Monday, December 31, 2007

You know you are old when

1.You go for co-ed culturals and all the sight-able guys are younger than you.

2.You listen to a speech and start snickering at double meaning quips and all the kids around you give puzzled looks.

3.You go back to school and more than five kids call you "Ma'am".

4.You wear a sari and people ask you for how many years you've been working.

5. When some young squirt asks you how things were "when you were young..."

6.You start saying "when I was young..."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Messy Tactics

Here are a few Hostel Mess tactics to make your Mess experince less messy.

Our hostel mess is a good one.Their sambar does not resemble a dirty swimming pool. The rice does not stink. And- wonder of wonders!- their non-veg fare, though limited, does not leave the eater with stomach cramps!

The food is simple but good and shows some thought to nutrition, the addition of a fruit is evidence of this. However this fruit is a point of contention between the serving staff and the hostelites. Th fruit in question is a banana. Or something that looks very much like a banana- you can't really say, it's size and shape give rise to doubt. And Muthu anna's distribution runs along the motto of ascending squashiness. Give a squashed one and then,if some audacious soul requested; a squashier one.It's generally a squashy mess.Be sure to carry some tissue. And then there are the Appalam/Pappadam Treaties. In the goody starved world of the hostelite the crunch of a pappadam is like the music of the orbs. Acquisitions of these wondrous items are of utmost value:a pappadam in hand is worth a cup of curds in the bush. Of course the fact that these prized pappadams are more like handkerchiefs is irrelevant. They are pappadams. The non-pappadamers,who generally give their's away, are greatly valued at the table for this reason and must take precautions to not get mobbed. And it's not just pappadams that create a mad rush. Curds is next in the list. In the barter system ruling the Mess world the ownership of pickles or similar delicacies is excellent leverage. So bring on the vadumaanga.

An item that one must never miss in the mess is the Special Meals. These are occassions are momentous in the monotony of sambarsadam and poriyal. Watchout for the Sunday special chicken curry, and be sure to be around some pretty girl. Ah yes the Pretty Girl Tactic.It is always advisable to keep one or two of these specimens near you at the table. The wonderful thng about these species is that they generally get what they ask for. And the service staff, being men, are highly...susceptible. And being near the beauteous belles casts yourself in the glow of benevolence. Of course you must be fast and demand while the gla-effect is still in the system. Strike at the right moment and the number of extra ice-creams, bigger pieces of chicken and less squashy bananas coming your way will surprise to say the least. The author is an old hand at this.The Pretty Girl Tactic is applicable in any scenario.

A never-fail method for a better mess experience is to pattao the warden an mess in charge- this helps for easy acquisition of coupons, extra goodies etc. Always get the authorities in your pocket.

Please remember that Messes are messy businesses. It is necessary to exercise discretion.If the gourmet hostelite ever peeked into the Mess kitchen,it would be the end of her appetite for all time. Hence- never venture there. Why invite trauma? Just eat and don't ask questions. If you find a hair in the sambar- throw it out and continue shovelling it down. If the oil dripping off the evening "snack" has definite overtones of the fried onions that featured in yesterday's menu- keep munching. The best way to enjoy the creations of a hostel Mess is with blind faith. And plain blindness most of the time.

Always carry a ready strip of gelusil or the like. A stock of bread and jam is also advisable for the hard days.

These are some off-the-cuff tips for a happy Mess. The author hopes that it will serve the reader well in times of need. However,the author is not responsible for mishaps arising from following these guidelines. Happy hogging.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Parental Harrassment

Wordsworth said,'the child is the father of man'. Little did he know how prohetic he was.Child abuse is a terrible problem. But kids are not angelic cherubins either. In todays age of children's rights and "proper child rearing", poor parents have their lives wrung out by brats.

Take the case of Sad-Teacher(ST) and her daughter Evil-Incarnate(let's call her Evie, for short). We students used to wonder how ST could bear our class. But a short excursion with Evie in the same train cleared our doubts. The worst batch of 20yr olds are nothing next to one full-fledged 8yr old brat. We were all running away when we saw her coming. A similar incident during a flight will clear all doubts. A family of four were travelling in the aisle seat just before ours. This family comprised of two very interesting specimens of parent-abusers. Specimen A- let's call him Drone Boy- seemed less harmful in comparison to his younger brother,Terror. While the tired family of the author tried vainly to catch some precious sleep- Terror was happily slapping his absolutely spineless,useless pater who was cowering in fear and busy making vague threats to return the favor. If only he'd turned around and breathed a syllable to any one of us- we'd have gladly slapped the kid. Ten times. Each one of us. Between the sounds of the thwacking slaps and the gleeful laughter of Terror, any sleep was a dream. Thankfully, all that slapping was tiring and the terrible Terror fell into unwilling sleep. The entire aisle area breathed a sigh of relief and closed their red-rimmed, sleep-ridden eyes. NOT FOR LONG. That's when Drone Boy kicked in. Ever been bothered by a humming mosquito, just as you were falling asleep? Well... mutiply that feeling to 100 raised to infinite! Half an hour or more of listening to that dismal,toneless,aggravating drone made us realise that Terror and Drone were weapons of mass destruction in the making. One is physical torture and the other is mental. Either way you end up dead.And then,there are the supermarket brats. We are all familiar with this parent harrassing menace. The piercing orders on the lines of "MUMMY I WANT THAT,MUMMY!" or better still the simple ear-shattering screams that make by standers look accusingly at the blameless parent.

Parents are a burdended race. (a) They have the kid/brat. (b) They are responsible for the child- Read: whatever the child does, it's the parents' fault. They are a maligned race and require representation. Someone has to speak up against the heartless attrocities committed against parents. Just because they bore doesn't mean they must bear. So the next time you see a brat abusing a poor defenceless parent, run to their rescue. After all it might be you tomorrow...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Softly fell the rain that day,
Like kitten's fur and satin.
It stroked and brushed but never touched.
It was there, but not really.

