Coming season

Tradition holds the monsoon is near, certainly I could use some clouds to drown out all the noise. I can’t write and it’s not cause I can’t share; call it speech fright.

You’re floating on cotton under a starless night, above veins of yellow amber, can’t ask for a better place in the city. Think of honey over a black backdrop, that’s what I think the city must be like if you fly away.

Say something and it’s not a dream anymore. Write happy and you’re obliged to commit, be what’s been written. Hopelessly, inevitably and I can’t do with mirrors right now, I just want it to be quiet. I can’t breath at all.

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Breathing room

Some days you write and you just don’t want to share. Some days you breath in and it just isn’t enough so keep it all in, share nothing but how you’re feeling.

That’s worth writing about.

Dog dreams

Dreamt of a dog I used to have, Honey, who looked like a really short Sheepdog . I couldn’t tell you if she was long lived or short, it’s hard to time someone’s whose been a part of your early life, but she was beloved like all dogs you dream about.

I hadn’t thought of her in a while; I ran my hand through her fur and felt it like 10 years ago, like time stood still to let me meet an old friend. I awoke and realized I couldn’t remember how or when she died and felt a little surprised she was no longer alive.

I mentioned it and a lecturer offered a little Freud. I was the dog, a symbol of loyalty, a trait my friends vouched for. What I didn’t say was that I had had another dream the night before, one where I met a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while.

So there you have it, two dreams of mine talking to each other, telling me to wait patiently for my friend. Of course if you’re careful there’s a lot to read between these few lines but this is just the surface not the whole Freud.

Reading, Rereading

Sometime it’s worth journaling random things you feel because like stolen spoonfuls of sugar, they become yesterdays mischief melting away into a dull mix of memories, indistinct and nothing special.

Yesterday it was re-reading The God of Small Things after reading the two of the most awful Stephen King novels I’ve ever come across. The first was Joyland and the second was Dr. Sleep. Joyland had everything it needed to be great on paper but by the time I got around to Dr. Sleep I realized that both books were draining any desire to read right out of me.

A thriller and a squeal horror that bores and numbs the senses, how could books do these things to me?

They felt too white, too far, too alien and the language speaking to people I didn’t know or didn’t want to be. No I don’t want any more sappy feel good relationships hounded by some personal milquetoast tragedy that thinks itself a bitter sweet ending. It’s to cliche, it’s too mediocre in the challenge it offers it’s readers. It plays itself in small stories, never daring to go beyond the little troupe of actors who exist for this story.

Real horror is seeing the villains, the heroes the victims and tragedies as something you remember, something next door, something playing out while a neighbor’s house is filled with thuds.

Impending doom, the weight of history and a sense of impotent helplessness, as you watch some tragedy you know is real, bear down mercilessly, leaving empty shells where there were people- now that’s scary, a good story because it’s macabre in a real intangible way.

I was never any one of Roy’s characters either, but there’s something in the echo’s of familiarity, the language and fears that resonate.

By the end of the God of Small Things I felt, I really felt, like I’d received a literary punch, a screaming vortex of emotions that kept me hooked and running just like the first time I read it. Some primordial urge to scream, some function of the Freudian Super Ego urging me to discuss it at length. I thought it was nice to have a book make me feel this way and tracked the hours, seeing how long this feeling would last me.

It took about 4 hours and an argument with some idiot on the internet to send the feelings away, but it ripples. And some times it can crash into you with a force you thought old things can’t have.

January’s Ashen Afternoons

Hard edged and glass cold the weather covered for 12 o’clock while it sneaked up on us. Someone rolled around in tidal sleep and moaned like a sea creature.

They spoke while I put my legs up to steal the warmth off the window grills; someone played the sunlight off their watch – “CUT IT OUT”. My brain seemed to melt, who was that and didn’t I have an exam to get to? The agony of waiting I thought while looking at my watch; productivity had to wait till tomorrow. Some weather needs to be savored I think while miming swishing wine around. I thought of cake I ate back in 9th grade. It was purple on an afternoon the smelt just like this.

Doors slam. An engine is kicked to life. Tires squeal. I imagine a scooter, speeding into darkness. I returns to the ingenuity of plants, to the magic of light but someone’s voice grew irate. “I grow green horn on my back. It’s all keratin so I’ll need you’re nail-cutter”. I tell her it’s in the bathroom. Was there really a black and white photo of a bespectacled man and a copy of Anna Karenina in there? Sometimes you imagine these things.

A chair falls over, Beach House blasts on an abandoned phone and I see a copy of cloud atlas under the couch. Someone kills a lamp and I remembered how a friend would print Chinese labels to put on glass bottles. “Adds character” he would say, “It’s the same shit but new, full of meaning probably.”

A mysterious letter

I was walking home the other day, it was 10:47 and pouring. Unbeknownst to me my phone had taken a few interesting decisions.

Between 10:45 to 10:47 I received several calls from an Uber driver it had ordered. I never noticed and the Uber guy cancelled. For all our troubles Uber had charged us 47 rupees. Naturally I was quite annoyed, and while running water for a bath I noticed there were several other apps that had been opened while I thought my phone was safe in my pocket.

