July 25, 2007


Junk jewellery is obviously a girl's best friend. The girls who can't afford diamonds. And are too rastachhaap to carry off pearls and diamonds and chiffon. By the time I left college, I had a 1.5'-by-1.5' thermocol treasurechest, that defined my 'I-wanna-look-pretty-today' mornings, my 'what-if-I-were-a buxom-Afro' parties, 'ahem-feminist-lawyer' phases, 'I-love-being-wannabe-Arundhati-Roy' insecurities, 'angsty-chick-he-doesn't-love-anymore' heartbreaks. My 'wannabe-tribal-but-anglophile-class-guilt' existence. Glass bangles from a tribal Gujju village and a Bangalore suburb called Nagarbhavi, a metal armband from Ahmedabad, beads from Malaysia, silver from Commercial Street, bead-like things from Goa, shell-type things from Goa also(I think), artsy silver neck-thing from Cal, artsier metal horse-shoe from Colaba, pretty silver earrings from Jaipur (from ex-boyfriend, I retained them reasoning that the earrings and I had a separate and distinct relationship of our own).

I tried to be suitably no-nonsense on entering the world of Delhi lawyering. With understated silver earrings, and two silver bangles. And then I turned legal-NGO-type, so could allow myself little more femininity. Yanyways, my dressup-graph was not the point of this post.

The point of the post was my treasurechest. Which was cruelly edited by my mother, who said most of it was 'kaamwaali' type stuff anyway. So the beads went, the shells went, a few hundred glass bangles were left behind heartrenchingly, as I treaded into my new no-nonsense zone. And then, a new chocolate-box treasurechest started. With inputs from friends' holidays in Goa, Dharamshala, parents' travels in Europe. Some from my own travels to Dilli Haat and Chandni Chowk.

The treasurechest is like the unassuming friend. On busy workdays or lazy Sunday afternoons you ignore it, because the world is listening to your silly stories anyway. And you think: the treasurechest, oh you mean my little Chocolatebox, she is doing ok. And then, the world says your stories are so silly, and you hear a soft muffled cry somewhere within. And you square your shoulders the squarest, and play Dave Brubeck and read about panchayats. That's when Chocolatebox is your best friend. She says "....but your stories are the best ever". And you finger through the Box, and touch old hippie pendants that you'd forgotten about, and they say "hey, long time, we must totally catch up". And you say "yeah man, totally, daroo tonight?"

July 19, 2007

chai time at five thirty

chai time at five thirty
time for cigarettes
time for daily boss-update
Rwanda unrest.

Shit! Down again server
Google-talk flirt
backlog of last week

in-between daydreams
those Squeeze-hand moments
Ahem so I'll go now.
I'm scribbling nonsense.

Must make some phone-calls.
Pens and notepads
Meetings and smoke-breaks
And lunchtime chitchat.

Autorickshaw haggletime
haggle for subzi
Mid-week- one small drink
Whaddyu think of me?

Alarm- goddamn eight thirty
run run once more
Smoke-breaks and phone calls
and daydream at four.

July 12, 2007

Clamps and Syringes

The hospital smell is something of disinfectants, medicines, sick-person food and human fear jumbled together. Expectant mothers scurry around calculating number of days left for their delivery, as frail veterans await cataract reports in waiting lounges, and young men bicker over appointments with reception ladies, and wardmen in green pajamas deliver fresh syringes. Doctors with slinged spectacles and short hair and blood-pressure chart-folders walking around imperiously. Nurses and attendants gossiping in circles and straightening out as the docs walk past them.

I feel a sense of powerlessness, that I don't feel on Delhi roads at night, or in dingy alleys in afternoons, or have ever felt in an oppressive classroom, or in the company of sniggering peers, or intrusive aunts- when machinations are clamped on to my body. This idea of the inner self- that my body has been doing things, saying things, living a life of its own, creating and destroying, loving and hating- that I have no way of knowing about. Other than through clamps and switches and syringes.

Its our collective inner gurgling noise, that creates the feel of a hospital. When a number of bodies decide to speak out to the outer persons and assert their views, create panic amidst the world of clothes-n-civilisedness. Its probably the only space in modern society, that brings together the iffiness of clothing/concealing civilisation, and the inescapable naked worlds within. And the smell of distrust between the two. And the clamps and syringes become modern investigators in this conflict.