October 05, 2013

Chotusing on Flickr

Photographing and Writing must occupy two different planets in the web universe. Realization dawned too late. Photographs taken by these hands don't say much. Sometimes, they don't say anything at all. Sometimes they are saturated with colours of stupidity. Brain colours. But these hands are determined to take photographs that speak. They must. Baby steps and murmurs will graduate to whispers. Hope they start making drawings on walls. Hope they start screaming someday.


August 28, 2013

August 26, 2013

PIKA MIKA



[Ram Ram]

SHE: Surba! Woh kausna gaana aata tha 'pardesi pardesi saath chhod jaoge'?

ME: Dadu kaunsa?

SHE: Woh jo Urmil sunke roti thi?

ME: Hmmmm...tum toh thehere pardesi, saath kya nibhaoge?

CUT TO

ME sings:  'tum toh thehere pardesi, saath kya nibhaoge!
subah peheli gaadi se, ghar ko laut jaoge'

SHE sings: tum toh thehere pardesi...ghar chale jaoge!

ME: Jaoge nahi dadu, ghar laut jaoge!

SHE: Haan haan. Kiska gaana hai? PIKA PIKA?

ME: PIKA kaun hai?

SHE: Arre woh jo jisne gaana gaya hai. pardesi chale jaoge!

ME: PIKA? hahahahahahaha. Dadu PIKA nahi MIKA. Mika toh acha singer hai

SHE: MIKA? Nahi. PIKA!

ME: Nahi dadi MIKA. Chalo kuch nahi hota. PIKA MIKA same hai

SHE: Acha! MIKA hoga

CUT TO

15 minutes later. ME siting in the room looking at the computer screen

SHE enters

SHE: Surba. uska naam MIKA nahi hai.

ME: PIKA toh bilkul nahi hai dadu!

SHE: Uska naam. Altaf Raja hai!

And then suddenly Altaf Raja's face appeared before ME's face.
And she immediately youtubed the song.

ME: Hey Dadu! Thanks for bringing the legend back into my life!

This one's for you dadu!

SHE: Shakal toh dikha uski!



July 27, 2013

Titlee :)

I have been on a feature film shoot for the last two months. Away from my small documentary world, I found myself lost in this magnanimously crazy space which demanded 16 hours (or more) of work on set with not just you but a hundred more people running helter skelter in all directions. Obviously, these running people are not big film stars. These are small stars who stand outside the frame of the camera. Never seen. Gun dada, Dress dada, Setting, Makeup, Action Master, Spot, Genny Guy, Focus Puller, Vanity Van Driver... the list goes on and on and on. You don't know their names. So you call them dada because most of them are men. Women are not called dadi or tai, they are called by their department name. People scream out these known-unknown names on set all the time. Settttinnngggg! Spottt! Makeupppp! GET OUT OF THE FRAME!!!!

They stand on the edges of the frame, behind the camera, next to the rostrum, holding the boom mike, lighting fires and bombs and simultaneously delivering water and chai and odomos. Everyone waits for the director to say CUT. They wait for the shot to get over so that they can enter the forbidden frame and fix that prop from the continuity of the last scene or dab the sweat off the actor's made up face or change the shot number on the clap board.

The set is a circus. And we're all jokers.

The assistant directors are bang in the centre and are constantly blamed for creating this chaos. They are a team. One takes care of actors, one takes care of props, another of junior artists, one for script and one for something else - for there is always something that needs to be taken care of. They all speak on numbered walkie talkies and try to coordinate the chaos they are blamed for. The world of walkie talkies is a strange world. It has channels assigned to different departments who constantly fight with each other. Sometimes walkie talkies talk during a shot and get abused by the sound guy. Sometimes they play host to long antakshari sessions conducted by bored contestants.

