Archive for the ‘BrainsOnChocolate’ Category

Q for Quaffer

April 19, 2018

My family is polite. Too polite.

Of course we have that one horrible relative who takes advantage of the fact that people like dad are too polite to not invite them for family events.

Dad had weird logic on his side. He shows up uninvited as well. What can we do?

So we decided to take things in our own hands.

With my sister’s wedding coming up, we knew he would show up, invited or no. And he would photo bomb every picture. We decided to go Analytica him. His facebook posts were examined. And analysed. Of course we found a way to keep him out of everyone’s hair.

Bunny dada was the eldest, so he was naturally in charge. We all helped, of course.

Vilas kaka and his gigantic grin showed up on the first day of the wedding. He went straight to the room where all the aunties were gift wrapping the return gifts.

‘What is this? Story books? Pens and colour pencils? What are you giving me, didi?’

‘Return gifts are only for children Rashmi teaches. None of the relatives are taking home anything. Everyone knew.’ Mom explained calmly.

‘And what wedding gift did you bring for Rashmi?’ Pushpa maushi asked. She hated him with a vengeance.

Vilas kaka muttered something about meeting all the uncles and left the room. Chintya, the brat of the pack, pointed upstairs. Vilas kaka narrowed his eyes, then followed the brat upstairs where all the wicked uncles were drinking. Bunny dada, who had recently graduated from the Shatbhi Basu school of mixology was holding court. Vilas kaka rubbed his hands in glee (He’s the only real person who does that. Others we have only read about in fiction.).

Bunny dada handed him a drink with a little umbrella in it. He threw away the umbrella with a derisive sound and instead of tasting the drink, he just quaffed it.

‘Don’t mix alcohol with juice! Hum purane khiladi hain!’ And he laughed the cheap Hindi film villain laugh.

My dad helpfully instructed Bunny, ‘Give him alcohol. Mix something interesting for the rest of us.’

Bunny dada looked at us peeking in through the balcony. Everything we had collected over the month before the wedding from everyone’s home and put together in two bottles: one for white alcoholic drinks, and another for dark colored alcoholic drinks, was now going to be used.

Bunny dada started with white colored drinks. Vilas kaka quaffed that up too. Nobody said anything. Nobody passed him the pakodas and the little eats that were sent up after he said, ‘First we drink, then I go down to eat the jalebis I saw being made in the kitchen.’

That was the last anyone heard him speak. Bunny dada was alternating between the dark and the white. No human could have guzzled down the mixed stuff like Vilas kaka did. Who says leftovers aren’t good?

He did not bomb any photo at the wedding. He did not say anything mean to anyone. He did not even wake up for four whole days. Whenever he woke up one of the kids would get Bunny dada and the uncles. They would sit around as if it were day one. Offer him jalebi or whatever mithai was being made in the kitchen. Then vanish after he had passed out again.

When most of the guests had left, Vilas kaka came to and staggered downstairs. He was so embarrassed at having been so drunk, he didn’t show up at Chintya’s thread ceremony, or Rakhi’s wedding.

Yes Facebook had shown Vilas kaka holding an empty glass in every photo. So I earned lots of praise for this discovery. But Bunny dada was awesome. He was a real hero and so we stopped calling him the awful nickname we gave him for his buck teeth. We learnt to call him by his real name: Laxman.

 

 

 

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P for Picasso Pandey

April 18, 2018

Pandeyji was as old as Chhajjubagh.

His paan shop was like any other paan shop. A giant brass pot to hold water where the paan leaves would chill. Bottles of cloves and cardamom, supari and tobacco and various other ‘masalas’. He had added toffees and paan masala to his inventory. And bottles of water.

The older ladies of the neighborhood would send their retainers to request for their own ‘Kalkatta’ or ‘Maghai’ paans, With Katri supari or tukda supari. With saunf, without saunf. Some aunties even requested a touch of kimmam in their paans.

Everyone in the neighborhood praised his skill of making the meetha pan with chewing tobacco. At night, when the men of the house would step out for fresh air, the ladies of the house knew that they were going to walk past Pandey’s Paan House. Requests would be made and the chotus of the household were sent off after the men with wallets.

