“I know. That’s my talisman. To remind me that it never does to be weak.”
“Will you give me some?”
“That is just plain disgusting. Why?”
“Because that’s all I can claim of what we used to have.”
“You have nothing to claim. There never was. There never will be.”
“But that’s a lie. You know it is.”
“My dear, I’m sorry but I didn’t get your name.”
“It’s George, Mrs. Alberta George.”
“Mister George, I’m terribly sorry. But if you’re trying to stir up some kind of emotional past, you are wasting your time. Because what was left in me is dissolving right now in the fathoms of my well and sticking to the tendrils of my dahlias’ roots.”
“But how did it get to be this way? How can you be so remote, so unfeeling, so unaffected? It’s inhuman.”
“My dear, did I not mention prescription bottles? They hold little pellets of resistance. Resistance against disease, against infection. Defense. And keeping you out is no more inhuman than resisting those viruses that cannot wait to invade my body and make me awfully sick. It’s no different from keeping a cold away.”
He left in a hurry. But not a moment too soon. One second more and I’d have reached out to keep his face from falling into a million pieces. But he’ll be over it soon enough. Even if I never will.”
(I was wondering how it'd be if there was some kind of emotional suppressant. And thus this post. thanks to a certain pink person for showing me how interesting conversations can be)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Save it for a rainy day
Even the worst days have something to cherish about them. Something good. A perfect sunset, an old, old friend calls after ages, a sudden shower of rain which awakens the dormant senses of the earth and cleanses you within and without. Somewhere, somehow the world is never bereft of beauty at any point of our existence. Yesterday had to be one of the worst days I’ve had in my 26 years. As most 26-year-really-feeling-olds are, I’m plagued by the insecurities of existence – career, marriage, children, where is this going, will I-won’t I, have i-haven’t I, will we-won’t we, I’m sick of this but am I brave enough to let go this, maybe-maybe not, I’m running out of time, if I’m not behind the wheel, who is! And yesterday all these questions decided to form a psycho-tsunami inside me. And everything I knew, invested dreams in, wanted, hoped for teetered on the edge of a precipice of infinite fathoms. I was weighted down by the overpowering hand of hopelessness and GOD IN HEAVEN I wanted to curl up something, anything and smoke it for the desperate life of me. (Ha ha, bet you thought I wanted to curl up and die) But smoking is not an option, thanks to my severe allergies. To make things infinitely worse I had a constellation of pimples taking shape on my forehead. Feeling low and feeling ugly is by far an unhealthier combination than Mentos and Coca Cola.
Salvation comes pink and beautiful in the form of someone who I have grown very fond of in the recent future. My own stranger buddy tells me that the director of a film I had reviewed in the previous post has commented. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
From there my day took off. How often do you get a director taking the time to tell you thanks! It was overwhelming. It was brilliant. It was heady. My own falling star. God couldn’t have engineered yesterday any better. Well it could have, but let’s not pee on my parade shall we. So it’s eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and more eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee and still more eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Happieeeeeeeeness!
That felt good. And so I’m pocketing this little bit of starlight, because I want to remember good things can happen even in the worst of times.
For love may come
And tap you on the shoulder one starless night
Just in case you feel that you wanna hold her
You’ll find a pocketful of starlight
Some of us call it prayer. Some of us call it optimism. Some of us call it a cigarette. But there’s something that takes us from stage one to stage two. Whatever be the catharsis crutch, it’ll get us by. Our own pocketful of starlight.
For when your troubles start multiplyin,
An' they just might!
It’s easy to forget them without tryin,
With just a pocketful of starlight!
Sooner or later life’s going to spit on my face again. Something’s going to make me cry. But like the rest of the world, I have to keep pace. To stop thinking that things aren’t fair and make the best of it. Like someone once said, you can’t recreate what just might have been. And until this very moment I was kicking my own ass for a lot of things – to count them would be a litany of absolute silliness. What I need now is to teach myself to love with arms wide open. To thank with joined hands. To smile with an open heart. And to embrace life tight, like it’s the one gift I’ve hankered for all my damn, well, life! To remember that I’d rather be hurt than live in the cold preservative comfort of complacence.
So this is my way of keeping this fistful of starlight so that I might remember that there’s always some reason to go on. That I’ll get to the end of the rainbow yet and I will find my pot of gold.
Enjoy this song at:
I promise you, it’ll be worth your time.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Right from the opening of the film, you sort of warm up to the whole "feel" of the film. A railway station café, where people share tables if nothing else. A reststop of brief acquaintances, forgotten sooner than the aftertaste of the coffee and masaladosa fades. But nevertheless a backdrop to countless sleights of circumstance.
Padmakumar’s NOSTALGIA, the first of the ten short films, makes everyone think of their NRI relatives with a sardonic smile. Dileep slips in with ease into the role of the arrogant, full-of-himself, constantly dissatisfied, I’m-the-centre-of-the-world NRI in this film which is a reflection of our own dissatisfaction with ourselves.
