Mar 28, 2011

Pierced through and through

A little gory, but again I have been watching crime shows a lot. Here goes:


It starts with a little poke,
A tease, a scratch,
Finding it's way in,
The needle slowly inching in.
A drop of blood, oh, it's just one,
I'll wipe it away.
But one drop gets replaced by two,
and then they turn eight.
The draining starts,
the pouring begins,
it's all on the floor.
The needle is now way in,
pierced through and through.
Can't stop.
Can't dab,
just let it flow,
just let it all go.
It will eventually stop,
it has to,
till then just lie still,
till then just think of sheep and clouds,
Don't look at the needle,
don't look at the pool beneath.

- © HAEM ROY

Mar 17, 2011

Date a girl who reads by Rosemary Urquico

Written by Rosemary Urquico. Has been circulated and passed around a lot. I stumbled upon this a few days ago and just loved it, and HAD to repost it. Thanks Rosemary for writing this.
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"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."

Mar 16, 2011

A goodbye?

I pack up my thoughts,
I pick up my memories,
Without any footwear,
I seem to walk out with apparent ease.

I step out of the threshold,
I pull myself away,
I swear not to look back,
It's time to go away.

"I shall visit soon",
"I'll drop in for tea",
Or so we say,
Before we go our way.

Why so serious they tell me,
But goodbyes are never cheerful,
They bring an impending doom,
They always leave you tearful.

And thus we part,
But it's not forever they say,
Though while I start walking I wonder,
how can a goodbye be half way?

- © HAEM ROY

A nice gesture

Yesterday, ricks and cabs went on a strike. And transport was difficult. The good thing is I travel by train, and then I could have my brother pick me up from the station to home.

But not everyone was that lucky.

It was not like this was a tough time or anything. But yet, something nice happened and I wanted to share it with everyone.

Close to 11.15 pm last night, I was standing outside Kandivli station, waiting for my brother to arrive. People were standing outside the station, hopeful to grab the 2-3 ricks that were plying. That is when, a lady approached me. She asked me very nicely if I needed to be dropped anywhere and if she could help me. I thanked her and told her someone was coming to pick me.

But the gesture overwhelmed me. She smiled, patted me on the arm and walked away, keeping an eye out for anyone who would need help. It was a breath of fresh air, a pleasant surprise and something that gave me a wide smile. We all always talk of helping people. But it is rare that we actually gather the courage or the sense to approach someone and ASK them if they need help. We wait for people to come to us.

And someone coming and offering help, being observant enough to notice a girl standing alone at the station late at night, and having the courage to offer help to a stranger - that is what I salute. I would call it the spirit of the city, but honestly, I haven't seen that very often these days. So I will not give credit to the city, but to that unknown lady, who I am sure helped someone else that day.

I say thank you to her.

Mar 14, 2011

A small village in a big city - Khotachiwadi

Bombay is a large city. Tourists coming here do explore many famous parts of the city, right from the Gateway to the Elephanta Caves to Esselworld and what not. But those of us who have settled here very rarely visit such touristy places. We also very rarely think that Bombay (yes, I shall call it that, for the nth time), has much to offer in terms of exploring, seeing, or visiting. Yes, you can go to Crawford and buy things. Or you can walk down Colaba. But none of these are something that the ordinary person living here would feel out of place, or different.

This Sunday, amidst the chaos, hustle-bustle and crowd of this ever-growing city, I found an oasis. A little hidden place that threw me off.

My three girlfriends and I visited Khotachiwadi. It is a little area, just off Charni Road, quite close to the station. You turn into a thin lane that is not wide enough for a car, with a conspicuous board at the entry. Walk a few steps, and you will wonder what happened. You are greeted by colourful single story wood houses, with balconies, plants, tiny bylanes interconnecting the houses, a grotto, graffitii painted walls, and more. It is entirely reminiscent of old Goa. And it is in Bombay.

video
The moment you turn into the Khotachiwadi lane, it is like all outside sound has been shut off. Nothing filters in, and you can actually hear sparrows. In fact, I actually saw a peahen, an arm's distance away, happily sitting on one of the houses.

Khotachiwadi is inhabited by East Indians, Maharashtrians and Goan Catholics. The plot of land was originally owned by Mr. Khot, who allowed migrants to settle and build houses here. The migrants slowly bought their pieces of land from him, turning this place into a small community.

No matter who you talk to, everyone here will tell you that this wadi is like a large family. Most people have migrated abroad, leaving maybe just a few members of the family back here. A lot of times, it is old parents who live here alone. And in times of need, of sickness and of trouble, anytime of the day or night, it is the neighbours who handle everything like family would.

The people come together during Christmas, and here, it FEELS like Christmas. They meet every evening, they pray together, they hold festivals and fun and fairs. And the best part, anyone and everyone is invited. These events are peaceful and quiet, with no blaring music, or alcohol.

The houses here too are Portuguese style. Some over 100 years old. A lot of them have been rebuilt. But they are colourful, open, filled with plants and each one has a character of its own. They are not boxes. They may be small, but they are not suffocating or claustrophobic. They have an old world charm and a new world spirit of liveliness, bundled together.

The place started with around 70 or more houses. But today, only 27 remain. And being located in such prime property area, it is no surprise that builders are doing their best to get the residents to sell their plots and houses. Some have done that, giving way to 18 floor skyscrapers, that look odd and out of place in this quaint neighbourhood, and attracting the wrath of the other residents of the area.

The place was declared a heritage site, but now with laws changing at the drop of a hat, the status is also under doubt. This leaves the area and the residents fighting to keep the place alive, to not let it be swallowed up by the concrete jungle that seems to be spreading like plague. Holding festivals, pot lucks, trying to get publicity and raise awareness, get more people involved in the cause, and just do anything, they are building their own wall to shield their Khotachiwadi.

Will they be successful? I don't know. Should they be successful? I want that yes. Because like Mrs. Bridget Misquita said, "Money is not everything." The joy of discovering that this place exists in a city like Bombay is even greater.
  

Mar 11, 2011

The mask with many faces

The mask...
the mask...
it is the cover,
it is my shell,
it is what I use,
to hide my hell.

The mask is green,
The mask is red,
It is pink with joy,
It is always a smile ahead.
The colours are many,
Drawing attention,
They are the illusion,
They are the surface above the reality.

What lies beneath,
what lies within,
Sometimes even I know not,
The mask with many faces,
Hides my true face from me,
The mask with many colours,
Makes me forget the true colour of me.

Keep it fixed, keep it on,
Let the act keep going on.
The moment it comes off,
There you lie,
Stripped of the colours,
Bare and dry.
There you lie with your true emotions,
With nowhere to hide,
The fake colours of joy stripped,
The mask pushed aside.

The mask...
the mask...
it is my protection,
it is my shield,
it saves me from my thoughts,
It keeps them controlled and sealed.

- © HAEM ROY