But Pandeyji had a secret. He carried it in his head (kept cool with a generous helping of chameli oil). And if only Malini Mehta had not been so stupidly indiscreet, he would have carried that secret to his grave.

He was now lying in the hospital bed, beaten black and blue by the neighborhood men. They had spat paan on his pristine white kurta that he liked to wear (that’s how he had earned his nickname: ‘Picasso’) and kicked him and kicked him and slapped him around until someone called the police.

‘So tell me Picasso Pandey, what is the meaning of Kimmam? And Meetha bhi? What kind of business are you running? Drugs?’

The police inspector wanted to know. And Pandey was aching all over. Too much to say anything. But the Inspector was relentless. And he would not take the stick off Pandey’s aching hand.

Pandey answered weakly, ‘Not drugs. Sex.’

The Inspector laughed so much he knocked off a tray of medicines. The nurse came running in and rescued the pills and injections and what not.

‘Sex? Who wanted to have sex with you, you worm!’

Pandey pictured himself dying under the fatty… What’s her name… Yes! Zeenat begum. or trying to make love to the ugly Malini Mehta. Not for Shivaji’s lost treasure would he be able to…

‘Bol be! Or I will kill you right here. Who wanted to have sex with you?’

‘No, sir! Not me. I was just helping the ladies log…’

Pandey felt a slap stinging his face. It was a miracle he could still feel anything. he knew he had to betray the trust of all the women who loved him so much.

Then he saw them. His didis, masis, aunties and lovelies. They had all come with their faithful retainers to check on him, Picasso Pandey Paanwala. His chest swelled up with pride and then it hurt. The Inspector who was facing him saw his expression melt and turned to see who had brought on the transformation.

The sight of so many women shocked the inspector. The bastard was right! he was offering sex to these women! But all of them? Kuch toh gadbad hai!

Bhavini Patel had knocked off his hat with her stick. Pavitraben cackled, then threatened the inspector, ‘Why are you torturing this poor man? Go question the men who kicked him!’ The women agreed vehemently. Told the inspector off.

‘But he’s been beaten because he said he gave you ladies… Erm… Sex he says! I was beating him for telling such lies!’

‘Oh shut up! You know nothing! Pandey ji is one of the few who understood that women need variety paan. Sometimes kimmam, sometimes supari…’

‘Our husbands are out mostly. And when they travel, you think we can live just like that? And have no paan?’

‘I then send Govind and Pandeyji sends paan home. What is the problem with that?’

‘No no, madam, no problem at all!’ the inspector was confused. So much loyalty to a paan chap?’ He took one deep breath, ‘But madam, he said he is involved in a sex racket…’

‘Racket? RACKET?’ Old Zeenat begum raised her voice, ‘If you were getting it, would it be a racket?’

‘But he said…’

‘I like kimmam in my paan. What goes of your father?’

‘And I like meetha. What will you do?’

The inspector gave up. He left Pandeyji with his gaggle of fans.

Seema was the new Agarwal bahu. She gave Pandeyji a new phone.

‘From all of us. As we are sorry our men hit you so much. Our numbers are fed into the phone already. Whatsapp is easier, no? We text you who we want. You send katri supari to me at set time… That way no one will know…’

Pandeyji accepted the phone. He was aching too much to tell Seema ji that phone records cannot be erased easily. But he would use the same codes to send the lads preparing for the civil services entrance exams to serve these wonderful ladies…

 

 

 

 

 

O for Ogo

April 17, 2018

Ogo was Tuklu didi’s husband.

Tuklu didi was just the most beautiful didi in the neighborhood. She was like a bendy straw. She could touch her toes. She was like the beans plant with tendrils, wrapping herself around Ogo whenever he came home.

‘Ogo, shunccho! Your Virat Kohli is batting next.’ Tuklu didi would call him to hurry up with the bath.

