Friday, August 22, 2008

The Smell of Me

It’s cold. No animals could ever thrive here... I doubt if they’d even want to really!

But it’s cold and still. There’s that feeling of dampness in the air. There isn't much circulation and I love the smell of me. It fills the cold like the fragrance of fresh blood when another creature dies. The smell of me, I coil around and let it lather my skin. The roots from above hang like chandeliers. There’s that sign of life, constantly reminding me what I live for... warm blood. It’s cold.

Golden streaks, like ribbons enter. It’s cool now. I can hear the voices of what will make my day a good start. Fresh and warm.

The ribbons enter, the chandeliers light up. There is a slight whiff of fresh air. I remain still and I bask in the aromas that fill the air. A slight movement above me, shakes the chandeliers. Tiny particles of dirt sprinkle on my skin. The mixture of smells, of the earth and me, wake me up.

The voices outside continue in unison. I move so slightly, I almost forget of my own presence. The coil unwraps. No sounds in my part of the world. Slow movement, almost as gentle as a snail moving across a leaf. The only trace I leave behind is my skin. The lathered skin, with the smell of me. But, now I look somewhat new; a new being of sorts. The dirt around me shifts. It presses against my skin. There is subtle friction but I manage. It’s my morning regime, first a brown coat and then a partridge.

The voices grow louder. I emerge without disturbing the lair. It must remain as it is, with the smell of me. I can feel those golden ribbons, they envelope me and I feel the warmth. It’s so familiar, like fresh blood.

Sometimes I wonder how stupid the creatures of this world are. How can they not understand me? My intentions?
I move an inch. They could have taken a mile.

But, life is taken for granted, by everyone. Not by me. I know what it feels like to move along the greens and hear them shudder in horror as I kill; one helpless victim after another. I know how it feels to have the power to command over the presence of a creature on this earth. I do it because I do not take my life for granted. I would die for the smell of me. I want creatures to smell the terror, smell the power, smell the pleasure, smell the satisfaction, smell me...

I move closer this time, calculating my every move. I am excited, I sense the warmth. It moves this time. Slyly I reach out.
I taste the air, I taste it.
It is inside me, we are one.
I sense a struggle, but my skin stops the blood circulation.
The partridge is dead.

I retreat with pleasure. The morning has gone off as planned. But then again, it had to.

The lair awaits my presence. I am in the damp air again. The smell of me fills lair. I lie there and let every part of my body go limp. I can still feel the partridge. I coil and rest in what are the fruits, rather flesh of my hunts.My skin rests against the brown once again. The is a cooling effect and I let the coolness surround me.

Water. It drops. Like big globules from the sky. The chandeliers shook. And the first tiny stream of water enters, unwelcome. I know that the rest of the creatures will probably rejoice for the hour of the life giver and home destroyer has arrived. One hot afternoon of lazing around turns into the search for a new lair. The fight to live. As I leave, it turn and look at what remains. I see my skin float and there is only a sweet smell in the air. The mud and water. No longer the smell of me.

I struggle sometimes. The search is never easy. I move, as slyly and silently as possible. I do not wish for the creatures to sense my presence. I am homeless. I am out in the open with nowhere to retreat to.

The air is cool; the water has stopped pouring from the sky. The mud is wet as I move through it. My search continues, but the sky is red now. It reminds me of blood. How it must stop moving every time the creature is inside me.

I see stones. Boulders. I move with caution. I must not set skin on the lair of another. But, its dry and the darkness heighten my senses. It seems no one is around. I move ahead. It’s as if there is a warmth emanating from the stones.
I stop.

I realise there is another. A creature, not of my kind though. I am alert and every muscle movement becomes a reaction to the warmth I can feel ahead of me. Power rages through my skin. Death lurks close by. I move beyond the boulders. I know it’s there, unaware of my presence.A rabbit. Sitting.

I spring on it. It’s like a reflex action inside me. Before I know it, it’s become a part of me. I see a branch and coil.

I can hear the bones. One by one they snap and the struggle of the creature comes to an end. Immense pleasure runs through my veins.

I slither into the hole in the rocks. It was probably the rabbits burrow. It must have sat there safe, but now its mine. Just like his life, his home is now mine.

As the darkness fills the maroon sky, I retreat to my new lair. There aren’t chandeliers here but it has that chill, which I have come to love.

But there is still one thing missing. I wait... as the lair fills up with...

The smell of me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Surname is Whaaaat?

Normally, one would spell the surname go-kha-lay as “Gokhale”. Well at least that’s how any self-respecting, true to his Konkan soil, Maharashtrian Gokhale would spell it. But, let’s just say our family is a little different, and no the surname really doesn’t have much to do with it. My parent’s like to refer to themselves as anti-social animals who will rarely invite people over. “If you wish to see us, give us a call. Check if we are home and you are more then welcome. We’ll take good care of you” I mean, who says that to their own relatives? Then there is the part where none of us believe in god… and every time our presence is required in a religious ceremony we have no idea about what we are supposed to do. So I guess our surname being a little “off”, just adds to the weird family image that we have.

Years ago, when my great grandfather was alive we were called the “Gokhale’s”.

The British Raj.

My great-grandfather went to England for some work. His name was Govind Gokhale. One Indian name the British could deal with, perhaps they had no patience to get the surname right. They would pronounce the surname as Go-kha-lee. Not a man of patience, my great-grandfather decided to just change the spelling, something a little simpler and obvious. So that’s how it became Gokhalay.

