the midnight coffee run

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Originally uploaded by zimblymallu.
I drank my mocha espresso. She drank her chai latte. We both stole surreptitious glances at the next table.
"I think they're a cute couple."
"We'll see in a minute."
When he went to the little boys' room, she hugged herself as a smile escaped.
"Pay up lover boy. She just had a good date."
Friday came and went, and I showed up a little late to the party. But this fobby-san brought his kattan kaapi to the mix.

the spill of crumbled earth from a broken flowerpot

Thursday, March 23, 2006
Your photo, your face, your name. A brief splash of color pasted on the door of the neighborhood blimpie's. I've walked by the store so many times, always stopping at every other store in the strip mall. Never walking in. I'd see the people inside, beautiful young people, who looked like they had no care in the world, eating their sandwiches and drinking their fountain soda. It was a world of laughter, bright joie de vivre spilling from the doors, neighborhood friends gathered at the table.

Today when i walk by, an empty silence. The only illumination a backlight behind the counter, the only color the flowers on the door. Oh Amir Chalabi, my heart breaks for your family. Gathered to mourn your passing, they will tell each other stories of your bright smile and weep. Your mother will never look at another child without remembering you. Your father will look at other men and think of you. Time will bring its cold forgetful comfort, but you have lived, and brightened their days, and their memories. As for me, I only saw an image on a closed door, and the epitaphs your classmates left. A few flowers and scrawled words of comfort for your parents. And it near to broke my heart.

Dear child, I did not know you. I do not know your parents. I do not eat at the restaurant that was closed by your passing. But death has come and gone, and I would that it had not.

Better than disneyland

Monday, March 20, 2006

Originally uploaded by zimblymallu.
For those of us who like magic a little bigger than tinker bell, a river of gold with garuda headed swans. What secrets might lurk in those dark thickets on the mountainside.

And if you ever want to order from the restaurant, here's the menu.

Mr. Death and his pussycat

Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The master sat on the mountaintop. The woman waited patiently till the evening meditation was done and drew near. She smiled with longing and whispered,"Do you see me, o man of solitude?" The evening breeze carried his reply to her.

A cat caught a mouse for dinner and asked. "Tell me, would you want to know that I was going to kill you when I caught you or would you rather have death come without warning?" The mouse looked up and said,"Death comes to all of us. If you must, introduce us before we leave." Now you know why cats toy with their prey.

nan bandh bittay; caesar would say "veni"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Surreal is an adjective that gets overused in the company I keep. I can't think of a better word to describe my first impressions of Bangalore. I hover at the exit from the airport, looking for a face I recognize, injunctions against thieves and errant taxi drivers and lowlife predators running through my head.

Dare I run that gauntlet of people without a guide? It is not so much the people as the noise level that strikes me as I move closer. The hubbub primes me for a great many people, while my eyes tell me a different story. Thankfully, as I shift my grips on my luggage and peer out into the night from the shelter of the cordoned area, I see a familiar face and relax. My first impression of Bangalore is one I cherish. I walk out into the parking lot, and the quiet descends. At first glance, I can't decide whether everything looks the same or not. The night surrounds us, but bright yellow sodium vapor lamps cast little spills of light in the distance. Why is there a dull patina of dust on the leaves i see?
I recognize all the roads that lead home, but its like a dream. Distances seem to stretch out forever, and then disappear behind me. Occassionally a passing "motorist" drives by and recognition sparks at the shape i see. All the concerns about traffic in Bangalore fade in the wee hours of the morning. We head for the one restaurant that is open at 2.30 in the morning, "Empire" and sit down for some kerala parota and butter paneer. I stick to bottled water and a little of the gravy. I'll take on the microbes a little at a time.

-01.02.06 Sitting at home, wide awake and unable to sleep at 6 in the morning IST. Jake sleeps in the next room. I've tossed and turned, unpacked, walked around the house, taken photos and watched early morning mist across the lane that runs in front of my house. The women draw their rangoli in the street. The milkman drops off his sachets of milk. I stand on the balcony and watch life stir as a cool breeze brings the whiff of another sunny day.