Ogo was big and tall and very fair. And was as Bengali as they came. He would eat and then drag Tuklu on to the bed and then he watched Virat Kohli play cricket while Tuklu didi wrapped herself on her like some slender body pillow. When there was a break in cricket, Ogo would squeeze Tuklu didi’s shoulder.

She would call out for Budima.

Budima was practically blind. She would waddle in, take Ogo’s dinner plate, and waddle out. She would not be giggling like us kids watching the goings on through binoculars from the terrace. Budima could not see that Ogo’s hands had practically undressed Tuklu didi between commercials.

Ogo’s back was nice and clean. And Tuklu didi’s hands would be clutching it like she were falling off a cliff.

It was sex education one oh one for us three. Until Budima came up on the terrace to dry those dal boris and tripped over us girls lying in her way.

Of course we chose to save the family retainer rather than the shiny brass binoculars.

 

P.S. Years later when the terrace trio was older and not quite wiser, even though married, they had discussed just once about the terrace thing. Did Ogo and Tuklu didi know they were being watched? Maybe. All I know that I’m too hot to go under the covers, and in my head, I call it, being Ogo.

 

N for Nival

April 16, 2018

She watched the snow fall.

It was not like the movies. Where pretty snowflakes come down like art. This was snow like the God were vomiting on the mountains. She was indoors. She was glad that the snow would bury her little A-frame home for weeks.

She was used to snow. Her heart was so cold, external snow did not matter any more. She poured another cup of tea. Stirred in sugar and milk by habit. She let the hot liquid calm her. She was fretting because she was forgetting words now. Initially she thought it was some sort of lexical fatigue. But no. She was genuinely forgetting words.

She would sit down to write after she had finished her tea. Long form. In a notebook. She was now used to not having electricity. She didn’t need it. Really. She had a solar panel thingamajig for when it got really cold, but she had learnt to shrug her shoulders and deal with forgetting to turn the water heater on. And she didn’t really need a bulb. She cooked during the day and ate only once a day.  Rabbit stew lasted for a whole week. There should be some left. She would see about that later.

The words came easy that day. She wrote and realised her knuckles ached. She then spent the next hour searching for the finger stretch exerciser. Where had she put it?

Then for some reason she remembered old Manuel on her trip to Peru. Lima. How he laughed when she had explained that Peru was what Indians called guavas. She wanted to eat a guava then. No chance the larder will have that fruit right now.

People had laughed when she had announced that she was going to give up everything and live up here, at Nival. A place where no one lived. Only snow. Then they had forgotten. As they should have.

She leaned against the sofa and allowed sleep to take over. She knew she would see a snow leopard or two in a couple of days. If it were old Babur (she had realised that she still needed to relate to even animals by naming them) he would bring her a dead bird or two… She needed to learn more detachment. She had craved and craved for love all her life and this wild thing was now bringing her gifts. Better than people she claimed as her own. No one cared enough. Then she realised that the wild animal could be fattening her up for the kill…

She counted interesting words swimming around in her head. She said them out loud. She knew how to pronounce ‘serendipity’ but she also knew she wasn’t saying it right. Then there was ‘Mangani… ‘Magnanimous’. She knew she wasn’t making any sense. The singers had warned her that people living at such heights often lost their… Doctors, she reminded herself. Not ‘Singers’. Singers from the Sydney choir sang Ave Maria in her head… She should rest.

 

M for Mataji

April 14, 2018

‘Mataji will be in Portland, Manisha! In Portland! For the whole weekend!

‘Mataji? Your mum is coming all the way from India for just one weekend?’ That’s weird!’ I am stirring some sugar in my tea.

‘No, no! Mataji, the living goddess! She is going to be in Portland. You should take this opportunity to be blessed!’

I roll my eyes. Then realizing that Suma would not have seen my reaction, I spoke, ‘No sweetie. Thanks but no thanks.’

‘Listen to me, naaa!’ Suma tried harder. ‘Walter and Gina have agreed to come so I booked us all for the darshan. It’s only $45, hon! After darshan, we will go to your favorite Ethiopian food place. Okay? Please, please!’

