Monday, December 29, 2008


I have been contemplating for some time now about posting about my religious views. I recall a friend saying that it’s nice that I am "religious' when she saw me visiting a Gurudwara on Lohri. So i started to wonder out of the blue, in the shower, today. Am I? What constitutes religious? Praying, thinking of god, doing namaskar or bowing your head at every passing temple (happens an awful lot in India you know), cleanliness, or just doing your deeds and hence your karma? The holy man at whatever place of worship is, he does it for a living, like I advocate and doctors medicate. So what makes him give up his life in devotion? Is it his passion or is it his faith? Clergymen/pandits/maulvis have rape cases against them that religious?

On most mornings I wake up with a small little prayer. I just look up when I want to say something to "God". It’s been months since I have entered the mandir at my house. So what am I? I even try bribing him in my talks, like if you do this I will feed so many of “your” people, or help them or do "your" deeds. Get it? I like to think of myself as religious but not in the conventional sense of it. I would not waste money over lavish extensive ceremonies in the month of shravans (got something to do with our agrarian roots?). I would rather build a school in my native land when I amass enough. And if I still have more to spare...give it away at schemes… destitute homes, lunch at prisons. I think that is religion. Serving people, hence god.

My faith however does make me question Him every once in a while. When I hear of a 5 year old girl raped, see hungry children on the road, read of the mentally challenged chained to beds.... I wonder, does He do this too? Then why do I go back to Him asking Him to redeem all these people of their pain and suffering.

And I do not even want to start on extremists, because they are just warped people with the most warped version of politicised religion. Blind being led by the nose...forcing simple unsuspecting people like you and me into either victims or reactionaries, driving educated members of our society into the fascists' street. Some react by denouncing their faith or the outwardly expression of it at least to escape being attacked at the cost of religion while some wear it with pride and defiance.

But go ahead and pray for I know he listens to some of us. Thankfully, I am one of the lucky few. No complains Big Man. I may crib once in a while but I am essentially happy.


He looked like a sunflower he told me. He bought me 61 roses one day, my favourite- assorted red, white and yellow. The one that was extra was red, for what it signified. He left them on my door step with two chilly peppers- one red and one yellow, with a scribbling on them- “I have the hots for you”. It made me smile and blush. I knew who they were from. They were from the eternal romantic, the man who is a fabulous artist, a brilliant singer, a poet and probably the best player with/of words. He had taught me about my microcosm. He used to make me feel giddy and stupid, pretty and ugly, smart and dumb all at once. He made me feel like a woman and a girl. He saw me twirl in a hippy skirt once and told me, “I want to own you when you do that”. He bought me a watermelon the first time he met me (a la “Satte pe Satta”) and looked like a jehadi straight out of a terror video (my roommate totally freaked out!). He sang “Last kiss”, with Ravi on the guitar and would have made E. Vedder go green. I still have the recording. He gave me a beautiful sketch once, fought with me and took the sketch back :-) That man is sitting in some obscure corner of Shillong/Poona. Lost in time... Lost due to my disinterest... Lost in translation... Lost due to misunderstandings... Lost due to 7 years spent in the vacuum between us... Lost because sometimes we make good choices, mostly we make silly ones and later sit and wonder why. So when they say in the movies and the countless annoying forwards that “when you care for someone let them know”, heed to them and heed well, lest you are the kind of person who likes carrying guilt and regret all over the world. SC, you owe me a painting still...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Like water for Chocolate

Love came and went... Or did it? We talk about falling in and out of love as if it were a joke. Like it’s vapour, condensed one minute and evaporated the next. Like it’s time-less yet time-bound. Like it will lapse into pages of history and remain only there, not to live forever in our hearts. My music player tells me how stupid love is. I think not. I think it’s beautiful but is that all that I have- a random thought? I don’t remember the feeling. At all. The teenage rush, the pink blush, the high and the low, the wrenching, the tears of joy. A part of me feels dead to the word “love”. I thought love was in the streets of Paris, the gondolas of Venice, in the London-Eye, on a train to Rome... But that is a blur now. Like a bad print of a silent black and white movie with moving images that are barely discernible.

My shampoo bottle says, Ques. “Which food induces the feeling of falling in love”, Ans. “Chocolate”. I am sitting with a big bar of chocolate, hoping to be hit soon...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tattered and lost

It’s generally our own we have a tough time impressing. They think we never do enough, or worse that we don’t even try. It’s the world outside of our protected/protective microcosm, which appreciates our sense of being or intellect in general. The microcosm survives on their collective efforts but the single cells never truly integrate. As critical as we all are of our families or closest friends, we love them, mostly to bits and never understand why they can’t just accept us for who we are, and accept our follies, shortcomings and our failure to live up to their expectations.

One drowns in thoughts everyday and yet comes out alive, sometimes bouncing sunshine off to others, sometimes deeply grey and different. I lose myself in my books, in my random scribbling, in my social life, in my thoughts. I lost my beloved 7 year old hand-made paper jute wrapped tattered notebook that I have written so frequently about. It’s like losing a limb, for the ardent scribbler in me who mostly doesn’t transform those hand-written notes into the fluidity of MS Word. I will have to find a new world of thoughts to drown in....

Monday, December 22, 2008

The inspiration and the consideration

I decided to become a lawyer when I was 16 and this decision was influenced by a hoard of factors- my favourite aunt is a lawyer, I saw “A few good men” and of course the infallible Ally McBeal. Today, I sit here wondering, 10 years later, why? Why a freaking lawyer? I waste and waste my skills way, the ones I hope I possess.

My father has always told me that I’m a “jack of all trades and master of none”. Probably right.
So I sat, amused, slightly chuckling, in the middle of those enlightened and those living in self-inflicted darkness. There was rumble, the sound of mindless gibberish. I sat, apart from the others, like a minion amongst the higher-ups in a magnificent court, watching the queen give her sermons. Like chickens running amok and the court jester juggling balls, the proceeding was a little fun, a little annoyance and a lot of work. The minion only dreams of a life far away, on a distant land, with a beach and a mojito in hand. So... Lawyer huh?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


The subtle amusement played on her face as she watched him trying to cook. He leaned over from behind her and held out two pepper crushers, one with brown pepper and one with red pepper in it and waited. She smiled and pointed at the red pepper. He zoomed out back to the kitchen counter and washed the cilantro, chopped the chillies and took out the roast. The aroma waved its way like incense smoke all the over the room and she caught a whiff of it. He had been waiting for her all day and was almost done with the kitchen when she reached his door. Something about her made him nervous, also got him excited and then made him fall for her. He wondered when he could let her know just how he felt. She was the most mysterious woman he had ever met. She talked in riddles, played with words way too much, read books he didn’t, painted what he couldn’t decipher... But yet, he seemed to know her. Yet, he knew he wanted her.

