Wednesday, May 12, 2010


"Someone's been stealing the colour from my roses", Pip squeaked. Pit pattered down the garden muttering to himself that he was sure Pip was being the drama queen she is. How could anyone possibly steal the colour out of one's roses? But for the sheer curiousity this complaint merited, Pit decided to find out what exactly qualified as roses whose colour had been stolen. So it came as some amount of surprise, an amount only the skeptics can even imagine, when he saw that some one had, indeed, been stealing the colour from Pip's roses. There they were, in full bloom, like show girls, yet sweet with the kiss of dew. But the colour of your whites when you mix them with your reds in the machine. "Darling," he said with some uncertainty, "pink roses sometimes pale a little." "But these aren't my pink roses, these are my RED roses!", she wailed. Some one had indeed stolen the colour from the roses, Pit thought for the second time, like a typical skeptic; like he would for the third, fourth. fifth and the sixth time. He would keep thinking that till he came to terms with it, which, probably would be never.

The colour stealer struck again that night. This time it stole the gold from the mango nectar. Pip sliced the mango with the insides of an apple. White, tawny but fibrous. Nectar that isn't gold tastes like life without laughter. Dull, flat, unsweet. Pip's face was sour as unripe mangoes and Pit hmm and hawed at the tree, who in turn basked unrepentantly, unconcernedly in the afternoon sun. Its fruit felt lighter and the flies left it alone. It rather enjoyed this detachment it felt from its own offspring. The children stopped throwing stones at it. They focused on the coconuts instead. There wasn't any colour to steal from it. By mid summer, the colour thief siphoned away the purple from the berries, the ocher from the marigolds and the crimson from the chethipoo*. The oranges that came from the plateaus and the apples that came from the hills looked like badly smudged watercolour productions. But nothing prepared them for the colour-bled konnas that flowered that awful faded summer. Golden shower cassia had petered down to an unenthusiastic drizzle. Bunches of bleached yellow hung like wasted hope from the threadbare trees. Pip swept off the fallen lacklustre sunshine petals from her courtyard with a face that grew greyer by the day. Their beloved konna suddenly became deserving of its ugly latin name. Cassia Fistula. Their beloved konna which used to be bright as children's laughter. Their beloved konna of elfin yellow. The colour thief had dulled their symbol of prosperity and wellbeing into a gutter yellow. And they knew for certain that they had been cursed.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


What would the world have thought if type-casted, yesteryear villains like, ummm Danny Denzongpa made claims or issued public statements about fight scenes that was demanded by the script or if Gulshan Grover ever took the trouble to go blue in the face saying "That rape was demanded by the script. It's not to endorse violence."! Or Amrish Puri apologizing for Mogambo being the sadistic, no-business-being-this-happy f**ker that the script demanded? I can't help wondering cause I don't understand where these actresses are coming from with their "I have no problem exposing if the script demands it" or "it was demanded by the script" or what they seek to achieve with them. Where did this strange practice of validation and denial and all begin? Who has ever heard of actors doing any random thing they liked in a film? Not me, quite certainly. If they did, I shudder to think of what Mallika Sherwat whimsy productions would come out with.
Anyways, geting back to the point, first they leak out the good news "So and so is hitting the gym to look good in a bikini on-screen or so and so are flexing their lip muscles to do a mean liplock." And then they go satya-savithri on us by saying "the script demanded it" when they're actually thinking something along the lines of "dude, you aint seen nothing yet." It's not like I have a problem with on-screen kisses and gold bikinis. Okay I'm lying here. I DO have a problem with the gold bikinis. Oh yes, the gold bikini goddess with her arched torso and her hair flying just right like the bloody seaspray is doing a teasejob on it. I HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM WITH HER. "Ooooh look at me! Look at me and my perfect size zero figure that slips into the tiniest, iitsty-bitsiest gold bikini!! I know a ka-zillion boys across the country are cooking in their hormones picturing me. Oooh look at me. Look at script-demanded-I-be-in-a-bikini me" GAH! Seriously!! The lip-lock was demanded by the script. The bikini was demanded by the script. Maigaaad the script demanded it, so now its our duty to appreciate the trouble they're taking to do justice to the script. They're all heart, no? Such passion.
So my dear actress whomsoever it may concern, I suppose you take us for a bunch of morons. Which we are by the way, for readily appeasing them with media space for their stupid capers and all. "Shilpa Shetty sneezed today!" "NOOOOOO, you don't say!" "Yeaaaasss and not just that Vijay Mallya gave her a hug instead of a tissue. I guess her doctor's prescription demanded it or something"! Back to demanding scripts and all. Why do they say this? Why? Why? Why? Half the populace who make the box office go ka-ching cares a hoot for their precious script. They're going there for their share of booty. Script, schmit indeed. Give us a break. I remember this one time when the release of Dhoom 2 was around the corner, my MALE friend came running up to me his face shining with the light of a thousand suns and he proclaims with ecstasy, I'm going to see Aishwariya Rai in a two-piece. Hallelujah honey, your life-changing moment is here. Embrace it!
Yes you're on a beach and we expect you to be strutting your stuff. Spare us the script demanded that you do your peacock dance thingy. Of course the director would see to it that your script would be very demanding and put you on yacht somewhere for a song sequence wearing the challenge of your film career even if the rest of the film is based in the Sahara. But why does a liplock have such screen mileage. I mean you get to catch the live show in most places. Weird. Or maybe its the steroid equivalent of voyeurism watching a star go at it. I donno. From where I see it, it's nothing to get one's blood up in boil about. Or maybe it is. But nevertheless, actresses get into such a tizzy about their onscreen kisses. Esp when you catch them do their tonsil tennis thingy aplenty in real life, MMS and all. The script demanded it, again? The agonies of filmdom. The script demands this and that, but what are they trying to achieve by boo-hooing about the script. I wish some script would demand Abhishek Bachchan to do a full monty. Now THAT i would pay good money for. Heh heh. But seriously speaking, I'm really looking forward to Raavan. I'm guessing that it was a very, very demanding script in respects that actually shows for something more than just cleavage.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


