Thursday, July 30, 2009

Past lives and other worlds..

I have always admired people who can run on a treadmill. Because I never can. Normally I walk on the treadmill. And I almost always listen to 'Brothers in Arms' while doing so. No other music album holds my interest long enough for me to burn a few hundred calories on the treadmill. I get bored easily.
So today,there I was listening to my favorite songs and panting away.And suddenly came the song 'Why Worry'. It made my heart stop just for a minute.
I was 10 when my Dad introduced me to Dire Straits. This song was a personal favorite then. It continues to remain so.
That was the beginning. And then there was no looking back.
My best pal had once gifted me a cassette back in school(yeah we had magnetic tapes with two brown spools back then! Hmmphh! Am I getting old?!!) with all our favorite songs recorded.
> Crying in the Rain
> Its yesterday Once more
> Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow polka dot Bikini
> Top of the World
> Johnny Get Angry
> California Dreaming
> Cherish
> Bridge over Troubled Water
> And the best one : That`s what Friends are for..
The tape`s old now, its reels cachectic over time. But I still have it. I still cherish it. I still listen to the songs(on youtube now).
Over the years, my taste in music has grown. From Dire Straits to The Beatles to Rabindra Sangeet to Lata`s melodies to Floyd and Led Zep to Dylan and Baez and back to good ol` country music. And then again, to some beautiful songs from unnamed bands and vocalists. But the songs I liked as a little girl, I still do.
Same for books. I could still spend an entire afternoon reading 'Anne of Green Gables', Noddy books or 'Trixie Beldon'. We never had Harry Potter back then. I still havent found the inclination to read or see any.
I still like the same food. Home made Indian meal. We never had Thai/Mexican/Greek restaurants in Ranchi. We still dont. I never knew what any other food tasted like. I still dont find much interest(though I sometimes do try out newer stuff). I disliked fruits and veggies. I still do.
I have a collection of things from the past which I cherish. Old letters. Cards. Photographs(some damaging ones too!). Crafts which I made in school. Old diaries. A paper doll house. A miniature tea set from childhood. A dried jacaranda leaf which a close pal once gave me. Old posters that once brightened up my room(one of Sachin Tendulkar too! Geez!). An old scrap book from the first years at school and a Geography project on Volcanoes done years later. Some 50-year old slender aluminum boxes for storing syringes(this one from grandpa`s collection). Zippo lighters(from dad`s). And thanks to Mom, a couple of dresses from when I was a year old and a crochet lampshade she had once made.
I still like the same people. I still dislike the same ones. I still have a couple of close friends from school. NONE from college. And a couple of recent friends who have almost become family. It`s difficult for me to go out and make new friends.
I`m still the same. Fond of dogs and radio shows. Still dislike the concept of a circus and a zoo. Still mortally scared of birds. Childishly excited at times. Opinionated. Stubborn. Angry. Never letting myself forget. Or forgive.

I sometimes wonder if it`s healthy for the human psyche to roam around with the past clinging around one`s neck like rosary beads. Gagging at times.
But then again, I feel content. Sheathed in the old dreams. Vivid. Happy. Fascinated.Sad.Scared. Roaming around the world aimlessly. Like a lost soul.
For all I know, I may have just become one...
I sometimes wonder if this is normal. If it is okay to never allow myself to grow up. Never open up to new ideas, new people, new horizons.
Is there anyone who feels the same way? Or is it just me?

All my best memories come back clearly to me.
Some can even make me cry. Just like before.

Its yesterday once more.
- Carpenters

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Lesson Learnt - Part 4

April 21,2009

It was the hottest day this summer, or so it seemed. The heat was killing me. The sun was burning my soul. It was the day we had arranged a prayer service at home, for Dad.
I stood by the door, mind of stone, watching the priest recite prayers for Dad. Every once in a while I looked over at Dad`s picture and smiled. He smiled back. Dad wasnt religious. Neither am I. I knew how amused he must be, at all the dramatics going on. More on this at a later post.
Just then, I saw a rickshaw pull up by the door and a little girl, all of four, hop off with a bottle of Pepsi in her hands. Before her mum could realize what was happening, she held it out to the rickshaw puller and said," Here. Arent you hot?"
The mother yanked her away and bent down to talk to her. She was fuming.
"Now that you`ve given your bottle away, don't come crying to me when you`re thirsty!"

