It's almost the third week of November.
I resist the perpetual temptation to say, where has the year gone by? I know the answer this time. This year so far has been made of: dismantling and farewelling a home, making cross-country and maritime journeys, setting up a new home (again), hearing a city's new chatter, the colors of its dialect, and studying its costume, its embellishments and fabrics.
The winter light is elegant, immaculately composed, a bit elusive though...it completely evanescences by the time dusk falls, leaving behind a leached, bereft world. Seeing the mauve shadows, you think, the world feels a better place in the presence of such good, strong light.
I take pictures as long as it's there.
One of my simple pleasures soon after moving here was buying a mogra bunch every few days. When I went to the flower-seller yesterday, I once again asked him if he had any mogras; he shook his head, gesturing instead towards the piles of saffron marigolds, tooth-white chrysanthemums, and pastel-hued roses girding him. I will have to wait until next year to breathe in their giddy, monsoon-scent.
The trees here may not be burning yellow or orange like their peers in other parts of the world; however, I am amused to see one tree adorned in these colors for an ongoing literature festival at the India Habitat Centre. I like to imagine whether it is a wounded warrior tree, bandaged in colors of blood and turmeric, pain and healing or a flamboyantly dressed one, eagerly showing off its sinuous curves in crimson and vermillion?
I wander into Shahpur Jat, an urban village, ostensibly to admire its iridescent, whimsical walls, the glad subjects of a street art festival. However, I stumble upon a maze of characters: contemplative, sad old women, hookah-smoking and gossiping men, freshly-slaughtered fish, roasted peanut, and thoughtful, kind momo sellers, pre-teen girls manning their fathers' groceries stores while intently watching a Hindi soap on a tiny TV, and a playful brood of puppies, who joyfully bite our fingers as we feed them Parle-G biscuits. There are stories of stores tucked here and there; when you walk inside them, you feel as if you have stepped inside someone's doll-house imagination, their parallel universe. I like these stories-stores. I like these walls. I like Shahpur Jat. I want to come here again.
In a white walled, gray-shiny floored gallery, I glimpse an artist's fictional maps. When I was a little girl, I would spend hours reading the atlas, jigsawing the countries together, how Austria was pink, USSR the largest country in the world, tracing the ocean between India and Oman. I even made up my own country, Trontia although I never went as far as to become its cartographer; it still exists somewhere in the landscape of my imagination. It's been years since I have thought of Trontia though. It's also been years since I thought of space colonies and I only just remembered my sheer awe at the thought of a home other than Earth when I saw Interstellar yesterday. At the same time when I was mapping Trontia in my head, I was poring through science encyclopedias, hungrily inhaling everything astronomical: black holes (unimaginably frightening), the sun ageing into a monstrous red giant, nebulae, aliens, and space colonies, the artists' depictions of them resembling Earth distilled and bottled in glass rings.
|It Happens in the Unlikeliest of Places|
There are poems waiting to be written too. Here is one gingerly poking its head through the stone, plucky, salad-green, and glossy. I let it emerge. There will be plenty of time to let it and others grow.
What is your November looking like so far?