She loved the Rain,
She'd always loved him.
He was the one she connected with
The soul she saw hers in.

The Rain loved her too,
But his words were mere sounds to her.
The patter of raindrops the rumble of thunder-
A language she couldn't comprehend.

The creeper of life needs a solid post.
Fluid torrents flowed away.
She pined for the Rain,
But he couldn't be there.Not really.

Harsh as the crack of a whip
It rained that day.
Like stones and needles.
Piercing and hurting- tangible distress.

She stood on the edge and welcomed Him
And the Rain shot out a silver finger
And carried her away with him.

Flighty Fancy

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I can't stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me.

- Firefly, title track.

Birds are lucky creatures.
Sure they are pretty much at the bottom rungs of the food chain, they are attributed less sense than what would fit in a teaspoon,and if they're are not eaten they are generally shot at and stuffed for no logical reason. Often they are cursed and pelted with expletives just for relieving themselves when they feel like it. And in recent history, their personal air space has been invaded by huge silver machines or idiotic human beings with a death wish jumping off these same machines (ungainly graceless things)with balloons furling out of their back.

But still, Birds are lucky creatures.
They can fly.

They don't need stupid parachutes,they don't have sit in stuffy,smelly,claustrophobic air planes or hang on to gliders like that tortoise in that folk story.They can experience the extreme freedom of breaking FREE.

The wind whips through their plumage, they have power that is purely theirs- not obtained through any transaction of pieces of paper. Even the crow, the ever irritating marauder of the canteen, in flight, is an admirable sight. There is more grace and abandon in the flight of a crow than in the rumbling,mechanical take off of a man made contraption. Man's effort is admirable yes, but he as in no way conquered flight.Because Man isn't really flying.There is no freedom in man's mechanical fliers. It is all control.There is none of that burst of euphoria as in the cheerful dip and rise of the sparrow. None of the soaring power of the eagles baiting with the wind. To watch a bird take flight is t watch a being break into harmonious freedom. They deliberately and successfully break the petty earthly bonds of gravity and leave behind inconsequential humanity for higher things. For the wind coursing over their bodies, for the power of total freedom, for the untamed abandon of full flight- which no human can ever truly have.

Birds are lucky creatures.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Vagabond's Song

You sit near the milestone that marks the bend.
Your sore feet cry for the journey's end.
You get a cup of coffee for the open road,
Relaxing your hold on the memories stored.

The past sticks on like chewing gum.
The more you struggle,the messier it becomes.
Better by far to let it hang on.
Some extra baggage, like the rose's thorn.

You break and you form,like mercury drops.
Your feelings are only dispensable props
But all that's left when the play is cleared,
Are the discarded props- the feelings you feared.

Prayer consoles, but what is prayer?
Begging to something we don't know is there.
The litany drugs us into fevered sleep,
A dream of destiny in delirious deeps.

The core is suspended in eternal strife.
Existence or living on the edge of a knife?
Where do you go? Who waits for you there?
Is there a Destiny? Or just hot air?

The paper cup is tossed away,
You've drunk some life, and what's there to say.
The coffee was good the service was sad,
But altogether it wasn't so bad.

You stand near the milestone that marks the bend,
Your eyes seeking the journeys end.
But not just yet, there's more to go.
More bets to place, more oats to sow.


I look down at my hands,
The are flesh and blood.
I look in the mirror,
Yes there is a reflection there.
I touch the wall-no I am not a ghost.

But something must be wrong..
Something unnatural with me.
How else can you not see
Even when I stand
Right in front of you?

Am I invisible?

The power of invisibility-
A good one I'd thought...
But now that I'm invisible
I don't know how I'll make you see.

Maybe I'm a leaf lost in the trees
But even when I fall into your hands
You don't see me.I'm tossed away crushed,
To float in the wind...

Am I a wraith? An empty space?
Dust blown away without a trace?
You see the wispy clouds, the lines in the sand
But you can't see me

The power of invisibility.
A good one I'd thought...
But now that I'm invisible,
I don't know how I can make you see....

An Apologie for Romance Novels

Universally declared "senseless" and grudgingly included in the literary family, the Romance Novel is a much maligned genre of popular fiction.Caught reading one is generally a signal for sheepish grins and a disposition to blush and denounce them with a hypocritical "it's only trash, just flipping through for a good laugh."

Though this reaction is not unwonted(there being a dizzying amount of drivel written in the name of Romance), it is ungenerous of the reading-writing community to simply write them off.Just because some... many romance novels are only a step away from pornography- lacking both a storyline and borderline sense, there are others that display admirable plot lines and quite commendable character weaving. Several Romance novels are criticized for their overly dramatic scenarios and contrived situations. But I ask you- ye sharp tongued critiques- what story doesn't use these same tools? more than anything else it is the dramatic content of the book-the sudden twists, the unexpected- that an average reader looks for in any work of fiction.I do acknowledge that these dramatic intrigues are often similar,leading to a 'read one, read them all' prejudice towards this genre. But then, the much admired murder mysteries are also culprit to the same fault. We know exactly what to expect- our interest lies in the unraveling.We are interested in finding out the whos and the hows. So also in the Romance novel.It is interesting to note how the author contrives to create scenarios,albeit often unintentionally comic, and how they various characters react to each other, and of course how they fall in love. And what can be a greater mystery than he workings of the human heart? Romance novels are further accused of being irrational. It is a truth universally acknowledged that human beings are the craziest creatures on the planet.And consider this- has anyone ever acted rationally when in love? My sources answer in negation. And besides, as Blaise Pascal rightly puts it, "The heart has reasons that reason knows nothing of."

And if all these arguments aren't enough to budge your prejudice, consider this-
The Feel Good Factor. No matter how terrible the situation, you can be assured f a happy ending. The ancient and the youthful are reminded that there are possibilities. Sure this may not happen to me, but it can to others- it DOES happen. And of course the perennial craving to be special to someone,the need to be needed- the very fact that these elements are tenets of the Romance novel speak in its favor.

