When I think about my childhood, there is a lot of summer afternoons spent reading on the big flat green stool that used to stand by the tiny balcony by the kitchen upstairs in my mama-bari that stands out. There is a lot of running around on the roof- back when there was one big roof where the pigeons would come to roost and I would dance and show Pishimoni bharatnatyam and then we’d run up to the second roof to smell the rose garden and the adults would talk and I wouldn’t know, wouldn’t care what they spoke of- only know it was grown-up-language- like the roses, which the adults appreciated more. I was only a kid. I was happy to be a kid, more interested in clambering up the guava tree, messing around with the brown muck of the plants that grew chillies and tomatoes and if you crushed a leaf from the lime tree in between your palms and rubbed the bits together, you’d have a wonderful citrusy smell about you for a while. Inevitably in these memories is my Didibhai, making chaa for people, with her hard-gentle hands, her standing at the downstairs verandah waving us goodbye, for all eternity Didibhai at the downstairs verandah waving us goodbye. When I grew older I would put my head on her lap, despite the giant lump of hernia she carried with her. I would find a tiny spot of knee and shove a bit of my head on it, lazing on the sofa, reading, listening to the buzz of the adults. So I was sixteen- still a kid to be sure.

It doesn’t seem real. Writing is no relief but I must seek refuge in it because what else is there. So come run on sentences, because it seems like this is reality whether I write it or not. There is no question of makings things real. I am helpless and I just want there to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I want it to be summer again, and I want to be putting my head on faded soft cotton, that would be offered to me to blow my nose if I so wished. I want to be holding wrinkled hands. I don’t understand this day, this time. This needs to un-happen. Else, it needs to finish happening and go on to next summer when I can go laze on a bed between two old people whom I lived with as a lost, skinny nine year old. I remember being told that I spin like a kite in my sleep and choking with laughter at Hajabarala. I remember the disgustingly huge cockroaches and kind eyes laughing at me- Kichhu hobey na. I remember tetul’er chutney and korom-chaa’r tok and aam’er tok. This is not the way things are. I want to go back to a sleepy nine where I watch Chattaan despite school tomorrow. I want to be fed yellow rice balls in tiny glass bowls by a veiny hand that cares.

I want to be able to breathe, secure in the knowledge that things are okay. Please.

Bout of nostalgia

Annesha’s latest mix made me listen to the Gangs of Wasseypur soundtrack again. Right now I have ‘Womaniya’ blasting through my ears, and I want so, so badly to be back in Cal, on that day when I first watched the movie. That morning we reached Forum nearly three hours too early, crammed into the metro with a hundred other jostling, sweaty bodies. I was afraid that there was going to be a lot of awkwardness with someone who was there because of drunken antics that had happened a little while ago. There was no real awkwardness, and our motley assortment of people wandered Elgin Road searching for Crossword, taking the longest route possible. I remember sitting on the top floor with said person and looking out at this gigantic hoarding of Shahrukh Khan advertising some sort of vest(?) that bordered on the obscene. We were listening to these new-ish old songs and sharing a bowl of something or the other that was not enough for a single person, but we had no money. We kept getting the song names right, and then we wanted to look at the CD that was playing but the manager very firmly told us that it was against the rules. He took it out and let us stare at the CD cover though- lurid pink hearts and all. Then we walked back to the movie, and the Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi theme song began, and then the rest of the utterly brilliant movie followed. I was blown away by a Hindi movie after a long time, and when we staggered out into the sunlight, we were wobbly on our legs, and I was starving, but still broke so Chandrima fed me some sort of egg-fry thing from the roadside vendor on the footpath opposite Forum. It was delicious and then Squg turned up, glasses and all- and we debated for a long time where to go adventuring. Finally we let our stomachs guide us, and stopped at Sharma’s because K wanted kochuri and puri of which I stole some. Then A did his impression of Arunava which was incredibly spot on, and I laughed, and then I felt guilty for laughing, but it was all in good fun, so I laughed some more. We were back to wondering what to do next, and then someone started chanting ‘momos, momos’, so we started walking to the Metro Station to get to Denzong’s. I remember walking down the Gujarati part of the city for the first time and I was doing my usual thing, stopping to take pictures of cars, and saying ‘Byeee’ to random passersby on the street. Squg and I didn’t know each other as well back then, and she was torn between amusement and firmly taking me by the hand and dragging me along before I could cause any trouble. Anyway, so we wound up at Denzong’s and I remember texting N maybe(?)- we were always texting back then- and we settled down on the stairs/road next to the shop, and there was a cat mewling at us, and a turd somewhere close by, and ants too, but the momos were delicous, and salty, and the soup burned my tongue, and I wasn’t paying, so I sat down and gobbled a plate and a half. Then I went home, and I was very, very happy.

