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?