on the surface of it

one day we will own a house with shabby comfortable couches, that you can sink into, and french windows. one of the rooms will have rust coloured walls and a fake fireplace on the mantel of which will live an empty frame that i have spray painted gold. we will own a cat whom we will name Murakami. Murakami will like you more but love me more, like children often do their mothers. i will have faint frown lines that finally show between my eyebrows and you will have the same old metallic frames housing your gaze. your hair will be more tamed, with a few blotches of white in it. mine will have resisted and have gotten messier than ever, clinging to girlhood. we will have a record player cohabitating with a stack of books we don’t read very often, but like to look at for their covers. perhaps they will have grand impressive titles like ‘Sarte on existentialism and bacon’. Actually, that is a book I would like to read, so scratch that. I should have been an art director in films. Perhaps I will be an art director for small films, and you will be writing something you like. one of the walls in one of the rooms will have lines from poems and books we love on it; parts will be yellowing, but we like it better that way. there will be a stack of dirty dishes in the sink that i am putting off doing, and there will be a line above your forehead, signaling your growing impatience,as you sit in an armchair and read The Times cover to cover, leaving out the obituaries and the tabloid. i will be traipsing around the house with a vague look in my eyes, in purple slippers and a long t-shirt that i have stolen from you. i cannot remember what it is that i’m looking for, but i keep throwing glances at the refrigerator each time i pass it, and finally, i settle down with a block of dill havarti (in a coloured jar with a paper label saying ‘I Can Haz Cheez’) on the other armchair on the opposite side of the room. i sit cross-legged, open Ulysses (which I have not managed to read in all these years), and catch you looking at me.

“what?”

you just sigh. “never mind.” a slight twitch of the head.

“what?! why must you always leave things hanging?”

“i suppose you’re going to want me to do the dishes again”.

i smile in what i think is an endearing manner, but you don’t catch it because you’re looking at the kitchen and besides, you stopped thinking it was endearing about forty two weeks ago.

“only if they bother you”

“whatever”, you snap, and bury your head in the paper again.

sunday crawls along. i’ve never liked sundays. bloody evil days providing you with time to mull over things you have no business thinking about.

one day we will own a house, and a cat, and comfortable couches, and grow old and tired of each other. or perhaps not.

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In fragile things

Who’s to say what happiness is?

I could never have predicted (despite all the predictions I made)

that you would be so close.

That you would nestle – like the word last read in a half-read sentence-

deeply, firmly, lightly embedded.

I play with chopping blocks,

and fixatives.

With resin.

Bloody hearts may lie strewn across my spotless white bench.

It gives off the faintest smell of formaldehyde

(-makes me light headed sometimes,

but nothing to compare with – no matter, that’s sop.)

And who’s to say that happiness cannot be found

In the rustle, as pages brush their bodies against each other for a moment,

In the middle of a story-

About October telling stories,

As February-fussy, timid- sulks,

and April sucks her dainty fingers clear of innards,

while May takes her side.

And I, I dream at the back of my mind,

About a wondrous, terrifying August.

On an evening, where the skeletons of trees look in through my window,

as I sit inhaling the hot breath of my brown-slatted-heater.

Fingers stained with chocolate that arrived in the mail today

(near a month too late).

Bearing solemn, sincere advice on a background of blue,

it brought with it the hope of a new year.

I listen to a pink moon sing,

And curl up by my heap of warm, fresh, laundry.

Who would have known that we would come to know

each other, from half a world away.

Through tangles of invisible wires,

and calling plans that rob us blind.

Who’s to know that happiness lies here?

In fragile things.

Boston Chronicles 1.0

So life in Boston has settled into its own easy pace. Cambridge is being kind to me for now. Every day brings with it some sort of new discovery. Now if only I could find more permanent, affordable housing, everything would be perfect.

The hobo, contrary to all expectations remains in my life six months in. Less pressure with more effort seems to sum up the whole scene, as A. said. It seems contradictory, but makes more sense. I get to keep my sanity, and flirt with cute bostonboys? Yes please.

