Posted in Prose

A little honey on my chilli flakes.

(For Marcia, Mark and Melvin)

Perhaps I would like to have a teeny bit of honey on my chilli flakes simply just to mellow down the rush and roar of the heavy spiciness that would linger on my tongue for God knows how long. I love the spice that excites my slithering tongue but it is long and I am weary of this monotonous spice and hotness. How long and how much more of this spice? Can I have a little change in the normal way of my things? Perhaps, honey on my chilli flakes? They say your flakes you have earned and all that spice and fire in your tongue you deserve for the works of your life. But can I please have a change of my menu here? A little honey maybe on my chilli flakes? I have had this spice for years now- on chicken, sandwiches, burgers, curries and fries. I am forgetting to mention but I have had flakes on sweets as well. Inevitably they land everywhere and whatever I eat as if flakes were salt on a normal basis of my life. While they have made my life a big era of boredom they have tired me, frightened me to the depths of the oceans and made my senses go haywire. I am done with these chilli flakes dawdling my life with no ultimate cause or reason yet messing my life in all the ways possible. Trust me, I try hard to sweep my life clean from all these chilli flakes that lie scattered all around and in every nook and cranny after a horrendous argument, unpleasant disagreements and harsh walkaways of people-spicy, spicier, spiciest and sweet, sweeter, sweetest. I try hard to keep me clean of these flakes that add an extra amount of madness in my attitude but they stick close, closer than ever.
Well, now I yearn for a little honey on my chilli flakes for the flakes refuse to leave so a little honey might calm down the rush and roar of flakes on my life and my poor tongue. I poured out a little honey on these flakes that stayed intact and they seemed to have silenced themselves now. I see the thick honey roll down the chilli flakes, embracing them together, passionately falling over and under each of them they hardly could flaunt their spiciness anymore. The honey trickling down and all over, smoothing out the rather ferocious attitudes of the flakes that for so long messed with me and bored and roared on my taste buds, I now wonder- “Why in the whole wide world didn’t I possibly not think of honey on my chilli flakes? ” I like it this way, the honey and flakes have embraced themselves and made love they can’t separate themselves from the beds of my tongue. As for my mouth, it gives them all the privacy in the world to love, look into each other’s souls and lose themselves in the intimacy that never happened in their lives. Why didn’t I think of honey on my flakes? The boredom I talked of earlier is far gone and the weariness and tiredness have walked a long way away from me now. It was honey that came to my rescue and that mellowed down the spiciness of the chilli flakes that specked on the pastures of my life. The redness of the chillies seem to be humble and quite when I pour out a little honey on them every time they mess up and roar on the grounds of my life and bang hard on the walls of my mind. The honey does the magic now, it soothes, spreads out its sweetness all around the madness and somehow melts away the havoc rising in me. So now when the chilli flakes roar at me, I simply order a teeny bit of honey to be poured all over. For when they meet, they seem to have a special way of calming down each other. It’s good you know- A little honey on the chilli flakes.

Posted in Prose

The “Foreign Smell”

A very Indianised fiction piece that elaborates on the view of native Indians on the hyped facts of the other side of the world.