In conclusion, I'd like to remind the discerning reader that the most important and immediate aim of literature is pleasure. And in one way or the other Romance novels do achieve that. Be it through the happy love stories or the (often ridiculous) plot lines, they are an enjoyable read. And writers of this genre are as good as any other.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Music and Lyrics.

Have you come across these songs which sound so amazing but have lyrics that don't make even a glimmer of sense?

Well,I have.

Take good old RHCP. Their music is great, but more often than not their lyrics sound like random words strung together for the fun of it. And for Lit. student (meaning someone who can find meaning even in the meaningless)to say that shows how completely unintelligible it is. And I'm not the only one- my good friend Ms Pouter also feels the same and she is a respected editor and critic! But why talk about firangee music when our very own Indian music shows this sad lack of meaning. Perhaps a better word to use would be comprehensiveness.Imagine a love song which addresses the object of affection as "Rakshasi"?????You actually expect the girl to fall for you if you call her demoness? How dumb are you? And this from the same industry that created songs like "Neelaponnmaane" and "Akale". If you consider malayalam too far south let's go to the north. Tell me, where's the beauty in something like "You are my Soniya"? It's like a nursery rhyme for Godsakes! But then Hindi songs are easy to make. Add a couple of "deewanas" and "pyars" with a good dash of adjectives(not necessarily appropriate) and a few punjabi phrases for the fun of it and - TADA!- there's your popular Hindi song.

The trouble is we are just way to busy nowadays to actually listen. So it's naturally imperative for the pressurized music director to create the catchiest tunes and to hell with words and all that. Which is why ad jingles are so satisfying. But consider this, when time flies off and all that is left of us is a few words on a page in a history book- will they remember us as the age of Jingle music?....

Ah well, what does it matter. After all

...It's only words
And words are all I have
To take your heart away...

The Stories they tell...

Like every child, I too used to bother my parents for stories. Since my father was a rather inaccessible entity- him working in another country and all- my mother got the brunt of it. Through some kind of innate sadism I'd want a story exactly when she can't keep her eyes open. And thus we had interesting versions of Krishna pulling the uruli betwen the trees while Narasimha Rao and Nehru were cooking upmav.(yes, evidently my mothers half asleep stage made her imagination even more fertile)My brother and I used to watch out for these gems so we could tease her when she was fully conscious and among others who knew not of her subconscious yarns. (yes, we were evil children- it's a wonder why she didn't sell us to gypsies)

From those toddler stages we moved on to the age where we wanted stories of our parents' youth. Amma spun splendid epics of hordes of marauding cousins and hot food on rainy days, of huge dogs that turned into lambs at the sight of the children. Achan would talk about how his toys consisted of coconut leaves turned into carts, of having to share the single oversized bicycle with two older brothers, one very strict father and a little sister who always got her way, of jumping into the pond just about anytime he felt like it,of dipping into the great jar of honey whenever he passed by... And my heart would cry out for those simple joys lacking in the dreary desert sands of Kuwait. It was probably why my brother and I became close- I had no one else.

The years passed and the stories changed. Now it was stories of how if you didn't study you'd end up like so and so . And glowing stories of how someone else was doing so well and subtle hints which weren't so subtle. They weren't happy stories anymore. They were serious and grown up and didn't have the spring of the old stories. Those happy stories seemed to have been left behind sometime before your adolescence. Sadly, we grew up. I began to avoid the stories- they only created more confusions. The black white world was turned into a static gray. And again time skipped by swinging his scythe and humming a tune.

College happened, and there was a sudden shift in the equation. I was the one who told the stories while they listened.It was... different. I was in several ways an exhilarating feeling to have your parents listen to you as an equal. And naturally the feeling gets to your head. And much like most highs, it is followed by an deep bone piercing low. You are self reliant now. You do everything yourself,you don't need anyone, everybody(even you)believes that you don't need any help...

And when you go back to your sterile,empty hostel room and stare at the walls you realise how alone that makes you.

The phone rings. It's my mother.

"What happened mole? You don't sound happy."
"I'm fine amma, how are you?"
"Everything is alright over here. Achan and I were just talking about the time when you..."

And time smiles at me. Stories change, people change, places change- but just as we think the milestones are zipping away too fast we look down and see we're traveling the same road, the people who started it with us are still with us. Nowadays, the stories we share are mixtures. Some of it is theirs and some of it is mine. We supply each others examples, add colour to each others tales. The plots are intricate and new characters keep coming in. The stories change, but never stop.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Oy!Wake up!!

That was to the blog.

Yes it has been awhile...but the sad lack of a comp and net connection demands that this sad lack of updates be overlooked.
This post talks about one of my favorite subjects- waking up.
I always feel it's a rather mean thing to put a being to bed when it doesn't want to[say, around 8pm( infernal I know)]-and just when it begins to fall asleep, wake it up with admonitions or the staccato rhythms of the detestable alarm clock. And all for what? A measly day in a class room where most of the lecturers simply encourage one to resume ones disturbed sleep.

A nocturnal animal, such as myself, gets the full brunt of such an evil system. I mean- we're supposed to work when we are most alert- not when our greatest inclination is to journey to la-la land. And just as we finally wake completely-alert and tingling with energy- the lights are turned off! The irony! My hostel employs a power saving system where the light in the rooms is cut at 10(which means 9 in most cases).Floundering in the dark, we night lovers are forced back into a stupor for lack of anything else to do- unless of course one braves the vampiring hordes of mosquitoes waiting in the tube light-lit corridors. And believe me- unless you are desperate or courting anemia, such a choice is BAD.

So you see- that's why we are so full of apathy. It's a conspiracy! The evil forces are plotting to keep us, the youth,shrouded in a dazed doze. We're just too sleepy to be bothered if the world is being destroyed by the higher-ups. Well, now that we have a excuse, let's go back to sleep?

Saturday, August 04, 2007


When purple clouds fill
The skies of life
And rainstorms flood
the ground with fear-
The thing we dread most
Has come to pass:
We are dead to those
We hold most dear.

