Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I give up.

To want to fly, but to stop, and wait for someone's wings that might never come.
Is this love?
Faith?

To want to find The One, and to wait, for the person who might never show.
Is this love?
Faith?

We prick ourselves deepest, believing that our swan song will be more beautiful because of the pain.
But enough music gets wasted before and after the heartbreak to make that a tragic waste.
I don't want one song, I want a thousand, every day.

It's time to start singing, and flying.
Who knows when he will join me, or if he ever will.
But it is time to go.
Not to leave, but to stop waiting.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Survival...*

... means...

... having:
Flexibility. Eyes front, heart open. Depth.

... giving:
Options. Wide perspective over a deep field. Insight.

... thereby being open - every. single. day. to:
Freedom. Beauty. Spirit.

Spirit. The thing that is deeper than 1+1 = 2, greater than 'first this, then that' and much more than just what the eye and mind can see. Without that, we're all just dry dust, blown on the wind. There ain't nothing on Earth as important as soul.

*imported from Facebook notes -- but hey so what.

Monday, 23 November 2009

936 AD**

I don't know why I was suddenly moved to think this, but I was.
Reading a book my Mum sent over, I came across a little paragraph about India's Zoroastrian community. Of which, I am a part.
'We' arrived on India's shores in AD 936, it says.
While intellectually, I can appreciate how long ago this was, I've never really felt how long this was.

AD 936.

And some smaller waves of people in the years after.

It hits you deeply and personally when you think that the only reason you have the life you have is because someone had the balls to get into a boat and go someplace where they'd have a better life. Someplace they could be themselves. Be at peace. And they recognised the intrinsic value of that, and valued it far above 'staying and fighting forever'. So they left, and somewhere in those boats of people, who I imagine carried few belonginings and their precious sacred fire, were my people as well.
A grandmother from thousands of years ago, a grandfather, my family.

I wonder if they wondered whether they were making the right decision, whether they had second thoughts, whether they were heartbroken to leave or ecstatic about the surprises ahead, or both.

Sentimental as it may seem, I wish I could whisper backwards through history and say, 'Yes! Please do go, don't look back.' Because here I am today, you did good, the people who came after you did good. Brilliant, in fact. And we're here today. Happy, 'successful' and most importantly - we're peaceful. We're left alone to be what we want to be. And that is everything.

We never really appreciate how history flows in our veins, colours our lives, bends them this way and that. The only reason I have the life I have today is because someone made a decision to make that possible for himself or herself - and those who would come after - and followed through on it. And that someone was himself or herself just a speck in a huge movement of people wanting the same thing. Responding to fear and persecution and making a decision - stay and fight, or leave, and live. Of course, I might have lived elsewhere, and that life might have been a good one. But it's the difference between taking that chance and ensuring a better life is what is crucial here. 'I guess my children and my childrens' children might have it better' versus 'I am going to go so that they will have it better.' There is a world of difference between those two things.

I never thought I'd say this, but I can see their wisdom now. They left, I live. And for that gift, I need to be grateful. It's as simple as that.

** - copied from my Facebook notes, but hey.. a girl can only write so much in one day and no more.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The truth.
We are chemical.
You just brushed your hand across mine as you cut up tomatoes for our salad with dinner.
And a mad rush of warmth galloped up from my wrists to my everywhere.

How funny that I seek you out like this only so that I can dissolve.
'I am' wants to become 'I want'. And once it does, there's no leaving. I want, I want, I want. And that's bliss, just by itself.

I love that ever-present, insatiable thing that you do to me, some electrochemical zapper behind your eyes reducing the I-am to I-want.
And leaving it there, alone.

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Boy

This post will make you sick if you are:
a.) Single and bitter to be so;
b.) Cynical and happy to be so, or;
c.) The Boy.

You have been warned.

The Boy has been transcendent this past week.
I, by contrast, have been PMS-ing. Wildly.

I came home one night last week and announced that I was "rethinking us" because we couldn't have "deep conversations about metaphysics" and because he seemed to "live life only on the surface and I couldn't do that, and I wanted a partner who could think at my level."
Nothing wrong with all, that, of course. Except that I have no idea where it came from, and waited precisely an hour before blurting it all out to him.
He listened with a horrified expression on his face, and asked me what exactly was wrong.
I used this as Exhibit A in a long tirade about how see, this just proves my point, you do not get me, yada yada yada.
I then proceeded to burst into passionate tears whilst sitting on the doorstep.
At this point, his expression turned from plain horror into horrified sadness (and, I must add, I suddenly understood the literal meaning of the term shellshock.)

He did the only thing he could: Poured me a glass of wine and rubbed my back as he sat next to me.
Then, he said, "Baby, what do you want to do?"
Glumly, I answered, "I don't know."
"Okay, then I'll be here until you do know, I'm not going anywhere."

Then I cried some more. Copiously. Until his shoulder was soggy.

When it was clear that I was unwilling to stop crying so that we could actually talk, he got up and went to the kitchen.
He poured me some more wine.
And cooked me dinner.
And pulled me onto his lap whilst he ate, and I picked at my plate miserably with a fork.

Then, he said, "I'm sorry. I really am. I do not understand things the way you do, and I cannot talk as well as you. But if you write me any of your ideas instead of screaming them at me during a fight, maybe I can listen and of course we can talk about whatever you want."
Not convinced, I plodded upstairs, banged the bathroom door, and burst into fresh tears. This time even less inhibited, owing to the two glasses of wine.

When I opened the door he was standing there, leaning against the door frame with the palm of his hand pressed against the door.

I then went on to be miserable for the whole week. Thinking: 'he doesn't understand life the way I do, why are we together??' And: 'He is not deep, why are we together.'
I even called my Mum at 3am saying: 'Mum, I think I am about to break up and I'm confused, help!'
When I told her why, she said the only thing that I needed to hear: 'Stop being a fool and go back to sleep at once.' I asked her to explain, and this is what she said: 'He loves you more than you are even capable of loving. And is therefore deeper than you are right now, you selfish girl. You don't deserve him. Go back to bed, and apologise to him in the morning. And for God's sake, get your period quickly and be done with this nonsense.'

I am quoting verbatim here.
She said every word slowly, with full-stops of exasperation in between each syllable.

Of course, in a few days, I got my period.
And magically, I cannot remember what I was so panicky about.
Everything I said is still true: We cannot have night-long conversations about souls. Souls and night-long conversations are still important to me.
But yesterday, he cooked me another dinner. And we watched an astronomy documentary together. And I curled up against his chest and he played with the back of my neck and said, 'You know, I love you. Maybe that is all I can do for you: just love you. And I really, really do."
And I realised what a fool I was.
"I'm sorry about last week", I muttered.

"No need, you were just being honest."

"No, I was being hormonal."

"That, and honest."

Somewhere within this cynical, borderline depressive, starkly frank, irritatingly quiet-minded man is a soul who is capable of loving without reserve, restraint, expectation or fear.
I realised that I am full of all of those things: reserve, restraint, expectation, and oh God, so much fear.
Most of what I was actually saying over last week was just: 'We're different! Why do you love me? Why do I love you? What can you give me that I need! Nothing!'
And his answer, every time he spoke, or held me, or cooked my food, or rubbed my back was: 'We're different! I love you. You love me. That is what I can give you, and that, my friend, you seem to really, really need. And that is everything.'

And magically, my chest doesn't feel so tight anymore (even though, truth be told, I am still thinking of why this came up so forcefully, and what if anything I can do about making myself comfortable with our differences).
And I am not bursting into hysterical tears every night.
And we made love in the afternoon over the weekend, just randomly and unexpectedly and gloriously. And when I turned over and hugged him after, there it was again: Love unadulterated by fear.
I know what a cynic, a skeptic, or the Boy might say about all of this.
But all that matters is that I am not bursting into tears, wondering whether to make what might be the biggest mistake of my life, all for the sake of hormones and a distinct lack of time, money and friends with whom to talk.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Kiss by William Eric Pansky



I just visited my old DeviantArt page, and found this image again. And in the spirit of random scrapbookishness, I want it up here. So up here it goes!

More by this artist here.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Fingers crossed

Forgive the overt superficiality (did I just invent that word, or does it exist?) of this post.
But after ages of not blogging, I am now overly fond of the sound of my own typing (this would be better utilised as an excuse to type up some PhD, but no matter...)

I bought these the day before yesterday.

Technically, reading glasses should fill me with utter dread.
Somehow, these do not.

I saw these and instantly imagined:
Short black nails + scarlet lips + messy hair + dark skinny jeans + boyfriend sweater (blacker than the blackest night) + lashings of pearls.

I might be mistaken utterly, and when they arrive, I might regret not having chosen the staider frames on offer.
But in the event that they do not disappoint, I am looking forward to some seriously Parisian street chic.

