Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reading challenge 2012!!

Now in 2011 I figured that reading new authors is exciting and helps me understand new writing better.
I am now taking the South Asian Challenge 2012 of reading books. I am taking the challenge posed by S Krishna Books.

I will be reading a minimum of 10 books by South Asian writers and hopefully will write a review for all of them. 

I hope many of you will join in as well.

AND yes, there are very pretty badges too. :-)

If you are interested, head over to the link and sign up!! :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I am smart when the year ends.

The year was full of eye-opening, heart warming, heart wrenching, soul transforming moments. Just like most years but this year in particular (unlike the years that have passed) is ending on a good note.
I am adamant. I will do what I want. It is purely an Arian trait and one that I am actually not ashamed of.
I can devour books. Reading is my favourite pastime and more often than not, I like doing it in privacy.
I love engaging in conversations about the problems that plague the world. More than that, I love hearing a contradicting point of view coherently put forth. I am willing to listen and open to change of heart.

When I am passionate about something, I am motivated to accomplish the task.

"No, I didn't invite those stares. Covered I was, I fought. Years later, I realised, in your filthy eyes, naked I will always be. #Story140"
A valuable lesson might I add.

A job for me is not something that only gives me money. It must make me happy as well.
Family, home, friends change just as much as they stay the same.

I want to be an independent woman more than most other things.

Fiction is a way for me to live in a world I imagine. Even if it is just for a few hours.

Relationships, friendships, any bond, needs time, attention, love, care and endless hard work. Nothing great comes easy.

I like living in a house with animals. Need to get one.

I might be selfish. But then again, why shouldn’t I be?

‘Broken hearts will mend’. That was our beginning coming to an end.

I take guilt trips for free. Must change.

Only I can set myself free from the society and its stereotypical expectations.

I can remember every hard word spoken, written, texted to me, in verbatim. Probably the date as well. Must learn to let go.

Compliments are rare. Must learn to accept them and believe them as well.

I am my best judge and my worst critic.

My dreams, my passions, my career are important to me. I am not shamed by that.

Living in a strange city was made a lot easier by my amazing sister and Phil.

I have forgotten how to make friends.

Gilmore girls is the ultimate guilty pleasure.

Dear 2012,
You look promising. New job, new city, new dreams. All waiting for me. Take me to a happy place and I will learn to fly. Maybe even soar. In the mean time, thank you Mr Past for making me who I am. Bugger off now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


You didn't give me much,
yet guilt I am ridden with,
I have to let it go,
my past is all to live with.

I can move on,
I am a bird with wings,
I know here I don't belong,
with that thought freedom it brings.

I stare at the walls,
I know I shouldn't care,
Soon far away I shall go,
from those cold glares.

Yet, acceptance I crave,
but deep within I let it stay,
for staying here will lead me no where,
I hope in the end I will find my way.

The past is comfortable,
the future daunting,
for I can't see what's in store,
without assuming and taunting.

Crippled by my own angst,
anxiety overwhelms.
I look past this day,
this year, this decade,
someday the world will understand,
that decision I once quickly made.

P.s- Song apt for this moment
Shania Twain --- UP


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mind my space. Please.

I am a space monger. Most out-of-place activities irritate me and I really can get annoyed. It was time I listed a few necessary rules while dealing with me (and hopefully others) in public. For those who do follow these rules, I am grateful you exist. For others, please learn and implement. It is for the good of mankind and community living.

Necessary etiquette while at office or while dealing with strangers:
  • If I adjust my stole at least thrice while we are having a conversation, take the hint. You are looking at my breasts too often.
  • I like how I sit in MY chair. If you find it uncomfortable, don't sit that way. Do NOT tell me how to sit.
  • I don't know you well. We have a cordial relationship. DO NOT touch my phone if you want to ever use your fingers again. And after two warnings, I will clobber you.
  • If I can smell what you ate/ smoked five minutes before you spoke to me, you are too close for comfort. Step back. Pop Altoids. I am getting dizzy.
  • Reading something I am typing in my phone/ computer over my shoulder is rude in any country. I have no clue where you were brought up.
  • Mocking my Hindi when I respect your complete lack of knowledge of the basics of English language will lead you straight to hell. I might do something to quicken the process.
  • I look like a duck haan? Well tough luck. You look like a complete ass to me.
  • Leaning in real close to tell me I made a mistake is not professional. I am a big girl. I can take the loud acknowledgment of the fact.
  • Tapping my knee when we are having a conversation is just strange. Period.
  • When I tell you I will beat you up with my slipper, take the hint. I am not exactly in love with you. Buzz off.
  • Do not linger after our very brain dead conversation. I have already been having a conversation with my evil side in my head for the past ten minutes. So just leave. Painlessly.
  • Telling me I shouldn't do something is frankly none of your business. Despite what you think, I have people who care about me. They will give me the heads up. Thanks. NOT!
If I am the sole freak in this circus, then just humour this as a rant and move on. :D

Friday, November 25, 2011

His remarkable eyes.

Photo by Kalpesh Bhatt

I had the fortune of meeting this boy at my office Children's Day party. He was completely adorable. I fell subtly in love. He was so shy. He barely looked me in the eye. :) But he had truly remarkable, expressive eyes.
He was 5 years old when the riots of 2002 happened in Gujarat. He saw his father get shot in the chest. Somehow, it made him angry he said. He was counselled to let all that anger go. He told me he wants to be an engineer. And never wants his parents to work. :) It was eye opening. Somehow I just wanted to take him, put him in my pocket and shield him from the cruel ways of the world. If only.
None of that is possible I guess. The incident and life after made him grow up faster. I hope it doesn't push him to the dark side.
His name was Saiyed Khaleel. He will probably forget me. But, I can't forget that strange look in his eyes. I don't think it was fear or anger. Maybe it was revenge. And that's what I fear.

The counsellor and I had a detailed conversation about her work with Khaleel in particular. She said and I quote, "He never wanted to play with any other toys but guns." It made me wonder if I am reading too much into his behaviour. Was he just being a child? Did seeing his father get shot by strangers, make him want revenge?
When after talking to me for a few minutes, he said, "I don't want to think about it. Can we not talk about it?" I promptly changed the subject and we discussed the cake he was eating. But to me, the conversation was one I can never forget. 

I might be overreacting (as I am often told), but I genuinely wish for him and for everyone else who was affected by such trauma, the ability to have some peace of mind. Someday. They, too, have a life to live and I hope it won't be clouded by these incidents.

NOTE: The Naroda Patiya case: 95 persons were killed on February, 28, 2002 during the communal violence that erupted after the Godhra train burning incident in Gujarat.

