Wednesday, December 31, 2014

saucerful of secrets

She has never been afraid to love. The exhilarating dizziness of giving herself completely to that one feeling.  She doesn’t do anything in half measures. The complete submission to that quivering happiness and the unknown trepidation that is at once bitter and sweet. It had been love that had finally set her free. Free of all the fears that were holding her back. It was love that like the delicate kite string, let her soar, yet held her gently to her reality. In it she found her freedom, as the spaces within her soul stirred a familiar music, the rhythms rising and falling with the swaying heart.  

fistful of stars

She poised briefly, to reflect on the year that is almost over. Then she realized there was nothing truly to reflect on. Truth is, that the year was over and another one was waiting to break dawn. It doesn’t surprise her that there is nothing to wish for anymore. She has everything that she will ever need. The familiar joys, the little heartbreaks, the momentary flush of happiness – she can hold them all in her soft palms and cherish the known sensations. No she doesn’t have anything at all to wish for. She has never been greedy and has always accepted life’s gifts with humility and hope. Most importantly, she knows she has herself and that is something she will never ever lose again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


At the end of yet another year, she finds herself struggling to find inspiration. Those fleeting moments of magic that can lift any dull day. The heady lapses into forbidden indulgences. The thrills of the unexpected and the unfamiliar. The unexplainable feeling of wellbeing and the transient yet memorable wholesomeness of affection.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

miss You!

 It is that time of the year again. The world dresses up to usher in another new year, the forced festivities that seem to be de rigour and suddenly there are happy people everywhere. It is at this time that she feels most alone. It is not that she is against anything, but all this cheerfulness makes her acutely aware of that one person she doesn’t have in her life anymore. With whom she would want to share the merriment with. Her earliest memories with her brother and how they always found their own things to do to celebrate – going for the midnight mass despite not being Christian, walking around Park Street watching the crowd, baking cakes to give away, decorating their tree, feeding the hungry strays and helping out in the orphanage. It was always his generous spirit that infected her wholly - his welcoming smile, his disregard for the riches, his sincere belief in world peace, his brilliant mind, his ability to always find someone to help, his melodious voice and his ease in mingling with people from all walks of life. She always had looked at his selflessness in wonderment and urged herself to keep up. They were always more than siblings. They were twin souls separated by a few years at birth. Therefore, it is during this season of cheer that she missed him the most.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

i Alone

Today she is irritated with herself. It is not like her to get distracted this easily. But when she found herself unable to focus on the task at hand, it puzzled her. The distractions were many but there is one particular one that seems to bother her the most. Like a tiny piece of meat stuck in between her teeth, it constantly reminded her of her predicament. Try as she might, it was impossible to dislodge the thought. More she contorted her mind to be rid of it, the more menacingly firm it remained. Finally she decided to accept the situation and wait for it to melt away after a while. The anticipation of the ambiguous emotions that were aroused in its wake was something she knew she had to tackle alone. She whispered to herself, 'I alone love you' from an old forgotten song and wrapped her arms around herself the best she could and waited for the uneasiness to pass. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

say Something!

Today was that day. The album released last month on the 7th and I resisted listening to it since, even on the radio. But today I gave in to the temptation and downloaded it. Predictably, a marathon session of all our favourite songs followed. It took hours and I listened to them all, yes, alone. For the first time in the last 10 years. You would have loved their latest album. It is all that we love about the band - their sounds; the escapist metaphors; the abstract feeling of void that creeps in slowly till it engulfs and swallows you whole; the unreasonable restlessness and the discomfort it evokes in our uneventful lives. We should have listened to it together. Except you are dead and I am having to have this conversation in my head. Do you realise how painful that is? Having no one to understand, that subtle shifts of emotions, that pain that is apparently still as raw, and that empty hole that you have left in my heart? It will be insignificant to say that I miss you. You took a part of me with you and I can never ever find myself again, the way I did with you. Now, I want that part back. Ten years is too long a time to have to live without it. I am not giving up on us, yet. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

