Chew on it.

Chances are all we have.

The ghosts won’t leave.

When I am alone I feel left out and lonely.

I don’t believe that people are with you in spirit, I cannot. People have to physically be around me for them to be able to communicate with me or I will die of loneliness. You probably had people to eat lunch with in school and then to have staying over at your place. You probably were celebrated at the last job you were at and people did remember to be with you on the last day. I’ve not had that and so I miss what I see is social validation. You can’t trust me when I don’t drink. You don’t think it’s actually essential that I make sure you’re home before me even though it’s 3 AM and I’ll be alone and you won’t be conscious if anything goes wrong with me. See I last to the end. I have the stamina to see you through the worst of spells and then the next time, find a way out for you because I remember what a mess you were. That’s what you call detached, instead of attentive. I have the solutions to the second time you have the problem because I was there. Watching, paying attention, knocking on your door. Crying when you couldn’t. You remember someone else though. Well, you don’t owe me anything. I’m not entitled to your affection no. But don’t deny me that chance at leaving something so humiliating behind, and walking off into the next place where maybe, just maybe someone like you will turn up, will have my every bit of affection will have the best of me and maybe choose me for the next time he’s happy. Someone who won’t be surprised I left three months after I did and be totally blind to the scars that now scare me from touching my own skin and from baring it to someone who might actually give a fuck. As a response, I’ve started to push people away, at the slightest hint of neglect.

I know what’s coming, and before it hits me harder that you won’t miss me if I go away, I’ll show myself out.

Bread crumbs

This morning, a couple of crumbs from my bread fell into my Milo and milk. I really wanted to complain about this to somebody. In all probability, Aai. I don’t like bread in my milk. My Maharashtrian genes may demand that I dip everything edible in tea, but the more I stared at the white spots, the more it annoyed me that no one’s concerned about them altering my mood fractionally this early in the morning. This entire episode of indignation must have taken a whole of 12 seconds. It had to be conveyed to Aai nonetheless.

Of course I couldn’t. Grumbling about specks of bread floating in your milk is not something adults do. Not especially when you need to call your mum from some hundreds of kilometres away. It’s supposed to be brushed away nonchalantly. Why am I even writing about this?

I paused. I haven’t seen Aai for 23 days now. I don’t particularly miss her or cry to sleep or miss anything about home (quite a surprise because at 4 I’d cry at night in my grandparent’s place to go back to Aai who was in the next wing, and the need to be around her never really diminished) but I sat down to count after three weeks of being out of home. Which means I’ve not hugged a parent in 23 days. It’s okay, I don’t need or miss hugs.

I was speaking to a friend who asked if I felt brave about moving out. Brave? Really? Brave is what Vedang does. Or what Shriya is, every day. Brave is Ashwin because he stays alone in a place that is nothing like home, the way I see it. Brave is Vivek and how he walked through last year. Brave is what you call real people with real challenges. Staying alone is not brave, it’s an experience that I’ve decided to take. There’s no daunting challenge, emotional discomfort, threat to security. It’s just not what I had at home, but it’s definitely not filed under brave.

I wish people stopped making a big deal about change. Change has to happen, whether you like it or not. Taking it in stride is a glorified way of saying that you’re living another day. Spotting a cockroach in the fridge, having to buy your own groceries, dealing with a particularly painful period, getting locked out of the house, paying the cook on time – the first times are okay but nothing worth writing in a journal simply because you’re only lucky that you had a family to share these things with and perhaps even whine about the minute nothings they sum up to.

So dear crumbs of bread, forgotten and stirred and swallowed with the Milo and milk, you’ll be thanked for the thought process, but that is about it.

Watch me.