Suma was single-minded about dragging me to the Mataji event over the next few days. She dragged everyone to echo her pleas. It just felt churlish to not go.

Suma was decked in her best Indian dress. Lehenga and jewellery and all. As if she were ready to go for a wedding. Walter, Gina, Tammy, Vineet and Sharada and Srinivas as well. They made me go back in and change.

It was unusually hot for a Portland August. Half of the Fred Meyer stadium was cordoned off for the Darshan program. I didn’t think there would be so many fans of Mataji. But we were stuck in a serpentine queue just to get into the stadium. People had driven from San Francisco and Vancouver (Canada) to be a part of the celebration. We had hot dogs and samosas as we stood in the line and Walt, the eternal bhakt of Mataji spouted out stories of how he had encountered her at a Minneapolis mall and had just after a namaste (Walter insists he was an Indian, a Hindu priest in his previous birth) found himself a job, a wife, and all his troubles had vanished.

The relish on the dog was so good, I was happy to move with the queue. I chanted ‘Mataji Mataji! Sharan teri mein Mataji’ with everyone else, and quite sincerely too, I must add. There must be something about her if a ruffian like Walt could turn into mush.

It was our turn soon. Darshan meant you walked up to her, touched her feet, she would either place a hand on people’s heads or mark a tikka on their foreheads and people would move on. Darshan consisted of seeing her sitting with a serene, beatific smile on her face. People were moved to tears when she blessed them. Gina moved a bit ahead because she wanted to take pictures. Suma and Gina, Walter and I then moved forward to the living goddess.

Mataji suddenly got up. And she got Gina to take a selfie with her. Woah! The chanting became louder. She let Suma come into the picture too. Walter and I watched slack-jawed at the scene. These two were certainly blessed! Suma and Gina moved aside like the good women they are to make way for us.

I stepped ahead and found my neck in a wrestler’s lock. And a peculiar rancid armpit smell took me close to death. I hadn’t signed up for this! Dammit! $45 for this?! I wiggled about a bit and was able to turn my head.

There was Walter, caught in a similar neck choke hold, his face firmly in Mataji’s ample bosom. I realized that my cheek was resting on the other breast! I must have looked as comical to Walt as he was to me. She was hugging the two of us!

I fainted like the women in Barbara Cartland novels. Mataji must’ve felt my dead weight, and let go. Walter, Suma, Gina were splashing water on my face, and the rest of the queue were chanting Mataji’s name as if they had lost it.

We drove back in silence. Suma, Gina and Walter had gotten over the Mataji magic.

L for Loulou

April 13, 2018

Summer is meant for mangoes. No argument there. We ate them raw until our teeth felt like they were electrified.

Mums made a fist and hit us individually for eating mangoes before the rain.

‘They’re so Heaty!’

Did we care? Our tummies hurt and we lay in the shade of the mango tree on rope beds. This was the best tree in the neighborhood and it was in my granny’s garden. Eight of us on three beds. groaned and groaned until the sun got stronger the the breeze died. then we all reluctantly said byes until later.

‘Go look in the mirror!’ Didi said. I automatically looked. A gigantic zit was forming on my forehead.

‘Congratulations! You have hormones.’ Didi declared. ‘Don’t let mom spot this loulou. Or your summer holidays will be awful.’

Why would anyone call a zit a Loulou? And I had hormones? I was a science sudent. Everyone had hormones, did they not? So I did the one thing didi asked me not to. I ran to the kitchen where mum and the neighborhood aunties were making achaar.

‘Ma! Didi says I have hormones because of this Loulou. See?!’ I showed off the gigantic zit on my forehead.

The women shrieked. It must have been joy because I was suddenly enveloped in sweaty gigantic hugs. And was kissed by aunty sized lips. My mum was the first to hug me and the last. By the time it was her turn to kiss me, the women were sobbing and hugging each other.

‘You’re crying over a zit?’

‘My baby’s all grown up now!’ Mum was crackling her knuckles over my head.

‘No mom! It’s a heat zit. I am yet to get my period.’ I was a science student. That much I knew.