The murky, muddy river: P A Krishnan

The Muddy River falls under the category of political fiction. Though personally I think its foundation was indeed facts. The book revolves around Ramesh Chandran, a bureaucrat who is based in Delhi. The book starts with details of the personal loss of him and his wife.  Like its title, The Muddy River is a murky tale of a kidnapping and bureaucrat Chandran’s quest to have the victim released. But it seems the victim is held by a group of terrorists and with the involvement of politicians and policemen, the issue gets further murky.
Chandran, in turn, converts his quest into a novel – which is presented to the reader in typewriter font. Parts of the novel is occasionally commented on by his two friends, one a Bengali and the other a British lecturer based in Ampleforth and even reviewed by his wife, Sukanya. All these characters seem like an extension of Chandran somehow. As their commentary begins, the novel takes a side step. This method of weaving a story into a story ­– which is entertaining – can often be difficult to follow. But the writer, P A Krishnan, does a brilliant job of it.
The novel is slow to start and begins with letters and incidents that seem to take their time in coming together. The reader understands that a novel is in progress but what seems to be about the death of a child takes a very different turn. One might even begin to question when the tale of the kidnapping (as written on the back of the book) will actually begin. But, for me, it was worth the wait. The beautifully constructed prose made the reading a delight. Despite the usage of multiple big words (whose meanings I had to look up), the style of writing was refreshing and mature.
Getting back to the story, the issue gets murkier because Chandran discovers corruption within his public sector ranks and with his need for honesty, he reveals that he is aware of it. Quite obviously this starts to affect his life.
The book certainly gives an impression that Krishnan is familiar with the intricacies of the Assamese insurgency groups and their counters. Being a former bureaucrat, faults in his knowledge of public sector circles and memos and counter memos cannot be found. Barring a few typos and a little getting used to the constant change in fonts, I couldn’t find much fault with the book.
The currents that he constantly plays against each other, tangling the fictional Chandran with the real Chandran is amazing. Even after you are done reading, it is hard to say when the lines between fiction and reality blur with the character. And the changes in the font style keep pace with these character changes. Personally, the touch of the letters bowled me over. 
As much as the book is an interesting read, it is also insightful. All in all, I find the book worth a read. And definitely more than once.

About the author: P.A. Krishnan started his career as a teacher, became a bureaucrat in the Government of India and shed that mantle to become the CEO of a research foundation. He is presently a Senior Director of a multinational company. An accomplished writer, both in English and Tamil, he lives in Delhi with his wife, Revathi, who is a teacher.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A falcon in the skies

Normally I would never put my professional life on my blog. But this is where the writer in me and the person in me united. Working as a journalist, I don't have a glamorous life. But I had the fortune of meeting a woman who changed the way I view some parts of the world. I am forced to wonder, if she can be positive and not cynical about this world, then so can I.

Here is the interview with a talented Dalit woman writer. Here is the link to the piece in my paper. Click here.

A falcon in the skies

Bama, a 55-year-old Tamil Dalit writer, talks of societal exclusion and struggle for acceptance in her autobiography Karukku, relaunched at the women writers’ colloquium

Srinidhi Raghavan

Photograph by K D Bhatt
City-based writer Esther David in her introduction to Bama, a renowed Tamil Dalit writer, spoke of their experience in Paris many years ago. Both Bama and Esther were called to talk about their writing at a conference. When Bama got up to speak, the audience erupted in anger and did not allow her to say a word. The two of them pleaded with the audience to be seated and half-an-hour later, Bama was heard.

“Social exclusion is the story of my life,” Bama says with a defiant smile. Her calm and down-to-earth demeanour belies her struggle for survival in a harsh, opinionated world.

Her book.
“I was an angry young child. Growing up and writing about my struggles gave me clarity on how to channel this anger. For a long time, my life as a Dalit woman was defined by someone else. Even being a human was not in my hands. When I realised that I can live my life on my terms, I did just that. Swimming against the tide brought me a lot of scorn from the society. But eventually, my family, friends and the people of my village realised that these stories were part of our collective struggle,” Bama says.

Bama is a 55-year-old single woman, who apart from writing, teaches schoolchildren in a small village in Tamil Nadu. She describes the beginning of her writing career as “purely accidental” and “therapeutic”. She wrote her first novel ‘Karukku’ in 1992. It was published after much struggle as publishers and critics felt her style, language and narration were not compelling enough.

“My guide, Father Mark, read my work and felt that it would be a great publication. When Mark approached a professor for a critique, the latter threw my work away, calling it rubbish. I am glad I was not present at that moment because I would have been crushed. But, almost 20 years later, the stories I told in 1992 are still relevant,” she adds with a slightly disheartened smile.

The situation, she feels, is changing at a slow pace. “When I left Tamil Nadu, I read an article on Dalits in Uthapuram being allowed to enter a temple. The symbolic entry that came after 22 years of being discriminated against means a lot to the Dalit community. But the photo in the story showed the other side of the spectrum as well. While Dalits entered the temple with broad smiles on their faces, the people of upper caste were seen wailing and screaming, saying the Dalits had polluted the temple. I am overjoyed by the change, but this is only the beginning,” says Bama.

The second edition of the English book published nearly 11 years later was edited to add a ‘10 years later’ section. In the first edition, she says “I am a bird trapped in a cage with broken wings”. On the contrary, her second edition that released a month ago, ends with “I am a falcon soaring in the skies”.

Explaining the antithesis, Bama says, “Though over these past years, I have learnt to fly, I still have my feet firmly on the ground. I might travel to different countries to give speeches about all that I have achieved. But I have to return home to my remote village where my identity of a Dalit woman is intact. I take pride in that.”

Sunday, November 06, 2011

'She's not just a pretty face'

I watch Gilmore Girls obsessively. Yes, I watch episode after episode, over and over again. Recently, I was watching an episode (the one where Lorelai and Rory reunite after not talking for a LONG time) and I wondered what about it made me so addicted and happy? The women I finally concluded. They are the mother-daughter relationship I want to have with my daughter (if I ever have one that is.)

I have always been a woman who loved her girl friends and cherished their presence in my life. I have had the fortune of having absolutely great women friends for most of my life. (They have not all been good but over time, the good ones have stuck.)
I just thought I will stereotype the girlfriends in my life and simultaneously write an ode to the two most beautiful women in my life. Towards Harmony and D!! I have said this a number of times and I repeat and perhaps bore. But I am lucky to have two of the most amazing women and individuals in the world as family. They say you pick your friends, not family. Even if I had a choice, I would have wanted just you’ll.

Here goes:

The laugh-a-lot girlfriend: The one you call cause you don’t want to think about your lousy day. You just want to laugh endlessly about the most pointless things in life. Every part of the conversation is hilarious and a LOL moment. And more often than not there are falling-off-the-chair-laughing moments.

The lends-a-shoulder girlfriend: Not just for those asinine self clicked photos but the girlfriend who will listen to you whine non stop. Who will never tell you 'you exaggerated or overreacted'. The kind that always listens and never tries to ‘change’ or modify the situation.

The lets-change-the-world girlfriend: The one with whom you have made plans to do your bit to change the world. The one who accompanies you on mad ‘activist’ stints and takes part in protests. The one with whom you can discuss what bothers you about the world and its political games. The one who reminds you that sometimes doing your bit is enough.

The lets-get-a-drink-girlfriend: Girl you are so fine and so much fun! The girl who can have fun despite a long work week. The one who loosens up over a drink and spontaneous conversation just flows. The one who is okay with you just watching her dance. The one that will make you feel comfortable in a pool of people which include her boyfriend.

