Reading Walking December

On my way home from the walk today, I saw a tree with leaves that reminded me of the giant leaves we plucked in Belgaum to serve food while playing kitchen-kitchen with the neighbor girls. Their food looked much tastier and healthier. And they even thought of things like pappads to make from white leaves, and beeda from green leaves with red veins. The leaf I recognized was used to serve other leaf-food in.

Finished reading Makenna Goodman’s The Shame which I think I read at a good time in my life, guilty only occasionally about my snail-slow pace. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as anti-baby literature but I think I am accumulating it smilingly 🙂

Work is mad but I am only realizing it because classes are over and the non teaching part of academic life is dancing on my head. I am a happier person when I teach and what’s nice is that I am barely aware of it. Woke up at 3:30 one morning this week and read till 7:00. Best morning. It took revenge a couple of days later but what joy to be with yourself that early in the morning with cool, blue silence.

This quote by Hannah Arendt returned me to reading with a fever. Made me think WTF am I doing when I am not reading?

The mere reading of a book requires some degree of isolation, of being protected against the presence of others.

Hannah Arendt

Very grateful to have found twitter in my late 20s. There is so little I want to undo and unsay in my 30s. Also – problematic, toxic, traumatic, overrated, ew, contradictory, cringe, binge, thirst, political political monkey monkey underpants. No thank you.

I read in the park these days. Read Maile Maloy this morning. Felt cheerful. The weather is perfect to read outdoors.

I have money plants growing out of wine and chai point bottles in my room now. The two avocado pits I planted earlier this year are growing tall on the terrace. I smile everytime I see them. I am using the same water bottle I did three years ago before which I had a red bottle of same build.

Birthday month was strange. I spent a lot of time inside my head and felt very distant from me. Made myself miserable and blamed it on the world. When I had enough, I took myself out and read like mad. Realized it’s the only thing I must keep doing to stop from going further in.

Looking forward to Alexander Chee and another round of Toni Morrison. Watched Rebecca, loved it. Watched a lot of TV and loved it more. I seem to have grown warmer to the idea that if I am wearing great clothes, nothing can undo me. Fashion is an answer, and sometimes a solution.

Through all the miserable points in my life from school, college, and work – I wish I had paid more attention to what I was wearing. May have even helped me own myself a little bit. N got me the bestest birthday gift. I was asking for self-respect, she got me a vibrator.

I thereby conclude that an orgasm is the best kind of self-respect.

sleep

they don’t have to tell you when they leave

so don’t spend days waiting for them to wake you up before they leave

Or be prepared to run your warm hands on their side of the cold, empty bed

when this happens, look at your hands

like you so often have

You won’t know what to do.

But keep looking, and someday you might.

they won’t tell you when they leave

not because they don’t have to

not because they are bad and you are good

but because they already have.

For the love of Keret-IV

Aishwarya Rai in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is no longer weeping for Salman Khan. Ajay Devgan is playing Salman’s role. The villain- her father, stands arms folded between Ash-Ajay. Someone forces him to muster the decency to leave them alone for final goodbyes and he does. Ash collapses into Ajay’s chest. Then she cries, he cries (although I can’t see his face) and over his strong, broad shoulders, I see her eyelashes, heavy and wet with tears.

***

I am in a Thai film. I am in a hurry to get cake for my mother. Someone drops me off at a market where I am suddenly adopted by the people living there as one of their own. The architecture of the building is funny and scary, like strange buildings in new cities are. The entire building is zigzag, like our parking spaces in malls.

A tall woman with shiny black hair and swan’s neck is my new mother. My new mother gathers me in her arms but we are quickly separated by something. There is chaos, the enemies are coming and just the word is enough to send everyone running. I am everywhere and here at the same time but deeply, miserably aware that my new mother isn’t with me. I can suddenly understand why babies need their mothers so much, why I need mine, what all the deal with mother’s love is about. I pine for her, gathering my heart in my hands and running and looking for her in the chaos. I’ve lost her.

***

My year-old nephew is playing in my arms. We are at a big, bright house by the beach. Everyone is here, my whole family. And even as I am with them, I can’t fight the all too familiar feeling of having/needing to be somewhere else. I curse myself. Why am I such a terrible planner? Why do I make promises I know I cannot keep? There’s a furious wind and I remember with great desolation, my alone and small bike that I’ve parked at college, right in front of the beach (How to move here permanently?)

I tell Amma I have to go. She is mad.

***

The Haunting of Bly Manor

The Haunting of Bly Manor

It is all kinds of thrilling to finally be able to meet a ghost who likes dresses, and dressing up. I dreamt of The Lady in the Lake this morning, at 3:30 am that too. And thought how unfair to be trapped that way under the lake when all you want in life is to wear nice dresses, and make your own decisions, and be your own woman.

I had goosies watching her wake, walk, sleep, wake, walk, sleep. I’m not able to get her stubbornness to live out of my mind. I wish I never have to. And this coming at that same time as *that time of the year* when I do Didion in class. Self-respect, folks, is the stubbornness to keep on living, even when your fucking sister murders you because she wants to wear all your dresses.

So sly the makers of The Haunting of Bly Manor are: they took an age old irritation with younger bloody sisters who keep stealing all our dresses and made a horror/love story out of it. Super.

Sigh-filled dyku scenes, and amazing clothes also. And they are right, all love stories are horror stories only no? Especially if miserable people like me have to sit at home and watch hot women in amaze clothes (HANNAH GROSE FTW) all over each other.

For a while, we are children again – my cousins & I

In the Mannagudda house in Mangalore where the tallest point of the slope touched sky and one section of houses bent their ears to gravity.

We didn’t want to sleep but we had to.

Under the angry eyes of my mother and theirs,

we pretended to sleep, our eyes closed to them and open to us in every other way, grateful. They couldn’t see that we were playing behind the red screens of shut eyes.

I have stayed up many nights after that but never quite like I have on that night.

We lay in silence, stifling giggles because someone tried to find his way to the others and was kicked back to sleep by an awake, upset adult.

Little by little, each of us managed to leave our beds and walk with our palms pressed to our mouths as if that would somehow mute our feet.

We gathered in the backyard and poured laughter

All delight of a sleepless night released.

Then the pointlessness set in. We had escaped sleep, the dangerous quiet it brought, and adults. Now what?

We couldn’t do nothing with the time we had stolen (and stayed up all night for)

So some of us went to gather sticks – big and small

– just so our hands had something to do that early in the morning

And the others dutifully went back to sleep.

For the love of Keret-III

In a dark corner of the mind where there is rain everyday – there are infinite spaces in which to write. The terrace with its right angled cushion sets, plants, sun. The room under the terrace which is also a terrace, and here too, plush sofas and round tables, plants, sun.

Sandy is here with the children, her temples permanently dotted with three drops of sweat, her armpits soaked and her teeth, perfect squares. She is fascinated by the space, plants, sun and is wondering what it would be like to begin the day with this every morning.