KISSING SCENE

Varada Raj asked M to kiss AD on the cheek, he said they would click a snap it was necessary to portray their romance on the screen, M could not react, she got cold feet. This was not mentioned earlier, M who was so engrossed in censoring the costumes, had not thought of the directed intimacy on the screen. It had not occurred to her, that the director could actually ask her to kiss someone.
All were looking at her, she felt as though her feet were glued to the ground.

“ Why did you come to this room if you did not want to kiss me, put that dead butterfly that side, you need not cry for that, don’t play hard to get I know you little cheat” before she could run he closed that door , she was leaning against it petrified, “ Kiss me or I will touch you , in a way You don’t like” she stood on her toes and kissed his cheek chastely, making sure that her body did not touch him, he grabbed her any way and it hurt something much softer than her incomplete body, that undeveloped first stirrings of an immature woman, sensing that something wrong was done to her.

To refuse this shot, would create more noise. Why was she saving herself, for whom?. She stood beside AD , the shot number was called camera rolling, action were chanted , she stood on her toes and kissed him chastely on the cheek, he pretended surprise when the automatic camera clicked, and the moving camera captured it. There were no retakes.

Everyone was relieved. M walked to a distance and put the chair behind a tree, tears rolled, uncontrollable sobs racked her, “This was not right’ kissing someone for an act, she should not have. Kissing some one to get even with someone else, no that was abusing her self. To disassociate action and emotion was immoral. May be if she had not kissed her cousin , he might not have touched her, she had believed him, to be her brother, she did not know what a brother could do or could not do, she could not have confided in anyone.

When she removed her face from her hands , Rakesh stood looking at her with concern “ Listen Candy stripes, with all that mascara running down your cheeks you look like Omen part 2” Madhu was too upset to face a stranger with a straight face. “Please get the hell out of here, I don’t need you” she walked to where her mother was seated, Shanthala was angry, she looked at M disapprovingly “Why did you do it? You could have refused.” M was panicky, “But you wanted me to do this film”“Not this scene, you need not have” Her mother managed to make her feel guilty, anyways, how to refuse , how many things to refuse , she was doing this for her mother! M sat feeling crestfallen, Rakesh looked at her eyes welling up with fresh tears.She hated him understanding her, as against her mother, though she desperately wanted someone to understand.

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LONELINESS

Sunrise in a mortuary
Moon rise in a monastery
Ancient love letter of an
emotionally unavailable lover
A bonfire of memories
Unsent valentine’s card
searching for an address
An unbroken heart line
mockingly rising towards
an idealistic mount of Jupiter
The smell of your perfume on another
The back of somebody else
a gait or stance or voice
that resembles yours
I look disinterested with effort
It can not be “You”
Loneliness has many metaphors
The one I never spell
is you.

MATCH BOX OF SYMBOLS

Upright cross is an addition or medicine
Dash a trail of meanings
Whatever remains after sound ?
An open eye with out lashes
With vertical brows is exclamation
A slit eye is division
A fallen cross is multiplication
Is it wrong ?
I is unlit matchstick
wanting to become your flame
Misfit in any bracket
Not interested in
inverted comma
Not ending in full stop

MASK AS THE OPPOSITE OF FACE

Some little girls were not allowed to be innocent. Innocence was not mere absence of sin, Innocence was not knowing that there was sin. That passion M projected as Cleopatra, as Radha in Geetha Govindam, as the juvenile scam in “ she’s got the look” was like the tear shedder of Padmini. That one role she never dared to play in real life, being projected, again and again ……….Hoping that artifice would some distant night release the real passion…………

FLASH BACK

That second hand pushed underneath the weight of her body to reach the other breast. Her right wrist bangles were crushed into irregular sized pieces. Bloody scratches stained the blue inky hands and the white petticoat was a colourful array of blue ink,and motley of red blood. The loose sleeve hole of the undergarment tore open, to give a full view of her whole self, like a half open book covered by a half torn unwritten first white sheet.