Friday, December 05, 2008


The lights began to dim and fade away. The only thing that stood between her and the champagne was the long drive to the man’s place. She got onto the highway and there was a steady stream of traffic on the other side but her side, her side was bare and barren. Fog made her blink a couple of times, but there it was, in all its glory, a black sedan which had joined her side somewhere. To her, the sedan appeared magically, for there had been no exits on the way so far. She came close enough to read the number plate, it had in a small inscription above the number plate, a strange symbol, like an om, but not really an om. She felt the need to follow the car... about twenty minutes later her phone rang and the urgent ringing brought her back to her senses. She snapped out of her daze and the sedan disappeared... It disappointed her, the sudden disappearance of the strange car. She drove to her destination, wondering what would have happened had she followed the sedan... The mysteries in life are the most intriguing and at the same time, invigorating for you don’t know what you may unwrap...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Spilled the tea and made my day

She was in the middle of an extremely busy day. Someone came around and left a beautiful bunch of assorted roses on her desk and she didn’t even notice. She kept working and drafting and making calls and writing furious notes and typing. Post-its and flags of various colours are the only things she could see the whole time. Her eyes flipped from the flickering screen to her notes and back. Someone left her another bunch of flowers in the evening, this time her favourite- orchids and she still didn’t notice. Her deadline had taken over her life for a while. She spilled her hot tea gone ice cold and messed up her work clothes. The brouhaha got her to mindlessly gaze at the flowers. She smiled wryly and opened the two notes. Two notes, same person, two invites to the same dinner, a date with pepper roast and champagne. She called the concerned person back and confirmed her availability for the dinner. Suddenly, the air cleared, she felt relaxed and continued working this time without any of the previous mental clamour. Sometimes, we need a small catastrophe to remind us of the lovely things in life.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Indolence unlimited

People must be waking up at this hour in my country, funny how I call it mine, like I own it. But this “waking up” is literal and not metaphoric. Unfortunately, we all sleep all day, all week, all year long. We sit and abuse our country like indolent, ignorant idiots... we complain about the dirt, the smell the shit on the roads, the poverty but who causes it? The Government or the “outside forces” don’t have a secret vendetta to keep most of us below poverty line, so who is to blame? Tough question and a very simple answer- we are to blame. Enough of us don’t work in development sector, most of don’t care about corporate social responsibility and while it is nice to know that the Tata’s do a lot, it just isn’t enough. How much time does a friend of mine sitting in a plush corporate office with air-con keeping him/her cool and comfortable, spend thinking about the under privileged. I am not suggesting that people in the developed nations do a lot of development work, but we as a young growing nation, need to. We need to participate in politics and we need to make more responsible administrative and police officers. We need to use our education for the betterment and development of our country, but well, we chose to use it to make dollars instead, nothing wrong with that if you contribute or create awareness or do your little bit. We need to do so much but all we do it talk and discuss and contemplate. It annoys me no end. Please stop talking and start doing. Please don’t say India sucks if you aren’t doing anything to make it better.


Before my flight, I got complemented on my smile and eyes by two different people, they were obviously doing their holiday good-deed! On the flight, I met a fellow crusader and we had a long discussion on trafficking of minor girls and how their rehabilitation was a huge issue in Minneapolis. She told me how they were trying to help the victims to change their lives from living on welfare to becoming a tax payer. Pleasing indeed. I stepped out of the airport and saw criss-crossing cemented snakes, whisking away gigantic land-ships and the smaller steel boats. The zig zag made me feel nauseatic but just about then a gush of bay-air hit me in my face and lifted the tired old spirit and egged it on to discover the new land. I loved the city, the quaintness of it, the beauty of it, the fact that it had a water body all around it, the big red bridge, the quiet streets, the bustling black Friday shopping crowd, the fact that it was American and yet reminded me of Paris and the fairy tale Florence. Through the crooked streets and old piers, I discovered a familiar emotion, fondness... Through the vineyards, I saw my version of the French Riviera. When I left the city two days later, I found myself dragging my sleepy bones through a boring conversation about doctors, their kin, real estate prices in California and about common Punjabi contacts. Ah, my lucky lil brother, he sneaked away while he could, pest that he is.

The boomerang has come a full circle. The sadness associated with disappointment had hit her, yet again. God had given her a super-power! The power being the ability to attract the wrong kind of people, and if they were alright, she had the power to turn them away. Perfect, wasn’t it?! The world is so full of perfect surprises and she would just wait for hers to come her way. The boomerang pierced the mind and the heart and made its way to the soul. The battered soul held out a last ray of hope and happiness to ward off the impending doom. Help always comes from unexpected quarters and the ambulance of hope was speeding to the troubled soul. Will it reach in time?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Do you have the feeling that the understanding of world hasn’t come to you yet? Do you, maybe, also feel that you haven’t learnt enough? Are you satisfied with your life, your job, your friends, your love? Are you essentially a happy person or do you yearn for that something or someone special missing from your life?

In Coventry, on a bus, a while ago, I met this old woman from India who kept beaming at me and finally I smiled back and asked her did something special happen? She said she’s going back to India after 20 years. Then my 80 year old neighbour in Bombay, Daulat asked me what kind of law I practiced, and if I could initiate proceedings against her husband. She saw the concern on my face and burst into peels of laughter and said that she only wanted to sue him for leaving her alone 10 years ago (he had a terminal illness). Today at the airport, in transit, I met a woman who lost her child in a miscarriage two days ago and kept smiling at me and asking me about my job. Lost and found. Lost sadness, found happiness. Have you, yet?

Smoke from the book

She had not made up her mind. It dilly dallied between and weighed the pros and cons. The sound of shahnai zoomed through the speakers and she tilted her tired head when she remembered old times, the lost school of grey and blue, the forgotten college of black and white, and the faraway university of snow and green. The insanities of life had been hovering around her head and finally came crashing on her petite mind in one swish blow. She is taking time off from the world to find her lost self again. She opened the book and like a waft of wind, the words rose from the pages and collected into a smoke cloud of thoughts over the paper. Like enchanted dust, it swayed and formed a mind of its own. It was going to teleport her, yet again :-)


7:25am (Swiss time) November 22, 2008

Today I have no news to read, no connection to the internet and for some strange reason, my Wi-Fi seems to be acting up. Armed with a book, a laptop, a cuppa green tea (the best I have ever had) and a Danish pastry, I start my day at the Zurich airport. Off one long flight and shortly to be on another long one. So here I am, embarking a new journey, visiting new countries, exploring more airports and still no one to have a conversation with except a brief exchange with the Punjabi woman travelling to Florence, out of Punjab for the first time, let alone India. I took her up to her terminal and bid adieu, lost as she was otherwise. Humans humans everywhere and not a word spoken. Conversations I do not understand, gestures that I can’t interpret, lonely empty shops, a lot of lights and yellow/red chairs. Thank god for my little red PC, or I wouldn’t know what to do for six whole hours. And then I met a wonderful lady from Bombay at the internet spot, who had just suffered a grave medical mishap. She was all smiles and help despite her condition. There is something we find, in the places least expected, in the corners of the world where we seldom go, and that something is compassion and uncomplicated, unconditional love. I sat and set my vacation responder for my professional email ID. Adios work- for a whole three weeks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coffee and news- the world becomes a “disturbia”

We get up in the morning, go to work, make coffee, read newspapers and wonder what has our world come to. Honestly, I am getting sick of how we as a race are progressing, because we aren’t progressing at all. Malaysia announced yesterday that it is considering issuing a fatwa against practising yoga. The draft of the edict has already been submitted for review and consideration. We talk at length about freedom of speech, expression, movement, to practice religion, to live to get justice. But then which nation really allows us this democratic freedom, and worse, what about the nations which are not a democratic state? Yoga is an ancient medical, holistic, meditation system and for all its wonders, it does not purport to change or challenge any religious views or violate written texts of any religion.

