Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Coconuts Away!

Coconut felling is a community activity.

There are a couple of coconut trees right outside my bedroom balcony. They are tall trees, rising well past my second floor balcony and bearing fruit at the fourth and fifth floors. One tree is ramrod straight, shooting out of the earth like a geyser, while the other appears more wind-swept as it curves backwards to look like a reflected C from my point of view. Both trees have their own private space to grow in, littered with broken bricks. However, they hang over the adjoining road like umbrellas, noticeable only when it rains. And it was about to rain coconuts.

A man walked up to the bent tree. He was bare-chested and wore workman-like blue trousers that were rolled up to above the knees. He stepped out of his weather-beaten leather chappals and left them at the base of the tree, like he was about to enter a temple. Then, as effortlessly as one presses an elevator button, he embraced the tree, put the soles of both of his feet on the trunk, and in a caterpillar-like motion, shimmied up. He used no apparatus, no rope tied around his feet to prevent slippage, no rope that tethered his waist to the tree to rest if he so wished, no safety nets in case he fell. It was almost as if he had been walking down a street, spied a coconut tree and decided it would be a good idea to go up and gather coconuts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Come On Over

I'm the sort of guy who'll meet you outside. My favourite is to catch up over a cup of coffee. I like having private conversations in public spaces. It makes me feel a part of  a larger world, while allowing me to carve my own little niche in it.

Today, I realised how separate my home is from my social life. My best friends - guys I've grown up with in school - have been to my place just a couple of times. Most people have never even entered my house. I never had sleepovers or pyjama parties or all night movie sessions. I've never hosted a party at my place. However, I've done all this in other people's houses.

For me, home constitutes a very personal space. I've long carried two distinct personalities - one at home and one outside. My belief is that entering one's home is like entering another realm. Amongst friends, I think this carries special significance. To enter a friend's house indicates a certain level of trust and belief in the relationship and in the other person.

I've always been in awe the first time I enter somebody's house. I'm amazed at how much faith that person has in me to allow me into his/her house and to see and partake in his/her most cherished, intimate possessions. Art on the wall, cushions propped on the couch, a messy bedroom, clothes on the backs of chairs, the colour of the walls, some curio on the table-top, the knick-knacks on the bathroom basin - everything adds colour and depth to the person. He/She is allowing me to get close, to know them more intimately, and that is a thrilling development in the dynamic between us.

At the same time, I've been a very nervous host. I've also been a rather poor host, unsure of how to behave at home with friends. I'm always making sure they're ok, they've got stuff, they know where the bathroom and its light switch are, they aren't found wanting for anything. It's like my friends are entering a world that is entirely mine and one that I am proud of, and in my desire to introduce it to them in the short time they spend there, I go overboard. I am an intense person, an all or nothing kind of guy, and the intensity really comes through when I welcome friends home.

So, if I haven't thrown you off out yet, then come on over and pardon this curmudgeonly host.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Somebody To Sleep With

Her hair tickles your nose; so, you bend your head slightly and bury your face in the back of her neck. She lifts her hair and places it on the pillow above her head. You feel the fuzziness of the hair at her nape cushion your cheek. You take in her smell and rub your lips against her neck. Her skin is soft and smooth.

You fit your legs into the '>' she has created and line up your torso against her back. You marvel at this perfect fit, like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle interlocking. You feel a little worried about your cold feet as you place it under her warmer feet, and she squeals and shivers a little, but she accepts them. Your hand is around her waist, but you move it and clasp her lower shoulder, and you pull yourself closer to her. You feel the connection at places you have never before, like your thighs, or her calves against your shins. Through her back, you feel her heart beating against your chest, and soon both your hearts are beating as one. Your breathing is tempered and both your chests rise and fall together.

In that brief moment between wakefulness and sleep, you truly believe that there is a higher power, a God. What else, but divine intervention, could account for this woman--this fairy, this nymph--whose body heat you are now sharing? This woman who is able to melt your worries and relax you simply by lying down beside you. This woman with whom you are able to have an entire conversation through pure physical contact, without the need for uttering a word ever arising. How else could two have become one?