Saturday, November 17, 2012


So, do you pretend? Yes, you…

No? Really? What did you just say; you are ‘yourself’? Straight as an arrow?

We all pretend. We all do. We all need to.

You pretend that you are not bothered by the aimless drifting of your life. You pretend that you do not see others’ miseries. You pretend that you don’t care that your life has no meaning. You pretend that you don’t see the running tap, the burning light or the wasted papers. You pretend to not see the growing pile of waste, the growing concrete jungles, and the reducing greenery.

You pretend that your son’s behaviour didn’t hurt you. You pretend that you are fine with marrying a man you don’t love. You pretend that you are not hurt that your daughter chose a guy she met yesterday, over you. You pretend that you didn’t notice the lipstick marks on your husband’s shirt. You pretend that you can’t see the inches of flab that has been piling on you. You pretend to not worry about price tags. You pretend that your break-up doesn’t hurt. You pretend that the volatile argument you had with your boss is not affecting you. You pretend that you are okay that your job’s not giving enough time to be with your family. You pretend that your failing marriage isn’t making your life miserable. You pretend to not see the single digit that your bank balance account becomes every month end. You pretend that not finding time to pursue your hobbies does not matter. You pretend to ignore the growing silence between you and your friend. You pretend that not having time to read a book is okay. You pretend that getting or giving bribes to get things done faster (or easier) is perfectly fine. You pretend that giving up on something you love to do, just because it won’t earn you money doesn’t take away something from you.

You pretend that you have all the time in the world.

You pretend. You do – all the time.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Best thing in life is…

The best thing in life is that we don't know what life is going to be like.

It's like taking a shot in the dark. Like flipping a coin.  Like picking a door from the three doors a lovely lady presents to you on a TV show. Like spinning the wheel of fortune and waiting to see what it's going to throw your way. Like choosing a road when you are at crossroads. Like throwing dice and waiting to see the numbers. 

Life doesn't come with an instruction manual. You have to go in it alone, with only your instinct to guide you; and experience, with time. You have to take that chance, not knowing what the outcome will be. You will make the wrong choices (perhaps more often, than not). But that's your life - the choices you make, the decisions you take (or don't). Would you live it any differently, if you knew what it was going to be like? Most importantly - do you want to know what it's going to be like? 

And that's the beauty of it. You don't know what it will be like. And that's the best thing that life gives.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Monday, September 17, 2012

To Life

I took all of it – my disappointments, my misgivings, my heartaches. I took all the sleepless nights; all the tears. I took the hurt; the despair I felt. I took the anger that was boiling within, like molten lava waiting to surface. I took the sense of self-pity which laid on me like a cloak. I took the frustration, the dejection, the sense of rejection. I took the pain that stung like a thorn perpetually lodged within me. I took all the dark clouds storming my mind. I took all the ‘would haves’, ‘should haves’, and ‘could haves’. I took all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’; the ‘why nots’ and ‘what ifs’. I took the feeling of worthlessness, which had gripped my heart in its brutal fists, paralyzing my existence. I took the frown from my face, the gloom in my eyes. I took the droop off my shoulders, the knot in my stomach. I took the fear of loneliness, of not being understood; and far worse, of being misunderstood. I took all the unanswered questions. I took boredom by its horns. I took the indifference I had for the world. I took the impatience I had with life. I took it all.

I dug a hole in my heart. I patiently layered it all – looking at it for the last time. I had buried it, just like that. Years of torment lay compressed. Like a man buried alive. Clawing to come out in the open; dying to be alive. But I had buried it once and for all.

I sowed the seeds of hope. It lays there, dormant – unwilling to try. Unwilling to sprout. But I’m sure one day it will burst with all its vigour. It will nourish and flourish. The pain and all that lay beneath will be its succor. It will be a plant, a tree tomorrow. It will flower and fruit. It will be the mainstay of my existence. The sun will kiss it, the rain will bless it. The bees will hover, the birds will nest. The squirrels will run up and down, the rabbits will hop about. And in its shade I will lie down and smile. Tomorrow, I will not see the hurt or the pain. I will see that tree. The tree that grew despite it; or perhaps, because of it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lights Out

There are a few things I’m scared of. Not cockroaches (really!); perhaps lizards (I think I’m disgusted by those than scared). Snakes! I’m petrified of those. It doesn’t help that I dream of them once in a while. But nothing scares me more than death. Not mine actually; but those close to me. Any accident, natural disaster or calamity, robbery gone bad, terrorist attack – I’m thinking, what if it was someone close to me there? It scares me to lose any one of my family members. But it’s an inevitable truth. An uncomfortable fact we sweep under the carpets and hope that it’s gone. It never is. It’s just hidden. 

