Sunday, December 20, 2009


Something else I unearthed from my notes.

Long after we have gone,
When dust has sublimated
Into something finer still;
When memory has become
A mere memory of memory
You and I will continue to live.

For the same emotion
That quickens my breath
Will pant on the lips of
That unknown new.

And in that shared emotion.
We will live again.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Of Studies

I'm a very serious student ( ok ok Stop! Shut up! Enough with the guffaws!). I take my studies very seriously. (ORDER IN THE BLOG PAGE!) But for all my diligence, my work never moves more than an inch per day! It is a temporal anomaly I say! How else can I end up sitting in front of the same page from 8 am to 5 am? Examine my tight schedule.

The first thing I do post-reveiller and morning ablutions is make a list of things that need to be done. But of course things need to be prioritised, and prioritising takes thought. And of course there are all those things you keep missing out. So constant drafting and redrafting is necessary to make the perfect plan. But then you realise the time-scheme that you had laid for the original plan is no longer applicable because the time has lapsed. So now you, being a smart person and all, draft a new plan which does not specify any time(fickle, slippery thing!) and finally finalise a plan of action. By this time, it is time for lunch and we all know that the brain needs food for thought. So we head off to lunch. In the return trip it is imperative that you drop by at the rooms of other students to brainstorm and also to partake of refreshing ideas. All this exchange of ideas is exhausting, so it is only right that we invite these great minds-the budding philosophers of tomorrow- for rejuvenating coffee.

The brewing of coffee is an exacting art. All the more demanding because we are sharply deficient of utensils such as spoons and the only one there is pressed into the service of stirring. Since we are tenuously trying to pour out the right amounts of coffee, some spillage is bound to happen. And cleaning this up is obviously going to take time. By this time, the lazy sun has dipped off and treacherous evening has crept in! Of course you return to your books recharged with the wisdom imparted by the coffee drinkers and pore over the miniscule print. But the light is bad so you go to switch on the tube, which is when the dog slips in undetected. Half an hour of tussle later the dog is out but you are covered with dog hair. A bath is imperative. And considering what you were handling, it better be on the longer side just to guarantee dog-freeness.

Post bath I realise that time has sped by on winged feet, and it is time for dinner. But, the diligent student that I am, I skip this for the sake of academics (that, and the fact that the tummy is still full of coffee :P). So the serious student studies seriously with nary a distracted blink for several hours. But then you suddenly recall your friend mentioned that she might send a mail. And, being such a responsible person, you realise that the easiest way to not forget a task is to do it as soon as you remember it. And since I am online I might as well check on the blog and then of course there are the comments to be answered and the non-existent comments to rail against. Multi-tasking is the sign of a true student. My duty as a blogger and netizen fulfilled, I return to my books full-throttle. A while later, the missed dinner makes its absence felt and your stomach compels you to fix a sandwich. And sandwiches are so crumby and messy, so there is dusting and washing to clear up. Making a quick job of that, you reprise your perusal of the blessed texts, post-haste with the concentration of a balancing act. Some time later you stretch your cramped back and happen to look out the window and realise that the light is not merely from the tubelight and that the sun has risen. When did that happen???? And the work has not diminished at all!

I tell you it is a conspiracy! All universities and academic institutions have placed their students in a weird time warp that refuses to let them finish their work. How else can a day, that supposedly has 24hrs, disappear in 20 minutes? I type this out in the frustration of the truly stumped, and will take the opportunity of this respite to return to studying. You see what a serious student I am?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dogged Doggies-II


It's a dog's life indeed.
Is it not enough that we miserable inmates of the hostel residences spent the first year of our M.Adness dodging the puddles and myriad other foibles of you furry fiends? Is it not enough that we are routinely assaulted by your panting presence cemented to our shins and, in some truly disturbing cases, to parts of the anatomy that should never have to come anywhere near canines of any sort? Is it not enough that you dog our footsteps like the dogged doggies that you are, renderings us unable to take a step without encountering your pungent presence?

Apparently not.

It was a fine day-One of the last days of our bondage within the academic shackles of the third semester. Exhausted by several nights and days of too little sleep and too much assignmenting, the author sunk into an exhausted stupor in the cool sanctuary of her room, savoring that "...still,unravished bride of quiteness..." (forgive me, Keats), sweet sleep. The room-mate, good soul that she is, recognized snoriasis when she saw it and left the slumbering mortal alone,thoughtfully leaving the door open in the unlikely event that the aforementioned slumbering mortal would wake up in the next 12hrs.

Had this is been a marginally fair world, this rosy picture would have played out to its logical conclusion. However, as we are regularly reminded,life rejoices in being perfectly Machiavellian.

A few inadequate hours later, the author was resummoned into the land of the living by something unpleasantly wet being applied to her flung forearm. Amazed at her room-mate's desperation that she should be moved to using water to rouse the sleeper, the author reluctantly cracked open one of her bleary eyes. And flew out of bed in a leap that put mankind to shame! For you see, the sight that greeted the author's poor shocked eyes was not the benign countenance of her very comely room-mate, but the grinning, drool-dripping face of Chaka the doggy demon!The creature had crept into the room when no one was looking and clambered over the bed to loom over the author's sleeping head, deciding that the prone form was an apt petredish for drool samples.

