Thursday, September 4

heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

Thursday, June 12

"It will not be simple, it will not be long
It will take little time, it will take all your thought
It will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
It will be short, it will not be simple."

Monday, April 30

The calendar is full but the future is blank.
The wires hum the folk-tune of some forgotten land.
Snow-fall on the lead-still sea. Shadows
scrabble on the pier.

In the middle of life, death comes
to take your measurements. The visit
is forgotten and life goes on. But the suit
is being sewn on the sly.

tomas tranströmer, “black postcards”

Wednesday, April 4

From commissars of daylight
Love cannot make us free.
Nights of ungracious darkness
Hang over you and me.
We lie awake together
And hear the clocks strike three.

Our loving cannot exile
The felons but and if.
Yet, being undivided,
Some ways we can contrive
To hold off those besiegers
Who batter round our life:

The thieves of our completeness
Who steal us stone by stone,
The patronage that scowls upon
Our need to be alone,
And all the clever people
Who want us for their own.

The telephone is ringing
And planes and trains depart.
The cocktail party’s forming,
The cruise about to start.
To stay behind is fatal—
Act now, the time is short.

If we refuse the summons
And stand at last alone,
We walk, intact and certain,
As man and woman grown
In the deserted playground
When all the rest have gone.
” “the marriage portion,” by adrienne rich.

Tuesday, February 21

Drain water Murphy

Just as I’ve repeated to the point of tedium, my week has already reached the halfway mark despite my insistence that it started a mere couple of hours ago. I don’t know if this means I’m blessed or completely wretched. Yesterday was an evening of the sads. I returned to find my bathtub had two inches of water which wouldn’t go down the drain. Obviously I noticed this after the maintenance people had already been to my apartment to open up the fresh air duct, so a fresh service request will have to be made. Can I pour a bottle of draino into standing water and expect it to work?

The other, much more significant, event was the realization that my macbook pro’s warranty period expired on the 4th and foolishly, unbelievably, mind-numbingly stupidly sat on my ass for the whole year and did not extend my warranty period. For some ridiculous reason you can’t get the same done once your warranty’s expired. I’d understand if they charged you an amount for the amount of time that’s lapsed since it expired. But Apple’s insane fascist rules are apparently set in stone. Not that I won’t try and test them this weekend, when I go down to the service center and try and plead my case. There have to be some humans hiding behind the shiny gates of this particular Mt. Doom.

I hate that I’m not on top of my shit yet. This sort of thing would never happen to my mother, who is the most vigilant / responsible person on the planet. Who I aspire to be, despite of my obvious design limitations. Sitting in India. she reminded me my health insurance at work was about to run out in a month’s time. I clearly should have just told her to look out for my computer’s warranty as well :/

What’s up, you guys? What’s new? I need to make new playlists on my ipod. So as to not have to spend time at work making an on the go playlist that only has Leonard Cohen and then changing it up to a playlist with uptempo dancy songs that put me in a shallow, happy mood. ‘Quiet reflection on Leonard’s words’ and ‘Shallow happy dancy’ and ‘Bon jovi / REO Speed wagon / nostalgia’. The last is clearly mislabeled as nostalgia for me would be Pearl Jam and Def Leppard and Megadeth and a little bit of Whitesnake and lots and lots of Beatles.

I hate the word vomit. I really do.

More frustratingly so I hate the restrictions imposed by words. At first, when you are small, things like the sky, light, and trees are so wide, so liquid, so limitless, so new to you, so directly experienced, and then you learn the words sky or light or tree and click, just like that, the liquid is curdled and the word is forever what you know and there's a brand-new box around what you see. And then the box gets filled up with associations, and the thing becomes the word the way the memory becomes the photograph. Perhaps that explains my resistance to putting in words the nameless, shapeless confusion floating around inside me. Perhaps I’m making things worse by trying to quantify, trying to state in empirical terms what the problem is. Perhaps there is no problem.

