Strangers

Sometimes we surprise ourselves. We wonder what is it that changed in us? Is it just a part or the whole? I would say both a part and the whole. Because when a part changes it does impact the whole. When I started chasing my dream I had no idea how weird my life was about to get. I liked to believe that this chase would be Hollywoodesque. Third world country girl going to first world country college to embark on an exhilarating journey of research, travel, conferences, and discovery. But all that I have managed so far are two pages of introduction, house hunts, pouring over the Asian shop counters for frozen parathas, and searching every edible item below one euro, all the while mentally doing the conversions. But all this would have mattered way too much if I had not had to invest my energies in a different kind of pursuit. The pursuit of perfect adjustment. I chose this day for this article because it will always hold a special significance in my nugatory life. I am writing all this on a day when three perfect strangers are sleeping in the next room because two of my roommates decided to run off without a notice and the landlord who has wet dreams of money made sure that their places were being filled with complete strangers. These are the surprising circumstances in which I have found myself time and again in this country. People who knew my family from childhood, residents in this country refused to accommodate me, my own people from my own country, who speak my language, first gave me shelter and then tried to manipulate me into babysitting their kid and substituting a house help in lieu of a roof, and on realising that I am refusing to comply with it, heartlessly locked me out in the cold. This incident finally landed me in this house, as I was left with no other choice, because the expats from my country I reached out to in this hour of crisis, and they were quite a few, turned their backs on me. I always thought that making friends comes easy to me, yet I have not been able to make any friends. I have sensed a strange hostility. And I have retaliated with cynicism and verbal confrontation. I felt I was not this person, and yet I am slowly becoming a stranger to myself. I know this is imperative to my survival here, but I fear that the parts of me are transforming themselves, little by little, like a fungus, from white to grey to green. The colour of decay or the colour of growth, I do not know, as I prepare to spend the night with these strangers.

Advertisements

Cracks

Birds by Vladimir Kush

Youth is a dastardly conundrum. This boy was growing up in a huge dilapidated mansion-ly house that belonged to someone else in a very crowded and slovenly part of an old dying city. Creepers were growing through the innumerable cracks that crisscrossed the walls of the old other-ly house. The boy had only one dream, to somehow grow old enough and big enough to cement the cracks. He did not know much about cementing other types of cracks, inside cracks. He was growing up on stories of past affluence and grandeur. His mother was the daughter of a rich advocate in a very rich land where she lived in a big house which had no cracks, which was surrounded by expansive farmlands, huge ponds filled with fat Rohus, gardens full of Aam trees, Jam trees, Narkol trees, and so many other different fruit and flower bearing trees that the young hungry boy could not even imagine. She had a British private tutor who would give her and all her ten siblings lessons in mathematics, physical science, and languages such as French and German and English. Little did they know that everything was going to change in a matter of a few days. That quite whimsically some politicos would decide that her country should be cracked up into parts, based on religion and some other stupid considerations that she did not understand nor did the teeming millions who had to abandon their home, lands, farms, ponds, and people, because people always come last, to build lives from scratch in an alien land which they had to now call home. Where everything belonged to someone else. Overnight they were rootless, miserable and contemplating ways to overcome their impending penury. Although his mother would skip the sad part and feed her kids on misplaced hopes, the cracks in her narrative were hard to overlook. He was determined to face her romanticization with his ferocious cynicism. He started reading and writing poetry. Poetry on dark venomous things and feelings, on revolutions and retaliations, on moons, mavericks, marauders, sickles, and war. Outside he was an image of sanity but inside a God dancing a dance of destruction with the severed body of his beloved consort. He became quiet. He observed more and talked less and sometimes he would roar in the dark of the night. And yes, years later its a poem that will become his undoing.

He would roar when his mother would not have enough food to feed her seven children, when she would go begging to her neighbors for money to buy them milk because her husband had left her and their kids and run away somewhere, some better place, he was certain, and be thrown out like a stray cat is, that goes hankering after fish bones in the neighborhood; when he tried but could not hate his father for leaving them and choosing a saner life, when he had to walk fifteen kilometers in a cracked up chappal, his skin getting caught in the crack and pinched repeatedly as he attempted to cover the distance from his home to his school and yet his face would not give away, even for a moment.

So what happens when this boy grows up? He becomes wiser, more empathetic, sensible? No!! Instead he becomes a monster with a human face. The vestiges of humanity are not entirely lost but they merely occupy some cracks and corners of his brazen heart. He becomes bitter, uncompromising, and extremely delusional. He only loves himself and starts idolizing his truant father. He becomes him, although he never accepts it. He gets married, has a baby, he sporadically abandons both his wife and his child, has a years-long affair with a much married woman, and does peek-a-boo for what society calls conjugal and family life, leaving behind a legacy of cracks!! A cracked marriage, a cracked kid that would never know a father’s love like he himself never did, a cracked home, and some cracked smiles here and there, which could have become such spirited and happy reminiscences but stays behind as mere anomalies and aberrations.

But what does it say about the aspirations of the boy whose only dream as a kid was to fill up those cracks on the disintegrating walls of his house? That he failed. He failed himself. That despite all his innumerable achievements, maybe as a professional, as a son, or a brother, a friend or mentor; as a dreamer, he failed miserably. He could never get rid of the cracks, he merely kept adding to them, cracking things and souls down, until nothing but gaping gulfs remained everywhere; unbridgeable, unpassable, and untamable.

But they say only once in his lifetime his poker face twitched when he read a poem written by his son about a father waiting in his grave, hoping his daughter would bring him flowers and trying hard to remember memories from her childhood.

That day they say something like a grave inside of him had cracked open to reveal a green shivering shoot rising towards the sunlight.

Burden

I have given away my shelf to mount your cassettes

I have left the right side of the bed to your left

The mornings to your tea

The evenings to your bougainvillea tree

The eye pencil to your tie

The salads to your fries

You have left your careless boots on the window seal

Your razer among the potato peals

Your ash tray has burnt my shiffon wild

And while I fix the flood in the sink tonight

I still must carry your unborn child!!

Shutu Stays with You

As a seven-year-old, one of the poems I loved memorizing and reciting at elocution competitions was Rabindranath Tagore’s Puratan Vrittyo (old slave). I do not know why it felt so easy to remember it, maybe because I realized irrespective of the repeated attempts at memorizing, every time I reached the end of the poem, I had tears in my eyes and the process never felt monotonous or cumbersome. It felt cathartic. My mother would be surprised to see that the poem touched, such a chord with me, and she concluded, “You are a sensitive kid.”

The poem is about this old senile slave, who would not leave the master, even after repeated attempts of both the master and the mistress to drive him out of the house. Every time the master drove him out, he would return the next morning, with a smile on his face, ready to serve the hookah to his master. Eventually, they give up and the master plans a pilgrimage to Vrindavan, invariably with the old slave in tow. The mistress is doubtful about this arrangement, afraid that the old slave will not be able to take care of the master, but the master convinces her otherwise. On reaching Vrindavan, the master contracts chicken pox, and is forsaken by all his friends who had been traveling along; all except one, his old slave. He brings his master back to life, with his love, care, and affection, but contracts the contagious disease from his master, and succumbs to it. The master confides in the audience that after all the repeated attempts to get rid of him, he finally succeeds and how!!

As Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial debut, A Death in the Gunj ends, I had the same feeling I would have while reading the last two line of Puratan Vrittyo. If you have ever felt unwanted, unloved, invisible, or small you will know what I mean.

Growing up, I was a fat kid, a fat sensitive kid. From facing ostracization in school, being laughed at and ridiculed for my thinning hair which someone equated with a lizard’s tail in our neighbourhood to having this horrific experience of going on a trip with my mom’s colleagues and being bullied and dragooned by their kids, the Shutu in me was howling inside my head as I watched the character on screen brought to life by the brilliant Vikrant Massey.

A Death in the Gunj tells a story in each frame. The first scene sets the tone of the movie as we see two men stowing a dead body in the boot of a blue ambassador that they are driving to Calcutta. Then the story unfolds in the flashback when we see Nandu, Bonnie, Mimi, and Tani, arrive at McCluskieganj in erstwhile Bihar to spend the New Years at their family home where O.P. and Anupama Bakshi, Nandu’s parents live. There is one other person who comes with them, Shutu, Nandu’s cousin, but from the very onset he is treated as the ‘other’ in the narrative. The family greets and hugs each other, while Shutu, a young, lanky shy boy, is asked to unload the boot and bring all the luggage inside.

The narrative establishes Shutu as this reticent, sensitive almost to the point of being vulnerable, young boy, still trying to cope with his father’s untimely demise, whose favorite words are eulogy, esoteric, and eclectic, and the only person he can relate with is Nandu and Bonnie Bakshi’s daughter, Tani.

Konkana beautifully junxtaposes his shyness with the machismo of Vikram, Nandu’s friend, who is seen to continuously make fun of Shutu, challenge his masculinity, and belittle him on account of his physical weakness and emotional vulnerability. Vikram as the quintessential alpha male, who is physically superior, who has a sexual relationship with the ‘foreigner’ Mimi but chooses to marry a Khasi girl from a wealthy royal family because women like Mimi, the ‘fallen woman,’ are only meant to be made love to and not loved, as Anupama Bakshi opines in one of the scenes.

And to all these people, Shutu is the punching bag, the subject of their blames and disappointments, failures and shortcomings. This is beautifully captured in the scene where one day Tani goes missing and the entire family blames Shutu for the episode, because Tani usually follows him every where. But when they go searching for Tani in the forests, Shutu falls into a ditch, and Nandu leaves him behind in the wilderness and returns home without even, so much as sparing a thought for Shutu. I will never forget the look on Shutu’s face as he returns home that night, having rescued by the Bakshi’s servant, stands at the door of the Bakshi residence and looks at the rejoicing family having dinner inside, without him, having reunited with their daughter.

Perhaps it is Mimi, who drives Shutu towards the final resolution of the drama, as she ‘rapes’ the ‘girly’ Shutu (She tells him he is beautiful like a girl), and leaves him to his fate.

The scene where, Shutu, filled with passion for Mimi, leaves Tani behind, asking her to search for the puppy, which Brian, another of Nandu’s friends gifts her, to go riding with the seductive and misleading Mimi, establishes a brilliant dynamics between the puppy, Tani, and Shutu. The puppy sits dejected on the balcony as Tani leaves him there to run after her beloved Shutuda, and see him ride off with another woman, having tricked her. Heartbroken, she stands there with tears rolling down her eyes. The re-imagining of the age-old love triangle is such a moving masterstroke from the director-artist.

That is the moment Shutu looses all, even himself.

That Shutu is a brilliant student, that he might be physically weaker than Nandu but every time beats him at chess, that he is so full of compassion, that irrespective of all their neglect, jibes, condescension, Shutu runs errands for them with a smile, that all he wants, needs, and desires is a little love and understanding from the world, runs as an undercurrent throughout the film.

There is a scene where Tani and Shutu are playing in the garden, and Tani notices that all the names, that of her mom, dad, Mimi, Vikram, and Brian are inscribed on different tree trunks, establishing the fact that they were childhood friends, but not that of Shutu.

Shutu finally does inscribe his name on a tree trunk and how!!

 

 

DIFFICULT

If you could smile

When I made a face

If you could sleep

When I lay awake

If you could dress

When on the bed I lay naked

If you could sneer

At every hearty snortle

If you could walk into the light

When I was a shroud in the darkness

If your back hurt

To carry me across the road

But if you could find our word

In the scramble 

And our song in the rumble

Then we were meant to be

Then we were meant to be

Rustle of Leaves

My room has a nice view. My bed lies right next to a glass window. I can see a neem tree on the other side of the securely shut window in my room. The neem tree is such a huge solace. I imagine the rustle of its leaves and feel the sound reverberate inside my bottomless soul and its maddening silence.
The stupor in my life is such a nerve racking apostrophe. It is so cold and scary that my inerts cringe in fear. When the lights are shut off in the night and I can feel something tingling and chilly run through my veins, I cannot sleep. I look out in the darkness at the neem tree outside, its shadow on the glass window and again feel the leaves rustle in the solitude of my soul.
My love is far far away, I long to see his face, feel his touch, but I am always reminded I cannot be selfish. A life of selfishness is not the life of a good, mature, womanly woman.
People are always entering and leaving my room. They are supremely busy. They are also irritatingly chatty sometimes. But their voices are a source of such sanity in the void of my soul inside a sickly body strapped to a bed that I do not complain about it.
I am so lonely at times that tears well up inside my guts.
I get a lot of visitors everyday. Their faces such canvases of myriad emotions. They all want to see me up and about, illness free. Their love, their concern, their fear gives me hope.
But my eyes search for my love. I look deep inside my selfish little pit of darkness, I try to feel the face, the hands, the breath of my love.
I only find this overwhelming darkness which binds me like the tubes that run in and out of my body, drawing blood and administering fluids.
An old lady cries in pain beside me. Her screams reverberate inside the darkness of my soul, echoing and re-echoing, and filling it with an invisible sadness that percolates so deep that I am afraid the feeling will never leave me.
I think I am so sad that my heart will break into little pieces. The old lady beside me is so adorable that the moans of her aching soul fills me with melancholia. When the dietician asks her if she would have fish and rice, she says if you serve me with love, I will have anything you offer. It’s the love that is important.
My love is far far away from me. Maybe he feels my pain too. Maybe not. But I feel so sad that my sadness sees no logic, no reason, no justification. It is selfish, I guess, but it is the need to be loved like the way you want to be loved that defies all reason in the sick ailing soul of a sufferer.
As I see the young women in the bed right opposite mine, suffering from blood loss due to an abortion gone wrong, but all the while talking about her five year old daughter, and what she must be doing now, I wonder how strange are we ? I am appalled at her carelessness, her indifference at the loss of a life that was growing inside her, talking about the foetus that had to be surgically removed because she chose not to take precautions, contraceptives, or take the responsibility of another child. Yet she is a mother no less than any other mother.
As all these sights, sounds, and sensations diffuse inside me, I can feel the rustle of leaves in the silence of my soul again. Lying on my hospital bed, a needle stuck in my hand, hair dishelleved, wearing a uniform that resembles that of a convict’s, I look out at the neem tree outside, knowing very well that I will not be the same person anymore when
I leave my 5 by 6 inches of confinement.
The rustle of the leaves, meanwhile, intensifies in the silence of the my soul and sounds like the impending doldrums now.

