On the old banyan
Are bats still waiting
For a waning moon
And the insect buzz
Around street lights
To consume the night.
On the old banyan
Are bats still waiting
For a waning moon
And the insect buzz
Around street lights
To consume the night.
A word essay about the letter S wouldn’t even be close to complete if I didn’t mention the word that starts with S and refers to activities that the censor board thinks is rather un-Indian.
My censorship is not inspired by misguided ideas on what constitutes culture as khaki enthusiasts see it, rather it’s because… Well, no patriarch, guileful aunt, or heckling grandmother can be expected to stay technologically illiterate these days, can they? My fears are not misguided, just last week Facebook’s’ terrifying ability to learn everything about you became all to apparent when an old, grey haired progenitor seemed to appear on the people you may know category. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m counting on a shaky hold over the English language to cover my tracks.
To virgin eyes that fail to understand or care about the endless carnival of light humor that populates the internet, stalking is all too easy a hobby to take up. Now, while I have been informed my tendency to write poetry on eyes movements, dreams, and other topics that catch the interest of my over obsessive mind may not be very easy to understand, I don’t want to take any risks. But I won’t bother taking anything down either. Flight might be the better option but there isn’t any reason to hide. There isn’t much here that would interest the un-literary kind I’d warrant.
So this series where I journal every reaction certain letters evoke marches on, without one very simple word that would be too obvious a clue for snoopy kin.
Wrung tongues sung wondrous thing about W. That’s the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of the letter W.
W is such a fun letter. Wooo,wisssh,womp,woooot, woosh,wheee etc. W lets you make so many funny words that adults are forced to put in dictionaries. I can imagine mischievous wordsmiths giggling suppressed giggles of in shadows while pompous elitists frowned sad puppy faces when they had to add in those words. Of course that never happened but, that’s makes for a cute story. The fact that you can make words like war or warts seems to be a glitch.
I have no sources for this but I’m certain that the pronunciation of W is a remnant of some hardy Celts looking down on the french and their Dou-bla-Vey’s. The word “Work” has suddenly popped into my head. Is this work? Not really. Writing is like (hey look another word that starts with W) breathing? Scathing an itch? There’s no reason I should be trying to put up posts every day. It actually makes things worse for the blog; the law of diminishing returns and consumer burn spring to mind. I’m always paranoid all my good posts are doomed to the bottom of the page and people will only read my more mediocre work. But this doesn’t feel like great effort, so I’ll post away this month.
I didn’t get tired of the word essay writing challenge or get bogged down with. I kinda forgot all about it. Writers’ blocks come in more than one form it would seem.
Well what do I say about the letter X? It’s a pretty cool letter. It’s instantly a gritty symbol .Put an X over a leaders face and you’ll have security agencies monitoring you. You can use an X they say way Zorro uses Z. Put it under skull and you have yourself a pirate flag. You can use it a signature too. A very ominous and grim letter is X.
Words with the letter X are always so a random. I remember playing “name,place,animal,thing” in fifth grade and no-one else knowing what a Xolo was. X was a death sentence because no-one knew words that began with X or knew if the other person was making up a word with the letter X.
Names with X can sound cool but sometimes a Xena or Xender can sound like their trying too hard. However the letter X sounds best with names of ancient Persian emperors. Xerxes, Artatazaxta, Arataxerxus. I like how my tongue rolls when I pronounce the names, even if I’m just imagining myself saying it. These emperors who echo through history, like their names echo through your mouth, often matched the grandeur their names suggested, which makes everything better.
I could barely smell anything and had to blow my nose every ten seconds as we walked to the place. It wasn’t far from home. “just here”, “just here” Neil kept saying. Naffah was being grumpy, upset that we kept talking about his receding hairline.
It wasn’t out fault. What would you do if the old class jock turned in a eternally exhausted, almost bald 18 year old engineering student? Naffah has an odd face that never stops smiling, so you can never tell if he’s angry just by looking at him. The waiter gave him a weird look, as he grumbled. The place smelt bad and Naffah grumbled about Neil’s’ terrible taste. Thanks to his face, we weren’t sure if he was really upset. There were a lot of people around but we found a wobbly bench and wet steel topped table before anyone else did. It was probably a house before it was tuned into a restaurant. Naffah was convinced the walls were made from mud.
