Tag Archives: feelings

The Nest

There’s a pigeon in my kitchen. She’s a lovely grey, if there’s even such a thing as lovely grey. It’s not silver, it’s just a clean warm earthy grey, accented by highlights and shadows from the sun catching her feathers. She frequents my kitchen window, and there’s a twelve-twigged hint of an upcoming nest on the parapet outside. I presume they have something to do with each other.

But today, for the first time, I find her inside my kitchen. She’s crossed the windowpane, a feat no other bird of this bashful species (or any species for that matter) has dared to attempt before. Somehow the birds always know to stay out of houses, even when windows and doors are left ajar. I imagine the thought of the imminent confinement scares them away.

And yet, and yet, Pidge the pigeon (I have decided to name her) is in my kitchen, stomping on the cold black granite with her orange claws, pacing up and down the kitchen counter in a hurry, like she has important business to attend to on the top of the fridge, but this can hardly wait for the important business that needs attention on the opposite end by the sink.

She stops for a breath every now and then, her neck’s purple green plumage vibrant in the sunlight, and cocks her head up to look at me. I must seem quite unthreatening to her, for she gets back to her many businesses immediately, marching across my kitchen counter, no time to waste.

***

I’m back in the kitchen. There’s the human standing at the doorway and looking at me. She lets out a low gasp at first, but I look at her and calm her down. She switches on the fan, and continues standing at the doorway and staring at me. I can tell she’s scared, but also curious. We’ve seen each other before, but always across the windowpane. This is the first time we are on the same side.

She smiles at me, and I can’t bear it. I think she’s named me in her head. The other birds warned me this often happens when a bird crosses the windowpane in the presence of a human. This, or death. I’m glad it’s the former.

My heart beats faster in my chest, and I don’t know what to do. I’m walking from one end to another frantically, trying to get my thoughts in order. I look at her, time and again. She seems calm now, her beautiful brown skin smooth as the insides of a worm on a warm summer afternoon, her black eyes darting across the room at things she’s worried I will kick over as I scurry around, trying my best to buy time.

She leaves momentarily, and I make the most of it. I rush to the clothes stand, and peck the fragrant pink towel as it dries, picking up each strand of her delicious black hair from it. There’s thirty six in all, and I carry them lovingly back to my developing nest, ready to spend the day weaving them in. They are weaker and finer than twigs, but smell like mogra some days and rose on others.

One day, when it’s done, I’ll invite her in.

Advertisements

429 followers, 225 following

The minutes you spend.
Looking at her clothes. How the neckline of her blouse is just shallow enough to give away her delicate collar bones. You spend a minute too long on this, in fact. And sigh.
Onto the next. Your fourth grade crush has bought his own BMW. Ah but, you think to yourself, it’s commonplace in the states.
Onto the next. Your ex boyfriend’s ex girlfriend. You make a mental note to unfollow her. Another time. Right now she’s got a cute puppy and you’ve forgotten you hated her.
You scroll down. It’s your mum’s cool friend, showing way too much cleavage.
Further down, your own ex. A post about his football non profit. Unfollow.
Next, your other ex. Married now, posting a picture of his brand new six pack abs. You smirk and don’t unfollow him, because it mildly amuses you to see his scantily clad calls for attention, the same reason you’re still following the girl from high school you never spoke to, who makes an appearance in the next picture.
You continue scrolling, fast now because the promise of entertainment from this app is slowly waning and making you restless.
And then you stop.
Scroll up just a bit.
There.
Right in front of you.
The tiny thumbnail picture of the man you have a crush on.
It’s funny, you never thought you’d say man and crush in the same sentence. He’s posted something after two months. Not his face, not the weather, not some wannabe poignant picture of a derelict alleyway with a cheap filter and a borrowed caption. It’s a post of his latest animation, that he probably coded lying down casually in bed on a Sunday between his morning dose of Economic Times and his afternoon reading sesh (you think he likes reading Manto but you’re not sure it’s his Sunday vibe, so you don’t feature that into your imagination).
And then you scroll further. Slow now. Not really taking in anything. Memes. Selfies.
Comic strips come and go. By the time you’re back to the present, you’re already looking at pictures posted last night. With a pang of guilt you continue.
A quote with a bright background. A close friend’s terrible attempt at sketching. A stranger you follow in her latest gym attire (holy shit she got so fit so fast!). Because you like to know what exactly is up in their lives, three celebrities one after the other.
Your ex best friend with her new best friend. Your token cool colleague. And (just before it’s time to get off the cab) the guy who took his life last night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Sunday Morning Trip with Uber Pool

She bit her lip and fiddled with the ring on her finger, looking out the window at nothing in particular. It would have been wonderful if the city had given her an abyss to stare into, but it gave her concrete and windows and the occasional street vendor; really stealing the poetry from the moment.

