I hated that game, 'pass the buck'. I used to quake in fear awaiting my turn, the few times I played it when I was a teen. That painful shyness had the power to still tingle over me while I gazed at a FB photo my aunt uploaded of us playing the game in 1991. All I wanted to do was to become invisible. Or go home. I never dreamt then that in 2010, I would be finally and fully convinced that I come of a gypsy stock; that my heart is bohemian; that home is nowhere. Or everywhere.
This year I have seen plump suns, reds, crimsons and inky blues without having to move out of my room in Amsterdam.
I have walked beside a canal frozen stiff, on a road three feet wide with only a treacle-thick fog for company.
I have sat on a plateau on a hill in Geneva and looked long at an yellow weed unnerved and proud amidst the stupendous green.
I have known what it means to walk out of a metro station and find the 2000-year-old Colosseum at its footstep.
I have seen Venice but better still I saw Monet's Venice in Cardiff that is more Venice than Venice could ever be. Light is indeed like water.
I have stood in an abandoned graveyard in Bordeaux and plucked the most beautiful wild pink flowers all the while gurgling with happiness. The sky was blue.
I have also stood in a bathroom of a concentration camp. No comprehension was possible. The sky was still blue though.
And I have gone back to Brydges Place to stare and sigh about that little piece of heart that London has stolen from me.
This year has extravagantly displayed to me the charms of impermanence. It has taught me much about the notion of home, which can be an open road thick with snow with only my flat- footed marks or it can be watching 'The Musik' with a reluctant Siddharth, sitting cross-legged on our blue faux-divan. I know that far from having no home at all, I have many. And they are all neatly sectioned, filed and indexed within me.
The journey is endless. It is also beginning-less. I know now that we create imaginary places that we call our own. To feel at home is to look up and down an empty road and not get daunted; to feel at home is to skype endlessly with a dear friend from another continent and realise that its our faith, our loves and our passions that bind us and nothing else can ever; it is to carry snapshots of classrooms, streets, faces, laughter and memories of swinging chandeliers with you wherever you go; it is to shed tears because of having stumbled across music that clutches at your soul; it is to determine deep inside not to anchor anywhere no matter how beautiful the island.
At the end of this hyperbolic year that took me physically to 13 or more cities of the world and spiritually to the sneakiest corners of my mind and made me dust them, I am on unsure footing. And liberatingly enough, that is damn exciting.
I don't know where I will go from here. I do know I want to shout that out with a kind of glowy happiness that cannot be fathomed. I don't know what's in store but I do know I have a "small back-room" in my mind where I can fully be myself. (Thanks, Simpson.)
I do know there are paths before me, all beckoning but I also know that none of them are neatly laid out.
At long last, it feels providential. I never had a chance to work out what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I have. I hear the cadence of the world, the rhythm of life. I soak it in when Tina Sani sings 'zindagi ki leh ussi ke dam sey hein' I can pause and rewind without fear. I am empty and I am filled up to the brim. I am at the beginning.
I don't really know how this is going to pan out but the inspiration came out of the most cliched of sources - a fat, perfectly shaped, thickly coloured rainbow. Not every spring of my life will be spent waking up to a blue-tinged dawn that slowly dissolves into a pink stain over contemplative indigo. Is it darkest before dawn? Yes and No. Depends on what colour passion is for you. Nor would every winter be spent being woken up by thudding whooshing sounds that take your feet to the window to see outside a white that is both screaming and silent. Snow has an element of evil in it. Apparently I have synesthesia of sorts. I just discovered today. I attribute sounds to colours and colours to smells. Vangibath smells are russet coloured; morning mouth smells are teal; the smell of brewing tea is undoubtedly cream.. well I can go on. I have always done it as a lazy mental hobby but apparently it is one of the several abnormalities I seem to have :P
So taking advantage of this newest discovery and the growing knowledge that nothing lasts forever, I decided to write a photo poem.
