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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

When I was around eight, our class teacher made us do this exercise one language class. She said we could write any three things about one person from the class, bad or good.
After a lot of struggle and pencil sharpening and erasing, we were all finally done. Even Turhan had finished. We all had bones to pick with someone or the other. What a great opportunity to legitimately voice them.

We all read out our essays.

They were hilarious. Everyone had a ball giggling on the criticisms of their classmates. Then one boy stood up. His name started with a U so he was towards the end. He didn’t have too many friends, and actually was the son of some teacher, which was probably how he could afford the tuition. His bags were always local and way uncool, and his shoes had the terrible worn out look of hand me downs. Social suicide to a eigth year old.

His essay was different in two ways. One, he had written about a girl who was his friend. Second, he spoke about three good things instead of bad.

He was the only one in the class to do so either.

I remember briefly pausing a moment in awe. In awe of his indifference to social custom, in awe of his ability to just say exactly what he felt like saying without worrying about which classmates would laugh at him. In awe because it was so many years before teenage rebellion would become cool. But that was just a moment. The snickers started, then the teasing, then the “X & U, sitting on a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G”. he had tears in his eyes before home time that day.

Many many many years too late, I salute him. I’m sorry U.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

i will survive

i don’t have enough friends to host a party. thank god. the small talk alone to sustain a small get together would kill me. or drive me to drink. or something.

i walk up the steps into a veranda. the fairy lights are up, the people are quarter way through the bar stockpile, and the hum of general conversation is well underway. glittering strangers.

i grab my champagne flute of juice, and try walking up the steps to the dance floor, but get waylaid by a couple from work. we schmooze about this and that, she name drops and i smile and grit my teeth.

i’m on my fourth group of schmoozers, when it happens. through the melee of people, i see him. conversation blends in, lights blur, and i almost choke on cranberry and preservative. his hair is still standing up rebelliously. he’s holding a glass, talking to a couple of investment bankers we invited at last minute. theres a woman with him.
wife? girlfriend? mistress?
when sound returns to my ears, i hear the end of a sentence on tax reforms and the patriot act not being renewed at congress.

i leave early that night. i’ll make my excuses the next monday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

we are pathetic, apathetic, self hating single brained fragile fools. we rip open our souls and beg for company, beg for solace, prostrate our prostrates in the hope for salvation.

and we face moments of such profound lonliness that they cripple us.

in a crowded room, amid the hubbub of background chatter. in a bed watching tv with roaming hands, talking quietly shutting the world out for a few stolen hours. on an old sofa talking with a parent at the end of busy day, civility barely leashed with each lash of a bitter word that widens the gap of miscomunication and intolerance. in a restaurant talking to a potential man to marry, watching a beloved adopted brother interrogate and dismiss a poor wishy washy ambitionless man with no calling in life and no verbal skills whatsoever.

these moments sneak up and remind us that our lives are empty and meaningless, that we’re lost in the dark and will never find our way, that for every one step forward there are fifty crevices to fear.

but they are just that. moments. the clock ticks past, and we blink away our moements of mortality. we snap out of it, ignoring the gaping chasms that sit like pink elephants on our chests. we pick up the threads on conversation lost in our musings, we continue to thrust tongues into hidden crevices, and wind up lost causes and move on. and in that very facet of denial, is our greatness.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Saturday night

i have a couple of sketches I need to complete. I have a report I need to proof read. I have a campaign I need to design so fast it should have been completed a month ago. I need to order my mercahndizing material so that I don’t get raped in this strategy meeting with the sales teams.

My mother has gone psycho. She gets like this whenever the usual fathomless lake of miscommunication between us deepens to an ocean.

She did this before college. Post a-levels. We had all postponed vacations abroad because that’s where we were leaving for in two short months for a future none of us knew about. it had been a year on insane pressure of deadlines and aps and exams and rejections and acceptances. It was a time to rejoice, to heave a sigh of relief over futures secured and a sigh of nostalgia of pasts that would be forgotten. That summer was when everyone let loose. The moon shone, we met up hungrily, craving company in haunts where we knew we ruled, knowing that in the coming months the torch would be passed on and we would be gone, never to hear echoes of our superiority and ubiqitous-ness of youth again. we partied into the wee hours, desperately seeking to silent the nagging voices of nostalgia and fear, desperate to enhance that small niggling spar of excitement of futures unknowns and promises of futures to begin.

She hated it. and a small teenaged part of me still thinks she hated me. a larger part acknowledges the grey of adult decisions.

then came the ocean of sleepless, stress crazed, near suicidal wandering. a deluge of essay writing and assignment and final week after final week, drenching me in reality as i knew it, isolating me, flaying me to the bone till i whimpered and prayed for santuary.

i managed to crawl back. without a tear, head flung back with stubborn pride as always, clutching tight my cloak of denial. Then came my hermit days, and my i-love-my-suffocating-home-i-have-no-life-I-will-unhealthily-try-to-kill-myself-with-familial-bonding.

Then I told her about him. She seemed ok with it, but we were only going out with friends (because we had no where else to go) or driving around with a city to chaperone us. She still called me and had me home before midnight.

Now our lives have parted, homes shifted, priorities and mind games changed. I’m old now. I pay bills and manage bank accounts that I put my own money into. I handle billion rupee portfolios and bitchslap men older than me by decades on a daily basis. I drive to places she’s never seen or heard of, I do things she will never understand. She talks to me about boys to marry to try to trap me into admitting I love someone else, she tries to drop me to places when she thinks I’m trying to seek away to someone elses house. She’s never tried to be my friend, her stubborn rigid paindu hicktown morals trying to beat me with self righteousness over a generation gap.

It’s a time when girls’ parents are often out of town, where indifferent servants retire early and leave the front gate unguarded to indifferent eyes. It’s a time when boys’ parents move away and leave homes and brothers un-chaperoned, and girls routinely go over and bum around ignoring friends and watching tv.

It’s a time that heralds change. It’s a time when things have built to a point where there is no other place to go but shoot out breaking glass hymens of roofs that threaten to smother with protection.

Its time. Its Saturday night.