I have often wondered why my post titles are so monosyllabic. It reminds of those Hindi posters I saw growing up. You know? Like Deewar with the letters hewn from rock and crumbling.
But in my head its more like a small word spoken into the Infinite, and I am happy in the knowledge that a few heard it and recognised it. And some more heard something faint, like when you aren’t sure if someone has called out your name? And to the rest, its as if I didn’t exist. Which I don’t.
This post seems to be a reponse to something I read, a long telephone conversation and a visit to Singapore. Stream of conciousness isn’t as easy and quality-neutral as it seems at first. 🙂 But it does have something to do with voices, voices inside my head, like a lot of people talking. Most of them are familiar, and like a horror film, they take on the voices I am familiar with, just so that I don’t get alarmed. So some are Ma’s. Some are Dad’. Some are even me when I was little.
Feet, unsure of where to land but moving forward anyway. Feet, landing steadily, going somewhere; always going somewhere. I can hear Dadu now, talking about bravery. Patter, patter, thud, thud. The wind whistling against my ears, rustling; my hand swooping down as I hold out a flat rigid surface against the wind. As the car moves forward, my hand jerks back the minute I arch my fingers upwards. Dad’s voice now, talking of Physics and drag. Hands, which I am aware of suddenly. Sweat so much sweat. Non-AC hall. S’s voice, shrill…and my hands so…clammy. Sofa, soft sofa, and the smell of my old book…and that sickening feeling of my eyes welling up and my throat constricting. Please don’t die, please don’t die. Grass, burnt grass, stepped-on grass, yellow, almost white, happy happy grass connecting homes. Trees, growing poems and nurturing love, trees. Abandoned trees full of abandon. I hear voices again, but they are gone before I can place them. Road dividers, to step on and race on, to test balance, and point at and say yellow! Shounak’s voice, talking of dogs, and kennel clubs. Corridors, so many corridors, with large brown doors at the end, and cool, cool concrete steps. Kisses, so many kisses. I breathe skin, and feel the flash of a delicate gold necklace. Football, racing across grass, grey blur, heart pounding, war-cries. My voice, babbling, bouncing. Idols, incense and sagging flesh. Hushed, hushed voices and chants. Mosques, and white marble; Palaces and amber coloured forts everywhere. I hear a voice from long ago, standing by the river and talking of Brahma. Water buffalows, elephants, and smelly Marine Drive horses. I hear Minu Aunty’s voice: “Oh my God, it was in the middle of the street. I didnt mean to run over it.” Goats, and visions of blood. Streets, with prostitutes and auto rickshaws; streets forever milling, always always milling; streets, dirty, potholed, alive. Sorsher maach, served on a banana leaf, bhoog and rasam. All mixing together on my tongue. And my brain can think of nothing else. Women, and thier beautifully flawed bodies and minds. Voices, when they turn away to talk in thier native tongues. So many many tongues. So many lilting voices. Violence, in bold black ink on thin, thin paper. Picked up from the gate in front and wedged into the doorknob.
I hear Nehru, in the tinny voice recorded on radio and stored in Encarta, on my Windows 98 PC:
Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially.
~Jawaharlal Nehru, 15th August 1947
And I can feel the tears welling up again. And feel my throat constrict.
Dust, everywhere, through every pore, like those people bathing in mud in Asterix and the Magic Carpet.
Sometimes we take the simplest things for granted. And forget that it is the fabric of everything.
A Boundless Moment
He halted in the wind, and — what was that
Far in the maples, pale, but not a ghost?
He stood there bringing March against his thought,
And yet too ready to believe the most.
“Oh, that’s the Paradise-in-bloom,” I said;
And truly it was fair enough for flowers
had we but in us to assume in march
Such white luxuriance of May for ours.
We stood a moment so in a strange world,
Myself as one his own pretense deceives;
And then I said the truth (and we moved on).
A young beech clinging to its last year’s leaves.
~ Robert Frost
“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”