25 Nov 2008

Little Red Riding Foot

12:15 p.m, outside the examination hall I find Suthopa waiting. She has finished her paper, an hour and a half early. Well, so have I but only by an hour. I was getting fidgety in my chair when I got the shortest of calls from her, I knew the worst had happened. She had finished well before even the wussiest student, and was now scared to leave the hall alone and by herself. Ah! What are friends for! Despite the fact that we were sitting in different rooms, our heads were connected by what Feluda called Telepathy. I remember the scene from "Sonar Kella", where the Rajasthani cops gets worked up at the real Dr.Hazra's mention of the word and says, "Telephone - yes! Telegraph - Yes! Television - Yes! No Telepathy!!!" Profound! But well, our telegraph, err...telepathy worked and I finished a bit after her, and therefore her phone call rescued me from my shame of having finished the paper early, and I was suddenly walking out of the class, with a pride akin to Achilles who's just conquered Troy (alone, without cheat papers!).

The first thing I notice about her is her Socks... bright red soccer socks. Now, where and how she acquired these is a mystery, for she has sworn never to divulge the truth after we spent the last two hours going at it. Nonetheless, I deliver my best smile upon Her Majesty, and she flicks it away with a grimace. Why? Her paper did not go well... To be honest, I knew this was coming, as she had spent the weekend, mostly under her undoubtedly warm and extremely inviting blanket, or watching movies on her laptop, or playing "Age of Empires", or coochie-cooing (serious discussion with a potential life partner)... But, what was worse, she had only two questions to choose from in the exam and both were from the same topic, with comparisons with the same other topic. One of which she was unaware of. Sulking, we made for the stairs outside our centre, to sit our bottoms down and sulk some more about it, and then crib about the terrible state of affairs with everybody who passes by.

It was good! Was my reply to the first, "How was your paper?". Suthopa's answer to the same was very unlike me. She didn't even answer, she made a face and told the person how much she hated Anthropology (the theory part of which was our paper for today). Then she just turned away and lit a cigarette with rage that burnt into the matchstick.

It was okay. Was my reply the second time around, when the questions were asked by somebody else. By now I was fidgety all over again. Suthopa was now complaining about how she had read things that were unnecessary, and how she could have just slept without having had taken the pains of going through those readings.

It was terrible! Was my answer when the third person came along. The question was annoyingly repeatative, and I could not stand it anymore. Suthopa was on the verge of tears, and she kept threatening to break into them if anybody uttered so much as a word of that paper again. And then Khushal came. I breathed in relief! I knew he could make fun of everything and get away with it. He always does. Ah! Khushal, we call him our (mostly mine and Suthopa's, but from time to time Siddhartha's) Biaatch! He is, and proudly so! And thankfully he cannot read this blog! Not because he 'cannot' read, but because he won't.

In some time, Siddhartha comes along, with his little bootyliscious...ahem! And the air became immediately lighter. Suthopa stopped cribbing, not altogether, but mellowed it down a few notches. But then our new obsession arose... her pretty red socks! We sang to her, "My heart is like a red red sock!", we rhymed for her, "Little miss muffet, sat on a tuffet, with a big bucket, wearing red sock-et!" (for the sake of rhyming!)... and her wails of disgust were dismissed by our persistent one liners on her really really red socks. Poor Suthopa, sleepy and weary with last minute re-visions could only muster up, "I'm so gonna get back at your asses! Wait till I'm well rested!"...which is somewhat very similar to what Khushal usually resorts to when his wit fails him, "I'm going to answer that when I'm feeling wittier!"

All said and done, we managed to get Suthopa out of her depression, with jokes on her... a bit mean, I agree. But its not everyday Miss Red Riding Foot comes to school with us! Her red soccer socks, or sockers :D will not see the light of day for a long time now, for she knows we will keep reminiscing this red socker afternoon for quite some time. So much for anthropological analyses, if we were to derive one out of this one would come to the conclusion that friends are made to make fun of you until you can no longer stand them, that's when they are not friends anymore. Ha ha! As for us, I believe it is a strange ritual of poking fun at everybody so that no snooty bitch survives the test of being our friend.

As for Miss Red Riding Foot, I'm sure she's inside her warm little castle of soft blanket, dreaming of mangshor jhol and mishti doi.

10 Nov 2008

A canvas in the sky...

