Tag Archives: Water

Reverb 10.25: A Green Christmas

A photo Reverb10 post! It makes for a nice change. Also, it calls to the old challenge in me about trying to say something with a picture instead of words, of playing peek-a-boo with my readers by showing them something that is me and yet not instantly recognizable until it is explained.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself

Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

(Author: Tracey Clark)

Say hello to my window garden. Does it seem odd to you that I would introduce my plants to you? Pet-owners do that all the time and if you ask me, animals are a darned bigger nuisance.

Late last year, the doctor down the road was having his clinic renovated. I’d drop in for papers and he’d chat. One time he pointed to a green plant close to his table and complained about a patient who had asked for it but never came by to pick it up. I must have looked interested, because, without asking me, he clipped off a branch and handed it to me, asking me to put it in a little water.

I took it home, cradling the thick, fleshy green stem with its stiff leaves, in my hands. And instead of a glass of water, I took an old clay pot I’d saved from somewhere and filled it with mud. Then I stuck the stem into it and gave it some water.

A couple of days later, the leaves were still green so I continued to water the plant. I was up most nights and on my breaks from reading or writing or when I was on the phone, I’d sit at my window, sometimes putting my feet out of the window and resting them on the airconditioner. I nearly knocked over the plant a couple of times. In time, I shifted to a window-chair and got into the habit of stroking the leaves. I always liked the spicy, snappy smell it left on my fingers.

A few weeks later, I thought my ajwain plant looked lonely so I brought in a few mustard and jeera seeds in another old pot to keep it company. The mustard shot out almost immediately, with daily watering. The jeera never took. Mustard I’m afraid lived a very brief but dramatic life. It would look droopy just like a bent old man, in the morning. After I watered it, a mere half hour later, it would up and about, gadding with the other plant and flirting with the sun. And by evening, it would change colour to a yellowish-green. It died out in a few months.

I experimented with cooking, with lessons I had learnt off the internet (which even brought me this writing commission). I fell in love with another plant called basil (a distant cousin of the more familiar tulsi). I couldn’t find the plant anywhere. Even the plant-sellers who wheeled their wares past my colony gate each week couldn’t help me. Somehow I didn’t care for the blooms and petals in their colourful stock. I wanted only green things, edible things, plants that could integrate with me someday, through fragrance and food.

Finally, I picked up a packet of pesto leaves in the supermarket, ostensibly for yet another pesto-treat. But I picked out the freshest looking sprig and planted it. It actually took! Within a week, it was glowing a greener green than I’d seen in the supermarket. In a fortnight, it had shot out flowers. In over a month, the stalk had visibly grown. More basil plants followed with future pesto-menus. One restaurant gave me a packet of seeds as a special giveaway with the bill. And they turned out to be the elusive basil seeds. Not all of them took but I nurtured the ones that did, with pride.

At its prime, my garden had ajwain, mustard and basil all in flower and which could give at least 3 leaves each to flavour my fingers and my food. I rarely cooked with my plants. They never seemed big enough to cut. And in time the leaves would wither away and I’d clean them off, promising to cut the next batch that came up. Eventually my basil plants withered away took, leaving only tall brown stalks. I still water them, hoping that a magical little green leaf with show up suddenly.

I’ve discovered something magical with this garden. There is nothing quite like watching life grow, right under your care, in front of your very eyes. I’m not an animal person so pets are out of the question. People come with their own set of issues and norms and barriers. But plants, plants never let you down. They ask for so little – some water, some air, some sunshine and if you have it (I really do believe this), a little love.

I’m not one of those crazy women who ‘talks’ to her plants. But I do spend time with my garden, as tiny as it is, every single day. It’s the first thing I look at, when I get out of bed in the morning and the last thing that I see before I turn in for the night. When I’m back from a short trip or even a daytime visit, it’s the first thing that I go and check on. Even when I take a break, I like going out to look at my plants. Occasionally I touch them, stroke a shoot, pick out a yellowing leaf from the mud, angle the pot a little better towards the sunlight or just sigh in smiling satisfaction.