The weather is playing games with all of us. The sun is out and it’s bright and sunny, but there’s a cold wind blowing and everyone’s suddenly wearing sweaters. I’m going to go get some coffee and feed the birds biscotti. It’s fantastic, they all fly down and chirp and chirp. And there are some incredibly beautiful birds here in Dubai. Things to do, people to see :)

Monday, February 20

Thoughts at work at 10:41 AM:

- I get to have a very stiff drink in precisely 8 hours. Oh no. I wish I hadn’t calculated that, it seems like an eternity now. I have a bottle of rum that I don’t know what to do with. Are there any people who drink rum for pleasure? Like wine drinkers and beer drinkers and breezer drinkers (oh the shame!), where are the dark rum drinkers?

- I’m going to start apartment hunting again. Apartment hunting requires dedication and commitment. You need to be in it to win it. It doesn’t help that I’m in two minds about whether I should move at all. I have a beautiful, furnished apartment that I’ve grown to love. Unfortunately, my office has moved and now it’s quite far from where I live. The weather’s been really nice so far, the move happened in the winter. So now, kind of like the dudes in the Game of Thrones, my only concern is the fact that summer’s coming. I won’t be able to walk to the metro station, even though it’s a mere ten minute walk. Trust me, I won’t be able to. Don’t call me soft, you don’t know what it’s like here. I don’t want to take a cab every day as that will work out to be quite expensive. I have the cats that I feed, who I have grown quite attached to (while working constantly at honing my detachment skillz). But most importantly, I want to live close to work, I don’t want to waste time commuting. BUT I love my apartment and don’t want to leave and live close to my friends! You see why apartment hunting in this frame of mind is going to be interesting. Unless I find something spectacularly close by, something as instantly lovable as my current apartment and something significantly cheaper (my current neighbourhood’s kinda pricey) I don’t think I’m going to move.

- I need to register for my exam in May. A lot will happen in the span of a few months. I’m going to maybe find and move to a new apartment. I’m going to maybe have to get all my utilities and internet etc. registered. I’m going to have to STUDY for said exam. I’m going to have to finish off a lot at work and I’m going to have to do this before the 19th of April, since I’m going back to my beloved Delhi for two weeks. Mostly to not turn 26 in a strange land. I haven’t spent a birthday away from my family and I hope I never have to. Our extended family’s traditions are slowly changing, which is fine. But on my birthday I have to make like a homing pigeon and fly home.

- The flame of my love for my kindle is momentarily flickering. I have reverted to reading all the Harry Potter books on it. It’s a scary thought, to have the same strange indifference set in towards the millions of books available that seems to have set in with the entire universe of music available for easy and immediate consumption. Just because I know they’re out there means I want them a little bit less? What kind of horrific twat am I? Don’t answer that.

- I have to go home and remember to use both Harpic and Draino. Sigh.

- a glance outside the window tells me a sandstorm is in progress. Every little bit of wind in the desert becomes a sandstorm. Though the sandstorms are better to the apocalyptic, windless persistent haze (that’s secretly made of sand) that lasts for days on end.

- I’m worried about my spine. I have awful posture, especially while chilling, and need to watch that stretching video my brother sent me. In bed I can feel my back grumbling, and ignoring it because I don’t feel very responsible for all corporeal complaints is not a good idea. Love your body, you guys.

- Clearly, I’m still in the stage where only mindnumbingly inane small talk spews out of me. Word vomit. It’s not intentional, I swear. During a meeting yesterday afternoon I happened to notice a colleague wearing Ted Baker socks, and I’ve been chanting ‘tedbakertedbaker’ to myself since. Perhaps that’s the reason why all time seems to be going by so quickly, it’s because my brain’s fucked off and left its idiot cousin in charge. Samuel Beckett said ‘every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness’ and my brain’s idiot cousin concurs.

- Pleasantly tolerable. That’s good enough.

