Saturday, January 25, 2014

not necessarily blue

Its been long but not all is lost in the blog world for me yet. Time has somehow shrunk itself in a way that 24 hours pass in about just five. The world has grown noisier, less meaningful just when I landed what I wanted.

People have stopped making much sense, and this isnt superiority complex speaking. Infact, never felt more humbled than now. With super seniors in the field around you, nothing you do matches up and striving hard is just an understatement. But these are the learning years and am not complaining. If anything, zen teachings have made their mark on me in a way that I am not threatened or concerned. I am good.

This year has started on a note that is too dear to my heart. I have realised just how much I like being around my family. The carefree, bohemian, humorous side of things just erupt from within naturally, without any effort. I really miss having them all together. But that in itself, is a mirage now. An oasis at times, but a mirage mostly.

Giving your heart to someone is a good thing, you get back so many things in lieu of it. What hurts, is that small part of you that has to be neatly tucked away. You cant bring it up a lot, it becomes an itch that soon becomes sore. And then, healing takes time. Who am I kidding? There is no such thing as healing, only momentarily forgetting.

But now, what I miss, is not even there. No home, no friends. The place I called home was never that. The friends were a group, who are now friends to each other, not me. Std phone calls are clearly not how friendships are preserved.

But I still wish; to have voted for Kejriwal, to have been there this winter, wearing too many layers, to have smoked in the fog with the three of them or just sat inside the car at India Gate sipping a cup of tea, to be able to gift friends gifts that weren't bought online. To just be under the blanket with dad, watching an old Suchitra Sen film.

So much has changed, I don’t recognise myself.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

a book-warm affair

there are tons of things that i wish to write but havent had the time to. ok, change 'time' to 'zeal'. i am becoming a lazy 28 year old, both the terms i confess i dont fancy much. thought would write about my birthday, thought i would write about the fondest feelings i have for Dada on his birthday, thought of writing my travelogues on greece and italy. so much but zilch i have done.

partly because i like procrastinating more than anything else in the world and partly because i have been obsessing over a HBO show: Game of Thrones. i know it started way back in 2011 but hey, better late than never and all that? so, i saw this major backlash on twitter a month or so back about some murder on the show. a 'massacre' was how it was trending. curious, i searched a bit on the internet, found more interesting stuff and finally asked him to download the show for me.

as usual, late into the night, we sat over hot cups of milk and cookies with an open laptop. i double clicked the first episode of the first season and the opening scene was about 'whitewalkers' (GoT term for intelligent zombies). thrilled and stunned at once, we knew we were going to watch this show and at a feverish pace at that (Homeland being our reference here). that night, we were three episodes down and only because he had downloaded only three!

from season 1 to season 2 in three days and finishing the third season on a single starry Saturday night, i was tired to my bones but more awake than ever. GoT as a fantasy epic is the best i have ever seen, the characters take you by surprise in every episode and you can call no one completely good or bad. people are grey almost all the time and just when you think you have got someone figured, they turn the tables on you and the story kind of flips on its face. also, people die, like all the freaking time.

there are badass moments and the penultimate episodes of every season are just mind blowing. i am sorry to use these many adjectives but i dont really want to give away the storyline incase some of you do get excited enough to watch it.

after finishing the show, i started re-watching it, started youtubing the emmy panel and other tid bits i could find and now, am the proud owner of the books! thank heavens the birthday comes in June and i have great friends! wink wink ;)

reading the story with all its maddening details is something! i read it early in the morning after my experiments with the rotis and sabjis of the world are over, i read it in the rainy afternoons of the west, i read it at work when there are no copies to edit, i read it during the time i should be writing articles for the newspaper, i also read it at night, post milk and my favourite cookies.

this is love all over again. blessed is the soul that knows how to drown in a book. or six books by a mental author in this case.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bombay diaries

What started out as a very scary and hectic little trip, came out so well that it deserves a post.

I was to go to Bombay (i like that name) for a Schengen visa interview. The meeting was at 8 am and I had to reach even earlier. So I chose a train at midnight, it would reach Bombay Central at 6 sharp, enough time I say. This was the first time I was travelling alone on a train. While I love trains, I was unsure about how this would feel. But the minute i got on it, I knew. The feeling seeped in like I always knew. Trains and the way they move have always fascinated me. They put me to sleep faster than anything I have tried in life. They were all men in my compartment but that hardly mattered, I dont feel that instinctive fear that a girl in my country should by now. Not yet aleast. Very soon, JK Rowling put me to sleep.

