F – Fudge

Choultries are depressing in the evenings. Disorderly empty chairs, echoes of laughing relatives bouncing off lazy white walls, broken flowers; water spilled here and there from water fights between running cousins, goodbyes and wishes hanging in the air, the feeling that the last few remaining people on the earth are pulling away, going far away from you.

It just screams emptiness, like my Sunday evenings back when I was in school. Dad watching the news; me, sprawled on the living room floor doing homework and the only ritual I most enjoyed throughout my school – Packing my bag, arranging books according to size, emptying my pencil pouch, cleaning it and then putting everything back again. It was how I coped with having to welcome Monday. I remember the sinking feeling of familiarity and consistent family time that exploded every Sunday.The news, its ads, the songs, the anchor’s dead voice, mom’s walking in and out of the hall bringing food for dad. When I think of it now, it brings an onslaught of tired whys and hows followed by 2 never mores.

It felt like I was living somebody else’s Sunday evening, on borrowed time, in borrowed space. It was not mine, it could never be mine unless I was older enough to do what I wanted to with my Sundays.

I’m old enough today. But there’s always a but.

When I am getting dressed to see you, a vast nothingness of forgotten Sundays opens up and I look at it with an almost bored desire to not be there but still be there. Sometimes, I don’t want you as much as I want you. Some other times, I think of what it would be like to have a whole Sunday for myself, without having to share it with anyone and I smile. Sometimes, I think of having too many Sundays for myself and the promise of solitude thrills me just as much as it scares me. Eventually, the fear of missing you and wanting what I could have had, but can’t now is what holds me back.

Every time, I turn cold, the memory of your laugh makes me warm. The 101 names you have given me on account of various celebratory accidents, the slowness in your movements when you sleep, the rare outbursts of affection that you show me only in my imagination, the languages you have invented and the songs you sing, the words you distort and change to fit your mouth, the way you laugh when you see people fall, the way you won’t stop laughing when I fall; your face and its creases, your hand and its raw warmth, the tightness in your chest and your hugs, the way you caress my head when I weep in your arms.

These are only some of the things that hold me back from going ahead and having at all the Sundays myself. What brings cold logic to the warm, faint beating in my heart and the voice of your laugh is the Choultry; its ugly dullness. It’s how I will be if I am with you.

Q- Queen

There are many movies that I am a huge sucker for. I watch them over and over again either because I really like a scene or because somebody says the right thing in the movie that makes me just want to sit up and applaud endlessly. Some movies remain with me, long after I have left them not because somebody says all the right things in the end but because sometimes, things have been said so much and so many times that you choose not to say them anymore. She could have told him to go to hell, she could have told him that he caused her many a sleepless nights, she could have told him that she deserves somebody better but all she does is stand there in front of him, rejecting even what should have been said and smiles sheepishly. Madam then hugs him, says ‘thank you’ and leaves. No turning back to show middle finger – no throwing the ring into the air, not even ‘I have to look modern now because I have become independent’ – just plain old moving on. That is Queen for me. Words like ‘Bold’, ‘New age’ and ‘Breakthrough’ seem like adjectives for gadgets and therefore don’t do justice to the mad narrative that is Queen.

I liked that Queen’s return to India was not grand and hence not embellished by skirts or jeans or much else. She left to her honeymoon all by herself, a sad woman in chudidar and returned a happier woman in pretty much the same clothes. The success of the movie for me was when the audience was left baffled during this airport scene. The silence that followed after this scene was cold and cutting, like it knew that it was unwelcome there and it was forced as a result of shock and that it’s cheering-hooting predecessors are all laughing at it menacingly.

Queen surprises you on many levels and these levels have nothing to do with the villain- fiance. All these levels are Queen-related and she aces them with giggles. She doesn’t fall in love in Paris – she falls in love with Paris – she learns how to cross its streets without help, she finds her passion, drives maddeningly through Parisian streets, lives with 3 men in a hostel- has an unromantic relationship with each, lives also; with a woman – no romance there either.

And after all this, she comes back happy and healed. Not changed or revolutionized or baptized into a modern woman. Just happy.

A couple of weeks ago, a status update a friend had posted about some lame ass singer who doesn’t believe in feminism because she thinks global warming is more important (!) had me seething with rage for a week. I retaliated in much the same way – stupid and pointless. She’s a nice person and everything but now I am thinking: movies like Queen are a total waste on her and the kinds simply because they think that feminism hasn’t done anything for them. It’s much more delightful to deal with people who question feminism than with people who are indifferent to it and by extension, themselves.

Never mind. Queen rocks. You should watch it.

P.S: Delayed post, I know. But Q for Queen made perfect sense just now.