Saturday, September 22, 2018

Letter to an unborn child

Eight years is a long time to find a voice. The last time I was nursing my wounds here, I was mourning the loss of love. Love that was as passionate as it was selfish. I’d resigned myself to my imagined sorrows till one day I met someone who was as broken as I was.

The first time I met him in the virtual confines of the Internet, I thought a grammatical faux pas had resulted in his name. Why would anyone be called Sajay, and not Sanjay? Or was his family trying to be avant garde? Being an editor, I found it difficult to be attracted to a man whose name sounded like a typo. In my heart, I told myself, “No.”

Destiny said, “Yes.” In no time, we fell in love. Days were spent being wrapped around each other. We healed each other.   

That happiness lasted a year. One day, he left the country. I wept till my pillow was soaked in my tears. It was over in my mind. Not his. Soon, he asked me to marry him. I said no. He insisted. I said no. He persevered. I had a family I thought I’d never leave. Leave, I did. On December 13, 2013, we decided to be together in a way that was acceptable to one and all. We got married.

I wrapped up my life of 28 years into two suitcases and came to another country to live with him. It was hard. I longed for the familiarity of home, and missed the assurance of a salaried job. As I cried over all things I had lost, I was unconsciously building something with him. Today, that something has become the very foundation of my life, and if I may add, our lives.

Partner, lover, tormentor — we are many things to each other. Life is bearable now, and love makes sense. After all, who was it who said that you don’t marry a man because you love him, you marry him because you cannot live without him.  

Which brings me to you. The absent fruit of our love. I often wonder what it’d be like to have you in our midst. More often than me, it’s the others who wonder why you’re not already in our midst. I reason with them — I have a job I want to shine in, I have an ambition, he has a dream. Fulfilling these dreams is at odds with realising you. And yet I often ask myself if I should give up on you?

Life is not easy. S and I fight battles we never thought we’d be fighting when we dreamt of a life together. People trample over us, as does their ambition. On most days, we fight them alone. We come home, place our heads on each other’s shoulder to look for the direction our life should we taking next. More money wouldn’t harm. Neither would a house of one’s own. I could do with more clothes. He could put more faces to life on canvas.

We dream many dreams. S dreams of securing our future together. I dream of making my pen mightier. In the hustle bustle of these dreams, how do we make room for you?  Just this summer, mom asked when were we planning to conceive you. I assured her it’ll be soon. I was lying. In my heart, I do not have an answer. Others do, though!

Secretly, I do dream of a life with you. You will not only be born out of love but with best of the Southern and Eastern frontier. You will be caught between two grandmothers — one who forgets everything, the other who does not forget anything. It should be an interesting life, with many possibilities. And yet I wonder if your arrival will put an RIP to my dreams. Will it? In my heart, I do not have an answer. And yet, others do!

I have never been more answerless. But that doesn’t put an end to thoughts, does it? S lost his father when he was 13. He is confused about what being a father means. In mine, he sees a clown. I want to tell him that’s exactly who fathers are — slaves to anxiety, performers of affection. I guess the best way to teach him that lesson would be for him to become one. The possibility is as scary as it is exciting.

Each day S and I spend together, each time we burst into laughter together, each battle we fight, each tear we wipe off one another’s face, each sigh, each embrace brings us closer to you. We are running late, but we’ll get there! Till such time we realise you, stay safe in the haven of our dreams!

Mom, is it?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Heartless! Godless!! And now Godotless!!!

I have almost always abused this space by addressing my anxieties, the many 'rights' and the 'wrongs' that have been done. Make no mistake, I am a damsel in stress, not distress. This explains why I have inflicted numerous poorly articulated posts on this space without caring if at all these words will ever be read by any mortal. Enraged by the selfish nature of the writing, the space too has given me a befitting reply---a silence in which I introspect my  life and its many 'miseries'. For the last four years (ever since I started the blog), it seems that I have been waiting for Godot without knowing who or what Godot is. Is it success? Money? Love? Debauchery? Godot is definitely not success or money...these can be acquired way too easily. He is definitely not love, because he claims to come my way often. He is perhaps a debauched traveller. As perverse as you are in your emotions, but a lot more silent. Your patience is a journey too, at the end of which lies a heartbreak. In the guise of lover, he is a stranger. He is a lover as long as you are a stranger. A patron as long as you are the Petrarchan mistress. In few days, several hours, many minutes and numerous seconds, he will travel through life to find his sense of self. He will cremate you in his heart and bury you in his mind. Like a trapped soul, you will continue to wander and wonder if he will ever put his hand around your waist again and murmur on your lips, "Dearest". Your heart pounding every second and chanting "Come as you are... not as a friend but as who you were".

Next morning, when a furious sun absorbs the water on your face, Godot shall be making new memories with new strangers. His lens would see them all, it would be the mute witness of his tryst with life. You will shed a tear every day in solitude till you become perverse and say "Goodbye blue sky!"

And that is the day another part of you will quietly die.

Heartless! Godless!! And now Godotless!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Late Dorian Gray

Destined to be.
Dorian Gray.