Please to wish one luck!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Banal, but so real in the moment

So M. and I had another old-couple quarrel this morning. We go through patches (well, they last for months at a time, so I should call them phases, shouldn't I?) where we don't disagree on a single thing. And then for weeks and weeks and weeks, it seems that we rub each other up the wrong way. Focus only on each other's cracks. Stamp over each other. Misunderstand. Snap. Scream. Walk away in the middle of the street with a sharp BYE!!
Today, I turned into Accessorise and he continued down the pavement. I switched my phone onto Silent, fuming all the while that he wouldn't call. But just to be perverse, hah! the phone's on silent so I wouldn't be able to pick it up anyway! I made mental lists of all the shops I could go to, to kill time and make him wonder where I was (knowing full well that he wouldn't wonder, he'd just assume I was still out shopping. Which thought made me fume even more, but no matter...)
And as I was walking to River Island, the winter sun bouncing off the golden trees in the churchyard and people swarming around me with their lovers, friends, babies, families, shopping, laughing, smiling, holding hands, I suddenly thought: Well this is nice. What if one day after I do that sharp-as-glass BYE, my words suddenly turn into my reality and bye actually turns into GOODBYE?
And you know how, when you're a kid, and you think about losing your parents for the first time, and are surprised by how quickly that brings tears to your eyes? I thought about my bye turning into a goodbye and suddenly felt tears pricking the back of my eyes, all on their own, instantly.
And all the rubbish about my tone versus your tone, our juvenile differences of opinion on God, the nature of the universe, the nature of people, the role of dancing in a happy existence, the right way to walk down the street, the right way to be a boyfriend or girlfriend just... disappeared. And all I wanted to do was run to Sainsburys and hug him and say sorry.
So I did. And the next time we part ways sharply in the street because one of us has an attitude or a tone, I hope I remember what I felt this morning and back down, say sorry and just hold his hand and shut up.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

A thought, which perhaps you should put off thinking about if you've been feeling low, because thinking about it when stressed is likely to just be the last straw.
I'm keeping track of the run up to the next big climate summit in copenhagen, esp. the noises coming out of the US, India, China and Brazil. Then planning to write something about it. And part of that is watching lots of speeches. And today, again, I realised the difference between intellectually knowing something is wrong, and being horrified in your gut.
I've been thinking about climate change now for 4 years, ever since I first began studying it.
And there have been moments when I've been absolutely sickened by it. But today I thought this thought:
You realise how BIG the world actually is, how deeply ancient, how vast? And how much life it contains and nurtures and the scale of the processes that it takes to keep a global, interconnected life support system going? My god. And you realise how much time it's taken to evolve to this stage? 4 point something billion years, and every passing second brings up that number. And in the space of a few human generations between the start of the industrial revolution to now, we're fundamentally changing that entire system. Dismantling it systematically.
Don't get me wrong. The system is so perfectly self-correcting, after a tipping point, have no doubt that it will heal itself and get rid of the offending organism, or reduce it's numbers to keep its further actions absolutely under control.
But in the meanwhile, we're taking the ground out from under our own feet, and causing whole nations of creatures to simply tip into nothing. Not a single centimetre of the earth's surface is unaffected, now, by us, because the very air has changed.
I invite you, an individual, human, being, to feel, in your gut the horror of being, in this case, on the wrong side.
The powerful, all-changing, supreme, side. We know what happens to those in all our fairytales, in all our history.
Don't get me wrong. The wrong side is also a product of nature, and so it also has the capacity to correct itself, and it's taking baby steps, perhaps too late, to at least look at what's it's doing.
But feel it - actually imagine it - unless you're a member of an indigenous island tribe or a herder in sub-saharan africa, you, me, us, all, everyone you know and love, is on the side that is whipping the oceans up into storms, sweeping deserts further across the globe and buying, flying and discarding our own way into misery. Imagine it, sincerely image it. If everyone did that, and then knew what to change, perhaps we could hope that it won't go so badly for us in the end.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Can't explain, but this is the lesson I hope to learn today.

Note to self:
It is absolutely astounding, and completely disgraceful, Miss T., how you readily believe the worst things about yourself without question, without critique, and try to disclaim all the best things away as accident or fluke or a stroke of luck.

What a waste of the 4-point-something billion years of creation that were needed to make you, of the love your parents poured into you hoping something good would come of it, and all the time you spend away from the two people who love you most in world so that you can make something brilliant out of yourself.

And at the end of 27 years of all that, how is it possible that you still think that people are automatically correct when they think the worst about you, and deluded if they think the best?

Stupid kink in Miss T., head that makes her think like that: Correct Thyself! At once and forever!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Darling.

When we're at the bar, and the sun is setting outside and lighting up the wooden panels on the walls in soft amber.
And your shirt is picking up the lights in your eyes and you're flashing them all over the place.
And your lips are slightly parted and there's a golden flame of sunlight licking your cheekbones.
And you're fingering the back of my neck lightly, lightly, the way you do.
And that red wine is blooming slowly all the way from my lips to my heart, lighting up deep deep rose gardens.
And your gaze falls onto my collarbones and you say, "I can see your heartbeat". And of course, it beats even faster.
And then, outside, while the last of the fuschia dusk is finally crashing down around us and a light warm drizzle begins to fall. And I look up and can't stand it anymore and kiss you.
And you say you're in a hurry because the footie's gonna start. Or you can't because I'm smokey.
I feel like a giant garbage truck has run me over very sloooowly and tipped itself all over my insides.
And I love you, of course.
But God I hate you when you do that.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Thoughts in the morning on a day that feels like Something.

I am 27 years old.
I live in a white house with a blue-eyed boy and a chocolate-brown cat.
I research in environmental studies and today is the first day I will be talking seriously about what I want to do for the rest of my life.

I have two and a half hours and counting until it's time to pack up my things and sit on the bus and meet the man who might offer me job, or some ideas, or suggest I take some more time to think about things (more thinking. Please, no) or... nothing, really.
I might come away soaring or empty or utterly confused (again, please, no.)

It's a warm, summer day outside.
I will be wearing my new pink ballet shoes and trying to hide the spot I have on my left cheek.
Underneath the shoes, a tiny white sticker reads: 'These shoes are original ballet construction and will not stand hard outdoor wear.'
Suits me. I'm all about the inside today anyway.
And if there is a perfect pair of shoes to mark a new, uncertain and long inner path, it isn't clunky boots made for walking.
It's pink shoes made for dancing.

Until then, though, I will be reading through the notes I made last night and staring out of the window at the icy blue house across the street, framed by a limpid blue sky, and drinking my morning coffee and trying to just be present and calm.

I have thought long and hard about what I will say to him and I've run through the list of reasons why I would like to work with him until I'm blue in the face.
I have thought about what I could usefully contribute to the world if I work with him. What I can usefully contribute to the world if he shows no interest in working with me. What I can usefully contribute to the world if I write my thesis and go home and just start anywhere - even with just one child sitting across the street from my house, doing anything - even just teaching it to put off a light switch.
On and on and on. I've thought and thought and thought.

But this morning, this is what I feel:

I am grateful I still want to contribute something useful. It's been a long time since I've wanted to do that, and I'm afraid I haven't done as much as I could have. I am grateful that at least the feeling of wanting has stayed fresh and ever-present, always waiting to be used.

If nothing comes out of any of this. If my PhD has just all been a waste. If I am no good to anything anywhere. I will go home and eat lunch with my parents and hold my mother's hand as she watches the Bold and the Beautiful, and stroke Pasha to sleep every night and love M. every minute of every day and spend the rest of my fathers' life making up for the time I have been away and learning from him every minute of every day. I will love them as much as I can love anyone and show it as much as I can show anyone, every. single. day.
And that will possibly be the best and most good thing I will ever do anywhere in the world anyway.
So I will do that.
And it will be much, much more than enough, if that is the only good thing I ever do in the world.

I've listed out paper ideas and what my research interests are. But I wish I could simply say: I have learnt a lot from you, Supervisor-Sir. I am full of what you taught me. I can only promise that I: Always want to keep learning. Always want to help the Earth somehow. Always will feel heartbroken at the words Climate Change. Always will want to do something to help heal it. Never stop feeling like I CAN do something.
Use me.

Time to go get dressed.
Today feels like something.
It'll also be the day I find out if nothing can come from something. That's another post on quantum physics that I don't have the time for :)

Wish me luck.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Fuschia Rain

A note to the future:
I want to do insanely sexy things with your blue eyes. Tossed onto foreign shores by a fuchsia rainstorm and dripping flowers I want to hold your ribs above mine and crash into those shores, high tide.