While the author's ravings brought people from other rooms running to her doorstep, it had no effect whatsoever on the lolloping limpet-like mutt squatting on her bed grinning unrepentantly, tongue lolling. Apparently in Chaka-tongue yelling and screaming is a sign of bonhomie and love. Why else would she take the writer's raging roars to be a signal to lie down on the evacuated bed and furthermore proceed to rub herself all over the author's poor precious bedsheet? And the fact that the dog smelt like an open drain and had obviously been frolicking one too, did not do much to reduce the disgust her actions inspired. It was bad enough that Chaka had parked herself on my pillow and then went on to mambo on my mattress, but the red began to seep into the vision when she started for the blessed blanket. Something about the raised arm must have raised an alarm in her dim doggy brain, for she scooted off the bed before the blow could fall. While the author fought against her restraining compatriots, heaving angry lungfuls of air now permeated with Eu de Chaka, the dratted dog gave a queenly shrug as if to say "wha'ever" in Barbie-esque nonchalance and proceeded to disembowel a few unsuspecting dustbins in the lower floors.

As the discerning reader might have surmised, clean up was a b***h. The sheets and pillowcase were washed with both detol and savlon, and then left to air for 5 days just to be on the safe side. The author spent many a happy hour dreaming of transporting Chaka off to Nagaland, where the people have a penchant for toothsome canines. The Nagas are a smart race! University has leeched me of any dog loving tendencies that I might have harbored. Never again will I coochie-coo over a conniving canine. Forever traumatised by the trauma of living with these colonising curs, I can no longer look at an adorable puppy without recalling the menace it will become.

But then again, truth be told,we are the trespassers not the dogs. After all they stay on at the University, while we are merely passing through in the long line of passages in this transit flight called life. Students may come and students may go, but the dogs go on for ever. The full-throated howls ringing through the campus at 3 am in the morning are testament to the fact that they go on and on incessantly. The author realises that in this dog eat dog world one will come across strange bedfellows: there is nothing to be done but to wait for the offending mutt to boot out and then clean the sheets. And so she will go nurse the headache that all the live howling has brought about with nary a slight against the wretched animals.

It's a dog's life, indeed.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Something I found while rummaging through my Russian Literature class-notes while we were discussing Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

Something so "never again",
That it was bound to happen again,
Happened when we were not looking;
So we didn't know it was happening
Until it did.

Perhaps then, it makes sense
That each time it happens
It feels like Genesis and Resurrection
The coldness of the newness
Crashing against the warm moisture
Of congenial birth fluids of emotion,
so sharply,
That we cry out in painful ecstasy
That steals our breath.
Or rather,
Chokes our wind pipes.

"Never again," we say breathlessly
Panting in the aftermath of it all;
And fall headlong
Into the spiralling kaliedoscope
of again.
And again.
And again...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


A work of fiction: The NUTRITIONAL facts on the side of a chips packet.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Bathrooms are generally considered areas of cleansing. Sadly, in a hostel, entering a bathroom entails a simultaneous feeling of increased dirtiness. Call it physical, psychological, philosophical or plain comical but the moment you set foot into a hostel sanitation area, you feel like all the plagues of Egypt descended upon you at the same time.

Consider my first hostel bathroom. It was truly posh, really. For one thing it was an actual room! (As in we had to take at least two steps to touch the opposite wall). Secondly it did not supply 'mineral' water that literally turned us into stalagmites if we stood under the flow of water for too long. (please note the use of "flow of water" as opposed to shower). But these virtues were overshadowed by the fatal hamartia of the Hanging Gardens of Underwear. Take this scenario: After a sweltering night, first thing you see when you enter the bathroom are rows of drying lingerie, this followed by the swarm of mosquitoes that the opened door stirred awake, while M.S' suprabhatam mocks you in musical amusement. I assure you such a welcome blinds one to the magic of space and decalicifying possibilities. Furthermore, the bathroom was attached- A cloaked killer that. Because you see, this meant that the person in the bed closest to the bathroom (me) bore the full brunt of the mosquitoes that were spawned in the damp reaches of the damned room. And my first hostel's bathroom was apparently the Big Apple of mosquito-dom. I am surprised I survived with any blood at all!

Times changed as did hostels, but bathrooms go on forever. Or not, considering that my in second hostel there was always a shortage or available cubicles in the morning when you desperately crave ablutions before battling the day. I made my inaugural bathroom entry with a bang: I dropped a detol bottle right in the middle of the place and it obligingly smashed into smithereens with an accompanying twash! This gained me the everlasting displeasure of most of the inmates thereafter. Well,the anus sanctum (that was the motto of the hostel, not a pun) came with luxurious effects of 4-5 bathing cubicles, even smaller toilets, 'mineral water' baths, live music (neighbouring bathroomers) and the eternal "excitement" regarding the fickleness of water supply. This last quality, by the way, is a constant in every hostel.

Some of the most awkward and hilarious (on hindsight) situations arise when the water stops halfway through whatever sanitary activity you are indulging in. Following such a misfortune the hapless individual will embark upon a series of hollers and yowls imploring the staff to PLEASE TURN THE MOTOR ON! which may or may not be heard (ignored) by the implorees. Tis a terrible fate indeed to be stuck in a waterless bathroom. Worse still if the bathroom in question already induces nausea and is rather claustrophobic to add to it. Funny in the future perhaps, but when you're you are marooned in a bathroom caked with soap and with merely a millimeter of water left in your bucket, nothing can be farther from humor. Another hostel bathroom constant is darkness. All the hostel bathrooms I have been exposed to have suffered from light shortage at some period or the other. And in the case of the Old Women's Hostel, we were perennially in the dark regarding whether there will ever be light. In many ways it is a blessing - at least you don't have to see what you might see. But it is rather funny considering it gives a whole new twist to the phrase "dark doings". Couple that with groping in the dark for the tap and you have a comic scene worthy of Laurel and Hardy.