The advice-giving-girlfriend: The girlfriend who gives the perfect advice. The one that knows just what to say when. The one that knows all your insecurities and puts you at ease with a few words. The one that can help you realise what you want by just asking a few sensible questions.

The all-is-well girlfriend: When you don’t talk for days yet know your relationship will pick up just where it left off. The girlfriend who never questions your absence accusingly. The one that has been there since you couldn’t pronounce Constantinopole.

The can-talk-about-anything girlfriend: From sex to blow jobs, she will tell you all that you need and want to know. No questions asked. She has her way of making the situation oh-so-comfortable even if you are completely awkward.

The ultimate-secret-keeping girlfriend: You know when you tell her something it is like telling your dog. No one will ever find out.  The myth of girls blab doesn’t work with her. She knows how much it means to you to keep it quiet and that respect is what is the best thing about her.

Girlfriends are a special breed and I personally think my relationship with them has helped me be a better person. To all women kind and their unique relationships — Cheers to your awesomeness!! :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Easy to make and awesome to eat!

Anyone who knows me will know I love eating and hate cooking. Its just not as fun as eating, I have always felt. At least for me. So, for me to get off my lazy ass and make myself a meal is rare and usually motivated by lazyness to get out of the house and find a place to eat. Yes, I am very lazy. So, when I had to make something for myself to eat and I needed it to be simple and yummy, I had to fall back on this. The recipe is written by my darling of a sister and simply amazing cook, D!! .

Long hard day Pasta!!

(Follow the link to read the easy to make and yummy to eat recipe)  

"I love to cook, and I love to eat. It can turn my day around. But I do live in Mumbai which can be unbelievably exhausting at times. Some days, while I ride the train back home, I slip into this wonderful fantasy of gorgeous creamy pasta for dinner, but when I get back home and wander into the kitchen I can’t muster the strength required for it.

So one of these days I was digging through my kitchen cupboard to find me something healthy and tasty to eat when I stumbled upon the packet of instant soup sitting there. So here’s what I did.. I like to call this Long Hard Day Pasta."


And finally.. a photo of my meal which I had with a glass of Real peach juice and Gilmore Girls. :-)

Thank you D!! For making my cooking as simple as the eating! :-)



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Quiet space

Until recently I didn't realise how much of an introvert I am. As far as I can remember, it hasn't always been like this. But off late, things are indeed different. I have always had this nagging need for space. But now, it is a lot more than before. I feel the need and want to be alone occasionally. I have no qualms about eating, shopping, watching movies or travelling alone. In fact I like the solitude. It is truly refreshing. But, this doesn't make me a people hater or anti-social. It just means I like picking (very carefully) who I hang out with. And what's wrong in that?
People usually refer to introverts in a way to suggest that we are a strange species. Quite often, people have tried to make me 'enjoy' what they enjoy doing. Sometimes, it works out fine for me. Sometimes, I refuse and my kind extrovert or not-so-introvert friends do oblige. They accept me as I am :) But, it hasn't stopped tonnes of people from questioning 'Why I am so sad all the time?' Or 'Why I do not learn to just chill?'
I have been told that it's very hard to understand what someone else goes through. And I get that. I totally do. But when I am 'hiding' in my shell, I am having fun. And I might be sometimes hiding from the outside world. But it doesn't mean I am not enjoying myself. 

Multiple times I have asked myself if I take life too seriously and don't have enough fun (gulp). Sometimes even I answer that question with a yes. But then, I look back on my life and realise I have had fun. I lived in a room full of extroverts (four of them, phew) for a year. It was scary for me for a long time. It took them ages to allow me to just be. I would go out with them rarely and they got used to it eventually. It bothered them cause I think they felt like I didn't like them. It's just that I liked me better. No harm in that right?
But over time, I found some fellow introverts with whom I would spend hours in silence. Those relationships just came more naturally. Not that I can only be friends with introverts (which is grossly untrue). But for me, that relationship is more natural. (Here I would like to mention that few of my strongest bonds are with not-so-introverts and I love spending time with them.)

I have been misunderstood for long. It has taken me years of introspection to even understand that it is 'okay' to be the way I am. For being by myself has led me to find and indulge in my two passions. I have turned into a voracious reader (for I read, therefore I am) and I simply love writing. I might have found outlets to them otherwise as well. But by indulging in both often, allows me to socialise better. I find solace in both. I feel like a part of me is out there when I write and a part of life is understood in the writings of legends.

So being an introvert isn't so bad. In fact it suits me just fine. I hang out with people I love to hang out. And occasionally, I break a leg ;)

Don't judge me for liking my alone time and I will try to not judge you for your extrovert joys. That's all I am saying. We just have different ways of living our lives. I am just trying to find a corner where I can live life on my terms in a sometimes noisy world. :)

P.s I suggest you read this Seeing Life Through Introvert Eyes 
and The Inside Scoop on your Introvert Friends

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Stories within a story: A book review

“What matters in the end is the truth.” The opening lines of the book describe what storyteller ‘Hasan’ hopes to find through the course of the evening at Jemma el Fna in Marrakesh.
Wandering through the various narratives, the narrator of the story, in a hope to find out what really happened the night the two foreigners disappeared, explores the depths of Marrakesh. But while he willingly allows his audience to interrupt him and narrate their individual versions, the many contradictions in the tale come forth. The reader is left to question if a truth, any truth, exists.
The slightly prolonged narrative of the many eager “storytellers” in the audience tends to drag a bit. Maybe more than a bit. But the delectable prose of the story drowns the reader in the nuances of the story. It allows one to prod on the many stories entwined in a single story, in the narratives that probably suffocate in the usually single narrative. But often, the larger picture seems vague and sometimes even lost.
“Perhaps it is because in retelling our various encounters, each one of us is intent on honesty, as well as absolute commitment to memory that inspires what we storytellers, with our voracious appetite for physical detail, call the imagination,” said Samir, a Berber merchant. This point puts succinctly the diversity of stories that are brought alive with the disappearance of a remarkably beautiful French American woman and a silent, maybe broody, Indian man.
As the evening passes, the contradictions continue to unfold with the audience unwilling to even agree on the appearance of the foreigners.  Hasan throw his bits highlights the vast difference between truth and memory and the grey area between the two. The narration brings alive not just the Moroccan people but the place and the surroundings. And in this lies the beauty of the book.
“The Djemaa is a symbol, a meeting point of all the peoples who have passed through and continue to come through this part of the world,” Khadija, the fortune­teller, declares. The statement aptly puts the wide cross section of people indulging in the story of the vanishing act of the foreigners. Not just the mere act of their disappearance but the path that led them to it.
Touching on the many nuances between truth and distortion of truth, Joydeep Roy Battacharya indulges the reader in a lively Moroccan setting full of their history and culture. The book makes for a slow but delightful read with a lot of questioning involved. It is recommended for voracious readers who prefer reading between the lines. At least once in a while. For, “the truth of my story is immaterial, as in whether or not a woman vanished or a man or both of them or neither. What matters in the end is life, the breathing of air, the breasting of waves, the movement of sand, each grain of sand a mirror of conflicting perceptions and testimonies.” And there is some truth in that.
Star rating: 3 ½
Joydeep Roy Battacharya is also the author of the book The Gabriel Club.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Double mind

Frustrated, agitated,
Torn inside,
To listen to the voice,
Of my conscience or pass it by.
I have learned to let it go,
For it is not my battle,
To fight.
But I couldn’t watch
Her writhe in pain,
For she didn’t deserve it all over again.

