Thursday, February 28, 2013


 I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"

 True love leaves no traces
If you and I are one
It's lost in our embraces
Like stars against the sun

As a falling leaf may rest
A moment on the air
So your head upon my breast
So my hand upon your hair

And many nights endure
Without a moon or star
So we will endure
When one is gone and far

True love leaves no traces
If you and I are one
It's lost in our embraces
Like stars against the sun


I hate the words lukewarm and what it signifies; i find it stifling that it is neither here, nor there. I hate how the word should dictates our lives. I am livid about but, and what usually follows it. Certain words leaves me defeated and sad, like overlook, as it reminds me of the Anais Nin quote, "What I don't love, I overlook". Hope and i share a tumultuous relationship; sometimes it makes me lie on satin sheets, covers me with a soft quilt, runs its fingers through my hair and lulls me to sleep saying how everything will be alright when I wake up; sometimes it drags me by the hair to hurl me off a bridge into unknown depths. Acceptance is a frail old man who holds my hand throughout it all, but he is so tiny that sometimes i forget his existence. I love love, even when it is about chasing the horizon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Love In The Translucent Wrap of Ambiguity

"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun."~Pride and Prejudice

She is in love with him; somewhat tentatively, a little defiantly and so utterly. It is funny that she missed how and when it all began. It is funnier, the dumb things she does to be crammed in a tiny nook of his mind and linger, even if just for a moment. And it is positively hilarious that she takes solace in sentences like ‘at least he knows my name’, ‘once upon a time we had stood breathing the same air’, or ‘tomorrow is another day’.

She doesn’t conceal it; although to avoid awkwardness on his part on seeing her naked heart and mind, sometimes she covers it in a translucent wrap of ambiguity. She allows him a convenient escape under the pretense of never having known, stamping all over her vulnerabilities. She knows it is not his fault; he hadn’t asked for it. And it isn’t her fault too. Over the years she had built up her fortifications and defenses well, to ward off anyone from messing up her life, but he had walked right through those walls without ever intending to. He must have gone about living his usual life doing the usual things he does, and by some dumb accident ended up taking her hostage within her own life, completely unaware. And by doing just that, he had rooted her to him.
Unintended events remain undeclared, but in the mind and heart. She is not articulate enough to say it in clear, precise words; nor is she brave enough to withstand another blow of indifference. But inactivity is equally frightening, as is the thought that he knows how often she thinks about him. So she dons the translucent wrap of ambiguity, to allow him to walk away; or in a world of wishful thinking, to come to her someday.

Unnamed List

1. glee
2.the good unrest
3. glorious curiosity
4. hugs
5. humility, grounded feet and some good sense
6. opportunities to surprise self
7. people to love and cherish
8. engaging books
9. rich inner world
10. kindness
11. portable oasis of calm in chaos
12. toned down cynicism
13. wanderlust
14.dumb and stupid and unrestrained and unavoidable and misfit and wonderful and lingering love
15. clockwork working of kidneys, heart, liver, brain, lungs, intestines, bones, muscle and imagination
16. smile, giggle, chuckles, chortle, cachinnate, howl, roar, belly-laugh
17. gratitude when/where due
18. trees of all sorts; windswept, bare, evergreen, ugly and twisted
19. secret and delightful remnants of mischief and anarchy
20. perspective, clear perspective
21. fucking happy; or vice versa
22. grit and gumption
23. unsullied trust
24. crisp white sheet, soft bed, open window, zephyr, outrageous dreams, infinite possibilities
25. unpeeled vulnerability
26. audacity
27. life in each moment

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ichigo Ichie

Ichigo Ichie is a Japanese phrase that means “treasure every encounter, for it will never recur.”

It would be wonderful to put this into practice, won't it? While standing at the cash queue at the supermarket, tapping your foot out of boredom, you might look behind you and find another restless foot tapping on the floor, and the foot might belong to a girl with a funny eyebrow tic; a smile might be shared, and ichigo ichie, someday she might turn out to be a friend who would share books with you, bookmarking the passages that she thinks you might like.

You might have walked past him a thousand times and never noticed anything but a frown, and ichigo ichie, one day you might look up and see a shy smile that wraps you in an unbreakable bubble of warmth and joy, and you might even allow it to float you away.