P.S: A friend who hates to be named in blogs would recognise where the nickname pink and brown came from. :D
P.P.S: All photographs are views from my window, mostly in Amsterdam, a few in Aarhus. Photos are mostly taken by me except where mentioned. For me, every two lines of the poem corresponds to a particular picture (and they are in the same order). But of course, you are welcome to read it however you like.
A line of verse for every image
A spring like this every year
Who can predict what will make you gaze
Look, how serenely trickles in love. Fear
for its transience; it will break your heart
Like how this tree, lingering and bare
And me, will always be far apart
Colours of kindness, pink blue and grey
That stop me from hurrying to somewhere else
I've looked out of the window
and I have learnt to float
Darkness before dawn too is a half-pretence
It preens likewise even before dusk, note.
There is always a rainbow
Only if you care enough
But that too will fade into the night
Just hold nothing too tight.
pic by Judy Wanderi
The cover never did excite me. Neither did the title. For a 12-year-old drunk on Ned and Nancy, Fatty, Bets, Buster and the like, these were important criteria. But then, that was when my school was right opposite what was then actually a fine library for children. The city central library opposite National High School. Now it is dead and buried. I carry the burden of its bitter-sweet memories.
The book, like many other things, stared its way into my life. The cover was brownish with a black and white photo of a smiling Anne and that legend below: Anne Frank: The diary of a young girl. All that appealed to me was the word diary.I had always had one in which I wrote in all seriousness 'my edicts' (did you ever think a history lesson on Ashoka's edicts could affect somebody so much? hehehe) and really bad rhyming poetry.
I remember everything about reading it. I remember waiting for amma to go to office and then immediately springing up from my seat, putting on the radio and grabbing it. It was one of the first books that made it physically difficult for me to stop reading it, when I had to eat or when I had to go to school. I even read it in class, hiding it behind a textbook. This, despite not knowing a thing about holocaust, not knowing who Jews were, not being able to pronounce in my head all the different names. In my mind, I only saw Anne as myself like thousands of other children did probably. I only saw a young girl, imprisoned in a 'secret annexe' behind a bookcase, having a sweet romance with a young boy and having some slight trouble with bad Germans. Somewhere at the back of my mind was what our history teacher HVR had told us about the holocaust in his first class. To a conservative, shocked group of young girls and boys, he had described men and women being marched naked to barracks to be killed later. And that was all that I knew.
And All that mattered to me then was that I was Anne Frank and Anne Frank was me. Stuff for daydreams.
Thankfully, I revisited the book two more times, years later. It was later that I felt the bookcase in my hand, understood what Otto Frank meant when he said, the rooms might appear spacious to you now, you visitors, but when we were there, there was fear living with us and saw with Anne what she saw from the attic -- a patch of blue sky, some blooms and some white birds. And go to Auschwitz as Anne several times.
So it was that when I came to Amsterdam, it had to be Anne Frank house that I first went to. And feel the bookcase for real. Be in Anne's room. Climb the narrow stairs. See the attic. And find absolutely no words to write in the visitors book.
Oh, I had one too. My Target Diary. Who was my imaginary friend. Whom I used to call in cheap imitation of Anne's 'Dearest Kitty', 'Dear DD'. And it was a boy. With whom I shared all my little lies, convincing myself and him that they were the truth. It was what I considered my sweet revenge against the world. I did write the truth as well occasionally. Oh I was a messed up little kid in many ways -- I would build a fabricated portrayal of myself in the diary.. all the good that happened to me were just that -- good; but all the 'bad' that happened to me were the EVIL world plotting against me. But I still had my DD with me; to console me; play with me and be my pet dog, soulmate and romantic boyfriend.
