Something Else

Yes, I am a dreamer. But not one that dreams while sleeping. Maybe I do, it’s only natural, but I rarely remember them. I love dreaming while asleep because they are mostly pointless. They have no beginning and definitely no logical end; however they seem to have a body which is truly captivating. Seems like a beautiful exercise for a universe on a tea break.

A pond, that’s what this post should be called but its going to be called something else.

Laughter of the raucous kind, the one that sneaks in when you are in truly comfortable company. Splashing of water, joyous, like squealing children let out of school. Adventure glints in our eye, when caught by the sun above. Emerald, that’s the colour water wore to work today. Emerald, powerful in her capabilities but elegant in her demeanour.

Grace, mesmerised, twirled with water around us to the quiet music in his head. She dances along, smiling at us, an unshakeable confidence-that smile.

We swam effortless. I swam weightless. I held my hands out of the water and looked up at the water peeling away simply to check if I’d grown any thinner. No. My hands were just as chubby. Glee is what I felt, I never knew I could feel something as pretentious as “glee”. Years of accumulated fat like memory seemed to have melted away…no… dissolved in the all-consuming emerald around me.

I felt light, I felt great. I haven’t felt light unless I skip breakfast and lunch, but that’s a different light altogether. This felt like possibility to the touch. A vast expanse of possibilities where I could ride this laughter and surf the waves of absolute happiness. Even when I thunk it I knew it to be a fallacy, this business of the absolute. But I was impressionable, afterall I was feeling glee and my light self was laughing with friends in an emerald pond.

The land above was a grove of fruit-bearing trees laden with cashew, jackfruit, mangoes, tamarind and rose apple. An enormous banyan tree stood leaning, investigating the traffic in the pond. He watched us languorously with the air of someone who had seen many such rendezvous. He didn’t mind it. He liked the gentle distraction. Countless years of standing and shaking his leaves like jazz hands had made him gregarious.

My orchard wasn’t a jungle. It was a cool haven, a dream place for the lovers of fruit and shade. In the middle of the day when the tropical sun slapped you hard for stepping out, my orchard was the serene colour of dusk with the serene feel of dawn.

Just as the temptation to explore the orchard came over us we realised the difficulty. It was impossible to get onto the land from the water. They were like a discordant couple, living in the same house, but both aware of the lines not to be crossed. The banyan tree had let down his hair of roots into the water through the earth. That was the secret of his perfect jazz hand-leaves. These root-hairs had now acquired a mind of their own. The root-hairs had formed what seemed like a dangerous maze of a sturdy root-trap which came alive to get you stuck in them. Earth, who could not bear to watch this torture had collapsed a long while back giving way to an even more cavernous and indistinguishable ruse.

Adventure that glinted in our eyes had made its way to our hearts and without much thought we set forth to gauge the real danger of the root-trap.  When it was noticed that the root-trap, if we could circumvent it, held shimmery things, we stepped over each other to volunteer for that epic voyage.

The plan was simple. Take a deep breath, dive as far down as was required to get around the root-trap, check on the other side and be right back. In theory, this was child’s play. In practice we were all children of the swimming pool, with its chlorinated water and a lifeguard on standby.

One of us went forth with much gusto and was soon a bubble in the greenish darkness. Panic, on her way in, made way for Logic to leave. I walked straight into the root-trap to “save” my friend. Thankfully this was a dream and no man, woman or animal was harmed in its making.

Life on the other side was literally breathtaking. We forgot to breathe. Roots-tiny, thin, long, juicy, sturdy, purposeful- roots were in full attendance. The light too was different. There was a brilliant light, much like a wet sun, diffused yet luminescent, shining below us. The roots weren’t lit, they were glowing, like series lights. We were glowing, our skin translucent and orange, our mouths pale and our smiles bubbly. Eyes, all eyes in the vicinity had caught the light. The source of it, however, was far away and like the sun could not be stared at directly.

Roots, clean and pastel, were having a good time. You could make out how genuinely happy they were from the way they touched each other’s arm before stretching into the vastness and coming right back to share some naughty titbit about going south. They belonged. That’s when the thought crossed my mind like a certainty. This was root heaven. We were in root heaven.

The more industrious among us were sure that the light was from a hidden treasure. A trunk of gold, perhaps, maybe more. Before I could log away that thought as silly, we were making a beeline towards that light.

But as we got closer to the light, I felt myself sweat in my underarms and in the crook of my neck. Is it possible to sweat under water? I thought not. The light shone brighter and I tried to forget the evil feeling that I was somehow being wrapped in the water around me. Then came the high pitched deafening voice like thunder had caught a cold.