You have all the reasons to hate this space. Bad work environment, delayed payments, neglected safety measures, zombied hours of work, abuse and insult and a complete invasion of any personal or social life you possibly thought of having. People sit inside your room and talk about work and scripts and films and dreams. Sometimes they sit inside your minds too. Leaving you with no reminiscence of the normality of life you once had. You make friends with colleagues. Like the friends you made at a theatre workshop in college once. Like friends with lots of laughter and gossip. Filmy friends. Friends who share stories about the previous films they worked on, friends who talk about struggles on the streets of Bombay, who tell you how warm or snobbish a particular film star is, who share a dream about the script they have written, a dialogue they will definitely use, the award they'd win and the people they will never forget when they become big. Filmy people, who miss Bombay on outdoor shoots, belong to a world so different! It is so different than the one in concrete air conditioned buildings!

At this shoot that killed me and my health in the last two months, I found some of these friends who I will probably never forget. Maybe because they have all put together the experience of my first feature film. The Art department named me 'Titlee'. The name was given to me in the very first week of shoot and it still smells of all the love they showered on me till the last day. I love them all. We have shared whispers during a shot where weren't allowed to speak. We have exchanged glances and smirks when the director lost his cool in the burgeoning madness of setting up of the next shot. We have cribbed and whined and abused and cried on days we couldn't take it any longer (there were soo many days where it was just impossible to get out of bed and work for the 16 hours that lay ahead of us.) With tacit wishes for rain and thunder (that could potentially cancel the shoot) we have traveled through the most exquisite tea gardens planted against sun dipped red skies and traveled back with dead bodies which came alive to witness the magic of the blinking fireflies partying late in the night. We have stuck our heads out of the speeding cars and felt the wind in our faces. Again and Again. We have even danced to Buppy Lehri.

You have all the reasons to absolutely love this space.

It is timeless, I say. Sleeplessness and timelessness walk hand in hand here and tired, sweaty, sun burnt bodies work really really hard. Day and Night. And then sometime, when you're lost in the hurly burly clamor and commotion, wondering what the hell you're doing here, almost teary for dearly missing something you've left behind, someone turns to you and says, 'Ey Titlee, zara hass ke dikha na' and you burst out laughing for you know that this is life and this is real and these are people with magic who can create these moments. And it is because of all this and a little more that you continue laughing - probably its going to start raining very soon.

:)

July 15, 2013

Monsoon romance

Two umbrellas
held conversations below
and a sea full of water above

Two pairs of footsteps
splashed dew drops
on passing cars
and drenched
smiling faces
with laughter.
Tooth full faces
with laughter
that radiate
a zillion colours
into the universe

Two lips moved
and caught conversations
under hanging arms
as battling crowds
rat raced
to empty seats
in crowded trains

Two pairs of eyes
smiled and spoke
from the window afar
raindrops stuck their noses
against the glass
and stared at faces
comfortably fallen asleep
on tired arms

Two stations
in between
slapshed wind
and water
drawn from colourful balloon fights
and soaked two almost lovers
into the roller coaster
of monsoon romance

Monsoon romance
under mobile umbrellas

conversations below
and a sea full of water above

Only fools fancy finding love over the summer!


July 04, 2013

Gurjeete

It took me a while to realize the handsome standing outside my gate was Gurjeet, the driver designated to take me on shoot everyday. Looking at his fake driver's license I figured he was as old as my younger brother. People born in the 90s are so young! Every evening Gurjeet gives me a call when he's on his way from Nehru Place to my place. He is usually late. I am usually late too and somehow we have figured a way of being on time for each other even though it is late according to Call time. I look forward to meeting Gurjeet. He have a a little chat before we reach Kehar Palace to pick up the AD team. The background to our conversations has layers of regional punjabi music [lyrics of which I can't decipher], the full blast of the AC and a distant cacophony of cars, horns and people stuck for their lives in traffic [all blocked to our ears by rolled up windows]. Gurjeet and I usually gossip about the crew, bitch about work and calculate the hours of sleep we got the previous day. We talk about the panchayat elections in his village and local kabaddi and cricket tournaments. We examine transportation rates in the market and the money we can make out of it. Sometimes, we talk about the film world and film people because we are surrounded by them all the time! We have even identified our special route to the location in Gurgaon which has my favorite patch of a long roads and wide greens on either sides. I know he indulges me a little even though its a 2 km detour for him. Needless to say, I love my drives with Gurjeet. Somehow, we never fall out of conversation. Somehow, we always manage to laugh with each other. And somehow, I think, we have become friends :)
So here it is - a photograph of Gurjeete who had almost refused to pose for my camera :)