He walked away,
Nice and slow,
Strong and sturdy,
She watched him go.
From far away,
She stretched out her hand,
To reach out to him,
For one last kiss,
For one last touch of his hand.
But he had long since left
Her world, yet within,
Her, he dwelt, lived
Within her, havoc he played.
She couldn’t break free
Of his fatal clutch,
For his touch, was all that was real.
Restless nights passed,
She forced it out
Of her mind,
Till one night she woke up
Jilted and full of fright.
Was he really gone?
Was he real?
Who was he?
An illusion her mind had made... she decided.
For in reality, it was no fairy tale.
It was just a game.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sluts are us!

I avoid writing about issues being discussed in the media and at large. I am simply scared of voicing my opinion. I hate being wrong and hate being told so. More than that, I hate sounding pretentious. However, this issue has annoyed me for far too long to not write this. For those in India reading this will assume this is about Anna Hazare (and rightly so!). But no. This piece is to air my opinions on the possibilities of Slutwalks in Mumbai and Bangalore. And obviously the debate around the Delhi one.
I have read so many pieces, pro and against the slut walk that I now know with no doubt what my stand is. My darling sister, Pratham showed me a video that made me realise how silly I am being for not saying what I feel. So here goes:

Why I think Slutwalks are important..
It is essential for everyone to know and understand that eve-teasing is not part of our imagination. It has happened to most women, some men, various number of times. I have been teased or groped on the streets (or buses) in attires where you would have to guess if I had any breasts. I have been lucky to have only been groped. Lucky I say cause nothing else has happened yet. Despite it never being my fault, I have felt for most of my life that I attracted that 'unwanted attention'. I want to stop feeling like that. Reason number 1: Women and men need to talk about harassment of all kinds seriously. They must raise their voices about it. Together. We shouldn't, needn't be ashamed or afraid to say 'it has happened to me'.
The statistics about rape in India will alarm anyone. Even the educated. But honestly, how many report it? Not all for sure. It is still regarded as shameful, don't forget that. Things are changing and more have come forward to talk bravely of their experiences. But unless we are bold enough to discuss rape openly, it is surely not going to end or reduce. After all, anything taboo seems more alluring it is said. But, most women don't bring it up to avoid the attention they receive hence forth. To get a sneak peek into what could possibly be the life after rape of a victim, read this post by a blogger. What comes when the worst is overReason number 2: The women and men walking are willing to discuss the issues at hand and in detail. And will continue to do so. They will assert their opinions as the issue is one of importance to them.
The debate during the Delhi walk focused on the word 'Slut'. This I feel totally avoided the bigger picture (trust the media to find a way to always miss the point). By making a big deal of it, the point of the 'Slutwalk' was reduced to 'Shhh. Don't say slut, it is a bad word'. Forgetting the original point behind the walk to remove all such notions.
Here I would like to paint you a picture. I have what they call a night shift in the media organisation, a sub-editor's job. So, I leave work usually after 12. Since I joined, I have always been dropped home first in the car drop we have. Out of the blue, one of the women wanted to be dropped first for the past week or so. So we changed our route. This meant I would be dropped last. I must admit I was scared. I had my phone in hand and had pre-dialed the number of one of my colleagues. Nothing did happen. But I still clutch my phone dearly and cannot even enjoy the beautiful silence enveloping the city at that hour. I don't dress provocatively to work so I had nothing to worry about eh?! The driver just had to be a man, that frightened me enough. I just want to not have to be scared to be alone in a car with a strange man. That isn't too much to ask is it? Reason number 3: If 'Slutwalks' mean we will continue to discuss the issue of harassment and not pretend its nothing or hush it up, then I am fine with that. I might be a fool to hope this, but I hope for the day that I don't have to live in fear like this. Always playing the worst scenarios in my head. Just for that, I want to walk in any of the 'Slutwalks' to happen. I will walk with my head held high too. I encourage all those interested to look beyond everything else and march with style in the 'Slutwalks' to come. I think the cause is definitely worth fighting for.

I will leave you with a few interesting links:

  • An article by Nandita Das- The sound of silence 
  • A post by my darling sister on the same topic. It is well linked so do read all the links she provides.
  • Finally, the video I was talking about earlier. A hilarious talk by a lady stand-up comedian.

                 Luce Tomlin- Brenner- Slutwalk DC 2011 via Slutty Feminist

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The end?

I dial your number,
but never call,
we agreed it
would end,
this relationship
of ours.

I feel your pain,
I even understand why,
but there are so many
things left to say,
even a proper goodbye.

We agreed it
would end,
this relationship,
of ours.

I write and re-write,
all my thoughts,
my wishes for you,
oh, my prayers too.
I just need to say,
at least a proper goodbye.

It isn't goodbye
I'm telling myself,
But a lie that is,
I know now.
I know very well.

we agreed it
would end,
this relationship,
of ours.

I am left holding onto you,
I am left thinking about you,
Counting down days,
till I hear your voice again.
It is all a nightmare to me,
for this separation unreal it seems.

it is over,
isn't it?
The relationship that was.

On a totally different note:
The song of the day.. :)


Thursday, August 25, 2011


So I was given an award recently by Priyanka and I was absolutely sucky at passing it on. I have the longest list of blogs I want to give it to. Earlier I was a blogger who wrote. Now, I read much more than I write. The new blogs I follow are the reason I spend hours browsing and reading. It is now an addiction more than a pass time. SO, I came up with a way to award all the new blogs I follow all at once. I decided I would put up a list of blogposts of theirs that made me realise what versatile bloggers exist out there.

Listed below is the list of posts that are definitely worth reading. In absolutely no order at all, here they are:

Confessions of Chocolate obsessed (Priyankya): A fellow Arian who writes about everything with a passion, from food to fiction they all make me wait for her next update. :) I suggest you read this honest and apt post of hers, an open letter to god.

Prathma: She writes about stuff she connects to. She voices her well constructed opinion after much research. The links in her post add more charm to her writing. I am linking this one in particularly cause I love the thought in this and girlfriends are very important to me.
Where are the girls?

Red handed: Her funny, no wait hilarious posts are numerous in number. I could add a long list of must read links in that genre. But what turned her writing around for me was this post,
no more.

Spaceman: She writes about things affecting her and the world around her. Her writing is clean and straight. Love her thoughts as much as the way she puts them into words. This post of hers is a MUST read,
answer my friend.

D!! Her travel writing always transports me to the place she writes about. The perfect blend of humor and sentiments make her writing a joy to read. This particular one cause she usually writes prose, but her travel writing in poetry was astounding!
Namaste Nepal

Kneehara: Confessional writing is something I am a big fan of. Her writing is just heart wrenchingly beautiful. This post cause I think a lot of people have had similar experiences.

Parth Jhala: Mostly poetry, this blog is refreshing and profound. Beautiful writing. But, he doesn't update as much as he should. This post cause it is almost perfect.
So much more.

