Leap Day

Today is February 29. It's an extra day. Today is the day when Phil Dunphy takes out the kids to indulge in things they wouldn't usually do. It's an extra day, it ought to be taken as a privilege.

The last time we got an extra day was in 2012. I cannot remember the state we were in when that happened. I must have been reeling under some kinda pressure. Something must have been irking, troubling me. I wasn't the problem solving machine then, that now I have become. I was a slower lamer version of the woman I am now. But pain and pressure is omnipresent in the life. Imagined, if not real. But still there. I must have wasted February 29, 2012 exactly the way I am whiling away February 29, 2016 today. It's sad, how predictably and ruthlessly uneventful life could be. Introspection is vile. Last night, I showed the symptoms again. Of mild insomnia, bubbling depression and a nascent headache.

And I am sure, come 2020, if alive, I am going to be the same. I am going to let February 29 pass without anything meaningful, worthwhile. It's who I have become. Can't help it.

God bless Philip Dunphy. And his three kids. And pray, God bless me. And make me better. Happy leap day all.

My blog is gonna turn 10 in a couple months. Yeah, 10 fucking years. That's twice half a decade man.

Culinary Flashbacks

He has a long history with food. He ain't the fat kind though. Far from obese, he's lean and lanky. It's unfair. But that's how it is. The way he speaks of food, makes your mouth water.

When he was in college, campus life treated him to many delights. In his days, there used to be a guy who used to vend omelettes through a pigeon hole in the compound wall. After past midnight case discussions and team meetings, they walked down in gangs and surrendered themselves to the guilty pleasure of cheesy warm omelettes sprinkled with black pepper. He would fork out the tiny bits of green chilies. And relish the rest. Order a couple of refills if need be. He barely ate the dinner in the hostel mess. And hence, the calories never showed up.

He worked in Calcutta for a bit. A few years I guess. The city that would set your palate straight. It's so difficult to think of anything else when you are in Calcutta. Anything but food. But he wasn't in for the street food. The chaats and the pani puris. There were, are these shanties, in corners of streets. Their roofs made of hay and tilted walls nearly falling apart. These shanties dish out lunch meals as early as eleven. In the A M. And the beeline in front of them, men scattered around, holding plates made of sal leaves never seemed to dwindle. He used to be a fan of these.

Since he used to be, I used to be. He told me, they served steaming hot rice and dolloped with lentils cooked in vegetables, potatoes, pumpkin, papaya. There would be a lump of sweet and sour dessert of dates and tomatoes. On the edge, you could get a slice of lemon with salt and a green chilly. And a dish or two more. But he was more nuts about the fish in mustard than about anything else. Pieces of deep fried fish simmered in a paste of mustard and garlic. The aromas would disintegrate before me every time he brought up the fish. Garnished in fresh coriander. He would go on about the patrons of the shanty if I didn't stop him. But then again, that was very very long ago. Now, I wonder what he eats. Where he lives. And what his newly wed wife cooks for him.


If indeed, it was all about pheromones, what the fuck have we done?! We have gotten ourselves into something irreversible, called love, lust and the like? If it's just the smell of the lover, that we can't overcome, isn't it an overstatement to call ourselves a smart race? It's just one thing. The smell of the lover, that intoxicates us and keeps us tied. The way his chest smells, or the odour of his mouth, the smell coming off the ruggedness of his feet or that from his soft fingertips. It's just a smell. A pheromone. A smell very very categorically belonging to the lover, that we cannot just overcome, then it's more black magic than it is love. And love is too much the price to pay. But what can we do? Our nostrils cannot overcome him and his smell. An odour that belongs to him in the whole entire world and therefore, has no replacement. No complement. But what, on earth, can we do? Pheromones, like run the world. They have been, for a long long time now.

Yet in intervals, we go totally absofuckinlutely immune. Not only to pheromones. But to all other senses. We feel no hunger, no heat, no cold, no thirst, no libido. No passion, no whim to be anywhere or with anyone. But continue to stretch one's own solitary line of existence? And just that. May be, this interval is called peace, if not joy.


We are here now, because we couldn't be anywhere else. Life has taken the exact number of turns and twists that it has, taken. Shorter and longer paths. Through whirlwinds and thunderstorms. Night walks and dawn breaks. Deafening silences and paralytic dumbness, later, we are here. Because we couldn't be anywhere else. But now, here. This.

We have stared at graveyards, through nights. And written poems on heartache. Breathed in smoke. Breathed out fumes. Made strangers our own. Discarded the ones that loved us, and those we loved, also. Walked by hills, gotten scared. Felt infinite. Crumbled under the sad misery of our very very tiny and hapless existences. Tasted momentary exhilaration. Felt bound, completely incarcerated, sometimes. For others, for our own selves. We've blamed others for our endless suffering and passed the blame. With ease. And sat back, and turned away. 

We have walked towards and walked away from. We have tried to write. To read. See through others' eyes. We've won, sometimes just the illusion of victory, vis-a-vis sometimes having actually won. But mostly we have failed. We have mulled over ending our lives. Yes, we have. Shamelessly. And thought that there be no shame in that, either. 

But more than anything else, more than everything else, we've run for time, and against it. To get things done. Some many of them. Groceries, salon appointments, laundry, work-stuff, shopping dates, temples, cleaning and wiping and dusting, errands, payments, receipts, crap, crap, crap. More than anything else, we haven't learnt to pause. We haven't waited to absorb, whatever is happening to us. We haven't rested to appreciate, the simple, the tiny and the beautiful. 

We've fucked up big time. By running around and not pausing. To be here. Exactly here, now. This. Yes. You heard me. 


Dirt can have categories too. There's several kinds of it. First, there's broken bottles, glass. Then there's cardboard, smashed cartons. Then there are polythene bags. Hordes of it. Like our worlds have collapsed into it. Also there are piles of scrap metals. Rubber. And other things, I don't know the names of. Everyday, they sit down in the morning heat and categorize the garbage they pick up. Women and children. Women sit around in spaced out semi circles and talk in their high pitched voices. Covered from neck to toe. Except their beautiful pale yellow faces. Like features carved out of stone. In an artist's mind. Hair tied in a bun. Women who are barely even women yet. Holding babies, clinging to their chest, bend down to inspect the scrap collected for the day. They laugh, their shrill voices aloud. 

Their children, each must have at least four or more, play stray games every day. All damn day, no school. No books, chalks and pencil sharpeners. They roll around cycle tires with a stick. Sit in old abandoned cars and pretend they drive. And there are lots of them. So many of them. Young girls, too hold babies. Boys chase trucks that drive past. Their laughter sounds like utopia. Like the last knot of constraint on human life has been undone. These boys experience, fathomless freedom. The younger ones are naked. The older ones don torn pants and crumpled dirty shirts. Barefeet. Some of them pick out shoes from the garbage it seems. The girls sit on trolleys and watch. In the yellow moon of dusk, they begin to look more like their mothers. It's a scary bent in time, when that happens. The drunk men, who would have just gotten up in the afternoon, after a change of clothes may be, head out to be drunk again, tonite. But before that, they sit down, where the garbage had been categorised in the morning, for a quick game of cards.

The slum nearby is that of prostitutes. It's said that some of these garbage picker women also moonlight as prostitutes. And give them a run for their money. And why not!