Monday, 20 December 2010

fable

Once upon a time there was a girl who was so busy digging her own grave and looking at a fake skull that she called her own that the very city that she loved became an alien citadel, and the songbird that she reared an angry vulture who wished to feed on her not-yet-putrid-flesh. She then asked the vulture, "Why must you eat me?" and the vulture smiled. She then asked her city, "Why do you not love me?"
And the city replied, "Because you had illusions of being cosmopolitan."

Wherein she dove into her own sorry grave which was so shallow that people refused to pile earth on her body (she was not yet dead). So she frowned, munched a wreath, and the vulture waited a long while.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Lexicon of lostness

Proem: The beginning of the end i.e.,
a very short introduction to ending (not closure.)

Poem: Rampant idiocy often leading to indigestion.

Ending: The sense of which does not always give closure.

Closure: and closer, and closer and closer.

Night: Absence of daylight, dirty twinkling stars.

Coffee: And cigarettes.

Bye: Adieu, mon enfant.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

The nights are becoming endless,
my life and loves are faceless,
and I am tired...

I wish I knew
What I desired.

And the nights are growing longer
and the ennui grows stronger

I am tired
I am tired
I am tired.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I used to write poems

Now-

I write proems

Sunday, 7 November 2010

since the stars that twinkle
here
and
there

are the same.

tell me

what is the use of my crying
under the night sky?

--------------


a glass of champagne sits
lonely
its bubbles
fast disappearing

tomorrow night

nothing but

stale vinegar.

Friday, 5 November 2010

I don't know what to do with my heart. I would like to take it out, dip it in essential oils and spices, and then after admiring its fleshy nothingness, take it for a ride on the Ganges, and finally shove it out- out into the depths of the gurgling Ganges when nobody is looking.

When N. is not looking.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The heart hurts, despite the lights.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Amsterdam Dadu

OK. I have been morose, morbid, emo and maudlin and I have been tolerated by my followers and readers (who are mostly Undead). Erm. So. Time for funny stories.

I went to Oxford a few months back. For a conference. And I had some funny experiences like usual, you know, because these things happen to Ahona Panda. I am like an unfortunate iron nail stuck to a magnet of idiosyncrasy. So, to proceed (I am in a bit of a hurry, absolutely no digressions today, dearies.)

Chapter I: Meeting Amsterdam Dadu.

I am travelling on Emirates so I must travel via Dubai where I change aeroplanes, yes? I meet Amsterdam Dadu on the first flight itself.

A.D.: Hello, little girl. Are you flying alone? (Tee hee.)
Me: *stern silence*
A.D.: I am flying alone too. This is my first major flight outside the country. My wife refused to come, she said long flights make her head ache, so I had to come alone.
Me: Where are you going?
A.D.: Amostaardaam.
Air Hostess: Excuse me, sir. Would you like a drink?
A.D.: A what?
A.H.: *pleasantly* what would you like to drink
A.D.: *berserk* I WANT HARD DRINKS.
A.H.: Indeed. Wine, sir?
A.H.: I said HARD DRINKS, NOT SOFT DRINKS.

Amostaardaam Dadu falls asleep soon, lulled into sleep by his favoured whisky. Then what happens? I'm telling you toh.

Amostaardaam Dadu and I get off at Dubai.
A.D.: Little girl, don't leave me, I will get lost. Where do I go? I will miss my flight. Dubai Airport is huge, they sell gold here. And diamonds.
Me: *sotto voce* and camels and oil?
Don't worry. I'm here. We'll check the itinerary. Once you know your gate number, you can be led there. Plus you have 10 hours to find it, I have only 2 hours to find mine.
A.D. I am feeling a strange goor goor in my stomach. I am having panic, I think.
I will go ask.

Me: Uhhh. OK.

Amsterdam Dadu picks on the nearest white man.
A.D: Excuse me, which way to Amostaardaam, please?
White man: Uhhh?
*runs away*

Amsterdam Dadu picks on the 2nd white man in uniform. This officer looks genial and ruddy, with a hearty complexion and a twinkle in his eye.

A.D.: Excuse me, which way to Amostaardam, please?
Kind white man: This is Dubai airport.
A.D: I know. So which way to Amostaardaam?
K.W.M.: You take erm, an aeroplane?
A.D.: AH! YES.
K.W.M.: You rise up in the sky like so....*hand gesture of an eagle soaring into the sky and then swooping*
Then down you go, down to Amsterdam.
A.D.: I see. But which way to Amostaardaam?
K.W.M.: Sorry?
Maybe you want to see the board which announces your departure and gate?

A.D.: I will ask. Thank you. Ahonaaaa?

I was trying to slink away, but he caught me, so I led him to the board and found his gate, departure time, everything. But as ancient proverbs go, you cannot make a man who does not wish to understand ever understand. You can bring the horse to the water trough but you cannot make it drink, especially if it desires streams of whisky. He told me he would return to ask someone who knows...
"Wait for me" he said.
And taking a magisterial bend disappeared from my life forever.

Chapter 2- next installment. For sure!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

"I am going to write a self help book.
For YOU."

I can't figure out the inherent contradiction.

Also, I crapped peanut butter-like crap and puked dal-like puke for 2 days. I need to dedicate my life to the Lord.

Monday, 20 September 2010

moonlight

When I was very young (a mere child) I would often wonder at moonlight. Moonlight was a cold and tangible thing, a painful thing, it would remind me of lands I had never visited, of dreams I had not yet seen, of people I had not yet met. The proleptic rays of the moon would engulf me in a wave of nauseous nostalgia, a nostalgia that I had not yet felt. I would close my eyes and crouch in front of the large French windows which looked out on a meadow. I would feel alone. And I was only five.

I am sorry I was ever born. The secret enchanted woodlands of my childhood, sad yet enticing, is called by another name now. Love. The pain dries my throat and leaves me incoherent as I realize that love is nothing but a dream I cannot see, a land just out of my reach, a person I will never know.

Then I gaze at the moon and the moon sings a soft dirge.
Beethoven heard it so many years ago.

Why am I no longer five? Why did I have to grow up so much? The solitude then was of a different kind, an awareness that some benevolence exists, a mother will sing me to sleep, a father will hold my hand as my feet softly trace the contours of dewy grass. Such days leave us by- and we are only left with the memory, the mere silhouette, the shadow

of a bitter moon.
How long can one pretend?

Friday, 10 September 2010

despair

You smell foul like a night of wretched desperation, like
the sorrows of sin, the joys of horror. You stun like
the pleasures of paradox, you ferment like wine into
vinegar-and I do not understand why I loved you.

You trouble me on nights of solitude when the darkness
black night punctuated by my solitary presence
when your presence fades like morning star into daylight
and you cry like an orphan or a dog
and I think- I loved this demon.

You wished to steal my patience, until nights of
endless perspiration rendered me insane, and I
feverishly gathered the sweat off your brow like
dew and I drank it like nectar
But now it tastes like the sea.

You had eyes like pools of water, black as the ocean
that reflects the nights. Endless nights of fruitless
waiting-when you slumbered in the depths of another's
love
While I stayed awake and paced the shore.

You do not exist, for my mind is that of a mad girl.
You called her a bad girl, did you ever see a sad
pearl? Shining white and lonely in the middle of
the ocean bed-clammed shut from the eyes of the world.

I thought you were my diver,
would wear me across your neck
in a calm caress but
You sold me to a shop.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Things have stopped making sense now
and I am going with the flow
I hope you get the drift?
(I'd rather you did not go.)
Nothing makes sense now.
Not me and not you. I want to talk in French.
And write French poetry in symbols.
Now go away. Otherwise I'll hit you with cymbals.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

last poem

last night

i had a strange dream

disconnected, dreary, dismal,

and dull

you think i remember it

(i don't)

the dream was almost in parenthesis

it had no punctuation

it had nothing

but yes, i thought it had meaning

but i woke up

and it ceased to be

like love

an eternal joke and farce

i saw you gone

and that was enough

anarchy------> freedom

love-------> indifference

death-------> absurd

recognition------->reversal

give me universal darkness

and rid me of my technicolour dreams

and my sepia life. fuck you

pissoffs. fuck you.

i hate you i hate you i don't care

why too? mama tambien? why too?

i say (i fart) a humongous moo

and my turd is like glue

it sticks to me (i must not stick to you)

-------------

Liberty is not merely a statue in America.

