ramblings from july 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

stormchasers!
we have gone and bought a bike.a rather mean looking one. every time we attempt to ride it, it rains. it really does.we had gone to the showroom, the husband and i, the day we were to get the monster home, i dutifully carried a camera all paparazzi like. with the dorkiness of a mushy, squished fruit, i hoped to take some pics of the husband's first ride on it.i eyed the bike with some suspicion as the husband's eyes misted over in a rapturous expression. he circled around it like it was some divine, mystical being.i looked on... i am objective about bikes."what should we call the bike?", he asked."candy", i mumbled for some strange reason (well the bike is a bright red and i was hungry)."sheesh! no!""reddy", i was being rather frivolous here."we need to figure out whether its male or female first", said the husband, ignoring all my bright ideas. "er... what?... like how?", i was intrigued, i looked at the bike carefully. i could see no such indications. so i said,"lets call it roopmati if she is a woman and ramprasad if he is a man". i got a very blank, deadpan look from the husband in response.we are calling 'him' storm. the clouds and my naari mukti morcha jhanda helped us decide.every time we sit on storm, the clouds go, "ha! lets get those two!", and shower us with a deluge of rain. i decided storm was a nice bucksome man, just out of spite at all these total morons who go about calling their bikes, "baby" and "honey" and liken them to us women! so there! you mcps, get a load of this!the next thing we did was even dorkier. we went and bought matching red helmets like teenagers high on endorphins.i have decided helmets are brilliant! nobody looks at you if you wear one! it gives you total anonymity! club that with a baggy jacket and you are practically invisible!what i mean is, men cant tell if you are a woman, and that ugly, ugly, male gaze just doesnt happen! gosh, men do look at women dont they? men look at women. men do not look at men. women look at women. women only discreetly look at men!but life's now terribly exciting, sore-pillion-butt notwithstanding. we've decided to zip by all the autowaala chors and show a finger at them and vanish in a blur and haze.stormchasers in red, bulbous helmets, nursing bad backs and sore butts, thats who we are...
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 7:38 PM 9 comments
Friday, July 27, 2007

the pursuit of utopia
it doesn't interest me if there is one god or many gods.i want to know if you belong or feel abandoned;if you know despair or can see it in others.i want to know if you are prepared to live in the worldwith its harsh need to change you;if you can look back with firm eyessaying "this is where i stand."i want to know if you know how to meltinto that fierce heat of livingfalling toward the center of your longing.i want to know if you are willingto live day by daywith the consequence of loveand the bitter unwanted passionof your sure defeat.i have been toldin that fierce embraceeven the gods speak of god... David Whytei found these lines in an old book in a moment of serendipity. have you ever wondered how it is that you stumble upon something meaningful in the oddest of places at the most opportune of times? everytime i read these lines it fills me with a vague unease... i find the lines inspiring, yet oddly disturbing.would you choose a life filled with intensity such as this?i am not sure if i would. not anymore... not again...why is it that it is only through pain that one can learn, evolve and grow?we test for deep waters by dropping a stone into it and watch it as it falls. does the same rationale apply to living as well? do we have to fall before we know the breadth and width of our skies, the span of our wings and the firmness of the earth beneath us?they say that some lessons need to be learnt... and events and situations will repeat themselves unless we have learnt from it, like children in a shuttered classroom, we repeat ourselves endlessly before the lessons are learnt by rote, only then perhaps can we get off from the dizzy, circuitous ride in the well of death.my friend r says that passion and peace cannot co-exist... there is a thought here... if we are content and at peace, we are sedate; if we are restless, hankering after something, longing, pursuing something that we feel intensely for... then can we have peace as well?each of us pursues our individual ideas of utopia.
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 9:20 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