Auxochrome-Chromophore

Do you believe in a love that informs, enriches, and encourages creativity? We all agree how love should be a calming and stabilizing factor in our lives. We do not want to be crippled and asphyxiated in love, we must be able to soar; our spirits must be free.

Two women, two artists, and two lovers from two disparate corners of the world decided to redefine love. Their love for their respective partners was so great that they were ready to efface themselves. What is so uncanny is that they lived, loved, and worked in two very different time periods. One was born in the 19th century and the other in the 20th. One in England, the other in Mexico. Despite their different births, different cultures, and different sensibilities,  their lives followed quite identical trajectories.

Born as the daughter of a wealthy merchant from Liverpool, Dora Carrington, was essentially a free spirit. She always felt stifled at home, owing to the domineering nature of her mother. Her father was old and passive and completely at her mother’s mercy. The motherly lessons of morality and propriety were too much for Dora to bear. So when she earned herself a scholarship at the prestigious Slade School of Art at University College, London, she happily set foot on a journey that would change her life forever. Her decision to break away from the bourgeois roots and strike new ones into the fertile expanses of the creative and intellectual bohemia of the 20th century London helped her realize what she truly wanted: Lytton Strachey. Lytton was thirteen years her senior and a homosexual. But that never deterred Dora from loving him more than anything or anyone, even herself. So great was her love for Lytton that she even married his lover Ralph Partridge to enjoy the sustained proximity of her beloved. The three of them, Dora, Lytton, and Ralph lived together in the same house, and Dora continued to devote all her love and attention to Lytton. He was a key member of the celebrated Bloomsbury Group of London that constituted of such luminaries as E.M.Forster, John Maynard Keynes, Virginia Woolf etc. He was a man of letters, and his brilliance and erudition so awed Dora that she could hardly ever speak in his presence. Even though she was in her own right and by her own merit a painter par brilliance, she chose to carry on with her life as Lytton’s shadow; a mere sidekick or not even that. Many of her artwork bear testimony to this facet of her psyche, because she too was an autobiographical painter just like my next artist, Frida Kahlo.It is strange that these two women would live such identical lives.

Frida Kahlo, born to Guillermo Kahlo, a Mexican of German origin and Matilde, of mixed Spanish and Mexican ancestry, in the outskirts of Mexico, was always a sickly child. Polio had rendered one of her legs thinner and shorter than the other, giving rise to her lifelong discomfort with her own physicality. Then at the age of eighteen she suffered a terrible near death bus accident, leading to a broken spinal cord, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. In addition, an iron handrail from the bus had pierced her abdomen and her uterus, compromising her reproductive capabilities. Gerry Souter in his biography of Kahlo writes, “The scene of the accident was gruesome. Somehow the collision tore off Frida’s clothes, dumping her nude onto the shattered floor of the bus. Seated near Frida had been a painter or an artisan carrying a paper packet of gold gilt powder. It burst, showering her naked body.” She lay there like a vision in gold. That is how she continued to be, a striking beauty in the face of the most extreme affliction, anguish, and physical discomfiture. She was such a resolute and strong woman that she overcame her physical limitations; her broken body, her damaged leg, her degenerative neurological disease; getting back on her feet, doing what she loved best, paint, and love like no other women could have. She fell in love with the famous muralist, Diego Rivera, who had been commissioned to paint the walls in her school. Diego Rivera was a fubsy old man, much married, a communist, and a celebrated lady killer. Frida married him knowing well enough that this man would never be faithful to her. That it is his work and his perversions that were going to take precedence in their lives and she would have to be content with playing the part of the doting wife.

