Thursday 31 December 2020

On writing...

I haven't written in 52 weeks. I have, but I haven't. 

There was a time when writing was the outlet for my anger, happiness, despair and pretty much every emotion I felt. Of late, it feels like a burden that I have not worn too well. One that I buckle under. Constantly. 

At work, my job requires me to write. It always has. But the limited scope for creative thinking (while writing, not solutioning), editing (others writing/FML) and my compulsive need to add commas, have sucked the joy out of it. And since I haven't been able to shake off my old foe, procrastination, I wait till the last hour - till the words are forced out and seem contrived. 

I miss the girl to whom writing was second nature almost. Who wrote because she liked writing. Who wrote because it was easier to write than to talk to someone. Also, side note and question to explore, are people who keep diaries less likely to confide in friends?

This year, with no writing or talking, it feels like I've built up a mountain of unacknowledged and unresolved feelings and emotions. Pushing at my insides, and out from under my skin, spilling out in bursts of rage, countless hours of doom-scrolling or compulsive gaming (Read: The dark side of Pacman),  low productivity, periods of gloom and despair and longing... 

This is not to say that the year has not had its highs. Just that, the highs have been fleeting, and the lows somehow linger on. This possibly requires a lot more introspection, which I've been failing at spectacularly of late, so let's set this aside for now. Back to the writing. 

So how do I start writing again? For myself. For others. 

  1. Constantly remind self that writing is a glorious outlet. Like it is now. 
  2. Write for the sake of writing. 
  3. Write to remember how to write. 
  4. Write to hone the skill. 10,000 hours of practice is what it takes to do something brilliantly, they say. This translates to 3 hours a day, over 9 years! OMFG! 
  5. Write without judgement, for myself.  
  6. Revisit old notes and ideas. Build from there. 
  7. Also, remind self that all writing does not need a conclusive end. Like now. 

Thursday 7 February 2019

Early morning rituals

Each morning 
before I fix my cup of coffee
I walk to the litter tray. 

Scooper in one hand, plastic bag in the other, 
I sift through the gravel and deposit 
little droppings of cat scat into the bag

All this to make sure that yesterday’s shit
goes out with today’s garbage.

And while this ensues, 
the feline devils watch me
even as I gag.

What a blessed life they think, 
to not have to take out the garbage. 

Then there are the fat cats that run around my parents 
in their lovely tea estate home 
The world is their toilet.

Monday 18 September 2017

Find your way home, Pip!

What I feel now is immense grief. At the loss of a cat we fostered for 4 months. Though I was sending Pip home to my parents where she would have ample space to flourish in, I was extremely apprehensive about it. My last few days with her, I'd talk to her citing my old school countdown - 5 more days for you to leave, 4 more days before you're parted from your brothers/lovers, 3 more days till I hear you purr and the like. And it was like she knew that she was going. The last 2 days with us, she was most affectionate. She cuddled and purred and came tunnelling through the sheets like the creature from Tremors. Or maybe she always did... 

Last night, the boys were restless - more so than ever. It was really windy and that made them skittish. They probably missed her too. With no S at home, Saki came and lay down on my lap, which he hadn’t done in a  while. On any other day, the three of them would be sleeping on the window sill, with her suckling on one of their paw pads. She really was the sweetest, with her pinker than pink paws and nose. 

Now I wish I hadn’t packed her off at all. Despite the space she would have had in her new home, despite how much less poop I would have to clear from the litter box every day, despite me thinking that the Bombay house that we were moving into (but hadn’t yet found) in 6 months, would be too small for 3 cats. I wish I'd kept her and not let her go. 

We picked her up off the street thinking she had been run over. She had run across the road, and smashed her face on the footpath. Just picking her up from the tailoring shop she ran into was traumatic. She was a wild one. Only 2 months, but oh so feisty! The scars I picked up that day are only fading now.

For the first week, we kept her confined to one room of the house. While I was out on a work trip, S looked after her. She must have thought he was torturing her. Trying to pin her down each time she needed to have her medicines. Try and hold her, and she would squirm like you were out to kill her. The last time I took her to the vet to get her shots, and get her declawed, she was a little nightmare. In her attempt to escape, she clawed her way down to my foot. I'm left with some prize scars from that day as well. 

It took her almost 4 months to start loving us. At first, she hated everything... me, S, the cats, any sound... She slowly started making herself at home. She decided that the best places to pee were either the laundry bin with extremely dirty clothes or a pile of fresh laundry. She turned out to be the only one of the three who didn’t flee at the sound of the doorbell. Of late, she would be the first to venture out, when there were guests at home. She would decide to be a spectator in my bathroom. Her little toy mouse, she would play with, like the world would come to a standstill if she stopped. She learned by emulating her brothers - any time they came and rubbed themselves for love, she would too. And I was a fool to send her off. This creature who never let me carry her, would purr so loudly each time I ran a fingertip down her spine.

My mum said that she wouldn’t be able to guarantee her safety; in terms of, "I cannot assure you that she'll stay at home". She would be loved, she would be fed, and she'd be an inside cat - provided she didn’t run off at the very beginning. And that should have been a red flag. We even considered heading home to drop her off till she settled in. A fleeting thought it was; I wish I'd taken heed. 