ABUSED MOTHER

“I think Padmini is a hurt, helpless mother, who could not protect her child from an abusive relationship, she herself knew nothing better. That soft, trembling shy , woman who is invariably victimised by either husband or fate or her own virtue that she essays in every movie is the one role she never could play in her real life , she was too tough , she survived even abuse , so she is projecting that vulnerable self again and again …poor thing”

PRICE OF FAME

An old client of padmini wants her daughter for the night and Padmini, ends up killing that man, was enacted in frenzy, padmini cried after the scene hysterically, with Jnanesh consoling her.

Padmini was excited that day, she sat next to M who tried to calm her, Padmini suddenly looked at M seriously and said “Please don’t continue in this field, don’t sell yourself, this art is for those who have lost every shred of themselves,” It was stuffy inside that palace, Padmini removed her pallu, exposing her bosom , hitting on it in a dramatic way said “I told Seema not to do this,she did not listen ,she thought I was jealous of her growth, my own daughter, now she has 2years old son and no husband, does petty roles, drinks like a fish,I chant prayer every day, why I don’t know, at first they want your body they describe your ass and nose, then it is your money, next they want your contacts, muck it is, that is love in this industry” there was such anguish in this outburst.Almost as much anguish as in that forced silence of her grand aunt a child widow.
This was the loud articulation of a similar loneliness. It did not look artistic, it rang true. “My first husband sold me, my second husband wanted to sleep with my daughter, and yes I even got jealous she was young.”Padmini never used glycerine for the crying scenes, those tear glands also listened to the director, when camera was rolling, the glands would act.

WITHERED LEAF

A banyan leaf was stored
between the pages of a book
Not opened for years
Book was searched and consulted
to help another
The old leaf was a surprise
Chlorophyll had lost its essence
Just a network of veins
The frame work is all that remained
I could see though the leaf
a world of forgotten faces
Neglected knowledge of letters
Delicate because of all that inattention.
Unacceptably dead and beautifully fragile
Completely useless

UNHEARD SHOTS

To lose a loving husband prematurely to death, having to rear a little girl alone with no formal education, working in houses as a helper was not a very uncommon, tragedy. The scenes where she is a recipient of unwanted sexual attention by employers, undergoing varied degrees of sexual abuse, unnerved M. A woman being subjected to abuse repeatedly, makes it her livelihood finally, claiming it to be her choice. M seldom watched scenes of sexual violence even in the privacy of her home on television. So to see it being enacted live was horror.

The strong odour and smoke of tortoise mosquito coil shed ashes in concentric circles,smooth red oxide floor of a stair case, rows of beds spread on the floor,accommodating the deep slumber of several childhoods under one grand father roof, spilt blue ink wiped by childish pudgy palms, cupboard of books smelling with dead silver fish.Dialogues of a cinema hall next door wafting through the hot air,her bed sheet in a crumpled lump between her and a baby cousin holding her with his head touching her abdomen. One arm from behind her insinuating between her out stretched arm and the side out line of her sleeping,sleeveless white petti coat fiddling with her half formed small breasts.Her long hair caught between her back buttons and his thighs as that male body pressed against her.

These images flashed across her mind with an intense urgency, her mother was engrossed watching Padmini, M slowly slipped out of the sets and sat near a full length antique mirror of the palace, in the darkness of the adjoining room. The smell of tobacco smoke assailed her nostrils, making her sneeze; “Shit, man I am sorry I didn’t know any one was here” blurted Rakesh, the guy with longish hair. M did not talk.

LOVE POEM

You can’t possess my wounds
They have several layers
You have to get in to heal the core

Like the seed you have to sprout
Tearing me is the only way to sew me

You know something ? You can’t tear
What is already torn
So lets forget this darn and waste of yarn

Give me your wounds, let’s mix and match
For each of my wounds you take,
I take two of your’s

I lick your wounds
You swallow my tears
Lets write a joint poem in the night sky …….