An early morning chill, a bird and a cigarette... is what it takes, for me to pull my socked feet out of the soft quilt and start thinking, I began to pace my tiny room, often knocking my knees into the bed's foot...or the odd crunching sound beneath my chappals, of something that I had no interest in finding out. I'm searching clumsily for a matchbox or a lighter, or anything I can light my darned cigarette with. Shivering slightly, I brush around unimportant space fillers inside the only drawer that I own, wondering why I have so many things I don't need. I make a mental note to clear out the junk later at a more sensible time, and then I find a matchbox with three sticks left in it. I sigh... just my luck. But anyway, I strike the tiny stick on the box, and my room is suddenly lit with a golden glow... I light my cigarette, and take a long slow drag. The poisonous smoke fills my lungs in an instant. It feels good. It feels like the end of a over-stretched movie, that is not even that good but you must sit through for some reason.

It is still quite dark outside, although there are signs of the oncoming dawn, in the slowly reddening Eastern horizon. I get a clear and direct view of this from my window, but for not even once had I considered pushing the curtains away to get a glimpse. I don't know why, I just never did. Turning to my bed, I see Billu, the cat that stays with me when I'm in my room, sleeping cuddled in a fluffy ball of purring bliss. Somehow I don't want to stir her air, and decide to head for the terrace. Holding the cigarette carefully between my lips, I put on my trademark Adidas jacket, that people are so weary of and complain as being the only thing I'm seen in post November chill. Well, with the winter in these parts, I could not care less about being fashionably clad. So, on comes my blue jacket, and I grab a bottle of water on my way out, and bolt the door loosely from outside. The sting in the air is sudden, like a gush of cold air during the onset of monsoon, it doesn't stay long, but long enough to wake every inch of exposed skin.

The mirror at the end of the corridor shines like a mercury slab, and as I get closer it forms a blurry shape that looks like me. I avoid it, and walk towards the staircase that leads to the terrace at the end of fifteen steps. An odd count, for a particularly unused set of stairs. As I reach the top, there is a fresh cool, awaiting me in an unabashed lingering stoic. Its dark here, there are no halogens to curb the dense darkness that engulfs me. I wait for a moment, as the darkness slowly turns to half visibility, I enter the open. Small steps take me over the labyrinthine mesh of internet cables strewn all over the place, with tufts of weed growing out of lifeless concrete. I take a last drag and stab out the fading glow of my cigarette. It lapses, wasted and used, into the shadows lapping around my feet. I move on, without emotions. Passing through the jungle of dead leaves, peacock feathers, I found myself a spot atop the water reservoir, up a small rickety and rusty ladder.

The night is already turning to a purple haze, and there are golden streaks creeping towards that oblivious horizon. Under my seat, a damp cement parapet, there is a thin column of stalactite, formed from the dripping of over-flowing tank water. The sound of the droplets sometimes reaches my ears, on nights quite this this. Tonight its dry, there is no water to spare. I reach out and touch the strange shape, it breaks and falls in my outstretched palm. I bring it closer. It feels like sand, and smells like moldy ice from the back of the freezer. I let it fall, and wipe my hand on my checkered pajamas. Suddenly there is a rush of cold that sweeps against my face like a wave of ice cold water. I clutch my jacket and pull my legs closer into a more fetal crouch. It feels warmer instantly.

I look out into the night. It feels like I am perched on the highest tower of the city, looking over, like a guardian angel, or like a bad omen waiting to fall on a bleak destiny. I feel like a bird of prey, waiting for morning to break, to fly away in search of the amaranthine. I feel like a pirate on his lookout, searching for another ship to break out of the horizon. I feel like God, looking down on earth. The city looks asleep, it seems in a deep slumber, unaware of my plans. It is peaceful, so are the hearts beating in its serpentine alleys.

The sky is curiously splashed with colours now. There are patches of blood red, but mostly a pinkish glow underrates the yellows and blues that are slowly morphing into the canvas, like the muse of an eccentric artist. I'm overwhelmed at its beauty, at the sheer simplicity of this mundane celebration of timeless phenomena. Although I now believe that each dawn is different from another, like every person is different from the other although we are all of the same flesh, blood and sinew.

A peacock caws very close by. I'm jolted out of my misty subconscious. I stare at the brightening dawn and stand up on the concrete mass ragged by dried moss, remnants of a distant monsoon. I see a few lone souls, running into the foggy span of the road, by my hostel building. The climb down is dizzy, but I manage. I walk back to my room, feeling very different. The thoughts in my head are different, away from my refuge of sarcasm, I feel heavy with a strange feeling. I realise I'm homesick. I have never experienced what I just did, back home. I open my room, Billu looks up curiously. Did she miss me? Did she know I was gone? I pat the top of her head, open my jacket, and curl right back to sleep, with a tiny tear feeling its way down my nose.

9 Nov 2008

Of Smooshes, Vikings, Singing Lotuses and Cockerels...

