Introspection

All night, the wind tossed trees aside like a salad in a bowl,I looked out from the double paned window and worried about the squirrels. Usually they look like a free circus as they waltz around the trees.
Eventually after much drama, it rained buckets and made all my pink geranium blooms wet and soggy. I think it will rain again, the day is overcast, but I quite like days like these, they remind me of days I’ve lived before and the memories are good. Periodically, a soft breeze blows that tastes of earth.Sheer cotton curtains, billow in gusts like a live thing.My dog tired from his walk, opens and closes his droopy eyes, ready to fade into a few moments of delicious restfulness. What a terror he is! He gobbled up a pretty yellow freesia I invited him to smell.Made me laugh,I live for moments like these.Now he smells like a spring flower and sleeps at the foot of my bed.I got other things to do beside musing…

Observation 2: Historic Murphy Avenue,Sunnyvale

I’m at  Sunnyvale downtown in a cafe called Coffee and More. I order a large decaf ice coffee with room for cream. I walk with my coffee, fill it with cream and seat myself on the long wooden community style table that seats six. I’m perched precariously on one of the far ends. My seat looks out from large bright windows that allow a lot of natural light into the small space, another woman sits perched on the other end.She seems to be working and getting lunch.

I look out from the windows to an old white two storied building with Portuguese style arches on the ground floor. They make lovely deep shadowy spaces from the sunlight.The wooden railings on the top floor spanning six doors and three windows on either side remind me of some old colonial style building in Kolkatta. It reads 111 West Evelyn Avenue in big bold black old Bookman style font. On the far right end under an arch that reads Hardy’s Bavaria, there is  a big wooden door.I wonder if its a good place to have a few drinks with my friends,I make a mental note to check it out.

If  I walk a few paces  towards the left from the white building,I know I will reach the Caltrain station in downtown Sunnyvale but I have never been there. I promise myself that one day I will take the Caltrain to King’s Street,San Francisco and get lost in the city for an entire day by myself. I think it takes about two hours to reach SFO by Caltrain from here. Snail’s pace!

The day is unexpectedly bright, the sky a spotless blue. Though I longed for these sunny days all throughout the winter, it’s starting to give me a headache now. I contemplate whether to wear my sunglasses.Sometimes it’s like looking at the world in high definition.

A girl in her twenties has a messy bun atop her head. She walks across the old white building from right to left. She is dressed in a bubblegum pink top and bubblegum pink stockings and carrying a Target plastic bag. She has a pair of dark wayfarer style glasses on and a dark skirt.She stands out like something bright and modern contrasting with the old arches across the street. The trees are still bare or barely sprouting new leaves; the world is waking up slowly this year.

I have come to this cafe before  a few times on a Saturday morning. It’s fresh bright and pleasant here then. There is a happy bustle of the farmer’s market, people walking with dogs and kids in tow.Music flowing through the corners, sometimes jazz, sometimes reggae, country, sometimes a lost sweet Mayan tune on a pan-flute. Once I met a petite nerdy looking french girl with a large beautiful voice that looked like it came from someone else.Once a blind lady with a Spanish dress and guitar filled the air so brilliantly,I had to buy her CD.

People enjoy the buying and selling of fresh farm produce. Some make kettle corn in a large vat big enough to fit one adult. He always wears huge plastic goggles and something that resembles a hazmat suit.Near the entrance, a middle aged man always sits talking to people. He owns several parakeets.Once I let one of them sit on my hand,I was scared the bird would take a bite.

Lunchtime smells waft throughout the cafe. I can smell the grilled cheese, fried fries, tomatoes, salads and coffees. I have no love or appetite for American food.

I think I am going to leave now and walk up to the parking lot. Won’t come here in the afternoon, the rank smell of oil is making my thoughts queasy and I’m starting to smell like cheese sandwich.

A Glass of love

Once we went to visit our grandparents at our ancestral house at the tea estate. Right next door lived a kindly middle-aged lady we all affectionately called aunt or Nini in Rai language. Whenever we visited our grandparents we were welcomed with such warmth by all the neighbors.
“Apuii kaile aayo?” when did you arrive? They asked with genuine happiness.
For a kid, skipping in and out of our neighbors open styled tea-estate houses were considered normal. So one morning I woke up early and was running from house to house and went to Nini’s house. She was roasting some corn kernels over the open fire in a contraption that looked like a guitar but made with wood and wire netting.
“Come here” Nini gestured, I complied. She got up and filled a tall steel glass with some milk and shoved it in my face with gusto. It smelled strongly of cow, smoke and the grass the cow had feasted on. It assaulted my over sensitive nose and made me want to hurl so bad I had tears in my eyes. Those days I was a weird kid and any animal product made me run a mile away. I think these days they call it being vegan.
“Drink up and be strong! “Nini suggested, grinning from ear to ear adjusting her lungi with a dragon design and went back to roasting the corn kernels. I nodded meekly, not taking my eyes off the milk, which was thick and yellow with colostrum. The family cow had just given birth a few days ago. I looked up at Nini and then down at my heavy glass of milk that was getting heavier by the second. Me, a town girl had never seem milk like this, I was so used to drinking the watered down milk from Ramcharan, our Bihari milkman. He was known to refresh his milk with fresh mountain spring water periodically. Now I think of it, it was actually low fat 1%milk he provided us so many years ago. He probably saved us from getting bad cholesterol; I like to be positive. Anyway, he was on top on my mother’s most hated list, erratic in his delivery but prompt for his monthly payment. He didn’t have many fans, naturally.
That being said, I was still standing very still holding the huge glass of milk afraid to spill it. I didn’t know whether to drink it or make an excuse to take it outside and toss in the flowerpot. I weighed my options; if I tossed it and Nini found out, she would be so hurt. Even my ten-year-old brain understood that that was the best she could offer. She wasn’t rich and worked hard picking tealeaves all day at the plantation as a laborer. I couldn’t bring myself to hurt her feelings. On the other hand, I had been holding my breath for a few minutes at a time trying to avoid the wafting animalic scents rising from the warm glass of milk. Nini was smiling encouragingly as she fed the chula mudstove with wood. I did what I had to do, held my breath and put the glass to my lips and bravely proceeded to drink the milk. To my astonishment, it was delicious! I could still smell the cow though so I quickly fished in my pockets and popped a lalpatthar in my mouth to camouflage the scents of nature. Nini smiled at me and taking the glass from me said, “Shyabash!”
I felt accomplished.

