Childhood

From the naive poet

The Painter’s Daughters Chasing a Butterfly (c1756) by Thomas Gainsborough

I think of the times

When I was a child

I wrote with crooked pencils

To a merciful little girl with a pink umbrella

 

Of what I wrote first

I wrote of gratitude,

Surrounded by the dark cushioning skies

That ate mirrors

To an affect—

That only people who could trace

 the shape that was my shoulders

Told me of the true prophecies 

that I made.

 

Cassandra hung up by her legs;

An underworld

Of imagination

Untouched by the ears of ‘career men’,

I wrote,

till they inflicted me

With an ambition of

Turning wine into water.

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Down the memory lane

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What I most like about life is, glum yellow bulbs which seem to stay still in the nights of turbulent traffic-jam noises and pub brawls. These are the wavelengths of silences which divert my line of thoughts from a nostalgic topic of red scarves to a luminous frothy texture left by yellow bulbs on papery walls.

Because honestly, I want to write about red scarves. Not too beautiful…but rather corroded by friction, yet wrapped around my bubble head like a lady’s costume…beautiful red scarves. That was when I was in fifth standard and had been pushed by a classmate, for whom I had made best friend proposal cards in the third grade. She had thrown them in dustbin without the naivety of a 7 year old girl. And now she had pushed me off the stairs, not deliberately as much as my mind tries to picture it.

I was cooking some rotis when the smell of hot napkins (they help you shape the bread) filled me and suddenly I was walking down in the crowd of amazed children, hiding my face with one red scarf, just after my classmate had pushed me off.

It was an enthralling time. I am not really talking to you. I am right there on the stairs. I remember the cemented side-support so smooth against the crowd of children who surrounded me with a fuzzy feeling of summer-special lemonades. I shed my body and I am a high-spirited soul of a small person who is pushed down the stairs. Like scientists of a bees, I’m swarmed with questions and speculations . You see I had developed this huge bump on my head (like in cartoons) and half of the small people thought it was a pimple that’ll explode with all the grossness you can imagine. Without a doubt, that is not a good advice to give to anyone suffering from concussion and so I started bawling my eyes out.

Such precious little people, even though strangers. How can children nurse children? Most important case studies ever. But then what about the adults? I was safely transported to my home where I found out that my mother had no clue about the swelling either. She never had a hateful classmate as it goes. And so she administered my bump by heating it off through the napkins and putting them on my head.

Next day I was a school hero; if you may allow me to glorify my memory. A seven year old girl with a red eye, the mighty one with little children myths as a halo around her head. The centre of everyone. Is it sad? I miss the love.

The charming bulb calls to me like a moth. After-life is a beautiful idea. 

Ghost Of A Wind-Chime

I have a curious hobby to sit outside my house, no matter how much cold or sunny, the day is. I believe this is how our emotional systems work in strange fashions. Some of which includes, dreaming about long-forgotten times. Bringing the inside depth at the tip of gentle lashes, carefully not to make them shiver and yet they do shiver, when they realize you had literally been talking to long-gone past and friendship of your life in dreams. Real dreams. –

“Though you are long gone. To the places you always wanted to go. But sometimes I dream about you. It is helpless.”

No matter how much I romanticize the things, the rationality saves the day. These memories are but linked with the idea of summer. Childhood comes along with summer. Holi (Indian festival of colors) So does Freedom. Lilies. Roses. Sunlight peeping out of emerald leafs, sudden rainfall, Mud and water mingling down the earth, creating a strange sensation in my throat as if the atmosphere is absorbing me and somehow, I want to drink the thing from which that heavenly smell is born. Olfactory I tell you, connecting with my sense of emotions.

Last night, my winter clothes were being shoved around in the house until I realized, I left their mighty carrier in the balcony, the good old chair, facing the colony garden, quite without a company, except some bats which must have flung around it, in my absence. And as I ran to rescue me rather than it, in order to avoid good dose of scolding from anyone, I suddenly felt emotions for this inanimate object sitting in the balcony.

It looked very calm and serene to me, reminding me of a protagonist of the book, that I have been reading the very same afternoon. Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights, the day she was to die.

Here is my balcony at night:

2014-02-14 20.39.17          2014-02-14 20.39.55       2014-02-14 20.41.23

The night was wonders in itself. I sat upon the ‘inanimate’ chair and imagined all sorts of things. I mused about poets who fell in love with the stars, for they were such wonderful things. I fancied the idea how these are not just little dots in the sky, no diamonds. Planets with chunks of diamonds, maybe. Or Suns, maybe. Or Dimensions beyond human imagination, yes, almost perfect. And to nurture an idea of loving these dimensions, the first of summer breezes that occupy the night, conveyed very well. For you see, the thing with the wind is that, when you create a sparkling idea inside yourself and there is no one to hear you, just no one, the wind nods in appreciation.

It says, it knows you well.

So, while the wind appreciated me, I heard that familiar wind chime. It was not my property, I was sure. It was real or not, I was not sure. But nonetheless, it transported to me the times that my memory usually account for a big blur. But I managed to tame some of its wild birds, anyways for the wind had certain hypnotizing quality to it.