June 20, 2013

Celeb Spotting :)

Guess who we met at the Bombay airport! Star stuck and excited we checked her out all through the airport into the plane. Takloo daringly asked for an autograph the first time in her life! We also discussed how cool she is. Her old name, by the by, was Pankaj Sharma. But we say, BOBBY DARLING IS THE SHIT! 






May 12, 2013

House no. 77


The internet wifi here is called 'vgkiller'

May 07, 2013

Memory. Sight. Love.


All require a witness, imagined or real.

-- Peggy Phelan

May 06, 2013

Sea Crushing


T:     Sometimes I think, it would have been easier to flirt with him had I been south Indian too.

J:     You would have been an engineer then. 


May 05, 2013

Walling music


Residue (1/2)


From everything a little remained.
From my fear. From your disgust.
From stifled cries. From the rose
a little remained.

A little remained of light
caught inside the hat.
In the eyes of the pimp
a little remained of tenderness,
very little.

A little remained of the dust
that covered your white shoes.
Of your clothes a little remained,
a few velvet rags, very
very few.

From everything a little remained.
From the bombed-out bridge,
from the two blades of grass,
from the empty pack
of cigarettes a little remained.

So from everything a little remains.
A little remains of your chin
in the chin of your daughter.

A little remained of your
blunt silence, a little
in the angry wall,
in the mute rising leaves.

A little remained from everything
in porcelain saucers,
in the broken dragon, in the white flowers,
in the creases of your brow,
in the portrait.

Since from everything a little remains,
why won't a little
of me remain? In the train
travelling north, in the ship,
in newspaper ads,

why not a little of me in London,
a little of me somewhere?
In a consonant?
In a well?

-- Carlos Drummond de Andrade


May 04, 2013

April 30, 2013

Diet Plan for an infected stomach:


Day 1

Daal Chawal
Curd
Curd Rice
Mirchi ke Pakode
Ras Malai

Day 2

Banana
Nimbu Paani
Curd
Nimbu Soda
Egg Sandwich
Kadhai Chicken
Butter Roti

Day 3

Dal Chawal
Curd
Toast
Kaju Katli
Chilly Garlic Noodles (3 servings)

Day 4

Khichdi
Banana
Lassi
Toast
Tulsi Tea
Coconut biscuit
Tandoori chicken subway sandwich
Pasta

Day 5

SOMEBODYSTOPMEEEE!!!!


April 29, 2013

[The Floating Poem, Unnumbered]

Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine - tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun. Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come -
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there -
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth -
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave - whatever happens, this is.

-- Adreinna Rich

April 28, 2013

Just!


You're not allowed to
kiss me now
I just finished
convincing myself
you have to leave


April 25, 2013

Not even love

I will give up anything to win your love
but if you say no
I will accept and walk away filled with
the sweetness of your denial

-- Rumi


You are making me give up on you
I know I have to 
but I'm not going to let you

-- Chotu


Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded.
Someone sober will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.

-- Rumi

April 21, 2013

Hidden Transcripts

Who among us has not had a similar experience? Who, having been insulted or suffered an indignity - especially in public - at the hand of someone in power or authority over us, has not rehearsed an imaginary speech he wishes he had given or intend to give at the next opportunity?