Soumya: She was a revelation to me. Her honesty and confessional writing touched a chord in me. I love and wait eagerly for her updates. I envy the honesty in her writing for I find it too difficult to be that way.
Chaotic truth was chilling yet beautiful. :)

Aishu: A funny and often confessional writer. But this post is written very well and needs to be read. Flows smoothly and leaves you guessing all through. Hence, Tiger tails

R-A-J: I love the different topics he writes about. To see him write a mush post about love baffled me. I did not think he had that side. Too quick to judge I guess. But his Change, yours is here post was something people our age would relate and totally get.

Chintan: I do not remember how I came across her blog but I am glad I did. Something about the way she writes makes me feel like "Hey, I have felt that!" I love reading her updates and keep going back for more. Her
post on Anna Hazare is very profound :)

Psych Blabber: She is a psychologist who writes about a wide range of topics. Occasionally even poetry. I love reading her posts cause they are always profound. This post is my favourite till now, Why Harry Potter is not just a kid's book

Hope you enjoy the posts as much as I did.

To all those mentioned, I love visiting your blogs. Keep updating :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 reasons I wish I could turn back time

This is long overdue but I recently realised I had not written about my a wonderful last year. Hmmm. Strange. So this post is a sort of an ode to my college. The one place, till date, which I felt inspired for the reasons I will be stating below. Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, was an experience I will never forget. It had its ups and downs, inevitably. But in the end it was worth everything.

Here are the top 5 reasons why that place changed who I was forever.

1) N Kalyan Raman, writer and translator: If you know a little bit about me, you will know why he is reason number one. ACJ was a bit boring the first few weeks. I found myself questioning if this was the right course so often. Then, I met him and my stay at ACJ changed drastically. He was a breath of fresh air. His sarcasm and detailed remarks have pushed me to work like never before. Now, I double check my statements before moving to the next one. I always research before I write about a topic. And I read and read more than I ever have. But all this any other teacher could have done and accomplished. So why is he so special? Cause he was smart, geeky and cool, all at once. He inspired me to be me, which was so rare coming from a teacher. But importantly, our conversations were what made ACJ so special. They were varied and always interesting. He was so well read, I was always left speechless. And he never made our relationship of one superior to the other. He was and is still very important to me. He no longer teaches at ACJ. ACJ lost out on a beautiful man.

2) Covering Deprivation "trip": The students of ACJ are all taken on a "trip" to a rural-falling apart place in the country. The class is split into groups and each group goes to one place. Our team went to Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh. This trip was amazing. I know India has its rural roots, but travelling there and listening to their woes is really heart wrenching. Suddenly, it was no longer about the stories we needed to find. It had transformed into just listening to them. I was moved beyond expression. I realised that maybe rural reporting is what I want to do. I have always felt a connection to development issues and this seemed to be the right place to channel it. To add to the joys of learning, I made three friends on this trip. One of them went on to be a man I would have multiple great conversations with.

3)Lessons I learnt from moving away from home: Some of these I might have learnt in any situation away from home. But ACJ hurried the process, I choice to think. For starters, I learnt how much I loved my own company. I learnt that I loved reading and writing the most. I learnt my weakness. I figured out who matters in my life and who doesn't. I learnt the power of having a loving family and a few great friends. I learnt that I was not a sissy girl and my parents had done a pretty good job bringing me up. I learnt to adjust and live with three different people. I learnt to try to love myself. :)

4) A girl and a boy: This is the story of two people. One I met only because of the other and one I met purely by accident I would think. I will name them soon, but for now Il just describe them.
The girl: She was a discovery in that place, where I had given up the hope of finding people who thought like me. But she was like me, in some ways. And we were poles apart in other ways. That is what made us click. We spent hours discussing the world, Chennai, our thoughts and our cynical feelings. I read what she wrote and she read what I wrote. Our writing confessed emotions we were too scared to talk about. Somehow, she always understood. Over time, our relationship matured. I know her well now and I love her quite a bit. I guess she is fond of me too. He!He. She is Janani. <3
The boy: We till date have the most up and down relationship I have ever known. He is talented, smart and opinionated as hell. Those are the reasons I adore him. There I said it. We don't keep in touch with the other, and now that he is miles away, its going to only get worse. But whenever we do talk, it is always great and the conversation just flows. So, I try to not complain about keeping in touch and let our relationship stay that way. I miss him a lot. And sometimes I wish we had spent more time together. Nevertheless, I can easily say, he is one of a kind. Did I mention he can be frustrating? Yes. And his name is Ananth. :) <3

5) Dissertation: I might be the only soul at ACJ who loved her dissertation this much. It required lots of hard work and many hours of reading, writing, editing and re-writing. Something I have learnt I am really good at. I loved my dissertation. The topic was new to me and the amount of work I put into it, seemed so easy and natural. Topic: "For I could not wait for death. An analysis on suicide". I worked through literary and non-literary suicides. I discovered my love for literature and confessional writing. I learnt how intricately different lives of all those writers who committed suicide are. I spent oodles of time discussing my topic with reason number 1 (which made me love my topic and him all that more). I learnt to do what I am good at. It was disappointing the grade that followed, but I would never exchange the work I put in for anything else. It made ACJ liveable and I am positive I suffered withdrawal symptoms right after the submission.

So, that was 2010-2011. The year that changed me and my life forever. It also made me see the world differently. There are multiple other things that I should probable have added here, but i refrain from extending the list and boring you. These are all the things I remember when I think of ACJ. My fondest memories of why that place will change anyone who goes there.
It might not be the best Journalism school in the country. But it will definitely be a place that has a lasting effect on how you view writing and journalism.
Peace out. :)

P.s Thank you Priyanka for your award. You are far too kind. :) Link back here. Will do that post next. :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cold and Calculating, Chanakya's Chant.

I loved the cover!
For me the name Chanakya symbolises kind, generous and insanely intelligent. (I had a childhood friend named Chanakya who was so dear to me!) Boy-oh-boy was I in for a rude shock.  ‘Chanakya’s Chant’ helped me remove my own personal bias towards the name and took me down a wonderful historic lane.

