Haiku #4

The rocks sharp like knives
The sea watches from below
As she toys with death.


Dear Friend

We were shooting stars once
Now you’re a cracker
Just smoke and illusion
A manifestation

We were deep as the ocean once
Now you’re as hollow
as the shells you wear
Your bones, they pick and tear

We were curious once
Now you know the world
Cynicist claiming realist
Pointing fingers at fundamentalists

You were alive once
Now you’re in a coma
A period of death, still in motion
Between recklessness and recollection

You told me once
How you’ll never change
Maybe it’s me
Maybe it’s the world
But I guess now we’ve grown old.


I’m emotionally attached to my calculator.

I’ve forgotten how much I paid for it but I guess it was around $20 because I remember asking my mother for $30; I wanted extra pocket money to have donuts for the rest of the week. Who knew I’d become so attached to this tiny gray computing beast? It saw me through everything, from Singapore to Kerala to Guajarat; even Malaysia and Australia scattered intermittently. It must have chuckled wisely at my struggle to understand exponentials for it had been born with the knowledge of e; felt amused at all those lame jokes I’d crack about Mdm ‘wobbly’ Yeoh, our oversized Lit teacher in Secondary one, shook its head in disapproval at our hooliganism, watched over me and Nadiah; her calculator and mine were probably best friends too till the friendship was painfully cut short. I’d forget to take it out of my bag on Saturdays, on my way to Benedemeer Primary with KitKat, Vicky, Nish and Yana (not their real names).
It’s seen me hop from one crush to the other, my teenage hormones cooking up childish thoughts of High School Musical-esque romances with every cute guy in class. It’s witnessed the change of my piano teacher, from the young, pretty and airheaded Ms Jolynne to the middle-aged-but-so-worn-out-she-looks-fifty Ms Wong. It’s heard my Kingsburg, the Steinway and Sons at Ms Wong’s place and my Kawai. It’s heard me fight with my mom when I didn’t want to practice or when I couldn’t drag myself to Ms Wong’s class because I knew she’d pick on how my wrists would lift up when I played the scales (‘like an octopus!’) and on how emotionless my Sonatas felt (‘feeel the song in your veins!’). It’s heard me fumble through Mendelssohn and Chopin, heard me play Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum a thousand times because it was the fastest piece I knew and I’d show it off to my friends. It’s seen me flit through malls, through shops like Popular and MiniToons, Roxy and Ripcurl, fawning over cute and even cuter stationery pouches to house it in, from kawaii Japanese ones to oversized branded ones.
It had a break of around four years when we migrated to Kerala. It’s watched me go through a kind of hell that I didn’t know existed. Then Surat; college began and it was working on a daily basis, enduring my fingers constantly punching and probing, questioning and commanding it. It’s seen the highs and the lows, literally and figuratively. It’s seen my every effort,waited patiently in my Smiggle pouch everytime I tried, failed and cried. Vacations, birthdays, it was always there. Its final trip was in my suitcase to Goa; at least it died in a happy place. I was unaware of its passing till I came back to college, when I took it out one day, a quantum mechanics problem requiring its talents. It was unresponsive. I took it to the watch shop across the road to get the battery replaced. The amazing thing about my calculator was that I’d never once in eight long years replaced it battery, a 1.5V AAA that served me loyally till its last breath. The cause of death was internal bleeding; the heart (battery) had lost too much blood, which had then spilled over to the organs (circuitry). Although we cleaned out the inside and tried a heart transplant, it was clear that it was beyond all points of recovery. Here is the apology it deserves:

To my calci,
You’ve been a great friend, one of the best companions I’ve had. I’ve taken your patience and your silent demeanour for granted way too long. It took me your death to realize how awesome you were. I won’t insult your memory by replacing your place with one of those cheap models like the fx-82MS with no natural textbook display. I’m planning to get the fx-991ES plus. It displays the way you do, its body is more sophisticated, one of your pedigree. I’m sure you’d approve of it being part of your lineage. The loss of my phones have never saddened me this deeply, though they held images, videos, music and messages that were of sentimental value. You stored nothing but calculus functions and the value of the constants I’d saved in you. I hope you are happy wherever you are. Your intelligence and your hardwork and your calculative nature will always be remembered.
With love
-your mathematically inadept owner


Death by D

Have you heard the shutter on an SLR, not knowing how the picture turned out, not caring either because that shot’s over and there’s still so much more to capture? Have you seen beauty through a viewfinder, no pixels, just real life, focused, alive only to feel the disappointment of realizing your film roll is over? Have you squinted through a Loupe at a negative and painted it with colour in your head? Have you walked in the rain to your favourite Kodak Studio to get your negatives developed, wishing you could go in and learn the process, meddle with a little hypo? Have you waited for days with bated breath, imagining how the pictures turned out, rolling the next reel nervously? Have you felt the excitement of receiving that envelope, carefully sliding out one glossy photo after another, marveling at the science of it all, how reels and moulds of plastic gave you memories? Have you spent hours labeling and organizing your photo albums, real, live ones made of paper and not on flickr?

Have you felt the pain of watching the dust settle on your SLR, its life treated to a slow death by the letter D?