When I first acknowledged these memories and actions to myself, I felt quite unique and extraordinary. Does this happen to everybody? Am I special? Only after years (of which three were spent studying psychology) did I realise how normal they were. How very ordinary. And that realisation spinned me back into DD's whorl from where I wanted to but could not escape. If you really let yourself go, and I mean 'let yourself go' in its most deepest, most primaeval sense, like I did with my DD, you end up inside yourself, struggling to come up for air. But once you rescue yourself from it, you can never go back. It has been a firm 'Goodbye DD' for a long time now. The Anne in me rests.
the narrow stairs up to the annexe
bookcase and secret annexe behind
Time is ticking and soon, I will be saying goodbye to this little town for ever. I have no desire to return. I usually don't get any overwhelming desire to return to a place. The only exception is London. Aarhus has provided me the most precious of things -- time. I have had enough time to not only gaze at sunrises, sunsets and mull over how weeks can pass without a single glimpse of the sun but it has also given me time and energy to wrestle my way inside myself. No, I am not launching into a boring I, Me, Myself monologue, be assured. It has also provided me something else. This blog's all about this 'something else'.
Real life conversations about India, my Indianness (whatever that is) and the growing fascination with all things Indian provided me with much bemusement and hilarity. Everybody it seems has either already visited India, is in the process of going, or really wants to go. A triumph for the Indian tourism campaign if you ask me.
Like my lecturer keeps telling, show not tell. See, I am studying and studying well; I even remember what the lecturer says :)
So, I just present some conversations. I am not making any judgements. What you make of it, is not my business. No, it is. I want to hear what you make of it. :)
Me, groggy. In the common kitchen waiting for kettle to boil for my morning tea.
Dash, my Danish flatmate trying to make conversation.
He: Teach me a swear word in Indian! (half-bemused, half-appraisal glance)
Me: In Indian? What's that?
He: Isn't that the language you speak?
Me: Er.. no. Indian is well, me, not my language. (That sounded incomprehensible even to me.)
He: But, but, you are from India!
Me: Yes, most assuredly I am.
Pregnant accusing silence. And then glum reply.
He: So what do you speak?
Me: There is no language called 'Indian'. I speak a language called Kannada.
Me: No, Kannada.
(Resigned, Indians-are-crazy look)
He: Teach me then.
Me: Nimmajji tale
He: Nimaaaji teeel
End of attempt at small talk.
Second attempt by Dash to make small talk after a few days. This time, I am preparing breakfast, he is eating his.
He: So, you are married eh?
He: Is your husband rich or poor?
Me: Eh? Neither.
He: (Going into Indians-are-crazy mode again) But I know India has lots of rich and poor people.
Me: Yes, yes. It has lots of people who are neither as well. (I go into I-don't-know-how-to-explain-India mode)
He: So, umm, err.. your marriage was arranged yes?
Me: Actually, I fell in love. (I decide to answer him in single sentences.)
He: Really, you were not forced into marriage then?
Me: (Evil grin) Yes I was.. that's why I have run away and am now in Denmark.
He: (Has stopped eating that miserable brown-black rogbread)
Me: No, just kidding.
(short history lesson about forced marriages ensues.. unnecessary here. Suffice to say, bored Dash enough to change topic.)
He: So how is the weather in your city?
Me: Much like here (at the time of this conversation Aarhus was a pleasant 28 degrees C with lots of sunshine..something like how Bangalore would be in September)
He: So, how come you are so brown?
Me: What has that got to do with weather?
He: If the weather is like here, you should also be white!
Me: (stunned into stupid grin) But it is a matter of genes and race
He: Uh oh.
Second attempt at small talk ends.
Me, groggy morning tea routine again. Dash, groggy rogbread routine.
He: Do you listen to music?
Me: Of course
He: Indian music?
Me: Yes, and Pakistani.
He: Can you play the sitar?
Me: I wish!
He: I know Raveee shuunkar plays.
Me: He does.
He: I went to the Indian restaurant yesterday. (smirks) Indian music was playing.. aw-aw-aw... was that Raveee?
Me: (I have had it). No that was not. Dash, Indian music is not just about Ravi Shankar... and what you heard is called 'alaap'.. the beginning of a classical song. (My tea is ready and I realise how inadequate I feel when I have to explain Indian music to somebody from scratch. So I do not attempt to.)
End of final attempt at small talk from both of us.
