Tu Me Manques

You are missing from me is the literal translation of tu me manques. The turn of phrase hits home rather hard and makes all those (and that) you love a part of you. People, places, things that are the building blocks of personality and sheer existence.

Terry says I miss you when I see you. Meeting an old friend over breakfast, another for dinner, and a few more sprinkled in between made me realise how alone I am in this beautiful but rather loony city. I don’t mind being here, leading a quiet life, there is much to amuse me, but it has been a year and three months of being away. It’s not a long time, but it is enough to miss people.


A Sense of Unease

Premonitions are helpful but should come with subtitles. I have a sense of unease and I don’t know why I feel like that. Is it the binge bakarwadi-eating of the weekend that is making me anxious? Or is it emails I’m expecting?

There is a storm brewing somewhere, but I don’t know where, and I don’t know how to prepare for it.


Saying Goodbye to Winter

Is there a better way to say goodbye to the winter, than with soup? The only one you really learned to make this season? One that didn’t need a blender, nor exotic ingredients?

Is there a better place to enjoy the soup than on your little porch, bright, but not directly sunny, in a chair you bought– the first time you’ve really bought furniture was cane and you fell in love with the simplicity of the medium, and how it fits this cute little house?

Are there companions better than the birds chirping constantly, and ignoring the god-awful pigeons? The birds you know, but can’t identify, because taxonomy isn’t everything in life?

On a Sunday to sit without a sweater, soaking in the last bits of cool, as flowers bloom, and spring does its magic (everywhere but the three flowering plants that you own, which wilt shamelessly).

Soon, summer will descend and soups, terraces, the outdoors will be out of the question. The breeze will be suffocating, finding solace in the memory of the pleasant afternoon spent on the porch, drinking soup and trying to read that one book you’ve been struggling with all winter.

On Exhaustion

One can be exhausted if there’s been a lot of physical work, but mental and emotional exhaustion catches you off-guard. Endless waiting, not know which way the tide will turn, anticipating disasters, these will tire you out like nothing else. The fear of things going awry, of suspicion, of unnecessary drama and tension, it saps your spirit.

Nothing untoward happened. Not so far. But the possibility has driven me to exhaustion.

The past is a rabbit hole. A random photo took me back to college, to IMG, to old friends, simpler times, and the comfort of an uncomplicated existence. A dusty cupboard took over three hours of reading old books, finding magazines and being upset that the first volume is missing.

These days I inhabit a liminal space, seamlessly moving between centuries, slipping through crevices and finding poetry on walls, on fabric and paper, sometimes even on my email.

Wandering around a three-hundred-year-old palace can spoil you a bit, where each painting, textile, a particular decorative flourish, a chandelier even, captures a moment frozen– a moment so much more charming than the noisy day it is.

You can have breakfast at Tiffany’s, take a drive at Midnight in Paris (damn you, Woody Allen, for being a pervert and making it impossible for me to watch any of your movies again), you can sigh in jharokas, and be bedazzled by medieval pavillions and roam in gardens under the stars, as wafts of ghazals reach you, but none of the awful light.

You can feel like you belong there, or that they belong to you, like old songs, and lost poems. Can you feel bereft of what you never had, be separated from who was never your beloved? Can you pine for a place you never knew, except in your head?

Romantic ideas get the better of you and your common sense, said my friend, horrorstruck at me picking up and sniffing at some flowers I found at a table. He had a point, they were probably hung around someone’s sweaty neck first.


2017 slipped by in a daze, in the company of friends, over poems, songs, and the worst hangover ever. 2018 came quietly.

It crept in without effusive phonecalls, without popped champagne, without fireworks, indeed without words. It came when cell phones were out of coverage, over silences, sleeping friends, home-baked pizza, Wai-Wai, and stand up comedians. 2018 came with promises of comfortable friendships, quiet care and consideration, and being at work on time.

It’s not something I do often but living alone in a city where I have only a few friends, and an acclaimed play comes to town, one must take oneself to the theatre.

To watch a play is to lose oneself in a different narrative, in a reality separate from you, in actor’s voices, lights, costumes.  It is to dive into a world that is driven by someone else’s design, and you simply float along. Your reflections will come later– in the break, walking out after it’s over, in the cab, or on the walk home. Ideally, there would be a drink, and post-theatre dinner (when in India), to talk about all that happened, all that could be, the metaphors, the meanings, the obvious mistakes, and the points of pure exhilaration.

The theatre isn’t a solitary activity, but for now, it’ll have to do.