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Young With Scabby Knees

Whether we be old or bald.

‘Scribble: Fall 7 Stand 8’

Fall 7 Stand 8

It’s true for those who can count till 8. Octahedral systems. For those who live in 0 and 1 says – fall 0 stand 1. For those till 10 –fall 9 stand 10. For a human who knows infinity – fall infinity stand infinity.

No end.

She says it her way. Life. It’s an extraordinary thing. Feet, hands, languages, sweat upon brows, eyes with blinkers, eyes without blinkers, skies, water, snow, wind, trees, little feet, little hands, fire. So much fire. So many words.

No end.

And the sounds which flicker around.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

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Scribble: ‘…Mumbai Kolkata India Asia…’

…Mumbai Kolkata India Asia…

5:51am on a Mumbai Wednesday

Everything is loud. I’m awoken by the sound of waves and a strong breeze carrying the whooshing sounds to them. I can hear the sea, relentlessly crashing upon the shore, wave after wave. I sit up straight and stare. Ah, fuck sleep.

Everything is loud.

7:38 pm on a Kolkata Tuesday

I wish everything is loud.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

Scribble: ‘I was thinking of a question’

I was thinking of a question

If I stand on a shore I can see the sea coming towards me
I know that there is land on the other side too so the sea moves towards the other side
So, the question is what is happening?

I was just wasting some of your time.
Don’t have to know the answer.
Just enjoy the sea.
Relax.
We always need a friend who knows nothing.

By the way a friend who writes lighting-ly made me question this thing.
She writes:

Who knew the sky could be so many colours in one day? I’ve seen snow-white turn to steel and menacingly grey which yet again turns to white and thence to a pale orange or pale indigo.. to dark blue to pitch-black and then waking up to the sound of rain and an ink-blue sky.. when dawn is yet to break. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of thinking too much, I simply stare at the far horizon trying to differentiate between the sky and the sea, and for a moment, it’s peaceful and all that goes on inside my head or outside in the world, the riot of emotions and the riot of people – none of it matters. Because there is a place where the waves relentlessly reach for the shore day after day. And there’s some wisdom to be gained from it, I think.

Scribble – Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

‘Ode to Track Pants’

“Do you have a dress?” you ask.

“No, I don’t wear dresses,” I say.

“What will you wear to the club?”

“Track pants and t-shirt, of course.” I dismiss you.

“But you should wear a dress to a club!” you insist.

“You’re stereotyping. I can wear whatever I want to wear.”

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“Do you own a dress?”

“No.”

“I am going to buy you one.”

“NO.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t like dresses. I’m a track-pants-person. I used to wear them to work too! I wear them everywhere.”

“Why don’t you like dresses?”

I stutter and stammer, wishing I could summon my guardian angel to put sensible words in my mouth so that I don’t communicate to you like a sack of potatoes.

“Why do you hate dressing up?” you relentlessly pursue.

“I dress up! I dress up.. once every quarter when I feel like it. I like being comfortable in the clothes that I wear and I only ever am comfortable in tracks and t-shirts.”

“Dresses make you feel uncomfortable?”

“I am conscious of my body, yes. It’s part of the reason.”

“You shouldn’t be. You should wear a dress. Let’s go shop for a dress.”

“I hate shopping.”

We don’t shop for a dress.

Nine days later, as I roam a shopping facility that a metropolitan city provides, I look at the rows and rows of clothes on either side of me and find the words that would’ve helped my case nine days before.

I don’t consider clothes an investment of time, energy and money necessary to my existence. I like the six t-shirts and three tracks I own. I do not receive commensurate returns from the investment made while ‘dressing up’. The four times a year that the returns are indeed favourable, I do ‘dress up’: I borrow and I get by.

Nine days later, as I roam a shopping facility that a metropolitan city provides, I come across a little black dress.

I would still wear tracks and t-shirts if I were possessing the type of body that would not make me self-conscious.

Nine days later, I own six t-shirts, three tracks and a dress; and four is still the number of times I am likely to find the aforementioned returns favourable.

Love Affairs In, With & After Nepal
India

‘Bliss point’

A final few hundred steps were climbed to believe that you can do anything, you can be anything, even if it is everything, even if it is nothing. You are okay.

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Three thousand and five hundred steps and then three thousand and five hundred more were climbed to reach bliss point. There was hot tea, careless laughter and dumbfounded disbelief.

