How I met your mother! (of all blogs)

There I was, a well-meaning woman who wanted to be on good terms with the entire world, jockeyed into ‘accidentally’ meeting my estranged blog, Awesomeness. Not particularly the soul I wished to see just then. Several things contribute to this reticence; I won’t bore you with excruciating details.

Awesomeness, the rigidly conscientious blog that it is, knew (I think), that I wasn’t deliberately incommunicado; it knew (I think) that I wanted to write many times, but I put the temptation sturdily behind me because of the writer’s block. Well, yes, the sidestepping didn’t happen!

Then, why was it looking at me like it wanted to strangle me? May be, these clashings of public duty (towards the reader) with private empathy (towards the author) are the drawbacks to the despotic position of a blog, I thought. You know the ones people talk about all the time.

It is still awkward having to meet your blog after you haven’t shown the slightest inclination to do so in more than an year, and it is difficult to talk to him (it was always a he) as if nothing had happened.

I felt extremely self-conscious as I waved to Awesomeness and was rather glad that I had a topic of conversation ready to hand.

"Busy, eh?" I asked.

Awesomeness: Oh yes, very! Comments pouring in thousands every second! Tough job, managing traffic here, you know!

(Clearly, not of the kindly forgiving nature, this one!)

(Awkward, embarrassed fake laugh. More laugh..)

Me: You know, I wrote some fun rhymes last year..

(Awesomeness to himself:  Her writing style is somewhat unpolished; in particular, the use of the words ‘you know’ far too many times for my taste.)

Me (continuing the thread): And two private poems and some mails..

Awesomeness: Yes? And they were well received, I believe!

Me (Deliberately ducking the topic): It's awfully awkward, you know, that we haven’t met in over a year and suddenly this..err..I expected you to be frothing with rage, but you are taking this quite well.

(Awesomeness gnawed a pen-holder violently)

Awful rot. I mean, I know..I know it’s perfectly right that you should be miffed.
You know, (At this point, Awesomeness snorted his disapproval of the word) I thought of you all the time, even in three-dimensions!

Awesomeness: Sure, you did. While re-watching episodes of The Big bang theory?

I, trying to make that miserable face at our outraged hero staring back moodily at me, made a sarcastic face, by habit! By mistake, I mean!

Me (suddenly becoming all animation): Holy crap on a cracker! I meant ‘this’ *animation* not ‘this *animation*’. Really!

Awesomeness: And that silly lingo is from the sitcom, I believe!

Not very enthused with his up-to-date-ness, I do the silly giggle.

I, quickly returning to the matter of original grievance, almost cry out: It’s the block, Awesome! (hazarding the nickname, I take my chances.) Sickening thing, you know, running out of ideas and phrases and ‘moments’!

(Sensing Awe was simmering down a bit, I quickly decided to take more chances)

Look here, pal, I was as miserable.  Of course, I was! Those rhymes were shoddy and what happened to my mails is anybody’s guess. You know it now, don't you?

Awesomeness: I know, I know! It isn't as if you did that sort of thing on purpose. And the mails, poor you! (ok, that is..that is a smile! Wow! I cracked it or what!)

(Men are nice creatures!)

Me: Thanks Awe! You are, you know, awesome!

With that glowing eulogy I was dashing out of the room, thanking my stars that I had won through a confoundedly awkward business, when..

Awesomeness: Write something today, and please, go easy on the ‘you know’-s and yes, no lame titles..

Me: Of course! Right back on track, you know! Err.. 


I always make mental notes of what I want to write and how I want to write it. I usually have about a hundred notes for a post. Most of them, read separately, are almost incoherent. But there's always a moment when these untied strands string together and drape themselves into posts. The notes work themselves backward and forward, until they eventually become quite plausible. I, then, merely write.

So, a post happens when these moments unfurl upon me. Else, the mind gropes in the dark alleys of a hundred incoherent notes, in vain. These notes remain as vague phrases and metaphors, prancing in my head.

Let me marshal the facts. Three months of rummaging through ‘notes’. No ‘moments’. An article on Scott Fitzgerald’s writer's block. I was overwhelmed by nausea. I always thought I could sidestep the block!

“One more day like this and I’m sunk!,” I told my mother.

“Read all your posts this weekend. It might help.” She said.

I read about ten sentences of my Somerset Maughamly.

“This is genuinely strange to me; there are whole sentences I don’t even recognize!”

I stared at my mom in silent horror. I found it scarcely possible to give credence to her idea.

“It is often the way,” she said.

I read for two days. Here and there, I felt the sense that these metaphors, this line, that paragraph, these phrases were exactly like the notes in my mind and the fact was I had written them into posts. It made the whole thing begin to seem far more like a practical working proposition.

I think my mom suspected that all was going thoroughly well.

So, she asked, “How’s it going?”

“Well, I suppose this was inevitable!” I joked.

P.S: Here, in this pool of posts, I found the fetus of my once deserted notes, my aborted themes, and the serendipitous joy of constructing an unsuspecting post!

"She is too young..."