Where shall we run away to? Where is the sky blue enough, where is it littered with stars, god an errant cleaner who forgot to sweep the floor. Trapped in fluoresence and words about faraway worlds, the girl hears the runaway sounds of: seashore, breathing, wooden beams creaking, high tide, low tide, crabsong, flute dances and the vibrations of rain-soaked fuchsia flowers humming their brilliance into an acid blue sky. Leaching delicious desire out of your finger tips. Against the hardness of cushioned computer chairs, she feels: The edges of wet leaves, dark green as forest hearts. The silkiness of warm saltwater in rock pools. Sand. The edges and crenulations of the landscapes that hide underneath your skin.

How do I stop planning holidays with you when all your colours are runaway gypsy songs?
The lover in me wants to roam the world.

Some day, far away, if I am ever left behind, I will dance across the silkiness of a map - a map of countries, or of sky - and pretend that it is your body that I traverse.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Absolutely my dream drawing room.
















... minus the styling on the white pillars, and walls two shades ligher.
Is it tragic that I have ten pounds to my name and I'm browsing the New York Times style section over my cornflakes?
Image from here

Sunday, 12 April 2009

It has taken me 15 years to say this. Long periods of forgetting in between, but beauty is an ever present sword waiting to tear open any wall of time: What you were to me, what you were to me: Pure and startling and piercing beauty. Like chancing upon a swan nesting behind the rushes. Like looking up from a drink and seeing the love of your life. Like opening and old book an seeing a love letter hiding there. Each time, these things go right in, right away and stay there.

You did the same to me.

But you were so much more, so much more than I can ever list:
Prayers and long summer nights and praying like I've never prayed before for more time, more time. For somehow, death and time to be reversed and overturned. Just for me. For us. For butterflies and Russian and ice-cream and Camay soap and the sight of you smiling. For listening to you and talking to you and realizing that you never once talked to me as if I were a child, even though you called me Baby. Your white wicker basket that I swung from my arm as we walked through the garden, me pretending to be a big Parisian lady, or a raani, or both. Oh how I prayed for more time for us to pluck every single yellow leaf off the hedge. For more time for your flower filling and your tea drinking and you giving me cubes of cheese or strawberry jam. For the peace of those afternoons, the scent of those nights when we slept outside on the veranda under the mosquito net and the owlets in the trees broke up the songs of the crickets and chattered at us well past dawn.

The sounds, the smells, the feel of your cheek, the smoothness of your hand, the love I felt coming from you, the love I felt flowing out to you, the dizzying beauty in each thing you pointed out to me: each leaf or petal or movement or colour. Your stories: of Europe and love and clothes and the theatre and ballet and picnics and growing up and mama and the grandfather I never met but who I feel I know because of what you told me about him.
I prayed for more time for each of these things, each of them deep and wide enough for there never to be enough time.

You are my love of: Pink and rose and Central Asia and Kazakhistan and Mongolia and Italy. Italy! And the moon and stars and fresh air and God and good food and ballet and fashion and violets and pansies and poetry and writing. My patience with my own pensiveness and mama's pensiveness. My ability to sit by the garden pond and let the rain tree flowers land soft and gold on my hair and watch the tails of the fish flashing this way and that.

You still are all of these things to me. All of them and more.
Love and beauty and searching.
Is there anything else?

Somewhere out there you're walking or watching and pulling me; I can feel you. And each time there is blue or gold or green or pink or roses or music or cloud or flowers or steppe I feel the pull all the harder.
Tug, why don't you - I'm so tired of waiting to see you again.

Amy again.
It seems I cannot look at a single beautiful thing without thinking about you. Especially the kind of soft, indigo beauty behind the haze at the end of a warm spring day. When the vine outside the window rustles with the noises of opening buds and baby leaves and feathers. Nest building. And sudden birdsong like an exclamation point to the silence, the peace.
So many, many years ago, I felt exactly this kind of peace. When we read together, but apart, in your bed in the afternoons. When you laid a hand on my cheek and kept it there, cool and camay-scented, that afternoon that I had a fever and slept with my head against your shoulder. Like that afternoon when I was reading one of my nature books, and you were reading a large green leather bound one that I couldn't read the name of. And suddenly in the middle of the silence, you read out a sentence to me in Russian. And I couldn't understand it of course, but I understood it was something beautiful you'd wanted to share so I smiled up at you and you at me. And we spoke that afternoon about the Steppe, about long yellow stretches of grassland curving up and away into an immense vault of sky. About herds of wild horses thundering across a sharply empty landscape tipped at the edges with a ring of bare mountains. And I scarcely noticed where I was as you talked, until the smell of Janardhan watering the lawn wafted in through the window. That exclamation point, this time of the scent of water to punctuate the dry yellow stillness of the windswept Steppe.
The air around us heavy with beauty. We imagined it together, we smelt it together, we breathed it together.
Or that night when you were lying in bed and mum was on the phone in the other room, crying, and my father was driving over from the hospital and everything was very dark and quiet except for the crickets in the garden and the moths near the bedside lamp. And you suddenly squeezed my hand and opened your eyes and said 'Darling baby. You're here!' and put your hand against my cheek and wiped away a tear. And that sound right then was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard and I smiled our smile at you but couldn't stop crying.

I miss you so much.

Totally Random

Is it wrong that I just watched a clip of Jon Stewart bashing the panic-mongering fools from Fox 'News' and totally got turned on seeing him skewer them?
Ooh want to kiss his face off.

Friday, 10 April 2009

which brings me to this thought:

For someone who thinks about death and what it means so much (and I do): I have never actually thought that it will happen to me one day.
I can't fathom that and don't know what to think of it aside from a vague feeling of excited curiosity and homecoming.
So I kind of get what it means for Me. The wider, deeper Me.
But what does it mean for my this-life?
What should that knowledge, that my time too is limited, propel me to do, think, be?

Papa

The pa is well again. But not allowed to sit up too much, walk too much, talk too much, at least until the end of the weekend.
But today he was on the phone to me and said he loves me.
And my mum said that there was a cat outside his hospital room these past three days, just curled up on the bench or mewing at the window. So my mum took some cat chow for her, a bowl of milk to soothe her mews, a gentle pat on her head to show her we recognise and accept her kind offer of companionship in this hard time, and would she like to come home with us?
She climbed into mum's soft warm lap and went to sleep.
A blessing, a companion, a guardian angel outside my father's hospital room.
Sent by Amy, or Jenny, our white angel cat who died so long ago, or some other One we knew and loved and who is still protecting us with their love.
Who knows? As my mum said: 'She found us and she feels like a friend.' Sorely needed, that, in hospital wards - friends.
But a blessing she is, this little cat mewing outside his room. She hasn't left for three days, she's always peeping into his room, there through the quiet of the afternoon at the window sill, dozing quietly on the other side of the jaali. There through the night on the wooden bench. And my mother felt a surge of love when she held her. That's good enough for me, I'm so inclined anyway.

So.
My father sounds like himself again.
And he said he loves me.
And there's an angel cat outside his room.

Beautiful moment

Elvis playing on the Man's sound system.
'When we kiss my heart's on fire / Burning with a strange desire /... you're heart's on fire too..."

In the house opposite the street there's a couple in a deep embrace by their window.

Ships sailing by in the night.
You almost want to wave, standing by your own window in your own deep embrace.
You there, in the blue house: We see you! Are you as happy as we are?


Thursday, 9 April 2009

On another note entirely:

Does anyone here read the newsletter of the Smart Set from Drexel University?
Subscribe!!!
Some beautiful writing and insight on there.

As evidence, this poem posted on one of the pages:

Loneliness.
by Stephen Dunn
So many different kinds,
yet only one vague word.
And the Eskimos
with twenty-six words for snow,
such a fine alertness
to what variously presses down.
Yesterday I saw lovers
hugging in the street,
making everyone around them
feel lonely, and the lovers themselves -
wasn't a deferred loneliness
waiting for them?
There must be words
for what our aged mothers, removed
in those unchosen homes, keep inside,
and a separate word for us
who've sent them there, a word
for the secret loneliness of salesmen,
for how I feel touching you
when I'm out of touch.
The contorted, pocked, terribly ugly man
shopping in the 24-hour supermarket
at 3 a.m. - a word for him-
and something, please,
for this nameless ache here
in this nameless spot.
If we paid half as much attention
to our lives as Eskimos to snow ...
Still, the little lies,
the never enough.
No doubt there must be Eskimos
in their white sanctums, thinking
just let it fall, accumulate.