The soul is gnawed off
The empty shell gapes.
Rotted boards fall off
Among ghostly shapes
A dark stillness haunts-
no heart strikes a beat-
The ashes of time
stick to our feet.

Wild cries turn us hoarse,
Bloody hands,broken doors..
Ripping skin,sinew, bone
Tearing at the human cores.

Silken tethers, burning brands
Curling talons, iron hands
Softly strangle flying hope
Twisting on a hanging rope.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Permanance - A non-mushy love song.

POETS NOTE-It's been a long time since I wrote a non-prose post. And this is my first attempt at this kind.Please assist me in my unsteady fledgling steps.

Absence is Permanance:
For when you are away,
I am calm.
The moment you come back,
I am capsized!
Swerving like a mad pendulum,
To the rhythmless clicking
of that
which used to just pump blood.

I am afraid to move,
Lest this fragile thread
Holding me suspended
Leaving me hurtling
Into a dark world...

Stay away from me!
My permanance is your absence
Leave me alone!
Why twist me like this?
Let me be
Let me return
To what I used to be.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Fashion Fracas

The neanderthals felt that animal-skin wraps were "Totally cool".The Cro-Magnon man was most happy in fur leggings. The homo-sapien, with a wide range of fabrics- natural and artificial- doesn't know what to wear.

Ironic? It doesn't cover the half of it.(much like todays fashions)

There are some who know every nuance of fashion in all its fickle glory. And there are others who can hardly make out the difference. I confess i belong to the latter category. If I were asked whether I prefer the A-line with a bolero jacket or the batiste with the bateau neckline- I would be found hiding in the cellar traumatised by the hurricane of fashion shrapnel!

Indeed, the greatest irony is fashion terminology. The logical use of this technical quagmire is probably to simplify ad classify the myriad forms of clothing. However it only serves to further confuse the already hopelessly floundering. Let's take the simple example of jeans. These highly utilitarian denim numbers were boons to the fashion-fumblers. And now even these have been turned against us!! Low waist, high waists, cut-offs,faded, non faded..this, that and the other! Similarly the question of brands. What does it matter if it is Versace or Vemicelli?! Flip over to Fashion T.V and we have Fall fashions and Spring collections etc..etc.. What is the real difference? All the clothes look similar draped on their similar rail thin human-hangers.

Ah but I suppose this sort of classification must exist.One might compare it to art, where there are so many different words for a technique or a type of paint, or a movement of the eyes or the rising of a note... Fashion too is an art- a much maligned one at that. We hypocritically disclaim it- we who have created cosmetics and plastic surgery. It is only fair I suppose that if we know what type of car or what kind of literature we prefer, that we also know what kind of fashion we like. Though it is rather difficult to keep track with what fashion we are wearing when it changes within the blink of an eye.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Why does it have to rain the one day you wear white?
Why does your handwriting seem the worst when you try to write neatly?
Why does your mind go blank only when you are expected to be smart and witty?
Why does it become third year just as we were getting used to college?
Why do your family leave just when you think you can never be happy without them?
Why is it so embarassing to cry?
Why can't I go home?
Why am I here?
Why do we do what we do?
Why is this important?
Why in hell am i writing this post????

Why? Why? Why? Why?


Why does the rain make the entire world seem so clean?
Why does your mother save things you wrote in third standard?
Why does silence sometimes seem wittier than words?
Why does wisdom creep up on you before you realise it?
Why does your little brother think you are wonderful when you're obviously not?
Why does everything seem shiny when you see through tear drops?
Why does life always pick you up just after it's kicked you in the gut?
Why does family always love you even when you don't?
Why does an alien city accept you with no qualms?
Why does purpose find you when you don't look for it?
Why does a little word mend a heart?
Why do i send this into cyberspace?

Why? Why? Why? Why?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

what's Happiness?

For me it's babies laughing...

Dancing in the rain...

Running at break neck speed in a flowery meadow...

Getting a group hug from your family, your friends..

What's happiness to you?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dusty stories-3




From Dust to Dust.

The end approaches.Soon The Four will bid adieu to Ambattur.

Shouldn't the quartet be delirious with joy?
Shouldn't they reel with delight at the thought of dust-less days?

Then why do they feel depressed at thought of leaving?

Ah the irony!

The last few days had been some of the best. Ames, Pyne and Bentley had their names in print and Agent Gunther had several diplomatic assignments in the Reporting Arena. The dust no longer stung as much. They had met absolutely fascinating people like The Disciple and Ten-o-clocker. Even pestilences like the Burper, the Potato-Man and Bulb-Eye had become bearable.They had unforgetable experiences like Bentley's massaging travails, Ames' dizzy spell(NOT FAINT), Pyne's hitherto unknown fans asking for doubtlessly good-looking Pyne's details to supply their smitten friends with. And how can the author forget the dear Mother Goose who showed Pyne,Bentley and Ames the wonders of anna Nagar like Oddessey, besides others.

And of course the buses.

These Terrors of the road have turned into familiars. Though bus routes are still a coiled mystery and small change is permanently elusive- the Four are no longer the novices that hung on for dear life on the bars of an MTC. They are veterans of the road wars- nearly killed, almost hauled out, stepped on, prodded, squashed...they have survived. And now they will be no more surfing, no more long discussions on love, art and the universe of Ambattur.Ah the loss of those days full camaraderie- cursing the heat with good humored vehemence,swearing sweetly at the sweat, laughing like loons at jokes nobody else would find even remotely funny- How will they live without it?

Yet the Four Interns lift up their chins. They will not bend in despondency. The Dusty stories may have ended, but their stories will go on. They turn their faces to the burning sun and look to the road ahead.

After all..

Tomorrow is another day.

God's own country...

Saturday, May 26, 2007


This is going to be one of those entries which seem to circle around something, which turns out to be nothing.Trying to write something purposeful now is a vain venture. For one thing it's TOO HOT! And for another-I've been supplied with a temperamental keyboard which needs to be rammed by a sledgehammer for a letter to manifest itself on the hallowed screen.(So please excuse any spelling errors- it's the keyboard's fault!)

