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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


It is meniscus-deep down there. Not a spark of sunlight. Urchins in locally- made Hilfiger T's play football on a flat stretch of water within a sprawling slum. Their shrill, excited cries ricochet off my walls and fail to excite my old memories. The sky is a clich├ęd grey like a goose. It seems strange how a sleet of nickel-rain floats down into the colorless depths of urban laziness.
Even the expressive trees of the tropical green seem tacitly submissive in the face of nonstop onslaught of a superior barrage.
Down far below, on the streets of Calcutta, tempers are getting fried in the unceasing wetness. Roofs leaking into disaster, stairs hidden by stagnant drainwater, taxi engines sputtering into whimpered silence, bicycles falling off unready hands.
All met with suppressed, feral rage. As if the downpour was the only blemish of an otherwise perfect life. It looks as if the downpour washed away a thin, cosmetic layer of manners that civilizes an underlying intolerance. Even Freud could be forgiven his theories today. The temperamental ejaculation of the soaked pedestrian looks to be an echo of a childhood deprivation of his favorite ball. Others, however, are quietly happy with the fresh deluge. Children in tin carts cautiously wheeling by are gleeful on the way back from closed school gates. Maidservants clutching a paper bag full of singhadas ordered by the korta, wives frying onions and cooking rice for the afternoon’s mandatory khhichuri are some who seem placidly excited at the prospect of a long, relaxed day. Gloomy restaurant managers prepare for a long wait, as do funless doctors in hospitals. Blissfully unaware of the sudden urban upheaval is an infant, silently clutching a comb with his jaws and wetting a pillow with a carefree, well aimed, prolonged squirt from his cute organ. For some reason suddenly, he, too, seems to be enjoying the wetness.

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