Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Time, please
Filtered sunshine is the color of a reprieve. Elbow past crowds at the station. Watch the Bikaner- Bandra Ranakpur Express clatter by, what terrains it must have flashed past. Gaze at the clips on a hawker’s stand in the local train compartment, they shimmer and dance as the train moves, a fifty, hundred designs to go for five and ten rupees. Reach a landmark that everyone knows, ask for directions like an idiot. Wander through winding lanes with huddled shops and quaint parsi names on the boards, cycles and two wheelers parked any which way, children at gully cricket, bruns and toast on sale on a holiday morning. Look at some of the impeccably preserved facades, one townhouse-like building in particular in pink and white trim, Nariman villa, established 1924, the nameplate proudly says. Some buildings rundown, an arch and alley that looks like a British Raj–relic in burnished grey. “No parking. Tyres will be deflated”,reads a sign on a collapsible gate. Finally ask for instructions at a shop selling silver picture frames, the shopowner is relaxing, newspaper in hand, his feet on the glass counter. Reach the building, debate how exactly to put in an order for a pair of specs with a rosy view of the world, please. Climb up the grand balustrade-lined wooden staircase to find the door LOCKED. Closed Sundays, the sign reads. Turn around and go home, whistling.Then you remind yourself, its only time-out, just a reprieve.
(from Sunday, to catch up by and by, will add pic later)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

newRoughpad updated

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Whimsical, the thoughts I make up. You would have liked the malls, I think. And shiny cars. Glittering flyovers. BKC and the worli link, the splendid majesty of it all. Fusion food. Clothes with labels, so many more fashion street ones too, so many styles I can’t keep up with the names. And perhaps taken a few quick kathak chakkars to Tere bin. Rahman. SEL. Remixes. And you’d have liked AB. And AB’s baby. Trance? I dunno, not really maybe. Tabloid, line-your -shelves-journalism. Page three to laugh at. Some soaps, not the mother-in-law ones. Multiplexes. Phone in books, tickets, music. FM, all the seven stations. Isn’t it funny that I’m scrambling for ways to pack in the present, in shorthand, in measures of the past? Isn’t it funny how I know it isn’t working, a disconnect?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The rippling clean surface of the colon, moist and crisscrossing with fragile red threads feeding unbroken pink is the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long time. As the scope moves quickly, sci-fi images on the monitor take you past turns and loops on a swift walk through the innards. No ugly white mass, no tubes joining up unnaturally where they shouldn’t, we are fine. Now for the next step.

The consultation fee is very Armani. For once, I’m shellshocked.

Dawn. The pipal tree outside slowly chirps to life with busy sparrows. Can’t help but notice a delicate green shoot outlined against the rough cream exterior of the next door flats. As we wait our turn, a flock of pigeons settles demurely on a terrace parapet. One is all-white, a happy rebel.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Amitabh Bacchan sings Rozana/ Nishabd/RGV

That voice is unmistakable.
Gravelly, rough at the edges, with just a hint of magic.
That deep bass that you know from innumerable dialogues, yes?
And then it soars skywards.
Past what is, and you and me, and life and what it is;
ties in the whys, wherefores;
pirouettes to what is, what simply must be.
The lyrics are simple. Haunting.
You shiver.

Monday, February 19, 2007

From a grumble at half a precious Sunday wasted in social niceties, the memory of a ten-minute walk past the main road in Matunga is redemption. You walk past rows of hawkers with heaps of color-matched fruits, greens and vegetables; drink in that fresh-bread scent from the bakery with the quaint roof and ancient wood-fired ovens; gaze wide-eyed at the inspired rose-and-jasmine garlands at the roadside vendors; peer past the clouds of incense and devotees at the South Indian temple; notice how second hand copies of books by Nick Carter and Theodore Roosevelt are lined up for sale on the cobblestone pavement at exactly the same cut rate price; watch the serpentine queue outside Café Madras and then make your way to the highway, you go home. Suddenly, the day seems much more interesting than it did earlier.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mahashivratri today.
This morning, the temple was bedecked in green and yellow, marigold and asopalav.
Lovely rangolis, chants in the air and a queue of the hopefuls.
At the track there is a fresh coat on the trees, as tender green unfurls on the badam and palm. Sunlight gleams off spray at the fountain, and you look up and notice a few scattered clouds riding high on a pale sky, a crow or something wheeling in the distance.
At the block of flats next door, a live band is playing, a piece entirely tender, wistful and precious. A requiem.
You bow and genuflect as you pass by.
In the midst of darkness, there is light.
What is new is attention grabbing, attractive, interesting.
If something is known and that too, known well, then there is a base.
Anything beyond is at best, only incremental. So already factored in.
True for stocks as for people.
There is something in our genes which periodically craves this uptick of novelty, the frisson of the unexpected.

