Monday, February 8, 2016

Vulnerable Is Good

"I think we forget things if there is nobody to tell them to" 
                                                                     ~Sajjan Fernandes, The Lunchbox 



I don't know if that quote is correct but something to that effect is mentioned in the movie. It is the closest way to describe my relationship with this blog lately. 

Somewhere in between the worrying, the grief, the planning and the stress that January and February has been I forgot to document any of my feelings, thoughts on matters that have weighed down on us for so many weeks now. 

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that I've forgotten most of those teeny bits of experiences that wither away into feelings like wispy florets of dandelion flowers...and before you can document a memory they are off in a land of their own. 

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I have just come back from a really difficult journey from a neat little village called Erzhausen near Frankfurt, Germany. It is perhaps my most favourite place in the world, because it was home to Chhor Dadu (who I have written about here and here. )

That sweet man passed away on Thursday and took a little bit of our hearts with him.... and it feels odd to recount all of those personal feelings here but Love is the predominant one. And it's always good to share love. 

Because that's how Dadu was...very very generous with the way he showed that he loved. 

And I hope I can instill a little bit of that trait in me. 

Huddle close and don't be shy to show that you care. 

Don't say it. Show it. :)



Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016- Love Is My Weapon

Happy New Year!

I may or may not be getting today off (yeah, you heard that right- It's Sunday and I'm not sure). But that is not what my post is about. So I am squeezing this in, in this little microcosm of hopeful uncertainty that I am enjoying right now- do forgive the typos. 

I've mentioned my granddad who lives in Germany and is now in hospice care. Grandma shares updates on him through mail and every time we see a mail from her- there's an awkward combination of hope and fear that unannounced news always brings with it.

Since I've been absent on all things domestic lately  I missed that mail and I read about it later on WhatsApp. I asked for the contents of the mail and my Aunt forwarded it to me... so at the stroke of midnight hour on the New Year, while traveling back home from work in the car,  I read this beautiful mail... and I wanted to share it with you because it made my life worth living again. 

I have transcribed this verbatim, there are some obvious typos in the mail, also grandma is German and hence writes it this way, but I think that's what makes the words ring truer and dearer, to me. 


Subject: Shyamda (in Bengali Da is appended to a name to denote respect, it's literal translation is elder brother) 

Dear Family, 

As there are no significant changes in Shyamdas condition, I o not write more often. 

Today I just wont to say, "Happy New Year" to all of you. 

In the carehome today we both wonted to drink a glass of champagne together- but we could not open the bottle. So, tomorrow I will take some tool with me. The year is still young enough to welcome it. 

Regards and lots of love, 

Yours S. 


It broke my heart into little pieces and then the pieces melted in the warmth of the affection these two have for each other, the melted pieces then fused together and became stronger...with love. 

My wish for you this new year is the hope and prayer that you find love in the direst of circumstances, like my grandparents. I wish that you find your team and in turn...your home...so that no amount of distance or separation or the fear of separation could get in the way of what you share and give to your team. 



Saturday, December 12, 2015

"I was thinking.. Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?"

Mom's a bit of a prodder. No maybe I am putting that wrong... she prods..a LOT. I had this protrusion growing underneath my tongue when I was a kid and that worried my parents.  It was a friend to me, till it made it increasingly difficult to eat and then I got operated on to remove it... and here's the thing though, before I'd gotten operated mom had single-handedly held me down and chopped it off with a pair of scissors...and it was somehow legit because she is a doctor. And then it grew back again. Haha.. Tongue Protrusion (TP) 1 Proddy Mother (PM): 0. We'd become friends despite all the pain and trauma...TP and I. Sometimes I run my fingers underneath my tongue just to feel for any traces of its return...

The reason this is all coming back to me now is because this stupid thing that happened to me while waiting for some kachoris on a lovely Saturday morning when I had to go to work(this is how I use an oxymoron in sentences now). There were these men already placing their order at the counter, I was behind them...among these men was a school girl (I know because she was in her uniform). And mom kept prodding me to go and hand the coupon over and I stood there and asked her to go and sit in the car(she wasn't even going to eat from the shop). Because there was something so sad about a mother prodding a 26 year old to skip the line and get her damn breakfast while the school girl watched with interest...she probably thought I was younger than her (doesn't help that I am inordinately short). 