Mostly nonsense, of course, it had opened a few notes. The first was the Uber guys number, the URL for an ad. It had chosen a background- leaves and a green tone, some superfluous feature I never even knew it had. The second, bare note, was what was interesting though. In that note between the “BBBBbbbbgggF”, the “wheeeeeeeeeeenghdf” and other clear indications of falling asleep at the screen, there’s someone pouring their heart out.

It takes a bit of deciphering but between all the button mashing, there’s a letter. It’s like a page from a diary, a long conversation between friends something you wouldn’t forget. Yet I’ve not read that note before, a story about a senior and dealing with friends, a log from someone I don’t know on my phones. There’s no sharing feature, no names and no trace beyond a 10:47 time stamp. Just someone’s deepest, darkest thoughts they wouldn’t even share with a journal, brought to my phone between rain and a walk.

 

Watchman, Punch-man

The man had dedicated himself to looking away. It did not matter when or who walked out the store, you would see his back facing you, his face staring intently at something across the street, his arms were folded for effect. Perhaps not the best course of action for a watchman, but that’s how he was.

I always made it a point to hand my bills to him, which pleased him greatly. Maybe he was so firmly turned to the road because other patrons weren’t polite enough to handover their bills so that he could punch them. Today he informed me that it was raining. An odd thing to do I suppose but rather insightful of him. I’d hardly been paying attention to the fact that it was poring outside the store. I wonder how he figured that out.

The supermarket had new hoardings welcoming people in Koramangla. Of course nothing else in the store was new. People stopped their bikes and scrambled under the store’s awnings. They murmured and muttered, careful not to get too loud.

The surge of people felt threatening, the watchman punched his punch machine aggressively, perhaps marking his territory. It worked, people seeped out before the rain had really let up and he was back to staring at the road. Perhaps not a satisfying ending but I thought it was as curious entrance he ended up making between a day dream of mine.

Arcane Fire

Hypnosis by fire is not just for moths. Fires pull in people, fires become the beating heart under cities, fires gathered stories from primordial men fleeing the night.

It might have begun with a power cut- after life mostly bubble wrapped in modernity, he might have noticed the candle light drawing in insects. The light stays with you after you close your eyes, if you concentrate that is. Behind closed windows, far and towering above him, hounding him into a cold evening, he could still see orange lights tinging the curtains.

Madness, nostalgia or instinct? Maybe all- fire starter, Pyromaniac.

Moss lands

A woman laughes without any hesitation cutting right through the neighborhood, reaching me on the 7th floor.

Small towns have large areas of quiet, parking and shaded greenery that lull you into a sort of luxurious laze. No wonder life seems more pleasant here. Looking down you’ll see just green cover, the coconuts trees give away the boundiers between homes, every house has them.

Maybe apartments makes voyures of us all. Natural vantage points and a view right into your neighbors home. I can see my neighbors at their worst, their uninhibited habits and routines, glimpses of who they are when no one’s looking. It’s like trees across seasons, changing habits and routines slowly but in circles. The same arguments, the same hunched positions at their tables.

I see right into the apartment across the street where others also look for the laugh. There’s no one we can see, only a few dogs sleeping on roofs. They make the best of the steep incline that the neighborhood is on.

I can smell the sea in the air so I stay on the balcony while the rest retreat indoors. It’s a smell you grow fond of.

A lazy motorists makes his way into his yard behind the apartment. He’s got a stream behind him and space he’s done nothing with. The moss grows green on his walls. All old house, old neighborhoods and old memories are closed off by green, green moss. Everything goes back to sleep.

Smug Raincoats

Nobody appreciates a rain coat till they’re on a two wheeler in the rain. It’s herd mentality. The drizzles might as well be some large carnivore that has the two wheelers running. The cars just stand around like overconfident buffalo on the savanna, which some might argue is how they always are.

Not to get carried away with the analogies but you can’t help but watch documentary style. First the herd follows the safe path, pushing and shoving till they’re safe. In this case this was the little stretch of road under the metro. Every bit of cover counts since the crowd was already so drenched you could see their inner-wear. For once it was the scooters pushing the cars of to the side.

By the side of the roads everyone paused to stuff their phone someplace safe. Everyone stops ahead of the parked auto, and everyone after them parks a little ahead, till you’ve got a line along the road that’s stopping, stuffing phones and starting till you hit the signal. The signals always seem to be a nice place to watch people try to find cover and always make me wonder if the bus drivers speed up to cause mayhem to make their drives a little more interesting.

Problem is you aren’t much of a documentarian when you’ve got rain on your glasses. You aren’t much of a driver either but the roads are empty, you aren’t going to be hearing (or seeing any rude comments). No risk at all really. Gives you an insight into the savanna too. While the pedestrians glare at you, the other motorists wish they had the same shelter and scream fresh hell because you’re driving slowly to enjoy the rain while they drown- nobody enjoys the savanna more than the idiots behind the camera. You don’t have to live the rain at all just watch as everyone else struggles to survive 🙂