On a day when you are gasping for breath on the steps outside an ICU, as the vitals of a parent nearly flat lines, and ichigo ichie, a hand with freckled skin and gnarly knuckles might touch your shoulder and an unfamiliar voice might tell you that it will be alright; you might not believe her; but when things do turn out alright, you might recall the comforting words of that nameless stranger and keep her in your daily prayer.

You might stifle a slight irritation for the diminutive old man who hobbles down the stairs with a cane, and holds you up during your morning rush to work, and ichigo ichie, one day you might not rush past but walk beside him, and he might chuckle and tell you how he was as young and hurried once, authoring dozens of books and earning acclaim, but how he was also the missing husband in a marriage, and an absent father at home, and that might slow your steps to an appropriate pace.

It might be someone you meet just once, or the regular crowd of your life; but every encounter is unique in terms of time, circumstances and what we say and do. Keep your ears and eyes open. Give in to that moment. Every encounter might not lead to anything substantial; but you never know which ones would strike a lifelong connection, or set off a series of serendipitous events, or provide moments of shared laughter, or make you more aware of what you want, or just clear a haze.

One opportunity, one encounter. Seize the moment.

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Drowning in secretly nervous words,
inappropriately excessive and reckless,
I gasped for breath in a vast space
teeming with all things restless.

Your words- rationed and reluctant-
mocked my volubility; laughed softly
to test limits of patience and desire,
overlooking the unsaid quite firmly.

My utterances were often profuse.
I fear you eyed them with disdain;
I stuttered, fumbled, and went mute.
Laconic, my love continues to remain.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Random Smile-Inducers

Lack of internet connectivity on my phone and laptop made me me grumpy the whole day. There aren’t any important mails to send or any pending assignments to complete. I had deactivated all my social network accounts as they were tiring, unproductive and intrusive; and i no longer missed them. But somehow I felt very isolated and couldn’t figure out why. That caused the grumpiness. I tried to focus on the random things that we pass by unnoticed but have the potential to induce a smile. The subtle and often hidden humour needs to be extracted from the surface of seemingly monotonous and sometimes unfortunate occurrences. Today I cite three such random incidents here.

I am scared of birds, especially the rock pigeons and their obscenely loud flutter of wings, the guttural cooing, the creepy rotation of their necks and their surprising knack of flirting with danger when they sit on electric wires. But these damn birds had haunted me all my life. When I was three I was attacked by a pair of swans taller than me, and i had fainted. This was followed by few fat ducks and a smart-alecky parrot which my grandmother had determined to keep as pets throughout my childhood. During my first job, I was posted in a godforsaken village and allotted dilapidated living quarters that seemed to be standing upright on sheer willpower. On the first night I was rudely awakened by sounds of something short and heavy jumping on the hollow ceiling. Ghost of some brutally murdered previous child occupant was the first thought that came to my mind. The next morning the hospital pharmacist laughed off my fears. I had just about heaved a sigh of relief when he casually mentioned, “It’s just a family of large, white owls.” He had the audacity to call them cute too. I would have preferred an army of ghosts. These (parliament of) owls were huge and despite my pleading cries, my mother refused to drive them off. They are a favorite of Maa Saraswati! Wtf! Then there are the pigeons that follow me around everywhere I go, and perch in groups on my window ledge. I have given up sitting on the front verandah because of the rock pigeons that fly in to soak in the sunshine! Ironically I had been born into a family who named the kids after some weird peacock fetish! My sister delights in scaring me that I would get unknowingly get married to a ‘ichchadhari’ (shape-shifter) pigeon (as in the infamous ichchadhari nagin) and will wake up one night hugging a giant grey pigeon, my husband! Anyways, not long ago the building I stay in was undergoing renovation and one day I was startled by the sight of my parents chatting with a man who was crouching  outside our window, about forty feet above the ground. Once the initial shock wore off, I realized that he was crouching on the makeshift bamboo ladder and was getting ready to paint the window ledge, and my parents were helping him remove the flower pots from there. Suddenly, he asked, “What do I do about this?” My parents quickly exchanged alarmed looks with each other before turning towards me. I knew they were hiding something that involved their annoying love for anything avian. I shouted, “Is there a pigeon’s nest on our window ledge?” They shook their heads in unison, but the crouched painter craned his neck through the open window to look at me, flashed his betel-stained teeth and said, “Yes majoni, there’s a big nest over here, and two baby pigeons too. Come here. Come and see.” My parents had a sudden murderous glint in their eyes as if they wanted to shove the painter from his precarious post for revealing the secret. But the painter’s placid and almost cow-like countenance, oblivious of how his words had scared me; and my parents’ sheepish grins were just too funny and I burst out laughing.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Wonder Years

