Saturday, August 24, 2013

Ritual Dance

Three steps out and five steps upstage. The half-a-second pause to check readiness and then slow steps up the little staircase.
It was pitch dark. And utterly silent. They anyway didn’t need to signal through sound or action. They had been doing this for days now. Each time the stage went dark and the set had to change, they made slow tender love. She felt his nerves strain as they lifted the writing desk up the staircase and he felt her breath. They felt they knew each other intimately.
One day, her trousers rustled faintly as she moved and he knew she wasn’t wearing her usual pair of jeans.
They went by their swift coordinated motions like it was a ritual dance.
They entered with a table full of props. She lifted the decanter off it. He placed the fat red book on the table and she placed the decanter on it. He placed the chess board, she the pieces. Then they picked up the books from the sofa downstage to strew them over the desk. He carefully placed the hat carelessly on the floor and she knew to avoid it as she moved. It took all of 15 seconds. They waited for these parts in the play.
She didn’t know his name. He had read hers on a list.
They never spoke back stage. They had other duties. On-stage, with a thousand eyes watching, they moved under the blanket of darkness and lived their togetherness.
It was so delicate, their affair. They were afraid speaking to each other would end their reverie.

One day, as she picked up the decanter, he heard a tiny clink. She wore an engagement ring. He placed the hat differently. She stepped on it. They both knew it wouldn’t be the same again. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Those Nights

It was one of those nights. They would come, creeping on regular evenings, every once in a while and pass by without resulting in anything extraordinary, noteworthy or even memorable.
Her feet hurt from the sharp edge of the table but she dint shift her weight. She dint think correct spellings were important either.
We are so present in action in the immediate; let a few years pass and we notice that they passed while we watched, spectators, with no will or intention to participate. These nights, they were just like that. She loved them. She floated through time, making eons of fleeting moments.
It was a new city in a new country. Usually fond of exploring, today she felt like she dint need to see this new place. Just her balcony was enough. With the unknown landscape beyond, it seemed perfect. One could just be. Without thinking of what one saw, for one knew nothing about it. It was like visiting someone else’s life. It was like signing out of the world.
The film playing on Star Movies was the one she had planned to watch with her friend. They were cute together for the little time that they were. Deciding to watch a movie just because the title seemed to tell of their lives and then, having such little conviction in the idea, being too lazy to even go. Saying lovely things is a lovely thing. She knew so many like him.
The breeze blew through the open door. She couldn’t even say that it was a breezy day, for she dint know how yesterday was nor how tomorrow would be. It was so liberating to lack context.
She played that game with herself, the one where one has to say the first thing that comes to mind when a word is said. She was always afraid of ever having to play this game with him. It would give so much away. So she played with the TV. The TV would ask and she would answer.
It took her to so many places, to so many people. And she went back and forth, between absurd and sentimental, between childhood dreams and adult fears. It felt so light to remember, without thinking before and feeling after.
She was liking treating this unknown city like she had been living there. With no urge to make every evening special. The charm of the regular.
The TV was such a mundane thing in the Indian imagination that it was so intensely romantic. It smelled of domesticity. She remembered the conversations about TV. She had had a few. One of her friends or whatever you would call him, had once wanted to watch TV lying next to her, just to pretend like they’d always been together.
She switched off the lights and lay down in the new bed. Without even checking what the window next to it looked out at. It wasn’t important. She was getting what she wanted from this place. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dying better be worth poetry..

For some are not meant for the unbearable lightness of being...

Long ago, there was a bird who sang just once in its life.
From the moment it left its nest, it searched for a thorn tree and it never rested until it found one. Then it began to sing more sweetly than any creature on the face of the earth. And singing, it impaled its breast on the longest, sharpest thorn. But as it was dying, it rose above its own agony to out-sing the lark and the nightingale.
The thorn bird pays its life for that one song and the whole world stills to listen and God in heaven smiles. As its best was bought only at the cost of great pain. 
Driven to the thorn, with no knowledge of the dying to come.
But when we press the thorn to our breast,
We know...
We understand...
And still...we do it.

- Excerpt from 'The Thorn Birds' by Colleen McCullough

P.S.: I'd thought I'd never post another's writings here, but there comes a time when one changes one's mind.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Quest of the Sparrows

A dear friend, Kartik Sharma, just came out with his first ever book. Sounds very interesting. Pick it up if the description on Wiki interests you. ( )It should be in bookstores in a week or so. I'll bet its a good read.