three colours grey
"doubt is an uncomfortable condition, certainty is even more ridiculous", says voltaire!this thought is like oxygen to my lungs! in a way i guess it reaffirms what i see, live and experience. i have always wondered about people who live life in pre-decided, focussed, black and white, clear terms. the kind that can give straight faced answers to questions like, "so where do you see yourself ten years from now," and also mean what they say!!! i cannot honestly remember a single moment in my life where i have been certain of my choices or decisions or where i was headed! i have always been racked with self doubt, uncertainty and layers of hazy, foggy greys. and all the people i love and consider within my circle of soul people are all, without exception, battling through their own murky fogs of despair, indecision and total confusion.i like to believe that confusion is a bloody good thing, it allows for you to wander around in circles and try and poke around at a situation from a couple of different angles... imagine, for a minute, that you knew exactly what you wanted, where you would get it and how to get there... you would head straight towards it, like a well aimed arrow, get it and be done with it... you wouldn't potter around aimlessly and look around you and hem and haw and try and walk down a couple of other roads, get totally lost, meet some fellow wanderers and hobnob with them.so am i proposing here that a life of uncertainty is all exciting and unusual and thrilling? i like to think that i am a creative person and hence i am someone who thinks of the inbetween greys, it even sounds rather fancy and la-di-dah.but hell no! it is exhausting and tiresome to dwell in the mist!! most of my favorite mist-dwellers are seemingly, very cheery people, they blunder about all gregarious and have a good laugh at themselves, but beneath that sheath, lurks a dark, quiet cloud.certainty... the word's so heavy it just slides off my tongue. does the damn thing even exist? i think it exists on a plane where words like forever, yeti, eternal, unicorn, loch ness monster and permanence exist. i think they are a happy sort of family and take quick peeks at us losers, nudge each other in the ribs and go, "ha! the poor sucker... dream on."as tolkien puts it,"not all who wander are lost," and;"still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate."
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 8:53 AM 1 comments
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

conversations with a moment
i stumbled upon this treasure pressed into the dusty pages of a forgotten book... i cant help but feel a tinge of sadness when i see this picture. we were all so close to one another, there were no walls, no distances, no pretences... so much has changed over these years. my brother and i lost our innocence, the bonds between us glimmer, only faintly; my mother has lost the freshness and assurance of youth, though she remains as graceful as ever, appa has lost so much of his strength and the veerappan moustaches are now shot with grey.we have lost something here... yet bits and pieces remain intact in a fragile, connected way.i look at this picture and i can imagine the excitement of that evening. amma must have dressed us both in our best, my brother must have insisted on wearing that toy watch or maybe it was a real one, she must have oiled my brother's hair and combed it in place neatly, she must have given up in despair over mine and just stuck a few pins in, she must have chosen this sari, from the modest few that hung in that old godrej almirah, she must have put kohl in her eyes and tucked a few strands of malli poovu in her hair (she looks so beautiful, so serene... when did we drift apart?) ... appa must have ironed his shirt in his slow, meticulous way, polished his shoes until they shone just right.he must have kick started his white lambretta (which we called our white stallion) and my brother would have ducked between his arms and stood in the front, amma must have carried me on her lap, adjusting the pallu of her sari with simple elegance.we must have ridden to that studio in the bylanes of gariahat, with the wind in our faces.the photographer must have arranged us to sit in this manner, i would have squirmed and insisted on sitting on my father's lap, he has been and will always be the most wonderful man in my life.the moment that has been captured in this picture is so perfect. i wish reality came close to perfection like this... i like to look at our hands in this photo, there is so much similarity in the way we keep our hands in our lap! did the photographer ask us to do that? we look at the lens with such clear eyes and straight gazes... we look so beautiful together... like a family that belongs together, that will love and grow and thrive together...i dont think we have a single photograph of the entire family together over the past ten years... maybe more... though we remain connected to one another in a way that only blood ties can forge, we spin in seperate orbits, our lives have taken seperate tangents... it is inevitable i guess... how long has it been since amma put kohl in her eyes... since i hugged my father...since i sat next to my brother... since my eyes sparkled with such fearlessness and lucid innocence... how long has it been since a moment like this?
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 9:17 AM 4 comments
Monday, July 23, 2007

