I’ve just left a brand new building surrounded by a low hill – lush green and dotted with flowers. I’m not sure what I was doing in the building, but I have a file folder in my hand. I’m on an escalator that has pots of asters on both sides, marvelling at the view.
A girl in a black suit, standing a step above me, keeps staring down at me. She’s making me uncomfortable.
She stops her relentless chewing long enough to tell me that I am wearing only one sandal on my feet. I’m embarrassed – I’d hoped that no one would notice it. I try to pull my feet further under my sari.
She also tells me to stop chewing my gum as it was distracting her. Or I might end up swallowing this, she says, sticking out her tongue to reveal the short steel blade she has been chewing. It’s bent, and severely dented by her teeth. I spit out my gum immediately.
Moongil thottam, mooligai vaasam, neranja mounam, nee paadum geetham…
I smile at the girl. Hmm… I love this song, I tell her. And then I wake up. I had set the song up as my morning alarm a few weeks ago.
Relief comes as a bathroom untainted by red droplets. I’m still wary, though – it’s a hungry earth I trod. I decide not to go for my walk, resenting the current fragility of my body.
This too shall pass, girl! This too shall pass.
My emo friend continues to be emo on WhatsApp. Stop this, my friend! I want to say. We’re just an inch short of the 50 mark, and there’s not a lot of time left to live. Instead, I wish the group what I hope is a breezy good morning and put away the phone.
The apartment and the rest of its occupants are asleep, so I tiptoe to the kitchen.
I consider making myself some tea, and then remember the packet of dried leaves my Danish friend had gifted me some time back. She did not know what it’s called in English, and I’ve forgotten the Danish name she had told me. Tastes best if you brew it with fennel seeds, she had suggested. It does.
I’m all good intentions this morning, having read Mary Reufle’s advice on writing yesterday. “When your pencil is dull, sharpen it. And when your pencil is sharp, use it until it is dull again.”
So I take out my note book with its built-in USB flash drive, and the brand new pencil I had got while covering World Government Summit where everything was about future and technology. Then I remember the volunteer who gave it to me.
“You can plant it, and it’ll grow!”
“Grow?” Grow what? Pencils?
“Yes, oregano!” she had nodded proudly, pointing to the name stencilled on it.
I’ve been looking for an oregano plant to add to my collection of herbs anyway. Still, growing pencils would’ve been so cool!
Two paragraphs into manual writing, my good intentions fly out of the kitchen window, and I reach for my Mac. I’ve long suspected that my brain is connected to it wirelessly.
I’m reluctant to turn on the internet – the number of distractions is more than I can handle, what with the enforced immobility and all. I’ve been binge-watching The Mentalist for days now. With Patrick Jane getting closer to Red John, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep away.
I need another project soon, to give me a legitimate excuse to step out and clean up my act.
There she goes, to watch the blond guy solve mysteries, my boys would shake their heads each time they see me settle down on the bed with my laptop. They’ve already warned me that at this rate, I’ll have to make my own claim to fame – I’m not going to get a mention in their autobiographies or award-acceptance speeches.
An hour later one or the other would come to where I’m sitting, and give a bone-crushing hug. You’re not very bright/smart/cool, and you care for your Twitter friends more than you do for us, but I guess I love you anyway!
I wonder what Patrick Jane would deduce about our family if he eavesdrops on our conversations.
My ‘get to work’ alarm has gone off, and I must get to work. Maybe Malayalam songs from the 80s will do well as background music while rolling puris? Or should I stick to dosa?
The men are still asleep, so the kitchen door shall remain closed.
It’s just another morning.