On the bright side though, the lawmakers in U.K gave their final approval to a bill committing Britain to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and became the first country to have such a legally binding framework on climate change. Ah, at least someone’s trying. May I suggest to all who may read this to at least get a green friendly email signature and also not to print excessively.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We are all made of stars. Well some of us are. The last week flew by, like so many others and held in its fold, some beautiful surprises. Kush bought a brand new Yamaha piano in Singapore (with his own money!!) and called me up the other day and played “comptine d'une autre été” from Amelie for me. It was lovely. Then a friend and I jiggled on “desi girl” in the parking lot of a convention centre. Then I cooked up some complicated dishes for some friends and generally had a good time. And of course, the Charlie’s Angels continued their tirade all over south Delhi, generally spreading Zingoo virus and infectious smiles. Life has been on a good roll, where one doesn’t mind the work, loves the friends and lives in the moment. (*Knock on the wood*). We are all made of stars.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


She stared at the photograph for a while, wondering about what the future may hold for her, was this to be a part of the life to be? The smoke made spiralling curves and rotated away in the thick air. There were the insane number of pending things, a bane for the ardent procrastinating soul. There were the calls to make, the proposals to write, the drafts to finalise, the letters to be written, the research to be done, the painting to complete, the bank that needed a visit, the friend with a cold who needed chicken soup, another one who needed her anyway. So she still stared blankly at the photograph. A man standing in someone else’s kitchen. A man who lived in another reality, or maybe existed only in her vivid imagination. She enjoyed her work and her evenings and didn’t want to break that routine. The vines in the garden grew deeper and darker and made evil gestures at the budding roses. The roses stood quietly, with complaints to make, but making none. The vines stood in combat mode, but not yet attacking. One day the twain shall meet and who knows, when they both mature, they may make the loveliest little garden.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You

A lot of people have asked me why I have renamed by blog as “Woman with Parasol”. Well, I love a painting with the same title by Claude Monet and also generally tend to think of myself as a woman holding a parasol over others. Where our parasols are held high and the mind is without fear... That would get Tagore turning in his urn/grave/Ganges.

I have made some new friends and found some old ones in the closet of the dreamy past. I have a stand-in miia of course, in the form Mr. Gill, despite the amount of time we spend insulting each other.

There is a general prevailing feeling of gratuity and I would like to thank a long list of people here (I generally do not go into a tirade of my personal life, but well, there is a first for everything). I have met so many people in the last 26 years that I feel a need to tell them, that I care and thank them for being there:

Mum/dad- for being you and letting me be me and for the blood in my veins, for your honesty, help, TLC, and for being super

Karan Bansal- The balanced, mature younger one, for being born

Karanvir Gill: For being my pillar, my support, my friend and so much more, and for always being the ubiquitous sounding board, miss u Gilly boy

Sayak Sahu: For teaching me about love and life, for being the one but not nearly, for teaching me the meaning of "unconditional"

Shikha Khera: The silent love of my life, the one who endures and endures my oblivion and frequent disappearances and is still found standing by me

Nitin Aggarwal: Tintin, the misadventurer :-) the most honest friend one can ask for, the one you can count no matter what, the one I will always care for no matter what.

Bani Dhillon: The teddy bear, softie inside, softie outside, the ever forgiving and loving friend

Navneet Gill: for knowing and loving and caring and being there

Anna Puthuran: The soul sister, the fellow vagabond, the mutual admiration society, the witch and the lover, the child and the mother, all rolled into one, I live my life through her, things I can’t do, she does them for me

Shreya Datta: The older sister I never had, hell the sister that I never had. The hardcore bong, the one who I just can’t do without, and have never needed a reason to be friends with her. We connect ... period... right Gina?

Priyanka Chirimar: The senior I care for the most, the confidante and the mentor, the lone weed in the willow, the strongest thread in the weave

Rohit Syal: My friend from the last century, perhaps the last birth, my friend who is me in so many ways, we are the same people in different circumstances and situations, same wine in different bottles

Gurman Singh: For the being fellow prankster, the joker, the friend and now the doctor

Kanwar Brara: The boy who became a man, someone I admire deeply for his perseverance, there is nothing we haven’t shared and talked about, he kept me going through the toughest phase in my life.. Thank u Kanwar

Titli Datta: Means so much more to me than the butterfly will ever know. I value her opinion, love her sense of humour, admire her outlook on work and life, the friend from my last job I hold very dear

Supriya Mahajan: For being the kali maa, the lovely feisty lady, the lovely friend and the super confidante

Xerxes Ranina, Kamni Ahuja, Thomas James, Vani Panicker, Ajit Anekar, Liberata Fernandes, Manav Raheja, Shabana Raikar, Vishaka Vaswani: For making my first job easy, for making me feel like I was going to school every day- sans exams, for being such a big emotional support in Bombay

Shubhra Chatterji: for all the colours in my life, for all the random jokes, the past revelations and jubilations, for midnight snacks, for rides in rain and for being herself. Shu.. love u

Abhay Jhina and Kaustubh George: For being the closest friends in college, the two people I believe in truly, the two who I love for hoards of reasons, but mostly their honesty, affection, mad sense of humour, crazy ideas and intellect

Manvi Priya, Vibhor Juyal, Ronojoy Basu and Jaskirat Bawa: for being the loveliest juniors ever

Shikhar Kacker: For being an unconditional, giving and caring friend

Neha Varma: For being non-judgmental, for being the drinking buddy and the fellow man-hater

Vishal Yaduvanshi: For the reality check he often provides me with, and for being such an ardent admirer of my writing, thanks Yadu

Supriya Yadav: For redefining the word “sweet” and the one Bihari dame who simply rocks

Tenzing Choesang: For having smaller eyes than me, thank God! Just joking. For being a sounding board, a fellow old woman, a fellow single woman, and a friend in need who is really the friend indeed :D

Aman Sidhu and Aparna Jain: For being great friends and comrades, for being there for me at Warwick, for being the family that we didn’t have there

Dwijen Rangnekar: For his unflinching support and concern, for his help when those responsible did not help, for being a wonderful human being, a friend and a professor and for the much needed guidance at all steps

Class of 2005-2006, LLM, University of Warwick: For electing me chair of SSLC and for all the support always

Moneesha Lanba and Vani Panicker: For being the best roommates ever and for the mindless jokes, endless cups of coffee, Reiki and Bruno healing sessions, for knocking some sense into me when I needed it the most

Ajit Anekar and Alok Tewari: For teaching me how not to let success get to you, how to remain humble, young and polite, how much fun Corporate Law Firm Partners can be, and what great friends too!

Jyoti: For finding me and for letting me know you

Indira Jaising: For replying to a year old mail (which changed my life)

For all those who I may have missed, sorry but do let me know ;-)

Monday, November 10, 2008


So here we go into our mid-twenties crisis. In our age and day, the only thing that comes for free and in abundance is depression. Perfectly nice kids like us, feel hollow inside. Everyone I know yearns for a special someone, and has been contemplative off late, and their contemplations circle around the same question- why are we doing this? Why are we pushing ourselves so hard? Is it worth it? Will we reap something in the end?

We will. Really… We have just started our life, just started making money (okay, so I don’t figure on this money making list, but what the hell!) and we will find what we are looking. We just need to stop looking too hard. The crossroads and blind turns may have their dead ends, but mostly, one finds a danger sign there. We know not to take these plunging turns, and we know that its best to take a u-turn and look for the pleasant endings.

