I finally publish

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hello... is it raining there?

I sat excitedly in the train as the train thundered through the darkness of the night from Chennai to Trivandrum. It was almost symbolic. I was leaving behind the dust, pollution and heat of Chennai to the wet roads, green trees and mayflowers of Kerala. The book on my lap remained unturned in the page for a long time.

I was dealt out a generous helping of lousy relatives. If you know any Malayali who’s terrible- they are related to me. Across religions, caste and regions.

But the sheer beauty of the countryside made me return every year. Kumarakom was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen. When the cold structure of the Taj failed to move my cold heart, when the snow at Manali failed to amaze me; Kumarakom brought out that special feeling- of finally having found what I was looking for. If you manage to ignore the number of white people- I can do it- I am from Pondicherry; the expensive prices on the menu- I can, I have a pretty well off family; and can shell out close to 20 K for two nights on a house boat- it’s the prettiest experience. I am buying a houseboat in Kerala… one day… someday…

Kumarakom… that’s another story... for another time…

I reached Trivandrum. Disheveled and tired from staying awake the whole night- I don’t sleep too well when I travel.

I stayed in Trivandrum for two days. It was almost as bad as Chennai. The heat was oppressive and turned the milk and me sour. Rain wasn’t in the horizon.

“It’s raining here sweetheart”, my cousin told me. I took the train to Kollam. I reached a very wet railway station. Wet umbrellas welcomed me. Something was wrong though. The umbrellas weren’t opened. It had just stopped raining…

“It’ll begin again”, my cousin told me when he saw the drooping curve of my mouth.

I didn’t have the time. It was a week’s trip and I had to get back. Two days in Kollam. The clouds were low and heavy with rain. Too heavy to even move. But they didn’t break open with the rain they carried inside. Umbrellas were carried wherever we went. But we never used it.

I left Kollam, my heart almost as heavy as the clouds. I reached Cochin. My entire family knew my obsession with the rain. Cochin. My favorite place in Kerala.

Consoling words from another cousin, “It wasn’t raining here at all. Not just because you came”

What was remaining of the week was spent in Jayalakshmi, Seemati, Marine drive and Subash park. Lots of tapioca, jackfruit, unni appams, palada pradhaman, boli and ela appams. My aunt believed in fattening me up, it never happened though.

Ernakulam railway station. Water bottles were bought. I could smell the banana chips that we just bought. I hoped it wouldn’t pass on the thing to my clothes. I didn’t want to walk around smelling like banana chips.

“Dinner’s the red bag.” “Throw away the entire thing after eating.” “Use the tissues.” “Wipe your nose”, the regular railway-platform-parting statements were made. No one ever said, “Write to me”, I pondered. “Mail me” yes, but those letters on the hand made paper of the Ashram at Pondicherry in which I wrote my letters had stopped years ago. Microsoft word had replaced those pale white papers. Sometimes it was notepad. And then the purple window of my yahoo. Click on ‘send’. No brown clothed postman. No bicycle bells tringing. No looking at the pretty stamps. No slitting open the letters carefully, I preserved the covers too for a long time…

I was so caught up on what I was thinking that I lost out on what was being told. That happens very often. But this was another sensory organ calling me altogether. I looked at my arm. A splattered drop of water on it. I looked accusingly at my cousin. He wasn’t around. A few more fell. It was raining...

The train pulled in. It was human nature to rush in. I knew that the train stopped at Ernakulam for a long time and that I had a ticket. My cousin came running with a few bars of chocolate and “I almost forgot!”

I watched the rain for 15 minutes. It was raining with a pent up fury. I climbed into the III Ac that we’d booked. Windows that were closed to shut out the heat. This time it was the rain.

I stood in the doorway. I was getting wet. I didn’t care. I stood there feeling sick and miserable. Tears fell on from my eyes.

“Go inside”, my aunt yelled from the side of the platform where the canopy ended and the rain began.

