Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Aamin Mondal (as i later knew his name was) : Didi, didi, money money, please, money...

Me : What? money? why?

AM: I kept your shoe safe, see here it is.

Apparently, he had saved me from lurking thieves who would like nothing better than to steal my shoe. For all of you who have seen the pair, it would be a good thing for me to have it stolen so I would finally get a new one. But that was not to be, as Aamin had kept it tucked safely between his legs. His intention however, was far from innocent. He used his cute facednes as a ploy to usurp money from others who visited the temple. I was another such victim.

Months of living in a country where such hardship lathered cuteness is hard to find, have however, taught me to look behind the obvious. I looked at his oversized blue jacket, probably the only one to survive the Kolkata cold, in the pavements below the bridge. Alone. With his group of friends. All now bickering for the ten Rupees note in AM's hands.

Me: Oye, you are all supposed to share this..

AM: ohhh...if you are so concerned, why dont you give me more eh?

Me: yeah right, then tomorrow I will have to ask you for money.

AM: Say what? give me that song thing you have ( referring to the pink mp3 in my hand, so guys like pink...hmmmm)

Me: you wont even know half the songs in here..

AM: O madam, even I know englis.

Me: Acchha?? you go to school?

AM: you dont believe me? come come, ill show my school to you...

Me: all of you go there?

AM's friend (female, very sweet, will grow up to be a killer): arre dont listen to him, he will take your money and eat gutkha...

Me: you dont like gutkha? or do you?

AM's friend : we all love it. even he. (pointing at the smallest kid in the group, who now smiles guiltily)

Me : but thats not good is it?

AM: Didi, nothing in our life is. You just give me another ten bucks and go. Go home.

Me : ........

There are very few instances in life where I dont talk back. There are even fewer people who can render me speechless. For this reason alone, if not for anything else, that I will always remember AM. Probably go back to the temple again, to talk to AM again, to partake in their stained lives, to feel oh i am so cool, i can talk to roadside kids without any hesitation, to feel the small glitch in my heart when the helplessness hits me and I realise how lucky I am to have a home.

As of now, I can do nothing. Except for write a blog.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

jet unlagged

so..i reached home last night. i was anxious while in Newark, tensed at the airport, hungry in the flight (food in Continental sucks), awed to see a horizontal rainbow while flying above the clouds, very tired after the landing...

Excited about coming home? no. zero. zilch.

As the 'o my God, i am emotionaly drained' paranoia set in, i seeked alternate explanations for my lack of feeling. maybe its because i practically dont live in the USA, i live in Harrison, which as everyone knows, is a messier, dirtier, more concise version of India itself. Or maybe bcos its not even a year since i left. Or that i had met my parents in summer. Or probably (this is a very long shot), i had just given my Molbio paper, and i was too exhausted for any feeling...

But nothing made sense. As i spotted an older dad and a thinner mom, and after the customary exclamations about my loss in weight ( what lies, my jeans are proof), i practically threw in the luggage and fixed my eyes outside through the window of the car. Maybe, revisiting the places i grew up in would stir my dead emotions. Would you believe it, i even hummed "ye jo des hai mera, swades hai mera" for a minute waiting for the eyes watering, chokiness that should have overpowered me by now. oh come on......

Then i figured. i was not Shah Rukh Khan's heroine. i was not Karan Johar's either. i do not dance around in chiffon sarees when it snows, i do not go jogging in Central Park, i can never manage to not spill coffee while i walk ( i have tried, believe me), i do not have the luxury of crying over a heartbreak on Brooklyn Bridge. i lack a scripted life. i cannot be expected to get straight As, be stick thin, fall in love, and sing for my country at the same time. na na.

So when after a year of surviving on ramen noodles, subway and samosa paav,God bless the cart wallah, i come back to the secure confines of home, all i feel is relief.

That nothing has changed. Bombay is still hot, still pleasant, still trafficky, and although still punctuated by terror alerts, the mornings still sees a crowd of fisher-women with their hair adorned with fresh flowers, the bus driver in a rare mellow mood, the already busy vada pav stalls in Churchgate, joggers smiling their way through excreta of various kinds, a dog scrutinising left overs at Chowpatty, students grumbling over tution classes, wondering if going to Siddhivinayak would yield better grades, the everything market at Colaba, a couple sneaking behind Band stand, the water lapping over Haji Ali, from the sun feebly trying to climb over a heavy spread of fog to the queen's lavish necklace in Marine Drive....I am relieved my home is just as how i had seen it last.

In the midst of the silent humbleness, I miss Harrison. I miss the bridge, with the wind creating ripples in the water, i miss not looking for the stop sign when i cross the roads, i miss the gossip in the campus centre, i miss the mess i have made out of my room, and also the comfort of independence that i have achieved, i miss the cold blast of air that hits my face the moment i step out, i miss the very few friends i have there....

But then i look at the sky, and i see the odd shaped moon, the same one here, the same one there. And finally, i come to believe, wherever i am, i will always be at home.

Songs? Anyone?

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Farewell

when its dark outside and the noise is driving u crazy,
when every breath seems to confirm your final fear;
when at the end of the road, thers no glint of hope,
when every thought is discarded by lifes indecision,

all you need is me,
i know all you need is me..

look back to see my eyes on you,
look back to see the smiles,
think back to feel the touch, the smell,
the love in all its disguise..

you'll know all you need is me,
i hope all you need is me...

when silent stares are all you get,
when the hidden tears remain unseen,
when the confession hurts more than the honest mistake,
when the world's out to prove that you are wrong...

a hand will reach out for you strength,
a heart will still believe in you,
and when you get to see that faith,
without the lurking fear you'll know;

you'll know all you need is me,
y do i feel all you need is me?

you can reach out, and i may not come,
you can search, but i may hide,
in some other world, some other time,
you know im there beside...

but for now, my love, let this be it,
let the mystery be unsolved...
for the sake of the true lies that we lived,
let our stories be untold...