Keep on moving

She had a heart which wanted to belong to everyone, but pursued little, or nothing… She didn’t want the permanency yet, she wanted no attachments, no strings, no love, no hate, nothing to like or dislike, no shadows, only endless dawns and dusks to keep her company... Only the static sky to remind her that she’s its own. In this pursuit of indifference, she had moved time and again only to find that one place would always be home for her, no matter where she went. It was unsettling, the thought of having something constant. It stifled her freedom and choked her love for the ones who made what she called home.

The gypsy’s soul thumped blood into her veins, she seemed to belong to the moving canvases and the roll of the horses, from an era bygone. Love and pain, come together, not without each other, ever. Love has gone and so has pain. All that remains is apathy for the unknown. Another journey, another day, soon…

Friday, November 07, 2008

Karan turns 25

Though one avoids posting too much about personal life, I think this deserves commemoration. My brother turns 25 today, one big milestone. My ‘lil one’ as I call him, is all grown up. Don’t worry about age Karan, age is the affectation of the youth. In my mind, I unsettle the complacent sheaves of memories and remember all the childhood pranks we played, all the little words we mispronounced, all the things we discovered together, all the little toys we shared, all the times we wanted to break each other’s nose, and sit recalling the splendour of an innocent age. I miss our tennis lessons, our rants about all and sundry, you teaching me guitar, you being my sounding board, I miss you... So I celebrated your birthday in office with my colleagues. Happy Birthday kinsey-vinsey. XXX

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


If people like Raj Thackeray are allowed to exist, flourish and command in our society, then we have a lot to reflect on. Where do people like him and his uncle come from? Do they only feed off the insecurities of natives, who should ideally have nothing to be scared off, considering the only natives that were there in the island city in the beginning were the koli fishermen. The corporates don’t award jobs based on vernacular roots, the entrance exams don’t differentiate between students from different regions. Yet, there are the reservations for domicile. As if religion wasn’t enough to tear us apart, we have a growing sense of regionalism. We find anything, anything at all that sets us apart from the others, yet sets us apart into clusters that we wish to belong to, mini clans, now growing into an epidemic. Progressiveness is also bringing with it, a wave of sectarianism, and more so in our country where parochial ideas are the easiest to sell. Sigh...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The pee and the smell

Today was a day full of “pee”, a friend was “pissed off” another one had “go peeee” as her gtalk status and well a colleague- he just got pissed on… by a dog… :D That was such fun, at least for us. The little pretty apso emptied her rather large bladder on my friend whose name incidentally is Mehak which means smell. Apt that because he smelt all the way home!

the alternate world

Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realised that the imagery in my mind wasn't insanity. Surrealism to me is reality.
John Lennon

I live in two worlds, one that we all live in, day after day, without a real choice really. The other is in my head, and is mine alone, to destroy, create, love, loathe, admire, despise and to create stories. I grew a mango tree in my mind, then I saw a lawyer I know riding a bullock cart dressed in court uniform, then I saw a monster which looked eerily like a real person I know as well... Imagination is what keeps me going... What about you?

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.

- Ellen Goodman

So that is what we silly humans do, make money for the things we can only enjoy once we are too old to enjoy them. That is equally sad and true. However, I can't claim to make money, being paid as much as I am... So we are the intellectuals and the givers of the society, using our expensive education for the under privileged- bridging the gap between the "have's" and "have nots"- while we solemnly stand on the side of "have nots" ourselves. Sigh.

Monday, October 13, 2008


John Lennon said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

Missed holidays, forgotten friends, pending chores, unfinished paintings, ignored pets, books gathering dust... Life is about uncertainty, no matter how detailed our plans, it’s uncertain because other people make plans too, and their plans interfere with ours. Like jumbled cross connections on cellphone networks, like radio signals when we park in the basements. These cross connections can be annoying and rarely, stimulating. We may meet amazing strangers in places least expected and carry their print on our minds forever.

Sometimes we lose a track of who we were and omissions become a pattern. Sometimes we get on the wheel to look for a new beautiful avenue to admire but the brakes bring you back to where you started, because sometimes it’s meant to be.

On perfect mornings, sometimes I wish I was cycling through a sun kissed green field, sprinkled with pink and red paisleys. Perfect. I hope the wheel in my hands brings me back to this... Over and over again.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Randomness at its best

Sometimes, I’m really random. So this post isn’t the usual fiction/fact bordering on madness type. This post is dedicated to crappy madhumakhi (bee in Hindi) jokes. The first one I heard from a friend and the rest I made up:

  1. What is the ghutna of a madhumakhi called?
  2. When a madhumakhi loses a war what is it called?
  3. When a madhumakhi is in pyaar what is it called?
  4. When a madhumakhi is a boy in pyaar, what is it called?
  5. When a madhumakhi is sick what is it called?
  6. When a madhumakhi loses her job what is it called?

    Answers are:

    1. Bee-ki-knee
    2. Bee-har
    3. Bee-loved
    4. Bee-chara
    5. Bee-mar
    6. Bee-kar

    More later :-)

Friday, October 03, 2008

The burnt writing

So here I’m, finally warming up to the good old Dilli. Bombay lives on in the corpuscles, but the NCT takes over life. The warmth is diminishing and the days are getting shorter. The charming Dilli winter is around the corner, waiting to be welcomed by all and sun-dry.

My phase jumping decision holds good and looks good so far. I shall stick to this phase till all reserves of patience are exhausted.

The nomadic wheel is craving for the unknown and soon it shall receive its due. I wish to explore in galore.

She picked up the last piece of the burnt manuscript from the hearth and tried to read the 3 or 4 lines which were visible. Sometimes, she does that, burns her own writing, sometimes out of dissatisfaction and sometimes due to sheer anger at someone else. This time, it was anger. But then she read her own words, beautiful as they seemed to her… “Hope is a flower living in oblivion, surviving in a field of shattered dreams…”. The anger dissipated and a smile floated on her tired lips. She sat down to finish her story, the story of a lonely soul wilting away in hills, the story of hope, the story of a man who is a savior and a lover…

Our hearts constantly challenge our resolve and more often than not, they beat our heads at it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Of Tobacco and nothing else...

So while all my colleagues (I work for an NGO) have really depressing looking desk calendars, my workstation has one from Taj, a vestige from my corporate past. And this month it has given my desk a nice looking young man. It is out of place with this delirious and dust ridden place. Like red in the desert and white in a coal mine. The frustration, this time around is deep rooted. I want to climb the rooftop and scream “NO MORE TOBACCO”. But Alas, the Boss has different plans for me.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Moving again, soon

My nomadic heart has been thumping, rather hard off late. The little wheel in my heel has been yearning to roll again. So soon, I may find myself gone again, to discover new rivers, seas, plains, mountains and of course, the bane of our world- people. I don’t keep a close watch on what I think, I think and it’s done. Rarely without surprising, albeit happy repercussions. Hence, the lack of close watch. Someone told me once “you do whatever gets you off Bansal”. Kinda true.

So, am listening to a song which reminds me of Lakeside whenever it plays. Those long nights of lone contemplation, the best of its kind; and the nights of solitude, the loner’s love.

Then I flicker back to the current day, typing away on a bright red computer. Where is my beloved tattered old handmade paper book? It symbolises my life- been there done that, still around, still learning and still teaching. It stands in the rumble on my workstation, the one place where it would really never be used, waiting to be rescued for another story. Ah, the bright red comp, for all its wondrous charms can never beat that old book.