Then I felt the touch. Of something living on my shoulder. I could feel myself turn white with fear. The distance to my home seemed to flash before my eyes like a digital clock: 00:37

I saw myself turn around to look at it, and that meant yes I saw what it was that touched my shoulder.

It was Amma, shouting her usual high-pitched rant about my sloppiness and general lack of discipline. The lecture was into B-side after having switched on the light, switched off the fan and tried to pull my blanket off.

I sat up groggy and thinking I should wear green to work today.

I Smell A Dream

Jasmine, that’s what our house smells like.

It’s not an urban jungle, my garden. Giving the jasmine company is the long-ish bed of some plant I like to simply call spinach (for no reason) with delicately coloured pretty flowers.

We made dinner with loving hands, hungry voices and happy noses; we sat adjacent to each other and ate from our porcelain plates. Now, washing up has stopped being a chore, and so has cooking. We walked off our dinner along Champak-lined streets, its fragrance seducing my fiesty curls. The beauty of repetition dawns when we walk arm in arm, the way we know how we fit. Our bedroom smells of Sampige too, thanks to the thoughtful Chembakam outside our window.

On lazy Sunday afternoons, I make small talk with all our bookshelf people, though of course I like mine better than his. They watch me, like an audience, from a world of their own. Neatly overflowing, my books always find their way back home to the bookshelf. His books are elite and you cannot open one at random; you need a certain standing in society to mingle with them.

Our TV watches, him, me, and everything we do, through her omniscient eye. She wants us to know that she is ready to play a movie, any movie we fancy watching. She wants us to watch her channels perform but she knows that’s out of the question. Hence the offer we can’t refuse. Him, me and her end up sharing our suspension of disbelief. On a sofa, the right one, on whose purchase we spent quarter of a year, we sit comfortable, curves melting, bones cushioned, ready to fall asleep at the stench of the movie turning lousy.

As I lay there, an aside in my brain processes the things in our storeroom. I have two kinds of pickle, with another one waiting to be made. I have three homemade attempts at winemaking in different stages of completion. I could bake a cake this evening with a touch of improvisation. I take stock of supplies, the ones I need to use and the ones I need to buy. I don’t wonder what his brain is up to. The joy we sought has been found, like a dual-sim phone, we live together but still keep our heads separate.

We pay no maid because we love playing house. The chores aren’t divided between us, no one is responsible for anything but it’s an understanding that these need to get done, no matter who does it. Another understanding is that the other will step in without a word when required. We step out during the week, for beer, movie, play, fair or for an occasional mandatory sighting. We don’t have children yet, but we talk to them, about them. Our Future stands at earshot, listening.

The love has stabilised, it’s within the limits of expression now and our hearts aren’t bursting out of our chests. We are not a perfect match, we are not the dream partners, we don’t understand each other or share common interests. The respect, however, has grown, so has the camaraderie. Love is too commonplace to be mentioned. There is a sense of fitting well, a feeling that I previously thought only a pair of jeans could provide. We have our fights, of loudness so deaf followed by silence so loud. But we are both eager to make up and we are glad to have fought because the fight seems to have filed away yet another sharp edge. We fit better making our hugs a national convention of skin.

There is work, family, friends, bad drivers, opinions, things each of us doesn’t like to do, things we are forced to do, duties we forget, meetings we don’t make it to, points we cannot convince each other on and things we don’t appreciate to exasperate us as a couple. But, we seem to be gliding, our only surety that of being attached to the glider; me-mine-him, he-his-me. That everything can be dealt with as long as we stand by each other. That we are each other’s strength and weakness.

Distance has always been a part-time friend; the best part being the dream I could invent. Whatever life with him serves up now, it wouldn’t upset me for I have lived my tame Jasmine-scented dream. I am ready for my chaotic reality. This is how I smell a dream.

Train Travel

Empty seats welcome an uncertain traveller
Finicky and nitpicky-anticipating discomfort.

When the seats begin their journey
Monsooned scenery smiles a clean green
And clouds lean against mountains, spent.
The cool breeze charms the now comfy traveller
Blowing wet suggestive kisses, urging
Movement to mould those dreams of possibilities.

Dirty houses with their dirty smells
Lines are crossed and tempers flare.
A sudden hotness throws a blow; sticky,
The dreamer is pushed out of the dream
Making the green lose its sheen.
Pokey pines and bald mountains in fatigues
Stand around in attention obeying orders.