There's nothing new about the New Women's Hostel's bathrooms. Same old water problems, same old faulty locks, same old dysfunctional light bulbs. But what is different is that the users love to leave behind memories of their presence in the form of shampoo sachets, plastic covers, newspapers and often rather vile things I'd rather not defile the blog by naming. As the law abiding pacifist proletariat we went to the authorities and got zilch. Which is when, in true University spirit,the the posters went up. The revolutionary literature was posted on bathroom doors in eloquent terms running along the lines of " Pull the flush!" and "Get toilet trained!" Surprisingly enough the posters did have an effect. For a while. Sigh.

I remember telling my mother that I wanted to take pictures of the bathrooms at home, just so I can remember that clean, pretty bathrooms do exist and the parryware ads aren't full of s***t. This declaration was greeted with incredulous laughter, of course. Either way, I am sure that this is a memorable experience. And I'm pretty sure it has inured me to a great deal of trauma. At some point of time when I am stranded in the slums of Sumatra, I wont be challenged by the terrifying toilets. So I guess there's no harm done. If nothing else the bad bathrooms have become an investment in mirth: so it's all worth it. :D

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Rite

Kalyani's heart cringed at the thought of what awaited her smiling daughter. The unfairness of it all galled her fine sensibilities. Her daughter was much too young, much too happy for this!. It isn't right! she thought vehemently, as she glanced at the group of adults cosseting her little girl. She is just a child, a baby! The centre of attention laughed unaware that this attention was only because they too knew what was going to happen,and knew that she needed to be lulled into safety before the inevitable needle prick that awaited her. The injustice of it all left a bitter taste in her mouth.

Saro placed a hand on Kalyani's shoulder, "It is time, mole." Kalyani shot a pained glance at her mother and stiffened her spine. She had to do this, it was tradition. Her daughter would thank her later. The cooing group parted like the Red Sea at her approach. She shared a speaking glance with Shantam who calmly held out the tiny earings as Kalyani lifted her startled daughter in her arms. The child looked up at her questioningly for a moment, but the rising question was submerged in the deluge of trust that gurgled forth from her lips, spreading into a smile of unblemished faith. And Kalyani's heart broke into a thousand pieces: She was going to shatter that unquestioning trust today. Dredging up a smile for her daughter's benefit Kalyani walked through the darkened portals.

The Nurse looked up from her tray and smiled reassuringly. "Have you marked her?" she asked.
Kalyani managed a nod. Her daughter chose that moment to release a happy giggle, making Kalyani's knotted insides shrivel. The Nurse took one look at her tortured visage and quickly held out her arms. "Come, let me take her through this , you wait outside." Kalyani looked down at her laughing daughter and knew she couldn't see what was going to happen to her. In that moment of weakness she gave up her child, her baby into alien arms. The child laughed happily at the mild change in height, her sparkling exuberance spreading itself even into the business-like nurse who unbent enough to coo soft words to her and bounce her about. Kalyani turned away unable to face the waiting pain. As the nurse walked away, she listened against her will to the fading laughter of her little girl. She heard a door close but she could still hear the laughter, light and naive. Her daughter would be in the room now-There was another burst of laughter-they would hold her firmly so she wouldn't flinch and dislodge the equipment- a little giggle and some chatter-They would lower the needle onto her tender skin and--


The scream rent the air like tearing silk, all the more gruesome because of the mirth that preceded it. Kalyani's fingernails dug crescents into her palms as she willed herself not to run to her daughters rescue. The screams went on an on, first plaintive, then angry, never stopping. At long painful last the nurse returned with her crying daughter who looked up at her with her large wet eyes full of reproach. Kalyani swallowed and gathered her up in her arms trying to soothe her. I'm so very sorry kanna. So so sorry.
She cleared her throat and faced the nurse, "Did she give you too much trouble?"
The nurse, who had lost a great amount of her cool matter-of-fact calm, was trying ineffectually to recapture several escaped strands of hair. She shot a mildly desperate and partly amused glance at the crying child and shook her head in disbelief.

"Trouble? Oh madam, it is only because she didn't know what we were doing that we managed to pierce the first ear properly. The second one is definitely off! She wouldn't let the needle anywhere near her! She's going to be a difficult one! So angry, my God!"

Sure enough, one ear lobe sported a piercing much lower than the marked spot. Kalyani smiled indulgently. If at 28 days her daughter was fighter, perhaps at 28 she will be even better. If she can fight this little pain with such vehemence, may be the greater pains will be kept at bay too. Kalyani looked down at her baby daughter who had cried herself to angry sleep, the tiny golden earings glowing in the dim light of the hospital corridor and prayed for happy times.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It isn't fair.
Everytime I look at you I am reminded of what I'm supposed to do. The World According to me must constantly be replenished. But what do I do when the world , according to me, is refusing to let me replenish it. For one thing there is work. For another, there is angst. When, beloved blog, did you transcend from distraction to duty? I do not know whether this transcendence is benevolent; for love is demanding. By its very nature it cannot but pierce you to do right by it.

And so, I pen this seemingly pointless missive, delivered on the binary coded wings of cyberspace pigeons and sincerely apologise. Every day I look at you and wish I could. But I ask you, with humble hope of acceptance, to wait awhile.

