Tuesday, January 05, 2010

You always smile!

"Talk to me," she said. "You never talk to me these days. It always let's play scrabble, let's see a movie, let's go to Goa. Why will not just sit down and talk to me for a while."

He smiled.

"There, you are smiling again. Anything I say, you smile. That is your answer to everything, isn't it!"

Is it?, he thought. The answer to everything. That would be nice. A real 42. He felt like holding her and reading poetry. Out loud. Like they used to do in the warm winter sun on lush green lawns of the Lodhi garden. Talking was effortless then. Even when he knew she was not listening.

He smiled again, and nodded his head as if you shake off that nagging feeling that is the bastard child of longing and memory - the one that tells you that you are living the life you wished for. How annoying to be told that. This cannot be it.


"I am going to go and stay with my parents for a month. Is that ok?" He listened to her. "Don't smile again, please - tell me. Is it ok if I go?"

The instinct to smile at helplessness is very strong. Let's try saying no for a change. No, it is not ok. You cannot go. "Yes, it is fine. If that is what you want." That is what she wants. Even if I want her to want otherwise. That is what she wants. He smiled again. A thin amusing line formed by pursed lips that quivered when he thought about how his life had turned out. A life that was very much, still being lived.


"What can I do if I am hardwired to like lanky thin men? They just turn me on. Without me having to do anything. Living with you, I have to fight my instincts every day. You've never had such problems, have you?"

"Do you know? That is how a God is worshipped. Against or rather beyond all reason. You make me feel like a God. Though left to myself, I would have preferred being lusted-for than being prayed-to. No, I've never had this problem - sure I like women a lot and I like a lot of other women but I did lust for you once."

Enough to stay up and work all night, to return home by the first tram next morning, to not eat till I felt distinctly faint the day after - it does not seem like much. But it did then and it burned like the flames of Hades. And it still feels charred there sometimes, like tasting ash, burnt a long time ago.

The smile surfaced again as he remembered how it had made him work out at the gym like a man possessed.


"Do I have to eat fish? It stinks! How can you people eat this .. this disgusting thing. I am turning vegetarian for the rest of my life. Except for the frozen chicken sausages in the fridge - can I have those? I miss my home."

A home. My home. I never even let myself miss it. Not its people. Not even its smells, tastes, sounds or colours. There is no place in my life for it today. Today I have to build another home. And then another, and then possibly another. Every time from scratch, with you. Hoping at least one will resemble yours enough. It will someday, perhaps, be our home.

"I am sure you do. You are going there soon. Just a few more days." "But wont you feel lonely if I go?" "Yes, I will. But you will come back." "What if I don't?" "You can try... not coming back... but you will not be able to."

She curled up beside him, filling his curves with that subtle regal feline grace that she barely knew she had. He let his hands gently caress the tangled knots of her jasmine scented hair. He bent down and kissed her on her forehead gently just as she tightened her grip on his other arm that was wrapped around her. "I will not come back if I go."

He smiled.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A Bizarre Year

Let's not be poetic for once,
let's be straight and say
I had a bizarre year,
Truly marvellous though, if I may.

Last December, I was alone
Talking to my self inside a fluffy rajai
Then a long chased affirmation, a simple yes,
and Boom! It was no longer I (let aside alone).

Frenzy of shopping and people and colours and food,
Fighting, tears and expertly crafted taane,
Lounging lunches in cars parked in shady shades,
Employment and pedicures happened together, not bad, eh?

Then happened a tryst with more stress,
Sweets, grandma and OMG - wearing a saree!
Coming away and going away sandwiched
between movies and lingerie.

All this I got no chance to write, or sing aloud,
Preached, led and taught kids to draw
in colours of equations and numbers new.
And just what I thought was the last straw...

Seepage landed on my woes. Fresh. Damp. Green.
Onions and cots and curtains! Prices connive
Noodle men and Maggi fights followed by cold milk,
Monsoons that left me drenched on Marine Drive.

Long Island Ice teas and Bonjours,
Flunked firsts, botched beds, chastised charms,
Yet, this new years, I had someone with me,
though sobbing, but still loved, cuddled up in my arms.

As I said... a bizarre year. May you have one too.