Tuesday, November 28, 2006

from bangalore

From Bangalore:

Last days at a place involve you before releasing you altogether, for better or for worse. There’s the meeting up and final words with friends and then coming back to your solitary thoughts. Within the last minute chaos is a new direction. Everyone else knows about it but only you are entitled to feel it.

I’ve 2 more days in Bangalore. I had arrived here quite inauspiciously, having forgotten my 10th marks card that had, to cut a long story very close to its denouement, resulted in 4 weeks in a pigeonhole with a dastardly patron to survive. I survived, if this post isn’t proof enough.

Back then, I had a better plan for the future; right now there’s a much stronger conviction.

Yesterday I went to 3 shops to sell off old furniture, understood soon that their keepers didn’t think much of my belongings and ended up making the deal with a very good friend. It’s uncomfortable to do business with a friend; you are wary about hurting his sensitivities by quoting a high price, and too low a price only ends up making you rue the transaction. And with a close friend you’re afraid something untoward may creep into, and then disturb, the mutual equation and with barely a friend, the deal shall set the tone for future affairs.

Non-sequitur: my mother is unconvinced about my skill at packing. She pesters me with questions that concern vexing details. I’m not as concerned. Is this skill gender specific or am I just too bad to notice my level of inaptitude? My checquered career has had a few blemishes (refer to the story of the missing 10th marks and the sneaking patron) which, my mother feels, don’t give me the liberty, or audacity, to pacify her worries.

Going off a philosophical tangent, most choices you make aren’t that momentous. They only set the tone. It’s what you do afterwards that bake or burn. Such a vantage point can work both ways: it can keep you more focused on action and keep your mind off unnecessary regret or elation, or it can take the sheen off the finality of any occasion and make your approach towards any decision lackadaisical.

I wonder about friends though. Will it be the same ever again? Something very sublime inside of me asks, ‘Why can’t it be better?’ I’m bad at keeping in touch. But I hope the sublime outlasts this something so commonplace.

The next 2 days will pass off and arrange themselves in a week, which will tuck itself in a month that will fit in a year. Just a number: 2006. As I’ll remember that figure with events—personal and national—I’ll probably never pause to ask: what did I learn from it? Did living become just a force of habit? Or did it actually matter?

The nub is to travel the journey and not to canter to any destination.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

that name on the merit list

They hadn't cost her a dime, her dreams. But there, in that very public of places, they melted into tears. And fell off her luminous eyes. Slowly and softly. She didn’t mind them, slipping away. There were enough happy, sparkling, bulbous beads to spare. She remained glued to that name on the hastily written list, checking every letter, her lips mouthing every syllable. That was the one, she told herself. That had to be her child.

She pulled herself out from the cloud of nervous parents. The glistening film on her upper lip was wiped away by an impatient hand that longed to be clasped with the other in prayer. She looked upwards and then inwards. Her God had a heart, surely.

That night she rode up the crescent moon and pitched her nascent dreams into the night sky. Before she came down, she broke a small piece off the lucent concave, heedful that it would disappear into an emptiness soon. She would try to make it last until the end of the month. Like an item of grocery. And then wait for it again.

She couldn’t believe that name on the merit list still. How much would an English school education cost? For then, it didn’t matter. Neither did the blisters wedged between her toes.

Friday, November 03, 2006

my plough, my land

Ladies and gentlemen, seraphs, elves and pirates, exhibit number 1: a star-studded plough.

What would you think if you’re pointed out a plough in the sky? Any sense of wonder? Gasps--audible and visible? Diminutive dreams tumble out from your imagination, swell and threaten to turn real. Oh, back to the plough. A plough with which to till the skies, with glittering stars for beads of your perspiration. Clouds who had been reconnoitering, though aimlessly, waiting to pour down on, now gather with an unmistakable urgency. Something debatable, worth talking about, has led to their most recent caucus. After much deliberation they decide on a plough–-that one with stars.

And drop it onto my backyard. A plough with which to till the skies, with glittering stars for beads of my perspiration.

And guess what? I got the job.