finding Voice

On a particularly long difficult day, after winning applause for her sharp wit, she wished she had used her voice when she need it the most. Instead, one morning, she had walked out of their home of seven years, in silence. She wished she had told him that the least he could do was to be nice to her. That his ineptness in making either conversation or love made it that much harder to bear his violent temper. She should have told him that his alcoholic rage broke her to bits, every single night. Instead, she had shrunk back into her shell of silence hoping for the morning to break, every night. She should have told him that his rare slurred ardour made her skin crawl and his crudeness had an unbearable stench. Instead she laid in bed, cold and bleeding after he was done satisfying himself. She should have told him that his feeling of inferiority was not hers to mend. Instead she let him blame her for everything that was wrong with him and in it he found new ways of abusing her, everyday. It is in those million silences that she choked to near death, till one insomniac night, she looked at her sleeping baby and decided to walk out of it all. She had hoped her silence will deafen his shrilling name calling. At the end, she had only hoped for relief. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

passing ships

They meet for the first time during a business visit. He is curious but reserved. She is intrigued but detached. Through the day they share polite banalities of their work life.
At the end of the long day; 

Interesting dude: Thank you for taking care of everything and sorry for all the trouble (smiles broadly, shaking her hand)

Clever dudess: (smiles) My pleasure really! I am used to chaperoning. (failed attempt at humour)
Interesting dude: (still holding her hand, still staring)
Clever dudess: (wonders why she had to make an ass of herself!) 

And the moment passes. Chances of meeting again, zero.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

of Light and Darkness

Hey brother, I hope you aren’t upset that I did not write a commemorative post either for your birthday or the dreadful anniversary. They say where you are, time ceases to exit so it doesn’t matter I suppose. If I know you well, you would be smirking right now at the absurdity of all this.
However, today’s significance is rather pedestrian. It is Dhanteras – the day we mortals pray to the god of wealth. In a day, it will be Diwali. At home, we have been doing the puja for the last few years. You of course haven’t seen it happen. It started a couple of years after you were gone. No celebrations, just the ritual puja at its minimal. I indulged Ma in the beginning, thinking this will give her peace and keep her mind off other thoughts that make her sad. Then after a year or two, it became a part of our household custom. But this year hasn’t been so well for Ma. Her arthritis has gotten worse and now her progressing slowness has been diagnosed as a rare form of Parkinsonism, which goes by the esoteric name of corticobasal ganglionic degeneration, one that doesn’t respond to any medication. This has broken her completely. You remember how she has always taken pride in keeping our home in order, with her near impossible standards. Now, she shuffles in her room and her speech is noticeably sluggish. This loss of control, had hit her hard. The final prognosis was delivered last evening. The doctor confirmed the diagnosis and even ruled out the knee surgery, we had planned, to reduce her arthritic pain. In a few months to a year, she may not be able to move at all and we are looking at feeding tubes and adult diapers in the near future. To maintain some semblance of normalcy I decided that we will perform the puja this evening,  like we have for the last few years.
Then, I am suddenly seized with this realization that I have never really prayed. Except for that one time in the hospital, when I asked for your life to be restored. But even then, I didn’t really believe it would actually happen. I know the words of the all the prayers from years of  conditioning but it never stilled the restlessness in my heart nor gave me the inner quietness that everyone claims it does. I have never been a devout believer. Perhaps I am too complicated to give in to this simple idea of submission. But I never opposed her devotion nor her fervent dependence on her religious faith. I eventually found my solace and peace elsewhere but even then I allowed her to criticise my disregard for her definition of faith. With Ro, I make sure we celebrate all the festivals so that he isn’t ignorant of our rituals and later it will be up to him to decide for himself what faith means to him.
So this Diwali, we will miss you again – your love for the savouries made by Ma, your big hearted laugh at all my jokes that no one else finds funny and our choicest abuses to the inconsiderate neighbours who burst crackers only to frightened the stay dogs. I wish you were around to console Ma and wipe her tears and  help me with the mounting responsibilities. And today, for the first time, I am wondering, will I be able to stand up to it all. After you were gone, I noticed how dysfunctional we have become. Without you, the rest of us became silent silos of sorrow in our inability to share our grief with each other. We continue to live outside our tragedy, quietly denying the pain and the unshed sorrow of losing you and with it our joyful living.