Three thousand and five hundred steps and then three thousand and five hundred more were climbed to reach bliss point. There was rain, there was hail and there was snow. There were clouds, mountains and a chimney stove. There wasn’t money, there wasn’t electricity and there wasn’t soap. There weren’t telephones, warm baths or fresh clothes. It was bliss point.

Three thousand steps were climbed to taste the sense of an ending (and a beginning).

Two thousand and some hundred steps were climbed to feel the limbs give up and the conversations with feet cease.

Twelve hundred steps were climbed to feel the lungs complain and the frustration pile up again.

The sun slid down the sky that threatened to tear the dark clouds asunder so that tears and fear threatened to magnanimously make their presence felt.

Two hundred and sixteen steps were climbed to realise that bliss does not come easily.

Little by little, a wise trekker once said.

Love Affairs In & With Nepal
India

‘Time’

The sun tan on my hands is akin to the memories in my heart – both perhaps will fade with time. Adrenaline no longer courses through my body as adventure no longer moves my feet – both certainly will be rekindled time and again.

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The torn map in my hands is akin to the feelings in my heart – both perhaps seemed pivotal to my being at the start but neither certainly could plead its case over time. Blood no longer rushes to my head as 9.8 metre per second square no longer is the approximate rate at which my body is freely falling towards the earth – time had stood still and certainly will again.

Love Affairs In & With Nepal
India

‘Take Your Broken Heart, Make It Into Art.’

I can’t hold a pen right and it isn’t because of the blisters. I haven’t held a pen right since I last wrote a letter to you; I never told you this. It’s a coincidence, I tell myself. The clouds are vicious white waves, the sky is a vast blue ocean and my limbs feel as heavy as lead. I sit in this chair with sheets of newspaper splayed out in front of me in a manner haywire. The coffee in the masked white cup is still warm. They didn’t spell my name on it right.

The blisters on my fingers and feet hurt the same today but the ones on my knees and calves hurt less. The nails of my fingers and feet don’t look chipped, not if you look at them the way I do – with eyes closed. To start walking an unknown terrain under the malevolence of the midday sun was a rookie mistake, I tell myself. The setting sun cast such a glow, such a spell when I reached the top that I did not feel the lead in my limbs until the morning after. The coffee in the masked white cup is starting to be cold. I hate coffee. I take it every time I sit in a chair with sheets of newspaper splayed out in front of me in a manner haywire.

I haven’t read a word of it, the newspaper – only doodled on its margins, trying to piece together awkwardly framed sentences. I tear off each page after having exhausted its capacity to be written upon, crumple it up and throw it inside the waste basket a few metres across from me. It’s good practice for target shooting and for letting go of your words. I’ve thrown my notebooks away; stopped collecting souvenirs as well. I only carry a pen in my pocket now and I only write when near a waste basket which isn’t very often. The fire and desire I saw lit yet suppressed in your eyes when we parted last are what keeps me going, keeps me awake at night and keeps me from waking in the morning. I’m stupid, I tell myself. It’s going to rain today although the sky is astonishingly blue. It’s the kind of thing that you’d say with equally astonishing conviction, which is the kind of the thing that I love about you. The rectangular piece of technology in my other pocket doesn’t vibrate as often as it used to. Curiously, I don’t remember when it vibrated last but I remember that I haven’t spoken to my family in 49 days, to my friends in 28 and to you in 63. I extract it from my other pocket, look at it and put it back where it was. I collect the newspapers and the pen, stuff one under my left arm and the other in my pocket, and start to walk away. The coffee in the masked white cup is virgin.

The pavement is so clean that I wish to take my sandals off and walk barefoot upon it. I don’t. I suspect that the pavement might even be warm. I walk uphill. I imagine walking past the emaciated middle-aged man with one arm unnaturally shorter than the other, the little siblings trading red roses for money and the young man with a truncated torso, as I walk past square duplexes built with concrete, steel and glass. I don’t miss you, I tell myself. I make stray conversations with pets and sometimes their owners. I make stray conversations with bicycles and sometimes their owners. I walk uphill, till the staccato of cement gives way to the crunch of grass. The view isn’t particularly scintillating or one that makes great poems but the summit is unmarked and forlorn. I sit down on a rocky ledge, spread my legs out and try to write a bad poem. Four lines in, I realise that there isn’t a bin around.

October, 2016
Somewhere, India

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6 months hence: Piertotum Locomotor

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How can the sky be the limit when it in itself is limitless?

I laughed, I cried.

