Indian October

We don’t share the kind of commitment I have with my Nude lipstick yet. And why would we? You just met me when you did as a melody man. And few times after did I quake like the strings somersault under your touch. You are a person of pursuit. I am a woman of worsts. Stewing or sieving metaphors on the street to ‘become’ a writer. Collecting images that I can recollect later. Straining them onto paper, like chai. Both are life-changing. Tea is assured pleasure also. Words don’t always flow, you know. Some days, I get more blocked than my washbasin on a filthy panipuri day. Other days, I am linguistically constipated. But at least, I am not procrastinating. Procrastination is misleading yourself into a power nap. Have slid down that ride more than once and regretted it more than thrice. So now I sow my garden first and prune it later. On better days, the waste paper basket in my room is fuller than that in my loo.

My October is an Orion constellation eloquent around the 3 geographical Gs of Greater Kailash, Gurgaon, and Ghaziabad. Cold calendar marked by hot hunches. Some third act twist this was. I fell for it. Again. Day one, you were a bag of intrigue. Visceral. Vehementing. Voltage. Carried enough velocity and vice to violate my voids. My guard waned faster than the 2 45 am donuts. I scrunch-dry my hair with pink placating dabs of polka dots and wait on my back, cavorting with words, before you—all guitar and 420—bang on my door. My plans obey your plans. Blue tick. Inside my private caves, a satisfying symphony of tender and thunder is sewn. Beyond these railway tracks of Delhi, something more groans. 

This city changes people with its big D right through the (w)hole of them. Among other instances, I met you and collapsed into new blooms. Every visit by you is a red-pill event. We order from Moolchand in the life of the night and they never get it right. Aaloo pyaaz. Mix veg. Paneer pyaaz. Boondi raita. Sweet lassi. We play the relish roulette. Then as we lay wrapped tighter than the extravagant taping on the Zomato package, I feel I have anciently known you and must tell you that. But then I think, you know me better than that. Nights like these live or die based upon the fat in our bellies. I know you’ll be under siege and napping faster than the butter rivulets across our paranthas. But before that, we’ll go picking at pointy peels of onion bathed in chutney greener than this neighbourhood. We’ll pull it all apart before we do each other. Two wolves on the tip of transcendence. Building together a night to scale. On scales only you hit when you do. It is a bruising affair. The boozing affair. Slowly the seconds, the minutes, the hours are crushed and rolled inside the J of an evening ticking to be smoked up and burnt away. I will take out the soggy chips and the empty cans tomorrow. But for the moment, let’s keep this fi-lam on. Once upon a time in GK, we lived wondrously the nights and sluggishly the mornings after. 

This city is a big boutique theatre. Acutely original. Obtusely entertaining. But there are few free tickets. Some mornings are clean and fragrant like a wiped floor. Others are last night’s wrecked toilets. If only I could command my sunshine like I finger the luminosity up and down on this lamp R got from Amazon. Today has been only as productive as water down a plant pot. I am out navigating more offshoots than the little branches in my lily. There are roundabouts to round up your patience. And the infamous roads. Named after too many famous men. Imperial saints and saintly imperials. Now, where do you go? What’s more deciding, where you do not.

Moving into a new house is an education. I have taken multiple courses over the years. Gambled away many personalities to part rabbit holes, part Tibetan mandalas, all honeypots that can animate notebooks. This evening is another evening, fluorescence has established monarchy over the roads, cars and cows are brushing past the red lights, queasy queues are foaming outside wine and beer shops, new cities are being built over the ruin of prior worlds. I am waiting at Sikanderpur station to board a metro to R’s place. An old hole of comfort and constancy among the cabarets of new curiosities. I feel there is a clear chasm between us now. R and I. And, as wide as this metro track before me. Only little. But forbidding. May this Mohenjodaro be never dug any further, I’ll not be able to preserve it intact. 

Anyway. R’s house is hindering. Pin-lock on Netflix. Auto-lock on the main door. And the serious economy of paper in the loo. The only save: the same lovely grooming products that I use and can dexterously exploit. All-day, he rolls tobacco and makes long faces. Writing is similar. You craft your moments with slow, calculated measure and then you squirm or smirk as you relive them. Though Su calls writing the ‘f-’ word. Fitrat! He writes neat like scotch saunters smooth along the rocks. Notebook to phone to cubicle to kitchen. He pours like a dripping roof in the rains. Occasionally steady. And safely inevitable. But he reads his nazms with a physician-prescribed precision. One a morning and then some. I am rather a fast guzzler. Verse. Marlboro. Bira. Old Smuggler. Argan oil hair mask. French Lavender shower cream. Nothing lasts predictably long. But when I write, I barely take the highway. I labour through the narrow alleyways and shoddy streets to worry the page with good determination and a bad hand. When you are lucky, you get a handsome squeeze. Stay thorough through the thoroughfares and you get lucky more often. 

You leave me four candies and one-fourth of a joint on a page torn out of my diary. A man with a good stash. A woman with a good cache. Employing their paper in their own pertinent ways. Making plans together like kids on vacation. You rest quiet while I dip my fingers into your hair. They stay laced with you longer than I stay arched over us. Of course, all this is only as sustainable as Delhi’s ‘good air’. But let it drizzle while it does. Any chance it hurts later, I have seen mother tame stiffest splinters along our door with a stiffer hand. I am certain a manufacturing engineer can do better.

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