Saturday, December 30, 2006

6 weird things about me (tagged by abbagirl)

1. I am moody. I could be effusive this week and look through you the next. Or cheery upbeat this week and pessimist the next.

2. I hate- just hate- to dust.

3. I like what I like, quite completely. All of an authors’/ musicians’ work. All Rehman. All Maugham. All Cronin. Once I like what I like, I do not really care what the trend is.

4. I will go the last mile to be there for a friend. Some of this is really strange- take a midnight train to reach a wedding in time, pick a fight, fly down for a day, reach the airport at 4 in the morning for about 5 minutes of being able to say hello. I know some of this is overdoing- I don’t care.

5. I *like*remixes.

6.I am a news junkie. I will read last month’s business papers too.

6 people to tag?'re tagged!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Pretty trees, half-a-foot tall and some.
Decked with cotton wool, crinkly leaves, a bit of red.
Stars with a hundred-one corners. Silver, red and gold paper chains , a-flutter.
Something in the air; now you reach out and touch it, now you can’t.

2007, they say, is the year of fire over water.
Sweeps clean, I tell myself.

The making of Happy Feet.
Tom and Jerry.
Ah bliss.

Can you match the colors of the band over the horizon at dawn? Break it up into cmyk, key in the percentages? Can you capture the hiss of a receding wave at high tide?
Feel the wind on your face.

Laugh, a child races the waves.

Pics on flickr in some.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Radiocity 91.1 fm, music-e–azam, 8 am
(yes, I have switched station loyalties, for a while)
Featuring the masters.
Shankar Mahadevan is RJ with Manish Paul and has so far, interviewed:
Zakir Hussain saab on Monday.
Ghulam Ali saab y’day.
Sonu Nigam, this morning.
(Haven’t laughed so much in a long time. Mr Nigam is a precise mimic. Even when he’s nasal. Hilarious tangents to their conversation.)

Some anecdotes were awe-inspiring.
Zakir Hussain saab’s recounting of how his tabla practice sessions would start at 2 or 3 am in the morning when his father returned from his concerts. Percussion beats, the pin-drop silence of the night, learning about life and music at his father’s feet.
(That tritaal stayed with me all day, starting with the simple and getting ornamental with flourishes as it progressed. Brought back memories of collaborative covering up, almost missing out the sam and then fighting, practicing so many afternoons after school)

Ghulam Ali saab’s recounting of how he was initiated into precious tutelage by Bade Ghulam Khan saab- I could see the scene, a congregation of wise listeners by Lahori gate some winter morning, the maestro resting attentively on a charpoy and a young boy (who'd traveled a long distance from his village in a horse carriage and coal-fueled bus), presenting his first tentative notes.
(Khansaab’s trademark kataar thumri stayed with me all day, that and a hameer tarana).


Monday, December 18, 2006

This is about looking back.
One of those end-of-year things.
About one of those times when the scale changes.
So what is the point in revisiting?
Prettily masochistic. Driving in the knife and checking if it still fits. Curiosity?
The edges have long sealed, serrated shut. But you can just about see a faint line of a maw, of once upon a time.
And you have a pattern of behavior sitting in your subconscious , labeled bizarre.
So there are initials you won’t use. Terms of addressing you won’t use.
Politeness is a sweet armor. Nice.
This is like one of those physics conundrums where you are in the picture, but you are not actually in the picture because you are not you, the moment has moved on.
So that before and after are never mirror images.
No, I never did get those tests right either.

2003 was long ago, I remind myself.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Poinsettias are a flash of red against green by the bridge, a nifty sunshine print.

The man in the next seat traversed continents to rest his father’s ashes; after forty years away this river, sky and land are still home. Just as the corner badam, mango by the wall and the jui creeper on the porch will witness mine someday.

