The Park

Do not judge her based on her aloofness or hostile temperament. If she asks you to stay away, try not to be offended. She doesn’t hate you, it’s just that she is not used to your unexpected presence. And if, despite her meaningless hostility, you still decide to stay with her, you would slowly and surprisingly discover how feigned her hatred is! The fact is she had been waiting for too long for someone like you to keep her company but just like everyone else she fears that you too would leave her eventually. And it is the inevitable truth, isn’t it?

She likes to believe that her life has been built over her choices rather than some bunch of uncontrollable circumstances. Is it really true? How does it matter even if it isn’t? In labyrinth of her thoughts, she has the liberty to believe in anything she wants to. In labyrinth of her thoughts, she doesn’t have to differentiate dreams from reality. Her dreams can be misleading but she has seen too much of life to care about this trivial thing called truth. Had she always been like this? In her days of youth, she recalls that that things had been different. In her decaying memories, there still exist the echoes of those noises that had once both annoyed and excited her. What was it like back in those days? When she was young and beautiful – when the swings weren’t broken, when the slides hadn’t been rusted, when the see-saws were capable of being used? What was it like when the children loved visiting her, annoying her, infuriating her, tickling her and making her laugh from the core of her heart? Faint projections of the past trickles down her hazy memory. “It was beautiful!” She exclaims. It was beautiful! Those were the days when each setting sun brought different stories, when imaginations of young minds would disperse incoherently in the air she breathed, when she was the canvas where each day creativity was splashed over in unpredictable ways; when she had the ability to be the island surrounded by river filled with crocodiles, when she could transgress from being a mere children’s park to the peak of the mountains or the sea of molten lava. Where have her shape shifting abilities disappeared? She is just a deserted and forgotten park now. What happened?

She aged.

How come, though? Wasn’t she supposed to live a long youthful life? Or was it just her immature assumption? After all, the things that glorified her, were paradoxically also the things that destroyed her. With the imaginations that excited her and made her feel invincible, came also the veiled curse of several diseases and senescence. She recalls how those very children who loved her also broke the chains in the swings, stomped too hard on the top of the slides, dismantled the seats on the see-saws and no one! No one ever bothered to take care of her or even think of rescuing her from her deteriorating condition. But they adored her, didn’t they? Then where did their cruelty and indifference stem from?

She immediately rebukes herself for blaming those kids. They had never been cruel! None of the bruises they inflicted on her was intentional! They were too innocent, that’s all. She should know that! Yes, they had been the harbingers of her downfall. Yes, the things she once flaunted off with pride, also brought her own doom. But isn’t life always like this for everyone – An irony? Things wouldn’t have changed even if the circumstances had been entirely different! It would have still been a tragic paradox.

Isn’t god overusing a trivial literary device? When would he retire from being this arrogant poet? But nothing matters now. Nothing matters. She remembers how she had also hoped for peace. She remembers how she had longed for calm sunsets. And now she has all of these in acute abundance. She gives away her toothless smile. Happiness peeks through her wrinkled face. The solicitous tears of sorrow accompany immediately as if too scared to leave happiness alone. The deserted park embraces them both and then suddenly, scorns at the funny looking thing, who stood scribbling in its notebook at her broken gate, shamelessly interrupting her private moment. “Go away you insolent thing!” she shouts through the rustle of leaves and a sudden gush of wind. The insolent thing doesn’t budge. Instead it stands and stares at her as the yellow light illuminates her face and the musical notes of melancholy floats beautifully under the unusually silent night. When the song finally ends, the funny insolent thing whispers “You are beautiful.”

“Oh! You liar!” The old lady whispers back through her disagreeing blush and laughs herself to sleep.