I fell, I flew.

I learned.

I grew.

Fuck us.

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Oh, we do not deserve this world.

You may think you’re a traveller, not a tourist.

But, no, neither of you deserve this world.

None of us do.

The world is big, and you are small.

You do not own any of it.

The world was here first.

Fuck you.

Fuck us.

Bannerghatta.

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It is strange that we need ‘sanctuaries’ for animals and birds; to think we think we own the planet. I look all around me and can’t help but shrug, can’t help but reject this too. The irony that runs in the name of civilisation is a thing of distaste and of wonder; oh how we ogle at these beasts, oh how we think we care for them by binding their spirits that were born free. I cringe at the sighs, the gasps and the cries that fill my ears. I look up at the clear blue sky, and I know where my heart lies, where I lie – and perhaps where their hearts lie too. This one and every other one’s for the clouds.

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October 8th, 2016
Bangalore, India

 

Who are you today?

Imagine two people. Both are fiercely independent and both like quiet. One wishes to carpe diem unto infinity. He wants to walk a million miles with no accoutrements, no entanglements and no predispositions, and then a million miles more. He wants to sleep under the night sky and wake up to the sound of waves lapping at his travel-worn feet, with the smell of salt in the gentle warm breeze whispering sweet nothings to the bare bits of his skin. He wants to roll in cold, white snow and swim in oxbow lakes even though he never learnt how to swim. He wants to stand on the edge of the world with arms akimbo, wishing he had a cape fluttering behind him and an S imprinted on his chest. He wants to dangle his legs from a sea-facing cliff and eat food from a box with chopsticks. He does not know how to use chopsticks nor can the food, the name of which he knows not, be eaten with chopsticks but he never fancied limitations and definitions anyway. He wants to light a cigarette – only light it – whilst sitting on a precipice; he’d stub it out on the rocky surface, and then flick it into the nothingness below him, as if the cigarette were an ivory striker on a carrom board he had grown up playing with. He wants to sit atop a speeding bus that is weaving its way through the labyrinth of roads nestled in hills and valleys, with wind in his hair, music in his ears and smell of wet copper red earth mixed with dew-kissed leaves smeared on his skin. He wants to watch the northern lights from his yellow tent with nothing but a flask of coffee that his gracious hostess, from the night before, lent him, a torch light and a book that he bought from the local post office, because he was overwhelmed to find that they stocked novels in his spoken language, especially after having meandered for so many days through kindness and beauty of unknown tongues and origins.

The other one breeds realism of the paranoid variety in every molecule of his being. He likes safety nets, contingency plans and insurance. He is anxious of under-using the faculties he was born with and of misusing the privileges he unfairly receives. He likes the nighttime. He’s not an insomniac; he simply thinks sleep is a waste of breath that could be used to knit the worlds that his perception of reality has denied him thus far. He likes order, design and to-do lists. He has more calendars, checklists and Post-Its pasted on the walls of his room than he has posters and pictures. He likes to sleep till late to avoid waking up to the claustrophobia he’s churning out each day. He reassures himself that he’ll change, he will.. when the ‘appropriate time’ comes and the ‘circumstances’ are conducive. He shushes the impulses that seldom course through him. He likes the occasional self-endangering, masochistic thrill. He’s self-conscious and, outbursts are despicable things to him. He doesn’t look up at the sky through the window from his room at all.

Imagine another. He has a deep distaste for the excesses of materialism and consumerism. He despises furniture and luxury transportation. He fancies walking and ponders on the insufferable self-pity swallowing us all whole. He ponders on our desperate need for nomenclature and our abuse of it. He thinks of one of the quotes by one of his favourite authors: “Cats don’t have names. Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.” He ponders on “the ineffable yearning to be saved” and to find meaning. He does not find it in him to be able to give himself over completely to another person by way of the thing they call ‘love’. He’s known infatuation, longing and lust but the notion of love eludes him. He wishes to melt away by melting into the teeming throngs that suffocate the world. He wishes to expand across the sky and be one with the universe, uncaring of the multitudes populating the world below with their cantankerous politics and insatiable thirst to control what was never theirs to control. He likes music, dance, a few best friends, sleepy Saturday mornings and spunky, sexy conversations that last till dawn.

And imagine one more. He is painfully aware of himself, of the gaps and the surpluses in him, of the war inside and out, and of the faceless stranger he sees look back at him from a mirror. He is swimming against the current in an ocean that is the universe whose ends he’s unable to grasp. Put them all together into one person: this is she and she is a you or a me or a he. Who are you today?

