No, it doesn’t hurt

no, it does not hurt anymore,

those words, those moments. 

of course not! 

 

hurt comes packed in blood

and has sores and wounds

for the world to see.

 

all that I have

is heart full of holes

where my hurt drips away.

 

it drips each day

Drowning my wretched soul,

that still lives on. 

 

no, it does not hurt anymore,

those words, those moments. 

of course not! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Flying Man

It is said that books and people find their way into your lives. A mere meeting or a cursory glance at a blurb might not amount to much, if it is not meant to be. How else could I explain being swept off my feet by Roopa Farooki’s Flying Man? I received the book as a birthday present almost three years ago and never managed to get past the blurb. And here I was, maniacally reading through day and night, finishing it in two days!

The protagonist is very unusual, in that he is a very ordinary man and yet, much larger than life than you and I could ever imagine. It is a story that is as mundane as Life can be and every bit as extraordinary.

“It has always mattered to me, that once upon a time, a long time ago, He loved Her, and that She loved Him back.”

That is the only thing that probably mattered to Maqil, the despicable man who is also the Hero of the story. Just like the ones in his life, the reader also goes through moments of extreme hate, love and helplessness in response to his actions. Strangely enough, you don’t feel anger towards Maqil, no. That’s just who he is. He is just compelled to live life in his head, where he is always larger than life, where it is always eternal sunshine. All dreams have to come to an end, however and in a very unusual fashion, Maqil’s disappointments with reality are yours, too. I guess we all have a Maqil, a Mikhail , a Mike : hiding within the labyrinths of our soul.

I also found the unravelling of his daughter’s character very interesting : she inherits his coldness of character without the flightiness.

The writing provides literary references without any presumptuousness, almost carelessly. The humour is sardonic and witty. One is reminded often of Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’ : certain imagery, certain words. Reading the book is like being on a roller coaster ride, tossed mercilessly on the oceans of feeling. Yet, like Maqil, like Life, it is predictable : you do know you are on the ride, after all.

This is a book written like poetry, about a mundane life made extraordinary. It is a performance, like everything else we do in life.

A brilliant performance.

“I’m a child in the womb, once more, buried in ink and blood, waiting to see if there might be darkness, or light, on the other side. Black or Red. I’ve waited too long for this; this time, I’ll take a chance.”

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Reflections of an ordinary life.

We all have those moments of extraordinary clarity. Those moments where we realize how ordinary we are, how meaningless our lives are in the larger scheme of things. You know, grow up, get married, work, die. Thoughts that would have depressed me in my twenties. Surprisingly though, they liberate me in my thirties.

It has been a journey of extreme emotional pain, my transition from the twenties to the thirties. A journey that questioned my identity, killed my self-esteem and threw me off balance in ways that I could have never imagined. I probably sleep-walked all the way, just to escape all the hurt and pain. Yet, it was all my fault. I went through the pain because I was not smart enough. I was not “me” and so I paid the price.

I can now see a lot of people for who they are. I know nothing really matters and so, everything I do matters. It is tough to explain if you are somewhere else at this point of time. We all have a map to traverse, a certain journey to make. And sometimes, you don’t understand things if they are not part of your map. Yet, the ego loves doling out advice, so here goes a few pieces of advice. To all those souls who are struggling to fit in. Or wriggle out of.

The throes of society.

The hypocrisies of the mind.

Those unseen labyrinths of fear and monotony.

Well, the very first thing is,

Never, ever do anything that does not make you happy. I am extremely serious about this one. Fights end, arguments get smoothened over – but the resentment from doing something that you did not wish to do? That requires serious nerves of steel to get rid of.

Which brings me to the next thing,

There is no one “normal” life. I know, we have heard this many times before. But now I know it’s true. We are all products of probability, all our life events are victims to chance. Meeting that one person, landing that one job, meeting that one fertility expert or adoption agency, winning that one lottery. See how ridiculous it is? Let go.  When you die, none of it will matter. It might sound negative but is actually a very liberating thought. Just give an F. I mean, damn. See how easy that is?

Once you have done that, go back to the first thing. Do what makes you happy. You’ll do it really well, whether or not it matters. Keep doing it.

Over and over again.