I was stunned. For several reasons.
Here was a four year old teaching us one of life`s most valuable lessons.
The need to be perceptive. The need to be a little more sensitive. And yet, was being reprimanded for being 'naughty'.
I glared at the mother. You have the power to shape up your child, I thought. Go on, make a devil out of her, so she never thinks of sharing a cold drink with a tired rickshaw puller ever again.

It is true that children are more sensitive. Because children are simple. Children are not 'objective', so to say.
We as adults fight wars all around, all the time. And it has become a question of who breaks whom. It is spartan. It is all-consuming and frenzied. It is a paradox. This desperate urge to conquer. To covet. And the urge to please. To conform. To follow suit.
Children dont understand such complexities of life. They live uncomplicated ones.
We dont understand the complexities of life as well. Hence we think we live uncomplicated ones too.
But you and I know that I am not seeing uncomplicated any more. When exactly we parted ways is difficult to pin point...somewhere between my first date and getting married, I guess.
You were on the same bus,remember?
The obliviousness of the next turn of life has just become so increasingly fuzzy. For both you and me.
Is that why our minds are so blurred?
Is that why the sensitivity of our souls has simply gone up in smoke?

This particular episode brought back memories I had long forgotten.
A long, long time ago, I was standing at the door and fighting over the five extra rupees that a rickshaw puller was demanding one such hot afternoon. And Dad came out and quietly asked,"What do you propose to do with the five bucks you manage to save today?"
Lesson learnt. For Life. The value of empathy. The need to be sensitive. The need to let go of pettiness.
And as I looked backed at the picture and thought of the man who had taught me to live, I knew it was Dad. That he was around. Showing me the way yet again.

Not that I`m a fan of Mahatma Gandhi, but there`s one quote of his that makes sense to me.
"Be the change you want to see in this world."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Things

The Chic Geek asked me in a comment about my 'favorite simple pleasures'. It set me thinking. Simple things that make me happy. What better way to spend an afternoon than to think of the things that I love. Of things I can think of and suddenly smile. So here goes, even though The Chic Geek seems to have covered most of mine in her own list!

1. Sunshine and colorful gift wrappers
2. A hot cup of coffee and a cinnamon coffee cake
3. Children playing in the rain.
4. Children playing.
5. Plastic tambourines and a goldfish bowl
6. Warm fleece slippers and a blue comforter
7. A good book ; A lazy afternoon
8. A coffee shop; A snow mobile
9. Shrimps ; Smell of sauted onion in cinnamon-cardamom spice mix
10. The smile of a two year old
11. Bumble bees and Yellow flowers
12. A Nose Pin
13. Warm sand and Stars on a moonless night
14. Soft music, A wooden guitar and Old photographs
15. Smell of fresh baked bread
16. Thunder, Dogs and A black dress
17. Handycams and Food Processors
18. Old letters, White stationary and Photo frames
19. Baby clothes, See-saws and Warm hugs
20. A bubble bath, A hot oil massage
21. Cigarettes, Vodka in orange Juice and Motorbikes
22. Molten chocolate cake
23. A log cabin; A Piano
24. Meatballs , Mangoes
25. A long drive, A snowstorm

That`s about all I cant think of right now. Its a pretty honest compilation of my favorite things. Does it say anything about the person I am?

P.S - It took me less than 5 minutes to think of about 40 things that always make me smile. Small things. Magic things.
And yet, for an entire lifespan I have been roaming around,a lost soul,in search of peace. In search of happiness..
Can I therefore conclude that Happiness is simply a state of mind? That circumstances dont bring happiness, but the way I choose to react to them, does? That every time I feel unhappy, bitter, angry or discontent, I should know that I always have a choice. That I can choose to remain bitter and unhappy, or I can fall back on this list and choose to feel happy? Happy to be alive. Happy being me. Happy Just Because...

Monday, July 13, 2009

You and I..

The sun bursts through the darkness.
The sky,a downy, feathery mesh or such like..
The wind whistles through the distant pines.
Zinnias blossom.
Birds chirp. A teapot boils over. A baby smiles.
Children play with cutaway plastic tambourines.
Life goes on.
And then there`s You and I.
Not afraid of shadows. Not even of the dark anymore.
Sometimes flaky. Sometimes childlike.
But mostly slower. More programmed.
No tunnels of escape.
Comforted by the sound of music in hot cups of coffee;
And the smell of faraway lands.
Dewy nights. Quivering lips. And a blanket of stars.
Thirty two miles closer. Thirty five nights apart.
One teardrop meets another. A wilting smile slowly ebbs..
Words tumble in the mind like marbles in a game of rolley hole.
While some get cached in heartbeats.
Mist laden dreams dangle on a silver moonbeam.
While lonely shores are washed by fire.
A smothered wail. A torpid mind.
A wavering soul. A skittish laugh.
Lines of fate twirl around. A slow tango to the beat.
Blue skies. Deep eyes.
And then there`s You and I.
Poised on a silver thread,ambling along. A peregrine. A peasant. Fostering your dreams under the moon. Spraying them with tears and sweat. Corralling the sunbeams in your fist lest they dry those dreams away.
And I.
Sifting junk from old memories that sit and smirk.Some stink. Some smile. While I pour myself a glass of red wine and wait for the sun to rise.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


After much debating, I have decided to take down my last post "Drunk on Power".
The reasons are simple.