Me1 (to myself): Well, well, well! It must have been rather an eye-opener, watching me make this report!
Me2 (in reply): No, I’m used to these bouts of brilliance! This is splendid!
Me1: The simple straight forward method never fails, remember!
Me2: And the analysis, particularly impressive!
Me1: The charts and graphs, what do you think?
Me2:  They charm the audience nearly as much as the analysis!
Me1: A well-made strategy report, made with care and attention is one of the most appealing expressions of human ingenuity I know of: a compact, neat, satisfying slice of human intelligence, a pleasure to look at, to  present, to own!
Me2: It beats me, sometimes, why a girl with such a genius, is satisfied to hang around here! With half your brains, one would have a shot at being the president or something!
By this time, we, err..I mean I, arrived at the third floor (that’s where the big guys sit). I cleared my throat and went into the conference hall, well content, looking sharp!
Now, in this hall, many a genius had been insulted, mocked at and jagged with contempt for five hundred years, and the flavour still lingered. The air is always sort of heavy and languorous, if you know what I mean. I don't know if you have ever seen those pictures of dictators with tilted chins and piercing eyes, inflaming the subordinates with fiery words on the slightest occasion! Now, you know what I mean!
Our VP, my boss, who was sitting with a bevy of the company nibs around him, sighted me as I entered and waved to me to join them, but I was too smart for that. I wedged myself in among the standees at the back, some HR guys who had come to ask for an appraisal, I think!
Me1: The essence of strategy on these occasions is to be as far as possible from your boss, ahem!
Me2:  Superb stra…
"Srilakshmi! Are you ready then!"
Yes, of course!
Me1 (to Me2 as a quick note): The initial atmosphere of uncomfortable restraint is only because I’m too well-equipped for this!
Me (jested with Me2 as a last minute note): There cannot be a thing better than dictate the spending of somebody else’s money! 
I’ve had my embarrassing moments; and in the one that occurred now it came home to me that now I was not talking to myself, as I had imagined, but confiding intimate personal 'gyan' sessions to the august gathering!
I checked myself abruptly, and with a slight decrease of amiability and with a sense of urgency slipped into a brisk incisive style of speech. This one, I had practised in the mirror some six times last night, so it came out effortlessly.
Everyone seemed attentive, and my presentation, rallying after an embarrassing start, was plainly going to be the success that I hoped it to be!
“We must take note of what resources and options are available to us and what is on the horizon. Over the past year we have focused a great deal..”
As I finished the “Thank you so much for your patient hearing,” I was only to trying to look dispassionate and not too impressed with myself.
“Very opinionated. See…(yada yada),” said another vertical VP, gruffly and without geniality.
Time to correct some misapprehensions, I thought.
“Sir, doling out funds cautiously in small amounts..”
“Nonsense! I don’t know where you got these figures…”
“Not at all. Absolute, cold facts.”
This another VP turning to my boss, “She is too young…”
At the other end of the table, there was a cough, a stir and jerking of the chair on the floor..
I interjected, “No, are going about the matter without precipitation…”
My VP throws me a quelling “it’s okay, cool it now” glance.
“Thank you. I shall mail across the report to all of you.”, I said.
Me (to my boss, almost evangelically): "I wish I could get him to see my point of view"
Boss: "I see your point of view. Even he does! But you see, his own takes up such a lot of the foreground.."(smiles). "Excellent, kid! Real good! Keep it up"
Me1 (to Me2): May be, I’m better off having a stub at being the president or something!
P.S:  In the pink coloured nostalgic pages of my blog, I’ve met fabulous people; with fictional names and real. Thanks to all of you for making my blog so really fantastic!

Two lives: Four compounded time frames

Of Ninjas and mood swings

*leaps with the agility, flight and explosion befitting a Ninja in realms of fantasy* (much to my brother’s chagrin)

Me: Hello?

He: Wow. That was quick. Speed of light, eh?

Me: I know!
*Pleased with self, the acknowledgement and appreciation*

He: Only your mood swings can beat this speed, I say!

Me: *click*

Of English literature and monosyllables

Me: There must have been a thought on your mind,
That lay rested on your tongue, when you called.
Wonder how happy it would have made me,
Had it dressed itself into words.

There must have been a thought on your mind,
That remained thinly veiled in its chambers.
Wonder how happy it would have made me,
Had it managed to transcend the fathoms of your mind.

There must have been a thought on your mind,
That will unfold upon you tomorrow or in hundred years,
Wonder how happy it would have made me,
Had you not killed it before it became what it could have been.

He: Sorry

Cellulite bugs and clarion calls

Me: Cellulite bugs are rounding you in little wiggly ripples of cheer! And then your clothes that no longer fit you and million pieces of your self esteem scattered on the floor will belly laugh at you mockingly.
(Ok! I exaggerate!)
*happy to have hurled enough jagged stones of insults to elicit desired response in the form of joining a gym or starving unto six packs and flat-abs*

He: *does cartoon-y mimicry of a clarion*
I’m the most dangerous, intimidating looking, warlord-boyfriend of our times! With every stroke of my punch, I will break multiple heads that stare at you and the strength I will hit with, I tell you!

Happy Onam!

*calls at five in the morning*

Me: Write a poem for me, no!

*Four in the evening, refreshes the office mail nineteen thousand four hundered and thirty second time, waiting for the moment of epiphany*

He: Dark adamant monsoon clouds,
Sway like tiny blades of grass in breeze today,
Drifting away they light up the sky canvas,
And out emerges, painted in most colourful hues,
Nature’s own rangoli to welcome the festive season

Celebrating the deeds of a generous King,
The nature showers us with a generous measure
Of peace and harmony this day
With the most beautiful flowers and songs,
It reminds us that ONAM days are here again!

Aside: Neither of us is Mallu.

Two lives: Eight compounded time frames

It was a cozy afternoon of July. The sun was sinking all over the place and all air held a solemn stillness. Down the meandering lanes, in the sultry café at the corner, as the glimmering lane was fading on my eyes, I, absent mindedly, captured you forever in the inky blots of your name all over the paper napkin!

