Sunday, June 14

Running on empty

Having written about a 100 something posts, you would think it would get easier. Just think the thoughts and the words will type themselves into something resembling a readable piece. You know others who do it. Of course, that does not happen. To you, that is.

Much as you'd like the blog to simply be a place for your thoughts, the random ideas that float in to your head and a landing pad for the times when ennui brings you crashing down, you are coherent enough to realize that you have expectations of yourself. That, having read good books by great writers, you would at least want to try to take a few tottering steps toward quality writing. You think about the number of drafts you've deleted because they did not have 'it' when you read & re-read them. Right there, the little guy with the sneering voice points out the mediocre ones that have made it past the 'publish post' point & you begin to wonder whether you would recognise quality writing if it waltzed in & punched you on the jaw. Just thinking about that makes you weary & pine for a pint (and more) in the right company.

You want to write about how nice the weekend has been. About the sheer brilliance of making it home without sweating for a change. About wolfing down dinner & heading over to a pal's on your bike. About how riding the bike is effortless because you are the only one who knows how to coax the best out of her, gently. About how you can ride at speed with a joy that threatens to spill over from your chest because you KNOW every dip, curve and pothole on the road. About how the night wind whips through your hair, seemingly celebrating with you. About how the VAT 69 on the rocks goes down oh so agreeably. As does the next one. And the next. About how you have your first night of unbroken sleep in ages. And how the breakfast at a non-descript spot in a nook of Deccan Gymkhana requires nothing more than a sigh.

You want to make the description of a cricket game in the evening read well, let the reader live each moment in your shoes. You want to write about the whispers of the evening breeze & a late summer evening blue sky that envelops you in a gladness for just being there in that moment. You yearn to paint a written picture of the sheer pleasantness of a swim at dusk followed by a piping hot, spicy meal. About how the night lulls you to slumber.

It amuses you in that typically twisted way that Sunday shimmers and disappears. That Sunday evening is a celebration of Nature coming to the party. That the very air seems to remind you that you don't live in Pune any more. You even smirk because the thought comes unbidden - maybe you wouldn't notice the sunset if you did live here. Then your shoulders drop... perhaps because that thought has hit too close to home.

You can 'see' yourself stumbling along sleepily on Monday morning. To leave.

But, even after a 100 posts, you find yourself unable to say it well.

And you wonder why.

Song for the moment: Don't speak - No Doubt

Friday, June 12

Eyes of the beholder

"You've lost weight" they say
In concern, not in congratulation.
Perhaps a slight twinge of envy, maybe
That they need must exercise
To achieve something similar.

He shrugs his bony shoulders
And wonders how one can feel both
Heaviness & emptiness
In one body.

"It must be love"...
"He must be pining"...
He is polite & will not shatter their illusions
But cannot help his amusement at the antithesis
For abhorrent anger will burn the flesh just as well.

Song for the moment: The last time - Janis Joplin

Tuesday, June 9

Goldfish bowl

It looked innocuous.
That was the truth.
It had his name, designation, office address etcetera.
Pretty consistent with what should be on it.
It was his very first business card too.
And yet, he could not escape the fact - it looked innocuous.

In that moment, it seemed to define him... the individual alphabets uniting to obstinately state what it was he did.

Or what he pretended to do.

Who he was on the day.

And who he wanted to be.

With a deep, weary sigh he wished he had not ordered so many of them.

Song for the moment: White rabbit - Jefferson Airplane

Tuesday, June 2

Holes to heaven

It was around 7:00 pm on a weekday as I entered the house. The hall lights were dimmed & the atmosphere was sombre... so heavy that I knew there'd been a stormy argument very recently. From the kitchen, came the sound of a knife rhythmically slicing through vegetables & hitting the cutting board. The clickety-clack of the computer keyboard could be heard faintly from my folks' bedroom. My strategy in such times was to quietly slink into my room to ensure I was not at the receiving end of any leftover angst. I know you've done that countless number of times too.

The stereo was playing a tape called 'Love at the Movies', a mix of romantic 70's & 80's movie songs. Not being at an age where one is terribly enthused by random people yodelling on about love, pain, loneliness or belonging, I barely paid any attention to the music. Just as I'd crossed the hall toward the passage to my room, the opening bars of this floated forth from the speakers.

I froze.

For, while I could identify the guitar part of the song, it was the other accompanying sound that reached into me, into the depths of my heart, making it feel heavy and light simultaneously... setting off sparklers in my head, letting me see rich colours pulsing in the dusk. This being a time before the internet was even heard of, I found out whatever I could about the song from the catalogue. And, for the very first time, I read the letters... took in the sound of the word... imagined the tune in my head as I spelt it out - s a x o p h o n e.

Mesmerised. That's what I was. I remember thinking that I finally knew what the soul would sound like.

I was 12 then. At first, thanks to a lack of knowledge and of course convenience, I heard the song again and again... to a point where my mum made me a copy of the tape to ensure the original would stay safe. I was satisfied by just listening to it. A few years later I was watching an episode of the Simpsons... remember the one where Homer is in the hospital and Lisa plays him a song on her saxophone ? At the exact moment she starts playing, I knew.

I had to play it too.

Today is supposed to be the day of my very first saxophone lesson. So much emotion, so many memories, too much, actually... is balanced on possibility.

Song for the moment: Turn the page - Bob Seger