1. Confrontation scares me. Its unnerving at many levels.

2. This post was unwarranted.Totally and Completely. Personal grievances are one thing. Making a mockery of someone`s parents on a public forum is totally uncalled for, no matter what the circumstances.

3. I`m at a stage where every day is a struggle. I`m still battling to hold onto the last remaining vestige of sanity after Dad`s death. I see him standing by my bed, watching me shrivel up and cry. I want to reach out. I do. And yet, he moves just out of grasp. And at a time like this, I sit and think of the people who have been around. And those who havent.
And herein lies the root of all troubles.
Presumptions that 'Family' shall always be around. That they shall(atleast once) bother to ask about you and your Mom.And just how you`re doing.
Or defend you when no one does.

That is where the bitterness stems from. And manifests outwardly into an outburst like this.
"Drunk on Power" shall remain in my drafts.
I shall publish it once I know I am ready to stand up and fight.

Until then, my deep gratitude to people who have sent in comments. I shall reply to each one of those here in the next post. My sincere apologies to you all.

But for now,I need to take this post off. At a time when I`m grappling to come to terms with my own loss, I may have bitten off more than what I can chew. I dont need any added headaches right now. And hence, this decision.

P.S - Its been three months today since Dad passed away. Three whole months.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Little things. Magic things.

Deeps tagged me to do this picture post a few weeks back. I thought about it and then I thought some more. Its difficult to put in words, the journey into adulthood. So I shall simply post pictures in a chronological order for you to read the story hidden beneath.

Pic 1 : Piper with Ma : a few days old

Pic 2: Piper with Grandpa : a few weeks old

Pic 3: Piper at 9 months

Pic 4: Piper with Dad - a year and a half

Pic 5: Piper with Lil Sis

Pic 6: Piper`s first day at School

Pic 7: Piper`s first official passport size photo for the school bus pass(Note the scowl!)

Pic 8: Piper then

Pic 9: Piper Now..

Long time ago I did a post on how incredible it is, the way a child moults into an adult. The wires click right in place as we traverse the journey of life and at some point we cease to be children, roaming around the world in wide-eyed wonder, without fear. Without hurt. Without anger. At some point we cease to be clueless little kids,fascinated by the world in all its splendour, smiling at ourselves in the mirror, crying and yet not knowing just how bad the strength of those tears will eventually hurt.
I yearn to go back to the time when I was happy. I long for the time when I didnt know how else to be.
At what point did my mind register fear, I wonder? At what point did my world mutate into a stage where year after year I continued to play a myriad roles? When did I start to bend,twine,tangle into a twisted mass of pretzel,never to untangle again? When did my scraped knees and broken bones suddenly become easier to fix than my broken heart? And Why exactly? When, inside all the grey matter did the circuits click in place, so that little things, magic things suddenly disappeared, never to come back again?

I often wonder.. Do you?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day, America!

Disclaimer: Gross Exaggerations and stereotyping coming up. NO OFFENSE MEANT. All in good humor.

America, Where Oil is the blood that runs through the veins of the motherland;
Where it`s no longer "My SUV is bigger than yours" but "My Hummer is better than yours".

Where no longer is it only drive-through fast food and coffee shops, but drive-through drug stores.

Where gun laws are liberal, 'pro-life' activists flagrant and Darwinism considered an ancient fairytale.

Where people blissfully live life 'Mac D' size, while politicians watch Russia from their front porch!

Where Friday evenings are a 'Budweiser-ish Blur'.
While Saturday afternoons bring Families together to 'A Prairie Home Companion'.

And then there are the Americans themselves. A distinct conglomerate of the incredibly bright, the incredibly dull, the incredibly warm and the incredibly honest set of people I`ve met; who make my life here, a dream come true.
All of that.
And Bush is no longer President!

Happy Independence Day to All my American Friends. May you soon breathe free..

God Bless!