How many times does a person turn 23? Well, to be honest, as many times as that person wants to. But in my case, it was to be only once. Only once was I to experience the pleasures of being in a perfect limbo... a concentrated love bubble that refused to pop, for one whole day!

Chapter 1 The Vikings: I had everybody I needed, and wanted. Each a person I adore, in different ways, and I think each of them deserve to be mentioned in detail, before I embark upon a narcissistic soliloquy about 'yours truly'. Suthopa, the one who stuck by me through thick and thin, then there was Himadri who stuck by her through thick and thin... and I have seen both their thick days and thin days, now its mostly thick :D nonetheless, they were there. And they have been there, no matter how when or wherever, no questions asked, they have supported me. And then there was Zalla, the mysterious beauty from across the border, if it were not for her lost key, I think we may have never become any more than two girls who live on the same corridor. Well, if Khushal was here, he's probably call me "ditch-er" for naming him after his sister, but I somehow love this brother-sister duo, and despite our never-ending efforts, they are nowhere close to our goal of Ross-Monica-esque friendship. But I love them both in any case...and even more so because Sitaram makes it such an activity. Its field day for me, all I have to do is get both Sitaram n Khattak boy really high, and they look after the rest :D I still remember, Sitaram was the first class fellow of mine I ever met, and I had exchanged elbow nudges with my friend and hushed a "Oh he's so cute!", as that very moment he had decided to turn and ask, "So how do u fill these?!!!", and there was no looking back... and the best part is, he has an even cuter woman in his life, I'm so glad Michelle was there too to watch me get older, she's so cute.... I think I remember her asking me that evening, "What have you done today? You look exceptionally radiant! I can almost see myself on your forehead!!!" Ohmigosh..... I dont even know if that was a good thing, but I felt very very happy :) There was Siddharth, I met him here in JNU, despite the fact he's an illegal import from Delhi University, his heart lies here with us, a great guy. We have had our rows of shouting and fighting, but I suppose that enhances the whole Love-Hate relationship...ha ha ha! Damn he can be obstinate, and irritating, but what I just love about him is he's a great sport, and Oh! there is this other thing too! He's a English Language major in DU, but when he gets high, grammar takes a backseat with him, and that is adorable about him, he fights inside with his consciences, quite like Snowy having to decide between a bone and an important paper he must take to Tintin. Adorable! :) So, then there was a few of my other friends, Satty, Kirti, Sameer.... people I do not get to see much around, especially Sameer n Kirti, but I know that they will be there if and when I need them. People I can count on...although I may not see them often, good students do not cross ways with those unlike them too much, not good for neither :D And I almost know how juvenile this sounds, but that's that. And then there were my surprise guests, Martha, Per and Pär. Martha is an astonishingly simple girl, she's sweet and very very warm, I love that about her. We went partying with her once, and I can vouch for this, but I have not seen anyone gel her moves so well from a "Billo Raani" to a "Infected Mushroom" song. She's a real sweetheart, and Zalla completely dotes on her, which I find a tiny bit J of at times. But I like her, a no-hassle person, I like people like that. Pär, I have known a little less than 24hours perhaps, of all the hours we've spent together, I like him best the day I met him, although he is equally sweet always. Him and his bicycle, its a common scene around the campus, and popular he IS. No wonder, he's such a sweet, soft-spoken person, that if he were to be metaphor-ised, he'd replace the cucumber in "as cool as a cucumber"! He's awesomely calm, and a budding Sitar-ist, as intriguing as that is, he's also majoring in Persian language in JNU. I guess, by far he's the most docile European I have ever met :D and somehow I like it that way. On the other hand, Per is almost a practicing doppelganger of his namesake. He is exciting, talkative, funny, intriguing, lovably loud at times, extremely warm and a great sport. I found my partner in crime in him, and we could keep talking about Tintin and Asterix (no, not ass-tricks!), sunsets, travels, binges, vikings and everything else under the sun. Its been some time since I was able to do that, just start talking without having to go through the awkwardly embarrassing silences and pauses between conversations, and lame small talks, like: "So how do you like the place/ Is the food good/ Are you going to be here for some time/ What exactly is your work....blah ...blah...blah"...he became the hero of my latest invention, the intergalactic secret agent "Agent Liljas: Spy from the Sky". (More of this coming soon...)

