Friday, May 18, 2007

The sleep of innocence

This happened almost a life time back. I was back in India, Delhi to be precise and was enrolled in a bachelor's degree program and commuted back and forth between west Delhi and Cannought Place. ( I still can't bring myself to call it Rajiv Chauk)

I was on my way home and had my bag with a gazillion texts inside it sitting on my lap, when a young couple got in with a toddler and infant and the assorted baby paraphernalia. To say that they had their hands full would be an understatement. While the husband sat in another seat, with all the gazillion bags, the wife sat down beside me with the infant in her lap. The toddler stood between her and me.

To this day , I don't know what I was thinking , but I plonked my bag down on the floor and asked a very willing toddler to hop on . Before you could say lap, he was sitting in it. What he did next is something I remember even now. He put his tiny hands against me, snuggled and promptly went to sleep. While I felt envious of his innocent sleep, I could not help feeling a sense of warmth because of the implicit trust this little thing seemed to have put in me. ( Cynical me thinks that trust has nothing to do with it-but with my own sleep problems, I think trust is a big part of it.)

I don't remember if I got off the bus first or if they did. What I do remember is the feel of that child snuggled against me and the slow rhythm of its breathing.

Life is wonderful with its little moments that stow away in our minds, to be relived and reminisced later.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Friends for a reason

April 04. I was at school at NYC and had decided to quit the program I was in, cold turkey and come back home to my parents in Tokyo. It took me all of 12 days to decide, get the visa, buy the air ticket, pack up a home I’d built over the last 2 and a half yrs and leave, knowing fully well I would have next to no social life once I moved. To add to all that, I had no clue of what I’d be doing. I’d visited Tokyo earlier and it did not strike me as an English zone. It isn’t one yet.

But let me not get ahead of myself here.

I wasn’t blogging then. I did write but wasn’t really posting anywhere. I did lurk on a few blogging sites, thus coming in touch with a few ppl. I’d usually interact with them online for a bit and then if we struck a chord, take it off line. I made quite a few friends in this process.

Beanie too was one such friend. He wrote poems that weren’t traditional rhymes and followed no rules. Just the same, they expressed whatever he was feeling at that moment. I still carry one of it in my wallet. I'd told him I was printing it out and putting it there.

Those were carefree conversations. About poems and feelings and life in general and the online world and the people that inhabited it and how close some came to their real beings even when they were running away from them. Online world offers an anonymity that makes it so easy for one to be just that – one.

So when I decided to move, I got quite a mixed bag of reactions, most of them not too good. In the midst of that, his words, to just go and learn about another culture and to see how I could imbibe it best, stood out. When the going got tough, this toughie (yours truly), did try to get going and on some days, failed miserably. As I did on the day, I had set aside for my packing. Instead of going to the lab to wind up all my stuff and tidy up the desk and all, I sat in my studio and organized my clothes into piles. One pile that was coming with me to Nippon also needed to be ironed. That's what I tackled that day and that's what got me crying eventually.

I’ve never really thought of myself as a homebody. While I do have chores around the house and I love to muck around in the kitchen, these are things I do interspersed with my life of school and lab and I am hoping one day, work. So quitting a program not knowing what next was never part of a well thought out plan. Impulsive I am and I had gone a few steps too far this time as I realized, ironing shirt after shirt.

So, when in the evening I sat talking to him, something in my voice gave away and I just sat and bawled on the phone. I’ve yet to repeat that stunt and I hope I never do. Trooper that he is, he waited for me to calm down and when I showed no signs of it, he just let me have a good cry and then asked me to breath. Whadya know, I don't know how to breathe to relax. I still don't know, though that day I did get a clue. With him counting on the other end of the line, we kind of did the whole deep inhale count exhale count thing and it worked to calm me down a bit.

He was the last person I spoke to before I flew out and we kept in touch for a little while after I moved. Soon after coming to Tokyo, I started volunteering in the lab I am in now. I applied to the graduate program I am in and got accepted and also got on the Japanese govt. fellowship. Around this time I also lost touch with my friend. I guess my need for him was over. He made sure I made the transition, got settled and then left.

Though I would not say that I miss him, every once in a while, I do take that poem out of my wallet and read it again. I've never made the attempt to memorize it. I guess I need that touch of paper to make that memory a bit more tangible. Sometimes, when I’ve tucked myself in for the night, and I am lying there not yet ready for slumber, I can hear him count…

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Am I weird or am I weird ???

Posting here a conversation I had with a friend .

A: hello!
B: hey dude
A: how are you?
B : long time no see.
A: I guess weekend no see!
B: I guess so
A: so whassup with you?
B: me wondering if I should stop being a grammar Nazi
A: why?
A: what happened?
B: turns out almost no one speaks grammatically correct English anymore
B: and bad grammar is a pet peeve
A :)
B: any guy I talk to in the matrimonial context does some grammar hara-kiri and that’s it for him
B: cya
B: I mean I find it really hard to go on talking after that
A: lady: you have lot of misplaced priorities!
B: ya think
A: yup
B: okie how
B: am all ears
A: grammar is not something you test ppl on a matrimony site
B: see it from my view
A: ok
A: whats your view??
B: u agree its ok for guys to check for chemistry
B: so looks matter to them
B: say yes or no so I can proceed
A: yes
B: similarly for gals, and since we are talking abt me, nothing's gonna happen down south, if its not happening up in the mind
B: and bad grammar is the equivalent of a cold shower
A: ahh!
B: in fact worse
A: I guess ... my statement should have been you have your own priorities which might not m ach with a lot of guys out there
B: I don’t have to match priorities with the general riff raff
B: one guy who is for me
B: that’s pretty much it
B: just wondering if two straight sentences in flawless grammar is too much to ask for
B: I just told this dude we'd talk later, he made the same darn mistake the third time
A: :))
B: I told him it was way too much to handle
A: on messenger no one really cares about grammar!
B: I frikkin do
B: and a mistake once is a typo
B: the same mistake three times in a row
B: please
B: that’s a problem
B: I should move back to NYC and date the flirt guy
B: he is beginning to sound more attractive: D
A: what’s this mistake btw?
B: was u able to see
A: uggh
B: using was every time were is supposed to be used
B: my reaction exactly
A: that’s not a slip or a typo or a messenger thing
B: I tolya
A: the guy doesn’t know English! ;)
B: most of em don’t
B: I am telling ya
A: must have been traumatic to type it out! ;)
B: it was
B: can u imagine me being married to that?
B: I’d hang myself
B: the other day I mentioned sedentary to another guy and he asked me what it meant
B: I asked him what his masters was in again
B: he told me comps
B: and I was like and u dunn know the meaning, what was the medium of instruction?
B: he proceeded to tell me that it was in comps and so was technical and he wasn’t a writer
A: I think you scare off guys! :))
B: better scare em off now
A: you are bad news to most guys’ egos!
B: then to be looking for a good divorce lawyer
B: I mean what would I tell a judge
A: :))
B: I am trying to imagine it now and cracking up
B: I mean I don’t even know how to tell my folks why
I have trouble meeting guys
B: ?
A: that’s definitely a difficult task!
B: tell me abt it
B: and I can’t even tell her the down south reason
B: middle class unmarried Indian gals aren’t supposed to talk like that
B: heck I don’t suppose they talk like to their moms even after marriage
B: that
A: hmm!
A: thats outta scope for me ;)
B: me too
B: actually
[B: and long distance calls aren’t the way to do it