Advertisements

The hot guy at the coffee shop

(And how I would never ask him out)

She isn’t known for making confident entrances. She steps in as if she has never visited the place before, which is unintentionally a great display of acting on her part. Her face has this perpetual expression of being lost and confused pasted on it. The only hint that she finally gives about how she does know this place is when she  hesitantly throws her mild smile of acknowledgement at the guy on the counter. He, in return, does the same and asks their mutually consented standard question for her obligatory confirmation – “Latté?”  Affirmative. As usual. Then she goes to her favorite table and starts doing her favorite task of the day – Observing people. Regretting that she isn’t invisible and a bit annoyed at how she ought to be careful about not creeping out the people, she balances this act with reading a book or writing on her laptop. There’s rhythm to this – She enters the café, forcibly greets the guy who takes her order, goes to her table, spends two hours doing something that falls into the potential-topic-for-debate (Procrastination or productivity?) category and then she makes an abrupt exit. And she repeats this every day.

But that day – that day sun rose from the west. As she began to leave the café, she did something she had never done before! The guy, whose voice she had been listening to the entire time since he had entered the coffee  shop, was sitting with two of his other friends. He was doing that thing again – imitating the professor who taught him in the university he was studying in. The accent that he was trying to copy came out pathetically but that didn’t matter! No fake accent could possibly suppress the charm of his sexy voice. Coffee doesn’t get you high but pretending that it does, she went up to him and said, “Umm…I don’t know how to say this without being awkward. So, I am just going to get over with it. No perverseness is intended here, a compliment that’s all. I think your voice is great and you are really cute.” Did the girl with the confused face just say this? Did she just speak to a person she didn’t know? And, and, and that too not because she had to but because she wanted to? Bravo! And there, she turned and strode towards the gate. (Colloquially known as swag) She wanted to see his reaction of course, but if she had turned back that would have ruined the whole moment. Then the thing that she had dearly anticipated and yet not expected to happen happened. He hurriedly caught up to her and asked, “Hey! What’s your name?”

Of course, this is not an entirely true account of events that took place that day. When she went up to him and told him he was cute, he looked at her for a moment almost in disbelief and then burst out laughing. Her default expression of confusion took over her face again as his friends started laughing too. When the realization of what had just happened finally hit her, she turned and ran away as soon as she could. Her auditory senses received the stimulus of his voice, his disgustingly sexy voice, which was most probably addressed to her. Whether it was an apology or an extension to her insult she never got to know. She had voluntarily blocked her brain from deciphering the message. It took fourteen showers to wash away the embarrassment but yet the faint scent of it still lingered to annoy the fuck out of her at otherwise peaceful moments.

Of course, this is also not what really happened. She made a U turn before she could even think of a decent way to frame a compliment. She threw a short glance at the guy. The guy shot the glance back. And there it was! The moment! Their moment! She was looking at him and he was looking at her. Was that a sign? Could he be the one? Wait. What? Her eyes disconnected the contact immediately. She got out of the coffee shop and never saw him again.

Of course, this is also not what really happened. She looked at the guy. He was busy conversing with his friends. “He might be called cute.” She thought, trying to sound arrogant despite knowing there wasn’t anyone present in the vicinity who was capable of listening to her thoughts and praise her ‘ego-complimenting-desperate’ arrogance. Instead of turning to this hot guy she had been wanting to talk to this whole time, she turned to the guy at the counter and asked for the bill.  A few weeks later she found herself contemplating about various alternative endings for this trivial incident that ideally she should have forgotten about long ago.

Or maybe, this is also not what really happened. There was no such guy at the café.

~Musings from the coffee shop

P.S. You can find more posts on the musings from the coffee shop here .

The hot girl at the coffee shop

(And how I will never be as hot as she is – An unintentional rant on insecurity)

I sit here in awe as I watch you taking the seat next to my table. I am staring, ain’t I? But I can’t stop myself from doing this. For starters, I won’t deny that I am a bit irked by your hair and how the strands don’t strive to take weird spaces in the air, how they seem perfectly managed and cohered like they show in those advertisements. Then there is the length of your hair. Funny I seem to love long hair again because when my hair used to be that long, I used to look like a broomstick and I eventually grew to hate it. Well, not anymore I guess. Every curl of your hair, they seem to be a deliberate effort, not a mere accident but a perfect plan well executed. Ugh! How beautiful! And how very convenient. You get to be out on your good hair day. And there’s me – always trying to hide the hideousness of my hair in a bun!  Are my bad hair days ever getting over? And then there is your eyeliner. Boy, look at that symmetry! The smokey eye shadow surrounding it, did you notice that my burning heart? How glamorous is that! So, that is how you put it! I am talking to you my dear hand, that is how we are supposed to put it! And by the way, which shade is your lipstick colour? Which brand is it? I need to buy that immediately.