I waved at them. I was getting wetter and wetter by the minute. They could see that I was crying. It was a first. I never cried when I came back…

My aunt ran from the protection of the asbestos sheets at station towards me. She held my hand and said, “Don’t cry baby. You can come again soon. Or we’ll come and see you at Pondicherry”

I nodded my head, my face all screwed up with tears. Miserabler coz they thought I was crying coz I was leaving them. Miserabler coz it wasn’t human to feel an attachment for the rain than for one’s own family…

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Somewhere over the rainbow

“Sister Agnes hates me”

“Nah. I don’t think so. That word is reserved for me”, Swapnil said after carefully chewing her nail.

A few seconds of silence.

“Sister Agnes abhors me.”

I had a better vocabulary than Swapnil. That’s perhaps the only thing I had better than she!

Sr. Agnes was my principal from when I can remember. She had this twisted smile which she subject to everybody save a chosen few. Swapnil and I were high on the list. She visibly glared at me when she saw me running through the corridors. Ok, you are not to run through corridors, they are built for walking, but what if we were practicing for a fire? I was giving her this explanation, when Swapnil who was a few seconds later in her fire escape ran straight into me.

We had our parents sign our blue diary. I think she liked my daddy’s signature- he was given plenty of practice anyway…

When in class 11, I would be the school captain, all the girls told me. I knew it wasn’t to be so. Sr. Agnes hated me. But I didn’t really know whether I wanted to be school captain! It was a very prestigious position mind you. The best school in Pondicherry ours was. The boys though they claimed had a better school, knew hearts of hearts that ours was better.

But the whole thing came with a lot of responsibilities, right from carrying books for teachers from the class to the staff room to a lot of set example types, which I had to trade my freedom for. I really didn’t know whether a badge and a sash during annual and sports day was worth trading so many things for. And if it was popularity, well, I’d had enough of that anyway.

The dates for the ‘choosing’ was nearing and there was only one topic that was being discussed. Padmasini was the then school captain. And we were fast friends. She would tell me confidently, “Oh you are gonna be the next one girl. I can’t see anyone else becoming one” I would shake my head dejectedly.

“Hmmm… I think you need to work on your image a little bit more”, the wise one said.

Two weeks I wore my hair braided to school, small braids that were tightly plaited and held in place by innumerable hair clips. Zarina would every hour, braid it again and hammer the nails again on my head. My hair was too short to be braided and too long to be worn as a pony tail. And a pony tail wasn't something a to-be-head-girl would wear! I tried telling my mother that I thought this hair raising thing would kill me if she didn’t manage to before! But in vain. I was 16 and girls at 16 had long hair. Her logic sucked.

I walked about in school feeling like a voodoo doll with too many pins sticking on me.

I lost all my cheer. I was morose and barked at anyone who came and talked to me. Then thanks to nudges and painful ones at that from a bunch of my ‘supporters’, I would immediately turn the bark into a cough and answer the question civilly. I stopped writing those innumerable bits of papers that would be passed around in class- comments on the teacher’s hairstyle to random bits of poetry. I sat on the first bench and looked pitifully at the teachers who went on to coat me with chalk dust as they vigorously dusted the blackboard. I walked on corridors. I even helped an old woman who didn’t want to cross the road, cross it.

I did my own assignments. I cut my nails, I cleaned my ears and I managed to get my dupatta home everyday. I’d lost several during the years when growing girls were forced to move over from skirts to salwar kameezs.

Swapnil watched me slowly ruining myself. My mother was convinced I was ill and dangerously at that. From where I saw it, there were too many yesterdays… and if the tomorrows were to be like this…

Class was in session when I saw Padmasini walk past my class and wink conspiratorially at me. She’d been called into the clean white room. As head girl she had a say.

I pulled Swapnil out of her chair and excused the both of us out of class, before the teacher or Swapnil even could refuse. I ran with her to the gallery behind school, where we would spend hours sitting and discussing whether we should love the Jews or hate them, or whether Leah was really turned into a pillar of salt and a zillion other useless topics.

“I don’t want to be head girl”

We both sat there for a long time. People who knew us always knew where to find the two of us.

I saw Padmasini walking down the steps towards us. She sat down beside me.

“Sherene is the head girl”, she told us with tragedy and calamity written all over her face.

My ego was in the nadir while my relief was at the zenith. Padmasini left after a couple of, ‘Sr. Agnes *&^%$’. She didn’t know what to tell me and how to console me.

