Radios 

Radios are a huge part of our life, which I find really strange. We have radios, proper radios in every room, which are maintained and cleaned and changed every now or then. Basically, it’s a part of our life. If a room doesn’t have a radio, and someone’s sleeping in it, they’d switch on the mobile radio – a radio is in all circumstances necessary. And although I don’t notice the radios in my house a lot (I do appreciate them), I’d find it really uneasy if someone told me they had a radio in their house, or that they listened to the radio. It sounds so yesterday, even the Mobile App seems completely useless and unnecessary -for other people. 
It’s 23:36 here and I’m just taking this time to appreciate radios. I usually listen to Quran, 99% of the time. It’s a comfortable, nostalgic, relaxing choice that I don’t get bored of. A room with Quran on (on the radio, not YouTube. That just makes it different) makes the room darker, and much much more relaxing and homely. It’s a great way to go to sleep too, if you’re having sleeping problems. Well, obviously it wouldn’t work for everyone, but it blocks my thoughts and puts me to sleep. 

I wonder if people who work on radio channels still exist. 

I want to be left in India for a month. Alone. With no nights, only fresh, early mornings. 

عسى في يوم تعرف فيه كبير قدرك. 

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This week’s pleasures #1

It’s a Wednesday (or is it a Tuesday?) and little things have been keeping my mind happy daily, and each day comes with a happier and a more pleasing event than the day before it.  As a recap, this week’s been very eventful, more so looking at the fact that it’s summer: a pretty uneventful period if you don’t travel. And so, in such months and periods such as summer, you have to concentrate and derive all your happiness from the little day-to-day things. Things that made me happy this week:

  •         A close friend of mine got married on Saturday, and it was a very unbelievable (and still unbelievable) sort of day. It was fun getting excited about it together, all of us, and the usual things and pleasures that accompany weddings. It was my first closest friend’s wedding, so it made our whole week, or our whole month you’d say. We burst into smiles whenever we see each other; wide, wide smiles. We talked in loud, loud voices, and talking in such a loud voice never felt so good. Overall, it was a fun week, and my feelings about her getting married are still mixed.
  •        My brother started going to a summer camp/nursery and I go to a centre for classes, and mine is just beside his, and so I was given the job of taking him there, and tolerating his crying sprees and forcing him into classes, and actually, at the end of it, it was totally worth it. At the end of the week, it makes me so happy to watch him run to his class, when at the beginning of the week, he wouldn’t leave my side for a second. It fees nice having him sleep on the way back and to the place in my lap and on my shoulder and in all his weird positions. And it feels nice when he tells me in the morning while drinking his glass of milk, worried, that he doesn’t want to go with someone else. I’m glad I could live this period of his life with him, it sure was an entertaining experience.

Other than that, it’s the littler than little things – which make me just as happy – such as having a good argument, finding out a new point of view, sharing the same feelings with someone, meeting with friends and actually missing them, talking with an old friend after a long time just like the old times, getting an email from an old teacher (made my day to be honest), having my first migraine, having a proper taking-care-of -yourself day, not fasting on a day after fasting for several days, having a little tiny coincidence while going about your day….

Alhamdullilah ..

Stepping into 18..

April 6th 8:58

“April 6th”. I just realized this now: this is my last night as a 17 year-old. Finally. No, scratch that off. That sounds like I’m happy. I’m not sad, but I’m not happy either you know.. Who likes change? And being 17 is quite a pleasure, especially when you’re the only one in your batch who’s 17. It’s not something to boast about, but it’s something. You could say it’s something interesting.

I could try remembering this time last year. I was writing something similar, but to myself. I can’t remember where that is now. But this time last year wasn’t much different. I can’t remember how I felt about being 17, but my room felt the same. Exactly the same. Maybe the same purple blankets as now too?

I’m gonna be 18. That doesn’t matter. I’ve heard it quite often, it doesn’t beget any feelings, but I am queasy about leaving 17 behind. I don’t know what being 18 means. But change is fascinating. This time, next year, I’d probably be saying the same things, about being 18 and how I don’t want to leave it behind, and how 19 is a new and strange territory. I’d’ve gotten used to “18”.

How did today go though? Would I have tried to make it more special if I had known it was my last day as a 17 year-old? I don’t know… Today was very normal. I exfoliated my lips with raspberry rose lip balm and finally did it right (it’s not so hard to do). My previous days hadn’t been as productive as today, I had long stretches of free time today and did everything I was planning to do. Tomorrow might be special, but not because it’s my birthday. I hope all goes well tomorrow. You know, if I had a choice, I’d celebrate 6th instead of 7th. Well, that doesn’t make sense, but celebrating a birthday doesn’t make sense to me either, so if I am gonna do it, might as well do it as I like right?

I don’t know what to feel about it. I’m not excited, I’m not disinterested. Well, actually, I am. I’m not in the least interested. I think that’s sort of obvious. I’m forcing myself to feel something and I don’t even know why. Let’s wait and watch then I guess? Or maybe I should forget this… But then again, it’s not every day that you have a reason to feel something..