It's evening and Beautiful Girl found her mascara running. Faster, faster, faster till a blur was all she could see. A sappy love song played on the radio. There was a love story on TV tonight, one of the American Film Institute Favourites, the blurb said. Her pekingese, Sweetheart was sleeping peacefully on the couch. A novel titled An endless love lay face down and the strain that ran down its back made it ache. Page 42. It had been lying there all week and dust settled comfortably like complacence around it. There were heart-shaped cushions piled on the sofa. Upstairs, heart shaped pillows rested below a giant pink heart counterpane. In her drawer, panties sprinkled with red hearts cosied up to devilishly pretty lace and satin. On her neat kitchen counter sat two coffee mugs who sat in companionable silence next to each other. When placed just right, they made two halves of a heart a whole. One of them hadn't been used in quite a while. It sat there alone and incomplete, diluting her coffee with guilt. Making it taste metallic and bitter. On the wall, hung a heart-shaped clock and heart shaped magnets dotted the fridge in a weird, tizzy lovefest. Oh there was love everywhere but in her heart. And try as she did, she simply couldn't find it. Under the cushions, under the pillows, on the dresser, in his boxer shorts, between the folds of her skin, in her mailbox, in her garbage, in the photo frames, in the cupboards, in the kitchen sink. There just wasn't any love to be found. Not even vestiges. It was all just very empty.
It's evening. And Beautiful Girl blotted out her running mascara. She painted her pretty mouth and wore her tightest skirt. She widened her eyes, and coated her lashes in lush, midnight black. Her reflection smiled back her. Worries forgot their lines and it felt so good not to hear their opinions for once. Love was not to be found. Love was not going to arrive. Not tonight. And even if it did, it knew where the house keys were. Inside the hollow, by the jasmine bush. Love could let itself in. Tonight would be a night for dancing. Her mascara opened up her eyes to the world. In all respects.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

witching hour

The rain fell. The rain pounded. The rain hammered. The wipers fought the tears that just wouldn't stop. Blurred vision and smudged horizons. Uncle drove the car fast, cause if he didn't, the hazy shapes that moved under the rain's blurry cloak would catch up with us. Yakshikal. Witches. Demonesses. Baadha. Malevolent sprites. Mothers carrying insanity in their ghoulish wombs. She-spiders who wove their silver webs thick and sure. Damned women. Bitter hags and nubile temptresses. They moved silently, invisibly under the sheets of rain and their breath frosted our windows. Uncle drove faster. We wanted to stop. The rain came down with steel machetes. The road was slick with their vice. Rivers swelled with black wrath under the bridges. We wanted to stop. But if we did, their outstretched arms would touch us and taint us for life, they would suck the light out of our eyes, leave their sulphur musk on our clothes and steal our souls.

There definitely was something in the air. The weather was just too pleasant and the countryside we whizzed past was alive, somehow indecently so, like a showy virgin in her prime. Vulgar green parrots with their whorish vocabulary flitted among trees, disturbingly green fields glistened softly under the sun, inviting like parted lips, waxy green leaves camouflaged the maavu's unearthly denizens, placid green mossy temple ponds, green bursting with life. Giddy with life. Red blossoms, red tikkas, red sindhooram, red sandalwood, red restraint. We'd driven into a country where everything didn't come with a logical explanation. A place that had a reason darker than piety for the countless kshethrams and masjids that made for sombre milestones within every kilometre or so. Red and green. The air shivered with magic. It was thick with spells that weren't meant to be broken. Silences that weren't meant to be stirred. The air was steeped in witchery. Every so often, an aalmaram in its melancholic solitude would reach out to us. Coconut palms stood grim like unaffected sentries. Then there were the swollen with the pungent, sweetsmelling white flowers. Palapoo. The smell of temptation. Of being lured. Bait. Possession. Inviting.

