Category Archives: Diary

An Audience Of One

His readers marvel at how well he puts their deepest desires, the fragile failings of their heart, and the whimsical workings of their mind on paper. The way he peeks into the secrets of their soul.

Each and every day, they find a fragment of themselves in his words, between his lines.

They gasp, they swoon, they balk and they are stunned. And they keep coming back in increasing numbers, for more.

It’s a strange, heady feeling that his writing invokes: they feel both vulnerable and validated. He manages to understand them in a way no one has; he strums the chords of their mind and they find the emerging tune familiar, yet breath taking. Their secret feelings are out in the open, ferretted out from the dark cave of guilt and transformed into something soothing, almost luminous.

Only he knows that what finds resonance, an echo in each of his teeming readers, is written for an audience of one. The one who can never be his.

Only his thoughts can claim her, only his words can own her.

These are the spaces where he is whole again, where he is free to surrender all that he feels for her. The disquiet that is a constant hum in his waking hours, finds a relief here. He feels free to explore the tangled strands of love, longing, loneliness and loss, trying to prise them apart, hoping to make sense of where he finds himself.

And hoping that she reads him today. Understands how much of the beauty that he creates for everyone is actually a cry to her, a cry for her. Knows that the blazing creativity that seizes him each day stems from her, causing him to pour out what burns inside him, quite like a shooting star that leaves a luminous trail across the crimson horizon, only to dive into the unending dark again, exhausted and spent.

His readers rave at this meteoric display, while he burns, burns, burns only for one.

Summer Breeze

Happiness is a summer breeze sailing by suddenly. Releasing the fragrance of paayri, mogra and jamun  into the languid Sunday morning air. Like a dab of paint dropped into water, spreading and swirling into it, till the entire water acquires a deep tint.

Happiness is a swift summer breeze lifting wisps of hair from a hot brow, leaving behind a cooling touch as refreshing as talc on a baby after bath.  Like a warm memory unearthed unexpectedly from the soil of time.

Happiness is a summer breeze swooping in through the sunlit kitchen window at breakfast, stirring through the aromas – the golden sizzling corn on butter, the fluffy pancake of the girdle spread with honey, the coffee gurgling on the stove- till they all become one big wholesome fragrance that percolates the house making it more of a home, a happy memory.

Yes it is summer, and it is hot and the sun beats down, relentless on the day, but then along comes one wave of summer breeze, winding through the busy streets, and all of a sudden, the colours of summer come alive on its breath: the hand-carts with white slabs of ice, the drops of melted water running down its sides; sliced spring-green cucumbers arranged with a dash of tangy rock salt; water melon halves like smiles, the deep juicy red offset by an emerald green; the ice cream carts on bicycles straight out of  picture book, piled with cones and flavours – strawberry, mango, black currant, chocolate – the fuschias, muaves, oranges and browns in a cheery tango.

There is splendour in every season, and the summer breeze brings with it all that is happy and fragrant and colourful and delicious about the months that turn the corner into the monsoons.

Lessons on a wing

I usually prefer walking alone on my morning walks. Accompanied only by a playlist of music that is attuned to my current state of mind.
This one hour regimen not only helps my physical fitness goals (or challenges!), but also supports my mental framework.
While walking, I have often arrived at solutions -eureka moment style, simplified tangled web of thoughts, sorted out my mind keeping it in a space that allows me ( in whatever big or small way) to approach the day fitfully.
I marvel at those who hold talkathons while walking briskly, yakking away to glory with a string of friends as the sunlight weaves itself through the trees and brushes the blooms.
I am more than happy to allow them to pass by.
Content to put a space between their chatter, for, at that time of the day, I prefer the chatter of the birds nestled in the foliage, that sounds like music to my ears.
But today I was glad to have the company of these colourful winged creatures that flit from flower to flower, taking in the various nectars, so happy and light in the sunshine, so carefree and joyous in their being.
This dance of life, of nature’s astounding creation, this revival, truly adds a lovely spring to my steps. As it disperses its lessons so evocatively, yet silently.

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Lost Rhythms

Lately I have noticed, your proclivity to turn what is individual into a theory, to turn something personal into a philosophy.

For instance, if I tell you about how I am trying to deal with a particular issue within myself without seeking outside help, you tell me that everyone should arrive at a decision in a way they are comfortable with.