Monday, February 7, 2011

That's all folks

342. Still 6 more pages to go. She tried to hurry up her reading, almost willing the characters to act faster. The stubbornly unhurried pace of the story gave her a sense of her dreams in which she had tried to scream only to find that her vocal chords failed her.
It had no surprise, no frantic energy and yet it left her feeling breathless; as if a graying, graceful and weak man had made love to her.
348. She panicked for the last line, for which she had waited and hurried, suddenly seemed terrifying. It was going to end. And it did, breathtakingly.
She couldn’t turn the last page nor could she bear to read the last line again. She had lost the man and there was no going back. She lingered still; eyes scanning the ink and trying not to recognize the alphabets and words – a widow by the body of her husband, trying desperately to salvage some more togetherness while still refusing to register the dead reality of her companion of so long. Every instant only reinforced that searching the silence, apart from making her feel empty, was disrespectful to the life and the love they had shared.
She put down the book and the thought of reading another, she felt, had the stench of infidelity.

Picture credits: Giuseppe Ceschi

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hold that glance

She looked at him

There was no longing there

     An old classic on pages so yellow
     The creases on the cover and the dusty feel
     Every word still vivacious with the zest for life
     It still has it magic, its razor-sharp wit
     The maidens still pretty , the bells still peal.

     The paper so crisp , it threatens to crumble
     Yet the turf for the army's thunder
     The ink, so faint she strains to read,
     Still weaves nights of cold air laden
     with treachery thick and mysterious wonder

He looked at her
There was no longing there

     The yellow so bright, its almost golden
     A half-open bud, posing as a flower
     The scent so deep, there's substance there
     Compliments the smell of the musty paper
     All at once - potent, sweet and sour.

     So young so fresh, yet so proud
     The pollen within the promise of life
     Breathing in every shade that's hers
     His eyes never the green thorn saw
     For the petals alone cut like a knife

Monday, November 9, 2009

Both Sides Now

I've looked at love from both sides now, from the give and take, but still somehow it's love's illusion i recall. I really don't know love at all.
-Both Sides Now. By Joni Mitchell

Disclaimer: The song has only as much connection with the post as you make. Nevertheless, listen to the song, it's beeyootifool.

The beads of condensed water appeared, grew heavier, and finally rolled down. JD sat and stared, almost absent and content at the same time, at the glass of hazelnut (his favourite) coffee on the table in front of him. Today was a strange day. Nothing in particular happened but on this strange day JD felt strangely happy. It was one of those days when you feel like you could hug everyone you meet, when you pet the stray dog you usually avoid and probably even buy roses at the traffic signal with no recipient in mind.

He even thought that his usually unruly hair looked good today. He turned his head from side to side while looking at his reflection in the glass wall of the cafe he sat in. His gaze then followed the reflection of condensed droplets on the coffee glass. Some movement on the other side of the glass broke his trance. It was a little poor boy peeping into the halogen-lit world inside the expensive cafe. He seemed to be studying JD, for JD looked different from the usual cafe-going bunch. He gave a toothy smile as their eyes met. JD kept looking at him but the boy soon lost interest and turned his attention to the TV perched on the opposite wall. He seemed very excited and happy. His hair was rough and dry, his eyes a pale yellow, his skin leathery and his feet with broken nails stood firm on the pavement that must be hot enough to fry an omelette, observed JD. The world inside was so different. The girls on the opposite table must've spent a bomb on those french manicured nails, the AC kept the place nice and cool even in this hot summer, the TV aired celebrity lives and JD's new shoes boasted of a Michael Jordan sign. The little boy outside looked happy to even get a glimpse of the good life.

Since it was JD's i-am-happy day, he felt a sudden urge to share his happiness with this unfortunate boy. He went outside and offered to take the boy in. The boy's eyes nearly popped out of his head. He had stood here and happily looked inside every day but no one had even spoken to him let alone take him inside. He put his hand into JD's and walked inside, slightly scared and embarrassed but delighted. The AC felt so good and the cushion was so soft! JD ordered sandwiches and ice-cream for him. The boy looked around the cafe as if he had never seen it before and wanted to touch everything; the coffee glass, the table, the cane of the sofa and even the glass wall. He smiled from ear to ear as he lapped up every last crumb of his food.

Half an hour later JD walked home even happier than he was before. He couldn't remember another time when he had made someone so happy. The toothy grin kept flashing in front of his eyes and every time it did so, JD smiled, both inside and outside. He would remember this boy for days.

The boy stood on the hot pavement again, waiting for another JD to take him in. He'd never been so miserable before. The sun hurt his eyes and the pavement his feet. He wished for the feel of the soft cushions. He touched the glass wall, it felt warm and he remembered how cool it had felt from inside. He begged a young girl entering the cafe to take him in and the cafe manager came out and threatened to hit him. He remembered how happy he was this morning and cursed JD for JD had made a beggar of the poor boy.