Thursday, February 17, 2005

From Tehran

From: "The Last Star"
To: "Ari"
Sent: Friday, February 11, 2005 12:30 PM
Subject: Re: where are you hiding, my last star?

Oh! Ari, Ari Aziz...

I am so crazy and lazy girl, too,...serious.
These days, I walk in snow, listen to BACH and, all.
After my exhibition,...I'm depress,....I could'nt sell my
paintings and sculptures,...any Iran ( same every where) people
sell simply art works, thing for adaptation with their furniture, but my
works weren't good for furniture,...mmmm,...dead beetle, mug, old
watch, adjustable spanner, sun flower, saxophone and my hand, my hand, my
hand ... no no Ari ..people don't like these works, they don't like my
world, my solitude world...and critics and journalists like every art works
then people like...ha ha ha...any way....I'm so tired and poor! ...Then I
walk in snow, all,...and so sorry for late writting to you.
Tell me about you, in winter, about your motorbike (new!) and your wishes!!!!
warmly and kiss

Monday, February 14, 2005

On the Way to Jaisalmer

"Will you watch my stuff when I'm gone?"
"I sure will, don't you worry pal."

And then he led him to the execution chamber. That was when they had the electric chair, i think. I was curious what happened to the packet after the black man was dead. Did it reach his wife? What did he have in it? He must have made sketches, of people around him, of the jailer, the sentries, the other inmates, of his daughter, probably of his girlfriend too.

I watched the execution, despite being very scared about it. I have to watch a death happen. And suffer the nightmares for months after that. I always try to see how a knife slits the throat of a poor chicken, probably half dead by the time it is picked up, neck twisted. Done with elan, by practiced hands, unfeeling. I watch. I pretend I am not affected. I am macho, I ride a heavy motorbike, how can I be flustered watching someone die?

The morning when Dhananjoy was executed, I stayed up from 3.00 a.m. till about 5.30, thinking how long his body must have twitched after death, hanging from that rope. What is it with me? Is it the horror of the thought? The thought that the state can coldbloodedly decide to take one's life?
If it is the horror, why did I want to be a hangman? Where exactly am I?

I am on the highway. My money seems to be running out pretty fast, although I found free accommodation every night so far. Won't have any such luck as I get into Rajasthan. Jaisalmer? When did I watch Shonar Kella? Must have been more than twenty years now? Sometimes I forget how old I am . . . people like her make me forget how old I am.

She has a very beautiful smile. Maybe I could have met her in Bombay. Why didn't I? Someday I will tell her that I find her very beautiful. Will she feel good? Will she get pissed off? Nah, one thing I've known in these thirty years . . . pay a heartfelt compliment to someone, he/she is definitely gonna feel good. So I will tell her that I had a mild crush on her. Let me see how she takes it. Maybe tonight when I surf the Net?

What if we suddenly connect? What if she writes back and I feel this absurd urge to take a U turn and head back towards Bombay? One thing's for certain: I cannot afford hotel bills. I have my tent with me, which I can't pitch anywhere in Bombay.

Why am I thinking absurd things?

But you gottu be prepared for eventualities!

What eventualities? I am going to Jaisalmer. I have to see the sandstone fort, the golden fortress. Why am I thinking of going back to Bombay?

Who's this new "she"?

She is a mother of two.

So what, isn't it all about being able to connect?

Connect and what? I cannot afford to be in Bombay. Where will I put up?

Whenfrom have you started thinking about consequences? Why did you set off on this journey in the first place? What has happened to you?

Okay, so she hasn't even written, Ari. Don't you assume so much far ahead.

If I don't, I will cease to exist. I will cork my imagination and it will find outlets in other things. I could make a few sketches, for instance.

Keep riding.

I kept riding at a steady pace of 80 kmph. Mentally converting it into miles per hour. For my American friends. Someday I want to drive a left-hand-driven vehicle. But I need manual transmission . . .

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Moving On

"So where are you headed now?"


"don't be kidding, how will you go to Tehran? Why anyway?"

"What do you mean how will I get there. I can choose to ride my motorbike, or take a flight from Bombay."

"Is there anybody you will meet there? Why Tehran of all places?"

"Yes, I want to see the last star in the morning sky..." I laugh.

"Don't try juvenile poetry early in the morning, Ari, go brush your teeth first."

"Oh no, she is called Jinoos, meaning 'the last star in the morning sky'. I will be meeting her."

I am not going to Tehran anyway. But I can't tell her that. I have to move on. Not possible if I leave any traces. I have to find a new life where my past will not haunt me anymore.

"Oh, a girl? Ari, I really don't understand you. Who is this Jinoos by the way? How do you know her?"

"Don't be a nag. You sound like you are married to me or something. I'm not even sure you have the right to ask so many questions."

She quietly left the room.

I don't know if she had any more visions after that. I left Pune and rode on. Stopped near Nerul for a while to get my chain tightened and moved on again. Jinoos is this sculptor friend of mine from Tehran. Very, very pretty. Very pretty indeed. Yeah, that itself is reason enough to go to Tehran, but don't be a fool now. Don't get waylaid by the lure of beautiful faces. Someday you will have your harem, but now is not the time. So my mobike chugged ahead, its steady, pleasant thump almost transponding me to another world.