Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Song To Remember You By

It's been so long
Since I last saw you
Summers have come and gone

I think of us
A fading memory
Those times we had, now gone

But I remember what we shared
The promises that we made
So I refuse to let them go
With hope to see you again

I've tried to write
Play you a melody
A song to remember you by

The seasons change
Still I wait for you
With hope like a castle of cards

Sometimes I feel like letting go
We've had our moment in the sun
Maybe someday we'll meet again
But as strangers who once we knew

We're like a poem
Still unfinished
Lines yet to be filled

Like a song
With words still missing
Melodies yet to be sung

So I remember all we've shared
Those promises that we've made
And I refuse to let you go
With hope to see you again

It's been so long
Since I last saw you
Seasons have come and gone

Friday, February 17, 2012


My grandfather is a very simple man with simple tastes and has lived by simple philosophies. At least that's how it seems to me. He's 92. In good health but with his memory fast-deteriorating especially in the last year or two. Even in his old age, however, it is very easy to take care of him. After some sixty something years of marriage, my grandmother passed away. Ever since, he's been moving to house to house in Kohima, each of his children's families taking turns to host and take care of him. In my years away, whenever I'd come home for the holidays, I used to enjoy listening to his stories. Over time, life becoming busy, it's been rather difficult to find time for him.

He loved to read, sing hymns and chat up anyone who would drop in to visit. Lately, there's less of it. With his failing memory, we have had to introduce ourselves every other day, tell him what time of the day it is, announce morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Or show him which way the bathroom is, where to put the lights on or how, orient him with the passages of the house as though he were new. On some days we have to remind him whose house he is living in only to be asked the same question a moment or two later. I ask him how old he is and his answers vary from 94 to 96 from day to day. I then have to remind him that he was born in 1919 and this is year 2012 which makes him 92, to turn 93 this November.

My mum worries sometimes, to see her father forgetting who she is on some days though not often. Perhaps his insistence that he hasn't had lunch yet when he actually has seems less funny on some days than on others. I tell her not to worry. That this is just part of life. That for him, life is coming to a full circle as it is for us. I met him downstairs this afternoon. He was near the kitchen and asked me for some water. He then asked me whose house it was. I took him out for a walk around the house. It was a warm afternoon but a strong breeze was blowing. I sat with him on the bench outside. His eyes, I've noticed, seems to have that glaze that old people have. It seems even more distinct lately. I asked him if he ever dreams of grandma. He stared into space for sometime. And then he said he did. He sees her in his dreams sometimes. Sometimes he dreams of them together, sometimes they just pass each other. We see his loneliness. With many of his peers long dead. On some days he seems to long for death. Perhaps he is weary.

There are many things I could learn from his life. He wasn't an 'influential' man in a way that many 'powerful' men have. But living an honest life in humility guided by a reverence for his god and living by his beliefs, he's had a good life, and he is still a blessing to many. So, on days when I become too consumed by deceit and selfish ambition, I think of him. And simple though his life has been, it has been an honest life guided by a theology that he accepted and lived by. A life of simple faith with long-lasting rewards. A life uncomplicated by cynicism and doubts mine seems to be plagued with. I don't mean to romanticize his life as plain joyful with no hardships. But there seems to be something there. Something proved by a lifetime of lived experiences and the fruits borne. I have never had any emotional attachment to any of my grandparents. He's the closest I feel to. And I will be terribly sad when he leaves. But I know that he's left behind a legacy of the goodness of a god in whom simple faith put into action is sometimes all that seem to matter.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


We took the Christmas decorations down today- wrapped them in old newspapers, sealing them off until the next. More than just the post-festivities-triggered feeling of nostalgia, doing this year after year always makes me a little sad. And think about death. Of people who may not live to see another. Some years proved me wrong, some have proven me right. It’s a morbid feeling, a fear that lurks and one that renders death reminded. Obituaries in the newspapers, remembrances of someone’s dearly departed being casually used to wrap the decorations seemed to make that which loomed large make its presence starker.

Sleep’s been acting coy lately. I lay awake in bed long into the wee hours, long after the neighbours’ noisy kids have been silenced into slumber, when dogs howl in packs and roosters begin to crow. I like to watch something to sleep- usually something that doesn’t require much mind-engagement. But going through the folders last night, I decided to watch Revolutionary Road again. The first time we ever watched it was in Lohit 230. We watched it over and over again, finding much to talk about. Most times it ended with most of us feeling depressed and looking out the window. When April Wheeler says, ‘For years I thought we've shared this secret that we would be wonderful in the world. I don't know exactly how, but just the possibility kept me hoping. How pathetic is that?’ it made us wonder about our own dreams. Hinging on possibilities, hopes of possibilities. Or when she tells Frank, ‘Our whole existence here is based on this great premise that we're special. That we're superior to the whole thing. But we're not. We're just like everyone else! We bought into the same, ridiculous delusion.’ It made us wonder if we had based ours on a similar premise- living in a bubble and wondered what would happen when one day that bubble burst, pushing us dangerously close to experiencing mid-life crisis a decade early.