Observation 1

The day is bright and sunny.I’m always amazed by how sunshine dispels all gloom but too much of it and I find myself slathering on greek yoghurt on my face as opposed to eating the sour vile thing. I’m doing random things on a Saturday with my SO like going to the gardening/hardware store and buying a tape measure. “Why a tape measure?” you may ask. I need to go buy a cheap couch as my dog literally ate it.I assume other peoples dogs have gone only as far as eating their homework. He started as a teething puppy seven months ago when we brought him home from the rescue centre. He worked his way with his vicious needle like puppy teeth from under the couch.By the time I had talked him into “No biting!” the middle of the couch sank, like my heart. Now we have a one cushion sized sinkhole where a seat used to be “I hope you had fun!” I want to say sarcastically but i don’t think he really understands because he just wags his tail, looks at me with puppy eyes surrounded with mounds of stuffing.He looks happy.
At the store, we finally find the tape measure. I’m tempted to buy a machete. I imagine I’m like Lara Croft slashing away at some tropical jungle full of snakes and whatnot. At the checkout counter in front of me is a little girl of about six. Her long strawberry blonde hair is done up in loose braids and rests on the back of her pale pink t-shirt. I envy her black pants that remind me of sparkly stars in the night sky. She holds a green plastic bird feeder in her hand,I hope for her sake, that the birds come and eat from it. I want to be six again just to wear those pants. The elderly woman at the checkout counter is so customer friendly,I feel I’m at the reception of some luxury hotel. I truly love people like that; the ability to make people feel good just by opening their mouth to speak. I wish I was like that, sweet and friendly like that lady. I have noticed I elicit either a blank stare, a dirty look, or a swift retort. I wish all of you could see my heart bleeding. I just got to admit, some people are just not born with “the gift of gab.” I suppose that why I write.
After having our egos stroked by the lovely lady’s kind words, we walk out of the store. Near the entrance, tables are lined up with cardboard, green paper, scissors and sticks of glue. A few kids are making some kind of lantern for St.Patricks Day which is next week I think. They look like little leprechauns.An employee is standing looking down at them, he looks like he has a massive hangover from Friday night. I recently discovered they have kegs with green beer here for St Patricks Day at Bevmo!I want to taste it just for the sake of curiosity. Anyway, it’s a bright spring day and now I’m headed to Ikea, where in my search for a cheap and sturdy couch,I will pray for my dog to develop other interests. I’m bracing myself for a battle with my SO when choosing the couch. Damn! I know I should’ve bought that machete!

The Questioning owl

There was an owl that lived in the woods.

It had creamy white feathers and big brown eyes,

All day long he stood on the branch of an old oak tree,

Dreaming away…

 

The tree changed its colors,

through spring, winter and summer.

In autumn it was splendid,

in autumn it was its best,

thought the owl with the creamy white feathers,

And the big brown eyes,

As it dreamed upon, its branchy bed.

“I wish I could sing,” thought the owl

“I wish I could serenade,

I wish I could do more than just hoot

I wish I wish I could.”

“When the entire world awakens all I do is sleep

Why do I feel so incomplete?

The moon is my best friend,

and the stars they light my night,

but why don’t I feel like dancing .

in the wonderful sunlight.”

“Why am I so different,

and why do I crave mice?

Why don’t I like berries

and all things that are nice?”

Asked the owl to the universe,

as he drooled a bit upon his feathers,

the world and its weirdness,

they were all his transgressors.

“Oh well,” he thought I will wait for the night,

I will ask the moon,she will understand my plight.”

When the night came and the owl had brushed and cleaned,

his white feathers like ivory they gleamed,

his eyes were not a drooping ,he felt so alive!

Then up came the moon in all her silvery light,

“Hello my fine friend,she smiled

“You ask too many questions.

While questioning is good, don’t so question your life!

You’re all things good and all things that’s right,

don’t you know my friend,

you’re the king of the night?”

The new day

Sun atop the trees on blessed cozy mornings where squirrels play with abandon,

pleasant scents of coffee brewing and wafting,

waking up my sleepy mind.

Lush herbs grow from the seeds I sowed some time ago,

Life permeates into soul.

In between the rustle of the trees and birdsong,

a pair of eyes close in thankfulness,

slowly, unhurried, in its own pace,

A new day unravels again.

Insomnia

I close my eyes,

Breathe from my ragged lungs,

deeply,

cooking up a sense of serenity.

My mind is a muddle,

in the morning at 2:30.

 

My ears ringing in the silence of this room,

are far louder,

than the the sky above my ceiling,

tearing up,for another airplane,

full of insomniac women and men,

who have somewhere important to be,

rather than their warm beds.