The first thing I did was pull out all the pins from my hair!

“Sr. Agnes hates me”

“Sr. Agnes abhors you”

Swapnil was a fast learner. We sat there for a long time again.

Walking back to class, she squeezed my hands before she slid away. All my class mates surrounded me. Unfair. Terrible. Shameful. These words rang repaeatedly.

I sighed. Shrugging my shoulders I gave my best speech ever apart from the one I gave during our farewell, on how it was ok. On how we can do whatever we want and not just by being head girl. How we should give our best, that’s all that matters. And we should stand by Sherene because needs us at this moment most of all. And a lot more of those totally false but politically correct statements.

Class resumed after the break. We were doing letter writing in English.

I sat on the last bench and looked out of the window. The days didn’t seem all that bad. Hell, I could even see a rainbow! Life existed and beyond the rainbow. Thinking beautiful thoughts and running my fingers through my hair now ribbon less, I was shaken out of my reverie by a piece of paper that found its way to me.

Opening it, I read Swapnil’s familiar handwriting. “Humbug”

I turned and grinned at her across the heads of neat blue ribbons arranged all in a row. She grinned back.

I saw all seven colors of the rainbow on my composition notebook...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Too many yesterdays

A thousand yesterdays...
A thousand moments etched forever in my mind
A thousand simles
A hundred laughters
A zillion tears
A thousand such yesterdays...
A thousand moments such as these...

To all the people I have lost to death, distance, life and others.

I'll let Mirza Ghalib continue what I have started...

A thousand moments such as these
A thousand moments to set this night on fire
Reach out and touch them
You can touch them with your silences
You can reach them with your lust
Rivers, mountains, rains
Rain against a torrid escape
A thousand...
A thousand desires such as these...

I loved rain as a child
As a lost young man
Empty landscapes
Bleached by a tired sun
And then...
And then came suddenly like a dark unknown woman
Her eyes scorched my silences
Her body wrapped itself around me like a summer without end

Force me, hold me, reach me
Where no man has gone crossing the seven seas
With the wings of fire I fly towards nowhere
And you?
Rivers, mountain, rain...
Rain against a scorched landscape of pain

A thousand desires such as these
A thousand moments to set this night on fire
Reach out and touch them
You can touch them with your silences
You can reach them with your lust
Rivers, mountains, rains
Rain against a torrid escape
A thousand...
A thousand desires such as these...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fireflies at my window - II

His parents were going somewhere, so could we kindly give him breakfast, dinner and lunch. Yeah- throw in a bed and a shower too! There were innumerable houses in the colony, then why us, I asked Valiamma a thousand times.

“No one likes him”, I told her.

“I do.”

I looked around horrified. I hoped no one from the other houses heard that.

“I do too”, my 17 year old cousin added.

I was living with a family of traitors.

“He doesn’t wash himself”, I hoped that would turn Valiamma’s mind against him. She didn't react.

“No one in his school talks to him. He eats lunch all by himself. He just doesn’t have any friends” I wrung my hands in frustration trying to get the point across to my just turned terrible family!

I continued, “He even steals books from the library”. That was a total lie and I don’t know to this day why I said something like that!

He never rang the calling bell, that day I discovered. I saw him stand at our door with the newspaper in hand. I wish I was an ostrich or something- so that I could have buried my face into the sand!!!

He slunk away as he slunk in. But I saw him. And he knew I saw him.

“Go and call Anoop for breakfast”, Valiamma told me next morning.

I acquiesced. The feeling of guilt was larger day by day and my shoulders stooped with the burden!

His house was locked. I walked back home and told Valiamma, “He’s gone to the library”. I had no clue where he was, but I knew a specific answer would help with the fact that I didn’t have to go Anoop hunting.

He didn’t turn up for lunch too. When asked to go and call him, I found the house locked still. I walked back home feeling terribler!

“He must have gone to his friend’s place for lunch”, my cousin reasoned.

He didn’t have any friends.

I walked slowly to the library in the afternoon sun. I walked past all the racks laden with books, down to the rack that was left unvisited by everyone. I found a lot of good books neatly arranged, waiting for me… waiting for someone who never came to take them.

I went back home and promptly told my cousin that Anoop had been kidnapped.

