Monday, April 18, 2011

an Ideal Sunday

Woke up to a misty morning. Got lovely dovey with ma. Went for a dip. Swam for over an hour.

Came back. For the tenth day in a row, gyrated the hoola hoop in the hope to master it someday. Could manage only 7 hoops at max. The same as yesterday. But I remain stubborn.

As if trying to make my Sunday, the weather gods decided to rain! Aah...rain for me...like dope for an addict. Inevitably, got drenched again :)

After the rain, went for a pleasure stroll with ma. Hand in hand on the wet roads of Dwarka. Ended up buying veggies and milk...anything for that walk with ma.

Took out my cycle for repair. Gladly parted with Rs 20, the cost of fixing tyre puncture. Tried to remember which part of my car costs as less as that? Couldn’t recall any.

Went for a leisurely cycle ride. Something was wrong with Delhi weather on this Sunday. It was unimaginably good. Kept reminding me of Bokaro.

Came back home, and put the CD player on full volume like a brat! From kailash kher’s soul stirring songs to rehman’s classics to downright dirty bollywood numbers...danced on all till I nearly dropped. Was dancing even while bathing.

Had fresh fruits for breakfast. Got lovely dovey with ma. And slept like a log after that! A Sunday without morning sleep is incomplete.
Raajma-bhaat for lunch. Seems that I look emaciated to my mother (there is movie like this...where the boyfriend of an elephantine girl actually sees her as slim...cant point the movie’s name...but I think my mother has a similar syndrome). Ma added a pinch of salt and dollops of ghee to the bhaat. In front of my eyes! I swear I (feebly) tried resisting. Ate with my eyes closed. Making orgasmic sounds.

Picked up the book I’m reading these days. Bhagat Singh’s writings. Got drunk on a few lines. Ruminated on them. Talked to myself. Talked to Bhagat Singh.

Had a cousin uncle coming as Sunday guest. Dad suggested I should wear pyjamas instead of my usual shorts. I pretended not to listen. Sunday without parents’ barbs too is incomplete! I might also start enjoying it soon.

Come evening. Comes the lovely lovely rain. Comes the wind laden with the mind-blowing smell of wet earth. Comes back my desire to play with water.
Decide to go swimming again. This time with my brother. In a different pool (my pool guys already think I’m some sort of a jerk. The pool manager asked me once...after I did 100 odd laps, “maidam, aap kya khaate ho?”).

We went on his bike. From Dwarka to RK Puram. Needles of rain drops pierced my face, neck, arms and legs. A few kilometres down the road, and I was dripping! Gusts of chilly wind made my shirt billow on the bike. I let my hair loose, stretched out my arms, faced the lightening thundering clouds, drank in the raindrops...pure ecstasy.

A dip in the pool now felt warm. With my brother around, doing anything serious is impossible. Except fun. So we had serious fun. With diving. Diving is his area. His expertise. He can dive in at least 20 different ways. None of which are proper or prescribed. Think of proficiency, he has named them all! In some, you dive like someone has planted a huge kick on your ass. Or your gut. In a few others, you dive like a curled up worm. Or a curled out worm. Or dive with your body rotating side-wise...which according to him is the way bollywood villains fall when heroes drub them. Innovative, I have to admit. In a long time, I had not done such spectacular fooling around. It felt GREAT.

Came back on the bike. Brother substituted for the car stereo by singing aloud. Despite that (or maybe because of it) the journey was fun. Rain got louder and better. Got home, got dry, got lovely dovey with ma....and drank Tang! I could almost hear by body shout for salts by then.

Helped ma in the kitchen. Can’t see her working alone. At all.

Had sattoo parathas for dinner.

Scalded my tongue on steaming hot coffee (strong and sweet – my way) after dinner.

Read Bhagat Singh again. Got lovely dovey with ma. Kissed her good night.

Went to the terrace to a dreamy night. Cool winds, the fragrance of rain, the gleam of near full moon. Sang a few moon songs…remembered the moon of my life…talked to some sweethearts…and slept like a baby after that.

Ain’t it an ideal Sunday?

PS- come to think of it, an ideal week too. Monday working, Tuesday off. Wed working, Thu off. Fri working, Sat Sun off. Why can't every week be as good as this?!

On Parole


“It took my sister-in-law nearly 12 years of backbreaking service, of relentless forbearance, of putting up with all kinds of humiliation, of disproportionate sacrifices of her desires and personality...to finally get her in-laws’ mellowed down. In all this while, she did not raise her voice even once. She bore their atrocities with a straight face. In the end, she won them with love”. Said one friend of mine. An unmistakable hint of pride in her voice.