I loved Wasseypur 2 even more, if possible. N came along for that one, only the viewing experience was super uncomfortable for me. We watched it at some seedy, shady cinema hall- Roxy or something like that, with a coolio bar-lounge monstrosity on the top floor that said ‘On the Roxxx’. My seat was right in front of the AC vent, and I shivered through the entirety of the next three hours. I stuck my ice cold hands into N’s shirt out of desperation, which didn’t help much, and made him squirm. We’d just started dating though, so he didn’t say anything, just twitched his lips and looked amused. My favourite scene was at the end when Faisal just would not stop shooting at Ramadhir Singh’s body. Sweet, sweet release it was, and it fed my bloodlust, and man, Sneha K was a genius with the score.
I don’t really remember what we did before and after very well- I vaguely remember walking with N along New Market and trying (and failing) to pick out a decent tee for him at Sanjay’s. Chandrima and Squg were straggling behind us. When we got out of the theatre, blinking in the sunlight, we were starving as usual and we wanted to go to this place that Tridipta kept telling us about. So we walked all the way, but it was a Sunday, and it was closed, so we wound up eating roadside chowmein again. Then we wanted lassi, so I stole about half of N’s mango lassi. Then someone wanted shoes or something, so we walked along the tram line where Tridipta told N and I that if he ever had a girlfriend, he would like to sit with her on a tram and not get off for the entirety of the way, and just talk, talk, talk. I thought that this was great, and poetic, and all that, only I remembered some Splitsvilla episode or something equally heinous where one of the vapid girls on the show had to impress Rannvijay on a tram journey like they were hitting on him- so that ruined it a bit- but I didn’t say anything, just smiled and nodded.
I think about last summer sometimes, and it’s strange that it happened to me. It was so great, so much fun, so- life-altering- which is a grandiose statement to make, but it really was. It brought a bunch of people into my life who are now my people, and there were so many new things I tried, and just good emotions I felt. I guess if someday I have to remember being young, and being happy, that summer will stand out even though a lot of great stuff has happened since- stuff that has been a lot shinier, and a lot more exciting. We airbrush our memories though- I cried a bunch over summer, and did many stupid things- but I do know that last summer, I’d never been happier in my life.
I go home in a month. Everything has changed. People are now old and familiar, like ha’pant-genji, and I love them infinitely more. But there are people still to meet, and new experiences to have with the old ones. Chaa awaits, and aimless rambles, and stuffing face, and getting wet, and lazy afternoons with music and kulfi, and falling asleep happy together, if I can.

Discovery

If I had to pinpoint the one moment when I first knew I was in love with you, it would have to be that evening on the ledge. It was dark, and it was one of those rare summer evenings, which had just the right amount of cool wind, and absolutely none of the damp sticky humidity Calcutta lives with. There were strangers carrying on their own conversation a little distance away and there was music playing on their cell-phones. We had been sitting there a while, alone for a change. We were just talking, occasionally kissing. It was then that I discovered that I didn’t want to stop kissing you, and it had nothing to do with lust, it was just you. I couldn’t get enough of you. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and my chest was tight, and I remember feeling a little stunned by the sheer intensity of what I was feeling. There was a little comic shade of dismay I remember, at this discovery, and a thrill of excitement as well.

“Love was that moment when your heart was about to burst.” I read this today, on a website. Stieg Larson says it in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’. It sparked off this train of thought, because you see, it’s true. That evening right then, I felt like my heart would explode, and I’m so very glad it did. It gets bigger you see, to let in more light, and comfort, and belonging. My legs miss your legs, and my lips miss your lips, but darling, I carry you with me all the time. 