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Blues…

The sun streams in through our skylights. Many spaces in my kitchen and living room are drenched in gold. I sit on my favourite bench in the house, watching the dogs nap. The little one is on her cycle and as I  sip my tea, I  think of all the things I want.

I  want to keep this immaculate home and bake all these wonderful cakes. I want to wake up early and steam fluffy idlies to be eaten with coconut chutney. I want to cook these luscious vegan gulab jamuns. I want to  do vegetable painting with M. I  want to  walk the dogs on unexplored paths of joy. Sigh. I  did do many of these things over the past few weeks. But now I  long for them more than ever.

I long for them because I  have less than  a week of my vacation left! Boohoo. If you ask my husband though, I  have had enough holidays!  And yeah, I  cribbed about my lack of intellectual stimulation while at home, too. So better not to ask him anything!

I want to  be a homemaker. I want to go out to work. I want to earn. I want to  grow things. I want everything, all at once, all together.

Can you tell me how?

Sunrise, sunset…

 

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I wake up, I lie down

and life goes on.

Around me, the world crumbles

and is rebuilt again.

Each day, each second

time flies or stays still. 

I have learnt naught

Or maybe a lot.

Life and death co-exist,

Games of light and shadow

Play upon windows of ice. 

Acts of love entwine themselves

with the darkness of my soul. 

Sunrise, sunset

How can you tell the difference?

 

 

 

Sookshma, the subtle one

An adaptation of A.K.Ramanujan’s translation of a Kannada folk tale, Sookshma was truly an experience of myriad pleasures. Performed at the ADA Rangamandira in Bangalore last evening, the show had, like I often like to say, ‘soul’ .

Sookshma_Mar16

I have never seen Odissi before, not counting the one afternoon we had spent at Nrityagram. It seemed like a dance form of fluidity and grace and last evening’s performance was no different. The movements were languid and graceful and the pace was pleasurably slow. With our lifestyles of fast this and fast that, it was refreshing to just sit back and allow your emotions to rain over you, to feel sadness or joy to the whole.

While the dancers were truly a class apart, what gave the show character was the music. It fit into every scene beautifully, so much so that even an awkward non-dancer like me wanted to get up and keep pace. Like one of the guests who spoke after the show said, ” you could see every scene, thanks to the music.” I wish I could get a copy of the music somewhere. Strains of those melodies still ring in my ears and I am left groping in the dark, trying to clutch on to what little I have/remember.

Though the ballet talks about woman as Nature, I find the comparison a tad too trite. Nature for who she is, as the subtle one who is being destroyed by us with every passing day, is the protagonist here. Not any woman, but Nature in particular. The title makes sense when you look at how Nature has always been a quiet force but when not cared for, becomes conspicuous with her absence.

I want…

fly

Some days, I want and I want;

A little of this and a little of that, 

Never too sure, but never too much. 

 

The names slip away

the words are garbled

but I want and I want.

 

A bucket of sunshine

or a mug of the waves,

or some dew to rub into my hair. 

 

I want and I want

all the love I can find and 

a few romances to spice up my day. 

 

I know my dishes are undone

My baby’s crying and I am thirty-two;

But I want and I want.

 

And I want and I want…..

 

 

 

Some choices in life…(Blogathon Post Three)

The auditorium was packed.  It was the last day of college and the juniors had organised a farewell, to say goodbye to their older friends. After three years of fun and learning, they would now step into the real world, of monthly salaries, budgets, work pressure and demanding bosses. That was not the only reason for the crowd, though. It was Aditya.

The man with a divine voice. He enthralled the entire university with his music. As if his voice was not enough, he could play the violin and the sitar too. Not too surprising, for Aditya belonged to a family inclined towards music. Some of his uncles taught music at university and his maternal aunt was a playback singer. His own father Mr. Ranjan Joshi , was an accomplished sitar player, who often played at family weddings, much to their delight. The young, dynamic Aditya Joshi and his music, thus, were at the helm of activities that day. 

The crowd fell silent as he walked onto the stage. In his powder blue linen shirt and frayed jeans, he looked like one of them. Until he began to sing. Not one soul in the crowd thought of their mobile phones or the upcoming fashion parade. The songs he sang, the soulful singing, his earnest brown-black eyes : Aditya just could not be ignored. Indeed, at that very moment, there was someone in the audience was making up dreams. 

