Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary

It's been one of those years.
More Blue than gold.
The Sun's been shining
But everyone's still cold
Another year in this city,
Beside this ragged Sea.
Drowning in the filth,
The rain, the inhumanity.
This city gets under your skin
It likes to watch you crawl.
Everything is for sale here,
You're forced to sell it all.
There are punchlines all around,
It's the jokes no one knows.
Take me away from here,
To where the Great River flows,
Back to the Mountain top.
Where the Moon first met the sky
Where Dervishes learnt to dance
With their souls sent up so high.

Here we stare out our windows
Waiting for the phones to ring.
Full of a hundred songs,
That no one will ever sing.
We give it all too cheaply,
All the laughter in our souls,
Then stumble around smiling
Over empty begging bowls
We are a war that shall be fought.
In a land not worth the blood.
We are humanity as it had become
Before Noah and his flood.
Our gods are fallen angels,
Our loves imperfect and tainted.
We eat each other's souls in the open,
We allow sinners to be sainted.
So tired in the nighttime
So weary through the day.
We're on trial for murder here,
And we can't seem to get a say.

But there is magic here,
There remains yet some Grace.
I see a greater Love than God's,
In the wrinkles across your face.
Every night this city breaks me.
Every night you pour me tea.
You sing to me, you hold my breath,
Mend the shattered bits of me.
We're stranded here at the edge,
Of this ragged little sea.
The rain only adds to the filth,
And mercy drowns in humanity.
But I hear you laugh
As you run through my door.
And collapse in your lucid love,
Like a man begging "No more".
I love your petulant whimper
When I rise from your bed.
I've found your gaze nestled,
In every poem I've ever read.

That you exist is proof enough,
There is a Goddess watching over me.
You're the Book she wrote for us,
Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Breaking Down

It's been so long that I did any writing. So long that I haven't even felt like it. Today I sat in my home, after a thoroughly disappointing day, on a bed that needed replacing a year ago, staring at the shoes I had kicked off, and the trail of Bombay filth I had carried into my room and felt myself close to tears. It's amazing how suddenly, how inexplicably, and trivially all your pent up anger and frustration and anxiety come pouring out of your face. I stared at the mud I had brought into my home and all I saw through the welling tears, were the disappointments I had faced and committed and seen since the last time I broke down. They burst from my eyes and hit the ground and ran around my room scattering my peace of mind and happiness as easily as a child does a flock of pigeons.

And so I return to the writing. Like a beggar to his bowl. So I return to these words and wait for inspiration to come to me. But I feels more like a lousy husband waiting for the wife he sent howling away. Now, he sits and waits by the chair in front of door, empty beer bottles clinking by his feet. Not the most perfect metaphor, but I'm not feeling like bothering with perfect. Tonight I just want to speak. Tonight I want to let the words pour out of me, and hope they take all my bile and bitterness with them, and leave me clean.

I was supposed to start a movie a few weeks ago. A movie I was looking forward to doing. But the leading lady got pregnant. Apparently she was pregnant while agreeing to the film, or at least actively trying to get pregnant when she said yes. So just as I was about to begin shooting, I hear the breaking news that not only is she pregnant, but shockingly so, way past her first trimester. And since then the issue has been the talk of the tabloids, which get funnier and stupider every year. There was even a huge article printed on how filmmakers now will be more careful when getting actresses to sign contracts, forcing them to sign "I will not get pregnant" clauses. For two weeks while the media has understandably had a field day, I've been waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for them to tell me what the hell is going on with the movie? Can I go ahead and cash my check? Can I start auditioning for another film, since obviously we're not doing this one anytime soon? Can I got ahead and shoot someone, just to get some catharsis? Can I go ahead and run through the streets of Bombay barking mad just to inject some drama in my life? Can I please just leave this country and industry for a while to recover some of the large portion of my equanimity and joy that I seemed to have bartered in exchange for living in this city?

