Thursday, July 27, 2006

Arranged night Deranged life

Today I woke up early at around 4.30 and couldn’t think of anything to fall asleep for (yes, no shame in admitting that I am an insomniac!)….therefore focused on a much neglected ‘project’ of arranging my modest music collection in genres. Took about an hour but now they are proudly arranged in dedicated shelves with Faith Hill sitting next to Garth Brooks and Pink Floyd next to Grateful Dead. Plus half a rack (furthest away) of hindipop (kajrare and himesh reshmiya’s nasal cry!) that I usually play when I need to feel foolish which is mostly when I am getting ready for work and to distract the voice in my head that keeps repeating ‘you don’t HAVE to do this’.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Only if I could bring back...

  • Hot summer nights on my grandfather’s terrace, lying on our backs and looking up at the clear sparkling sky and racing each other to identify the constellations
  • Watching ‘telesports’ with bhai on our black and white EC TV and laughing our guts out
  • Tangy hot ‘phuchkas’ at gariahat with Diya and our first puffs in her amby with Appy wondering what these two girls-trying-to-be-women doing ducking at the back seat!
  • Visits to Birla Museum with Sammy trying to look intelligent while she rattles away the details of the art on display
  • Braving chilly winds and going for morning walks with the ‘polton’ (platoon) of cousins in kalyani during winter break
  • Chotokaku’s monkey skull (and his narration of how he acquired it from a godman in the Himalayas on one of his anthropology tours) that fired our adolescent imagination
  • Chotokaku’s planchette table - an inheritance that I had really hoped for.. (predictably Thamma got rid off it and the skull after he moved to Rhode Island)
  • Sunday-post-lunch walks to khuni talao at the Ridge (D School campus) - the absolute quiet of the place, the eerie light and mostly shadows, the irritating stumbling bramble, the bristling frisson and goose bumps of knowing that none know of my whereabouts and of course the customary angry looks from IK when I would tell him with glee my exploits of the late afternoon.
  • Bonfire at the Freedom party (for freshers) at D School and my verbal duel with IK
  • Amazing ‘vada-sambar’ at Coffee House (D School) served on pristine white-but-chipped-here-and-there crockery
  • Nimbo pani and dripping-oil bread roll at jai jawan tea stall (D School)
  • New years eve at Fort William, Kolkata with San and bro and XXX rum for 2 bucks a peg
  • Fried salami at Milli's place and San's expertise (the juvenile fear in his eyes when he gashed his little finger!)
  • Long tirades from Ani when I moved to Delhi and she felt abandoned
  • Last visit to Sparks with bro when they played Tequila Sunrise
  • Watching Dominick and Eugene with bro and how he said ‘we are like that na…you and I?’
  • Long late night drives on the Ring road..our conversations and more
  • 30th December 2004 : Faith Hill never sounded like that night

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Phoenix Mumbai

Tuesday 11 July 06
7.05PM : On my drive back home dad calls and tells me about the blasts and that he has been trying to contact Munni and AC Roy uncle and got through to AC Roy uncle and they are fine but for Chotopishi he sent a message as the call wasn't going through. All lines jammed.
7.10PM: Trying D's number repeatedly but its not going through. Panic. Is he ok? My hands are cold and don't much remember the traffic. He told me he is using the train. Trying hard to convince myself that he wouldn't be using the western line but Andheri? He is supposed to be looking for a place in Marol. That is most definitely western line. And he did speak about firstclass. Missed call. Mumbai number. Vague feeling it is him. Called back. Got through at the 5th attempt. "Good Evening, Hilton Towers. May I help you?". Said I got a call from this number and that I am trying to reach a guest of theirs. Why do the hotel reception ask so many questions? What is his name? Full name please. Where is he from? Do I know his room number? (Maybe I DID sound like someone who can blow up the hotel through tele line!) Finally she connects and its him saying he is fine and he came back to the hotel early. His mom's ok too and his spice line is not working. Said I will call his home and bro. Called his bro and home. Lines in Bangalore seem to be jammed too!!! Frustration!! They have heard from him and relieved.
8.00PM : Images passed rapidly on the TV screen....charred seats, mangled flesh, confused and angry faces...Mumbai railways in tatters. There was one particular image of a missing 8 year old boy who lay in ICU and didn't remember his name.
Wednesday 12th July 06
2.00AM : I lay awake the entire Tuesday night watching the news and those densely repeated images. The newsreader said that the railways wouldn't be operating and Mumbai is paralysed atleast for a day.
9.00AM : Trains were running every 15 mins on the much damaged western line.
10.00AM : Talking to S and saluting the spirit of Mumbai.
11.00AM : Heard that Rg's father in law is suspected to have been killed in the blast. He has been missing since he left office last evening. Rg has flown to Mumbai in the morning. His wife was hysterical. She was advised by the doctor not to travel in her pregnant state.
6.10PM : D says everything looks normal in Mumbai
6.30PM : Read "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." MLK
11.45PM : Can't get rid of the number 11 in my head.
11 - the number in my mail ID which inspired bhai to write the piece posted earlier.
11 September 01 - WTC attack
11 April - S's b day
11 September 04 - lost bhai for ever
11 July 06 - Mumbai blast


"finding yourself in the same place over and over again until you get it exactly right"- read it recently on a wiseman's piece...brought back memories...whole lot of them..tears and smiles as I drifted, 'rooting', uprooting and transplating with ease and pain...inexcapable.