Twice a month the raddi wala cycles through Clover Village.
We met in Ladakh. I had gone on a trip with two other friends and he was in Leh for some work. He is in the Army and was posted in Kargil at the time. All of us cycled down Khardungla. I fell (quite a few times) and he helped me and, nauseatingly cute as it sounds, it remains absolutely our best memory. Then, we met again in Srinagar where he was sent for work. We met quite a few times in Delhi on his way to Pune and back, started seeing each other, breaking up shy of four months. When we got back together we decided to get married. He promised to build me bathrooms.
Sashwati and Samrat got married last month. Twice. Once in Assam (where she’s from) and a few days later in Pune (where he’s from). Sash commissioned this graphic as a wedding present.
Shruti met JD on June 21 this year. To mark six months she gave him a book of their email correspondence and commissioned this design for the cover.
Anjali in front of her house, St Georges Street, Norwich.
Genghis Khan lives on an island in the Caribbean. He’s best friends with Louie Armstrong (black, stout, his size) and Talos (giant, white, 6 times his weight). He is generally disobedient (though he does tricks on command), extremely affectionate, feisty and loves attention. He frequently picks fights with dogs five times his size. Favourite move: the kung-fu face-slap (especially on big dogs, because he can SURPRISE come at them slapping from below their heads).
Genghis belongs to Kate who commissioned this portrait.
I gave my first guitar exam when I was in Class X. Most of October and November that year I’d cycle to St Cecilia’s School of Music early morning and practise on Fr Vincy’s guitar. And after, on the way to school, I’d pass these buffaloes walking slowly on one of the by-lanes that connect the Command Hospital to Sholapur Highway. Some days they’d be a cowherd walking close, with a stick in his hand. But most of the time the buffaloes seemed to be on their own, sure of their way home.
Certain songs belong to certain people. Smells are a bit like that too. Eucalyptus oil always gives me visuals of the rest rooms at the Ooty Club. Petrol puts me in the backseat of a car on a day so hot its almost claustrophobic.
Several times a week I pass buffaloes walking across a road in Pune Camp. They cross in the same way, slowly, unaware of the traffic jam behind them. When I’m in the car, I’ll tap the steering wheel muttering, “come on, come on… move move move,” aware that no one but me will notice my impatience or care. I think of how if my grandmother was sitting next to me, she would say, “You know what your Ajja called buffaloes on the road? Brake inspectors.”
But when I’m not in the car with the windows drawn up and the AC on, if I’m on the street or in an auto rickshaw or riding a bike, then that particular water buffalo smell changes reality for a moment. For a fraction of a second, I’m cycling in my uniform, fingers tingling after an hour’s worth of guitar practise, rushing to get to school before the bell for assembly rings.
A few months ago, I got a whole lot of these cards made.
Printed on one side on thick A6 paper, they work a bit like, and are the same size as post cards. The plan was to sell them: a set of 3, couriered anywhere in India for Rs200. But I never got around to it.
Instead, I started carrying a few along with me, writing notes at the back and distributing them: thank you messages, birthday wishes, happy Thursday couplets, rhymes, limericks… As a small surprise, sometimes I’d leave them lying about for friends to find. This didn’t always work. While Remuna called me as soon as she discovered a note in her microwave and Chandan pinned the thank you note I left on his office pin board, I never did find out whether Shruti found hers.
I do have a few left. The price is the same: Rs200 for the set. Let me know if you’d like a set.
The other day I saw a small boy standing in a crate of onions. It was outside a kirana store. His mother was sitting by him, sorting the big onions from the small. His brother was near by, playing with a ball and occasionally threw it at him, making him cry out aloud.
Neha says she wouldn’t mind standing in a crate of onions. I guess I wouldn’t have minded either.
A couple of years ago, I heard a story from my uncle that had obviously been repeated over and over and now came to define that age in my life to that part of my family. Different anecdotes live with different relatives. Some always think of me as a baby looking and pointing at stars and talking about myself in the third person. This one though, was about how when I was two or maybe three years old, I loved onions so much that I wanted to give one to my mother on her birthday.
Dear Saaz Aggarwal aka “Mumma”
On Saturday I went to Bohri Ali. That’s a street off Laxmi Road that leads all the way up to Tulshibaug and everyone in Pune knows for a fact you can buy anything there. No matter what you want, you’ll find it at Bohri Ali and cheaper than anywhere else in the city.
I wanted tins. Plain metal tins with no engraving or design of any kind. Elegant cuboids for coffee or sugar or anything else. I’d pay extra if it came with an old-fashioned lid – the one you’d need a spoon to pry open.
So I headed to the area, walked around for a while and didn’t find what I was looking for at all. Maybe Maitreyee will help change that.
On the way back I saw a small boy doing his homework.