It has been a week of sorts. The only thing that's been steady is the climbing heat. Highs include a published article each by both my comrades and me. Lows include excess body fat, failing electricity,bus travel and a drought in eye-candy.

While we're on that topic- where have all the good men gone???? Seriously, are all the groovy (or marginally groovy)men cloistered in some inaccessible copse away from us women?? The few that escape appear on movie screens,tantalise young women deprived of eye-sustenance;and leave in a cloud of stardust.We are abandoned again to walk in the desert.Men seem to have all the luck! There are lots of pretty girls. But what about us women? Are we all expected to be Desdemonas or Titanias? I should hope not!
All you good-looking guys out there better make yourself visible soon. If you don't, just remember: You can run, you can hide but can't escape! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!*maniacal grin and thunder and lightning in the background*

I'm off to stalk prey.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Little Chicken is a dangerous thing

When you see a chicken- you know how the phrase "dumb bird" came to being.The bird is a bird-brained, dumb-duck! I know it's a foul way to speak of the delicious fowl- but if you ask me, chickens are best on the dinner platter liberally garnished with gravy and other mouth watering delicacies or fried to a crisp with lots of spice. But if you see these dumb birds as subservient sufferers, you are much mistaken. They do get their revenge. The occasional bird flu back fires and ends up getting more chickens that humans being killed-but I repeat: They get their revenge.

The thought hit me like a monster MTC bus when a dish of roast chicken and mashed potatoes was placed before moi. My mouth watered, my stomach rumbled enthusiastically- but there was a small problem. I was expected to eat with a knife and fork. I was as alien to flatware etiquette as a bear to Einstein's Theory of Relativity! My friend rocked on her seat crying mirthful tears watching my struggles. And I ground my teeth and glared at the big, fat, haunch of meat sitting and blinking at me like some dumbass chicken! But no bird-dead or alive- was going to get the better of me! HAH!

I rammed the fork in and hacked away at the chicken like a maddened Ghenghis Khan only to be rewarded by a tiny sliver of meat. Not one to be disheartened I persevered- splattering my table-mat, my table-mate, the surrounding tables and myself liberally with gravy and mashed potatoes. We battled to and fro neither side relenting. The enemy was a deadly fighter- "dead" being the operative word. But I'm no chicken. The war was turning messier by the minute.And my friend was falling off her chair with laughter.

But at last human nature got the upper hand and most of the dead bird disappeared down the gullet. But there were losses on both sides. On my side it was mostly of dignity. And also a certain feeling that the spirit of that exasperating chicken had been watching and having a hearty laugh- damned bird!

Needless to say- I beat a hasty retreat.

Monday, May 14, 2007

An Evening with Hunk

>"...And so he roamed the land
To prove his spunk,
And for some weird reason
He was called Prince Hunk..."

- from The Prince, the Damsel and the Evil Drrragon

Prince Hunk is truly charming- chivalrous,kindly and forever ready with interesting conversation. These qualities made the Narrator, Bard and The Evil Drrragon pounce upon the oppurtunity for an evening of fun and frolic in the Prince's palace. Sadly the Skunk could not make it.

It was the Prince's feast day and there was a promise of great things. We were much honored when we were personally escorted by the great Prince to the palatial abode where we presented the great soul with a tribute of a DVD,a card and an edition of the Arabian Nights.

And then began the fun.

The Prince,though valorous ad brave, lacked confidence in the kitchen. The Bard, the Narrator and the Drrragon(let's settle on D because typing so many Rs is a problem)jumped to the task and summoning the powers of the Witches of Chocbeth prepared to brew the bhel puri mix and create cinammon toast. The Bhel puri was perfect (probably because it involved merely mixing up processed foods ) the cinnamon toast was...delicious and entertaining. We got to play jigsaw puzzles with it since it kept falling appart (we soaked it too much). But all said and done with laddles of cinammon (Prince Hunk) and dollops of honey (the Narrator) and well cooked toast (the Bard) it was an unforgettable evening. Highlights included when the bard "searched for the prince's eggs" and the D announced the two toasts bound in holy toastrimony. After the bold culinary adventure was completed the troops departed to savour the fruits of their labour and sip on cold coffee to the accompaniment of the ipod and conversation.

But the time came for us to part....

We bid a reluctant adieu from our beloved Hunk who had shown so much spunk in the kitchen, and trailed a sad trail away from Venus colony. As we looked back for the last time, the after taste of cinamon and honey playing upon our tongues- we knew this was one of the sweetest evenings we'll e'er have in our college life.

Walk in the Light Prince Hunk.


Dusty Stories-2

AUTHOR'S NOTE:All those who have no idea what Dusty Stories-2 is about are requested to read Dusty Stories-1.

STATUTORY WARNING-These entries are purely non-fictional. Any resemblance to people living or dead are completely intentional. The reader undertakes reading this at her/his own risk. We will not be held responsible for future dust-phobia or any dust related disorders that may strike the reader post reading.


Dust is dangerous.

It does baaaaad things to you.
And that is besides the inevitable scratchiness.

The fellowship of Gunther,Ames,Pyne and Bentley have found, in a series of formidable battles with this sifty adversary, that prolonged exposure to dust causes a definite case of Cuckosia Mentalosa.

It begins with a vague feeling of light headed-ness. This can easily be mistaken for dehydration- but beware! Then come the bouts of hysterical senseless giggling.Finally the all out loss of sanity which may result in various complications and embarrassment to the person next to you. Some of the catalogued results are- singing loudly(understatement)in the middle of the road, shouting comments at unwary passerbys, trying to do pull ups on a bus bar when there isn't room enough for a squashed sardine and of course the general obstruction of peace.
Ames was the worst hit. Generally an effervecent and not too inhibited soul- Ames became an uncontrollable lunatic and did all the above mentioned activities and grinned apologetically at the chaos. Though Ames was the worst case- the other bold warriors also succumbed to the dreadful (but rather entertaining)disease.