We are no V. Woolf whose mind is a locked closet nor are we J. Austen whose truths are often 'universally acknowledged'. Unlike these women, words have stopped befriending us. Obscurity is our opium. We find our unhappiness in our bliss and find our failures in our successes. We find our refuge in our passivity and fall back on pills that keep us numb. Having conditioned ourselves in a way that makes sure we remain 'unaffected' no matter what happens, we make sure that no emotion---love or hatred---can move us. As for me, I am an obscurist. Quite often, in a moment of self-introspection, I have wondered if I am half alive or half dead...if I am living or merely existing. The answers have never come easily to me, neither to those with whom I have wanted to share the aforementioned anxieties.  I survive in the zone between happyness and existential angst. Uncertainty is my only companion.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Words Apart

The worst kind of crisis for a mind looking for redemption is loss of words. When she had words, she did not have a story to tell. Now she has a yarn to spin, but words are not her companion anymore.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jeffrey Archer: On the Write Track (May 2008 interview, A Prisoner of Birth)

His life is stuff bestsellers are made of. There are scams, trials and of course, his favorite theme, prison. All this and more makes Lord Jeffrey Archer a man worthy of a tête-à-tête. Currently the author is travelling across the country for the first time for Landmark's Jeffrey Archer tour. He is actively promoting his latest book, A Prisoner of Birth, a rags to riches tale of a man wrongly convicted for a crime.

In a rather candid chat with HT City, Lord Archer not only talks about his latest book, but also clears the air about the rumours related to his writing, and, of course, why he wouldn't really want Hilary Clinton to be another Florentyna Kane (The Prodigal Daughter).

The rendezvous starts on a rather unexpected note. Before we pose a question, it is Archer who throws one for us. The question is --- "Have you read the book?" It's only after a loud "YES" that the chat progresses. "India is a great place. People actually read books here." This coming from a man who has sold more than 130 million copies worldwide. "One hundred thirty only? I don't know how many more I have sold in India because of the piracy," he says.

Many reviews have stated that the book is explicitly based on The Count of Monte Cristo, and Archer, on his part admits to being influenced. "Well, I's say it is a modern version of The Count of Monte Cristo. That book is 1,700 pages. It was written at a time when there was no radio, no television, and very little theatre. People read big books then. Things have changed now." Well said Lord Archer. But when quizzed about his own stint in the jail and if it had influenced the plot, the author couldn't help but get into a diplomatic mode. While trying to settle in his chair, he says, "We all use the knowledge that we have. You write about your experiences. For instance when I go back to England after spending 7-8 days in India, I would have an Indian story. Here I have come across situations and people I would want to write about." So, is this the formula for a bestseller? Apparently not. "Then you would have been writing a book," says the author unassumingly. "You write when you have a story to tell. It's a god gifted. And of course you write about what you know. Jane Austen wrote about a small village and how a couple of sisters get married. And these went on to become the five of the greatest novels ever written. Write what you know about. Otherwise there will be four pages of sex and four pages of violence, and then four pages of a story. "

He spoke about the first woman president of America in Florentyna Kane, the lead protagonist of The Prodigal Daughter. An obvious question is if he's routing for Hilary Clinton for the US presidential elections. He laughs his heart out and then responds, " Twenty years later, the Americans have woken up. I would actually like Barack Obama to win. I have followed the elections very closely. I think he is very exciting. I believe he's beaten Mrs. Clinton already and he can beat Senator Mc Cain." But what about the buzz that Florentyna Kane's character was closely modeled on Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi? " By the time I wrote the book, there had been 5 women PMs in the world. What Mrs. Gandhi, Mrs. Thatcher and Mrs. Meir had in common was their toughness. As for Mrs Thatcher, I worked for 11 years with her. So it would be difficult to write a book and not be influenced by her. By then there had been 5 women PMs in the world. In fact Mrs. Thatcher once said that to beat a man you have to be twice as good, and she was, in fact, twice as good." One of the most cherished moment: When he invited Beatles to Brasenose College to perform for a charity event. " I kept in touch with Paul Mc Cartney after that!"

While the readers just can't get enough of him, his detractors, however, have had a mixed opinion about his writings. One of the more popular rumours revolves around his wife Mary, and many have gone to the extent of claiming that she often writes for him. When quizzed about the same, Archer loses his composure and points out, "Yeah, my wife was in prison and writing the books for me. My wife could not write a book to save her life. It's been the most ridiculous statement ever made. I will tell you a little secret, when I went to prison, stupid people stopped saying that someone else wrote the books. I wrote three books from there and they went on to become number one. She's a scientist. I can't write her books either."

Moving on to a more cheerful topic (read: his blog), the author professes his love for blogging and feels it's an easier way of connecting to a number of readers. "I get 542,000 hit on my site last month and about 25 per cent of my emails are from Indians." Since he's also a cricket buff we asked if he'll be catching up on the ongoing IPL series. He was planning to watch one on Saturday evening, but confessed that Twenty-20 wasn't his cup of tea. "I prefer to follow test matches." So was there anything else that he was looking forward from his Indian tour. "England beating India, five matches in a row. But then, that's not possible."

For someone so prolific yet controversial, one couldn't help but ask if being controversial comes naturally to Archer. "Well, I have not been controversial for the past three years. I have written six books, and have been doing a lot of charity work." Any regrets in life? "No way, you've just got one life, live it as best as you can. Work hard and live your life." Now that's what we call living live king-size!

Archer's favourite authors of Indian origin

Salman Rushdie
VS Naipaul
Arundhati Roy

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Bed of Agony

Witness to the love
Long lived or long forgotten,
It stands blind and mute,
Not tall, yet firm.

Soft is the surface,
The scent is sweet.
Don’t forget the hardness
That lies low and beneath.

The warmth of the bed
Is like love itself.
It is tender and fragile,
Almost like a lover’s sigh.

The bed often growls
In a joyful pain.
Over it’s subtle top
The lovers reign.

Its sheets are often wet
With desire and glutton.
As the moonlight falls,
The bed shines with passion

No rose adorns it,
Yet it feels the bliss.
The stains fade in a day,
The memory lasts a lifetime.