Because I can't stop looking at my facebook inbox

... I think I should remind myself that since teddy-woman-shredder I have:

1. Gotten myself through 7 years of karate and earned a black belt.
2. Read Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and Sophocles and Nietzche neat.
3. Learnt to give in to the writhing within and cry facedown on the floor for 2 hours straight.
4. Learnt to get up off the floor and wash my face and make my eyes up to look ravishing despite tears and fierce dabs of Kleenex.
5. Learnt when I should call a friend to join me as I lie on the floor. And when to just lie there alone.
6. Learnt to make love. Learnt to make out without making love.
7. Learnt both things first hand in Rome with 5 different hot Italian men at age 17. This is no exaggeration. 5. Different. Hot. Italian. Men. At. Age. 17. I still text 2 of them and they still text me. There is no one I know who has had this... this... miracle of beauty and light and carnality and plain ol' rocking summer afternoons in Rome. So sorry, pooh, but what did you think would happen? I'd cry for a year and then... what... nothing ever again? No. I own my body now. And the mind that lives inside it.
8. Can feed myself, manicure myself, do my hair in 5 different ways, my make up in a million different ways and I know when these skills are important, and when they aren't. Sometimes a girl just needs the Man's sweater and woolly socks, y'know? And she needs to know to still feel beautiful and sexual in them. The days of lipgloss and kajal and sneaking before every kiss are gone, pooh. Finished.
9. Learnt to be alone at home without saying a word to anyone all day without going insane, and learnt when it's okay, desirable even, to be completely batshit crazy.
10. Learnt that first loves sear their way into you and stay there. But that real loves are better, stronger, faster, deeper and I would not have gotten to the real thing without the first thing. So it's okay, pooh, teddy, love. I forgive you. Now go away please.

Non-fiction

Of course, it was all wonderfully heady and there was lust dripping from our pores but really, he should have been a butcher for all the care he took with that tsunami-heart.

If it's not clear, teddy, or pooh, or whatever the fuck I used to call you, I'll it say it again and shorter this time:
Fuck off off my facebook page, you 12-years-of-silence-jerk (yay, I'm old enough to say that to you now and I understand exactly what I mean.)
Go join an abattoir for shredded women and make your calling into a full time career. Bastard.

-------------
I couldn't possibly write this in a message to him, could I? If I reply he'll be able to see my whole profile. Do I want that? Who knows.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Bad fiction.

Her father loaned her the car and the driver. Please, Papa, he's leaving for Delhi tomorrow. That part at least, was entirely fictional. He wants to take me to dinner.
There was no question of him picking her up on a bike. So he loaned them the car and driver.

The driver, at least, was privy to the fictions in the story, and even more privy to the facts.
The facts, in order of importance to him, were:
- She gave him money for bidis and he will likely have a spare cigarette. He smokes good ones.
- She never kept him waiting in the car for hours in the hot sun or in the dead of night like the other missy sahib.
- The sahib-baba she was going to meet was her first love.
- She'd promised him he wouldn't get into trouble with her Dad.

Off they drove, in the direction of the coffee shop where she'd told her Dad they'd be grabbing a bite. A sharp left turn just shy of the hotel, and they're outside the park instead. No street-lights here, just a leafy darkness and a watchman's bonfire.
A boy sits on the edge of the park wall, his backpack still on, his cigarette lighting a small golden halo around his lips every time he took a drag.

Helloji!, the driver says, as he opens the door to the boy.
The boy puts out the cigarette. Helllllo, saah'b, kaise ho? he says to the driver, and silently hands him the rest of the pack and two notes for chai and snacks at the stall three streets away. For that one as well, he says, nodding towards the park watchman.
That one is more than delighted to leave the park gates and the mosquitoes and walk with the driver to the chai stall.

The door is held open and the sahib gets in. Keys passed from driver to sahib. 'Just in case there are lafangas, sahib'. 'Of course, saah'b, here.'
Door shut, windows rolled up, lights off.
Hey, babe.
Hi.

They smile and look at his watch.
30 minutes until her dad will ring the driver's mobile. He must not be forced to lie. In 30 minutes, he will say: 'Yes, yes, she went into the hotel with him they are eating in the cafe. Should I call you when they are finished, Saah'b?'

The watch is then taken off and chucked onto the floor with a giggle.
Both so thin, they can lie on the backseat and there is room to move.

Chaste as a pair of twins, lusty as spring, they know exactly what is and is not going to happen. This is not the time for surprises. He will kiss her neck. Spend long moments at the tendon that shows when she looks away. His hands will be in her hair, over her face, they'll grip her shoulders. They will kiss and kiss and kiss and kiss. Their bodies touching touching touching. Perhaps one of the straps of her vest will slip down her shoulder. Perhaps he will pull the other one away. Kissing so hard, so deep, so long, smiling all the while. Making delight. The windows steam up. There is never any conversation. Two minutes into saying hello they're kissing furiously. And they don't stop until they hear the drivers footsteps and then it feels like a physical tearing to stop. Her lipgloss has come right off, her cheeks are flushed, and his fringe is wet with perspiration. Their eyes are shining and whatever is coursing through them is coursing fast, fast, fast.

Once, they have a whole hour and they go up to his terrace and in the mock moonlight of a white streetlamp he gives her one, short searching look, and she nods. They're standing against a wall, and he's so close to her, she can fill his hip bones jamming painfully against hers. And before she's done smiling at him, the top comes away. There is so much heartbeat on that terrace, the building should topple over. Two school kids in their Levis, her bare back silvered by the streetlight, her ribs making stark shadows across her stomach when she leans up to hold his face. So cliche it could be on a hallmark ad. They stand like that, pressed against the wall, with startled, secret smiles. Together, they've set off a nuclear bomb on the terrace! And no one knows! They're in love, babe, and no one knows. He is looking at her breathing sharp, shocked breaths, in just jeans and chappals and a nose ring, and no one knows!!!
The whole world should be a chaos of noise and light, but it's silent and dark. The noise and light just in their eyes, their exploding lungs, his heartbeat so fast she can see it through his tee-shirt. Later, much later, she will think it must have been like a tsunami inside them both, blood cresting into their hearts, ripping the walls to shreds, heavy and furious and fast with love.
They should have been screaming in pain, or passed out, or had strokes, died.
But they just stood there, smiling, trying to stop love or whatever it was from physically exploding them to pieces. Just jeans and chappals and a nose ring!
There is nothing to say expect 'Babe, I love you.' And 'God, babe, I love you too.'
And what do they do, the chaste, lusty fools? They kiss and he pulls her tight tight tight against his chest and whispers it again. I love you, I love you.
20 minutes later they dare to pull away and he dares to touch her and she wants to cry or scream or faint. So she just kisses him some more. And then it's time to go downstairs again, time to see if the world has overturned because of what they just did.
It hasn't. She is still mildly surprised.

But this is as far as it will ever go. This is a time in their lives when fuck is still a filthy word to be avoided on pain of being grounded and therefore unable to kiss. Fuck is not yet even an act. 'Making love?' they sometimes wonder, without any clear understanding of what they mean. 'Aren't we doing that already?' 'You bet, babe,' he always replies, fingering her upper lip, pulling her head back with his other hand, kissing under her chin.
This simple act is enough to fulfill every madly urgent screaming desire she feels at 16. Because their kisses and fingertips contain every vestige of the love they will exchange.

But right now it's still months away from that time on the balcony. And now, the footsteps outside have crossed the park watchman and they roll down the windows to get rid of the steaminess and clasp hands on the backseat, pulses leaping out into the other's palm.
'Where are you going to eat tonight, Sahib? Baby?'
'Normal jaggah, ji,' replies sahib-baba.
Just as the car pulls into the hotel, both of them still are breathless and holding hands tightly on the backseat, and her Father rings. The driver smiles, one of the sahib's cigarettes hanging from his lips.
He takes a drag, winks into the rear view mirror, and just as they're crossing the hotel porch and swinging into the double doors, he answers: 'Yes, sahib, they're in the hotel. Should I ring you when they're done?'
She loved butterflies. So I'd screech to her from the downstairs porch whenever I saw one.
Once after lunch, I went out onto the front lawn. All along it's vast outer edge, Janardhan had planted rows and rows of spicy smelling white and gold flowers. The sun had seeped into them and the air was thick with the scent of their molten, chilli-tinged honey. Over the green monoscape of the lawn, only the odd bug crawled. But all along the periphery, from end to end, butterflies clustered over the flowers. Each stalk was a circus of jewelled wings and feelers. A swarm of butterflies. I had never seen so many before - or since.

I stood in the middle of the lawn, barefoot, the sun beating heavily down on everything around me, and the quiet clink clink of cutlery and glasses as the rest of the family finished their lunch. The low hum of their conversation, and of the fan, coming through the open window.
Everything else was perfectly silent.

I stood there for moments that have stretched out in my memory like a long summer afternoon.