Sunday, February 19

Beatifically smiling Murphy

I’m wearing headphones at work, with no music playing. The room is still completely silent, I just don’t want to have to speak to anyone just yet. It’s too early in the day and my weekend calm is still with me, albeit in a fragile state. A big part of that is the absence of my boss and my team member. Both of them remind me what it’s like to grow up in north India, where things like volume are only to be taken into consideration when they’re too low. The headphones encourage people not to talk to me, and for this I love them.
I’m trying to make certain healthy substitutions. Green tea instead of coffee. Once I’m done with my stock of sweet & low, I hope to switch back to sugar. Unfortunately, I remind myself that my soothing mint green tea only works its wonders in the quiet workplace, a phenomenon that is both rare and short lived. I had a very satisfying weekend, unusually. On Thursday night (which is the Friday night of the UAE) I accidentally fell asleep at 9:30 PM and woke up at 3 AM to a house with all the lights on. I sleepily wandered around the house making sure everything was in order and went right back to sleep. Woke up at 11 AM, which I was thrilled about as my weekday routine of waking at 6:30 AM seems to have ruined my ability to sleep in on holidays. Had a very relaxed morning and a long video chat with my mother. We try and do these regularly, but the best kind are when we’re both home alone in the afternoon and have our leisurely lunch together. This was followed by my first trip to Dubai’s outlet mall and excellent behaviour on my part. I only purchased a few adorable, heavily discounted pieces and felt very smug. My friend, who I went with, is getting married and has happily accepted a redundancy offer made to her by her firm. I marvel at the change in these women, a strange calm descends on them as they march with single-minded determination towards their goal. It’s pretty interesting to watch. Makes me feel like I did in junior school when I was significantly taller, rounder, had a crazy curly afro and was more obnoxious than everyone else. The little girls with their straight hair and fascinatingly bejeweled hair ties and their struggles to write essays and finish their math homework. I was never quite like them and I was never sure if I wanted to be like them. Digression! This shopping excursion was followed by a girl’s night in with my super fun 38 year old friend. Two bottles of white wine, two bags of microwave popcorn (butter and cheddar flavour) and fistfuls of jelly beans were consumed by the two of us. I love having these drunken rowdy nights at my house. When the night’s over, all I have to do is walk to the next room and collapse onto my bed and worry about the carnage only when I wake up. The next day was peaceful, with me slowly and intermittently swimming into consciousness to remedy my hangover. The first round of consciousness involved drinking lots of water and falling asleep. The second involved me hankering for something salty and thick, which resulted in me sleep-ordering a subway sandwich. The rest of the day went by in slow motion, and blessedly I wasn’t hyperaware that the next day was work. I took a bubble bath, I washed my hair, I had my apartment cleaned, I did no laundry. I fed the cats and realized I’ve accepted the fact that young male cats will tend to wander and not necessarily return just for food. I’m surprised I didn’t make the association with the scores of virile, young male cats who’ve casually walked out on us back home. I was in bed and asleep by 10.
This sort of weekend is currently the best kind I can have here. With the exception of not doing any laundry.

My morning walk to the metro station today might have just led to a revolutionary new Murphy. It was the dimwitted equivalent of me lifting my gigantic, rock filled head and slowly turning it in the right direction. Onward and forward!

I return to this entry many hours later, marveling at how it’s already 3:30 and it only feels like I’ve been here a few hours. That’s the scary bit about Dubai. Time seems to fly here – it feels like I’ve just woken up on Sunday morning and the next thing I know it’s Wednesday evening and there’s just one day left for the weekend. The kind of excruciating quality time took on back in Delhi at my consulting gig doesn’t seem to exist here. I remember dying a million deaths during the eternity that yawned between Tuesday morning and Tuesday afternoon. Everything about living here is so convenient, that I don’t seem to have struggled at all in the year that I’ve been here. Clearly I’m tempting the fates and soon the hair dryer of fuckedupness will sort of teeter at the edge of the bathtub of my wellbeing. Soon.