The alarm woke me up at 5.30, when I brushed my teeth, combed my hair and even changed my shirt inside the train loo! Another first! All this was necessary because I had to head straight to the consulate office and am sure the Germans wouldnt want it any other way. Once there, Bombay's early morning welcomed me with fallen flowers, some on their way to the ground, a lot of healthy dogs and a few marathi manas sitting on the pavement of the visa office already. Obviously, I chatted them up. They were very interested to know what, why and where of my trip. Not just that, when I asked them how to go about the city, they suggested a few places and said 'Bombay to bekar hai, kantaal gaye hai yaha reh reh ke'. I wondered what they thought of Ahmedabad. Ahem.
By 7.30 am, the whole place filled up and I soon found out my early morning friends were not there to visit europe but to help others do so. They were agents who ensured your visa requirements were correctly submitted. In my head, I realised the people who have expertise on these matters may never see outside of their cities ever. That is where the 'Mumbai is boring' line had come from.

My interview was over as soon as it started and I have a feeling they just want to look at applicants? Decide if I get the visa on the basis of my looks? I seriously do not know. I was just asked where in Europe was I planning to go to. That’s it.

Out on the streets by 8.30 am, I had a whole daytime to look forward to. And no, his cousin sister's house was not appealing just as yet. I walked to Nariman point’s sea line and sat there for a while. Health freaks jogged, people walked their large, imported breed dogs, some youngsters left home early to meet up their lovers before college started. That typical wind that blows near the sea blew, making me feel as free and as happy as ever. Water is therapeutic for me, it makes me a better person.

Then I called a friend living there, found out Cafe Leopold was close by and headed there. It was warm and inviting, the old and high ceilings, the typical Bombay cafe chairs and I took the table right next to the freshly baked pastries. Yes, I sat there, opened my novel again, ordered a cold coffee, chicken hotdog and fries and sat comfortably for an hour or two, I dont know. Reading, sipping that bitter coffee and no rush to be anywhere. As a Kolkata bangali would say, 'ultimate lagchilo'.

I then decided to visit Siddhivinayak, a very endearing orange coloured Ganesha who sits snugly at a place called Dadar. Spoke to the newspaper vendors and the shopkeepers who were just setting shop about my options in transport. I chose to ride a local train. As all the crowds travelled to the opposite direction in the mornings, I found my train, especially my ladies’ coach to be charmingly empty. Women read, sew, chatted and I made a girl remove her Ipod shuffle to talk to me instead. From there, I took a shared taxi to the temple in Prabhadevi. Inside the taxi, a college couple got up who kept calling each other idiot throughout their conversation. The guy was protective, asking her about her Saturday plans and the girl kept asking him to ditch a family wedding to meet her. I saw them in the big line for giving puja in the temple as well. She had wrapped her chunni over her head and he was hoarding her so that no one could brush against her. A cosy love story right there, I thought and smiled.

After speaking into the mice’s ears, I was content. From here, to anywhere I thought. Went to Bandra and fell in love with the summer collection of clothes and shoes I saw there. Bought a lot of tops, a jumpsuit, a pair of chappals and funky pyajamas in a little less than an hour. With no one telling me what is in fashion and what I ought to buy, this was the first ever truly freeing shopping session ever. I knew one thing, if Greece, Venice and Rome was happening, then I was going to have a super wardrobe. If not, I was still going to have a super wardrobe.

His cousin was now calling incessantly, wanting to know if I was lost. With the pressure of saving face and doing in-law duties, I headed to her place. Caught glimpse of a cool looking pub called Three wise men, and stopped for a pint of beer. The first afternoon pub experience in ages for me. Importantly, the first one ever by myself. It was truly liberating to be sitting in an Indian pub without anyone staring, wondering or trying to take advantage of the situation.

Knowing I had done enough, I sat in an auto and reached her place. Typically, had a lunch consisting of aamras and roti and khaman and bid them bye after an hour.
I don’t know what it is but Bombay recharges my cells and makes me a happy spirit, something I cant quite put my finger to. It releases shackles which Delhi always put. It makes me uninhibited, something Ahmedabad will never mange to do. Eight hours in this city and it can easily be called the best mini vacation I ever gave myself.