And as if cuckosia wasn't bad enough, there was also the fact that the fellowship members began to resemble baked bricks and feel like grime pots.

After the stint in the Editorial, Ames,Bentley and Pyne were removed to Reporting. Gunther-still painfully separated- was posted in the Editorial. The Three reporterns gave Gunther valuable insight on the working of the said department; especially of the in charge- let's call him King-go-Milk - who had a penchant for telling long stories and interesting tid-bits:especially when we have to run and catch the bus.

The three interns at Reporting valiantly approached the Reporting department. Our fellow worker at the editorial [who,btw,never failed to point out that she was from Mumbai,with the familial background of the SIS college(probably affiliated to the BRO college,the DAD College and the MUM college...and so on and so forth){I use a lot of parentheses}]who had had some experience in the reporting dept filled our heads with images of having to travel to faraway lands and returning back to dustville merely to give in a measley report.

On entering the alien portals we were made to follow the general axiom of The Newspaper,remnicent of Gandalf,"And now we wait". When finally we met the great man-let's call him the Ten-o-Clocker - who headed the dept we arrived just in time to hear the head declare "Let them arrest me!I don't give a damn!" At which, this writer admits, we were much impressed. It's not everyday that a man proffesses to want to ride in the paddy-wagon! We were immediately given work. "Ah something to get our teeth into" Thought the three. The mission quickly accomplished, we returned to be given our first assignment only to be told to call at 10. " Such a great aura of mystery" thought Ames. "Did he really mean 10 at night?" pondered Pyne.

Dutifully we called and were sent bounding off to places we had never heard of before. In the following days we did all the things we were afraid of doing- namely getting lost in the middle of nowhere(Ames), being mistaken for a kid(Pyne), getting to the venue to find NOBODY around (Bentley), and generally being clueless( need I say- ALL).
Yet we shouldered our burdens and forged ahead despite heat,sweat and damn it all DUST!! We kept a smile on our face -maniacal though it may have been. for after all-
tomorrow is another day...

*To be continued*

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dusty Stories-1

Zealously cutting short our vacation in order to get a taste of "profession", four of us- let's call us Ames, Gunther, Bentley and Pyne- set out to the glowing portals of Indian Express.Please note- it was only while setting out that we were zealous. One look at the prospective travel lowered our zeal considerably.

Ah, forgive me. I'm being circuitous. Let's start at the very beginning- it's a pretty good place to start.

We four pioneers of the English stream, chose to do a course that requires an internship. Being the worthy students that we are we chose to go to a prestigious company- and therefore: The Newspaper. We were required to submit a letter to the editor warning him of our impending arrival. A noble thought. The place was located in Amabttur- and the light in our glowing faces dimmed. "Ah well, worth a try." said the enthusiastic four.

The scenic beauty of Ambattur exists wholly in the imagination.
Comprising mostly of dust,grime,hardware stores and unending heat- the Industrial Estate was a planet away from comfort. It would have helped if the place were accesible but... let's just say if the work didn't kill us the travel would.But forever the optimists we persevered.

The bus ride didn't help.
The sight of dust, dust and more dust also didn't help.
And being made to wait for 1 and a half hours and then being told that the editor was not even there definitely DID NOT HELP.

"What nonsense!" cried Gunther in rage. Ames was also not very amicable. However, Bentley and Pyne,forever the souls calmness, said, "It's alright we'll come again later."

Thus began a series of phone calls to ascertain when to come. (We have come up with a most excellent theory- they give internship applicants the ONE number that will NEVER be picked up.)Finally we were asked to meet the great man at a specified time.

And so, once again we undertook the ardorous journey. Saw dust dust and more dust. (not to mention garbage and plastic). Reached the destination. And was met by the Editor's secretary- let's call him Seven-Hills. Seven-Hills asked us to wait an hour(they seem to go by Milton's axiom- "...even those are served who stand and wait")After which-JOY OF JOYS- our letter was accepted and we were officially intern-ised!!

And thus began the great saga of The Internship!

On the appointed day(May 2)at the appointed time (12.30) we met the ever present Seven-Hills. He mercilessly separated the foursome and now Gunther walks alone in the world of Features while Ames, Bentley and Pyne were assigned to the editorial. Burying our sorrows, we enthusiastically set out revolutionise the editorial!!!- and were made to wait. Till 5. And finally were set free without having done anything. Oh the Humanity!!! More like oh the dust! But- tomorrow is another day...

*To Be Continued*

The Case of the Missing PAss book

Have you ever heard that story of the old miser who buried all his gold under a tree to return and find there so many similar trees around that he didn't know whaere his gold was? The word he was probably searching for at that moment was "GAAAAAH!!!"

Well that poor miser has my entire sympathies!

Yours truly is notorious for her carelessness. Therefore, when my family saw me off at the hostel doorway their last advice was "Take care of your stuff." Well...I DID take care of my stuff. I knew exactly where everything was(well atleast most of the time). But disaster struck when I went to Delhi.

My pass book was very important.It was that golden key to my bank and therefore my financial stability. So when I left Chennai, I made sure I kept it safe and sound.
Sadly, I kept it SO safe, that when I returned I couldn't find it!
I searched high and low and in between to no avail. The pass book was in the limbo of lost things.
It wouldn't have been so bad if the same thing hadn't happened again! I return from Kuwait without any fears and then realise i can't remember where the blessed thing is! Damn, blast and every other expletive!

It wouldn't hurt so much if I HAD been careless. The whole problem arose because i SO careful. The Irony! The Injustice! The sheer Idiocy!! Is there some conspiracy to make sure I'm pass book-less atleast once a year?!Ah well... c'est la vie Join me in prayer that the bank issues a new pass book for me without kicking up a truckload of dust, and that at least this one doesn't leave me in the lurch.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Grey hairs and wrinkles? Get the hair colour and creams!

