Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Parihaasamo.. en mel paridhaabam illayo?

When she talked to him, she was sure. She was sure that this was the only way it could be. For his life and hers. A child out of wedlock was unacceptable. Unimaginable, he had said. It would ruin both their lives.
But the first free minute her mind found, a different spool of thought unwound itself. She tried to think of ways she could "solve the problem".

Maybe mom will understand. Probably not. Maybe brother? He would understand. But what could he do? Its not money I need. Not support. I don't even know what is stopping me. Some invisible knot ties me to his future. His college. His life. It was a not a sacrifice, but a sensible decision. But of what good is a sensible decision if it takes away all that makes sense in my life? There have been achievements before. Plenty. But this was different. This feeling of wholeness. Of finding an anchor... this warm heaviness.

She put lay on the bed and put her cellphone on her belly. As if on cue, it started vibrating.

Does that tickle you, my love?

She sighed and answered it.

Where are you?


You're at home? Its 4 in the afternoon.

I got done with work early.


Thirty seconds of silence.

Whats for dinner?

I don't know. Anything.

You want to go out?

No. I'll figure something out.

Okay. I'll be back at 6.

See you then.

Hmm... anything you want to tell me?

Nothing in specific.

Rest up. I'll find a cab for Saturday morning. The train is too much of trouble. I'll be home at six and we'll cook together. Or even better, I'll cook.

Okay. I'll see you then.

You seem to be in a hurry to hang up. What is wrong?

Nothing about this is right. That is what is wrong.

He sighed audibly. It irritated her. She tried not to show it.

Okay, I won't go there. I'm going to get the laundry done. Do you want me to do yours?

Please rest. I'll take care of that stuff.

I'm not dying of cancer. I'll be fine doing the laundry I think. Again, do you want me to do yours?

Its okay. I have another week to go.


Bye. Take care.

I will. Bye.

She flipped the phone close. She usually hated hanging up. She always waited till she heard the click on the other end. A habit from those late night conversations with her ex. When they would argue about who would hang up first... child play. Maybe he noticed. He probably wouldn't have. He never paid attention to minor details. He said they didn't matter.

They mattered.

It mattered that Saturday was Mother's day.
It would matter that there would be people standing there with posters to tell her what a big mistake she was making. Protesting the "cruelty".
It would matter that she would in the coming years, remember exactly what she wore, how that old man who handed her the pamphlet looked, how that taxi guy sneered at them.
It would matter, that she would wake up 4 hours later feeling empty. Empty and exhausted. And would find him sitting in the living room talking to his fiancee about their wedding plans.

(Scene III from the Departure of Happiness)

Color: Gray
Song: Mokshamu galada (Madras Quartet)

Monday, May 19, 2008

This prolonged ruthless silence...

Its like a Star Wars movie. It makes absolutely no sense, but you watch it, you like it... in fact, you watch it again.

That is what it is like to be in love.
Its like watching a Star Wars movie.

To be able to take in all the senseless details, to actually cherish them.
To realize the irrelevance of it all to everyday life but still crave it.
To get lost in those dreams of the future and actually sculpt a part for yourself.

Color: Black (though its not really a color)
Song: Wonder wall

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Velan ennai eno marandhan...

Every woman has a certain expectation of how things will unfold when she realizes she is a mother-to-be. How her husband would take her in his arms when she tells him, and the happiness on his face would uncontrollably spill into loving words, the way she would blush and he would say she looks more beautiful than ever. Words cannot describe that feeling sufficiently. Its tangibly magical.

Hers was filled with uncomfortable silence. A ten minute deliberation of how this was even possible followed by a single question.

What do we do now?

And the expected,

I'll find a doctor.

After about 20 rounds of Google and phone calls, an appointment was made to "clear" the problem. 500$ to clear the most beautiful thing that ever happened to her.
He didn't take her in his arms.
He didn't kiss her on the forehead and say "I love you. Thank you for making me so happy.".
There was no joy in his eyes.
The second offering of conversation was another question.

Are you okay?

I will be. I need to take a shower.

~~The water on my skin felt warm though I'd set the shower to cold. I looked down at my belly. Was there a swelling? I ran my hand over it, wishing that it would somehow penetrate the skin to stroke my child's yet-to-grow hair. In that yellowed shower, on that Saturday afternoon, I lost myself in a day dream. Of how my beautiful son, black hair wispy in the wind, translucent skin near the temples, cheeks pink from running in the park, would find me on a bench, reading a book. How I would stroke his soft arm and ask him if he was cold , hand him a jacket. Little fingers clutching mine, walking back home, refusing to be carried like a baby ~~

A sharp knock snapped her back to reality and the cold water stung momentarily before it washed the dream away.