Chapter 2 The Smoosh: Well, the chief guest (by that I mean ME) arrived at the stone table (by that I mean the concrete table at Godavari Dhaba) at the promised hour (by that I mean two hours before the guests). And then the horsepiss(by that I mean Contessa XXX Rum, which had to be our only choice for the night, as ALL the shops were out of Old Monk, or even an equivalent) was brought, so were the candles along with a cake. The cake.... MY BIRTHDAY CAKE!!! As ecstatic as I was, we had planned to do the honours (by which I mean the cake cutting ceremony) atop PSR: Partha Sarathi Rock - the highest natural point of Delhi, which happens to be inside the socialist jurisdiction of JNU, and thus was but the highest natural priority :D And thus, at once we started towards our destination, on the way we were being rowdy like always. And then it happened, the event that marked the beginning of the night's unpredictable turns. As I remember it, we were walking and yapping away to glory, when Suthopa said she wanted to call Himadri and asked me to hold the box of cake, I said yes, and she turned to me and happily thrust the box to me without waiting for me to hold it.................. and it fell. It just fell, it slipped out of my grip and touched the tarred street with a deathly thud! My heart stopped, I was dumbstruck! I couldn't move an inch! And then Suthopa and Zalla picked it up and started arguing about who dropped it... And then others joined us, and then more... we kept arguing, and how lovely and uniquely different it would be to cut a smoosh!!! My smoosh, My Birthday SMOOSH! Goddamnit! It was supposed to be a great night for me! But we began with smoosh... SMOOSH! My SMOOSH!!! Then I lost track of the argument and just walked on, in any case it was a chocolate smoosh, and I'm not into chocolate at all. So, it was just another smoosh now.

Chapter 3 Singing Lotuses and Cockerels : So, the night moves on...and so do we, as we reach the PSR, we settle down for the night, and what a night it is. If I was Stephen King, I would write both Birds and Cujo around that place about that night, with a hint of Pet Cemetery too. Spooky...and amidst that we were beginning to celebrate my getting one year closer to death, well yeah - Sylvia Plath and Tibetan Philosophy sort of a way too, but also because I stopped believing in Armageddon after I saw the movie, so death to me now means growing so old that my chin wrinkles will tickle my belly which will be closer to my knees than you-know-what. But then it was time to attack the smoosh with the knife, despite the overpowering desire to attack others with it, I yielded to the former and began
slashing it up... and working my way around the circle, along with warm hugs (the best part!!!) from everybody, even Khattak Boy! (Khushal barely ever gets an arm's distance with anybody, forget a hug...even on Eid!) There were blinding flashes of camera coming from Zalla's hands, her shutter bug kept bugging us for the rest of the night. But it was nice!And somewhere in this Per managed to light this brilliant contraption that suddenly caught a flame and opened up in petals, like a lotus (how thoughtful! *battes eyelash in quick succession*) and started to sing "Happy Birthday To You" in a very Chucky-ish way... and it went on and on, sitting in one corner... So, then the gang pounced on the cake and it was reduced to ignored icing and a lone cherry...the singing lotus went on in the meanwhile..... Then the poisons were unleashed, Rum - Vodka - Whisky - and God's gift from the hills... altogether all hell broke loose ( I have been trying to use that expression for months, now is the time to do so in full throttle! - that being the other coveted phrase...this is like dream come true, literally!)... and while the singing continued spookily in the background, people started to complain... it was getting a bit weird. But we carried on, cheering and gulping the horsepiss down in large swigs from our flimsy plastic cups... and I started getting phonecalls and I was consumed in gushes of happiness, knowing no bounds - I was jumping in joy. And the singing continued in the background. Then it got really annoying, which was when Agen Liljas suggested I perform a Mazel Tov. Well, I was susceptible to all forms of suggestions that night, and I agreed. So, the singing lotus was set up on the stone for its sacrifice, and I took a long breath, concentrated my strength on my right foot... and Lo! I smashed it to smithereens in one go!!! Everybody shouted "Mazel Tov" in joy.... notice how people become one with strange religious rituals just with a wee bit of intoxication (does this mean getting the world drunk may take care of all the raging hostility?). And after a bit, someone said, "I kinda miss the song now!"...and suddenly the song came back.... spooky as it sounds, it was tenfolds there at that moment. It was spine-chilling, okay maybe not that scary, but was really freaky. And from then on, it kept dying and coming back to life for hours... I suppose it wasn't ready to die, but couldn't really survive my footjob. So it bobbed somewhere in between life and death…from time to time. And, we went on with our party... I began to slowly lose immediate reactions, things were beginning to get slow... I was asking silly questions, which I remember now because I really was asking them, only perhaps given a situation without five pegs of horsepiss down, I wouldn't have. But as far as happiness is concerned, the tide was running high... everybody was getting slower (or maybe I was seeing things differently), but the sloth caught on. At one point of time, I started forcing people to pose for and with me. At one point I was James Bond, and I forced Per and Pär to be my 'chicks', to which we decided to resort so as to not refer to them as the grammatical opposite of 'chicks', which would be cockerels, or even worse cocks! Well, as all PG-13 will know what it means, apart from the masculine of Hen/Chick...it was but an obvious decision, even intoxicated! At this point, I was so happy, that I decided to sit down, then lay back and then throw up... after which most of the night is blurry, and dashes of laughter and innumerable pokes from directions kept punctuating my Deserted Island dream-sequence with (hmmm ...) Orlando Bloom and ( :D AAAH!!!) Johnny Depp and (for some reason) Ashton Kutcher. Also what I remember is that Zalla kept tugging at the hem of my shirt, trying to cover my tummy, although I was very happy she did, I quite don't understand why she did so. Nice ... and very strange! Indeed! A little later, I felt myself being taken somewhere, and I jabbered on the way, two people (hopefully Zalla and Sid) were literally carrying me as my ankles sort of grazed the paved road...and it felt strangely liberating in an ironic sort of way, but it did to me then so I cannot argue about it now, also since it felt good, I won't. And then I slept, like a baby... happy and hungry (I had forgotten to eat the whole day out of excitement)...everybody I loved and cared for had wished me, sent me their love and gave me their time, to sing me Happy Birthday, eat my smoosh and get drunk with my booze, and I had two hot cockerels pose as hens for me!!! :D It was a happy happy day...And in my head the lotus was still singing "Happy Birthday To You"