Huffing and puffing the journey continues
Sweat pools, frustration ebbs and sleep flows
Outside, the evening smiles on the horizon
Making nature smile back, subdued.

When the destination stops the traveller
The breeze, the greenery, the mountains-
They go away with the train;
Props for another travel.

Traveller collects around the luggage
This punch of reality smarting
Backing into life stupified
Hailing an auto and haggling.

My Morning

You dawned on my horizon
following my darkest hour;
your simple smile lit up my face too
as you peacefully cleared up my sky

Swept away the darkness,
planted those happy clouds,
beckoned chirpy birds,
all with your wisened calm.

I would call you my sun
but where I come from,
the sun isn’t always kind;
too hot at times and unforgiving.

You are my morning
A pleasant time for fresh starts.

In Paradise, By Her Side

As her lips form my name, calling out to me through the thick darkness of my sleep, I sense her doting tenor.

I would, even if I were dead.

As she comes close and wedges herself perfectly into the nick of my curled up self, I babble random nothings that she alone can decipher. I snuggle closer, wrapping my warmth around her in search of hers. Smiling that compassionate smile, she breaths in my scent, gently kissing me back to silence. There I stay in that supremely pleasurable lull between wakefulness and sleep, listening to her call me ridiculous endearments. She opens out my left palm and kisses it awake narrating for the millionth time how my soft palm was what she loved the most about me when she saw me first.

Even as I realise that I am smiling a peaceful, sleepy smile at being admired I can feel myself shift to accommodate her. As she settles down, gently gliding her right arm under my neck, her body evolving effortlessly to match my posture, I burrow into her bosom searching feverishly for the safety of a long-lost innocence. As we lay there in the clinging wraps of the early morning, all I know is her illimitable love.

As I savour in the knowledge of being truly loved, I wish to be framed for eternity in this moment, a moment of true happiness, a daily moment of being woken up by Amma.

The Life And Death Of A Dream

There has always been a peaceful turquoise dream. A permanent dream of having a person of one’s own.
A person for whom one is most special. Of being someone’s that special person.

Elaborate details of being someone’s reason for living had been sketched and re-sketched a thousand times over. Right through all this idle imagining there was an understanding that this was a dream, just a dream; an impossible indigo dream.

Implausible: stacked like audience in a theatre; having wilfully suspended disbelief; enjoying the performance. Though the longing for such a person was palpable, never once was it imagined that this royal blue dream would come into acquaintance with reality.

The dream turned a questioning shade of blue this May. Summer was blamed for the strange colour change. It took a while to reckon that the darling dream was being eaten.

Eaten whole by a nerd.

On stage the blue dream was losing colour like a 2x rewind of liquid blue in water. The spotlight switched automatically to the weirdo who stood up from his seat. Simple and regular like any other, this psycho stood.

The dream, now faintly blue, was lost for clues as to why this was happening to it. The blue dream was supposed to be eternal. Audience sleepwalked towards the exit as if the titles had scrolled. They seemed to know better. They seemed to have known all along.

On that fateful day, the dream had met Neirdpsy, the slayer of blue dreams. This blue dream grew pale, for having met the prototype of reality. He had no use for this happy blue dream because it wasn’t his to live.

As the dream lay on stage being progressively de-blued, ‘All dreams die’, waltzed the music notes. Though the spirited dreamer who gave it life would dearly be missed, this was like the limitless blue sky for the dream; Neirdpsy was here with a possibility of a real life for the dreamer.

Devoid of all hints of its blueness, the dream knew it had to die, the time had come for this blue dream to give way to a differently coloured reality.

We Are Us, You And Me

Peck through a flea market
Bargained desirables become proud trinkets
On a lazy day as sun naps
On her hammock of clouds and
Breeze sneaks away to chatter

Snuggle on a sofa with balloon mugs
Brimming with coffee like gossip
Feet up, hair down
Rain like a nagging mother
A cherished presence

Midnight romantic movies
Elbow to elbow lying in bed
Legs dancing with titillation
Night hums in compliance
As stars twirl in sheer delight

Sautéing ideas, roasting discussions
Spilling fears, scalding arguments
Wind holds her breath as
Humidity leaves passively

The dream lives in
Irregular phone calls
While parallel our busy lives run
Amassing memories to share
When the day finally comes.

After aeons we meet
Like birds in spring
Senseless of seasons of separation
No awkward silences, no explanations
We are us, you and me.