Of love, hate and raindrops


As the rains are dominating the background music of my mornings these days in New Delhi city, my mind has turned more contemplative than usual. For one, I have found it the toughest to write and/or blog again. Complacency, of course, is always the most visible reason. But there are demons I am fighting that are preventing me from picking up the pen again. Lest I pour out feelings I have blocked so well in the past couple of weeks.

As I stand in the balcony worrying about the supposed demons, the wind blows and the raindrops splash on my face. I wonder aloud about Suri, a cat I raised (not alone but sometimes, it did feel like he had no one but me and I had no one but him). Introducing Suri, who he was and what he means to me is rather a futile exercise for my brain as I organise my thoughts on a windy morning. But the one thought that refuses to leave my mind is this: was my Suri, really, as pensive as a cat. Or was he too smart and evolved from all these cliches and similes?

If Suri were around, I wonder what he would wonder. Lying and lazing on that balcony. Staring into oblivion. And sometimes, even, leching after the pigeon on the opposite fence. Would he think it’s too mundane out there and just sneak back inside and curl on the bed? Or would he try to gnaw on one of my bags that haven’t been blessed by his teeth marks? Well, maybe none of this. Perhaps he would rather relieve himself and simply pee on an old rag or an abandoned mattress on the floor rather than the litter box filled with fancy kitty litter granules made exclusively for him (No. Despite whatever he may believe, it certainly is designed for exclusive feline use). The wind makes you want to pee, he’d argue. With his large, green eyes. And soft, rhythmic purrs.

Suri.png

Pic credit: @soorishoonnya

If Suri were around, he would not let me even type this much without creating some nuisance or the other. He would slyly slid inside the blanket and campaign for a strategic posture between my legs. The 0.05 mm space is what he would want to claim as his own. And he would fall asleep in a second rendering me helpless to move my body or position lest he wake up and create the commotion all over again. I have lost count on the number of days my legs went numb protecting Suri’s right to reclaim his space. I have also lost count on the number of times I have smiled every time this has happened.

Bansky once said: “They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time.” As I shut my eyes and let the rains tell me their story, I think of Bansky and what prompted him to say this. Did he lose someone he loved? Or worse: did he lose a cat he loved to hate and hated to love, just like me? My relationship with Suri was so complicated and convoluted, I lose my chain of thoughts thinking about it. We have been through so many opposing emotions together: love, hate, affection, annoyance, joy, guilt, beauty, envy, calmness, chaos and more. And in exact equal measure too, I believe. It is hard to concentrate on the rains. Suri’s enigma continue to fog my mind.

A couple of days ago, I purchased a photo frame to (supposedly) immortalise a particular photographic moment in Suri’s life. Suri died over a month ago and, ideally, I should have done this then. It isn’t a time taking exercise. The market is nearby. There are plenty of pictures to choose from. And it doesn’t cost a lot of money to do it. But it took me the longest time to act on this long pending task. I was not procrastinating, I realise today. I was still mulling over Bansky’s words. Trapping him in a frame and putting him on my wall seemed to confirm that this would be the last of him. Would this be his second death? When all that survives is a single moment? 

The rains haven’t stopped. They will probably answer my existential queries some time later. But I am still fighting my demons. Demons that paralyse my fingers as I type my most vulnerable thoughts. Demons that make me think if Suri has, indeed, died twice. And demons that also make me wonder if he had eight lives before. I was guilty of hating him when he was alive. I am guilty of loving him even more when he isn’t around. Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Or is Suri trying to tell me that that’s just another pseudo-literary rationale? Maybe the raindrops will tell me. I am waiting. . .

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The wait…


She was a good ten minutes late. What reason was she going to give this time? Traffic? Left home late? Had work? Lost track of time? All of these true. She hated the way the day had begun. She woke up with a sore throat. She couldn’t find what she wanted to wear. And now she was a good ten minutes late wearing what could best be described as “the perfect last-minute find”. Well, all these issues could be sorted out easily: all she needed was a hot cup of coffee, he didn’t really care what she wore and he was used to her late comings. But it was enough to spoil her mood. She hated that café, to begin with. Far from home, did not serve tea and loud and expensive: this wasn’t her idea of a café. Which café serves just coffee? She rarely drank tea but liked to believe that she had the option to order it. And the sad little cookie that came along with the coffee: that just seemed preposterous.

