Guwahati, day#

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The Guwahati skyline.

Its September, the rains are lingering a little longer this year. Clouds hang precariously low, blurring the green hills who man the horizon. Faceless buildings shoot up atrociously. Trees are delightfully green- moisture drips nightlong off their leaves. There is no dearth of lullabies here.

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From Lt.Bourke Street

10°C, my torrid bones are freezing. The street is a river of glossy black caramel, spreading out at both ends, before hugging herself, narrowing again. Condensation is sweet quinine. It had rained all of yesterday. The trees are bare. I can’t name them. Wordlessly I assign them to the bright purple poinsettias back home. Mrs. Parma’s is quiet after dolling away the preceding night. Sans the glare, she looks less intimidating. I stare at the foreign-ness of the atmosphere. Spun sugar-candy. The taste sticking to my palate. Cul-de-sacs fold into themselves, melt away in scentless symphonies of glass and steel. Today the morning had blushed silver on the walls of the Ovolo. With the duvet pulled up to my chin, I had stood before the mirror, still wearing the letters I had written you on my skin. Still unposted. Still alive. The skies are already a solid blue, roofing Parliament station in thin sheets of translucency. I had wanted to ring you up after getting in drunk last night. Craving the primal heat of intimacy. This ache is still a mystery. A recursive mystery. Relentlessly chasing me. A silver haired lady in a green sweater keeps me company in the loneliness. Later in the Yarra, we would talk of Calcutta and the IPL. I cross the wiry street a hundred times, trying to warm up under layers of borrowed wool and think of the beaches at Lorne. Think of your voice. All those unanswered calls. Emails. The trams are still in bed. I always wanted to say I love you. I don’t know why I did not. Maybe the rain will return. Soon. This city is garnered in folds of black and grey. Everything sparkles, sings to me in bee-lipped accents. I lean against the lamp post, smile at nothingness. You should come every season, because every season the magic is new, the lady from Tasmania whispers.

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Linked to D’verse Meeting the Bar

Of long lost summer vacations

Dear Maa,

I am spending the summer with Dadu-Thamma in Begambari. Dadu talks of you all the time. You know, finally we have electricity here! And the roads are no more mud tracks. And Dadu has planted a new mango sapling called Amrapali and Thamma’s knitting me a new sweater, red with pompoms. God! There is so much I want to tell you about.

Summer is blooming and Dadu’s orchards are graciously ripe. The wind whispers and waltzes all day inbetween the trees. And sweet, wet rain comes pelting down at will, tapping the tin-roof, beating music out of the silence and suddenly the scent of earth and wood permeates everything. There are caterpillars everywhere, munching fresh leaves- half of them dying beneath feet of careless men, half curling into the chrysalis, metamorphosing into bright yellow butterflies. The sojhne trees are their favorite! Tall crowds of grass beckon you, waving their arms, from every direction. The sky is usually a perfect blue, with clumps of fat white and grey clouds lazing around. The atmosphere is scrubbed clean. Mimosas crowd the aisles inbetween fields, their fuzzy purple heads held high. I watch with delight as their pinnate leaves shy away at my tender touch. Today baba took me around the village, to see our fields and the village school. The palash trees are still in bloom- fiery red flowers blaze the naked branches. The ponds are full with hyacinths, their iridescent peacock plumed petal mesmerise me. You know maa, they have replanted the paddy and I slipped and fell into the thick mud. Had to claw out my sandal! My legs and arms were nicely splayed and baba said let it be and laughed! He laughs so little these days. Life is suddenly so empty without you.

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The Happiest Trip *ever*!

For the happiest trip ever?

Melbourne!

Yes, I would like to take my family to this sleek, chic, part-Victorian cosmopolis on a holiday. And why not? Melbourne is Australia’s most romantic city, the continent’s throbbing vibrant culture capital!

Melbourne::Magic! Exploring the hidden cobblestone laneways, the arcades, the little boutiques or lazily sipping a rich café latte over those numerous unfinished conversations that get clouded by work at one of the many cafés, Melbourne has all the options. We will see the city riding a Harley Davidson, the neon sparkling in the Yarra, the breeze caressing our faces. *sigh* Or just walking along Southbank, holding hands, re-living those first days of falling in love, whispering sweet nothings, re-living those date nights of gazing into each other’s eyes at the very Italian Guiseppe Arnoldi & sons and later a kiss on the Crown Promenade as the golden fireballs go off! Continue reading

The Great Ocean Road

IMG_3053The air is a suspension of rain, as we head out of Melbourne, cosy in the upper deck of the GrayLine coach. Leaving the blinking traffic lights behind, we are out on freeways, the wind lashing on the windows. Past Geelong, we reach Anglesea, our first stop. All wintry, and deserted, the Anglesea river flows quietly down as we sip on Bush tea and enjoy Lamingtons and vegemite. The adventure down this Australian National Heritage listed road has begun!

The scenery unfolds quickly, like a series of fast shutter clicks. Blue below, and leafy green creeping upwards. The sun is out and the Southern Ocean lies like a sheet of undulating blueness- straited into bands of rich turquoise, ultramarine, emerald and sparkling blue, all frothing white at the edges. I sit back, the camera all insane in my hands and think

“At this moment, i swear Life is infinite.”