“Umm hmm…”, he replied busy preparing for the Kerala entrance.

I went and told Valiamma that Anoop had been kidnapped.

“Umm hmm…”, she replied busy pounding on the dough for dinner that night.

He didn’t have any friends.

I went and peeped into the old well in the backyard of his house. I saw a few old leaves floating on the water and walked back home.

Evening came and still no sign of Anoop. Only I was worried. I went into my room and opened the closed window.

That’s when I saw Anoop. He was sitting in his room. I stood by the open window and pressed my head against the cool rods. He was there.

He caught me looking at him. There was no reaction from him at all.

I went in and came back to the still opened window. Stretching out my hands through the narrow bars, I offered him a book.

I stood there holding the book out. He didn’t budge for a few minutes. My hands ached, but I still held it stretched out. He slowly got up from the bed he was sitting and walked towards the window and stretched out his hand.

My hands were too short. His hands weren’t long enough. Our windows weren’t arms distance away.

“I’m coming there”, I told him.

I rushed down with the book in hand and yelled to whoever cared to listen that I was going over to Anoop’s house. And walked over to his house. He opened the door before I could even ring the bell.

We sat on the steps in the terrace.

“Do people in Pondicherry talk French?”

I started on hearing his voice. “There are French people in Pondicherry”

“All of them don’t speak French?”


“But you do”

I didn’t. But I didn’t have the heart to contradict him- ever again.

“Yes I do”.

I mentally promised myself to pay more attention to Miss. Tapashi in French class.

The whole colony plunged into darkness. Daily power cut. We sat there in the dark.

“I watch the fireflies too”, he said.

I always left my windows open for the fireflies to come in.

“A European legend says that if a firefly flew in the window, someone was going to die”

I hastily made a note to myself that I better shut all the windows and not tempt those flies inside.

“I don’t steal books”

He almost killed me.

Thank god it was getting dark and he couldn’t see the tears. Tears that stood on the brim of my eyes hesitantly… like a bride… hesitant to cross the threshold and yet would…

“I like William”, I said as the tears fell down onto ‘Lila: An Inquiry into Morals’ that was on my lap… that being my way of saying a 'sorry' and a 'thank you'...

Fireflies at my window - I

I was never the bullying type- well, being the shortest girl- not counting Aruna Rani, I guess helped! I was generally very tolerant of all the girls and a lot of them came to me with all their problems and strives in life- from poor marks to boyfriend trouble.

But Anoop and I rubbed the wrong sides almost immediately. It wasn’t a novelty to him; he rubbed wrong sides with everyone. I met Anoop when my uncle and aunt moved in to a new colony. He gave me one look top to bottom and smiled a very sarcastic smile. I immediately was ruffled. I tried to work up a sarcastic smile but he was long gone by the time I figured out what I wanted to do.

Playing cards was the thing to do in the afternoons. Early afternoons to late evenings, we would sit on the verandah and play the same game again and again. And the nearest I’ve come to any kind of physical activity was play shuttle with the kids in the colony. Anoop was a terrible player. I was the next terriblest!

But he soon picked up the knack of the game with the thing that boys have for aim and precision. And I had to push myself to actually play with him. Thanks to him, I became better at the game and the netted wire drawn across my racket actually touched the feathery shuttle cork a few times.

He studied all the time. Did anyone study in the summer holidays? Let me rephrase that- did anyone in their senses study during the summer holidays? He was curt and couldn’t answer a decent question when asked. In the world of children where cruelty existed with a meaner streak than anywhere else, he was the scapegoat.

I was sitting and solving the Hindu crossword- please read on- the one in the ‘Young World section’ and racking my brains at the several unfilled grids, when I felt a shadow over my paper.

“Crimea”, he said.

I knew it was an answer. But there were several unfilled grids and it could fit anywhere!! He pointed at the exact place and said again, “Crimea”

I took the paper and went inside. I stopped solving crosswords that day.

He was used to being rebuffed, ignored and scorned. Pradeep and I were sworn enemies. But we had one thing in common, our dislike for Anoop. Pradeep would pull him into innumerable verbal duels and endless tripping. If I felt bad about the whole thing, I kept quiet. The last thing I wanted to happen was to get romantically linked to Anoop!