Both Dora and Frida were great artists, who lived a bohemian life. They were bisexual. They had innumerable affairs and liaisons with people of both the sexes. They were both critical about their own work and never believed in the value of their art. They were both bruised in love and yet their love was way beyond any form of self-love. They were happy with their place in the periphery, willingly pushing their more successful lovers into the center stage.  They both believed that their love for their partners was the source of all their creative energy, yet their partners hardly ever played such a motivational role in their lives.  Probably that is why these women are known to the world, more for their personalities, lifestyle, and love lives, than for the oeuvre of their artwork. Whereas Frida’s works were mainly canvas painting in the Retablo mold, Dora had dabbled in a lot of other forms of artwork, such as furniture painting, glass painting, woodwork and so on. Her trompe l’oeil artwork has been considered as some of her most masterful creations. Dora was very secretive about her work and never wanted to display it to the public. In that respect, after her divorce from Rivera, Frida had finally been able to overcome her fear of showing her work to the people. Before that, she would only circulate her stuff among friends just like Dora.

Frida and Dora were always in touch with their feminine as well as their masculine sides. They cut their hair short and experimented with androgynous dressing. The images below bear testimony to that:

The portraits of friends and acquaintances by Dora and Frida share a likelihood in terms of the honest depiction, sense of melancholia, and profundity of emotions depicted in the same.

Although Frida’s self-portraits are often allegorical and quite sinister unlike those of Dora’s, they are alike in their brilliant detailing and use of colors.

It is quite surprising that separated by a decade, in two different parts of the world, two women would think, feel, and paint so alike. That they would be riddled by the same questions of birth and identity, use their work as a personal blog, love someone with an ardor rare to find, happy to glow in the light of their more successful partners, and eventually die an unnatural death.

It is well known that Dora shot herself in the head following the untimely demise of Lytton Strachey. It is said Frida died of heart attack, but it is widely believed that she died of a self-induced overdose of drugs.

Both of them were also known for having written quite a number of letters in their lifetime. Letters that give us a glimpse into their complex psyche, their love, their pain, and their desires. Written in lucid words, overflowing with passion, and creativity (Dora used to doodle in her letters) these written testimonials are a mirror to their unique spirits.

In a letter, Frida writes:

“My Diego:

Mirror of the night

Your eyes green swords inside my flesh. waves between our hands.

All of you in a space full of sounds — in the shade and in the light. You were called AUXOCHROME— the one who captures color. I CHROMOPHORE — the one who gives color.

You are all the combinations of numbers. life. My wish is to understand lines form shades movement. You fulfill and I receive. Your word travels the entirety of space and reaches my cells which are my stars then goes to yours which are my light.”

So much for love.

My love inspires me to speak my mind, to pen down all those words jostling in my head in search of an articulation. It is not just an Auxochrome, it is a Chromophore too. Shouldn’t love be a Chromophore too? I wish it were for Dora and Frida because they are way too close to my heart now that I have looked into their beautiful souls and realized how lucky I am.

 

 

 

 

 

Roomie

It is a matter of time before you realise that your job sucks, that your boss is a sycophantic creep with a false attitude, that there is no love lost between the two of you, and he is literally after your life. Between crazy office hours, torturous one-to-ones, and sobbing in the washroom of a half-empty office floor, losing your hair over some silly deliverable, there comes a moment when you realize it’s time you looked for a new job, preferably in a new place, maybe a new city. So you frantically look for a job and grab at the very first offer that comes your way. You care a dime about your career really, all you want is an escape. But you have never lived away from home, from the morning tea to the dinner at the bed, your mother has been doing everything for you. You have just been eating out with your friends, shopping at malls, sleeping over at parties, smoking weed, and boozing at pubs. So to sum it all, you have been nothing but a useless moocher, a complete bum who is absolutely not ready to face the music of life. So you know you cannot do this shifting thing alone. Also, you are emotionally vulnerable, you are like that creeper which always needs a support to grow. So you bring your boyfriend along, your wall against which you are planning to creep your way through life, and convince him that this is how it will work best. Your boyfriend, sceptical about a long distance relationship after his previous one failed miserably, readily agrees. On another level, though, you know, he loves you too much to lose you.Like Benny and Joon, you set forth on your journey to the new city, hoping for some much-awaited change and adventure.