She turned to me and mouthed something, so I unplugged my earphones and said “Yes?”

“Windows. Can we put the windows down?”

I gave her a nod and rolled down my window, as did she. The driver did too, almost too keenly, as the freshly generated fragrances of the suburbs started to pour into our cab. I could mostly just smell the rain, or whatever it smells like when it rains. I read somewhere that it’s the smell of some metabolic by-product of a kind of bacteria, emitted by wet soil. It’s the sort of trivia that hits you on an idle Wednesday afternoon when you’ve been scrolling down your phone for too long, your thumbs have gone to sleep, and then you realize you probably should get back to work.

Her phone suddenly began buzzing. She looked at it, sighed long and hard and then answered. The voice at the other end was shrill and loud, and started speaking almost immediately.

“Cut the gobi, clean the paalak and boil three eggs,” she responded dispassionately, once again fiddling with her ring. “I’ll be back in ten minutes.”

She had a melancholy look about her face when she caught my eye, and I couldn’t help but offer an understanding smile. Sometimes you just know when someone needs a smile. She sighed out a smile in return and said, “It’s just been a long day”

It was 8.37am, to be exact.

I looked out of the window on my side to see a vegetable vendor wrapping up his cart for the day. Behind him was his wife, who’d completed her cooking for the day in the three houses she worked in. His son would return from his night shift as an auto rickshaw driver soon, and they’d have their one meal of the day together. 8.37am could be a tiring time of day.

The cab took a swift turn off the main road and she reached inside her handbag and put on several red plastic bangles on both her hands. As she did, a piece of paper flew out of her bag and onto the seat. She looked at it, pursed her lips and crushed it and threw it out onto the road. Then she directed the cab to her destination, and almost braced herself a little before she stepped out of the cab.

Another pickup was scheduled just down the road, and a pleasant young boy in very crumpled clothing and worn out chappals got into the front seat of the cab. He leaned out the window to wave excitedly to someone on a higher floor of the building we were outside, then buckled up his seatbelt, turned around to look at me and wished me good morning. I nodded back with a half smile, the way one does to strangers. He whipped out his phone from the back pocket of his jeans and settled into the seat, visibly grinning as he read through an old conversation with the concentration millennials seem to reserve only for social media.

After a couple of minutes, he made a call. As he reclined his seat a little too far back, he said, “Yeah, no gym for me today. I’m exhausted.” He then plugged the hanging aux wire into his phone, put on a song I couldn’t recognize and settled back into the overly reclined seat with a smile on his face and a sigh of contentment.

And soon, I left the cab and walked back home, feeling not so alone in this new city, as half of Mumbai embarked upon their Sunday morning in yesterday’s clothes, without yesterday’s company.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma

A number of hedgehogs huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another.

It’s a theory called the Hedgehog’s Dilemma. Freud used this as an analogy for human intimacy. Apparently you can only get so close to someone without unintentionally hurting them as well as yourself.

Ah well.

What do we, as humans, run away from? Intimacy is a relative term. For you, intimacy maybe the laughter during sex. For me, intimacy maybe the comfortable quiet during a stroll in the park.
I’ll tell you what intimacy isn’t, though.
Intimacy isn’t ordinary.

Why, you might ask, would someone write a poem that doesn’t rhyme? Maybe it’s because putting too much thought into something kills the essence. If we’re too careful, we’ll turn out ordinary.
I can turn you into poetry, dear, but I can’t make you stay. There’s a difference between somebody who loves you and somebody who would do anything to keep you. It’s the difference between want and need, I think.

I’m looking at the November sunset and thinking, if day must turn to night, this is a beautiful way. Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what it needs to. And we could think of all the ways things fall out but so little of what could happen does indeed happen. There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. I’m no expert on relationships, but I know that if I’ve loved you, I’ll paint our sunset your color.

If people just lived off promises and guarantees, this world would be a broken place. People live off hope, that’s why it’s still warm, you know? Because people live off hope and try in the best way they know how. And they make their quills blunt together, so they can stay warm longer.

I can be mature and I can be poised and I can be an elegant dream, if you’d like that.
I like it some days too.

But don’t love me for that.

Most days, I’m lost. I write to find myself and I paint to get lost again. Science can’t excite me like a paradox can. I’ll forget things you say and do, but I’ll never forget the way you make me feel. I’ll forget your birthday but I won’t forget the way you smelled on our first date. I’ll stay close to anything that makes me glad I’m alive. Make me glad I’m alive.
Most days, I’m chaos.