The week ahead is going to be exciting, exhilarating and definitely draining. I’ve been waiting for it, but not quite ready for it yet. My first case being filed, my first draft.

Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 and well, Phase 4

The sound of the trains whizzing by has become an indispensable part of my life. This city which gave me a writer’s block, refuses to let me have my flow back. I have my steaming chai, the loved companion in my hands, while the singer from the long gone yore singing his famous walking the line song. And this time, am travelling. The moment I step out of Delhi, I am able to write again...

I ask for random things all the time. The other day I wished from the bottom of my heart to go to Bombay, and the same evening saw me packing my bags to the city on work associated trip. Then again I wished “Cocaine” to play on the radio, and viola- it started playing 5 minutes later. Yesterday, to a visiting friend I mentioned a must-watch movie, the “Match Point” and castigated him for not watching it. We switched on the t.v and there it was playing on the Star Movies. So here is a story of futile wishes being fulfilled left right and centre. Nothing happens when I wish for the millions, etc.

Life, from the earlier black and white, has all the colours I wanted in it now. But at the cost of my personal happiness, all for the professional satisfaction, which I may or may not have yet achieved. Even when I had no time to myself, I used to love my days. One year went past me at the speed of lightening. I sit, counting days now. There are the greens outside again, on my way to the lovely city which I would always call home no matter where I go, not just because my parents live there. They say everything in the right measures can bring happiness and contentment.

Another friend, a dear one at that, sitting all the way in Sierra Leone, called yesterday and told me to get out of rut I have made my life. She literally held me by my ears and forced me to see the grim reality. She pointed out that there are four phases in professional life, apparently. With drastic moderations and the liberty to amend her philosophy, I say that the 4 phases should read as:

Phase 1: When we are considering all the options that lay in front of us and contemplate, open one door while keeping the others slightly ajar

Phase 2: We think about our decision, finding happiness, sadness, misery, failure, success all at one go. We stop thinking about the other doors

Phase 3: We stand where we are, wondering if the decision we took in Phase 1 was reasonable and correct. This is probably the toughest because we doubt our career decision

Phase 4: The trickiest, because in the end either we stay at Phase 3 for a long time and decide that what we chose was the best, or scarily, go back to Phase 1 and take a long hard look at the other doors, find courage within ourselves to experiment and open the another door.

Now, yours truly is truly a class apart for she had barely gone through Phase 1 that she jumped to Phase 4. Anyhow, the milk has been spilt and well, it made a pretty pattern on the carpet. Someone says they think I’m happy, some say I’m miserable. Confusion, utter and utmost, is the only answer here. I hope to wake up to the ubiquitous dawn after dusk anytime now. Snooze please

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cherry Tree

I wondered for a long lingering moment. My simple mind was searching the answer to one of the toughest questions of the mortal world. What is the most perfect thing in the world? My mind wandered through the alleys I had walked, the museums I had seen, the books I had read and the wonders of the new century that I had experienced. I stumbled upon the evasive answer in the myriad thoughts and memories, for me the most perfect thing is a cherry tree in blossom.

The sharp bend jerked me back to the reality. I was on the way to the airport, to the Bombay airport, about to leave my favourite city yet again. I didn’t like the idea of returning from the old muggy city, then as if a note from the past, the cabbie started playing an old cassette- the song was- unbelievably so- “eh dil hai mushkil jeena yahan, zara bachke zara hatke yeh hai Bombay meri jaan”.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Independence, just another day

While I don't like Nehru, his speech "Tryst with destiny" is the permanent remnant of our historic event. The world was not sleeping, New York was striking noon, China was wide awake... We have turned out to be brave in parts and the biggest cowards in others. We sit waiting for the 61st Independence Day to arrive, but what have we done for our country? Our nationalist spirit is apathetic. Lets juxtapose this speech with the horrors of partition that followed. Lets read the underlined optimism of this speech in the light of the monsters that we have become- bombings, communal riots in Bombay, Delhi and Gujarat. Lets read in the light of the sheer inertia with which we lead our lives. Lets hope we don't end up like China, where the growth of the cities has clouded the poverty of the villages and the economic disparity between the two is so much more than in India. Lets not leave the "economic shining" to the cities and take our respective successes to the interiors.


Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?

That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we may fulfil the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over.

And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagine that it can live apart Peace has been said to be indivisible; so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this One World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell. The appointed day has come-the day appointed by destiny-and India stands forth again, after long slumber and struggle, awake, vital, free and independent. The past clings on to us still in some measure and we have to do much before we redeem the pledges we have so often taken. Yet the turning-point is past, and history begins anew for us, the history which we shall live and act and others will write about.

It is a fateful moment for us in India, A new star rises, the star of freedom in the East, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materializes. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed! We rejoice in that freedom.

The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.

We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action.

To the nations and peoples of the world send greetings and pledge ourselves to cooperate with them in furthering peace, freedom and democracy. And to India, our much-loved motherland, the ancient, the eternal and the ever-new, we pay our reverent homage and we bind ourselves afresh to her service. Jai Hind.

Wishing you a so called HAPPY Independence Day. JAI HIND!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blood and tranquility

The hustling bustling city was once a desert where oasis’ were bloody potholes and in the trees resided, the banshees of the dead. She grew up there while her mother toiled for her second masters degree, the toughest of its kind. The city where she saw and smelt blood for the first time. The stench of death hung over the entire city and still lingers in those which are painful memories. The winters were harsh and the summers melted the city.

In the winters, every evening, after she and her brother played near the fireplace, after they had worn out, they sat discussing their day. It was amazing how much conversation the two little children indulged in, given that that was two decades ago, with little exposure to tv and none to cable tv. Sometimes, when her brother felt too cold, she wrapped him up in her mittens and blanket and then made her first pet fall asleep on her knees. There was always the teetering background noise of blasts and bullets, but were safely ensconced in their little haven which was well protected and guarded. That was the city of mouth watering food, the Golden Temple, the hatti ka kulfi’s and the Wagah Border.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Renewed passion

She had moved seas away, and her amiable biba had moved worlds away. As much as she tried to bury her memories and let the past live in the winding hands of the chiming clock, she couldn’t cut the umbilical cord. She yearned to meet people she knew from childhood, the people who had the cords of their lives intertwined with hers, people with fragments with the same blood.

The old teak desk had travelled long and far with her. The steaming kahwa in her hands and the splashing rain on the windows activated a long lost passion- to write. The old scrappy notebook was dug out and she sat pouring her imagination on the paper and writing each word like an artist, weaving and curving the soul of the letters as she went…

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The squirrel, the hole and the cake

It couldn’t have been denied to her.. the sweet innocent girl that she had been, for the longest time, undemanding and yielding. It was after all, only a simple slice of chocolate cake. She ran out in the garden, her soft curls flying back, and her pink frilly frock doing its own little ballet. She tripped on a rock and fell into the dug up hole. The hole was never visible to her before, but now she could see for what it really was- an escape. A beautiful strawberry bush grew in the corner and the little one went over and plucked a few. Suddenly, magically, of course, a squirrel appeared in the corner. There was nothing unusual about the squirrel, except that it was wearing an apron! A tiny squirrel apron. The little one waved a hello to the strangely civilized squirrel. It was returned by a shock and a yelp for help and the animal scampered out of the hole.