- James Scott

April 12, 2013

Dilphek

At midnight
when a certain city forest goes wild

breathe in the waves of the storm
turn them around the grove

blush a little smile
and tell your sea crush:

the insanity of the night
is like our whirling drunk kiss


April 07, 2013

Float Float O Fool!


Sometimes you should allow your self to stupidly drown in your sea crush :)


April 02, 2013

She said:


We have sexual needs too. We can't keep waiting for some superman to come and fuck us.


Tell me why?

Tell me why? I saw this book in my friends' houses when we were young. We didn't have a copy in our house. We didn't have the hard bound collection of encyclopedias either. Every time I saw the relics showcased in dusty wooden cupboards, I wondered if anyone ever read them. They were so brown and bulky. Tell me why? used to have a happier white cover, I think.

Tell me. Why? Asking questions. Answering questions. Sometimes I get annoyed when grown up force little kids into answering their questions. Everyone on a KBC trip. No patience for options. 
A little 3 year old boy I know, recently answered some of the questions like this:

Q. Which city do you live in?
A. Honda City

Q. Who is Manmohan Singh?
A. A sardar

Q. What is your mother's name?
A. Bhabiji

Q. Why didn't you bring roti and sabji to school?
A. Our gas got over

March 07, 2013

The Tray

By Naomi Shihab Nye


Even on a sorrowing day
the little white cups without handles
would appear
filled with steaming hot tea
in a circle on the tray,
and whatever we were able
to say or not say,
the tray would be passed,
we would sip
in silence,
it was another way
lips could be speaking together,
opening on the hot rim,
swallowing in unison.


March 06, 2013

Magnet

The lower side of the small wooden cupboard, kept next to my bed, has been home to a circular box with buttons, needles and threads of this house. The box and its place have not changed over the last 26 years. Although, during the early days of my childhood it had a companion  - an elegant perfume bottle which belonged to my Bade Papa. I remember Magnet for the shape of its head and the logo which emulated the bottle design. I remember Bade Papa, dressed in his off white shirt and dark trousers, wearing this perfume before leaving the house every morning. It was such a part of his routine! And a such a dot tiny part of my memory of him.


I was looking for a courier shop at a random market this morning. While talking on the phone, I walked into a small lane where I spotted Magnet sitting in a dilapidated window of a tiny shop. I knew I had to buy it at once. The shopkeeper said it was handkerchief perfume! I laughed! Bade papa used to wear handkerchief perfume! I bought it never the less, thankful for having found it after all these years!

On my way back, I realized it has been exactly one year since Bade Papa died. I don't know if this was his way of couriering Magnet to me but I am happy; it has found its way back to the wooden cupboard, next to the needle box after so any years. I am even happier that I will smell like Bade Papa now. And together we will smell like handkerchieves! ;p


March 01, 2013

Somehow

1.

I have to stop
running away from you

2.

This relationship we share
changes every three months

3.

Lets sit with a map
and make a plan

4.

Share a song
with lyrics to read into

5

or fight at least


February 28, 2013

Leap by a Year

As a kid, I used to wonder if people born on the 29th of February felt bad about not having a birthday every year. I wondered if they under calculated their age because of this silly day. Silly or not, somehow it is a special day.

Just googled. The next special leap year day would be February 29, 2016 :)

February 20, 2013

Wedding Woes III

Today was one of those million fights this house has witnessed. I was told to shut up because I have been spreading negative energy talking about dowry and divorce, bitching about punjabi rituals and customs and getting angry at obnoxious innovative ideas for spending money. 

The other day I was told, 'You are being young and stupid. You will succumb to all these things when its time for you to get married. We'll see where your idealism goes then.' I remember thinking how discouraging my family is about my suggestions about saving money. I just laughed at the stupid comment, although it called me a hypocrite in so many ways.

Today, after another fight, I was told, 'With the kind of aggressive behavior and attitude you have, we all fear, you will probably never get married.' Honestly, that really hurt. But given the number of failed marriages I have seen around me, this is probably not a bad idea at all!