Sometimes I want someone who loves me to take a photo of me doing something I love. Engrossed and unaware and detached from this world. I want him to latch on to a camera whether or not he is good at it because he wants to keep that moment somewhere. He knows he cannot live it again and perhaps it was a trivial moment that he forgot about later. Perhaps he thinks it was a bad photograph at that point. But at this moment, now, when he is across the room with his glasses (or not) on and his TV shows/books/calls/laptop tap-dance over, I want to lead his thoughts to me and how I am not his, not the world’s for now. I am in a place he can never occupy and he envies it. But he doesn’t begrudge me for it. He knows that I am complete without him just because I have myself and I don’t need someone to love, but that he is a choice that stays permanent. He knows that in my art and my writing and my emptying out the stories on a plastic keyboard instead of his skin, I am only making myself more. Just more. Not stronger, weaker, deeper, darker. I am more and it’s me adding another bucketful of colour into myself. I want that moment and his eyes in it. I want to be scenery that he passes every day but today he sees as if for the first time, again, the place where he stopped. I want to be his object of amused interest. I want to be studied with the interest of a student into a new subject he did not know exist. I want to be loved when I am not loving back. I want to be captured when I am looking away. I want him across the room in the most intimate moment I am having that has nothing to do with sex or love but has whatever is more than soul put into it.

What Abhinav started.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152660235610009&set=a.10150888026325009.409339.588695008&type=3&src=https%3A%2F%2Ffbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net%2Fhphotos-ak-xpt1%2Fv%2Ft1.0-9%2F10411010_10152660235610009_5218248920235392862_n.jpg%3Foh%3De346fa2f376dc02319f81d8403f08ab5%26oe%3D55C653D0%26__gda__%3D1442893273_64c40fb94ed388601e5e714abe0627d1&size=640%2C640

Original, here.


 

​I remember morning and streaks

Of dried tears that the night left –
And the fingers I find
Curled around mine
And all semblance of reason left behind.

I remember mumbling a secret
Guarding a dream, fighting my
Breath so I don’t scream –
I remember your lips swallowing all
Sounds that accidentally fall
From my tongue into the twilight.

I remember pain. Glorious pain.
Of turned heads and eyes
That see the strain of you on me
I see rain and I see the light
And my sins forgiven each night –

I remember once again to smile.

Chaos.

I’d suggest you read this before you read ahead, and then continue with this post.


It’s the same spot. I’m waiting for you to come into the room so I may ask you to switch off the light.

The summer is leaving soon. I know it because I see clouds where I could see the Scorpio constellation, and the paper dial we bought is lying next to the bed under our Kindles, my watch, your pen, my wires and our empty mugs.

I’m starting to sweat a little, so I add “put on the AC” to my “list of things to ask you to do before you slip into bed.” Another uneventful day at our jobs and another night of mismatched dinner timings, reconciled only at TV – we support the same cricket teams, but the enthusiasm has drained off a while ago. Now it is just the prelude to going to sleep, and catching up on each other’s day. The term ‘defamiliarisation’ comes to mind. Schlovsky’s essay was right, but we did manage to look past the silhouette into the details and extract the art out of the algebrisation. What a rubbish thought to think, I scold myself – there is nothing romantic about being asked by your partner for a few years about plans for the weekend. The answer was for once not “working this Saturday”. We’re too old for double-takes.

You’re here. The t-shirt has come off and I’d like you to throw it on to bed so I may wear it. We haven’t found out whose t-shirt it is. It’s a Calvin-Hobbes one so it could be anyone’s, even my father’s. I ask you to get the lights and AC, but you take a second to register what I’m saying. Work has a way of bogging your thoughts – I give them the space they require before you slip into bed. After which I am territorial.

But not yet. Have I forgotten to post the letter to the society? Nope. I have – wait, there’s a possibility that the electricity bill wasn’t paid on time. An unnecessary itch begins in my mind. You haven’t been at the door for more than a few seconds longer than usual and my mind has found its way to the archives of my insecurities. Is it work? Is it Ashwini? It’s Ashwini, isn’t it? She has called me thrice accidentally this week. I have always appreciated how she’s family to you – to us. But never have I seen you hesitate so much (it’s almost a minute that you’ve been looking around the room now) and never has she called me without any purpose. I need to stop thinking this way so I give you a smile and shift infinitesimally to the right of the bed, so your left is wider and you please, please get into bed.

You’re walking. What a relief. Before you settle into bed you open the window to let the wet air in. I cannot sleep any more. I need to know. I wish I had asked sooner than you had answered.

“How long has it been?”

I’m too scared to answer. I raise my eyebrows.

“Since we moved in.”

You want to ask me to move out. You’ve always wanted to move to a new city and have the family and I’ve never let you speak about this so you have spoken to Ashwini and you’re seeing yourself with her. Hold fort Ammu, hold fort it could be about a new wash of paint.

