Thursday, May 29, 2008

of breaking

As the glass shattered with a soothing clink into innumerable twinkling pieces on the cool granite, she wondered what heartbreak sounds like. Is it like the unimpressive thud of a heavy stone sinking in the opaque green of a eutrophic pond, silent and easily forgotten? Or does it shatter like an expensive crystal chandelier crashing majestically, regal even till the end? Or does it rip silently like a scalpel slicing fresh cadaver on a post mortem table, neat and almost bloodless? Or does it sizzle like butter on a heated frying pan, at once pleasant and enticing? Or does it break like the frightening crack of bones while burning at the cremation pyre, loud and defying? She has never been able to decipher the sounds of frozen hope, broken dream and an aching heart. The euphoria of last week seems to evaporate like finely ground camphor till all that is left is the nothingness of reality.

a love story

They were meant to be together. But since they last met, their lives have taken separate twists and turns till at the final bend they found each waiting for the other. Like the old forgotten prophecy, once more, they realized they belonged together. This was the day he was to bring her home. The anticipation was palpable. The nervousness was making her slightly queasy. Her happiness was finally within her reach.

Before she boarded the plane he said softly, “Today I did something I have never done before”. “Tell me, please!” she insisted. “No, you got to wait and see for yourself” he laughed.

It was late but he was waiting for her at the airport and they held their hands together all the way home. With no appetite for dinner they longed to be alone together. Switching the bedroom lights on, he stepped back. Lying coyly on top of the chest-of-drawers, was a bunch of yellow roses, a large box of her favourite chocolate, a card with ‘Thank you for your unconditional love’ written in red and a heart-shaped key chain saying ‘I love you’. Overwhelmed, she forgets to tell him that she has never been loved like this before.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

madness and tranquility

Well I'm shamemeless

when it comes to loving you

I'll do anything you want me to

I'll do anything at all.

And I'm standing here for all the world to see

Oh baby, that's what's left of me

Don't have very far to fall.

Garth Brooks

Monday, May 12, 2008

bogus vote, books and bootlegging

It was an extra ordinary Saturday. For one, it was the election day here. A day to decide whether once again the aam janta would be held at ransom by shared arrangements of power and the subsequent ‘betrayal’ during the post election horse trading. Anyway to move on with the day, the honest, hard(ly)working me worked as usual. Then decided to catch up with my best bud over lunch who incidnetally had exercised his franchise but didn't know who he voted for. Too much pressure he said. Yes, I believe him. The lunch proved to be an exercise in patience since we realized a tad late that most of the eateries serving alcohol were shut. Now, I don’t understand this but I shall leave it for later. We managed to find a table at the over crowded Only Place thanks to my charming ways (hmm!). And yes, there were the red checked table cloth, the afternoon heat, the whirring fan that did nothing for the heat, the kissing couple who fed each other morsels from a plate (yes, morsels), the man at the next table who wanted fresh butter on his steak(!) The meal turned out decent including the blueberry cheese cake, which, those who eat out with me know, is my current favourite dessert.

Lunch done, we decided to head for Blossoms and try our luck. (Blossoms is this cult book store on Church Street that usually gives fantastic deals on new and old books). So we went in to hunt, completely swathed with the smell of fresh and used books. I got lucky with one each of Ishiguro, Garcia, Kafka, Tolkien (promised myself I shall initiate someone into it) and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. No, I am not giving away the titles yet. I wanted to pick up Anjum Hasan’s Lunatic in My Head but the lady was helpful enough to take down my request with a promise to call me when it arrives. (update: she kept her promise and I am picking it up today!) My buddy picked up a few old Grishams and the adorable “Marley & Me” We reach the counter to pay for our loot. Before Buddy Boy can grab his wallet I shove my plastic at the man at the counter. Buddy Boy protests, but the supercilious I say ‘Owners keepers!’ Buddy Boy goes quiet and starts to look uneasy. Oh, how silly, I think, gloating at my instant wit. The POS machine emits funny sounds and gives up. ‘Disconnected’ it flashes. While I am convincing counter guy to try again Buddy Boy slips his card to the man and keeps his eyes away from me. This time a smooth swipe and the machine obviously likes him and prints the slip for signing. I feel a smile slowly creep at the corner of his mouth. The counter guy hands me the packet. Buddy Boy slips in his hand and coolly takes over the parcel from the man and turns towards me and whispers, ‘What did you say just now? Owners keepers…eh?’

We don’t speak till we reach the neighbouring Beer CafĂ© and order coffee (no alcohol service remember!). Then he bends close to me and grins ‘But there’s a lesson in this.’ Flushed with embarrassment I run my eyes over the fat packet of books that he now gets to take home. He says slowly, drawing each word so that there is no wayt I miss a single one, ‘Remember, there are many a slip between the swipe and the sweep’ followed by a cheshire grin. So, you are going to hold this against me for the rest of our lives. It was a statement. Yes of course, he says. And rest assured your grandchildren will know about your foot in the mouth wit ha! He is right. I know he would do that to me. Please can I have some of the books? But he has already moved on to other things. Life, lovers, parents, friends, property, travel plans pass us by till dusk appears. Time to go I say. He too had to meet up a friend from out of town. As we walk down to our cars we talk shop some more. No, I have no books to take home. We say bye and I get into my car. Before I slam the door, he hands over the book packet with a smile. Grin. Thank God for best buddy!

Later the same night, I get an urgent call from Buddy Boy who proclaims eternal love in exchange for a promise that I wouldn’t refuse a request. Ok, what is it now? We are having a boys’ night out and we do not have any booze. We scanned the entire city but nothing. Can you please sneak a bottle from your dad’s bar cabinet? We are waiting at the entrance of your apartment block. Fantastic! Not only will I be a thief in my own home, but a bootlegger too! I can go to jail!!!! Fine, I will see what I can do, but gimme some time! Finally, wrapped a Red Label in a lingerie store bag (to deflect suspicion) and met them downstairs. The gents thank me profusely and head off to the party. So now I am hoping my dad doesn’t find out and neither the cops. But as someone says, ‘It’s your good deed for the year and you are absolved of all sin that you may commit this year’. So I am taking it in the right spirit. Wait a minute did I say spirit?

Monday, May 05, 2008

dream of the blue turtle...

Once upon a time the turtle of hope built a fortress around her heart. No I wouldn't let anyone hurt you he cooed. But the foolish heart had other plans. It slips past the old turtle and went to town swinging to its own tune. The turtle woke up dissappointed. How could she? Did I not tell her how wicked the world was? And so the heart found out. Burned and battered it returned. The turtle soothed the hurt, washed the wounds until the heart was good as new. Stay inside the turtle warned. But foolish she always has been. Slipped out once again, flushed with freedom and singing a strange new tune...