Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kung-Fu with the Dogs

The boisterous heat in this city is everywhere. Trapped within layers of the aaloo-patty that one had as a tea-time snack, rising from the folds of the wrinkled, half-dry hand towel that stinks of old sweat, it bakes the red streaks of pan spit on the white walls of the community center to burnt sienna. Little whorls of indignant misery permeate the lives of the common dwellers of its lanes. Dwellers, who for want of suitable dwellings, try in vain to cool the sun bleached footpaths that have been mercifully left undug by the municipality. Not much changes here. The hoardings may have grown brighter and bigger, the girl on the hoarding is wearing hot-pants now, instead of her earlier skinny jeans, but the man peeing on the rusted back scaffolding of the hoarding is still there, oblivious to the din of traffic that crawls behind him.

This is why it is useless to feel remorse here, thought Yom, between blowing out rings of cigarette smoke. He knew he had to do what he had to do because he, of all the miserable wretches in this city, had been paid to do it. He usually dealt with pipes. Blocked pipes, or loose dripping ones and sometimes pipes filled with weed. He could roll a pipe on the back of his palm and do all that Kung-Fu hooha. It usually scared the shit out of dogs who dared to stalk him at night, on his way back home. Other than that his only other claim to fame was a moth eaten bowler hat he had inherited from his father, who had insisted it was at one time worn by a Mr. Spencer. Yom used it to store the special pipes, the ones for which he got paid.

Behind the hoarding, stood the pink walls of the city magistrate's office. Walls have no business in a city where no one can breathe without prostituting their stench for a few ounces of fresh smoke and ancient dust. Yom walked through the walls, into the courtyard, crawled in through the broken window in south corridor, located the stairwell near the smelliest urinal and there behind the loose brick on the east wall, he left his pipes. And darts.

Come morning, he would walk in with the motley crowd of spectators and news leaching journalists, retrieve his instruments and put an end to another bastard's misery. It was hardly worth the effort. It would not make any difference to this city. He could feel a crooked smile form on his parched black lips as he heard a whine and growl behind him. Tomorrow would come when it will. But now was the time for kung-fu with the dogs. Yee-haw!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Wondering Wrongly

We all want the wrong things. We all desperately want something we can never get. We are all born in the wrong time. We all fall for the wrong lover. We all eat the wrong food. We all say the wrong things. To put it succinctly, our existence is mostly all wrong.

Right? Okay, maybe not all. Maybe just me. But then doesn't everybody think "just me ?"

I thought so too, when she moved to Bangalore. I can see her walking down the road or maybe not. She is not the walking kind. An auto then. Impressive is it not how even my fantasies are tainted with my prejudices, also wrong.

So I see her, in a city I have only kissed flittingly much like her. White stilettos. White skirt. A dark purple fitting top. A loose hanging bag on her right shoulder. Straight black hair. Kohl lined eyes. Taking in the world around her with her usual disdain. Just like I saw her one day, turning around the corner, halfway across the world, dancing to the tunes in her own head.

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dancing seemed right then. In a city that's so far stashed away in my memories that the coffee we drank seems to have mottled into tar. The coffee and Foucault's Pendulum. The wrong kind of pendulum, the wrong kind of book and a mistress of time. Busy as a bee and so distant. Even when we made love. In her room, in her bed, between her bookshelf and deviled eggs.

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love

She did dance me to my wedding. That was about it. About all the wrong that could happen. And as I remembered her then, I remember her now, all wrong, just like the rest of it. Only now, she is in Bangalore. And I wonder, is it wrong? To wonder?

The lyrics are from Dance Me To The End of Love by Leonard Cohen.