for a fistful of earth
i like it this time of the year... there is the promise of a shower and the wind carries with it the musty smell of wet earth. every tree, sapling and stray weed is dressed in the most dazzling display of green, the new leaves are a bright neon green, like noisy little children at a fair, the older ones wear rich, deeper greens, like quiet, dignified matriarchs and patriarchs, shaking their heads indulgently at the younger ones.i am beginning to understand why there is such a primordial connection between man and earth. we seek permanence, we seek something larger than our selves... something that will last much longer than our flesh and bones will... longer than our loves, longer than our children and their children... and land does.to own a piece of the earth, to be able to call it our own, to find significance in that fistful of soil, to be able to plant our naked feet on it and feel the craggy pebbles and the grit under the soles of our feet... that must be something.i have lived all my life perched in a flat, these coccooned shells that we call modern housing. bombay takes this definition even further. the practicality of life and living in bombay does not allow for fanciful structures like verandahs. who's got the time to stand and stare?even these little spaces that allowed for some sky and green are quickly covered with iron grills and converted into storage spaces. this used to be a favorite preoccupation with me, while the 7:45 andheri, fast local shuttled and heaved through the city, i would stare at all the houses that zipped by me, i would look at the windows and the shuttered balconies stuffed with cycles, tires, plastic drums, trunks, bedding, tarpauline, clotheslines, old fridges, dalda cans... and wonder about the lives of the people who lived within.
well, i am glad i left that seductress behind, with all her glittering lights and sinous alleys.i dont know if i will ever be able to own a small plot of land, until then i have brought the earth into my home... and it is a sight that gladdens me every morning.




Posted by Kavita Arvind at 7:57 AM 4 comments
Sunday, July 22, 2007

scribbles
been doing a spot of sketching... brought out those brushes after a long time, played some music and pottered around with colours. this one is a character i have been thinking of, meera, for a series on a little girl who grows up in simpler times...rather moronically romantic scribble this... the quintessential sunset... i like trees... they keep popping up in most of my sketches...
the husband and i... we carry our preoccupations with us...
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 10:43 AM 9 comments
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

dysfunction diagno(o)sed
i sat and twiddled my thumbs.i looked at the newspaper lying all awry on the table. looked away. i took three deep breaths and looked back. i tried auto-suggestion, self hypnosis and some rudimentary mental tai chi. it didn’t quite work...i found myself getting up, folding the newspaper neatly, along the right creases, removing the dog ears and putting it away in a stash. i adjusted the stash so it was all at right angles, made sure none of the newspapers stuck out.(now hang on a minute here... this is not normal. panic. am i ill?)as luck would have it, a couple of days later, while pottering around the wicked web, i stumbled upon ocpd!obsessive compulsive personality disorder. (cringe and squeak) i think i have it!i am obsessed with right angles, i like things that tessellate into grids, i like neat straight lines, i hate full ashtrays, i cant sit still if there are creases on the bed, wet bathrooms and muddy footprints give me huge ulcers. if i see anything lying around at an angle, i just have to get up and straighten it so it aligns parallel to something, before i can breathe regularly again. if i see chairs pulled out, i have to put them back in, pillows and cushions simply have to be patted back into place, at all times… gees, i feel sick just writing all this! i am a freak, eeps.you can well imagine the toll this is taking on the husband. the husband prides himself on being an organized, clutter-free, cleanliness freak… until i came along and riddled gaping holes into his little pipe dream.by the time he’s smoked one cigarette, i have gone and emptied and washed the ashtray and put it away neatly in some corner; he’s just gotten up for three seconds to take a leak or stretch his legs, and i have rearranged all the cushions back into neat tessellations; he’s cooking and i am hovering over his shoulder, cleaning the kitchen platform every one minute… somebody just tie me up!!!the husband’s caught on real quick. we are in the middle of a heated argument, and we are just about to drop the cool, sarcastic, rational, tempered tones and launch into a screaming match (er… i mean, me screaming and the husband icy calm), it looks like i am going to win this round… when the husband casually leans over and spills some coffee deliberately on the floor… my senses take this is in, in a slow-mo-matrix like visual, i can see the drops falling on to the clean white floor, they go splot! splot! splatch! (like in those nat geo specials?), i see the stain spreading… the points i have scored in the argument go stutter and kaput, the next thing i know, i have got a cloth in my hand and i am on my knees cleaning the floor… the husband goes, “touché” and exits the argument with panache that puts johnny depp to shame.my friends have taken to calling me kavitybai. i am ribbed all the time about the disappearing ashtrays. the bums even come home and drag a finger on a forgotten, remote corner, and say, “just look at all this dirt, you forgot this spot”, and stand back and chuckle as i do the entire mopping routine again.this has got to stop i realize… i am tying myself into knots trying to ignore that fuzzy dust ball that is canoodling around the house, making graceful arches and twirls. i am trying so hard to ignore it, that all i can think of is, how hard i am trying to ignore it…
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 8:33 PM 3 comments

