Monthly Archives: September 2013

Gagged

That moment when you really,really want to talk to someone and you cannot!She was trying to call her friend since evening and very time she was getting back this mechanical message of network clogging.Its not that everyday she can afford to make a call.”keep a tab on you expenses”,she had been cautioned before she left home.But today she had this urge to talk to him.The error messages began to claw on her nerves now.The feeling of anger became almost physical.

Tonight she wanted to talk.She was tired of being alone.Solitude is one thing and its good only in measured dose.An overdose of it,and loneliness attacks us.Its like the mildew growing on a damp wall in a bad monsoon.once it infects,it keeps spreading its web over you.And we cannot stop sit.And soon we are thrown into an abyss of silence,such silence that eats up everything around us.Nothing that penetrate that wall of silence and we sink in deeper and darker.

She was afraid that it had begun to infect her.It was evening and she was taking her usual path back home.The bus ride was  sweaty and tiring as it was everyday.She had managed a window seat by elbowing her way in,a skill that she had to master soon enough.It was just a week into her stay here,and she was still struggling to get into those over crowded buses that are the cheapest means to commute.She had hardly managed to balance her on the minimum possible area when somebody tried to squeeze himself in and pushed her.The push had a kind of cascading effect and she tumbled in front of a seat.She learnt the art of squeezing herself in.“chaap sristi karun” she laughs as she remembers those lines

Most of the time,she could manage to seat beside the window.The journey was a long one and she liked the feel of air gushing against  her face.It would wipe away the day’s grime.The cool breeze even with its smell of burnt diesel felt welcoming after the day in a controlled temperature.

Today as she sat in the bus,she could see a couple sitting in front of her.they were engaged in a very animated conversation.perhaps they were having one of those numerous li’l disagreements that couples have a privilege to enjoy.They were speaking in some local language which she didn’t understand.She longed to learn the contents of the conversation but she had absolutely no idea of the language.She could sense the modulations in their tone and tenor.She remembered how she always used to get animated and excited over li’l things and her friends used to remind her,”speak soft!people are staring”

But now,no one stares at her.It has been ages that she had a proper conversation with anyone.A smiling “hello”,a formal “good morning” that fills in the long and tiring day do not really count as proper conversation.She tried to remember what all lines she had spoken the last couple of days that didn’t relate to her occupation.She found two.She did talk about how hot the day was to her land-lady and about the pending dues to her laundry-wala.She didn’t talk to anyone about the last film she saw or the last novel she read.She doesn’t even remember discussing politics or arguing with someone!She was turning mechanical!

An instant fear gripped her;the fear of losing the ability to keep up a constant stream of word.she felt as though she was choked,choked by the lack of words.She looked around her.The crowd in the bus had thinned by then.the few people sitting had their earphones plugged in.No one was chatting.The couple had got down long back.I will forget how to talk!,she thought.i need to converse with someone now!

But the mechanical message “the number you are trying to call is currently unavailable.please call again later” gagged her.

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Fresh

sometime you are seized by fits of giggles,for little reason at all.Thats what had happened to her as she was returning from the supermarket.she had taken to cook her own food now.she found the fares available in those small,cheap shops that skirt the thickly populated middle-class area too spicy for her taste.Its not that she wasn’t used to spices,rather,the land she hails from is known for their hot and spicy taste.

To her,the start of day was always associated with the chhyak sound of dry chillies being splashed into hot oil.she was always a late riser.by the time she rose,kitchen would be filled with sounds and smells of lunch being prepared.she loved those smells.many a times,tendrils of smoke from the kitchen next door would waft into their house.The aroma of mangsho mingled with dal,freshly boiled rice with sauted cauliflower would create a charming cocktail and she drank that in.

The spices then would form the end note of the dish..their taste leaving a smell on the palm long after the meal is over.But here,the curry leaves only a stain on the hand due to the colours added.The only smell is of the ginger-garlic paste which is the staple to every dish,irrespective of its nature.She hated it.So,she started to cook.

Today,she was in an elated mood.It had rained last night after a long time.She was lying down on her bed,listening to the pitter-patter of rain.Long back,when she was a kid,she had read that rains falling on a tin roof sounds like sitar notes.Since that day,everytime rain fell,she had strained her ears to catch the sitar tune that is supposed to be hidden in the sound of rain falling.She turned around to face the only window in her small roof.raindrops were glistening on it looking like heap of diamonds,scattered unknowningly.the lights from the streetlamps made them shimmer.A wind was blowing outside.the bare walls were filled with dancing shadows of the tree that guarded her window,the leaves forming patterns on the ceiling,shadows move about the room like soft caresses.It had made her feel special.it felts like an orchestra being played just for her.she felt being welcomed into that land for the first time after her arrival.It appeared as an welcome hug from the otherwise distant land.

This rain had washed away all her sadness that she had accumulated in bits and pieces since she had stepped into this city,and this morning saw her in an unsually good mood.She woke up with a smile in her face.Infact,the shrill voice of the lady shouting at her husband in the next room couldn’t spoil her jubiliant mood.She wanted to celebrate it.But in this place,if you call up a friend and tell that you want to celebrate because it rained last night,you are sure to be labelled as ‘good-for-nothing-emotional-fool’ and she couldn’t risk spoiling the mask which we all so carefully create.

She walked out into the streets.They still looked fresh from last night’s shower.The dust of daily chores still couldn’t ruin its glistening polish.The wind had overturned a dustbin,spilling its contents into the sidewalk.banana peel,biscuit wrapers and discarded,rotten flowers littered the path.a stench was hanging over the place.She didnot even bother to cover her nose!She felt at home as she walked towards the supermarket.Here you don’t find a vegetable market at the bend of the main road.People don’t haggle over the per kg price of cabbage and tomato.No one thumbs the veggies to check whether they are fresh or left overs from the last day’s fare.Here,you go to the market and pick up those tomatoes which have shrivelled skin due to its long stay in the air cooled room.She couldn’t help thinking as she picked up the tomatoes how her grandfather used to snub at the vendor in his broken hindi as he tried hard to sell his fresh vegetables.And she started giggling

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