Me, exhausted and shivering in the cold at an abandoned bus terminal in Copenhagen. Only other waiting passenger, a handsome Hungarian gym instructor who began learning English (or so he told me) two months ago.
Hungarian: So you are from Indeeeaaaa
Me: Yes, (wide smile)
Hungarian: Me want to go India once.
Me: (Wider smile): You shoooullldd
Hungarian: But India so far away and huge, huge yes?
Me: Yes, huge, huge.
Hungarian: Food with lots of kuuuurrriiiii yes?
Me: (Flummoxed) pardon?
Hungarian: Kurriiiii, Kurriiiiii. I eat Kurrriiiii once in Budapest.
Me: Sorry, I cannot get you at all. (The image of a lamb gets firmly implanted on my totally fatigued mind and refuses to budge)
Hungarian: (actually wrings his hand) Oh my Engleeesh! I know Hungarian. But nobody speaks yes? I speak German. But my umm.. clients want Engleeesh. That's why I learn. You know kurrriiiiii.. kurrriiii Indian food?
Me: (Lamb moves, bulb switches on): Oh you mean curry?
Hungarian: (Beautiful smile) Yes!
Me: (Relieved sigh at getting past this kurious hurdle)
Hungarian: Indians have stuuuthis yes?
Me: (oh no) Pardon?
Hungarian: umm....sthuuthis? you know word stuuuthis? many levels of stuuuthis in India yes?
Me (aiyooooo): No, am so sorry.. I just don't know the word.
Hungarian (hurt child look): rich stuuuuthis, poor stuuuthis yes?
Hungarian: Yes yes (child with chocolate look)
Me: (Back to I-don't-know-how-to-explain-India mode). (Short history lecture. Hungarian listens with apparent interest. And then offers me chocolate.)
The chocolate was worth it all, yes?
If I have energy left over, more conversations in the next blog. Adios Amigos. :)
Last week, I attended a classical guitar concert. Why am I blogging about it? You will know soon enough. Or perhaps you won't. I don't.
Staying in Aarhus, which is in its heart and soul a European village, is being bombarded in my head several times about how urban Bangalore is. If R K Narayan lived in Denmark, this would be his Malgudi. I look outside the window every morning at 7 am and ACTUALLY see the sun rise. The world begins in the morning slowly, gradually, like how it is meant to be...not in the frenzied, go-away-morning way I am used to. The newspaper 'comes' at only around 10 am. And there is no scramble for it.
I live with 13 other Danes, my housemates. I notice their little fights, their little jealousies, and also their forgetting all that is petty and coming together to cook elaborate community lunches and dinners. And do you believe it? They actually sit around in the evening, play chinese whispers, trivial pursuit and monopoly. Yes, just like that. With lots of giggles for accompaniment. And invariably there is some un-loud music playing faintly in the background. The television, with its two-and-a-half channels remains switched off.They also bake bread.
Here, being provincial is not a crime, it perhaps might be a virtue. I still don't understand the Danes enough to take a stand on this. And so, in banks, you see people stroll in with bunches of parsley and fat broccoli sprouting out of their eco-friendly shopping bags. Wearing pink slip-ons. Supermarket aisles have toddlers with running noses happily let loose. People cycle to work, to the pub, to a formal reception, to everywhere. I have met several strangers while walking to the college who I keep seeing here and there. And smile at. Everybody it seems really can know everybody. A few hundred yards from the place I live, there are woods just like Frost described famously. They are lovely, dark and deep. And many times, two roads or more too diverge.
But I wanted to write about the guitar concert! How did I find out about it? I was walking back from the supermarket, when a little notice stuck on a pole caught my eye. It did not scream; it just plainly informed that an 'international' guitar festival is on at Aarhus and the Prague Quartet will play. Now I know nothing about the Prague Quartet but something about those words reminded me of 'Equal Music' and such free associations in my mind are times when serendipity is waiting to knock. So I let it inside. The only urbane thing about this whole business was that I bought the ticket online.
