Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ribbon streamers and Maharani

Some people, places and days are near perfect.
I took a near-perfect interview and a near-perfect walk. There's this near-perfect road bend where you get a near-perfect cup of tea. I attended a near-perfect aerobic session and walked another near-perfect mile.
Then i met some near-perfect people with near perfect dreams. We ate some near perfect muri and talked about this...these near-perfect dreams. And oddly enough...once we started walking away...something followed, like a determined mongrel that wouldnt be shooed of. And made itself at home in the little space between us, that wouldnt be enough for a person. And stayed put. While we walked on terribly conscious of this stubborn pup and yet oddly comforted by it, talking on as our near-perfect future rose like mist over our far-from-perfect present.

I bought a wedding gift, but i wish i could keep it.
And this wonderful, wonderful old man i met today from whom i bough a scrap of ribbon, upturned his tiny shop to search for a bit of cardboard i could wrap my gift in. And then he went all the way and wrapped it for me with a lot of enthusiasm "thik kore dhor. arre, oi deek ta dekhbi toh, beke jachhe, dara dara, ami korchhi" Oh, and did i mention? He has never seen me before today, and probably never will again? And at the end of the whole thing, he charged me Rs 2, for the ribbon. And threw in a huge grin as well. Gratis.
I...wish i could remember all the things i've been told that i want to remember. Sometimes the words return and crawl underneath my scalp, ever so lightly, so that you just know they are there, but you dont know what they are or who said them.
And when you have a series of near-perfect moments, like today, you come this close to thinking that its all going to be okay, perhaps. There shall be more nice music, and nice roadways and nice cups of tea. And there will be near-perfect people too. Just when you least expect them. If only one could teach the old dog some new tricks. But then, we all need our own security blankets, no?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

You know that very bollywood scene, where the hero and heroine turn their backs to each other and walk out of the scene, and then the hero turns back and sees her walking away so he shakes his head and turns around, and just then she turns around and sees him walking away, so she wipes away an imaginary tear and walks out too?
Sooo filmi, no?
I think I'm going to pass out laughing. Or crying. I wish I knew which.
Listen to A Bittersweet Symphony.
Ti ti ti-ti ti ti-ti ti ti ti ti ti.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

In defense of chick-lit.

Laurie: I have loved you since the moment I clamped eyes on you. What could be more reasonable than to marry you?
Jo : We'd kill each other.
Laurie: Nonsense!
Jo : Neither of us can keep our temper-...
Laurie: I can, unless provoked.
Jo : We're both stupidly stubborn, especially you. We'd only quarrel!
Laurie: I wouldn't!
Jo : You can't even propose without quarreling.

I always knew that Jo should have refused Laurie. Even though he's perfect. The thing is that she is not. I was just surprised that she had the foresight to realize it.

Friedrich Bhaer...sigh...where are you?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Of little stories in between

Sometimes, when you’re least aware of it, you look back at the people you knew since the beginning of forever, only to realize how much you’ve painted them in rainbow colours to suit your own rainy day purposes. I once knew a little boy, wide eyed and sharp tongued. He wrote a little story everyday—the same story, very episodic, where he always played the hero. Occasionally I featured in it too, always a small subsidiary sub plot character, never important enough to turn the tide. I don’t think he ever stopped to consider me as a real character, or gave it a second thought whether I was in it or not. It meant something to me though, to see my name in one, after several dry chapters. Not a great, earth-shattering deal, but something, nevertheless.
Pretty soon, we went our separate ways. He moved along to change the world, or something equally important as that. Before leaving, he gave me a bunch of scrap paper filled with incomprehensible doodles. I took it, feeling terribly important, certain that they meant ‘something’. At the lonely, deserted station with its early morning smells, I saw his lean self bent almost double with the weight of his faithful red rucksack, walking towards the train, and out of my little coloured world, without a second look behind. My eyes shone with the possibilities he was capable of. I don’t think he could even remember if I wore glasses or not.

His crumpled parting gift was lost in transit when I changed houses. And so were his memories and curious stories as I flitted in and out of unsatisfied lives and people. I learnt singing and took up pottery. I met somebody amazing and lost him in transit too. I gave piano lessons to the girl next door and learned how to bake the most perfect carrot and cheese cake. Occasionally, and never to deeply, I allowed myself to ponder over roads not taken, and dreams not fulfilled. A little self-pity, a little self-loathing, a little looking back. I thought of all the people I used to know, and wondered if they were worse or better off than I was. All the crazy men and women with music in their laughs and stars in their eyes.
Sometimes when it rained and the world and its neighbour refused to open their doors, I ran along the sidewalk, counting every alternate square, until I reached a hundred. I was content that I had nothing to complain about—no immediate financial worries, the occasional date, the occasional music concert, a monthly visit to the parents, and life seemed to be in order. Thunder and lightning had never quite been my style.
At the cafe, on my way to work, I met a stranger scribbling away furiously on crumpled, ink stained tissue paper. I stopped to talk, because even years of saving the world hadn’t taken away the child like determination from his eyes. He accepted my coffee but refused my muffin. He said, he couldn’t take sweets. As I sat, reading the paper, amidst the hasty scratch of pen on paper, I remembered the little boy with never a special word for me, in whom I believed then, as much as I believed the sun would rise tomorrow. The waiters ignored him as he signalled them weakly—as he walked down the sidewalk, people from all sides seemed to walk through him. In the tube, he muttered furiously, clutching his threadbare jacket, crushing the tissue paper even further.
I confessed that I had lost his doodles somewhere in the flea bitten years. He didn’t blink twice. I doubt he remembered my last name. At the station, he handed me the crumpled manuscript, and asked me to keep it till he returned from the restroom. I waited three whole hours before I ventured to read it. It was the same little boy I had know a few lightyears ago, and the same story, only different chapter. He was still the hero, and I was still nowhere in it. I left the station only after the last train had gone.

Sometimes, on off-days I still go and sit there and watch the trains pass. Occasionally I think I see a dash of red and a proud weather-beaten face amidst a sea of nameless people. But the train leaves before I can be sure. In any case, the red backpack has been lost for years. And the face is off on another adventure, another story, another earth-changing mission. Where he plays the good cop, and I the nameless, faceless person in the sidewalk among thousand others.