Secret lover

​A lover waits for me at the
Dark end of a green
Road, under a dead tree.

I said hello to a catatonic face
Craving, for a lovers touch.

Walked, into the horizon.

Our demons, bonded faster than us.

Like darkness and light, our fates
Intertwined, to build a nightmare web.

We stumbled into hell and parted
Ways on the end of a highway
Fork, to meet at the next junction.

Varamahalakshmi Vratha

The mixed vegetable chitranna (seasoned rice) was pleasantly nice, not a fan when it’s breakfast but today it was carrying all the zest my mum’s been beaming off all week. It was the Varamahalakshmi (the Hindu Goddess of good fortune) vratha, the ceremony where women in silk sarees and super heavy gold jewelry offer special prayers to the goddess Lakshmi and in return she gives you good luck and fortune.

So my Mum likes the festival, but not the preparation for it; which makes sense because more things to do and no extra hands to help. So she’s a little cranky but also happy, these are states she’d be alternating between in the week before the festival. But this year she was less cranky, she got help in the cleaning up and didn’t cook extravagant meals and it was just every other day without meals and a lot of seasoned sprouts. She was wearing a red chiffon saree with a golden mango print (paisley), and her new favourite pair of golden jhumka (bell like ear-ring) and almost noiseless anklets.

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Mother dear and her ear

So women are invited home to take offering made to Lakshmi, whom they embody or some such thing. I was giving these offerings because my sister wasn’t “supposed” to give them. This is sometimes fun and most of these women would ask for mum, I’d say she’s out and offer them the plate with flowers, turmeric and kukuma. They’d apply the powders take the string of jasmine to stick it in their heads with the same grace you’d use to strangle a baby. Then it was to give the plate with glass bangles and then I’d then offer them a coconut inside a little bag that had beetle leaves and nuts. Done, that’s it, go home.

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Plate full of flowers

So mum came back after going to someone’s house that was three kilometres away, I made green tea for the three of us. Over tea mum told me about the houses she’d been to and how they were doing. First was aunty S, whom mum met along with aunty R when they would go to Banashankari temple by bus. S had lost her husband sometime early 2016, so she’s not supposed to go to these vratha. Her older daughter is married, younger is engaged and to be married in November or so; the son quit his job at Dell and started his own company or something.

As mum finished tea, Mrs C came home and I was still sipping on tea and my sister was in her room sipping tea and watching a movie. C is the older women who lives down the road and I see her with her husband on walks in the morning before I leave to college and in the night when I’m getting home. I used to say hello to them till they got creepy, with their questions and staring. “You should cut your hair, I’m saying it for your dad. We live with dignity, growing hair and such things defeat our class. We shouldn’t certain things, boys should carry themselves like boys. Are you angry with me?” I smiled but didn’t say anything; she enquired about our other neighbours and left.

Mum now spoke about Mrs R, our Brahmin neighbour from across the road. “Are you Reddy’s?” “That’s the first question she asked me the minute I entered their house. I said we were Rajus.” People like her wouldn’t come home if they knew it meant we were from a lower caste, I guess.

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Set the lamp on fire

Then Mrs B a Marwari woman from the building next door, we’ve been living next door for a year now but hardly ever spoke but we know a lot about them from our G aunty, our domestic help who also works at their house. B is from Kolkata, has been living in Bangalore for the last 26 years and knows six languages. She just got back from her sister’s house in Jaipur and we spoke for a good twenty-five minutes before she left.

I meet interesting women every year.

Stupor

I’m spiraling down into nothingness,
Like the oblivion in her eyes. Where
worlds seemed devoid of lust, leisure, love or life.

The fast light, strong wind, showers of rain
It’s too much, can’t anymore; hope
It goes away, like the bout of happiness from yesterday.

My fingers traced the morning light on your skin,
I’ve felt you, every time I try to catch you
Light’s gone and it’s time to say goodbye.

Coffee

I’m not very sure what B looks like any more, pictures just make B feel like a distant dream, or a faraway memory, or a
Lol fragment of my imagination. I don’t know what B’s smile looks like, or voice sounds like. I have recordings, and pictures of B, but all of them feel funny, like they weren’t real. Maybe I just downloaded pretty pictures from Tumblr and filled gaps in my memory to make myself feel okay, then why do I miss the hugs from B or W if they were never real.

It was an exhausting but eventful day, I’d usually end up at Koshy’s with someone or the other, to grab a coffee and sober down before heading home. Over the last two months my habit of going to Koshy’s that started ten months ago came to a halt. I’d started to do a lot of new things since ten months ago, but gradually over the last two they’ve all stopped or disappeared.

I’ve been to Koshy’s enough times with a lot of people, some more often than others, but for the first time I’ll be there alone, not waiting for anybody. I walked into the warm, mellow, and not fancy section of Koshy’s Bar and Restaurant; sat down at the two seater table right next to the pillar, I would have to bend a little to see if someone walked in, but I won’t be very visible if someone walks in and looks around. I wanted a coffee and asked for a chicken puff, they don’t usually last till 8:30 pm, but wanted to gamble my chances but I lost.
The waiter in a white uniform served me my coffee and a glass of water five minutes later, with a smile. I’d read over five pages of animal farm by then and even went for pee break.

I made a list of all the people I was here with, while sipping the piping hot coffee.

The first time was with Sid and the M’s, a bazillion times with W & E, met D here for the first time, had lunch with M here, chilled with A, waited for a date here, and once or twice took a break with B. I saw memories at each table flashing by as I looked around, a cold piercing pain dug into my chest. My body was hot from the coffee, and pumped up with caffeine, but the cold grew stronger.

It physically hurts when I remember the laughs, hugs, conversations that happened here, the bonds that were built, all the happy memories were and always will be overwhelming; my eyes burned as I tried hard to hold back the tears. A rupees 99/- bill from here lies in B’s memorabilia box. I wonder sometimes, is it so easy for people to walk away from me? Weren’t they telling me how hard it was to be away from someone else they once or still loved?

Sandy Dreams

“I don’t want to leave leave”, was what I apparently said when we were starting from the beach. My mother has told me about this trip to Goa when I was almost three, and how scared I was at the sight of the sea.
I didn’t have this memory but always remembered the story, how they dragged me into the water and in the end

I refused to leave.

At some point in my life I just remembered or had flashes of this memory. Nothing about the whole trip except refusing to leave the water and my brother building a sand Castle as the sun set and from the horizon the light cast on to the water and sand.
The sand Castle kept getting washed up by the waves, he did not stop building till it was time to leave.

He didn’t give in, initially but did give up, finally

.

I have a fantasy of wanting to live next to a water body, if it doesn’t happen I’ll just get a swimming pool in my backyard and a koi pond on the front lawn.