My heart goes out to my young cousins and their generation of children who were born and brought up in big, noisy cities. They are frighteningly precocious, growing up at a pace and picking up stuff that is hard to monitor. Their talents and skills are superior to us; they can multitask and are far more articulate and self-assured than we ever were. But their childhood had been deprived of certain joys and cramped with unhealthy stress for no fault of theirs. Space is precious; apartments are cropping up everywhere and playgrounds are disappearing. Pollution and deforestation paints their world a dull grey. There is neither the space nor the time to devote to pets even if they wanted to. Families are nuclear.  Parents have to work long hours, and children are raised by a host of servants. Or after school they come home to empty apartments, heat up meals on the microwave, and gobble them while surfing the countless channels on TV. They spend their afternoons playing video games or surfing the internet, constantly distracted by a beeping mobile phone, ordering take-outs, and looking haggard after a long day of school, dance recitals, swimming, guitar classes, football, study tutorials etc. There is always some upcoming competition or exam looming in the horizon. Their playground is the empty concrete car parking in their building.

There are barely any trees, ponds, large green grounds or pure, unadulterated fun in their lives. Their minds are too cramped with exam questions to have a healthy curiosity for anything else, and are too tired to develop a reading habit. Holidays are hurried and spent in hotels and touristy sites. They cook pastas and fancy omelettes by watching You Tube videos and turn up their noses at the simple, home-made fare. Derogatory slang words pepper their vocabulary. The lack of respect for teachers and the aversion for school is alarming. They are always unsatisfied, and demand new gadgets and expensive objects ever so often. Neither the parents nor the children could do much about adapting these lifestyle changes. Urbanization demands that you keep pace with it, it can’t be helped. Things are changing, and rapidly. Even my hometown barely has any traces of the old world charm that it held. I don’t hate the busy life in a city; I like its chaos and dizzying pulse. But it leads to a somewhat deprived, stressful and precocious childhood. I am lucky to have been one of the last few generations to have experienced the joy of a childhood in a relatively unsullied and small town of Assam.

Parker& Bishop

 On Being A Woman

Why is it, when I am in Rome,
I'd give an eye to be at home,
But when on native earth I be,
My soul is sick for Italy?

And why with you, my love, my lord,
Am I spectacularly bored,
Yet do you up and leave me- then
I scream to have you back again?
~Dorothy Parker

Friday, February 15, 2013

Morning Monologue on Things Inappropriate and Disregarded

At four in the morning the Middlemarch book brick tumbled off the bedside shelf, picked up momentum, took a cruel trajectory and landed on my face, book spine to nasal cartilage; probably as a sign of protest against its use as a bookend. I found myself awake at this early hour on a day when i was neither chirpy enough to dive straight out of bed onto the yoga mat nor poetic enough to press my face against the window pane and watch dewdrops trickle down the leaves of my favorite tree.

I wanted to read but the recently hazardous books didn't seem enticing; so i logged on to stories that were safely encased in distant computer servers. I found myself browsing 'The Paris Review' for love stories, even when that fat cherub, Cupid, had left an unpleasant taste in my mouth yesterday; it reeked of the black bile of indifference. I found one that was straight out of my Before-Sunrisey dreams and packed in serendipity, Edna St. Vincent Millay, long journeys, and a loft with a typewriter. I also learnt that in Yiddish, there's a beautiful word called bashert that describes the person you are fated to meet, your soul mate. I read a cleverly titled 'Love Stories' by Phoebe Connelly. The lovers separate in the end, but I could identify with the little things one does, unasked, uncalled for and often unnoticed, when gripped by the throes of love. I felt a sad tenderness for her when she started reading books for him, not out of curiosity or interest or compulsion, but out of affection. The aching familiarity was an odd comfort; halfway across the world a woman in love had done the same things that I had done, and felt foolish about later. Here is an excerpt.