So on the evening of the concert, which was to be held in a centuries' old theatre in the old town of Aarhus, I set out. I actually love my propensity to get lost. It has shown me things I would otherwise have never seen. But I digress (like always).
That day I didn't like it all. I had got lost again and it was getting dark and foreboding. (All this lovely European village business ceases to be so lovely when night sets in. Then, it is just a dark, lonely stretch of road lined with trees with no one to turn to, to ask for directions.) I kept on walking gingerly when I spotted two men strolling along. I ran up to them and asked them about the theatre. "Oh! We are going the same way..come with us". So they escorted me to the old theatre. We were guitar buddies you see.
Inside, no one was younger than 50. Or so it seemed to me. And no one had heard of the 21st century. I was in jeans and T-shirt. The rest of the thirty-odd people were in their best evening wear bought in 1760. One was even wearing a top hat and his coat had tails. There were only discreet murmurs to be heard and this was in the lobby where one would imagine, you could speak to your heart's content. (Just to put this in context, imagine standing outside Inox before you are let inside Theatre no. 4)
The concert was to begin at 8 pm and so we were courteously let inside by a fully-dressed usher. It was a theatre that could seat around 200. We were thirty. It was 7.45 pm. The stage was around 6 feet by 6 feet. There were four chairs and four stands to keep the music notes. And absolute silence. At sharp 8 pm, the quartet, four genial looking men from Czech, strided in, bowed elaborately and spoke nothing. Began playing.
I am no western classical expert but their expertise, their joy at playing the instrument and the way they made love to the guitar was transporting. They could squeeze a village bonfire dance out of those strings, they could just as easily turn maudlin and make you think of long lacy curtains and a woman in a bonnet looking out of a window, waiting for her lover to come home. They played so well that thirty clapping hands echoed long enough for them to do two encores.
And how did they do the encores? They bowed and bowed and they sprinted to the green room, sprinted back, bowed and bowed again and sprinted to the green room and sprinted back and then sat and played!!
And when it was over and I was going back in the bus, there was the perfect ending. The bus driver turned round and said, 'so, did you enjoy your concert'? (While going, I had asked a bus driver for directions. Turns out, it is the same bus driver who drops me back home as well.) My face split open with glee. I nodded my head vigorously and looked out at the dark, sprinkly sky, a sky that has reaffirmed my faith that more than 100 stars exist in the galaxy.
Before they came
While they were there...
When Shantanu Datta, then resident editor of Indian Express asked me in his staccato, point blank way what I saw in Deccan Herald that I wanted to quit Indian Express (he meant THE Indian Express, THE upholder of truth, THE national daily), I had no answer. (I was 21 and I didn't have answers for many things. That's well, another story.)
I haven't yet figured out what I really saw in Deccan Herald that September (when I got the offer letter after a typical Deccanesque two-month wait) and what I kept on 'seeing' for the past nearly nine years. I only had vague notions to go by. DH was then actually 'Karnataka's leading daily' and this I knew. I had always been an Indian Express fan more so because it used to carry full page movie advertisements on Fridays and I used to sneak to the sound studio on the third floor of our house to grab a copy and scan them feverishly for Aamir Khan's pictures. But my father always insisted on making me read DH. DH was even then boring :P but it was reliable. If anybody wanted to confirm whether day after was a government holiday, nah they didn't reach out for Express. DH it was. Exam timings have changed? DH again. Though in a house of more than 45 people, it was hard to find the paper by the end of the day.
But I digress. I had had a fun 24 odd days of internship in DH and that had kinda familiarised me with the place. But that did not prepare me for my first day, which happened to be ahem Karnataka Rajyotsava. I, with a 21-year-old's naivete, expected gaiety.What I got instead was the strangest welcome where the big boss (let's just not take names ok..those who know will know :)) warned me in conspiratorial tones that DH is full of schemers and people who indulge in politics and I should guard my back. And then I was put on the 'State Desk' where there were on that day only two people, one of whom took one look at me, deciphered that I could understand Kannada, fumbled with some 'computer sheets' and thrust a barely visible printout of a Honnali datelined story on an Ambedkar statue installation at me.