06.11.2008 will remain a spectacular and eventlessly wonderful, very very drunk Birthday. Go VIKINGS!!!

20 Aug 2008

it does come back around...

Well, I really don't know where and how to begin this. But noticing I'm one sentence down, I think I've crossed that hurdle already. When I logged into my blogger account this morning, I was actually planning on writing something else. Like a 'comeback' thingy... but as it turns out, I'm not a good planner, and my plans tend to generally not go according to themselves. So, this thing that I noticed is, the title of your new post comes first - here it goes, "Do we all start with a Header in mind?" I mean, when we write something, do we more often than not start with an actual within quotations topic title in mind? Like when I looked at the Title bar, I kept thinking, for about thirty seconds... well, its not that much I know, but yet... who knows these same thirty seconds might have been of immense importance, power and life making significance to someone somewhere! But, I used them to ponder upon a virtually and immediately resultless thought. And I came up with an idea, that, I will try and write something according to the first thing that my extremely volatile mental factory churns out as the day's first Title. Today's is "it does come back around..." Now where on earth did I acquire that from, only Lord God knows, but now its more of a challenge, than just an idle passtime to fill my blog with interesting 'looking' posts. Being fairly boring myself, this is all I have to procure a stable interesting persona... Nevertheless, my present preoccupation is that its turning out harder than I thought it would be.

I try and remember, what exactly the idea was behind this curious Title, when I came up with it, but as always, my memory basks in the glory of having confused me to no ends, and is continuing to do so. Even my standby memory falters, as to what may been my thought string, when I decided on this Title. But alas! Nothing comes out. I suppose, its a game... to find out if everything we think in our heads are actually linked by stings, if all our thoughts have six degrees of separation! Perhaps not, or perhaps yes, and it is for this exact reason that we feel disoriented at our own thoughts, and sometimes somethings make sense out of the blue! Curious, very curious!

But, for some unforeseen reason, it finally comes back around. So it does come back around. Here, for example, I started with a question... a question that dragged on for two whole paragraphs, but then I ended up answering my own question. And I realised, when we have dialogues with our selves, we tend to ask more questions, unabashed at the otherwise shameful feeling of chance embarrassment, and then also answer these queries as if a thirst inside to prove an omniscient quality. I am the raw deal of this, I do it all the time. Talk inside my head, have fights, ask curoius questions and demand instant answers... but ultimately I do oblige and answer it. So, it does come right back, the answers, because mostly the questions form because we know the answers... quite like the fact that we start writing with a Title in mind! See... "it does come back around...".

30 Mar 2008

The Adventures of Pinku the Frog

Chapter 1 Pinku and his Friends

Once, there was a tiny little green frog called "Pinku". Pinku loved hopping around his lake, from one lotus leaf to another. He loved the nice fat flies buzzing over the huge Lilies, he'd jump on a leaf and catch his favourite fat fly and munch happily. He loved his home, a small muddy alcove in between two mangrove roots. Sometimes he would sit in his enclosure and spend an evening singing latest croaks, which his friends would have had requested earlier of him… the thing is Pinku loves to croak. He loves the sound of his voice as he forms a huge croak inside the base of his throat which would turn a fine shiny banana green with effort, and then finally blowing it out, slowly as his throat would deflate back to a dark shade of musty green. But Pinku liked to feel the tire, the fatigue after a good croak. He’d do this for a living, thought Pinku the frog. But how could he do it alone? He needed friends to help him pursue his dream…and friends he had aplenty.

