A song from a mixed CD made for me by a boy — oh, about three years ago. (He was a nice boy, but the last time we spoke was about three years ago as well. I keep in touch with fewer than five people at any given point to time, so the people on the periphery often fade away. When a name pops into mind all of a sudden once in a while, I’m left wondering, whoa, so what happened to this person! Like I’m wondering now.)
Another song without a video, I’m afraid. Instead there are lyrics, if that is any comfort. Although the lyrics of this song aren’t really difficult to comprehend.
I left the CD lying around for months, didn’t have time to listen until one day I uploaded all its contents into my iPod and left for a long two-months-in-two-cities a trip, because when one travels one must always have new music. It was a stuffy peninsular summer. I had just wrapped up with one city (and all it entailed), and was on a night-long bus journey through the hills and highways of the Western Ghats. I was alone and tired and burning with fever and fighting with guilt and disappointed with myself and so, so relieved. Everyone in the bus was asleep, even the constantly whimpering babies. The lights were turned out so I couldn’t see their faces, and I could permit myself the luxury of imagining that this busful of strangers weren’t there — only me. Outside my window the night was vast and dark and filled with countless stars. Never before (and never again) had I felt so small and devastated and free.
As a child, I used to be constantly thrown out of the class and into the school yard (under the scorching afternoon sun and in view of all the classrooms, since the yard was at the centre of the school complex), because I talked way too much and all the classmates who’d participate in those neverending conversations would end up doing poorly at the exams, but apparently I would not (which made me evil, of course). All through middle school I spent more time in that paved yard than I ever spent inside classrooms: playing football (with crushed cold-drink bottles) or hanging out with friends from the other sections during tiffin-time; and during class-time, mostly alone or with a couple of co-sufferers from other classes, mostly bored and sunburnt but all aglow with a kind of urchin-ish pride. There were a couple of other crimes (!) but the punishments were nearly always for talking too much, talking to too many people, never running out of topics to turn into chatter. I look back and cannot for my life imagine what great deal I could’ve had to say to people who have become such strangers now. People who leave me at a complete loss for words, unable to even convey oh, so what’s been up.
I’m sure my hairdresser will be the happiest woman on earth the day she can bully me into shaving off all my hair. My hair will never, ever measure up to her standards; she will not for her life stand it growing long and will always give me absolutely miserable haircuts when I don’t even ask for one, even if it means she has to not-charge for it because she’s surreptitiously passing off the disaster as just-a-little-trimming-of-the-split-ends.
There are things to do and things to hope for, but this blog isn’t for those. Thankfully, one imagines. =)
In my opinion, the only goals worth pure respect and ambition are ones that (a) a very brilliant person (b) has to work very hard for. Is it my inherent cynicism or do very few goals in the world seem to fill both the criteria? For example, JUDE (excellent as it may be) fills both (a) and (b) but not necessarily at the same time. (I. e. a very brilliant person can get on at JUDE with moderate-to-zero effort; and a moderately brilliant person can do the same with substantial effort put in. At times it is even possible for individuals to get on with neither (a) nor (b), with a little help from the Google-enabled phone or other comforts of a similar vein. Which disqualifies JUDE from that elusive category.)
I think I was in Class 12 (or 11?) when Günter Grass visited Calcutta and spoke extensively on The Tin Drum. I had even attended the panel discussion at Kala Mandir (where he shared space with Tariq Ali, if my memory does not deceive; I have still not managed to read Tariq Ali though I’ve intended to for ever) but I did it out of sheer curiosity: I had not read any of Grass’s books yet, I knew little about him except the name. Right now, as I read The Tin Drum, I am wishing for nothing more than to be able to rewind to that evening and listen to the discussion with a better receptivity. Right now, I remember how wise and well-spoken and impressive Grass had seemed to my little school-going self but regrettably I remember nothing else.
I first met Shion in 2005, a few months after he returned from America I think, and in a few days he’s going away again. He had been printing out a bunch of photos to keep with himself, and last afternoon I was surprised to discover I was in any of them at all. From where I stand now 2005-06 seems like a miraculous time, ‘good old days’ as Shion calls them (though I would be more cynical, I would snigger and laugh), back when we thought we were so special and so unbeatable and the world couldn’t have enough of us. But I was surprised, because I could hardly have been what you’d call good friendship material, back in those days. All I remember of myself is a clumsy bundle of intense, unformed naivete and bad attitude – loving hard, fighting hard, dreaming the hardest – the youngest, the foolishest of all and thinking she was the smarter than everyone else. Such days as will never be again. ‘Good old days’, Shion? Maybe. Maybe not.
I don’t know, I don’t know. I miss everything and nothing, I miss nothing. I drift and shed and let it all become someone else’s life. I use the word ‘friend’ with paranoid thrift or else I throw it around casually, and sometimes I let myself forget the difference. I’ve stopped trying to make meaning of anything a long time ago but a blog post is free to write, so I may.
Haha! What else. Look at those little self-important children in the picture.
Um. Yeah, that would be all.
Okaythankyou. Good night sweet ladies, etc. :)