------------

they will build my bust
because they must
though all else be dust

------------

sex is a nightmare

when you have no love

and love is boring

when you have no sex

and drugs are dangerous

when you have no life

and life is meaningless

when not punctuated

so my dreams, you pissoff

you must punctuate my dreams

and i will fight

to my dying breath

buying death

buying death

buying time too.

pissoffs pissoffs

i hate you.

hate your games

hate your names

this is my epic

and you are less

than my toothpick

you think pathos

i end in bathos

-------------

Freedom is when you hold your head high

from spondylosis.

Keep it up.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

memory qua memory

I could see us, more than four years ago, standing and waiting for our place in the sun. Nervous, wary, fresh- we wanted to meet and mingle, I didn't know any one of us who wanted to be single. We laughed the precious and beautiful laughter of innocence- many of us weighed a few kilos less, the curves of her face were not yet put into place, for example. S. had more hair and more smiles, in fact he was even shy at times. S&S were young and all over each other wanting to make babies like crazy, at random places and at odd hours- who could stop the frenzy of early youth?

There were so many of us, A liked B and B liked C and C didn't like D ad infinitum. A and N were best friends until N never spoke to A again. The little petty intrigues and the bitter fallouts- the winter morning coffee and the endless semester exams, the smoke rising in sepia clouds, who can arrest the motion of time?

The old Milonda's/Ashirbad/jheelpaar. I fed the kaatla who fancied themselves to be dolphins. Bloody fish loved fish chops...what could one say to these performing animals? I remember going there with my first "crush" and moodily chewing the bread myself while he dusted a crumb off my nose. I bet he didn't know how excited that made an 18 year old feel, and how does it even matter, now that the contours of the faces have receded into the abysses of memory- who is he, and she, and they? Only certain friendships stand out- the ones which transcend the minutes, hours, days, months, years- and you forget everything about a span of three months other than your glorious drunk moment- garlanding Herbie Hancock. Yes THE Herbie!

Then one fell in love and it was beautiful, that first surrender of the self to something greater than the self- who would ever know or explain what that felt like? Language stops short, language cannot hope to contend with love or express it- i.e., the language that we are used to and who can claim to know a greater universal language than love? That first, imbecile love is madness- it happens without cause or effect, it is. It is a great moment of being, there is nothing to surpass this first step to self knowledge. So it happened to us. And we learnt.

It has been more than four years since we've been growing in this place and sometimes a dislocated moment can come and dislodge one from one's state of ease and tranquility. That is not to say that most memories are uncomfortable or exciting things. But two things happen simultaneously. Firstly, this is a bubble world. The real world is not like this, will never be like this. And the memories created in this world are even more unreal. They are fragments nay angles of a crystal, each is assimilated into a composite whole, we remember some, we associate others, but we cannot remember every detail- that is humanly impossible. Our bubble world is one that must sustain us through the most difficult and darkest hours of our hitherto adult life.

As the sun set over a glorious football field, as erstwhile friends and acquaintances and closest friends huddled over yet another bubble victory, one had a tipsy and giddy champagne moment. This then is life, the gradual accumulation of memory over memory, memory qua memory, and this insane need for that unreal and transient happiness. This is why we need love and appreciation- time is unkind, my friends. Time is a bitch. It kills you, and yet teaches you to love.

Friday, 13 August 2010

birthday :)

I miss writing on pen and paper. I think it's because I can't think creatively on pen&paper anymore, it's almost a disease now. I had blue cheese today, it was stinking and tasted overwhelmingly of cheese, there was only this singular omnipotent taste of cheese, it was frightening. But I don't think I understand this friend of mine, he's turning into something very strange and thoroughly inexplicable, watching him descend into madness is filling me with this almost surreal sadness- and he won't help me at all, he won't help, and how can he when he can hardly help himself?

So this blue cheese reminded me of some of our weakest moments; this gush of overwhelming (dis)taste, so refined that you cannot even say you dislike it, it's so sophisticated (like Henry James) that nobody can actually mention that they rather hate it. I ate it with a pinched expression implying martyrdom while really, nobody forced me to eat it-in fact I bought it myself. ("When's your first major novel going to be published?" asked the man who sold me the cheese and I smiled and said "Thank you, that would be all, I've quit smoking.") So help me God, all who descend into madness do it not out of choice, but out of utmost necessity.

Then he made me read a strange poem, a surreal birthday gift, and it struck me how unreal our birthdays really were, this birthday being decisive and signalling some sort of both ending and closure, but really how unreal are most of our expectations and desires? He made me read it-so fervent and illusory, I closed my eyes for there was this stab of sudden, strange pain. Mother would have called it dyspepsia but I knew better.
It was the pain of growing old.

Monday, 9 August 2010

I should really start writing again. I was thinking of whether to write on England trip but realized that it was more pathetic than funny at times (other than the conference, which was great.) The problem is absolutely NOBODY reads this blog anymore and I can't write for NOBODY, that wouldn't be any fun.

P.S. - I'm turning 22 soon. This is going to be even less fun. I started this blog 4 years ago. And nobody absolutely NOBODY reads it anymore.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Chair.

I sat on you, felt the mahogany
wrap me in its antique embrace until
I remembered days no longer there
when the wood was new and polished
by an old deft hand. My grandfather sat on you
so proud, patriarch and head.
He is dead.

His father too sat on you, tall as a
sahib, friend of the sahib
but actually a secret enemy.
His busy mind hatched a thousand plans
and his exquisite learning made him quote
a thousand shlokas- he gripped your arm
like one does an old comrade,
for you were his friend.
Those days too
are at an end.

Mahogany, your smell arose at midnight,
like a secret lover. Often I would creep
down and stroke you lovingly.
Generations past, yours was the
smell of time.
I smelt you, and loved.
I could have had you in my arms
but you had me in your arms
instead.
All the rest are dead.

I gave birth to a child and she nestled
in your lap. Sometimes she would see the world
an insignificant speck on you
large, magnificent, antique.
And her eyes would fill with
unshed tears
wonderment, bewilderment,
attachment.

But now they have taken you from me
Into the patrilineal possession
My feminine heart craves sympathy
and the erotic yet soothing smell
of old mahogany. My father, my lover, my
child, my friend.
You were the symbol
of all that I cared for.
Though a chair
you stood for time.
I forgot me
You taught me
What it was to be human.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Every breath I take here may remind me I'm young
and the people I meet delight me. I must write
and for that I observe. Observe the passage of time
the similarity in people, the kind glint in their eyes.
My heart overflows with spontaneous love-
This then is what it is to not be an atheist.

You have tried to reach me many a time
We tried to build memories together...
But now as I move into a different realm
I realize the majesty of what we had
the simplicity of love.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Bandh ka Basanti.

In my short life, I have seen several useless days, but today is especially futile.

9:45 am- I wake up. 10:20 class! How to get ready?
10:15- I am ready somewhat. I ask my father to give me a lift to college. Parents unanimously agree that today I don't have class. I argue convincingly that I do.
10:25- I am in JU. Horror, the gates are closed. When I turn around, father has left. Guards look at me with an expression of vague surprise and mild bemusement. I walk to 8B. All is empty, like a beautiful wasteland.
10:45- I am in 8B for some cha. Surprise, there is no cha! Except this stinky little place where the girl who makes the tea is snotty. Like really snotty. I had already learnt my lesson when the salty (hee!) tea I drank here once gave me acute stomach cramps. I give the tea here a miss.
10:55- Wow. Basanti is performing at 8B.

