Words

They start in my mind, first as parts of a thought or a dream, and as the thought/dream remains unuttered, they scatter. They wander the little paths among the neurons, sometimes setting off a spark, a memory, maybe another thought, another dream. They multiply without control, sometimes they organise themselves and demand to be said. Spoken, written, set free.

This blog is a home for destitute words.

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Self-defence?

Some people don’t like* the birthday gift the Government of India gave me. Yeah, that’s a lot of links in one sentence; do you think they’ll call it ‘terrorist activity’?

When Shivam called my post  “mob justice”, I didn’t like it. And then Anantha used that same label at PutVote.com, I began to get defensive. I didn’t know why, though, so I decided to check.

While I can’t find a definition of mob justice online, Wikipedia redirects me to the entry on Ochlocracy, calling it a pejorative term for majoritarianism. Aha! No wonder. I don’t like people using pejoratives on me! Now, neither Shivam’s post nor Anantha’s entry on PutVote give me the slightest clue as to whether they mean to use the term pejoratively (In fact, I was inclined to think not; egotistical me!)

What does all that have to do with this pathetic bunch of losers, you ask? Well, just that it is people like those who make me defensive of my feminism to the extent where I see pejoration everywhere! They are obviously extremist idiocy-fundamentalists (an analogy to religious fundamentalists, only with idiocy as their religion instead) who deserve to be ignored. Or laughed at. Not to have their website popularised by me.

To get back to the point, isn’t it the same thing that makes all feminists (self-confessed and otherwise) defensive? Having butchfeminazibitchdykemanhaterterrorist thrown at you at the slightest hint of not being a doormat, of wanting a voice, of wanting rights – all that makes you want to puke, of course, but first hold up a shield against the sheer vindictive hatred of it all. Defend. Defensive.

And it is that realisation which then makes you decide that you actually need to counter-attack. Call them a few names too. Shout and scream and do stuff till you feel better.

And then you stop and wonder whether this all that has made you the subject of pejoration. Sigh.

At the end of it all, you’ve learnt how to turn everything that happens in the world into something that is about you. Public? Private? The political is personal, isn’t it?

*Telegraph article link from BikerBaby.

Bud’day Baby

Jewellery
Temples
Scandal
Maroon silk

Chocolates, chocolates and more chocolates!
The Inheritance of Loss
Lunch
The discovery that my ancestors and BikerBaby’s housed their cows in the same shed

A mad bike ride to catch a movie
A cricked neck
Laughter
The best description of coffee I’ve heard in ages 

A cricket match
Off-screen entertainment and dirty looks
Flowers from Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore
Telephone, email and orkut

The Blind Assassin and Snow
A lovely white stole
Music
Chocolate ice-cream

Wonderful wonderful day, I felt six, not twenty six. Loved, pampered, secure; I could die happy now!

The hols are about to begin…

… and what shall I do with myself?

Should I try out those wings again?
Or lie back on a cushion
And keep ambition in rein?

I wonder whether Delhi’s going to be cold
Should I pull out the sweaters, musty and old?

Calcutta calls, Bombay beckons,
But with Bangalore, I’ll have to reckon
Tread carefully, try not to trip
Once I’m back, not to let myself slip

Enjoy myself, or worry to death?
Should I write, paint,
Or weave a wreath?

Two months of hols,
Oh, what shall I do?

A Story(2)*

He heard a cycle pull up behind him, and turned around. She was getting off the bike, pushing the hood of her raincoat back with one hand. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”, she smiled, as she climbed the steps. “Bani?!”, he said, rather uncertainly, as she took out a key and opened the door. She held the door open and smiled at him, in reply, inviting him into the house.

Bani. A memory, now more real than anything that had happened before. Intelligent, vivacious, unusual Bani. No one in college would’ve called her mysterious; she knew everyone, and everyone knew her. And yet, the three of them had always agreed, no one really did know her. Maybe that was what had kept them from anything but passing acquaintance with her.

***

“You live here?”, he asked, as he stepped over the threshold. “Yes”, she said, “come in, make yourself at home”. She closed the front door, as he stood looking at the room. Warm, he thought. And old. No, not old, though some of the furniture definitely was. Comfortable, lived in. That was more like it. Books, cushions, a rocking chair.

“Ben!” he heard her call, and realised she had left the room. He could see the stairs through the door to his right, she must be calling up them. “Ben!” She came back into the room, smiling. “Do sit! Let me get you something warm to drink – you must’ve been caught in the rain. Will tea do?” “Yes, thank you.”

What on earth?!