Pinku loved swimming in the lovely lake; he would jump to the slippery green bottom sometimes, to talk to Tabz, a big blowfish. Tabz the blowfish liked to make grave boomy noises with his big yellow gills. They played hide-n-seek together, amongst the lake ferns and weeds. They, however, had met later; their friend Akko, a charming young duck, with a fine shiny green collar and strong hind quarters, had introduced the two. It was a funny meeting; at Akko’s party, in a tiny puddle by the lakeside. It was Akko’s birthday, and Pinku was supposed to croak for the gathered audience: which, apart from the birthday duckling and Pinku, was peopled by Tabz the blowfish, Dave the otter, Chumbie the squirrel, Pritty the chirpy woodpecker, who herself had hatched only a month earlier, and Nobby the yellow snail. So, as the party was swinging on, Chumbie and Akko began to pester Pinku to croak their favourite song, a classical number, and finally after much coaxing, the reluctant star gave in. He began on a throaty note, taking it higher as he went; everybody was mesmerized with Pinku’s magnificent croaky rendition of the song. As the final note was about to end, with a very difficult croak-note, the calm was broken by a deep grim and grave vibrating boom around. Pinku stopped half note, shocked, as did everybody else, who were by now trying in their own small ways to sing along. It so appeared that the sound had come from Tabz, who was nestled near the edge of the lake where the party was. Everybody waited, for Tabz to say something as to why he interrupted the beautiful croak, that too at the very last note, because it was not really every day that Pinku would agree to croak a classical piece. When Tabz realised everybody wanted him to say something he said, “What? I didn’t do it on purpose! It was all that birthday mud-cake! I never burp that loud!”. And everybody burst into laughter and the party carried on, however, Pinku felt very offended, for somewhere he knew Tabz had done it on purpose. Which was true, to this Tabz had confessed later when the two were best of friends, saying “I could not take it anymore buddy, all of them foaming over you, and you sat so far from the edge of the lake…I wanted some attention too!”. Now they laugh about it, but it is true that they really detested each other when they met.

Pinku and his friends spent the days in fun, playing and singing and sometimes eating together, when Pinku would catch nice and fat flies, and everybody else would also bring their favourite foods and they would all have a great feast together by lake, laughing and making jokes. Sometimes Akko and Pinku would race, Akko would swim as fast as he could paddle with his bright orange webbed feet and Pinku would make amazing leaps from one leaf to another, towards a spot Tabz would be waiting to blow a grim trumpety end signal. And naughty as always, Akko would sometimes try to gain distance by flapping his icy-white wings. Chumbie would squeak with laughter from his branch, as Pinku would jump a little farther to win. Dave, their other friend, was a quiet little otter, he loved being with the others but he was the quietest one, he would float on his favourite log near them in lake and clap his hands, as the others played and spluttered about. Sometimes Chumbie would join them on the bank, he did not like the water much; he had fell in once when he was younger and he was scared of it ever since. But he loved his friends, so he’d enjoy it all. Pritty joined them once in a while, her nest was a little far from the bank, so her parents asked her not to fly very far too often. But she wanted to peck a hole on Chumbie’s branch soon to start living near her friends. So these were Pinku’s friends, friends he loved very dearly.