PS-I did get the visa later that evening.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A single moment of absolute beauty

She had never seen somebody so colourful. The girl, in her twenties, wore a peach coloured shirt that was merging with the colour of her skin and cobalt blue trousers, dark and heavy in comparison to the light blue sky up above. Her sandals were also peach coloured or maybe orange, but what stood out the most was her red, flaming hair. Straight, the hair flew about in the extremely windy hill of Aeropagus, and she sat and gaped at this beauty wide eyed.

How colourfully gorgeous. The peach was her skin, the red was her hair. Athens could be seen in her entirety from above this hill. Known for religious rites and senate meetings from back then, Aeropagus hill was named after Aero, the god of war in greek mythology. Today, couples, both local and tourists, helped each other up to the top and sat, feeling the wind on their face. Pigeons moved about nearby, pecking at insects and forming a part of the crowd.

She was alone but not really. After a good three hours inside the most beautiful ruins one can ever lay their eyes on, she was now perched at this hill, looking at the Acropolis in the opposite, much higher hill. What history, what mythology, the head was full of starry details and knowledge. For instance, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty had been with most gods but married Hephaestus, the god of fire, who was, according to lore, the ugliest. Also that his temple had been burnt down. Irony in all, she found. Taking out her little white notebook and the pencil from her hotel room, she started to scribble the name of all that she had seen today. In her heart, she knew, a story was forming, something that needed to be spilled out. But again and again, her eyes turned to the girl with the red hair.

In reality, she compared this girl with Aphrodite. Just as beautiful, with just as handsome a man as Adonis. They were a couple she was sure, but would they last? Would they end up in ‘holy matrimony’? Would she start cooking, taking care of the house? Would she have to throw away those beautifully fitted blue trousers because they wouldn’t fit her anymore? Would that mind blowing red hair soon be tied in a careless bun as she ran around the house, chasing her kids? Would this beauty lead to that reality?

The truth was, she smiled, that every beauty turned to that reality. This moment was all there was to it. This perfect moment of beauty and the wind on your young, pretty face.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

the 'level' theory

its been a while since i blogged (why do i keep starting with this line. i must be really bad at committing myself to anything.) was reading a very nice blog by a fellow Indian. his life, issues and thoughts are mostly similar. and there is this one thing that drove home while reading many of his posts. it is what i call the 'level' theory.

but first, the background. at work, i have been undergoing a transformation of sorts. to bring you up to date, i am now left with no friends. let me rephrase that- i dont have the friends i had made initially. the reassuring factor that i had felt was actually hogwash and today, a printout of us three in our Diwali special sarees is just plain ol' irony. even more unfortunate is the fact that i dont know what happened. they just drifted apart or chose to start ignoring me post something ( i dont know that something because i didnt cause it). they hang out without me now, go past me and lounge in the corner i discovered for the three of us once, and basically do all things that are sharp contrasts to how we behaved a few months back.

but life, you know is a phenomena of habit and just like that, being on my own has become a habit too. i still call this a new city, i still call its people strangers, so it is obvious that i havent grown remarkably fond of this workplace either. their change doesnt effect me, simply because i never held them indispensable ever.

so coming back to the 'level' theory. we all make friends in life, some for short term, some for a very long term, some apparently 'forever'. during all of this, with some, we hit it off, what we call chemistry or what i call our 'levels' just match. there is no discomfort, no awkward waiting for acceptance, no minding your language, it just flows. like a beautifully made rum and coke, it runs through your veins like it was meant to be. these friends are perfect, you dont need words or thoughts to explain why they fit. but they dont come along a lot, there are just a few like these.

gradually, or by the time you are 'ahem' 27, you dont feel like making friends anymore. starting conversations, smiling at the same things and then furtively trying to see if this new prospective friend laughed too, if your favourite colours match, phew. too much hard work i say. i cannot say 'really? yeah, me too!' anymore. atleast not as animatedly as i used to a few years back. so now, it is only natural that we end up making friends with those who come closest to matching that 'level'. some hardly match, but are at the lowest rung of that level, and we are okay with that too. they say the speed of a team is determined by the slowest guy. so likewise, the person who gets even a little of your 'level' is fine, he can be called a friend. so at work, i havent really lost friends, i have just fired the slowest guy in my team :P

but jokes apart, the level does exist, its a real thing. and i for one, am kind of weary about new people. i would like to be around my friends, the ones i left behind. because you see, i did get lucky in life, my level had met its people. but i am just so far away now.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Everyday, I feel the pinch of death. Being absolutely, irrevocably in love with the canines of the world, my heart cries a little everyday. Maybe I did not notice it in the capital, maybe I was too naive or maybe, the phenomenon is more here in this city. But the truth is, I see a dead animal almost everyday.