We shared a common compound wall. His room and mine- when I stayed there in the summer were almost at arms length- or so I felt! I’d opened that window once and had seen him standing by his window and looking out. I closed the window and never opened it after that.

“Can you lend me ‘Lila: An Inquiry into Morals’?”, I jumped out of bed hearing his voice.

I hadn’t even heard him come in! Knocking on doors, asking an ‘excuse me’ didn’t exist then in my life. I would have laughed at anyone who’d done that; but I was mad at Anoop coz he didn’t!

“I don’t have the book”, I lied.

His eyes fell on the almost fluorescent green colored book on the table. I blushed a darker shade of the almost black brown that I was.

“This one is for you”, he said and walked out of the room leaving behind on the table a book.

I picked up what he’d left on the table. “William the fourth”. I didn’t know he knew I read books like this! I realized slowly why I always found among the total disarray of books at the local library, just the Williams arranged neatly on the rack that was almost undiscovered save by me and another person, for I would find if not Williams at least decent reads on that rack all the time. And I would in return for the act of kindness leave behind books that I liked and wanted to share. Of course I was curious to know who the person in question was, but I enjoyed the anonymity and the faint trace of romance that comes along with such things.

I realized that the ‘other person’, who ensured that I had something nice to read all summer long, was Anoop. Who better than Anoop would know the dusty steel grey rack existed- he who lived there almost half the day? I wanted to run behind him with Lila in hand, but I didn’t. I sat there feeling sick and empty.

I didn’t know how to react after that on seeing him. I didn’t know why I disliked him, or if at all I actually did. Such complex thoughts were new to my life then. With growing trepidation I realized that I actually didn’t have any reason to dislike him. And once this fear crept in, it brought in a host of other emotions as well.

But the image of the boy the whole colony loved to hate was to be maintained. I would still make rude remarks about him and scorn him with a look I was soon practicing to perfection. It was to save my own skin. If Pradeep found anything amiss with my taunts, he never said anything. So I guess I must have done a convincing job. I never went to that rack or even that side of the library. I never got decent books many a times, but I never went to ‘our rack’ ever…

Friday, June 10, 2005

Halfway to heaven

My cousin was born when I was 12. She then naturally became the youngest in our family, on my mother’s side. She was the first baby I remember seeing grow up… fevers, colds, coughs, throwing up, dirty diapers, wails, gurgles all became a part of our life…

She was a special child. She was ill all the time. Seizures rocked her small and fragile body all the time. I hoped fervently that hers wouldn’t be my first experience at dealing with death.

But she lived. Every summer vacation when I saw her I was filled with happiness. My sister threw jealous fits when she saw me with my cousin. I didn’t have anything much to do anyway, so I walked her, played with her and even put her to bed and crooned songs that were way out of tune.

Her seizures never stopped though. Epileptic attacks were common and they tore my heart each time they happened. Each attack and I mentally told myself that this was gonna be the last time I am to see her alive, but she fought through each…

She was 6 and I was 18. Her brothers, two of them- one was too young to pay much of an attention to her at 10; and the other had a voice that was breaking and a sprout of hair that was alien on his face to him and her at 14, whom she didn’t pay much attention to!

I had a shadow those years. Wherever I went she came along. It was quite amusing actually… When my sister and I had innumerable quarrels right from the color of dress to buy to what to get mom to cook, it was nice to find an ardent admirer. She saved me the best slices of the mango, unbroken biscuits, colored glass and sequins… Her admiring glances when I combed my hair, wore my dress, painted my nails or just about anything I did…

School was out of question for her and hence friends were too. Neighbors and their children played all the time and any kind of physical activity was forbidden to her.

All through the year she waited for the summer holidays when I would come. Phone conversations always went on in the whining and almost pleading tone of, “When are you coming… Come soon please...”

A wedding somewhere in Thrissur and everyone at home wanted to go. Save me. My mother knew better than to force me into going along with them.

My aunt had more trust in me than I had in myself, for when my little cousin asked her if she could stay back too, my aunt assented after a brief pause. My cousin hugged me tight and said, “Chech, lets do everything we shouldn’t!” That’s when I very badly wanted to go for the wedding.