Friday, August 22, 2014


She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. Last night had left its mark, as she had hoped it would. They had slept late. A night of binge drinking was something that she had left behind in her youth. So when she woke up clear headed, she was pleasantly surprised at herself. It had been a wild night. Her lips still swollen and a bit bruised. Her lower lip had bled a little and it left a dark spot where the drop had dried. That had made her smile. The sweet pain on her lips made her body tingle with a familiar sensation. She loved how he kissed recklessly with his searing passion when he got a little drunk. Oh how she had wanted to taste those lips again. He is a passionate kisser. Perhaps the best in the world. At least in her world. She hadn’t known anyone to be like him. The fierceness in his kiss tasted of possession and it melted her into completely surrender. She would have never known that pain could be so exquisitely sweet. He used his teeth often on her body, when passion engulfed him, and that left marks. His marks. Marks she could savour for days after. Marks she could touch, that reminded her of him. She would look at them and feel the rush of sensation that it would inevitably bring. This was her secret pleasure. To relive their moment of passion, over and over. That after taste of pleasure he left on her body, made her feel alive.

He had whispered that he loved her and that there will always be them. Then he had caught her lips in between his and crushed them. She had felt his soft tongue tasting her mouth and his teeth biting her lips like they were lovers for the first time. Remembering that moment she sighed. She knew she was special and that she was his. But his words, after so much time, gave her a new sense of fulfilment. She knew that a part of him will always be hers to keep. She has always loved him with all her heart, refusing to put a label to their relationship and never questioning the irrationality of what the future held for them. She knew what he made her feel was something extraordinary, something she will never feel with anyone else. He always let her be herself when they were together. What he made her feel was visceral and because of him, she faced her own passion without guilt for the first time. There was no better honesty than how he made her body react, for him and within her. So she had let her body decide. She knew there would never be another like him and the passion they shared, was theirs alone. To hold a secret this precious made her special.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


She revealed in her womanhood. As if some door was opened for her for the first time. Suddenly she felt awakened and she smiled for no reason. It was perhaps the gushing hormones or maybe just the knowledge that she was going to be a mother.

On hind sight, it seems to her that she was keener to have a baby than S ever was and now that he had given her what she wanted so desperately, he shed all pretence of being intimate. That was when they stopped sharing the marriage bed. He was repelled by the changes to her body. He wouldn’t even let her change her clothes if he was in the same room. But everyone around her said she was beautiful. Her cousin teased her about how S must be taking advantage of all the ‘glow’ as she winked naughtily. For the longest time she couldn’t fathom why S was suddenly even more averse to intimacy. He was never the one to initiate, and she thought this was probably a phase that he will grow out of. After all they were already married for over two years. For the first time she felt good about how she looked and about herself. She wanted intimacy like never before. But then he told her. To stay away from him. That he found her ugly with her slightly swollen belly, fuller chest and her silly smile. And that he would never ever touch her again. It hurt her like nothing had before. It chipped away a large part of something deep inside. She had grown up knowing she was ordinary and that she would never be pretty like her cousins and she had accepted that. By the time she was in college she had embraced her ordinariness and found beauty in it and solace too.

With pregnancy, her hitherto plainness has turned her into a woman whom everyone noticed when she went out to the market or for an evening stroll. Strangers turned and then smiled. Some even asked her about when the baby was due. By then she had a small bump that made her condition known. And the men often stared, trying to hide their expression of appreciation. It shocked her at first. Why would strangers look at her in that way. But then it happened often enough to convince her that it was because of how she looked. It was then obvious to her that the prettiness she felt when she looked at herself in the mirror was not just in her mind. Thinking back, it was perhaps the confidence she felt in her body that made her pretty and made people notice her for the first time. Not pretty in the conventional way but someone who would arrest attention and tempt you to look twice. But S’s words shattered all that and she was grateful when the doctor advised her to fly to Bangalore by the mid of her third trimester. Her in-laws had decided that the baby delivery business would have to be taken care of by her parents as was customary for them. She had protested and begged S that she wanted him to take the responsibility and she wanted to stay with him and it was their baby after all. But S refused to talk to his parents and it appeared to her that he was relieved to see her go. She should have seen it coming. She should have anticipated what her life would be like for the next five years. But she didn’t. In her new found happiness and her joy of becoming a mother, she let that unsavoury thought slip away from her mind.

conquering the last frontier

The trouble of staying independent is that you have to constantly over come your fears one way or another. Be it the bank account reconciliation, understanding an investment portfolio or getting new tyres for your car. Now the real trouble begins when you are independent and lazy. I have been postponing the replacement of my car tyres for the last couple of months. Everything time something or the other came up and I figured those were more important. So then, on the first morning after my return from a fabulous holiday in Singapore, I am greeted with a flat tyre of the front left wheel. Apparently it had sprung a leak earlier and while I was happily carousing in Singapore, it puffed out its last breath of air. Tubeless tyres and our roads are not a happy marriage I suppose.