The café sported a deserted look. A plump middle-aged man enjoying his cup of latte was the only other customer. He was so focussed on his caffeine that the only time he denied it any attention was when the woman made some fidgeting noise with her handbag or house keys. He stared at her sweaty face, while she ignored him. His leching was least of her concerns; the guy she was supposed to meet hadn’t even arrived yet and here she was, anxious that she was late and that he might be angry for waiting so long. This was a rare victory for her. She had arrived before him. That was almost as rare as her wish to drink tea instead of coffee. She mused over the lectures she would give once he arrived decidedly late.  She rehearsed a couple of lines in her head, determined to teach him the lesson of time management and punctuality.

Clicked by Sriram Erramilli

Clicked by Sriram Erramilli

Half-past twelve. Her throat was feeling better. Her anger had boiled down. The plump latte-drinker was gone. And there was still no sign of him. She called him for the seventh time and for the seventh time the sadistic bitch said that the number was out of coverage area. She was drinking the coffee rather slowly, so she could avoid the glare of the waiter, who was trying to figure out what was this woman doing in the middle of a hot day in this sad, deserted café. He was probably judging the man she was waiting for, she thought, and this infuriated her. Who was he to think anything about her lover? She was in good mind to give him her coldest stare but she had other things to worry about. The sadistic bitch on the phone continued to revel in her restlessness.

Her second cup of coffee arrived. This time, the waiter served it with a smirk on his face. She stared right back at him, her eyes defending her lover’s absence. She kept staring at the door, wanting to catch his sight sooner than anyone else. The coffee did not taste good this time. Or perhaps her foul mood had spread through her taste buds. She blew the froth away as the agonizing wait started killing her bit by bit. She tried his number again. Maybe eleventh time would be a charm? It worked. The number rang for about a minute until it got disconnected as no one picked it up. The sadistic bitch, this time, said he wasn’t picking up and asked her to call again. Damn! Well, at least it was ringing. That could be a good sign. He was probably driving and on his way. Good thing he didn’t pick up. It was never right to pick up calls when driving. What a sensible man, she thought. Funny how anger turned into admiration. And it took only twenty minutes, two cups of coffee and eleven call attempts for that to happen.

As she blew the invisible froth for the hundredth time, she practised several versions of speech in her head. How much that sadistic bitch on the phone irritated her; she called him to hear him, not her. How the waiter always questioned her choice by his smirks; she should not be feeling answerable to anyone but she somehow felt compelled and defensive. How the plump guy kept reading through her restlessness. How agonizing the wait was and what it did to her curious mind that leapt at the slightest trigger. She had finalized every single word and every single emotion of her speech. But they all drowned and faded into oblivion. He was here. And all she could think of was to envelop him in her embrace. Nothing else mattered. Not those speeches. Not the smirk. Not the stare. Not the judgment.

The conspiracy of opposing thoughts


So, what is the big deal about kissing anyway?

How would you know? You’ve never kissed.

I almost did once.

You’re bluffing.

Fine. Don’t believe me.

No, I do. It’s just hard to imagine.

Why?

I can’t picture it. Maybe I don’t want to.

Well, then, you have a poor imagination.

No, I don’t.

Of course you do. Your visualization is selective and hence unreliable.

It’s nothing like that.

Fine. Live in denial.

Oh, shut up!

Well, if that’s what you want.

No.

No, what?

I don’t want you to shut up. I want you to listen to me.

I’m listening.

I had a dream, in which I saw that we were discussing about the art of kissing.

Much like how we are doing now?

Somewhat. But we aren’t discussing the art here, are we?

We can, if you want to.

Well, how do we? You say you have never kissed anyone before.

As if you have kissed a thousand times!

Are you implying that I’m a slut?

Would it matter if I did?

No.

Then, why do you ask?

My sincere apologies. Anyway, just so you know, I’ve never kissed a bearded man before.

Well, then it will be a first for both of us in some ways.

Indeed.

So, are we still going to talk about it or do something more?

We would do more. But this isn’t the right time.

Why not?

I don’t feel confident enough.

You don’t feel confident?

Yes. Why? Is that too difficult to fathom?

A little. Given your experience.

Experience doesn’t necessarily give you confidence.

How would I know! I’m too naive.

You aren’t. You’re just a novice. 

What’s the difference?

Just about an inch of ignorance between the two.

Ah. I see. So, when do you think we should be doing it?

I don’t know. I’m not sure. I can’t take all the decisions all the time. You tell me.

