It’s when you don’t have anyone to fight against that the real battle begins..
It’s all about the details.
I see the light brown of the cotton sari interspersed with white, a hassle between the earth and the heavens, wrapped around myself and the mundani, the end pleats, going around my torso to be tucked in front, to the left of my waist. I face the kitchen wall, and my hands move in a hurry between knives, green leaves, pots and pans.
I never see my face, but I know how I smiled at the sudden touch of your hands on my hips, working through layered fabric to reach my skin. I know the warmth of your love as you laugh and the leap of my heart as I keep working my hands with your lips in my ear.
It’s the details. The blue of your shirt, the white of the kitchen walls, sunlight streaming through the window, the waving curtain, the clink of the knives. Your laugh. My smile.
It’s the details that make me wonder whether this is indeed just my recurring fantasy of our future together, or a glimpse into another life we once led somewhere in the cosmos.
”Kasha ki Asha is the perfect place to laze away your time, read a few books and write a blog post or two as you wait out that mid day heat”
I was roaming aimlessly in White Town at noon. I was running an errand and then had ample time on my hands to while away before my night shift. Having come all the way to this area of Puducherry, known for French restaurants and exotic cafés and what nots, I didn’t feel like going back without checking out the streets a little. Exploration has been topping my list of essential life events ever since I got a means of easy transportation on my own (more on that later; that post is long due and still incomplete)
Armed with Google Maps I managed to traverse the very confusing lanes of WT and soon found myself in front of the apparently charming Café Dés Arts that I had been meaning to visit for some time now. But alas, I found it closed for renovation and due to open only in a month or also.
That was when I whipped out my phone again and searched for Best Cafes in Pondicherry, and Kasha ki Asha came into focus via the aforementioned write up from the website Polka Cafe that Google pointed out to me. More than anything else, I believe it is the words “..and write a blog post or two..” that caught my attention. I have been lagging behind on the same for a long time now, and any incentive to finish off the many half written posts is always welcome. So off I went.
Luckily this cafe was just a few feet away from Cafe Des Arts, on Surcouf street. I manoeuvred the scooty gingerly, checking out either side of the quiet street for the cafe.Even then I missed it the first time; the quaint maroon building nestled quietly at the corner of the street, and as I stood on the threshold I wondered if it was closed too, there was hardly anyone about! A renovated house, it still felt like more of a home than a cafe.
A lady saw me peeking in and reassured me that they were open. The gallery is downstairs, she said, and the cafe on the terrace. I walked around a bit, looking at the various items kept on sale – books, shawls, printed tee shirts, kurtis, bangles.. the typical overpriced ‘ethnic’ paraphernilia aimed at visiting folks from the West – before climbing the corner stairs leading to the terrace.
To say I found the place pleasant is an understatement. Heavenly would better describe it. Anyone who has endured the horrid summer heat of Puducherry would know why. A thatched roof, comfortable chairs, cool breeze and solitude – what else can one ask for?!
Eateries in India seldom offer you quietness (unless the food is so bad that no one is there except you). All the good places bustle with people and waiters keep breathing down your neck every second to make sure you leave as soon as you’re done and make room for the newcomers. In contrast, here I was, shown on to the roof top terrace and made at ease by a lady in a worn out saree, who handed me the wifi password, smiled and left immediately.
Left alone, I walked around in delight, clicking pictures. I loved everything about the place, the roof, bamboo shoots, cane chairs, creepers and the occasional sparrow.. A rooftop green and brown and pleasant, like home.
I settled down onto a comfy cane chair, next to the magazine rack and checked out the menu, wondering when anyone would show up for the order. Apparently they don’t. The description on the menu card invites you laze around as long as you want and then call from the stairs in any case you want anything!
So here I am, munching on my toast and sipping lemonade, posting what I expect is the first of many posts to be written in Kasha ki Asha.
I trace myself
On your exposed wounds
And know, my touch
Does not make you cringe;
Our scars fit
Like jigsaw puzzles.
I feel like a stranger in the white coat. A little fresh, a little raw, a less confident version of myself. A little unprepared for the routine of the Emergency Department. A month of posting in ED is mandatory for residents from other departments to ease the workload of the regulars and I walk in to do my share.
I start documenting the cases alloted to me.
26 year old unmarried male, driver by occupation, with a history of accidental fall from a height of 15 feet presents with complaints of severe back pain. Power 0/5 in both limbs. Sensation absent below the umbilicus. No external injuries. Adv: Xray DL and LS spine. Provisional: Traumatic paraplegia.
My age! Damn it, he’s my age.. And he may never walk again, let alone drive..
3 year old girl brought by parents with history of drowsiness and headache since morning. Known case of pinealoblastoma with hydrocephalus; VP shunt in place. Adv: Non contrast CT Brain. Provisional: ?Shunt Block.
Neurosurgery is full. They will never be able to take up the case for surgery at such short notice. Yes, I understand you don’t have the money to go anywhere else.. Yes, Bangalore is far and you don’t speak the language, but the institute there is the best option for her.. Please don’t cry, we are as helpless as you are.. There is only so much we can do right now..
