The Wall Clock Street, 2008

If you take a sharp left down the main road and ride straight, you will hit a dirt wall. No one knows who owns the wall but every Thursday, another new poster gets plastered over the disturbingly colourful mess of film ads beneath. You can even catch a glimpse of an old MGR rerun on the bottom right. It is a wall that silently supports cinema, fandom and teethering drunks. Enough of the brown wall. Now see this tiny alley to the right of it? Dim-lit and a tad shady. That my friend, leads to the renown Wall clock Street. Unlike the path to it, the Wall Clock Street is a brightly-lit, blustering little community. It is filled with small box shops on either side. The name boards spell differently but all the shops are as alike as sisters. Each identical to the next from the humming tubelights and alarmingly low fans that don't keep away the mosquitoes.The sassier ones have neon lights dangling like cheap jewellery. The road is almost always damp with puddles- tred with care. The rusti

The Egg Seller of North Car Street

I grew up in a little two storey building with purple walls and white grills, overlooking the sprawling temple complex. Our small, square windows opened out to a sparkling pond with painted steps on one side and the precisely sculpted grey stone murals on the other.  Myths and legends to me came straight off the temple tower.  An authentic luxury.  Early mornings were marked with a large cup of steaming milk and s lokas slipping from within altars, streaming into the air. Our balcony was tiny and could accomodate not more than two. Further inconvenience was caused by the dozen young tulsi plants in their plastic tubs. I watered them graciously every morning and evening. A little too graciously. But it wasn't a problem. Father's shoulders were always free for his princess of five years. We would stand there, grazing the peeling pink walls and look down at the road.  The old vegetable vendor would come first pushing  his rusty green cart heaped with fresh tomatoes, sp

Note to Self

A little note from the times of pandemic... We sit within the sprawling indoors, dotted with potted plants, guarded by brooding walls. Cakes have been baked; kitchens demolished.  Experiments have been executed; You tube tutorials exhausted.  Books have been re read; fantasies birthed, lived and laid to rest.  Old cartoons have been re visited; happy tears shed and assauged with pillows. Yet that special midnight blue dress sits unworn, its silver buttons pristine and pretty. That sleek pair of shoes stares from its box, its lace never touched and sole unscathed. That tree beacons with its champagne blossoms- Its smell grand and guidy. Vermilion evenings streak the sky, a painting in a museum display. People float within message bubbles, pranks and parties hosted at virtual tabs in screen corners. Pledge to remember, the next time you go out, Slip into your favourite top, Wear your brightest lipstick, Stand a minute longer in the rain, Smile at the old granny that sells jasmine by the

A Spirit in the House

I turned 40 today. My glass is empty for the fourth time and the bottle rests precariously on the edge of the table. It’s been about three weeks since I came here. To this house. And I am afraid I am losing my mind. But in a good way.  They have voices you know, certain houses. They whisper into your head. Sometimes they talk. And sometimes they stay quiet. Dead quiet. But in the end, insanity is inevitable.  I am not worried about insanity. In fact, insanity is of essence. Especially when you are an artist,  pockets empty and your head even more so. I find inspiration in these voices that I hear here. Turning them into strokes of paint on my canvas gives me strength. I have been painting endlessly since I came. One newfangled idea a day. It is almost like I am famous again. I can still feel the gallery lights warm on my skin as if it was yesterday and not 20 years ago. And I am willing to endure anything in the world to have it again. Even insanity. There is always anothe

Mosquitoes, Cotton Candy and Cinema

                          Cinema is art, they say. An expression of the highest order. Mirth and melancholy in motion. State whatever you may, for me, cinema has always been that third-row seat at ‘Jagan Talkies’. Beside a soundly snoring grandma. Sucking slowly at a taffy, subconsciously swinging my legs to keep the mosquitoes away. Going to the theater was a fanfare. For mainly two reasons.  One, such an occurrence did not transpire often. A film had to pass a few screening tests to acquire eligibility for the family viewing. No ‘scenes’ as my posh grandmother liked to put it, her fingers making stern quotes on thin air. No gore or too much violence. It should be a product of someone from the well-revised ‘Trusted Heroes and Directors’ list. And most importantly, a show that ended before 8:30 pm, so the womenfolk could make their way home safely(in the secured ambassador with its trusted driver). A solemn request shall then be posted to grandpa who would grunt and pain

Don't let it go

Don’t let it go ‘Cause that dream is your show.  Go out there, Bask in the spotlights. If no stage, then Sing under the starlight Gleaming in the moonshine Your boundaries got no line. Drink in a thousand sights At dinner tables under chandelier lights Gleaming forks upon napkins, snow-white. If not, honey, then it’s alright. Set your own table Bold tablecloths trailing the dusk-lit ground  With truest of friends to dine around Wooden chairs and plastic cups The chatter, the music of divine As we sit and age like fine wine.  Be wild, Be free Be all that you want to be. Run to places off the map Chart new roads, one time, a lap As willing as the white winds Scared as you might be. You make your choices Shut out those miserable voices That tell you to sit and sip tea Step on your ship and sail the sea If not for treasure, Then for the breeze. Don’t let it go. ‘Cause your dream is your show.

Home-made Series

II. The Monochrome Closet I find it amusing. Is ‘amusing’ the word really? We often brand the incomprehensible ‘amusing’. But that is mine to decipher.  Meet my Grandpa. A kind but grumpy old man, irritated at the slightest of changes- a retired officer used to having his way. A hundred hands always waiting upon him round the clock. The big shot of the town.  He strides in his usual haughty strides as he walks into the room today. Out swings his closet door. His monochrome closet, as I call it. White and black. A rare brown here and an occasional grey there. He stands in front of the gaping closet, scratching his chin. “Aren’t they all the same?”, I think. Dare I not say it out loud. He carefully picks a pair out, looks at it for a moment, straightens and walks out into the kitchen.   I hear my granny over the chatter of cardamom and basil leaves within her prize pot.  “Do I have to tell you everything?” Absolute silence follows. Even the spices hold their breath.