Monday, September 27, 2010

The home city is different every time I visit. But it is as hot, reminding one of the wild swings in temperature the place is prone to, from a miminum of 6 degrees C to a max of 47 C plus. Yet the champa- frangipani-- was generous, laden with white blooms.The auditorium I went to for a meeting brought back so many memories of school concerts and endless rehearsals on this stage with the singing group—even though the audience was only parents. How we worked hard to make everything pitch perfect. Nostalgia also was prompted by the pharmacy class of 87 getting together on yahoo groups. Who’d have thought that the most reticent of the lot would be taking the initiative, and the one with the pictures that reminded one of how thin one was, once upon a time. It takes a chance meeting with a rather fancy couple on a train journey to make one realize how frenzied and compartmentalized a life one leads, but is that a bad thing? A story that first began in I think 2007—and was cut, recut, reframed, pared, cleaned up, rehashed to infinity, till everything in it changed except for a single visual shot, finally found a home. Else and elsewhere, life goes on. The market marches onward and away without a pause—or a sensible reason.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last night the strains of the arati, the hymn rich and clear, were like a pied piper's song, and I followed the music up unfamiliar steps to a stranger's home.
I can be happily weird sometimes.

The firecrackers, dholak- cymbals could be heard even as the sedate group chanted the Lord's names, like every week. But the jolt of energy that accompanied the palanquin past the threshold to the altar. Amazing.

AND it is good to get surprised at what life throws your way. Even if you lead a quiet, peaceful existence most times.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Last night on my last walk past ten thirty, the plump quarter moon was efflulgent, haloed in a red and black sky, even as the silence of the night was underlined by distant drums and cymbals from festive processions making their way to the sea, and elsewhere the babel of sundry tv sets and air-conditioners humming pinned the day in place.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scintillating days.
Watching sunlight flood the green past the trees in the morning.
Watching the wind ruffle through colored flags that line the street.
And the twinkling multicolored lights at night.
The adrenalin charged beats of the dholak.
I've travelled east west north south, visiting friends for darshan.
I've taken so many different modes of transport, met so many helpful strangers along the way.
In unusual places, a benevolent, all-giving calm.
Acres of green as far as the eye can see, in Orlem.
A jutting hilltop viewed from a friend's balcony in Thane as the mist rolls past.
A handkerchief-sized farm, stubborn, jaunty amidst tall buildings.
That blessing from the Lalbaug Cha Raja, even if it was via a forward.
His blessing suffuses through my days.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Yesterday, on my way to the local station, I walked through two village clusters, gaothans, that this mega city has encompassed and swallowed whole in its obsessive growing, proper settlements with one-room homes, a main street and a place of worship. As I watched the lights for the festive season reflected in many puddles and joined the throng of commuters wending homewards, I realized sometimes we see only what we permit ourselves to, and that journey to the end of the world can begin with the next step one takes.

Monday, September 06, 2010

When I can scrounge the time, this is what I have been reading, savoring the stories and wondering how a people who are almost us, are not quite, you know, us; and as a matter of fact quite a little different, all said and done sixty-odd years isn’t much when edifices around span a few centuries.

In the few stories that I’ve read, something seems to happen to the women’s brains once they have a dominant male in their lives. What does being sharp and jabra (which I’ll politely translate as being self preserving, so sue me) have to do with being educated or being rustic? An instinct for this self preservation is inherent to the gender across the subcontinent, but the women in these stories seem positively addled, vacuous by the second half of the story, which almost always leaves them destitute and abandoned. My unlettered grandmother who ran a tight household with her temper and flying missile-tongs, would have laughed.