Saturday, October 8, 2016

This was not her story

It was ordinary for her. It was exceptional for him. She compared it to the many before. He had not much precedence. She forgot about it soon after it was over. For him the feeling lingered for weeks. She went about life like nothing had happened. While he was bewitched and lived under a spell.

She often wondered if romance resided only in insipid rom-coms where the bad boy magically altered his callous ways for his lady love. But enter the next handsome charmer with a winning smile and she was bowled over. She was attracted to the cocky ones. With the instant chemistry and unbridled passion. The lust and romance. The intensity and drama. She then tried harder. She went further. Thinking that would make them stay. She even bent over. Though that hurt like hell. But it always ended the same way. In heartbreak. With them forgetting her almost as easily as they were attracted to her. She could not break the pattern. Nice bored her. Sweetness tired her. She liked it spicy. Much like biting into a chilli padi. The burnt crimson should be a deterrent. But the sensation on her tongue was intoxicating, getting her to throw caution to winds yet again. 

Sitting in an idyllic beach bar, she twisted her straw mindlessly. He watched her from a distance. Awe stuck at her nonchalant manner. He did not believe she would be interested but he could not resist sending her a drink. She turned to look at him and mouthed a thank you. Her lips were wonderfully shaped, like if she kissed an envelope the pink lipstick would make a perfect kiss shape. He gingerly gestured to sit on the stool next to hers. She shrugged like she couldn't care either way. He sat down, more confidently than he felt.

He was drawn. She was not altogether repulsed, like his ex-wife used to be. He took that as a positive sign and asked her to dance. She laughed almost rolling her eyes but his vulnerability stopped her. He seemed un-chilly like. Almost chocolaty.

After a few dances, she agreed to go for walk on the beach. They sat on the soft silvery sand. He talked. She pretended to listen. He was enthralled. She was vaguely curious. He leaned forward, anticipating the head tilt, so he could kiss her. Instead she stretched her body backwards lifting her head towards the starlit sky. Suddenly she faced him, came forward and placed those perfect lips on his. A kiss that was hungry yet sensuous. He kissed her slowly, enthralled. Then she pulled back. He held her hand and they sat silently listening to the night sounds. She stood up and said she had a wonderful evening.  

They exchanged numbers. He was already planning the next date. She was already forgetting this one. This was not her story. All she wanted was to become immortal in someone else's. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

O Weary Traveler- A Poem

O weary traveler
Come sit awhile
Your travels can wait
Your worries will abate
If you just simply sit awhile

O weary traveler
Let your shoulders rest
Take off those bags
Slip into some homely rags
Even strong shoulders need a good slump

O weary traveler
Put up those feet
Put that coffee table to good use
Your shoe rack misses your shoes
Long-traveled legs long for some rest

O weary traveler
Can I help you unpack?
That baggage of painful memories
That load of sorrowful guilt
Lay it all out, step by step

Don't be shy, open it up
Let's show and tell
Believe me I have my share
I carry it around everywhere
I too now need to put it down

O weary traveler
Let's put this baggage down
Come sit beside me
Come sit awhile

Saturday, September 3, 2016

High School Stereotypes that don't go away

I was at Sanil's school yesterday for the Curriculum Evening for middle school. Three plus hours of walking from class to class for teacher briefings. Objective was to put ourselves in our kids shoes to understand their schedule and expectations from the teachers. Sanil warned me it was 'lame' and I 'did not have to do everything the school asked' and 'be Ms. Goody Two-Shoes' all the time. I did not pay heed to his advice. 

Very kindly the school advised parents to wear comfortable shoes. That advice I totally heeded. I was very sensibly dressed. 

- No legs, no cleavage show (have to look mum-like)
- Glasses firmly perched on my nose (so I could read the slides)
- Jeans and Long sleeves top (so I don't freeze in the air con)
- Minimal make up- just light lipstick (same reason point No. 1)

But at the last minute, just before I was rushing to catch my Uber, I slipped on my latest acquisition. A ring. Now women my age should adorn solitaires or semi precious stones at the minimum. My ring was this:

- Picked up at a local flea market
- Designed by comic enthusiast who makes jewelry from original comics. Batman cuff links anyone?
- And truly and totally irreverent

No one else noticed. No one would care. But I love doing one tiny little thing that does not conform. Always have...

I was also the one who carried my small pink notebook in my purse to jot down important points during the teacher talk. 

I was back at being the nerdy girl in school who lived in her own world.

Then I looked around the classroom and found every one of the stereotypes

1) The Front Bencher- The first one to put the hand up to ask questions
2) The Cute Guy- on the next table, who is always taken
3) The Flirty Chic- who would chat with every handsome male teacher after each session 
4) The Lost Guy- who moved from class to class following the herd and totally unsure why he was there in the first place (reckon this was his wife's punishment for forgetting some anniversary)
5) The Social Butterfly- who flitted from parent to parent exchanging numbers and creating whatsapp groups at speed of lightening
6) The Man's-Man- who walked around like he was in command but in reality was only there as his wife insisted he get 'more involved with the kids education'

And I am not even getting into the nation stereotypes like the Asian dad who took on the challenge to solve the Math equations the teacher had put up on the board. Or the desi sherni mom who asked about the dates of the first assessments and wrote them on her thick bound folder in deep red ink (ok, there was no folder. It was a piece of paper. And the pen could've been blue)

I could not help but our inherent traits ever change? I am still the girl who stands away from crowds, talks to only few people she knows and always sits at the corner tables where she can get in and out unnoticed. 

So if we have not changed since High School, why do we expect others to act differently? 

The jerk who broke your heart in college is no different from the grown up man who at 40 still suffers from commitment phobia.

Or the popular cheerleader who was nice to you only because she wanted to borrow your notes, is no different from the mother who only calls you when she wants pick up/drop off favors from soccer class.

Or the cool kids who want you in the study group but not in the fancy parties are the same ones who would reach out when they need help to organise a community event but not have you over for the after-party.

But then, just like that, you find your people. The girl who was shy but had a wacky sense of humor. The boy who read Fountainhead at 14 but was not pretentious about it. The mum who suppressed a giggle every time sherni wrote in her bound folder with the red pen. The man who was more comfortable chatting with the kids and getting to know them rather than strategizing to impress the teacher. The lady with a resting bitch face like yours which actually hides the mischievous glint in her eyes.

Next time you are at a school, in office or at a networking event, look around carefully. You will find your crowd- those people with whom you feel like you truly belong.

They existed in high school and and they are around now. And once you find them every PTA meeting is as much fun as being back in the college canteen.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Breaking Down- a poem

You broke me like no storm could

You crushed me like no fist dared

You pierced me like no arrow before

You hurt me tons more than the tons of bricks before you

You burnt me like no fire did, though several did attempt

I thought I would rise like a Phoenix from the ashes

But even a Phoenix has a breaking point

Before it revives and is reborn

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Short Story: When Sullen met Lonely

He saw her at the corner table, pushing her errant hair away from her face, as she exhibited some frown lines while focusing on her book. After a few minutes she looked up and glanced outside. She saw a young mother wipe baby chino foam off her little toddler's mouth. He stood on his tippy toes and kissed his mother's nose. She looked away like she had witnessed an intimate mother-child moment that she should not be privy too. Her face had a half-smile but her eyes seemed sad. 

He named her Lonely.

She saw him look at her from his Economist while his latte sat on the table getting cold. She did not understand people who did not have the food at the temperature it was meant to be consumed at. It felt like an insult to the food in question. His dark eyes appeared to have forbidden secrets, hidden fears, or she reckoned, a bit of both. 

She named him Sullen.

I am old and grey and my eyes are weak, but see things young people don't. Sullen had recently quit is job to pursue his love of food. He tried a new cafe everyday to understand how he could make his cafe unique. 

I named him Passion.

Lonely was a kindergarten teacher. She loved books and babies in that order. Today was the first day of the summer break and she was already missing her kids who were off for their vacations. Her eyes were misty thinking about how it would be many weeks before she saw them all again. 

I named her Hopeful.

Sullen and Lonely would never give each other a chance. How I wish they could see each other through my eyes.