Monday, December 25, 2006


The trapped fly kept pummeling the clear window pane. Tricky transparency, I thought, and the alliteration tickled me. Headlong it flew, hit, swerved, and then once again thrashed against the glass with all its force. Does each fresh blow erase the memory of old pain?

I watched,
That's scary.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What Orkut does

What Orkut does is to hand you a sharp pointed pencil, and you kneel down on all your fours, as you used to do with your friends during recess prodding at the dirt that had accumulated in between the wooden planks of the flooring, digging out the dirt with the pointed pencil until it yields you enough goodies: rusted needles that escaped frustrating needle work periods: broken pencil points: bits of erasers: half-rotten rubber bands. Priceless stuff.

And, it throws at you the basketball with which you had gone thud-thud-thud in the court, your love of the game blossoming only in early Summers when the mango trees along the court flaunts small green mangoes.Thud-thud-thud you would throw the ball at those tantalizing bunches until a nun came out of one of the dark convent rooms and stood there on the verandah, expressionless.

It can file you in single lines of blue pinafores,

white shirts and shiny shoes and ribbons (often

cut out of your partner’s neat bows and frantically

tied around your hair just as the assembly

bell went off) with the sun shining above and

the day stretching before you. A tiny bit of ribbon

– no pleases or thankyous- you had it then,

friendship in its rarest form.

Orkut also gives startling gifts. It first tickles you with the memory of that Hindi teacher with bad English grammar, and you giggle like you did that day with the entire class as the teacher wrote new words on the blackboard, giggling and shuffling feet until she turned back, red-faced, eyes glaring, ‘I turn the board and you laugh, why?' and the class bursts out, ha ha ha you go at the memory, and somewhere along your laughter sandpapers your throat as you see that the look on her face that day was not of anger, but of humiliation.

It also takes.
That huge pupil tree behind the nursery, that one with tiny cement benches built around it, Orkut can take that away.
you went leaping from one bench to the other in circles around the tree-
your most cherished memory from the days of red gingham uniforms
None of your long-lost-and-now-found friends remember such a tree, and you stand there dumb, robbed off the next bench to go…

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The girl from the glass house

The girl from the glass house drowned herself in the well, and I listened to the news with fascination.To me , with that single-act which adults alone are capable of she had stepped into the remote world of adults. You know that for a twelve year old adulthood is what a star is to the moth, right?

She lived in a wasted house with tile roofs just behind my Grandma's house where I grew up. Mildew drew bizarre pictures on the outer walls of her house and the well stood in a silent corner. Large glass windows on all the three sides saved the house from blending into the many worn out houses that clustered by. There were no walls between any of these houses. Deep red shoe-flowers on green hedges softly marked their boundaries. Against this the wall of my Grandma’s house stood tall dividing the neighbourhood neatly into two worlds. Ridiculously tall.

We were of the same age; still I had seen her just once, a glimpse through a dusty window in one of the deserted upstairs rooms of my grandma’s house. She sat on the cement steps of her house, hunched over a book. A shabby kamees, wet hair let loose to dry- that’s all. Yet, she would join me in my silly games often, coming and going as I willed, even after she drowned herself in the well.

Last time I went to my Grandma’s house the tamarind tree in the backyard brought back memories of my old playmate. I tried to recall her face, and that’s when it struck me that I never knew her name.