the long search

When you have nowhere to go, go back to yourself.

The Baggage

The tall flower plants blocked my view of her as she emerged from the office. The laptop case suspended from the left shoulder, her handbag from the other. A dossier in one hand and the cell phone in the other. She was struggling and I could clearly see that.

But I was so glad to see her. It was after a long interval.

I had been waiting for a quite a while but then, I would have waited any length of time for her.

As she spotted me, she tried to wave at me. There she was, struggling to handle so many things at one time; the burden weighing her down. It was one of those testing phases of life for her, phases that can shake anyone. But one gritty woman she was (and still is).

“Waiting for long? I know, you have been,” she said. I gestured at her laptop. “What?” she asked. “You can give it to me,” I said.

“Don’t worry, I can manage. I do this every day,” she said.

“See, I won’t exactly like carrying a ladies handbag but you can give me the laptop.” I was insistent. So was she. “That one is a little more heavy than normal. There are so many things stuffed inside,” she said.

“That’s what friends are for - to carry your extra baggage, are not they?” I quipped, extending my hand to take the laptop bag.

She looked at me, as if trying to figure something out, and then said: “You are right.”

A share of her burden on my shoulders, she and I hit the road. Talking vacuities...

White Noise

There is something about hospitals that I could never quite bring myself to like. Not that I am one among those who dread the place because it reminds the grim realities of sickness, pain, old age and death. Some even don’t like the smell of medicine that hospitals are so typified with. Some are scared of catching infections. Not me. I believe hospitals are where people get new life and, new ways for life. But something about hospitals always bothered me.

As I sat by M inside the intensive care unit, I started pondering about it all over again. I could see the trace of pain in her lovely face as she tried to get herself some sleep – she was almost wired up – with the oxygen mask, catheter, drips and a dozen other pipes entangling her. She looked considerably weak and I spoke next to nothing. I just looked at the walls, the ceiling, the curtains and the bed-sheets. There is this whiteness about hospitals that always got me.

Why are hospitals mostly coloured white? Is white not monotonous and gloomy? And depressing too? Why can’t vibrant colours – or even soothing ones – be in place of white? Or is it because white symbolizes peace, innocence and purity that health facilities are painted so? Medical science probably does not overtly endorse white for hospitals but the colour stands for cleanliness and hence so much in practice.

Interestingly, in Western culture, the bridal wear is white, while in India and in many Asian countries, white is associated with mourning and death. For someone whose favourite colour has always been white, I was always unsettled by the whiteness in the hospitals. I am yet to find out why.

I would have liked to ask M if she liked the never-ending white all around her. I didn’t. In her 60s, M has not been keeping good health lately, and my question, I am sure, would make no sense to her when she is struggling even to breathe. May be I will find out when I am there.

I know my friend Sonya (that's what I addressed her as, much to her chagrin) would say that I am looking at the wrong side of it. But it's not as if I hate hospitals. Tell you something? It's here in the hospitals that I had found some unforgettable persons. Hey, I love hospitals, people.

At the end....

It was exactly eight weeks ago that I last met DK. In a hospital which was so very quiet. That was August 17, my birthday.

DK died today.

I very well knew he was going to lose this battle against cancer. But I did not grieve because DK was a fighter to the core. And, he went down fighting without ever regretting what he had lost.

In my short association with him, I had realized that one must always be ready to put one's hands up when a fight beckons. At the end, that's going to define the journey.

From feline to feminine

Someone with a wise head once said: The best laid plans of men and mice always go awry. Mine just did. You are free to choose what fits me. And, you know the options.

Since I had a three-day break from work, two days owing to Dussehra and my day-off clubbed to it, I wanted a getaway. I knew exactly where to go. Into the wild. Track the tigers in a national park spread over some 1100 sq km. Guess what? I had everything ready, everything going for me. But what I did not realize was my options as a species were limited: Men and mice. Besides, I am from the journo breed.

So here I am now. With my plans up in smoke, I am back home. Tell you what? I am trying to cook up something, creating smoke. Literally. I have hit the kitchen because I always loved cooking. Mind you, cooking can be a great stress-buster. In fact, another Indian called Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar too shares the same passion.

This is not to say what kind of a cook I am (I am a pretty decent one though) but I have understood over the years (I am into this since I was 12 or 13) that the greatest pleasure that cooking gives you is the feeling of treating someone to food. If the person you are treating to is hungry, you earn some heavenly brownie points, I can assure you this. Even if she/he is not, it still is as good as it gets.

Trust me, to be able to feed someone is almost divine. And that sets women apart from men. For, they are the ones who keep us alive. I believe that’s the reason a man can never be a mother – I am not inclined to get into biology side of it – because the latter is always feeding us all, throughout our lives despite all the work burden. Men just cannot do that. They may make the best chefs but…..

Why I am saying all this? Hey, I am enjoying this streak of womanhood, damn it.

(Not a footnote; a headnote actually: The credit for the title goes to Trevor Penn)

A chuisle mo chroí

A lonely beach. White sand. A long walk.

I know I have to wait. How long, I don't know. May be I will have to be born again. And then, wait again....

Come to me in the silence of the night;

Come in the speaking silence of a dream;

Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright

As sunlight on a stream;

Come back in tears,

O memory, hope and love of finished years.

O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter-sweet,

Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,

Where souls brim-full of love abide and meet;

Where thirsting longing eyes

Watch the slow door

That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live

My very life again though cold in death;

Come back to me in dreams, that I may give

Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:

Speak low, lean low,

As long ago, my love, how long ago........

Egg-xample of life

SN hates philosophy. To be honest, he despises it. THE reason he hates my blog space is he thinks I am philosophizing. “You are wasting your time in life. Instead, start living it.” That is his common refrain.

Expectedly, I differ. Always. I keep telling him I am just talking to myself. This is my way of a conversation with the self. Leave it or take it. Of course, he would leave it. In fact, he once did leave a comment – the only time – saying “Stop bullshitting.”

Yesterday, SN appeared agitated. His wifey has banned eggs from his plate. “I can live without booze (he quit it earlier this year after a two decade-long intense love affair. He would swear by Nicolas Cage’s character in Leaving Las Vegas). I can do without meat. But eggs!!!!! God, No.” SN was virtually yelling at me when I asked what the reason was.

I did quit non-veg in January. But I am still on eggs. SN probably is nursing a grudge – That he can’t have eggs and I can.

“Is that it? In life, you can’t have everything all the time. As life progresses, you will learn that you have to do without a lot of things you like. That’s life.” I was attempting to assure SN in a tone that almost smacked of philosophy.

“You might be happy philosophising loss in life. But I am not interested. I am worried about the eggs,” he said. I wanted to tell him there is a connection.

Like with egg, you got to break life open and see what’s inside. Life is never on the surface. What appears is not what it is. What you get and what you do with it defines your life.

Some want life restrained. Just the egg white in omelette. Some want it straight and are relaxed about it. The yolk makes its way to the pan with the white. Some want it all spiced up, with all kinds of reds, greens and frills. Like a Spanish omelette. I even had a south Indian friend who used to make paratha out of omelette. And some want it in full size. Boiled.

Besides, like eggs, life too comes in different sizes.

But I didn’t tell SN all this. I knew what his reaction would be. “How on the earth can you connect egg with philosophy,” his already-damaged lungs stuck out of his mouth.

About this blog

If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed