this, the thirty-first day of august, two-oh!-and-oh!-eight : on onanism :

a loud rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. i heard, over my right shoulder the distant disgruntled muttering of two large groups of opposite charge, clashing violently on the outer fringes of the stratosphere, teeth gnashing.

my belly is full with warm rice and dal and thai-chicken-curry now, the rice made more fragrant by some jeera, and a pod of cardamom and some ghee dropped carelessly into the dish as the cooker was set on the fire. there is satisfaction, and there is some contentment.

it is the cardinal difference, is it not, between sex and masturbation? that masturbation requires that u move the world in relation to your rock-steady member. the entire universe may wrap around ure turgid appendage and stroke it appropriately. fast, languid, slow, still, rhythmic: all cadences decided by the frantic movements of the subscapularis, the infraspinatus and the deltoid. lesser muscles like the pubo coccygeus playing a momentary, if explosive, role.

not so for sex, is it? there, you have to move. and then the universe moves in response.

the extra dimension that it introduces is unpredictability. the price it extracts is commitment.

and lest ure beginning to sneer out the “sex-does-not-come-with-an- in return for commitment only – expiry date”, let me clarify. the commitment is to the act only, and to lesser extent to the universe that moves in response to ure commitment. it requires exertion and dynamism far more than masturbation does, and for this reason, asks much more of us, in terms of instant investment.

 

Take up a cup of water

      from the ocean

And there I am

   –Jack Keruouac “Dharma Pops”

30august2008

just a thot. that i shud write something here every day. just like that. no particular purpose, or even intent. at least, not all the time. just a few lines even, a paragraph. maybe more than one entry. just one rule. when i don’t have much to say, i’ll have to be snappy and leave.

rivers of blood in Aurangabad

it was 3:30 in the afternoon. the canteen boy had brought in chai in a little canister of steel that managed to maintain the muddy liquid in perfect steaming readiness. the crowds in front of the labour room shuffled, and the assembled congregation shifted just imperceptibly. the men at the fringes of the crowd sidled toward the boy, some of them stopping for small talk, some others exchanging notes for tea.

the women in burkhas around ward no. 28 talked between themselves, some of them gesticulating excitedly toward the labor room. the conversation was in hindi, a small island of perfect comprehensibility among the gutural marathwada tongue i wud hear all round me. they were discussing the woman (ostensibly the one inside) and her pregnancy.

i wandered off, losing interest rapidly.

besides, the chai boy’s canister was beckoning with its steamy wafts. a cup of sickly sweet chai was swilled into a cup, and deposited in my hands in exchange for 3 coins: two full, and one half rupee.

i wandered to the window, looking out of the third storey grill at the gray clouds outside, the thin drizzle that had started, and wondering to myself where the heck the ANMs could be…

(for those who came in late, the ANM= Auxiliary Nurse Midwife, who deals with primary level nursing and mainly obstetric work at the primamry health centre/subcentre level in the indian public health system. they wud be working in villages, as u can imagine)

…. so here i am looking out at the dirty quad between the surgery and the ENT wards (?) on the ground floor, the filthy go-in between across the courtyard separating the two squat buildings, the effluvium of the wards above being discharged into the gutters in between. i was fiddling with my fone absent-mindedly, wondering if the bus from the health and family welfare training centre (HFWTC, u ken?) managed to come after all, back from its rural field visit (it did) , and whether the driver yunus would come to the med college immediately to bring the girls before the wards close? (he didn’t) and a thousand other issues of mundane day-to-day irritation.

and as i stared unseeingly into the gloomy wetness outside the window, i noticed a bright colour on the ground outside, three floors below.

and i looked closely.

it was a stream of blood. roughly 20 odd feet long, winding and snaking, with a meandering course that picked its way among spilt piles of black-coloured gunk and hastily-disposed bandages. it was making its way to the pit at the far end of the quad, a red river making its way, inexhorably, towards its natural end. the colour was pale at places, the surrounding water mingling with the blood to create a light suggestion of crimson. at other places, it was dark, anggry vermillion, the blood-soaked bandages leaching their colour into the stream in the rapidly-strengthening rain. i watched, bemused, as the drizzle splattered into the stream, washing away the colours, and clearing the quad of its momentary rubral hue. soon the ground was back to its muddy colour.

the boy from the canteen had left, moving on to ward no. 26/27 now.

Mrs Pardeshi called. Yunus was refusing to come. Could I ask ashok to accomodate the nurses in the office vehicle? could he do three trips?

I turned towards the corridor, righteous indignation rising in me. there is a budget for this, dammit, i muttered to Ashok.

It was already 4.

Outside, it continued to drizzle.

 

 

The sound of silence

   is all the instruction

You’ll get.

      – Jack Kerouac

eighth-of-august, two-thousand-and-eight

and so the day dawns on us, eight-eight-eight, arrested forever in chronisled memory because of the olympics in china; the olympics, back in asia for only the second time since 1965…

and its not over yet, while china would have, by now, i guess, slipped into a late evening’s gunpowder smoke and confetti, large parts of the world will switch on their mobiles or laptops or transistor radio antennae towards some invisible spot in the sky and witness.

i wonder how i really missed out on race-based sports over the years. as a child, its the principal way of testing: speed, endurance, stamina. then the cold calculation of adolescence taking over, i began to demand more from my spectator sports. more style, more panache, more ouevre.

i began to demand that sport be played by groups of men or women, each side working toward a common goal, and not in linear progression, either. i began to develop interest in games that showcased proficiency in various aspects of physical endurance and prowess, in pitting man versus man in a fascinating mimicry of gladiatorial guile and ability.

even individual sports that i watched, like tennis, began to acquire for me the sheen of the all-round endeavour, the superman who smashes luthor, lobs doomsday, and still manages to toe lois’ line.

so it was bye  bye to races.

no more. aneesh introduced me to the fascinating world of the tour de france last month, and now, its the olympics that i upon us.

as evocative speeches and elaborately worded motivational slogans shall descend upon us again i shall watch the race of human endurance, again, with bemusement and wonder. and with a sense of happy homecoming.

“every morning, in africa, there awakes a lion that knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or else it will go hungry…………….. every morning in africa, there awakes a gazelle that knows it must run faster than the fastest lion, or else it will die……………  In life, it matters not who you are or what you’re doing. but when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

amen.