Everturning gyre…

2 06 2011

myAnger and pain. What comes first… the violence or the hurt? Spinning me around, fast and furious, in a crazy circle, till I’m numb and dizzy with the thoughts. Turning and twisting. Out of control torturous torque hurtling to the edge-of-the-edge of my humanity.

Pandora’s box. Don’t go there, my soul thuds. The mind doesn’t care. “I have to, I got to, I need to.” The brain shouts my heart down.

I kick, curse, rant. I wish I could cause Pain. Like this Pain that I feel to the end of all eternity.  Ah! The thought of hating something so much. It gives me a new-found power, the pleasure of Hate.

Infinite, bottomless pit of hate. Hate that makes me scream till my lungs turn blue, violence that swells in my heart as I heave and sigh with the dull aching of memories unlocking new delusions. New possibilities for my sinews to throb with violence.

I turn turn turn. Every breathless pause gasping for more. Anger and pain. anger and Pain. My throat cries out in protest, the brain wants more. I can’t  stop for I might feel the pain. “No, not now,” interrupts that meddlesome brain. I need anger, for my pulsing, exhausted veins are hot and swollen. Anger, that feeds off my pain. My fix, my addiction, my will to survive.

I draw strength. From the cuts and the lashings. From scars embedded deep in my memory. Long-forgotten, waking up to the calls of my frenzied revolution. An unstoppable dynamo plugged to my pain.

I rise and swell, in the comforting thought. Enervating joy! I see my foe in the distance. A frail, diminutive figure in the mirage. I rush forward, a whirlwind of spite and bruised pride. Nearer and nearer. Unstoppable juggernaut.

The haze clears. The mind stops, a bullet shattering the raging thoughts. Anger flees. A million shattered shards lie fallen. Only pain remains. Sharp, mind-sapping, pain like I never felt before.

The mirage is gone. The air is still. The vortex crumples, the center does not hold. There! I see my love. Love that gave me hope beyond life. Love that kept me human all along. Love that I forgot for a moment in time. Love that now lay limp, wounded by my anger, crippled by the delusions of my mind.

My stunning red dragon :)

28 05 2011

Revelations in the Park

20 05 2011

I listen to SEAL as I run in the park. Loneliness is a killer, he says. And everyday, I gulp hard, shut my ears, eyes and mind to that thought and wish it away. But today, I just run, harder and harder. Not away from the thought, but with it, just as I feel the wind running along with me, the dark night shifting in the shadows on my path, the single drop of sweat trickling down my face, saltwater streaks that tally the strength of hope and will. Loneliness is a killer only if you let it be. Pain can only hurt you if you let it lash out at you in fury.

Let it wash over you. Run its course. Like an ever-rising-falling sweep of the tide.

I run today, without minding the sharp, shooting jabs in my stomach. The cramp that used to stop me even before I began to run…the benumbing wish to give up before the beginning has begun, is suddenly gone. I pause the thought. No, the cramp is still there, but it doesn’t have the capacity to give me pain anymore. I feel free, like Forrest Gump. My heart had leaped when I saw him run across America. I had joyfully chorused “Run, Forrest, Run”. But today I feel what he felt. I understand that those words mean freedom.

It means breaking free of the inanities of life. It means moving towards a higher order of things.

I run, to embrace the lonely night. The dog-walkers are all gone home. The last of the soccer players in the parking lot drive away. The lights are almost out in patches of the track. The night sky seems clearer here and the clouds are hanging low and still on the mountains beyond. The pale moon, the faint, faraway stars, the looming silhouette of the mountains…. And for a moment, I’m all alone. A moment when I own the park, this personal universe.

Tonight, the world is mine. And loneliness becomes liberating. A feeling of truth and power. Of strength and spirit. Of hope and life.

Can you believe this!!

17 12 2005
Read a piece of news on BBC World… I suppose it happens only in the US, the zaniest place in the world :)  

A disappointed lover in the US has left a $15,000 (£8,500) diamond engagement ring in a stranger’s unlocked car, accompanied by a heartfelt message.

The anonymous message read: “Merry Christmas. Thank you for leaving your car door unlocked. Instead of stealing your car I gave you a present.

“Hopefully this will land in the hands of someone you love, for my love is gone now. Merry Christmas to you.”

Vellore gives me the shudders!

5 12 2005
Everytime I travel from Bangalore to Madras, I awaken from my slumber unfailingly as we near Jolarpettai, my eyes rivetted on the mountains in the distance, the only scenic moment after miles of barren landscape. Ah, we are midway to our destination, and Madras is only a few hours away. That is enough to pep me up. The train roars by Katpadi, Vanyambadi and I crinkle my nose, trying to cut off the odour of stagnating residue from the tanning industries of the towns. We pass Vellore. An impassive look at the fleeting scenes of the town and it is wiped off my memory, as with most other towns in this final lap.  

Vellore was just another town in the sordid horizon, with its unbearable heat burning down everything that tries to break ground. Till this happened… 

It was night when we left Bangalore. I often accompanied my Mama (Mother’s brother in Tamil) to spend my holidays in Madras. This was one such trip, and my Paati (grandmother) was to accompany us. I was miffed that I had to travel by bus and not by the ever-exciting train. And it was a night bus!! So not much to gaze out of the window upon :(. I am eternally devoted to spending my free  time, sitting by the window in a journey, gaping into the lives of people on the streets… the odd hut in the horizon, the crisscross roads, the jagged rock, the twisted tree, the wild flower hiding in the grass…  Aw, I could do nothing of  that tonight!!! How will I sit through the journey on an endless night like this!!! 

We settled snug and warm into our seats, but I couldnt sleep. I was wide awake to the noises of people sneezing, snoring, the lonely driver talking to the ticket guy incessantly… I listened to the highs and lows of their lives, their families, their take on politics, movies, the icons who ruled their thoughts and ideals… My mind tuned in to the noises of the night… the unceasing buzz of the beetles outside, an occasional dhaba blaring loud music, a car whizzing on the road… Trucks and buses stopping for a break in the ardous journey. 

A passenger stepped in from the inky blackness at Hosur and settled down beside the driver. He  seemed to know the driver well. A regular traveller I suppose. I heard him say there were rumours of trouble enroute to Madras. The driver scoffed, and dismissed it, saying he would have been informed. The voices droned on and slowly lulled me to sleep. 

I heard murmurs that were growing into a steady rumble…  tyres screeching, then stillness. I must be dreaming… I turned sides to get comfortable, and stopped. The bus was not moving! Where were we? I looked out of the window. It was pitch dark. But i could see the outline of buses ahead of us. My uncle had woken up and was in conversation with the driver. There was a group gathering outside my window… people from the other buses as well! They had got word that the route to Madras was hit by riots last night and it was not safe to head towards the city. The driver was not willing to go ahead. 

It was 12 am and we were in the middle of nowhere! The passengers convinced the driver to atleast take them upto the nearest town, which happened to be Vellore. With worry heavy on our brows we made it to Vellore. The driver parked it in the bus station and hurried off to get a good night’s sleep!

What next? Some adventure this is going to be, I thought. I was actually tinged with excitement… Wow! THis is something i can rave about to my friendsl.  But paati!!! She was highly diabetic, and her eyesight was failing. Her hearing was also impaired. Oh, my mama must be really worried, trying to get me and her safely home!! Effacing my initial excitement, I picked up my bag and helped paati get down. 

We looked around the bus stand. It was nothing but an open yard filled with rows of buses. No  shelter, or even seats  to park ourselves on!  It had rained  incessantly  these few days and the ground was  slush and water. A faint drizzle… Gosh!!! What a mess! 

I found the yawning of a makeshift tea shop empty and we huddled there while my Mama fetched the bags. An elderly man saw us and got out a chair from his all night shop and told my granny to sit on it. I managed to perch on a nearby stone. My uncle chatted with him and got uprised of the situation. Right now, no buses were allowed to enter or leave Chennai towards this direction. But the police were discussing the possibility of opening up the route later on, with buses being escorted from Vellore. 

By 2pm, the bus stand was a humdrum of  noise, as business was brisk for the one or two night hawkers who had started out late in the day. Buses packed with people started pouring in and this part of Vellore came to life. Then, the police vans came, and the news spread that buses would be setting out in batches of five. We were relieved and picked up our bags, but fell back as the crowds shoved and pushed, trying to get on to the bus, through the window as well! The seats were up for grabs and everything rested on how well you could muscle your way through. Being tiny, I shoved my bags against jostling bodies and squeezed in… No seats! My paati! How could she manage the journey standing! Nobody was to give a second look at an old lady at a time like this! We resigned ourselves to our earlier perch and resumed the wait in silent despair. Sometime soon, when the crowds dwindled we would get our chance… 

As the wee hours of the night broke into dawn, the air was chill and the draught made me shiver. I looked at Paati and wondered how she was managing. She was a bit groggy and the situation had not sunk in. She managed to shut her eyes, oblivious of the chaos. Around five pm, the tea stall near us came to life and the vendor set the tea brewing… Steaming hot chai wafting wonderous fragrances in the stifled air! My uncle returned with milk for us and chai for himself. I grimaced and he went back to get me chai in a glass. It filled me with some life, and the vendor came up to me with some biscuits. Touched by his gesture, I drank two more cups of chai ;) 

Weary of the wait and energised with our watery brew, we decided to try our luck. It was five in the morning and we were not sure if the riots would resume in the day. That would mean we would be left behind in Vellore, and paati being diabetic, we couldnt risk it. She needed to eat and rest on time and wouldnt be able to put up with the strain. 

We firmly got hold of the bags, and  headed to the next bus that came up. I wiggled in and managed to get  a seat. Finally!  A woman, vexed by losing the seat to a wisp of a girl like me, tried to wrest it out. I was glued to the seat and in my broken Tamil told her to beat it. People around me broke into murmurs of how youngsters had no respect for elders as the lady broke into a tirade. By then, my uncle had got Paati on to the bus and relieved me. The murmurs were shamed into silence and we heaved a sigh. We were on our way home! 

That was the last bus to leave Vellore bus stand towards Madras that day, and rioting resumed that very morning, not ending till the day after. I always take the train to the city, and that was my Paati’s last visit to anywhere. 

(I had almost forgotten about this incident. It was a long time ago and I wanted to forget it as quickly as possible. But as I read about Andy’s acccount of Vellore in the rains today, and the slush and muck shuffled my memory and a moment stood out…) 

The Bangalore that was…

4 12 2005
Reading Mika’s blog has sent my thoughts racing… So, borrowing the topic, but only to express my bit on it… 

I’ve been Bangalored for 28 yrs and 4 months… Being away from it in the past four months, I feel the loss … But I guess I had started missing the city that was, long before.

My memories date to the Bangalore that was a little more of Cubbon Park and less like City Market in its ambience and quality… THe Bangalore when:

  • People used to queue up near Chinnaswamy stadium for a cricket match, the night before.
  • Utility Building was the only tall building in the entire city (perhaps state)
  • The most expensive supermarket was Spencers (where now Foodworld stands)
  • When you could see a Hindi movie only in Majestic and KG Road and Plaza and Rex and Symphony and LIdo dished up ONLY English movies;
  • When Rex was the most expensive theater which cost 20 rupees for a balcony ticket (this was just 10-12 years ago)
  • Indiana and Woody’s and Macs were the only places that served burgers
  • There were no parking tickets… Most people walked or rode the bus
  • When the BMTC was called BTS and buses were actually blue and white (that was lonnng ago)
  • When the minimum auto fare was Rs 2
  • When Commercial St and shops in Shivajinagar were open till late in the night
  • When Ulsoor Lake was a tourist spot and had houseboats and rowboats
  • When Parade Grounds was called parade grounds, (They call it Cariappa Park) and was one half beachlike  sand (free from all ‘fort’ification) and the othe half, a forest-like thick  undergrowth
  • When North Bangalore was actually called Cantonment
  • When Cubbon Road was uninhabited except during a cricket match
  • When Ulsoor and Cambridge Layout were the Eastern borders of the city
  • When you could watch the setting sun, uninterrupted by concrete structures
  • When Jayanagar complex was a ‘somarikatte’ (lazy man’s seat) haunted by only aging citizens
  • When Jayanagar bus stand and adjacent cemetry marked the southern tip
  • …Malleshwaram actually had Margosa and Sampige trees
  • When it used to get eerie and lonely by 5 in Koramangala village
  • When we could get watermelons for 2 rupees and Kwality icecreams for 5
  • When Barton Center was not Barista but Barton Court, a posh British hotel
  • When there were atleast five bookstores to every dozen other shops on Brigade Road
  • When you could just stand, walk, run, howl on the streets without being looked over, laughed at or dismissed
  • When every neighborhood had a library and everybody you knew was a member there
  • When ‘1912’ (the erstwhile the hip pub 180 proof  ) was actually a bookshop that sold writings on theology and religion
  • When its neighbour (now Barista) was actually HMV house, the biggest music store of the time
  • When Wearhouse and Weekender sold the trendiest western wear
  • When Bombay Stores was EGK, belonging to a prestigious photo studio that you visited for  exclusive photos only;
  • …which housed the most hip cafe in town – Chit Chat (anybody remembers??)
  • When Macs fastfood was the place you wanted to hangout with your friends
  • When Ragigudda was a lonely hill with a temple on top, where you go mostly to race up the hill, slide down on the smooth sheer side or for a view from the top;
  • when you did get to see bullock carts in J P Nagar transporting people to and from nearby villages to Sarrakki village (I phase), the market hub.
  • When HSR Layout was in Agara Lake which started almost close to silkboard and ended at Belandur
  • When people knew about the Jayamahal Palace (its not to be confused with the Bangalore Palace)
  • When Coles Park and Cubbon Park and many others had a regular bandstand playing
  • When you had Red Post Boxes as tall as a man and you would try to stick your hand inside and see if you could touch the base… 
  • When City Market had a separate market just for woollen clothes! where you would be taken, measured up and asked to choose the wool and color you wanted (They had every shade!)
  • When Gandhi Bazaar had more bakeries and spice and herb (grandhige) and nicknack stores than Roti Ghars and fastfood joints
  • When VB Bakery was the most famous one south of M G Road
  • When all activity on Hosur Road ended with the old Christian cemetery
  • When you had petty stores in a box that sold almost everything, that could be shut up and locked
  • When almost everybody read Deccan Herald
  • When Brindavan was the fastest train to Chennai
  • When Basavanagudi and everywhere else was free from flyovers and apartments
  • When there were double decker buses to wander around in
  • When Vasanthnagar and Queen’s Road were part of Miller’s Tank Bund
  • When Russel Market had the best toy shops
  • When Commercial street had an antique clock and pen shop (somewhere where Health and Glow is)
  • When Dispensary Rd/ Dickenson Rd was a long row of the best tailor shops where you stitched your suits, frocks, trousers, skirts and shirts
  • When Kamaraj Road was actually Cavalry Road and Kanteerva Stadium was a dried up tank bed converted into a track field of sorts
  • When you could hop from house to house, terrace to terrace
  • When all the kids would be out on the streets the minute there was a power cut
  • When the power cuts used to increase as the exams got nearer
  • When we voiced our opinion a lot more… and helped our neighbours a bit more
  • When we had good, wide, traffic free roads!

    … I’m exhausted! But it would be great to see more from every other Bangalorean on being ‘Bangalored’ :)

    Hazy shades of winter…

    3 12 2005
    Its that time of the year when you feel overwhelmed by bittersweet memories… sigh at the sight of the barren twigs holding up against the grey, colorless sky… rush feverishly to bathe in that elusive patch of sun… 

     I never felt it as much as I do this year… a sadness tinges my being as browns dominate the colors of nature, as I realise that I would not see a green blade of grass or a bright, flaming tree of fiery red leaves for a long, long time…

    The inexplicable, sinking feeling as we dash through the freeway and the dead leaves are hurled at me in a challenge by the cold, harsh wind… the dead leaves… 

    The freezing drizzle stinging my withered cheeks where once, the ever-welcome raindrop used to rest, cool and fresh, filling me with fresh life. I see the bent oaks and maple, with all its dead leaves,  having given up against the cold. 

    Hazy patches of winter! Oh don’t! Give me back my cheerful breeze and sunny rays… days of hope, light and color!