Suresh Gopi redeems himself from the “Just remember that” and his infamous thickly accented English which make the new-gen snobby Malayalee (including yours truly) want to relinquish all associations with him in LALITHAMHIRANMAYAM. Though Jyotirmai and the pretty girl with straight hair (Dhanya Mary George) own the film, he is at least a decent, if not, excellent prop to the story directed by Shaji Kailas who surprisingly has delivered a rather sensitive rendering of an extramarital affair.
ISLAND EXPRESS by SHANKAR RAMAKRISHNAN to me was sort of the catastrophe it was about. Half way through the movie I was wondering why I couldn’t understand anything – it was in Malayalam, and yet it felt as alien as whatever language they speak in Czechoslovakia. Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe it. Those who did understand it enjoyed it enough. So you have my sincerest “All the best”.
OFFSEASON by Shyama Prasad left me with no clue whether I liked it or not. The visuals were gorgeous, picture-postcard-perfect and Suraj Venjaramood was funny enough. But God, I was disappointed especially since I’ve always associated Shyama Prasad with “the magic touch”. No magic in this one.
In AVIRAMAM Siddique’s film with Shweta Menon ripped me apart. I mean it was an ordinary enough theme. But the characters lived, breathed and bled. So convincing that you reached out to the story and you begin to wonder where did you take that wrong turn that lead to this jaded existence. Directed by B. Unnikrishnan.
Mamooty..aww I love this guy. He’s just so incredibly handsome that it’s not funny. In the Lal Jose directed PURAMKAZCHAKAL, he brings out with brilliance the one hundred and a million reasons why a random person could be a co-passenger from hell. Very sensitive. Very beautiful.
Saleemkumar can be as ridiculous as he can break your heart. The Anwar Rasheed directed BRIDGE was a story of small, seemingly insignificant losses and how lives slip through the cracks in the pavement of life. Whether it’s an old mother who has outlived her purpose or a little kitten who is yet to fill its space in a little boy’s life.
Anjali Menon’s film HAPPY JOURNEY with its subtle humour and excellent characters is a brief release from the other poignant-heavy films. It leaves you refreshed and of course, it comes with its fair share of insight, which primarily is to cherish your life like it was the last day on earth. Revathi’s film MAKAL though it was a tried and tried even more theme on child prostitution and predictably lots of tears, it made me spare a thought for the plight of those countless people who go unaccounted for. You’re left with a strong feeling of discomfort for having an easier and better life, which you take for granted nevertheless. Finally, the movie that really KICKED ASS was this movie called MRITYUNJAYAM by Uday Ananthan. It’s spooked me out so much that I was so convinced that my house was haunted that night, that I was making 3am resolutions to give my family priest a call.
On the whole it’s a gorgeous movie.
Please go watch it and give our dear film industry reason to experiment for the better and do more films like Kerala Café.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Ram was ordinary in every sense of the word. He had to work to satisfy the demands of this stomach. He bled if you pierced his skin. His eyes watered if smoke or dust entered them and his legs ran if and ever his brain urged him to. But his heart was weak. Not as in the muscular organ that pumped life into you, but in the context of faith and conviction. Though the "mill" that he was a "run" of, churned out many like him into the world, he believed he was special. He believed that he was extraordinarily stupid, extraordinarily ungifted, extraordinarily common and above all extraordinarily detested. But he was just ordinary, painfully ordinary; and no one has strong emotions about ordinary, most of all, detest. Ram was so ordinary that no one noticed him, a fly on the wall. Actually, not even a fly on the wall, given today's sterile conditions that any winged creature causes such confusion and commotion as a dragon's visit would. Women would rather yawn than speak to him. And men, well, men would rather go to the toilet. It isn't a sin to be ordinary, but it's a sin to stick to its heels like a piece of shit that sticks to the underneath of your shoes.
Ram let the coils of self-pity fall around him and it was in its suffocating embrace that he slept, dreaming his grey dreams. Everyday, he would read the papers and remember nothing about the 12-year old who got raped and killed or Iraq or the farmer suicides after he was done with his morning coffee. He would do morning puja without actually making contact with God. His thoughts were black spaces where beetles of jadedness bumped about blindly against the glassy surface of his eyes, like the bird that entered Tom's ear in those Tom and Jerry cartoons. Words of devotion bereft of sentiment fell like dung before the image of love. One day the coil of self-pity got a little too tight around his neck and as suffocation always does, it blocked out his ears. His ears were blocked to the voice of God. They found his body on the railway tracks the next day.
I didn’t have to do it, you know. But I did it anyway. Why? Cause I didn't want to struggle. I was the lazy butterfly whose freedom was the result of the effort of an external source. I didn't fight my way out of my protective larva skin; someone assisted my way out- made it easier. But maybe if they hadn't I would have appreciated my freedom better. Maybe I would have given my life a second chance- maybe struggle would have saved me. But my chances have gone b y- no more second chances.