I really love my garden. It’s shown me a different side to myself. A side that can care and nurture without feeling the effort. A side that takes take great pride in something that means so little to anyone else in the world. I feel like the garden represents a new aspect of me that I had never known existed, before. A city girl who always lived in concrete and metal structures….and I’m a green-thumbed gardener! Who’d have thought?

Someday I would like to have a living space big enough to accomodate a garden I can walk around in. I’ll want to grow basil (of course), tulsi, jasmine, rose, tomatoes, lemons and the plant that started it all for me – ajwain (in the picture, it’s the plant on the extreme left).

Reverb 10.3: Life In A Moment

Another Reverb 10 prompt that made me think and think and come up with an answer I feel is less than satisfactory. But then again, I think the purpose of this exercise is to engage in such questions and be surprised by what comes forth.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

I first thought these should be the happiest moments and that gave me enough of grief (!) since there have been a wonderous number of them, especially in the second half of the year. But I realized I need to stop feeling guilty about that. Okay, so that’s the touchy-feely Chicken-Soupy bit of it out of the way.

As I started to type out this post, it also occurred to me to wonder whether happy moments are the only ones in which I feel alive. Undoubtedly the first six months of the year were shrouded largely in gloom. I felt like everything was slipping away, not just out of control but out of reach – health, family, friendship, career, creativity. Every single thing that mattered to me was vanishing into a black hole. I felt like I was being stripped away, layer by painful layer and what would be left of me in the end?

This was among the first things I talked to the boy about. He found it difficult to imagine having a crisis of identity of the sort I was describing but he was wise enough to conclude that it indicated our differences not my problems.

I don’t quite know if I felt alive in those moments. Actually it felt more like what I had thought of as my life was just flaking off, chipping off, peeling off in ugly, painful ways, the ugliest, most painful sensation being the fact that they came off so easily. I think this poem from my past captures the feeling perfectly. That time was about one person leading a crowd of others. This time, it was true of every single emotion, way of being, person and relationship. A winding down, a closing out, an approaching full stop.

And then there was life. Just as it is hard for me to understand completely what happened in my head in the first six months, it’s equally difficult to sort out what’s been happening since then.

Mornings are usually my favorite time of the day. I’ve stayed awake through nights often and the subtle start of each day is always one that lifts my spirits. It’s still an odd feeling, sometimes having to go to sleep right after that. But the glory of the moment hasn’t been lost.

Then there are specific moments when I’m swimming, a more recent occurance. I usually swim a number of laps, going one way freestyle or breast stroke. At the other side, I’m usually out of breath so I flip onto my back and float back, my legs gently pedalling and my arms loosely drifting along the sides of my body. The sky is usually a pale greyish-brown, the colour of ash as it falls off burning paper. I often see crows flying in V-formation overhead. I can’t hear the usual sounds overground, of voices, car horns and daily life. But I can hear splashing, bubbles floating by as other swimmers splash past, muffled sounds which is what water does to voices. And it feels like the water washes away the confusions and strains overlaying my thought process. Then the top of the club building comes into sight, which is when I know I’m nearing the edge of the pool and need to be careful not to bump my head. And as I touch the side and drift up to vertical place, I am ready to turn around and swim another breath-challenging lap. Or walk out of the pool into whatever waits for me next.

That’s alive indeed.

Market Day

Today I feel like I’m inside a well
that no one’s looked down in ten years.
And around and just outside the well,
it’s Market Day

The voices and the sounds, they reach me,
blurring into each other and not discernible.
It’s not noise, it isn’t sense either
but it is painful nostalgia, of what life used to sound like,

Of a time and place
when it could be heard,
heard and understood
Of just such a lifetime

There are bees in the sky and a butterfly or two
Stirred by the ruckus that’s Market Day
Even if they seem to be dancing
To the voices, and they are

I see a coin soar arc through the circle above
chink wall, brick, spplasssh water
Market Day at the wishing well
But no one looks to see where the coin fell

Dipping My Toes

On Facebook while I wait for E Vestigio to turn up for our Sunday evening catch-up/gripe/giggle dinner-date. Clearing out pending messages, updated status (blah, I’m running out of exciting things to claim I’m doing) and even looked into Twitter. And now this idle mind turns to mischief. So I use the Friend Finder to look up people I haven’t heard from in awhile (read: ex-crushes). 🙂

One I admit I’ve checked on earlier isn’t showing up anymore. Odd, did his wife realize he was hitting on his ex-girlfriends online? Muhahaha…I certainly hope the water was scalding hot.