The almost 500-page book broadly comprises two parts; one which is present day and the other 2,300 years ago. The Chanakya’s time is what great Indian history lessons were about when I was growing up. Full of war, revenge, culture and dharma. In the Gangasagar’s (read Chanakya’s present day form) time is an excess of political drama, money, power and some temporary scarring. The last one was only for me of course.
But my favourite part of the book has got to be Chandini Gupta (sounds even like Chandragupta). Yes, feminist me loves her. She represents so many good things we need in the modern world. But depressingly, her being single at the top, is another debate altogether.
The description on the back cover reads, ‘Cold, cunning, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals’. I tried, but there is no better way to describe this book. It is apt in describing the mood and feel of the book. I was often tempted to shut the book and calm myself for what-just-happened in the book was too ghastly. The warm fuzzy moments are a bare minimum. Instead expect tonnes of entertainment and drama.
Drenched in History, this book is very well researched and clever. The sourcing of suitable quotes weaved into the conversations might have been a tad bit overdone. In some places. Morally, I am far from going to agree with even one-tenth of the plots in this gripping book. But I must admit, I was warned.
The present time scenes for me were slightly less convincing. More ruthless than I imagined or thought necessary. As in, I ended up hating Gangasagar way more than I hated Chanakya. My soft corner for the name is still the problem? I think not.
The flitting between the two parts is my second favourite part. It is smooth and beautifully done. The two stories ran parallel and they developed together. It never made me expect what would happen next in the other one though. However, when one part ended I always ended up hating it. No matter which era it was. I take that as a sign that the book was a great read. 
This switch also kept me going as I was too involved in the parts and craved to know more. Literally.
It did drag a little in the middle but the last 100 pages more than made up for it. It was a refreshing read in terms of genre. It was a draining read in terms of what it symbolises.
I felt pretty cynical when I flipped the last page and read the last word. Despite this, I will suggest you grab a copy and read it. I would love to know what you thought of it.
It has its glitches, but its pace and thrills kept me thoroughly entertained. But just remember it is fiction. So do leave your morals behind. Else you are not going to like chunks of it and sure as hell are going to curse Gangasagar and Chanakya straight to hell. 

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Happy friendship day! :)

I have ran out of
excuses to call,
to say hello,
to ask how's it all.

I have ran out of
reasons to say,
I wish you would
talk to me someday.

I would have never believed,
I could hurt you,
this way,
or push you,
Oh so far away.

I know words will never say,
how sorry I am today.

I can't say I would have done
it any other way,
But I still wish you
would have stayed.

I know that is
too much to ask,
So I will leave it
unsaid, unheard.

I will always miss you,
for you were a friend,
like very few.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Test of time

A status message on Facebook got me very (very) angry. I usually don't indulge in stupid facebook fights especially with petty men, that too about cricket. As I feel under confident and less knowledgeable than men who eat, sleep and dream cricket to air my views. But this one was more than I could take. It brought out a fury I didn't think I had and that poor dude was at the receiving end of my wrath. In fairness, he had it coming.
Coming to the point, this dude had passed a rather judgmental comment about Rahul Dravid (yes, the wall himself). At that point, my defensive mode was for reasons unknown. Later I discovered why I love Dravid oh-so-much! Dravid is the very definition of consistency. He is there when team India needs them. He never makes too much of a splash, but always the right amount when needed. He is never surrounded in controversy. He is calm, quiet and a very together individual. Characteristics I have realised I like in a man. But putting all this aside, I like the way he plays a shot. So elegant, so classy and so mature. Never a hurried or rushed shot. Always smooth. (Yes. I sound turned on, cause I probably am) So, when people pass quick judgmental comments about a man who has stood the test of time, I don't like it.
This made me realise that poor boy is not the only one to make such judgments. We all do. We raise them (any cricketer) to a pedestal when they perform well. Yet so quick to criticize them when they make a mistake. So, that dreadful cycle of success and praise, and failure and disgrace continues.
And who else is the centre of this circus? None other than the Media. (Something I am a part of now. Sigh) Now the media has so much competition with know-it-alls on their active social media sites.
What happened to giving the players the benefit of doubt or lapse of their game? Aren't they after all human?
An interesting conversation with my aspiring cricketer friend revealed that the situation is only worse at the beginners stage. They are required to be superhuman and perform (read score a 100) every match. Phew! Talk about unwanted pressure. I guess those aspiring knew what they were getting into.
I pity the innocent, hardworking ones that like Dravid, who perform consistently in every match but haven't yet got their big break. I wish there would be more aspiration to find players like Dravid. Cause the man isn't going to last forever and I don't see anyone who can fit his shoes. For me, once Dravid retires, Indian cricket will not be the same. Despite never being in the limelight, Indian cricket has not seen a better test cricketer. Strong and able, Rahul Dravid has indeed survived the test of time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Memoirs of a bitch.

I believe we all deal with pain, anger and frustration differently. We each have a special outlet or corner where we react to our hearts content. But is this true for everyone? I wonder.
For now, I am just going to speak for myself. I don't deal with pain and anger very well. I retain it inside till I reach a point where I have no other choice but to burst. That I am told is not good, either for my mental or physical health. Plus those who deserve to have their ears filled with abuses are safe. But I thought why not unleash it all.
So this is me confessing some truths. Actually, this is me releasing my inner bitchy self and not flinching.

  • He was talking. She was talking. Your name was never mentioned. Keep your nose and wise cracks out of the picture.

  • If I want to hear what you have to say, I will ask you specifically. 
  •  I don't have my eye on him. I don't plan to steal him from you. So don't bother infecting his brain about me.
  • WOW! Really?! The undertone of fake gave you away. Sorry.
  • You guys just hated each other two minutes back. Bonded over bitching about me?! So happy for you!!
  • "Listen, I would like it if you didn't tell anyone.." Two seconds later, suspect 1 sends a text. "Babe.. Guess what I just heard. She is loony."
  • To a stranger, "What the fuck are you looking at jackass?"
  • I am your friend. I will be there when you need me. Not ONLY when you need me.
  • There is no point in being nice to you. You never deserved it.
  • No. I don't want to be told I suck at living my own life. It is none of your business to start with.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

To Wilde and wild thoughts

I recently read the book 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. By far one of the best books I have ever read. Oscar Wilde, you are a genius. Now for those who haven't read the book, a character in the book by the name 'Basil Hallward' paints a portrait (what I imagine is a magnificent one) of 'Dorian Gray'. He gifts the portrait to 'Dorian' but wishes that no on else ever see it, for he believes he put too much of his soul into it. The lines in the book read as "The reason I will not exhibit this photo is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul."
Those lines, that feeling is one I will always relate to. Everytime I write a work of 'fiction' I feel anxious about letting people read it. I feel it is too personal, has too much of me in it. I feel people who read it will know my inner most thoughts. Often I don't blog because of this constant inner battle I fight- To tell the world or hide it in my head. I definitely don't update my statuses (on fb) because of it. When someone asks you 'what's on your mind?', does one ever respond honestly? I wonder.
I can easily see myself divulging my happy thoughts. But what about the dark and scary ones? I can never seem to share them.It never surfaces from its nesting point in my brain cells. Not through a pen/pencil to my diary. Not through a keyboard to my blog. I keep it close to me, it stays locked in my head. Which makes me wonder if I fear the judging eye? I am allowed to feel, think and say what I want. Yet I refrain.
Which brings me to the lines in the book "An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them." Written by Wilde, it has to be the most contradicting statement. The man wrote fabulous books and I am positive that pieces of his life and his soul were buried in them. Most probably inspired the works and made them so great. So it makes me think that works of 'fiction' aren't really entirely 'fiction'. I have tried, but most pieces of my 'fiction' are also driven by a personal experience.