The xx

Please don’t say we’re done
When I’m not finished
I could give so much more
Make you feel, like never before
Welcome, they said welcome to the floor

It’s been a while
And you’ve found someone better
But I’ve been waiting too long to give this up
The more I see, I understand
But sometimes, I still need you

Sometimes, I still need you

And I was struggling to get in
Left waiting outside your door
I was sure
You’d give me more

No need to come to me
When I can make it all the way to you
You made it clear
You weren’t near
Near enough for me

Heart skipped a beat
And when I caught it you were out of reach
But I’m sure, I’m sure
You’ve heard it before

How I will cope

I will listen to Wilco. I will post emo indie music on your wall. I am trying to break your heart, like you’re breaking mine just by being yourself. A thousand little pieces all free and floating of their own accord.

I will sniff and rub my red eyes. I will lose it, and pretend not to lose it, and try not to lose it. You will put your hands in mine and kiss my wet eyelids, you will kiss the tip of my nose, and bury your face in my neck. Breathe in, deeply. I will sob miserably, quietly. More a snuffle, really.

I am trying to break your heart.

I will listen to lots of Bob Dylan. Blood on the Tracks is our favourite Dylan album. We discover that we were both listening to Tangled Up In Blue everyday around the same time, two years ago. We did not know each other then. I do not ascribe much significance to this. Fortunate coincidence, that’s  all it is.

We  will lie together quietly, your neck will be bent at an awkward angle as you try to reach my face. My body is limp because I feel like I’m floating. I’m afraid. I don’t know where we’re going from here. I am trying to break your heart.

You have stolen my music, inextricably linked- what will I listen to, to cope? Where do we go from here?

One night I’m having a panic attack and Dylan doesn’t help. I decide that it’s a good idea to listen to ‘Hey that’s no way to say goodbye’ over and over again. It isn’t. I cry quietly. In the next bed, my brother sleeps on. It feels like the first time all over again.

You complicate things, you make things simple. I am trying to break your heart.

This is not a love letter 2.0

Things that will remind me of you:

  1. Long Facebook conversations and Facebook in general. 8tracks. 9gag. pinterest.
  2. The Men’s clothing section anywhere. Pantaloons.
  3. Words: grim and solemn, frustu, fonzie, kissyface, tongle
  4. Beer >.< (ohdeargod)
  5. Bananas. Not in that way
  6. The blues
  7. Tom Waits, Joe Bonamassa, Feist, The Grateful Dead
  8. Pine Moon, Sweet Thing, The Boogie Man Song, I Wanna Do Bad Things To You, I Want You, Hold On, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, Evergreen Tree, that happy-sounding depressing song, Lover, Bloom
  9. KFC, Starmark- South City
  10. Steinbeck, American Psycho, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle, Black Book, Mohsin Hamid, The Sandman comics
  11. Book lights
  12. Bearded men. (Not bearded women. That would be strange, and hard to come across)
  13. Publishing houses
  14. Bachhan’s dhaba, Balwant Singh’s dhaba and doodh cola (The last isn’t something I will miss. At all)
  15. The vestibule in metros.
  16. Oxford bookstore
  17. Summer
  18. Durgapur (heh heh and frustration)
  19. Hobos. Yes really. Facepalm.
  20. Zen, chilled out people, stoners *shakes head in frustration*
  21. Hungary. Schenectady! Calcutta.
  22. Golf Green
  23. The smell of smoke
  24. My room in my upstairs-flat, my room in my downstairs-flat, Rupsha’s balcony (ohshit Rupsha’s place in general), Sattam’s place, Arunava’s place.
  25. Action. Haha. Sex-ed.
  26. Pork fat. *shudders*
  27. Ebola. HIV. Kaala azar. Filaria (haha quite disgusting this is turning out to be)
  28. School of Tropical Medicine, SCTR
  29. The JU backstairs, CL Ledge
  30. Picadilly, waffles, pancakes, Maidan, Metro cinema near Esplanade
  31. Rango. (Hah hah)
  32. Electricians called Mawna 😀
  33. The =* smiley. Also the tranny smiley but ohwell. And the smug blowjob face smiley.
  34. Blue jeans. Dirty jeans.
  35. My Jimi Hendrix slippers that are two sizes too big
  36. Goa.
  37. Someday by The Beatles. But that is more out of panic from the mater calling at inopportune moments
  38. Port Wine.
  39. The period belt, Daler Mehendi, Balle Balle Boyz (whatthefuck.)
  40. My own body (and now this is just unfair, damn you)
  41. Very skinny people.
  42. Weed. Cigarettes. Clearly you’re a great influence.
  43. Taaja’s. Old songs from the 1920’s.
  44. Incessant texting
  45. Keep Calm and Murder Everyone. (very sound life advice, this)
  46. Ohwell.
  47. Squishing
  48. Albacoon
  49. Ha’pant aar chhera ganji
  50. Cartoon songs