I overheard Appachan and Ammachi.
Ammavan was coming home from America tomorrow with Ammavi, Mariakutty and Johnkutty. America!!!! Wasnt America somewhere at the other part of the world where people lived in white homes, walked on clean streets and spoke English even at home and not just in schools? Hadn’t the people there to cross oceans to reach India and fly in airplanes that I see high up in the skies every afternoon from my verandah?
I was thrilled, my joy knew no bounds. I stayed awake all night to simply wake up to the smooth, gliding sounds of their suitcases on our rough verandah going creek, creek, creek in the early hours of the morning before even the village woke up to see the morning sun. They came home every year at dawn, they slept all through the morning and when we had breakfast they gave me some of their corn flakes with milk and fruits when Ammachi’s appam and mota curry stared at me from the far distance on the dining table. They wore clean clothes, pressed, neat and fragrantful that the morning they pulled out their clothes, the smell of their foreign lands touched my brick walled house so strong and personally it refused to smell different anymore even long after they have left our house. There was something graceful and fragrantful in Mariakutty’s hair, it didn’t smell like Ammachi’s home made coconut oil nor did the fragrance of her hair leave the bedroom, the pillow covers and the bed sheets. Long after she went back home, it stayed put and close in our bed sheets and bathrooms when only drying these sheets under the blazing sun could expel that strong smell to some extent. But did I actually want that fragrance of their foreign lands to leave the premises of my house that also hung a little bit in my yellow worn out petticoat and paavada and blouse? In school I let my friends smell the lasting fragrance of their Yardley and Dove soaps that stayed on my body like a graceful layer of “Luxury” unlike Indian Medimix, Hamam and Mysore Sandals.
While Ammachi beat and pressed our clothes on the washing stone, hanging them on the terrace to be sun kissed and pit pat dry by evening Ammavi talked of washing machines that tumble dried and came along with bottled liquids that smelled more divine than our Ponds powders. She wore clothes that flowed down like the water over her body, which smelled nothing like the newness of our Indian garment shops but strangely divine and untermable, something that I call the smell of “Foreign”. When she opened her large suitcases, she opened up that fragrance that was so distant yet come close to me once in a while. The bars of chocolate she got home, the clothes she bought for me and the packets of dry fruits she got us smelled different unlike the smell on our tiny packets of broken cashew nuts from Joychan’s thattakadda, our bags of new clothes from Mammachan’s shop and the cosmetics we buy from our little town smelled very less of course than the ones Ammavan and Ammavi got but didn’t even equal with the fragrance they were accompanied with.
When they came home, my relatives who never visited, visited probably with hopes that they would receive something from the treasures in the bulged, tightly packed suitcases (now unpacked and scattered all over). Ammachi, the relatives and Ammavi would talk all day about old days when they ran through the fields and aimed for mangoes as Mariakutty and Johnkutty sat in the corner in awe and absolutely unwilling to mingle with their Indian cousins. They spoke in their anglicized Malayalam and a twang that made me want to stare at their lips all day long. While we cousins danced around in the muddy courtyards Mariakutty and Johnkutty hardly knew games like Kala Kalli, Goli or Kuttiyumkolam, they watched from a distance often smiling a little but very soon bored and rushing to play their video games. At the end of the day when we smelt of the dust in the courtyard, drenched in sweat with mud smeared clothes, worn out and dirty they still smelt of the fragrance they brought along with from their foreign lands. They smelt divine while we smelt like the fields and the cows in our backyard. While their foreign smell never left our walls so did the talks of their smell and luxury leave our heads and conversations. We talked about them long after they left, for months on end, relished the fragrance of their foreign smells that clung onto our towels, bed spreads, pillows and brick walled home. The smell stayed on long after they left, lingering in our nose. Sometimes we yearned to have one more bite from their bars of chocolates, yet one more cold bath with their shower gels and one more video game from their mobile phones. The foreign smell wisped around the house for long and I missed the fragrance and loathed the rather boring smells of my land. And then yearning for the fragrance, I asked Ammachi,
When will Ammavan and Ammavi come next?”

Posted in Prose

Hard days

Some days are hard you know,
To pull myself out of bed and sit up to bring myself to my senses and motivate the dull me to see through the blinding morning light and somehow listen to the music lost in the cacophony of the world beneath the four walls of my house is just so exhausting. Very exhausting.
Will you ever understand that?
Some mornings are torturous, I wander away like a shadow in the dark, absent to my mind and lost in the horrors of my thoughts.
I have lost myself to the uncanny pain that built up in me a while ago when I lost myself in the highways and by lanes of my rather messy life. It’s been a while. A really long while since I became a vagabond in my streets and a stranger within myself who lost herself in the hundred streets stretched out all before her and the millions of people walking away cooly- in and out.
Some days life feels like walking down a deserted street, lined with broken lamp posts and crooked roads stretched all before me this way and that.
Trust me, some days have been hard, harder than I can possibly explain to you. Do you really wanna know-how how hard it has been or are you no different like the millions of people who have crawled in and out my life like ants all over a strewn away candy?
I will never know and I am not giving it a chance.
I am far away from home, where the lights shine bright and the birds sing a song of melody. I am far far away in distances that I cannot possibly measure yet tell you that it will take me forever and ever to walk back home if it isn’t for a miracle.
Let me look around….
I am somewhere distant, you wouldn’t find me even if you set out in the morning to come in search of me. Or would you?
……..
Some days have been hard, I drag myself to the window to pull back the curtains and let a little optimism sink into the parched grounds of my mind.
The birds here sing a song of melancholy it makes me want to shut away and melt away into the pain that bulges in my mind and disappear into the thinnest wave in the air.
Posted in Prose

Dear Meera,

Dear Meera,

How long has it been since I wrote? It feels like ages since we last talked, exchanged life stories and unhappy incidents from our lives. Why should we be living so apart and afar off when we could somehow make miracles happen and see each other more often, maybe live closer by, spend more time together and probably make memories again like we did when we actually lived close by, running across the building, playing sufferable games, talked endlessly very often ignoring the time and the fact that the sun has set and the birds have gone home and the night skies were here and we had to go home, do our homeworks and get to bed to kick start yet another day tomorrow so we could play, talk and waste our times doing nothing for yet another day.

I miss you Meera more than any other thing in the entire world and most of all the fact that I had someone to rely on, someone who would look at the little dark circle around my eyes and know that I had been up all night, someone who could listen to my voice and guess right away that I have had a terrible argument in school and messed things up. I have become so lone now I very often miss your presence around here and the evenings I looked forward to, to talk, talk and talk about that girl in class who bitched endlessly about me, that guy from church I had a crush on and the little girl in our school bus who was the most adorable thing on earth.