~Basanti's performance~
Two elderly men are entertaining their bandh-struck brethren. The hairier and heftier man is not Basanti, he is the manager. He is arranging the audience and exhorting Basanti to display her magical charms or jadoo. Basanti, dikha dey teraa jadoo! Basanti meanwhile is an elderly but agile man who is turning somersault/cartwheels on and with a bicycle. Applause! Applause! Basanti then takes a tea glass and balances it on his head. He then rides the bicycle like an incorrigible daredevil. Cha glass does not break. Crowd erupts into thunderous applause. Manager shouts, Basanti re, phatiye dili!

I slowly and reluctantly go home. Show over. Bandh resumed.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

happy endings

If you want a happy ending, that depends of course, on where you stop your story.

Orson Welles.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Evening walk.

Some days are marked out for solitude, today was one of them. I was sulking in the evening, sulking my life away. I could feel my life ebbing out like a distinct and painful song. You know how there are some songs which just fade away after the first four minutes or so? Well, today it was like that- I could feel my vital force whispering mean things to my evil and idle mind at 5 pm so around 6:30 I finally decided to go for a walk.

But this walk was already predetermined to be peculiar. I knew that the transport strike would mean that I would not meet a face I would recognize and such was the idle antagonism of my wicked soul that even if I did, I would refuse to recognize any familiar face. So out I went, wearing a grey tee shirt and pajamas of an indeterminate hue. I looked hideous and I felt hideous. There are days when you cultivate ugliness and bleh-ness. Of course today was such a day. Had I not heard Stairway to Heaven in a loop ad infinitum and mourned the death of rock and all that rock stands for (stood for in my life, at least) all evening? Oh when did I grow up so much that all I all I ever did and do is to jazz up my existence or mourn the fact that I am not professionally trained to appreciate Classical?

"So you're going for a walk?" asked my mother and I nodded assent. "And what about money? Do you have enough for the weekend?" I carefully explained that I do not need money today, I wasn't going to do anything but walk. No coffee/drink/appendages, just walk. I laughed at her incredulity and set off. It wasn't true that I had no money left, enough for some smokes and cha. And I walked.

I could see the restfulness of the evening and it shocked me. Myself so restless, the streets were deserted, those who were walking had no desperation, no need for anything but that careless relaxation, I envied their self assurance. They would never know what it is to be compelled to walk for nothing, for the sake of nothing, for the sake of nothing but some self assurance- perhaps the next morning. I tried to analyse where my deep anxiety springs from, why I cannot control my most irrational fears. I drank some rather pathetic roadside cha and smoked a couple of hasty cigarettes that tasted rather nasty. I cursed them for their transience, for their harmful nature, and despised myself for needing/wanting them at all. Had I been 18-19 I would have read a bit of French existentialism, nothing phenomenological though and no Heidegger, thank you very much. But perhaps some Sartre and Camus. At this point of time, I have not yet grown up- just settled for some compromise. I read Rilke.

I read nothing at all today, nothing at all. How could I, when my entire existence revolved around that solitary walk and what it stood for? (What did it stand for, you might quiz, and I would still be trying to articulate my position.) I often glanced with great distaste at the chipped scarlet nail varnish that adorned my fingernails and I hated myself. I often overheard lovers conversing amongst themselves, something about The Godfather and marriage. But I paid no attention, for I had no curiosity left. Only a strange sort of distaste for a person who has no apparent problems but creates problems in her mind, almost as a mathematical conundrum is created by a great philosophical brain. But mistake her not, I must point out, her problems are not intellectual, they are very real, they apply to her life. Oh hideous momentary pleasure, how much you make us suffer all our lives....so transient, so fleeting, in fact, no pleasure at all.

I was walking past a strange building. Deserted and shady, deserted for more than two decades, left wholesale at a moment's notice. The office-goers never returned, and the building remains. If you believe in ghosts, then surely there are ghosts there- nobody passes that building without the customary shudder. It is the revulsion that one feels for something that is obsolete and no longer in use. Which can no longer remain beautiful, is ugly out of necessity and compulsion. The Romantics amongst us will find a stranger beauty in such ugliness, will savour the eerie and the uncanny, will perhaps go home and write a poem. But I alas, I had today forgotten my love for the grotesque, all that I remembered was that this building with its grounds is soon overtaken by another no less sordid reality; a police station. Overflowing with lights and bustle, harbouring elements rejected by society and who have in turn rejected society. What must they be feeling behind those bars? Have they forgotten the women they have married, the children they have borne, the parents who in turn must have borne them?

I don't think I could think much more after that, because I realized that the projapoti biscuit I had bought with Re. 1 /- at the chawallah's was mouldy and altogether inedible. In the life of the absurd man, as Camus so beautifully pointed out, bathos is often stronger than pathos.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

I've been waiting too long

I've been waiting too long under the cypress
breathing death, sucking the honey out of
the maze of the honey-makers, the bees making
a buzzing sound, the monotonous drone of
everyday plebeian existence. I've been
waiting too long, and it drizzles intermittently
the bittersweet odour of incense and
sandalwood, overpowering the senses.
They say it is autumn.

I've been thinking too much, savouring the oak
and pine, the evergreen survives the winter.
Then of course the dryness
of snow-it hasn't yet been established
what causes blindness. I had seen the swallow
fly to warmer climes. But like Thumbelina
I married a mole.
Languished in darkness.

I've been breathing your smell, and you
smell like what's lost, which has a smell of
its own. Neither incense nor sandalwood
nor cypress nor pine could ever divine
the smell of loss. Lavender and myrtle
sweet and horrid potpourri.
Fading leaves, pressed to remind.
Frozen flowers in embalmed hours.
Dried to remain.
(Nothing remains.)

What is the smell of loss?
What is the taste of death?
What is the sound of thought?
I knew, I knew
The swallow flew
And I forgot.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

die-astole.

Oh stupid trembling heart
What an ass you are
Instead of a wholesome beat
you give a resounding fart.

Monday, 14 June 2010

zoo.

His eyes pierced through to the depths of my soul. How many people have I seen with that expression in their eyes? Tamed nobility, always waiting to strike back at the servile oppressors gazing as inane voyeurs. I felt ashamed and awed and knew that the tiger roars and knows that this is a mock roar, mock roar at himself.

I could see his eyes and these were the eyes that shone with a curious mixture of outrage and boredom. His body itself was poetry, but the body was tamed and curbed, the spirit crushed and restricted. Human beings are such a sickening race, my pulse increased and my heart beat fast, I wondered what it would be to meet him in a forest....

And then the wilderness of the Calcutta streets beckoned and I went home in a taxi.

To tackle the forests of night in my own mind. Or lack thereof.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

This is for you.

You
are the nameless friend
I miss. When I see art
and hear music. My heart
is with you. End
is also you, and I
am merely the beginning.

You
Must I name you?
I am alone
But should I blame you?
On my own
But always. Like a song-
a song in my mind
elusive and taunting
forever haunting
I knew you all along.
(Must you be unkind?)

This is my final verse.
Brilliance I have none.
You?
You have fun.
I am your curse.
And I look for you
In the smiles of children
In the eyes of sin
In the dreams of strangers
In the lies of kin
And I look for you
And I write.
(Goodnight?)

But no. I look again
I call you my intimate other
Sensual is my love
and yet I'd call you brother.
Are you my self?
Are you art?
And my heart
grows cold.
Horror makes me old.

Youth
is repulsive. Its transience
makes no sense
yet on its altar
I daily burn incense.
My nameless friend
says there are no friends
Only desire
(Means-who looks for ends?)
and lack is the fire.
This lack and then desire
I fear your sorry ire.
And yet I know
you
You are not
true.

Friday, 11 June 2010

The days are shrinking despite the solstice.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

bougainvillea

I lost you. I lost you that night I got wet in the rain
and the sheer wetness made me think. I can never write again.
Pink. Pink bougainvillea grew out of my ears
in tender tendrils. I could never write again.

Sometimes they said, you rhyme so well. Your love is
the love of a beautiful woman, your language the most
surreal, that of a beautiful woman. Afternoons in your company
are dreams. I want to live with you.
Together, we shall create fiction.
(And what better compliment?)

