the fatwaif diaries

the workings of a wandering mind

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

fare thee well

events set in motion, i follow the flow and play my part. clean out my drawers, pile up my notes and organise the goodbye lunch for tomorrow. it's like playing out a critical scene - one that's been rehearsed so often that you're filled with numbness tinged with a dull fear that you may be doing it all wrong.
no more 300-words, 400-words, 500-word imperatives. no more trauma over page 1 stories that just don't materialise. no more tedious engagements ever. no more fodder for my book on psycho personalities and no more wandering the corridors of government offices hoping to trip over a story with all the ends neatly tied. no more 10 a.m. meeting.
no more night shifts where you ask the same stock questions to strangers six nights in a row hoping to get the stock answer and come across a gem, like the man who picked up the receiver and said Good night madam!

Friday, May 27, 2005


I've taken the plunge and after tuesday i will free fall into the unknown. I pressed the eject button above my airplane seat out of perverse curiosity, childlike what ifness and maybe some prodding from destiny, i don't quite know.
but the deed is done and i've left the mother ship, the comfort of the safety belt and the happy inertia of waiting, knowing you will eventually get somewhere because newton said you would. i miss the comfort of the crowd already and the collective cribbing about the food on board.
but i haven't felt so whole-hearted and self-determined in a long time even if i'm just going to crash land into a clump of nowhere trees.
the captain thinks i'm irresponsible, i think he's astute. but responsibility weighs too heavily and i'm in the mood for some lightness.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

sea story

when i was young every view of the sea sent me shrieking.
on the beach, receiving the ocean white tipped ambassadors at the shore was my sacred duty; i couldn't bare to miss even one. i'd hold the wave the best i could and watch the water slip through my fingers mesmerised.
back then the beach was the holiest or holies, my favorite holiday place. when i grew older, the sea seemed like an old friend, who i'd secretly wait to visit.
now, i live close to the beach. not close enough to see it everyday but close enough for the broad serene road before our apartment to be called beach road. i could pass by the beach everyday if i wanted to, but i don't. instead i take shorter route.
maybe because i'm grown up now and all sorted out.

Friday, May 06, 2005


today i understood the wisdom of sd's advice: the man who warned me not to smile too much. any woman could have any man if she knew the art of smiling. too much smiling was off-putting. smile less and men would be intrigued, he told me. at the time, still coping with teenage awkwardness, i didn't quite understand.
the old man, could have been vatsayana. he had a cultured air about him and a wealth of feminine wisdom that fit quite comfortably with his raspy cough and funny old man smells.

it's true: too much smiling can make people think you're in pr. yesterday's event was uncannily like the 'page 3' movie. i even felt like i was acting!
it had simpering pr girls, impoverished hacks bewildered by the glare and glamour and white musicians who'd crossed their sell-by date still waking from the daze of sex, drugs and rock and roll.
the most annoying of course are the cold, meaningless 1000 watt smiles. i couldn't help but check my own expression when i noticed the pr bunny fawn with a pasted grin on her face.
then there's the immature swaggering dude from the music channel. he'd like to rub shoulders with the celebrities, fake camaraderie by laughing harder and louder for all the bad jokes, smoking and drinking like this is a party. but it's not. and nobody is anybody's friend.
so cliched.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

a doormat called welcome

as if by magic, the house is no longer empty. a lone boy moved in today, his birthday.

it's strange, poetic logic that this day four years ago, we were together: so young and full of wonder. sitting under the stars, i gave him the perfect blue shirt, handpicked from among hundreds of shirts i'd seen all day, and he, in turn, gave me the unconditionalilty of first love.
we lived parallely for a while but then the season changed. i've lived a few lifetimes since and spent many years hurtling away from him, even if it meant hurting him.
but everything's changed now, it's like the stuff of our lives is all rearranged. and i've put enough distance between us to be friends again.
in the new scheme of things, he is little more than a familiar stranger and while i still search for the perfect men's shirt, i do so in a different size.
it's sad no? how even the most well-adjusted among us use defence tactics: run, hide, build a wall. anything to get away from the finality of it all. absolutely necessary for survival i think.
we spoke the other day, about the past and people from our history. the dark, brooding, irresistable a.m. who always felt he belonged somewhere else. he now lives in ny with a rich lawyer ten years older to him.
then there's the hippie girl-of-everyone's-dreams who went on to become an artist and live with an organic farmer. no surprises there. the boy she sketched as a schoolgirl: the boy-with-the-charming-smile is marrying someone else.
and the happy chubby p who fell off the map when he left for some vast university in the united states to become another Indian seeker looking for enlightenment in Americana.
i'm rambling now...what i started out wanting to say is that i couldn't find a better occupant for the house, i feel so fiercely protective of.

welcome home stranger and happy birthday.