Stop it. What are you doing? What am I doing? Describing her, grandma brain! Don’t act so innocent! My eyes are glued on her because of your orders, not mine. So, don’t pretend to be shocked. You can expect me describing everything about her – Her grey crop top. Grey, notice that colour ; The colour of class. A wardrobe must have and yet we don’t have it. That’s because we are not meant to carry these beautiful things on our body. We are meant to make notes about others carrying it.  Her black shrug, her black jeans, her black sneakers and then there’s the stylish amazing contrast to everything – Her cream sling bag. Just look at that walking Zara showroom, man! How come everything that she is doing right now seem so perfect! This is weird!  I think that was the 100th selfie that she just snapped. Wow. Usually you would have found me rolling my eyes at her and her front camera but today this incessant act of capturing different positions of lips and eyebrows and hands miraculously makes perfect sense to me. Where is all my anti-selfieism spirit gone?

God, she is beautiful. Beautiful? Well, that’s a presumptuous word, isn’t it? I think we should settle for this other adjective – hot. So, she is hot! And also an unintentional salt on my wound. She is making me realize how I don’t know these things; taking care of my own self, putting efforts on myself and not just leaving things on fate and the hormones in my body. She makes me acutely aware of my carelessness, of my cracked lips, of my un-kept nails, of my uncombed hair, of my dark circles, of my acne. But that’s okay. I am not going to be jealous. We are not that kind! We are the kind who stand back and admire. You can imagine me leaning against a wall, taking a puff from my joint and just watching the people around.

Did you notice the guy at the other counter, by the way? Did you notice how he is engaged doing the same thing that we are doing? Yes. That’s why you need to get back. Go back to your book. You have a task to complete, turquoise ink! Don’t you remember? She is a pretty woman. We get it. But we need to get back to our work. And you are not even gay. (are you?) Shut up. Did you see that? How she looked at me again? I like the way we have exchanged glances during this whole time. The guy at the counter didn’t get the same treatment, FYI. But you know what, I do not wish to know her. I do not wish to talk to her and even know her name. As long as she does not object my series of not-so-stolen glances, I am happy just by looking at her. That’ s it. Thank you for letting me watch you, lady! Thank you for not minding my attention and even admiring it, if I may.

Ho gaya? Aur kuch? No. Nothing. You should be happy, you know. I think we just got a new bakri for our blog.

Yeah. The great cure for writer’s block. I think a glance at an attractive girl might be a possible solution for all our problems.  

~Musings from the coffee shop

P.S. You can find more posts on the musings from the coffee shop here .

The man in the boxer shorts

I wish I could tell you how happening my mornings are. I went to office in spaceship the other day. What? Didn’t I tell you my office is at moon? Or how I went on that long drive with Eddy (Edward Norton insists that I call him that) last Sunday morning.

But no, my mornings are woebegone faces of the broke industrialists drowned in enormous debts or politicians locked up in jails under the corruption charges that they didn’t really commit. I drag my legs to the bus stop through the dusty road and silently wait for bus like a goat waiting for butcher to get his knife. My legs, tied with so called responsibilities of building my own career and a respectable life and fear of what I might lose if I run away from this routine, find no pleasure in these morning strolls. My mornings are just outright bland like boiled potatoes that don’t even have a pinch of salt sprinkled over them. The only pleasure that I get is when the radio hits a peppy song and if, just if, I am not sleepy or grumpy enough, I might, just might, imagine myself dancing on it and a smile might peek from the back of the wall on my face for a split second. But music eventually fades away and I return to myself. I don’t mind being here – in my company, but when you make your grand entrance without being aware of it I realize how hard I had been missing you. You are the great rescuer! Breaker of chains from this mundane monotonous thing – you don’t know it and you would never but I will give you the credit anyway.