February 17, 2013

Between A n B


A: I need good music in my life, all the time. I really miss it.

B: You are someone who gets his peace of mind from music?

A: I guess, you?

B: I grew up in a house without a source of music. We didn't have a cassette player or internet or a cd player, nothing.

A: Thats sad. I grew up listening to music in my sleep. My sister used to study in the same room. She played it on the cassette player.

B: That's cool in some ways.

A: What's cool? Yes. My childhood wasn't bad, it was 4 of us taking all the shit and then slowly I was the only one left.

B: Growing up with music I meant, to be introduced to it by an older person in the house. I wish I had something to blare music on, very very loudly. That way I would not have to hear what my parents said in the other room.

A: Well I am the youngest, so I was introduced to most of the things by someone else. You had thin walls?

B: No.

A: Then you didn't have to hear it.

B: I had to.

A: Why? What did they speak about?

B: Nothing. It's not so bad actually.

A: Yes, its not.

B: Growing up without music, I meant. It comes to you sooner or later.

B: I got dc. Sorry.

A: That's fine

February 16, 2013

Food Lovers

Like kids
we fought
over food
for it was that food
that bound us
and found us
together
lurking
outside that same restaurant


February 15, 2013

Erasure


She
opened the door
and said,
'there's no one at home'



February 13, 2013

The Last Song

I remember the first time I saw raw footage of Bade Papa's interview. It was the first time I saw him after his death. His dead face which I never saw, had come alive, in full flesh and blood, within the two dimensions of that video. I dreaded that editing process. Not even a month of not seeing him dead, I had to see him alive, over and over again, for a month. The first day of editing, I felt nothing. Then I felt the need to cry. Then I told myself that I should just cry as much as I want to and get over it. I told myself to get over Bade Papa's death and get over the need to cry every time I saw his living face.

I would go to the edit room, start the machine and open his sequence and watch his whole interview. Everyday. I remembered how he laughed, how he looked up like a lost child when he forgot, I remembered the bulging veins of his hands, his hearing aid, white hair and off white shirt. Always that off white shirt. With time, I stopped crying and started laughing at him and his toothless smile. How cutely he sang the song and got all the lyrics wrong. How adorably he laughed while singing to me, how unaware he was of the camera and crew that surrounded him. How deep in this thoughts, he made all of us wait and still didn't remember that song!

That was the beginning of the period, by the end of which, he had completely forgotten me.

That day he lay on that bed and stared blank at me. His body had given up. I had picked up his pained legs, shivered at his excruciating screams and sat next to him rubbing his hand. He looked at me blank like he didn't know me. I screamed in his ears that it was me 'shippa', that I had come from 'bambai'. He just played with his hearing aid which buzzed from time to time. Maybe he never heard me, else he would have remembered me. I even sang our song 'chan kittha guzari ai'. His lips had parted to smile. Maybe he did hear me after all. Then why didn't he give me our last moment together?

Sometimes I revisit my film only for him. Perhaps it has that moment.





February 12, 2013

Wedding Woes Part II

A month back, when we made a list of things to do, it looked like this:

1. Clothes
2. Sehra
3. Joota

I am proud of my family for not having a clue about things that need to be done. The last list looked like this:

1. Clothes
2. Sehra
3. Joota
4. Wedding Cards
5. Mithai with wedding cards

I am very proud of my family for goofing up the text on the wedding card! Today they realized its 10 days to go. Its time we invite people. The latest list of things to do is:

1. Get wedding cards reprinted
2. Split areas and workload of delivering wedding cards
3. Candid photographer
4. Clothes
5. Joota 
6. Sehra

Yes we are in for a fat punjabi wedding! God Save Us!