“4 years.”

“Hmm.”

I hate your fucking ‘hmm’s. They fuck with my brain. I shrink into the bed-sheet and I want to end this. You are now in bed. You want to soften the blow so you put your arm around me. Don’t. Be reckless. It’ll hurt less.

“Why’re you crying? What happened?”

The table lamp is back on.

The orange is seeping through your hair and I want to touch it but you seem so distant and not mine that I don’t. I also cannot see very clearly because there are hot tears in my eyes and I need some self-control. I shake my head.

“Was it work? Did Taufiq say something again?”

No no no. It’s what you aren’t saying.

Your hands are on my face and so are your lips. I struggle to break away. But you’re holding me firmly. Why are you doing this?

“What is it? It’ll be okay, I know it will be okay, you know it will pass. Problems don’t last.” You’re whispering in your this-is-not-what-I-really-mean voice. Fuck fuck fuck.

I calm down. I have to. You will drag this to tomorrow if not now. I cannot survive this. Do I have a suitcase?

Your lips are on my forehead now. You’re talking. I catch one word in the utter chaos of my thoughts.

“… Ashwini…”

I did not know I would hiccup.

Your eyebrows are knitted together. You were saying something and now you have been interrupted by my unnecessary sobbing which you are sick of for 4 years already.

“So you know?”

I nod.

“Let me say it?”

I squeeze my eyes shut. Will this go away?

“She’s been sitting on my head for this but I told her I did want to tell you already. She must have tried calling you.” I nod.

“So you know?”

“Say it.”

The defeat in my voice piques your attention. Your fingers are fidgety against my back.

“I’m sorry I did this without you knowing. But I checked with Taufiq, and you do have a holiday on Friday. The registrar will be available at 7 pm. Is that okay? I know you’re mad. Fuck you’re mad. I don’t want any change but this could save us taxes and getting the Mahim place. The fridge looks bigger here and I can’t stop thinking of the windows – come on you said you wanted a balcony.”

“Registrar?”

“The chairman said they’d prefer married couples. I told them of our situation but I really want to see our baby grow in that place – it has a park! Where do you find parks in Mumbai anymore?”

“Baby?”

“You said you wanted to have one before you’re 30? You’re 28. We need to work on it now.”

The bite on the shoulder was tautology in action. There is a lot of confusion on both our faces.

“I can cancel the registrar’s appointment. Ashwini’s idea. He works at her office and they usually take 6 months but she speeded the process up.”

Oh sweet panic in your voice. Ashwini, I love your dear soul, and I owe you lunch for a year.

“I’ll talk to them again.”

I raise my eyebrows, noticing the number of times you’re blinking now. Nervous blinking.

“The chairperson and all? Ridiculous rules about families. We’re in 2018 for goodness’ sake.”

I’ll wait for your argument with yourself to stop. Your eyes need kissing. The puzzled silence hangs in there, an imp dancing on your nose.

“Say something, woman.”

My lips have better things to do.

You’re breathless now.

“Is that a yes?”

“Yes, cancel the appointment. Yes, speak to the chairman about those ridiculous rules about families. Yes, baby.”

Geez, boy, stop those tears. I can see them, as hard as you hope that I don’t.


There it is. Another post about guys making their proposal for marriage to a girl a whole new experience while standing atop a rock in the middle of nowhere or in a cave in South America or on a boat in the canals of Venice.

And a photographer, capturing the exchange.

Two people who have probably been together sharing moments intense enough to make them wish that the bond lasts for as long as they have their wits about them need to express to each other in elaborate ways that they want to legitimise what they have for the sake of grandeur and in this moment that they share, have a third person with a camera, doing their own thing.

It’s unsettling. The urge to make everything an act that anyone else tries to outdo, and importantly, rubbish the intimacy of the moment (which you probably had coming) by adding a third into it – it’ll take a while for the why of this to sink in. If it does, at all.

This blog was how I imagine such an exchange happening.

 

Mahua

Take a break. Take a trip.

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Raj Sivaraman

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THROES OF LUNACY

Don't expect brilliance. Mediocre at best.

Chew on it.

Chances are all we have.

Immature Fruit

Poetry, Travels, Sketches, Writings and a Sip of Inspiration with Passion.

A Dowg's Life

I’m a dowg. Woof.