R and I woke up homesick today. I had been dreaming of my dead dog for the past three days and R was missing the Brahmaputra. The incessant rains did not help the melancholy. We decided that, however much we welcomed the rain, enough was enough and that it was unfair for us to spend another weekend with legs propped up on the meshed window. It wasn’t fair to us and it wasn’t fair to the window. And so, we threw caution to the winds, shouldered the umbrella and sent a silent wish to the skies, “Please, no thunderstorm I like my umbrella. Please.” The only way to cure our homesickness was to find someone else’s home. Amol Palekar had lived in Vile Parle in 1977. For all our love for him, we did not know if he and ‘Chirebaadi’ were still there. It had to be a long shot. But it had to be.
I was travelling in the local from Mira Road to Chembur, when a friend called after a very long time. There were network disturbances as the train passed through tunnels. Women in the compartment had let loose their gossips. At stations, I had to ask her to hold on, for there was too much noise and I couldn’t hear her. Finally, she realized that I was travelling and she asked me,
“Where are you going?”
“Wait. You’re coming back to Jaipur?”
“What. No. I mean I am going back to the campus.”
Never in my life have I followed football, or any sport for that matter. I lost my interest in cricket once Rahul Dravid stopped playing. My endeavors in sports are limited only to watching Finals of the Cricket World Cup, the Olympics and any other match where India is in a crucial position.
Under the night sky, we sit together, thirty of us, holding our breaths. Hearts beating, pulses quickening. Until the stars come out all at once, lightening off the darkness.
You have a friend who likes to roam around. He takes his camera and goes around places. No, not your usual picnic spots. He walks into the slums, into old buildings, traverses streets, looks at people, tells you endless stories about the snow clad Himalayas and hides his face behind a book or a camera. One night, after dinner, he comes to you, holding his bag strap very tight. And he says he has found this place on his way back to his room.
The Jacaranda is in bloom. From far away, you can spot trees covered in purple. The Mohua is falling and at four in the morning children are running across fields to fill their baskets with the yellow bulb of a fruit. The Mohua will be sold off at sixty per kilogram or will be made into what is suspiciously referred to as Mohua Frooty.
Give me a house with bay windows, and curtains of mint blue. Give me a rug so that I can walk bare feet and a dog to sleep on it. Give me two flowering pots- a periwinkle and a touch-me-not. Let there be a jumble of wires where creepers grow and from where sparrows and parrots can keep an eye on me. Then, my friend, give me a lamp with three feet, a little rickety and unsure. Fit me a multi colored bulb. Give me a side table which is always ready to crumble down under all the weight that is piled on.