"...courting each other with words—our own, but also those of any writer we thought might impress. We certainly weren’t the first to go this route. But like every romance, and every reading list, it felt like our own. The question “What are you reading?” became a convenient excuse to chat when we spotted each other online, to send links, to write long, complicated letters in which the subtext was always desire. For him I read Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter, which I had dismissed, without reading, as rankly sexist. (My opinion didn’t improve much after the fact, but he argued that the main character was a true portrait of the male writer.) I sent him John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy after quoting a description of Smiley’s wife out of context. He told me it drove him near mad that the line didn’t come until the second-to-last scene in the book. I started compulsively reading novels set on the West Coast. A sticky  July was spent filling in the gaps of my Lew Archer catalog; I hoarded tatty James M. Cain paperbacks and dreamed of smoggy afternoons and winters without snow. Was I falling in love with F. or with the idea of a city that lent itself so easily to narration?"

These lines wouldn't mean anything to the casual reader, but i had to thrust my lower jaw forward and blink rapidly to block the stinging tears. Stupid, that's what i am!

It was still early but a pale light had sheathed everything outside my window. It felt like a Norah Jones moment, and I brushed my teeth to the rhythms of 'Sunrise'. Try singing 'and i said ooooooooooo' with toothpaste foam in your mouth. Fun, but not a pretty picture. Edna Millay was still on my mind, and I downed my morning coffee searching for an appropriate poem that spoke of my attempt to distract my mind from an inappropriate person for whom I had inappropriate feelings at an inappropriate time. Turns out she had written just the poem for it. Another proof that all over the world, beyond barriers of distance and time, people are linked by the familiarity of emotions. Here it is.

Intention To Escape From Him
I think I will learn some beautiful language, useless for commercial
Purposes, work hard at that.
I think I will learn the Latin name of every songbird, not only in
America but wherever they sing.
(Shun meditation, though; invite the controversial:
Is the world flat? Do bats eat cats?) By digging hard I might
deflect that river, my mind, that uncontrollable thing
Turgid and yellow, strong to overflow its banks in spring,
carrying away bridges
A bed of pebbles now, through which there trickles one clear
narrow stream, following a course henceforth nefast—

Dig, dig; and if I come to ledges, blast.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

That's Exactly How It Is

Cupid driving the Lovers
Last night in a little black book, The Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes, I stumbled upon words that were ‘so very true’ and instances which were ‘exactly what happens’, and drugged on by this familiarity, I forgot to sleep.

Here are few passages that leaped up to me and asked, “Don’t we look familiar?

After realizing that you love him, and meeting him thereafter for the first time: “I saw him, blushed, turned pale when our eyes met, Confusion seized my bewildered soul.” ~Racine

On the various assurances a lover tries to quell his anxiety of not knowing how the other feels, and resorts to seek answers in irrational ways like plucking the petals of a flower to the rhythm of ‘he loves me/he loves me not’ or randomly rolling a dice and saying, ‘if four, he loves me:
“Magic consultations, secret rites and votive actions rule the lover’s life…’He loves me/he loves me not’...all or nothingif/then. From any consultant whatever, I expect the following: ‘The person you love you as well, and will tell you so tonight.’”

On being unable to let go of the thin thread of hallucinatory desire that the love is reciprocated, but not revealed (for some obscure reason):  
“Even as he obsessively asks himself why he is not loved, the amorous subject lives in the belief that the loved object does love him but does not tell him so…The truth of the matter is that-by an exorbitant paradox-I never stop believing that I am loved. The lover hallucinates what he desires…I love you becomes you love me. One day, X receives some orchids, anonymously; he immediately hallucinate their source: they could only come from the person who loves him; and the person who loves him could only be the person he loves. It is only after a long period of investigation that he manages to dissociate the two interferences: the person who loves him is not necessarily the person he loves.”


