Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In the last week and half, I learnt something new about myself.
One: that I have very little patience with a totally different value system. I will switch off scorching dislike. But you will never know.
Two: that I can let myself be upset terribly by misfortune and mishaps that happen to others. This is stupid.
Must learn to disassociate.
And manage time better.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Trying to get back into the usual home-work-home.
So many images. So many that won’t go away.

Two days in town- early morning rush, braving the traffic.
Waiting in the Chambers at the Taj. Searching for any remnant of what happened here a year ago.The room where scared guests were shepherded and safe for a while. Until the over enthu media gave away the hideaway. Then they were hunted down.
No- no bullet marks, everything perfect, papered over.
I look at the curtains and the terrace outside. The guests must have braided curtains like these to escape. I look at the signages on the loos and think about those butchered inside and those that got away. Fluke, luck.
We move to a smaller room for the presentation. The sepia photos of the erstwhile rulers- the Prince of this and the King of that- are still on the wall. The table is different. That was a HUGE table, a square one. Looked for logical reasons why they must have changed it.
That day ends in a whirlwind of meetings and endless traffic, red taillights stretch up the over bridge and beyond, the cables on the sealink like silver spun against the deep.

Tuesday was all day at the Taj, a day of meetings in a room overlooking the Gateway, counting the glittering yatch at anchor, watching the reflection of the pillars of the Gateway shimmer on the glass of the botanical sketch in the room. One is supposed to be working, but one can’t stop thinking—did the people here get away? The vibes are terrible, but of course the view is beautiful, it always was, that stone sentinel and the sea beyond.

More was to follow. A condolence visit for a youth cut down in his prime,despite the best treatment money can buy. The only son of seriously rich parents, leaves a daughter not yet five.

And the close of evening at the Turf Club, the glittering skyline past the dark of the concourse, shivering, watching and clapping as the best of India shining are feted, even as the other India looks on from the stands– helpers, assistants, the dish-washer boys. Someone there turns a radio on high volume, and I wonder how long.

And on Thursday at a literary meet I hear Darryl d’Monte speak, a man so fearless no newspaper owner could bear him, a man so brave he’s stood by the truth regardless of which camp- builders, organized millworkers or ganglords- it would have upset. Amazing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And now trying to get my breath back after having rushing down six floors after a colleague felt a tremor. Someplace 6.30 ish the earth moved.

Can’t get over ruckus I created at the eye doc’s this morning. Unlike gentle me…so every ten min for two hours instilled eye drops for the parent, and offered him a running commentary of the bollywood news-on-a-loop on the tiny tv…

AFTER which the parent and I went up and down the bylanes of Bandra, turning left and right and left again, assisted by a very sincere autofellow, looking for a building THE HUB, asked n no of people, asked the policeman on the beat, asked this that and the other (and all this after the said ruckus at the doc). I remembered the name incorrectly. Bah

Friday, November 13, 2009

So Cyclone Phyan brought the great big metro to its knees, mocked and roared with devilish glee, and then turned and sashayed to the Konkan where it left a swathe of devastation.
900+homes destroyed.
110 fishermen lost at sea
Crop damage
Just how powerful and unpredictable nature is.

I think of the bright star I’d seen this dark morning,
I’m glad to have bright sunshine back.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Last week, after the gremlins in my pc’s hard disk had sobered and the machine began purring instead of sounding like an engine with a bad cough, I chanced upon this magical trailer of A Christmas Carol.
Some of the pics have a quaint English card feel, very 60’s. Magical.

And it brought back memories of another time, of a thick tome of Dickens' best stories once upon a time issued from the Old State library, the one in the old city, near the imposing Mandvi gate. It may have been an early edition, but the book was leather bound, had intricate drawings and delicate butterpaper covering the page with the sketch. I kept the book out for more than I should, a few years perhaps, and then finally paid all fines and returned it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, it must have found its way to a dump in some spring cleaning session.
And I keep thinking about how we always carry bits of our past with us, and how this defines- almost always- future reactions, no matter what.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lutyens Delhi. Gawking at nameplates. White bungalows set back in enormous gardens from another age. If you lived in one of these, how could you relate to the baccha-party in the basti (slum) that I walk past everyday? How could you even see?
Different lives, different frames of reference.

Traffic-less- Monday was a holiday there. A golden pall over India Gate and North block (?). Viewed for an instant.

Sarvana bhavan.A crisp dosa. Bliss.

Opulent, exquisite hotel. Limpid, mughal-style pools. lush inner courtyards. Luxury palls.

Trees with room to grow. Space for branches holding up a vast canopy. How I envy that.

Spiffy Delhi airport. India middle class is out buying. Nice and lively is GOOD.

In On Writing, Stephen King details about how he was a compulsive if precocious writer, and how he began peddling (illegally, but of course) cyclostyled pages of mystery stories he’d write as a schoolboy, and how his school placed him as a part-time sports columnist for a tabloid after school hours. Early genius, even though he had his share of rejection slips.

Back to my schooldays. Writing was elitist, “good” writing made it to the notice board, your best handwriting on special marble-finish lined paper, pink or blue, crisp sheets from the toniest stationers in town, Kalpana’s. I never made it to that shortlist, not once. Somewhere along the line this feeling bred, that one had to be “permitted” to write.
Which is pure balderdash.