So after cursing myself, I sheepishly ask dad for his car keys since there was no time to haul the dead tyre to the repair shop and anyhow the repair man doesn’t start his day that early in the morning. On my way back from work, I decide to visit the nearest tyre shop and find out about replacement options. My car was custom fitted with Michelin XM1+ tyres which at that time seemed like a very good idea. The car dealer convinced me about its superlative qualities and I buckled in for the trade up. To be honest, it wasn’t a bad investment at all. It saw me through the tumultuous years of breaking relationships, moving home, invading sadness, changing jobs and the innumerable doctor’s visits for the family. It has kept all my secrets and never let me down. Never a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere. No engine trouble, ever. Other than a few rough scratches and small dents, it still purrs as quietly as it did the day I got it home. Not that I have taken good care of it. Over the years I have forgotten to get service done on many occasions. Postponing at times, out of the dread of inconvenience of having to pencil in one more thing in my chaotic life. But it has got me through most of my life’s troubles.

So here I was, a bit daunted at the sight of the service station. The men, both the mechanics and the owners of other cars getting serviced, give me a dismissive look and ignore me completely. I finally work up the courage to speak and say that I am here to buy new tyres for my car. They point to a spot surreptitiously  behind the station to a flight of stairs that leads to their office. I manage to climb up the dark staircase and enter a dimly lit room stacked to the ceiling with tyres and filled with the smell of new rubber. On one corner there is a table with a laptop and no one seemed to be around. I kept standing ready to run at the first sign of trouble. My CSI-fed mind working overtime!

Finally a short puny man appears from nowhere. He doesn't smile and just stares and I tell him that I am looking to buy new tyres for my car. He asks about the size and I am stumped. I do not have the answer. However, I tell him the make and model and told him to suggest options. Here is where it gets interesting. He rattles off the details and prices and looks at me with a disrespectful grin. What he did not know is that I have done my research on the internet. Apparently, people are buying car tyres online! My father would be mortified. But here I was negotiating hard with him on the price, once I had agreed to an option. This surprises the man. He gets defensive and started saying why the price that he is quoting is more than the ones being offered online. So I tell him that is it fine I will buy them online – I am in no hurry and I turn to walk away. He calls me back and offers a price that I wasn’t expecting. So round one to me. We fix up a time for fitting the tyres and I leave. Of course, this doesn’t impress my dad who is convinced that for the discounted price he will give me used tyres. But then, we will just have to see about that.

Friday, January 31, 2014

growing Old

Yesterday, was yet another birthday. It is odd when the first wish is from my mobile service provider at midnight since I had forgotten to keep the phone on silent ! The funniest was from my father who sent a message which read, ‘I just came to know today is your birthday. Happy birthday and sorry for the belated wishes.’ This was at around mid morning. A parent would remember, don't you think? But since I know him, he has  indiscriminately not remembered any birthdays or anniversaries and I hadn’t expected him to remember this time either. But my mother must have reminded him after I left for work, followed by her usual barrage of complaints on how he never remembered any dates. Anyhow, some folks did remember to wish me, despite my inadvertently switching off the social media birthday notification. Some of my school and college friends remembered as did my cousins. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a call from someone whom I have never met in person but have been blog buddies for long. It is indeed self-revealing to know how good it makes one feel when someone shares a good wish when least expected. So thank you for managing to surprise even the ever-jaded me. I had planned for a quite, ‘un-celebrated’ evening at home with my family and I did just that while feasting on the goodies my mother had prepared. Such a moment in time is bound to produce some musing of the heart. So I avow once again to live a life full of hope and gratitude and to be able to always have the fortitude to take everything in my stride. It has been many years of clawing upwards from that dark hole and finally I have felt the lightness of just being me.