All nature smiled. The breeze from the green meadows pleasantly tickled me from underneath my hair, and sang a soothing song in my ears. As we stood there in abashed silence, my roseate glow of hope filled the spaces between your subtle glances that marked the length between romance and Us!

Our smiles floated on the just-after-rain breeze and a scarlet blush remained manifested on my cheeks. Neither of us could discover what needed to be said next. For a space of four seconds, we had stared at each other, eye to eye. I could not tell who owned whom in that play of eyes but either concept made me happy!

The moon gazed at me from the steel-blue night sky in a divinely pitying sort of way. I met its gaze and strange things began to happen to my mind; if I wrote to you a letter, penned in love,
inked in desire, I thought, would you feel sated and happy or would you just throw it away!

I love you! Will you be mine?
Oh! How I had longed for this moment! I felt such an upward thrust of immense joy that I grounded my feet into the ground because I thought I'd rise, weightless, through the wind.

I grasped the full reality of your words only in the glimmer of love in your gaping eyes, two months later.

In the orange dew laden dawn, we roamed the smooth lawns and sat on rusty benches beneath spreading cedars, where we laughed carefree till time stood still.

In your midnight song, you took me to dream scapes where you painted passion with a luminous brush and weaved me those dulcet dreams. The smiling walls lustily cocooned our world and the windows lowered their eyes in bashfulness.

* * *

I woke up in the morning with a wonderful happiness pervading my entire being and I sprung lightly out of bed! Everything is emphatically for my best in this best of all possible worlds, I thought. I beamed at myself in the mirror and wished myself;
“Many happy returns of the day!”
As I stood in my balcony, somewhere in the distance sounded the tinkle of bells and from somewhere further, I heard songs from the shrubbery and cooed back in joy!
Happy Birthday, I shouted!

No more!

Sympathy? No. I want no sadness attached to Mumbai. I love its memories.

I vividly remember this early morning bus-ride to school. We had divided ourselves into groups of four and were playing, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Our team, we had called it ‘Bombay’, had said, “Win battles!” I never challenged this statement since fourth grade. I didn’t, even over the last weekend.

Bombay seems to stand above these dastardly attacks of reproachful helplessness, untouched. Bleeding physically, but untouched in spirit, in soul; tears well in its eyes, but it stares the enemy in his eye with a mocking astonishment at the discovery of his cowardice, at the discovery that his power is only an orchestration of his mind.

There had been premonitory echoes of this currish scheme of the enemy throughout the year, in his half-hinted attempts to shake up the nation, in parts. All along, the nation smiled its characteristic smile, the smile that is a man’s substitute for breaking into tears, a smile of patience, of holding back even under grave provocation.

Holding back is a matter of pointless indulgence now. It is only parochial sentiment. It is a virtue wasted on this enemy.

The nation feels a stab of regret; regret over the million lives lost over its glamorous virtue.

But the seeming corpse has awakened to life and to power, and in an oddly quiet aggression is saying, “No more!”

In the Muslim neighbourhood clustered around Chandni Chowk, from behind the chick-blinds of her window, the widow is saying, “No more!”

Amidst his insistent rattle on ministerial resignations, the non-descript opposition member is saying, “No more!”

The fancy-peddling young rickshaw-wallah who spent too much money on liquor last night is saying, “No more!”

The school girls at the bus-stop, giggling uncontrollably at the prospect of saying something in unison, are saying, “No more!”

The Seth, shooing away the little clustered whirlwinds of flies around sweet-meat on his counter, is saying, “No more!”

The itinerant street vendor, packing berries for the little urchins in twists of paper, is saying, “No more!”

On the CST train platform, the clerk, standing wreathed in smoke, waiting for the 8:10, is saying, “No more!”

The flicker of candles lit to pay tributes to the Hemant Karkares of India, the hope of the hundred million Muslims of India, the prayers of middle-aged ‘satsang’ women, the indignant voices of media reporters, the angry jostling of boys in bus-queues, the force of the teacher’s beating on the knuckles, the restless honking at traffic signals is saying,

“No more!”

---End of an era---

Sensational end of the sensational silence of the nation against terrorism!

What do you see, my Love?

He took me to the sea and asked, “What do you see, my Love?”

“The white surge lifting and falling,” I said.

And he set up the sea to tantalizingly undulate.

It then heaved and halted and hurled and painted a thousand hues.

He tenderly lifted my head and asked, “What do you see, my Love?”

“The clouds floating”, I said.

And he spun an omen of hope in their wispy trails.

They then carved the plaited girl, the majestic lion, the couple locked in love.

He pointed into the morning sky and asked, “What do you see, my Love?”

“A scarlet flame,” I said.

And he lit up its sublime and incomparable splendor.

The Sun then came to be.

He showed me the dickey birds and asked, “What do you see, my Love?”

“Birds flapping their wings,” I said.

And he taught them to fly unscaled heights.

They then flew from steep slopes to rocky piles, into the infinite welkin blue.

He swayed me on the swing and asked, “What you see, my Love?”

“Rivers and trees and cattle,” I said.

And he swayed me again.

I then saw a thousand beautiful dreams, of mirth and passion and love.

He looked into my eyes and asked, “What you see, my Love?”

“The sea, the clouds, the Sun, the birds, the world” I said.

And he blinked mischievously.

I then saw that it was he who made my world!!!

Somerset Maughamly

I laughed to myself awkwardly; the idea that someone thought that I was “average” looking was something too overpowering to be readily assimilated (for me), even when I was thinking about it some millionth time then..