Sir, I don’t know you. It’s been a while since I last saw you and I hope you are doing okay. I am not sure if you have noticed me (though obviously I have) because I can’t really remember if we ever exchanged a smile or even a proper glance. But this is fine by me because you don’t seem like a person who care about these things. So, don’t mind me if you find me stringing along the words of praises for you. Because I cannot resist doing this. You are counted among the brighter parts of my day, one of the interesting elements of my fucked up mornings – Why would I hesitate from appreciating you especially when I know that this message would never reach you? That is how it usually works, right?

I am sure that I am never ever going to come across anyone like you again. Of course, there are people who are far more eccentric than you are but to me, there’s a class in your craziness! When I see you, I kind of brighten up from inside. Your odd sense of dressing is inspiring. Yes, and that was what that mainly drew my attention towards you in the first place. Your abnormality restores my faith in humanity. You, wrapped in a striped black blazer, your pink shirt, your Michael Jackson hat, your boxer shorts (that you are not embarrassed to show off) paired with calf length socks and your polished black formal shoes, are a walking story demanding to be told. No, I am not making fun of you. And I don’t think even if I am you would remotely be offended. You see – you don’t care. You being one of the rare gems who really knows how to do that. That’s amazing. Your consistency and commitment to maintaining your oddity doesn’t seem odd now. Everybody around is used to your misplaced presence; the guy at the tea stall, the sweeper who can’t stop smiling, the old spectacled beggar whose futile efforts to sell me pity are endless and in a way commendable, the lady whose weird way of walking makes me analyze my own in front of the mirror to confirm that I don’t walk like her, the lady who sells milk packets by the char-rasta with woolen scarf tied across her ears and below her chin looking oddly childish even though she must be over fifty, the fellow goats sipping tea and smoking cigarettes at the galla with their ID cards dangling over their necks and finally this borderline anorexic tall girl with a black bag swinging upon one shoulder, white earphones chords swaying with her steps, with her hunchback and messy hair hurriedly tied as a bow, spectacles unsuccessfully trying to cover her dark circles, her small tired face sometimes lost in thoughts and sometimes lost in series of stupid self-conversations, sometimes smiling, sometimes impassive, sometimes trying to mouth the lyrics of her favorite English song which she doesn’t really remember or a Buddhist chant ; none of these people find you odd anymore. If you become what they call “normal” that would be the thing that would be most abnormal.

Every piece of your clothing is a fashion apocalypse. The answer to why you dress this horrible way will always be food for my imagination. But the fact that it doesn’t deter you from flaunting them off is incredible! Every wrinkle on our face is an evidence of how your age might have taken a toll on you. And sometimes I can see sadness in your drooping eyes. Sometimes your impassive face seems like a potential threat of how at any second you are capable of doing anything, even something gravely dangerous. What is your story, sir? Is there any way you can tell me besides the conventional mode of communication?

An unnecessarily guilty glance

I  am waiting outside the juice shop, thirsty and tired, putting an enormous amount of expectation on a tiny glass of sugarcane juice that is yet to be served. My face is smeared  in pink and yellow and some other weird combinations. My arms are still tingling from what could have been a regretful sunburn after a long celebratory drive back to our city, to this shop.Despite the brutal tanning and dehydration, I can’t help but feel elated. And why not? I am drenched in festivity! How I adore this festival of hues! This craziness!

I am at my usual lost-in-thought state when I feel a light tug on my elbow – ‘Behen O Behen! Le Lona’

Annoyed, I turn around. A little girl is trying to sell Gulal to me.

I look at the packets of colours in her hands and I know I shouldn’t buy them. Those are the kinds of colours that should be kept away from your skin at all cost unless you happen to like rashes.I am tempted anyway. It’s Holi after all! Everyone needs to celebrate today! But before I could know it, I have dropped the idea again – Nahi, bacche, nahi chahiye. No child, I don’t want it.

