Light and Space

I like evenings in my house.

I like the sliver of warm sunset that I’m privy to with what I can afford of a view living in a crowded city. I live alongside arrangements where it sounds like groups of twelve, fifteen people live in the same span of space that I share with another woman (and of course R) that I feel safe with, and a loving cat who is also a rogue (but in a truly charming, vocal way). I sometimes overhear carrom games. I hear singing and language and laughter when the group tentatively steps out together. There hasn’t been a game of cricket in a long time.

I like the warm glow of the moody yellow table lamp that I put on my desk. I like its warmth, like my grandfather’s sweater, over my shoulders. I am lucky I was held. In light like this. A lone, tall bedside lamp with a switch on the wire by which I read Asterix for the first time. The neat smell of my grandfather’s room. The orderliness of its shelves. The sparseness of its person.

I have banal notes I have tacked on the wall at my desk, of things I must remember to write about in the novel I want to write. On some days, they’re mocking post-its to who I want to be. But they’re sweet-tempered and good-natured too. I allow myself that they’re sincere.

I am oddly relieved I’m not able to understand the language my neighbour next door is speaking to someone on her handsfree in her balcony. I am in admiration of her commitment to enjoying the weather, and sometimes I’m brave enough to try it out too. There is a renewed-vigour idiot still blowing his conch. I hear her laughing over it.

I miss Bombay. At some point in my life, I’d dreamed of living in a city like Bombay. There’s a static of something disorienting and worn-down-to-primal, like the cobblestones of Causeway, in the light of Bombay. It tints the dust-motes off-camera, and the sweat on the faces of the men and women awe-struck, a little mouth-agape that they are in a Bombay sunset watching a whole piece of something larger, something with more spectacle than our selves being made. I no longer have the energy for Bombay; I say this with little-to-no self-pity. Cities sometimes change us and teach us who we are in different places, what of us still sticks and holds true. Cities lure us with who we could be. And many times we have tell these cities, oh well, maybe some other time.

Light changes quickly in this house, and the table lamp eases that a little in the evenings. R has put the large-batch noodles I made last night in the fridge (not to overstate, but it’s a needlessly painstaking Maggi-updo) and I’m fearful of how it’ll turn out today. I could make pakodas out of it. A tribute to you, Mescabe ladies of MCC. (This is a T9 Dictionary of the 3300/6615 joke: at the time I was in college, T9 did not list Nescafe in its database, so when students typed Nescafe under their desks about hanging out, the message sent would, in all likelihood, read, Mescabe.) I could try making cutlets too.

I was discussing lighting P’s house with him—the lovely but unused criss-crossed lantern in the living room needs a naked yellow bulb in it. He told me that there’s no need to be apologetic about needing so many chances, because sometimes the only way to get some people to try, is to keep giving them chances.

Last night, I also kept whisking-and-freezing my day-long milky cup of coffee, and it made the most intricate slushie, a star-studded pre-frappe. It’s a, as is my signature, needlessly painstaking process of how I show coffee more patience than people.

My flatmate, A, has come home. She is palpably relieved to see me at my laptop, typing. I am laughing. We’re going to play Ludo. The young men who live over the darshini nearby have stepped out downstairs, and they’re laughing too.

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