Tuesday, November 10, 2009


It's been raining for three continuous days in Bangalore. Lovely wet weather. The entire world is gray, it reminds me of foggy winter mornings in Delhi, waiting for the school bus and shivering in my short skirt. But now it's seven years later, and I'm waiting for the bus that will take me to office. I tweet from my phone about the song playing in my head. I think of how much my world has changed in seven years.

Inside the bus, it's too dark to read my Murakami. I settle back with headphones plugged in and the music on shuffle. The first song is Blue October's 18th Floor Balcony, which doesn't quite suit my mood. Skip. Next up is Norah Jones, and she is exactly, exactly right.

I open my eyes and stare out through the window at the Bangalore traffic. Honking motorists, construction work, wet orange mud by the side of the road. The proverbial traffic jams of Bangalore, made worse by the unceasing rain. I float above it all, uncaring. I'm inside my exclusive shell, and nothing can touch me here. The rain makes wet channels on the window, wiping away the dirt. I watch the water flow down and wish it was that easy to cleanse human souls of all the bad things we accumulate. Not just sins - attitudes, habits, resignation, blind acceptance.

Vellai Pookal. Ah, even better. Such a beautiful, comforting song. The very first strains make me happy.

A flyover is being constructed, and we get stuck at the junction. I can't see the sky, or anything remotely green. A monstrous pillar rises up high next to my window, drowning out light, sky, nature. At the base of these pillars, scattered all around, are iron rods and heavy machinery, rusted metal and concrete blocks. Holes gape open for no particular reason. It's a sea of heavy sticky brown mud, thankfully fenced off from the road. I close my eyes rather than have to look at such vileness.

Tum Ho Toh from Rock On. We move on from the junction, and enter the road that leads directly to office. The land is more open here. Fields on either side, waterlogged now and waiting for the sun. A solitary lake, fuller now than I've ever seen it. The gray sky, heavy and roiling with rain. Apartment buildings dot the horizon, and more are under construction. Soon, I'm sure they will even fill up the fields to build more of them. I hate apartment buildings.

The office is two minutes away. I sigh. I open my bag and take out the tag with my office ID card. I used to hate it so much, it was a sign of my selling out. But now I'm resigned to it. It's there around my neck, the whole day. I barely notice it. I put it on, and step out of the bus with the rest, heading in a straggly bunch to the office building.
• • •

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Full Moon

Eight in the night, and the Fin folks and I are all alone on the floor. Today the rest of my own team has left early, for some reason. The music of choice today for the Fin guys is Enrique Inglesias. "You can take my breath away," the sweet Fin guy croaks gently. I hide my smile, because he's a sweet guy.

Outside, the office grounds resemble a resort. Bamboo groves and paths of rough stone; hidden lights and croaking frogs. It's so peaceful in the nights - partly the reason I prefer to leave at seven or eight rather than at six. I look up and almost trip over the pavement stones. It's a full moon night - or near enough as to make no difference. I stare at the moon for a full five seconds quietly. And then walk on, neck still craning to catch a glimpse of it behind me.

On nights like these, I think of XL. I think of the same moon rising over XL and I feel a strange sort of connection.

Full moons were always my favourite nights there. I would go for walks in the dead of the night, just to catch glimpses of the moon. Somehow, these nights more than any other used to remind me of how little time I had; how every day, every hour at that place was precious and should be enjoyed. At the same time, they were calming. I could sit back and relax and just watch the moon. Sometimes it was silver, sometimes it was golden, at other times it was almost a battle red. But always it was large, looming over the hostel terrace like some pre-historic God keeping an eye on his people.

And here in Bangalore? I only notice the moon on nights like these, when I'm coming out of the office in the night. Last month I noticed that it was a full moon when I went out to buy something, and took an extra round of the colony just to keep seeing it. And the month before, it was on MM's birthday, I remember. I came out of office talking to her on the phone, saw the moon and said, "Oh! It's a full moon!" And she said, "It is?" in that typical MM way. Of course, it turned out later that it was the day after or something.

I think I must have been a werewolf in a previous life. :)

• • •