Monday, December 30, 2013

The compulsion not to infringe on his time had kept me away, but every time I have had the privilege—and what an honor, given the incessant crush of his fans and work—I’ve been impressed at his impeccable manners and gentlemanly behavior. The background was perfectly eerie, unfinished staircase leading abruptly into the air, long iron rods clanging in  the corner, no walls and rough ceilings in the building under construction—and yes, the generator van and cobra jib and vanity vans. Thank you, Sirji, for meeting M and me—though the next time I will leave the book at your door, not disturb you.

During the last week I’ve reveled in such goodness, both my friend M and K, whom we visited in Pune. Simple goodness, honest to earth goodness that comes from the heart.

A life with hope, the happiness of sunshine…that Coke print ad is simply beautiful.

Friday, December 27, 2013

For the first time in years and in this house, I have a house guest, a friend who is more than family.

Hectic days. Beautiful days, such lights it almost seems like fairyland. A trip to see a friend, such goodness, such generosity of spirit one is stopped short; almost like a mirror held up to one’s face, what did I do?
Traipsing up and down Mount Mary, the hill decked with lights, the church beautifully lit up. It is late and the doors are closed, but someone tells us the door right at the front is open, so we have a few minutes of serenity before we’re asked to leave.  Sobs, and one turn around, instinctively consoles a stranger weeping over her killed ? son. How strange is this play of light and dark.

A discovery—steps that lead down from the mount, and beautiful cottage homes that line the dim path ,all decked up and lit up. A walk through Varoda Rd, so quaint you forget you are in Mumbai; sounds of music and merriment in the distance draw us there and we watch and clap at a pre-wedding party dance, the East Indian Umbarta pani…

Such wonder, such revelry in not planning, going where your feet take you, in keeping off the beaten track!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A time for summing up. Some nice, some not.
This year translations took up much of my time, so much of rewriting;  the  volumes somewhere still work-in-progress. Own writing output was much lesser, I situation I must correct next year.  It was a scarce year with only ten acceptances and about thirty-three practice stubs for the writing group. I did many rewrites, some of which got accepted. That excel sheet is patient and uncomplaining!

Among new forms—poetry in translation and scripts, though I’m all thumbs just about bumbling along; but I like how visual this treatment is, almost like poetry, only it’s moving.
Also a time for another summing up. I opened up a portfolio on moneycontrol to track stocks that I’d sold.  Three stocks that I shouldn’t have sold when I rationalized my list in Feb last year. After cussing myself for being too hasty, I finally have a number and I can live with that without wincing.

Yesterday I cut out stars from crinkly salvaged gift wrap paper and silver foil from old Quaker Oats packages, and hung them from twigs from an old basket that I placed in a gold ribbon decked green bottle. Enjoyed the process even if the outcome is kindergarten-ish. Am going to do craft this year, methinks.

Our complex is looking v pretty with lights and stars put up, and the decked up buildings for occasional parties.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

RIP, Janet Dailey
Thank you for helping me keep my sanity.
Thank you for keeping me ambitious and grounded, so that I didn't run away with some arbit driver or dhobi.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It is V’s birthday today. The older I get, the more I wonder at how unruffled and dignified she remained as she navigated life’s storms, a widow just a year after her wedding, and in those days society far more unkind. Yet the PhD. Yet the Professorship. Equipoise.

A—much loved-strict aunt; generous giver of cookery, knitting and perpetual nutrition lessons, finally breathed her last, marking the end of an era, the last of her generation to depart. God, watch out,  delightful scolds coming your way. Homemade cakes for all our birthdays,  those fabulous sit-down lunches on raksha bandhan, new shiny clothes made for me a surprise-- right in time for family weddings, my first ever b**… so many things I never particularly said thank you for.

At the train station, that old man, partially paralysed, unable to speak, dressed in “good” clothes, begging…maybe the sons turned him out. Maybe he has no one. Maybe.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time now for the sarees to be press-rolled and put away, packed in muslin and layered with shreds of dried tobacco, the acrid scent for keeping bugs away.
So that's 4 events in a fortnight, three of which were multi-event, close family functions--enough socializing to last me for the next six months.
 If I had children, I'd have prompted them to run away-- what a jhamela weddings have become.
But yes, took lots of photos, the Baroda wedding was at the Golf Club on the palace grounds-- beautiful.
This predawn, made my second visit to Siddhi Vinayak in a week-- felt blessed.
More later.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Philomena. What a story.
Reading the pages makes it come visually alive.
Reminded me of A, the same spunk-grit and at her age too.
(Also learned format for flashbacks.)
One more wedding, and the min temp back home is 16 deg.

Monday, December 09, 2013

That young girl is confident, full of hope, an optimist. Not one detour. Not one compromise. Not one second choice.

And I look back.

At her age, I wasn’t.  

But had notched up serial heartbreaks, abundant grief, a parent’s decaying physical-mental health, a painful hunt for work, a career “if not this then this….”

Didn’t know these would translate into abiding strengths decades later.  Or, maybe this thinking is delusional. :)

Friday, December 06, 2013

V, a more than a friend, almost-family, will move to another office next week. Maybe I’m getting better at goodbyes, maybe I’m getting more independent, and freer of the need to stroll across and chat. But V sat by my side explaining the rites at Baba’s funeral, and V let me to tag along with her family for Ganpati darshan at Asthavinayak, the eight principle deity temple sites… some debts cannot be repaid ever. A wistful acceptance, that is what this is. In the meanwhile I continue to glance across the aisle at her empty desk, the granite tabletop shines back.

Back in September, I did crib a little about multiple deadlines. Today I sent in a draft foreword for Bharat Trivedi’s book of translated poems—A Festival of Verse. Still some time away. Must-not-forget moment at the Guj. book launch, fulsome praise that made me blush and be thankful for that last-row seat.

Need to get back to the rhythm of writing and subbing. So many weddings, one niece, one nephew, one daughter of a close friend… infants one has oohed and aahed over,grown up and all formal… All the weddings in the family have me to-ing and fro-ing, limit the time for time pass rumination quality time… yet. Was so tough doing this week’s 400 words…luckily a news piece about a writer with Parkinson’s helped.