Friday, June 30, 2006

Returns please!

"Oh, you have a girl? How sad, bad returns!"
Mama says, "No, no, I'll bring her up like a boy!"
Mithi is a grown up now.
Mama shouts, "Where are the returns, where are they?"
Papa shouts, "Oh I told you,it's all a waste!
Can't cook, only eats at twenty-five!"
Mithi stares. Mithi sobs. Mithi has no returns.
But Mithi has dreams.
Papa snares,"Dreams, is it? Isn't it enough that you have ruined ours?"
Mama groans, "Go away, Mithi, we don't want you! such a burden!
Won't marry,Won't die,Won't leave this place!"
Mithi looks to God. God laughs, "That's how it is meant to be!
Just do your duty, don't expect returns!"
Mithi is all alone. "Can't I die?" She wonders.
Can't dream, can't think, held up for feeling!
"oh, it suffocates!" she yells.
Papa yells, mama yells, Mithi yells.
They all yell..aaaaahhhhhhhhh
But who's listening?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sweat trickled down my nape. That was good, I thought. But it was not the way I wanted it to be. I wanted it slow and deep, each kiss resting on me for around five seconds. But yes, that is the man I love, so I shall let it pass. I flushed it all out and went to my seat. Tring! Tring!Tring!
"Hello, this is Shyamala from Novice Cross, may I help you?"
"Yes, I want find a restaurant or some place that sells rum cakes".
"Just a sec..." I was still thinking of that salivating mouth, why did I do it?
"There's one at Bandra, the number is 2642..., then you could try Dadar 2413...,
Matunga, VT, Shivaji Park...Alright M'am?"
"Yeah, thanks."
"M'am could I have your email address?"
Vishal_06, oh my holy God, what am I writing! "M'am please repeat it."
"Ok, we have an offer for a hair-cut at..."
"Sorry, not interested!" Bang!
Bloody bitch! Let her call again for rum cakes, I shall shove it up her ass!

I stared down at the keyboard, my fingers moved on keys, whether it's 'A' or 'B' I type depends on where my finger falls at this point in time. Who was doing this to me? What is the difference between me and the keys?

The train journey ended. That was a nice woman, she gave space to that little girl to stand. The world is still good. I was trying the keys when the door opened. It was mother. "Hey shyamu, how was your day?"
"Good ama." "Did you have yor lunch?" "Hmm, some fruits, no time".
"Everyday I take so much trouble to cook and then go to work and look at you. Do your own work!"
"I am sorry I really had no time. Is there anything to eat?"
I was handed a plate with some food. I surfed the channels.
The routine began. "What are you doing with your life? You need to study, this job of yours is so tiring. But you need the money. You know, my office Lakshmi's daughter, she is engaged. They found her a boy and they met in the US. When will you get married?"

I got up and washed my plate. I locked myself up in my room. There was R.K. Narayan to read and Marquez and Tendulkar... God! Exam was in a month's time. I didn't know when I was going to get leave. Bang, bang! "Shyamala, drink your milk!" Holy fuck! Why doesn't this woman get away from my life? She will start again! I opened the door, grabbed the glass and drank it.
"You never want to talk to me. You are not a guest in this house. You have to do all the house work, you get it? There are so many clothes to wash. I need help! Are you ever going to study? You are not even doing that!"
"I am.." "You will keep studying all your life and be a burden on us! When are you going to get settled? All my colleagues' children are settled. One is an engineer, the other is doing his MBA, what's with you?"
"I don't like it!"
"You would have found a nice boy there, someone of your level, but no..."
"You don't do an MBA or Engineering because you want to get boys!"
"yeah, you will rot here. What happened to Manisha's call? Are you taking up that production job again?
"I have my exams in a month, I have ten novels to read!" And banged the door.
"You always.... that went on.

I picked up my cell phone. "Vishal...(sob, sob)I can't handle this anymore."
"What happened now?" "My mom has started it all over again. I have my exams in a month. I don't like this job... my life sucks! It is always her friend's daughters and sons... does she see what their parents are like?"(yell).
"Why are you shouting at me?"
"I am not, I am not shouting at you. I am fed up! I want to die!"
"Ok, listen you know you need to study, just block your mind, will you?"
"hmm...I don't know how to..."
"Come on now...ok listen, I am in the midst of debugging, I shall call you after I get home.."
"Listen.. I am feeling terrible..."
"Tch, Please wait for an hour..."
(Sob, sob)...Okay! The cell phone fell with a bang. "Aaahhhhhhhh....ahahhhahhhh"
I took 'Hanuman Chalisa' and stared at him. Are you going to put my life in place, are you? (howl) I began reading it..."Jai Hanuman..." I felt better. I took "The Bachelor of Arts" and began reading. I wished that my parents were like his father who never forced him to do anything... tring! tring!
"Haan, ok."
"When did you reach?"
"Just now."
"I shall have my dinner and call you."