Friday: After a pretty unproductive day at the lab, I was supposed to go out with a new friend from the lab and two of her friends for a girl’s night that promised to be wild. Her friends decided to bail on her however (blasted flu), and so I decided to rescue the night and have a girl’s night with a completely different set of girls. I recruited J and P, and the four of us decided that it was Friday goddammit, and we were going to have some fun. After some mulling over possible places- drinks and good food without breaking the bank seems to be a tall order- we decided upon ‘Brown Sugar’. Token American aka the boss suggested Bon Chon but AH dismissed it as fast food, thoroughly upsetting him. So Brown Sugar it was, and we set out on the shuttle, clutching our coats, ushankas and scarves. We waited in the lobby for a good ten minutes, making eyes at the puffer fish, and violently coloured snaggle-tooths in their aquarium before we got a table. The food was excellent, and served in preposterous quantities. I ordered Fishman’s Madness which was basically an explosion of scallops, squid, shrimps, mussels, mushrooms and peppers in this delicious chilli-garlic gravy. I have discovered that I really dislike scallops- they remind me of the pork fat that hobo and company tricked me into eating, and taste like nothing but blandness and blobs. The texture itself puts me off. The squid was for some reason carved like pineapples, but the mussels were great. Post-dinner we dragged our Garfield like selves to this tiny Japanese place where I experienced the deliciousness of mochi for the first time. I liked it so much that on Saturday I walked for half an hour to Trader Joe’s to buy myself some, which sadly turned out to be nothing like the real deal. I now have a pack of mochi lying in the refrigerator, covered in flour , all gooey and gross.

Saturday was spent waking up late, frantically running to the dysfunctional T and reaching Boston Commons nearly an hour late for my ice-skating date with the labmates. The weather was unexpectedly warm and sunny, the speakers at Frog Pond played old 90’s music, and we spent a good three hours there. Now this was my very first time on the ice and considering that I can’t even walk in a straight line, ice skating was really… interesting. My labmates were super patient though, and the scene wound up being something like one at each side, holding my hand while the third skated behind us. Every time I would wobble, the three would zoom up and huddle around me. By the end of the day, we’d all become a lot more physically intimate than we would have expected. Good first date, I’d imagine.

So after ice skating we grabbed footlongs at Subway and then I ran to Vanderbilt Hall at Harvard for choir practice. I got roped into it by AH from lab. Here’s how it happened: Hey, you should come see my acapella group. It’s gonna be a shitshow, but it’ll be fun. Hey, what’s your range like? Hey, you should do liptorrals and sirens. Hey, you’re a soprano. Great, our group needs help.

And so I’m singing ‘Fields of Gold’ in harmony with the Harvard Heartbeats at their cadaver memorial on this Wednesday. What’s a cadaver memorial, you ask? Well, people donate their bodies to science, see? And this Wednesday the families of those dead bodies along with all of Harvard Med School are going to come to this program at Harvard and watch me sing a solo, and harmonize with 5 other girls (it’s going to be a complete shitshow, since very few of them can actually sing and we’re getting roughly one and a half rehearsals in before the show). Random, but it’s a thing.

The other highlight of Saturday was the walk to Trader Joe’s where I bought Green Tea mochi, a pack of three dark chocolates imported from Belgium, and Trader Joe’s own smooth peanut butter cups made of dark chocolate (Dear Reese’s, nothing compares to you). Came home to find a note on the fridge from the second roomie saying, “Help yourself to banana cake if you like”, which I obviously did, and boy was it delicious- full of pecans and almonds and chocolate chip and dusted sugar. 

Sunday has been pretty useless, in a not so terrible way. Woke up late, stayed home, talked to the hobo, and made my new year’s list which I hadn’t all this while because I’d started off the year completely miserable. I also read ’50 shades of grey’ which a friend sent me the ebook of, and it was completely fucking awful, like I knew it would be. So recommendations for good literary erotica are welcome. What, didn’t you know that this was an adult blog?

What I hope to do with the rest of my evening: shower, laundry, read papers and come up with a list of relevant questions, finish the new year list.