Most things it seems will remind me of you, for some time to come.

This is not a Love-Letter

So I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we just make up our own language and fill it up with words that no one else knows, words that came into existence as we spoke? Let’s just create these things, because the thought of it is exhilarating to me.You are exhilarating to me. You are a beautiful thing, filling up my brain, taking up residence in all these cracks and crevices so that you leave me hardly any room to think of anything else. 

Beautiful. That’s not a word I use too much for people. You are a beautiful feeling- that moment when my breath catches in my throat for a brief second, when my heart does a back flip, only I accidentally call it a flip-flop because I’m too incoherent to even know what I’m saying anymore- it’s fleeting and forever all at the same time. It’s terrifying. 

Beautiful. You are beautiful. I overuse this word for things I love- for prose and poetry and Neruda and places and food. But not for boys, no, never, how could a boy- a real live one not made of celluloid screens- be beautiful, y’know? But you are. It’s not just your face, or that one mole you have on your shoulder below your left collarbone. It’s not the way that your too-tall skinny frame fits perfectly into mine when we’re lying side by side. It’s not those stupid sudden endearing things you do like the way you kiss my nose, or that jolt I feel when I look up at you and realize that I want you. I look at you up close, our noses almost touching, and I’m floored. 

It’s a feeling in the gut of your stomach, y’know? Almost a queasy one because you realize you’re in trouble, but you can’t- don’t want to stop. It’s the one that has been making me increasingly soppy and sappy and gooey-eyed with accelerating speed.

You are my summer. You’re the hard sunshine making me blink in the sudden light, you’re the cool comfort in the air when it rains. You are this insane whirlwind of colour, this really chill tangled mess that I want to run away to places with, metaphorically speaking, literally speaking. 

You are here now. With me.

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

List blogs are …

List blogs are the most useless kind of blogs. This is turning into a list blog.

Today I:

  1. Woke up and moaned and lay about in bed for a bit with cramps
  2. Decided that it wasn’t the most effective coping mechanism, cursed my period and dragged myself out of bed to go brush teeth and eat fresh fruit and a fried egg
  3. Rolled around in bed and finished reading Uncle Dynamite. I wish I had an Uncle Fred.
  4. Texted the boyfriend saying that I had found a brilliant substitution for ‘fuck’. It is ‘dickens’ 😀 Sample: What the dickens? The dickens? How the dickens? Only ‘ the dickens-ing ‘ sounds a bit clunky but ohwell. One step closer to being a real lady, one without a pottymouth.
  5. Decided that I will BE PRODUCTIVE.

Today I plan to:

  1. Commence my first actual day of work with an NGO, where I will go spend time with the children of prostitutes in Calcutta’s oldest red light district, Kalighat.
  2. Kiss my boyfriend.
  3. Make headway on my work term report which has been plaguing me like a bad case of the measles.
  4. Sign up for my fifth class
  5. Explore employment opportunities for the fall term in gray Waterloo
  6. Meet the gramps.
  7. Return home early enough to avoid the wrath of the parentals
  8. Make progress with reading one of the many books I have borrowed and decorated my windowsill with
  9. Meet best friend number 2.

Update: While I evidently avoided being terribly productive, I also:

  1. Brought the boyfriend home. He met the entire clan
  2. Started reading The Invention of Morel
  3. Managed to traumatize my phone to such an extent that it stopped sending outgoing messages in the middle of a conversation about the exact location of the urethra