dont bogart that joint...
"dont bogart that joint, my friend, pass it over to me...," these are the opening lines of a song by the fraternity of man, featured in one of my favorite films, easy rider by dennis hopper.
the lines are so totally ripping! i ran a google on them and figured what bogarting a joint meant... remember the way philip marlowe would lean over, look through the crack of his eyes and slur all his words, while his cigarette hung from between his lips, gathering ash? typical bogart? thats where it comes from!!
totally super! continuing on the lets-gush-for-bogart-thing, i have been reading raymond chandler, who created the iconic figure of the private eye, marlowe. chandler is a master of this genre and 'the big sleep' was his first published novel.
the book i am reading, 'the high window' is peppered with wisecracking gems!
for instance... "i'm not tough, just virile."
here's another one... "his smile was as faint as a fat lady at a fireman's ball." ha!!
isn't that just priceless?
i am meaning to make a note of all these wisecracks and use them in my day to day conversations irrespective of whether they fit into the context or not.
bogie totally rules! i cannot imagine anybody else who could have given flesh to the character of marlowe, sam spade or for that matter, rick blaine (drool and slurp, this is cheesecake prime). me and r have watched casablanca about a dozen times already. everytime we watch it, our eyes glaze over and our faces asssume an expression that is akin to one of abject devotion and worship. we go limp when bogie slumps over his table, sloshed and slurs,"of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
a smart-assed toughie with a tinge of vulnerability, who drops wisecracks about as fast as he pulls a gun, with his loose tailored suits and slouching hats, terrible teeth and nasal drawl, the man's a dream... (sigh) pity this kind exists only in fiction.
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 8:40 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

monster house
its 7 in the morning and i drag myself out of bed, the doorbell jangling in my ears. as i groggily open the door, two little giggling streaks sweep past me, race around the drawing room and leap onto the bean bag with a resounding thump! the bean bag groans, it has begun to resemble a tomato thats been caught in the blender, my sleepy brain notes.my bai and her entourage have arrived.the entourage consists of two little persons; a very small person with a perfectly angelic brown face, bright eyes and jet black hair, that hangs about her face, the other, is a small person, who is an older, little larger, (seemingly) quieter replica.i dont quite know how events took a turn like this, but i have a nagging feeling that i have made a rather substantial contribution to it, while my bai scurries about the house, sweeping and swabbing at the speed of light, i am baby sitting the two small persons.initially the two SPs were rather shy and would sit still, making big eyes at me, the husband and the things around the house.lately the SPs have taken to running around the house and competing with each other as to who can take the more daring leaps onto the battered bean bag.when they are not engaging in training for these long jumps and high jumps, they play war and counter attack games, the cushions serving as missiles, they follow me around giggling at my every move, when they tire of this, they put on their sweetest expressions and ask me to turn the tv on, so they can watch cartoons. if i refuse, the SPs begin a sort of chant in squeaky, whiny tones, "tv chalu kara na? tv chalu kara na?"you can well imagine the toll this is taking on my nerves. i have a mild version of OCPD (and i dont even have jack nicholson's sex appeal, sheesh) and prefer things that are placed perfectly at right angles, order and clutter give me huge, mishapen ulcers.so much so that i have begun to dread the morning jangle of the doorbell.i turned to the husband, hoping he could install some order, being the 'man-of-the-house' and all that. it turns out that the husband is a total softie, one well-aimed, big-eyed expression from the SPs and the husband gets all knock-kneed and jellied."you were the teacher, you handle them", is the response i get.its all upto me now, i will just have to ask the bai, not to bring the SPs with her. all along i am wondering what a bitch i am and how could i possibly be so insensitive, "they are just little ones", my conscience rubs in for good effect, "they are demons!!!! helpppp!!", screams my rational brain. while my brain clouds over with this conflict, the husband decides to be helpful, "what if they were your own kids, huh? would you get this upset?""if they were my own kids i would turn them over and beat them blue!", i growl."i told you we were not ready for kids, this just proves it", the husband beams that exasperating, i-won-this-round-smile and ducks into the computer, leaving me sputtering for breath and searching unsuccessfully for a suitable rejoinder.there goes the doorbell... eeps... courage, courage...
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 8:07 AM 2 comments
Friday, July 13, 2007

