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. =)
This is the interesting paradox: because I wake up late these days my days are a little bleak, I always end up missing the warmth and light of the morning sun in my bones. It is a cold, cold winter; for the first time I understand what the expression “bitterly cold” means, and you would too if you have to come back home every night with a long autoride, dressed in only a flimsy pullover. This is also funny, for just how cold can a tropical winter be? Years and years we complained about it never being cold enough, and years and years we hung out in January in shorts and joke scarves and multicoloured socks and this winter just caught us unawares. I have a cupboardful of winterwear and day in and day out I’ve only been wearing the humongous jacket because the rest will just not withstand this cold. Or maybe I am cold. Inside. It’s been a weird, weird year. Unforgiving life lessons. I’m trying to think/believe they toughen you up in several ways, but the last thing they leave in their wake is warmth.
This week the days have gone brighter. On Saturday I was numb, on Sunday I was upset (again), I was really really unsure (and rather relucant) about Monday but Monday and Tuesday have been unexpectedly nice. On Thursday afternoon I was absolutely elated, there is fantastic work happening which I don’t think I’m allowed to write about or post pictures, although I have the pictures that I’m nearly dying to post! Last afternoon, late last afternoon, I was sitting and chatting with S at the step under the ledge and it occured to me this was exactly the place I wanted to be, right then, that perfectly happy (though transient, of course transient) moment of perfect bliss and zero longing. And then that other afternoon which I spent lounging in R’s room, and R was singing me a song he’d written and I was staring out of the window in the west and there was the sunset in my eye, sharp and blinding and more peaceful than I’ve been in a long time to remember. It occurs to me all my best memories are sun memories. Like the long winter morning/afternoons spent with R (another R, the one more written about in this blog) at the Dakshinapan steps, two years ago, and the things we talked about and the unreality of it and how both of us knew we were creating a bright, shiny bubble – a bauble – in the mostly bleak stream of memory, one that would keep glowing years later and fill our insides with warmth, but one that we would (we could) never return to. A thing of magic. R has been back in town this winter but we’ve barely spent time together, we have gone along different paths in life and have little in common any more, I know we will go farther and farther away but we will always think of that winter with fondness and a kind of naive, absurd idealisation that no degree of cynicism can touch. And because life is long and will change, and because we are stubborn and inconsolable, I keep collecting and loving these little baubles of memory that will – one hopes, one hopes – stand the test of tarnish and time. Everything else will go, but I’ll be there to wave them goodbye and I’ll smile.
An entire lifetime of being an introvert would do nothing to cure you of loneliness, especially when it is winter and crisp and you could die for a cuddle. You can’t even point to a particular person, or a particular moment in time you actually miss: in the end it’s all in the head, an idea that just refuses to be stamped down to death. I’ve been trying to remember (and concentrate all this random heartache on) the most perfect person I’ve known. The effort leaves me at an absolute loss. “Perfect people” are such a marvellous paradox (people being intrinsically incapable of perfection); and the ones you think are the most perfect will inevitably be the ones to disappoint you the most because them you perceived the farthest away from what they really were. At times I can almost believe I’ve spent all my life on perfect people, gathering in handfuls nought but mirrors and smoke.
There is one Deboleena
Who grows with each day meaner;
She harks ’em eels,
Turns them to meals
And hopes no one has seen her.
There is a girl called Shreya
Of whom the folks that pray are
Not one man said
Exactly what fears they are.
If you think it’s easy to throw muck
At the quite unassuming Somak,
He’ll beat you to pulp,
Swallow you in a gulp
And you’ll end up in his angry stomach.
One day the imp called Arnab
Transformed into a doorknob,
And all day long
Was wrung and wrung
And left a very sore knob.
That cheeky chap called Atin
Would often go out floatin’
Outside his head,
Before him spread
The notebook that he wrote in.
The world perished while Sayan
Looked for a couch to lie on
And watch the show;
But did he know
Which channel to rely on?
The evil spirit known as Rhea
Inhabits the blighted area
‘Twixt langue and paroles
Scarring ignorant souls,
And believes it is quite a career.
They say that the Lady Pramita
Would like you at once to go meet her
At one of her towers
Where saw-toothed flowers
On sunlit turrets gently wither.
A bamboozled alien called Lav
Broke in through high heavens above,
Riding his space rickshaw
Like pieces of jigsaw
Sprayed out through the holes in a glove.
In time the vile Anonymous
Will sleep uneasy and dream us
Turn into mess
With lousy festoons and streamers.
If there need be a disclaimer (as we are sure there is), this is all part of D’s evil masterplan of world dominion. We are merely her indiscriminate WMD. No, don’t believe her claims of innocence.
So I just met the awesomest new person I have come across in a year or so! (Yeah, yeah, the university life gets just as constrained as that. The only other new people I’ve met in the past year are a bunch of puny juniors. Yeah, sorry me.)
But reaching out to the world is such a great thing sometimes. =)