Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pehli baarish!
Bareek bareek see. mehek sondhi ki
Bijli ke gambhir kadake- ghoshnaa ke saath.

oon oon kar aaiyee badariya....


Silvernano technology” he says, “ frost free double door, sparkling silver”.
I glare at him.“The power bill will shoot up”
“ Not really. 463 units a year” he says, and rattles off features quicker than any fridge salesman.
Trust him to get tech savvy in his old age.
I sure hope this one lasts ten years as well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The word switch in my brain changed. To Hindi.
For now, that is.

new Roughpad updated.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Scan the blue skies.
Clouds with just a tinge. Grey edge to the silver.
Its clammy. Irritating. Hot.
Not too long now.
The heavens will open up, bestow the first gentle drops of rain.
Awakening a parched earth.
Week one or two of June, that’s the question.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hymns. Conch shells. Bells chime.
A distant palm frond nods to the skies.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dark evening, like the day. The black sedan turns too quickly, brakes.
About an inch away. That was almost the end of austere. Almost.

Friday, May 25, 2007

3110 redux
Nokia, in its infinite wisdom, has christened the bells and whistles version of its basic model *drumroll* the classic 3110.
The basic model for Asia, 3110, circa 2000, that one?
The one I finally relented and bought in 2003 (after that fall and forced stay at home).
The one I’ve finally relented and bought now.
3110. classic 3110 .
Same thing. Almost. Any color, as long as its black.
Some things changed. I have.
You? You’d be amused, maybe, not surprised.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

She’s off for haj now, a thanksgiving to the skies for that grasp at life.
She comes in to work in a hijab.
More out of necessity than faith.
In time, that curly mane, jet black like the midnight sky, will return.
Lymphoma trounced. Stoic.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It is my Grandfather’s birthday today. He would have been a hundred and seven.
He dreamt big. He pushed his sons hard. He changed the life story, the scale, for all of us. Breaking free of the village. A fighting chance. A chance. Any chance, go!
Can still see the old man, all ebony and toothless grin, sitting on his swing in that tiny dark living room plus kitchen plus everything, beaming at yet another accomplishment from a grandchild.
A debt I will not repay, not in a million years.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Shalom. That's the only Hebrew word I know.
Good enough to start with.

(Work related.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Chandramohan saga makes it to page 1, NYT.
The gulmohars are in bloom.
A red lush richness, watching over the traffic snarl grime and construction rubble.
Red. Like alta on a shy girl’s feet.
Like hinting blatant in a flamenco dancer’s hibiscus on sleek black.
Also shining red like, well, shining double-decker red.
At times a tree at ease, with space and more, festive rich.
Sometimes nudged in squeezed between two blocks of flats, window-green-window but singing red.
Startle red. Because it wasn’t supposed to be there.
Like a sudden shared thought or a swift turn in a stranger’s conversation, which wasn’t supposed to be there.
A hugged-tight secret not supposed to be known, and so it startles, and sends you ascatter, flee-mode, alert.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Don’t tell me what to do. Please. Don’t even think of it.
This is the first cut reaction as I watch the fracas unfold at the Fine Arts faculty, MSU.
Dirty politics and the sanctimonious saffron brigade. Tridents and all.
Art is interpretation. Nothing is sacred.
I may not like what Chandramohan sketched. I can sue him.
Not break his bones, along with sundry walls, windowpanes and rabid, howling mob fury destined to scare the wits out of ghosts.
Next, the culture police will want to expunge chunks of Shakuntal and Meghdoot.
Or paint over Khajurao.
Looks like a nice way to take the attention from Vanzara on rampage, the strange case of vigilante police and encounters.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Parts I want to remember. Random.

Good to be back at my desk. Reports, newspaper stacks, result season and all. The suits continue to be as sweet, asking one thing and meaning another, interesting.

Recovery is slow and gradual, though his RBC is worrisome, his spirits have lifted skyhigh with the return home.

“On Golden Pond” is beautiful, shimmering gold. Velvet greens. Blue violet waters with the mist rolling in. Katherine Hepburn is amazing. A darlin.

Chatting with the niece. SO smart at eighteen. What about? Crushes and boys, and Money. Seriously smart kid, at mindboggling 12th board percent. I see stars in the daylight when I hear the cut off. Biology is much better anyday, and quicker too than medicine. Hello S’pore, GO girl, go!