While walking uphill on a wintry morning the cold air stabs the eyes and tracks through the throat to settle heavily on the chest; the icy gulps don’t just perpetuate but invigorate my existence; the walk is labored, but who wants to stop? That’s how love feels. Strained, punishing, deoxygenated, and so intoxicating.

It’s an orchestrated and self-permitted ruin. A lunacy that unravels in the stillness of the night, when the mind is devoid of distractions and hurtles towards the thoughts of the one it finds so adorable. Staying away is even more punishing, like trying to hold my breath underwater; I have to surface, give in, and survive.

Odd things satiate: a word, a glimpse, even a shared silence. The regular world continues to rotate and revolve, there’s no apparent change and no one knows; the same work, the same lunch, the same books, the same bed, the same socks, the same people and the same roads. The change is inside; such thoughts! They bring on despair or an unavoidable blush, they torment. They seem so alien yet so familiar.

My life is highly protected. The pieces had taken years of gathering and careful structuring; the mess is not yet tidied, the cracks are still visible; but it is the only home. This intruder can’t take that away or cause further disorder; that is out of bounds. But something makes me want to push the walls with bare hands and make room for him in this familiar and organized mess of my life.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Wonderfully Weird

Nothing perks up a drowsy Sunday afternoon more than watching a buxom beauty belt out a song while suspended a thousand feet above the ground, holding onto a bunch of multi-coloured helium balloons, and simultaneously gyrating her waist. What adds to the pleasure is seeing her lover, dressed in a glaring white polka-dotted suit, shoot the balloons one by one, causing her to sway back to terra firma.

This is preceded by him driving through the countryside in a vintage car with beer bottle and Dennis the Menace stickers, while she runs (mind it) alongside and does all sorts of acrobatics without the slightest quiver of her lips at the threat of a potential RTA (road traffic accident). The song starts with him noisily whispering “I love you”, and before she could recover from her nervous giggles, he follows it up with a query, “ewwh love me?” Such feats can’t occur on open roads without an audience, and sure enough a few bell-bottomed youths run after them to witness the awesome spectacle that unravelled before them. A caravan of bullock-carts feature too.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mop Me Up From The Floor

I would continue to share poems about love all throughout this month. The following poem reveals the inevitable identity of the lover; one who waits and hopes. Simple and profoundly true.

Even if I now saw you
Only once,
I would long for you
Through worlds

~Izumi Shikibu

I would curl up and die happy in this poem. It teases, delights, seduces; and oh, how it loves!

 The things about you I appreciate
May seem indelicate:
I'd like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I'd like to have you in my power
And see your eyes dilate.
I'd like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
To chase you screaming up a tower
Or make you cower
By asking you to differentiate
Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.

I'd like successfully to guess your weight
And win you at a fête.
I'd like to offer you a flower.

I like the hair upon your shoulders,
Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I'd like your particulars in folders
Marked Confidential).

The Pink Cactus

A pink cactus flowers every four years in certain climates; but it can be a rare event in a withering life. Everything important, everything surrounding that life is set aside in the anticipation of this flowering, probably the last it would ever witness. An irrepressible agitation, an air of waiting surrounds the life then, as if for the first shard of darkness to break and let in a stream of daylight, as one paces up and down, illuminated by the thoughts of what is to come, and embracing the delight of what already is. This blooming of the pink cactus is a rare joy that pushes into oblivion all that had ever mattered, all that would ever matter.

In the book i am reading, Colette’s Break of Day, she mentions a letter from her mother in response to an invitation by Colette’s husband. Her mother had politely turned down the invitation because she was seventy six and awaiting the bloom of her pink cactus that might occur any day soon, a phenomenon she might not have the opportunity to witness again, given its cycle of four long years and her advancing age. Colette found this eagerness and sense of wonder, this independence from obligations, duties and human bonds to focus on just what gives her joy, as highly remarkable and inspirational. 

