10 Jun

A.k.a. June Swoon

The sky is overcast. We may even see six drops of precipitation if we are lucky. I’ve been in California long enough to not count on it. Build my hopes, only to see them knocked down with one poof of a blowaway cloud. So I’m going to close my eyes and imagine:

The road from The Bombay Store to Flora Fountain is slick and glistening from the first monsoon showers. The air crackles with wetness. Coolness. Pointy peaks of exhilaration. I am, absurdly, alone as I run along the streets, swooping through my imagination, in a world bereft of traffic and noise and fumes, starring in my very own silent movie.

Kala Ghoda approaches, and I irrationally resent my phone for auto-correcting my favorite landmark. No time to stop by at Rhythm House today, deserted just like these streets. In this version of my daydream, people are erased. No one is allowed to alter the synergy between me and my city, permeate this sacred space between us with their own agenda.

I am flying, my feet barely grazing the tar, embracing spaces and memories: the synagogue, art galleries, and museum. Cinema, antiques, and almost-love. Silver jewelry from my teenage years, nights out at eateries too unhygienic for my upbringing. Wooden steering wheels at the Yacht Club, crispy duck, a burger now banned, the wooden lattice of the Time & Talents club, and finally, the sea.

On the eve of my 29th birthday, as the clock readied to strike 12, a horse-drawn carriage pulled up by this very waterside, a surprise from indulgent friends. Off we cantered into the night, these two sweet men smiling at my elation, as I waved and blew kisses into the ether of a city sinking into uneasy slumber.

I must not halt, for the dream will end, and with it, a part of me lovingly coddled. Onward I stream to Sassoon Dock, Colaba Market, Navy Nagar and Land’s End, auto-correct repeatedly frustrating my typing efforts and reinforcing my distance from home. The evening is green as it drips toward night, and my city is a vacuum: no people, no creatures, all mine mine mine. I morph. I inflate. Giantesque, I rise above dusty skies. And gather it clattering: bridges, buildings, salt water and trees into a clumsy, awkward, heartbroken embrace. We rock, we croon, and I hum with a lover’s instinct.

Looking down at my arms, a pair of eyes–exactly mine in a smaller face–stare inquiringly at me. A chubby fist explores my moist face. My world self-folds into a soft muslin envelope, awaiting future summons. The clouds have long dissipated. For now, I am back in my baby’s familiar, sunny universe again.

7 Responses to “Petrichor”

  1. Aunty G. June 11, 2015 at 3:11 am #

    A favourite aroma
    Is that of a mogra
    Rajnigandha and rose
    Equally juxtapose
    But Rangoon creeper clusters make me go Halleluyah!
    Neem flowers are heavenly
    Frangipani a tad heady
    Tacoma too fleeting
    Chrysanthemum refreshing
    But nothing as faint as the gladioli!
    Lavender gives repose
    Sandalwood prayers pose
    Camphor is strong
    Vanilla lingers long
    But nothing beats rain-on-mud in summer throes!
    Peel an orange in a closed car
    And sleep will run very far
    The tanginess of lime
    Makes sugared water sublime
    Mash-melon, pineapple and jackfruit certainly raise the bar!
    Henna flowers smell so sweet
    But henna itself makes one bleat
    It’s partner in beauty is turmeric
    Fragrant, golden, anti-carcinogenic
    And Dussehra is when we marigolds meet!
    Then there are smells which make one gag
    In hospitals, they make one’s spirits sag
    Early morning seasoning
    Ruins pregnancy well-being
    And trailing behind a rubbish truck is a bull’s red rag!
    When thinking of smells of the culinary kind
    Tava-hot parathas come to mind
    Chicken-cooking can be discerned from afar
    A bakery even from a moving car
    Chai and pakoras in the monsoon, everyone binds!
    ‘Wake up and smell the coffee’
    Makes many, for the day, ready
    A Parsi poro
    Is a prided mojo
    Eggs in all their forms are their pride and glory!
    Smells, in the brain, are forever stewed
    They are, in memory, deeply grooved
    They evoke nostalgia
    Woken those in coma
    And a dog’s nose has many a mystery solved and proved!

  2. Pallavi June 11, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    Oh, how I miss your writing, OJ! Here’s hoping you find the time to write more often. 🙂

  3. Dancing Fingers Singing Keypad June 12, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    What an absolutely lovely and touching post! 🙂 I too, have nostalgia attacks at times about my hometown Pune. And the seed that leads to those memories is the exact opposite of the weather you have described here. Somehow, I tend to think about and miss the city and place I grew up in on sweltering hot days and nights in the Bay Area. And also every time I hear these words from one of my favorite songs by the band ‘The Killers’, from their song ‘When You Were Young’:
    “And sometimes you close your eyes
    And see the place where you used to live
    When you were young …”
    *trang trang trang trang* (a guitar riff maintains the melancholy mood beautifully)

  4. MM June 19, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    I am heading to the land you love,soon. Let me know what I can bring back for you from there

  5. Kan June 24, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    Beautifully written post, OJ. I could imagine gliding through those areas of Bombay… ah the romance of having them deserted and all to myself!
    I’ve had this urge to gather up and hug my childhood home (Delhi) too… can totally relate to that line!

  6. Roshni June 24, 2015 at 2:26 pm #

    Next year, I look forward to visiting Calcutta during the monsoons and showing my kids what a shower of rain should actually look like!! 😀

  7. Orange Jammies July 2, 2015 at 12:46 am #

    Aunty G: I would enjoy each scent
    If I weren’t so spent
    Taking it all in
    Your incredible spin
    Has us double-bent!

    Pallavi: I hope my latest offering helps ease things, hon. 🙂 Hug.

    DFSK: Gosh, that’s so beautiful. Loved that imagery!

    MM: The title of this post? 😦 Thanks so much for offering, so kind of you. xo

    Kan: Thank heavens you could relate! I was wondering if I’m the only one with such nutso urges. :mrgreen:

    Roshni: Oh, I hear you! Take a video of their reaction. 😀

Here's a bar of chocolate. Now talk to me. :)

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