Cant speak much about humans, they have never held a spell on me, if anything, I am getting ever more disillusioned when it comes to the ways of the human world. But this world I know, the kind hearted, warm, fuzzy, all-ABOUT-love world of dogs.

I used to feed a mommy, daddy and 3 lil ones, would bring them up to play with Gucci. Found the mommy hoarding a dead one the other day. She looked quite mental from a distance and I didnt go near. Then, a few weeks later, I saw just one tailing the mommy and I knew what had happened. It has now been a good two months and the last pup has grown strong and teenagey big. I give it Gujju food and it waits till I leave to accept it. At nights, all 3 come to my car, wag their tails, the daddy plays a lot, the mommy is weary and the kid is well, a single kid, healthy, happy and very noisy, taking on my Gucci as if there was a contest there.

This Sunday, I saw a mid sized dog lying at the other side of our building. On my way to the office, I kept wondering which one was this, had I ever petted it? Saw a brand new litter of 5 white puppies, shining in the Gujarat sun and felt better immediately.
Last night, we were eating donuts and discussing how the daddy dog whines when he sees me. N called it gay. Suddenly. with a start, I realised that we hadnt seen the baby for a few days now! With absolute and confirmed dejection, I realised that dead puppy I had seen the other day, was it. He was growing up and had starting venturing further out. We both became quiet and felt pangs of death. This puppy was literally growing up in front of our eyes, a fantastic little creature. And it took me 5 days to understand he had died.

I dont know why I am writing something so personal here, I dont want advise to be strong or to grow up. But it just hurts really badly. These animals are bundles of joy to say the least. They eat crap, stay dirty and yet, have a bounce which we with our money and cars dont have. And yet, every time, every frikkin time, their fate is sealed. Unfair, destiny, whatever, I just feel disappointed in life.
And the pain never leaves.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Keeping kaam se kaam

Suddenly, they dynamics of the office is getting pretty clear. Here you think you have chosen your friends, you have decided who your enemies are, you want to impress some and you want to undermine some. But with every passing week, the equations change. The friends kind of disappoint you in certain ways, the enemies seem stable and workable from a distance. The ones that must be impressed just take up a lot of your energy and the ones that should be undermined, well, there’s no telling how much is too much. You want to piss them off but you might need them later.

So I am not comfortable with married Gavin. He is not someone I want be friends with, much less be ‘close friends’ as he thinks we ‘already’ are. Another one of those I lead on, it seems. But we are in the same team and I cannot be avoiding him. Darn.
My car buddy is interesting though. From not talking much to letting her heart out about how much her teammate bugs her, was drastic. And the loathing in Texas is just too heavy in the air. She apparently is even ready for the day when I will be influenced enough to stop talking to her after hearing from her teammate. Years in the same company does that to you, I always say. Yesterday, she told me she was surprised how much she had let me in.

My friends don’t want me taking up so much because that shows I am available. What does available mean at the workplace anyway? From nicely advising me, they have now stooped to sarcastic comments. “Go out in the sun and get your stories, don’t tell us when boss loads you with more work” is something I hear every time I say I am tired now. A simple statement comes with baggage.

Its coming close to a year and I have stayed quiet in the beginning, moved to speaking carefully marking my territory and now, I feel I am gossiping too much. I complain about work, people and let people say the same things to me. Its kind of mediocre and bad but I don’t see how I can ask people to rise above the average and say nice things. Page 1, social impact awards later, I feel some of the nice ones slipping away. A small town, a smaller workplace and its that easy for things to get to you. And of course, that typical stigma of ‘if you smoke with the guys, you are obviously gossiped about and not a nice girl.’

In the end, maybe you need to just do your work and be nice, no matter what. That’s the plan for this month.