The conversation started with the lachrymose context of TV soaps and saas-bahu serials. Meeting this friend after quite some time, we talked about the weather, regular office work, interesting holiday options, Cricket World Cup, and finally, movies and serials. Being daily subjected to the saas-bahu drama in my home TV (my granny has the remote), I had a clue of how these serials worked. A mere glimpse at the characters of these serials and earful of lines, and you could figure out the entire context. Women are shown to exist on the extremes. While some of them live the life of archetypal Indian bahu – a docile cook, a faithful ever-forgiving wife, an obedient daughter-in-law, a giving mother, a diligent worker and a sacrificial lover. On the other hand are the exact opposites – tyrannical mother-in-laws, scheming wives, cunning daughters, plotting sisters, conspirational workers and destructive friends. Either white or black. No greys. The ‘white’ ones would be seen either smiling happily or crying inconsolably. The ‘black’ ones would either have their face twisted with malice and eyes gleaming with derision, or a threatening glowering look on their faces.

So I joked with my friend about the farce being shown in the serials, saying, that these extremes existed only in reel life. At this, my friend grew pensive and somewhat serious. No Sonal, she said, these characters are everywhere. I have known of families which make their daughter-in-laws sit on the floor while they are perched on the sofa. I have seen it with my own eyes – happen to my own sister-in-law.

Shocked by the vivid portrayal of this domestic shame, I could not find words to say. I didn’t have to. The topic had set her talking. “My sis-in-law is made to wear a sari every day, irrespective of the weather, with the aanchal draped neatly over her head. In that uniform, she’s also supposed to perform all domestic chores such as washing, cooking, sweeping, swabbing etc. And if, by mistake, her aanchal gets out of place exposing the skin on her back, her mother-in-law swiftly pinches her there to remind her of her dress code”. I could imagine the scene – an overworked voiceless woman also trying to prove her chastity to her mother-in-law by covering every square inch of her body. Being made to work like a house maid, and also follow detailed prescriptions laid out by her in-laws.

It revolted me. Boiled my blood. How could another woman – mother in law or whoever, touch me without my permission? Let alone pinch me! How could anybody else tell me what to wear and how...more so when I am taking care of their entire household?

I could not resist. I blurted out, “Just who the hell gives these in-laws the right to dictate terms?” I could feel the sweat on my palms. The shoes of this sari draped woman were too thorny to endure. To this, my friend dejectedly replied, “I’m not even talking of rights Sonal, I’m only saying, that if you don’t like my skin showing, allow me to wear salwaar-kameez”. Her eyes begged for a solution when she said this. It was a voice ringing with subservience and defeat. It was a statement of bargain. The bargain for justice that women have been pleading for centuries.

If not clothes of my choice, at least salwaar-kameez?
If not education of my choice, at least intermediary level?
If not groom of my liking, at least a meeting before wedding?
If not profession of my knack, at least a part-time job?
If not independence of movement, at least one visit to my parents?
If not freedom to speak my mind, at least pretend to hear me once?
If not a life of my decisions, at least a mute witness in it?


This is how women have bargained for justice. Trying to achieve their rightful due in crumbs and morsels. Never quite having the courage to snatch her freedom off the clutches of her exploiters.

It’s so unfortunate that lured by temporary reliefs, women have not adopted the zero-tolerance approach towards her limitations and feudal fetters. Her protest has remained limited to some obsequious pleas of grants...as though she was a criminal out on parole.

When will this woman stop bargaining? When will she grab the reins of her life in her own hands without bargaining for allowances, claiming her rights as her own? When will she know and understand it too well, that there are no victories at bargain prices?

The exploited sister-in-law of my friend, and many other such women, should read the lines written by great martyr Bhagat Singh, in his essay he wrote while awaiting his execution in Central Jail, Lahore:

"Don’t ask for rights. Take them. And don’t let anyone give them to you. A right that is handed to you for nothing has something the matter with it. It’s more than likely it is only a wrong turned inside out."

Thursday, April 7, 2011

don't we belong?


talking after ages

don't you feel at home instantly
don't you feel at ease
doesn't it feel very right
doesn't it leaven and please?

tell me baby,
don't you belong to me
the way i belong to you...
the way i belong to we...

sitting by the setting sun

don't you reminisce our times
don't you feel my presence
don't you crave for my body
don't i echo in your silence?

tell me baby,
don't you belong to me
the way i belong to you...
the way i belong to we...

watching a story unfold

don't your thoughts wander past
times, spaces, things we touched
doesn't your heart brim over your eyes
for love intact, but for dreams crushed

tell me baby,
don't you belong to me
the way i belong to you...
the way i belong to we...

mere thought of someone else

doesn't it bode something ill and wrong
doesn't it it send a chill through
doesn't it lead you into a closed nest
shut out from the rest - only me and you?

tell me baby,
don't you belong to me
the way i belong to you...
the way i belong to we...

Monday, April 4, 2011

कसौटी


तुम जो दिल लगाकर चले गए
तुमसे बस यही है गिला
कसौटियों को इतनी ऊंची कर गए
तुम्हारे बाद, फिर कोई न मिला

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring's back


Flowers are back on the branches
fragrance is back in the air
back is the spring in your garden
back are your memories
but you are still not there...