To this day she wonders if it was a figment of her overactive and over-magical imagination or was it, eerily, real?


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Delhi Musings

My older and learned friend told me a couple of days ago that am now a ripe mango (on the account of my age) and would burst/ rot soon. He said that in reference to the birthday and the grand entrance to the later part of the good age- the twenties. Now that generally is not a very nice feeling is it? Being told that you are akin to a highly fattening fruit which would rot soon anyways!

I have been driving around in the good old capital for a while and the people here don’t cease to shock me everyday. If I had to count the number of people who randomly dart in front of your car, and not with the intention of giving up their precious lives, I would have a full time job doing just that.

Has anyone heard/seen the legendary "payal" (chime-sound making-anklet/ trinket) wearing ghost? I had been visited off late by one and rather frequently at that. The scared mind refused to check the hell called balcony and I stayed put for nights on end. Then yours truly gathered all the guts that I had and ventured out in the dark, only to find the watchman chaining and then later unchaining a gate in the backyard. Ugh, he killed all the magic and supernatural for me in one gusty move. Sad, very…
And all this pointless writing only because this city killed my creativity and my friend accused me of being too busy to blog :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

The union

She winked and her eyebrows narrowed to a twin-arc. It wasn’t a frown, she was hit by the greens outside. The fast train flew by the scenic beauty outside. The Dan Brown in her hands called her back to the print, but it lacked the strength. The pitter patter outside turned into a storm and she loved storms. The unrest gave her peace, unusual but not unique. There were others of her kind, only far and few. The swaying greens of the plains and the grey atop all other life made her brood. Soon, very soon she would meet a part of her, separated a long time ago.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The soul fry

This is not in reference to the yummy restaurant in Fort, this is also not in reference to "soul curry", the mouth-watering Goan stuff, but this is in reference to the real real thing. How one person could control her whole life, was beyond her imaginable beliefs. How one person wanted to control her time, was unthinkable. But that's what it had come to be, her soul was finally fried. And they tell her this is only the beginning.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


And now this! I wish I was in London today. I would have been found peering through the “Telectroscope”. An artist called Paul St. George with a very intriguing ancestry developed the idea and now Londoners can see New Yorkers live! Paul tells a story of his great-grandfather, an eccentric Victorian engineer, Alexander Stanhope St George who supposedly constructed a gigantic tunnel under the Atlantic oceanbed, stretching from one corner of the world to another- between London and New York. He claims that though this orginal venture failed at the turn of the 20th century, he has now installed parabolic optic mirrors at the two ends of the tunnel to enable people from the 2 continents to see each other in real time through the tunnel. Of course this is all faff. The actual broadband transmission gives people the impression that they are peering down a huge tunnel across the ocean. It purports to be magical and something different.

WANTED this very instant: A very efficient TELEPORTER!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The new crossroads...

The woman loved everything about rains, the smell, the wind, the squeaky-clean greenery, washed roads and getting soaked. She sat cross-legged on the floor of the balcony. Elvis sang “suspicious minds” in the background while the fresh lavender flowers pleased the senses. The rain poured down the skies and drenched the solemn soul to the bone. The trains came and went, their gong boomeranging through the plain. The sound stayed for a while in the heavy air before dying out. That enveloping sound had begun to become a part of her routine. She used to talk about cross roads and now she lives at one. One of the busiest in the country.
She sat musing at where the twists and turns of her life had brought her. A new beginning or a new end? A new shore or a new edge?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

At peace in the hills

She wandered in the hills by herself… despite the crowd, the solitude burnt intensely inside. The thematic pauses and lingering memories of yore made her smile. She was always a loner, a loner surrounded by the love of the world. Blessed with the things desired, friends needed and the family that was forever yielding. No one would believe her if she told them that she liked being alone…

Her writing always had props, just as they existed in real life. Today she saw the most beautiful wind chime she had ever laid eyes on, made of pink colored glass. The reflection of the light from the bulb in the shop fell on her cheeks and formed a halo around her. She smiled again and took the longest route to trek back home.

The old telescope had been lying neglected for a while. For the star gazer she used to be, this was sacrilege. She cleaned and toiled and polished the darn thing and then set about fixing it up. It was duly mounted on the stand on the rooftop and she sat there for what seemed like hours, gazing at the virgin, clean, dark, star studded sky. Have you ever done that? If not, I strongly recommend you do. It makes you one with the rest of the world, the space called the sky and the space within you…

Friday, May 02, 2008

Recycling memories

The haunting tune from OSO emanated from the dark. As Abdul took the curb to get back on to the Marine Drive, I thought to myself- is there any other place I would rather be in? The magical moments of life come to us when least expected.

Teary goodbyes and “see you soon’s” are the best things in life, they tell you that you are loved, that you will meet again and that nothing is permanent, even separation. We meet, we talk, we make friends and we move to other worlds. What remains are memories and the ringing sound of laughter from the world left behind… We grow wings and fly away, only to disappear into the sands once more to be reborn and this cycle of life and death is the only thing which is forever.

And as I read somewhere, it's good to have friends who live at a distance, it makes the earth seem larger where friends make the longitudes and the latitudes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Ah, there it is, on the charming window sill again. Sitting beautifully, softly moving its gorgeous wings. She hadn’t seen it in a while. While she moves from one understanding of the world to another, she will carry these images in her mind, forever, and those on paper will always be b & w. A little like her profession, devoid of colour but exciting and aggressive nonetheless. A long time ago, she had fought with her childhood best friend. To make up for it, she gave her friend a tiny caterpillar in a small box with air holes in it, with a note which read “one day we shall grow up like this caterpillar which will soon become a butterfly, and fly away… let’s make the most of what we have”.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Another farewell

Every time she moves to a new place, she starts writing a new chapter in her book. The romantic fool that the woman is, she weaves her life into a beautiful fairy tale. But she has closed so many chapters in that book of hers that she carries a choked feeling around for a while. Her heavy heart bids adieu to the city that gave her her first bread and butter. The wind scatters her hair and the sea beckons her to stay. Bye bye Bombay, love you to bits.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

BOMBAY, The life that was

For the better or the worse, this city has grown on me and it only took a year to do so. To leave it feels like amputating a part of me. I will carry figments of it in my heart forever. The exhilarating, the smelly, the crowded and dirty yet beautiful, formidable, spirited and the extremely fair city... The long drive to work, the crazy traffic, Hard Rock Café, Gokul’s, Tea Centre, friends, loved ones, midnight excursions, exchanging notes on books with the Butterfly, friendly banter with colleagues, office and even the cabs, trains and the rains!! Bombay never lets the lonely down. The solitude is always momentary and the crowd exists forever. The only city that kills you one moment and breathes life into you the next moment. The only city which made me fall in love with it, unconditionally. The only city which took away as much from as it gave. Here, now, our paths that were or are meant to be, separate for the moment, to come together later.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Colours :-)

She loves colours, in everything… Not flashy, gaudy or bright, just colour… Every morning she lights an incense stick in a yellow printed holder, it’s like her food for the senses- smell, vision and touch and her ode to the fire God. Then she lets the sun in and makes her morning flush tea. The pink tea mug with the brown fluid is another reason behind the perfect morning. The blue bedspread and the light peach curtains absorb the yellow energy of the sun. She messes up her hair while reading the news and plays with the red sequined anklet. The green tea box is like a treasure chest, one will find various types of tea bags in there and all one needs to do to de-stress is to open it and inhale deeply. If you ever have a dull day, surround yourself with colours and enticing smells and be ready to take on anything and everything!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