The curse of death is binding and complete. The scorch of a soul's torment isn't something the flesh would understand. Endless nights of insomnia and nightmares you can't wake from, reaching out to you with gnarled, hairy fingers; decomposition within inches of your face. But this isn't half as bad as being the fetid smell amongst the living. I see their lips twist in disgust, their only acknowledgement to my presence. The fly on the wall degraded to a bad smell. But at least they acknowledge the smell. The bitterness of a bad death isn't something expressible in quantitative terms. It would make a body crack, coming out like worms, eating you inside out and outside in. but a soul, what does it do to a soul of uncertain material? It does what you do to a stubborn bag of potato chips that just won’t open. It wrings it, it punches holes, it pulls it, it tears it, it scratches; only, the soul never rips open- the struggle continues. And the word " suicide" from living lips makes you feel the wheels of the train, mashing your body, reducing you to pulp- your last scream, "Oh God!!", knowing that not even He is listening anymore. Knowing that you cut the tie that binds. Knowing that you cursed yourself- took out your tongue and put worms in its place. Took out my heart and put filth there. Took out my God and placed decay in His place. To hear " suicide" from living lips switches on a hundred and one bright lights blinding your eyes - hundred and one bright lights of a hundred and one oncoming trains. "Move out!" "Run!" "Get off the tracks." You scream, till you think your lungs will burst, and blood will spurt out from your mouth. But neither happens, because you're dead, remember!?
The agonies of life are certainly difficult. But I'll tell you, living the agony of your death is, by far, worse.
(This is a really old story, written like 4 or 5 years ago. I seem to running out of stuff to write. Till then, recycle i will)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
The day comes with a deadline. Whether you like it or not, 12 am is bound to happen and it’s the next day, you poor sucker in denial. And you’ve wasted another day of your life – a day you’ll never get back. A deadline missed, with its share of opportunities.
There are deadlines to live irresponsibly. You’re not going to be young forever. Deadlines to cherish the people you love. Sooner or later the magic of the relationship is going to run dry. Once your wife dies you can’t give her flowers any more. Flowers on her tombstone honestly does nothing. You can’t tuck your son in bed forever, he’s going to find someone else to do that sooner than later. And your husband, take your clothes off for him as often as you can; you’re not going to be hot forever. Once you have children, you can’t pursue your dreams like a maniac, unless you’re one of those rare individuals for whom guilt works just as well as adrenaline.
There are deadlines for having all the chocolate in the world. Once you get diabetes or worse, you die, you can’t eat too much chocolate. There are deadlines to do something with your life, because opportunity, like you remember, has a worse case of the diva syndrome than a hundred Aishwariya Rai Bachchans put together. There are deadlines for saying what you want about the Aishwariya Rai Bachchans of the world, ‘cos someday you’re going to be recognized and Aishwariya Rai Bachchan will slap a pretty figure (not the vital stats kind) on you in damages for libel and all that. And just because you’re famous doesn’t necessarily mean you are rich, and then you have a big problem at hand. In all probability the court’ll have its own deadline. And from what I have heard, you don’t want to mess with any court deadline unless you want to meet an unexpected shirt-on-your-back deadline!
So basically there are deadlines for everything under the sun. The sun has a deadline, if you can call a billion, zillion, trillion years a deadline. But I’m sure a fly would be like, “yeah right, YOU can panic over retiring at 30 (ask ME about my 30-day existence)” Happiness has a deadline. The happiness-deadlines are sort of like the voucher coupons. They’re only redeemable till a certain date. After that they sort of lapse and they’re worth nothing. Know how one minute you’re the happiest person on earth and you think ‘Oh, but look, I’m baking a cake, I’ll be happy half an hour later” and exactly 29 seconds later, you, if you are a woman, you feel PMS slowly cast a shadow on your day of sunshine. Or someone calls you and tells you that you were looking old yesterday and good-intentionally asks after your health. If you are a guy, you wouldn’t have been baking a cake in the first place and anyways your happiness depends on how much beer you have left in the fridge, so not relevant.
So to state the obvious, it’s up to us to make the most of these deadlines (duh!) it’s what we do between the time the countdown starts it counter-clockwise motion and deadline that matters. Our lives will not be counted by the number of deadlines. It’d be a sad sucker who defined his/her life by the number of would-have-beens, dead relations and lost chances, basically missed deadlines. Life will always be what we’ve done between those deadlines. So run baby, run!
(I've just turned 26, I guess I'm really paranoid about running out of time, and thus these posts)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
If I’ll be all the things I wanted to be or if I’d have made a difference in this world. I’ll never have a chance to learn to play Stairway to Heaven or Fix You or even Dido’s No Angel, perfectly on the guitar. I’ll never fail miserably in another game of bluff again or learn to let go of the handle bars while riding a bicycle. I wish I had watched Pulp Fiction when I had the chance, for now I never will. I will never get to eat chocolate again, chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, chocolate fudge, Twix, Dairy Milk, Snickers, all melted and gooey. I have no idea when I would have made that trip to Prince Edward Island with my best friend like we always planned we would. Don’t know if I’d have paid my telephone bill tomorrow like I was intending to.
