February 29, 2012

I broke Tony's legs

The script said the superintendent broke Tony's legs. He took a big hammer and smashed both his knees because he tried to run away from the shelter. Because he didn't want to be anywhere but the platform.

I broke Tony's legs. I broke his legs in every rehearsal, repeatedly for ten days, ever since I was told to fill up for Rahil who left the play because of his knee surgery.

I was trying hard. Trying hard to be a good actor. To be a good woman actor who can play the boy who plays the superintendent, who breaks Tony's legs. I was trying so hard to have a good image in front of people who know me and were going to watch me. Too caught up in my worry of being revealed as an actor. Too caught up in issues of my time on stage, my dialogues, my monologues, my spot light, my body, my voice, my new look. I was trying hard to be my nameless character. And got so caught up in the act that I broke Tony's legs again and again, without the slightest hesitation.

Why would I hesitate?

On stage, in the glamour of fancy lights and a full auditorium, I performed the scene again. Was patted on my back for pulling it off, for not fudging lines, for having evolved as an actor, for having cracked it. I had cracked it by breaking Tony's legs - a story I knew was real.

I don't know what happened the last time I performed. In spite of its familiarity, the goriness of the image hasn't left me. I don't know what I saw that day.

I just know that that day on stage, I broke Tony's legs. Muntizer cried uncontrollably. Priya laughed uncontrollably.

February 19, 2012

Art of Studying

I returned home this evening and found a notice which is currently being circulated in my colony. It says:


Art of Studying is conducting parent student interactive session with an aim to help each other cope up with pre-examination stress with special focus on How to score maximum marks with same preparation?

Date: 19th February, 2012
Time: 3-4 pm
Venue: Badminton Court

February 17, 2012

This happens to you too

Too lazy
to sharpen
my kajal pencil,
I poke myself
in the eye,
every morning.

February 13, 2012

Hair and Care

Now that I look like a boy (which I'm thoroughly enjoying) I can't help but notice other girls who have short hair too. But the problem is...where are they? I've known/seen so many women with short/fun hairdos, why can't I find them when I'm consciously looking for them?

I spent my day travelling in the metro (I'm a proud owner of the metro smart card now! All these years I was only an unsure visitor to the city, hence never bought one). I woke up in the morning and decided to let go of the rude autos and only walk or metro it to the places I had to visit. So on this busy day I did Hauz Khas to Chattarpur. Chattarpur to Rajiv Chowk. Rajiv Chowk to Hauz Khas and then back two times! I really traveled! In the ladies compartment. And saw soo many pretty women. Hundreds of them!

But not one girl with short hair.

I know they are there. But why in such minority? I wonder if I'll ever be in a place where all women have short or no hair. And the ones with long hair are stared at, looked upon with suspicion, judged for possibly being heterosexual. How many women can let go of that length, not bother to straighten, curl or blow dry, not own bands and clips - and just live a life where length, volume or quality of hair didn't matter, where hair was not associated with notions of beauty, where family members didn't freak out at the thought of a potentially marriageable girl looking like a boy!

I must confess, it took me a long time to convince myself to cut my hair this short. Some of my friends (and even random acquaintances!) are still recovering from it. Some tried to talk me out of it, saying it won't suit my big face, the shape of my head is not good, that I wont look graceful etc etc etc. Why such discomfort! Its only hair right? It will grow! Or maybe it wont. You will cut it, colour it, go bald, go patchy, go stripey! Do anything!!! Whats the big deal?

I think I want to do a study on this. People and their association with women's hair.

February 12, 2012

Coin Baba

Reluctant to brave the cold, I decided to spend a few more minutes in the warmth of my quilt. As I lay quite in my bed, I heard someone make a jarring sound with our iron gate outside. My mum calmly but quickly attended to her visitor and was back to her kitchen within seconds. It was a Saturday.

Every Saturday of our childhood, a man dressed like a baba - long hair, rudrakshed neck, overgrown beard, kajaled eyes, orange robes (or so I think) - used to come to our colony, to each and every doorstep on the ground floor, and scream 'Jai Shani Dev!!!'. My brother and I would promptly get up, borrow coins from our grandfather and run outside to meet our visitor. We would climb on to our grilled iron gate, careful to never open it, and pass our tiny hands through the narrow black grills to drop the silver coins in an open container he held out at us. It was filled with yellow-mustard oil. We would stare fascinated as the coins cut through the oil and settled at the bottom to join other coins and distorted figures with vermilion marks all over them. He would then chant some mantras in a cryptic language and move to the next door.

We did this every single Saturday. We never waited for him. But we always knew he'd come. He did. For years. I always wondered if he went back home and spent an afternoon cleaning the coins to give to his children. I also wondered if he reused the  mustard oil week after week.

Its been soon many years since I saw him. 

So when I heard the iron gate beat again this Saturday. I asked my mother if it was the same baba. She told me his daughter comes to collect the coins these days.
Coin baba died.

February 07, 2012


Then I wrote from there.
Now I write from here.
I have arrived.