They say there is no sense as evocative as the sense of smell, maybe that’s why I still remember the time I took my first whiff of Chennai. It was midnight in early June and I was about to step out of the deodorized sterility of the city’s excuse-for-an-airport. I was readying myself for a blast of hot air from the bowels of an equatorial hell with an attached steam chamber. Thankfully, that blast never came, or I wouldn’t have been recounting this as fondly. What greeted me was the aroma of the wet earth, the patter of rainfall on the aluminium roof of the terminal; a cool breeze ruffled my unruly curls and I remember thinking to myself as I stepped onto the concrete: hell, this ain’t half as bad as people make it out to be. Continue reading
Help! Awesome has been gorging it’s way into my vocabulary. Awesome has already gobbled up gorgeous and belched out beautiful. Awesome has made mincemeat ofmagnificent and licked the plates clean. It likes to chew on charming thirty two times for good health. It stirs stunning with a large metal spoon and slurps it down. Elegant leaves a pleasant aftertaste in its cavernous mouth. My pink unimaginative tongue arranges a three course meal for this greedy monster every day. It plonks on the table with a weary sigh, for it knows it has a lot of adjectives to devour. “What do you have for me today?”, its stomach rumbles. My tongue rushes over to whisper the menu in its hairy ear, for if the adjectives hear about their fate they tend to despair. The daring ones make a run for it. Just the other day, epic and insane escaped and are now hiding out in the roof of my mouth. They come out now and then for a breath of fresh air when awesome falls asleep on the table after a particularly heavy lunch. However this can mean a whoopy ride down its throat for them because it often wakes up with a start, looks around wildly and begins asking for more adjectives, even the terrible ones. And some more. When its demands grow untenably large, my tongue heaps all the unruly adjectives on a plate and gently pushes the steaming pile right under its nose. That’s when it’s the happiest. When it gets everything at once. And then I have nothing else to say except “That’s fuckin’ awesome dude!”
You know what’s not awesome? Awesome. Awesome is just plain awful.
A short story I wrote for a creative writing workshop conducted by Vikram Kapur at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. (Word Limit: 1100)
As always, Kamble was caught napping during study time; his head lolling forward, backward, sideways in a great unpredictable circle, often coming to rest with his chin settled on the chest, until disturbed by some unknown terrible dream that ensured the whole process would start again, so uncontrollable that they feared his neck would break. Continue reading
Public toilets in India always leave me breathless, with relief and also with lack of air. They also bring to mind the subtle differences between oft misused words such as available and accessibile, by virtue of being inaccessible even when they are available, which is not very often. A curious peek inside one transports the most hardened hearts and most insensitive noses to a well-stocked chemistry lab paying olfactory tribute to Messrs Haber & Bosch. On certain busy days, I’m told one can catch sight of silvery fumes of ammonia dancing the Tango around the feet of relieved gentlemen. A bold step inside one, as Voldemort will confide if you prod him hard enough, will blast your nose to smithereens if you’re foolish enough to breathe while you’re at it. Continue reading