15 November 2015

And I don’t think I know what love is yet, but I’m bursting with a feeling that I do think is love. I’m bursting with it, and reforming by the second, and I’ve been warned of the end, but the smile it draws on my face is so heart-warming and so so addictive, and I just cannot stop thinking about it. I’m in the delusion that it can end whenever I want it to, or that it’ll end by itself. Because there is something about a certain matte brown against a certain cloudy, baby blue sky that lifts your heart so badly, that pops it, and I don’t know exactly what else but the feeling can never really be put into words. And I had liked to think of love as someone with bushy eyebrows, who completes my ‘mein ho Thumri’ with ‘Dadra mein’ and who has a backdrop of beauty in his life, and smells of after-rain, and mumbles ‘democracy is so messed up’ and ‘India actually makes sense’ in his sleep, and chants numbers by the second, and hisses ‘oh god, I’m so in love with your religion’ by the second, and flip flops around the house in black slippers dragging behind him a thousand midnight gardens and a thousand moons dipped in star-spangled rivers, and rough, red hands… but the thing is, on my way to love, I’ve fallen in love with the process of falling in love so badly that if I give enough time to rocks, and shoes, and eyelashes, I fall hopelessly and addictively in love with them, and if I walk the same path two days in a row, I fall in love with it, and if I suddenly hear someone’s voice on the telephone, I fall in love with it, and I think I’ve fallen in love with half of the world here and there, and there’s no further to go, and no further I’d like to go: I’ve reached somewhere.
(P.S. I still won’t admit that this isn’t cheesy, especially at the beginning )

Huuuffff huffff huuffff Heavy breathing broke into her dreams. A hand unsurely felt along her arm.. up and down.. back up again… She felt a wave of warm air hit her ear and she, chokingly, in a fit of sweat, turned her head slowly to the left. She froze. Frozen hazelnut eyes stared back. Her heart juggled, and a sudden dizziness hit her; their gazes remained locked. Another wave of warm air hit below her eyes and she moved just enough to let the sweat run down diagonally into her nose. Melting eyelids chunkily slipped and closed shut. White eyelashes stuck out from under the flesh blanket. The lower lips drooped sideways. A fine streak of white twinkled on the top of a fleshy wall of skin by the glow of a passing car’s headlights. The shadow of the car travelled across an old woman’s face. She was naked. Another wave of warm air pushed a descending piece of dust from the fan into her nose. It stuck onto the couple of drops of sweat. She jerked up, nearly sneezing, terrified, and suddenly realizing that the naked woman must be cold, and with it, it suddenly rang in her head who the woman was:  her husband’s grandmother. Getting up, she bundled the old woman in her lap, took her to bed. She was naked, with only a petticoat on her which she probably hadn’t managed to take off. Putting the woman to bed, she returned to her room and closed the door behind her. She stood there reviving her breath for a few seconds. She turned back and locked the door. Compassion couldn’t win over terror, another such incident would make her extremely uncomfortable. She slowly fell down into her bed, trying to console her terrified heart. Another car’s shadow travelled across the wall and she relaxed. Another shadow; her eyelids started dropping… Suddenly, she heard a swipe across the floor… As if someone was crawling along the corridor.. towards her room… She froze. Thump.. thummp..THUMP..thump… A wired, bleached laugh crackled outside her door.

An evening’s dreams

The air feels pressing tonight. Like a hundred people who you’ve gotten used to living around with have suddenly gotten up and left, and you’re left alone gaping at walls and listening to dead echoes, and generally gone white-static insane.
I’m needing 5-second lay-downs every two minutes or so. Too fatigued and I’m letting it run me over. Sometimes those lay-downs stretch into 5-minute naps, and I wallow into a dream.
Greatly-nostalgic marble staircases that my heart cries at the sight of. An old room from an old dream. Great height buildings which on the rooftop of I’m stuck, and the wind blows and I feel sick and dizzy and the only way out is a dark, cemented, horribly claustrophobic, impossible-to-get through passage, but somehow I stuff my way down and my head hits the side of the bathtub and a beam of sunlight dizzyingly teases me from the top (‘I told you to stay where you were’) and I look up knowing full well that I’m stuck and that there is no choice anymore and the beam shines and jugs and buckets and water fall onto my head and suddenly mom opens a door and “Where the hell were you? Come along”
Asleep again… Looking for Nani’s white glasses and I find it under the bed but for some reason I stay in that position: Body on the bed, head and arms underneath. And people come to look at me – a quick glance – like I’m some body that cannot be talked to – a dead body. A dead body of someone who hasn’t got anyone and the neighbors come to look at his body merely out of curiosity – a speculation. All the while I want to say ‘I found nani’s glasses’ but then decide that they wouldn’t really like to see it or more like I wouldn’t really want to show it.
So many dreams, wonderful ones, so much better than the emptiness that has been introduced to your life, and you knew a hundred things to get rid of, but… you fall asleep again.