Her mother died the following year, and Colette writes about her, "Whenever I feel myself inferior to everything about me, threatened by my own mediocrity, frightened by the discovery that a muscle is losing its strength, a desire its power or a pain the keen edge of its bite, I can still hold up my head and say to myself: 'I am the daughter of the woman who wrote that letter.'"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Smorgasbord: Overflow, Quiet Worlds, Kisses

"Everyone else seems to have the brakes on… I never feel the brakes. I overflow.”
 ~Anaïs Nin to Henry Miller

This sentence sums up my life. I incline towards the excessive. Overflow of thoughts, of words, of a vague indifference, of solitude, of fernweh, of yearnings, of independence, of anger, of songs, of poems, of a sense of wonder, of impulsiveness, of caring, of travels, of determination, of dreams, of books, of quietness, of volubility, of happiness, of melancholy, of laughter, of hopes, and of love. The brakes are defunct, vestigial. It isn't obvious; everyone sees the invisible walls of restraints that i put up, inhabiting a narrow world of measured words and actions. That's a perception i don't try to correct; a very few people can be accommodated in my inner world, the one without any brakes; they know this world, and it's enough.
If it was possible, i would curl up for a nap in a poem. I would gobble a poem whole. I would plant millions of poems around me, and pluck them at will. I would stuff  poem in a pillow and let it caress me every night. I might even allow a poem to put coffee stains on my books. That's how a good poem makes me feel.

I want to share two of my favorite poems by Jeffrey McDaniel tonight. 'The Quiet World' is in sync with the wordless love I am forced to live, having brakes on for the first time in my life. I am a mute lover. Unsaid words die in my mouth every night as I wait. 'The Archipelago of Kisses' is a encyclopedia of this endearing gesture of love. May the pants of the people who claim that they don't like kisses drop in public! From an overflow to relative scarcity, from meaningless to being steeped with meaning, from fleeting ones to the ones that claim you, from sloppy to sensuous, from dizzying to a comforting habit; kisses grow with us. I still wait for the 'I will love you through a brick wall' kiss and 'I will swim through the Earth for you' kiss; have you found that mouth yet?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

You Come Too

I had been trying to ebb away from the shore of love. But it is just this damn month. It makes me want to read poems. Seriously.

Understand, I'll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I'll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilight meadows,
With this only one dream:
You come too.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On February, Commercialism of Love, My Favorite Couples

On A Train 

The book I’ve been reading
rests on my knee. You sleep.
It’s beautiful out there —
fields, little lakes and winter trees
in February sunlight,
every car park a shining mosaic.
Long, radiant minutes,
your hand in my hand,
still warm, still warm.

~Wendy Cope

Yesterday I came upon this poem that brings together long journeys, a book, love and the February sun. On a dreary day tinged with the loss of a loved one, these words felt like a warm, comforting hand, reminding me of the delights of my favorite month. I love the pleasant chill in the air, the oblong patch of dappled sunshine that sneaks in and spreads over my bed every morning, the first sprouts of green on the bare branches of the tree outside my window, and the dubious yet unavoidable association of love with this month.

It is the month of mass commercialism and ostentatious display of love. The generalization of a single day of the year as the day of love is ridiculous. But it is difficult to avoid this young month dripping with love. It is everywhere; the romantic comedies on TV, the newspaper ads of lovers staring moonily into the horizon, the special offers for couples at restaurants, the love songs blaring everywhere including the dialer tunes, the annoying spam about love horoscopes, tiny little hearts and confetti decorating even the local supermarket, flower stalls at every corner with outrageously priced bouquets, heart-shaped food, even the foam in my cappuccino is a white heart, and the sudden trend of wearing pink or red, lead by the over-enthusiastic teenagers.

I am too old to be a part of the hoopla surrounding this Hallmark holiday. There is also the logistical deficiency of a determined lover out to woo me. The only things I look forward to are the books I had ordered a few days ago (Break of Day by Colette, Book of Disquiet by Pessoa, The Lover’s Discourse by Barthes and The Angle of Repose by Stegner); and as pathetic as it sounds, that makes my month of love, reading books about this baffling emotion. Stories intrigue me, so does love; and a good love story, preferably the real ones, is always a delight. Today I want to mention a few of stories of love whose charm had grown on me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

R.I.P Mayuri Sharma

"all life is no more than a match struck in the dark and blown out again"

A match, whose flame lighted up my world and gave me my name, was blown out today. And I can't help wishing it should have been me instead. My ambitions are simple; I am not the love of anyone's life, and I am not even a mother. You were needed more than me in this world. You were more loved. Yet your light was snuffed out today, leaving me broken. Cancer won. Ironically, on World Cancer Day.