“Do you still look like a famished kid from Somalia? Shucks! You missed ‘even’ the Gold medal..CAT07 and then this! Yea, CAT was bad..who ever thought you’ll not go to IIMA after that brilliant mock CAT season..You are taking CAT again? Girl! You must be having an iron grip on yourself.. Who’d not go bonkers after a disaster like that.. Huh? Pardon?..’bull-terrier's dogged determination’?? Is that what it is called??..Yada yada.. I can’t wait to see you..In two hours then..”

Glad as I am, as a general thing, to see my old friends when they drop in for a chat, I doubted whether I felt equal to that, to hear from this friend of mine. She is a nice girl but a trifle too jumpy for my generally cloistered life. The last time I had met her, she had wound up the evening by embroiling me in a fight with my mother.

Mummy, if she calls again, tell her..

At this point, a thunderous ringing of my cell phone interrupted me.

Where are you? I’m waiting in the coffee bar. I have a surprise for you!

“Two minutes.” I said.

Buck up, you lazy thing!”

She was sitting there with a guy and seemed to be in her customary jovial spirits, now as she dashed toward me.

You look the same.” She shouted springing at me and hitting me on the back.

This is bad. By Jove, this is bad; you must put on some weight.

Doesn’t she look like a sixth grader?” She said introducing me to that guy.

She had a painful habit of introducing me to all and sundry like that.

You haven’t changed.” I said. “Even my introduction!

She frowned. The guy laughed at my joke. She frowned again.

This is him. The pride of my life. Companion of joys and sorrows.

This guy was looking at me.

Surprised to find me committed? What? Take my word. Go and jump the dock yourself. Give up this “single” business. I look on you ‘single’ girls as excrescences on the social system. You are a menace. All you do is upset really happy couples.

The needle, do what it will, must obey the law of magnetism and turn to the North.” She said, poking her guy not to ogle me.

You are a menace.”

“You still look like a sixth grader, but!” She continued and her cell phone buzzed.

She was out of the café and on her way upstairs. I was left to entertain the guy. So far his share in the conversation had been confined to a rather dazed smile which was apparently his chief form of expression. I was conscious of feeling a benevolent pity for him. (If I had been the guy, I would have preferred to get committed to a volcano.)

You were the topper in your school?” said the object of my commiseration, breaking the silence.


He leaned forward with shining eyes.

I’m yet to see a girl more beautiful than you. I know this is bad manners and I must not be saying this. But there is something about you that makes every other girl in this café faded and insignificant.

I saw a change in his expression, before I could react. It was as crudely abrupt as if he had thrown a switch.

He said to her (she had just come), his voice jarringly offensive by being completely casual.

Your friend is really beautiful.

She looked taken aback.

I was reminded of a line from Somerset Maugham’s “The Luncheon”.

But I have had my revenge at last. I do not believe that I am a vindictive (wo)man, but when the immortal gods take a hand in the matter it is pardonable to observe the result with complacency.

A ceaseless flow of conversation poured in a droning monotone, rest of the meeting and I kept laughing to myself, awkwardly, feeling very Somerset Maughamly.

Chweet nothings

The wind was frolicking around me like a playful puppy, snuggling in my open hair and blowing my tresses. I was laughing happily at the little girls in my street who were playing curious games of their own invention. I was in a particularly good mood today, like I had been on all the other days of last two months, much to the surprise and suspicion of my mother. I was going to the coffee shop across my street to meet an old friend of mine.

An old man who happened to want to cross the road like me, was waiting alongside. He also happened to think that I’m extremely pretty and that the ‘proud little tilt’ on my head suited me. At least that’s what he told me. I must’ve given him a frighten(ed)ingly contemptuous glance because he laughed very loudly and even told me that he was harmless. Taxicabs full of couples rolled by every minute. A man grinned at a flitting colleague, and she had smiled back at him.

“Did you notice that?”, the flirty old man asked me.

“Well, as a matter of absolute fact, I, as it were, didn’t.” I said curtly. He laughed again and rather loudly.

“You did and you turned pink, my lady”, he said.

I had, actually, even wobbled in my tracks. The sight of couples, especially shy-shy ones, did this to me, now a days, and I, who had begun to weave a rose-tinted romance, lost track of what the old man was saying.

When I finally broke off from the labyrinth of ‘his’ colourful reverie, I heard the old man, and it seemed like he had asked me something and that he was pretty interested in what I had got to say in reply.

“Eh?”, I asked almost suspiciously, now. I was starting to feel that he belonged to the kind of old men/men that believed, every damsel has a love story and that she was only too willing to waive the formalities in return for their ear and advice on matters of her love.

“Did this remind you of him?” he asked, barefacedly.

“I think this is perfectly unbecoming of you, Sir.” I said, irked by his rather cheeky manner and by the restraints of the modern traffic rules. Old men, even normal ones, scare me, anyway, and this one seemed particularly incorrigible.

“No.” I said as if to end the conversation and looked at the large traffic policeman in a way so as to suggest to the old man that it is perfectly foul to converse with a pretty girl at a signal point and that in a space of thirty seconds, I could end his silly fun.

Much to my chagrin, he continued “It did, it did” and somehow the manner in which he said this almost amused me and I smiled.

A little boy had just come, for alms. “Get away,” the old man said. I stopped the boy, ruffled his hair, gave him a twenty rupee note, bought for him a heart-shaped balloon, and two of them for myself.