I will return.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Hostel Humbug-II: Return of the Plaintive

In my long career as a hostelite, I have learned that every hopeful rookie must expect to have to go through “tests” and interviews prior to admission. Most of these tests usually involved the wardens of these esteemed sanctuaries interrogating me on the values of values, the inflexible nature of the rules of the institution (which often seemed to resemble particularly limber gymnasts) and stern threats of eviction and other dire consequences if one so much as put a sliver of the toe-nail of your littlest toe out of line (which meant displease Her Majesty, the Warden.) The rookie’s job is to look like a complying doormat – contrite and vaguely guilty for being dirty.
With experiences like these to contend with, it was not surprising that I found the University Hostels’ lack of such procedure dubious, to say the least. Un peu disconcerting. All that built up adrenalin for nothing. Or so I thought. Within a fleeting minute of stepping through the peeling portals of The Old Women’s Hostel, the deceptively docile reception morphed into monstrous hydra. Ok may be not so much. It suffices to say that our experiences in the Old Women’s Hostel aged us considerably. Four months of freedom later we, “the stragglers in the desert”, to borrow a phrase from the great Ezra Pound who consumed the greater part of our minds and our collective sanity during the past semester, straggled back to the University and its questionable charms.
The glaring construction pits and sand scabs that scarred the face of the campus faded in the glow of the million megawatt smiles adorning reunited comrades and collective happiness. Of course the lights dimmed drastically when we faced our prospective quarters. The New Women’s Hostel, magnificent in its towering facade should by all rights have been a step up from our Old days. However the step up was several storeys up in this case. Pair this with gargantuan luggage that needed to be transported up three flights, minus the benevolent charity of an elevator, and we have a winner for spontaneous hyper-tension. While all this was manageable - given the efficient training dealt out by the Old Women's Hostel - trudging three flights on a sweltering monsoon day, tugging about 5kgs worth of luggage; only to find a locked room because the squatter who was assigned to your room happily scooted off with the only key, pushed the author clean off the edge of sanity. Several minutes of screaming later the rest of the luggage was herded, by which time the author was too exhausted to commit murder (which explains the presence of aforementioned squatter in good health).
Given such an...interesting entry, it is only natural that the future would bear similar fruit. The New Women’s Hostel comes with its own background music- drills and construction work noises, accentuated by the screams of hapless inmates skidding down the permanently wet bathroom floors followed by the inevitable crash. You see, ever since the University began employing the supremely intelligent scheme of filling every square inch of destroyable land with building, sunlight and ventilation have become scarce entities. And for the same reason, any drenched surface has all possibility of remaining that way for a very, very long time. But the New L.H is technologically empowered! It has three non-functioning fridges and one sort of working washing machine! Plus, because any movement to the Outside will require a battle with the killer stairs, students naturally gravitate towards rest and never leave the room at all for fear of converting all that potential energy into something else. The New L.H is also the preferred abode of the Doggy Matriarch in training, Chaka; who is all set to take over the mantle from Sundari. We have yet again taken to locking our rooms at all times so as to avoid canine visitors.
Be that as it may, the New L.H is not a hell-hole. For one thing it offers us the unimaginable luxury of only two to a room. Similarly, it is also equipped with Godrej Cupboards, as opposed to pokey little fake-wood whatnot that used to adorn our Older abode. And all said and done it is truly palatial in comparison to the ghettos in which our male brethren reside. After all, how can one find fault with our lovely living quarters when our comrades live four to a two-seater and have liquids of dubious nature dripping into their domestic area. The University takes trouble to teach its students the value of perspective. And they are not averse to making their students susceptible to diseases with and without names in the pursuit of this greater goal. Ah what an enlightened batch we are, that we have the good fortune of living through such times where the contractor can ‘forget’ to build bathrooms in the Boy’s Hostel and the management brings out the innovative suggestion of ‘mobile toilets’ – a scenario that most sentient beings would shy away from in horror. With such training, we will forever appreciate the little things in life. Like sanitation. Or silence, for that matter. After all we are alive.
For how long and how sane, is the question.

For those interested in the prequel, here is the link

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Cynic Romantic

There is a fine line between love and hate
For love is not what they say it is.
It is a cancer in the soul of the soul
That consumes itself while multiplying

Love is no joyful glory
That beams out in happy streams
It bleeds in unloving loving
Red and gray and black and green

There is a fine line between love and hate
For what is love but the happy hate?
The same as hate but only lighter-
For it hopes to survive in goodness
While the other glories in truth.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

On His Baldness. Extended Version.

This post is a reply to several queries defending my brothers hairscapades. Perhaps this will suitably illustrate the point I tried to make previously.