My last day happened to be bang in the middle of the week, a Wednesday. I, with my 30-year-old's naivete, expected sobriety. What I got instead was well, gaiety, first at a lunch with chairs fit for kings :), and then a half-mad photo session when I was desperately trying to talk on the phone to a royal-sounding 'Chandralekha', figuring out tax exemption and smiling at the camera. I still haven't seen the photos. And then of course, a proper escort right to the edge of M G Road by two dear friends. (Now you two, stop thinking I am being mawkish.I am not. And I do think chocolates are overrated.)
In between these two days, there have been several bright, lighted, dimmed and dulled ones. What I did see, rather felt in these many days was a butterbeer kind of comfort -- DH was boring, solid, not-so-reliable; it was also like a comforting duvet, an escapist, indulgent cave, an un-guilty addiction. Yeah, I know, it does not sound like an office. But that was how it was for me. All good things come to an end and am so glad they actually do and that's not just a proverb. I am no Snape to squeeze out memory as a white film and fill it in a vial. I can only list out what's floating on top of the muck that is my head.
* DH before the so-called 'modern front office' had a playgroundish feel. With a lever kind of thing that you had to push to enter. Will never forget this one.
* The 'first' editor was the biggest enigma in the office. He was, if you will, DH's very own Aditya Chopra.
* What a draw the canteen was for us poor starved souls from Express...I had even smuggled in two friends once. And you had to buy coupons for 10 p 15 p etc from the 'front office'.
* The 5 'o' clock break was one of DH's best traditions, which is sadly sadly not really so exciting anymore thanks to change in shift timings. The factory siren, and then the 'collecting' of state desk people to troop out in unity, the old canteen's school benches and that mad evening when everybody tried to squeeze into a single bench and in a particularly boisterous moment, a particularly sensitive girl was pushed and pushed to the edge and then went thud!
* The solving of the mystery of our then Bhadravathi correspondent's great insistence in excruciating tones of servility to take a poor quality photo of a blood donation camp -- it was his photo! He was lying on the bed donating blood! * The many excellent imitations of Gundu Rao, practiced to perfection by several. * The story of Pothan Joseph's ghost
* The great trio of Seetharam Kesari, Narayan Swamy and Gayathri Nivas (sorry guys, without taking names, this was no fun) shouting at each other and the rest of the world every evening, unfailingly, all three in three different pitches (gayathri's exasperated high pitch, narain's booming low pitch, and seetharam's quivering nowhere pitch). All tense, harassed and overworked but enjoying it nevertheless. That was very obvious.
* The big fascination for the internet desk (this was before all desks had their own internet..) I routinely used up all the charm I had to send one mail a day to Siddharth.
* The 3 to 10 van driver who saw ghosts near Konankunte and enjoyed regaling us poor souls with tales of women in white stopping his gaadi.
* The night when the same driver drove with such energy that the aforementioned particularly sensitive girl was thrown from the seat facing the road to the one opposite...a full arch.
* The midnight feasts -- once from Pizza Hut, several times trips to the seedy Savera, the chaiwala...
* The mystery of the spiralling staircase. Why is it there? Who has climbed the entire length till now?
* The shoe and sweater allowances. Loved them.
Actually there are several more but one should stop somewhere, shouldn't one? As always, would love to hear what memories of DH float in your heads.
The Tabebuias are back. They are my only emotional anchor to this city. If and when I am displaced from here, it is only the Tabebuia yellow and the lavender Jacaranda that will make me think...oh I wish I was in Bangalore. Last year around this time, my very own Jacaranda tree that had its elbow over a muddy algae-green lake filled with white and pink lotuses near the art gallery, lost its balance finally (which it was threatening to from many years) and fell.