Where I am looking for the understanding of a friend, you give me a lesson; where I look upon you to probe and unearth what I do not say, you hand me the bullets of powerpoint platitudes.

And then in mid conversation, I feel a chasm; as if we are standing on top of two mountain peaks, and our words are dropping into the valley where a shrill wind whips them up, round and round, into a roaring sound, an indistinctive howl.

At times, I feel we are both at a train station, and I want us to board the same train as before, sitting next to the window, and as the wheels pick up their clattering rhythm, and the stations roll by through the evening sky, we find our own beat, our own world.

But then I see the train has arrived and departed, and as it leaves the station, clanging into the dark, with only the bald headlight showing the way, I see that the train has split into two, each forking into two separate tunnels – endless in the distance.

Only the chugging wheels echo like a haunting reverie into the night. A sound of lost rhythms.

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The last of the flamingoes

They came flying from far away
Now I’m under their spell…. (Abba)

Though the famed Abba number sings about the Eagle, the words are equally true for the flamingos that flock to the city during Mumbai’s tepid winters.

Flying all the way from the Rann of Kutch, where the cold gets severe, mainly during the nights to avoid predators, often covering 600 kms at a stretch, they swoop to shelter in the city, foraging for food at the Sewri jetty where they feed off algae produced by phosphorous and nitrogen deposits in the mud flats. 11051928_10153359977961723_8697071791885289040_o

Surrounded by thick mangroves on one side, and huge industrial ships spewing out oil, they dig into the waters with beaks that contain a unique filter that takes in nutrients and efficiently separates what they don’t need. The shrimps they eat give them their lovely hues of pink, for when they are born, they are a pristine white.

Early evening, and it was a different Mumbai that I saw. The jetty is an isolated strip of land. The land is muddy and uneven, and the only sounds you hear are the hooting of ships in the distance, and whirring of machinery on those docked around, as men in overalls repair them -sparks flying into the evening air. That and the cry of birds – terns, egrets, seagulls, sandpipers, bringing the hums of faraway lands. 12719228_10153359977316723_2342653058880565526_o

Fisher boys crawl through the mudflats on their bare knees, hunting for crabs and oysters and shrimps, coming up with unusual water creatures which they quickly bottle after taking a shot from their mobile phones. For a find is a find, and they want no one else to take credit or possession of what is theirs.12747903_10153359976961723_9046310924171318618_o

I have come here to watch what I think will be the last of the flamingos on this land. Their pink outline on the horizon breathtakingly beautiful, as close to 6000 of them peck at their food, and take off in flocks across the wetlands, as graceful as a bevy of pink attired ballerinas. 12711242_10153359976786723_5280684763256899056_o12747475_10153359976931723_7169098207106753908_o12764794_10153359977551723_3776085556577776955_o

The proposed Nhava Sheva sealink that will run straight through their migratory habitat will destroy the mudflats where flamingos and many other migratory birds feed. As they leave our shores sometime during April and go back to their home in Kutch, will they turn back and look for the last time? Will they know that they will never be able to find their way back again next year?

Light Play

Wake up to the melody of gurgling cold streams gushing over sinewy rocks in the rainforest. Their soothing murmur ushering you into a new day.

A welcome song with a live orchestra of a chorus of birds, the chirrup of squirrels and the hoot of monkeys. The light broken up into patterns by leaves filters into the room, entering in subdued patches and fragments at first, and as the sun climbs higher into the dense foliage, saunters in boldly with strides of beams that nudge the comfort of your blanket.

You watch the light play all over the day, shifting like a kaleidoscope over snug cane chairs, the veins of leaves, shading petals, forming arches over windows, creating mirror works of art on the ground and falling in love with faces, painting them with depth and character.

Transforming everything it touches, as if waving a wand over the day.

In its presence, each moment acquires a wondrous quality, connections are seen for the first time between previously disparate things.

You sit by the still waters and watch time dissolve at dusk. And as the year draws to an end, and the last light smudges and leaves the sky, the excited chatter of the birds returning to their nests dies down, and the sky sleeps on its bed of deep velvet embroidered with stars, you realise that time is a continuum. We have divided it into days, weeks, months, years-giving it a linearity, held it in place by a regimen of segments. Time goes on in an eternal circle without boundaries, without enclosures.

Nothing has begun, nothing has ended.

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