I won’t smell the scent of the first rain ever again or lick my fingers clean after a good, good Onamsadhya. I would never know if one day my boss did the whole world a favour and died. I’m never going to find out what the end of the year had in store for me nor the next year or the year after that. Or if my mother would change her mind and talk to me again. I would never know if I’d eventually have gathered the guts to tell Pavan that he’s a mindfucked piece of scum. I’ll never yell, fight and then patch up with my mum or hear her sing her hymns through her nose. I’ll never see my love again. Not laugh at his jokes again. Not know if he’ll lose his paunch like he’s always promising to. I’ll never know what he planned to get me for my birthday or whether he’d have sent me flowers next week, next month or next year. When he would have taken me dancing again or if we’d ever have made love under the stars. i'll never know if I'd get to be a part of a U2 concert. I’ll never learn French, Spanish, German or see the rain, the first moon or sunflowers again. have no idea if my brother or I would be the first to cut our hair short. If I’d ever make the most perfect batch of cookies. Not that most of these things are necessarily what mattered the most to me. But it just feels weird to know that I’ll never know anything anymore.
It isn’t your entire life that flashes before your eyes, when you’re about to die. What actually flashes before your eyes are all those things that’ll you’ll never know.
Funny, I never realized there was so much to live for.”
Friday, October 16, 2009
I can bitch, I can scream, throwing the row of my life
See this girl, throw a scene, dig in the drama queen
Friday night and I’m feeling low
And I’ve got nowhere to go
Peeved and bloody sick, I’m itching for a fight
You come and act like you’re king
Anybody should have to be out of their mind
To be here when my temper’s high
With a lot of hooha and an attitude from hell
I’m in the mood for a song-n-dance
You’re so in for it now...
I am the drama queen, hardly sweet, all of 26
Drama queen, feel the rage of my tan-ta-rum
I can bitch, I can scream, throwing the row of my life
See this girl, throw a scene, dig in the drama queen
Time for tears, I turn them on
Gonna blow this, way out of proportion
You won’t know what hit you, oh not a clue
I’m in the mood for a song-n-dance
You’re so in for it now...
I am the drama queen, hardly sweet, all of 26
Drama queen, feel the rage of my tan-ta-rum –oh yeah
I can bitch, I can scream, throwing the row of my life
See this girl, throw a scene, dig in the drama queen
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
To every Malayalee, regardless of caste or religion, the festival of Onam is a time of homecoming – a time of unequalled plenty. A time of golden-hued memories and magical wonder, when a shared culture eclipses disparity of every kind. A time when the earth blooms in the hundred shades of happiness – awaiting the visit of her favourite king.
A time when Kerala is at her vibrant best. When colour takes on its free will and scatters itself unrestrained across the countryside. A wisp of wind ruffles the golden fields – banners of yore, signaling a joyous welcome
Falling in the Malayalam month of Chingam, Onam marks the annual homecoming of the mythical King Mahabali. A king whose reign saw no unhappiness, poverty or discord of any kind. A king so loved by his subjects for his legendary kindness that it made the gods jealous. King Mahabali’s was egoistic as much as he was generous and Lord Vishnu in the guise of Vamana the Brahmin dwarf, requested three paces of land - knowing that the good king would never turn down his request. Mahabali assessed the magnitude of the request according to the Dwarf’s stature and granted the seemingly strange request instantly. Vamana’s first step covered the entire expanse of the celestial world. His second step covered the length and breadth of the world of demons. Mahabali offered his head for the third step so that Vamana might spare the earth – the ultimate sacrifice the king made for his people. Vamana placed his foot on Mahabali’s head and pushed him down into the netherworld. However, before Vamana sent Mahabali into exile he granted him one boon. Mahabali requested that he be allowed to visit his people once a year. And thus like the legend goes, Mahabeli visits his people and his arrival is heralded by the full bloom of spring.
As the harvest festival, everything about Onam is highlighted in abundance and prosperity. The streets turn into teeming bazaars with shoppers trying to bag the best bargains. Shopping is an integral part of this ten-day long festival which begins with Atham and culminates on Thiru Onam. It is believed that King Mahabeli visits his kingdom on Thriuonam and his people dressed in their new Onakodi, a statement of their well being, waits for his arrival with much anticipation.
The Onam celebrations at Thrikkakara deserve special mention, for here is believed to be the capital of King Mahabali’s kingdom. A temple with a deity of Thrikkakara Appan or Vamanamurthy, the only one of its kind in Kerala celebrates the Athachamyam in a big way. This prologue to the Onam celebrations is marked by various folk art performances like Theyyam, Panchavadadyam, Chendamelam, Pambamelam, Karakattam, Mayilattom, Ammankudam, Aattakaavadi, Pulikalliwhich – providing a visual extravaganza for the festival revelers. The Pookalams or flower carpets in their riot of colors heighten this feast for the senses.