Soon you realise that you are cursed for life like the ill-fated Sysiphus with the added responsibility of being responsible. You have to now find a rented place to live, pillion ride with suspicious looking brokers, meet strange landlords and their stranger enquiries about your personal life and lifestyle, and most importantly find a roomie to share your apartment with.

You are relieved that you have an apartment and you have a room-mate you are quite fond of. You do not wake up in the morning anymore because that makes you unbearably sad. There is, after all, no one to bring a nice cup of tea to bed before you leave for work. So you get up as late as possible because your new team at work is way too chilled out to bother, and languidly get dressed for work. Your room-mate is an extremely bad influence on you, sleeping away to glory when you are trying to get up, get bathed, and get dressed. Your room-mate has way too many work-from-homes, and it only makes you feel lazier than ever. So once in a while, (and the whiles are seldom once but keeps increasing in count), you drag yourself as far as the washroom entrance, and then revert back to your bed, log in from home, make yourself available online, and go off to sleep until someone from your work pings you and the computer beeps.

On such a day, you  and your roomie play a beetles song on the stereo, and lying on your backs, empty stomachs, sleep away to glory. Late afternoon is always about ordering food online because neither you nor your roomie wants to do the dishes from last night. Doing dishes looks glamorous only when it is Madhuri Dixit at the sink.

“Can you please be a little considerate? You love to live like a pig. But this is not your sty. I live here too and I am like a royal horse that needs a clean stable to live and breathe. The floor is covered with your filthy hair that you do not bother to sweep.”

Your reply:

“Stables cannot be clean. There will be hay and horse poop. Or are you suggesting that royal horses poop in a royal commode and flush the faeces with royal water? What about your hair that clogged the sink last week?”

And you know not all is well in your paradise. This is just the beginning.

“Why were you making faces while doing the dishes?”

Roomie’s reply:

“Why do you not cook a meal for a change?”

You know that this is the best example of:

Between the idea

And the reality

Falls the Shadow.

“Can you please, strictly  stick to the left of the bed from tomorrow? How much more space do you need on the bed? You push me against the bloody wall every time.”

Your reply:

“I gathered you did no mind a little inconvenience. I mean I did not raise so much as a hue and cry all these days in spite of your repeated assaults on my olfactory system. I quietly bought a room freshener and sprayed it every time you farted, awake or in your sleep. To top it all, you must also know that it is not just the trance music you play at night that I must endure but also the nasal intonations that accompany it.”

You know that there are always those circumstances in life that you are not prepared for. Unavoidable, disgusting, irritating, agitating circumstances. But you merely grow into it all. You acquire a Buddha-like resilience to everything uncalled for in your life and that is how you are enlightened and enriched in the course of your nugatory life.

“Can you please wake up, baby, please wake up!”

Your reply:

“What is it, what is the matter. Are you not well.”

Roomie’s reply:

“I have a splitting headache. I cannot sleep. I have a meeting tomorrow.”

Your reply:

“Shall I apply some balm on your forehead. It will alleviate your pain.”

Roomie’s reply:

“Can you please blow me now? It will tire me to sleep.”

Your reply:

“Unbelievable!! The relationship has reached a new low.”

Roomie’s reply:

“I love you.”

Your moments of fun are interspersed with moments squared of bitter fights and adjustment issues. Because now you are trying out a new experiment. You are no longer meeting over coffees after work or chilling around at theatres on weekends. Suddenly lovers are roomies in a new city, in a new space. A ‘liminal space’ of enunciation. It is a space characterized by the binaries such as comfort/discomfort, incarceration/liberation, love/hate, excitement/ anxiety, social/asocial, primordial/symbolic, and the list is a-flowing. It is like Kubla’s dome in the air. It comes with promises, promises that are sometimes realized, sometimes forgotten like new year resolutions. But it is beautiful. You know it is a beautiful thing.

P.S. Your friends ask your partner about his feelings towards you. They are expecting him to say, “She is the most amazing girl in the world. She is the love of my life. She is caring and compassionate. I cannot imagine my life without her.”

And he says:

“I guess she is a really cool roomie.”