Chapter 2 Pinku and the Poet

One day, Pinku was sitting all alone in his alcove, humming a little tune he had heard the other day from Pritty, she had come meet them by the puddle on the far end of the lake. And there she had stated in a very excited chirp, her story about how she had met Jimmy the handsome colt, who was passing by her tree with his herd. He was shiny and black, and very very articulate. Pritty was fawning over him, and he let her sit on his back and peck bugs from his silky mane. But, what was more interesting was, that Jimmy was a poet. He was, as Pritty told them, a poet… which they did not understand. They had never met a poet. Chumbie had asked in surprise,
“What is a poet? Is that a name for ponies?”
Pritty had chirruped madly at their jokes and had replied,
“You’re all just jealous! Jimmy is an artist! He can rhyme words and make beautiful poems in his head… Ahh! He’s so brilliant! And you know what? He sings his poems!”
To this, Pinku, who was silent all this while, sat up. He cleared his throat and asked,
“What do you mean by singing his poems? Like he puts words into tune?”
Pritty was a bit taken aback, for Pinku always joined in on the fun, but he sounded serious when he asked her the question. And immediately the tension in the niche rose. Everybody was now listening in, Tabz who was almost dozing off till now, was wide awake, and Chumbie climbed down from his branch a little, to have a better view of the scene, and Akko and Dave who were both swimming around, slowly floated towards the bank where Pinku was sitting.
“I mean, his songs have words. Words he puts together in his mind”, said Pritty.
Pinku took a long pause, while the others waited with bated breath. Then he said, with a visible croak forming creepily under his throat,
“What words? What are they about? I have never heard of songs with words in them.”
Pritty looked from Tabz to Chumbie to Akko, but they all seemed to avoid her eyes. She finally said, “Well, he sang one to me. It was about the storm, and how birds ride the storm when they are far from home and stuck in it. Its in beautiful words, as Jimmy put it.”
The croak that was forming in Pinku’s throat finally belched out, and it was surely not a pretty one. And Dave who had swam unmindfully towards the gathering, was closest to him, and was knocked off guard on Pinku’s croak, and fell off the log he was floating on. Tabz, who was also listening in cautiously so as not to miss a word, gave out a sudden loud boom, that he was holding back for quite some time now, and blushed green around his gills in embarrassment.
“This Jimmy, as you say, sings in about birds and storms…what else does he sing about? Can he sing like me?” asked Pinku, and Pritty was at loss of words, she looked around for someone to help her out, but everybody seemed eager to know the answer as well. She took a few gulps or air, pecked on the worm she had brought along with her, but she didn’t seem very keen. Pinku waited, so did everyone else. Finally Pritty said, “Well, its very different. You croak well Pinku, in fact you’re the most amazing croaker ever!” To this, Pinku turned a slight purplish hue. “But,” Pritty continued. “Jimmy can sing his poems like I have never heard before, my mum and dad are always talking about different songs, and how all sorts of birds can sing so well, though we are not the song bird type, but we are very aware about things like these!” She sounded almost teary, “Jimmy can sing songs like never before. And I have heard him sing. Even though he carries a saddle and there are humans accompanying him, he is always humming beautiful songs, as if he has no care in the world!”
Pinku stretched his hind legs and jumped towards the edge of the lake, as if about to jump. Everybody was breathing in silence, as if dreading the worst, but afraid to speak a word…but Pinku did not jump, he sat by the lake and said in a heavy voice, “Can you sing to us what he sang to you?” and he turned his toady head towards Pritty for an answer. She was staring at the worm, avoiding all eyes, which were fixed on her, she said in a small voice, “Yes. The one I heard him sing. But I’m not a song bird, I can’t sing. But I can tell you how it goes…if I remember it.”

And so, Pritty had sung a tune, in a strangely woody chirrup. Pinku stood the farthest from her, while the others gawked, pricking their ears (those who had them) to listen carefully. He memorised the tune, because Pritty had faltered at places with the words. The words…how did he never think of putting words in his songs…how come he never thought of becoming a poet! He stopped humming. He wanted to hear the poet sing, be there in person when Jimmy sang! Yes! He told himself. That is what will put his mind out of misery; he will learn how to put words into tune! And instantly, he jumped out of his alcove and formed a deep croak in his throat. When he finally croaked it…he was sure all his friends had heard him, and as he had expected, he saw a yellow mass swim towards him beneath the water followed by a handsome white duck. He heard Chumbie scurrying down the branch and Dave was only a little away, swiftly brandishing his tail to reach the spot quicker. As they all gathered, they looked anxious, almost as if having been expecting the call. Pinku cleared his throat and said, “I have been thinking, since Pritty mentioned him to me, I have been thinking about meeting him. What do you fellas think?”
Tabz spoke in a grave voice, “Brother, if you think you should, I am certain you are right!”
Dave nodded in agreement. Akko, however, smiled and said “Hey buddy, don’t you think you are putting in too much thought into this? I mean, who knows, what if Pritty made a mistake?”
Pinku shook his green little head and replied. “I do not think Pritty would make such a mistake. But, if you wish to stay behind you can, I will go and find out this poet singer myself!”
Akko swam closer and pecked Pinku on the head affectionately and said, “I am where you are my friend. With you always.”
Chumbie climbed down from his branch and said, “I will find out where his herd grazes and if it is safe for us to go there, because Pritty had mentioned humans. Let me find out and we will go!”

...to be continued!

23 Mar 2008

Indistinct Blabbers of a Biased Blogger

Ah! Delhi... Dilwalon ki... Is it? Or was that the line from Delhi tourism advert? Like I care...but, whatever I do, I get irritated, angered, flustered, embarrassed, ridiculously emotional, shocked or even surprised...its a sure thing that I cannot simply ignore it. Life belongs here, now... and so be it... As the city gets warmer, I shop for new shoes, the kind that won't melt as the pitched roads start fuming in a month or so... The umbrellas spring out of the bags, lady-like and masculine, with equal grace... flowery...patterned...dull black... ...frilly around the edges, double coated... heat resistant... UV protected...all imaginable variations. The evening cups of tea will soon be exchanged for "thandai" and "banta".

