Streets of Secunderabad 

Low lying houses with large airy verandahs, behind low iron gates. A burst of bougainvillea against the whitewashed walls, spilling. The colour of crushed Indian  rose. The colour of blood mixed in gold. In tufts, in bunches, in surprises. The yards lie swept, resting under the shade of Gulmohar trees. The trees are in full bloom.  Against the overcast sky of the city, the warm red petals seem to house the sun in their tendril like veins. Now and then, a breeze rustles the calm and sends a few red petals flying into the wind, to fall lightly in the swept yards, beginning the day’s decay. 

” Look!!!”, I said, pointing out of the car’s window. 

He looks out and without turning back to face me, asks what I was pointing at. 

” That. Looks good” I say, pointing at the rows and rows of trees and vines bursting with blossoms against the monsoon sky, as if to asset summer one last time. 

” I used to live here” , he says and his face takes on an expression between the happiness of revisiting old homes and the pain of knowing it’s only a visit. 

We reach our destination. We were meeting my friends for coffee and breakfast and we were the first to arrive. I look up to see the   cozy place tucked into an old house. It looked inviting. I take a step in that direction when he stops me.

” Take a walk with me” , he says, pointing to the other direction. 

” why? “, I ask. 

” Look”, he says. 

I see a wide Secunderabad street, lonely and lovely, running brown and quiet, it was perfect to walk on it’s banks. We walk, in the shade of bougainvillea, Gulmohar trees, and the dark clouds that promised an evening rain. 

The ashes from his cigarette fall crumbling onto the piles of leaves raked in, to the sides of the street. One cigarette later, we climbed the stairs to the coffee place, picking the seat farthest from the morning crowd, beside a window that overlooked the street. We didn’t look out of the window.     Time just ripened to a comfortable lull from there on, with a game of cards and three sandwiches thrown in the mix. 

Ms Ihavethedayoff

It was another one of those winter mornings. An endless gurgle of my complaints. This hurts. This hurts. This hurts.

I still woke up, it was already late. I had to get ready and get going. Wooooh! Yeah. I do a little stretch and a jig, a little cinematic bounce up and down. Let’s get this party going.  That’s when a sharp spike of pain from the depths of misery says hello to me. Oh right. Hye. I am on my periods. My incentive dips to subzero. I will mope throughout the day. I don’t want to be positive. No, I won’t do yoga

When I am deciding what to wear after I come out of the shower, half frozen, my phone rings. I am annoyed at the name. I want to snap. I want to tell the person its morning and I don’t take work calls before 10. I still pick up.

“Hello, Good morning”

“Good morning, Zeenath. We are given an off today..  so.. “ I stopped listening. After appropriate amount of time, I said,  “ Yay thanks. Bye!”

I throw my phone on the bed, quickly tip toe to it, make sure the cracked screen is still only cracked and not shattered, I go back to my happy ballet routine. I don’t know any ballet. I just flap my arms about. I have long arms and they are very flexible so they sometimes look graceful. * Slices an arch through the air* See?  No? Okay.

I complete my happy ballet routine and move through the day with renewed energy and a zealous appetite. I don’t need to diet. Not today. And when on periods, it doesn’t count. You are feeding the monster, not yourself. Its forgiven calories. Yes, even the cheese. My monster likes cheese.

Ain’t no drape. 

I like curtains. Not the feeble, lace trimmed, airy ones. Those ones entice the casual stalker, by softening the otherwise hard lines of a woman’s silhouette. I like the thick curtains which once shut, shut out the world with them. They are fierce protectors. Hanging by heavy rods, falling surprisingly gracefully the length of the window, theirs is an oath to shield. 

Let morning come, in all its noise and gurgle, making an embarrassment of itself, gilding the window frame. But these curtains, they only let the faintest hint of the morning breaking outside to the house. Should you permit, should you choose to, you may usher the morning. Should you find your eyes comfortably shutting, you may lie in bed all day, or watch sopranos, and the morning will be sent out, on its way, till it sulks into night. 

Tomorrow is another day. Another choice to make. Till you make it, the curtain will act the secretary to a high seat and only whisper of visitors to you. You have the royal permission of sliding the hoops of your loyal protector through the unfailing rod. 

Winter washes

Winter heavy with a promise of honey sweet sleep washes all that stands sentry to this great city, to just another slave to sleep. In slumber undisturbed, this city slips deeper and deeper into a lull, until it feels comfortably dead. Like a senile’s demise. Snow White head comfortably rested on a flower patterned pillow cover.

The covers smell of fabric softener, reminding the rested head of faintly scented memories in flower fields of yesteryear. So, deeper they slip.  Until its so comfortable, the memories get stitched to their body, like how monroe was rumoured to get her dresses tailored.

Winter cradles these senile heads in its plump invitation and keeps them there, fondly looking over them, until the vulgarity of buds bursting into flowers disrupts the austerity and it sulkily withdraws, casting longing looks at the senile heads. My city then, will be bathed in parrot green colours and no one will miss winter and its black magic.