My brother has reached that stage in life where he is interested in his reflection. It is a highly disconcerting feeling for the rest of the family to notice the “baby” suddenly lifting weights, obsessing about oily food and haircuts, and generally being “the dude”. Most of it was alright, often good too. But it was the hair factor that killed us.
At first it was hilarious, then slightly amusing, and then completely exasperating. You see, my brother couldn’t be like other brothers and simply walk around looking like a partly denuded porcupine. Nooooo. His speciality was an obsession with his hairline. One fine afternoon, lightly dozing after lunch, the family was caught unawares when my brother announced, a la tragic hero declaring impending doom, “I’m going bald.”
We laughed and laughed. And he was very offended.
Hey, you can’t blame us! Blessed with a veritable jungle on his head, it took more than your average stretch of the imagination to notice any baldness. Everyday he’d he would point out a small indentation in his hairline and insist that recession happened (forgive the pun it was much too delicious an opportunity). It was when he began to tally hairs lost, that things began to get truly irritating. And admittedly entertaining as well. Family jokes on how he should get “Gulfgate” done, ran rampant. What was truly disturbing was that he actually took us seriously when we said this.
Several hair-brained ideas on hair loss later, we had the good fortune of going to Tirupathi. It is a known fact that one of the major prayer offerings there is one’s own hair. At the sight of all those bald heads my father had the brilliant idea of getting his son to go through with it as well (I offered, but we already know the family’s take on my hair length reduction schemes. [Humph!]). My brother had his misgivings but they were all demolished with a single sentence from the wily barber who was plying the razor. “Your hair will grow doubly thick.” He declared, pointing to his own shock of pitch black hair. Given such virulent proof, my brother bowed his head to the razor, doubts assuaged. True, the reflection in the mirror took some getting used to; but the pros outran the cons by miles. For one thing, the concept of combing was conveniently canned, as was the irritation of what another friend baldly described as “three pounds of mess” on one’s cranium. And with all due credit to the razor-man, the new hair growth did resemble a jungle (of course it always did, but in my brothers eyes there was ‘improvement’).
The gentle, logical reader may decide that this would spell a happy end to our hair-shirt days. But, as mentioned once upon a time in an earlier entry, my family –much like myself– defies all logic. My brother now spends half the year railing against his baldness and the other half requesting to go bald. And the sound you hear in the background is the hapless sister banging her head against the nearest hard surface.
You try figuring him out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Sue raised her white head from her scrabble board.
"A new one?"
“Yup. a magnificent giant! I finished one all by myself” said Raju
Kochu's eyes flashed from under her grey brows.
“Hmm... then it shouldn’t be too large.” Mused Sue, dismissing her nephew's achievement, her pulse quickening at the thought of the new challenge. Sue and Kochu were a perfectly amiable grandmothers. But their placidity unerringly evaporated in the face of frozen desserts.

It was called Earthquake.

The siege was planned. And the Earthquake shivered silently within the frozen reaches of Dasa’s Ice cream Parlour– A site of several previous battles. One fateful afternoon, bringing along their ever willing ice cream hunting squire the young Kalyani, Sue and Kochu set off to vanquish the Earthquake. Unfortunately, the price list dealt a huge blow to their morale. The Earthquake was an expensive affair and the funds were stretched. Kalyani, ever smiling, martyred her taste-bud nirvana in favour of a commonplace sundae. That matter settled, they turned to the expressionless waiter at their side.

“Two Earthquakes.” Sue declared.
A frisson of incredulity passed over the waiter’s face.
“Two, ma’am?”
‘Yes, two.”
The waiter seemed inclined to clean his ears vigorously “Two ma’am? Are you sure? Two?”
The show of disbelief shook the steady confidence of the duo. Kalyani cleared her throat nervously. May be this wasn’t such a good idea...
But Sue scoffed at those fears. No ice cream was beyond them. “Two it is!” she said decisively.
“Two it is.” The waiter agreed shaking his head in disbelief. He passed on the information to a cluster of waiter who turned in unison to stare at the trio with ill concealed trepidation.

“Er.. Sue, I’m having a few doubts here...”faltered Kochu looking at the departing waiter and his retinue.
“Oh come Kochu, where is your spirit! How can you say no to ice cream?!”
Which is when their order arrived, and promptly gave Kochu a few more gray hairs.

The Earthquake should have been called the Avalanche. One Earthquake consisted of twelve scoops of ice cream in various flavours, topped with barrels of nuts, buried under oodles of caramel, augmented by a blanket of tutti-frooti and surrounded by a moat of chocolate sauce.

And they had ordered two.

As the waiter tottered under the weight of the two mountains he carried and attempted to heft them on to the poor table, Kochu shot accusing glances at Sue who tried to look like she was totally in control of the situation. The waiter, task accomplished, mopped his brow and smiled. “The shop is open all night. Take your time.”
The minute the waiter retreated to nurse his aching biceps the duo put their heads together.

“Sue I told you this wasn’t a good idea!”
“Hey I didn’t know that this was going to be such a giant!”
“Didn’t the name give you a hint?”
“What’s wrong?” interrupted Kalyani, innocently nyumming her sundae. “I’m sure you can finish it.”

Such youthful faith revived their flagging spirits. They had to live up to their squire’s expectations. And thus it began. All the waiters had gathered to witness the great battle. While Sue systematically demolished scoop after scoop, Kochu decided to massacre the lot in one go. However, neither method nor madness spelt victory. The end of half an hour saw Sue with a frozen tongue and Kochu with a plate which looked like she had butchered an ice cream cow on it.Kalyani continued to watch, smiling bravely and giving them words of encouragement. The forged on bite after frozen bite, refusing to surrender. But when Sue’s tongue refused to feel a fork being thrust into its frosted skin, they had to admit defeat.

“Thalyani I’m tho thorry ...” Sue lisped listlessly, her voice whispering from in between the icicles that hung from her teeth.
“We can’t do this!” groaned Kochu throwing down her spoon with a splatter.

Gasp! The waiters put their hands to the mouths, shook their heads in mute sorrow and disbanded. While Kalyani tried to swallow this impossible piece of information, Sue tried valiantly to swallow one more mouthful of ice cream before her mouth froze shut. Kochu made more of a mess on her plate.

“Tho thad... all thith ithe cream ith wathted...” sighed Sue.

Which is when their squire’s brilliance illuminated the hall. “I’ll run across to the store and get some lunch boxes!”

