Thursday, September 27, 2007

A sub on

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Calypso beat.
Pulse staccato, steel.
some half-forgotten trait.
You rush to the door.
Bewitched. Stand still. Your blood sings.
They’re taking the idols for immersion
With due ceremony. Colors.
Deserting you like this to the waters? As the skies thunder? From dust to dust?
Tears. Grief.
The drumbeats fade.
I can never do that. Never.

(Y'day was Visarjan, the last day of the Ganpati festival when the idols are taken to the sea and immersed)

Monday, September 24, 2007


At six thirty in the morning, as the first birds begin to chirp and the rustic milkman makes his round with rattling cans.
Long winding lines, making their way past three suburbs. So if the line began in Lalbaug, it ended in Ferbunder, past Byculla and Chinchpokhli, and whoever knew where these places were till now?
Lines of the devout, waiting for a glimpse of the King of Lalbaug, a statue of Lord Ganpati, the one who grants boons. Looked like all the roads led to the suburb of Lower Parel yesterday pre-dawn.
I left for this distant suburb at 5.30 am, taking the 5. 42 slow (commuter) train, but not early enough, it looked like.
Winding lines, two and three strong in places, ran past old mills, now long shut. With names like “New Bombay cotton mills” and “ United India Mills”. Closed down, gray weathered concrete. Lush green where the natural vegetation has returned with a vengeance, taking back the land, lush overgrown and rich, half-close your eyes and you’d think you were in a forest. Some mills already reclaimed, tall towers with glass fronted penthouses and a clubhouse, gated security. Some in process, the land leveled, awaiting contruction, but the old walls still stand with padlocked steel doors to the ration shop. One mill valiantly struggling under govt management, a list of demands of the union on the wall outside. Whoever knew all this was here.Typical squat and slanting-tiled roof apartments of the mill workers, holding on to scare real estate, next door neighbors to luxury towers.
So you wait, making small talk with the strangers in the queue. It rains, and umbrellas spring open. Hordes walk past looking for the end of the queue. Did you look so surprised shocked when you walked past, on and on, you wonder.
After two and half hours, you’ve crossed one lane, step by step by step. Only to realize that the line has suddenly become longer from the middle. That it has become much longer than it logically should have, and changed directions so it winds twice over.
Sorry, Mr God.
I have an hour-long ride home.
I’d like to go and cook rotlis for lunch, if you’d excuse me.
Next year perhaps.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The stern, completely simple and blunt voice speaks out from closely typed, yellowing pages, in five volumes that document recent Indian history. Events that have been conveniently forgotten,”oh, is this what happened” you say; events tucked away under the bright lights of a shining mall and fifty sweeping flyovers. Life impacting. Am honored to be able to read, regardless of who works on the project.

Friday, September 21, 2007

the lease is done, one arm and a leg, but its done.. phew.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Strands of lights from the bus window, twinkling red-yellow-green against the dark. Reflected a million times in the lines of raindrops on the glass, that you watch with halfclosed eyes.
Gratitude for all there is, and isn’t. Hypnotic drum beat, cymbals and fireworks, the fifth day of Ganpati pujan, enroute to the sea for immersion. Do even the divine have goodbyes in their scripts?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The week had good parts and the bad. Sometimes they morphed, sometimes you sing Lucile, you know how the lines go, lucillllllllle?
Like missing the train on Monday last.
You watch fumbling, open mouthed as the last compartment vanishes into the distance, in despair wring your hands, scramble up and down several flights of stairs huffin puffin, queue up with five minutes to spare for the next train and emerge victorious with a ticket. A second class ticket, standing room only for two hours and some, in the corridor by the open door, watching the world go by.
*Vasai creek is a silver sheet early morning, dotted with fishing boats
*Sunshine showers generous on a field in green, a benevolent drenched yellow rain past jade black green
*Mist lifts off a hill dreamily, curling at the edges, this is the side the sunshine hasn’t reached as yet, and you can just about see the edges of the hill there.
*Watch a therapist with miraculously clean hands do emergency sujok on a co-passenger, and then she talks about sadhana and priorities, and you’re beginning just to understand.
*Being irresistibly drawn to a banyan tree on a back road, a track to nowhere, only to find a prehistoric site, fluttering flag and all, the silence of the fields and a distant bird-call.

