Thursday, May 31, 2012


"Dark pine, I dream for me you wait."

~ Robert William Service,
Dark Pine

A month had limped past, riddled with old fears, some long known regrets and new hopes. The most confusing concoction of emotions. And yet... She could still smell the pines in her sleep. That moist, earthy smell with a teasing tinge of longing. Laced like strings of raw emeralds, they dazzled on the rugged neck of the mountains. That gouging, blinding green; the colour of her dreams. Those towering torchbearers that once paved her path and danced to her moods. The feathered, faithful, forever evergreens!
Their brooding darkness called out to her, in wails and bawls. That which was foreign and lost felt hers, in a strange, protective way. That which was left far, far behind felt more alive than the current, ticking second. One of the many ironies of life. And the foreignness lingers on.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012


"The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude."

~ Kate Chopin, The Awakening

I have grown up by the sea, the Bay of Bengal to be precise. Over the years, I have seen its many moods and musings, albeit in flashes. As a child the beach would be my vast playground, never-ending and always welcoming, dotted with a treasure trove of white and brown shells. As I grew up, the sea ceased to be a playmate and unmasked its willful, mature face. A little daunted and defeated at first, I gradually learnt to unearth that characteristic loneliness that the sea alone brings with it. It's a different feel altogether, churning marvel and mystery, scratching sealed old wounds open yet pacifying your most loathsome fears - all at the same time.
Always a biased admirer of the mountains, over time, the sea somehow grew on me. On sultry summer evenings, I would secretly wish to be left alone by my garrulous cousins on a beach outing, so that I could bottle its hum and roar and bring back its salty seductiveness with me. Today I long for such a visit.

Why am I talking of the sea today? Because despite the fortnight's vacation in my home state, I could not visit Puri, the famous tourist magnet of eastern India where the devotees of Lord Jagannath throng the brackish shores to end their pilgrimage. In a ritual-like regularity, every summer I would visit my grandparents even if it was just for a day. Thus I turned to list the things that I missed for the third consecutive summer and while my aunt's spicy prawn curry topped the chart, the beach began to haunt me like never before. Like a gush of warm blood, the memories of innumerable summer vacations flooded my thoughts. And now, amid all the crazy running around for the new home, I long for its reassuring lull; to sit near the waves and immerse myself into their monotonous drone; to bury my rues and regrets into its dark, greedy expanse; and above all, to reach out to that bittersweet loneliness.

How I long for all these and much more, in some corner of my tired heart.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."

~ Basho

Home. After two years. That familiar sparkle of happiness on two sets of tired, waiting faces. Those old, unaltered spaces of comfort. Books, old and new, awaiting my arrival, neatly stacked by my father. The enchantment of summer all around. My mother's garden, a playground of colours. Faint whiff of hibiscus in the air; some decked up, fresh and dewy, on the sacred basil every morning. Mangoes galore, those forever summer magnets. Their trees laden with fruit, an orchestra pad for cuckoos and other chatty birds. Wake up calls and evening ballads they leave behind, every day. And every day the journey gets lovelier, more complete.

Of course, Ma's food adds the final dollop of bliss to this perfect summer recipe.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Old garden

"If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden."

~ Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

An old garden. A rickety, old chair sits amid a jungle of unkempt grass. Its frame veiled by a disheveled vine of common pea. The white star-like flowers light up the surrounding wilderness. Just a few steps away, clumps of pink bougainvillea adorn a rusted gate, crisscrossing homes and boundaries.
As the thunder clouds clap and roar in the distance, I wait for the dainty dance of rain. The garden commands my attention taking up a chunk of my lazy afternoon. A hint of symmetry in asymmetry, a sudden flash of beauty in waywardness. In this dazed, unsure state of life, this old garden inspires me to hope. And today I shall hope for the rain. Some rain.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Hyderabad. A scorching 42 degrees Celsius. A brain melting, nausea ridden fortnight. Sometimes a little guilt ridden and chokingly nostalgic too. For leaving behind the alpine grandeur and a home that already appears a little blurred in my memory-scape. Red and yellow clumps of gulmohar, perhaps the only spots of colour in this heartless, sprawling jungle of concrete. Hi-tech City, they call it with love and a strange pride. Bereft of life and charm, gone is that old city of Nizams. Five years! It sure is a long period of time. For money-minting builders and tree-chopping maniacs at least. We had once left this place and how heartbreakingly, only to come back and find it shockingly altered. What was once familiar has become intimidating now. And perhaps a little taunting too. One of the most uncomfortable feelings, may be.

I hope to dig some remnants of the old world glory, of the lanes and bylanes once steeped in history and dipped in tales. But not today. With the house hunt gladly done away with, it's mission 'salt to sofa' for the moment. Setting up another home, lining up another set of dreams. Life!

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