Waving till my arms ached, not because of the waving alone but also since I was carrying her, we went back inside after the car and my family turned the corner.

Home alone and with a child who was ill was scary. She never bothered me to play with her dolls or houses or any of those games that one could play sitting. She let me read my books or just sit all hunched up in the arm chair and think morbid thoughts.

She wanted to tell me something. I put my book down and smiled at her. Climbing onto the arm of the chair, she asked, “Can I play?”

There was a hitch, there had to be a hitch. She would never ask me if she could do something she’d been doing all 6 years of her life!

“What do you want to play?” I asked guardedly.

“Shall we fly a kite? A red one with a yellow tail?”

A kite?? I didn’t know anything about flying kites! I only knew about kites that flew by themselves- no strings attached!

“But I don’t know how to make one.”

I didn’t know how to fly one either. But I didn’t want to lose the one admirer I ever had!

“Oh don’t you worry. I have one.”

That’s when I actually began worrying.

“I don’t think there’s enough wind sweetheart, to fly a kite. And its ages since I’ve ever flown one”

Ages? Yeah- the period of time that means ‘NEVER’!

“We can try alle?”

Did kite flying involve any physical activity, I frantically asked myself? The people I’ve seen didn’t move much apart from their hands. She could move her hands alright….

She went in and came out with a red kite with yellow tail and a bundle of string. I didn’t even know where the string was to be tied.

Sitting on the floor, she looked at me with eyes full of confidence, while I tried my best to figure out which part of the kite would have a string. Was google invented then? But well, we didn’t have a computer and I didn’t know how to use one very well anyway. And P.L. Travers had only told me how one can come down from the sky on a kite! I realized that I had a lot of totally useless information….

I tied the string to all places that were tie-able! I even gummed the string with resin and saliva. A few staples were added on. Our kite finally felt like a baby with too many diapers!

If she appeared doubtful to all activities that I was doing, she didn’t comment.

Carrying the now sticky kite carefully, we walked out into the field.

“Please let the kite fly! I’ll even start praying…Hmm… no, I don’t think I will… I mean I don’t think I can… but the kite can fly… she believes in God, so the kite can fly and she can pray…” discombobulated thoughts.

“Ok, now fly it” she said.

I wish I knew how to! I looked around. It was the only time I wished we had neighbors at closer ranges than acres apart!

I threw the kite up in the air. It promptly came down and added onto its red body, green grass and mud!

“I don’t think that’s how you do it”, she said after a number of attempts at throwing the kite up and expecting it to fly.

I figured that much out myself.

“I think you should run”

I should what? Run? And with the kite? Never be kind to anybody, I learnt that day.

I even ran with the kite and the string. Now don’t ask me how that was supposed to make the kite fly!

“Think like an engineer” I told myself. But I’d only been granted admission to an Engineering college and I knew already that I’d make a rotten engineer.

I asked her to hold the now almost pathetic looking kite. Walking a few paces away from her, I unraveled the string. We stood there looking at each other for sometime.

Holding the kite, she ran all of a sudden. The string that I wasn’t holding on too tightly too, unfurled on… I stood there in shock. She wasn’t supposed to run!

I tugged at the running length of the twine. Maybe it was the sudden act on my part or maybe it was bad twine, it snapped. At that exact moment, she let go of the kite… the kite disencumbered, fluttered a few moments in the air and lifted up… it flew up and away… while both of us stood below and looked at it…

I hugged her how panting, trembling body, terrified that she was going to get yet another attack and die in my arms as I always feared would happen…I could feel her heart hammering like crazy. Don’t know whose was louder, hers or mine.

“We flew a kite chechi”, she panted.

“We flew a kite baby”, I agreed.

She flew a kite that day…A kite that went halfway to heaven….

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Never let me go...

“They are buying a pig”, Muthachan said wrinkling his nose in total disgust.

I sniffed the air. I couldn’t smell anything bad. The ‘they’ in question were our neighbors at ‘Mutta thazhathil’. They were interesting people. They had ducks that waddled around all the time. They were infinitely far interesting that our arrogant hens! And the ‘pembilla’, the old lady at the house wore a dress, which had a fan behind! I loved seeing her walk, she was fat and she waddled behind her ducks, her fan swishing behind her and her ducks in front of her. Quack, quack, swish this side, swish that side…

Muthachan ignored me as he always did. The fact that I was a walking, growing replica of daddy helped!