I am so sorry Meera for not being there during the last couple of months when you were juggling your dessertation, a break up and numerous other problems that kept adding to your list. Please call me a bad friend who abandoned you in the streets of life and proved to her best friend from 11 years that she was a stone at heart and a devil in her mind who was cold and insensitive. I know I should have been there but I lost myself in the highway of life in the last couple of months and since then I am stuck at the bylanes and lost here in a land I have no clue about. Well, the lockdown has been a hard, hard thing on me Meera. Most days I get up feeling gloomy and out of myself and looking out my window it looked like the world had come to a standstill, a pause that took a long, long while to resume.

I have lots of things to tell you that I cannot possibly contain in this piece of paper but Oh God when I meet you next you should be mentally prepared to listen to me for hours on end going on and on about my final year at college, my many challenges, my latest book and the countless days I spent thinking, overthinking and ruminating about how my love life should have turned out if I had possibly taken the right decisions and how my brother was a bad ass to me and how that this lockdown has brought flooding to the banks of my mind many a sweet, bitter and sour memory of you and the nights I wished I could somehow wake up the next day in 2010 and know that you were still living across my house, your dad walking away coolly to work and your mom waiting for my mom every evening downstairs when she got back from her hectic day at school.

But Alas! Each day no miracle happens, I still wake up in 2020, stuck with a pandemic that wouldn’t leave, a home full of lethargy, the streets full of loneliness and the skies somehow cleaner and purer like never before! I terribly miss you dude and I know we have moved on since 2010, met better friends who made us laugh a little bit louder, friends who stayed up late into the night listening to our relationship crisises. I know we have grown apart for some time, stopped texting for a long time when calls were out of the question but Meera, you are one of a kind. I have had Shalom and Abhirami who have been there for me but they couldn’t possibly tally with all the soothing words you told me when grandpa passed away on April 18, 2010, your gentle touch after our silly fights and all your books and our Harry Potter discussions that simply teased away all my rather enormous miseries in sixth grade.

Meera, the lock down has been hard and when I say hard I don’t mean Hard-Hard where I got bored all day and cried all day. I mean that it has given me enough time to think about us and our innocent friendship, the endless poems we wrote for each other, the bicycle rides and the beautiful insects we stuck in our Insect Book (God!! What were we thinking back then?) When I stroll downstairs in the parking area of our apartment your memory roars in my head, making me feel for a second that I did fly back 11 years behind. The places we played hide and seek, the benches we sat on only brought back memories that were too sweet it made me cry and wish things hadn’t changed even an ounce since then. It was nostalgic………

Meera I have been ranting a lot!!! I will call you on Saturday. I love you so much!!!

Love,

Sonia

Posted in Prose

I resisted.

For Abhirami

I was born as free as you were.

I wonder why I should possibly straighten myself out, brush away the flaws and smoothen the wrinkles from out of my life when I have to present myself in the society. I wonder why in the world I have to dance to the tune of the typical aunties in my society who tag people as good, very good, bad, hopeless and okayish. I wonder why in the wide world we have been told to act a particular way, behave in a way and talk yet another way. Some days I wonder if I was ever born free or if my life was based on the people in the society who label, tag and expect the world around to dance to their tunes and fit well in their picture frames. Some mornings I wake up to think, “What if I like a different tune to dance to? What if I want a slight change in the music and a different genre of everything altogether and you out of the band? And what if I am not in the mood to fit into your picturesque and fit myself into a frame that I am not proud of?” Some days I wake up to step out of the boundaries you set for me, break through the hedge you made for me and the thorny fence you fenced around my dreams, plans and wishes. On some days when I try to fit in with you, dance gracefully to your tune and fit pretty well in the picture frames you put up for me I hate myself for being the slave, for being voiceless and letting myself be trampled down to nothing and caging my dreams and passions to the stigma of the society and the line of restriction from my strangely pious family that simply believed in class and dignity in terms of the jobs I take up, the clothes I wear and the life I lead.

On most days I have been told to shape myself, carve out my insecurities and fit in well in the jigsaw puzzle. I have been told to fit in, curve myself, lean forward, submit a little, stoop very low and never even think of falling down and go missing. No matter how hard my days got and how pathetically my dreams washed away in the sea, I was told to stay put and give in myself to the wrath of the waves and the cheekiness of the little kids stomping on me all day and night. Most days I dance to your tune and let you shape my desires and my ways but oftentimes I wish to be the crack on the pot that gives you away, that spills the soil onto the garden. I wish to show my resistance by simply leaning forward a little too much and down to the ground. I do wish to be that cranky shred that pushes forward a little too much so as to fall to the ground, let the soil spill out, the water to flow out of place and the roots to stick out. On some days I wish to be the reason this pot was changed and the cactus/chrysanthemums on me be plucked out to be planted on the ground.

I wish to be the reason for change, a difference, an obstinate resistance.