Today was a bad day. First I had a meeting with a fellow that wants me to act in this movie he's written and hopes to direct. Young fellow, exactly my age. First thing he said to me as I walked in fifteen minutes late due to the wonderful traffic on these Bombay streets was "Bro, I've been waiting for fifteen minutes." I apologized, sat down, and gestured for him to begin the narration. He proceeded to knock back the first of his large vodkas and proceed to rant about the various retarded people in this city and all the shit work that's being made and all the retards he's forced to meet and talk to. I asked him to not speak about others and their work and begin to speak about his own. He asked me to have a drink. I told him no thank you. Noon is a bit early for vodkas, especially during a work meeting. He said you don't drink? I said not really. He said Fuck! I had a completely different image of you. I said I'm sorry to disappoint. He said I needed to drink. I would make me loose it. I asked him what exactly I needed to lose. He said IT! like he was revealing to me a secret only known to members of the Illuminati and Donald Trump and Daffy Duck. I said let's just get on with talking about the film. He proceeded to order another vodka before returning to his rant about the retards. Then asking me whether I was in or out. There was no money, there was no producer, and there was no coherent script. In or out? Then he called me "Bro" again and insisted that I should join him for a drink. I told him I didn't like to drink. I've had all the alcohol there is, I've been drunk enough not to remember a night, and I decided alcohol wasn't for me. I'm good. He said "No, Bro, you're fucking not." At which point I smiled and told him that if we were to work together it wouldn't really be a healthy relationship. Bro, why the fuck would you say that? I said because we'd end up having a fight, and he'd see what I looked like when I finally lost IT just before he went on a long trip to La-La-Land.

The second narration was worse if only because the gentleman was so alarmingly convinced about the shockingly vulgar and pedestrian story he narrated and kept smiling as he talked about the leading lady in the film being gang raped. You get it? He would ask me with the sweetest old uncle smile. Do you get it? I get it, Sir. She's being raped. I hate nudity and vulgarity, you know, he said with a faraway look he must have thought had been passed onto him straight from Aristotle and God before him. I want to shoot this film tastefully and with grace. The girl is getting gang raped in a van, but there will be grace. I get it sir. He asked me if I thought this story was as 'rocking' (Goddess, but I hate Bombay slang) as he knew it was. And I felt myself very close to losing the IT the previous fellow had been so desperate to see me lose. I just wanted to politely interject and say that I wasn't interested when he mistook my silence for assent and launched, by-the-by into another narration. I came to understand why someone would want to knock back vodkas in the afternoon. But I listened patiently and saw him off. Then in the middle of a crowded restaurant I found myself slowly banging my head against the table. It just felt so good to do that that I continued even after the waiter came up and twitched very nervously next to me without saying anything. I looked up at him, beamed, and asked for coffee like a opium addict asks for the pipe.

Let's forget the rest of the day.

Ah, my Goddess. I know you are preparing me constantly. I know there are many blessings I should count and be grateful for. I just ask for a little help here maintaining my emotional equilibrium. I don't want this city to so easily get under my skin and under my eyes and make me want to scratch them out. I want to go through a day without feeling the pull of all the poison that's so seductive when you're alone and adrift and close to breaking down. I want us all to walk out of this fog that's descended and back into the Sunshine of the Carefree Mind. I see similar signs in my close friends. We're all adrift. We're all surrounded by laughter and yet, terribly lonely. We're all slowly drowning in this sea of mediocrity they call Mumbai.

There are many things to be grateful for. There are many people worse off than we. But some days it's just hard to see past your own blues. Some days you drive through this city and the only songs that your iPod chooses are the sad ones, that crawl out of the bottom of whiskey glasses or are found in the burning ends of cigarettes the singer couldn't seem to stub.

This is why I needed to write. I needed to speak to someone. And all my friends were holding on to their happiness as tenuously as me, and I didn't want to pile my woes on them. So I came here. Thank you for listening, if you made it this far.

Some days I can't write about the happy things. Some days I just need to rant. The days you're feeling Blue and close to breaking down.

But you need to remember that you are being prepared for something grand. You need to believe that. You are going to walk back into the Sunshine. A better life waits inside your mind. You just need to actively seek it.

And I will.

I promise.