Monday, 15 January 2018

Rathabole's dog

There was a time when I enjoyed these walks; I still do! I used to await the time when Rathabole got ready, put the leash around my neck (I would've liked to go without one, but still) and lead me down the stairs. Ah! The fresh air, the butterflies to chase, the lamp posts which gives me ample opportunities to raise my hind leg and the lazy waddle with Rathabole at the helm. It was heaven!



Until the smart phone became an integral part of our walks!

It was not that Rathabole spoke to me or we had deep conversations but I liked the fact that we both walked watching whatever we fancied and caught out attention. I agree that he is not an amiable man; Many times I have overheard people saying that his smile is a rarity. I think he does not smile much and even if he does, it is but a slight curve of the lips. Oh yes, let me come back to the topic at hand, uff paws! Now-a-days, he is always fiddling with the mobile - perhaps he's an important man and has a lot of things to attend to but why does he do it during the time with me. The leash and I become secondary when the phone is in his hand. The walk turns into an obligation that has to be carried out for my sake - I hate being a liability, you know. I crave for the moments of pauses when both he and I, stop by to watch an aeroplane flying above us, or stopping to say hello with a nod, or just walk lazily without a sense of time. But now, it's not he and I on our walks - it's the triune of Rathabole, I and the inanimate smart phone!

 I think the days of our free walks are numbered. I no longer look forward to the walks - but I need them, after all, otherwise I cannot raise my hind legs on the couches and dining tables!

Disclaimer: This is not entirely fiction. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead is not perhaps, entirely coincidental. Remember to think of that person and chuckle, if you know who it is!

Image courtesy: Internet


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Urban vignettes

I

She waits in the car
while he has gone to pick up some kebabs
The glass is half-down,
She looks out while he places the order and glances around.
Windows up
The smell of spice and coriander fill the car
Another day of no cooking dinner!


II

She walks the aisles of the mega-store
She remembers foreign herbs
And fills her shopping cart.
The bottles neatly stacked on the racks
Lie forgotten.

III

She promises herself
"No more online shopping."
She clicks JAYPORE
Just once, let me glance.
With horror and pleasure, she reads:
Your order has been successfully placed.

IV

She yearns for her days of childhood
She arrives at her hometown.
After half-a-day,
She yearns for the place she lives in!


V

She thinks in English
worries in English
swears in English
yet teaches,
"English is after all our second language!"

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Memories of a short-lived conversation



When does something become yours?
When you talk to her?
When you hold imaginary conversations with her when she is within?
When you weave future memories in absentia?
When you internalise your motherhood even before you deliver?
When you dream of holding tiny hands and walking around the block?
When you await the smell and smile and imagine them?
When you talk of grandparents and books and music ---

Alas! The memories of a short-lived conversation cuts through my being
Someone who should have been born is gone
~ Anne Sexton

P. S.:- Written for a dear friend S. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Song of the uterus

Glorious bloody tunes
when the first bleeding occurs at puberty.

Lusty glorious tunes
when the hymen is ruptured.

The first year of the marriage
An expectant tune of a forthcoming baby

But the baby never came
But the baby never came

Thus begins the scan room chronicles
Pricking, prodding and scanning.

Scanning, pricking and prodding!
HSG - oh no! by God, it's traumatic.

Surgical process
Pricking, prodding and scanning.

The baby might come
The baby might come

The biological clock is ticking - they say
God will have his plans - some say!

I did not sign up for this - I say!
The uterus sings its song thus.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

My taxi sojourns

S was our faithful taxi driver - We used his services whenever we were having guests or the husband was away and I needed to commute to and from College. There was a time when S was my mode of transportation for a whole two months. He would come in the morning at 8 and we would make our way through the highway and the narrow road commonly known as the junction. Our togetherness was brief, say a brief seven-minute in the morning and then another seven in the afternoon. But those minutes were an assortment of the weather forecast, politics, students of today, elders of yesterday, traffic defaulters, irresponsible animal owners and so on.

The journey would begin with, "Good morning S ji. Looks like it will rain today." To which, I would receive, "maybe yes or maybe not." Then the topic would skirt around the current trending news and our opinions. S ji would thrillingly use MC, BC and other colourful words which would shake me out of my reverie but then when feelings have to be expressed, why would a sieve be used. And then without much ado, we would fall silent only to puncture it with something else that catches his or my eye.

Together we used to count the days of the husband's return and mark his duty days with me. Our mornings were clouded with the urge to rush to College and our afternoons with the urgency to go home and rest. S would have stories of his customers and how each one was different from the other - some made him wait for hours while some were stingy; some wanted only his taxi services with low prices, of course, and some called him when their friends were in town. There was a fare for regulars and there was a fare for regulars' friends.

S was well versed with the kind of people after experiencing them as his customers. He could spot a rotten apple in a basket of many. He could advise on traffic timing and low prices in shops. He was an encyclopedia of the common man. I knew what he ate and what his children were up to and when he woke up, offered puja and bathed. Nonchalantly, he would talk about the area's councillors, police personnel, customs officer and their stories of greed and power. Everyone had been his customer one time or the other.

He used to understand my measly bank balance mid-month and lament how it is impossible to earn enough in a straightforward service. He used to say, "dho number ka kam se khoob paisa kama sakthey" (Illegal work only could earn more money).

I look forward to those mornings and afternoons when S and I chat endlessly and merrily about all and sundry. Then one day the journeys with S stopped with the husband coming back and my knowledge bank of 'local' stories became scarce and limited.

I then wondered, "What stories would I tell my students?" But then there is a story everywhere!


Sunday, 9 July 2017

The curse of the blue ticks

The former days of land line telephones and long distance letter-writing was a bliss when compared to today's instant messaging. Those days one received a call that they have reached and the rest would not matter until another call was received. But today, the blue double ticks on WhatsApp makes the heart palpitate needlessly. Just yesterday, I was trying to contact X and saw only a single grey tick. For a while, I was calm then the imaginations soared. I tried keep them at ground level but to my dismay, they seem to have a mind of their own. I was frantic for the blue ticks, at least the double grey tick marks. But no. I started panicking. I was thinking about the million possibilities that could have prevented X from seeing the messages - Mind you none were simple possibilities. Sitting miles away, one cannot help but wonder at the million impossible things that could occur.

In the midst of all these, I wondered about the days of yore when two blue ticks did not exist and how people went about their lives carrying on routines without speaking for days and weeks. Even then people were awaiting news but did not require instant blue ticks. The tricks that the mind plays when the blue ticks are missing, is deplorable and I'm not exaggerating. The basis of existence depends on those two blue rascals.

No matter who the person is, the blue ticks are reasons for many fights and heartbreaks. If the person has seen the message at 10. 30 am but responds only at 10. 00 pm, the he/she can be sure of some hard questioning. Now, there are three categories:

1. Single grey tick - message not seen
2. Double grey ticks - Message delivered but not read
3. Double blue ticks - Message read



Either of the categories could cause potential harm if in a particular frame of mind and the most adept at this is the female of the species (I speak for my specie and there is no overt discrimination, I suppose).

Some may ask:
Where were you? Why did it take so long to see the message?
Why did you not respond even if you were online?
I was so frantic, what happened to you? Why only a single grey tick (This question of course plays in the mind)

Now you understand why I consider the blue ticks as cursed. Perhaps the closer the person, the greater the frantic levels!

Let peace prevail in the heart and imagination be reserved for better things.



Image 1 courtesy: Internet
Image 2 courtesy: Internet

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