Chew on it.

Chances are all we have.

Month: April, 2013

Forged, unwilling friendships.

You’re at a party.
Your seniors got promoted. I hear the hint of alcohol in your voice. There’s music. You’ve eaten, and you’ve asked someone the score. You have calculated the Fantasy League points your players have got and will go back to the guest house and check if they’ve increased. The music isn’t something too loud but you don’t mind it. You never mind most things, even if you wouldn’t do them yourself. You’re dressed in a light shirt and trousers and you’re worried your hair will catch attention. “It grows up,” you’d told me, when I asked you to not cut it. You’re mixing with the men in your confusing Hindi and you’ve come to terms with the agreeable company you keep. The scotch isn’t the finest like your GM’s party had, but it’s a week you’ve decided to enjoy anyway. You are still talking more than your alcohol.
A few hundred miles away, I’m curled in my bed. Ready to hear your voice put me to sleep instead of your arms for yet another night. Filling in the distance with words that we share to bring us closer.
I dial the number you usually answer. It rings. And rings. And rings some more. And falls silent. I remember that you must be at the party.
But you had the phone. Why aren’t you answering? Is something wrong?
I try the number you asked me to call. It follows pattern and falls silent with the same result. No you. A pit forms in my gut.
What if he’s passed out? Or had an accident on the way to his room? Is anyone looking after him?
I try the first number again. It rings. The seventh time, the ring sounds different and my spirits soar and crash, as the ringing continues. It ends. And sighs with me.
It’s like the wind has been knocked out of me. I curl in more, cradling my now-alive tummy that has abandoned hope. I shut my eyes tight, opening them for the 3 seconds I need to leave a message on your IM.
Call?
I close my eyes. Alcohol – 1, Radha –
You call. I almost choke.
Among other things like what time you will call and if I should stay up, you say it. “I love you,” you say. Reassuring, fond, firm, alcohol-induced because you never say it otherwise, even if you feel it. I am overwhelmed. In tears. Choking.
Do you know what that does to me? Your grip on my heart has tightened at 11.45 pm.
You kiss into the phone, and say you’ll call. I nod my understanding.
And for the sake of those three words and bringing them to your lips so I can exhilerate in that moment of your attention and love, I shake hands with alcohol.

Manhunt

Who put on the lights this bright?

Where’s all this music coming from?

My windows are too wide!

There’s colour everywhere!

I’m running in my dreams. I’m grabbing at fleeting straws.

I’m a bird, I’m a wasp, I’m a girl with the wind in her hair.

 

Unfinished.

Published December 25, 2009. 

 

I stood by the door, watching him struggle with his typing.

He kept typing ‘D-e-s-‘.

Then erased it again.

‘D-I-Z-‘

And a blank again.

It was a year since he left his remedial teaching, and now he was out on his own. In a world filled with instructions and words he could not read, he was struggling to keep with the times. Facebook, was his obsession, and his problem. He wanted to talk to all his friends from all 3 of his schools, but the words never came out the way he wanted them to. They either sounded too abrupt, or they didn’t make the sense he wanted them to.

He couldn’t read right, what his friends told him.

I wasn’t helping either.

Picture us.

Born a few years apart. One mechanically challenged, the other mechanically brilliant. And vice-versa for the literal skills. I wrote like there’s no tomorrow, he struggled with his own name for the first 10 years.

We had our differences, and as much as I tried not to sound ruthless and cruel- I kept away from helping him, because he needed to stop using a crutch for his communication.

I remember him on the first day I saw him. They put the dark bundle with curly hair and big eyes on my lap, and I was so excited I cried.

I looked at him, again, now. Standing 3 inches above me, hair coarse, but still curly, and wearing the subconsciously official colour of our household. Grey, with denims.

He yelled again.

I stifled a sob, of a brother I thought I had again for a moment.

I walked away.

That’s what I always do, it’s what I have been told to do- walk away from him, so that I can have a better life. So that my temper doesn’t kill the both of us and so that I can prove that I am a better, bigger person. He wasn’t the nicest guy. He was rude, mean, and spoke to me like he owned my house. Destroyed everything I created. Lied, cheated. Hurt. Threatened to hurt. He drilled into my faults the way you do only when you want to cripple your worst enemy.

I walked back to where he sat, typing what he didn’t want to, not being able to type what he wanted to.

I first understood the gravity of his problem a couple of years back, when a movie about this was released. The ‘I’ll-send-you-to-hostel’ threats were too familiar to miss. The mother weeping, the father’s exasperation- was like they’d installed a camera in my bedroom and watched us for 15 years now.

The realisation of his end of the trouble set in when they showed the muddle in the child’s brain. How nothing made sense, how everything else was so much more exciting. How what he said was never what he wanted to, or what he’d begun to say. How his friends were the only escape route from hurting everyone around him because of his own frustration that suddenly the family was a distant unit of people who only made him do things he’d never want to.

