Friday, November 30, 2007

What do you do when you get the words too late? That particular deadlines’ come and gone, but its only now that the words rush in a heady flurry, so you extricate them from their involved kaleidoscopic dance and string them into six lines or some such, ah this works, for me, it does, you tell yourself happily and pat yourself on the back.

For Monday’s return ticket, Air India in all its wisdom called, and offered to take me to Ahmedabad (2 hr drive, but in the opposite direction) in order to bring me to Mumbai (1 hr flt). Amazing.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I have a cold.
Pronounced gcholdachooo... ! if you please.
I speak and sing from a hoarse bass tone, interrupt every second word with a cough cough.

I'm learning new meanings of old values every day. A year or two ago, the reaction would have been "what??" shreiked, bold all caps underlined. This change, it is interesting to see.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Great Big Indian wedding.
Song, drama, tears (some), laughter (lots). Somber. Fun. By turns.
The bride (my niece), and groom were from different parts of the country, different customs, languages.
The bride, your typical Indian immigrant to the land of greenbacks, was radiant.
The groom, also the typical Indian immigrant also to the land of opportunity, was handsome.
The festivities were spread over three days. I was there for a day.
Things I’m not likely to forget in a hurry:
The choir like quality of the manglashtak, a poem that is specially written for the occasion, and sung out by all the women invitees. With no prior practice, how is it that it sounds like a hymn, not one word out of tune? Superb soaring notes.
The setting sun, the lush green of the lawns and the Sanskrit hymns rendered by the flames of the auspicious fire, set against the stillness of the countryside around.
Hunting for a blade of a special kind of grass, because that’s the requirement for a custom from the groom’s family, of course this is the first anyone on this side has heard of it.
Shivering in the cold, grimacing at an art deco-ish waterfall, too cold and too hungry to appreciate the glow of light on gleaming water.Family of course eats last, once the guests are done.
Realizing that the next lot of nieces, kindergarten level and nursery rhyme reciting tots not so long ago, have grown into sharp and very pretty young women, oh so confident.
Catching up, all ears, with M’s post retirement success story, and how anything can happen.
Finally touching the feet of the big man, and expressing gratitude for all that he has saved the family from, and how some debts will never be repaid.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hope I didn’t look too daft, all smiles; but what a marvelous accent, I caught one in five words this Brit spoke.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A day of surprises.
Of laughter. And giggles.
And not knowing quite what to say. Aye.
And family insider-stuff; kidding, teasing.

To top it all, NSDL sent an alert . I almost fell off my chair
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Laughing over lunch why how a cycle rickshaw was the most appropriate mode of transport to get to work, and how one with a funny horn would be the best for me, gliding past the bmw's and cityz. This is the sillyness I want to remember even as I feel the moments trickle away, and does that make any sense.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What a nice man.
He’d come to take the rent cheques early morning because that’s the best time traffic-wise.
Now he could have just taken them, and said good day, thank you, but he didn’t.
He checked how we were doing, if we were happy, how many people ask you that?
“The place looks neat! Much brighter! What’s new?”
Nothing is new, perhaps the green curtains are, but I was all smiles.
Doesn’t take much, does it?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Delhi was ok, in a rushed way, which means I passed India Gate twice, looked on proudly at parliament house, enviously shrieked OMG the square footage! outside Lalu Prasad’s palatial mansion, and fretted over why or why not we ought to remain a democracy.

The flights were late. Both to and fro. I’m learning zen meditation, from three hours of idling on the tarmac waiting for takeoff. From waiting four odd hours amidst squabbling children, the CNBC newsfeed and announcements of delayed flights in two languages. Cussing silently till I meet the Tutsi from Rwanda who had his 18 person extended family decimated in an hour of carnage in 2002. It unsettles you completely.

(pics from the hotel where the conf. was held)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Am fine, all sunshine, bright and kicking just a little caught up.
Update in a while.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Two days away from my desk.
Delhi’s chill should be interesting.
I’ve forgotten what low temps feel like.
Today’s begun with a few unexpected boomerangs, like “oh, really?”
Part of the day.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I have a strange sense of disquiet about this year.
Not been able to trace the reason, though.
Spectator- quality distance.
Perhaps all one can do is to remain calm: physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This is what I did all morning.
Over these lovely trees.
A green jade poem, in concrete Mumbai.
Cut, murdered brutally, for no fault of theirs.
I’ve run out of cuss words.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saal Mubaarak!

That’s the wish for the new year. Vikram Samvat 2064, which begins today.
Back home we’d buy rock salt pre-dawn, and shiver in the dark chill as we’d hand over Rs.1.50 for good luck.
May the Goddess of Wealth and Good Fortune light your way!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Voila! last evening, what did I find?
A huge garden with lovely trees and a paved walking track.
Purple orchid-like flowers, a GIANT aloe vera tree.
Lots of wild hibiscus. A jade bamboo grove.
Wild grass that bows to the gentle breeze.
Color. Laughter.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

From cream-silk covered hotel corridor walls, sepia portraits of kings and chieftains look down upon at the world at large.
Makes you stop a moment and wonder, about kings and the mad march of time.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lights everywhere.
Pretty white and blue twinkling, lights. A magic carpet, glittering lights.
Gold and red strands of lights outside shops, homes, by roads.
Diyas with flickering flames, on doorsteps and parapets.
Lights that brighten up faces. Soften harsh contours.
Even the potholes and yesterday’s trash look pretty.
Why didn’t I see this before?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I wanted to write about the missing driver, the mad race to the airport in an auto, the almost-missed plane, and young child I saw by the flyover , propah school uniform and all, throwing up her arm in glee..
I wanted to write about the massive billboards with strange squiggly letters, not one hindi film, but all the diwali releases of telegu-dom, heroes and heroines one had never heard of, the poster design, quality was very very good…
About the innumerable gold shops (who ever buys so much jewelry?), with today’s price in blazing red, as if it were the stock market closing price
I wanted to write about the massive consruction, not one old building left standing on somajiguda circle, all chrome and glass, but they forgot to take the zig zag patterned wall down in places.
And lunch on a plantain left, with lots of tear-inspiring chutneys, at a place called just that, Chutneys.

And wheezing yellow buses jampacked, and how its impossible to cross the road.
And how lovely the city looks from the air, a carpet of bright lights on velvet.
But all I’ve been doing is chasing deadlines.
And signing cards for Diwali.
Tis the season.