From the plane, the window frames a perfect abstract at dawn, a red band dips past a peach background clean cut to the horizon.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A traffic jam on j j flyover is not the best place for a bout of sudden claustrophobia. For watching the minutes tick by. Watching cars huddle four deep in space designed for just three. Watching the curtain billow on a tiny lit-square of a window next to the flyover. Glimpse, if you must, for a brief moment the spotless kitchen inside. Wonder idly if the bridge was designed to take this sort of wear and tear, bumper to bumper on idle. Not much left past a cement cloud should it crumble, or so one thinks. Next time take the train, and appearances be damned.

The saga continues re water pipes, concrete roads and pneumatic drills that thunder ratatatatat past midnight. Voila, no dusting required. Step out and walk past a makeshift huddle, curly-haired dimpled baby playing blissfully on a tar road, custodian seven-year-old brother and dark skinned labourer mother watching from a distance. “Naam?,” I ask. “Rani,” he says bashfully. “And you?” “Raja,” he says looking down. As simple as that.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Grey squares

MMRDA is widening roads in my part of town.
(MMRDA has pulled up water pipes to widen roads in my part of town.)
I knew I make a little last, a very long way.
Now know that works as well for a few buckets of water.

Go, Neha, go.
To a new city, new job, new people.
A move triggered by that nasty bout of c’gunya that hit you, your mother, and on and on. By turns.
Suddenly, it made sense to have a support system
(But you were part of my support system. Alas)
“Keep away from the politics,”I tell you.
“Keep to the work, and don’t bother,” I tell you.
You found a house to rent.
Haggled with the packers, transporter
Did the hundred and one things that have to be done.
All by yourself.
The choices we play are the choices we have.
That square patch of sunlight between the crisscross shadows on the ground?
You found your peace there.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Evening settles to a blackgreen.calm A flock of white birds wheel over a field. Seagulls can’t be this far inland. Perhaps a migratory flock. Tripping in from who knows where, on an annual NRI ritual. A mango tree, splendid and majestic in the space it has to grow, reaches skywards. Intertwined branches lining the road form a filigreed canopy overhead. Palms stand tall, sharp profiled- origami craft. Past the chattering picnic area, the lane ambles and dips, meanders past the temple to the gaondevi on a densely wooded hill; “next time, we’ll pray-we live under her jurisdiction by the pincode, don’t we?” Even if sprawling residential complexes and glass chrome sharp-angled office buildings have replaced village clusters that once belonged to farmers and fishermen. In a few minutes the black green hill is outlined, shining sci-fi like, all glowing orange red by the setting sun. The undergrowth springs alive with the hum of umpteen insects. In the distance, the ratatat of a pump is interspersed by a birdcall or two, and with the sudden nip in the air one recalls strange tales of leopard sightings. A few miles beyond as the crow flies, cars zip by on the expressway, past flyovers, billboards and shiny malls.

It’s late on the promenade. Dusk tending to blue black. A soft sea tinged breeze, and a difficult-to-describe sense of “as is”.
Crowds loll. Stroll. Some briskly intent. Laughter. Mobile chatter. Lives closed in, shuttered.
Couples huddle on the parapet. On the rocks far out to sea. On the wall, hidden by the palms.
Silvers. On their regular benches. Toddlers, unsteady on their feet.
Children at play in the tiny sequestered area, swings, slides. Mothers fuss over, cajole.
A bevy of dogs on the cordoned lawn. Alsatians Dobermans Labradors Retrievers. Strays amble outside the fencing, friendlier. A man selling splendid firkees off a bamboo, dismay at the lost photo op. (Next time) Roadside vendors selling Bhel. Corn on the cob, icecream. “I want…” says a toddler beguiled, his grandpa leads him away.
“Is that a boat?” Baba asks, surprised at a strangely styled column. “No, its Titan’s way of showing the time…” “Are you sure?” he checks, not entirely convinced. No, this once the boats are all out at sea, but you can’t spot the lights bobbing in the distance. An almost full-moon hovers overhead, by the flats with the full glass frontage and dim lights.
Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Overhear conversations. The hum of a jet overhead, readying to land. The calm is like a wash that suffuses. On the ride home, talk about places called home and the price of 10sq ft patch of real estate.