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Lullaby, Stranger

I recently got an opportunity to attend a choreographed concert called ‘Lullaby, Stranger’. In their own words:

LULLABY STRANGER is a choral performance, meant to be heard lying down. Moving between shared and private spaces, this choreographed concert speaks of our most intimate moments. Songs of love and fulfillment, of absence, loss and longing, of nightmares and prayer and death, weave a journey that stirs tension as well as tenderness. Through the evening, sounds and bodies appear and disappear in a symphony of small encounters.

K invited me to accompany her and I will be forever grateful to her for this experience. We left around 7:30 for the 9 o’clock show. After a short walk to the metro, a very short metro ride, a cancelled train and a cab driver who refused to turn on the meter, we finally reached the venue. K was prepared as always and took out the small joint. I asked a guy for a lighter and we lit it up.

The show was delayed by 20 minutes but then it finally started. Our phones were confiscated and we were given a bag to keep our shoes in. We entered the ‘Black Box’ – a dark room with about forty mattresses arranged in squares such that the head of no mattress faced the head of another. The mattresses were really cozy, covered in white sheets, with a comfy pillow and another white sheet to cover yourself. All of us chose our mattresses, K and I chose opposite sides of the room.

On the roof were art installations which looked like a golden colored fabric had frozen in the air while in motion. The lights were slowly turning on and off and the golden wave of fabric glittered and disappeared in sync with the blink of my eyes. I couldn’t figure when the show really started because I had no clue of how it was going to be like. People were still entering through the entry door and bits and pieces of jazz music from the cafe outside filtered in. Was it a part of the act or was I reading too much into it? Suddenly around 10 people came sauntering in and walked on the patches of empty floor in between the mattresses. And then, IT BEGAN.

The Conductor raised her hands and her team everyone else harmonized along with her. It was a goose bump raising performance – a shiver ran down my spine. The selection of songs was a carefully chosen list of lullabies from across the world (List in the end). As the performers moved from one direction to another, the sound of music traveled with them. One of my favorite lullabies was a Japanese lullaby called ‘Ho, Firefly’.

The performers changed their stances during and in between songs. They came and slept next to us, looked at us, it was slightly unnerving but slowly you eased into the whole process and you started to sync your breathing with the breathing rhythms of the person lying next to you. I had gotten really comfortable in my space and closed my eyes and listened to the music, listened to them harmonising and listened to how the voices shifted as they moved from one side of the room to another.

When the show ended, they came next to us and gave us their hand and picked us out f our beds slowly. We stood in the empty patches while they took our beds and lay down in it. And then they ended with the first song they had sung.

If you ever get the opportunity to catch this show at the G5A in Mumbai, I assure you it’s worth every bit of your time. Please don’t miss it.

List of Lullabies:

  • Because –  Lennon – McCartney
  • Wanting Memories – Dr. Ysaye
  • Hotaru Koi – Ro Ogura
  • Shenandoah – Michael Trotta
  • Trilo – Ale Moller
  • If I Should Lose you – Ralph Rainger
  • Unravel – Bjork
  • Ya Thuli Khanjar Maare – Abdul Ahad Nazim
  • Adinu
  • Der Leiermann
  • Media Vita
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Why do writers write?

Writers write to keep memories from dying.

Writers write because it’s their high.

They write because it’s easier than talking.

They write because they want someone to read them like they read others.

Writers write because sometimes punctuation is really important.

Writers write to convert words into a painting in your mind.

They write to take you everywhere they have been.

They write so that you can hear every echo in the story they wrote.

Writers write so that their words can pierce your heart.

But they also write to mend broken ones.

40 Days of Dating

For everyone who has the slightest of interest in social experiments and relationship psychology – 40 Days of Dating will keep you in its spell from Day 1 to Day 40. Here is what their “About” reads:

What do you do when you’re tired of the prospect of dating? Two good friends with opposite relationship problems found themselves single at the same time. As an experiment, they dated for 40 days.

Since both of them were designers, the website is a colourful journey of the 40 days, interspersed with beautiful typography of a moment or a scenario that stood out from that particular day. They answer the exact same questions about each other every day and it makes for an interesting read and some amazing material to define the human psychology. There are moments when you will relate with their situation, the trivial topics they sometimes fight over and the misunderstandings.

Here is the link to the website which you must scroll through even if you cannot read through it:

http://fortydaysofdating.com/

TBH, I think people who have been dating for quiet some while should answer these questions as well. It would probably give them a wholly new perspective on life and of course, on their relationship as well.