Lelona. Please? – She requests again.

You can call her a beautiful child if you look at her carefully; Her brown eyes, that goes with her brown complexion, her perfectly aligned teeth, her straight thin nose and the innocence in her voice.I have come down to my knees. My fingers are now fondling with colours inside the packet I have. No, I can’t buy the so-called Gulal from her and I won’t. It is against my easily adaptable principles. But I paint both her cheeks green and greet her a happy Holi.

She is surprised. A smile brightens up her face. Suddenly, she forgets why she is even here! I offer her my cheek. She dips her small fingers in my packet and slather the colour over my face. Now, I am heavily dusted in green as well. Her smile has broadened. No one has ever seemed so happy just with these small gestures before.

I am smiling too. I try to feed in the details of her happy face in my head.You,little girl,are such a delightful lovely poem that I can’t even pen you down. Maybe someday when I am worth and capable of putting your beauty in words, I will. But for now, I still can’t buy these packets of pity from you that you still hold in your hands, that you are still going to try to sell to other prospective buyers a few minutes from now. And though you are still smiling at me and you don’t even want my money anymore, I just find myself letting out an inaudible and invisible murmur  – ‘I am sorry’.I know that you are not asking for my apology. You don’t want it. Actually, it’s I who really needs it – as a futile attempt to pacify my own confused conscience. I am sorry because I don’t think you deserve this. I am sorry because I can’t help you escape the circumstances you have been born in. I can’t save you from your parents making you sell these packets. I can’t send you to school and I can’t teach you either. And neither can I ever take responsibility for your better childhood or better future. Not that there is no way for achieving any of this, it’s just that I am lazy and I am running short of efforts to uplift my own life. Looking at you, I raise those never-to-be-answered questions to my fate again. Why you? Why me? They aren’t answered of course. As usual, they turn their backs on me. And then I turn my back on you after one last cheerful, apologetic and perhaps an unnecessarily guilty glance.

The one about the smoker 

​I wouldn’t be surprised if I forget you tomorrow but by continuing to write this I am contradicting the very first statement. Anyway, you know what – I am not a smoker but you might be the reason I might want to turn into one. Of course, you as a reason, aren’t strong enough but in this moment,  I can give you that at least. Not that I am falling in love; I ,  being stereotypical and secretly judgemental as hell as always need a ground breaking, sky falling reason to fall in love with any person and you! Well, you drive trucks for a living so… I am sorry that I am biased and I can’t respect you. I am sorry since you might not even be remotely close to the person I am assuming you to be but I can’t change my mind. Hence  all this – I disrespecting you and be amazed by you at the same time is quite puzzling. 

On a closer inspection though I realize that I don’t even remember your face or even the colour of your shirt ( Was it red?). I am not even curious. However, what preoccupies my head is –  those threads of smoke dancing in the air, carelessly gliding, flowing and bending through the curves of your lips. What preoccupies my head is how into the air they went, out of your mouth; soft mesmerizing disappearing bunch of white directionless trajectories.  You seemed like a sorcerer – blowing fog out of your mouth that incredible way! It was beautiful. Aren’t all dangerous things are? 

Good, that you are not aware that I am staring at you. Good that you would never know my name or be aware of my existence – we don’t need to acknowledge these mundane things after all. And to be brutally honest, I don’t care if you live or die – we are,after all, still strangers. But may I just interject that I think that you were born to smoke? I know it sounds stupid or maybe even offensive but you do it so beautifully! Effortlessly! There’s no performance! There’s no smugness! There’s no compulsion to appear cool. You don’t care if you are being watched at all! And as I watch you pass by, slowly and yet swiftly out of the frames of the window of my seat, I nail your images in the walls of my head shamelessly extolling the beauty of your shameless addiction even though you never asked for any of this. I have no clue why you caught the fancy of my head at all! But I had to capture you somewhere other than my feeble unreliable memory. I don’t get why it’s a necessity but my attention or admiration doesn’t seek any kind of qualifications – just a mild touch of oddity, that’s all. In that way, you are perfectly qualified.