Finally, the breeze broke the spell and I turned and ran - like only a 10 year old can run after lunch on a hot day - and burst into the peacefulness of the lunch table screaming, 'Amy! Amy!!! Get up!!!!! Get up now!! PLEEEEEEEEEASE!!!'
Sudden panic. Everyone's chairs moving back, everyone getting up. They thought there was something wrong. The dog bitten by a snake, a cobra on the porch, who knows.
I remember shouting 'NO NO NO. Only Amy!!!'
She wiped the corners of her mouth and excused herself.
We walked, hand in hand to the garden and I felt her grip tighten around my fingers when she saw it. So tight so sharp so fast. I tightened my hold on her too. I heard her breath catch in her throat.
I looked up at her astonished expression, and she beamed down at me and we raised our entwined hands and shook them in a gesture of ecstatic victory. Like we'd found Narnia or the Grail or Neverland after a long, arduous search.

She stood there drinking in the bright, incandescent wings and then said, 'Come on, baby, would you like some ice-cream now?'
I trotted off with her, back to the table. The family asked her what we'd gone out to see and my heart wrenched with love and delight when she smiled a coy, deliberate smile at me, put her finger to her lip and said 'That's a secret for just baby and me'.
If I'd hugged her then I would have crushed her with love. A secret of butterfly wings in the sunlight.

Once upon a time, a man who was leaving university to go out into the world had a party. It was August, and hot, and dissertation time in England.

A girl was in her room that afternoon, piles of books and papers strewn over her window sill, her desk, bed and floor. It was too hot to breathe. The oak tree outside creaked in the occasional breeze. A dove chortled with it's mate and the grass swayed this way and that with a low gentle swishing. The muslin curtains were hot with the sunlight. White hot and still.

There was a violent blue in the sky. A violent green in the oak tree. So green, the very principle of green.

Everything so still, the breeze making only tiny punctuation marks in the quietness.

The girl's phone beeped. She was invited to drinks that evening, to bid farewell to the man who was going out into the world.

Dusk. Showered, dolled up, a tiny peach camisole because it was a hot night. Her grandmother's apricot shawl flowing over one arm in case it got chilly later. And then, the day swirled and gave up it's stillness and spiralled into the glittering of cocktails and ripples of cigarette smoke and the nameless enlivening laughter that is the background to all good party-memories.

A beautiful boy sat, one leg tossed over the other knee. A black shirt to match the black night and starry blue eyes. Violently blue, softly glimmering against the black.

The girl forgot the stillness of the day and had a drink and smoked and laughed and her eyes flashed and she danced.

She danced alone and poured out the stillness of the day, gave up the locked-down quality of the afternoon's heat, swayed like cigarette smoke. Twisting through the music, the boy with the black shirt found her like this, alone on the dance floor and smiled at her.

"There he is again," she thought, and reached out for his hand. Not realizing until much later what that thought really meant. There He is. Again.

And we're still dancing.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Amy, I hope you don't mind me writing about you on the internet.

My grandmother had a flower-table.
It was on the front-end of the house, on the top floor. You could see her at work at it when you drove up to the porch.
A slim, tall old lady with her hair done up and a belted pastel dress (always belted, always pastel, always a dress) and sometimes a cardigan.
Even at 80 she was slim and tall and wore a belted dress just below her knees and her legs stretched out out out long long long.
She had a walking stick. I've forgotten how fast or how slow she walked. I was too young to be alarmed by such things.

Anyway, the flower-table: It was a long sturdy trestle table with a light, summery plastic cover on it. At one end, an assortment of vases. No, not 'a couple' of vases. About a hundred vases. Every shape, size, texture and colour. At the foot of the table, several large buckets. These the gardener would fill every morning before she awoke, with fresh flowers from the gardens around the house. (I should explain: it is a huge house with extensive grounds and FLOWERS!!).
There'd be tiny bunches for little vases. These would be filled and lovingly placed on my grandfather's desk, in front of his picture. Other photo frames would be similarly graced with bright pink phlox or deep, thoughtful pansies or hazy violets. Every frame was beaten silver. Perfectly polished, impeccably simple rectangles holding the faces and smiles of people she loved. So many. And in the light that streaked through the drawn blinds in the afternoons, every slash of their silver edges was set further afire by a red rose, a saffron gulmohar, a huge explosion of raani-pink.

In some of the silver bowls there'd be ferns. These would sit as table arrangements at the lunch table. Something exquisite about the baby green of a frond, caressing an old burnished silver. Something that brings in all the damp green freshness of the fern-garden by the pond and melts a swathe of completely refined silver elegance into it. Takes away the impression of mud, leaves its lacey softness. These are things she taught me, wordlessly. I still feel a heart-lurching delight when I see them in my mother's house. No doubt she spent many mornings at that table too.

What I remember most is the colour and the smell.
Her colours were always light and airy and hazy. Like all the colours of the flower table had aged and mellowed and been diffused over time and had found their way onto her. So while on the table there'd be a deep emerald green, on her dress or belt there was mint or pista. Her fingertips, always fondling the petals on the little phlox flowers, would give way to baby pink palms. For every colour of flower or vase or day she had a corresponding mist in her skin, her eyes, her dresses, her soul.
And the smells. Her eu-de-cologne, her old Camay soap and the fresh smell of a new day that only comes when the entire house is surrounded by trees and a small army of gardeners with hosepipes, spraying the hot earth with water from the garden pond. The wet smell of the insides of vases, the wet smell of freshly cut flowers.

Every so often, I had to run downstairs to the garden and relay messages between the gardener and her: 'I asked for the blue ones!' 'Tell her I already told her they haven't flowered yet!!'. They loved each other. Everything he touched turned into blossom. Each blossom, she cherished. The clip-clip of her scissors so gentle. Never any hacking or tearing of leaves. Always time enough to feel a flower's petals. To point out its colour or softness or scent. To look into it's heart and put your nose in it ("Check for bees!!") and inhale!! A mock-deep breath and widened eyes were our sign to each other that truly this one is loveliest of them all. We always checked that yesterday's vases had enough water, enough light. No flowers ever wasted.

Once, there were too many little ones in the larger silver bucket.
She said, "Run down to Janardhan and ask him to do that thing he did for your mother. Go."
Janardhan was squatting by a flowerbed, smoking a bidi. He saw me clambering down the garden steps with a huge bucket full of pink and blue flowers.
Wordlessly, he took the bucket from me, handed me the hosepipe, "Here, you hold this." I was so delighted that I was being allowed to take over the watering, I didn't think to ask what he was going to do with the flowers.
Ten minutes later he nudged me. In both hands, a perfectly formed blue and pink and green wreath in his hands. Made without a shred of wire or rope. A crown of flowers. He put it on my head and said "Raani."
I was a garden fairy-queen that day. I spread my arms and mock-floated, mock-flew, up the steps and back to my grandmother, wearing my crown, and she let me keep it on all day.

Rage

The 'quiet within' is overblown.
It's a veil.
There's nothing silent about shock.
I want to cry violently.
Or smash something. Noiselessly. But not quietly. And not a glass. A table. A chair. A door. The wardrobe and all my shoes within it. A building. A mountain. Bring it on.
Tear down a tree.
Scream in a desert.
Fuck someone.

And all this, not out of anger. There is nothing to be furious about.
But adrenaline is like an atom bomb, sending shockwaves long before the noise. Then a white heat before the thunder.
And right now there is white heat white noise, and I want to break something.

Except I will be nice to myself and the universe, since it it colluding in my father's recovery and just smoke a noiseless cigarette outside in the sun instead.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Finite lives, finite planet.

Even when the day is bright, and the afternoon is long, time swishes this way and that and is gone.
Never enough time. To love everyone fully, even when love is coursing through every vein, jostling your blood out of the way.

For someone with such a ruthlessly effective and final 'let go' mechanism, I find to my surprise that now,
I can't.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

I stood outside the house smoking today.
I looked at the moon and there was a veil of mist passing it by. I watched it pass.
The brightest moon this year.
The warmest night.

I love my father so, so much. I cannot bear being away from him at this time. And yet, here I am. Doing bullshit all day.
He would be so disappointed in me.

My mother is so brave, so brave.
She grew up intensely alone. Terribly lonely.
She wraps her own arms around herself in times like this. Such a fragile, sensitive, soft woman. But her aloneness is like steel. She eats her breakfast, she does her hair, she selects her clothes, she folds them.
On days when I couldn't bear to brush my teeth or wash my face or even change my underwear. She's fresh and clean and bathed, with food in her tummy and her steely aloneness even through her tears.
I, having grown up in a house with two angels like my mum and dad, surrounded always by the most intense, palpable love, can never wrap steel around myself like this. I simply don't have it in me.
No steel. No walls. No armour. No moat. No blanket. No nothing.
Just cigarettes and the occassional bleed onto a blog post.
These are all I have right now to keep my expression straight, my fingers moving, my breath going in and out.