Sue and Kochu’s clammy visages thawed at this ray of hope. Kalyani was quickly dispatched to the nearest plastic dabba shop. While the duo waited with desperate hope, a waiting waiter spoke up. “Your valour is great and your daring greater still. But how could you presume to defeat two Earthquakes! A single earthquake itself is meant for twelve people!”

Sue and Kochu exchanged embarrassed glances. They could not admit that their recon work had been so faulty. Then Sue’s brilliant creativity kicked in. “Ith wath a bet!” she declared, nudging Kochu vigorously to jog her cranium.
“Wha – er... ah... yes. A bet. Our niece... um...uncle...I mean...”

Meanwhile Kalyani had returned to save the day. The remaining mountain of ice cream was shovelled into the boxes and the trio beat a hasty retreat to defrost their faces and assuage their bruised egos from the onslaught of the Earthquakes. To this day Sue and Kochu shiver at the memory of the ice cream King.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mr. Boo(m)b-astic.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that any man in possession of testosterone, must be fascinated by boobs.
This statement is induced neither by Pride nor Prejudice, but plain observation. All resemblance to anything else is purely incidental.

Though several people may take offense at this generalisation of the masculine, a moments pause will prove the accuracy of the opening statement. The mysterious allure of mammary glands has remained mysterious for ages. Numerous theorists have tried in vain to explain this enigma. Some enterprising souls have tried to write this off as a primal impulse which finds its roots in evolutionary race memories. The Early Man, they say, chose the perfect mate by the size of her appendages- the bigger the baggage, the better the feeding capacity. However this theory cannot hold water since most of the time the starers have no intention of siring off spring off the starees, regardless of how much they might enjoy the procedure. Still others claim that it is a mode of proving masculinity. It is not-'If you are male, you stare at female boobs'. Rather, it is a case of 'Because you are male you stare at female boobs'. (Please note the emphasis on 'female'. It is the greatest sin to be male and have boobs. In fact, it can be safely surmised that according to the male psyche, boobs are directly proportionate to 'females') . Supporters of this theory state the example of hip-hop videos. The singers obviously want to prove their masculinity by having as many boobs as possible crowding around them throughout their screen time. This gives out the message that they are well and truly male because they get to stare at all of them at the same time. Though this theory does seem plausible, it falls flat since the singers cannot stare at the appendages that surround them(this would, of course, be unacceptable anti-social behavior!) The hip-hop singers, being thus boobie trapped into behaving, fail to follow the most crucial aspect of the aforementioned theory and thus render it in tatters. Another theory that has been floated is that this phenomenon is caused by residual need for breast feeding. It is the memory of older mammaries that fuel the fascination. To put the theory in a nutshell, as they stare hungrily, they are thinking of their mother.This just seems terribly wrong and shouldn't even be considered, however since all options need to be covered, we shall dive headlong into this one as well. Though reeking of the Oedipus Complex, this theory does have its strong points. For one thing it is based on the fairly universally accepted fact that 'boys will be boys' (a nice way of saying they never grow up). Furthermore it actually sounds like a theory- what with the Complex attached to it. But it fails to recognise the fact that boys don't stare. They are too busy having a life. It is always the man, or at the very least the almost-man adolescent that stares and hence the theory is rendered null and void. Resulting in a glaring lack of any logical rationale behind the staring scenario.

Perhaps all male homo sapiens are bound by an unshakeable Omerta against repeating the Reason for this all male trait. Or perhaps they are just too busy drooling at the said objects of interest that reason doesn't even enter the picture. Most of the individuals interviewed by the author were either nonplussed and/or intrigued by the actual possibility of a reason for this. Either that, or they were greatly offended by the nerve of the author to ask such an unladylike question. This was of course before they had to admit that they hadn't really thought of a reason for staring at the 'globular glories'. "We just do!" exclaimed a particularly hounded person, throwing his hands up in despair (he would later be hauled up for sedition). It is actually rather unfair to expect them to know. After all they have never been asked before. How can you expect them to be capable of explaining their actions unless they are pointedly asked to. And women don't go around asking why men find their bosoms so rivetting- so it's her fault that they don't know. After all, men are chivalrous, not lecherous boors. If they insist on talking to your chest when you have a perfectly acceptable face, it is only because they are full of deference and respect and they dare not raise their eyes higher. And besides women cannot fathom the power of their mesmerising mammaries. The men are merely looking out for them by keeping a constant watch on their assets.

And so we finally come to a conclusion. Men stare at female chests for 'their' own good. And all is right in the world.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chinese Frames

The Great Wall through a window.

Tienanmen Square

The not so Forbidden City.

Huang Shan, The Yellow Mountain.

Lumiere in the Flesh :P

Saturday, May 09, 2009


(Hey! No snide remarks about the present state!)



Sunday, April 12, 2009


Many thanks to Little Bro, Firestone and an evening on the terrace.

Brother God was in an artistic mood. So he took out his special blue chart paper and spread it out on his work-table. But inclination is not enough, inspiration is necessary too. Brother God put the end of his paint brush to his lips and paced up and down his room. "Green!" he thought," green went well blue!" But what to do with the green? Brother God ran his green smothered paint brush randomly up, down and around the paper, hoping to create something interesting.
A few minutes of this showed him that the effort was futile.

Inclination got consumed in impatience. Brother God crumpled the now blue-green paper into a tight ball and chucked it to the side.

