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.

12 comments:

Ricercar said...

whats Parzania ?

Cherie! said...

Liked reading this one. Well written.

Paavani said...

Howz Parzania? Nice?
Banned in Gujarat.

Proxima said...

Lovely writing.

It's a shame my wrists are too thick for all those beautiful Indian bangles.
-P

austere said...

Parzania is a movie about a child who goes missing after the 2002 pogrom when muslims were systematically hunted and butchered in Ahmedabad. Naturally, the state govt doesnt want this movie to be shown.Permission is now being sought from the Bajrang Dal to have the movie shown.
cherie- thanks.
paavani- Havnt seen.Don't want Baba to see this at his age and be disillusioned about his state.
proxima- thanks. nah. bracelets, perhaps? and earrings, soooo many of them, pearl and diamonds, lah dih lah,tiffany-like, too!

manuscrypts said...

"you wonder....band aids" imagine someone cataloguing each life, and then being able to evolve templates out of it.. :)

crab said...

the red bouganvilea on a whitewashed wall ... aaah u paint wid words Ben! :-)
ps- like i'm saying this for the first time lol

austere said...

Manuji- quite a task the Old man has, isn't it? catalogue, templates and a card classification. Nice parallel, haan.

crab- thanks. again. *goofy grin*

AmitL said...

Err,I see u remembered the 'good parts',Austereji,and,pretty well.Where was this trinket shopping,btw-Mumbai or apna Vadodara?Yes,even I wonder whether I'll have the enthusiasm which our next generation has,at age 70?Surely no..:)Ooph...I never noticed the 'lovely rust colour on the badaam,or revelled in the 'crunchy sound underfoot'..nice way of expression.

austere said...

Thanks Amitji.

driftwood said...

If there is any magic in this world, it's in your writing.

austere said...

driftwood! *reddens*
hummhmm. thanks.