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Have you ever wondered why does a simple task like lifting a pen, filling it with ink and scratching it on paper sound like such an excruciating task? Why do words play this childish hide and seek, sometime they all come running and buzzing like the bees and sometimes they are just not there, much like water in drought stricken Zaire? People say its writers block; I call it a step fatherly attitude towards words. I have been dying to write, so many events to record, so many stories to tell, so many analyses to be made, so many equations of relationships to be solved, but the basic tool, the so called calculator for writing is malfunctioning. What a lark.

Let’s start from the basics of living. Now the definition for living is quite controversial, it could be food for some or lack of it for others, not to mention all those demographic and ethnic plots which tell us who is living above or below that dreaded line …. Poverty line. For me, living, in my self created solipsistic world is weather.

“Come autumn sae pensive in yellow and grey

And soothe me with the tidings of natures decay”

Saying that the weather has been splendid will be an understatement. Oh it seems that everyone has got a new face and a new leash of life. Even the bus driver in my COTA Bus 2 looked happy this morning, could the sudden onset of happiness be attributed to a pay rise or a nice act of bedroom sports or could it be just our plain old ever changing weather? The bag lady had only 5 bags today, could it be a preparation for some kind of a picnic? I can always imagine her, with her long white hair tied with the polythene bag of Kroger, sitting in the Goodale Park , rummaging through her 5 bags and celebrating a picnic in her own bag lady sort of way.

The weather here is what Indian weather is like in March. Cool breeze forces me to close my eyes and I just get transported to the heart of country, I can listen to the birds chirping, children squeaking in the near by pond, me a little kid who has come home from school after the final exam, lying in the verandah on the cot, with end of my grandmother’s sari covering my face and my old 10 toothed gin drinking grandmother, taking out peanuts from their shells and putting in my mouth. The sari is pure white cotton, our servant made using dried Okra Dye, and turmeric so it has these small yellow dots, making big circular yellow dots, which just suite the huge dot like framework of my small grandmother. She looks more like the sun with the entire small dot like planets around her, revolving and rotating much like me when I want Coca-Cola, or ice cream.

I can still hear the sound of the postman’s bell trying to remind us that we are still being remembered by some distant unremembered near and dears. I can hear my rowdy neighbour Nishu fighting with his sister and our other neighbour Mrs. Mahajan who always dresses up in some gaudy petticoats with unmatching saris, yelling at her servant for not cleaning the floors properly. Just at that moment I think that I like my grandmother because she doesn’t wear gaudy, unmatching petticoats while yelling at our servants. I guess the basic prerequisite while yelling at servants so as to make a full impact is to wear matching petticoats under saris.

I can see the guava groove from the matrix of the sari covering my face, they are just full blown, green and ripened much like the breasts of Neena (our neighbour), and I didn’t say that. Nshu told me this last evening whilst we both were trying to talk to the aliens near the lake. Nishu is 2 years ahead of me and he hence he knows everything about the breasts. I know it is something vulgar, coz after that he made me take an oath so as not to tell anyone about it. Whist sitting here under my grandma’s sari end I am faced with the biggest dilemma of my prepubescent life as whether to tell my grandmother that our Guava’s are as ripened as Neena didi’s breasts? I know it will have far reaching repercussions, I will not get any coca-cola for 1 week and she will not let me and Nishu go out for our bike ride on that secret trail near the lake which we had made on our own. I and Nishu are doing a secret research there which has something to do with aliens. I am not allowed to tell more coz me and Nishu have taken an oath of silence.

Next to guavas is the rose bush which my grand father is so very proud of showing to others. For him it’s his trophy, a mark of success in the competitive world of growing and prospering. He has 4 other such trophies, me mam without a husband, my green eyed, rude aunt with a stupid husband (and a son called Manish, whose peepee thingy spits out some yucky, white soapy thing, I know it, I saw it), a cold uncle with an illiterate wife and another ostentatious uncle with a dark skinned educated society wife. The roses are in full bloom and to create scenery as my grandpa calls it, he is planting marigold flowers. I love marigold, they taste so good and they look so pretty in the temple under the deities’ feet. My calculating mind has already made a plan to steal them and put them on Lord Hanuman’s feet when I go to the temple on Tuesday. It is a good way to bribe gods and knowing that I have been a naughty boy, the possibility that I will get a good grade without bribing Lord Hanuman is nil. I have been a very naughty kid this academic year, I know about breasts, I know that the peepee thingy spits out some yucky thing, I stole a coca-cola, smoked a bidi from Bhola (my servant), eloped from school twice to go to the zoo on my own, talked to aliens with nishu and Oh I stole a lot of Lechis which my grandma had got for Manish. Stealing Marigold for Lord Hanuman is my last resort as repentance.

In this closed eyed, memory open, stage of mine, I can see Neru (my sister) coming home from the school on a rickshaw with her head covered. Grandma says that Neru needs to come on a Rickshaw as “women of good households don’t walk on the streets”. She has to cover her head in sun as she will not be able to get a husband with her dark features and fat nose. I hear grandma chanting the same thing at least 10 times in a day. It always leaves me confused because she is already so dark that she can’t get anymore darker. But I know it’s not good to disobey grandma else she will not give me a coca-cola in the evening. Little did my old, Manish Loving, petticoat matching, Limca sipping grandma knew that she will marry the best guy and will have a miscarriage this past Saturday.

Anyway, she comes to the verandah and lies next to me and soon we both erupt in to laughter. To tease our grandmother we talk in English and she being suspicious self thinks that we are laughing on her. Because we both are bad kids we will not get our coca-cola tonight and Manish will not only get coca-cola but will also get a Cassata ice cream, because he is a good kid who talks to his grandma in Punjabi. I guess kids with yucky things out of their peepee always get Casatta. But again, little did my ignorant grandma know that the same Manish will one day cheat on his pure Punjabi, white skinned, hot commodity, school teacher wife and leave her with a dark skinned daughter. The white peepee thingy combined with a white skinned school teacher educated wife gave birth to a dark skinned daughter???

Soon all the kids are back from school and comes this breeze of sweat and humidity, it smells of sweltering lessons of history and lugubrious test on political science, loud cacophony of Greek alphabets, noises about the proof of Pythagoras theorem, all mixed and grinded in to one smell that of sweet of those kids who are just coming from school and sound more like the prisoners just out from a jail term. The roads soon look like Noah’s arch. Elephants, camels, dogs, cats, mice, monkeys, cycles, rickshaws, matadors, cars, trucks, buses, men, women, eunuchs all running, hustling, bustling and walking on the streets of New Delhi during the month of march. Seems that the cold breeze just lifts up all the worries and leaves some ever lasting memories on the blank slate of our soul.

Here I am standing waiting for my Bus no. 2 reminiscing at the past in which I am worrying about stealing marigolds and Coca Cola!! I am in present, a present in which me and Nishu have drifted apart, Neeru had her miscarriage, Manish is seperating from his wife, Grandma is long dead after being thrown out of my ostentatious uncle’s house ( they say she died of a broken heart), Coca-Cola is not sold from glass bottles anymore and Cassatta doesn’t taste the same.

Everything has changed but the memory of that afternoon which just came back fresh in my mind on feeling this cool breeze and in 1 second I was transported from Columbus Ohio to a place under dotted sari of my grandma sitting under a guvava groove with a “ perfect scenery” of roses and marigold.

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The following comments are for "weather"
by tobermory

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