“Are pigs bad?” I asked daddy. Two could play a game of ignoring. I ignored Muthachan too.

Daddy was sitting on the verandah with a generally bored air. Mom’s place was boring for him, he who was used to city life, television, friends and parties.

“Nothing is bad”, daddy the ever philosophical said.

Muthachan sniffed, “Lots of things are!”

He was listening on to the conversation with an apparent lack of interest. Daddy never contradicted him. I thought of a million rude replies…I wish daddy was smarter so that he could have retorted many a times! My help in this regard was never appreciated!

“Pigs are dirty animals” Muthachan said.

That’s when I think I began to love pigs. They were dirty and the fact that Muthachan didn’t like them won them a ticket to my loved list.

I wanted to be there when they brought in the pig. Hoisted on daddy’s shoulder, we went to ‘Mutta thazhathil’.

We didn’t tell Muthachan though. I loved daddy more because of things like this. He just understood that there wasn’t a point in telling everyone about some things!

We always made them uncomfortable, the people at ‘Mutta thazhathil’. They were in awe of us, though I never really understood why. The one time before I went there was when someone was ill and my grandma and mom went to see them, strict instructions from Muthachan not to eat or drink anything from there. I don’t know whether it was because of the instruction or because I really was thirsty, that I asked them for water.

My mom looked horrified. My grandma too. That’s when I realized that they looked quite alike.

I saw the other woman in the house, the daughter-in-law, open the side cupboard and take out a glass carefully. It was full of dust. She went and rinsed it I guess. She came back a while later holding a glass of crystal clear water carefully as if carrying a newborn baby. Where everything was of steel, they never used crystal and I guess mine was the first lip to ever touch them…

But they liked daddy. Everyone except Muthachan liked daddy! Pulling out cane chairs, they made us sit. Daddy asked them about their tapioca, the problem with the rats, the rubber and the yield, the rains… and soon we were eating hot tapioca in banana leaves with fish curry! I lifted the fish my plate quite gingerly and put it on daddy’s plate. There was a limit to friendliness and mine stopped with eating an animal!

But the hot tapioca that brought the out a faint flavor of the banana leaf I ate with relish. Another thing that we wouldn’t tell anyone. Secrets were nice… and I knew that I would share all my secrets with daddy. A trust like this from him deserved the same in return!

A bike pulled up in front of the house. There was excitement in the air. The son had come. In his hands he carried a black pig. That’s the first time I ever saw the animal that close. The three little pigs I’d read about were pink! This one was quite ugly and my heart went out to the squealing animal!

The children of the house ran out squealing too. The pig was then taken to its home. A pen that was surrounded by high walls.

We went back home. The pig had arrived.

Everyday I went with daddy to see the pig. It was quite bored actually. It slept most of the time. It ignored my interest totally. It ignored me, my calls and the bananas that I brought. But I faithfully went to see it everyday. The walls were quite high, walls from which tufts of grass grew, walls that were climbable!

I don’t know where daddy was. It was my daily time for the pig visit. I went looking for daddy. The pond where we bathed, daddy and me with a mug in hand because both of us didn’t know swimming! The stream where we sat and threw small pebbles… The cow shed where daddy never went… he wasn’t anywhere.

I walked slowly… my steps taking me to where I wanted to go. The pig. I stood outside the pen. The wall towered above me. I climbed the wall. After all I’d climbed a lot of trees!

Perched on the narrow wall, I looked out for my pig. It wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I craned forward. My second mistake, the first being I went pig seeing without daddy! Standing directly under me and in an unusual state of activity was the pig! I don’t know what he was trying to do, climb out of the pen maybe seeing that if I could climb almost inside, he could climb out!!! My legs shook. The pig snorted and grunted! Noises that made me terrified. My small plump legs shook I sat on the wall too scared to move! I sat there clutching the wall, my fingers digging into the mud wall… the pig stood directly under me looking all of a sudden quite scary. Would pigs eat children? Wolves did I’d read. I hoped fervently that fairy tales were true!

