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But how do we split
The sky into halves,
My half and your half, when-
You don’t live
All that far away?
When all this sky,
All of it is yours,
As it is mine,
When I can open my window.
If I needed no roof above my head
I needed? Do I need a roof above my head?
If I had no roof above my head,
The sky would be mine, all night,
All morning, from dawn, all mine,
Like all the wind and all the rain,
And thunder and clouds and lightning-
You know it? How it feels,
To have all the sky?
For you have it,
And you may have taken it for granted.
Half the sky is a famous catchphrase (I suppose that is the right word) of the feminist movement, one I have always felt uncomfortable in the face of.
I had once written a poem, for one of my first crushes, which started with ‘You are my sky’. Someone told me it was a corny line, but he hadn’t read the full poem. It was a good one, that poem. My parents discovered it and made me burn it, along with many other such stuff, letters, half finished stories, poems, diaries…
October is about my sister’s birthday.
She was born on the 9th of October, in 1987.
I was barely four then, and I remember bragging to my countless cousins about how I was going to have a sister of my own. Not a cousin or anything, but my very own sister. I wish I were older, so I could have remembered seeing her first. She must have been a little red bundle, in a white wrapper, all tiny and wrinkled, with soft pink hands, and tiny fingers which closed on yours if you touched her palm. Of her early days, a lot of people tell me a lot of things, but I can’t remember anything. Just one embarrassing episode, (I never forget embarrassments…) where I asked a guest why they hadn’t brought any gifts for the new baby, and was hauled up by my parents and lectured to. 🙂
My first memories of her include being poked in the eye and being woken up by a sweet little voice calling me “Jayee, Jayee…” baby talk for ‘Chechi’, elder sister. I remember her wandering out of the garden after goats and cows. She still loves all kinds of animals.
I remember the three year old impatiently waiting for the day she’d go to school like me. I remember the four year old reluctantly waking up and asking me “Chechi! Do we have to go to school today, Chechi?”
She turns seventeen this Saturday. But she’s still my baby. (That’s partly why I call her AB, her initials.) When I see school children in pinafores and ribbons in their hair trot by carrying slates and slate pencils, I still look for her among them. I still haven’t got used to the fact that the lanky teenager who rides her cycle to the gate and rings the bell for me to come and open it for her is the same girl who played ‘fairyland’ games with me.
She is quite grown up now, in a number of ways. But at times she is so much a child that I feel sad we expect her to grow up. I feel sorry she has to start making decisions, choose a profession, start working hard for whatever she wants, when she knows nothing of what life will be like. I feel mad at the ugly world outside, because my innocent little girl will have to go out and meet it. I wish she would always remain my baby, and I could hold her hand and walk her to school, wake her up to go out and play, make her eat when she fusses over food, make up silly stories to tell her at night, and go to sleep after her, hoping she wakes up in a world where she won’t know a care…
We all grow up and grow apart, and when I see grown ups and their siblings, seperated by time, space and life, I hope and pray it never happens to my AB and me…
It’s one of those make-you-blue rains.
Out here, it never really rains.
It just drizzles and drizzles,
unlike back home,
Where it’s not rain unless
it pours by the bucket.
Rain, to me,
is Raga Megh.
No other Malhar I’ve heard
Can acheive that force,
that violence, that passion…
But Megh can also be gentle,
yet strong, with the imminence
of an overcast sky.
You run through the fields,
the wind in your face,
your dress, your soul.
It’s four in the afternoon,
but feels like half past six.
After a while,
the joy becomes too much for you,
and you lie on your back on the grass,
and wait for the first drop
on your face or hands.
It sometimes happens that you father is looking out of the window at the same time,
and trusts his daughter not to have the good sense to know that it’s going to rain,
and comes looking for you.
I’ve always heard him call before he’s seen me.
The first rain after summer,
would always come in the night.
The wind comes in through the windows,
bringing with it the faintest whiff,
of your favourite smell,
and you drop whatever it is that you are doing,
and run to your favourite ledge.
How do you go to sleep on those nights,
When storms rage, and lightning strikes,
in dashes of light, and brilliant clarity,
And you see everything, even those very things,
Which are better, (better?)
or simpler unseen?
When the thunder crashes somewhere far away,
how can you help but wait up for the rain?
It’s been promised to you, and you alone.
When the world is asleep, I will come to you.
“What could my mother
Be to yours?
What kin of my father
Is yours anyway?
Did you and I ever meet?
But in love
our hearts have mingled
Like red earth and pouring rain.”
– Kuruntokai (An anthology of Tamil verse dating back to the 1st century AD)
Now that we are on the topic of nails,
The witch had long, brown, sharp, ugly nails.
She was ugly, wicked, cruel,
With a shrill, scary laugh.
It was a time,
When life meant,
fight with mother,
“I don’t want milk!”
Out in the garden,
A fairy visits you.
“I have lost my crown!”
I, gallant young lady,
find her her crown.
“Thank you, so much!
Do come to our party in fairy-land.”
And it’s afternoon.
And I’m there.
I’ve flown in,
With my new friend,
The fairy princess.
I eat delicious cakes,
And lots of chocolates.
It’s time to go,
Only when the party is over,
And they give everyone
What did I get?
Mother comes out,
“Come in to lunch.”
I don’t venture out.
Beggars in black could be
The witch in disguise.
She was tall, dark, ugly.
She spirited you off
To a lonely island,
A castle on the cliff,
with bats flapping wings,
And screeching at the moon.
They’d try to get me
To sleep in the afternoons.
I couldn’t. Still can’t.
I’d read Enid Blyton.
Evening was cartoons,
After struggling with A,B,C
Not that I wanted
My A to look
As crooked as the witches hat.
I remember only Care Bears
That’s where the witch came in
And stomped on her sidekick.
And screeched and uttered a magic spell.
She made her body disappear,
Into a million tiny stars,
That flew, through the dark,
After the bears…
My witch never won.
I’d clap with delight,
As each scheme of her’s failed.
But she’d go to her castle
And plot the next one.
Raging through her cauldron,
At the lovely li’l bears,
Safe on their rainbows again.
I’d go to bed happy.
No plot of her’s could,
Harm my good little friends, the bears.
That was a long, long time ago.
Even the name of that show.
Toonopeadia tells me they are the Care Bears
And no mention of my witch anywhere.
My witch is too Good for a toon.
She, of the shrill voice and tall crooked hat.
She, greatest terror of her sidekick and bats.
Don’t know when I started looking up to her.
But I remember starting to envy her,
For her own island and cliff-edge castle,
Her life, with no one to tell her “Be quiet!”
Her body, which she could make vanish at will…
Even that was some time ago.
Now, I have my castle,
Don’t have to be quiet,
Can forget my body…
She just drops in now and then.
Just to say “Hi! I’m here”,
“Don’t slip.”, “Don’t cry.”
What a trivial topic to start your blog!
But who cares?
I’m in front of the comp.
(No point in sitting behind it,
unless you’re looking for the sound card.)
What do I write?
My nails are looking better,
I painted them two days ago.
They look clean and shapely.
That’s about it.
Looks like someone else typing.
A girl with long pink nails.
Pretty and all that.
Prettiness tires me.
So does this blog!