Mirrors on ceiling 

I stood, my baby weight bearing down on my bread roll resembling feet, gaping lazily at my mother. Her lithe body, the sunrise colour of her skin and I burst up into flames of joy when she picked me up in her long thin arms. My mother, who has loved me that way since, is now no more lithe, her skin is now more red of a sunset than the bright yellow of a sunrise. 

Sometimes, when I tilt my curly head from a chair, letting the hair fall loose and a ceiling mirror reflects my face, with the hair pushed to the ground, I catch a misty glimpse of her in me. Nowhere near that beautiful or pure, but in my own curropt way, sometimes, mirrors on ceilings play my mother’s shadow of youth on my face. 

Comatose Comfort

There is disease like quality about a closed room. When I say closed, I mean robbed off all light and noise. A ceiling fan turns wretchedly stuck to its rhythm, cursed to creak as days run into years. The virtue of close quartered apartments, is harder to lose as a scrape of any kind on the floor above, sends a screech down your ceiling and walls, reminding you of how non-alone your self inflicted loneliness is.

Your laptop blares blue light, as your thumb flirts with your phone and the only thing that is getting your undivided attention, is the bed. You are stuck to it, like true love’s first kiss is stuck to the human delirium. First Rate Glue. Now and then, your eyes flick around the unchanged room and the room closes in further, making it harder to escape the prison, I like to call ” coma comfort”. You give up too. Its easier to let the semi darkness engulf you whole than to move. Moving takes so much character and right now,  you have the character of  a cardboard cut out lying forgotten at the back of an abandoned house. None.

But, life catches up to you. The evening prayer calls, resounding through the walls, people start coming and going into your room and one of them switches on the light. Ah, the ruin. You have been jerked out of the coma, by a very rude cure, called time. Time to bid goodbye to your infatuation with doing nothing and, oh the floor is so cold against your toes.

Five minutes later, you stand in front of the mirror, water running down your face.

My Name is Sacred.

I turn when someone calls my name and I do not stop and think about it. My mother must have spent a year, thinking about it.

My mother had a different name before she got married to my father, before she became a Muslim. She had the name of the Hindu goddess of prosperity. Now, her Arabic name means “Beautiful”. One night, while watching a particularly old movie with her on the laptop, lying beside her, I asked her, “ How do you even turn, when someone calls you by your new name?”. She was used to this name for twenty one years now.

 “I am used to it now”, she said

“But, what’s your name?”, I asked her

“Internally, I start when I hear my old name. It’s a little shock, a little jolt, I am alert, and I turn. But, no one calls me by that now. So, I know it’s not for Me.”, she said

I was about to say something when I realized she wasn’t ever asked this very vital question. I knew she would like to continue. She didn’t and that saddened me more than anything else. My convert of a mother, doesn’t talk much about herself.

My first identity was my name. To that, lot of other identities added and their hold of me was fickle and slight. They slid off, as I grew older. The one identity which stayed, like one’s scent, was my name.

Sounds of my day. 

Click of the seatbelt,Ignition, hand brake, brake, reverse, straight, go.

To

Ease in the spot, brake, hand brake, turn off ignition,withdraw the key, click of the seatbelt, the slither of the belt through metal, the scrape of leather on leather, shut goes the door. Heels on concrete, clip clop of a horse, blank stares at empty space where the claustrophobic transportation cube will arrive, shortly.

Screech and screams of the elevator, more horse norse, click goes the switch, sigh goes the spine, as the wheels of the chair roll in delight, as my head, dripping wet, sticks to my neck, an unwanted tattoo and the screen, blue and blaring glares back at me.

Thousands of small cells, a military tension wire on the screen. Millions of wires, waiting to be loved, who moan at the slightest touch of a key, turn yellow, red and green, however I want them to be.

Faded beige clock ticks it’s ridiculously long life away to 12, to 1 and to 1:30. Fingers tear; deceptively delicately at bread, dip it in salty stews and stain the lips red and yellow. Turmeric, mother is your third love. I know. 
Three hours go and coffee beans in my system I sow. 

5:55 P.M. Little world I scatter around, I gather and zip up. Step. Step. Step. Out in the evening air. Watered down indigo sky. Winter will be here soon. 

Ignition, hand brake, seatbelt clicks, brake, reverse, straight, wave, go

To

Cut the call, ignition off, withdraw the key, click and slither of the belt, shut goes the door and I look at another empty space, where the airy elevator arrives, carrying with it wafts of Chicken curry from the fourth floor and dried fish from the second. 

Door opens and shuts. 

Missings – listed 

The airconditioning in the room was unreal. I was tucked inside a pristine white comforter and was eyeing all metal, cold surfaces with suspicion. I missed warmth. This place was busy, cold and not my home. 

In that downer spirit, I wondered what exactly I missed.

Here’s a list.

I miss waking up before the sun rises, walking in a peacock infested park with  the lady with a fierce red bindi on her forehead.

I miss my office’s insanely bad coffee machine and the resultant steam burns.

I miss being able to wake a lovely person up in chennai, every morning. 

I miss being asked if I wanted to go get momos by a beautiful girl whom I miss but can’t find the incentive to call

I miss my TV. A lot.

I miss my bug of a car which can and will win the messiest car of the year award, should it somehow make its way to the venue without incident 

I miss my mother.

I miss baking experimental cakes that people around me are nice enough to humour with a tasting.

What’s bothering me is, I miss all of them equally. Though, a cursory glance will tell you, mother is probably more important than momos. That’s how I miss Hyderabad. That’s how I miss home. 

Braid

Braiding a silken streak of afternoon

With the blue ribbons of twilight

The sky smiled down on us

Like my mother would, exactly like she would

If I was ten and she still braided her hair.

Clouds came in clumps and clusters

Drifting lazily across the grey expanse

Wisps of grey, silver and black

Like my mother’s braid, exactly like my mother’s braid

If I still looked if she braided her hair.

And it rained for hours

While I sat still, coffee untouched.

 

 

 

 

Factory worker.

Like a factory that never sleeps

I do all my three shifts

No increments, no gifts

I dance, I twirl around, I listen

To make sure the machines don’t make a sound

That they glisten

Glisten till I see my reflection smiling back at me

Sadly, dissolving in itself, like it should be

Satisfied I move on, to the afternoon shift

An afternoon of pacing around and thinking

A secret pleasure I indulge in, no one knows, my innate gift

They only know me as an ornament, pretty and glittering

Sighing I move on, to the night shift

Every night replicated in perfect uniformity

In bliss, in boredom I drift

Hoping, wishing and praying for a calamity 

A calamity that will wash the clockwork away

Away and out into an abyss where no human could stray

And I will be no more held by the world taking my attendance

And I will be no more a mere resemblance

Of my mother, her mother and her mother who bore no sons