The HUMONGOUS crush from school has turned humongous. No kidding, he looks like he’s pushing 50, not 30. Yeurrgh, the receding hairline does nothing for the rather sweet memories one has. Oh err, thank goodness for bad luck in romance back then.

I pause on one particular name, a common one coupled with a generic surname and imagine he’ll be lost in a flood of other namesakes. Oddly enough he’s the third one on the list, head-to-head with a girl in the profile pic. Wife. Smiling. Surprising myself, I smile back. He was nice. And I’m glad he’s happy.

Which made me think…how seriously we take life, the life of the moment only, little realizing how little it could matter a few months or years later. I don’t know if I’m getting mellower with age or whether my memories are just fading but somehow I don’t feel the same intensity for people who were supposed soulmates at one point of time. Hell, I don’t even know where some of them are, less care. Not in a bad way though. If I think about it, I generally hope they’re doing good and are happy.

Peace reigns over the past after time has passed its magic healing touch over everyone. And guess what? Another simile.

Falling in love is like getting into the water. Some people enjoy jumping in splash-dunk. Some have to be dragged in screaming and squirming. Sometimes you just slip or trip and fall in. But really, I think the best way is to just dip your feet in, let the water swirl around your edges and wade around a bit in it. What matter then if the water rises, bit by bit, without a splash, without a chill but in a smooth comforting blanket all around?

I’ve tipped my toes in and I think I’ll just walk about on the beach with wet feet for a bit.

The Wealth of Water

When I was a kid, I remember a huge tin drum standing right next to our kitchen sink. It was taller than I was and was used to store water. Water, precious water, worth everything in summer.

Do I exaggerate? I was around 5 or 6 then. Old enough to feel the shortage, too young to do anything about it since I couldn’t even lift a full bucket by myself. Moreover a thick pall of gloom lay over the household. Mum, harried at the thought of having to fit cooking, cleaning, drinking water and the household’s other needs within a limited water budget. Dad, brooding over the questions of plumbing, drainage, borewell fittings and tankers, not to mention having to rush to work.

Everyone woke up early to catch the running water before it ran out. Vessels were scrimped on to avoid washing. Clothes were doled out as per strict hygiene requirments to save on laundry water. I also remember tempers flying high and getting scolded for a lot of things that never otherwise bothered the adults. Water-shortage time was always a period of suffocating, dark, depressing gloom.

What a sweet, unparalleled relief it was, the day the water shortage ceased and we were back to having 24-hour water supply! In the years to come, the water supply and plumbing systems evolved. Continue reading

Poisoned wine

Was laced into
The first glass of sweet wine you offered me

Since then even water tastes like fire

From betrayal is born vindictiveness
And for those of us who never forget
It is akin to the demon child born of a mortal womb

You will always be the poison in my sweet wine

Drops of water

Another recycled post from the days when I had just one blog and it was called ‘Just a Statistic’. The weather seems to dictate it. I’m feeling exactly the way I felt 3 years back! Life is so cyclic.

Thursday, 5th August 2004

~ Drops of water ~

Insignificant little drops of water

Perfectly formed drop shaped drops of water
On people’s heads and oozing down their scalps
To slide down a strand of hair
And hang at its very tip

Powerful drops of water
Pouring down in sheets
Blocking my view in torrents
Pelting my back like tiny arrows

Round droplets of water
Dropping into the very heart of a puddle
Setting it alive in circular ripples
And sending a hundred more drops of water jumping out

Rhythmic drops of water
Symmetric broken lines of water
Slinking close to the pavement
Drumming down on roofs and windows and roads

A single drop of water
A feather kiss on a thread of copper
Flying sparks and a few screams
All for an insignificant little drop of water

Trickling drops of water
Salty drops balanced precariously on eyelids
Streaming down cheeks
Treacherous drops of water

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