And this chaos could be the quills that push you away or the warmth that pulls you close.
That’s for you to decide.

Who’s to say your quills won’t be sharper than mine?

What I Learned from the Little Prince

Once I was done reading the book, I was left with a bittersweet feeling. It was beautiful, so beautiful that it made me wish I’d written it. They say our thoughts tend to sound better in books we didn’t write and songs we didn’t sing. Even then, sometimes there is no song, no work of art, and no piece of literature that can really explain how we feel. And there’s a mysterious comfort in knowing that nobody really knows.

Well, The Little Prince shook my walls a bit. He knew.

Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?”
Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?”
Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

How true it is, in the world today. I judge you by your academic qualifications and your monthly income. I stereotype you by the shape of your eyes or the color of your skin. I rank you by your ability to add value to my social image.
What happened to the days I would befriend you because we liked the same music, or because your responses seemed to be in tandem with my thoughts. When I would love you because my crazy didn’t seem crazy around you, it felt like home.
Sometimes I feel I don’t belong to people. You know, all the leap days that didn’t happen? Those moments when you leave your physical self for what seems like a lifetime and only when you return do you realize you were away for just a minute or two. Those times when you walk in to a room and forget why. I feel like that’s where I belong. That’s my time and space. And there are others there too. So many others. Our hearts hum the same tune and our eyes crave the same color, and yet I’ll never meet them because of these socio-economic cages that bind me.
It’s been a while since I jumped into a puddle with someone. Or shared a cream filled biscuit after licking the cream off it first.  I wish I could.

All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

“Act your age” they always say. Why? Why would something that brings a smile upon my face change with age? I’m twenty two years old and I’ve painted over twenty canvases that I’m crazy proud of, yet when I sit down with a coloring book and wax pastels and manage to color the entire picture in a homogeneous stroke within the lines, my glee knows no bounds.
Acting one’s age has somehow become synonymous with the behavior society would deem acceptable for that age. Sometimes one doesn’t change with age; people don’t always want to conform to society. Sometimes we want to express how we feel without wondering what the world has to say. Sometimes, when all you have is old words, all you can do is put them together and hope they say something new.

Words are the source of misunderstandings.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel so much for so many people, and sooner or later I realize that my limited vocabulary cannot convey things I have to say. So I look at them for a second longer, smile with my eyes; feel, really feel what I’m feeling, hoping I’ll reach out to them in some sort of positive energy, because words say so much yet say so little. When you count on cosmic vibes to pour love on someone, you have less of a chance of being misunderstood. People everywhere are so scared of that word these days.

Love.

‘ You’re in love with me? But I barely know you.’
‘I can’t love you when you love someone else.’
‘Do you believe in love?’

It’s just love, people. It’s a feeling you have no control over. It’s not Santa Claus and it’s not rocket science. And thanks to all this American sitcom propaganda, it’s on its way to becoming a word people don’t use.
But then there are us few, who belong to the leap days that didn’t happen, who crave to hear that word. What about us?

You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars. Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.

And yet, even with the billions of beautiful, fractal thoughts that crossed my mind as I read the simple yet powerfully illustrated pages of the Little Prince, this one particular idea just blew the wind out of me. I’ve lived my life trying to get the best deals for myself everywhere. At the grocery store, at the parlour, hell, even in relationships. It comes back to society, full circle, it really does. If I’m with a man who’s fun and gorgeous, I need stimulating conversation. If he’s smart and funny, I need him to be sophisticated. If he has a great personality I need him to have a wonderful career. For so long it was about finding the perfect guy, and not about finding the perfect guy for me. That’s where we fall short these days. That’s why happiness is getting tougher to come by.

I remember as a little girl I had a bunch of Barbie dolls. I was little in the 90’s, when a Barbie doll was an acceptable and appreciated gift for all little girls all over the world. As a result, I had quite the bevy of them on display in my room, in neat pink little boxes with their extra set of clothes or their Ken doll in the background. Some even came with a complementary tub or hair-do set. And I kept them in their neat pink little boxes, on display, for years and years. I never played with them, never. Not even when I had friends over. My grandmother had made a cloth doll when I was 6, with jute hair and stitched on dimples. There was way too much cotton in the stomach area, now that I think back. But she was cute, soft and over the years, I’d sat with grammy and stitched different pairs of clothes for her. I did find the other dolls lovely, with their long lean legs and fancy eyes, but I never cared for them. And yet, because of the time and effort I’d put into the cloth doll, I loved her with all my heart. The best deal didn’t matter.

Love is really as simple as that.