I waved the balloons at the old man. “It did, it did and thanks for noticing”, I said and I ran off aimlessly, sprightly like in a world of springtime and flowers and laughing brooks, in spite of 8 seconds remaining on the traffic light timer..


This kid in my neighbourhood calls up to me in the supermarket.

Didi, IIT-JEE ke results aa gaye. I did it!” I saw in his misty eyes, the look of a young man who has endured an excruciating struggle, had mortgaged his life for that struggle and has achieved his personal ambition, his highest moral purpose. He was happy. That non-contradictory joy which is like an end in itself!

I met his mother in the morning. I smiled to convey my congratulations. “This is worth living for.’, she said in her emotionally choked voice.

“Achievement is the only ethical and rational principle of all life.”, I said, bowed proudly and went off for running.

The result, for the kid and his mother, does not just mean getting into the best educational institution of the country. It is the spiritual payment in exchange for their consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed efforts and values. It is a concomitant reward for their loyalty to their values, to their judgement and to their life.

Happiness is only true to achievers. There can never be happiness in the dim-flicker of undemanding sensations. Parasites, looters, moochers and thugs can only pretend to be happy. Imagine a man with no achievements. Nothing is possible to him except the terror and guilt of a dirt ball caught in a nightmare universe. There is no greater self-delusion than to imagine that one can be happy being mediocre; it is like sabotaging the function of one’s own consciousness. Only a man with scarcely a shred of self-esteem can take pride in not desiring.

The profound pleasure of a student when he succeeds in an examination, the mad ecstasy of a batsman on his winning stroke, the smirk on the face of a strategic consultant when he sees the productive work of his mind on a client slide, the bright eyes of a baby eager to learn her day’s walking lesson — this is the pure, unadulterated form of happiness and it’s only form.

There can only be achievers and non-achievers. There can only be happiness and sadness. There can only be blacks and whites. The cult of wannabes, happiness pretenders and grays is sham and so are the men who cling on to these middle-of-the-road grooves in a panicky attempt to justify it.

The tiffin box

An hour with Scott Fitzgerald. “Civilization’s going to pieces,” breaks out Tom, a character in the novel, when, suddenly, a lady in my compartment in the local train, frantic with anger and panic, yelled to the passengers, to claim that mysterious tiffin box or have it thrown out. People were becoming uneasy and expressions started to sway and weave, as if cast by a distant flame, some were frightened, some angry, most of them, uncertain and expectant. We, all, watched not the rolling tiffin box, but the precarious balance of peace and the lives of men; we weighed not the fate of the innocent passersby on the road, or passengers on this train, but the unknowable result of unpredictable minds of unthinking men of unlimited power.

If the destroyer wanted suffering, he has succeeded. There it is: in the passengers of this local train, in the streets of Jaipur, in the faces of the nationals, in their whispers, in their fear, in their anger, in their diminishing hope, in their acknowledgement of the fact that this is much more than a moral catastrophe. It is unpatriotic to spread rumours exaggerating the power of the enemy, but, he is becoming stronger..

It is difficult to tell which community is being immolated to feed which community! And does it even matter? There is no way to tell which desolation has been accomplished by the policy makers and which by the undistinguished extremists. There is no way to tell who the cannibals are and who, their victims! Both are alike in fact, as they are in spirit. Both have held that immolation of men is proper, for their own reasons, and both are achieving it. Both claim that their misery is the measure of the other’s sin! Each is devouring the other, screaming to us that there is an unknown evil which is destroying peace.

..The enemy is becoming stronger but let him not forget that it speaks of our strength, much greater strength in refraining, in refraining from pulling the trigger when we are given a gun in our hand and we are hurt seeing millions of our fellow men die each day. It takes courage to strike back, but much greater strength to let go! Let go, this one time!

I still wish to see, in the chaos of the perishing humane relations, hope. Hope for peace. I want to achieve my wish to the letter, to the last bloodstained comma of it!

I know I will. Someday.

One reunion. Two fools.

Removing her coat, she stood looking, taking in the comforting familiarity of the scene, where she would stand against a tree and talk to him for hours. It had been almost eighteen years since they met; small-talk masking and holding at bay the pain of leaving, tears blocking her view as she watched him go. She had been unable to come to terms with the parting, slipping into a shunning silence when words had failed. Many times in these years they had talked, their talks stretched into an endless nowhere; about career, about life, descriptive as though to a child, willing away conflict, the reality, the procession of time.

She picked up her bag and went closer to the tree; crisp brown leaves pirouetted into the corners of the path that led to the tree, the smell of the dried leaves, and the smell of time, the surrounding ground, weed-strewn and poignantly empty. She stopped for a moment, trance-like, and it was all still there, the long gone afternoons on the laboratory steps, still somehow alive, the lazy smell of the coal fire, the songs, the squirrels, the wondrous stories, all echoing down the years, drifting memories, easing her back to a time, before the harsh reality of life had struck, back to those good olde days.

She remembered nothing distinct of the years between them, the years were blurred, like a streak of speed. She was going to meet him today, and here. “This is how things should be”, she thought, “It will be as difficult for him as it is for me”. She laughed contemptuously and easily.

Over the years, she had often thought, suddenly, that there was a word that expressed what she felt for him, but she could not recall it. She, unsuccessfully, groped for a word that hung in her mind as an empty shape. She could neither fill it nor dismiss it.

She walked around the place, and suddenly glanced back at the tree. The tree, in its immovable finality, told her what he meant to her. She winced. She desperately, for this moment, hoped she could tear apart time and re-sew. In the metal tin can, that lay abandoned on the ground, she saw on her face, a faint smile of a lost battle, a battle deliberately lost..