I have not written as regularly as I want to.  Not even half as much as I should be writing. I waste time fighting the urge to make my thoughts public. I am entitled to my opinion. And anyway, I am not half as popular as I imagine or wish to be :p

So in the end, I just want to thank Oscar Wilde, for putting a piece of him in his every work. For being brave and writing his masterpieces. :-)

For the love of tags and answering questions! :)

I read this on Priyanka's blog and I simply wanted to answer it. Questions get me all excited. I don't know why. I had so much fun answering this. :) I have vowed to start writing more. Hopefully, this is just the beginning. :)
I am tagging few more people. As I would like people to answer it too. :) So.. Mittu, Mishi, Nee-baby!, PJ, To-Ph, Shu... too many?! Well two more.. Just in case :p Vinie! :) and Sandy :)

Any one else is free to tag themselves and write away. :) Hope you enjoy it as much as I do :)

1. Without sharing your name, who are you?
The quiet girl in the corner. The one whose nose is buried in some book. The one that will smile at you, if you look her way. The one that can be friendly but restrains. The girl who finds it hard to say no.

2. Describe yourself in less than five words.
Sensitive. Introvert. Crazy. Observant.

3. Do you have any special talents? What?
I would want to say yes. But I cannot think of any. I wish writing a good story was my special talent.
If being clumsy is a talent, I definitely have it. I can fall anywhere. Without being tripped.

4. Are there any talents you wish you had? What?
I wish I could play an instrument or sing or dance. But I am always off key. And I have two left feet.

5. What are your most important interests? What do you like about them?
I love reading. It is my favourite interest. It opens my eyes it new worlds and new thoughts. My other interest will have to be writing. It helps me explore life through another’s eyes.

6. What is your opinion of Lady Gaga?
Bold. She is very comfortable in her own shoes.

7. If you could go anywhere right this second, where would you go?
Hyderabad. I need to see some people instantly.

8. What are your favourite foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
Breakfast: Bread, eggs and lots and lots of coffee.
Lunch: Subway sandwich. With extra jalapenos, pickles and olives.
Dinner: A large plate of yummy pasta and fries. (No clue why.)

9. Do you have siblings? Talk about them; if not, talk about being an only child.
Two sisters. Best things that ever happened to me. My biggest support. My best friends. My angels in no disguise. My go-to people. My biggest strength and weakness. They are the ones who remind me that it is good to put yourself out there. :)

10. Do you like sports? What teams do you support?
I love sports. Been playing for too long to not love it. Indian cricket team. The Hyderabad Ranji team (for personal reasons) Manchester United. Jenson Button and Ferrari. (strange combo) Roger Federrer (though he is not really a team). Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes. The Indo-Pak express.

11. Do you have any tattoos? If not, would you ever get one?
No tattoos yet. Want one. Will definitely get one.

12. Have you ever donated blood? Why or why not?
No. Sadly, I am way too anaemic to donate. Sigh.

13. How do you like your coffee and/or tea?
COFFEE!! Bitter and strong.

14. Are you left- or right-handed?
Right handed.

15. If you’re in college, what are you studying? If not, what did/what are you planning to study?
I am working at a tabloid newspaper. Want to do my masters in Literature.

16. What are some of your short-term goals?
Finish what I started at my job. Write like never before.

17. What kind of music do you like?
All kinds. Not too picky.

18. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
Switzerland. I need the mountains close by. And somehow the nature calls out to me. Maybe Dehradun in India also.

19. Have you ever been overseas? Where and when?
Is Nepal overseas? :\ Sigh!!

20. Have you ever been to the circus? What did you think at the time?
I haven’t. I don’t remember going at least.

21. Are you wearing shoes right now? If so, describe them. If not, describe your socks/feet.
No shoes. I have large (size 9) feet. Black colour badly painted toe nails. I hate my feet. Hate.

22. List some things you’d like to do before you die.
I have a bucket list. And none of them seem possible right now. But the most important one is own an animal shelter with my family and make this world a tiny bit happier for them.

23. What do you prefer to write with; pencil, pen, crayon, Sharpie, lipstick, chalk, etc?
Pencil. :) I am very old school that way.

24. Do you like movies? What are your favorites?
Yes. I like movies. But all my favourite ones are favourite for I attached some sentimental thought to them. Sex and the city (cause it reminds me that yah-yah’s are the best). Marley and me (for dogs have changed my world).  Inception (for dreams are the new reality).

25. Do you like chocolate? What’s your favorite kind? If not, WHY.
I love chocolate. Any chocolate is fine by me. Just give it to me :p

Monday, June 27, 2011


A strange conversation made me ask this question. I am aware it is not valentines day. But I genuinely need this question answered. What IS love?

I am told I am trying to understand and comprehend a very big mountain of feelings, for love is too complex for words to ever do justice. It's multiple nuances are indeed difficult to break down. If I were to attempt to explain 'Love' all by myself, I am positive it would not be possible. For I do believe love is subjective.The fact that it is subjective makes it so special and coveted. It makes many look for it and try to grasp it for long enough to understand it.
In this attempt to understand it, I sent out a group text to some of my friends {Thank you all for replying. :-)} The responses were varied and made me realise the power and goodness of love.

Love is care, trust respect and understanding in its purest form. Love is conveying the deepest thoughts in silence. Thank you, Paarth for teaching me that. I have always felt 'something' when I am around the people I love. But I never managed to put that precious feeling into words. Sannidhi Jhala did a perfect job of describing that feeling as 'peace'. Peace is that remarkable feeling that washes over us; the feeling that get nowhere else in the world but in love.
But, there is more to love. Obviously. It's not only about being at peace. It involves looking out for the other and never taking them for granted, just as Mittu believes is possible, by showing deep respect for the other person's feelings, opinion and time.
Love is not just being there for the other when 'good times roll'. But it is about not being afraid to face things we fear, dread, because you have someone by your side. So aptly put Neehara. So Chris also believes. Love is not just about laughing your ass off together but feeling the other's pain as well. In other words, loving someone is not just about saying 'I love you'. Love is knowing without being blatantly told, says Aishu. To say, love is all about feeling. As Tabitha thinks, love is that powerful overpowering gut feeling that can reflect all kinds of emotions.
Love is special. Love is unique, as you can see. Love overpowers all. Love is kind and nourishing. Love makes us forgive and forget. Love is love and we all find it. Sometimes in unexpected people, sometimes in obvious ones. But it always finds a way to creep into our hearts, for an unknown frame of time, to trick us into doing mysterious things. And it always takes one by surprise.

I dedicate this post on love to the one who taught me that love is unconditional. Layla, my love, my four-legged fur ball friend, I miss your silent understanding ways.
I am pretty sure there are other sides to it that I haven't touched upon or am unaware of. So, please do share your opinion of love. :-)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Writers Block.

I have tried and tired to write tons and tons of things for ages now. There has been just one response from my brain and hands. *blank* After months of scribbling things in my notebook and never pursuing those thoughts through, I have reached this stage of sheer frustration. Hence today I decided I'll write about not being able to write. Since Its the only thought that haunts me.Yes, haunts. Why? Because ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a writer. A writer who can connect with her readers; one that can describe with ease what is hard for others. A writer that was good, very good. This many months long writers block puts that whole future in jeopardy. I have begun to wonder and worry if who and what I want to be is truly out of my reach.
Hours do not go by without that worry eating away a little bit of my energy and my smile. Then some things happened that changed how I view me and my future. I just started my first job in a strange city (barring my lovely sister and her sweet husband). At work, I learned that all great writers have one thing in common. Very good editors. During my training for this job, a man full of experience enlightened me that the first two years of any career are not about growth, are not about competition. They are simply about learning. In that moment, I had an epiphany. I am 21. I have my whole life ahead of me to accomplish my dream. This does not mean I am going to forget about it or stop writing. This just means I am going to stop worrying. Worrying about why I am not writing or how I am writing. Or harbour any such thoughts. I am simply going to write, write, write and write. The rest will follow.

