29.9.13

make me laugh

I had a dream about you yesterday. 

You were laughing, which is strange because I didn't think I remembered your laugh. 

I may have made it up entirely, which is the more exciting thought. How does a person make up the laugh of another in their head? How do you know what their face looks like - How did I know that your eyes crinkle on the side, that your laugh is not deep, that your mouth turns downward when you laugh, that your soft voice can generate a voice that loud?

You know what would be fun? If you don't laugh like that at all. If your laugh is actually throaty and high. If your laugh is less infectuous, more like a comma than a semicolon.

But I have a feeling dreams don't lie about these things. 

If I see you again, I'd like to make you laugh. 

27.9.13

regularly

he threw it like a tantrum.
i caught it like a pro.

24.9.13

how would you know?

(who's to say
we live
in a real world
with real people
and really pink pajamas?)

23.9.13

a story

in Helter Skelter New Writing Vol. 3 here - Paper Cut on My Tongue

Go go! Read!

:D

13.9.13

places

(A Cool Dark Place by Supriya Dravid; Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto)

I just finished reading A Cool Dark Place. I bought it on one end of a flight journey in the airport bookshop, and finished it by the time my taxi pulled into the gate.

What is a book with only beauty? I don't know, really. It may not be a good thing. Because make no mistake, A Cool Dark Place is beautiful. It is made purely of emotion, it seemed to me. How can characters who are supposed to be so empty be people so full of life? She does so many things right: so many characters, so many moments, so much love, so much brokenness. Such poetry in so many places, so flawlessly.

But I have to ask, how much is too much? I ask this as a reader averse to books that carry too much emotion to begin with. (So this might not be the case for a non-loony reader).

For example, this is one of the first couple of sentences in the book that I thought "wow" about  - "For a long time before my father ended his life, he'd hidden himself in the darkness. So my mother had hidden there with him, in the forlorn shadow of his helium heart, in the never-ending nuclear light, under sunken iron beds and love-sewn quilts. I think she hoped her Olympic tolerance would help him may his way back to the living, and destroy the lonely world, the Prozac paradise he had cocooned himself in." 
But I read it again, rolling the words in my mouth, and I wasn't sure if I knew what I thought of it.
For a long time before my father ended his life, he'd hidden himself in the darkness. So my mother had hidden there with him, in the forlorn shadow of his helium heart, in the never-ending nuclear light, under sunken iron beds and love-sewn quilts. I think she hoped her Olympic tolerance would help him map his way back to the living, and destroy the lonely world, the Prozac paradise he had cocooned himself in.

I'll tell you what this book makes me want to do the most: It makes me want to write a belated review of Em and the Big Hoom. Apart from the fact that both of these books are about broken families trying to grapple with their darknesses, there are two reasons I want to write about Em and the Big Hoom instead. I probably shouldn't compare (so I'm going to try my best not to) but while I was reading, it was all I could do.  
The first is how both of them deal with similarly rebellious, off the path love stories. The second is that when I imagined Gravy, I could only think of him as the Big Hoom: holding the world together with his strength and love.

About halfway through the book, this book made me want to also write a belated review of Em and the Big Hoom.

Apart from the fact that both of these books are about broken families trying to grapple with their darknesses, there are two reasons I want to write about Em and the Big Hoom along with this.

The first is how both of them deal with similarly rebellious, off the path love stories. The second is that when I imagined Gravy, I could only think of him as the Big Hoom: holding the world together with his strength and love.

Both of them write of a disparate world in which they fit and don't with at the same time. In both their worlds, we constantly make references to poets and literary geniuses in our daily lives, find pasts and futures that we can only imagine. 

What Pinto managed to do for me is this: He was convincing of a universe in which a boy lives with a mother who's not all there. He's convincing of their triumphs and their depression, he makes us believe in the times in between. I guess what I am trying to say is this - he gives us context. He gives us quirks of language, he gives us cultures, he gives us conflict.

Dravid, on the other hand, who writes mad characters with booming laughter, doesn't quite cut that. 
She gives us tiny hints about where these people are coming from, of course - the bobbing up and down of a priest conducting a funeral, the book of Marathi short stories, names of places: Madras, Delhi, Gokarna. 

She does little else to moor her characters in any sort of context. Not a time or a place, not a reference I can place. This would not have been disconcerting to me if not for all the others that I could. (For example, a "part-Gatsby, part-Hemingway" man who wears neon socks and runs away regularly to Europe for business; him throwing regular Lurhmann-like Gatsby-ian parties in the middle of Madras - I can imagine it, but I'm not convinced by this madness or this alcoholic, opiate, ("Prozaic") universe.)

But the real question, I suppose, is whether she means for us to be at all. These details are meant to be lost in the cobwebs of old chandeliers and jenga-like three storeyed houses with plastic life-size Ambassadors. And while I see what she is trying to do, I don't know if it works for me completely. 

So I have to ask again: how much beauty is too much? Because there may be such a thing as too much.

**

Edit: I've been thinking about this, and the truth is, it's not usually that insufficient cultural context bothers me. Is it something I have come to expect from South Asian writers? I wonder. (Because if that is the case, I probably have to rethink how I read "Indian" or "South Asian" writers.)

Edit 2: At the same time, why is the universal/neutral necessarily non-Indian?
Additionally, is there such a thing?