Onam carries spring in its trail and the winds, fondly called Onakatu, carry peals of delighted laughter far and wide. In this season of harvest, Kerala is at her beautiful best. Flowers bloom in uninhibited flamboyance and fields glisten in their ripeness. Just like most festivals, colour is an integral part of Onam and the Pookalam testifies to this. Intricately designed and carefully created, these flower carpets adorn every threshold starting from Atham, inviting the good king into their homes. The womenfolk of the household, dressed in the traditional kasavu settu mundu dance the traditional Thiruvathira, also known as Kaikottikalli around the Pookalam. The Thiruvathira is also danced around a lit brass lamp - its illumined polished surface paling in comparison with the dancers’ glowing faces.
The climax to the onam celebrations is the Onasadhya, the Thiruonam feast. Rice served on a plantain leaf with numerous vegetarian delights washed down with the epicurean combination of Papadom, pazham and paysam.
Perhaps the most spectacular programme on the Onam itinerary is the Vallomkalli. It’s human spirit in its savage best. Sheer, unrestrained human energy in mesmerizing unison, a lilting chant and the lusty bellow of a hundred oars cleave the waters of an unrelenting river – the true essence of trance. The snake boat races have held many a spectator in its hypnotic sway with the lyrical smoothness of the Vanchipattu completing the spell. The Nehru trophy Boat Race, which is the biggest team sport event in the world held on the Punnamada Backwaters of Alappuzha district, is probably the best place to catch the action first hand.
Pullikalli is yet another popular Onakalli , games that fill the festivities with more colour. Dancers with bodies painted like tigers dance to the beat of a drum animating the celebrations with the hues of excitement and charming eccentricity. Kummatikalli, performed by masked dancers adorned in leaves and grass enacting various scenes from the mythical texts is another folk art that lends brilliance and variety to the vibrant spectacle that is Onam.
(I wrote this piece long ago as an assignment at work. But since it didn't get accepted, I didn't see why I couldn't use it here!)
Friday, June 26, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
“Was it?” “Was it not?” “It was.” “It wasn’t.”
Nevertheless what was written in the papers, stamped in the medical records in sterile ink and remained “maintained” was “Natural Causes”. That what lay in the casket had died a natural death. What is an unnatural cause? Would its unnaturalness make the loss any less natural? Make the pain any less unbearable? Make the vacuum any less unempty? So in what way was it unnatural? Everything about it seemed natural enough. That it’s never coming back makes it damning natural enough. Rock has been laid to rest, tempestuous as its passage may or may not have been.
Today we mourn. The glory days of rock and roll have died into an unglorious faded sunset. Like every other, this era as well, yellowed, croaked and grew senile and stumbled at its own curtain call. Leaving behind telltale trails of cocaine, angst, cigarette smoke, trashed hotel rooms, bleeding hearts, platinum records that taste of sweat and weed, and less of tinny technology, alcohol and a very empty altar. As the sunset cracks and withers, a resounding echo of a scorching guitar lick stretches and pulls like a tight cassette into a sad wail.
Today we mourn for a time when there was only good music and bad music. When rockers wore leather and leather did not wear them. When rock and roll was rock and roll, and not Britney Spears’ lupine rendition of the song. When men wearing silvery glittery 6 inch high platform heels made a louder and clearer and more important statement than the aforementioned silvery glittery 6 inch high platform heels. When reviews reviewed music and not wardrobe. When artists learned to play their instruments first and then went on to make records instead of the other way round. And the sanctity of music, and not to mention music television was preserved from madcap heiresses. When original talent didn’t have to table dance for a living. Long before rehab became a musical career reststop.
When organized religion was beginning to go out of style, they had the audacity to play god. Peddling arrogance long before it became affordable or perhaps, even legitimate goods. So how did we fail to notice our gods being turned into “genres”? Of course, Bono still exercises enough clout to make the Antichrist movement passé. There’s no denying that Antibono-ism finds more appeal, making the black church look a little grey in comparison. Some people find it easier to reconcile with the concept of god than the concept of BONO! Hell, a lot of people today BELIEVE that God is Bono’s son or rather that the Sons of God are Elijah Bob Patricus Guggi Q and John Abraham. (those would be Bono’s sons, if you haven’t caught on, yet!)
They are still around. Veteran Rockers. Lame boys who couldn’t quite catch up with the Piper and got left behind on the wrong side of the mountain. They sobered up from an intoxicating dream, and what an awful hangover for music it is, I must say. Let’s just say that the likes of Steve Tyler, Paul Hewson, William Axl Rose, James Hetfield, Jimmy Page, Slash, Keith Richards, Ozzy Osborne, Roger Waters, Robert Plant, Joe Elliot and I’ve run out of my personal favourites, have failed to live up to their own legacy of greatness. So we learn to make do with the alternative to rock, which quite unimaginatively, of course, is called alternative rock!
Therefore, today we mourn the faithful departed souls of rockers whose bodies are yet to follow.