The Lines I Coloured When I Read Catch 22..

It’s a very recent habit when reading a book that I own – to mark the lines that mean something to me. Maybe if I ever lend the book to someone, they would know if we liked the same lines. Maybe if I read the book again when I’m older, it’ll be nice to compare notes with my younger self. Maybe I’ll never touch or open the book again and all I’m trying to do is leave as much of me as I can with book, as it will leave much of itself with me.

I finished reading Catch 22 twenty-four hours ago. I didn’t always have a highlighter pen with me, but the times I did, I sat and coloured the lines that moved me the most.

Twenty-four hours hence, I want to shout those lines out to the world.

  1. He was working hard at increasing his life span. He did it by cultivating boredom.
  2. Men went mad and were rewarded with medals.
  3. There were many principles in which Clevinger believed passionately. He was crazy.
  4. ‘Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it’s to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?’ ‘I do,’ Dunbar told him. ‘Why?’ Clevinger asked. ‘What else is there?
  5. Fortunately, just when things were blackest, the war broke out.
  6. ‘..I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving that girl. She was built like a dream..’
  7. Doc Daneeka rose without a word and moved his chair outside the tent, his back bowed by the compact kit of injustices that was his perpetual burden.
  8. Chief White Halfoat demanded with simulated belligerence..
  9. ..and the piercing obscenities they flung into the air every night from their separate places in the squadron rang against each other in the darkness romantically like mating calls of songbirds with dirty minds.
  10. ‘If you’re going to be shot, whose side do you expect me to be on?’
  11. ‘What could you do?’ Major Major asked himself again. What could you do with a man who looked you squarely in the eye and said he would rather die than be killed in combat, a man who was at least as mature and intelligent as you were and who you had to pretend was not? What could you say to him?
  12. ‘But suppose everybody on our side felt that way.’ ‘Then I’d certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn’t I?’
  13. ‘..I used to get a big kick out of saving people’s lives. Now I wonder what the hell’s the point, since they all have to die anyway.’ ‘Oh, there’s a point, all right,’ Dunbar assured him.’ ‘Is there? What is the point?’ ‘The point is to keep them from dying for as long as you can.’ ‘Yeah, but what’s the point, since they all have to die anyway?’ ‘The trick is not to think about that.’ ‘Never mind the trick. What the hell’s the point?’ Dunbar pondered in silence for a few moments. ‘Who the hell knows?’

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  14. She was not interested in money or cameras. She was interested in fornication.
  15. There were strands of enlisted men molded in a curve around the three officers, as inflexible as lumps of wood, and four idle gravediggers in streaked fatigues lounging indifferently on spades near the shocking, incongruous heap of loose copper-red earth.
  16. Yossarian thought he knew why Nately’s whore held him responsible for Nately’s death and wanted to kill him. Why the hell shouldn’t she? It was a man’s world, and she and everyone younger had every right to blame him and everyone older for every unnatural tragedy that befell them; just as she, even in her grief, was to blame for every man-made misery that landed on her kid sister and on all other children behind her. Someone had to do something sometime. Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and somebody had to stand up sometime to try to break the lousy chain of inherited habit that was imperiling them all. In parts of Africa little boys were still stolen away by adult slave traders and sold for money to men who disemboweled them and ate them. Yossarian marveled that children could suffer such barbaric sacrifice without evincing the slightest hint of fear or pain. He took it for granted that they did submit so stoically. If not, he reasoned, the custom would certainly have died, for no craving for wealth or immortality could be so great, he felt, as to subsist on the sorrow of children.
  17. The night was raw. A boy in a thin shirt and thin tattered trousers walked out of the darkness on bare feet. The boy had black hair and needed a haircut and shoes and socks. His sickly face was pale and sad. His feet made grisly, soft, sucking sounds in the rain puddles on the wet pavement as he passed, and Yossarian was moved by such intense pity for his poverty that he wanted to smash his pale, sad, sickly face with his fist and knock him out of existence because he brought to mind all the pale, sad, sickly children in Italy that same night who needed haircuts and needed shoes and socks. He made Yossarian think of cripples and of cold and hungry men and women, and of all the dumb, passive, devout mothers with catatonic eyes nursing infants outdoors that same night with chilled animal udders bared insensibly to that same raw rain. Cows. Almost on cue, a nursing mother padded past holding an infant in black rags, and Yossarian wanted to smash her too, because she reminded him of the barefoot boy in the thin shirt and thin, tattered trousers and of all the shivering, stupefying misery in a world that never yet had provided enough heat and food and justice for all but an ingenious and unscrupulous handful. What a lousy earth! He wondered how many people were destitute that same night even in his own prosperous country, how many homes were shanties, how many husbands were drunk and wives socked, and how many children were bullied, abused or abandoned. How many families hungered for food they could not afford to buy? How many hearts were broken? How many suicides would take place that same night, how many people would go insane? How many cockroaches and landlords would triumph? How many winners were losers, successes failures, rich men poor men? How many wise guys were stupid? How many happy endings were unhappy endings? How many honest men were liars, brave men cowards, loyal men traitors, how many sainted men were corrupt, how many people in positions of trust had sold their souls to blackguards for petty cash, how many had never had souls? How many straight-and-narrow paths were crooked paths? How many best families were worst families and how many good people were bad people? When you added them all up and then subtracted, you might be left with only the children, and perhaps with Albert Einstein and an old violinist or sculptor somewhere.