I was just going through the previous entry and - MAN AM I SAD!
I mean, I'm just 19! what's the big deal anyway if the poor kid is writing a sad,mind bogglingly crazy and meaningless exam. If I'm feeling down, imagine how my mum must be feeling? This is the second kid she's sending off to walk the board. And sure the guy's gotta grow up, I mean imagine if stayed like some Peter Pan character- there'd be so much we'd have missed out. And Really- there is so much in this beautiful BEAUTIFUL world just WAITING to be done. I have to go rock climbing on the rainbow rocks of the Giant Canyon, hiking in the Himalayas,paragliding in Colarado, bungee jumping in Columbia,get laid up with Jaundice at least once, drink wine, smoke pot....- I don't have the time to mourn about the days gone by.
And the bottom line is- As long as you can look up into the sky and see how green the leaves look etched against the deep blue sky... life isn't that bad.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Wrinkles and grey hair...

My mother always told me-It is not you who grows older, it is the others who do.

The fact struck me like lightning this morning as I wished my kid brother luck for his first board exam. And it seems just yesterday I was teaching him two plus two! It's sad how things change. Sure it's inevitable and all.. but...You know now he's not going to wriggle around giggling when you tickle him. Instead he'll scowl and hiss "Chechi behave yourself! Stop irritating me." You know all those silly games you played and the ridiculous jokes you used to cackle to will now have turned truly redundant... All of a sudden you have to stand on your toes to knock him on the head, when earlier he used to look up at you...

It's true. We don't grow older.. it's those around us who do. And though I'm so incredibly proud of the young guy who stands a head above me, I'll still miss that little kid...

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Are we going to
                                        Not just look
See how,
When the social workers
                                                  To help victims in
                                                  far away lands,  
                                          The Victims in our own houses
                                     Cry mute tears and stuff gags into their spirit.
See how,
when the champion waves laurels
in the flourescent tubes
                                                               In the shadows stand,
                                          those beautful candles that burn unknown.
                                                         Carefully blank faces like
                                                                  stain glass windows

           But When will we 
When will they see
from behind the cool shades
That guard our eyes from seeing?

Sun Set Boulevard

My photography. What do you think?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Leaves are blowing.
Tinged with red
-sap or blood?-
Smelling of ash,
Incense and grief...

The Dark hole gapes-
The Black Hole:
Sucking into it's
Closing the lid.

It is Done.

...From ashes to ashes
from dust to dust....

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sari Sorrows

The Sari clad woman is the epitome of feminine grace and beauty. Poets over the ages have waxed eloquent about the absolute loveliness of a lass in a sari. Little do those fanciful fellows know….Behind the velvet softness of the sari-ed woman there lies an iron endurance and incredible skill.

Actually I can’t blame them. At one point I was actually one of their idealistic league. (Judge me not, ye harsh ones!) My folly was nurtured by my own mother- who could transform a pile of cloth into a perfectly draped sari within minutes. Could I be blamed for supposing this common place?

Well… the illusion was shattered soon enough.

Stranded without Amma the Sari Super- woman, I was faced with the task of tying a sari for a function by myself. Piece of cake? Think again.

Before leaving home, I had done the smartest thing and asked Mother dearest for a total instruction manual of sari-wearing. But no one warned me about the practical difficulties!! The sari-which looked harmless enough when folded neatly – turned out to be a cloth Charybdis! Unfurled to its unending length, it gave me images of Draupadi and the sea of cloth! “Well,” I thought “let’s face this like a man…er… woman.”

And thus began a battle of lengthy proportions (literally). The funny thing about the sari is that when one thing is finally settled the other thing-that was previously ok-decides to become undone. The greatest killer though, is the pleats! When done with expertise, the pallu (that’s the part that I prefer to call the tail of the sari) hangs in a graceful, straight, silken cascade. When I was finished with it…well the nicest way to put it was that, it definitely did hang…only like squashed handkerchief. And then of course there are the front pleats. It’s supposed to fall in a nice straight fan that flatters the figure (or at least gives one the semblance of owning a figure). The nicest thing to be said of mine was that it did not fall…off.

But all said and done, my sari did have one outstanding feature. I had created a scientific miracle- A gravity defying Sari!!!(Thank you! Thank you! I’d like to dedicate this honor to the several hundreds of safety pins that helped me in my endeavor). Sure, it appeared to be a little…er… lumpy, and a little…er… elevated… But hey! The effort mattered!

At least that’s what I thought.

“Hey boss…I think you’ve tied your sari wrong side out...”


The next time you see a woman wearing a perfect sari, recognize it for what it is- a badge of endurance, patience, skill and unbelievable dexterity.

‘Frailty thy name is woman’?


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tears of a Tree

 Hear me-I'm the Tree!
And I sing of Nature & Irony.
I sing of tenderness
In the bark of a Tree
Of Cruel Fates and Reality.

Look at me!
Observe my stance.
My arms wide open,
I hide Nothing.
Yet you ignore the tears in my Bark.

You are blind to the Truth you see.

I have in my core
A twin Torment
That circles around itself.
Unable to rest,
Within this tortured Tree.

See here- my roots
That kiss the Earth.
Drinking Her tears when She cries.
See here- our bond
Like the umbilical cord,
Without Her there is no Tree.

But see also- my brown arms
That stretch towards the Sky.
Straining against my solid trunk
To sip the Sun's golden wine-
The life blood of the Tree.

The Earth pulls me down.
The Sun pulls me up.
I'm caught in this Tug of War.
And Nature laughs
In full-throated glee
At the plight of a torn Tree.

Oh soil! Oh Sun!
Two halves of my troubled heart-
Can't you see?!
If you tear at each other
You tear apart this Tree!

You are different-I know.
That is an undeniable truth...
But I know this too
That no matter how different,

Neither can I let go.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Invisible Man

When God wants to punish you, He answers your prayers.

The wailing of the ambulance could not shut out the screaming of his heart. All around him people buzzed in activity. But he saw only her. Just her.