Like missing the train on Monday last. And waiting for it endlessly on wednesday. And finishing off office stuff that needs to be done on the rest of the days, not to mention swirling dust storms in the margins that you try and duck, no, not my battle.
Am back.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

busy, but good.
As soon as I can.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I wanted to take the greens, all the shades, light dark almost yellowgreen and greedily drink them in, the sap running along my veins, feel the gritty texture of the earth on my skin and look up to a blue sky fluffy with clouds and count them, blow at them the way a child blows bubbles. The black road was surprisingly smooth, for a non-important back road joining two non-important places in the state, too good for a tar road, as it wound its way languidly past two-shop hamlets, a primary school in pale blue with its gates wide open, a translucent pond with lotus blooms and a white temple with a fluttering flag in the distance, fields with straight furrows, a donkey or two. I wanted to take the greens and drink them in, instead I went shutter happy. The road, the road through the windshield in focus out of focus offcentered, the roadside, tea stalls, a sundry buffalo or two, a kid by an oversized cycle who toothily waved goodbye.

It doesn’t need an announcement or crowds or followers, I notice, as I watch the ascetic blend with the people mass, a certain bearing, aloofness hints at a different order of priorities, a watchfulness that preempts any new karma from being created even as the backlog is dutifully, systematically, sorted and settled.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A train waits at a platform. A ride you’ve taken every weekend for a year, a decade ago, till you were brain-dead and confused coming and going. Bleary eyed, you walk to the end of the platform where the AC coaches ought to be, but they’re not there, promoted now to a better spot. Perhaps the movement of a compartment from its customary spot means something in the metaphysical interpretation of things.

Pleasantly surprised at the café coffee day outlets on the platform, surprised to encounter smart design that late in the night.
On my To-do list, one more: touring.
Oh well!
But I can blog, and sub and crit to my heart’s content, so there.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Logically, cinderella’s shoe can’t fit, the foot’s morphed, well not fractured you know, (fractured reminds me of 2003, and algorithmsyouwhatchacallit and that’s a totally different substory, and lets not get into branching substories like my mother would, she was SO good at meandering off, and then THAT one would have another branch and so on and you wouldn’t quite know, like the pied piper perhaps, what you began with); so yes, not fractured, not misshapen, not Chinese petite bound, not enormously large storytale giant-like either so there, but maybe dainty, I like dainty, it has a sweet lavender cut-glass and lace feel to it; so her foot has morphed the event (or nonevent, depends) was life altering ergo the foot, and she’s trying for size huffin puffin but it slips off and yet she tries, and of course it hurts, pooah dear and when will she ever learn to shrug and say humbugbobsaget logic.

Woke up with hangover quality blues y’day, energy drained, brain dead pathos. Ran into this group of hmm economically disadvantaged seven or something year olds, outsized hand me down clothes, lean, hair-slicked, some had no slippers, but they were all high energy, a smile-chatter, "salman khan dhishkaaon! this car JUMPED over the bus", never have I heard a movie scene being discussed with such passion; instant grin on my face.

No updates. You want the 1998 set of reader’s digest? No? How about ten years of navneet samarpan? September housecleaning on, and on.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

And as we take this misshapen thing; for want of a better word let’s call it that, shall we, and turn it around and throw it on the floor to see if it bucky-ball like bounces or breaks shatters with an eerie whistle into zillions of glistening shards, or what (it could well have been a “or what” for all you know!), and after all the to’s and fro’s and infinitesimal analysis, I guess that’s it, as we sit in a silence not entirely uncomfortable, and I realize you know things I’d never tell my mother, either of them.