Friday, March 6, 2009
One by one he took off his buttons - little circles of bravery, that clung by their teeth to the buttonholes of composure, covering the wrinkled chest that blanketed his crumpled heart. He put a finger to his lip, as if trying to pry something from the musty depths of his brain. He slowly opened his mouth and with the deftness of a magician dragging a bunny out of a hat, pulled out his dentures. Bereft of them, his stiff upper lip drooped with the unfathomable weight of a pout. Beneath his chin, his wattle wagged an admonishing finger.
He took a moment off to indulge in a contemplative moment, a slow inhale followed by a defeated exhale. He watched his paunch furl back into itself under his dirty sweat-yellowed vest in the mirror. His belt unbuckled with the rattle of an old man’s bones and his zipper parted with an old man’s sigh. With a whisper of reprehension, his trousers slipped down to the wooden floor. Exposing varicose veins that snaked down his calves in an indigo and green swamp. His porridgey thighs shuddered like wet birds on the gnarled post of his arthritic knees.
Slowly he bent forward and pulled his underpants down to his knees, and with the precarious, unbalanced movements of a conscious three year old, he hoisted a knee and rolled it off, one leg at a time. In the mirror, he observed his vest’s vain attempts at preserving the vestiges of inhibition as it protectively hung around mid-thigh. As if his shame was still confined to an organ that could be tucked away from sight under a band of elastic. Was that an arthritic wobble or did his knees tremble a bit?
No time to waste. No time to waste. He was a man with a purpose. With the ceremony of a dancer, he took a step back and took off his shoes. While his eyes engaged his reflection’s in a challenge, he took his socks off. Brown and white stripes, he noted. Surprising, how effective a catharsis the distraction of details we otherwise overlook, can be. Tiny brown rivulets on his heels ran up to meet the indigo-green swamp and toenails that had been picked to bits like an afterthought, held on to tufts of fuzz. With the deliberate, almost demented slowness of someone trying to remember a phone number, he took his vest off.
In the mirror stood a shriveled fossil of his life. His sad little manhood sulked under the fold of his stomach. If you could call it a stomach, this bag that slouched like a truant. How it had bloomed not so long ago under the influence of prosperity and beer. There was the scar from that long ago accident, now just another fold in his skin. Lines that ran into paragraphs and paragraphs that ran into chapters and chapters that ran into stories of bitterness traversed his body. He was done with bearing the burden of their pent up sorrows; there was too much of it anyway.Today, he decided, would be the day he told the world his story. He would reveal their wounds, he would strip away the protective covering of ego and pride. Where there is injury, there would be blood; where there is sadness, tears. Today he, Pain, would go out naked into the world for all to see, and they, would see themselves.
He let himself out. Taking the stairs one at a 'old-man’s-minute' time. The railing of the banister rubbed against his skin, burning it a little, as he made his old-man’s-way down. The little girl next door, met him on the landing, forgot her manners and let out an unabashed sniffle. The sweeper with the straight line for a mouth placed a hand on her heart like it suddenly gave a flutter. By the time she could tell pain from disgust, her eyes swam with the image of his silhouette against the open doorway and the skeletons of a hundred lost dreams. Mr. Verma’s self-assured, popular daughter with her hair as twisted as the lie she was, who revealed skin to cover her soul, walked up to him with raccoon eyes and clawed her vein with her nails, confessing I Want To Die-I’m Insecure-I’m Afraid. He walked on, this stupid girl with her precious 16 years of gestating inhibition, she was barely enough. Them who told their little boys that only little girls cried, those who gritted away their urge to break down, those who prided themselves on being brave, people who could shrug away someone else sadness, those who were unaffected by someone else pain, the ones who turned the other way – they were the ones he wanted.
Everyone on the street forgot to be appalled the shamelessness of pain – of it being displayed so plainly. So public. They saw too much of themselves in his repulsiveness and they hurt too much. They had to cry. Babies sniffed silently from wounds too secret, with a sadness only innocence knows. Little girls wiped away tears of anger, rage, rejection and for not being fair, smart or good at studies and for love. Artists howled from the angst in their hearts or for the lack of it. Little boys howled with the rage of being less than their brothers, for the science project ideas their best friends stole, for not being on the football, team, for having the most unfair parents in the world, for being the kid with divorced parents and for love. Wives wept for their lost chances, for their lost loves, for their husbands’ infidelities, retorts, criticisms and passivity, for not ever being good enough and for love. Mothers wept for their sons who grew up too quickly, for their daughters who grew breasts too soon, for not being appreciated, for their girlish figures lost to motherhood, for there always being more housework left to do and for love. Husbands sobbed for their impotent careers, for their wives’ constant nagging and belittling, for their denied promotions, for the words they never said, for their failures and for love. Hearts fell onto the dusty pavements with a papery scrunch; hearts creaked with old aches; occasionally you could even hear the sound of a heart being ripped apart. Bitterness had very sharp teeth. Pedestrians unable to take a step forward from their ache, counted their sorrow litanies on the bumps of his hunched spine as he walked ahead and away from them. Drivers stopped their vehicles to sob into their hands. Recent divorcees and the recently single didn’t seek refuge in the office bathroom, but let their tears flow on to their keyboards, their decaf and their notepads. Old men held on to their walking sticks, blinded by their tears and old women beat their breasts. And this time, he looked the other way and hobbled on impassively with his one-man funeral procession for their dead sense of whatever-it-took-not-to-cry.