I stared at the syllabus. I can do it, I thought. I need to call Sameer sir, he shall help me. Oh God, it's midnight already. Tring, tring...
"How are you feeling now?"
"Can I go to sleep?"
"Yeah...Can you not talk for five mins?"
"Hmm, what?"
"Can we marry? I want to get away from this place... I want a house on rent.. I don't want to marry...(sob, sob)"
"Ok, we will marry. Don't cry."
"Can you not give me some reassurance?"
"See we will marry... but not right now."
"I know, I am not talking about that... About my problem."
"What prob?"
"Tch... Vishal.... why did you call?"
"Your mom? See, she has that habit, ignore it."
"Don't you see it affects me?"
"Yeah, should I tell her to stop it?"
"She won't listen. She thinks it's for my good. I am scared. I have so much to read and every bloody day she will do this."
"Just tell her to stop it till your exams!"
"Is that a solution Vishal?"
"No. Listen it is one, and I need to sleep now. You should also sleep."
"Yeah...can you talk for five more mins?"
"Tch... yeah..."
"Say something nice!"
"I am sleepy, I cant think."
"Ok....say somehing naa"
"You can make it!"
"ok...Go to sleep."
"Luv u"
Luv u"
"Sweet dreams"
Light still blinks on the cell and slowly fades away.
I stared at the pages. Let me sleep I thought. Tommorrow I shall do it.

Who's a grown up?

When I say my father beat me
"Grow up, grow up", they say.
When I say my mother has stopped loving me
"Grow up, grow up", they say.
When I say my teachers abase me
"Get over it and grow up", they say.
"Will you please not criticise me?"
"Oh, that's for your own good,
how will you improve?", they say.
"It worked with Neeta, it will work with you too!"
They throw what I have written, they jeer at my thoughts,
they laugh at my ambitions, they know what is right for me.

I cry, I whine, I fret in darkness
I sulk, I howl, I melt with sadness
I find no God, I find no love
"It happens to everyone, grow up", they say.

How does one grow when all is same,
when the mirage of light empties itself in the night?
well, which of them is grown up?
They repeat all that people have done and do.
If that's all one does on growing up,
Then bliss seems to rest with a child that causes no pain.

Monday, June 12, 2006

It all started at Mussorie. The days here were entertaining. I was searching for something. I still can't locate what I was looking for. Then it was Dehradun and then Sankri. I just couldn't handle the bus-rides, really a strenuous means of transport. I woke up at six in the morning, had break fast at six thirty, packed my ruksack and left the site by eight. This was the routine for almost twelve days. I always wondered why did I choose this and not something else. I guess one needs a routine to escape another!

Walking is a great experience, a sense of movement forever. The mind is in your control, because all you want to think about is placing the next foot so that you don't fall. Like our guide Shahrukh said on the first day, the technique is "Peeche ka per aage rakhte jao!"

The place that I will always remember is Kedar Kantha,a place where the clouds touch you, a place where the sky chages its colours every minute, a place where the Sun feels like a ball you can touch, a place where the breeze smells of the divine, a place where you can feel God! The place echoed of Raag Kanada, all its swars could be heard very clearly. Then I lay on the rock and a hand touched my right cheek. It was a loving touch. I felt like a child once again, playing in the lap of my grand parents. I opened my eyes and saw no one, may be wind just touched me, may be God, may be my grand father. I could see him everywhere, hear his voice, feel his touch. I felt like a child again, carefree, living in the moment, nothing to think about.

Dhunda, Talauti, Seema, Har ki Doon, Seema, Taluka and then back to Sankri. This was the course of travel. All these destinations were unique in their feel. The route to Har ki Doon was enticing. I could visualise a naayika sitting on the banks of the river Rupin and playing with the water. I didn't know what she was thinking about from her look, may be her nayaka, may be her work, or just nothing. The wild flowers on her head just looked beautiful. Unkempt hair, the body lying on grass feeling the water splash and just staring up at the sky. The naayika didnt need anything or anyone, all by herself she had achieved this state of calm. I just admired her and moved on. She stared at me and smiled.

Back at Sankri the time seemed to have stopped. Eleven days in between were part of a different time frame. Everything was back, the thoughts, the feelings, the person. My tears couldn't hold themselves back. They poured, I knew the reason, but I couldn't do much. Everyone asks me now, "How was the trek?" I frankly don't know, because time never moved since then!