vajradanti tales
i have been in mortal fear of the brood called dentists for some time now.may i add that the fear cannot possibly be all that misplaced. see, fiction is borne of facts. now that this premise is established... i present my next argument.several years back, when my mind was still impressionable, i happened to watch a horror film. let me admit here that by nature, i am actually quite a phattu. for all that bravado and attitude, if faced with clear and present danger, you would probably find me sitting squat and still, knees trembling, with my hands over my eyes, hoping it would all just disappear.much as i would like to imagine that i am a tight-assed-svelte-butt-kicking-electra, the truth is far removed.i was alone that day and while switching channels came upon this hoppping mad dentist who, after strapping his patients to the chair, would butcher them with chain saws and some weirdass, awful, malicious contraptions. the film of course revelled in gore and spouts of blood.the idea struck home and stayed... i have never been to a dentist since then. the last i went to a dentist was when i was five. i avoid them like the plague. the concept of having to lie down on that chair, surrounded by strange equipment, turn my head up and open my jaws wide enough so some cold, steely equipment can be inserted into it, is clearly masochistic and certainly not on my list of pleasurable things to do in the evening.until a few days back.i am getting them wisdom teeth...these little calcium monsters are vestigeal third molars. meaning the damn things were of some use when our anthropoidal ancestors hadn't discovered the culinary benefits of fire and had to rip and chew foliage. they have no other use today except to be a nuisance, and cause smart people to make inanely unwitty remarks.scenario 1:"hey, what happened? you look under the weather"."nothing, just a toothache, wisdom teeth, you know"."Achha, matlab now finally you are getting some akkal haan?"will somebody tell these smart-asses how totally uncool this is?!scenario 2:"oye, chal lets go eat some pani puri"."i cant, got a toothache, wisdom teeth yaar. besides i got a lock jaw, cant freaking open my mouth"."(many chuckles) guess what else that is going to rule out! (maniacal laughter)".i rest my case.can we put these nutcases in a straight jacket and gag them please?i had to drag my trembling knees over to a dentist. and as i sat quivering jelly like on the dreaded chair, i took in all the steely prods and pokers (no chain saws or hack saws, i noticed). this rather jolly, rotund woman with a backside that would put noah's ark to shame came waddling over.this was a little re-assuring, i must say...in very maternal tones (i mean my amma's strict, no nonsense tone), she asked me to open my jaws, flashed a light into the caverns, and announced the verdict.the offending little bastard would just have to come out, it had 'impacted' into my gums. how soon can i come in for an x-ray, so that we could then surgically remove the tooth?i almost passed out.i put on my best brave face, said i would be back as soon as possible, picked myself out of that chair and scuttled out at the speed of light.angel face or not, no one's going poking around my jaws (stop that vivid imagination you corny lot). i am on painkillers now... maybe i should just wait for that tooth fairy.
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 7:34 AM 2 comments
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

it's a bird... it's a plane...it's...
incredible as it may seem, i fell in love for the first time when i was 4… to add further incredulity to this statement… i fell in love with superman (blush, hey i was 4).i would insist on staying up at night, watching the night sky, convinced that superman would appear in a blur of red and blue and take me away (honest).i was sure that he would eventually forget lois lane and we would live happily together zipping around the galaxies (mild exaggeration here, i admit).finally, out of sheer frustration, my sleep deprived parents hatched a plot.one morning, when i woke up i found a small, gaily wrapped package near my pillow. i opened it and found (i don’t know what you call these) a word and number game. the kinds that have lots of plastic alphabets and numbers that you could stick onto a perforated plastic sheet to form words. you can imagine that though i was rather intrigued by the magical appearance of this box, i was not entirely thrilled. so i went up to appa and asked him about this.appa said, “last night after you fell asleep, superman came looking for you in the verandah”, i gaped at appa, thrilled, “he gave me this package for you and asked me to not wake you up, he also said that he was really busy these days and will not be able to come and see you.”i looked at the package with devotion and held it tight. then suspicion sneaked in. “how did he know i was asleep if he was standing in the verandah?” i demanded to know.“arre, he used his x-ray vision na?” appa said without a moment’s hesitation (now i know whose dominant genes i have inherited and why i have turned out like this).i was convinced.i have played so much with these little plastic letters and numbers.i think i owe my entire vocabulary and ease with words to this little fabrication and peppering of reality done by the parents!so for a very long time, superman it was who was firmly lodged in my heart…i did not even mind the flashy underwear that he wore.when i was older and a little better informed, my ardent devotion shifted to christopher reeves. sigh… what a totally bootiliciuos, perfectly edible piece of humanity this man was. for this man… i would break my marriage vows (er… husband… if you are reading this, remember that the man is long deceased… and turn a blind eye to this indiscretion please?).(isn’t it one of life’s ironies that the man who played the embodiment of strength, courage and perfection should end up paralysed in a wheelchair in the prime of his life?... but then this is stuff of another post).now at the ripe old age of 30, after a series of not-so-nice-men and some very-nice-but-botched-timing-men, i have come to the conclusion that both santa claus and superman should be allowed their existence… if nothing else, it makes the possibilities of the night sky more interesting and (you must agree) red underwear sure looks good.
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 1:01 PM 4 comments
Monday, July 9, 2007