The silver haze on a platter, the meandering truth in a splinter,
The darkness of the light and the beauty seen by the blind,

The flowers on a grave, the love of a slave
The deity of the priest, the life of a sinner…

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


The spices had faded away a long time ago, leaving only a hint of vanilla behind. Vanilla is a rather strong and seemingly nondescript spice. Its notes remind you of a warm sunny day with all well in the world. It smells lovelier on women. She wanted to go back to the shop to get the dry spice. On her way she stopped by the stationery shop which sold vintage photographs of the city. She climbed the ladder to look for an old Trafalgar pic and she was trying to find her way in the dark attic when she tripped over something. There lay, the most beautifully preserved vines of vanilla. Sometimes we look helter skelter for our heart’s desires but they lie in front of our eyes, for our taking. These spices never cease from haunting and yet teaching you life’s lessons. If we look hard and we look far, all the joy in the world can be ours.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


She was sitting on the beachside, sipping mojitos and musing. She had stopped ravaging the canvas a while ago. Her friends were away, dipping into the ocean and her momentary solitude seemed blessed. People people everywhere and a not soul to love. The hues of blue merging into yellow seemed strangely green to her. All the contemplation took her attention away and she spilt her drink. The mint and the alcohol made strange prints on the damp sand. It looked like a banyan tree with roots touching the ground. The tree of knowledge and enlightenment, the print was speaking to her. It said that the surface isn’t always what we fathom it to be, maybe the sky is the end and earth is the beginning. Maybe sadness is better than happiness. And maybe comfort is discomfort.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The X Files

I had been trying to get rid of the clutter surrounding me, human and non-human. I was sorting out my cupboard back home, it looked like the netherworld on a bad day and it was a tough job. I found this old green file, another ghost from the past, which was full of print outs of what looked like vague black and white images. As I turned the pages I saw Fox Mulder and Dana Scully staring from the pages. I was an avid X Files fan. A thorough search of the forgotten drawers revealed jazzy platforms, scarily high heels (I honestly didn’t ever need them) and mushy cards from various quarters. My mother hates clutter and keeps pestering me to get rid of old stuff. I save everything and find it tough to discard old notes exchanged in class, letters from people I might hate now, and generally exceedingly irrelevant stuff.

I sat on the hillside by myself at 4:30am; the noise outside the room had begun to spook the hell out of me and I decided to be brave for once. The untouched serene valley is the epitome of purity and brings a sense of well being to even the worst stricken. I have never seen the sky so clear, the stars so bright... the mountains stood grey, old, monstrous and unyielding. Matt sat next to me yawning and licking itself as I patted its soft black coat.

There has to be more to life than the generic weeks that have passed by at an alarmingly fast pace. The soft cold breeze bit my face. Moving on and moving out are both tough calls but one cannot get stuck in a warp because of complacency. So many things were tugging at the heart simultaneously but I have found in myself the strength to follow love and passion.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The yellow butterfly

She was scribbling away as usual, on the tattered handmade paper book she so adores. Some people are just so old fashioned and yet blend into the nouveaux so well. She loves to write letters and send postcards and touches lives of many.

The old mud baked cup sat on her desk for hours before she thought of re-heating the tea. The wild rose creeper had begun to conquer the window and the foliage looked radiant in sunlight. The glow of the green and the beauty of the red, in her eyes it was the perfect combination, at once soothing and at once exciting. There are very few things in the world that have that effect on you.

There has been a change in her little microcosm off late. The nomadic heart has been feeling the urge to let go of the known and the have’s. The dreams have been conspicuous by their absence. Then out of the blue, a yellow butterfly flew in and fluttered and settled on her mug. She watched in awe and then stealthily started clicking photographs on the new black and white roll. All that colour captured in the monotonous tones. That’s how life becomes sometimes. That’s how life has been for a while now.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Splinters of the fragmented mind

“It is not easy to truly have the measure of those who live aslant to the rest of us”.

I told a friend yesterday about my wish to go to Pakistan and see a part of our heritage and a part of the sub-continent with unbiased eyes. She literally went into convulsions! How I would love to have the famous kebabs of Lahore, see the old Punjab, walk down the beach in Karachi, and see a life well removed from ours in NWFP!

She had been simmering with something for a while, her anger was not centered, and it had started to turn into rage off late. She had to find something new to do, a new place to go to, a new life… The restless soul can be unforgiving and in constant search of the unknown. She was walking down a street in the evening by herself and she saw a child sitting on the sea side. The effervescent woman can make conversation with anyone, literally. Anyone! She started talking to the urchin and there was an instant connection. They joked, laughed and chatted till late. She bought the child some food and water. Her anger started dispersing. You know what an aura is? Hers was huge, she had too much energy and despite working hard, she had lots left to spare. The restlessness began to fade away that night and she was able to write again.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Bong Connection

There are remnants of the bygones in each and every dust particle in Calcutta. The city I love unconditionally, without belonging to it, without having ever stayed in it, without having any connections to it. I still remember my first visit to Cal vividly, as if it were yesterday- the monsoon drenched roads, the lively Park Street, the crowded Forum, the beautiful Millennium Park and the place I guess I’m not destined to see (on the inside)- Victoria Memorial. I remember getting bewitched by the angel on the top of the structure and the tanga ride that followed. People wonder why I would want to go to Cal for a holiday; it is an unusual place to go when there are the hills and the beaches selling tranquility. Why would one go from one maddening metro to another? Because, I feel the Cal-Calling, a little akin to the call of the wild. And of course, there is the case of my inimitable Bong connection.

There was this lingering silence, promise and peace on the banks of the famous river. The setting sun, the lamp on the boat and the lights on the bridge; they were all yearning for attention. The coffee at the Coffee House asked to be appreciated for being in circulation since aeons ago and the crumbling College Street sold hopes, ghosts, jokes and love. The lifeless yet ageless old monuments stood in grandeur as the vestiges of the empire that it was once a part of. Modernity mixed with culture; that is Calcutta for the uninitiated…

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vague and random

The one who stays within the limits assigned to him is a man,
The one who roams beyond these limits is a saint.

To reject both limits and their absence;
That's a thought with immeasurable depths.

There are those amongst us who exist and those who live.

The subtleties of life had taken shape and were beginning to dawn upon the crusted soul. Like the dawning light, a new life was marking its way into the world. The beaded pinks and the lightening blues had defined the oncoming future. She sat up, in the bed, staring at the painting on the front wall. She, who knew the most, was quiet today, and for a good reason. One doesn’t talk about storms, only the strong bear them. And the weak dissolve in their fury. “History is an insatiable giant”. (David Davidar) We only remember those who win, and the rest like us, disappear in the sands of time.

Friday, February 22, 2008


She is a strange woman. Perplexing really... The artist, the poet, the story weaver, the activist and the professional. Somehow, she manages to charm people with her toothy grin and somehow she manages to keep her sanity in this insane world. She is one of the few women I know, who thinks from only her heart, the brain refuses to interfere.

One day, she was sitting next to the Sukhna Lake, sketching an old banyan. It was nearly sunset. Winter was setting in so her hands were shaky, yet the charcoal strokes were flawless. The leaves seemed to curve mysteriously. And the bark looked like an old wilted man. How she sees a face in everything is beyond anyone else’s comprehension. Her mother told her once “you will never be able to make money out of your art because you love it so much that you won’t sell it”. That is the reason she advocates for a living instead.