I never thought my own brother would hate words- my source of joy.

But then I noticed the only thing in the film that was different. The sibling. The constant support, the covering up, the absence of arrogance. The sibling who was patient.

I was making my pride my vanity by being who I was. I wasn’t in any way helping anyone- least of all, the only person who needed me most- my sibling.

I reeled back to reality again. He turned to look at me.

“Spelling bol, aaj ke liye last.”

I sighed.

Kisse baat kar raha hai?

“School teacher. Type kar na.

Bol kya type karu.

Likh ‘Radhika is a good sister.’”

Dear Shri

Shriya’s birthday card, for her 19th birthday. Published December 29, late in the evening for her birthday the next day.

 

Remember about a 100 years ago?

When we used to fight and keep doing kaandi to show off?

I’d never Imagine we’d land up even talking. But haven’t I told you this about a hundred times already?

It’s also about those times we’d drag the mothers into the fight (tolerant, loving, doosre-bacche-ki-side-lenewaali mothers) and our brothers would equally participate in further dividing the C- Wing B-Wing rift.

Of course, like we’re doomed to never forget- the times I spilled J&J baby powder all over the bathroom, and WE spilled J&J Baby oil, and MY mother had to clean up.

Also the day we put those red seeds into MY fishtank – now I think all the damage was done to MY property.

The hundred thousand times we said we’d never ever EVER (This time mother promise) talk to each other, and then we virtually killed our mums every other week.

The window conversations. I’d give anything to transport you back to C-11 and talk nonsense (define sense?) on rainy days when we couldn’t hear what the other one had to say, and invariably landed downstairs.

Somewhere in the middle of all this- came in Maanty- the third lost musketeer- and unknowingly, we wrapped her up in us. Have we ever been separated since?

I couldn’t buy a birthday card for you (I’m obviously paying for your gift :P) but I hope you’ll forgive me for never having done that one thing.

Birthday parties at 6 in the evening and being the first bum at the door is eons ago- but I’d still line up first at your door, for any occassion, or any time you need me.

From boys who broke hearts, to ones who chased you to those irresponsible bums who came, took a walk with the hopeful hearts, and then went off with other prettier ones, to the ones where we thought we’d never stay with- but landed up with infinitely.

I’ll be there for everyone of those episodes.

And a promise renewed.

If you get pregnant before you’re wed, and if you don’t have anywhere to go- I’ll bring you in. Slap you 50 times a day, but bring you in. You’re my friend, and I’ll never leave you. Even if you get married to someone I don’t like and then mess it up or if you’re tired and need coffee and your mum isn’t at home- I’ll bring you in.

If you lose out on my number I’ll kick your protruding behind till it’s sore, but make you memorise it amnesia-proof.

If Nishi and you have a fight, and Nishi is right, I’ll yell at you, and never once let you feel like you’re right. But if it’s the other way around, we’ll both tear Nish apart and break her knees and make her apologise. Deal?

Even if I don’t like Hrithik, I will never morcha against him (unless he cuts trees and litters).

If Gautam grows thinner and gives you a complex, I’ll steal your money and feed him till he gets back to std.10 ka size.

If Bryce cracks private jokes with me, and we’re laughing at you, I’ll tell you what it was about after he goes. Ussko bhi thoda badhaayi maarni hoti hai na. Chadhaane ka. THEN we’ll kick his butt.

If Manasi’s filtration system fails at the last moment and she says stuff you could kill her for saying- well, there’s nothing I can promise you know, I have no solution to that.

If Clarie doesn’t shut up about stuff you don’t want spoken about, we’ll boycott him.

If Vivek and Deepa don’t keep in touch, we’ll send them hate mail.

If Collin gets too sarcy and funny and his jokes hurt your intestines, we’ll takle a scissor and chop his mane off.

And if I don’t stick to these promises, you’d better find another friend. Because, I am replaceable.

You aren’t.

Happy Birthday :)

Untouched.

Written before and posted on May 22, 2010. I was at the peak of crazy thrashing teenage love and in the middle of my intern-ship. 

 

What I mean by yours for keeps

Is that every time I wake up and

Every time I wish I could dream of you and

Every time I do- there’s you starting my day.

You keep my thoughts with you.

Don’t let go just yet. We’re almost there.

I also mean that every time I hear a song

And you decide to call up that minute-

I know it’s a little more than time

Or such insignificant measures that bind us.

You, by the way, are now a yardstick.

For anyone or everyone who has to pass by in my life

As a ‘somebody’. And you’re still up there, untouched.

Funny, haven’t I said that already?

But you may not have heard.

No it isn’t love. That’s such a limited word.

Words. Beautiful things, but limited scope.

Us. Unlimited, unbound, unafraid, unreasonable- Understand yaar.

Mahua

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