I wrote parodies. When something is about to end, crisis
brings forth reinvention. Forever we reconstruct,
forever we rewrite. I had realized
That night. I would never write again.
Or perhaps I would, but only differently-
And I would love again, but also differently
Oleanders are red too, like blood.
We were wet too
In mud.

Dirt and slush cannot crush the human spirit.
Fiction can also be written with invisible pens
on an intangible parchment-
human minds, and children's tears
old women's stories and their babies' ears
fiction is therefore woven like spider webs
like the Ganges; it flows and ebbs.

That night I knew I would never write again
but would count infinite polaash flowers
and count the minutes, never the hours
and knew that till the end of time
I could never find anything to rhyme
with Bougainvillea. I see you sigh
and whisper, "How strange you are
beautiful witch of the endless night
madhuchhanda
rajanigandha
e ki sandhya"
This evening recedes into universal pain
I knew I would never write again.

(This is sort of a translation of a Bangla poem I wrote, hence it sounds like this.)

Monday, 31 May 2010

crisis

I don't know how to explain this crisis, if I said that I wanted to end it all-it would be a lie, and I can't lie well nowadays, for they're letting sleeping dogs lie BUT
1. I'm not a dog
2. I never sleep
3. so how can I lie?
But therefore things are becoming so intolerably intolerable, I feel like gargling warm Dead Sea water and I wonder whether that would just kill me and end it all, or whether my throat would float?

See, at times, I'm all flowers, and then suddenly it's all weed, and it is then that I miss you Aldous Huxley, what Brave New World of many perceptions have you unfolded for me. But you-you ingrate infidel #1 (Mr. Bheeet-gone-swine)-why must you be so bothered about nothing at all? You think you are Ze Alpha and Ze Omega, but I am Mega, Mega, Megahertz and I will drown in you in my endless sea of decibels. I will shout out your existence since this is the week of politicians.

And the marble cracks and the stone topples, a child's laughter rings in my ears, he is so infinitely beautiful and yet never mine....tomorrow I go to the Passport Office, tell me what flight can take me away from here? It is impossible, I am bound here like a little errant marijuana leaf stuck to the last rolling paper. You cannot smoke me, nor can you throw me away...and yet adulterated with nicotine, I shall vaporize soon, away into the ether, along with your difficult, troubled, adolescent dreams.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Lamp.

Moments of colour, these are moments of colour, as orange runs into green
and red runs into blue, and then yellow merges into a startling shade
of spleen. Colour is true, and I love colour, the universe is so splendid
and I am so happy.

How can I explain it? A lamp of coloured glass, broken bits of coloured glass
stuck to each other, stuck to one another, and forming a coagulated mass
and inside a bulb glows, tungsten and fine-
This lamp is mine.

I was thinking of metaphysics. I was thinking of being.
My epistemological ennui *yawn* made me unseeing
and then the lethargy drops, I feel less damp
My eyes turn on their own
Toward my beautiful lamp.


Words fail me when I see red green blue and words fail me when I think
of the true. Questions and answers that sophists have sought
Everything is so unimportant and the rest I forgot
Green was my friend's parrot who was forced to fly away
Red were the chillies that were fed him by day
Yellow was the sunshine that blinded my love
and blue is the ocean that awaits me above
and pink is the sky of my evening pain
and black is the absence
I search for in vain.

All these colours meet in my lamp. They burst into riot, they cry out my name
and they make my universe, oh who would ever be the same-
after they have seen this epiphany of light?
Colours so lovely, you laugh and you cry
you sparkle and sigh
The constellations twinkle in agreement polite
The lamp is the true star,what a beautiful night. :)

Look at the sky. Can it be true?

From twilight to darkness
Horizons must shrink
Solitude's starkness-
The evening so pink.

*****

The pinkness of the evening
is almost a joke.
Look at the sky. Can it be true?
And think about it.
I waited for you.

*******

Pastorals are written
By men in the town
Who sleep with whores
When the sun comes down.
My grief is flimsy
My language is bad
But will you believe me
When I say that I'm sad?

*******

And all around me
Softly falls night
The city then wakes up
Puts on the light-
Or should it be plural? So many lights
Dispelling the grief of so many nights.

But night alone stands, Night.
Never to be lightened.
Around me, nausea tightened
its hold. Its hold, like sticky glue.
Look at the sky. Can it be true?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

On reading.


What is literature? Where does its unique appeal lie? Human beings constantly struggle to overcome the reality (call it truth if you will) of death. So they tell stories. We enjoy tea, alcohol, nicotine, chocolate, marijuana-each to his/her own- and we build relationships. We read philosophy, we read tabloids, we read palms even. All a futile search for meaning, for constructing ourselves and others. Then one day, someone realizes the bare minimum. He questions the very nature of our paltry existences, and this questioning is often termed "modern", we learn to see ourselves and the world differently.

And then you read one book of 110 pages, and realize that there is something just beyond our grasp, and one hasn't changed the slightest bit after a period of many years. Still, questioning, thinking, fable-making, as one did at the age of 10 after reading The Little Prince.

Why? Because at the end of the day, what else is there to confront (even if one does not fly as a pilot in the 1930s) other than the wind, sand and stars? We're all building stories, futile sandcastles on an endless beach or an eternal desert, until the moment of death. We are our own living, pulsating, laughing, crying, throbbing, dying literatures. Fiction-in-endless-making. Then Kaput!

Friday, 30 April 2010

moving on

Constantly away, away, outwardly moving, building up an absurd and impossible identity, often pausing to think who/what one is, until what/who one is slips out of one's grasp, moving out-moving away from the people one claimed one's own...until nothing remains, and the ashes float away, settling in some remote corner of a dusty field, and then coming back for the last drag from somebody else's fag, why does life have to be an endless loop, an endless search for a coherence that does not exist?

Met and befriended four years ago, we bid adieu, to be bid adieu a year later, who/what am I, and who/what are you, perhaps we will spend many more years trying to figure this out, perhaps not, who cares, this is the age of virtual reality, if reality eludes one, one can always try to connect in a way hitherto unheard of, and now is the moment, now is the moment then, to create a reality that does not exist, never has, and perhaps never will.

Because I sat in that corner, was 17 years old, met her/him when he/she was 18-19 and we became friends, the friends of early adulthood, and these are the friends one gradually grows up with, finally to realize that one is young no longer. What reality is this then, a sultry drizzling summer's day, shall I compare him/her to that summer's day, but he/she is going, and I soon too will be gone, perhaps to another summer, perhaps to a better summer, perhaps not. All that will remain, until the final moment of death, is that horrible, familiar process-going, going, gone. And moving on.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

dog's life

There's a dog that lives on my street. It runs away when it sees me and is scared of me and everybody else. It refuses food, I don't know what it eats. I don't know why it is scared. I tried to go up and talk to him today (it's a him) and it was so scared. But the proximity allowed me to make a horrible discovery. Some fucker has tied a string or rope around his lower body and this fucking rope/string bites into its body and drives it mad with irritation and pain. All day long he nibbles at it, trying to get it off his back. He is largely unsuccessful.

If I try to untie it, he will bite me. And the worst part is, he has grown used to that fucking rope. Maybe he will miss it if someone unties it, and nibble at the disfigured flesh and skin instead. That horrifies me most of all- how most creatures get used to their misery until they are unable to conceive an existence without the presence of great physical or spiritual anguish.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The creation of light.


" ....Lives there who loves his pain?
Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell,
Though thither doomed?"

Satan, Paradise Lost.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

On reading Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita.

When the moonlight becomes unbearable
Dazzling with its uncanny brilliance, this moon
is the moon which torments Pontius Pilate
Who hopes to meet Yeshua soon.

Sometimes when the moon looks at the world just so
You know that Pontius Pilate thinks of Yeshua for
eternity without respite. Night engulfs the earth
and silence is overwhelming, interspersed with mirth.
Satan and his minions enjoy their dominions
And somewhere Death dies, followed by a birth.