"Are you done yet? I need to run by the office."

"Be out in a minute."

(Scene II from the Departure of Happiness)

Happy Mother's day.

Color: Baby blue
Song: Eru mayil eri vilayadum mugam ondru

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I was woken up by a strangely familiar smell. Hair? Clothes? Comforter? Sheets? The feeling doesn't go, even long after brushing and a shower. A nostril implant? Ickie.

Tissue, paint, music, shoes, pictures and sweaters later, I still feel it. I turn up the music. Put away the paint. Hide the shoes and the sweater. Put the picture face down. Clear up the tissue.


(What IS that smell?)

A cup of tea brewed in my favorite way grows cold in my favorite mug. I don't need it to wake me up. The music prods something in me. Unburies some kind of revelry I didn't know I was capable of. It does it gently, not shovel-like, more like an archaeologist dusting a delicate piece. But the now surfacing vine refuses to tame, it thrashes aside the cell biology exam, the Khaled Hossaini, the new tube of Prussian blue... but the notes continue to shush it, whisper soothing words. The vine is turning into Jack's beanstalk, magical, wild, growing uncontrollably.
A sudden quiet.
Sivaranjini. A voice smooth as silk, rich as cream grips the vine with its lilting waves, gently but firmly. It disciplines that unruly child. Walks the periphery, soothes the convulsions. The vine shrinks, now a blade of grass. Slender, elegant, obedience personified. A long, drawn-out session of snake-charming.
Exhaustion never seems to come to the voice, its dessert-like quality never seems to fade, no matter how many times over I listen to it.
Maharajapuram Santhanam.

Song: Just play any kind of music, I can only hear one thing in my head now.
Color: Deep purple.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


You are asking me to be what?

Careful. I'm asking you to be careful. Is that so hard?

Its not what you are asking me to be as much as the tone in which you are asking.

Tone? Now I have to watch my tone with you. What's gotten into you? Have you forgotten-

Ha! Don't get me started on forgetting things. 28th October. 28th April.

Why must you dwell on EVERY BLOODY detail of life? And its not even comparable to what we were talking about. The world isn't your backyard to throw people around like that. To say things so flippantly. You'll have to pick up after yourself when you are being so reckless with words. Don't expect me to come cleaning up after you.

Its okay. I'll fight my own battles. I never needed anyone to pick up after me. I never asked you to. You simply did these things yourself to feed your ego into a nice plump chicken that you aren't willing to sacrifice now. Learn to talk to me without that chicken clucking in the back of your head and maybe I'll sound more clear.

Ego? You think I'm egoistic? Whoa. Where'd you learn such big words?

Its three letters and I've known them forever.

Alright. I give up. Don't talk to me again about this, ever.

Fine by me.

(Scene I from the Departure of Happiness)

Color: Mauve
Song: Cry me a river

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Koinkydenki. (erstwhile Koinkydenky, as suggested by Regular Joe)

Some battles in life are best fought alone, even if it means losing them. A smart price for finding people out. Here's a few pointers from my experiences as a lone warrior.

1. The ones who offer you support as your strength wanes are the ones who truly care. This is truer when more is at stake.

2. The ones who disappear before the battle even starts (for a cup of ice cream perhaps), are the ones you should have never befriended to begin with.

3. The ones who stand around the ring viciously smacking their greedy mouths for gossip are the ones you should take scavenging lessons from.

4. The ones who wait till its over, then come by and drop in a word of how you could have been better are willing to truly teach you. Learn from them.

5. The ones who are leaning so heavily on the cordons that they need restraining orders are the ones who usually rush in to pick you up the moment you fall. DON'T let go of them. Ever.

In my brief existence on this planet, I cannot have claim to completely or successfully know people. I'm naive to the point of stupidity and native to the point of wearing leaves.
But still, I believe, some battles in life are best fought alone.

Color: Red.
Song: Gori teri aankhein kahe

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hypochondriasis of guilt.

You know guilt works?? Its a brilliantly designed system. With nuances that you never knew could be and tricks you never thought would be played. How it slowly sinks in. How it takes over everything. How there are constant reminders, some genuine and some imaginary. A state of extreme hypochondriasis of offense. How sly guilt is, oh, how sly.

Color: Black
Song: Anbe sugama?? Un Kovangal sugama??