Many of the houses I grew up in never felt like home to me. No matter how sturdy their foundations were. How well-cemented the bricks. All the fine craftsmanship that had gone behind them. They lacked the comfort and warmth I wanted under a roof. Or they belonged to an ecosystem that seemed alien to me. Their walls were sturdy but they held grudges. The ceiling fan was too loud. Beyond the front door, privacy was in absentia. And the view outside the window often a peek into the lives of my neighbors; how unhappy they can be when they don’t realize that somebody is watching them.
But in the winter of 1988, I found myself in a four-storied residential building in Chennai called Joy Apartments. My parents had rented a flat on the third floor. No matter the weather, its ambiance was stuck halfway between a siesta on a rainy day and a funeral procession of woodland creatures. It was tranquilizing and charming. On Sunday afternoons, one could hear the rustling of leaves, in the streets, under a broom. Or the sing-song squawking of the fish vendor as he crooned his way into our bellies.
What if you could bring back to life a loved one in small portions? Would you pick a nose hair or a toenail or saliva stains on a glass of chai? Or would you need something more wholesome to remember them by?
I have an enormous appetite for professional wrestling. I have been watching it since I was 10 years old. Even as I grew older, the obsession remained. People ridicule it because perhaps they haven’t connected with it. I am alright with that, as a fan, because professional wrestling is an art form. And art is subjective; something that one can relate to, find therapy in, get inspired by, cherish time with or simply choose to ignore.