The women ignored me. They cackled when someone set me down on a three legged stool and they began singing some silly songs about  girls and their first periods.

‘Young men will smell the sweet, sweet juice!’ They sang. I rolled my eyes.

‘Don’t let the smell go out’ They sang. I rolled my eyes.

‘Paint her room with cowdung!’ They sang. I made gagging sounds.

‘Cover her in flowers!’ They sang. I sneezed and sneezed when mom took the veni from her hair and put it around my head.

Dad had just entered the kitchen area with six family packs of ice cream. He heard the song and saw me sitting in the middle of the fuss and promptly dropped the packages from his arms.

he stood staring at me and the zit and the flowers in my head.

‘Aww!’ he said, and ran to hug me.

‘Dude! Stop hugging me!’ I protested, ‘I have this heat zit. I don’t have hormones yet!’

‘It’s a Loulou!’ He had dumped me unceremoniously and was hugging mum.

Then he dropped down to his knees and said, ‘Lou-Lou!’ as if he were Tarzan. The aunties had hidden their mouths with their saree ends and were giggling.

I huffed and puffed and threw down mum’s veni on the floor. They were fussing about a zit. I kicked myself. I should have listened to didi. Because everyone began to look at me funny.  Aunties sniffed loudly if they passed me by. Dad and the uncles asked me every ten minutes if I were okay.

The zit was treated by calamine lotion, and it was gone in a couple of days. But my announcement brought home a ghastly thing called Saafi. It was supposed to be a blood purifier. It tasted vile. I spewed it right across the floor when I first had it. I swear it ate through the marble.

My period arrived not that summer, not the summer after that. Everyone looked at me funny. My mum said, ‘That Loulou was fake.’

 

 

K for Kebob

April 12, 2018

Marinated pieces of meat roasted or grilled on skewers or a spit.

‘Ugh! Who eats Ridge gourd?’

Little Shravani voiced a thought everyone sitting down for dinner had. She received a slap for complaining from her mother who in turn got a nod of approval from Krishnakali amma who sat right by the door in her straight backed chair by the kitchen, fanning herself. She was the eldest in the family, and her word was law. And she hated all of us. Made us sit sweltering in the heat for food because she did not want the hot food coming from the kitchen to get cold. And she hated making any foods that we liked.

It was bottle gourd, bitter gourd, all kinds of squash, pumpkins, aubergines for most meals. And dill. Who makes dill greens as a standalone veggie? I ate it like an unhappy goat and got unceremoniously kicked out off the dining room, a roti in my hand. And was slapped for making funny ‘goat chewing’ faces at the rest suffering that meal.

We kids were fed up of eating such awful stuff. Ali from the next alley was slapped around too, for complaining to his ammi for making only potatoes with his food. He wanted spinach and ladiesfinger and coccina and there were so many veggies.

We were discussing how awesome the world would be without people like Krishnakali Amma and his Badi Ammi sitting on the terrace of Bhavin’s home. The grown ups hated how we kids did not care about religion at all. Grown ups were stupid. A plan was hatched: we were going to corner the veggie seller before he got to our homes. We would beg him to not bring the awful veggies we hated. Simple!

But the veggie guy was a grown up too. And he was a greedy grown up. We had to promise to give him all the lemon drops Ram chachu gave us. Ram chachu was the best kind of grown up. He worked in a confectionary factory and those lemon drops were the best! But he hated the veggies more. So we agreed to give him our stash.

For a week we had really, really great veggies. Not a sign of the ghastly aubergines. Then Krishnakali amma spotted us bribing the veggie vendor. And pumpkins were back with a vengeance.

Ali spotted us – all of us – with fingerprints imprinted on our cheeks. He asked us all to come up to the terrace. When we went up to the terrace at five o clock, we saw his cousin Abbas, his older sister Saadiya didi, Bhairav, Bhavin and Suryaprakash bhaiyya and a strange man. The group then let us into their secret.

That strange man was Murtuza kebob guy. He made the most delicious kebobs. It was heaven on a stick.

