Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Autumn: Cottony skies, Ghibli magic, Banned Books, Lemon Cake, Pasta, Phase 3, Basho, Earthquake and Empty Bank


I would always be partial to November, as it gave me to the world and mostly vice versa.  September comes a close second, autumn subtly coloring up my life.

I got a new job. I am not ecstatic about it. It’s a government job (the mere sound of which nearly mars all possibilities of excitement) at a remote corner of Assam. But it’s preferable to studying at home the whole day till my exams in January. It’s just the right pace, 5 hours a day; the puzzle piece that fits into the jigsaw of my exam preparation and the solitude I seek. The place is so remote it’s like the 1920s.  A car passing by on the dusty road becomes the discussion of the day at the market. The people are laid back and “adda” is the widely practiced local sport. Only solace is the unsullied green fields, the trees, cottony skies, the dew-laden mornings; and a pristine solitude.


 September introduced me to Studio Ghibli movies. My breath often forms a solid lump of joy in my chest, as I watch and relish idyllic visuals, marvel at imaginations, and relieve my childhood. I cling to these movies like an oasis of pure, stark joy. I watch them alone on evenings, in my room, on my bed. 'Grave of the Fireflies', 'Whisper of the Heart', 'Only Yesterday', 'Arrietty', 'Howl's Movng Castle', 'Kiki's delivery Service', 'Princess Mononkone', 'My neighbor Tortoro', 'My neighbours-The Yamadas', 'Ponyo' and 'Spirited Away'. I don’t rush through them, as I usually do with things that interest me. I am slowly savoring each visual, each word and each feeling that it arouses in me.



Being jobless for a month and half, had a weird effect on me. I went on a spending spree knowing fully well my dwindling finances. I added the color purple to my wardrobe, and made Flipkart.com rich by a dozen books. I have an upcoming exam and can’t afford to indulge in the luxury of reading a dozen novels. But I hoard them. My mother has banned nine of these books from my life till January. Her threat is a real one, a new lock on my library evidence of her resolution. She doesn’t trust me when it comes to a few things in life, and reading novels stealthily tops the list. Many a flashlight had been angrily flung to the floor and sacrificed during my childhood, when my mother discovered it aiding a new novel to keep me awake beyond 3 am. I am 25, I have few bank accounts, I can drive, I can finally cross roads during rush hour, I can eat alone in restaurants, I am a doctor, I can call myself almost an adult; but I dare not defy my mother’s rules when an exam looms in the near horizon. So, the books are banned. Not the MCQ books though.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Words





 In old library
Read Dante by candlelight,
As moths ate words.




A pregnant red bus
The faces unnerve you,
An old friend waves.

 




I draw the curtains,
Killing a patch of sunbeam,
A peeping neighbour.







Insomnia,
I watch silvered shadows walk
On a moonlit path.



A mute observer
Veiled in leafy vines,
Chameleon of a door.






Old tales revive
As one combs a sister's hair,
Time halts to smile.





 

(Photo courtesy: millyonair.files.wordpress.com, lucasusual.com, 123rf.com, www.kershisnik.com)

Monday, September 5, 2011

I wish I was in your class again.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'."

You might remember me only as a face in your classroom. But I will always be grateful for your support, belief in me and guidance at crucial points of my life. I feel blessed to be your student.

This is for you:~

Ma'am Deepti Singh: For that encouraging smile, a pat on the back, and developing a healthy competitive streak in me. And it touches me that you remember me even though it has been fifteen years since I last sat in your classroom. You were, are and will always be my favorite teacher in the whole wide world.

Sir Bijoy Handique: You were a lot of firsts for me. You were the first person to notice the 'biggest introvert' (me) in the classroom, the first to appreciate my work, the first to believe that I could achieve something big, the first to create a genuine interest to learn something instead of mugging up for exams and what do you know, you were even my first crush! I will always like history :) And the fact that you still remember me as the little girl in a grey skirt, wearing tiny, hoop earrings and traveling to school in the old fiat...delights me no end.

Ma'am Manjula: Your smile comforted me on the first day of kindergarten. You taught me the alphabet. You didn't laugh when I said that I sent my sports shoes to the 'barber' for cleaning!

Ma'am Ruprekha: I still remember the first thought that crossed my mind when I first saw you, "If my grandmother dressed up in chiffon sarees and wore lipstick, she too would look as beautiful as Ruprekha Ma'am". I think your maternal aura made it impossible for anyone not to like you. How you patiently listened to my fanciful imaginations about ETs, doppelgangers and the ghosts in the school church!

 Ma'am Anita: You were the woman of 2011 in 1994! You made learning such fun. You brought beautifully crafted jewellery boxes to class when teaching about indigenous craftsmanship of Jammu and Kashmir, you taught us to appreciate the beauty of a song's lyrics (the example was 'ek ladki ko dekha toh aisa laga'), you striked the perfect balance between being amiable yet someone we didn't dare anger!

Sir Joseph: You introduced me to the world of books...novels, poems, short stories, essays, and even limericks. You let me borrow 4 library books every month when the rule was a limit of maximum 2 books. You played chess with me and didn't make a big fuss when I bunked PT class. You also bought me pastries in the school canteen, when the queue was long. You are awesome :)

Ma'am Srivastav: You always saw through my trick of feigning stomach ache when it was my turn to read a passage from the Hindi textbook, but you didn't scold and embarrass me in front of the class. You gradually let the love for the language grow on me, even though it never reached substantial heights. But you managed to hold my hand and walk with me through my living hell of writing Hindi essays!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Rain



I nestled my face against the half open windowpane, a book on my lap as I watched the clouds veil the sun and paint the sky a sharp grey. The wind blew in a stray leaf through my window; it was from the tree that I wake up to every morning. I picked up the papery leaf, and placed it on page 96 of the book I had been reading. It can wait.

Soon, it was coming down really hard. Sudden. Unexpected. Gratifying. I heard it on the tin roof, felt it on my outstretched hand, breathed it in as it soaked the garden, saw it glisten on the new road, and tasted it in a warm samosa and mango pickle.

I watched the rain for an hour, as it cocooned me from everything that bothered me in the recent past. I had said too much, messed up priorities, and hurt many. Relying on a memory that blocked out unpleasant incidents and repressed mistakes, I tried to lead a normal life; but kept on making the same mistakes over and over again. The brain was quick to mask them before I could learn my lesson. I lived in illusions to make it from one day to the other.