Now that I come to think of it, well... the place isn't all that bad, save maybe for the fact that there are more chances I'd get mugged, raped, abducted (by near-alien intelligence, and not the E.T sort), or addicted... to various unhealthy activities. Then again, its a city where I know more surprises await me... good and bad. They sort of come in pairs... one good one bad, if not worse. Although my first love will always be my only love... My Calcutta is impeccable, the sweat, grime, dirt, smog... the waking up into surrealistic pleasures brought on by Promoder cha... the hustle bustle of Dharamtalla, the biriyani of Biriyani Galli, the crazy beggar woman in front of New Empire, she's very much still there... the quickies to Shovabazar ghaat... the walks through Boi Para, and the impregnated smiles on the face of Jhantuda...the bookshop owner... I owe my Gibrans, Coelhos and an odd Perry Mason or James Hadley Chase...ones I sat and read all through the afternoons and never bought, to him! The visits to T3, one joint (as in food joint, ah! silly me) that still craves...besides Oly, the pub that beckons love even through its ever-grumpy waiters n moth-eaten couch-like things one usually sits on in there... Even Salt Lake... around and around its labyrinthine gol-chakkars, the place is dear... the parks we'd scale walls into... the school I once claimed to belong to... the crazy people I met there... the craziest things I've done there, been caught doing those... and returned to resume. It all bubbles back into my head... Those shadows I walked past, ran past... and then ultimately got swallowed by... everything is a part of me.

Everyday I wake up feeling I could be there... But I guess, there's an explanation as to why I'm not. Sometimes, life requires us to understand the meaning of things, a little differently than the usual peek into a dictionary... sometimes, understanding means to really feel what it is supposed to. I'm thankful to my fate, that I'm now able to comprehend this love, that I've perhaps never felt foe anything or anybody else. I love Calcutta, almost as if it were a person, because being in love with a person keeps the option of reciprocation open... and I feel I'm loved back, by the city.

25 Feb 2008

Vicious Circles of Weak-ends

Its my Monday greys again... blue is too cheerful to be even considered. I woke up, reluctantly... I never enjoy waking up, and I mean it with all possible puns intended, I never did. But mostly, its an act of compulsion, peer pressure, parental advisory, duty or lose motion. In my case it was extreme disgust... it was MONDAY, and that was all. But the fun fact being, the other day, I took this quiz on Facebook, to see how lazy I was... they said I was a "supermom"!!! Meaning what? I hope it doesn't mean I'm too lazy to use contraceptives!!!!!!!!! Maybe, I ain't getting it right, but I've had a perpetual ego battle with Mondays, especially sice it comes right after my weekend. Life's unfair, okay, message burnt home... but this unfair??? Seriously, I think its time we came up with a revolution or something ... to include Mondays into the weekend...
But, then... what happens to Tuesday? So this is a vicious circle of market mechanism. All this brouhaha about weekends... makes the rest of the week so criminally offensive. Like, no one even has a term for week-starts!!!

24 Feb 2008

Another weekend, just slipped through...

Its sunday today, and its around 2 p.m now. the weekend is almost over, and it seems the last two days have been anything of an excitement, since I moved here. Well, the big thing being, being I now have an internet connection in my hostel room, a luxury that had eluded me before this (in JNU). So my over flowing enthusiasm was understandable, even to me. the first web page I checked out was 'facebook' of course, then 'orkut', then 'hi5' and then 'yahoo'. It was clearly a desperate measure to get back in touch with humanity... as it seems now, it was surely a mistake to be made on the very day an internet connection comes creeping into my arena of melancholy solitude... as expected I was hooked... for almost 26 hours... Then I slept, for hours... and look at me now... my weekend is almost over!!! And I'm still holding on to the shreds of the last few hours of my weekend... saying it was "The Best, and Most Exciting" and things like that... Fact is I'm still alone and pretty lonely, even when all my friends are virtually peeking out of little thumbnail pictures... All so small and insignificant... its almost like the same feeling knowing I'm so far away, they all are starting to look smaller.

22 Feb 2008

Back on Earth

And what a great place to begin with, this December I was actually here in person, close enough to click it... an achievement by itself. It was one of those getaways that matter more than the ones you plan, budget and execute like any other corporate deal. Life here was on slow motion, people smiled without reason, but no one thought they were insane, for the sane amongst us do not laugh without an exchange, in cash or kind, we do both.

A whole day, out of a city I so love, out of a life I so crave... and yet it all seemed so desirous, so out of reach and so so wonderful... and thankfully Shortlived.