Where does goodness lie? Does it lie within?
Is reason no treason and irrationality a sin?
Revolution is just a word. As is imagination.
Born out of necessity, born for the nation.
Nation? asked the Master, what dirty word is that?
I have seen Satan and his servant-jester cat.
Yet they ask for stories and the triumph of good
Life has no moral, why question whether it should?

So many young homeless poets have met
Satan, gone mad, and yet
dream of Pontius in their sedated sleep
Sleep that is disturbed and yet so deep
That in the morning when they awaken
They do not remember, though they are shaken.

Revolution. Where does that happen? Who will
take the burden of it? In the deathly still
Pontius dreams of Yeshua at night
For two thousand years, always out of sight.
Who will take the burden of revolution? He who writes
Can be ensured some peace, despite the disturbed nights.

For every Master has a devoted Margarita, evil witch in disguise
wracked with devotion, a nameless guilt and wretched surprise
Who witnesses havoc and the guilt of sin
Who knows guilt lies wherein?
The price that one has to pay for one's conviction
Can only be paid through some lies called fiction.

**************

Revolution. Is a word. Sometimes it becomes a mere laugh.
At first perhaps soothing and mild.
Then it gains momentum
It becomes wild.
It cares not for any privilege, nor any earthly prize
It has no Margarita in thin and subtle disguise.
This then becomes a real revolution
The positing of a new, not ethical solution.

***************

I promise I shall not write any more poems! cried Ivan Nikaloyevich
I am a bad poet. The Master said, manuscripts don't burn.
In the asylum, the dispossessed poets who have seen Satan
sleep after sedation. Sometimes learn
that at times Margarita returns, Yeshua permits, Satan
escorts one to one's final place of rest
Mastering no art but the heart
For what art can one know best?

****************

Imagination, shrieked Behemoth, the tom cat
who smoked cigars and rode street cars
Imagination helps us transcend
And reach, reach some sort of end.
Or did he not say it at all?
Yet it is true that Pontius dreams
of Yeshua for two thousand years.
Where there is conviction
Where there are tears
And laughter. Where there is death and life.
In short, where there is contradiction
There there is imagination
fantasy, and love.
It is there we build fiction.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Post-Colonial Poetry.

Often I have this great feeling of displacement and dislocation, especially when we do classes on the Augustans. Unlike Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o I have no issues with not being able to relate to Romantic poetry viz, 'Ode to the Nightingale'. I could relate to anyone who feels lazy or indolent. I could relate to this entire hazy rigmarole about truth and beauty, they sound so grand and convincing. "Truth" orre baba...beauty! From a very early age I thought Keats was the cat's whiskers, my grandfather would often (suddenly) quote from Keats and Shelley. For some reason that generation loved the Romantics, but that is another story.

I have written some PoCo poetry. It is neither profound nor brilliant. I hope it captures my angst sufficiently well. I feel terrible when I read Pepys, or Garrick's memoirs or other things of that sort. And when I read about Brummel and the bluestockings and Drury Lane and Sarah Siddons and muslin and....I love it and I can never fully visualize myself in that world. Young women from India who have read Georgette Heyer, unite!

Now for my poetry. Applaud it.

Some Tories wore wigs
Some Whigs wore out Tories
Had I been British
I would have known more such stories.

*sob*

Saturday, 10 April 2010

(a)musing.

Some moments never die, some moments refuse to be recalled, and some moments just are.
I am amazed at how time and again certain moments come back like so and then it was just a few years ago that M got married and then he had a baby and now that baby can speak, recall my name, call me both didiya and doggie. When one sees new life grow up and be capable not only of cognition but recognition that moments become something else.

The ability to realize that one is growing old.

How little one knows about these things. How little I knew you. All we have are moments therefore, moments that fade uneasily. Only on sultry evenings with a slight breeze(like today) I remember(and dismember) many other evenings. Was the breeze same or different? Neither of us care. Who are you but a figment of my nostalgic imagination, sometimes I wistfully and horribly wonder whether you exist at all. What did you think? What do you think? I do not know. And while this hurts me most, while everything hurts me most, I think I have forgotten how to sleep because I am not at rest. This constant state of flux has tired me beyond everything else, I need to get out and go away. I need to breathe in a breeze that is fresh and does not stink of the acrid and bitter smell of memory. I need to make newer moments and realize that I do want to grow old. Like Benjamin Button, I must grow young.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

schooldays

I had a few friends with whom I'd walk to assembly in school. I wasn't really very keen on the Morning Prayers. Two bells would be rung to call the little good girls- the 1st bell and the 2nd with a gap of a few minutes. 2nd bell would mean everyone trying to neatly and hopelessly file into the Big Hall. Mrs. Baruah's bus, on which I travelled from Class VI onwards always managed to reach just a few seconds before the 2nd bell, and everyone would rush out of the bus (I mean matador, calling it a bus is an insult to the very institution of a bus) and rush helter skelter towards the Big Hall. Anyone who is familiar with Loreto House and the two gates would know that the back gate i.e., the entrance from Middleton Street, and the Big Hall is considerable distance apart. Therefore this brisk run was not a pleasant task, not by any means. I would plague my friends, notably Ramona, muchly when we embarked on this brisk run....

for I would never run. It was a matter of principle. I would still trot gently at my own pace and often stare at the sky, or do something meaningless, and scrape through at the end. I would always be the last one to enter the auditorium. Sometimes I would even be barred and made to stand in the "Late Line" but by gad, I'd never run. Some people thought it was because I had a heavy bottom which looked ridiculous when I forced it to accompany me every time I broke into a brisk run. Some thought it was my chest, I would often grasp it and gasp for breath. Some even thought that I was plain lazy. Perhaps, conjectured a few who remembered their Radiant Reader poetry, it was those immortal lines by William Henry Davies- What is this life is full of care, we have no time to etc etc....I am yet to ascertain the true reason why I never cared for any of those goddamned bells. I never managed to get a hymn-book, and always had to sing from memory, and even then my memory sucked. Basically, what I did was-
1. I'd trot, I'd amble, I'd meander, in short I drove Ramona et al crazy.
2.Will you walk a little faster???!!! they would thunder at me. I would then warble in angelic tones Will you walk a little faster? said the whiting to the snail. There's a porpoise close behind us and he's treading on my....*2nd bell*
3. I would grumble and grumble and grumble, until even I was ashamed of myself. Then I would shake my hips-i.e., my buttocks would jiggle, i.e., my bum would move 5 inches behind the rest of my body, i.e, I would run.

I still run, but hey, in my mind!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

-life update-

Insomnia is the worst disease in the world, next to immortality. Imagine never being able to die, never being able to sleep is just a little less bad. I hate my insomnia, it was never this serious. My psychoanalyst could not help me at all. Today a psychiatrist prescribed me medicines, and advised me to stop intake of tea/coffee. This is my death knell, I can't imagine a life without tea and coffee. I don't want any kind of stress anymore, but you should have seen her face when I said that. She looked incredulous and amused(bemused?) and gave me the sort of looks that people give you when they think that being a graduate in English Literature has made you slightly retarded.

It's not all that, it's not. "What is it then?" she asked. If I could even begin to answer her question she would have shown me some respect but I gave her a dull nod and said "I don't know." I am sick of pleading ignorance these days. I want to know. I want to know. And I want to know more than the things I study, read, write or think. I want to fucking know.

Literature really does you in, if you take it seriously. The world does you in if you take it seriously. Why didn't I realize it before? I never took it seriously and I was fine, then I lost half my friends, I mean not just drifting away but actively antagonizing them, I am such a wretched bitch. Fuck this world!Fuck it all. I want to stop being endearing to a handful, I want to be enduring instead.

