She Sleeps On

I have always wanted to experiment with film and spoken word. Found myself with some spare time after falling ill and decided it was time to give it a shot.

Turns out it isn’t easy putting a video together. It took ages for me to finally be satisfied with the script for the narrative. Then I had figure out what the visuals were going to be, take those videos and learn how to use the video editing software. There were hours spent pondering over how best to cut and stitch the clips together while keeping the flow going.  Recording the narrative posed another problem – my voice is naturally higher-pitched and not easy on the ears when recorded. Plus there was a background hiss that was really difficult to remove. So I had to learn how to use the audio editing software as well. Syncing both audio and video later turned a few strands of hair white.

But now, at last, the video is finally complete! Tediousness aside, I definitely want to try doing more of these.

She Sleeps On

Awake in the Beginning

We were only awake in the beginning

A friend recently took this lovely picture and captioned it “We were only awake in the beginning.” The caption could be interpreted in a couple of ways, but the real story is quite literal – two men having to work outside in the wee hours of the morning.

I loved the photograph so much that I tried to create a poem around it (and them, as I imagined it). So here goes.

Awake in the Beginning

I.

We were only awake in the beginning

Walking through streets awash with the yellow glow

Of streetlamps lined up as if waiting

For our arrival.

II.

We were counting down the hours, yet the night was all but ending.

The clock’s ticking so slow

As we struggled with Fatigue as if fighting

For our survival.

III.

We were breathing in the stillness. Breathing -

In. Out. In. Out. Fallow:

The state of being.

We could only wait. For revival.

Awake in the Beginning

Bathroom Mirror (Part 2)

I took a few deep breaths as I processed this. To not exist and exist at the same time – wasn’t there a scientific explanation for it? Yes, there was – I recalled something to do with an animal. A bird? An insect? A mouse? A cat?

A cat. That sounded right. Schrodinger’s Cat. The famous thought experiment used to show just how ridiculous the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics was. Particles existing in all states until it is observed. A cat was placed in a box with a radioactive sample, a Geiger counter and a bottle of poison. If the Geiger counter detected that the radioactive sample had decayed, the bottle of poison would be smashed and the cat would be killed. Since, according to the Copenhagen interpretation, the sample would simultaneously exist both in a decayed and un-decayed state independent of our observation of it, then it stood to reason that the cat would simultaneously be alive and dead. Which naturally made no sense.

Unless you found yourself in your mirror, looking out into the emptiness that was your bathroom.

I must be in a different world. That water that came out of the tap did look like it had a galaxy floating around in it. Come to think of it, I didn’t know why I drank the water. It was as if the water had just pulled me to it. Into it, into me. I was in the water, wasn’t I? Or was the water just a wormhole that took into this world?

I shook my head and it felt like I was either moving under water, or contending with a gravitational pull far greater than what I was used to. There was a resistance in the mirror that didn’t exist in the world I came from.

I could see my mirror-self in the world I came from. He never seemed to have trouble moving along with me. But I couldn’t see my other self from this mirror world.

I wondered what my other self was seeing. Did I even exist in that world now? If my consciousness was pulled into this world, then my body in that world would be just an empty shell, wouldn’t it? I found a devious grin snaking onto my face as I thought of Ashara finding me standing immobile before the mirror.

Ashara.

We’d met in the lift at the office one day. I didn’t know she was our client. The first thing she said when she saw me was that my tie was crooked. And then she ignored me.

I straightened my tie almost compulsively every day after that.

We met the second time at her office. As our meeting progressed, she announced to my bosses that she doubted my ability to work on their campaign. And then she said she’d give me another chance.

As I left, she told me that my tie was too straight. I quietly pulled it off-center.

*

There was a subtle shift in the bathroom in front of me. I couldn’t put a finger on it. Something, like a flicker, and it looked the same again. I couldn’t wait here in the mirror forever, could I? I reached my hands out and touched to cool glass again. There had to be a way through.

I pressed my hands hard against the glass. It didn’t yield. But it seemed to stick, like lizard’s feet. Slowly, I stuck my hands on the glass above my head and tried pulling myself up. The muscles in my arms strained against the weigh pressing down on me, but I managed it. I unstuck one hand and placed it slightly above the other, intending to climb like a lizard.

I seemed to get heavier with every pull, though. Peering down at my non-existent feet, I realised that a part of my hip was becoming visible – the part that was now in front of the mirror. Did that mean that my hands would disappear once they passed the top of the mirror? I had about five more hands to go before I reached the top.

For the first time that day, I felt a twinge of uncertainty. What if I never got out?

 

Bathroom Mirror (Part 2)

Introvert/extrovert

A software engineer, an advertising student, a kindergarten teacher, a communications executive, a researcher in physics and I. We came from all nationalities and our ages ranged from the early twenties to the early fifties. What an incongruous sight.

I joined this small group of strangers I found online in an arts meet-up group for dinner a few days back. Now most people would not find that strange in the least. Unless you’re socially anxious and introverted most of the time.

That’s me. Put me in a room full of strangers and my knees tremble. I feel an inexplicable urge to run. My mind blanks out and I cannot even remember how to introduce myself beyond the “Hi, I’m Meera” stage. My eyes bulge and my mouth gapes until I look like I’m mimicking a goldfish.