Fallen, empty she-souls. Cursed, beautiful, deprived, disappointed women. They smiled their winsome smile at us. In our single-minded pursuit of getting to Cochin before night fell, we shunned their invitation. In our air-conditioned car, where we saw the sea before we smelt it, we offended something deep and sensitive. And squealing at the happy discovery of the sea cut our affront closer to the bone. The storm clouds came from nowhere and they loomed low. The heavens growled with thunder. Without too much warning, they unleashed their fury. Lives would be claimed. Good vs. evil, in open combat. Irresponsible, foolish mortals with enraged demonesses at our heels. Demented, unreasonable, bloodthirsty spirits twisted in their white hot rage. Water blinding us. We ought to have stopped and let the storm pass. But somehow instinct got the better of rational. We were outsiders and we weren't welcome. The sooner we got out, the better. Silent, ceaseless invocations clutched closed and tight in a firm fist. Hell was closing in on us. Hell with the fury of countless scorned female-spirits with centuries of pending scores to settle. Righteous wrath, unreasonable vengeance. The haunter and the haunted. Hunter and the hunted. The rain hissed like a hundred thousand serpents about to strike, poison in its fangs. A caterpillar with icy tips made its slow and gradual progress down my spine. Eerie, unexplainable uneasiness we simply couldn't shake off. Thundering hooves right over our heads. Two hours. Racing cars and palpitating hearts. The wind raged. The road dipped and twisted. A fifth persona squeezed between Teenu and me in the back seat. Fear. Would we make it? Uncle resolutely drove on. A relentless fighter. And yet, somewhere a calm within the storm. Aunty. She held us together in a silver thread of prayer. Panic and faith.

Somewhere we took a wrong turn. Providence finally intervened. We'd outrun them. We slipped into Aleppey town. They fumbled and slowly retreated. Towns with their obtuse streetlights and insensitive grotesque structures have a way of disorienting desolate, lost souls. Mortal and immortal. The sun slowly came out from its hiding place. The worst was behind us. It wasn't our time. Not just yet. We stopped for tea and smacked our lips, milky and thick with the taste of being alive.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Pilate washed his hands of it. The basin clouded over with the murky orange of guilt, the blood red of remorse and rust of responsibility. A lot of water passed under that bridge. Rivers that flowed from the streams where artists cleaned their brushes off blame, where actors washed their faces painted over with masks, where promises sank to the bed like coloured stones. One among a million. A citadel of lost dreams covered in seamoss and green decay. Pouring blood and veins broken in vain.

We could smell the acrid sunset long before we saw it. I smiled with glass eyes. Her hands clenched into a fist. Downcast eyes vs. tears spent in secret. Bad bargains, weighed losses and raw deals. The evening turned the truth kinder. Tomorrow would come nevertheless, and with it would come regret. Paths were traced, signs were erased. Histories were rewritten. Denial couldn't have been more beautiful. Inconvenience minded its manners, and left quietly through the backdoor. Pink flowers wilted among the weeds. It was wrong. The sea roared its protest, it refused to be forgotten. And yet, we pretended we were in the realm of a parallel universe. We washed our hands of it.

There had been dreams. Of houses. Of chairs and dining tables. Of mountains and puddles. Children and jokes. I thought. You thought. He thought. She thought. We all thought. They thought. Different things, unfortunately. The same start but a different finish each. Another place, another plan. The trees watched grimly, the mud ate greedily, time turned its face away. We came clean. Such lies. The rooster cried for the third time. I know thee not. Memories were buried alive in unmarked graves. The sun washed its hands of it.

She stood there singing, clutching her heart desperately in her left hand. People danced on the trails of blood. smudging it all over the floor. Invisible stains painted a vivid picture of her agony. They ignored her bleeding heart and kept dancing. The hem of the bride's gown turned a grimy shade of red. The white lace was stained for life. The colour of ache. 30 pieces of silver glinted wickedly. People washed their hands of it. And it dragged on over black puddles of lies, spilt mistakes and lumps of pretense. One, two, three, skip. No one was the worse off for it, except, perhaps the white lace, which would never be the same again.

Love was portioned into four quarters. Sweet. Bitter. Ache. Ecstasy. Someone was going to get what was coming to them.
I sank my teeth into it. Spat it out. It was rotten. I washed my hands of it.