And now-after a really pathetic day- I came home and discovered that a didi of mine has sent me a parcel of books, choglet and clothes from Montreal. This made me cry out of sheer happiness. Isn't there this strange thrill that permeates one's body and mind when one discovers that one is loved unconditionally by someone at least? I was so happy with everything until I discovered that she had also sent me a piece of putty. Amazing putty that tears like paper, bounces like rubber and shatters like ceramic! It's s'posed to be for stress relief and is manufactured by a company called Copernicus Toys. (Irony, huh?) It has made one li'l retard sister very very very very happy :)

I don't know what to gloat over more-Michael Chabon, endless gourmet choglet or my piece of yellow putty nothingness (and putty sounds like potty, I am exhilarated!)

Silver linings etc etc outshining them dirty grey clouds, huh!
Thank you and I love you Buba didi!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

A Short Story on Love.

Dearest,

I am trying to remember where we first met, I think it was an attic. You know how metaphorical an attic is, it is almost always a lie. Therefore my attic might need never have existed and yet I claim we met in an attic. I am sure you remember it as well. If you don't- ah well, does it even matter? I wonder whether you remember the dirt. The dirt has increased over the years for I am quite sure that the sweepers always forget to sweep out that one particular attic. It lies there in a curious liminal zone, beyond memory and nostalgia, an attic where we once made love.

You stood there looking at the dusty shelves trying to figure out whether it was the old copy of Beowulf you wanted or a book of transcendental old vernacular poetry. You had money for one book and you chose the Krishna-leela over heroic lores of monsters who existed in old Anglo Saxon England. Or was it England then? Who cares, my beautiful glorious one, who cares? I know you as I have seen you glow in the tropical summers of my old, forgotten, and fading colonial city, glow with perspiration, dust and poverty. I have seen you glow with love and inspiration and I have seen you fade too. Fade away, fade out, you drifted into the ether, the vast ether of humanity, away from this country and this city uniquely ours.

I remember you in that bookstore-in-the-attic, and I knew you were a mad woman, a woman who would throw the copy of Beowulf onto the floor and without epilogue or prologue bat your eyelids at me, and I would trace the contours of your eyelashes-what could be more erotic? But you adjusted your spectacles and almost in reflex the sari that you so carelessly and wonderfully wore stiffened. I believe it was my presence that alerted you. You looked up at me and looked past me. You paid for the Beowulf and you walked out, alone. I was so hurt then, so very hurt, almost surreally I saw the blood flow through my flimsy white shirt, it dripped on to the floor, the floor of red cement. Red camouflages red all the time, doesn't it? So it was with my blood which coagulated shortly until I realized that it was not blood at all, it was something else altogether. Don't shout "metaphor, you lousy lunatic!" at me, I don't think I can take it. I wanted to marry you then and there. I knew you felt it too. So I followed you. I followed you outside without paying for the books that I picked up. You see how I must go back eventually, go back to the old attic? I did not pay for my books, I must return.

To however go back to reminding you of that one mad day of love. I followed you and convinced you with my frantic gestures to accompany me to Prinsep Ghat, the banks of the river Hooghly. I wondered at your superb nonchalance in calling it Ganges, it is not the River Ganges, it is not I tell you. This little disagreement we have obviously livens things up a bit (although your utter ignorance makes me mad and very very angry.) We stare at the Greco-Roman pillars, not decrepit but not stunning either, somehow they seem so integral to the mood. We hope for something eternal you know, something lasting, even if it is only for the moment. You smile and tell me, "Let us take a boat for an hour, why don't we?" and in my enthusiasm I take a boat for two hours. You sat at one end and I sat at another and we were so scared that this little rickety boat would be overburdened with two strange hearts that would find little common ground that we stared at the swirling water instead of at ourselves. That eternal swirling water, what did it care for our transient and fleeting differences? The boatman asked us for a cigarette taking advantage of the uncanny silence. I grimaced but you laughed and handed him one of your expensive ones. He gave an ugly grin (what horrible teeth!) and lit it with your pink lighter. I could have died of jealousy at that moment, it is engraved in my mind-the image of his toothy grin and sly wink, he smoking your expensive tobacco and I staring moodily at the water, staring sans courage. But how could I protest? You would have laughed at me, and that would have been mortifying. So I kept my silence and you your tobacco but my mind was not silent, it was screaming screaming at the sky and at the water and there yonder at the distant silhouette of land. The river meandered like our moody minds; what did it care for how we think? These thoughts eluded the muddy water, the boatman asked for a cigarette, the glowing embers swayed and flickered out in the water. We had only that eternal passing moment.

Then you laughed again and I looked up. "Why is your forehead creased?" you asked. "I am thinking..." "Oh?!" and that strange smile reserved not for fellow human beings but for something less human, something we feel pity for and yet empathy too. "Our lives are taut and relaxing at the same time," you said," and that is why I find ice cream so delightful. The cold tingles my teeth (I have cavities that tingle) and yet the ice cream melts into the tongue...not always an explosion of taste but almost always an explosion of feeling." And then-because you were a poet-"Do I always write in the same way?" I was truthful before I was a lover so I said-"Never same but always similar." Then you got terribly angry and slapped me so I sat chastened like a little obedient sulking boy. Finally you smiled. "Exactly. Writing is like love then, eh?" I was impressed, impressed so much as to have an orgasm, but controlled myself in time for there was also this slight resentment. Love is never similar! Never! But the boatman had rowed for a couple of hours already, the hours of paid glamour and suspect danger were over. Death by drowning would not happen, not at least this evening.

That night I had a dream. I dreamed that we were married and were on our honeymoon. I wanted to go to Paris but you chose the mountains. There in a remote spot in the Greater Himalayas we fought absurd snow fights. You stuffed snow down my woollies, you bitch! I however was the winner (or loser) of this unequal match and carried you across to the little wooden cottage. We lit a fire. We cozied up. Shadows danced in front of us and outside everything was white. That dazzling wretched blinding whiteness symptomatic of snow. I hated it. I hated it too much. You said you loved it. You changed your mind the very next second. Then even you said you hated it. I said this was a dream and we would wake up very soon. You looked sad and you said it was my dream and not yours. So what would you do? You were condemned to linger there forever alone, you cried. "You will return soon?" I assured you that I would. But I knew that I hated this whiteness so much that I pledged I would never ever dream of it again. I wanted to prolong the loving(hating?) as long as I could however, so I stroked your cheeks. Your cheeks looked like red green-veined apples. One could ferment them and make cider and get intoxicated, I was already intoxicated with your smell. You had no ordinary smell, it was pungent and sweet like autumnal things. "You will return soon?" I assured you that I was yet to come or even reach my destination, returning comes later. My answer was "Cognition comes before recognition." You turned your slender stiffened back at me and wept. "I hate the way you speak. I hate the way you refuse to acknowledge poetry. I hate it when you descend into philosophy!" But I hadn't, I told you repeatedly I hadn't, I hadn't done anything. I tried to reach out to your fading silhouette and found myself awake. I was awake and alone and perspiring.

****************

It is only at moments like these when you realize that solitude is not worth so much poetry or philosophy or even banal speculation. Solitude is the one curse that you do not ever need. I did not need it either so without further ado we had the most glorious summer in the world. So what if temperature shot up to 45 degrees celsius. I was mad, mad with the concept of dialectic, I understood it as I had never understood it before. We bought lozenges which we bit into asymmetrical twos thanks to superbly manoeuvred kisses, two sets of sharp teeth and the feverish love that new lovers acquire. I witnessed her perspiring in the most glorious cotton saris but we never went back to the attic. Nor even to the banks of the river. Gradually her cruel laugh became a distant memory and she would smile differently now, smiles of pleasant contentment. We explored new places and spaces and faces. Hand held in hand we discovered Calcutta as it was then. We ate greasy food that she could never digest and watched superbly political plays that she surely did not understand. I was often afraid to tell her how little she understood anything, stupid girl as she was she thought feeling was understanding. Yet who was I to aim to give her conceptual clarity? She was more beautiful than I was and she had breasts and she thought she could deal in language and for me, for the time being, it was enough.