A Little Trickle Of India

Fleeting streams of light glided in. The sky chugged with a palette of colors swamped with blue.

‘Aloo hai, Gobi hai, Tamater hai… Aloo hai, Gobi hai, Tamater hai…’ The lulling voice made me smile. The national song: Go anywhere in the country, and you’d still hear it, at all times of day, from all kinds of people.

Dozens of birds chirping with a quaver; hens clucking from all over the neighborhood, and nani beside me, intently praying. Slow, cool winds, unlike the night’s harsh ones blow in through the windows, forcing your eyes closed, drawing a smile on your face.

Sometimes, we’d water the plants, the 100s of plants (99, to be exact), as we watched the morning slowly sneak in, and people in neighboring houses wake up, wash their face, brush their teeth, check up on their goats and horses, all done in an unhurried, routinely fashion.

*****

Out on the street. Scrambling for a rickshaw. Noise, noise, and noise. ‘Bailey road, Bailey road, Bailey road’ goes a rickshaw driver singing. Overstepping dog shit here, and a mid-road drain brimming with pee there. Muddy puddles of water choked with litter. ‘Bhaiyya, Gandhi maidan jayingai?’. Dirty water flowing into the road. Little bundles of grass in horrible states. ‘Akhthooo’ A man spitting red liquid onto the path. A man peeing at the side (“where’s the biggest toilet in the world?” “India… kahin bhi kardo”). Ice cream corner. Another woman squats down, lifts up her saree, and starts trickling out liquid from several places. ‘Allah kai naam pai dedo’ rumbles by a beggar. ‘Chalis mein chalingai?’. We sit on the rickshaw and we’re off, amidst a road full of insane, undisciplined cars that know no rule, rickshaws, cycles, cows, and bulls, and a thousand horns per second.

So I met one of my teachers, who had recently – 3 years back – ran into a car accident, today, and it wasn’t expected and I didn’t know what to say or do or if I needed to or had to do something. I knew I did want to go to her, and that she wasn’t the same. She had aged. She was young when she wasn’t supposed to be so I think age sort of caught up with her. And it wasn’t that she had aged, but that she had… aged?

I’m not one for consoling people or getting consoled but there are times when it’s not just some girl in your class crying because a teacher shouted at her, this was real, and you don’t mess those up. I did say some stuff out of nowhere.

She said ‘I’m sorry, I can’t remember you’ and was I disappointed? Yeah. I think  she would’ve loved to know that I still cared, but I think other people did that job. And she was the school librarian who always had the Quran in hand and would always recite to me. And she was ever so nice, and I was nice, but i wish mine was more genuine, and it was, but not down-right sincere, I wasn’t engulfed in it. 

I imagine how frustrating it must be to lose memory. How does one lose memory? How does one believe it’s impossible to get it back? How does one deal with someone deteriorating with positivity? I’ve had people I’ve known die, and it’s not the same. You don’t miss that person much, you aren’t reminded of them all the time. But to see a person, from what they where, to what they became, is not easy. 

She has changed…

I remember when I got to know the news, I just sat there gaping: two people I know. And no no no, two of the best teachers? Really? And they told me that one of them was in a coma but they didn’t know which one, and I had a fleeting hope: I hope it’s not that one. And I slapped myself. How can I think selfishly about it? How can I even think that?  But it made it easier. Coma doesn’t last, she’s going to snap out of it, obviously. I know her, people dying in their coma is the sort of stuff you read in newspapers right? Yeah yeah

I wanted to go up to her and take her hand, and her relief would give me relief. Selfishly. And bury myself in her lap, because someone’s who been through terror and aging and memory loss has somehow crossed the border, and is safe, secure. And maybe lying down next to her would do nothing, but it’ll give you a delusion and delusions are a security, a comfort, delusions are a bliss.

The parts we are

The parts we are. Every conversation and every moment in our lives creates us. And each moment and each conversation is the small block that makes the bigger picture. And how no one can ever own a person fully because they’re divided into so many parts, and to own them you’d have to chase the parts and maybe, live it with them to be part of it, and you still wouldn’t own them because they’d’ve their thoughts which you certainly can’t own. And it’s so frustrating because you want to get close to a person but you can’t but you’ve got to try, and at least your best, and get to the closest you can.

And so when a person dies, they aren’t exactly dead. They’re parts of someone else; they’re still parts of people. And these people are parts of others, and a person is transferred from one to the next, and never diminishes and if someone bothered, they could search for all the parts and piece up that person once again. And how authors and influential people are immortal because they’ve preserved themselves in books, and live into infinity. And I’m thinking about how I always have to show people my face to be recognized, and how recognition is just that part of the person in you coming into sharper focus, and how some parts chunk up together and others apart which creates a harmony, and that is how the music of the people is created…