Ba, I had seen the fragility of life at close range while working in the hospital. People die young, unexpected, and sometimes just when their dreams get realized, and no matter how much they are loved. I had known for long that the end was imminent, even though we never said it aloud; I also know that this end has relieved your suffering, yet nothing could prepare us for losing you.

Five years ago I was watching the movie Meet Joe Black, the one where death personified and visited a man's home, and it was few minutes to midnight when the phone rang and I was informed that my pehi had succumbed to a massive myocardial infarct; I never watched that movie again, somehow I associated it with the death. I don’t mourn about my aunt any more, but often remember that particular phone call at work, in the shower, while stuck in the traffic, any time. Once I was sitting at a Microbiology class, when I checked my phone at random and saw a text from my father, "Mini expired. Come home soon". She was a year older than me, and had stayed with us for more than a decade, ever since my father found her on a bus, running away from an abusive step-mother in some remote tea garden of Assam, and with nowhere to go. She became a part of our family, and was undergoing treatment at the hospital for a recently diagnosed brain tumour, dying a few days before her scheduled surgery. The year before you were diagnosed with cancer, you had called up to inform that your father was no more. Such news had always been sudden jolts of shock in my life, never had I seen a dear one go through a long period of suffering. Until you. You withered before our very eyes.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Candles, Mass Murders and Small Towns.
When I was a child I sat at the study desk every evening for a few hours, opening slim volumes of brown notebooks with a serenely smiling Don Bosco on the front cover, to draw maps, solve quadratic equations, summarize a poem or memorize the years of famous battles. I grew up in a modest locality of a small town in Assam, where the residents were thankful for a few hours of electricity every night. And till the time my father brought home a noisy power generator, a candle and a match box were as essential on my study table as a pen. Every time there was a power cut, it was the perfect excuse to plead to my mother that my eyes hurt reading the tiny print in the faint light of the candle. She knew me well, and after confirming with an ophthalmologist that I had excellent vision, she started bringing home newer sets of large candles with thicker wicks.

When I realized that there was no escape from the study desk, I decided to improvise new forms of amusement or escape routes. Once I dipped all the candle wicks in water, but got a much deserved scolding from my mother when she found out. Then there was the dissection of any unfortunate mosquito that got drawn by the flame and landed on the desk. I took out my pent up frustration of being confined to study on the poor mosquito; I trapped it, dissected its tiny wings with a compass from the geometry box, and then burnt their miniscule torsos in the very flame they had flocked to, rounding off the whole exercise with unblinking eyes and a sinister laugh to scare my little sister who watched it with horror from the adjacent table. I was cruel little pyromaniac burning up dozens of minute winged creatures every evening. My cousin had taught me the neat little trick that if one was fast enough, they can move a finger across the flame and not feel a thing. I did that too, till the fun wore off, and a painful blister erupted on my finger.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Layers. The word has always intrigued me. We are never in a rigid mould; there is a fluidity to our personalities, ever changing, as we pile on new layers, and peel off others.

Some are carefully wrapped and covered; few of them need digging to be discovered; and the rest are glaringly visible. My family, and especially my sister, knows me better than anyone else; but there are still unseen layers, subtle, hidden. Friends know what I want them to know. To a few I have revealed more than the rest, but then on a good day, I am ten different persons from dawn to dusk. A goof or a lover; a dreamer or a doer; a compassionate caregiver or a selfish bitch; someone with a secret or an open book; book lover or manic jogger; resilient or vulnerable; a fiery temper or monk like calm; insightful or idiot; voluble or loner; it is hard to say which facet would emerge when.

I still discover new layers ever so often. Impatience and impulsiveness is ingrained in my very core; yet I recently discovered that I too could be patient, I too could let things be, and let go of things without a fuss. That felt good, finding this new layer. It's a puzzle, hard work, digging them up, and knowing them for what they are, deciding what to keep and what to discard, what to reveal and what to conceal, and to whom.

But it is a dear wish that someday someone somewhere would have as much fun peeling off the layers, knowing me, and loving me, as I would have in knowing and loving him for who he is. The above sentence didn't have any sexual innuendo though.