my own dapple green
if there was a tree for everyone of uswhich one would be mine?the knobbly stray with lilac buds,the big oak with the owl in its hollows,or the champa, with her white blossoms?
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 3:56 PM 2 comments

cinema of the soul
maybe in the next decade or so indian cinema will snap out of its coma, wiggle its toes and awaken to the fact that cinema about children or for children need not be childish.why do adults underestimate the intellectual capacities of younger people?whether it be baby talking, “oogie, woogie, my litttul cootie-poo”, or filling their brains with useless clutter and mumbo-jumbo about their own (the adults’) misgotten sense of good or bad?if bollywood and indian television are to be believed then our children are all cute, little pink, fluffy things that stand up, and in endearing, syrupy tones say, “I love you daddy”, every three minutes. (gag)if the reader is wondering why this raving tirade?i watched yet another iranian masterpiece yesterday… i find iranian cinema as refreshing to the soul as hot, freshly, baked bread with a big blob of butter, dipped in chai.one of my favorites is ali talebi's, ‘bag of rice’. a simple story about a four year old and her friend, a 70ish old woman, who go out to buy a bag of rice.yesterday, i watched, ‘turtles can fly’, an iranian film by bahman ghobadi, set in the iraqi-turkish borders in a refugee camp.what i like about this film is its lack of syrup, and the near absence of any controlling adults. the children, with their grimy, unwashed faces and total lack of guile, carry in the baskets on their backs, unexploded mines, not turtles…once you have noticed that, you notice some of the children carry crutches, and agrin never smiles… i am not going to write anymore about the film… i think it is best watched, imbibed and ruminated over slowly.it certainly is a reminder to us cushy asses that yes, we do have a lot of candy fluff and we are mighty lucky…that there is a world beyond potter… and for all those who thought koi mil gaya, krrish and chain khulii ki main kulii were great children’s films, go buy yourself a barbie or something.
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 12:17 PM 0 comments
Friday, July 6, 2007

naked (do you have my attention now?)
she was dressed in a flimsy white bra and black panties, brandishing what looked like a baseball bat. i almost spilled my coffee when i saw her. i could not take my eyes off her face. her face was arresting, frozen in agitation and anger. her eyes were open very wide, and her hair hung around her face. i spotted a mangalsutra around her neck.a 22 year old from rajkot had to strip to her underwear to be taken notice of…i looked in shock and horror at the photograph that stared at me from the morning newspaper. the picture also had a couple of men in the background on a scooter; they had leering smiles on their faces, as they looked on as if they could not believe their luck at the sight that greeted them.who is this child-woman? what drove her to do something like this? i have not been able to stop thinking of her. i can almost feel the rain and the damp on my skin, the gravel under my feet, i can hear the honking of cars, i can feel the jostle and push of a hundred gaping men, i can feel their lewd eyes rake my skin…she was harassed and abused, her complaints to the police had gone unnoticed.one day, she took off her sari, blouse and petticoat and paraded down the streets…i am amazed at her courage.and i feel sick to be part of a world that coerces a young woman to resort to nakedness to be heard, and then indulges in abject voyeurism.why am i so disturbed? do i not subscribe to the sanctions of the same society? would i be willing to disown it and live in its fringes?we watch semi nude women in our films and music videos all the time, we even hum along and not bat an eyelid. we live in a society that permits this, but is outraged by a girl's desperate attempt at protest.for all my progressiveness, i am no different... i am ashamed of myself.what are these times that we live in... where little girls lead a cloistered life because the people need a goddess; where women are branded witches and paraded naked, lynched; beautiful young faces sell soap and detergent or shampoos; when did our bodies become our identities?the weaker sex, the fairer sex, the second sex, the better half, the venusians, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, sirens, saints, goddesses, witches, bitches, victims, martyrs ... screw all these labels, the stereotypes and expectations that they bring with them...we are just women.my heart goes out to that girl who marched in the rain...
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 4:48 PM 4 comments
Wednesday, July 4, 2007