At quarter past ten, we reach Lorne. I hop off. The Cumberland Lorne Resort is my home for the day. Lorne is situated on the crescent Louttit Bay. The shops are sleepy behind their glass doors. The sea twinkles like a concoction of blur jellied stars. This is a beautiful place, the air all sharp with eucalyptus oil. I talk the Douge Stirling Walking Track to the pier, threading along the ocean, through ferns and wildflowers and ochre sands and rock pools among black breasts of basalt. There are pretty red birds with blue tails who didn’t tell me their name and yellow-combed macaws. The wind is ripping. The Lorne pier stretches out into the ocean. And the view? Impossibly perfect. To my left, Lorne rises and to my right, unabashed infinity. I pull out my earplugs, and listen to the ocean sing. I am left without words.

At sunrise the next morning, the beach shimmers gold. From navy to blue to rose to pink to gold, clouds pick up the tints and the ocean mirrors them. It is in a rainbow I am breathing. The pier is lit, and empty save for a few fishermen. The fetal sun hangs in the eastern corner like a bubble of blood. The sky is a criss-cross of veins, throbbing with renewed life.

The coach arrives at half past ten and we hit the road again. The next half, the more beautiful half, unfolds rather fast. We soon reach Apollo Bay for lunch, Jasmine rice with tofu and steamed seasonal vegetables, all blistering hot, and the sun high upon the main beach. Winding through The Ottway National Park, we head towards the Twelve Apostles. The rain clouds have gathered, and it is pouring. We skip the attractions, stop at Port Campbell for a break, and head back again. Our first stop is Loch Ard Gorge and the Razorback. In the weak sunlight, we climb down the steps to the sheltered beach where Tom and Eva took shelter. Waves crash on the beach, claw at the cliff face. The fingers are numb with cold.

Up next is the creme de la creme, the Twelve Apostles. These limestone formations stretch off the shore of Port Campbell National Park. They rise up, a flat yellow from the sea and stand tall, surveying the boundless oceans. Continued erosion at the base means they will fall one day and new formations will appear. I feel I am a bird, the salt moisture thick in my hair, soaring up. There is a sudden rush of happiness, life drinks deeply of it and is left feeling perfect.

Next we climb down Gibson’s steps to the beach. It is windy, the froth off the waves lies on the sands like the aftermath of a disaster. Steep faces of rock rise vertical behind, the clouds are messy, fusing with the choppy waters. A thread of water run down a crack, and flow into the ocean, slashing through the wet sand. A lone bird circles overhead. My heart is full.

We drive back to Melbourne in the polished purple glow of evening, thinking of the way the green mountains melt in the arms of the blue waters, the million kisses the waves leave on the shore, the million letters left written in the air. I think of destruction and I think of love, of beauty and the ache they leave in certain corners of the chest.

Tour Courtesy: Tourism Victoria

Letters of Love IX

Dear Love,

It is chilly here in Lorne. From the resort I can see the sea, shimmering cold and impossibly perfect. The waves break on ochre sands, lashing themselves on black basalt to bloom into foamy white surf. I can hear the waves roll in, I can hear the wind wuthering through the leafless trees, etching love-songs on the mountains, and I am lonely. I wish I could wear your scent on my skin right now.

All day, the sun has been playing hide and seek. Cloud amass and dissipate, drawing chiaroscuros on the face of the sea. The beach is empty, devoid of footprints. Long fingers of turquoise stir the rock pools. Skeins of sea-weeds lie around, homeless, red-brown, tattered. I want them to tell me their stories. The air I breath in hurts. I am left to deconstruct secrets.

The streets are empty, boutiques sleepy behind the closed glass doors. I sip a hot cappuccino, warm my hands and walk towards the pier, swimming through a pungent eucalyptic current. I can taste it on my tongue, their stingy menthol kiss. The wattles are slowly blooming, popping into bright yellow fuzz-heads. There are roses and wildflowers and firs. And etched on a plate upon a bench is “In memory of Liam Love.” I think of this little boy I have never known. Sometimes I want to cry. It is a different sadness that fills me up, simply sadness that has no roots. It floats up, and expands. I stare on. The rain clouds shift, and a rainbow arches up.

We are so insignificant. With the sun removing her veil, the beauty is suddenly so powerful it aches. It sucks me in, titillates my nerves and leaves me wanting more- the desperately blue waters crashing in the arms of an obstinate shore, their loud cries for reciprocation and ultimate withdrawal to come back again. Love is like gravity. You come back, you always come back. The track snakes along the ocean, a few feet carved in the hills, redolent with fresh grass. Little red birds and yellow-combed macaws dive down, and before I can catch them on my lens, disappear. Everything is bright and vibrant, pulsating with a new zeal. It feels like winter has been vanquished.

Behind me, Lorne rises on the crescent. The hotels, the resorts, the cafeterias all receding as I walk on. Before me, the Antarctic swells, her huge breast heaving with a thousand orgasms. The pier is a wooden structure, deserted now. I walk to the end, sipping in the salt wind, my mind full of disconnected thoughts, trying to hook up verses and lyrics. Life can be perfect, I repeat in loops. Far away a lone surfer bobs on the waves like a merman.

8pm now, low music spills from my phone. The moon is a crescent, a forlorn slice of ice. I think of the sunrise today, the red throbbing into liquid gold, pooling in the east. Morning bursts, her feathers spreading slowly, swallowing all the blue darkness. And the glassy waves echoing his colors, metamorphosing into metallic greens and blues. I think of those million things I have not said, the million feelings I am scared to explore.

Love,
X

Lorne, VIC
August, 2013

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Tour Courtesy: Tourism Victoria