Monday, August 24, 2015

Meet My Family

I spent the day at home. It is a rare occurrence, if you must know. What was special about the day was the fact that despite accomplishing truckloads of work, and putting off another truckload, I slept rather peacefully. That, again is a rare occurrence.

The reason why my closed eyes could breathe easy was the fact that I knew I will make time to finish this blogpost before the day ended. This one is important to me. And it has been pending sometime. I was scared that by the time I get down to writing it, I'll lose the feel of it all, that I will get over the sense of overwhelm that assails me 14 times a week, that I will forget the pieces of memory I am trying so hard to keep together. Today, I knew I will make time to put all these anxieties at rest, because, as of the present day, I have much to be happy, and peaceful about in life.

I have been away from this precious domain for quite sometime, not being able to record all the amazing things my life is blessed with at present. Like, this very moment, when I am sitting next to a window with a mug of tea, with crazy rains outside, and the faces of my beloved kids in my mind. Most of us experience this kind of peace with the memory of a lover, enhanced by the romance of rains and a cuppa with the aroma of shared moments. In my case, the whiff of romance is similar, just that, it is shared with an entire family which loves me more than anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world can. All of them together, all of them individually.

It all began with poetic soiree, almost a year back. A lot strange faces I met were soon going to become my family. The process of coming close has been epic, but more epic are these individuals I seek to write about. Let me talk of the family, I'll talk of the Collective in a later edition, someday. Or not, Poets' Collective is because all of them are. Meet these people who make my heart a mushy place :)

I don't know why I began with her name. It is probably because of a really sweet message she sent my way last night, which ended up making me feel like the luckiest being alive. She has been attending our meets for close to 8 months now, and she never spoke a word - just silently sat their observing the poets recite away to glory. Till the day she gifted me a lovely handmade pen stand, I could not have guessed her levels of affection. Gifts, sometimes, are important. And today, when she has started chattering in front of us, I can distinctly see oodles of love in her eyes for me, and for this little mad family we have all created together. White and pure, these are the words which come to my mind when I think of her. Her talent, I believe, is yet to blossom out in the open - but she is already my young one, literally and figuratively, and I have no doubts in my mind that she will do brilliantly well in life, yet stay humble about it.

Riya is a rare talent, one that is difficult to control or cage or even channelise. Her thoughts, revolutionary and provocative, will keep flowing over and also singe those who listen to her with an unwelcome ear. She holds in her heart ideas powerful enough to inspire not ours, but a generation of the future. She is someone who is elder for her years, and hence, who humbles me into listening. I have nothing to give her but all the encouragement in the world. She is her own guide, her own flame, and as travellers on a similar journey, I hope she keeps us close. And I miss her. And I think she knows it.

I love getting photographed - and that is a world famous fact. What is little known, however, is the fact that I have been fortunate enough to chance upon some genuine behind camera talents, who make me look good, probably better than my own imaginations. Sharad is one such spark of brilliance who has just floored me with his insane levels of warmth and love. He calls me mummy whenever he feels cornered, and the alacrity it fills me with is more than visible on my face. I call him my minion - yellow, funny and happy. I've seen him cry in the middle of a monologue which remains among my most prized moments in life - when this kid admitted to having developed more respect for people around him after having joined the PC gang. In another bit of fond memory, he has learnt to give nice hugs now (and that is something, his girl - now or in future - has me to thank for!)

He is the funniest brained person I know. His life is discontinuous fragment of satirical observations on the world around, each woven into a metaphor we now understand and associate with. He is a Jaya aunty fan. He has a hold on marketing and mythology logic with the same comfort. He sings bollywood numbers at inappropriate places and comments inadvisable nonsense much to the chagrin of fellow metro passengers. He talks non-stop. He is elder to me, yet gives me the respect of an elder sibling. He says he is a lost soul who feels like he's given direction when he is with us. He loves pink. And as far as I am concerned, he is the one person I feel the safest with.  He can keep me entertained for hours, he can contest my logic, and yet end on a very respectful note. Like everyone else, he is such an important part of my family, and my existence. I hope I can learn from his genius. Also, he is a dinosaur.

I have many sons, but she is the first daughter of my family. I consciously call her my beloved daughter, for she evokes in me a feeling akin to very motherly protectiveness. I feel like taking her in my arms and protecting her from all the ill-tendencies out there in the world. Not once, but many a times has it happened that she hugs me in a restaurant, and before you know it, she falls asleep then and there. And never have I had the heart to rouse her out of the very peaceful slumber reflected on her face. While she is talented and belligerent in her own ways, never has she stepped out of very humble and respectful mannerisms for me. It makes me feel blessed and responsible in equal measures. Till where I can push, I will do so for her. Oh, my only complaint to her - ladki phate kapde pehen ke baahar aa jaati hai. Needs a wardrobe overhaul asap. Rest, she can come to me with all her fears, and they'll be absorbed. Promise!