‘It’s time you kids got a taste of grown up heaven!’ Suryaprakash bhaiyya said.

We were so fed up of eating lauki and tinda that we did not even think we were going to eat meat. The first taste was weird. But the masalas were so good! We must’ve eaten twenty skewers. Kebob guy, we never asked him his name. After all, god of great foods needs no name! We flopped on the terrace not wanting to move.

He made malai kebobs and seekh ones. Kakori, Shami, Kalmi, Reshmi, Shikampuri kebobs. We ate them greedily, and developed a love for life that laukis and kaddus could not instil in our little hearts.

We did not think how the grown ups were going to take in news that we had all eaten non-veg food. But then who was going to tell them?

Bhaiyya had also bought Monkey brand black tooth powder for us to scrub our teeth for any sign or smell of meat. Krishnakali Amma never guessed why the kids were eating ‘the first serve’ of the veggies without complaining. She just thought she broke our spirits. She would probably get a heart attack if she knew the secret to our smiles at meal times. We had bites of yogurt and spice marinated bits of heaven to look forward to.

And Ali’s portly mum and Bhavin’s mother who always, always wore a fuschia saree paid for our terrace feasts. Even today, when I spot fatty aunties in fuschia sarees and portly women in burquas, I have to suppress the need to go and hug them and say thank you for making my childhood awesome.

 

 

J for Jump

April 11, 2018

The music was deafening. Mind numbing. The laser lights were wild enough to make you head for the wall and slowly make your way out. But Mona had found us a table. That meant chairs! Both of us parked our aching butts on the silly bar stools (are they meant for really, really tall people? Like aliens?)

Both Mona and I are barely over five feet, so we first just wanted to flop over the bar stools. We had danced so much to Bollywood in our high heels that even the effort of hauling ourselves on those tall things was sort of felt impossible. But a tall giraffe like creature stopped in front of us, her hair in place and her voice honey-sweet, ‘Are you going to just lean on the chairs?’ Her other giraffe friend laughed, ‘Maybe you can ask a waiter to get you a ladder?’

‘That’s unkind.’ I said, and accidentally spilled my Irish coffee on her. ‘Oops!’

Mona held the lurid red drink she was having menacingly over the first giraffe. Daring her silently while some hip hop song played loudly. The two vanished as rapidly as they had arrived.

‘I hate hip hop.’ I grumbled, hating the fact that I would need to ask for another drink. The waiter had seen the accident, and was already bringing me another. Such a relief.

‘Why don’t you like hip hop?’ Mona asked.

‘I think it’s a conspiracy against me. Maybe even you.’

‘You are drunk.’

‘It’s the fault of that silly guy M C Hammer, and those obnoxious Kris Kross kids. Why the fuck should I ‘Jump Jump Jump’? It’s nuts.’

And before Mona could say her usual meme like, ‘Whaa?’ the DJ began to mix that very ‘Jump Jump Jump’ song with some creepy remix version of ‘Chura Liya Hai Tumne’. We watched the disco in horror as the people on the floor jumped one minute and then slithered against each other the next.

Mona jumped right off the bar stool, and began jumping right there. One part of her wanted to dance, and the other did not want to let go of a place to sit. Her, ‘Come, jump!’ made me go for broke.

‘I don’t jump. I have boobs.’

The man sitting at the next table heard me yell over the song, and he choked over his drink. Mona heard too and she turned to me and began laughing hysterically. Looks like there were three people who had video imagination. The man, Mona and I. He was more embarrassed because he did not expect me to say what I said. After Mona and I had stopped laughing, I decided to put both of them out of misery, I began explaining, ‘They’re never in sync when they jiggle-‘ .

Both Mona and the man waved their arms at me to say, ‘No! No! No!’

Tears were streaming from their eyes as I continued, ‘They should be retractable!’

The silly song was urging the dancers to, ‘Jump! Jump! Jump!’

The man looked at his phone, and looked at us, ‘Overhearing you was the best thing this evening. But I have to find my party.’ He had a nice voice.