And then he came. She need not have seen herself in the tin can...

It’s the end of the world as we know it (And I Feel Fine)

I threw my arms about in an attempt to get my centre of gravity, my feet and the centre of the earth back in one straight line; to equilibrium. I felt my shoulder blades drawn together, the curve of my neck, and the weight of the blood in my hands. My heart roared. A roar, deep, full throated, not loud or obtrusive but calm and supremely confident as though aware of its power over all that beheld it (or didn’t). It was one of those moments when I actually understood the true and complete meaning of the sensation of belonging. A part of me wanted to run away from there, frightened by the colossal emotion, but there was another part, the one that prevailed, that wanted to just stand there and allow the power to wrap itself around me. The two emotions mixed in a sort of tickling sensation in the pit of my stomach. And I just stood there. Mesmerised.

It was my last examination at College of Engineering, Osmania University. I’d never again walk through these portals in the same capacity as I did today. It is the end of an era.

The post my Mom didn't want me to publish..

Good rains, soaring sensex, real estate boom, electricity in all homes, supply system of drinking water; Modi’s rule is auspicious and his one-liners, fantastic. The farmer is happy and the middle-class man is making lots of money.

The entire show about secularism and liberalism is good for nothing. They, at the most, decorate drawing room talks, text books and Barkha Dutt’s gibberish. When you are worried about where your next meal is going to come from, you, more likely than not, would not care about ‘merchants of death’ claims of the have-nots or the controversy surrounding ‘the two rupee coin’.

Liberalism is only an indulgence of the rich. If you ask my servant maid something similar, odds are she will give you a more venomous answer. Hey! And so is morality. And spirituality!

Don’t fight the vegetable vendor for a deserving extra onion or for that stem of spinach, he has kids half the size of yours; with their ribs showing vis-a -vis, the rotund-ness of your kids. And then, ‘corruption’ is imperative because everybody else is doing it.

The farmer grows the vegetable in sweltering heat, hardly managing a single meal a day! He shouldn’t be convicted for selling to the village businessman, 0.8 kg instead of 1. The village businessman travels everyday in those dilapidated buses, whose jerks can play havoc with what-ever intestines, add to it, the whole day that he has to spend in the infernal monda-market. Our vegetable vendor, washed out with hackneyed bargaining practices of the market, then commutes through the horrid traffic that is compulsively sickening even to the Ford-Icon driver. It is THIS vendor that you looked derogatorily at, arguing over deserving 3 stems of fenugreek instead of 2!
For these people, feeding their kids is more important than indulging in the rich man’s luxury of ethics/morals. And it is actually rational. You don’t need an Economic Times to tell you this.

They talk of morality and equanimity and their other scary equivalents. These are guys that make your evenings interesting, they sleep in controllable-AC rooms and move in cars that make even the Ambani boy’s green-eyed.

Morality is in not condemning these vegetable vendor type-s, in not cribbing for a 10 rupees e-top card, in not shooing off mendicants..

Tip the waiter in the restaurant, benevolently. Pay the office boy like it is his birth right. Don’t call it ‘bribe’ and make the society ‘corrupt’. Show your xenophobic protectionism here.

It is not the people or the system that is making the society corrupt. It is the moral police that is!

Of justice and flashy tails

I was reading some of my old posts today; there is more to the posts then what comes posts remind me of where I’ve been; intellectually, physically and emotionally. They are a like a photograph album, only with more dimensions.

People who either have a lot going on in their lives or nothing at all, it seems practical that they write posts. I confess I have no such excuse. But I’m sad there ain’t an ideological justification for the hiatus either. If I said I had better things to do then I’m only telling a conscious lie, one that I’ll be saying to justify the premise that there was a hiatus because there deserved to be one, and that it deserved to be replaced by a “superior” activity of CAT conquest. The real formula of the story is much simpler. I ‘actually’ neglected my blog and I feel like a fool of the first order, now. I shuddered as I was reminded of the saying, “"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” The words hung heavy in the air as if in suspended animation. My blog deserved better. It deserves poetic-divine justice in here I am; writing again. This is a very emotional moment, may I add.

I was writing a mock CAT yesterday. While doing a Data Interpretation set, I looked at the guy sitting next to me; beneath a fringe of moussed hair and few millimeters of the skull was a maelstrom of stress, of tension, of competition actually- the only substantive difference between us and the species we regard as food or pets. Competition??

This fact is seductive not only because it tells us something about ourselves but also because the answer could give us insights into things that’d help lash age old misconceptions- you thought intelligence was the differentiator, didn’t you!

I don’t say animals don’t compete, but we are evolved because we compete at higher, sometimes scarier levels. When a lioness catches a deer, she’s likely to snag one of the dumb ones. The lioness has a meal, but the level of competition among the deer has been raised for the next day. Result? The dumber lions will have harder time finding a meal, and the lions have to either compete at a higher level now or just drop out of the leonine gene pool. This way, the competition ratchets up with every single sun-rise. Like my dad says, “As is true of all growth, a seedling bursts forth into a sapling and thence into a giant colossus, offering, as it were, succour and nourishment to its teeming millions..”, competition has also evolved from the food-chain days to relative grading in acads to percentiles in CAT, and believe me its tentacles are only fanning out faster each day..

Why does a girl pitch for a brainy boy? Brainy boys as in boys with brilliant grades and IIM call getter profiles? It’s not a quirk of her youth nor is it a rush in her adrenalin, it’s a good reproductive strategy! So when a peahen spies a male with a flashy tail, she can be sure of passing down good genes; their offspring will have survival advantage! Survival in competition=good brains=good genes; flashy tails that’ll be!