 

Summer Nights

There is this thing about summer nights, a nostalgia that doesn’t fade, be it months or years or even decades.

I remember the nights I spent at my Nani’s place, lying in the cot on the night under a starry sky, the rings of the mortein coil rising to the sky while the pomeranian who slept below my cot snored lightly.

I remember the nights at my Dadi’s house, when there wasn’t even a cot to lie on, just a hard plastic mat and sometimes it used to get so cold in May that we used to bring out the blankets from the trunk on the terrace.

It was an altogether different feeling, waking up to sunshine on your face and once in a while, to rains, when you had to wake up and rush inside, taking your bedding and covers along.

I remember the nights at my house in Lucknow. It didn’t happen often but when it did, I was surprisingly glad. No electricity meant darkness, which meant freedom, to go to the terrace, in the middle of the night or outside, to exchange some notes with people you couldn’t meet otherwise.

Summer,

A love hate relationship with you has given me memories which are equally bittersweet. There were power cuts all the time, but anything beyond the mundane life was welcome. It seemed like life got even more monotonous during your time. It was the same day lived, over and over again, specially during the vacations which we craved  for but within 10 days, got bored of.

Now, there is watermelon in the evening, followed by finally switching off the A.C., when Maa came rushing in to tell us to get some fresh air. We reluctantly go to the rooftop and listen to some music until it is dark and the mosquitoes attack. And then we go back to our artificially created atmosphere.

I do miss you, it is true. I miss the feel of heat on my skin when I came back from school, craving a chilled glass of sherbet. I miss sitting on the staircase playing cards with my cousins because we couldn’t watch TV. Most of all, I miss the darkness of the night, where everyone gathered around together, because they had no screens to look at, no instruments to distract them, and we could just be there, in the moment, waiting for the light to come back and at the same time wishing that it does not.

I miss you, Summer.

Lost and Found

I haven’t written on the blog for a really long time but finding this treasure forced me to write again. I am a sucker for cheesy videos and if they are couples with great animation and even better music, my day is made! This channel has several such videos and I just cannot wait to go back home and binge watch all of them.

For the time being, watch this and relive the charm of UP (sort of).

There is something about older couples that just makes you go ‘Aww’. It’s beautiful how the little elements keep popping up and all of those tiny things merge in the end to form a beautiful story. All the while it left me wondering about what’s going to happen and the end was the best it could possibly be. ❤

To find love in objects of affection is one thing, but to make love grow through them is completely another.

 

Mumbai Montage

Last night, me and my friend decided to go on a long drive on a bike in Mumbai. He came to pick me up at two a.m. and then it began. It was a chilly night and the roads, except for the highway were mostly deserted. If it were a movie, I would say it was all in black and yellow with just a few colours and bokehs sprewn here and there. We reached Bandra, after being searched by the police once for signs of drunken drinking. I realised it was a horrible horrible job. Instead of using breath analysers, a policemen would come near you and smell your breath in the pretense of asking your name. It ought to be included in the list for the “worst jobs around the world.” Then there was the ocean. Owing to low tide, the ocean was a huge and still mass of water. The moon was almost full. And believe me when I say it looked like somebody jad mashed up pieces of glasses and spread the shards on a huge black canvas which shimmered and sparkled in the black of the night. And it was hard to believe that this was Bandra. Then came Haji Ali, the glittering blue lights, the colours I talked about earlier, in the midst of the huge canvas. Slowly the architecture begins to change. There is an oncoming of tall buildings with darkened hollows for windows. The horizon is not at all visible, unlike the seaface earlier. And suddenly we have marine drive. It only gets better. The air gets colder than ever before. The huge body of water looks like an even more beautiful artwork. The moon in all its glory, seemed to be proud of its beauty. Then we came across the beautiful colonial past, the architectural heritage of Mumbai. In the dark of the knight they looked like those ancient black and white pictures that we now find printed on postcards. It was nearly 5 a.m. by this time and the beautiful highcourt decided to tell this to us with its beautiful chiming in the silent of the night. We decided to take a break and have some food with some caramel tea (I named it because of its peculiar taste) at an Irani cafe which was the only one open at the time. And finally after that we made our way back home. It was a beautiful night, a night to remember. And it felt as if everything fell into piece just to make it perfect for us, like those five planets that have aligned in the same line for the first time in decades.