February 09, 2013

Ticketless Travellers

An old song
with you and me
stood ticket less
at the door
of the train
that passed the sea
and listened to
soft whispers
of silhouetted lovers
forever
found staring
at hopeless eternity


February 07, 2013

Goodbye to shady love poetry

Sometimes
I miss you before 5.30

Sitting at your screen
with your boss
you pass notes
that once belonged to me
with jokes in a secret language
from the days
when we aped
each other's laughter
and voice
and hairstyle

from the days when
we sat in the sun
and did nothing
at all
when
we cycled
and bused
and lined
for cheap cinema tickets
and gali cricket

Sometimes before 5.30
when you can't meet me
I look for ways to kidnap you
from a place which allows
half an hour of lunch
and fifteen minutes for tea
Fifteen minutes for tea?
Really?

Sometimes
I find ways to find you
like I knew you
penniless
in borrowed clothes
with second hand books
and pages marked with photographs
when you wrote shady love poetry
and played the guitar
dared to empty time out
to meet me
and be with me

But now, my friend, before 5.30
when I want to be with You
you are busy
attending a con call

Miss call me sometime

Or just come
back to class
sit by me
and learn with me
and pass those chits that belong to me
and not your boss


And for god's sake
Please!
leave that bloody place which allows
only fifteen minutes for tea!

Come! Meet me before 5.30

February 03, 2013

Love Potion

1. 

you just walked
past all our memories

2. 

how 
can I redeem 
these two cities 
of all our love

3.

like lovers
on a mountain top
kissing 
under the crescent moon
we held hands
behind my back
and braved the storm
that blew into our souls
we rose
with waves in our hair
and fell
spiral free
in the whirlpool
of magic
some love potion
it must have been
now
I am just hung over



Wedding Woes

Recently I

1. Googled how to wear a sari
2. Followed a video and wore a sari on my own
3. Got confused while wanting to pee in a sari.

January 25, 2013

Our Moment

Early hours of the late night. A lamp made from a wine bottle and ferry lights stood pretty in one corner. And we lay in our lazy beds, looking dazed at shiny dots scantily scattered over the walls. We stared long and hard and conversed with our thoughts. We shared our stories and our silences. Wove timeless tales lost to music from old faithful speakers and shared a little part of ourselves. With each other. Closer. Held hands and held intimate liquid moments that slipped into reveries. In early hours of the late night, we dreamt, together and woke up sudden to the threat of dried cold air. Lost.
Found. We watered our parched throats, held our hands closer and resumed our moment.

Although this time, our moment bordered scandal, rather naively.


January 23, 2013

Are you?

Hot water shower
for a pained back
Are you, my love
like cold cream
dipped in my tired feet
Are you
the winter sun
the hued sky
and that vastness
I see from atop
Are you the
morning air that
stretches expands
and fills me in
that mid night
stoned
sleepy
romance
and that dream
I wake up to
Are you
that link between
my body and me
that smile
that smell
that puts me to sleep
after a hot water shower
for a pained back
Are you, my love
like cold cream
Are you
My love?

Quote Pant

I have Lost my Senses in my World of Lovers

-Rumi


January 18, 2013

Emtea Time

Before opening my eyes, I knew it was too cold to bathe this morning. Still groggy, I stepped three flights down with a face swollen from the night before. I battled the cold  and stared blank at the world. Standing at the bottom of the staircase I looked to my left. Right. Started walking to the chai shop with two friends who weren't in the mood to take my morning tantrums. We quietly walked down a narrow gali. This gali can not accommodate cars. It allows cycles and motorcycles. These two wheelers dodge pedestrians, who in turn dodge two wheelers. The cycle-human traffic manages to keep the pace fast if not smooth. The lane also accommodates open mouthed fashion shops, shops for clothes, shoes, eye wear, medicines, electrical, atm machines and an insatiable variety of different eating joints. All shops have confused wires hanging loose on top of fashionable pedestrians. Ghetto.

I walked, lost in my mental notes of where to order from next, reviewing wall menus on the way. Like always, I marveled at how much the street had to offer. I admired morning office goers and laughed at unbathed faces. We walked silently. Morning time is not the time for friendship. So, I didn't know what my two friends with their unbathed faces were thinking.