He shook Mona’s hand and then took mine, ‘Some men don’t jump either. For something similar…’

 

 

I for Icchadhari

April 10, 2018

Iccha=Desire

Dhari= One who holds

Ichhadhari: One who holds desires

Yes, yes, all you readers of mythology and watchers of ‘angry snake turns into angrier woman who avenges some wrong done her’ movies will wonder if I’ve lost it.

But think about it. Why shouldn’t I be the holder of desires?

Pani puri. A bowl of vanilla ice cream with a dollop of marmalade and a splash of limoncello. Strawberries and cream at Wimbledon. Canadian Cheesy Poutine. A plate of crispy bacon…

No? These bowls of desire are very obvious, no?

I wish to holder, bigger bolder desires for everyone to see. And may I have them with hot toasted bread with curls of butter melting on the golden brown crust. please?

And they’ll tell you, ‘You’re a woman. Stop being so greedy. And you cannot talk about desires so openly.’

‘Why not?’

‘Women cover up their needs and wants. Their days are designed around the needs of her family. First as a daughter and then as a wife. You want to hold your desires for everyone to see? Just not done.’

Hah! Watch me.

I’ll start with ice cream for lunch. Add lots and lots and lots of sprinkles. No thought about there might be no sprinkles left for kids.

I will recycle an empty vodka bottle as a water bottle and calmly put it on the desk when I begin to teach to shock and awe grad school kids.

Mebbe I will wear glitter in my hair and pretend it’s an ordinary everyday day.

Naah. These are just childishly defiant things. And no poetry stage is going to give me an audience that cannot think of barely legal poets who cannot think beyond their angsty breasts. I’m fed up of tales of their pain, stories about other people’s hunger. Their heartbreaks and their pity parties. Yes, I did work out the need to buy and use a firearm – just helping those who write poems of misery and hurt, those who wear their sadness in their eyes but won’t let the tears fall for fear of marking the face they are wearing…

My desires are pushing me up the cliff of everyday life and I have superglued my wings to my back. Icarus had the right idea but he didn’t plan well. I have sunscreen.

Watch my desires fly, world. Watch me swallow the Sun.

 

H for Hair

April 9, 2018

Everybody knows how multi national companies become rich because women the world over buy shampoos and conditioners, liss serums and hair colors. And I’ve made my contribution to their coffers. And I’m not complaining.

Every woman who visits ‘the salon’, knows it is a safe space for her. A place to enter when she’s the emotional, physical mess she is and emerge happier, and more confident than ever before.

Stephen Pinker has documented how women with long hair were considered to be assets in ancient societies, because long hair is a sign of good health. The Greeks consider long hair as a sign of beauty, and poetry has been written about women who could sit on their hair. (Doesn’t sound poetic at all, but you know, Greeks.)

So hair. Long, luxurious mane to be worn loose when you are running towards Shah Rukh Khan who has his arms opened wide for you…

Hair. Long mane flirting with the breeze, when you’re clutching the boyfriend on the motorbike, your helmets preventing you from getting too close to his face…

Hair. Long hair. Tied in a pony tail that swishes when you’re jogging on the beach. While gorgeous men also jogging (preferably towards you, pass you and then turn around and watch your hair swish and crash into coconut trees. You watch that crash and laugh attractively and birds chirp around you and the sun shines beautifully…)

Hair. Long hair. On his shoulder. Him writing poetry about how my hair is like dark clouds to the moon of my face. Or how he has been enchanted and entangled in the witching curls of my hair…

Hair. Now it was falling on the salon floor along with my tears. My sister in law was sitting with my toddler in the movie theater watching the Sponge Bob Square Pants movie. The salon lady clucked so much you’d think you had come into a chicken coop by mistake.

‘What were you doing when he put chewing gum all over your hair?’

How do you explain to someone that running after a toddler day after tiring, sleepless day would have you pass out on that one day when some neighbor gave him chewing gum because he was such a ‘sweetie’.

She clucked sympathetically. And said I looked like Natalie Portman. I looked up. More like Colin Farrell in Miami Vice, I thought…