But he didn't aim properly. When he glanced in the direction of his throw he realised he had flung it on his prized black and diamond curtain.While he was fuming over this mishap Sister God walked in. She was in a happy mood and was hoping that Brother God could be enticed into playing House. She tugged ineffectually at his shirt-tail only to be waved away impatiently. Tears threatened and Brother God recognised danger. Ah well, the curtain was a lost cause anyway, and we can always get another one. Might as well entertain Sister.

Quickly pinning an ingratiating smile on his face,he tugged gently on Sister God's pigtails. "I'm sorry sweeting, come lets do some art." Sister God cheered up quickly."What do we draw?" she asked.
"Oh we are doing craft-work today." and so saying he drew her attention to the blue-green ball on the black and diamond shawl." What can we add to the blue-green ball, love?"
"Emeralds!" chimed Sister God "And platinum on the top and bottom!"
Brother God followed her suggestions,sprinkling and pasting the gems and foil from his art box. A few minutes later the Blue Green Ball was bedecked with rubies, emeralds, platinum, sapphires... it glowed from within the dark diamond studded curtain.
"But it looks empty somehow..." mused Sister God, pouting in concentration. 'Oh I know!" she quickly pulled out a pilfered, grimy toothpick from her pocket and broke it in two and stuck a ruby on top of each one. " Look! Now there are gods there!" she laughed happily, sticking the broken toothpicks on the Blue Green Ball.
Brother God personally thought the Blue-Green Ball looked a lot better without the stick figures. But Sister God was ecstatic. She chattered gleefully about what the stick-gods would do on the Blue-Green Ball until she began to feel sleepy. It was time for her afternoon nap after all. Mid-sentence, she let out a huge yawn that stirred the stick figures to life.
"Oh look they're moving!" she mumbled, snuggling into Brother God's chest.
"Yes,yes they're moving... now let's get you to sleep." He said carrying her to her crib.

Later that day Mother God was cleaning up the messy playroom and came across the Blue-Green Ball on the Black curtain.
"Oh those children! They can never keep their stuff clean!" she huffed, pulling down the curtain. "Ah well... may be Brother was having one of his 'arty' moments again. Better ask him first before throwing it away."
So she took the curtain and spread it behind the light-board to keep it out of the way. There was so much to do! Father God wanted to call a meeting of the Gods, so everything had to be neat. And Brother and Sister had to be made clean- which was a task all by itself. Mother God bustled off meaning to ask about the curtain, and completely forgot about it in the rush. Brother God had gotten some new idea for a sculpture and the curtain with the Blue-Green Ball was lost in the mists of his memory. Sister God got a new doll. Father God didn't even know about the Blue-Green Ball with its moving stick figures.

And so the beautiful Blue-Green Ball lay on it's black,diamond studded curtain behind the light; the yawn-animated stick figures going about their stick-figure business. It lay there waiting to be rediscovered by the Gods that created it. Perhaps it's lying there still.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ambassador of Car-tastrophe

Our vacations were characterised not by rest and relaxation but by visits. There were aunts, uncles, aunts of uncles, relations whose relations were lost in the tangled branches of the family tree... And all of them needed to be visited and plied with the customary laddoo and jalebi package ( pakodas and murukkus for the diabetic). Naturally these travels had to be done in the trusted chariot of all mallus- the Ambassador, the car for all occasions,the one non-four wheel drive that can house eight adults and several tiers of young ones and still move at comfortable 80 plus. Besides being most accommodating, it is also built like a truck ( I suppose that explains the load-pulling capacity). Come rain, storm, terrible roads or mindless traffic- the Ambassador will prevail.
Of course we are talking about the general Ambassador. Our favored vehicle was a little... different.
My father doesn't like to drive on congested roads. Generally given to road-rage even in sane traffic circumstances, my father would be courting hypertension if he spent three months driving in India. Hence, most of our motoring was conducted through the smiling, furry-faced, bespectacled services of Unni uncle. Unni uncle himself was rather normal, unremarkable even. It is his car that gives him the questionable honor of appearing here. An ancient Ambassador that seemed to hold itself together through sheer will, it was a traveler's nightmare. Incapable of going beyond the snail-pace of perhaps 50-60 km/hr, the car was always in constant danger of having its parts blown away. And travel in the Parakkum Thaliga{translation: 'flying saucer' (Any mallu worth her/his pop-culture salt will know the reference[ and if you're not mallu, there'll probably be one about three paces away more than willing to explain])} was far from comfortable. Let's just say that a 4hr airplane travel still leaves you with some energy, but one hour in the P.T and you are half dead and limp as a boned fish. The logical of course would just not hire the services of Unni uncle and his trusted ( to fall apart) car. But the loyal stick it out. Unni uncle had been a family associate since my father's younger days. And thus every vacation we trundled on in the rickety car, which- though it gave us a really bad backache, among others- also gave us several anecdotes.

The best one perhaps, is the one on the rainy night.

