Thursday, November 3

a deewali lost, a deewali found

A tired but not swollen throat
A 4 day holiday
Promise lurking on a mythical horizon

Trains wheeze bye. Memories of another Deewali. Washed earthen lamps in a washed phenyled courtyard. a dollop of ghee in the lamps, cotton wicks. The man sitting on an uncomfortable pheeda fidgeting with his socks, the dampness of the courtyard irritates him less, the nagging of his wife on a now thoroughly wet socks irritates him more.
3 eager children lurked around, waiting for the ritual to get over, the earthen lamps to be lit, the muted prayers to be said. Crackers waited in the bedroom. Childhood packed in polythene bags, waiting to be opened, mauled with , played with. Sweetmeats were arranged in the plate, in studied symmetry, pink with pink, yellow with yellow.
The simplicity of a homespun symmetrical deewali will haunt later. Much later.
In a now, far off from a then...
In a now, deewali got clogged in network, deewali got stuck in traffic jam, deewali got enticed by retail reward points, it planned a weekend getaway, it soaked on the beanbag at home. In a rare moment it showed solidarity to its phenyled courtyard cousin and reached a sweaty, smoky but lit Marine Drive.
Childhood sky brightened the Marine Drive and exploded loudly before it merged with dark anonymous adult sky. A sky for another sky. A bright cheerful sky for a ill-lit dark sky.A hopeless exchange.
At InOrbit Malad the happily retailed family flashed their cheap shinning goggles, as another mother not - as- symmetrical wiped off the Coca Cola with a soggy napkin. Retail family dropped rice puffs into the shopping cart, then candles, then designer earthen wares. Retail families brought Deewali happiness paying with their credit cards. Not- as - symmetrical mother scolded shining goggled son for dropping something else that enticed him.
Rice puffs, candles, designer earthen wares. Happiness. Deewali.All mortgaged with a bank. I turn to another face, another mother, she was part of a world we had shared. a childhood that too had exploded , given in to a dark unexplainable adult world.
We had been girls together.We had nursed our crushes , confronted our fears together.We had done smaller things too. We had made chicken curry.In another world, bent on the steaming cooker, spotted the same piece, held it with a spoon and tasted it. and approved its cooked consistency.Together.
Now we were standing on the opposite sides of an unbalanced world. The tied back bun were careless tresses once...they talked freely. without an inhibition.They were held back now and tied a story in the knots.
A story of marriage. A story of a daughter-in-law, of children being born,of children going to school, of roles played well, of roles failed. The bun was less forthcoming as we shared the noodles with the retail boom at the backdrop.
My own tresses must have told her a tale. Of a sky lost. of another sky found. will it find prime time audience in her son as he is put to bed?
We were standing on the opposite sides of an unbalanced world.
We finished the noodles in agreed silence, she picked up the bag and signaled to the son. The father, the mother and the son walk away. The picture perfect family walked away watched over by a pair of adult eyes.
Outside the November evening dissolved into the dark night.


Sunil K Poolani said...

good thoughts on the diwali just went by; stray thoughts though. try to be a bit more serious when observing life and also give it a bit more clarity in thought. then it could be much more interesting. but keep writing, that's one way to go ahead in life. bon voyage!
sunil k poolani

The Devil Within said...

you have been improving with every passing piece of writing...just one suggestion, try and bring in a bit of positiveness to your writings.

Sunil K Poolani said...

I am getting this cramp once in a while, while in office, and feeling tired, oh, feeling sleepy, as in the night time I rarely get sleep and here is this hunger lingering in me and no apetite too. Well, that's the time I lean back on my chair and visit your blog, well, it soothes me, I am not kidding, it's like killing pain by reading pain. I hope you write more, and, yes, I am working more now, the perspective and application towards my work have changed, and I am, again, finding beauty in my surroundings. Keep walking and keep writing. There is no better herb that is more medicinal that would soothe the body and soul than this. Amen.

Sunil K Poolani said...

Shuchika dear, I was just reading a poem by CP Sunrendran, an old friend and enemy, and I found that his poetry and your prose have a lot in common. Here it goes:


While you were sleeping
A dog yawned in the sun
And in the distance,
A train, blindfolded by a tunnel,
Window by window
Regained vision.
I thought of all the things
That could happen
When we are looking away,
The universe we miss in a blink.

shikha said...

Now we were standing on the opposite sides of an unbalanced world. The tied back bun were careless tresses once...they talked freely. without an inhibition.They were held back now and tied a story in the knots.


I love your play with the words:)