I saw ourselves, in her T.V. room. It is still blurry, we were really small, I guess, eight or so. I can recall her messy black hair and her never-dying competitive spirits. I recalled how we used to fight a lot and on all sorts of queer things such as who got the best chocolate flavor for milk, Copy rights on the favorite star which two people, supposedly, cannot share at the same time, same with favorite colors and other weird things that make no sense at all. But unfortunately for her, it always ended as me being the good girl in her parent’s eyes and she being the badass villain. This miffed her a lot and yet we were the best of  the friends, so best that I have sudden memory-attacks of her, even after ten years of our parting.

For good, I recall one memory quite perfectly and it is suddenly strange at the same time, that how clear, the memory has become.Here-

I always admired the design of her bedroom which remains same, till today, after so many years, however, I have no longer access to it anymore. The bed was adjoined with a marble slab where one could sit and peer at the garden from a large window. And hey! I see it. The wind-chime! It hangs over our heads reminding me of flutes. It has these silver bars in it with a tiny hole inside each of them. It had beautiful blue strings and yet it is one of those wind chimes which is meant more for music and less for beauty. And I feel I could hear it, even when I am near my own window.

Its distinct music was thus, forever imprinted on my mind as the horn of my school cab which carried me regularly for 15 years. The vanwallebhaiya (the cab-driver) had this distinct skill to make patterns of sounds out of a cheap horn that I could hear and follow from miles away in the act of recognizing its owner.

And suddenly Poof! I have no longer access to it.                                                                                                                                                                         I remember photographing the van in a mad-spirit when I found out once that it was parked nearby.

Oh, It all overcomes now. As I roam around with the ghosts of past, these two become the most real of the unreal.

Moving on to the memory, It was a bright Sunday and our parents were busy chatting with themselves when I sneaked to her place and asked her for a sudden help in my anxious spirit. I remember telling her that though my father just received 1000 rupees from someone, I am still willing to ask her help. She looked at me curiously and told me that 1000 rupees is not much money.

“It is not?” I was perplexed.

“No!” she laughed at me and waved her hands dismissively, while I narrated to her the problem with which I was I going through. I remember how anxious I was when I told her “I need to win a friend”. It is like becoming the prime-minister of the country, I told her. And to my surprise, she reciprocated my seriousness and agreed to help, very adventurously. Now I can write a separate blog about this classmate of mine, who I wanted to be friends with. I had the “privilege” of knowing her till I was fourteen. And even in these fourteen years, we never came any close to be ever, termed as “friends”.Ever.

She is currently on my facebook friendlist though. No, I guess she deleted me. Better that way.

Anyways, my friend and I loved making cards. Be it birthdays, friendship day, Parent’s birthdays or friendship requests, as in this case, we just loved making cards. I remember we sat the whole afternoon on that marble slab decorating that one card while she lent me her best glitter pens. This was the moment. For me, it was the best deed that one could do for me, ever Ever and ever. She lent me her glitter pens!! Boy, wasn’t I amazed and happy? She dictated me some good lines which I cannot really recall but since I have these old cards that I made for my mother, I can imagine what would they be like.

“Sky is blue, I want to be friends with you”

“You are the best person in my class'”

“Please be my friend :)” -(This one is accurate)

“Keep smiling. May god bless you”

And lots and lots of glitter pen stars. Besides, she helped me design an envelope! Oh what a goodie it was then! I was so impressed and convinced for the first time. I believed, there can be no power in the world that would make the classmate of mine, miss popular at 7 , refuse me. But if you have seen Mean girls, you would have realized popularity only comes with heartlessness. Well, I realized it quite before when I saw my beloved envelope in the mini green dustbin of our KG classroom (Look! I even remember the color), the very same day I gave her the card. Oh It fell upon me like thunder. I still remember the sinking feeling inside my chest for I dared not to pick it up, fearing that I would further deplete my image and would break into tears afterwards. But still, after what had happened I kept a strong front. Never did I told this to a single soul, until now. And as I am having these flashbacks, I feel I am that small girl again, I feel her agony too. After all you have to be devil to refuse and discard a card penned with glitter-pens, precious reminders of decade old friendships when you are freakin 7!. But I must tell you, this devil’s future wasn’t all goodie-goodie. We heard a lot of weird rumors about her in the school. Even though she used to top in exams (in case you were wondering how she got popular at 7) but then began the epic, Sophocles style downfall (I am sorry if I sound dramatic for I am in satisfaction with Karma-kinda-revenge).

Supposedly, she blackmailed her parents a lot, by scaring them off with suicidal intentions for almost everything. One of my friend claims, even for fake lashes and colored lenses. Well she did wear them, but I don’t know the complete story. The other rumors, however were a lot degrading. Now, I don’t know about other countries, but sleeping with boys in school isn’t normal here at all. This one, I have sources to confirm.

Anyways, I’ll let her alone for now. And would like to thank my friend, whom I never confessed that the devil threw my letter/card down the bin. I wish I could have come running down to you so that you could have convinced me and have told me, I am a stupid child but I guess it is too late to ask for such a wish now.

For the friend, I muse in stars, (we used to imagine we own stars in Orion) is long parted and is like any other stranger who walks the earth.