I can’t remember the last time that I both loved and hated a book so much, in equal measure, at the same time. Joseph Heller sure knew his way around the human mind as he did around words. Fin!

Plateau.

Do you ever want something so much that you don’t? Do you ever not want something so much that you do?

September 7th, 2016
Mumbai, India

Corny poem 1.

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the hymn sung by every millimetre of your sun-kissed skin?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the hammering of your brave porcelain heart, scarcely contained within?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the flake of clear white snow on your weary fingertips?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the words that pour out of your soul but never your lips?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the turn of the wind and the canopy of stars that you are beholden to?

What if I told you that the only thing real
is the universe inside you?

What if I told you that the first time I saw you, I ceased
to be real.

Sublimation.

Like slicing butter with a double-edged sword, your fingers cut through to my nervous system to set my peripheral neurons on holy fire.

Like electricity coursing through yard fences, your hands sparked in my body a few hundred volts of sensuality.

Like lightning tearing the sky asunder, your arms struck me with the burning radiance of a thousand silver satellites.

And ice turned vapour.

Fantasies.

Fantasies.

Debilitating fantasies.

Of flying on broomsticks. Of finding the perfect cheesecake – and eating all of it. Of teleporting to the world of penguins – hell, of teleporting from anywhere to anywhere. Of bungee jumping off dizzying heights and levitating too. Of befriending enough number of dogs that you could make a football team out of them. Of willingly losing your way inside a maze of wood-panelled bookshelves that rise high into the clouds. Of northern lights, yellow tents and cups of coffee. Of endless nights of stargazing lying on warm (or cool) white sand. Of listening to the sound of waves till dawn breaks. Of Neverlands. Of Shires. Of the worlds beyond what meets the eye.

Of writing.

Of tracing continents on the palms of someone.

Of running your fingers across every inch of the face of someone, memorising every freckle, curve and crease, absorbing every smell.

Of swaying bodies, wind-swept hair and rain-soaked streets, and inebriation in moderation.

Of interlocked fingers spinning a world inside them; of eyes that are more vocal than words in a speech.

Of losing yourself – of disintegrating, against every fibre of reason, in someone else’s hands, legs and lips.

Fucking fantasies.

July 18th, 2016
Mumbai, India

Hello, world.

A smattering of rain, irregular traffic, skyscrapers that dare scrape the sky and poverty that dare be ubiquitous, claustrophobic hotel rooms and cute bell-boys greet me. I greet back.

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Hello, world.

As I walk through a maze of human bodies and squalor, side-stepping puddles of muddy water that the erratic rain leaves behind, a gentle breeze slips like silk through my fingers. My consciousness without permission fragments and my fingers, of their own volition, feel forlorn. The rest of me takes stock of the world as I pass it by, one step at a time, but my fingers.. my fingers are forlorn. The breeze rekindles in them memories of a yesterday, of a you, of a me and of ‘inside jokes’ that our interlinked hands held and kept. I stutter in my step but ever so slightly. The maze thins a little.

Hello, world.

