Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That's it.

Will they come my way? I am tired of this wait, for the words. I can't write. I have been trying, trying rather hard, to write a few simple words that make sense, as a result of which I have five incomplete, badly scribbled posts. And I have this dreadful feeling that I won't be able to finish them anytime soon. All I have are thoughts, a chaos of clumsily jumbled thoughts which disappear the moment I start to type or pick up a pen. It's not only with words, but with everything I love. I can barely read a page before I get all restless and edgy; I am tired listening to the same songs again and again; and there is nothing exciting about this place that inspires me to grab my camera and go shot after shot till I'm happy. I feel a strange loss. Probably it's plain boredom. Or just the jitters of a new place. Whatever...

I remember holding on to One Art by Elizabeth Bishop six years back, after I had read it for the first time, when 'losing' had seemed my way of life. Perhaps I must do so now.

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster,

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three beloved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

-- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) a disaster.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Musings of a cat lover

Hero, a year and little old

"Who would believe such pleasure from a wee ball o' fur?"
~ An Irish saying

Cats and I go back a long way. It all started with a bowl of milk for a wandering grey tabby cat in a sultry summer afternoon. This was how we found Jhumri, the veteran girl of our cat family. The consequent generations had funny names too (courtesy me), irrespective of gender - Elli, Biti and Hero. My father was never fond of the brood and much to his chagrin there was always an addition or two every year. With time he became tolerant although he would remain aloof as ever. While my mother would be attentive to their whimperings, my love for them was overwhelming. I would sacrifice my share of fish for the greedy Elli who was the dearest of the lot and would swing and rock Biti's newborns no matter how ridiculous a spectacle it was. I was scratched on countless occasions as a means of retaliation for the suffocative, smothering love. Once I tried to chase off a poor garden lizard who was being stalked by Hero only to end up with a badly sprained leg. This time when I visited my parents, there was a looming emptiness. For the first time in ten years it was a cat-less home. There was no furry bundle cozied up under the blankets or sniffing flowers in the garden or trying desperately to catch its owl tail in circles in the most comic manner. Their absence felt louder and more annoying than the ruckus of meows on the fried fish days.

The other day as we were watching our neighbour's Persian cat, Sam casually remarked, "You must be this only crazy cat lover who doesn't own a cat". Not many would understand how crushing it felt at that moment. I always lament our nomadic lifestyle and how I can never have a cat until we have a permanent home of our own. Or I might just end up as one of those batty old English women sitting by the fireplace reading or embroidering, with a cat curled up in my lap. Sigh!

Friday, August 6, 2010

An old poem

It has been quite long since I've posted any poem. I found some fragments of an old poem, of old buried feelings, most of which I have outgrown. Or perhaps they outgrew me...

Such times were they...
Once called "once upon a time"
When the trees chimed and elves danced
The sun was a lump of citrine, the moon an enchanted mirror...
Love truly meant sleepless nights
Children trailed ruts of pixie dust...

In such times of perfection,
the storm came, one that comes after the proverbial lull.
So much happened, the change of hearts and hearths
Hopes aborted and lives defeated.
So many bits were scattered in the air --
A constellation of marred dreams.

I came out of it unscathed, albeit a little tired
Treading on the debris of skin and scars
into the clutches of a new world.
One without edges or frills,
a womb of openness.
No more walls.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dil agar aa bhi gaya...

The gorgeous lake from our patio

Chal junoon chalte rahen, tu kahin theher nahin
Dil agar aa bhi gaya, woh tera shaher nahin...

(O passion, let's keep walking and never stop
Even if the heart insists, that is not your city...)

Once again Gulzar comes to my rescue. As always. Off late the nature lover in me has been in a grouchy state of mind. We are once again on the move and this time I completely detest the very thought. Not that I would otherwise fancy a relocation once in every six months, but chiefly because a lake side apartment surrounded by a rich palette of greens sitting pretty in the pastoral countryside does not come everyday in a person's life. We came to Charlottesville during the bad blizzards of January and immediately fell in love with its innocent charm. Soon the spring came and every time I would go out for a walk or peep out of the window it felt like a vibrant page from a child's picture book. Each month marked the blooming of a different flower - daffodils, magnolias, dogwoods and cherry blossoms in the spring; freesias, coneflowers and lilacs in the summer. We would go for lazy walks after the afternoon rains and watch the mountains veiled in fog and the still lake with its cacophonous geese paddling away. We would return home soaked in the warmth of pure bliss. Be it watching the sun set on the faraway Blue Ridge mountains or stalking the devilishly tricky cardinals for that one lucky shot, every day was like the unfurling of a new fairytale. Even a lifetime would be less to bask in the beauty and tranquility of such a place. As a cruel contrast the place where we will be moving to is the industrial city of Cleveland, a cold concrete jungle in the state of Ohio.

I have sung my litany here time and again and all this must sound like a recurring rigmarole. But where else do I let it out? There is a strange comfort in typing away my despair into the fathomless spread of the cyberspace where my worries will drown and die in its endlessness. While others, the rational minds, might find this foolish and melodramatic, this is how I am when leaving a place that I feel connected to. There's nothing much a classic romantic fool can do anyway.

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