The game is simple. Guys strut their stuff by crooning, being witty, speaking glibly, while girls use these as clues to sort out the best one to take home to Mom and Dad. The girls here have to be smarter, there are at a higher evolutionary pressure; they have to invest smartly to pass on good genes to the offspring. So competition returns to where it started off from; genetic code!

And..I became an Aam Aadmi..

People in the bus kept giving me weird glances. I ignored. The glances grew weirder with each stop. I looked into the driver’s mirror. My brother would call it “the smuggest look I’d ever managed”, I thought. I sniggered.

Like Churchill said, “No amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of the little (wo)man, walking into the little booth with a little pencil making a little cross on a little bit of paper,” after all.

The bus stopped in a jam. I looked out of the window, saw the Chief Minister in the Salaam-Alaikum hoarding, Eww! I huffed. The Congress party banner brought to the mind, Italy’s Durga Mata and her “skin show.” And ‘naturally’ followed the Rajnath’s 13, this being the only coherent thing they ever say! The left and Yechury’s “netizens don’t represent citizens” quip wrinkled my forehead to bring forth an ugly scowl on the face. Suddenly; all the ‘newspaper editorials-weekly magazines-articles’ readings seemed to make sense. I looked back at the hoarding with a wry ‘I’m-going-to-decide-your-destiny’ smile as the bus honked, screeched and accelerated. It felt nice. Very nice.

I got my Voter ID today. I feel like an ‘Indian Citizen’ now. When I got my passport, it felt more like ‘I’m only second to Whiter people!’ [Whiter? Oh well, my watchman’s daughter said to me yesterday, “You are so white!”] It was more ‘guilt’ than ‘pride’. I went to get the signatures of our neighbours on those papers and they asked me, “So, Foreign aa?” And evidently embarrassed I retorted, “No, just like that!”

The old auto-wallah on whose sawaari I came back home was not very excited at the prospect of my becoming a voter though. He managed to finally ask me why I was feeling so overwhelmingly ‘self important’.

I told him, “Ab desh ke netaaon ka bhaagy mere haath mein hai” pointing to him my nail that’d soon be inked!

Beti yeh aapki galat faimi hai!” he said poignantly and turned away to drive.

I indulgently inquired, “Aap aisa kyun sochthe hain?

He spat his pan and smiled saying, “Aap tho padi likhin hain, aap un sab baaton se anjaan thodi na hain!

In a flash it brought to my mind the deformities, grave flaws and egregious deviances in the executive, legislative and judicial instrumentalities that Krishna Iyer had talked about in his recent editorial. Disturbed; I looked towards the road, nudging myself to change moods, saw another TDP leader’s banner and went back to feeling self-important again.
The auto-wallah who caught my eye through the rear view mirror, spat his pan again and smiled broadly.


Telangana vs. Andhra..
..Lives have been lost, political careers made and ruined, promises broken, effigies burned, lies masqueraded as gospel truths..naxalites and their guns!
I’m not sworn by the concept of `Vishalaandra' [integrated Andhra Pradesh].

I want a separate 'HYDERABAD'. We have a distinct history, distinct language, distinct cultural ethos…Our aspirations are different from Andhras and Telanganas. We are a hundred years ahead of them.
Bring back Chandrababu Naidu. Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, World Bank, the Mc.Kinsey boys..the fellow put Hyderabad on the world map!

Reserved India:
Backward castes should ask for a separate country, not reservations. Meira Kumar, their Prime Minister. They can have their own IIM-A, IIM-B and IIT-M!
2 plus 2 is not 4..
Mishti”, said Mishti, soaring to an impressive burst of imagery, to MFC on her chances of getting that gold medal, “has about as much chance as a one-armed blind woman in a dark room trying to shove a pound of melted butter into a wild cat's left ear with a red-hot needle.

My mother and I were watching YSR’s interview with Karan Thapar. YSR spoke with a certain *what-is-it in his voice, and I could see that, if not actually what-is-it, he was far from being what-is-it. I wouldn’t be surprised if Karan Thapar dies in car accident soon. That smile on YSR’s face when he shook Thapar’s hand at the end of the show!
Rakhi Sawant is the best thing that could’ve ever happened to Bollywood:
On Koffe with Karan, with enlarged nostrils, she says in her Mumbaikar-slum accent, “Main kissi bhi aadmi ko mujhe choone nahi doongi.” and saying this, touches Karan Johar.
Heart-burns and A**-burns:
Richard Gere kisses Shilpa Shetty. Shiv Sena activists are Jealous. Media makes money.
Kids got to watch it all ‘uncensored’ on News channels. I’m furious.

MFC and Non-MFC. *guffaw* Don’t fight. *one soft low gentle cough**guffaw*

* what-is-it: The adjective that is used for describing a sinister, leering, underworld sort of animal, the kind that would spit out of the side of its mouth for two paise.

Clutter,sanctimony and the obtuse..


When I went to college last week, I realized that I was smiling at every geezer in the college, returning “hellos” and “hey’s” and “sup’s”.

I had a bizarre dream that night. The clutter in my room came to life, procreated and became more clutter, that multiplied 10 times and each piece of clutter bore zillions of little clutter.. I got up with a twitch, decided that I’ll do away with the clutter forever.

After days, no, weeks, no, months of deliberately ignoring "hidden clutter" in my room, I decided to spend some quality clean-up time.