The brick I sat on was quite wobbly. I was sure I’d fall into the pen any moment. I gingerly moved myself to another brick. The pig too moved to stand directly beneath me!

I don’t know how long I sat there. What if no one missed me? I would just have to sit there forever I guess. Reason didn’t exist in my mind then. Morbid thoughts that were quite depressing hit me hard. I sat there staring morosely at the pig. Both of us quite alone. It was getting dark. Noises seemed louder than they were. I sat on waiting to be rescued… hoping to be rescued… I wanted daddy very badly all of a sudden! I was almost in tears… hot fat tears that threatened to well up any moment from my big brown eyes…

It was then that I saw him. My daddy. My tall wonderful daddy. He’s come looking for me!!! I knew he would, my pessimism of the last one-minute vanishing into air! I don’t know why I cried though… the tears that so long threatened to fall, fell now rapidly…

Daddy lifted me from the wall. I hugged him with all my might. He smiled and brushed my tears aside…

Sobbing I asked him, “Did you look for me at the pond?”

“No, I did not”

“At the stream?”

“No baby”

“At the cow shed”, I sobbed on.


“You knew I would be here?”

“Yes sweetheart”

M sobs increased. Hugging daddy fiercely I cried. Sobs that racked my small form. With relief. With happiness. He knew where I would be. He would always come looking for me…daddy would find me wherever I was… He would come…

Saturday, June 04, 2005


I hate disappointing you... and especially since you so rarely ask for things! So here are my answers!

And to all the people who sent me this questionnaire, just a question- WHY? WHY ME?

Peace. I hope I have made you all happy!

I don’t like anything! I told you- I am never game enough to play anything!!!

I wish I was taller! Don’t get me started now...

Any reptile as for that matter!

I'm wearing more than three things!!! But yeah- everything is white!

Midnight's children
Catcher in the rye (Ok- all of J.D Salinger actually)
Atlas Shrugged
A perfect day for banana fish- it isn’t a book though. Short story would be more like it.
I CAN count. But there are so many more...Not a fair question

Trying to read 100 years of Solitude. But I keep re reading 'Exodus' coz someone just lent it to me again!

Great Escape
Gods must be crazy (I've never laughed so much!!)
Message in a bottle

Well, I was torn between Ned Nickerson and Joe Hardy!

To Kill a Mockingbird

Go home.
Get thoroughly wet in the rain.
Drink hot tea, listen to Maya Memsaab and read Salinger.


My bag- it has everything I really need!

Ah... physical? Does well dressed count? A French beard helps you know....

And yeah- the guy too!

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):
I don’t like this tag thing
(I can’t believe I'm thinking so hard to find 2 truths and a lie!!!)
I love my relatives
I think I'm falling in love
Ps: Go fish!

Ok- now I am supposed to tag a few others! I happen to love certain blogger(s) and this isn’t something I would do to someone I love!

Whoever wants to answer these questions can! And if you want to be read- by me at least- leave a link!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Set me free...

Dreams...what I wouldn’t give to have control over them, someone said…

What wouldn’t I give too?

You were the last thing that came to mind every night when I fell asleep. Lying in the dark room, where the thin shaft of light from the light that forever glows in my flat mate’s room comes I will myself not to think of you…

After ages I dreamt of you…

Forget the place, its not important. Forget the others, they are not important…

I see you and I gasp. As always you make me do that. It’s been years and I still remember your face. Your eyes. The scar on your forehead which cuts across those imperfectly perfect eyebrows. Your long fingers. You haven’t changed a bit… or have you?

I see you and I gasp. And I walk past you while my heart is hammering a thousand beats. I can’t walk away. I walk once again past you, pretending I don’t see you…

You smirk. I know you do. I don’t have to look at you to know what you are doing.

I walk past you again. You catch hold of my hand, “You can’t ignore me…you know it. And you know I know…”

My arms hurt. Let me go…

“You don’t want to go… You can never go…”

I want to. Please… it’s after ages that I feel so… let me go… please let me go…Damn it, don’t make me feel guilty… Don’t make me feel guilty for wanting to love again… let me go… Please let me go….