arbitrary conjectures of a delusory mind
when we were younger and had more courage, we had simpler explanations for pain.you fall, you scrape your knee, your knee hurt. simple cause and visible effect.we had the courage to pick ourselves up and brush the grit out of our scraped knees and run again… as we grow older, we grow more fragile, our hearts feebler and our spines wilt with past disappointments and craggy remnants of fear.i realize how arbitrary life is.every once in a while we stumble upon a coincidence or find connectedness and we re-assure ourselves that there is still divinity, hope, and effect follows cause follows effect, in an endless chain of smoke rings…in all this bumbling about we even find a warm spot to stay in for a while. we find love.love. this is not a word i use freely.for some time, i could never say this word. it would get jammed in my throat or coat my tongue like the after taste of a particularly nasty pill.and now, when I linger in this little spot of warm, the unease too lingers like a persistent deja vu.love and i have made our acquaintance, several times over… and i see her for what a bitch and a delusional rush she can be.i realize how arbitrary love is.if you have it, you wane to its importance, if you don’t, it consumes you with longing for it, it teaches you to crawl, beg and suffer every humiliation and indignity, it lulls you into a coma of smug, complacency, it eludes you, deludes you, empties you, you chase after it or it chases after you…i realize how arbitrary the chase is.does staying put help? or does one just have to take longer strides?what happens when you have outrun the chaser? does it get lonely at the finishing line? is there a finishing line at all?what if you have caught up with the one you are chasing? what do you do then? sit down and have some tea? what after that?i realize how arbitrary speculation is.the only truth that i have, is this one moment. the only constant is right now.and now is a good enough place to be...
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 4:57 PM 8 comments
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

the quiet of the day's end
at day's end when all witticism fades, and the false cheer ebbs, there is very little else. we return to our lives of endless details. the woman in the mirror seems stranger today, more distant, even remote, like the hazy imprint of an old dageurotype. she is fickle, this woman.it smells of mothballs and old, dusty pages, this evening... it must be the rain... the trilling of a hundred frogs weaves a blanket into the damp, night sky. the blades of the ceiling fan hum a staccato tune. but there is also quiet. the quiet of the day's end.
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 8:54 PM 3 comments
Monday, July 2, 2007

crumbs, bits and zilch
i am consumed by panic that this blog will wilt and die and turn into a 'ghost blog'. i read about these today... abandoned blogs that float around the web like jaded rubber ducks. they have a name for every bloody thing, these postmodern floozies! what if this was just a short burst of self-assumed-genius and the truth is that i am just some sad, fat bitch in the middle of a mid-life-crisis with a few good friends? over the past few days, i have been trying so hard to write, but just could never get around to it. i find myself looking at an empty screen, the cursor blinking... obstinate, dashed line going twink, twink... the words just never arrive. its going to be easy to brand this as the writer's block, blame it on the rain, on pre/post menstrual stress, on my non-existent pet fish, but i am not indulging in such misplaced vanity. i intend this blog to be honest... if it is to be a drudge at times, so be it, i am nobody's performing monkey and life's no feature length movie either. but i am going to sit my ass on that chair and drum out something everyday... got to write. got to write...
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 8:39 PM 4 comments

