Friday, June 30, 2006

Just a rant

My house is a hotel. I have lost track of the number of people who I have picked up and dropped back - to airports, railway stations, bus stops, other people's homes, interviews, temples, church, Elephanta caves, Cuffe Parade, Borivali National Park. Family. Distant family. People I didnt know were family. Friends. So called friends. Friend's friend. Someone's brother's son's business partner's friend (Not kidding). Unknown Hungarian women. Women who looked like Big Ethel. Men who burnt the pressure cooker. Men who ate up all the Godiva chocolates. Other people who have not kept in touch. People who dont keep in touch except when they need to accomodation. For 4 hours between 2am and 6 am. For 14 days. For long weekends. During office hours. After office hours. With babies. With babies who poop on the floor. With boxes of telecommunication equipment. With idols of Mary and incense sticks. I have cooked, cleaned, washed and entertained till I cant do it anymore.
Someone once suggested that I should take photographs of each visitor and put it up on a soft board with date of arrival/departure etc.
I am seriously considering it now.
Wasnt there a piece Ruskin Bond once wrote with echoes of similar sentiments? Maybe I should frame that and put it on the wall. Or this.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Admittance of eccentricity!

Very often I stare. I stare out of the window. I stare at people. I stare at the computer screen.
People think I'm daydreaming. But I'm not. Thats because I have nothing in particular to dream of.
And more often than not I am usually clueless of what thoughts I had while I was staring. Usually I am mesmerized by colours I see. Colours, things, people, sights, views. Anything.
And staring has got me into trouble.
On a recent flight between HK and Singapore I suddenly realised that a (presumably English) tall, red-faced burly corporate attired elder man with an incredulous look on his face was madly gesticulating across the aisle...I did a double take...looked around and realised that since I was the only one in the row, it was probably directed at me. So I looked at him with raised eyebrows..what followed was a tad dramatic but suffice to say, with some lipreading and flailing-arms-reading & other hand-movement reading, I realised, that not only had I been staring, I had also been making faces at him for a while ( probably while cursing the hectic itinerary in my head.) It was most embarrassing.
I have been also told that I stare at women more than I stare at men. Which I am thankful for. It could have otherwise brought some complications.
And when I'm staring, I sort of zone out, so slight movements or noise behind me doesnt filter through till someone comes really close, at which point I get startled. My getting startled somehow usually startles the other person as well. Monday last however, when R furtively whispered for a cigarrette, since I was on the edge of my seat, I also fell off. Much to the amusement of R & the rest of my colleagues. Needless to say, I didnt give R a smoke. I am also endangered by a big boss who takes pleasure in creeping up behind my chair and then loudly hollering in my ear. That too, amuses my colleagues. And the big boss. I am glad I provide such entertainment. Maybe I should start getting paid for that as well.
The monsoons are particularly distracting, since I have a beautiful view of green grass, grey skies and falling rain (the glass, cement and steel monstrosities somehow fade into the background). Nightfall brings bursts of orange streetlights and myriad colours of refracted lights from vehicles on the road. So as a rule of self-discipline the blinds remain drawn. Terrible Tuesday of last week and the cloudburst that followed, caused the blinds to be undrawn. So I have spent a blissful one week staring out of the window & the rest of the time wrestling my mind, telling myself to get back to work. And since most of my colleagues (including the boss) had remained in the safe confines of their homes through the week, thankfully I didnt fall out of a chair.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

War of the Worlds!

Did I think there would be a day, when I would no longer only wonder, what it would feel like to be a victim of the forces of nature?
The sky was overcast and the rains came suddenly, with no premonition of the intensity of the attack..
Caught unawares, the city was slow to react..
We've seen lots of rain before, but as the water pelted unceasingly, one realised that this wasnt a normal rainy day.
While I write this the entire city is plunged in darkness and many many feet of water..
I dont know when I will be able to leave work or reach home.
People have braved the rain...and remained stuck for the last 6 hours or more, in various modes of transport; Trains have been stopped. Flights cancelled; Cars float on flooded streets. People abandon umbrellas, accepting the futility and plodding on in waist deep water;
Anxiety runs to be established with family, friends, colleagues. One hears of a person gone missing. One hears rumours of water running 8 feet high...
The streets are enveloped in a shroud of darkness...broken in places by the dim headlights from slow traffic - of those who were brave to venture out of the office building and had to return. Telephone lines stopped working; Cellular phones have intermittent network; Air-conditioning switched off; lifts have stalled; circuits have blown a fuse; all modes of communication severed;
The cafetaria was raided savagely, people willing to chew on dry bread; Others pooling in forgotten remnants of biscuits, nuts, candy from drawers; one person contributing a bottle of whiskey from the boot of the car!
The financial capital of India, the pulse of a country of millions - brought to a standstill, the populations held hostage, by a superior force.
And I sit hear, with an open glass pane - the breeze on my face, bringing frequent splashes of water...watching..cant help admiring the music of the rain, the darkness interspersed with the myriad colours of fleeting headlights, of one solitary halogen lamp casting an orange glow, of dark figures splashing on flooded streets...and the night that has no end...