And so my parents arrived home with Pip in tow yesterday. She had apparently responded to my mum and purred like a little motor when she had tried petting her on the way home. Once she was let out at home, she ran off the minute they opened her box. Turns out she was hiding in some corner of the kitchen. At night, she was confined to 4 rooms, with all the windows shut. It was not to be though. By morning, she had slipped out again, leaving no trace. My mum last saw her in the guest bathroom, but she fled as soon as my mum said hello. The only upside that it looked as if she had come in from outside; perhaps she knows that she can come into the house.

And now, she's on this big estate without a clue as to where she is. Her brothers are not around; instead, there's a big fat cat who may or may not like her. And her parents, who loved her and fed her, gave her away to someplace far, far away. She does not trust the new people in the house. And it’s raining like the world is trying to drown itself.

I don’t know if she’s eaten. I don’t know if she’s inside or outside. I don’t know if she drenched in the rain or if she's been smart enough to find shelter. But I do hope she knows she is in a safe place - she only has to find her way in. 

My Pippat, please be safe, please be fine. I'm so sorry for putting you through what I have. I miss you terribly and really hope you find your way back home. 

Saturday 3 June 2017

Saturday strains...

Oh wooden chair, you're wondrous for the summer 
Thanks for not heating up my bummer


The simple words... they don't come
Instead, they send their TISS-educated cousin
Talking about livelihoods and development and impact 
But is it worthwhile? 
To give others a voice
When my own has been hushed  

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Nosocomephobia or One more reason why I detest hospitals

Hospitals are such annoying places. Especially when you go by yourself. And if you are lucky enough to have a raging fever and headache, you can bet that the hospital is out to get you. Take the case of Manipal hospital. Despite it being expensive as shit, I'm comfortable coming here since I've seen the insides of it from the time I was 12 or 13, courtesy the 2 hip replacements that my grandmother underwent. So I continue to come here. Like a fool.

I'm down with a fever and a hacking cough. A relapse since I neglected to take the antibiotics prescribed by another doctor. So I came here on Sunday. Spent 600 as consultation fee to see someone who asked me to get a number of tests. Tests reports showed some slight anomalies and I still had a cough that would kill a lesser being. Report in hand, I make my way to the hospital once again. And wonder of wonders, the doctor is not here.

So I talk to him over the phone. He had prescribed Calpol! He says, yes, continue taking the medicines I gave you. But I know that the throat is in dire need of antibiotics, else I'll probably cough up my lungs in a couple of hours. I also want to stop feeling like I want to quit work, run away to some obscure place where I manage to become really skinny, endure this horrible feeling of homesickness, etc etc. And did I mention my dear boyfriend, who is my rock of Gibraltar especially when it comes to hospital visits is not in town. And that my brother who was for the first two days was really useless. And that I'm missing my mother who would have taken care of me oh so beautifully.

So I ask to see another doctor. And I need to pay once again to see him. Another 600 bucks to listen to him say ok dear, have another Calpol. And I need to wait for 45 minutes to an hour before I can see him. Fuck this shit! Seems more like a money-making racket than a place that's supposed to look after the sick.

Ok then. Venting done and I'm feeling a teensy bit better. One last exciting little tidbit. It is understandable that hospitals will have sick people. But why must they burp loudly? Especially when they are sitting next to me. And then follow it up with a ladylike excuse me.

Fuck my life and toodles!

Monday 11 July 2016

Beer is a ladies drink

Lunch break at work. 

Old conservative gentleman to a young single woman: "Beer is a ladies drink. You can drink beer." 

Friday 15 January 2016

Flashback: On the joy of repairing

I have vivid memories of my childhood, where something in the house would go kaput, many a time, because my brother or I (mostly me) felt the need to meddle with it. Living in a remote area in the Nilgiris meant that we would have to wait to get it fixed till we travelled to town (Gudalur or Sulthan Bathery, both around 25 km away), or if it needed major repair, a trip to the ‘big city’, typically Mysore, Bangalore or Ooty.

We of course, couldn't wait until then! So my father would roll up his sleeves, sit at the dining table with the machine in question placed on a brightly coloured cloth, and get to work. In case of the VCR (where it almost always swallowed the cassette and refused to spit it out), he would slowly and painstakingly unscrew the screws, remove the top panel, and use the screwdriver to wedge out the cassette. This would be followed by removing the dust that had gathered since the last ‘operation’.

I really am not too sure if he knew what he was doing, but once he reassembled it, the mixie or VCR or whatever it was, would actually work! If it didn’t function as it was supposed to, he would go through the dissembling/assembling process once again. This saga repeated itself at least five or six times before my father would throw his hands up in the air, and decide that it needed to be looked at by someone more competent.

The times have changed though. These days, when something goes kaput, I pick up the phone, google the nearest service centre, call them and place a complaint and wait for the gentleman (or woman) in question to come home to fix it.

Within two working days preferably.