Other highlights of the week include visit to Rodney’s Bookstore where the guy at the counter, who is writing a book and draws comics for an indie newspaper, directed me to the underground music scene and gave me recommendations on where to live (Allston, baby!). Also lunch at cafe Au Bon Pain, where Robin Williams and whatsizname played chess in ‘Good Will Hunting’. Lunch consisted of rain and a salmon-wasabi bagel which was both delicioso and affordable. Trek to Somerville to look at a potential house which turned out to be completely unsuitable. Trek to Inman Square where I discovered the Bukoswki pub which I definitely intend to visit. Also multiple visits to Flour which is close to work, has hipster baristas, and  the most beautiful lamb sandwiches- gigantic, fresh and dripping with cranberry sauce.

In other news: I bought a guitar, and I’m getting a tatoo in March which is when T comes to visit. Life is definitely having a ‘What R did’ moment right now.

They are compar…

They are comparing Rowling’s new book to Jonathan Franzen. I think I will cry. “The Corrections” was one of the few books that depressed me so thoroughly, that it left a lingering bad aftertaste that comes back to me even now when I think about it. Harry Potter is just one of those things that you loved, growing up in the 90s. I grew up with Harry, and I’d even seriously considered getting a Deathly Hallows tattoo at one point to sort of mark the passing of an era, my childhood, everything- sort of as a reminder- but anyway that’s besides the point.

The point is, yes I’m fully aware that it’s “The Casual Vacancy”, not “Harry Potter and the Casual Vacancy”, but did it have to be Jonathan fucking Franzen?

Books from Summer

  1. The Great Indian Novel- Shashi Tharoor
  2. Underground- Haruki Murakami
  3. Animal Farm- George Orwell
  4. The Fault in Our Stars- John Green
  5. Persepolis- Marjane Satrapi
  6. Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck
  7. Uncle Dynamite- P.G Wodehouse
  8. A Long Way Down- Nick Hornby
  9. The Invention of Morel- Adolfo Bioy Casares
  10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky
  11. Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami
  12. Good Omens- Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Things I have done so far in Cal

I arrived on the 23rd of April, jetlagged and exhausted from the long-ass almost 24 hour flight from Toronto to Calcutta. Crossed oceans and continents and there I was. And here I am. And this is a bunch of stuff that I thought I should put down for posterity. So far I have

1. Visited the South Park Cemetary with Noor

2. Gone along with my uncle/cousin brother to a teeming slum where this tiny old lady beckoned to us, led us into her room/dwelling (for want of a better word), lifted up a ghoti from her puja shrine and sold my brother 100 Rs worth of ganja. Yep, so technically I TOTALLY scored. Of course I’ve never even come close to smoking pot. But it was pretty cool.

3. Visited Jora Sanko, Rob Tag (Rabindranath Tagore’s) house on Rabinda Jayanti- his birth anniversary.

4. Visited North Cal in the process

5. Chilled at Oly with a steak and Vodka meal. Chicken a la kieve too.

6. Bhaar er chaa at roadsides, frequently and with much relish

7. Watched The Avengers- T’s treat at Fame (solid, solid entertainment)

8. Dahi Vada from Vivekananda Park

9. Roamed around College Street and picked up 2 books- Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Milan Kundera’s Laughable Loves.

10. Had lunch at the Presidency tank- book in hand (Brave New World), maggi and curious glances for company

11. Started work at The School of Tropical Medicine

12. Devoured books- LOVED (yes in capital letters) Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel, Brave New World (only gets better on the second reading), Murakami’s Underground, The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene (wept bucketloads), and started on The Butterfly Generation

13. Spent an evening with Stoner Jesus at the Tolly bar, spilling out intimate secrets which were answers to questions that had never been asked before

14. Evening spent reading at Starmark (South City) and Crossword (Elgin Road)- read Animal Farm and TGIN

15. Raichak on a day trip with the whole extended mama bari Choudhury clan

16. Wedding reception with the whole extended Ghosh Dastidar clan

17. Afternoon at Tolly with the brother- dosas for lunch and coffee swirls for desert= perfection 🙂

18. Metro rides. Oh so so very many metro rides. WHY?

19. Afternoon at JU meeting all the fraands