But before I could say anything to him, he disappeared into thin air. Gone, woof! Just like that, in a flash of a second. I have an extremely vivid imagination, silly me. No man can be so perfect. No one is that perfect.

So the spices still haunt me but this doubt which was building within me is beginning to disappear.

Dispel with the notions that may haunt you, ignore the little voice in the heart, because it’s the head which wins always.

I was writing something yesterday, unable to finish it, I have decided to let it decay and die a natural death. So long, later…

Saturday, February 16, 2008


A man and a woman are never the same and as Jeeves once rightly put it to Wooster, "The female of the species is more deadly than the male, sir.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I got a frantic call in the morning. As always it was her, worried about my safety, her anxiety stemming from the news reports. She is incorrigible, yet adorable. How do I tell her that this happens in our city everyday?!

Immersed in work, I see nothing else, I feel nothing else. I have sheaves of paper strewn all around and suddenly I smell vanilla… it seems to bring back the memories of that day in Notting Hill. Face down, I remain focused. That smell is still troubling me and growing strong each passing moment. I have a meeting in about 5 minutes and I haven’t sorted out the probable answers to the probable queries. The client seems to have arrived; I straighten up, pick up my cards and folder and walk in. He is sitting right in front me, the man from Portobello, the same man from Hyde Park, the man who had vanished for a week and allowed me to exist in peace.

One wonders why the universe is constantly conspiring and where does it want to lead you to.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Trick or Treat?

I observed him while he was lost in the nuances of my charcoal strokes. He was wearing a white shirt and denims and as the setting sun lay its rays on him, I thought I noticed a halo. I have got got got to stop believing in things to which we don’t have a reasonable answer. Or maybe that’s what they mean by thinking out of the box. He handed over my creation and gave me that fuzzy smile again.

He had walked away that day, the voice still ringing in my ears. I didn’t do anything to stop him… I have much of an ego myself. If he cared he would have stayed and talked to me, at least asked my name. I tried to think as little of it as possible and involved myself in the household chores. After many days I cleared the clutter in the house. The downside of living alone is that beyond a point you stop caring. Still, a dream of him came to me at night. Or morning? I couldn’t place it. The warm trickle of water in the shower, tingled my senses and for a second I froze; maybe he’s not real! Maybe, just maybe he’s an apparition. I have got to get going and get myself busy with work before the man I barely knew took up my entire existence.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Take a cue

The spices had worked their charm over and over again. I found myself drawn to the place and the face of the man that I’d seen there, starting haunting me. I didn’t see him again for weeks altogether. I was sitting in Hyde Park, sketching the old couples walking by, hand in hand, very much in love after all the years of being together. Maybe that is what they call growing old together. I was a little envious, a little happy and a little worried. Couldn’t I just hold the hands of the clock and make them move forward and take me to my old age and see if I do finally find my life-long companion?

He crept up and sat next to me, imperceptible… like a shadow. He was watching me sketch when I felt that warm gaze again and looked sharply at the intruder, if that is what you can call him. He smiled… a slightly curved and infectious smile that made me smile instantly, despite my anger at having been watched in silence. His first words to me were “can I see what you have drawn?” The voice boomeranged through the park and came back to hit me, or so I felt. It was a crisp baritone, the tone which made me squirm inside. I handed over the sketch and he looked at it intently and the time stopped... we got stuck in a time warp. God! I have got to stop imagining things. I was falling in love and I didn’t even know the man. I hadn’t known him, or spoken to him, or felt him… Nothing. Sometimes, it’s so easy to let yourself go and give in to your instinct.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I was walking down the Notting Hill to pick up some old LP’s from the Portobello Market. It’s a weekend thing that I do more often nowadays than before. That’s when it happened. I saw clouds of spice rising up the air, making swirls and curves and inexplicable shapes, growing with each passing moment. I don’t know how long I stood there, bewitched, literally, by the wavering shapes. I fell in love with the smells- vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, patchouli, lavender… slowly, I steadied the quiver of doubt in my heart and walked towards the board which in bright red announced “Spices” and saw him for the first time. He was reading the contents of a vial of spice intently and as if someone had suddenly pricked him, he looked up and saw me… no expression, just a blank look at first. Then his gaze turned warm and felt like soft misty clouds on my face. That’s when I noticed his olive skin and brown hair and the good looks that came with them.

Do you ever get drawn to places where you are not supposed to be? I do, all the bloody time… I did pick up a LP at last and what happened in between is a story for another day. That LP was sent all the way to India… Layla (Eric Clapton)….

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The song and the man

The adrift mind searches endlessly for something it may never find. The line between the fact and the vision is slanted.

Everyday she learns something new and makes my life worth living. She started singing at the top of her voice today on the home-karaoke set, it was one of my favourites – “leaving on a jet plane” and I watched her, mesmerized by the beauty and depth of her little voice. She has heard me sing in the shower, that’s where she must have picked the words. I started cooking with that wondrous noise in the background. Suddenly I felt her hands around my waist, tickling the hell out of me! I love the child…

Today I was the only smiling female face in the company of others of my species in the tube today. Serenity and calm were dripping from my face as others were pulling each others hair out.

Oh and that male of the species who is forever perplexed at my disappearing act. He thinks he is a part of my story but he isn’t. My world is tough to break into. Very tough.

Monday, January 28, 2008


The cacophony of sounds envelops me… my soul is floating outside its body and I can picture her… vividly. She’s standing in the labour room, facilitating one of the thousands of births she has been a part of till now. She is the messenger, the holder of good news. Her hands bring life to the world, new life every day. She toils and stands the stench, it’s her chosen profession, a doctor by choice. And I love her, beyond reason and doubt. When I turn off the music and everything seems normal again, my heart aches for her... Today, the sky is brimming with happiness and the little voice in my head assures me that my pain will fade away. Slowly and gradually…

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The magic

She sways the little bop of a head from side to side and smiles awkwardly. I tell her to stop fidgeting and finish her painting. Her water-colored, small stroked, blue and black, white and red, yellow and orange painting. She doesn’t listen… did I ever?

I remember once, a long time ago, I sat in front of the bay windows and suddenly wished for there to be more colour in my room. And that’s how the windows in my living room bear the little paisleys and lilies and every time sun shines through them, they act like a wondrous prism that brings a riot of colors to my otherwise pink room.

Do you believe in magic…. Okay at least maybe, guardian angels? I was in a rush and as I locked the door behind me, I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten my cell phone in the house. I came running back and fetched it, and as I came back to the lift, I saw it stuck between two floors and a yellow scarf hanging out of it. When I fall ill, I get signs that say I should rest- a missed train, too much rain, an auto stuck in a pothole… Everyday something small, something that you or zee would oversee, makes me believe in guardian angels. The bigger question about the existence of magic? Aren’t we all a little bit of that? That magic!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I stand there, wishing hard for it not to rain. The vast expanse of sea beckons me and the shiny mirage-like sand at the chipped corners of the lagoon yearns for me to swish my first stroke across the white and virgin canvas. The linseed drips and the turpentine drops as I mix turquoise with white… the shadows of waves swivel and catch my attention. I try too much at once, the waves, the sands, and the sky. The novice that I am, I refuse to take the beaten path and create a riot of colours on my canvas. My canvas of life…