Saturday, 15 September 2007

Tomorrow is not really Another Day

The days are exactly the opposite of as slow or as fast as I want them to be. Or rather in retrospect they seem to have flown by and the present crawls along. Tomorrow I won't know where today went but as long as it is today, each moment stands out in sharp relief and I can almost capture it or so I think. But as soon as I wake up in the morning, it is a fresh slate.

I am happy in a way for then there are no grudges, no hurts that are carried over from their previous day. But then I wonder is just a clean slate or a denial of the undesirables that have happened over the past one week? Only time will tell which of those it is and I hope that one day it will truly be the former.

MICA in that sense has been such an emotional roller coaster ride. And, as I wrote in a post long long ago, everything here is magnified, intensified by the isolation, by the fact that it is still there tomorrow. Things seem to play themselves out repeatedly in almost every imaginable permutation and combination but the lock still does not click and the safe is not yet open. One day I might remember the combination that I never knew to begin with - here or elsewhere. But I am getting impatient. I hope that day comes soon.

Till it comes, there is the everyday - work, books, friends, music and writing - MY LIFE as I have lived it so far! Chinar is becoming rather like Kachnar in the emotional meaning that it is beginning to have for me. I am drawn almost everyday to go visit No.18 again. Perhaps to find the sense of peace that I had there as opposed to the restlessness here. I will before this term ends... sit there again before I lose the chance to. Recapture my first year of independence as I prepare myself to leave this place in about half a year. I am suddenly eager for things to move on, to find something new, to get past this Standing in Motion that my time at MICA has been.

Tomorrow is Not Really Another Day - It is just Another Today!

Friday, 14 September 2007

Mental Frameworks (and Fireworks)!

I have been rather restless since I came back to campus two days ago. Today finally, my parents will hand over the keys to our Delhi home and leave. I still don't know how I feel about it. At one level it hasn't really sunk in yet. It will probably only when I go to some other city for my next vacation, or when I go to Delhi and have to stay in a friend's house instead of my home.

One of my oldest friends is leaving the country today for higher studies. Yes, there is the net and we will stay in touch much as we have over the last one year I suppose. But there is the fear of what distance will do to the relationship. What the diversity of experiences will do to our understanding of each other especially when we meet after an year or more.

And then there is the fact that a decision I made is not quite panning out the way I planned it. I cannot seem to find the opportunity to implement the promise I made to myself and yes it is making me restless and angry and highly offensive (not necessarily the best way to go about what I have in mind, I might add!). I hate the fact that fate seems to conspire against me and I am angry that I don't seem to have the strength or the courage to take matters firmly in my own hands and do exactly as I had planned ( maybe there's something here and maybe there isn't). I hope today will be the day that I am able to do that... I am holding onto my resolve rather tightly, saying it aloud as often as I can to convince myself that I will really go ahead. At the same time I know I have to do this more for myself than anyone or anything else.

There's still half the day to go. Let me see what it brings. Maybe there will be another post soon. I rather hope there is. It means things have moved instead of just standing still, in an uncomfortable silence.

And in the end I must raise a toast to my first truly moody post! These mostly go on my hard disk but anyway... I felt like putting this here today.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Illusions

I showed my boarding card to the airline official at the gate, had my hand baggage tag checked by the policeman and got into the waiting bus. My ticket to Delhi had cost me a grand total of Rs. 99 (plus taxes of course!). Still it was cheaper than anything you could have imagined as recently as five years ago. Flight travel has become more affordable than it ever was.

The bus slowly filled up and as it did, my look of dreamy anticipation turned into a frown and then an audible grimace as a woman bumbled in and dropped her bag right over my foot. I just about managed to keep my tongue civil and polite. I took a second look at her and the grimace became disgust. I was so obviously traveling with someone less educated, less privileged than me.

It sounds very nice on the dinner table to comment on how the "standard of living" is improving and how once elitist modes of travel such as flights are becoming accessible to all thanks to liberalisation, competition and low cost airlines! However, as I realised the day before yesterday on that bus, the biases remain. I wasn't very happy when I saw the crowd around me, when I found some of the men staring at my clothes. And then I wonder whether such an equality was a desirable thing?

The elite do hate giving up on their privileges. I like the feeling of exclusivity and so no wonder it is not easy to fight or change the system. We are all too comfortable in the little space that our privileged position allows us to negotiate and live our lives with relatively more freedom. To risk losing that space that comes with belonging to a certain class or caste is not easy, after all it does help me fight oppression as a woman! And so we live in a world of illusory freedom and equality and to get rid of the biases requires an herculean effort (as I am discovering! I still don't know if I want to get rid of them at all!).

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Overwhelmed!

A little overwhelming for one day. 8 films - 7 short films and 1 full feature length film - back-to-back. To be honest, most of it hasn't even sunk in yet. The full impact will probably hit me when I sit down to think about the films, about 9/11, about revolution and what it means to me.

One film though I can say right away struck a chord. Made me smile so instinctively and with such heartfelt joy and pleasure. It was a five minute film about two people who see each other at a toll booth and the man asks the woman out on the radio because he is too shy to approach her directly. So simple and honest in the way it explores the insecurity and fear that each of us feel in such situations, so true to the irresistible urge that makes us take that one step forward. One of the few films that truly brings a feeling of lightness to the mind and yet leaves you feeling enriched by having been part of that one special moment that we all hope for.

As for the rest... in due course of time, when it all sinks in.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Day Comes Ever Closer

As the days come closer, the emotions well up. A sudden memory brings a smile of longing, a thought unsettles the peace that I had found only recently. It feels like a paddy transplantation - to be uprooted from one place and planted in another.

I've lived away from Delhi for more than a year now but it remained home. The place I returned to ever so often. The place of comfort, happiness and cherished memories. Growing up - from school to college to MICA - it has been a part of it all. My most cherished memories, the most cherished people in my life.

I remember one night. 3 friends, we had just finished a highly experimental Japanese dinner at this restaurant with my friend's sister and the three of us just decided, at 12 at night, that we wanted to eat ice cream at India Gate. Not that the ice-cream there was anything special but just to stand there, on that long straight road, in the middle of the night, is something else altogether. So, we sat in the car and drove off. My friend driving, me in the passenger seat and the third sleeping on the back seat. We floundered our way through the circles of Lutyen's Delhi, trying to find our way to India Gate on one of our first excursions out alone on the roads. We weren't afraid of getting lost (in a circle, you'll always come back right!) and so what was a 20 minute journey became an hour long one as we wandered through the circles and radials. We did get to India Gate and the ice-creams finally but it is the time spent that mattered, that made the memory.

Many such moments - rediscovering friends on the streets of Chandni Chowk, in sophisticated restaurants, in a cricket stadium; walking endlessly in winter along the wide roads I found friends, loves, became who I am. Every cherished memory belongs there, has its roots there.

The city is still home I guess but that tangible place called home will soon be gone. I know I'll return to that someday but the wait is indefinite. It could be a few months, a few years. I'll see that home for the last time in a few days. Wonder how I will react, how I will let it all go, see it all put into boxes and cartons.
 

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