In between these Lines

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I am looking for inspiration. Searching, all the time, in between these lines and newspapers and billboards aligning those dirty streets and the cacophony of the revving automobiles outside. I seek meaning in random quotes and songs and the gentle notes of the music playing in them; in the hustle of the leaves  and in the midst of spoken garbage and the maze of dreams of non existent heroes and lonely stairways of giant buildings and amongst all the paper strewn on my table and my incapacities and little victories and fading goodbyes of the people I love and the screams of dying soldiers in battles they did not want to be a part of and in the anarchy of unfinished wishes.

“Every morning, some of the things you have loved will always be behind you”

The Days are Just Packed

I get the feeling I’m losing control over things at home these days. 

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Zoha and Alhaan go missing in the park today and we pan out to find them at the other end, so I scream at them saying where’d you guys go, you gotta stay within sight. Alhaan says they were playing with touch-me-nots and Zoha says – ‘It’s a beautiful world daddy’!
 
Ill-timed profound moment.
 

The other day after Zoha spent a prolonged period of time before the mirror meticulously applying something on her lips, I say to her
‘What is that junk you’re putting on your lips?’
‘Its lipstick daddy’
‘Zoha, you don’t need that to make you look good, you look so pretty anyway, why do you need to put anything on your lips?’
‘I wanna look like Elsa daddy’
‘Who’s Elsa?’, assuming its some new kid in her class
‘Elsa from Frozen’
 
‘Oh, that bloody Elsa’, I think to myself.
 


 
After a two week hog fest post Bakrid, I say to my wife – “I think that was a carb overload, the last few days, don’t you think?”
 
‘I don’t know what that means’ I overheard her mumble as she walked away.
 


We’re at a restaurant, and the kids are done with ransacking the neatly laid out table, while waiters hovered around in anticipation of some imminent catastrophe. Finding nothing else interesting to do, Alhaan, who usually acts as spokesperson for the gang, asks
 
“Can we go make friends with everybody else?”
NO!! I scream
He looks at his mom and says ‘Daddy’s becoming weird these days’
 
Weird?! I’m the weird one?!
&#%!@?!!!!

All in an Hours Work

That was a disturbing article, on the whole rape episode. I wish I could finish reading it, cant seem to concentrate though, because of that cheque I was just writing out. There, done. Check for mistakes, I’m thinking. But the landline rings. Its about some whatsapp message I’m supposed to have sent to my contact from Bombay. I reach for my work phone. I’m glad I got a cheap smartphone for my work number too, so I can use the app, since everybody seems to want to send something or the other through it, all the time. There is a gmail notification on the other phone, and I get a brief look into the message, that was a bad idea after all- configuring the email id for vendors on my personal phone. Too many messages all the time. I like to be in control of things though, so its ok I tell myself. And I need that stock urgently, so I call someone on the extension and instruct them to reply immediately. Instinctively, I double click on the home button so it takes me to recent apps. I flick one by one- Phone, Contacts, Camera, Evernote,…(aah I forgot to update something there, ill get to it later), facebook…ok so whats new- ‘new stories’ says a floating notification. I click on it compulsively. Shit, I wanted to read that update in front of me. Never mind, I will browse down to it. Updates- somebody’s had an awesome breakfast by the sea, someone’s put up her kids picture, its such a badly taken picture, I hate close ups, oh wait, that’s her second kid- when did that happen? Do I like it? Wait, that can wait, you’ve got stuff to do. Someone wants to know which salon to go to, she’s just back in town. Oh my, I need to organize a meet up. Then suggested apps. Then some boring stuff. Don’t go so fast, that’s a nice article, this friend always shares interesting stuff, I’m about to click on the link, but the work no.’s ringing now. So I answer that. The whatsapp messages keep coming on my other phone. My crossfit gangs organizing a run next sat. 10km. No no, I don’t think I can do that. Oh sorry, I tell the person on the other end. What was that? He was saying something about visting. I tell him call next Thursday. Not because I knew I was free, but I was only buying time. In the meantime, the landline’s ringing with what seems like increasing ferocity. Come on, I’m thinking, if I don’t pick up in 3-4 rings, it means I’m busy right?. Its an extension phone. I know because of the long ring. I don’t pick up. But I cant hear what this guys saying to me. Wait. I ask him to hold and pick up that landline. But the caller’s hung up already. ‘Ok so you were saying?’ I ask. Yes next Thursday, call before you come. I’m thinking about that article again, and its upsetting, but on a subconscious level. Random to-do stuff are floating in my head. Theres a yahoo notification- oh no! Its about that court hearing. Call the lawyer. Wait, I tell myself, check the hearing date before you call him. I wake up my computer that’s gone to sleep. That article lies in front of me. The rape one. What a disturbing incident that was. It goes into detail what happened that night. I shiver thinking of what that couple went through. Wait, read it later, its important and you need to spend time. I switch the safari tab to mail, there are 3 unread mails, two spam. One from yahoo, but you know its spam when it says ‘click here’. Theres a mail from Twitter with updates, but ill get to that later. I hate using the mouse all the time, so I wonder if theres a keyboard shortcut to switch tabs. I open a new tab and google……there’s another call on the mobile from an unkown no. Truecaller wont identify it, cos theres a notification that says my internet connection is off. Bloody docomo, never works. I send out a text message saying ‘PORT #’ to 1900. I’m done with this stupid company. I’m glad I remember the message and phone no. This is stressful. Its only one hour at work. I’m busy, but have achieved nothing. Theres a message from the bank. About the balance in my account or something. Someone’s sent me a joke on whatsapp, with a Rahul Gandhi photo, and theres another mail. Oh the lawyer, I almost forgot……..