For after all, every writer to be good has to work hard. So this is me, putting in the hard work and letting life shape the writer in me.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

When I was young...

"And sometimes you close your eyes
and see the place where you used to live
When you were young" - The Killers.

I sat in the car with my legs cross legged on the back seat and these lyrics came floating into my mind space. Right next to me sat my favourite person in the world, with her feet on the seat, her head out the window and tongue hanging out. She was excited about going somewhere. She didn't ask questions; she just did not want to be left behind. We left a lot behind that day. But Layla was definitely not on the list.
I watched Marredpally slowly become a blur as my dad sped on to our new home in Shameerpet. I watched with a heavy heart and a knotted stomach. I had asserted multiple times that Marredpally meant little or nothing to me. But this shift was threatening to send me down nostalgia lane. I obliged and let the frames of my memories play, like it was all yesterday.

  • The first memory inevitably was all the roads Layla walked in and all the ones she avoided because she saw ghosts. Typical chicken-goat-dog.
  • All those times Anvitha and me walked aimlessly on those tiny streets, laughing, kidding, hiding from strange people. The thought of us years ago made me smile.
  • The very many completely asinine names Mittu, Misha and me gave every dog on the street.
  • Every game of baseball in Shenoy grounds and every volleyball match in community hall that brought me closer to the games and helped make me, well me.
  • The multiple packets of biscuits fed to Suzie.
  • The scandalous standby things that happened and the ones I took part in.
  • The official place where all the Yah- Yah bonding begun, flourished and blossomed.
  • All the friends I made, all the ones that stayed and the ones that moved on and left me with fond memories of my childhood and adolescence.

And the above are merely the memories that come to mind instantly. The house, the area, the locality hold a special place in my heart. It will always be the space in which I grew up; the space where I learnt from my mistakes; the space where I learnt to be me.

It makes me realize that I will move on with my life, to new places with different faces. But, somethings, some places and some people will stay with you, always.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

"I read, therefore I am"

While I was growing up, my paternal grandfather always encouraged his grandchildren to read. He nudged us to go to the nearby library and borrow something, anything. Since he was good friends with the library owner and often sat there, it sparked our reading genes. Thus began a long standing relationship with books and me. Ever since my attachment with books and stories has only continued to grow.
Tales of the faraway tree, the famous five, Nancy Drew, Perry Mason, Roald Dahl's children collection and finally to authors for whom a dictionary was a must. Books have always been my escape. Whenever I am sad, I read a book and drown myself in those tales and forget my woes. I was never a picky reader. I loved discovering new authors. When I uncovered someone not so popular, it gave me a high to read what they had to say. But it has to be said that over time some writers left a more lasting impression on me. The elegant style or the power in their simplistic words left me wishing I could have the same effect on someone. I believe my love for telling stories ignited on one of those days. Often I would read phrases that would voice an emotion I was unable to explain. That's the first thing that attracted me to reading and one of the things I love most about books; their ability to reach out to you and do the talking.
They even pull you by the arm and help you dive face forward into that world; that magical world that the author created. I get so lost in a book that I completely zone out. To me, it is a classic sign of a great book and an even better story teller; the unwillingness to put the book down; the uncertainty of whats lurking ahead; the inability to leave the scenes of the book.
While working on my dissertation which focussed on literature I encountered a brilliant writer and poet, Ted hughes. Not so popular as a writer, better known as Sylvia Plath's husband, the man radiated inexplicable talent. He made me dwell on the thought of how tough it is for an outsider to ever understand your pain. I personally believe, he did a magnificent job of putting into words his wife's pain on several occasions. But I think the more you read, fiction as well as non-fiction, you learn to see the world from others points of view. It helps in opening your mind to varied views, thoughts, musings and feelings.
So, I wouldn't be entirely wrong if I feel that my reading helped in shaping my thoughts and in turn shaping me. For indeed, I read and hence I am me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Truth lies in the eye of the beholder.

Recently I spent a lovely weekend with my darling mother, her sister and her mom. Three generations of women sat around one evening and the conversations led us to topics of religion and prevailing circumstances in the streets, temples and corners of Chennai.
For my uneducated mind all the castes and sub castes they mentioned were alien to my ears.But they seemed to know a lot about what they were saying. They had experiences to verify the tale. They discussed the animosity and unreasonable associations people seemed to make to some castes. They noticed a superiority complex prevalent.
After studying about Endogamy, the prevalence of these impressions in peoples minds was reinforced in my thought process. But to hear them discuss how silly it was warmed my heart. It made me see that among all generations there were some that were aware of the insensible discrimination.
My mom is a traditional, spiritual and religious person. Often these terms are associated to a closed individual and sometimes even an orthodox person. But my mom was proving that stereotype wrong. Her faith in God was unwavering and inspiring. She went to temples regularly and attended every Bhajjan she could.For her, the Lord above had multiple forms and faces. If she spent a few hours a day basking in the positive thoughts of any one of the forms, she was happy. Buried beneath all her beliefs was a maturity that enveloped everything else. She put her trust in the power above; without naming God; without questioning size, colour or gender; by just believing in a force superior to her and this world.
When she voiced these strong views, I felt a sense of pride in my smile. She is indeed extremely traditional and religious but her heart is in the right place. And that place has not been touched by discrimination.
If only there were more of her kind, we wouldn't have to hear of the horrid crimes the one we term as "lower castes" are subjected to. I am no body to speak for my experience is not one of isolation or discrimination. But I would want to learn from my mother, to be accommodating, tolerant and imbibing of all faiths, religions and beliefs.
IF not anything else, we have no pre-gifted authority or power to choose a particular kind of life for another soul. No matter what we believe in.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I watched tons of people colour themselves and their lives from the safe confines of the bars of my window today. It pleased me to see the sparkle in their eyes; their joyful screams of surprise when spurts of water hit them. But it did not tempt me to go out and join them, not even once. I enjoyed watching them from the distance I had put between us.
Hours later, I stood at the same window wondering how I had gotten here. How my life had become something I lived so differently from everyone else around me. Have I become so damn serious that I couldn’t go out there and just have some mindless fun? Have I become so uptight that the only joys I get are from working? I have no damn clue.
I am told by Lucas Scott in One Tree Hill that there are several moments in our life when our life goes terribly off course. It is about fighting to get it back on the right track. But what if what I perceive today as an aberration is indeed not.
I step away from the window, putting more distance between the Asian College of Journalism and me. And as I walk towards the mirror contemplating about the past ten months, I realise life is not about what I do, but who I do it with. The void in my life that is still empty after these months will probably stay that way for a long time to come. Somebody, somewhere, at some point of time will probably fill them. Until then, I can do what I like to do and be happy. Even if it is watching from the window.