It's astounding how many cords, papers of every size, shape and colour, discarded clothes, answer papers of class 2, shields, files, books and every other just-in-case-I-need-it’s and other sentimental pens and watches and combs, yes combs..I keep! I have too much STUFF…It totted up to 6 sacs of clutter ..and room features on most people’s ‘top 10 cleanest rooms’ list.

I decided to aggregate all of these little things; ditch my silly emotional attachment and get rid of them all. Clutter is like cancer. Left untreated, it only metastasizesà and not just clutter in the room, even clutter in our lives.

De-cluttering lesson:

1) The most important step in de-cluttering is “identifying” clutter as clutter.

2) Clutter can be a pamphlet that you forgot to throw in the waste paper basket or a relationship that you are brooking.

3) Throw off pamphlets and split up with people you cannot put up with anymore.

4) When you are throwing off the clutter, throw with force, it has towed your happiness all the while. Similarly, you can slap your friend/relation on their face if that gives you any pleasure.

5) Start with your cell phone. It is plagued with contacts. Delete them all. Keep only contacts that you have put on your speed dial. Even there, if you have contacts on all your speed dial options, beware, you are prone to cluttering.

I’ve done an even better thing; I threw off my SIM in the manhole.

I’ve de-cluttered my room and my cell phone..and the most deadly clutter of all--undesirable- relationships, I’ll kick them off soon. Very, very soon.


There is actually much more to the word than what you will find in the lexicon.

Sanctimonious people are not just the stereotypical saint-like, overly glum, po-faced people with a painful ‘Heaven-is-reserved-for-us’ kind of smile on their face.

Their false piety and heresy of quietism are repulsive and revolting to the vitals. They are those people who fake concern about your health; they want you to stay healthy, so that they can poison you and watch you die!

“The obtuse [as in dumb]”:

People who while seeing news channel headlines for deaths, train derailments, floods and plagues, must have also seen budget reports and claim that there is NO change in life; pre-budget and post-budget! There is more to newspapers than soft porn! An irascible “ha”!

Are these statements offensive? So be it!

The call to true human-ness, which is the prerequisite for a man’s personal sanctity, is anything but non-offensive.

The Birthday challenge

A birthday means that we're one year older.

This time it meant more…

It meant ‘bye-bye teens’ for me. It is scary to type, even scarier to live. I’ve just hit "The Big 2-0." It is not a tragedy in itself but there is something about turning this very specific number that I did not quite like.

I can no longer blame my teenage for my idiosyncrasies and eccentricities. Now there are all MINE and here to stay. We tend to compare where we are with where we thought we'd be at whatever landmark age we've reached [20 is one such horrifying watershed] and so did I. The results are not even remotely remarkable. I haven't met any of my Cinderella-style benchmarks. I don't know what I'm going to do, but with youthful certainty I know that by 25 I'd be tremendously rich and deliriously happy. Fancy that!

People like me should not be allowed to have birthdays. At the start of our special day we should be taken into a quiet room and sedated. When we wake up the next day, then we might celebrate the end of our birthday - the over-ness of it. I have too many expectations from it. Take this year; my own particular brand of birthday paranoia has been sleeping nicely for months but that sleep ends as the first phone call buzzes in my ear. I get a coupla early morning calls, but with each one I attend I think of another three people who should have also called. Why didn’t X call me, and when exactly did she stop? I can't stop thinking of all the people who did not call me, so I try to distract myself by yelping in an extra high pitched ‘thank-you-for-calling-so-sweet-of-you’s’ . I notice that most of the callers had very little to say; just a "happy birthday"or a "many happy returns" that had replaced the “many many many happy returns” of last year. My paranoia wants to know why there is no larger message, something witty or kind, and something really for me? Evidently these people don't actually care; they are just ticking the boxes of long-term friendship: calls for significant events, tragedies, or some other formula.

Without warning I am swamped by all my bad birthday memories: 'me' crying at one of my parties, me fighting with friends at another, me overwrought and crying on my first teenage birthday outing, me jealous of my friends getting more attention than me on MY special day, me demanding a friend to swap a goodie bag for the birthday present she had given me earlier, me sobbing over duplicate presents, over unwanted presents, and lately, over my ageing self. That is a hard thing about getting older, the baggage mounts and the fallout sometimes threatens to smother you. Birthdays are like challenges..I’m more like “Oooookay..okay God bring it on..bring it on!”

The knotty thing about this birthday is that it was ‘also’ exceptionally enjoyable making expectations for the next birthday zoom off to newer, earlier un-jaunted levels..
particularly..the flattering fan mails…. “Mishti fan club member roll no:6758" wishes you.. ha ha ha..!”

The next birthday paranoia has set in earlier than usual..this time with larger magnitude and greater expectations..Holy cow!

There is not even a ‘pretense’ of civility here...

Venomous language, bitter deep-seated ill will, prolix attacks, name calling, character assassination, back handed slaps..there is not even a ‘pretense’ of civility here.

“This is the first time she is in a terrible fix. I’m enjoying it.” , said the mudslinger to my friend.

I am NOT undone. I am not sitting silent because I’m doomed to extinction. It is not a cagey avoidance either. I won’t dignify those questions with answers. I could sling back the mud on the muckraker but I don’t want to descend to the gutter.

I’m a celebrated student. People are jealous of me. They say things. All the time. Hauteur, arrogance, superbia, and all its chance variables..mud slinging is not new. It is part of rhetoric I’ve seen all my student life. Only this time, it has reached an all time low.

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