Thursday, January 31

Heart-shaped box*

He sat on the floor, with his back to the wall. The drawing room had no furniture apart from a television resting on a bookcase, because he did not require any.

In the breathless stillness, the smoke spire from the slow-burning cigarette resting on the pen stand to his left, sliced upward in a straight line. The glass on his right held two fingers of Glenfiddich.

Drag and sip. Drag and sip. In rhythm.

His brain told him cigarettes were bad for his lungs. His brain told him booze was bad for his liver. His heart stayed silent.

Slowly & steadily, the combination of the scotch and the cigarette was making him weak-kneed.

It was as good a substitute for being in love as any.

Song for the moment: Oh, me - Nirvana

*4 years in Bombay and counting 

Monday, January 28

Goin' through the motions

The trains were delayed this morning.

Not the usual 5 minute inconvenience. I'm talking 30 minute, platform stacked 6 rows deep, people hanging onto people who are hanging on the door, passengers standing in the unique 'bugger the man ahead' formation (think about it) kind of crowded.

Somehow, I get to the office and check my mail and the job schedule, to find a stinking pile of what passes for work waiting. One of my clients wants a newsletter designed and copy-ready by 1 pm, while they're still giving galleys of the original information at noon. Information that has to be edited, rewritten, proofed and then sent to the art director, complete with snappy captions and whathaveyou. Information that is, at best, incoherent, and at worst, incomplete and incomprehensible. Which I point out to the long-suffering client servicing guy, who talks to the client, and is sent another document containing... the exact same information.

I'm still digesting this tripe, when another email hits the inbox. Another client wants YET ANOTHER set of name options for their product. At last count, I'd done 30 possible names, based on the ever-changing brief.

Yea, its that kind of day.

I mention this to my boss, who says "It could be worse". I know this to be true. At the same moment, an image of me being pushed, shoved and man-handled this morning flashes in front of my eyes.

And I start giggling hysterically. Because right now, there's nothing else to do.

Song for the moment: We gotta get out of this place - Blue Oyster Cult

Friday, January 18


You're at the threshold of the house, wiping your shoes on the mat. Of course you're nervous.

This isn't the first time you're entering a place, but entering a new place is always a little tricky. So you took a little extra care this time around. Made sure the week leading up to it was as stress-free as possible. Negotiated a few slippery spots and curves on the approach road with surprising dexterity. Tried to relax and stay loose as you walked up the front yard. Rotated your shoulders and released a little tension between the blades and your neck. Repeatedly wiped your palms on your trousers to get rid of the cool sweat beads. Gave up. Clenched your fist, let it hover on the door, and began wiping your shoes.

You knock. The door opens immediately and you step in. Tentatively, because its a new place. And then, steadier and more confidently, each tread followed by the next in a slow but rhythmic pattern. You see the door you want and begin walking a little faster, your hand already reaching out for the knob.

And you trip. Without grace, poise or equanimity. Land in an awkward heap on the floor, stunned. Physically, sure. But mentally also, because you'd navigated the start so smoothly... and were so close to the door. Gathering what's left of your breath and energy (since insouciance deserted you long ago), you force yourself into a half-sprawl, half-sitting position and look for the culprit. Which is a weather-beaten, warped floorboard.

Branded with the word GUILT.

Of course.

Song for the moment: Walk - Foo Fighters

*Full-to metaphorical. Just.