You seem to be entangled in your own trail of thoughts. You are not looking anywhere or at anyone or anything. Your eyes are just pointed towards a direction of indifference.  It’s nothing extraordinary I guess but I am amazed since it makes you a perfect picture. And your mouth is a cryogen! As if a scientist made special arrangements in his lab just to place you there. As if an artist spent months just to paint that white cloud coming out of your mouth beautifully diffusing around your face.

I might never see you again by the way. I am grateful for that. And even if I do I wouldn’t recognize you at all or go speak to you – that being way out of my comfort zone. But then still, these few seconds of catching your glimpse are precious. How do I explain it? I don’t understand it myself. You, the smoke, the cryogenics, the magic, the cloud, the fog – all but a puff of beedi…!!

And there at a distance, a  crazy writer, is sitting in the bus, lauding your possibly  worst habit to incomprehensibly impossible heights. 

How do I explain this? I just know that I can’t deny the sad, remarkable, abnormal beauty of this perfect picture.Of your perfect picture. 

That woman in my office

You might have been unconsciously or deliberately avoiding hence you have never admitted it even to yourself but the truth is that when you look at her, you have to look at her again. You have to look at her again and stop whatever you are thinking and start wondering why exactly she is so attractive. She is not the most beautiful woman you have ever seen. She looks ordinary in a way. She should ideally easily blend into the crowd. But then, she doesn’t. Maybe her hairstyle is different, you guess, her clothes could be, you think but nothing really brings down the air of mystery. You find yourself a little baffled, and then you realize that you are staring at her, you look away immediately, you don’t want to seem rude or look like a pervert after all! But her face is imprinted in your mind and you can’t rid of it.

Chances are you might not even see her again. Good. Even if you were to meet her once more what change would that have brought?  You are certainly not going to go talk to her! And if you do, despite all odds, your conversation will end before it even starts. Hi. Hello. Who is she? Who are you? There’s only so much decency can allow you to say. There’s only so much you can allow yourself to say. It’s a work place after all, not a bar and you are not drunk.

Why is she so attractive you wonder again.She resembles the daydream you often have when you sit at your desk scanning through your mails but not really reading them.She resembles the attractive thought of a faraway vacation that hits you when you look at the ever increasing figure of your privilege leaves. She resembles the content of your resignation letter. She resembles all of your vacillating escape plans. She resembles a life – faraway and far different and far amazing. Uncanny! Now you are utterly perplexed. You need to work. Why are you thinking about her? She is just a temporary face at office! Temporary phase in your head! Come on!

No use complaining, no use telling yourself how utterly stupid all this is. You can’t go back to work. You are too preoccupied now. Hell, what to do. How do you stop it?

So, you think about her. Unabashedly now. You think about her face, her voice, her eyes, her hair, her kajal, the heels of her sandals and think about all of it despite knowing that your thoughts won’t answer the question. You steal glances at her more frequently now. You try to notice even the minor details; shade of her nail paint, her ear rings, border of her dupatta, embroidery of her kurti…

Interesting part is – You are not the only one. Everybody else appears to be engaged doing the same thing. It’s amazing how this woman is unaware of all the attention or maybe she is just very much used to it.

Dreaming and dreaming.Suddenly, the spell breaks. Screen. SAP. Codes. Programmes.Desk. Cubicle. Manager. Phone calls.

Welcome back. Where is that woman now? You search for her all around but she is nowhere to be seen. She is gone. Your thoughts are gone. You are used to being alone but today loneliness leaks through out of nowhere. The walls are damp, pipes have burst somewhere and you are staring at all the Dear Sirs and Dear Ma’ams. Hope has gone out for a lunch at a fancy restaurant and you are left without a single bit of him. Bastard! Such sad mess your life seems to be. Where is that woman? Come back! Maybe you will go and talk to her! Who knows conversation might not meet an awkward end! Who knows it might turn out to be worth it after all.

But where is she? Will she come back? Will she? And if she does, and if you do meet her this time, will she stay?