He remembered the first time he'd seen her. It was at curb.In that orange salwar, her hair standing out in cloudy uncontrollable wisps around her face. She'd kept unconsciously pushing it off her cheek. He'd thought she was pretty. That's all. Just pretty. But then, she'd smiled. It was like some sort of Super nova blasting in his eyes. It wasn't merely the beauty of it, it was the life in it. Like the delicate, dramatic beauty of a blooming flower.
And then, she left.

He forgot her. Didn't think of her. Until a month later, he saw her again. Somewhere.He couldn't remember. Still the same-A small thing, a figure far from perfect, with a smile that spoke the language of humanity. He'd seen her talking to someone. She spoke as much with her face and hands as with her lips. She had fire and grace.Like a dancing flame. Something, unexplainable.
And then, she left.

He couldn't forget her.But he couldn't do anything about it.He didn't know anything about her. And she didn't know he existed. But perhaps, serendipity is reality. He saw her again. This time, he actually saw her face. She'd turned to someone in his direction. He'd thought there could be nothing more beautiful than her smile, until he saw her eyes.
And then, she left.

He couldn't get her out of his mind. Everything reminded him of her. The sunshine was her smile. The nights were her eyes.He yearned to see her again, touch her, talk to her-Just once.Prayed for it.

And it happened.

It was late evening. The auto she was traveling by had stopped at the curb. The same curb. The driver had stepped out for change when the truck skidded and rammed into the vehicle.

He had run to her. He had managed to pull her out of the auto. Somebody near him was calling the emergency number. The white of her dress was stained red with her blood. Her brilliant eyes were shut in pain. He could see now that her hair was actually a dark brown. And her skin was not really perfect. But she was with him. He held her closer for a moment, jerking a cry of pain from her.
"Don't worry help is on the way" he said. For a moment he worried whether she knew English.
"Thank you." he heard the faint reply. Her voice was young and fresh like the life that was flowing out of her. "Someone should inform my parents . My phone is in my bag." She was growing paler.
"Where is that ambulance!" his panic seeped into his voice.He felt a soft touch on his arm.
"Don't worry." she said " I'll be fine." And she smiled that heart breaking smile. "Don't cry."
She smiled.

And then, she left.

Turkey Travails

Every Christmas, my mother is faced with a huge problem. Literally and figuratively. My father's effervenscent gourmet friends lovingly and regularly present us with a large turkey the size of Australia. This wouldn't really be a problem if my mother knew what to do with it. As wide as my mother's culinary expertise is, the turkey is beyond her. Whether she curries it or fries it or even puts it in biryani, the result still falls short of that Elysium of "yummy".
Well, this time she was ready for the battle.
As always the turkey made it's solid presence felt in the freezer by the 23rd and amma had recruited excellent reinforcements. Jalaja Aunty. Second in command to Amma, she was the one who executed. Where Amma was the Crusoe, Jalaja was the Friday. The battle was set- the women vs the turkey.The dynamic duo confered.
This brought the family into the kitchen-to find Jalaja aunty fearlessly battering the monstrous unyielding turkey into pieces. Chunks. Parts?
The result of the bloody tug of war between tendons and tenacity, was a triumph of human spirit. The turkey was chopped up!
But what to do with it?
Another heated discussion.The decision was to boil some of the pieces, then shred the meat and add it to either soup, rice or make sandwich filling out of it. The very fact that my mother was going to such complicated ends to get rid of the thing reflected her desperation.
They boiled it and they shredded it.At this crucial juncture, Amma lost her trusted ally to the forces of getting-back-home. Now it was just her and the turkey.
She put all her skills to it. She painstakingly cooked the meat with varied spices, added lemon and pepper and God knows what to it. She'd have done Sanjeev Kapoor proud.
Finally the end result arrived at the table. She waited with bated breath for the consensus.

"Amma...why is it slightly sweet?"

The treacherous turkey had done it again. Maybe it was the taste. Maybe it was the sheer quantity.But the turkey became leftovers.And Amma beat her breast in frustration. But the gleam of stubborn determination shines in her eyes. She WILL rid her kitchen of the foul fowl! The question is how?.....I guess it's bird watching time at the table.

Playground Politics-A slide show

You know it's true what they say- The youth are the polticians of the future.

It is evident when a person steps into the teeming mix of primary school kids. When they are through bawling their heads off and pulling braids, their acumen for politics is astounding!The social hierarchy and intricate webs constructed by these young minds would put our "established" biggies to shame.

Observe, a general conversation between two kids.
"Sandra,you're a bad girl."
(social ostrasisation)
"No No!"
"Yes, you are a bad girl!"
"But why am I a bad girl?"
"Because you are Ammu's friend!"
( groupism and strained allegiances)
"But you are also Ammu's friend."
"I'm friends with her only when she is here."
(Backstabbing- traits of a great politician)
"If you want to be my friend you shouldn't be her friend."
(Sandra considers.Two can play at back stabbing)
"Ok, I'll be your friend."
"So you'll be katti with Ammu?"
"Say it to Kezzie also."
(In the kiddie circles, reconfirmation to a close compatriot is equivalent to evidence in print. Of course the close compatriot can change sides.But that is not important.)

"Kezzie, I'm not friends with Ammu."


"Come on lets play house."

Such promising political skills in ones so young,should allay all doubts as to where the nation is heading. It all gets spoiled when we the elders start bringing in stupid notions of loyalty, integrity and all that hogwash. But I guess we right the wrongs when we expose these "filtered" children to our hypocrisy and The World News.

A Generation Awakens.

Monday, January 01, 2007

my Animal( grrrowl)

You're a Dragon!

Noble, regal, and highly misunderstood, you're a bit of a loner at
heart. You like caves, the sky, and other vast expanses of air where you can blow
off steam. You and people like you got a lot more respect in the old days, but now
your type only shows up in songs about young children. They're the only people who
really believe in your potential. As long as you believe in yourself, and don't
breathe directly at anyone, you'll be okay. You have a strange liking for string and

Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.