The skies peered down to see what the commotion was about and what a mistake that was. On seeing him bent and intent on his shriveled purpose, the clouds became heavy with sadness. The sun slipped away to cry in secret. Desolation painted the sky grey. Rain fell and mascara ran. Shame and unshame smudged together like modern art, till you couldn't tell one from the other. Everyone on the streets waded in the grey tears of the sky while those inside switched on all the lights to keep the grey from seeping into their eyelids and balling up into a fist inside their throats. But it did anyway. And no amount of water could help them swallow it down.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I have no bloody clue why they’ve got to call it a brief if they at-gunpoint-undernocircumstances-nonnegotiable have to make it so long. And the way that small scroll bar defies gravity…painful! Makes you want to ask ‘what’s your bloody point?’ Cause I’m galaxies away from THE POINT! So help me.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
So there’s all this lovely memory going on. Phones that store up to 1000 phone numbers. (Yay! Now if there only was enough memory to hammer into a certain someone’s stupid brain to call me more often!) Memory to store photos of occasions we forgot to go for. Memory to store songs we forgot we had. Songs belonging to a time we’d rather forget. Memory to save movies we don’t have the time to watch. Memory to store games we’ve haven’t bothered to play. Memory to make up for the things we’ll not have in the future. Memory to hold onto things we’re scared to let go of and memory to erase with a Shift+Delete things we rather not remember.
It’s funny. The more memory we have the more amnesiac we seem to get. I forget names, faces, numbers, people, incidents and moments, and all I’m left with is a deep gash of loss. The time when I actually dialed numbers from memory – that misplaced, overrated sense of glamour when you dialed real quick beepbeepboopboopbeepboopbeep as opposed to my current, rather retarded way of dialing beeeeep…beeeeep..boooop….boop…beeeep…booooop…beep (“pleeeese check the number you have dialed”. “@$&^#*^”); the time when we recognized voices and squealed “Hey!” every time even if we spoke an hour ago or spent the entire day together at college – our brains did a lot more remembering. And it was things worth remembering. Where do I save that kind of memory. Apparently my head’s not quite reliable any more cause I can’t even remember how this post was supposed to end
Monday, January 12, 2009
People, you HAVE to watch Slumdog Millionaire. It is one of the most awesomest movies made. Like seriously fantastic. The music, the acting, the production..wow! The child actors are natural, natural, natural.I'm totally in love with the little Jamaal. The music is really good. A.R. Rahman totally deserves the golden globe.(not that it would matter THAAAT much if i didn't think so) Check them out on http://www.dilshil.com/music/indian/slumdog-millionaire/index.shtml especially Ringa Ringa.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
So I was more ranting and less raving about the strange inhabitants of TV’s unsquare universe.(don't ask!) This is about one of those angels of mercy that saves this 'universe' from utter Dannie damnation. Do check out safetriphome.com. Each song on the album features a short film from across the world. And this song “let’s do the things we normally do” features none other than our capital of dreams, Mumbai. And it’s none other than that Goswami-babe who played Debbie in Rock On who stars or rather who does supreme justice to the song, the script and the city.
Now, Shahana Goswami gives the Bollywood version of sexy a really long, uphill run for its money - starlets, sad acting, Mallika’s whatever she did before she discovered comedy, item numbers et al. She has significantly raised the bar of a Bollywood-newcomer status from 56 lip locks; made performance a lot more than parting legs and gyrating around a pole or a guy or his pole and done enough to prevent anyone from asking ‘what has she ever done?’. For me, she was the hero of Rock On. Her character carried the soul of the movie with the most panache. Don’t get me wrong. Darling drummer boy Purab, Arjun Rampal’s silly moustache and long haired wasting away demigod, Farhan’s voice, take-me-home-NOW-rocker-man looks, nicely veined and muscled biceps (though he isn’t bollywood’s hottest guitar-wielding man. Saif is. The way Saif holds his guitar, you want to be the guitar. Sigh!) all worked for me. I came out of the theatre with the glow and shine of someone’s who has heard the messiah at the mountain and all. Though Luke Kenny was a damp squib. He was good and all for a non-Luke Kenny person. This was Luke Kenny man. He’s the First Citizen of Rock in this democracy. He knew his Metallica and Aerosmith before Unforgiven was followed by Hit Me Baby One More Time on many a blasphemous pink iPOD. So going and dying and all…was pffft! or maybe it was seeing someone so self-assured play someone so insecure( which he actually deserves credit for). Anyways, that Goswami chick rocked. Like seriously rocked. That was the movie’s message. “do anything less than what you’re made to do, and you’ll rot inside you’re living, breathing skin.”