Neil kept shouting to people he knew or at least claimed to know. The military hotel which lacked any signboard or name was just called ”the military hotel”. It was a small place a little away from the local temple, which meant that a crowd was always around. Thankfully we didn’t have to look at our feet and pretend not to know Neil for long. The service was fast. Naffah was convinced that this was because they were giving us yesterdays’ food. I told him to find a toothpick and jab at his Ragi mudde to make sure there weren’t lizards in there. He smiled, but Neil insisted Naffah was annoyed.
We all ordered the same thing. My food tasted bland, maybe it was because I was sick. Neil told me to soak it in chutney, so I did. The experience improved considerably. Naffah smiled and asked me if I wanted a spoon to check for grasshoppers in the chutney. I decided grasshoppers were delicious and really should be used more often if that means food will be so cheap.
Neil started calling out to people again and Naffah tried to borrow through the table with his forehead. He got some bits of food on his head but I didn’t say a thing. He doesn’t like it when people remind him that he’s balding you see. Neil ordered another plate that took a lot longer than the first order. The place had gotten more crowded as the school nearby closed and mid day sun waned. We ate everything on Neil’s’ plate as revenge for his repeated public hollers.
Naffah got a call and left early to do engineering things and loose more hair. Neil called some of his friends over and wanted to order more food. I thought the food was kind of bland, or maybe my cold made everything bland, so I left before Neil realized I hadn’t paid for my food.
I can’t think of any dish I hated as a kid and came to like later. However I do remember I never liked tomatoes as a kid and I can’t get enough of them these days.
I don’t mean to say I like putting tomatoes on everything [well I do] what I mean is I like eating tomatoes by themselves. Tomatoes I have discovered taste really good even when they aren’t cut up and put on stuff. Just take a bite out of one and you’ll see. I once ate seven tomatoes in fourteen bites.
I still have friends who pick out tomatoes from what they’re eating. Lonely bread crusts and tomatoes are a common sight on used plates. It’s a tragedy really. Did you know there a thousands of tomato species that are going to go extinct because people don’t care about the sort of tomatoes they eat?
The first time I realized tomatoes taste amazing is when there were a bunch of stray tomatoes were in the fridge. They were tiny, a little bigger than a finger nail, I had no idea what they were so I ate it. I don’t know why but ever since I’ve fallen in love with tomatoes. I stopped putting them away, I actually looked forward to eating them. Sometimes I just ate tomatoes when I was too lazy to cook. Maybe they were magic tomatoes.
I don’t understand how those juicy little orbs ever managed to repel me. I remember how I used to cringe every time I came across them and put them away. Burgers, Pizzas etc were all ripped to shreds with knives and fingers in my attempts to get rid of them. Tomatoes never seemed to go with anything.
There’s a lot you can do with tomatoes that doesn’t need a lot of work. Just heat them up a little ,after you cut them in two, and they taste amazing. I wasn’t long ago when I discovered the wonders of tomatoes I can still recollect the cringes that tomatoes used to brings. I don’t know how to describe it. all I can do is head to the fridge and eat a couple more of them.
On the way home there’s a man who makes sugarcane juice which, I am always surprised to find, is the best I’ve ever tasted.
I walk everywhere. I can’t ride a scooter, I don’t like buses or autos and my bike was stolen 5 years ago. So I’ve no option but to walk. I’ve come to like it. I walk 10 km every day, the distance doesn’t matter anymore I only look at the amount of time it will take me to get where I want to go.
The earlier college ends the more inconvenient it gets. The heat and lack of trees along the footpath makes the road home a death sentence. Usually I try reading a book on my phone. If the chapter is good and the battery can sustain the brightness needed to read from a screen while the sun boils above you, I fail to notice the heat. Every day I realize I have forgotten to refill my water bottle. The water from the college purifiers might always taste funny, like they have someone’s medications dropped in them, but thirst makes me do crazy things.
Back when I was a kid my father would always stop at every little road side stall and buy something. He’d ask me if I wanted some juice. I’d always say “no need”. He’d buy two glasses anyway. I hated it. The fact that my father would insist on not having any sugar or anything other than pure juice in the glasses didn’t make it any more tolerable. Memories of me gagging, every time someone asked me if I wanted sugarcane juice, come back to me every time I drink sugar cane these days.
