Chew on it.

Chances are all we have.

Bombay Days.

A movie about three boys and three girls – two sets of siblings and two genetically unrelated to each other, sitting on the society bench, through their teenage and early twenties till one moves out for higher education, one becomes a shippie, one is a CA, one gets his medical internship in rural Gujarat, one goes to Mumbai University and one joins a digital media agency.

Over their early and mid-twenties they keep running back home and being nostalgic and somewhere after 25 they stop doing that too and if you see the six of them together again, there is always a 7th or even 8th.

One day you realise one of them has had one break up too many and it’s awkward because between 20 and 26 you didn’t quite catch up that much.

Then one day two of them say they’ll get married and announce it on the group and you think of the time they’d open your door in the funny way to get in and tell you things like “Aai bore kartiye, malaa chahaa banav” but the wedding is on a WhatsApp group.

Then one of you get a promotion and you type congratulations on the group and feel guilty about it only till the next person types the same. You’ve forgotten what calling up sounds like – but it’s okay, what will you say anyway. You even stopped arguing on the group and the bored doctor from Gujarat’s weird humour and twisted forwards are the only thing that keeps it alive.

Someday someone will mute that group and you’re afraid it’s you but you don’t want to. It’s the key to your childhood, the pimples, the sprouting of boobs and first love. It’s home, as you once knew it but you also recently declared that you don’t have a home anymore.

One day someone will ping about someone else’s parent, saying that they passed away and you will feel shock. And then it will pass. Then it will dawn that your parents are growing old too.

That one day someone might have to make that announcement about them. What do we do? Nothing. We attend funerals. Of a man or woman with grey hair or no hair who used to call your childhood friend home at 9.30 because dinner is always on time with family. You think of all the dinners you missed as a grown up in an office sitting late nights because that’s what needs to be done. Four hours that could have been spend on a friend, on sleep, on cooking a meal for your upset stomach are spent doing things that need to be done and you have no memory of.

Because childhood was so far away you cannot touch it, and those who made the elements of childhood are many worlds away, even if they’re in the same city, meeting you on odd weekends, introduced as childhood friends while your childhood stands humiliated.

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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.

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