At the JC. Road signal, a pillion rider, a small girl clung to her father on an activa.
Her feet dangled in half-worn running shoes, and her pony tail bounced as her father cut left at Poornima theatre. It was then that I realised why I was watching them both.
It was the way he was slowly riding. There was a comma of pause he took before every hump, so that it was almost a full stop. Even the frenzy crossing of Bishop Cotton ladies wouldn’t disturb the pause.
Then he made a right and I saw with glee, a masked toddler-rider standing upright and small, between his father and the activa’s front.
Like this, one child in front, one in back, a man slowly rode his two-wheeler on a bright march Bangalore morning.
The rain, by the front door where I watch it fall, is only in its effects. Nothing like the way I imagine it from inside, where it falls on the house in sounds: splatters, drips, trips, pattars, thwacks, & pachaks. By the steps, it gushes in soundless patterns as if letting go after too much withholding. Outside the compound, it flows down the road, in a fierce, determined brown, the kind that means the tea is perfect. In a far away country, I once stepped out to find that it had been raining for a while, with no warning. Where is the rain if there’s nothing for it to fall on, alva? Without gudgud, without laughter? Like it does here from pipes sticking out of pakkad manè, as the French say. Or freezes itself into white droplets on thick black wires, trickling into each other now, running away now. On mosaic, it falls with clarity. On granite, with purpose. On marble, with glory. On my palm, with giggles. But no one has quite learnt to catch it like the trees do. After all, only they seem to know what to do when it rains – stand themselves in utter, brilliant solitude, refusing to go anywhere, soaking it all in, shivering only when they want to.
Something they don’t tell you when you first start writing is that when you keep doing it, you lose people. At first you won’t notice it because it’s absurd that this should happen. Then you see it and you can’t unsee it. Then there will be sleepless nights like these where you wonder if you will get people back if you stop writing. You feel smaller than ever when you realise that you’ve actually already stopped. It’s too late. Thankfully, the gates are only closed, never locked and you can open them whenever you want to.
“Our surest way of disappointing him will be to ask him nothing about it” said Elizabeth Bennet to Caroline Bingley.
There is truth to this.
Don’t ask them questions
— any kind of questions, especially ones that make you feel most naked.
Especially if them is a him.
Take that affection and put it in plants.
At least, they will grow –
even fucking succulents – who are as dramatic
as dramatic can be
will return more affection.
then take that affection and put it into making a nice reading corner for yourself. Preferably where there is light and water to drink. Sit here every morning and think about life on this purple sofa next to the window and think, and ask — and really ask yourself – is there anywhere else you would rather be?