Minute.

 

I stare at the clock.

I do not want time to go on tonight.

I do not want.

For the first time in my life, upwards and onwards is not what I want.

I want some more time.

Like one of those entrance exam questions, where you just want another minute to work on it, and you know you will get it.

Ten points. Or an admission. Or some imagined rank.

I want another minute.

I am not where I wanted to be.

I need one more minute.

Advertisements

Inches.

A pretty girl in beautiful black heels.

This is a story of disappointment. And everyone who has fallen in love with a pretty girl in heels would know what I am talking about.

They are a world onto themselves. With a different set of rules, and a different set of requirements..

And when you see them walk the earth, a strange feeling comes over you (Yes, you perverts, it includes girl on girl action), it is a feeling of want.

Not necessarily wanting *that* girl. She isn’t probably available anyway.

It is a feeling of wanting to be her.

You might be pretty. You might be smart, You might be everything that she is.

But she chose to pour all of it in a pair of black heels, and maybe a dress which shows just enough of her. And you did not.

This choice is all that counts.

Just another one.

I pull the hair back from my face and peer into the mirror.

I gawk at the wrinkles and the pores and the non-existent dimples which only some people can see.

They look alright. No immediate panic required.

Probably can put off the facial for another day.

Then I look into my own eyes.

And a century stares back.

My eyes look tired. And that is strange, for I thought I was in love.

You know how it is. You meet someone new, get the skin glowing (could be due to other reasons), have a sparkle in your eyes, spring in the steps, bloody violins play and all.

Yes, check to all of that, except the sparkle.

Strange.

And I look for a reason. Maybe it is the object of affection, if he is unable to put the sparkle in my eyes, this needs serious second thoughts.

But, no. He is more than I could ever wish for. Or get.

It is me then.

This old woman staring at me out of my own mirror is a product of me.

And I frantically look for other reasons.

Maybe it is the cares of looking after two cats, and being ignored by both.

Maybe it is the up and coming career.

Maybe it is being the eldest child, oh who am I kidding.

 

It is that small voice inside me which with a careworn frown says, this is not love.

Like the last time was not. Like the last to last time was not. Like it never was.

 

I do not dare admonish it, because the worst thing about history is that it gets thrown into your face.

So I keep staring at a mirror and arguing with my inner voice and refuse to fall in love.

How much more clichéd could I be?

I even buy shoes. *kills self*

In anticipation.

“I can stop anytime I want.”

It gives me comfort, this phrase.

It lets me know that I’m still in control.

That I have not gone too far down a road that I might regret.

That I am still the woman I hope to be, rather than just the girl my mind is trapped inside.

Maybe one day, when my mind and my body are in agreement on my age, I might stop this chase.

Until then, I choose to continue.

Strange word this – “choose”.

Implies so much of my own volition.

As if falling was my choice.

I was stumbling about, yes. I was on the precipice, yes. I took a step, yes.

But I did not wish to fall.

I know the complete anarchy that is waiting at the bottom of that tumble, and I wish for none of it.

And yet, here I am, feeling the air on my face, the tears streaming down, the screams escaping me, hands flailing about, buffeted by the wind.

And I can see the ground coming closer.
I still say –“I can stop anytime I want.”

Love is not easy.

I have a strange wish for the past few days.

I wish that my mum had taken out about ten minutes from her busy schedule, when I was young, and told me about disappointment.

See, the thing is that we know it will come. When we in our glorious youth, think of coming age, we recognise it by this one characteristic.

We know old people are old because they stink of disappointment.

Which is the same reason that some people are eternally young. They have hope, of one kind or the other, and they use it like a daily botox injection.

So, to come back to the fore-warned part of the deal, I wish my mum had told me that being pretty and being smart and being able to dress well (on a shoe-string budget too) was not the be all and end all of the world.

I wish she had sat me down, when I was ten or eleven and told me about her life. How she had to be married at 23, and how she gave up a promising government job in a bank, and how she got used to a new family which possibly disliked her. It would have given me an inkling of the looming future.

I am not saying I have the same hurdles as her. Not even close.

But there are disasters, of the same scale. And I wish she had told me to watch out for them.

I wish I had learnt of life’s cruelty. Just so I could be resigned to it.

It is hard to deal with surprises.

 

Deliciously Rumpled.

This year is a liberating one. Any year would be, if people took it as the last one they would ever live.

The fact is that once you take things to be finite, there is a strange urgency which infuses every action thereon, a vitality which it was missing earlier.

And there is joy, a benign feeling of goodness- in myself and in others. And this is surprising, in a person as jaded as the one I used to be.

And there is lightness. I have given up a lot of dead weight (pun intended). There are people you know, just for the heck of it. And you keep up appearances because, well, it is rude to not do so. But I have decided to make sure that this year will have no pretence with it. Even if my life does not end in December, at least a lot of unnecessary weight would have ended. So to all you people, whom I knew for fear of being rude, and those people who took me for granted, goodbye.