The man who sells sugarcane has his little setup next to the empty bus stop on Berlie Street which is always crowded on the way to college. He seems to follow some seasonal pattern, like those trees with purple flowers on the way home. I don’t know what the trees are called but they have this ability to stay unnoticed until they decide to, for a short period of time, shed their purple flowers and colour the road purple. I still haven’t figured out his annual pattern of disappearance though. I wonder where he goes for all those months. How does he manage to pay his bills if he keeps disappearing every other season?
I always hesitate when I see him. I don’t like giving away the ten rupee notes I have. I feel terrible about giving him a hundred, the guy always need change. We give each other a knowing nod. Sometimes I feel obliged to buy juice if he notices me. Sometimes he seems to resent the fact that he has to put away his paper and start crushing the cane. I’ve never heard him say a word, but he wears sly smiles on occasions.
He isn’t always by his stall. Occasionally he sits in the bus stop. You’d think he was a regular who had no business staying there for more than a few minutes. The loud tin box where he stores his crumpled, moist notes always remains neglected on his little stall. On other days he sits and skins the huge bundles of cane that he keeps against the trees that shades his stall. There can be no doubt about his popularity if he really manages to sell all that cane. On some cloudy days I see him sitting with the man who sells chaats on the other side of the bus stop. He never says a word to him either. He has never shown any interest in going back to his stall and selling cane on those days. He just stares, maybe telling me I don’t have to buy anything today.
Every time I drink the Sugarcane I’m surprised how cold it is, how relaxing it is, how it makes me realize that I’ve been walking all day only to make me forget a second later. No matter how many times I remind myself about how great it tastes, I’m always surprised by how it manages to blow me away. These baffling moments are when the Sugarcane guy puts on one of those sly smiles.
His little stall has green plastic pipes in it. The one you’d normally use to water plants. They look like they play some important role in his strange homemade contraption. You can’t really see them, until you realize he doesn’t have room for his legs behind his stall. Every time I try to see what they do, he makes a little hop to the side and hides the pipes. It’s a little suspicious, and road side stalls are shady enough. But the always surprisingly amazing taste makes up for any suspicious pipes and sly smiles.
His stall is green just like those pipes and looks like any other. Those pipes are the only things that stand out. Most people don’t even seem to notice the pipes. The juice serves as an excellent distraction and you find it hard to care about those little green pipes. I can’t help but wonder if there was some great genetic modification that made sugarcane taste better. Was it even sugarcane I used to drink back when I was young? I don’t know and realize that, like always, I have chugged everything down too fast for me to savour the taste. I don’t regret it though. I’ll just buy some more some other day.
His unending silence, the good taste that just doesn’t make sense till you drink it, the mysterious pipes and smiles, and his seasonal disappearance makes me wonder if he’s a genie.
When I try to think of words the start with Z my mind churns out a mish-mash of common nouns.
Zebra, Zathura, Zarbon. I need to write about something that isn’t typical. No one wants to read hundred of words by Zebra. So I’ll write about ”Zoinks”. “Zoinks” is Shaggy’s catchphrase. Shaggy from Scooby-doo. The first version of Scooby Doo I remember watching was the 1950’s version that cartoon network used to screen in the early 2000’s. It had laugh tracks, terrible animation but was still pretty amazing. Telling kids that pretty much everything supernatural is just some realtor trying to scare people off so they can take over property is an unusual concept. I’m not sure why the writers of Scooby Doo hated real estate agents, but telling kids to question everything is rather rare and pretty cool.
I wish I had come up with a better word. Zoinks doesn’t demand much explanation in my opinion. I remember this weird Sean Connery movie, which he made after he got really worried he’d always be associated with Bond [Connery didn’t actually like the bond movies]. I haven’t seem much of the movie, but I recall Connery in bright red plastic underwear praying to this flying stone head called Zarbon [or something like that] who sat out guns. He also hates sperm. That was one weird movie.
This is all I can think of that revolves around the word Z. Hopefully I’ll get better as I run through the rest of the alphabet.