In any case, one of my New Year resolutions for 2013 was to get over that. As all resolutions go, I never did it. Sure, I met new people through friends. It wasn’t that bad, since I could rely on my friends to act as a buffer of sorts. I reconnected with old friends that I hadn’t met in years, but they didn’t count since they weren’t completely strangers.

But then came the turning point. In 2014, I found a group of art enthusiasts online and in a moment of daring, RSPVed to a dinner they were organising. The regret came instantly, but along with it came a small thrill of knowing that I was on my way to fulfill that 2013 resolution.

The day came, and ten minutes before I was supposed to meet them, I was loitering suspiciously outside the restaurant we were having dinner at. My heart was pounding and I was considering ditching the plan altogether (really, what was I thinking?!). I took a deep breath, tweeted, and was off, stumbling into the wrong floor and was being greeted enthusiastically by a group of people holding a farewell party for an unknown person. After five lines of conversation, we realised I wasn’t there for the farewell and I left, mortified. In desperation, I asked the restaurant staff for the table that was booked by the organiser of my gathering and was directed to it (don’t ask why it didn’t occur to me to do this first). I cannot describe the relief I felt at finally meeting her and hitting the point of no return.

Having sat through the dinner, I think I can safely say that I will soon be able to cross that resolution off my list. It isn’t hard to get over something once you put your mind to it. Especially when you tell yourself that having done it once, successfully, you can always do it again.

Introvert/extrovert

A revamp and a new lease of life?

This blog has been dead for quite long, which is probably why no one would have noticed that it has undergone a major overhaul. An overhaul that took me two days of flip-flopping between designs and a few hours of the ‘what-to-add-in-what-to-delete’ dilemma.

The blog’s now up and running and the blogger’s ready to go. I aim to post at least once a month – ambitious considering that I’ve so far managed 9 posts in 2 years.

Will I succeed in keeping up with this? As long as there are gems like this Sennheiser commercial around, I think I’ve got things to blog about. (Good god! What were they thinking?!)

A revamp and a new lease of life?

Bathroom Mirror (Part 1)

The water flowing from the tap seemed a little strange. Shimmery, although it was dark in the bathroom. I didn’t turn on the lights. There was this inner radiance you get when there’s a light inside a room made of translucent glass. Only this was water.

I put my hand under the stream and it was warm. But it was a cold night. I needed to know more, but I couldn’t do that by just looking. I had to do something. So I drank the water.

It felt like I just ingested peppermint-infused oil. Really disgusting – I closed my eyes and tried to keep that vomit inside. (Yeah, that sounds more disgusting than ever, but it was either that, or cleaning up the mess I made.) Anyway, when I opened my eyes, I was no longer standing by the sink. I was standing behind the sink.

Which is technically impossible, because the sink was welded to a wall. I must have been in the wall. Then I realised that I existed only from waist up. I had no legs – I couldn’t feel them, and I couldn’t see them. In fact, I couldn’t see anything at all, apart from the bathroom in front of me. There was blackness where my legs should have been, blackness behind me, around me. Everywhere.

I reached out and touched the air in front of me. To my surprise, I felt a cool resistance, like glass. I couldn’t see it though. I remembered there was a mirror on the wall above the sink. I must be in the mirror, then.

That made sense. After all, my surroundings would have been a reflection of the bathroom, so they wouldn’t really exist as tangible objects. And whatever existed below my waist were never reflected by the mirror anyway. I never saw my legs through the mirror, so they never existed in the world of the mirror. Actually nothing existed in the world of the mirror.

That was when I understood my own existence. I didn’t need a philosopher to explain it to me.

Bathroom Mirror (Part 1)

The Tale of Two Lovers – An Erotic Novel with a Twist

I found myself with some free time yesterday, and used it to read this one novel I’d been wanting to read for some time – The Tale of Two Lovers by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (full story available here). As the title of this post says, it’s an erotic novel. Not a genre I read, I dislike erotic novels. But this one I was interested in because the author (believe it or not) later goes on to become Pope Pius II. An erotic novel by a would-be pope. Hmm.

I can’t say there was anything particularly interesting about that novel, apart from the author. A lot less sex than what you’d get from books from the 21st century, which would disappoint hardcore fans of erotic novels. But even that I personally found was too much. I’m not prude, but I feel that when sex becomes the focus of any story (be it a novel, a film or a play) just to spice it up, it cheapens the story and obscures any merit that the plot might have. Sadly the 21st century is teeming with such books – take authors like Sandra Brown and Julie Garwood. (I’m only familiar with them because they were the favourites of curious young teenagers during my days. I’ll bet they’re reading E. L. James nowadays.)

I’ve got nothing against the plot of The Tale of Two Lovers. It’s a story of passionate love, which can be classy (take Heathcliff and Catherine in Wuthering Heights). Only this story wasn’t because Lucretia and Euryalus were one-dimensional sex-obsessed characters. But then again, I’m no expert on erotic novels, so maybe that’s the point of it all?

The novel was still worth a read though. Primarily because it gave me a huge ‘aha’ moment: POPES DO HAVE LIVES BEFORE THEY BECOME POPES!

But it did nothing to change my perception of erotic novels. If anything, it kind of reinforced my dislike for them.

The Tale of Two Lovers – An Erotic Novel with a Twist