I want to say, ‘To everything there’s a time, a season…’ shrug it off and live a happy life, at least until the dreaded hits. But maybe being happy isn’t exactly my forte. Once a thought like this clings, it’s a hard thing to shrug off as though it were a weather prediction. I hate being morbid but the certainty of our mortality and the temporality of our existence just makes me so. Reading a mail which bore a profound message of a reminder of this inevitability has made these musings more than just a winter night’s reverie.

The weather isn’t helping much though. January! Having Fun.’s ‘We are Young’ stuck on repeat, I sang along until it made me feel like a phoney in a state of denial. April Wheeler’s angst as she screams to her husband, ‘Tell me the truth, Frank, remember that? We used to live by it. And you know what's so good about the truth? Everyone knows what it is however long they've lived without it. No one forgets the truth, Frank, they just get better at lying’ gets hard to forget. For April and Frank Wheeler ‘truth’ had meant ‘living life as if it matters’, being a cut above the rest- that sort of thing. One wonders if going to Paris would have been it for them- their panacea. Or maybe it wasn’t about going to Paris at all. I don’t know. I wonder what Paris meant for them and what my/ our versions of Paris are. If one could speak of truths, maybe this is one. A most certain one- the transience, the temporality, the imminence of the impending end. Or maybe these musings of mine are actually just a winter night’s reverie. A very morbid one at that.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Monday, January 9, 2012


Went through photographs clicked from here and there and tried some editing. Came out pretty decent. I think.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dinner time

After days of being in lethargy of the deepest kind, I finally went to clear out my desk at my work place. It was a task I clearly underestimated because I only got so far as to sorting out which papers to shred and which resources belonged to which classes.

I did get paid today though. The past week, I have had to restrain myself from going on a trip to a northern province because I was running out of money. Turns out, the money had been lying in the office the whole time. Anyway, so I decided to celebrate pay-day by buying some chicken. Mina and I then went to Naviangkham market, the one close by, and bought some vegetables. I also spotted an enormous live gecko and its dismembered dearly departed on display at the market place.

I decided to cook an elaborate meal for the girls, and for myself, since for the past few days I hadn't really had a proper meal. More because of my laziness than the kitchen not being stocked. And well, 'elaborate' for my standards, considering how seldom I cook. So yea, as the girls watched one of their many Thai-dubbed Bollywood movies, I busied myself in the kitchen.

I made a jhaal sabji- the one with aloo, tomatoes, chillies, etc. I added a brinjal too. Then I marinated the chicken in some garlic, worcestershire sauce, vinegar and some salt, and then fried it after a coating of a flour and Knorr (seasoning) mixture. Sa, who is about 5 years old, Linda's younger sister who's here on a visit, was on her best behaviour and helped me fry the chicken. I made a simple salad with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions mixed with the squeezed juice of a lemon, some sugar and salt as the dressing.

On 'elaborate' dinner nights, we usually like to eat outside where out landlady has set a table and some chairs. Our house, being on a hillock, gives us a good view of the surrounding hills and a few ranges behind, and the famous Phousy Temple up on the Phousy Hill. So, we get to enjoy the meal with the lovely view of the setting sun.

We enjoyed the meal, yes. And after several days of eating, sleeping, doing things on our own timings, it felt good to eat together again. Amber's been away for over a week now and the household has been running a little differently, this being vacation time.So, it was good to have a meal together with the girls again.

It could have been my hunger talking, but as we fried the chicken, I thought that nobody should be denied the joy that fried chicken can bring. Well, tonight our household sure didn't get denied nor deny any.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day One

I'm now officially jobless.

Work came to an end last evening with the last of our English Camp classes. I still have to clear out my desk and all, but this is it. Everyone being exhausted, teachers and students alike, it was more of an anti-climax than the usual end-of-term buzz of excitement. But well, we have had our share of outings, class parties and farewells in the past few weeks.

Day One of the holidays and I'm bored out of my wits. All my team-mates have left- some for meetings/ holidays in Bangkok, some to the States. I'm home alone, the girls having gone back to their village. I've cleaned my room, done my laundry, sorted out my wardrobe, made some fries with a mayo dip, ate them with some carrot sticks and a glass of water for lunch.

17 more days until my parents and sister arrive here. What a wait. I hate waiting.

We plan to go to a few places once they get here. A trek to a village and some sight-seeing around here and then we'll be off to Vietnam.

Vietnam excites me. Hanoi Old Town Quarters have charmed me already, reminding me of Old Delhi. I can't wait to let Ha Long Bay take my breath away. We'll then go to Cambodia.

Cambodia saddens me. The thought of Pol Pot's prison Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh has robbed me of a night's sleep already. Siem Reap with the Ankor Wat will probably be more... serene. I'm excited that I have seen already the part of the Ankor Wat that extends into the Lao border, down south in Champasak.

I wish we could've gone back to Phuket. But Bangkok will be our last stop. I hope I won't have a fit or seizure out of excitement. It has been a long time, a really long time since I've had a shopping spree or been in a mall.

My folks will fly straight to Kolkatta on a morning flight, while I'll have a few more hours on my own before I catch my flight to Delhi.

Delhi after over a year makes me nervous. Much has changed. I haven't seen Delhi after her Commonwealth Games face-lift. And knowing that people will have changed, it is a bittersweet feeling, as much as I have been learning to embrace change.

Coming to think of it, I think it'll be a great summer. Like most good things in life, I bet it'll be worth the wait.