Thursday, 10 March 2011

Women

Exactly as my stomach began to realize it was time for lunch, she called us in. In a frenzy all eight of us rushed into the kitchen salivating in our mouths. We could smell the Kozhambu and the Arisi Applam. But we weren’t allowed to touch it, she was looking at us with those eyes. Those eyes that could command anyone. Once we had all washed our hands, we sat in a circle with her in the center. Pretty customary. She rolled the rice, mixed with thick curd, and lopped it into our hands. It was a game we played. The curd rice was a blob that was losing its form, not too quickly and not too slow. Before it melted off our tiny 5 year old palms we would make a small hole in the middle, and she would fill it with a spoon full of Kozhambhu. Each one of us would eat the dollop of curd rice with Kozhambhu, take a bite off of our Appalam and then put our hands forward for another.

None of us knew how much we ate, none of us knew how deep the pot of rice was, all that we knew was that we never left the circle hungry.

***

I was supposed to be asleep. I was not. I was lying in my bed with a very heavy heart that was filled with guilt for letting her down again. She had shown her displeasure, and rightfully so. I was sorry, for what I had done. That was a lie that most of us are conditioned to be. Guilt. Truth was I didn’t even realize what I was doing was wrong. I kept tossing and turning in my mind. Her animated face kept cropping up in my head every time I closed my eyes, making me feel worse. I heard the door creak open very quietly. I closed my eyes tight and pretended to be asleep. I could hear her footsteps, coming closer. I could feel her sitting near my head. Her hands stroked my hair for a while. Each touch scraping away the weight and sadness in my mind. She bent down and kissed me on my temple.

“I know you are awake, don’t worry about it Kanna. Good night”

I never said goodnight back to her on those days, but I never slept happier either.

***

The problem with living in a single room house, where that single room was the only room, is that at some point you are so well acquainted with the room and everything in it, that all you want to do is get out of it. But where could you go at 2:00 in the morning, in Bangalore? The pubs close at 11:00PM, not that I am the pub hopping type, and the Police catch you on the road and sniff your mouth. Facebook doesn’t refresh itself all that often after 2:00AM, and what is on TV is never something you want to see. I pick up my cell phone and I speed dial 1. She answers in a sleepy voice. Her picking up the phone after three calls that rang to completion does not stop me from asking her if she was asleep, and her Duh doesn’t stop me from asking her what she is up to. It happens almost every two weeks, I wake her up at 2:00 in the morning and talk to her till breakfast, and go to sleep until lunch while she goes a full day without sleep.

I never learnt, and she never taught me.

***

Bangalore, raining and traffic filled is easily anybody’s nightmare. She was sitting behind me on my heavy bullet trying to cover what little dryness she had on herself with my sweater. The streets were narrow, filled with water, vehicles, and my friend in front of me who knew where we were going was gone. This is when my phone chooses to ring. Through the deafening noise of horns and water I manage to tell her that my phone is ringing and she should reach into my pocket and answer it. After a little groping inside she manages to take it out and tell an uninvited friend that we are on our way. Something he doesn’t understand. By this time I realize I am lost.

“Ninju?”
“Hmmm”
“Are we lost?”
“Probably” I tell her biting my teeth and controlling my anger.

Silence

I cross a signal and come onto unfamiliar roads. As I pull over cursing the wrong turn and I turn around.

Silence

We were laughing hysterically the rest of our wet, inconvenient, cold uncomfortable journey, with her hands in my pockets and her cheek on my back.

Just enough to make the memory warm.

***

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Kiss me

how bright how brilliant
he looks up in awe
how beautiful a thing he has the privilege to bear
how shimmering
how filled with joy
he looks around the darkness far away
at bay
because of her

"my pretty one" he calls out
"how happy you make me"

and she lowers her lips
and he raises his back
kiss
the pain shoots through his self
from head to toe
and he sheds a tear that takes a part of his being
and rolls down to his feet
but ere it reach the floor it loses the heat of the kiss
and it becomes a lead weight
at his feet

why my dear?
he looks at her again
she looks down again and lowers her lips
and he tries to kiss her again
all through the night
that night, the next and the next, until the last night
when he sees himself dwarfed to but the drops that rolled down
and melted his self where he can carry her no more

he sees with a heavy heart as he is removed from the sill
and the lady of the house places another tall and strong ...

very carefully she places the fallen hero's love
to kiss the one that took the fallen's place
and for love to consume another poor soul