” Adi, beta, there’s a call for you. It is Mr. Kumar from Hindustan Music. ” 

Aditya woke up with a start. Hindustan Music? That was one of the leading music companies in the country, churning out one hit song after another.

” Gimme that, Ma! ” 

Ten minutes later, Aditya hung up, had a quick shower, gulped down a hot cup of tea and zup! He was gone before his mother could ask him to finish his breakfast.

                                                                                                           *********************************************************************************************************************


Garden View restaurant was not too crowded at this time of the day. Mr. Kumar waited for Aditya Joshi. He was excited. Last night he had called up the dean to get the young man’s name and number. He could not wait for Aditya to join  them at Hindustan Music. He was just the voice they needed : fresh, youthful and sincere. 

” Good morning,  Sir.” 

” Nice to meet you Aditya. You had no trouble finding the restaurant, I suppose?”

” Not at all Sir. I stay just a few kilometres away. ” 

When Aditya returned home that afternoon, he felt on top of the world. He hugged his mother, tickled the dog and drenched the gardener with the hose. He felt proud that he had an offer like this, barely out of college. THREE  songs , could you imagine, from the next album released by  HM! His parents were overjoyed and looked forward eagerly to the new start in their son’s life. Why, it seemed like yesterday when he uttered his first sound, ” dada” ! 

Aditya reached the studio early. Nervous and excited, both at once. Mr. Kumar came over to wish him all the best and gave him the lyrics of the song he was to record over the next few days. After that, he was on his own with the team.  

“Ye jo nadi hai…

Kahaaniyaan laati hain…

Suno suno, o dilwale…”

Gentle and soothing, his first song was about a river, that brought stories, if you cared to listen. He poured his heart into and the music director was just more than happy. The song suited his voice perfectly and it seemed to be made to order for the actor in the film! When the first song was done, he just could not wait to start working on the next one. He treated his parents at Garden View and they spoke of the meeting that kick started his career, in full style. ” It started under these trees, ” they joked.

For his second song, his mother wanted to accompany him, for every parent loves to see their child at work. Especially someone like Aditya, who devoted himself to his work. From a corner of the studio, she could see Aditya learning his lines. She noticed a sudden pallor come over to his face. She saw him go to Mr. Kumar and as something. Mr.Kumar was laughing and patting him on the back. But Adi did not look amused. He continued to speak. Mr. Kumar stopped for a minute and called the lyricist. 

A  voice boomed through the studio. ” I will not do this.” 

With that, Aditya stormed out the studio, glancing at his mother to follow him. 

” Meri strawberry hai tu kahaan 

Oh baby, meri alfonso mango hain tu..

tujhe chod ke jaaoon kahaan,

tere lips, oh yeah, meri barbie doll hain tu…” 

He asked his mother, “Tell me one thing, Ma. Are you a strawberry?”

His mother looked uncomfortable. ” No.. ” 

“Would you like it if father called you a barbie doll?”he persisted. 

” I am not one! See my figure, beta!” his mother laughed out loud. 

” That IS not the point. What kind of girl do you think I will marry?” Aditya refused to give up, he wanted his mother to know how he felt.

” Someone who loves music and loves you. Intelligent and well-read. And it wouldn’t hurt if she could be my friend..” she added as an afterthought. 

” How about I marry an alfonso mango?” 

” Don’t take these things literally, Adi. these are formulae that work. Film songs become hits when they are written like this.” Finally his mother knew what he was talking about. 

Aditya’s mouth straightened into a smile. ” Then I do not want to do it. I am sorry, Ma. ”                                              **********************************************************************************************************************Today, Aditya works at a school, teaching music. On rainy days, he does think of the lost opportunity, when he threw everything away, just because of an idea he subscribed to. Yet every time he saw his wife smile (who was not a barbie doll, but a regular woman who worked and sang and cleaned and mothered and read Gödel in her spare time) or the two baby girls, who scampered around their home (and yes, they were not strawberries) – he knew it was all okay. 

He had a full life.