Friday, July 22, 2005

She swings by on an olive branch
Interrupting his banana lunch;
Batting her lashes, stroking her tail
Flirting with this rhesus male;

He falls for her coquetish looks;
In a couple of days, she's got him hooked
In the courtyard, they play and prance;
And engage in a monkey dance;

From her hair, he picks out bugs
Showers on her frequent hugs;
But this blissful time didnt last
Her actions left him quite aghast;

He sends her peanuts, a special treat;
She's on a diet; "sorry cannot eat";
"Were you waiting?" "Forgot to call";
Or, "got busy"; "was at the waterfall";

Excuses abound, in the days that follow
Caused him heartache, angst and sorrow;
Confused by this sudden change
He grapples with her actions strange;

The more she played hard to get,
The more it made him yearn & fret;
Till on good advice oneday,
A different tac he tries to play;

Stops the efforts to get a reaction;
Ceases to give her any attention;
Busy with other monkey friends
Away from her, his time, he spends;

Predictably she swings on by
Imploring, with monkey eyes;
She doesn't find anything amiss
Prior endearing behaviour persists;

He didnt budge, nor play the game,
His love for her, he didnt proclaim;
The more attention she did bestow
The easier it was, to let her go

In the absence of, a better name,
Lets call this act the Monkey Game.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Smell of earth; Teasing, tantalising;
Grey day, green grass, outlines blurring;

Orange streetlights; darkened daytime;
Anticipation runs subtly sublime;

Tender trickles, down the face;
Droplets rest, the lips are glaced.

Silence broken; rhythmn permeating;
Steady beats reverberating;

Frenzied showers, sting and soothe;
No colour of rain; Mere blinded hues;

Drums of thunder roll on by
Lightning breaks an even sky

The moment passes, sensations cease;
Touched, imbued, cleansed, released.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Without an End

She watches;
He sits alone;
Surreal aura;
Sepia tones;

The picture of
An empty bench,
Grief & loneliness

Sea meet sky
In a burst of light;
She squints against
The shock of bright.

Broken by a
Patch of green.
Distant memory,
Hazy dream.
Or was it
Peace & solitude,
To which this was,
A mere prelude?

While time stood still
With silence filled.
She captured the moment,
this would be hers.

for all the years.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Murphy's diktat for travel

At the end of long nights (and days) of frantic activity in preparation for the meetings that one needs to travel for, I have a flight to catch, with tickets waitlisted, emmigration check not cleared, visa unobtained and an absconding travel agent who's mobile treats me to a remix version of a song called "Pardesiya". Most Charming.
I have visions of the airplane getting ready to take off and me standing at the airport, while the travel agent does a slow motion sprint holding my passport in one hand and tickets in the other...and like the baton of a relay...hands me the entire sheaf of travel I can (in slow motion) sprint to the counter.....and hand it over...and then sprint (again in slow motion) to board the aircraft just as the doors are closing (this has alternate shots of me sprinting...door inching shut sprinting...door inching sprinting...door inching sprinting...door inching get the idea?) and in true hindi movie style...all the passengers (including one turban clad sardar Gulluji, his wife Pappi and their top-knot turbanned children harvinder and gurinder, swami with white streaks on his forehead wearing white kurta and veshti, bannerjee in soda bottle glasses and his garrulous wife with shakha-pola bangles, one safari-suit-clad-gold-chain-jangling-pan-chewing-cell phone using Pandeyji, 1 NRI, 1 model, the cabin crew in blue outfits and a blur of other faces) applaud as I sink into my seat...
However, in keeping with Murphy's laws, I have a middle seat & the seat next to me is not occupied by that one person who I have always loved and never told...or by articulate individual closer to my age, who I strike a conversation with, & which promises to be the beginning of greater things to come....instead I have large grumpy 55yr old vegetarian man on one side (who keeps looking disgusted at my non-veg meal) and on the other side - smelly snoring aunty who keeps nodding off on my shoulder and I have to keep shaking her oily head off mercilessly.And instead of bliss on my face, I shall have a look of utter disgust and a sincere amazement on why I didnt just cease and desist from making this damn trip.

Afterthought: Come to think of it, I havent met anyonewho has had a wonderful air trip.