And there is satisfaction. I do a job. I do it well. That is all I need from my life currently. I ask for no more, and I receive no less. I cease to be disgruntled, and I still have time to do something apart from my job. So, to unnecessary doubts and useless crying about life, goodbye.

And there is happiness. When there is simplicity, there is no grief. I have decided to see the grey and be happy, rather than fret over the black and white. It is easy to segregate after that. I have 1 or 2 people I can go to, after I have killed someone… cheated on someone…have sinned somewhere… and still be sure that I won’t be judged. So, to all those who sat in judgement, behind hidden smiles and sly entrendes, goodbye.

If I were to picture my life right now, it’s like it has just woken up. That it is sleepy eyed, in a sun-kissed bed. There is the day to look forward to.

It is just sitting there, deliciously rumpled, and I won’t change a crease.

Chequered.

Sunday, 06 February 2011 at 13:11

People are judged on their past, among other things.

Things like personality, looks, honesty, candour, cuteness etc. Unfortunately, these other things mostly turn out to be irrelevant in front of the torrid onslaught of yesteryear misdemeanours and memorable misconduct.

People turn into outlines. Filled with the same stale, old colour, regurgitated every time to turn them into the same thing. Over and Over again. No corner given. No explanation. Because you did that, you must be this. Ipso Facto.

Basically, you are already doomed, before any relationship, unless you meet someone who will never get a whiff of your past, six degrees of separation notwithstanding. You have already spent most of your life perjuring yourself, and now no one even wants to hear the truth.

Ever wondered why it is called a chequered past? Because that is what was tattooed on the back of misbehaving sailors by a whip. A criss-cross pattern, which would be a lifelong reminder of their deeds.

We have the same tattoos. On which we are judged and perceived and categorised. I wish that were not so.

I wish people were more accepting of patterns.

I, for one, like my black and white and grey squares. They make me colourful.

My dear depression.

Thursday, 24 February 2011 at 19:54

What would we be, us humans, without the tendency to be gloomy. Our best writers, our best poets, the most poignant writing there ever has been, has been about sadness. People are drawn to grief – personal or other’s. It lets them feel good about themselves.

Other people’s suffering always has a pep to it. A zing, which makes us feel, no matter how horrible it is, for one second- Hey! I’m better!

Even sadness is then, a mere means to an end. The eternal prelude to the thing that really matters – Happiness.

I feel sad for sadness. The poor emotion never had a chance. Unwanted, wished away, blessed against, cursed, a poor substitute for faces wreathed in smiles and hearts which are light. Never valued for the lessons which it gives. The things which are sent to try us, always find us wanting. Wanting less pain, less effort,  more happiness. Give us more of the good stuff – is the shout which goes around.

I rather value my melancholy.  Where would I be, without my bouts of depression and my struggle against despair?

Maybe a happily adjusted young person„ in a happy relationship, waiting for a happy marriage, with a happy job, and a happy future right around the corner.

But then, would I have a life?

Back to Bombay.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010 at 23:48

I walk down an insanely crowded road. I have sweat running down my back and there is a slight breeze trying to mitigate the effects of an entire city’s effusions.

I haggle over a hundred grams of some vegetable, and eat half a guava on the way. I shoulder away random men who can’t help walking too close. I see dried fish being sold in packets, and cry myself hoarse in trying to get a cab to stop. I shrug, and just keep on walking.

I walk down one flyover and go up another. I have a rhythm in my walk now, and the steps have stopped being a burden. I buy some water, and drink it, with some children already begging for the non-empty bottle. I see people fighting and I do not stop to find out why. I fight for my space on the narrow corridor and keep my purse firmly in hand. I make sure that I have a place here. I feel a moment of absolute elation. Then I shrug, and walk on.

The Shadow People

Monday, 4 April, 2011 at 22:29

A day or two of random conversations. A night or two spent together. And then, done. Its a habit. This un-connectedness. The two-three days are a necessary and sufficient condition.

You cherish it, this paucity of time.

Beautifully convenient.  Those people who come and go through life. For a day or two – the random romances, torrid night outs, an hour or two even. There is a beauty to it. A shadow beauty. They are there, but only as long you are out in the sun. They come and go, and they might be interesting for a while, but they do not intrude. It is just so convenient. And it is so awesome to use that word, because it rules almost everything nowadays.

This is for all the shadow people in my life. They made me stronger, made me feel beautiful, made me have a little more fun than I might have had otherwise, and contrary to society’s mores, they emphatically did not take a piece of me.

I’m glad enough to admit to the shadows in my life. They are dark corners maybe, but they are also the play of the sun on tousled sheets and thoughts that pop, which otherwise won’t have.