Something i wrote recently for publication. My writing can be checked out at www.chowk.com by the way. I've been writing there since 97 so some of it i wish would disappear forever. some of it, i still like.
just an excerpt but then again, a lot of my writing reads that way.
Transit in Madras Airport.
We talked about Sri Lanka, we talked about Pakistan. He self identified as an Urdu speaker when I asked if he spoke Hindi. He brought me biryani of sorts from outside the airport and set me up with a little chair and stool behind the counter, where I was eye level with the display of chooris on one side and pashmina shawls on the other, so that I could eat. He spoke about the first of ramazan and did so while alternately watching women gyrating on the screen and a balatkar scene which culminated in a shot to the stomach at the khush khabri, main tumharay bachay ki maa banay wali houn. Extortion and it reminds me of Sri Lanka and hopeless situations. Everyone is still brown and we all still meld into one another as white person after white person walks in and ask me while I eat my biryani in loud enunciated voices how much things cost. Yeah, it does remind me of Sri Lanka.
I could hold out my hands and money would come pouring in.
You have something the rest of us don’t, the other ex-pats say to me. The currency of my skin. On the streets of Brooklyn I was asked if I could do the hoola hoola dance and on the streets of Sri Lanka, I am asked the same thing. Doesn’t matter, does it, in the end?
I listen to the Cure, Cold Play and the sound track of Bunty Aur Bubli over and over. I think of Ash singing about her aangraee and wonder about a man who cared so much over a gesture in my life. Not the smaller ones, that would be too much. Someone for whom a big gesture would be something to expend energy on. Fast friends are pointless but that is the transcendental life that I am leading, where your EOM (end of mission) is anywhere from 6 weeks to a year and people come and go and they are the only ones who really understand what is going on and who you are. So you make the fast friends and faster lovers and when you go home from your insular world for two weeks, everything has changed when you come back.
Part of you is relieved since the world did not end even though you thought it would.
Part of you wished it would so that you could go home, play the hero without all the pain.
I said to Basher Bhai, bohot sawab ka kaam hai, musafir ko khana, pani aur chai, who bhi ramazan main…I haven’t kept a roza in god knows how many years and yet I turned all Muslim-filmy in their shop. It worked. Not just worked, it felt natural. That should scare me.