My grand-father however chose to stick to the old surname, true to the Marathi blood in him. But, my father saw sense in change and adopted it. And now there are only 3 people in Pune or Mumbai with the surname viz. my parents and me.

It’s really funny how these external sources can affect your life. I wouldn’t have imagined that someone’s way of pronouncing a name over 50 years ago would affect the way people look at my surname today (with skepticism). But what’s interesting is that a one culture can affect another person in such a way that they are forced to change something that’s almost an integral part of their identity. And I live with the surname I have as a result, which of course I like.

A Little Attention

I remember it like it was yesterday. There I was in my pretty pink frock, tailored by my mother. A well ironed sea-suckered dress. I wanted nothing more, life was bliss.
It was 1993.

Neeti…. Neeeeeetiiiiiiiii” called out Yashodhan, my best friend.

“Come let’s go play. It’s 5 already!”

For once, my mother allowed me to leave the house early. My usual time to play out side was 6pm to 7pm. There were other rules such as no wearing flip flops when you go out, no running behind cars etc. I was elated that I could leave home and play for 2 whole hours. For a 5 year old it’s a big deal!
I had my orange juice, which was compulsory and ran out of the house. I could hear my mother reminding me about the 7 ‘o clock deadline, but I chose to ignore it. It was all part of the daily routine.
An hour into a game of hopscotch and six of us were bored. That’s when we thought that running round the colony park would be the perfect idea. It wasn’t a tiny park, it was huge. All the big boys would play football or even volleyball sometimes and there was still enough space for swings and slides and sand pits.
So it was decided! We would play “catch-catch” all round the park on the tar road. I was excited. I wasn’t the fastest runner, but I was definitely not the slowest one. The odds were against them, I said to myself.
After another ten minutes of fighting on who would be the “denner” and calling each other names, we finally came to a conclusion. Yashodhan would be the “denner”.
That was something I wasn’t looking forward to. He was a year elder to me and hence, faster. But, I decided I would run my “fastestes” ever. I would get out.
The game started. I was of course an easy target for him. So he came charging at me, like bull running towards its target. I ran, I ran like I had never run before. Straight ahead I dashed.

I thought I was flying like the wind...

I thought I was as fast as the Road Runner… Wild-e-Coyote would never catch me.

I thought I was faster then a rabbit (assuming that they were the fastest animals on the face of this earth)…

I thought I could race a car if I had to…

I thought…

And I fell!

I felt like both my feet were in the air for a second. I probably looked like a horse that had forgotten how to run.

And I fell!

The tiny gravel pieces dug into my skin. I could feel them scrape my knees as I glided across the road like a surfboard on waves. Some smooth ride that was!
But I was strong… for exactly 5secs.
I realized I had fallen down and for some reason I though for a second or two and decided, I should cry! I got up dusted my dress as tears began rolling down my eyes. But I knew I wouldn't cry loudly and create a scene. I just wanted to cry loud enough so that my friends could hear me and feel the pain I felt.
There was a sick feeling in my stomach. It was because of the impact of that fall. All I could think of was going home and anyway, it was getting dark.

“Probably should ask an aunty what the time is.” I thought to myself.

I went one of the nearest mothers who had come to diligently watch her kids play.
“6 45, beta.”

I was still feeling queasy in my stomach and my right knee was bleeding. I thought I would go home.
I walked home slowly with a friend. Shruti who was two years elder to me was rather convinced that I shouldn’t walk to my building in “this condition”.
Slowly we walked to building number 56.
I decided I would go up the stairs to my house on my own. I just lived on the first floor. Beside, if I walked in with a small face, a bruised elbow and a bleeding knee my mother would get all worried.


My mother opened the door and I stood looking at her with watery, beady eyes.

“Your all dirty. What do you children do?

Oh… your knee is bleeding. Go and wash your hurt. We’ll clean it up”

I went into the bathroom, washed my hands and then the injuries I had come home with. The water touching my skin was like a thousand ants all biting me at one time.
I came into the hall and my mother handed me a band-aid.

“Put it properly and then come for dinner”

But, all I really wanted was a hug…

i HATE doing this

Format: Dialogue (Conversation)

I hate doing this. I hate buying condoms. Every time you go to the market and buy a packet you know you are going to get judged. You know what people are thinking. You know they are all thinking one thing, “She’s getting Laaaid! She’s going to fuck someone! Pre-marital sex!”

Prakash Medicals. I had never been to this drug-store before. Hopefully it will be the last time I would ever come here. I hate doing this!

“Bhaiya, ek packet condoms please”

He didn’t have any expression on his face. But the aunty standing next to me gave me the dirts. I could almost hear her think, “These children today. Koi sanskar hi nahi. Ashleel harkateein.”

“Yes. Which brand?”

“I don’t know. Anything!! Anything that works and won’t have me pregnant! Just give me what you have. If I knew exactly what I wanted I would have told you earlier .I would have kept this conversation short. I hate doing this!”

“Umm.. Durex dena.”

“Madam, which type. Ribbed? Dotted? Normal? Ya…”

“Normal please”

“This is ridiculous. The guy wants to fuck me for god sakes. Not freaking make me see god through an orgasm!”

“Flavour nahi chahiye? Chocolate… Strawberry… Vanilla. Lots of people like banana you know?”

“Normal, bhaaiya!”

“I am not interested in sucking lollipops!Ughhh.. I hate doing this!”

The aunty by now wanted to give me a lecture. But I ignored her. “Jealous woman!”