***

“Hi! I see you got my email”, said the man walking into the room.

“Indian,” he thought, “what Indian name shortens to Ben?”

“I’m Ben, by the way. Bani’s partner.”

He shook the hand that Ben held out to him, and sat down just as Bani entered the room with a tray. “I hope you like Darjeeling”, she said cheerfully. “Not that there is anything else in the kitchen!” She set down the tray, and plonked herself comfortably on the divan. Ben leaned over the tray, pouring. “Milk? Sugar?”

What in the Universe…?!! Bani’s partner? Tea? Come to think of it, that was how he remembered her – with a cup of tea in her hand, sitting in the canteen, putting down a book to call to someone, to charm the server into bringing her a slice of lemon, to smile up at someone who’d just come in and wave them over. But who was Ben?

__

*Apologies for taking so long with this one!

Post (With a beginning, middle and end)

“So,” she said, crossing her legs, “post?”

She stretched out a hand to take the bundle from him. A plump, light brown arm. Smooth, newly waxed skin that dimpled at the elbow. Four scars, he counted. Not neatly parallel like he’d been led to believe by numerous horror movies, but haphazardly across the back of her hand and her arm.

She was looking lazily through what he’d handed her. Envelopes, flyers, a parcel. Lazily, but sorting them out: he noticed how all the flyers went to the bottom of the bundle, the envelopes above them, the parcel… She looked down at the parcel, and he saw her eyelids smoothen as she closed her eyes with a small sigh. Hardly for a moment, before she looked up at him again and smiled, “Thank you.”

He had no reason to stay any longer: she was already picking up the book from where she’d put it down, opening it at random, ignoring the bookmark she’d put in when he’d walked into the room.

She waited till he’d left, and picked up the post. He was at work, she knew, and she didn’t want to disturb him. She ripped open the parcel and dropped the brown paper in the wastebasket; took out the books, glanced at them, and put them aside. She reached for the flyer with the stars on it: the work she’d been dreading all week, but she knew she had to do.

He paused at the door of the room and turned to watch her. He welcomed the distraction from work he really didn’t want to do; he was curious too. He watched her read the flyer; wondered why anyone would send her stupid stuff like that. He wanted to tell her to leave it be, let it lie a little longer.

She looked up at him over her shoulder, smiling, her eyes twinkling behind her glasses. She held the flyer out to him, sighing as she said, “The things one has to do…” He looked at the stars on the flyer, in her eyes, outside the window, and smiled. A crooked, one-sided smile with his head cocked slightly to one side, charming, mischievous. “Why do it, then?”, he said, even as his eyes said “I know why, of course…” She laughed at that, throwing her head back, earrings dancing under her short brown hair, as his smile broadened…

She wrote to the address on the flyer, she did what she needed to do. After all, he would always be there to listen to her if she wanted to complain about it.

Post

“So,” she said, crossing her legs, “post?”

She stretched out a hand to take the bundle from him. A plump, light brown arm. Smooth, newly waxed skin that dimpled at the elbow. Four scars, he counted. Not neatly parallel like he’d been led to believe by numerous horror movies, but haphazardly across the back of her hand and her arm.

She was looking lazily through what he’d handed her. Envelopes, flyers, a parcel. Lazily, but sorting them out: he noticed how all the flyers went to the bottom of the bundle, the envelopes above them, the parcel… She looked down at the parcel, and he saw her eyelids smoothen as she closed her eyes with a small sigh. Hardly for a moment, before she looked up at him again and smiled, “Thank you.”

He had no reason to stay any longer: she was already picking up the book from where she’d put it down, opening it at random, ignoring the bookmark she’d put in when he’d walked into the room.

She waited till he’d left, and picked up the post. He was at work, she knew, and she didn’t want to disturb him. She ripped open the parcel and dropped the brown paper in the wastebasket; took out the books, glanced at them, and put them aside. She reached for the flyer with the stars on it…

He paused at the door of the room and turned to watch her. He welcomed the distraction from work he really didn’t want to do; he was curious too.

She looked up at him over her shoulder, smiling, her eyes twinkling behind her glasses. She held the flyer out to him, sighing as she said, “The things one has to do…” He looked at the stars on the flyer, in her eyes, outside the window, and smiled. A crooked, one-sided smile with his head cocked slightly to one side, charming, mischievous. “Why do it, then?”, he said, even as his eyes said “I know why, of course…” She laughed at that, throwing her head back, earrings dancing under her short brown hair, as his smile broadened…

There was music in their ears, roses in her hand, candles on the table, and a breeze from the window. The post lay forgotten on her lap.