Two summers went by. It was time to understand time. Not this eternal passing moment but the future. I had saved up some money. I bought a ring. I planned to meet her there where my brow had been creased in hateful thought two summers ago.
"Dearest," I said with my hand in my pocket, "We are done with this chapter in our lives. To increase our horizons and to aid that infinite progression of knowledge we must escape these narrow confines and travel, travel to a country and a university that with ample funds will sustain us for the next many years. Will you join me? Will you go?"
She stared straight ahead as if she hadn't heard me and muttered, "I hate the syntactical structures of your sentences, you freak."

A summer previous to that I would have felt a mild annoyance and infinite affection but all I felt was blank as if something had struck me suddenly. A faint idea trying to articulate itself. Perhaps it would be better not to? Perhaps there was something...? Her cruelty, her utter arrogance, her blind irrational hatred for everything that stood in her way. Why was she so irrational? How could I ever live with her? It was impossible! It was impossible! She was a stupid unseeing child who had flashes of brilliance but whose sense of self importance would make it absolutely impossible for her to achieve greatness. She claimed humility but modesty she had none. A snob, an intellectual snob with no insight into my interests and my needs. She said the same things of me.Yet I loved her.

****************

I loved you so much that it was impossible to be with you. I don't think you will ever understand. I have heard that you were married and divorced and that you are working as a journalist. I didn't think you would ever go back to the city where we grew up either, but return you did. Something that I could never do. I often dream those old familiar dreams and wake up crying alone but of late it has been decreasing, I do it only once a year, midsummer. I daresay you think I am mad, I have always been. There is something so wrong about being in love, so intrinsically wrong. It has made me work harder and harder and I have produced some of my best work in the process. I bought your book of poetry recently. I never thought you could write such pleasant things not remotely sad. The Funny Book of Short Giraffes from a morbid self-obsessed girl like you? I'm sure you're going to say that I haven't understood it, that there are layers and layers and layers like onions that I need to peel- and cry in the process.

I am yet to return to the attic bookstore. I know you wait for me there endlessly, wait for me to return. I am sorry, I am sorry, I have lately started writing poetry-would you say it is a small step? This is how I end today-

"In the universe of our many delusions only one thing do I know with certainty that I have loved and my love was true and so did you and we wait for eternity to end so that we can reunite for this bitter joy is what sustains us this never being together this eternal anticipation and constricted feeling at the same time liberating…Thus ends the saga and thus begins it for in our end lies our beginning and we shall meet in those sepia attics and the whiteness until universal darkness shall engulf us in a different understanding
and still may we love…"

I know that I have failed us and yet succeeded. You fool, you utterly beautiful fool who exists like the attic in that curious liminal zone between memory and nostalgia, you made a mistake. You didn't understand. Or did you? I finally have.

The one thing that a poet and a philosopher can have in common is paradox.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

like-blah?!

I thought I saw glittering fireflies instead of sodium lamps, and I thought I saw funny clowns instead of people. P's cycle became a unicorn and I was so happy. I was going fast, very fast, being double-carried into the ether. And all of this because of some puny beer in a bottle?

Oh no no. Obviously not.
Where did I keep my spectacles? :O

Saturday, 20 March 2010

growing up

With the knowledge that one is getting older comes another more difficult realization-that people see you as an adult. This is terrible, because I feel like a child all the time. I want to be adored and cuddled and made much of and mostly I have a terrible desire to be understood. My friends often point out the inevitability of the complexities that characterize human existence, but it hurts me most when even my mother treats me as grownup at times.

B especially tells me that my irrational habit of disliking someone who doesn't like me much or make much of me is pathetic and childish. N said appearances need not necessarily correspond to reality and to expect this is pathetic and perhaps a piece of philosophical idiocy. S is in many ways like me, the need to be loved comes from so deep within that both of us often end up looking foolish and absurd. But trying to grow up has been a physically exhausting process for me these last few years and I think at times that everything I write will end up being a replay of that old and familiar nostalgia.

I miss people terribly, I miss my old attachments without wanting them back, I replay them in my mind and I love and hate the old times. I miss the innocence and I miss my snootiness and snottiness. There have been instances when I have been hurt terribly and when I have hurt people terribly. I want to ask for forgiveness and I want to distribute it too. I go over these times and try to figure out where and how and what I should have done differently. And then I remember that I am an adult and an adult doesn't treat time like this. An adult looks forward and doesn't dwell in the past and the what-might-have-beens.

I set a lot of store on human attachment- as if being attached to people is the mark of humanity. I would question attachment and at the same time accept it unquestioningly. Why does he/she like me? What do they see in me as a person? How far would they care about me? What if I am in trouble? What if I die? D taught me that one doesn't question attachment when it comes, one is just attached. One is a friend. One cares. Memories don't fade but gradually you get detached from these memories, the good times, the love. You look back but you don't obsess. That is growing up.

Sometimes you become friends with people and get attached to those who can never feel as you do. They might not reciprocate the love and concern you have for them or they might not have the same intellectual and social concerns. You think about different issues, you gradually fall out.
I have had several intense friendships with men and women and strangely enough I seem to have had immense difficulty in preserving these over time. But I am learning, as N may testify.

It is one of my closest friends-N.B.- who unconsciously made me understand in her beautiful dimly lit drowsy afternoon room- the friends who stay are those whom you love and appreciate with detachment, who you see as central to your life in a peripheral way, with whom you have fun but mild enjoyment and not paroxysms of delight. Even looking back at lost time is an art-maintain an aesthetic and intellectual distance-otherwise life could become unbearable, unlivable, and repetitive.

When I have such moments of realization I wonder how these will enrich my art. In my teenage years I believed that moments of agony mingled euphoria- ecstasy and epiphany- characterize the greatest works of art. That might be only partially true. In my twenties I have reached a different understanding. Life is composed of calmer moments-moments when one realizes that one has no enemies and no "best friends" either. It is then that the consciousness feels happy curled up with an interesting book, a cup of good tea and the promise of a phone call a couple of hours later. Accompanying this feeling of almost contentment is the happy realization that nobody in this world will probably "understand" me, myself included. This is when one is in urgent need of chocolate.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

-in devotion-

The seconds are ticking by, and they become minutes and hours
and days and months. Years have passed and I met you
too late. Too late to call you my own. How we have grown
and it is true. Red and purple are the flowers
that grow every season of crisis.
Tell me, have you met the goddess Isis?

I am no Isis, no miraculous woman, and know no magic
Charmed by my absurdity, you forget that I am tragic.
Overhead in this evening sky the eternal awaits-
Closed is my perception and thus forbidden are the gates.
Seconds melt into minutes and hours pass me by
When I look into your face which alone gazes at the sky.

Yet every moment reminds me of my human imperfections, my defects are many-
broken are the strings of my lyre, missing the intensity of
desire. I wish I could emit
a stream of perpetual knowledge
or fascinating wit.
But all I see and you see are the imprints of my flaws.
Slender are the hands of Isis, grubby are my paws.

You look at me in recognition and often think you know
the conception of woman, the appearance that I show
is mistaken for reality. You who can penetrate
into the depth of things, must realize it is too late.
You see the illusion of wings and the mirage of flight
My broken strains of music reverberate through the night.

The seconds are ticking by and we had erupted into song
where the purple flowers grow and the birds
sing along. You knew my voice was harsh though
tender was my heart. We would soon grow apart-
and knowledge of this crisis
Made you call me songstress, a beautiful Isis.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Streets to the Unknown

Or, hast thou experienced love, my poet?

We do not know.

What do you not know, my poet?
Those hidden alleys of love?
Bylanes to destiny, crisscrossed with misfortune?
Misfortune of not being known, but discovered?
Of being discovered but remaining unrecognized?
(Is it in your smile that the answer lies?)

They remain questions.

He toils at his task, so extremely literate,
but his grimy and sweaty countenance frowns.
Always these dark cul-de-sacs leading to more questions...
Why doesn't he laugh when the treacherous evening descends
and the leaves rustle and the stars burst into tears?
(Why does he search for answers in my smile?)

He does not know.