I remember standing there feeling like a complete loser because this is what my life has come down to. Will I ever be able to relate to adulthood the way my other friends do? you know the ones, who leave home, stick it out on their own. 

So TP had taken the form of adulthood now. My mother had taken it on herself to chop it all off...

After the operation, I had overheard them in the hospital bed.. why did you promise her roller skates S? she can hardly move around after this. Look at you being all irresponsible. Can we even afford roller skates now?) 

I keep getting these flashbacks now, like a bad movie reel of birth..trauma..despair and hope.. Can't help reflecting on the choices that we're handed and sometimes allowed to make on our own, every day of our lives. 

The people we meet...their stories...their intent...mom's intent of all this chopping and prodding is love, is protection...ruthless protection.That's why I can't hate her for it...despite all the pain it causes me.

But it's so damn hard,it's the saddest and hardest thing in the world...this living.  I've been going around with that lost feeling lately...like I lost something. I'll be thinking about something and then I'll look distractedly at my palms and realise they are clenched into fists...fists desperately trying to hold on to this shell of what I call my life...its little world of safe actions repeated routinely like all of that matters and adds up to something.

But here's what I find incredible...that so many of us have these moments of quiet desperation and nobody knows...and despite it all..we put our brave faces on and soldier on...don't we? We make friends, we learn to forgive, we try not to let the past get the better of us...

And..

Sometimes we find those roller skates in unlikely places...waiting patiently... and maybe instead of shying away, we allow ourselves to forget, everything, for the few moments that we let ourselves...roll. 


Source: Pinterest


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mail From Germany

She was woken by a bell
In quick successions it fell 
On her ears like a bad alarm 
But it was from next door by an insistent arm. 

The door did not open sadly. 
The bell ringer went on with it madly. 
She wondered if someone had died
Locked in with the hopes life had denied. 

She gave up on sleep and climbed out
Smoke curled  out sadly from the teapot's spout 
"There's a mail from Germany,
 They want to amputate his leg from below the knee." 

Her mother looked frail with her morning cup 
There were tears welling up. 
"He is not interested in world politics anymore, she writes
"But news from his beloved family, do apprise." 

"Reply to that mail please, " her mother insists
 "I couldn't do it, it's breaking my heart in bits." 
  She replied like a well oiled machine, 
  Her heart had stopped working bathed in pain's sheen. 

She watered the plants and noticed two flowers 
That had started blooming in the late night hours 
A prayer for the suffering was planted in each 
I'll water this every day, till peace is within their reach. 

Germany, 2013 - Happier times with Chhor Dadu 



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I am Getting Hate Mail For This - I Know I Am

I just had an epiphany. 


You know how when relationships end and there are these gifts you exchanged that you don't quite know what to do with? So if I were to draw a disturbing analogy- Children are kind of like those gifts in marriages that don't work? And I know just that sentence where I compared children to things warrants years of therapy to me but that's the awesome part about having an anonymous blog-  you can get away with saying almost anything. 


In fact I thought about it hard, you know. Why is it that I can't share the fact that I have a blog with my friends or family...and it's because this is that only space where I can be so utterly myself without having to worry about what they would think about me. I don't write here so I could get famous or hound people into believing I have an awesome kickass life...but it's because it lets me admit embarrassing truths about myself that I would prefer no one I know, know. 

And that's where you, Reader, should probably step in and say- er..those things are called journals, not public blogs that you share on Twitter every week.Don't pretend you don't want Readers. 


And I would say, ouch, I haven't thought this through. I guess I like expressing my secrets creatively? and maybe that's why I think people wouldn't mind reading them? 


Or maybe all of this is all in my head, and no one really cares what I do with my secrets. So yeah. Here I am. 

This was not what I meant to write though...I meant to write something that has nothing to do with embarrassing epiphanies and now I don't know how to link these two things together and it's making me angry. 

I get very angry these days. Mom says it's PMS and I need to be medicated but I just reminded her it can't be PMS cause I just finished being leaky. And she said the P stands for Pre and Post both. (she was just fucking with me, I totally knew it doesn't. Honest.) 