It had been a long day, sullen and gray and threatening rain at any moment. Which is to be expected at the peak of the monsoons. It was humid and muggy and it did not help that the
family had spent most of the day in the P.T . Of course Unni uncle was cheerful as a daisy and cracking jokes that none of us could find the energy to laugh at. Somewhere towards late evening we stopped by at our cousins' place where lengthy chai based discussions later it was decided they would come along with us to the ancestral home.
This meant nine people - excluding the one at the steering wheel- squeezed into the back, front and middle of the car (The boot was already occupied by the luggage.). The prospective travelers shot wary glances and murmured something on the lines of "...may be we should take an auto..." But Unni uncle bluffly waved away all the doubts and pushed and maneuvered the people into ( or at least, more or less into) the car. Several squashed minutes later Unni uncle crunched himself in and started the car. The car let out a tortured groan and stayed put refusing to be put through more agony.
"No problem!" yelled Unni uncle over the groans of both car and customers. "It'll start up just now!" He accompanied this patently over optimistic statement with a grin that was eaten up by his facial hair.
The car did eventually start. But not before an entire antakshari session, a minor squabble between two of the cousins, the passing of a mangled packet of banana chips some one managed to extract from between the levels of people, the finishing of said packet and not of course before the rain decided to make its presence felt. Very very strongly. Which is when we found out the windows could not be rolled up completely.
" No problem!" Unni uncle yelled again." just take the plastic covers from the back and put it in the side!"He grinned again and this time the tempestuous wind blew the hair back so we could glimpse a bit of teeth. Teeth alternately gritted and clattering the passengers grimly held on to flapping plastic covers and proceeded to ignore the rain splattering on either side. En route we decided to stop at cousin number two's abode where we were promised vehicular back up. Surprisingly enough we got there in one piece. We waited desperately for the car to putter into the garage before spilling out in an uncoordinated tangle of limbs. In the midst of stretching our cramped joints we noticed Unni uncle hovering around holding the car door open.
" No need to keep the door open, Unni," said my father with no little relief." We'll be a while."
While we chatted and played tag with the batch number two cousins, the rain decided that it'll take a break. Seeing this as a sign the batch number two decided to come along as well.

We'll never learn.

Batch number one and two were redivided. The weaker, frailer ones piled into the shiny,top condition, sturdy ambassador and we were left to P.T ( reminds one of the allocation of life-boats on a sinking ship). No sooner had batch one left in a cloud of exhaust, than the rain decided we must have missed it a lot. We the stragglers scrambled up to the unpromising hunk-of-junk unsuccessfully dodging droplets the size of golf balls. Unni uncle, ever chivalrous, was holding the door open for us. We quickly piled in (literally) and got ready to get on the road again... and realised that Unni uncle was still holding the door open.
"Unni, we've all gotten in. Now let's go!" my father yelled over the racket of the rain. Unni uncle nodded back in acknowledgment. The grin was missing... a bad sign that...

Unni uncle swung the door shut...
it swung right back at him.

There was a moment of silence...
"The door isn't shutting." chimed little brother unhelpfully.
While we were unproductively gaping in shock, Unni uncle had been thinking.
"No problem! Just a minute I'l be back."he hollered as he shkwapped through the rain towards the boot. The grin was back... a very bad sign that...

Unni uncle shlopped back bearing two rags that you wouldn't touch with a barge-pole.
"No problem!" he said,"We'll just tie the door to the frame with these and you can hold on to the doors as well" he grinned happily at our frustrated faces and proceeded to shoo us out for better tying access and then hurry us in, strategically placing able-bodied individuals on the door side(all the better to hold it closed.)

So there we were- about six of us in a rickety ambassador with all its four wheels in the scrap-shop, hanging on to the back-doors for dear life and simultaneously getting drenched by the gleeful rain flying in through the stuck windows. And of course the car was being driven extra slow now so that the doors don't get blown away. It suffices to say that a general urge to bury Unni uncle under the cantankerous vehicle warmed the soggy ambiance of the party.

An interminable age and several "re-tying" stops later, the car and its captives trundled into the hallowed courtyard of our destination. The passengers all but passed out from relief. While we stumbled out ignoring the pouring rain (we were wet anyway) from the purgatory of the P.T, Unni uncle cheerfully asked my father-
" So... We'll go out again tomorrow morning?"

For a moment, just a fleeting moment, we could see denial, desperation and the urge to murder war with each other in my father's tortured glance. Then he inhaled deeply and said:
"We'll give you a call."
Unni uncle grinned, his face turning into a mass of fur and broad forehead. "No problem."

Incidentally, the car is, was and always will be problem. And yes, it's still going not so strong or steady, but it's definitely going.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Book Bouquet

Rustle, flip-
The mellow parchment smell
wafting up
coffee mists
from thought's sandal spine.


The irony of the M.A course is that it hopes to improve your writing skills and usher in fresh, creative thoughts- and leaves you with no time to actually put these ideals into action.
It has been a month since I last updated. And this by one who treats her blog with the enthusiasm of an obsessed amour. One is tempted to compare oneself and ones blog to star-crossed lovers separated by the evil forces of education.

So... is it really worth it?

Spending hours referencing Ezra Pound, ages bent over Marx, eternity researching Ninaz Khodaiji...
Wouldn't updating my blog be so much more satisfying...?

And so here I am rambling away when there are three papers and 2 presentations looming over my doomed skull. Already my Super Ego pulls out her whip and brings out the shackles. It will only be a matter of time before the flagellation begins. But before the sting sets in, I, the Creator, declare that this blog is not dead !

This is The World According to Me . And the world, according to me, is and never will be dead: no matter how much it tries to kill you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


: I'm not a poem.

"Of course it is one!" says the Reader.
But why is she one?
Why does he have to be one?
Especially when it doesn't want to be one?

'Appearance' you say?
But are you what you seem?
'Purpose' then?
Are you what you do?
Do you know your meaning?
"For what it says and how it says it?"
Why do you say the things you say?
And do you always think of the hows?

For that matter,

Why do you do what you do?
Why do you go where you go?
And is the 'where' where you want to be?

Are you what you are?
Or are you yet to be?

Poem says "I'm not a poem."

So what is this, then?
Something new?
Or something forgotten.