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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

04 December, 2004

Dull Day Extraordinaire

Keep me going, moving fingers in a ripple - connected to the world through a wire. On the third floor of the old house – solid no frills – rambling into rooms after rooms, out of 74 double windows into the livid hot white summer sky. I keep thinking of this house at no.8 as ‘not the outhouse’- I forget there is no outhouse anymore.
Another street, some other lifetime - There is still the seuli tree behind the rusty roller- hidden from the world I can sense me sitting there turned to invisible stone within the no-more-hedge-fence hidden from the voice calling me for milk …Then white and saffron blossoms grew into caterpillars during the rains. Now –just indifferant flowers every season for the Singhs , the Patodis , the Alis and also the Days.
It’s two minutes to two- crisp afternoon. Far away three saris dry flowing uninterrupted into the neighbour’s balcony downstairs-starched cotton -will stiffen with the moisture ebbing - burnt cardamom, mint and pale lemon- I dream of lunch –I grind, stir and simmer in my mind. I garnish and serve…in……..my….....mind I savour.
Around me - a sea of green, white and black mint cool mosaic floor. I’m marooned on a precarious chair facing the screen. They say, this workmanship is no longer found even for good money. Freshly swabbed by the cleaning woman smiling and meticulous –unlettered, she has deep feelings-nasal philosopher, quaint dialogue.
The turn of her worn sari once Ma’s reminds me of smoky local trains and puffed rice covered in an enamel dish bordered with deep cobalt. Ma and I used to take our music lessons in this room. Say Sa …Saaaaaaa! After me…Re …Reyyyyyy…suddho re…Again…one…two…three...four…start! Ma- after office in one of her printed silks, beautiful, tired and serious; me- a fluttering captive within the Alahiya Vilaval song-cage. This room would double to play Dark Room on Sunday; with my cousin, my small brother of five and L.Mama and S.Mashi’s sons. N. was my best friend then skinny, hugely funny at seven and a half, shorts and half-moon fringe- a whole two inches shorter then me. –Uncle L. still handsome -suave even at 65 - swaggering in correctly creased cords- he might be joining us for lunch later. Just a little short of piss-drunk. What’s for lunch?
Passing cars horns fade and die. There is a continuous drone of a car engine – the motor mechanic Munna’s garage can be heard from where I solidly refusing to budge, can only be glimpsed from the kitchen balcony.
There used to be a dairy of buffaloes right outside the back gate of corroded tin-sheets,we’d always come to know when there would be a calving. At night the sodium vapour street light would throw shadows on the ceiling till sleep refused to come –stubbornly –before Ma did-smelling of perfume and whisky.
Married to writing till lunch calls from below!
Outside a hammer stopped beating. Some how couldn’t recognize him –wizened and shrunk- in his trousers when he greeted me. It’s only when he wears his half undershirt and checkered green lungi he starts to looking like old Sirajul –chewing his red secret formula, keeping time. I am waiting for the computer fixit guy to scare me with the bill and the year long maintenance charge. Although I know what is coming; the shock would be in print! Someone’s beating iron and making some heady afternoon music. Someone-wonder who?

6 Comments:

Blogger Pragya said...

Very engrossing reading - nostalgia at it's best - shading your eyes and looking back to the not-so-distant past on a lazy summer afternoon. Had so many such "dull days extraordinaire" myself but couldn't ever present such a successful rendition of it.

06 December, 2004 00:58  
Blogger Pragya said...

Very engrossing reading - nostalgia at it's best - shading your eyes and looking back to the not-so-distant past on a lazy summer afternoon. Had so many such "dull days extraordinaire" myself but couldn't ever present such a successful rendition of it.

06 December, 2004 00:58  
Blogger Pragya said...

Very engrossing reading - nostalgia at it's best - shading your eyes and looking back to the not-so-distant past on a lazy summer afternoon. Had so many such "dull days extraordinaire" myself but couldn't ever present such a successful rendition of it.

06 December, 2004 00:59  
Blogger atreyee said...

Actually it was a page of free writing I was doing ...just connecting with what I saw around ..but it started pulling in bits of the past too...!Lying around in bits and pieces around!
It's weird if you sit to write ...like a storm centre what all can be pulled in ...(smiles!)@

06 December, 2004 10:16  
Blogger SPECKLED_BAND said...

Shades of "Charulata" - where she watches the street through her verandah railings in the afternoon...

06 December, 2004 22:37  
Blogger Max Babi said...

Atreyee, an engaging description of everyday affairs...
there's a robust countryside charm to your writing, presumably because of your recent holiday away from the mad rush... loved this !

cheers !

08 December, 2004 01:23  

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