I love them so much.

Particularly cogent right now.

Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
- e.e. cummings.

I vent therefore I am.

Or something a bit less self-indulgent....
But anyway here is my list of thoughts as they're occuring to me, all at once.
It took a coffee and a cigarette and the first warm sunshine of the year to be able to seperate these out as seperate thoughts.

The thoughts are:
  • Dad is better now so I can stop panicking. They've diagnosed what it was, treatment started within the first half hour of it's onset, excellent doctors - including him - managing his treatment, stop stop stop panicking!!
  • Dad is better now so I can stop making a militant effort at keeping calm, and therefore fall to pieces with pent-up panic combined with shattering relief. (Boyfriends shoulders are excellent for the sort of Biblical deluge this brings about.)
  • However: Still feel numb from shock. That gave me a big fright. My Mum called me and said 'Papa's not well, he's in the ambulance, he's not conscious.' Whatever lurched inside me at that second, I hope it wasn't my heart, because that was one solid smash I felt. I think I am still stuck, mentally, in that moment 2 days ago. So I have two days worth of feelings as backlog. (No, they don't actually go away when put into storage; you have to feel them through and through. Gah.)
  • To put everything into perspective, this thought: Get over yourself, you wretched, self-absorbed, self-indulgent, entirely stupid girl. Think what Mum must feel.
  • However: Mum is right there and can hold his hand, and he can hold hers. I feel adrift and alone, halfway across the world, hearing his heart monitor bleeping in the background when I'm on the phone.
  • But: Having said that: Come on, child. You're your Dad's daughter. This is a man who would not have you sopping and 'feeling numb', he'd have you say a short prayer (since you're so-inclined), gather yourself in a quiet corner and plunge into the day knowing that this too, shall pass, and just helping out whenever you're needed. None of this crying or wailing down the phone would impress him at all. Therefore. Stop.
Whoo that was difficult to type out, even harder to seperate out into seperate thoughts. In my head it all feels like a combined mess of aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhh!! But when it comes to dealing with the aaarrrrgh divide-and-conquer has definite advantages :)
Yay. On my way back to smiling at the sunshine again.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Bedroom hair, sleepy eyes. A sweep of blue smudged from last night like hazy sky over each eyelid, and a dark dark fringe.
Half Nefertiti, half waif, all his.
His palm clasped around the top of her arm, her cheek resting on the hollow at the centre of his chest. Each breathing in and out, in and out, like the rise and fall of an ocean, like the swell of a bud about to burst into bloom.

In the sliver between a dream and some half-formed desire, just behind my closed eyes this morning, I dreamt of us like this.

In my dreams of us there is always honey coloured light and smudges of the deepest blues.
All through the waking day I looked at you, and this evening, in the park at sundown, there it was again; the honey light sweeping across your cheekbones with all the glory of a high wind and smugdes of blue all around you like an aura, diffused by the bare branches and clouds.

And for a split second I didn't know if I was still dreaming, or if it really was a dream at all.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Because I'm supposed to be 'strong' on the phone.

Dearest Papa,

I love you so much, so much, so much.

I am right there holding your hand.

Please get well soon, soon, soon.

Love,
Me.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Yes!!

You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
----------------------------------------
If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

- both, C.S. Lewis
---------------------------------------

Funnily enough, the absolute, gritty physicality of spring makes me want to leap out of myself, open my arms to the cosmos and vanish, sprite-like, into the sunlit air.

Memoir

If:
The well-examined life leads you to think deeply about lives in general
But:
All thoughts about the outside stem from experiences on the inside
Then:
Is your view of the world ultimately half-baked
Or:
Is it grounded in a reality more solid than that which observation of others can provide?

---------------------------------

On another note:
Pomegranate tree or orange tree: Which is a more sensual one to have outside one's bedroom window?
I'm going a-planting this weekend.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

I have a question about God. Who am I to ask?!

I am being driven near to tears with a question that everybody has but nobody has conclusively answered.

And in all honesty, there's a good reason why people don't ask it all the time, they just get on with their lives. But all of a sudden it seems imperative that I answer it.

Bah. I cannot even answer my research question and I am trying to answer questions about God.

This is a very rambly post

This is going to sound incredibly bad and I hope I do not have to eat my words, but I feel I must flag an epiphany I've just had:
------
There is a world of difference between 'I love him, I'm happy when I'm around him' and 'I love him, but God, it sears my soul sometimes'.
------
I used to think the first kind of love was what I wanted. The happy, quite comfortable kind. But I rejected it at every turn. People who ticked all the boxes in terms of compatibility, matching, kindness, gentleness, sweetness (one of them overticked this box, but never mind him for now), I simply rejected every time we passed a sort of invisible dividing line between the 'beginning' and the 'real thing'.
I was happy in each one's presence.
I smiled and laughed a lot, had tonnes of fun, and some great sex and brilliant conversations.

But.
I was never so deeply happy that it hurt.
And never so deeply hurt that it felt ecstatic.

I am now.
And I hesitate to say it that way, because every time I profess a certainty, it crumbles to dust. Such is the way of this universe. No?
But since this is just cyberspace and since technically I'm just writing this on a blog, on the web, virtually in thin air, I think it should be safe to sound certain, so I'm just gonna say it:
I'm so happy, it hurts.
And sometimes, so deeply hurt, I can't feel it at all, and just laugh (genuinely, laugh) when I really expected to dissolve into floods of tears.

Is it because I've found The one?
Or is it because I've found the version of me that can be so deeply affected?
I think you can't have one without the other, personally.

Monday, 30 March 2009

No kidding

If I wrote down some of the things my friends back home say over the phone, and gave the verbatim transcript to someone, they'd think I had just conducted a pyschiatric interview.

Evidence:

Me: So what's been up with you?
Her: No. Yah. I mean. Yeah. I know. It's good. But it could be really bad.
Me: *struggling to hold phone, pick up ciggies and leave the office. Sorry, what?
Her: You know, it could be good. But it could be bad.
Me (a bit alarmed): Has something happened?!
Her: No. I just meant that I.. I... em... (much hemming and hawing) I... I did something. And I dunno.... it could be bad.
Me: Right. I'm in the office at the moment, actually, so em... tell me what it is, quick, and then I got to work.
Her: Hee. Heehee. Oh. Hee. (followed by uncontrolled and sustained giggling).
Me (*slightly annoyed): Listen. I'll talk to you later, k? I'm in the office. Bye sweets, love you!
Her: But but don't you want to know what it is?!
Me (*to self): No, not really.
Me: (*to her): Well you seem not to want to just spit it out.
Her: Ok. Fine. I'll tell you.
*Pregnant pause.
Her: (a whole silent minute later). Nah I'll tell you when you come home.
Okie bye sweety I love you soooooooooo (*said VVVVEEERRRRRYYY loudly) much!!

I'd completely get this conversation if it'd come from someone whose tiny details I love to hear and who loves to hear mine. But this sort of tininess doesn't seem like 'the sweet little things of daily life' to me, it seems more like small-minded rubbish.
Bah.
Growing out of friendships, friends, and my skinny jeans.
So basically,
Am a bitch. And fat.
Yay.

Alternatively:
This is the kind of scattishness that is calculated to annoy. In which case, damn, she got me. Bah.

2 Big Questions, on their way to being thought about nicely.

Why is it so hard to ask questions about God?
Three possible answers, simplified pour blog:
1.) There is no God; you cannot ask a question about a Nothing. Similarly, there is no way to answer a question about a Nothing.
(Though I know some physicists would disagree. Which leads us down some interesting paths...)
2a.) Humans have a design-flaw; they are driven to search, but incapable of making the final, decisive, irrefutable, replicable, empirically-demonstrable connection
2b.) God has a design-flaw; S/He drives us to search, but something about His/Her nature makes it incapable of being found.
This isn't as trite as it first sounds; think of all the men and women you know who're aching to fall in love - the paradox of wanting to connect is that the very desire makes it impossibly hard to do. (Again, no way of saying this concisely without sounding trite. So, apologies.)
3. God is in every Thing, every Time and every Process. You can only see something if you're outside the frame, and we're not; we're smack-bang in the middle of a Creation infused with the Creator, and we're constantly co-creating. We can't see It because we're in it.
(Short leap from there to: 'We can't see It because we're it. Which also leads us down some interesting paths, with a lot of Hinduism along the way. Most interesting. I shall have to read the Gita and the Vedas. [Since I'm going through a read the words of the Father binge.])

_____________________________________________

Am I really no longer scared of the word commitment?
For the longest time I've been feeling like a kid on a bike, asking her dad to come hold the handlebars, refusing to believe that she actually is riding all by herself. But lately, I've been turning my head as the bike moved, and realising: Hey! I'm doing this!
It's been 2 years since I've been living with M.
I love him more than I did - and deeper than I did - when we first started this experiment.

(Inshallah).
So basically, yay, I can do this. Wow?!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Quote from a book review

"That manipulation by the solitary writer of the solitary reader is the secret, erotic space of reading. It works very rarely, but when it does, centuries don't matter, nor the actuality of the writer's life."

What an incredibly well-put point!

Rest of this review here.

Seasons

Spring has sprung.
Daffodils along all the roadsides. And leaf buds, light green and maroon and glossy. And birds. Bursting into random staccato song all through the night and then exploding into symphony around dawn. Jewel colours strewn all over the grass - blue, yellow, pink, emerald. And sunlight roaring through the trees, furiously waking up the sleeping earth.
There seems to be no excuse anymore to not just throw away my winter coat. Though doing so now would mean I enjoy the sunshine from behind bleary eyes and a hankerchief, battling a cold. Not nice.
The house needs a bit of spring cleaning. So tomorrow we take advantage of the fact that it'll be drizzling, and go to skip with everything that needs to be chucked. Such a civilised system, the skip. Everything that can be recycled, is (and if I'm wrong on that, please don't tell me!!) So much nicer than throwing unwanted furniture into a garbage tip on the street - like one would, I suppose, back home.

All in all, this is get out and walk around all day weather.
And this morning, the Man and I did just that.
*happy sigh. Thank you, Lord, for the end of that ghastly winter.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Chain-smoking today.

For no reason.

Make whatever value judgements you like.

Or don't.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Cliche, but for a reason

This didn't happen to me.
So I'm posting it here for two reasons:
a.) I feel sufficiently annoyed nonetheless
b.) It's happened to us all at some point and will again.

-----
Overheard at 19:00 in a computer lab at the university:

Boy: *leaning in to kiss girl sitting at next computer. Come here, baby...
Girl: *half-protesting squeal.
Boy: What's wrong?
Girl: Nothing I was trying to save the essay.
Boy: Awww it doesn't matter... come here.... *more pulling of girl until her chair physically moves closer to his. He then smothers her with cuddles.
Girl: Ok I'll be done soon.... maybe I go home now and order some food later?
Boy: No stay here.
Girl: Uh but I have to shower and stuff.
Boy: So? Do it later! I'll be done soon.

Same couple at 20:00:
Girl: You done babe?
Boy: Uuuuggghhh *grunt uhhhh noooooooooooo!!! Haha Peter's girlfriend barfed and he put it on facebook! Loook!!
Girl: I don't wanna

Boy: Pulling chair over. Look.


Same couple, at 22:30.
Girl: You done yet?
Boy: No.
Girl: How long will you be?
Boy: I don't know. Half an hour?
Girl: You said that at 7:30.
Boy: SO!!? What's your problem! Let me do my essay!
Girl: You're watching a football match! And doing Scots' stats!!
Boy: SO?!
Girl: Well.... nothing... I .... It's just that I'm a bit hungry and I've been done for ages.
Boy: SO?!
Girl: You told me to wait with you.
Boy: SO?!
Girl: I... welll... eeeerrrr... ah... I dunno.... you said you wanted to order food together and I'm a bit bored now.
Boy: SO?! You should've just gone.
Girl: But you stopped me twice!!
*boys eyes glaze over - someone's just done something interesting on his screen perhaps.
Girl: Ok so then I'll head off... if you need some food later you can come to mine.

No response.

5 minutes later --
Girl: Did you hear me?

No response.

5 minutes later --
Girl: *nudges boy.
*pushes boy
Boy: WHAT THE HELL!! DON'T BE A BITCH!! Just let me do my stuff!!! I don't want your food or whatever! Just go!

*Girl gets up and walks away. Boys eyes are still glazed over.

---------------------------

Comic Relief for Development Studies.

"How to make out on scarce resources."
I swear to God, that is part of a chapter title for part of a book that is on my reading list.

Let me solve it for you buddy:
Making out on scare resources is a breeeze.

You need a dark room (no 'lecy bills). Two consenting horny adults (no shortage of those, we have a world population of...of... oooh I just had a fix on the number but it got away from me...) No phone (more saving on bills). No clothes (no fibre cultivation --> back to growing millets on hardly any water and marginal land. The savings there are too immense to even count off as a list here!). A glass of water for parched throats (This isn't asking too much, just one glass...). And severely rationed food supplies (since sex is perhaps the only way a starving populace could forget about its gnawing hunger for long enough to you know, actually ration available food; and we have enough grub to just-about-sort-of keep everybody going).

This combination of factors wasn't proposed by the UN and you won't find it an IIED report. But it's something people all over the world do everyday, successfully, and discover the elixir of youth and happiness in the process.
You see, this magical formula is nothing but what's otherwise known as Student Life. Visit any campus accommodation anywhere in this country and you'll see we already live like this. So it's tried and tested and hey we all look good and young and excessively becoming. Because well, we're coming... tra lah lah lah (*insert gormless guffaw here.) So it should be well on it's way to becoming official Policy. And being Upscaled.

How to make out on scare resources?
Is that a question for a serious academic tome?
Undergraduates up and down this soggy island can answer that one.
And by the time they're impoverished PhD students, they can write the fucking book!!
Bah. Bigwigs concern themselves with too trivial questions nowadays.


----
*** Not that anyone is seriously reading this as a development studies blog, but if you are (God damn! Are you nuts?! How on earth did you get here?!), then puhlease, all disclaimers about this being Comic Relief apply. It's not and was not intended as a prescription for sub-Saharan famine relief. Duh.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

I do not understand

I'm saying that not in the spirit of a lost soul in the forest, plaintive and pathetic. But as concession to the fact that it's the first step on the journey to understand.

I do not understand how:
I can have a fight with the Man, over something so stupid and idiotic and utterly pointless (utterly pointless because we both know that we will never agree on this, but instead of just agreeing to disagree we have a tacit understanding that we will scream each other's brains out and then slam each and every door in the world before going into a sulk with each other for a week).

And then.

Post-fight,
I go out and have a lonely but lovely day.
And then.
Meet a friend and have a GORGEOUS evening with her, full of giggles and much mutual understanding and hand holding and spontaneous, loving, utterly enchanting adventures.

And then.
I can walk home in the dark feeling uplifted and smelling the sweet spring air and having a bounce in my step and looking at my own shadow and admiring the beauty of my own legs (:P) and feeling that all is alright with the world.

And then.
I walk into the door and I know he's home and I expect him to mirror that feeling.

But.
There's a black cloud in the room and, suddenly, and, again,
a black cloud around my heart.

Bah.
I do not understand how this can happen.
Bah.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Airkissing is awful

Somebody explain the ritual of air kissing around the cheeks.
We all know it:
Airkisser: "Daahling, helllo, how ARE you... *SMMACK."
Airkissee: "Oh I'm fabulous.... *SMMMACK.. and you? *SMMMACK."
What I really want to say, is:
If there's one thing the Indians should spread like propaganda all over the world it's the art of Namaste.

And the worst thing? It's a FAKE kiss! A pretend kiss!
You know how fabulous things turn deadly disgusting when they're 'imitation'?
Like the difference between burnished gold and 'gold plated, madam, yexport quality.'
Kisses in general - the genuine ones that you really mean from the bottom of your bottom are FABULOUS things. They're right up there with singing angels and starlight.
But this sort of kiss?
This kiss is a gold plated, yexport quality windbag.
It's not a real smack or a slurp or anything of that ilk. It's a chewing-gum sound directed at the air around your face. In no other social interaction would we smile tolerantly while someone lied so blatantly. And to lie with a kiss? That's just bad form. The gentlemen who actively do this are called rude names starting with B.

I know I have an aura. And in some social situations, I suppose it's positively STICKY with charm and magnetic radiance.
But PLEASE. If you're not good friends enough to KISS MY FACE (there's no acne there anymore, so that is not an excuse) - like mouth to skin action,- then you have no business kissing the air around it. After all, the aura is even more sacred than the actual physical entity. At least in my book. So you can't go kissing it randomly, with no emotion other than 'Fuck, where's the bar and what perfume is she wearing?'

Besides, in England at least, it's downright criminal to pass on your viral load of flu. I'm already dealing with my own. My monocytes don't want your critters as well, thanks.

So please.
People.
When we meet, give my shoulder a warm squeeze, reach for my hand, smile. Say hi. Give me a hug. In fact, that's a good indicator. Can you give your airkissee a sincere hug?
If yes, KISS their cheek. Or do something warm, welcoming and show them you're happy to see them.
If not, say hi, how are you and proceed straight to the bar.

---
*Disclaimer -
Circumstances under which air kissing might be allowed:
a.) You're Mediterranean - preferably honey coloured and Italian, and this is a general ciao bella thing that denotes how much you love everyone you encounter (it also allows the airkissee to get close enough to you to smell your Italian scent. Mummmeeeeee);
b.) The airkissee is someone you're meant to actually hug and kiss but they've got a big green gunk filled spot on the corner of their mouth. In this case, air kiss from six feet away at least;
c.) Airkissee and airkisser both have a tacit understanding that they will, in about two minutes time, be outta this stuffy party for fucks' sake and back in either of their appartments, throwing a party for two of their own. In which case the air kissing keeps up social appearances of hahn there's nothing going on with the two of them, while allowing you to disappear and fuck each other's brains out.
Today was the day when a spanner was thrown into every best laid plan.
First:
I'd planned to see Kundun with a friend. It rained cats and dogs - hell - it rained donkeys and the girl who was supposed to bring the DVD never showed and the screening was cancelled.

But then. We decided to have late lunch instead. And we spent a very pleasant hour demolishing a meal and giggling hysterically over the bullshit each of us sometimes encounters during fieldwork.

We bussed it back to town, and I got off at the Odeon bus stop, only to see that the Man had called me. His phone was off, so I couldn't return his call. He wasn't answering the house phone.
Dang it, I thought. He's out. I turned a corner and thought: I'll just nip to Cafe Nero and see if he's there. If not, too bad, I'll have to be alone this evening. I looked up right that minute and saw him standing outside Cafe Nero, just about to go call me again. I'm thinking of the tiny wheels and levers in some great big machine of time and coordination and coincidence that allowed that to happen. We had a very nice coffee, read AA Gill's HILARIOUS piece in today's Times and stepped out of the cafe, into..
a hailstorm that lasted for EXACTLY the amount of time it took for us to walk home.
As soon as we got to the front door, there was transluscent sunshine and elfin light.

This evening we were meant to watch the Vagina Monologues on campus.
We missed the bus. We looked at each other and said "Dinner!!" at once. Noodle bar had a treasure trove of dry noodles and lemonade and crackers and a warm corner to sit in. And both us finally got down to learning to eat with chopsticks! Somehow I ate my entire dinner with them! And he ate rice! And we totally couldn't do that before! Not to sound too Nike, but we literally Just Did It!

So. I had three outings today, each utterly by chance, each the result of something else not happening. I BET if I'd planned to meet Ambra for lunch, have coffee with the man and a dinner date later, none of the three would've happened. Also, today was the first day EVER that I've seen the moon from my bedroom window in this house. It was just after the rain/hail/sleet/disgusting-but-beautifully-lit thingy that drenched us on our way home from the cafe. I was sitting on the window sill (it's a wide sill) and talking to the man / kissing the back of his neck and I saw it set amongst the blue of a freshly washed sky and the russet of freshly washed tiled roofs.
Like a chip of ice. And tonight, after dinner, I noticed that it was shining DIRECTLY onto our front door.

Am I over-seeing or was today totally CRAMMED with unexpected joy? Startling, fresh, spontaneous, destined. Gorgeous day. Thank you universe.

(Though really, could you also arrange for Kundun and The Vagina Monologues to happen some time please? Was really looking forward to them both.)

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Melancholia

You know how sometimes that solitary space inside your head can have a full-blown conversation (ok now I sound coocoo on top of everything, but bear with me) or narrate a full-blown commentary to... absolutely no one?
Well today I imagined I was writing as I walked down the street to buy a computer chair for the Man who was severely desperately in need of one.
Specifically, this is what I thought to you, dear reader, sweet blog:

Picture this:
I'm walking down a crowded narrow pavement and there is a press of people on either side. Old people young people punks wheelchair users a policeman. There's a group of excruciatingly loud teenage girls in PIIINK! sweatshirts and overly tight jeans walking in the sunshine on the other side of the road. There's a girl wearing fuchsia hair and leather trousers and HUGE boots, walking arm in arm with her boyfriend. And there's an old gentleman with a walking stick slowly threading his way through this market yard of weirdness.
Remember My Fair Lady?
Remember Professor Higgins?
Think of an older, more sober version.
Perhaps I'm going too much by appearances? (But what an appearance!! Dark green hat, old looking tan leather gloves, a beige trench coat, shoes exactly the colour of the gloves, his back upright despite the walking stick, his gait perfectly controlled. The trench belted shut, I notice, not flapping all over the place. Every buckle done up just so. To suggest polish, not stiffness. Ten years younger and I'd have kissed him.)
He radiated class and poise and finesse. And none of it appeared put on.

And I wondered: What does he think?
And, (all hail, the inevitable cliche!) I felt sad. Who cares?!
And (all hail, the ego!!) I felt a tiny stab of holier-than-though annoyance at everybody else for appearing to not give a fuck.

I wondered:
What's he seen, where's he from? Such a long life! He still dresses like it's the '40s. Is that habit or taste? What can he tell me - or us - that we really need to know. What can he speak about, what issues can he comment on and still sound relevant? And what is 'beyond' him? What does he think of the fuchsia hair? What can he tell us about living through an economic crisis, a world war, bigotry, social movements, transformative social change, human rights, exploration, discovery. What does he think now, about heartache and loving? Would he recommend we waste our time on it? Did he waste his time on it? What can he tell us about living the best possible version of each of our lives? What would he have done differently? Does he recommend the experience of living? Or in retrospect, does it all seem like a jolly old (a phrase I guarantee he uses!!) waste of time? What can he teach me? What can I teach him? Is there anything I know that he doesn't. Is there anything he knows that I really really should? Anything he can say that we should all listen very carefully to?
I suspect he can say a lot.
Even if he says nothing, or very little. A life lived in such interesting, challenging and gut-wrenching times!! We should be celebrating him as a triumph of nature! He lived through all that! Any other species, an individual gets to that age and an ecologist would give it a metaphorical thump on the back and say well done, you! Our species, someone survives life and still goes for walks on Saturday afternoons, we should say well done, you!
And everybody was just passing him by, not even looking. Like they also passed by the sunset. The pinkest, most luscious sunset this week. The whole sky was aflame with it and wreathed in feathers as the doves settled down to roost. And they just passed, passed it by, looking at the pavement.

quote of the day

It is a little embarrassing that, after forty-five years of research and study, the best advice I can give to people is to be a little kinder to each other.

- Aldous Huxley

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Fieldwork

This quote by Czeslaw Milosz is exactly right for thinking about, remembering, planning or doing fieldwork in India.

At the entrance, my bare feet on the dirt floor, Here, gusts of heat; at my back, white clouds. I stare and stare. It seems I was called for this: To glorify things just because they are.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

New Developments

The Shark has a job.
A hotshot wear-a-suit type of job.
Smooth talking snake.
I knew he could do it. I'm so proud!

Except.
(There is always an except) -
So far, the only relationship in my life that hasn't been ruined by the onset (or the end) of a career change / advancement has been my love affair with my cat.
Who, I am completely confident, will never EVER put me second to his rat race or resented me working on mine (in fact, he spends hours sitting by my side as I read. Silently. But with love. Something a human man could never do.)
Oh, Pasha! Love of my life! Why couldn't you have been a man instead of a baby tiger?

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Girls of the world who can carry off red lipstick.
Don't listen to the girls of the world who tell you:
a.) That no one can carry it off.
b.) That you specifically can't carry it off.
c.) That only those types of women can carry it off.

Life's too short to not wear red lipstick, bloody high heels, tutu-skirts, glitter, flowers, pink.
Especially if the reason for not wearing them is that you'll be called one of those types of women.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

after some calculations, i have decided

... that I prove, almost mathematically, that I am Carrie Bradshaw.
Down to mannerisms, the laptop by the window, the whirly tutu skirts and the curly hair that I always want part brown, part gold, all wild.

But here is the twist:
I am also, equally, a hippie at heart. Who scorns Carrie Bradshaw. Who wants an allotment to grow her own vegetables and who is actually happiest sitting cross legged doing interviews in a field.

Either/Or?
Like I said before: Versus is a dirty word.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Promise to self

Dear Self.
I promise.
I will NOT ever try to fit in to get ahead.

************************************

Explanation later. I've watched Sex and the City, I've had a glorious afternoon out with a friend, I've walked around drinking coffee and eating croissant in the pale winter sun. And now it's 11 pm and I have yet to prepare for a huge meeting tomorrow that I haven't even started thinking about.
No matter how grown up my house, I fear I am still very much on a studenty schedule.

On another note:
Wearing a man's shirt is surprisingly... I don't know the word. Unbuttoned just so, with a string of (fake) pearls, a tiny black woollen jumper and dark skinny jeans and short boots. I thought boyfriend's shirts were off-limits for reasons of frumpiness. But no, not so frumpy after all. I like immensely.