The Duck almost choked to death

My wife calls me the day before “Saeed, I cant take care of a duck in the middle of all this, I really cant”
“did you say duck?!”
“yes, some Mr George, dad’s friend, dropped it off”
“wait, we have a duck at home?”
“Ya, and its running around ruining all my plants”.
“but where is it now?”
“on the terrace, and its ruining my terrace garden”
“but why terrace, what if it flies off?!” We’re both talking very loudly by now, you must’ve guessed
“it wont fly off, it’s a duck”
“but what if it even attempts to, why is it on the terrace?!”
“I don’t think he’s figured that out as yet” Oh, wow.
 
I meet the duck, and he seemed pretty lonely, they have to be kept in pairs apparently. The kids are ofcourse super excited, and my wife’s cracked how to get hold of a running duck in a day, by the neck if you please. “but you’re choking it!” “No, that’s the way you hold it, by the lower end of the neck” Luckily we had the gardener who intervened with an “illa, ma….”, rescued the poor fellow and let it breathe.
 
The next day- phonecall- “Saeed, we can’t possibly keep this duck, it hasn’t eaten a thing since yesterday, its gonna die, I don’t know what to feed it”
Easy – “just google it”
“I did, it says bird feed and duck feed and all that, I don’t know what duck feed is”
What the fuck does a duck eat?! This was getting tricky. I call back, take a deep breath-
“Cant we eat the duck?”
“No! Alhaan will just break down. He was uncontrollable when the turtle died last time. He just loves this duck, and anyway, we don’t know how to make duck”
Roast duck. I could easily get help from some friend. I even looked up turducken, and reflected on the Malabar version I’d eaten in Calicut years ago.
 
Nope, dead end. Hours pass. Phone call-
Wife: “Yaaay!! I know what they eat. Maggots!”
“we have maggots?!!”
“millions of them!”
“millions of maggots?!!!”
“yes! In my composter” …Oh….
“you put the duck in the composter?!!”
“No you nutcase, I put the maggots on a piece of paper. The duck’s just feasting on em. yaaay!!!”
 
Edit: We did end up eating the poor fellow, and, I have to admit, it was yum:)

Being Dad

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A few minutes before we arrived in New Delhi on the early morning double decker from Jaipur, this gentleman looking dapper in a jacket and shawl, took videos of the decks, its staircase and doorway and then took photos of himself in the train. When I said it was my first time too on such a train, he says ‘bachchon ko dikhaana hai’ (I have to show it to my children). What an endearing moment that was. For all the things that we try to be and want to become, nothing comes close to being the father of your children