My God! How well the tree communicated! It’s very stance said, look guys, I am sidling, my knees are buckling because of all the pain that is life but I flower every year unwearingly. I have a muck-filled lake below me and tourists who throw chips packets all around me. But I know I am sexy, heartstopping and beautiful both when my head is full of lavender flowers and when am anorexic and bare. For those of us who really understood this tree (I know at least one friend who mourned this tree’s fall with me), it was an expected tragedy. How can something so beautiful last? And it should not too. Like Seth says, it is enough to be blessed with such moving music. Why ask for anything more?
Now. That makes me want to re-read Equal Music all over again and quote Donne from memory. I know I will never get around to re-reading anything at all but I can definitely quote Donne.
No noise nor silence, but one equal music;
No fears nor hopes, but one equal possession;
No ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity;
Goodbye dear tree. I know you have found your very own world without end.
Whatever happened to the world’s collective Harry Potter obsession? Forget collective, what happened to my obsession with Potter? From picking up Deathly Hallows at 7 in the morning (after having booked it two months earlier) to reading it while still on the bike (which Siddharth, as amused and stoic as ever, drove steadily), reading it standing bang in the middle of Shanti Sagar’s darshini hustle (like they show in bad Telugu movies, when the hero first spots the heroine, the rest of the crowd is fuzzy...I felt exactly like that on that July 21 morning and well, felt so fuzzy that while walking back to the bike from the restaurant, while still reading of course, I bumped into a stray stone lump and my glasses fell. My pretend nonchalance reached absurd peaks at that point as I picked it up and continued to read. And continued reading the entire day till I turned the last page late evening, while it rained heavily outside and my back almost broke with the effort. And my bewildered parents wondered and siddharth sat waiting, the am-amused-but-am-resigned-to-my-fate smirk intact. Somewhere in the middle, I remember weeping when Harry buries, without using magic, what’s-his-name..sheee I have even forgotten names!
Reading the ‘Tales of the Beedle the Bard’ recently did nothing to excite my Potter instincts again. If anything, I was getting slightly irritated with the typical Rowling digressions and long un-contextual sentences (basically where she assumes that everybody remembers every character and every event in all the seven books). I still remember so many enjoyable re-read sessions with a big fruit n nut in hand, sitting curved on our divan and watching TV sideways at the same time. And joyful night shifts spent answering Harry Potter quizzes, downloading the Harry Potter countdown clock, walking and walking in London keeping my eyes open for any little Potterish thing I can spot...
Today, I don’t even feel like looking at my collection, forget picking up the books for the next re-read. Is this just fatigue? Or horror, horror! had I plain succumbed to the publicity machine? Are muggles around the world feeling like me? Perhaps it was magic enough for a lifetime...my instincts are warning me to leave it unvisited. Thanks Wordsworth. When in doubt, turn to Yarrow Unvisited. Works for me every time.
But, but, I want my Potter addiction back. I have lost an escape route, perhaps for ever.
I always feel very comforted when I read this poem. How nice to feel nice about being a nobody and how snug it feels to know that Emily Dickinson thought so too, at least she wrote so too.
Though Ii wonder. Is it dreary to be somebody? Isn’t it drearier to be nobody? I don’t really want to deconstruct this poem but well, it does say somewhere there that being a somebody is being a nobody. When i wonder like this for more than two minutes, my crabby shell rears up, behind which it is so easy to hide. And back to being snug about being a nobody and gazing at somebodies.
And here’s the poem.
I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us--don't tell!
They'd banish us, you know.
How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
Yesterday I realised I like maintenance-work related long power shutdowns. Prior knowledge of no noise and so all your inner noise kinda starts strumming. The afternoon light was blue-tinged because of our blue curtains. The laptop had not been charged and my phone was gasping. So all sources of music had gone phut. And hence I could let my voice out and my dreams travelled. One after the other, I sang songs — clearly and with what thehrav I could manage and the living room echoed back. All this while I was alone, surrounded by the blue, crying inside (for unbloggable reasons). And I was shredding radish. Ah. what therapy that is. The spell broke after I finished singing the Rajasthani maand. And if you have heard it ever when there’s blue inside and around you, especially if it has been rendered edgily, raspily, our common recall is enough to make us soulmates.