Almost everywhere the eyes can see, they are met by a plethora of roads, freeways and highways that snake around and above the too tall towers, the too small blue-topped shacks and the occasional clump of green, all shadowed by an unending rainy haze. There are little drops of water, along the edges of the window railing, waiting to lose the fight to gravity. Sometimes I like those little drops of water more than I like rain. I sit down to compress everything that I am feeling into words in ink and paper with a trembling hand. It is only then that I realise that I don’t feel different, that I don’t care about a city or all things (pertaining to a prosperous, degenerate human civilisation) that mar the said city. Is this what ‘shapeless’ feels like – that leaving home evokes no sense of nostalgia, that finding (or losing?) your own place in the world evokes no sense of apprehension?

Hello, world.

July 1st, 2016
Mumbai, India

Of a God, of my God.

Disclaimer: If God is someone you have unshakeable faith in, is someone you’re fond of yet also angry with and disappointed in, and is someone you believe possesses power no other human can possess, Roger Federer is my God. 

I don’t remember how it all began, how I started watching tennis but it was at least ten years ago, back when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal started to be the only names worth remembering. I confess that I had initially taken to supporting Rafael Nadal – more out of loyalty to a friend than out of personal preferences – but like the earth unquestionably revolves around the sun, I inevitably gravitated towards the man who personifies grace in a game that largely is about sinews and aggression. I remember remaining in awe of his unfaltering serve. I remember my brother never resigning to doubt if Roger Federer was cornered in his own service game. “He’s going to fire straight  aces and brush the opponent  over,” he would say, which of course is exactly  what would happen. My awe towards the man only multiplied thereon. I cannot add nor redefine more praise for Roger Federer since all that can be said for the man, has been said. His movements are like brush strokes on canvass – a waltz across the court, especially if it is the central, green one at Wimbledon. As I type this tonight, Roger Federer failed to convert three of five sets in his Wimbledon semifinal against Canadian Milos Raonic. When Raonic took the fourth set, a part of me knew too well that he was going to take it all and I couldn’t find it in me to sit through the anxiety of it. Was it cowardly? I don’t know but I felt the onslaught of a downpour of tears coming my way and I tore out of the room as soon as I could. Disappointment crashed on me wave by wave. Two nights ago, I was more elated than words could describe, suddenly empowered by the belief that anything was possible, that Sunday night I would be atop the world, even if my world is making less sense every passing day. Two nights ago, I was happy and Roger Federer was sex on fire. Is this how it feels to see your heroes ride out their descent? It agonised me to see him throw away so many points that ordinarily he’d have won in his sleep. But what is ‘ordinary’ anymore? I couldn’t tell if Raonic was playing better than him or he worse than Raonic. My heart is broken for the light inside Roger Federer rages and burns but it also flickers and sometimes, dims. My heart is broken because watching tennis will seem meaningless without the calm exterior of the man I have come to love and worship. My heart is broken as the plethora of commentators and onlookers, dabbling in numbers, reduce players to statistics and a stock of score-lines.. and I dread that tomorrow’s headlines will read that it’s the first time that Roger Federer has failed to win a Wimbledon semifinal – his eleventh. Don’t they understand that it does not matter if it’s the first or the second or the fifteenth time that he lost a Wimbledon semifinal? What matters is that Roger Federer is not done yet, not yet.. not yet. And my heart is broken that perhaps we won’t see all that he can give us.

35

But for thirty-five seconds,
Can I weave a harmless dream?
Of a place where tomorrow brings true,
That what today hopes to do.

Please for thirty-five seconds,
May I weave a harmless dream?
Of a place where I love you,
While the shooting stars streak across the endless grey and blue.

Himalayan love affairs.

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I can never read more than fifty or sixty pages of Ruskin Bond in one day. I feel the overpowering desire to close the book after every page and to imagine the sights and the smells that he so effortlessly describes (served with a side of refreshing humour entirely devoid of insult or malice). I have no conscious memory of snowy mountains but his love affair with the Himalayas makes me feel things that I did not know I could feel, accentuating my personal madness with his every word.

“All night the rain had been drumming on the corrugated tin roof. There has been no storm, no thunder, just the steady swish of a tropical downpour. It helps one to lie awake, at the same time, it doesn’t keep one from sleeping.”

As the train wheels continue to grate against the tracks in an almost musical rhythm and as the unimaginative chatter persists in the background, I am transported to his world of long walks, of deodars, of ‘contemplation’ and above all, of rain in the Himalayas.

“And the earth itself. It smells differently in different places. But its loveliest fragrance is known only when it receives a shower of rain. And then the scent of wet earth rises as though it were giving something beautiful back to the clouds – a blend of all the fragrant things that grow in it.”

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