Yesterday was ok, but most of this week there was red on the street. Complete randomness and fools, as the book says. When she sashayed from 9000 levels to 14000 plus, didn’t we all watch, cheer, pray, wring hands and clap at each rise? Didn’t we jostle collective memories and point to the great Indian growth story? Did it evaporate overnight, like India Shining? Which one of us looked askance at volume and price toppers on the index, wondering where on earth, who what why? So now? Payback time, so hold tight, enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

new Roughpad updated.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Rich musical notes build a somber mood. As the rendition picks pace, notes move effortlessly from alaap to dhrut.
Close your eyes, and you can imagine a high-domed hall, with chandeliers, mirrors, and an audience of aesthetes in regal splendor.
An appreciative silence, respectful of genius.
An appreciative silence, and you notice the “next track” sign on the system.
It’s been worth it, sneaking out of a day of long meetings on Friday, to catch that classical music sale.
What it says for music and tradition if classical music is offered in a buy one-get one deal, I don’t quite know.
I got quite ok shots of the Gateway from behind the curtains, not bad at all.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


“Choo- sha”, the year-and-half-old says, stubbing a tiny finger at a picture of a chicken.
“And this?” his mom asks, pointing to what looks like cake.
“ Chockit” he says, insistent.
Surprisingly “dinosaur”, “butterfly” and “ bicycle” are a breeze.

Sometimes I do this too, labeling some things by names that fit right

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

What has changed?
Am quite amused and curious.
Words that I once struggled to read and set right, how atrocious they sound now.
What changed? Just the years?
Time, water under the bridge, perspective, maturity?
Seems truly hilarious when I try to recall the effort, energy and distress not so long ago.
Okay, so maybe it’s a “a time for all seasons” kind of a thing.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Let me remember the good parts

Going trinket-shopping last Sunday, to buy gifts for my aunts back home. Marvel at the rows of shops niftily tucked into a commercial complex; from brick and mortar, how well they’ve fashioned that century-old bazaar look, alleys and all. Tiny shops in every nook and aisle, glittering with fashion jewellery: rings, dangling earrings, bangles, pins, ribbons and geegaws, easy on the pocket and a delight to the eye. Wonder too, at my aunt’s delight at the gifts, will I have an inch of this enthusiasm when I’m seventy?

The warmth of family, the cocoon of small talk and caring, is there a word for it.

You glance at the lovely, yes, but stately young profile by the plane window. Past her you can see the colorful flourish over wooly, gray edged clouds, that sunsets are sometimes about. You’ve asked her all the questions that you otherwise wouldn’t, social propriety requires otherwise, even if the princely states were disbanded a long time ago and the royals sent home. Is it true you can’t talk too much at home? That you can’t ever ever argue or talk back? Is it true you can’t go out unescorted? Is it true you have to wear a sari all the time, and keep your face veiled, head covered? That you can’t sit down if there is an elder in the room? You’re done with the questions, so many more, and you know the story. You wonder if it is better this way, to have upbringing and life story predecided, isn’t this far better than skirmishes, foul ups and feisty band aids?

Lovely rust color on the badaam. Revel in the crunchy sound underfoot. Somewhere, a generous bougainvillea in red spills over a whitewashed wall.

Strange how the mind waits for correction, for reversion to mean. If the markets are too much in the green, red must, for sure, follow. Also at the lack of reaction, even acceptance, to utter waste. If one is ready for a fight or argument, and if that is merely deferred, why should the feeling be one of relief?

Words overheard on the train, bits and pieces of a cell conversation as the man in the next row explains terms/phrases to someone. One realizes with a sinking feeling, how little of one’s own language one really knows. Maybe poetry and day-to-day talk, the kind that goes into stories, are two different things. In the dark night framed in the window, view four dancing headlights against pitch black nothing as the train rumbles through the night, to the backdrop of known but yet not completely known words.

So we have the next round of Parzania vs lumpens.
Cry, my beloved state.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

new Roughpad updated.