So anyway, pretend all of the shit written above doesn't exist and this is where the post starts: 

Mom's ancestors wanted a better life for themselves so they kind of dispersed all over the world and now she has cousins who are confused Indians. They visit us and try to embrace "Indian-ness". They get it wrong every.time.  and it's funny for us to watch them try. I guess that makes us Mean but we've been laughed at when we traveled abroad, so we're even. 

A cousin came over from London. She's really very sweet and talked about how she was coping with diabetes by taking Taichi classes. Obviously no one knew what Taichi is so she suddenly decides to demonstrate on the landing on her way out. And my mother can't hear properly so she mistook her cousin's "let's go" (as in let's do this) with "let's leave" and mom starts stomping off towards the exit, which would have been fine if there were many others watching said cousin do the taichi, but it was just mom me and my aunt. So I call out to mom to come back and mom walks right up to the cousin in the middle of her taichi pose because obviously mom thought she missed something cuz was saying. 



So there they were. Mom and cousin. Doing a weird taichi dance. And I remember looking at them and feeling a little glad that we came from this generation- totally messed up but adorable. 


Friday, November 20, 2015

What Makes Up For My Lack Of Aesthetics

There's a black and white picture of mom. Apparently it was taken in a proper photo shoot, with all the lights and equipment. Baba dabbled in photography quite a bit when I was growing up.


The result was a happy one. You could see the garnet chain shining on her neck and her ears studs- she has always been the no danglers only ear tops kind of person. "My face doesn't allow me to be a dangler girl," she quips. 



There is an outpouring of warmth and charm from her twinkling eyes and her laughing mouth which has parted to reveal almost fang-like teeth- the corner ones. I have them too. There's so much love in this picture, not just in the eyes of picturee but also of the picturer...I have a blog and these are the best new words  I can come up with- boring if I were a reader. Guess it's awkward for me to describe love between two people who don't see face to face anymore. Or maybe not awkward at all.. just incredibly sad, you know, to see love dead. 



The only editing I've done with this picture is cropping out the horrendously
messy dressing table..no filters except if love were a filter. Hah. See,
I can be cheesy too.


Someone laminated that picture, after the wars and battles were long over and the scars had started to form over the wounds..."This is the kind of picture that one would expect to have garlanded after I am dead," was mom's rejoinder. She has always managed to carry off depressing and funny with great elan. 


We didn't quite know what to do with the picture. So we let it rest against the mirror on our dressing table :"just for the time being, till I figure out a less embarrassing place to hang this up in," winced mummy. 

It's stayed there, ever since. 

Makes sense to me anyway...every time I walk up to the table to dress up...I look at that picture, nod to myself and say "that's beauty-  That's the kind of beautiful you want to be." 

And no Vogue column could ever come up with more worthwhile advice. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Getting In The Way





A mellifluous strain of an old romantic song drifted in from somewhere and he found himself wanting to hold her hand. So he did in that cramped space of the auto rickshaw...he reached out to her and she was taken slightly by surprise because she wasn't in that auto...her mind was somewhere else wandering as usual..and yet this tender soft gesture...was coaxing her back to the present. And she found herself smiling sadly at him. 

"I am a quitter," she whispered to herself more than to him, "I will quit on you eventually," she said a little louder.

"That's the beauty of transience, " he said reassuringly "everything must come to an end" 

She shrugged, "true, but I will quit on you like I quit on everything else. I will push you away, even if it killed a part of me. I will find some weird logic to justify my actions and kaput! I'll be gone, even before I'm supposed to." 

"Were you always like this?" he asked with a teasing grin.

"I like to think not," she found herself gently resting her head on his shoulders. There was a faint smell of cologne and mostly just his gentle breathing. 

"Who broke your heart?" his voice was closer now...in that empty auto they had somehow managed to create a microcosm-  their little transient world. 

The answer came to her in seconds..."I did." 

They didn't speak after that. 

She found a soft ball of tears forming in her throat, constricting it ruthlessly. So she let out a tiny gasp and let the tears flow. She still had his unsure hand in hers. She eased her fingers, one at a time, away from his and asked the driver to slow down.