64 year old lady with end stage renal disease brought with high blood sugar. Pulse not palpable. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation initiated. Injection atropine and adrenaline stat.
She’s back from the dead! Can’t say I expected that..
35 year old male, known case of Rheumatic Heart Disease/Double valve replacement done admitted with sudden onset breathlessness. History of chronic alcoholism present. On examination, patient comatose, pulse not palpable, pupils dilated, not reacting to light. Stuck valve suspected. ECG gives flat line. Death declared to parents.
Hesitation cuts all over his left forearm.. linear scars that once bled frustration and pain. Maybe he was already tired of this tormented life? Bouts of chest pain, dyspnoea, medications and surgeries. Maybe he willed his heart to stop just like he willed the blade to cut into his wrist??
Hope and helplessness intertwine as the minutes inch forward. And at the end of 7 hours, as I walk away a mess of nerves and relief, I remember how lucky I am to not be in pain, to not be connected to half a dozen machines, to not be just alive, but healthy too. Not just surviving.
It’s funny how often we forget that.
Drench me in the silent
Depth of your eyes,
Pull me close, envelop me
In your white lies,
I care not if I am as beautiful
As you claim, nor surmise
That you speak the truth
In sultry disguise;
Just take me along –
Let each sunrise
Begin bright and burning
In the afterglow of a paradise
Found in each other’s arms,
Get lost in the spiral highs
Of desire twirling out of reach
As smoky screens of madness arise
And blankets of passion
Engulf my trembling sighs;
My love, let me live an eternity
In the depth of your eyes..
Global warming for me was nothing more than a high school topic, a frequently asked question to be mugged up for the tests. How ignorant we remain even in the light of knowledge!
Today, enduring the sweltering sun in Puducherry on a daily basis, I lament the lack of shade on the highway and curse the glare of the road. And when I run home to Kerala, allegedly God’s Own Country, in search of respite, I am faced with the same. I have personally witnessed such a dramatic change in climate over the last two decades that I fear what the rest of my existence has in store.
Sustainable development, environmental hazards, man made disasters.. Somehow all these seem to stay in a separate compartment in our heads, foggy and aloof and pertaining to obscure journals or news reports. The link between our actions and consequences is lost in translation. Humans, the society, mankind – all detached terms, and unrelated to single entities that make up the whole. Unrelated to me and you.
The hot sun pairs up with the humid air to chase me indoors, and I breathe a sigh of relief as the cool air from the AC vent meets my sweaty face. Little do I wonder about the paradox, the vicious cycle I am thoughtlessly perpetuating, how the Air Conditioner might be releasing hydroflurocarbons that are killing the ozone layer and adding to green house effect and global warming.
But of course, all that is just 8th grade science. All it boils down to are the test results.
It has been so long since I last posted something that I have actually been framing and editing the opening sentence for a full ten minutes now, till it finally transformed into this. Nothing spectacular, I know. These fingertips are badly in need of inspiration.
It has been exactly a month since I wrote something other than research proposals or official letters. Being back at college is proving to rain on my literary parade. But I can’t quite blame the curriculum for it; it’s me of course. Old habits die hard and laziness is immortal. It’s just so easy and convenient to sit back against a cushion, whip out one’s phone and text the people you -wait for it! – spent the entire day with. So unnecessary, but such an integral part of one’s life these days..
Today.. umm wait. I realise I effectively procrastinated the post so well that it’s actually yesterday. So yesterday, the 19th of April, I came to know through a WhatsApp forward, is the World Cycling Day. Yoo-hoo!! Here is to eco friendly and healthy transportation! Bikers unite!!!
I was a late bloomer in the cycling scenario and learned to bike quite late. I am reminded of the first time I attempted the antic of riding without side wheels. I was in my 5th grade and it was my friend’s cycle and the road leading up to her house used to be a precarious fall. It either levelled out as I grew or my visual capabilities recovered from imaginative hyperbolic perceptions. Either way, it doesn’t seem as notorious now as it did then. Anyway, I clearly remember screaming in horror as a coconut tree came rushing toward me. Thanks to the impact, the bike was broken and I stayed away from the similar adventures till I got a cycle of my own for the first time in 8th grade.
My dreams of riding with abandon were soon put to rest as a local toddy shop opened right across my designated cycling route. Mother felt it inappropriate and unsafe for a young girl to bike in the area where drunken hooligans aka potential molesters loitered. The other route was all uphill – not exactly the average weakling’s cuppa tea. So that too came to a premature end.
Childhood whims are like one’s first love, you never quite get over them. Which is probably why, the moment I stepped inside the sprawling campus with its wide shady lanes, I knew I had my opportunity at long last!
Now, 12 years down the line, I am the proud owner of another bike. It did take a couple of weeks for my atrophied thigh muscles to get used to the climb, but they don’t complain as much now.
The colour does make me cringe, but apparently ladies’ cycles only come in pink and lavendar in this town. Oh well. At least it stands out among the fleet of sober scooters and motorcycles!
How is it that the more I drink
The thirstier I get?!!
Two souls meet
In a wet embrace;
Your lips on mine.