why the ostrich has a bald head and other questions?
I wrote this story a good while ago, it is an adaptation from kipling's 'just so stories'. I intended this to be a children's tale... but the story decided to tell itself...In the high and far of times, O best beloved, there lived an elephant, wrinkled like a prune with a bump for her nose. They called her Chinnamooku, for she was little. In her wrinkled belly were a lot of questions, all wriggling to break free, Chinnamooku was full of insatiable curiosity you see.She asked her aunt, the Ostrich why she had a bald head, her uncle the Giraffe, why his neck was so long, her cousin, the Cheetah, why he was so spotty, the Snail, why she carried her house around, until she got spanked by each and every one of them.But Chinnamooku’s insatiable curiosity grew larger with each spanking.One day, best beloved, a new wriggly, extra wiggly question jiggled in her belly.“What does a crocodile have for dinner?”, then everybody said, “Husssshh”, in loud stern voices and spanked her immediately!You see, in a pond nearby, there lived Morattu Modalai. Morattu Modalai, was a crocodile who wore a frown. He was an unusual croc and not one bit like a rock.They say, he wore a smile once, until one night, his smile slipped, somersaulted and became a big, clinging frown.Best beloved, let’s call the croc Morattan for short, shall we?Morattan had big, bushy eyebrows, like two, sleepy, fuzzy caterpillars catching a nap in the sun. In his favorite corner, he perched, swishing his tail, surveying his pond… always in the same corner, did he perch, best beloved!Chinnamooku, meanwhile, could not contain her insatiable curiosity any longer and set out to find out what the crocodile has for dinner. She took with her seventeen bananas and four melons, which she ate on her way.Now, you understand, O best beloved, until that day, Chinnamooku had never seen a crocodile and did not know what one was like. On her way, she met Paambu, all of 62 meters of coils and hisses. She finished her fourteenth banana and threw it way, for she could not pick it up, and asked Paambu, “have you seen a crocodile?”Then her insatiable curiosity got the better of her and many questionlets wiggled in her belly. “Why is your tongue forked?” she asked.Yes! Best beloved, she got spanked. How clever of you to guess?!So she went on her way, swaying her ears until she stepped on a big log of wood in the shallow end of the pond. The log blinked an eye and raised a shaggy, fuzzy, black eyebrow.Can you imagine, Morattan’s surprise when he saw a little, dumpy elephant with a bump for a nose and a question-filled wiggly, belly?“Excuse me, said Chinnamooku, as politely as she could, “but have you seen a crocodile in these parts?” Morattan raised his other caterpillary eyebrow at what he thought was a rather foolish question, and also his flaily, scaly, tail for effect.But best beloved, Chinnamooku was not scared, she had never seen a crocodile before, remember? “Oh, your smile has slipped and somersaulted”, she said, much to Morattan’s surprise. Nobody had looked at him long enough to make such a remark, no one else had been so unafraid, you see?That angered Morattan Modalai, so he opened his jaws wide and clamped them on Chinnamooku’s bumpy nose, thundering in his deepest, frowny rumble, “I AM THE CROCODILE!”How do I describe to you what happened next, best beloved? Chinnamooku pulled and pulled and Morattan pulled and pulled.The coconut trees that lined the pond quivered, the water in the pond churned and turned. For seven months and three nights, Chinnamooku and Morattan pulled and pulled.Until one day, they both fell back in exhaustion. The water turned still and the coconut trees stood up straight.Chinnamooku sat on her haunches with a bump and looked at her reflection, her jaw fell open and all the wriggly questions in her belly poured out in a tumbled heap. Her nose had stretched and pulled till it looked like a trunk!She could flick it around and shoo a fly, pick up more melons to eat, use it like a straw and drink water, even throw slush over herself to cool off a bit.Morattan Modalai, sat back on his thorny tail and looked down into his pond. The somersaulted smile had somersaulted again. His frown was replaced by a grinny smile.They studied each other in the stillness of the once churned, much turned, pond.I don’t know how the story ends, best beloved, some say that Chinnamooku and Morattan Modalai looked at one another for so long that time turned them into stone, the tumbled questions were picked up by the wind and scattered onto the four corners of the earth, some others say that Chinnamooku and Morattan each went their way and the waters of the pond remain calm until this day.That, best beloved is the story of Chinnamooku and Morattan Modalai as I choose to tell it, while the wind still whispers, and an odd ripple lingers in the pond….
Posted by Kavita Arvind at 5:34 PM 3 comments