Letters for Love/Being Unwanted (Guest Post)

Before you wonder why I didn’t title this post ‘Love Letters’ or ‘Letters of Love”, I want to explain and ask you at the same time what Love means to you? To me it means so many things, even hate, but this is a letter written for Love, not out of Love, not about Love but just for it. Make what you can of it. 🙂

Oh and also Special thanks to our writer, i.e. not me but someone who I begged to write this for me, since I have been too busy with work. And he hasn’t let me down. I love your writing, I really do. Here it goes:

BEING UNWANTED

So today, I will like to confess one of the feelings that come to me more often than others. I, for some reason, always find myself with people who are facing some crisis. With time this thing rooted deep inside me. I started feeling satisfied with the knowledge that maybe people needed me sometimes even if it was only in their moments of sorrow. Call it a lame effort to be wanted by others or an attempt to hold some place important in others’ lives. Or maybe I think too much. Someone told me that I always look for tragedies, but this is just what I have become. I don’t mind tragedies a single bit because I feel that people reveal their innermost feelings at that moment. I wish I could take those moments of closeness, the belonging to merrier times also but almost always I find myself getting sidelined for someone else who simply makes their way into lives of others when the grass is green and when they don’t have to live through autumn. Then again I start looking out for the next estranged soul. I fully agree that my life may seem tempting to others. Some people have in fact asked me that why do I even get sad, but its ingrained in me. I try to be alone at times hoping someone will ask about me.

This feeling naturally comes, when I see people enjoying with others, I find myself looking at people’s happy faces thinking it would have been so fucking amazing if I would have been the one sharing that laughter, if your smile would have started from your lips and would have stopped at my cheekbones. I always try to find a crevice in people’s conversations to an untold secret which would act like a thread that would keep us entwined forever with each other. I love to gradually fade into the background watching how people react to my absence.

You have been a great support to me amidst all the negativity. As I have said a million times, a lighthouse in the cold wild raging sea, a drop of water in the scorching heat of the desert, that last breath for which a man craves on his deathbed, those last few  of oxygen in a man’s tank on a faraway planet.

P.S. – You are the one who I believe can take me out of this perpetual turmoil. Only you have the charm.

A Reply

I think I am cast in a very different stone. I am the kind who wants to be with people in their good times and their bad. If they choose to be with me only in either one of them, then I carve out a different path for myself, far away from theirs. For me, it’s always all or nothing. The only thing I hope for is that I make you a part of all my seasons. That, I think, could be the best gift I could ever give you.

P.S. Don’t talk about lighthouses, they drive me crazy! 🙂 ❤

Handwritten Letters

I have a wall in my room, decked up with posters, drawings and postcards, lots of them! I have been an avid writer and a believer in the ancient art of letter writing (Notice Gone Girl reference). So I have been writing letters to friends for a while now. It all started with me and a friend exchanging notes and letters on a monthly basis. When we shifted to new cities, we started posting letter to each other. It was not that we didn’t have any other means of communication, we had access to internet and text-ed each other on a daily basis. It was just that I could express myself so much better in a one-sided conversation where I could put my feelings into words on something material. Slowly, I started writing more and more letters to more friends, newly made friends who were brought closer when I expressed my feelings for them through my letters.

A friend, sent me postcards of all the places we had been to together with really cute messages and poems on the back. Another friend sent me a beautiful postcard of the city I was born in with a poem on life and death which summed up the essence of Banaras (Varanasi). A teacher gave me a postcard that he had designed and coincidentally it was of my Hometown and I instantly fell in love with it. There are several others which I found at shops and cafes and couldn’t resist picking up. Letters and postcards are storehouses of memory that aren’t credited enough for the power they hold. This reminds me that I should be getting back to writing something yet again to bring people even more close! ❤

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Button Poetry

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Thoughts on Rumi

Tonight feels like the night to read Rumi. I was first introduced to him only recently by a friend and there is no way someone could not love his writing (don’t mind the double negatives). Ever since I read his poetry/verses I keep going back to Kitaabkhana, to the section where his books are and get lost in them. Here are some of his gems. ❤

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest
Where no one sees you,
But sometimes I do,
And that sight becomes art.

Wow, the search for a the muse comes alive through his lines. Even for me, there is this constant search for inspiration which is only satiated by something like a memory or something that love teaches me on this journey called life. 🙂

This moment that love comes to rest in me,
Many beings in one being.
In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks.
Inside the needle’s eye, a turning night of stars.

Just the beauty of how a million things could be housed into a single entity with the power of love.

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
How blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.

Clichéd? But beautiful.

I know a lot must have been lost in translation but then that gives me another thing to do in life. Someday maybe I will learn to read it in its original form. And then I will fall even more in love with him, if that’s possible. 🙂

-S.