In short, not your usual forgettable or worse, why-the-#%$^%^%#-hell-is-she-everywhere actress. So do check out the site and the short films. Believe me, it’ll be the best thing you gave your quickly depleting attention to in a long, long, longerthanyou’verealized time.
and watch the rest of the short films. let me know what you thought of them. especially Grafton street and Northern sky and Don't believe in love and....you get the drift, right!
and watch the rest of the short films. let me know what you thought of them. especially Grafton street and Northern sky and Don't believe in love and....you get the drift, right!
Monday, January 5, 2009
I remember, once, i was cribbing to this friend of mine about there being nothing on TV. To which he answered with considerable amount of stage surprise, “Nothing? Why, there are so many, many programmes on TV. Check the newspaper, no…lot’s of shows!” While he obviously was trying to be funny, his attempt at humour sort of reflected the TV’s attempt at entertaining. They both made the same phhhhhut sound common to all incidents of falling flat. This was back in college, when there was plenty of time to do nothing at all, and television hadn’t quite become synonymous with socializing. A time when cable TV was more democratic, before Shah Rukh came with his big fat nose and sweerpy grin and evangelized rerun redemption – DTH, a world where you actually got to SEE the final season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. instead of reading about Rachael’s and Ross’s much anxitipated (read anxiously anticipated) on-for-good-fingers-crossed getting back together. Star World and my previously mentioned friend shared the same pathetic sense of humour (i remember mentioning something like that also!). Rremember how they went right back to season one with the skinny Chandler and a plumper waitress Rachael the day after a much older Monica proposed to a quite bulky Chandler in the candle lit room – an anticlimax. Argh..drove me nuts!
Today all that has changed. TV time is a much cherished time. I watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S lord-knows-which-season for the lord-knows-whichth-time and I laugh like a child on a merry ground (and come off feeling all vomity and empty headed, also). Drew Carey and his bunch of funny men are precious long lost friends and yadayada, you get the gushing, don’t you. But there are still some things that still make me wonder* (I remember a time when *That used to be something good). One of them is Amir Khan’s new assets. I thought he’d be above the kind of display of cleavage that gets the wrong kind of tongue-lolling.
What IS he trying to do? Upstage Asin? Poor girl, has to run and all in the desert to get Her assets some attention. By the way, methinks that romancing in the desert is the new maramchuttipremam, the famous romancing around the trees. Guess it’s the film industry’s way of coping with global warming and deforestation. “Sorry meydem, no trees to peep behind from and bat eyelashes. So please, remove clothes and run in desert, no! Pliss cooperate, na!” So back to Amir’s unsightly man silicon implants. I guess it’s a turn on for some. I wonder how many girls have woken up one unfine day to find that their sweet boyfriends have turned into a roll-of-sock-jock after this Ghajini. Then there’s that horrible slow-mo swagger, displaying that one acre of razor-happy disagreeableness, which hundred lifetimes of penance will not wash away. And the sad plight of that lone button hanging on for dear life to the buttonhole Will get a person zillion years in purgatory. Remind me to start an SMS campaign and picket against it.
Add more friends to your messenger and enjoy! Invite them now.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Well now, it’s a brand new year. And this one’s high on hope. After a year like 2008, which obviously didn’t look before it leaped, I’m really looking forward to a tamer year when people can keep their clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet, rather than throwing them at random presidents. This year, I hope we find a solution for global warming, traffic snarls and mosquitoes. I'm hoping the autorickshaw drivers in Cochin will stop being so pro-inflation and charge a little less than their I'm-so-going-to-hit-a-jackpot fares.
Anyways I 'found' a rather nice beginning. I bought a music album after ever so long. Not downloaded or ripped off from somewhere in a thumbdrive. I actually went to music store and picked up Dido’s Safe trip home. And it’s such a wonderful way to begin a year. Dido’s music is like a perfect cup of coffee after a particularly long hard day that’s gone straight to the back of your neck. And then I reconnected with old friends.
Old friends are the grandest. Not friends who are like decades older than you, but those who go "way back" to school pinafores or pain in the neck, high pitched college lecturers. (Just for the record, waiting for Dido’s widely spaced albums and finally picking it up is not unlike catching up with a long lost friend) Nothing beats them. Old girl buddies…I’m terribly sorry for those girls who claim they don't get along with other girls and only have male friends.(Peeeeeeeeeeti) And my heart bleeds little drops of contempt for those of them who can barely mask the pride in their high pitched voices as they make the claim. They have no idea what they are depriving their 50 year old selves. And they’ll never know what they’ve deprived their 20-somethings selves of. Gossip and hot coffee. Battling the inches together.Voiced opinions and eye contact jokes. Singing and caterwauling and cackling anyplace, anytime. And a sense of never ever being alone.
Happy is a rather agreeable feeling to begin the New Year with : )