Sunday, April 29, 2007

In the moonlight

Around midnight the clouds parted and the moon, shining brightly, flooded the silent night with a ghostly radiance. The brief squall of early evening had left a few puddles, which now shone in the moonlight. The trees, still wet, gave off a soft scent whenever a faint breeze rustled their leaves. And the lonely roads wound around the sleeping houses before disappearing at a distance. Occasionally, the shrill cry of a night bird pierced the silence, and then everything was quiet again.

A swarm of fireflies played under the shadow of the bougainvillea bush, their tiny bodies blinking rhythmically. On the edge of the veranda the money plant crept silently, its shadows making strange patterns on the moonlit wall. And near the closed door lay a modest pair of mud-caked slippers, solitary in the joy of flowing moonlight.

A few wispy clouds, soaked in moonlight, still wandered about. The stars, however, were outshone by the bright moon. And the moon, alive with its blue veins and pockmarks, looked like a forlorn artist, sad amongst all the beauty it has created.

It's understandable why they say it's not safe to roam around on such moonlit night and gaze at the hypnotic moon. You run the risk of being a lunatic.

Friday, April 27, 2007

While he's away

He lay in his bed, sleepless, thinking about it. But none of the ideas that occurred to him so far look befitting, or promising -- they fizzled out even before he could phrase them in his head. So he waited, paced around the room, stood by the window, stared vacantly into the night -- but to no avail. Words and ideas eluded him tonight.

Already, I found out, he has discarded multiple possible ideas -- about the midnight stroll he took the other night along a quiet road with rows of sleeping houses (he found it, well, a bit gloomy) ; about the funny little incident that happened the other night while he was eating a lonely dinner in a cheap restaurant where a television blared non-stop (he's not sure if it will make a good post, he says) ; about the books he was reading (writing about books was an easy way out, he didn't want to piggyback on others' thoughts); about films (but he hadn't watched any recently, he argued); about his last few days in a training (he found it quite insipid and summarily rejected); about his repeated attempts to come up with a post (he was unwilling to admit that).

Now, to tell you the truth, I think he is failing because he's trying a little too hard. Of late, he has found a few comments in his otherwise unnoticed blog and I wonder if it has led to his assuming an air of self-importance, which has made him somewhat more self-conscious about the way he writes. He seems more eager to write some brilliant stuff rather than writing about his whims and fancies of everyday life. Growing readership, it seems, has made him go nuts.

So, meanwhile, when he's away banging his head to generate fresh new ideas, I thought of sneaking in with this little post -- just to keep things going.

Hope he comes to his senses soon enough.

Amen.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bordoichila*

It came as suddenly as it should.

Yesterday, late in the afternoon, while engrossed in a book I suddenly realized that the lights were fading rather rapidly. Surprised, I looked out of the window and there I saw it coming, in all its magnificence -- great masses of dark ominous clouds piling up in the distant horizon, preparing for the onslaught.

It was the first day of Baisakh and in the eastern and north-eastern regions of India, where I grew up, this is a common sight during this time of the year. But here in the western part of India, thousands of miles away, I was not too sure that I'll sight this, and that too at such precise timing. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I tossed my book away and came near the window, ready to watch the imminent show.

First came the winds, carrying dust, dry leaves, twigs and an assortment of other little things. In a few minutes, the winds caught up ferocious speed, and went about on a plundering spree. Sensing trouble, a few sparrows flew past for a safer spot. A dog and a few puppies also ran past, looking for a shelter. People went inside their houses and shut their windows tight, to avoid any sort of nuisance. Only the trees stood, swaying but not surrendering.

And then came the rains, escorted by an army of thunder and lightning. Large droplets came hurling down, making pattering noise on the tin roofs. The air became deliciously cool and heavy with the aroma of wet earth. Dusts settled and trees came to life. And I, standing by the window, oblivious of the occasional sprays of raindrops on my face, found myself flooded with a torrent of rain-soaked memories.