We should have gone for an unnatural play together
Beaumont and Fletcher, or maybe a movie- Chinatown-
He would have been horrified with the incest
Jack Nicholson would have satisfied me, we would soon
part ways. He would walk away, and the moon
would shine on my fading silhouette. Farewell.

The Unknown can only ask questions-

Have you...you...experienced love, my poet?
When the sweat dripped from your weary brow-
and you thought, "This is the time, then
and now, now she will come-" and I came
But the weight of legacies, questions and quandaries...
Burdens. You sought deliverance, that too in a smile.

I go back to what I know best, my
final inheritance. You, my poet,
unlettered and not illiterate,
honest but untrue.
Perhaps no poet at all.

What is a smile?
A street to the Unknown?

We do not know.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

poetry

Oh my kind young narcissus,
I have loved you, until your love directed inwards,
killed me.

And I wrote to you, commemorating that love-
this very draft here replaced the old one-
a beautifully composed pack of lies.

Perhaps that sort of love is meant to be
written over and over again.
Some sort of ecstasy in pain
Out of my skin, in yours, must we begin
to recount the old story of obsession?
Shall I be content with the old sin?

Or can it wane?

But here I am at the old site of commemoration
Rewriting myself, and perhaps
this love is important. For all love
is subjective to the point of
pure selfhood.

So I shall come back again.
Tonight. Every night.
This poem shall change every night.
Watch this chameleon space.

It is your face.

A terribly thwarted textual construct.
Nothing more, nothing less.
A simulacrum of real love
Forever- changing, hyperreal mess.

Friday, 5 March 2010

My Dilli trip funny post.

Do not pretend, my loyal readers, that you have not been waiting for this post. This is going to be one of those posts that make you laugh so much that you inevitably fart in your seats and pretend that the chair moved, making that awkward noise.

The seminar that I went for was- in a nutshell- funny. Now I shall explicate why it was funny. The options that you have-
1. The author of this blog is strange.
2. Seminars organized without a specific purpose and agenda and without adequate screening of paper-readers are strange.
3. Delhi, as an alien city, and the large sprawling campus of JNU with a million canteens all with fantastic food, and Arse Poetica let loose with too much loose cash alone, alone in this evil large metropolis= trouble.

There are many things that my curious, observant and inquisitive mind has to say. Like; do not use a boarding pass as a bookmark. Do not leave your most precious and intensely private notebooks lying about in the house of the people that you are staying with and then call them up and ask them to peruse the same looking for aforementioned bookmark. Do not contemplate their horror when they see sexy potty sexy potty sexy potty written ad infinitum all over your intensely private notebook. The evening conversation went something like this.
A. uncle: I didn't know you have a potty fixation
A.P: I do?
A.uncle: Indeed. Your boarding pass was not in the Camus as you had claimed, so I chanced upon your notebook.
A.P: The notebook that had "potty" written all over it?
A.uncle: No, the notebook that had sexy potty written all over it.
Arse Poetica cringes.
Little kid: Ahona didi, tum kitni gandhee cheezein likhti ho!
Attempt at recovery of lost reputation:
Potty gandhee kyun hogee? Sab log karte hain!
Actually the term "sexy potty" is one that I have coined. It encapsulates the ennui of everyday academics-standing for the banality of our inane existences. For example, who can tolerate two hours of nonstop lit-shit, eh? Thus etc. In fact, one of our professors established the famous blog on fantastic(not) loos and where to find them! Scatology I like better than other more mundane epistemology, and so...

M. Auntie (nursing her 3rd vodka and looking stonily at me) : It's OK.

For the first time in my life, I introspected on my fondness for potty. I mean, it's not that I like looking at my shit or anything. I am just as normal at shitting as any of you. Then what is it? Why am I like this? Am I disturbed? Am I weird? Am I- oh horror horror- dirty?
Anyway this story ends here. Moving to the seminar which I attended- truly cosmopolitan and exciting. I befriended people of various nationalities- Czech, Polish, Japanese. But one race I could not stand during the course of the international conference on bengal and bengalis by gad were the bangalis...

I will now tell you about the weirdest of the lot. He was a man with a physical deformity which would at first instance lead you to feel some sympathy for him. There is a tendency to sentimentalize hunchbacks after reading Victor Hugo. But sympathy for this particular creature was shortlived. After a hugely disappointing plenary session this man arose to ask a question. With a flourish he ascended the podium. Meanwhile the plenary had become a heated catfight between two elderly largely un-intellectual ladies who were screaming at each other. This man goes up like a breath of stale air and looks serious. We expect something calmer, but in a split moment of delightful horror, we understand that he is enunciating an obscene chant instead of a question-
joy bangla!joy bangla! joy bangla!!!!!

Never has victory ever been further from Bengal. Gone were the memories of the pointless plenary and the cantankerous catfight. Here was the new apostle; a man with a stoop and a relentless opinion. A Vaishnavite whose sole claim to academic fame was life membership of the Asiatic Society. After the performance which was his paper, I was led to believe that they take auditions before you get admission to the hallowed portals of that orientalist institution.

his performance.
Some acts leave you speechless and incoherent, incapable of representation. You become acutely aware that what you write is not the real thing, that you can never convey the real thing. But nevermind. Let us try. I shall merely quote him and leave the rest to your imagination and delicacy of mind, dear reader.

Quote #1- regarding the validity of a date in the life of Chaitanyadeb-
"Gurudeb Sukumar Sen bole gechhen 1583 aar Ramakanta,(hnyaa, mane paasher barite thaake), bolechhe 1610. Amar mot e 1583 keno na(kapaal chhulen pronaam er bhongima te) paramguru bole gechhen!"
my translation- "My mentor Sukumar Seb has said the date is 1583 and Ramakanta"( yes, for sure he lives next door...) "has said that it's 1610. In my opinion it is 1583 because (touches forehead as a mark of respect and reverence) my paramguru has said so!"

Quote #2-
"Paramguru bole gechhen-shokkole sanskrit poro, poro, poro!

Quote #3-
"Salute to all those jaaraa amar paper mon diye shunechhen- jara shonen ni...(looks very very angry and in the mood to kill)...no salute!"

I have never seen anybody so clear in the head about what he wants from his audience at any seminar. To salute all those who have listened to a merciless invective breathtaking in its irrelevance and low academic merit, and to deny the salute to those who switched off....*speechlessness*He also interrupted every speaker in every session that he attended with irrelevant comments, mostly concerning his Bengali and Vaishnavite jingoism.

Also a Czech academic who befriended me asked me this question most seriously:
apni aponar paper kokhon poribeshon koriben? (When will you serve your paper?)

I did not answer this seriously:
Aagami kaal, mohashoy. Shonge kintu kancha lonka, shorsher tel ebong lobon aniben! (Tomorrow, good sir, do not forget to get the green chillies, mustard oil and essential salt!)

There are of course a million other stories, and one that includes the good Opaline, and plenty more on JNU and their "tutes"- which is a lewd abbreviation that they have come up with for tutorials- but for antichrissakes, not today, not today.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

trippy trip trippy

Going to Delhi and staying in a university where my father studied in the 70s. This is going to be odd, I always have a problem with history. Which is perhaps why he didn't encourage me to study it in the first place. To think this is where Baba did his thing when he was my age is bound to be a bit strange, especially because everyone thinks I look like a young him in jeans and sweater. The kaalo choshma, the short crop of unruly curls and the rather hostile smirk at people who oppose us.

Not to mention the total lack of regard for order, sobriety and reason. There is absolutely no method in our madness. Except he's lots cleverer than I am. And he is married to my mother- an achievement I can never hope to emulate. She is the most beautiful and clever and sensitive Leo that I have ever seen. Which reminds me- she got his goat, that rather wretched Capricorn that he is.

So I'm going to Delhi tomorrow and staying where he stayed 35 years back and wondering whether the quirkiness of time will kill me when I go to England in summer, for that will remind me of the summer 22 and more years back when I was conceived. The product of the marriage between two earnest young scholars who had to wait 7 years before bringing me into it without the hope of a sibling-before or after.

I don't think I want to do a serious PhD after all.