On a full moon night?

No. It would be too bright. 

On a new moon night?

No. It would be too dark.

I give up.

Why do you have to be so clichéd all the time? 

You can have a clichéd dream. I can’t suggest a clichéd reality?

What is so clichéd about that dream?

It’s the dream of a romantic fool.

I’m neither a romantic nor a fool.

If that would have been true, we would have kissed by now.

As really imagined by the author in a dream

Of beaches, serenity and the added philosophy


Escapists hunt for opportunities that open up escapist avenues. This year, the Sun God promised me the same and I got a rare off from work for Pongal so I could visit Puducherry during the weekend and take the much needed break from professional madness that I oh-so-wanted. Now, that’s one place off my To-Do list 🙂

Puducherry has been on my To-Do Go list for almost a decade now. I fell in love with the place and my idea and perception of it the day I learned about the existence of this Union Territory during one of my Geography and/or General Knowledge classes. French, and almost anything European, interested my Euro-centric mind back then. Today, of course, I have grown more neutral in terms of selecting places solely on the basis of their roots and without any knowledge, whatsoever, of its historic origins and context.

But, French cuisine, the language, people, their French accented English, architecture and literature (more so after reading Albert Camus and Samuel Beckett –two very interesting authors who propagate intriguing philosophies, though I never read anything that was particularly French in their works), reading descriptions of French houses, paintings and walls in some of the short stories by Guy de Maupassant (one of my favourite writers as a teenager, his name and its correct pronunciation enthralls me even today)  and  Victor Hugo plus my History classes of the French Renaissance were enough to sow the seeds of exploring something even remotely French some day.

Last weekend provided the perfect opportunity to do the same, though I planned it with my friend a few weeks ago. Puducherry, as most may be aware, was a former French colony before it became annexed to independent India. It still boasts of a remarkable French influence in terms of architecture, buildings, people and culture, in general.

I have always been more of a beach than a mountain person. I love mountains and the calm atmosphere of cold bliss that they bring with themselves but I believe that the serenity that a beach or a land near any moving water body has to offer is rarely found anywhere else. Thus, Pondy scored even on the beach front as it boasts of some extraordinary beaches, a few of which have, sadly, been affected by cyclone ‘Thane‘ recently. The devastation caused is for everyone to see. Fortunately or unfortunately, the bay (here, the Bay of Bengal, the largest bay in the world) that brought the calamity continues to flow, roar and sing according to its own freewill.

A significant period of our trip was spent on the Promenade beach, one of the most popular beaches in Pondy on Beach road (Goubert Avenue) . We saw the sea and all its colours at various points of the day–dawn, early morning, morning, afternoon, dusk and, finally, night. Each had a charm and a certain mystery of its own. Perhaps it is because one spends time looking at a gigantic, powerful force of Mother Nature (a bay in this case) spreading its enormity in front of us, the Yahoos (to borrow Swift’s term) that one tends to ponder more than usual. I, for one, actually devote time to my own musings and wondering on a regular basis. But there certainly is an added advantage of a beach and the quietness it offers.

To look and judge the enormity of the wave that’s approaching. To feel the wind rush against your cheeks. To dare your silky hair to take its roughness. To stare continuously at the horizon and wonder at its endlessness. To think about the exact shade of blue that the bay is. To contemplate swimming in the middle of nowhere. To wonder if you’d even be able to swim in the undefined and uncertain depths of the water body. To ponder about the wetness of the rocks that are lucky or unlucky enough to be slapped by the waves every few seconds. To listen intently to the sound of the waves. To find silence in their noise. To think about peace in the middle of commotion. A beach is a storehouse of irony, oxymorons and so much more.

 

Picture courtesy RG

A walk by the beach certainly turns one philosophical. And unconsciously so. It inspires contemplation on subjects one either never got the time to think about or the opportunity to dwell upon further. My friend believes he’ll pen his book some day sitting on the sidelines of a sea. The inherent individual inspiration that the sea offers seems to fuel much thought, beliefs and apprehensions. I even read somewhere that poets and writers (and others of the ‘creative’ lot) have unanimously found the sea and the moon to be awe-inspiring. Interestingly, tidal waves are caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon!

I don’t know if it’s ‘inspiring’, really. To borrow Marquez‘s lines: “An inspiration comes without any warning.”

I would rather revel in the blissfulness of the rarity of my own existence. 🙂