We go back a long way, and I have seen this one go through many lows and highs and yet survive and come out strong. He is again one of those who is elder to me, but manages to give me the respect of didi. Legend has it that I scared him away when I met him the first time, but he managed to be brave enough to return to our kind of poetry, and has kept coming back since. A kind of syntactical distortion lends extreme levels of genius to his poetry, but these distortions exist because he has seen the anomalies and realities of life very closely. What I really want to tell him is that each time he has lived up to his own expectations, he has lived up to mine. And nothing will catch my attention more than his doing well in his own manner, on his own path. I do want to be a happy co-traveller, if possible?

I never call him Abhishek. Never. In public, or private, I love calling him Chintu. And I love it more when he resists this nickname from everyone else, except me. There is no end to how special I feel each time he lays bare his heart and soul in front of me, telling me all little details of things which have shaped him and his sensibilities. He is quite a sensitive and sensible soul, who is capable of taking care of himself, as well as those around him. In our close knit family, he fulfils many functions - a brother to one, a son to the other, a friend to another. The best thing about him? When I am not able to give him my full attention, he does not develop a grudge. He thanks and lauds me for absorbing so many stories of so many of them. I mean, the maturity strikes straight through my heart!

This girl stuns and surprises me each time. A pretty, sophisticated, ever-smiling girl - I could have never imagined a streak of activism in her, which I am being greeted with since past sometime. Neha is a completely paarivarik girl, who brings along the same values in my family. With her around, I can be sure that no malice and ill-will will enter our world. She expresses less, but when she does, I feel like floating above and beyond the moon. She holds me responsible for much, not realising that had she not been spreading energy around with her infectious smiles, our world would have been a lot less happier. She'll do well, with her smart mind and diligent heart, and she'll always remain a beautiful part of my life because of her almost selfless levels of trust and love for us.

Aniket is not among the kids I have spent a lot of time with, but I know in my heart that whenever he finds a zone and opportunity, he comes running to us. For now, what I know is that I quite adore his kurta clad look, and his warm and respectful countenance. He seems to be someone I can trust with many responsibilities, and he will not disappoint me ever. I just want to see him around more, much more.

Shibani is the latest entry in our madhouse. The fact that she is a poet-performer-par-excellence is known to all of Delhi. What is not known to all perhaps is that she is mad in equal measures to all of us, and that is why, probably, she feels at home with us. I did not expect to see her around so often, but I guess, she accepted us in her life before we accepted her in ours. With me, I remember feeling super-elated when she gave me a very warm hug post her performance at the last meet. Few things give me greater pleasure than being accepted in the lives of people with such faith. A few conversations later, I am cozy with the knowledge that she identifies with us, our cause, and is honest in her efforts to help us go places. In whatever little manners I can, I am there with her, for her :)

She is a stunner. Again, I don't know much about her, but she has much depth and calm to her being. I have not heard many of her compositions, but the one poem I have heard, I keep hearing it daily. Because it calms me down. Because in the mad mayhem of technology, she is a pleasant pause, with old-world values and charm. Because her heart as pure as pure can be and that reflects in her words. Because I know I am not super-close to her, but she is going to be indispensable to our family, real soon.

Umm. The caveat here is, anything I say will be saying too less. He began as a creep in my life, and has graduated to becoming an extremely creepy stalker now. I think very few people know me the way he does, because even when I am not letting out much, he is observing and absorbing. Prateek is an incredibly brave child, for he has chosen the difficult path of aspirations in life - but he is holding up. And so long as he is holding up, I am there with him to give the necessary push and guidance. Each time he thanks me for being around, my heart shrinks a little, because I feel I have not done enough for his genius to blossom. But he understands, I am sure he does. He is among the few who understands my affection as much as my irritations. Among my more mature sons, he is probably the one I will remember to call in my old age. To take care of me. Or just to give me a lot of grandchildren to while away my time with. (I will spoil them better than I spoilt you. And you cannot stop me.)

Can I ever put in words the love we share? Can you do it? Can anyone else do it? You were the useless, pennyless  college student who made me suffer a loss of 500 bucks when you came in the first time. Those 500 rupees are the best investment I have made in life ever. You know Ambikesh, I often end up riling people when I feel they do not reciprocate or do enough for me after we've parted ways. In your case, you are always giving me 2x the love I can. I am already in your debt. I don't speak to anyone as much as I speak to you. I do not go to people to for advice or for sharing my lows as much as I do with you. And you manage to calm me down. Sometimes, you make me cry in confusion, because, when you tell me how much you and the others love me, my mind literally stops functioning because, I mean, how can this much happiness and love be possible. Being the cherophobe that I am, I shut out most of these positive feelings, lest they make me arrogant. But, you all do make me arrogant, you know. This is the best of a family I have experienced, and you're my elder son. It might all change tomorrow, but, you're the focus of my life for now. And even though you do not need it, I know, I'll be protecting you forever.

This is a good season of life. Among the best, but so precious, that I am scared to call it the best. Keep the family together, please?