Mushrooms and Memories

Delhi winters make me ponder on loneliness. It's the sort of painful loneliness that evokes pontification. As it evokes the urge for more cigarettes in a sunny dhaba over chai. Or on a chilly Sunday evening near Palika. Or in an icy auto at night, closing your fist inside the crevice of stretched sweater-cuffs.

Sometimes pleasurable. This loneliness. Watching delirious crowds in Central Park, from an anonymous corner. Dancing to Paki cuteboys. Or Bangalore Coolboys. Sometimes it's lonely in familiar company. Of friendly chatter over moongphali. Or amidst giggling girls in Sarojini Nagar. Negotiating the market value of export-reject jackets.

Last winter. I was introduced to the fearsome loneliness of walking up posh and foggy Defence Colony. Singing to a desolate streetlamp. To fight off the fear of the uncanny. And down the subway. Where the one-legged chap who sells moongphali through the day, would just be settling into a tattered razai.

This winter I cooked mushroom with peas and tomatoes. The way my kitchen-guru flatmate did last winter. Trying to remember how she used to cook it. Remember our quickfix meals amidst shivers. As her train left platform five. Nizamuddin. And I stood on the overbridge. Two minutes too late. In a Bollywood moment. Of nostalgia. And mushroom-memories.

Comments

Arawn said…
It's always interesting to note how we attach memories to food.
Anonymous said…
An Undeserved Sweetness

After the wind lifts the beggar
From his bed of trash
And blows to the empty pubs
At the road's end
There exists only the silence
Of the world before dawn
And the solitude of trees.

Handel on the set mysteriously
Recalls to me the long
Hot nights of childhood spent
In malarial slums
In the midst of potent shrines
At the edge of great seas.
Dreams of the past sing
With voices of the future.

And now the world is assaulted
With a sweetness it doesn't deserve
Flowers sing with the voices of absent bees
The air swells with the vibrant
Solitude of trees who nightly
Whisper of re-invading the world.

But the night bends the trees
Into my dreams
And the stars fall with their fruits
Into my lonely world-burnt hands.

- Ben Okri

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