Didn't I already say it somewhere, rains always do strange things to me.

* Bordoichila, in Assamese, means the pre-monsoon storms that are predominant in Assam in the month of Bohag (Baisakh). There is similar term in Bengali too: kaal-baisakhi (fatal storm of Baisakh, called so because of the violent destructive winds that often create havoc).

Monday, April 09, 2007

Summer siesta

It's summer now. And summer, with all its languorousness, is such a good time for lazy people like me. (Winter is, of course, even better. But summer is charming in its own way.) I can now squarely blame the heat for all my inactiveness and get away with being a sloth.

Yesterday being a Sunday, I decided to do my own bit to welcome the summer in my own inventive way -- by being a little bit more lazy. The only activity I permitted myself was reading. So, after a particularly heavy lunch I laid down on my bed with Ruskin Bond's Book of Nature by my side, ready to doze off while reading. An afternoon siesta is, I said to myself, a perfect way to welcome the summer. And a Ruskin Bond, a perfect lullaby.

I cannot say the exact page, but I must have been somewhere in the first chapter, Grandfather's Zoo, when I slipped into sleep. I didn't drown in sleep altogether, though. Rather, I felt as if I was swimming in and out of sleep. Also, I could feel that my senses were still functioning, although feebly. I could, for example, hear the whirring sound of the ceiling fan, the flapping of the open pages of the book I was reading, the rustling of mango leaves in the hot wind outside my window, the sound of a lone cuckoo singing somewhere...

When I woke up late in the afternoon, the sun's rays were already slanted. The day was about to end. I lazily looked out of my window at the wayward clouds floating in the sky. And, thus, the rest of the afternoon was spent in figuring out the shape of the clouds.

Well, so much for welcoming the summer.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Absurd post

It must have began when I strayed into Crossword (the bookstore) last Saturday -- no, not for an urge to buy books but just to pass the lonely afternoon. (I have a lot of books gathering dust, anyway. Moreover, I have recently promised myself to be more economical with my hard-earned money.) So before entering, I pledged not to buy any books. I just wanted the company of books, not own them.

As I hopped from one bookshelf to another, I carefully refrained myself from getting too close to any of them. But my resolve crumbled at the end when I decided, after much dilly-dallying in my head, to pick up Camus' The First Man. As I was coming home that night I kept wondering why I had chosen that particular book, especially because I was not much familiar with Camus' work. It was as if I picked it up on my whim. (Or maybe some absurd reason was driving me, I don't know.) The book is still lying on my table, gathering dust, and I don't even see myself reading it anytime soon.

But for some reason beyond my understanding Camus doesn't leave me there. I somehow keep bumping into something or the other that relates to Camus, each day. I pass the whole week under a shadow of unknown melancholy.

And this morning, again for some unknown reason, I dig out this (check the poem at the beginning, it is a favourite of mine). Simultaneously, my thought also wander to a long-forgotten poem -- a song in fact, the notorious Hungarian suicide song -- Gloomy Sunday. (This song was supposedly the reason of many suicides and was eventually banned. Rezs┼Ĺ Seress, the creator of this song, himself couldn't escape its influence. He committed suicide by jumping off his building in a fit of depression shortly after his 69th birthday.) There had been many versions of this song. Read the translated lyrics of one of the versions (the most popular one, perhaps) here.

Now, there's really no need to panic. I'm not contemplating something as drastic as suicide. I was just wondering about the sequence of events -- spread over a whole week.

It all began with that visit to Crossword.

Does it now end here?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Birthday babble


30 March, 2007

Hail pranabk, ye all men and women
For he has, finally, turned twenty-seven

On the 30th day of March he accomplished this feat
So applaud for him, o people, he indeed deserves it

Overwhelmed by the cakes and balloons he did speak some nonsense
But his colleagues were generous, so they did not lose their patience

With age comes wisdom, that's what the whole world say
Let's wait, then, for the wise words of pranabk to follow day after day