We reached our spot. Our shop. Waited for fresh hot tea to pour out of a spout, into our tiny cups. Bread pakoras fried themselves on the stove. The radio whistled. Bhaiya ji sang. A pleasant hindi voice reminded us of an old song. Three of us, monosyllabic, stood, stared, blank, floating in our thought-less morning thoughts.

Reluctant to make conversation, I quietly watched them sip their tea. As if in slow motion, I imagined sugar and warmth going down their parched throats, in to their empty stomachs. I took a sip myself to reassure that feeling and stared long at their throats. Morning tea does wonders to spinning heads.

I stared long at my friends, letting the radio song simultaneously play in my head. Suddenly I caught myself smiling. Such random thoughts! I looked head down and shook my head. I realized I had been in my emtea time all this while. Useless moments with myself.

Almost shy, I looked at my friends to see if they'd caught me too. They hadn't. They were, of course, floating in their own emtea time.


January 16, 2013

Sometime Somewhere

Somewhere I had said
Lets last for a while
And we did

Somewhere I had read
Postcards from another city
Sent to me with leaves and love

Somewhere I had met you
And how delightfully
I had met you

Sometimes in one tiny corner
somewhere
I tell myself I miss you
Somewhere
I miss you



January 10, 2013

Frozen Tales

Today my mother came to me very distressed. She said she was guilty of not being a good mother because she has kept the warmest blanket of the house for herself.

January 09, 2013

Raat Ke Rasiye

For as long as I can remember, I have had to fight with my father about letting me stay out late in the night. In the early days of my struggle my deadline was 9 pm. Over the years it shifted to 12 pm. I lived in another city for four years in the middle. At that time my father didn't care what time of the day or night I was returning back home. I can't remember a single day when he checked on me. But I remember days, during my undergrad, when I used to be out having fun with friends and I'd get a phone call which would totally spoil my mood. I would get angry. My mum would get angry. Because my father was angry. Drunk angry. Same arguments. Same explanations  Same fights.

Overtime I realized that it was not so much about my safety as it was about my image in the colony. I was told to beware of my neighbours' judgmental eyes who saw me being dropped  by a car in the middle of the night. So it didn't matter if my parents knew every minute details of who I was with, where I was, who was dropping me back home etc etc etc, all that mattered was what others' would say about me. Ki ladki kaisi hai. Raat raat ko bahar ghoomti hai. Gadiyan isse wapas chhodne aati hain. I obviously didn't tell them that on several occasions I did (and I still do) use buses and autos to come back home after dark.

Sometimes my father used to make blank statements like he wanted to see me in front of his eyes when he returned home. There was no logic and no negotiation. It was a typical aggressive north Indian way of operating where men make blank statements and women blankly submit. Although I must admit, in spite of my father's objections, my mother never threw a fuss about my timings. She was just afraid of my father creating a ruckus around the house.

I remember one night in particular when my father threw a fuss and made me come back at 11.45 pm from a mid night surprise birthday party.. He lectured me on how I should come back home after dark because...wait for this... because even birds come back home after dark. Yes my drunk father, that sounds like an extremely legitimate reason and I am totally going to follow you and the birds home from now on!

Over the years, number of calls from home post 10 pm have reduced. Things have changed. I have become older. My parents have aged. They have supposedly become 'cooler' with all my 'reconditioning'. But it is hard for people to loosen their grips on their daughters. So my parents may not stop me from going out now but there is always a deep discomfort in my absence from the house. For me and for so many of my friends, although less now than before, this has been a constant headache. It is a headache to remind your friends that your parents are conservative, to arrange for someone to drop you home, to leave a nice evening earlier than you would like to and above all to brave that walk from the main gate to the door of your house, walking quietly in the colony, saying a silent prayer, standing outside the door and not ringing the bell but whispering calls to someone in the house to quietly open the door. It is a headache to explain and fight and sometimes even shout over something as simple as wanting to be out in the night.

The last few days have been very interesting. There have been many talks in the house regarding the recent rape case in the city. Every one has been enraged with what happened with the girl. This one seemed more brutal because the girl was middle class, a pre-med student and someone who accessed the same locations and modes of transport as any other girl like me. My parents encouraged me to go for protests everyday. They didn't stop me when I wanted to go for two protests on the same day, not when they saw my photographs shouting slogans in front of police barricades, not when the police charged lathis and threw tear gas at students and not even when I decided to join in a mid night march and walked the streets till 2 in the morning. They were very encouraging and for once, I was happy about finding my parents on my side of a political argument.

A few days back, I was out with a couple of friends. I decided to leave because it was becoming unbearably cold. At that very moment I got a phone call and an attached scolding for not being home again! Before I could say I was planning to leave anyway, I was told that I was doing the exact  opposite of what I had been protesting for. Apparently I was protesting against rape but I was not taking enough measures to come back early and save myself from getting raped!

I decided to not go home that night.

January 08, 2013

Binter

I wrote about you
and decided 
I didn't need to
But I have
Here
And if this is what I have
I'm glad for this winter
And all the fog!


January 05, 2013

Living with yourself

There are things which are screwing up with my frozen brain. Small things. Capable of screwing up big. There is short term pleasure and long term damage. I know it. And I still go ahead with it. Because there is short term cheap pleasure. And cheap thrill, dangerously bordering depression. I wonder if people disapprove of things they are indulging in. And once they disapprove what do they do if they still continue??

This is one of those shady posts that don't mean anything.

On another note, how important is it to meet old friends? Make old friends your new friends? And how important is it to associate friendships with cities? Because at the moment everything is topsy turvy and I am screwing up my frozen brain and frozen self image.


January 02, 2013

Baby its cold outside!

I have a feeling. The cold has frozen my brain. From the inside and the outside.It is a solid mass of hard cold rock with a thick layer of snow on the outside. Enveloping this layer is a semi solid water bag with tiny bubbles of frozen air too cold to move freely. On the extreme outside is a thin layer of ice which can be cracked with a soft poke of the finger. The skull doesn't exist, I think. I can't think actually. Severe weather conditions inside my head have made it a little difficult to make sense of the world. Everything is foggy, smoggy and sleepy.

It has been four years since I last spent substantial time in this wintered city. I am still trying to find traces of November romance in adverse January. Having returned after so long, I am also being returned to some thoughts, theories and experiences which have been timelessly typical to Delhi winters. They are as follows:

1. People who claim to bathe everyday or bathe in cold water are liars.

2. It is very important to spit out the green phlegm that winter cough and cold throws up in your nose and throat. I know it is very cold and you would rather park your ass in your bed and blanket and swallow the mucus back, too lazy to throw it out at the moment. But you just have to battle that feeling  Every Single Time! 

3. Don't feel shy blowing your nose in public. Remember to use paper tissues. No sweater sleeve please.

4. Make use of bonfires. The trick it to light up post midnight. Stand really close facing your palms to it. Once the front half of your body is warmed up, jump around to heat up the back. Switch back when required. Don't try too often or too fast, you may feel dizzy and fall into the bonfire. (remember to trip over the beautiful embers though)

5. Do not try to weigh yourself in the winter. The only way to know your reality is to stand naked on the weighing machine, early in the morning, right after taking a hot water shower. 

Among other things:

6. Cuddle up shady with the person next to you. Body warmth does wonders.

7. Find ways of keeping the toilet pot warm. 

8. Find an electric hot water bottle. Don't share.

8. Fight with your roommates, friends, siblings over hot water they used which you had heated for hours.

9. Count the number of chai/coffee cups you consume in a day.

10.Talk about the cold like you talk about the heat in the summer

11. Curse the sun. Love the sun.

12, Take care of your frozen brain.

13. Enjoy the song: