“നീ വല്ലതും കഴിച്ചോ?” എന്നത്തേയും പോലെ വേനല് അവധിക്കു വീട്ടില് വരുമ്പോഴുള്ള അമ്മച്ചിയുടെ ഈ ചോദ്യത്തിനു തലയാട്ടികൊണ്ട് ലിവിംഗ് റൂമിലെ വെല്വെറ്റ് ദിവാനിലേക്ക് ഞാന് ചാടികേറി. കുറച്ചു കാര്ട്ടൂണ്, പിന്നെ ഒരുറക്കം, പിന്നെ അമ്മച്ചിയുടെ വക വഴക്കും ഡിന്നറും- പതിവൊന്നും തെറ്റിക്കാന് പാടില്ലല്ലോ.
അന്ന് പക്ഷേ അമ്മച്ചിയുടെ വിളി ഒരല്പം നേരത്തെ ആയിരുന്നു, ടെക്ക്സ്റ്റര് തുടങ്ങിയിട്ട് അധികം ആയിട്ട് പോലും ഇല്ല.. ശോ! ഈ അമ്മച്ചി.
“എന്തോ?” ഞാന് ഉറക്കെ അലറി. “ആ” എന്ന് അലറിയാല് അപ്പച്ചന് വഴക്ക് പറയും. നല്ല കുട്ട്യോള് “എന്തോ” എന്നാ വിളി കേള്ക്കുന്നേ എന്നാ അപ്പച്ചന് പറയുന്നേ.. ആ, ഇനി ആദ്യത്തെ ദിവസം തന്നെ വഴക്ക് വേണ്ട – എന്തോ എങ്കില് എന്തോ. Continue reading “കാത്തുമ്മയുടെ ആട്”→
If I were a boy, I wonder whether my dad would drink with me. I wonder whether he’d sit me down, and offer me a crystal glass with a bit of golden whiskey and jumping soda. When I grimace at its bitter taste, he’d tell me, “son, this is good for the heart. It’ll make you a stronger man.” And I’d stay with him on weekend summer nights with my feet on the kitchen counter, watching the blurry pirated Malayalam movie playing on a flat-screened TV, sipping and savoring the spicy chasers with circular onions on the side. When I drive with him sitting next to me, the smiling photo on my permit would wink. Continue reading “What Will Never Be”→
Her blue eyes intrigued me the most. I’d take my favorite crayon box next to her, and poke and prude those shiny blue’s until I found one that blended a bit. Unlike all the other dolls that I kept near my bed, she was kept on a shelf above my desk. My mom had bought her for me from Austria and had told me that she was very fragile. Her bright-blue eyes rested on a porcelain face with perfectly blended circles of painted rouge. Sparkling golden curls lay perfectly on her shoulders, a deep blue cloche hat framed her face and a long laced dress finished the picture. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and with her, my life began to change.
fic·tion/ˈfɪkʃən/ –noun 1. the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form. 2. something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story. 3. an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.
Naseemah. The layers of kohl she applied this morning had gathered on either ends of her eyes, giving her the appearance of a warrior after his hardest battle. The ends of her straight black hair had found its way out of the tired bun she had made and hung instead out of every curve, prying open her breaking head. Her fringed bangs had, however, stayed in their place, adding the sole bit of order to her system. What had she done today? Her thoughts found her voice. Well, not much, the writer answers.. just buried a stranger. Continue reading “In a Stranger’s Mind”→
I quickly shut my eyes and took a deep breath. The open door of the bus allowed for two minutes of real fresh air as a woman slowly descended the fraying steps, her purple sari rising just enough to display her edemic ankles and puffy little feet. The conductor tugged on the rope and drew the door shut. I couldn’t help but lean forward and watch the woman waddle back into the darkness between the dusty-white buildings.
My sweaty hands were a constant irritation. One tightly clutched the iron bar above my head while the other was bound to a plastic shopping bag. I alternated hands, carefully wiping the sweat off onto my cream-colored churidar top. There were three layers of people squished behind me. I could smell the coconut oil from the hair of the lady closest to me. I shut my eyes and composed myself. I’ll make it through.
A monologue. Partly true, partly fictional. I imagined myself performing it.. at a “feminist”s monologue night. But I don’t think I will. Maybe one day, I’ll get the courage. Maybe, maybe not.
And the stage lights rise. A spotlight focuses on that figure in the middle..
I found out when I was four. My grandparents had argued a lot that day. After it was all over, Ammachi, my grandmother, was sitting in the kitchen muttering something. At first, I couldn’t make anything out. I was just sitting there and playing “teacher” with my teddy bears. But then, I began to recognize words- especially one of them.. rape.
I had learned the word a week before, when I was watching a Malayalam movie with that weird balding guy with the long hair.. I forgot his name. Well, he was hugging and pulling a girl on a bed and then blood started to come from her mouth and she was crying and then, she died. I asked my cousin what had happened and he said that she was raped. I thought it was like a gun. I knew a lot about guns. Dishoom! Continue reading “To be a Girl.”→
I was six years old and Papa’s Bullet was the coolest thing in the world. The Bullet was red and its engine roared when I sat on it. My dad’s village, which was always one of my favorite places to visit, was known for its hills and rubber trees. The ride up the hill was not particularly fun but as any native would know, every up has an associated down. And unlike in life, here, the ride down would always be the most fun! The bike would change its sound from a roar to a loud hum and the wind would push my face into my dad. I could feel the edge of his helmet on my head. Continue reading “The Butterfly In My Throat.”→
“Why do they hate me?” she looked at him. Her big brown eyes reflected the view out his window. There were tons of people there, staring at her face without smiling. She saw the anger in their eyes and flinched. “What had I ever done?”
“They don’t hate you, Leksh,” he shook his head with a laugh, “They hate You, in italics and capital letters.” Continue reading “Borderline Sanity”→
How do I study when the World outside is performing Her masterpiece? The wind is singing her beautiful song, an old melody that I’ve learnt by heart; much more brilliant than Rahman and Dvořák (yes, they surely belong in the same sentence). The trees and the grasses perform a dance of their own. Opening the window next to this table I sit at is like encountering a whole another world.
One in which there is a porch with three white chairs, made of a kind of straw. Continue reading “When the Heavens Distract..”→
The girl bit into her lips as she stepped onto the bus. No, not here, not now. She didn’t like those things that were forming in her eyes. Blinking hard, she rummaged through her bag for the yellow slip, a bus pass- to take her home so that she can cry. The writer pauses at these 0verly melodramatic words. When had she become this kind of writer? Je ne l’est comprends pas, the girl’s thoughts continued, paying no attention to the writer’s apparent deviation.These days, she doesn’t understand much. The writer acknowledges that perhaps she never did. The bus driver gives her a slight nod and the girl dutifully curls her lips up. That’s all she can manage right now.
Silence or death. What if only those two choices remained in the world? She had finished the second page of her story when she- or rather, her character arrived at that question. She barely understood that concept, that condition in which one is really less than one. She always had more: the ability to think, just like the majority of the world. And with that, she had no trouble talking, writing and relating. Thoughts have to be stated, she thought, otherwise, what would be their point? It’s not really about freedom of speech, it’s simply freedom of Life.
The Artist herself is dual-natured. She has two distinct souls and thus, two different pairs of windows into them. She speaks with one and thinks with the other, sees with one and looks with the other. One can never tell where she begins and ends, or even which she she truly is. The hers are both hers. Continue reading “beneath Her canvas”→
I wish You had kept her happiness and not just the shape of her smile, that excitement and not just the tinted colors, and that rainbow in its wholeness, and that sorrow, that joy, that anger, that pain, that optimism.. I wish You, my lens, would keep something more than mere shreds of a world much too big for today and much too small to hold tomorrow.
What ever happens to twitters after one dies?
Can one still tweet from heaven?
Would God allow that much?
The last tweet remains frozen in time,
“I’m on my way there.”
She was on her way, it’s true,
but it simply wasn’t there.
I wish You had kept the way she talked and the reason for the sparkle in her eyes. I wish You could retain that warmth, in every one of her hugs. I wish You had treasured that feeling in our stomachs as we screamed our way down that roller coaster. And the taste of that Dippin’ Dots from that stall below the tracks.
Would facebooks be stored in time?
Or would They go through and say,
“She’s dead, let’s
How about her phone number?
And the blog she once had?
I wish You could feel and take pictures of her person and not just her face. I wish I could touch this screen and hear her voice. That laugh and brilliant disposition- couldn’t You keep those too? But You didn’t and will not. You will never understand. This makes no difference to You, whether the smile is real or fake, whether the subject is dead or alive, whether that’s excitement or fear. You only trap saturated colors on salted plastics, layered in compounds but never in emotions. Merely shreds.
But I- I want the world.
A saved voicemail,
“Call me when you get this.
I need to ask you a question.
i Miss you!”
I said yes to her question but
it doesn’t know.
it simply doesn’t Understand.
How long will it be saved?
“A voice with bells- you’ll get the solo,”
I told her that first.
The video shows her singing,
but it doesn’t know that I pushed her
onto the stage.
How long will it remain in a black case?
How long will life remain rolled-up?
Round, round, round it goes. Where it stops,
It began with that circle of teachers outside the mess hall. As a Malayalee in an Ooty school, I had the bad luck privilege to eavesdrop on the school’s hot gossip mangled in my mother tongue due to the excessive amounts of Keralite teachers and staff. Continue reading “My Fair Stealer”→
Once upon a time, a little girl would take long walks with her Appachen in this little town called Tiruvalla, where people spoke this crazed-out language called Malayalam and heat was actually hot. And on the way (to nowhere in particular), they’d stop at this little tiny store that sold random yet necessary things (sambranis, bar soaps, chewing gum & neelam). And this little girl would sit on top of the counter and drink a fizzy carbonated drink called Thums Up while her Appachen and the storekeeper discussed the INC (kaipathi!), CPI (‘M’ may or may not be added) and white-white kerala politics (Munshi and Asianet News at 7!).
And then, somewhere in between, the little girl grew out of that adjective and forgot the ease in language, the strength of the heat, the name of that shopkeeper and of course, the taste of Thums Up.
Then, somewhere further down, asian supermarkets came into the picture and at least one of the aforementioned was turned right. True loves reunited ♥
In the reflection of that dirty glass bottle remains everything that truly matters.
“What we remember from childhood we remember forever – permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen.”
Woah! Since when do we get laptops for labs? I stared in awe, and perhaps even drooled a bit, as our physics teacher began to pass out brand new and of course, the fully PERFECT Macbooks to everyone. Sanitize your hands, she was saying, you don’t want to get oil stains on these things. They’re worth a thousand dollars each… The instructions went on but by this point, everyone had already tuned out. After all, the point is- we get a new toy..Twenty thousand dollars worth of equipments for each department? No wonder school taxes keep going up. And that too, just to save ourselves the two-second walk to the computer lab. Brilliant. Now we can do the calculations for the lab right here in the classroom (and then spend another few thousands on exercise machines.. right in the classroom). Superfluous, much? Of course, of course I’d love to peacefully protest and boycott this infringement of basic financial practicality. But.. seeing that everyone else was already playing around with the webcam and photobooth, just one question- should I make myself fisheyed, pop-arted or bulged? I love you, Steve Jobs (almost as much as Larry Page and Sergey Brin..almost)! Continue reading “As I sit in class…”→
“Failure is not in my dictionary,” I began in a defiant tone, “because I am a flyer of kites. In my hands, I hold the strings to hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of kites. In all different colors. They dance around in the sky, soaring higher and higher without limits.
Sometimes though, the wind blows too hard, the kite goes the wrong way or perhaps someone cuts the string. That’s what you call ‘failure’. And this kite falls down, slowly. Slowly, ever so slowly, it falls from the sky and comes to rest on a lone tree. More of these ‘failures’ follow. More kites. Blue. Yellow. Orange. Purple. Shiny. Plain. Glittery. Bright. Pale. Continue reading “Flying kites”→
My father is sleeping
on the bare wooden floor.
He hasn’t woken up though
we have visitors today.
Lots of them sit around my father;
their backs to the open door.
Why, I thought, did my father go to sleep
on this bare wooden floor
as his bed lies inside,
waiting for him?