Walking through Alkapuri with the stash from Crossword. Sukhbodhanandji. Sudha Murty. That’s for Papa. Celebrations in Silence/ Sri Sri Ravishankar. More. Splurged. BUT another Amrita Pritam Autobiography, Aksharon ke saye. And Gulzarji/ Raavipaar. Lovely, I’m rich! Are there times when its right, as in apt or fitting to read a particular author? The earlier once with Rasidi Ticket,the background to that reading, and now this book and the background to this.So reassuring to read through, like a smiling touch on the shoulder.

Read the story behind “ ye kahani nahi”, everything IS grist to the mill. What a terrific sense of gratitude and end-of- the- road futility she’s conveyed with so little said.

Some stories you will never touch to translate. Sir’s “Vandevtaa”,and Amrita pritam’s “ye kahani nahi”. Adding ones own little slant , shading the words as one if forced to do, prone to do, would be a sacrilege. Best to leave be.

The houses in Alkapuri, Kunj and Arunodaya in particular, are any day better than any JVPD bungalow. With gardens that are proportionate, green creepers over the trellis, and a sense of history. This city will always be the center of my universe.

That soles burn when you step to the terrace in the harsh afternoon sun, there is a strange bravery in withstanding this, even a frisson of pleasure.

Swaad panipuri, now with a new name, is still right there at Racecourse, with the white capped ninety-one year old Chachaji still watching over his customers. His grandson’s a chartered accountant, he tells me proudly. Was nice talking about the vast properties that lined this road, now a busy mall lined city hub with lousy traffic.

Completely random.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Early this morning, temple bells rang out in the distance, a special arati to the God seated in his seven horse- drawn chariot that traverses the vast heavens. In the distance the canopy of a young banyan glistened, swayed and opened up to the touch of morning light.

You zoom in and out, trying to focus so as to get the arch of the curve over the entrance just right, the afternoon light like a warm golden carpet upon the granite steps. You overhear a young boy on a bike advising a young earnest girl on her first job, do’s, don’ts and musts, its all you can do to keep from grinning like a fool. You visit the dept after two decades, and a senior now on the faculty recognizes you, “ austere!”, she instantly says.

Friday, May 04, 2007

In the afternoon glare the leaves of the solitary labernum look white, its excess of yellow blooms at repose, nodding to the heat haze.
How would this prayer offering of yellow-white- green rush to greet the first rays of a peach tinted dawn?
For then the streets would be at rest, and the heritage red brick of the domed university in the background almost other worldly, like something out of arabian nights, and that faded wall too, would seem all right. One fumbles, trying to put this into words past a strange catch in the throat.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sprawled on the cold tile floor in the hospital room, you watch the changing colors on the triangular panel on the AC through almost-shut eyelids, colors that change with the temperature. That rush of red in the darkness is a monarch’s room rich in drapes , ornate gold bordering on the classic and a step away from ostentatious. The beam slowly changes to a quiet lilac, the Eiffel lit against a velvet black sky for new years, no doubt. The room gets gradually colder and one draws the sheet closer. In time a purple glow descends, quiet and serene, like a bronze Buddha worshipped with candles and somber chants at a far away monastery in the distant snow clad mountains. You are closer to sleep now, and just about notice the green from the edges of a memory lined consciousness, a vast field in a hundred shades of green with tiny yellow blooms, stretching as far as the eye can see, with sunshine playing hide and seek… sleep descends, and you drift off, only to awaken in the middle of the night, a questioning disquiet, and you remind yourself of his will, and surrender.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So I visit them again, the lanes and bylanes around the tech department, the lanes of my earnest youth. So I wander, drinking in and reveling in the ten degree difference in temperature and feeling lightheaded and free, oh why it must be the searing heat. That red brick building with a sloping roof and fine stone lattice, remnant of a long ago time, now no doubt a local government office or an archive for dusty old files, long forgotten. The neem tree that is strangely bereft of leaves with its crooked branches, how rich it looks against the brick and the fine work on the awning, but why didn’t I see this before? For the four and half years, so long ago, when I trudged to the other bus stop which had a better bus frequency, why didn’t I revel in the structure and the solidity, the space and freedom of proportion that these have been laid out with? The old walls around the collectorate have since been rebuilt but the pillars still stand strong, unmoving but witness to another time, why didn’t I see this before? As I try to separate the branches of the casurina and the tamarind that have intertwined over the years, I realize that sometimes you have to go away to come back.
You have to go away to be able to see.