Perhaps I hadn’t given it much thought, until I witnessed my Achachan die. And it’s something that made a lasting impression on me; more than I thought. Achachan had Alzheimer’s disease and was slowly caving in. He could do most of the things on his own, but it was as if his childhood had revisited him. Those who know about this disease would know that they behave like kids – they are adamant, forgetful, angry, moody and at times playful too! It is quite something to see an able man lose his memory; and it’s with a sense of sadness we realized that he’s losing his sense of self. Memories come in snatches; they remember far back into their life than the recent past. And they could scream at you, annoy you, go wild – and you know you can’t take it personally; it’s just the disease catching up with them. His helplessness, coupled with your own on seeing him like this is something everybody in the tharavadu took time getting used to. We used to visit regularly and Ammamma would have her share of stories on his antics. 

My uncle was around; he had come down from Dubai for a short leave, and was planning to return on that fateful day. It was early in the morning; I was wiping the car or so. I am not sure what exactly happened. The details are a blur – I could hear loud crying sounds from inside the house. And I remember rushing in. Achachan had tried to stand up and then his limbs started failing him, I suppose. My Amma was hugging him and crying ‘Appa…Appa…’ relentlessly. Everyone had gathered in the bedroom and had surrounded him. Achachan was slowly falling back into the bed, he had gone limp. His eyes rolled back, I think. It was certain the end was near. But it was a truth no one wanted to accept. And yet, there they were, pouring the last drops of water into his mouth. A physician was called in immediately. Of course, he only arrived to certify the one truth no one was ready to deal with, at that moment. He said the needful and quietly left. To this day – the scene haunts me; it’s been eight years since then... and yet. Seeing Amma crying out loud desperately; the anguish, the pain. I don’t know how I can describe what I felt. I was quite shocked, I think. I hadn’t been around when anyone was dying, till then. And it’s something no one is ever prepared for. To see the lights go out of someone’s eyes. I don’t think it has prepared me any better. It is something I don’t wish on anybody. But again, it’s a tough situation – everyone wants to be around at the last moment. You would hate it if you weren’t there; and yet, to see someone so close just slip by. A breathing, living personality becoming just a body – sometimes you think, is that the last thing I want to remember him by?

It’s at times like this that I wish our ages would just freeze – me forever young, a child to my parents; my parents forever of the same age. And we just wouldn’t die. No one would! But then, that’s just wishful thinking on my end. Those who are around today won’t be there tomorrow. That’s the ultimate truth.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Usthad Hotel - My take

I had hardly heard of this movie – okay, so I’m not the most updated person on Malayalam movies; granted. It would be quite another thing if I were in Kerala and missed it; but I’m outside and some releases can go unnoticed. It would have been the same in this case, but for the song ‘Appangal embadum’. A friend introduced me to this song, and later I caught it on TV. The song did the trick, for I was curious; curious to catch this movie. And then I saw two blogs raving about the movie – but I didn’t read them. I just browsed them to figure out if this was recommended. After having been disappointed one day (it was sold out on a weekday in Mangalore!) – I booked a show for the next day. And I wasn’t disappointed.

---Do not read if you want to watch the movie. Spoilers ahead---

Saturday, June 30, 2012

'Item' Songs!

Madam Malai

For the uninitiated, this is not what the Amul girl  will be called when she’ll grow up (if at all). This is Veena Malik in a very nondescript, can-and-will-be-forgotten-before-it-hits-the-theatres movie called Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai (thanks for the warning, makers!)

So why talk of her? Or Madam Malai? It’s because I’m going nuts!

Friday, June 22, 2012


“Something about first love defies duplication. Before it, your heart is blank. Unwritten. After, the walls are left inscribed and graffitied. When it ends, no amount of scrubbing will purge the scrawled oaths and sketched images, but sooner or later, you find that there’s space for someone else, between the words and in the margins.”

- Tammara Webber

Now that's a quote I loved. There's something about all 'firsts' in our lives. And why are our firsts so important? Perhaps because it is the first of its kind – sets our expectations, becomes our benchmark, our immediate point of reference.

The first love, the first car, the first impression of a new city, the first time you talked to someone, the first drink you tried, the first trip to a place, the first smoke you had, the first date, the first job, the first live show/concert you saw, the first time you went on a plane, the first kiss, the first time you walked into your office/school, the first time you wrote with a pen, the first time you got appreciated, the first dish you cooked, the first time you drove a vehicle, the first pregnancy, the first salary you earned, the first time you went on stage…

But how many firsts of these do you actually remember? Not many. Of course, some because they are among the many mundane ‘firsts’ we achieve. Some, because they weren’t really memorable – it could be something you want to actually forget! Very few ‘firsts’ are treasured, remembered wistfully, appreciated silently. And first love is something like that. With luck (?) it may be your last. Else, you will find space between the words and margins.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Uninvited Guests

Shush! Go back 
 Back to where you came from.
I have neither the patience
Nor the inclination to entertain you.

They keep surprising me,
Like uninvited guests;
They irritate me.

I pacify myself, my heart.
I protect my mind from them.
These unwanted thoughts 
 They do spoil the party.
I am comfortable 
Not knowing.
Not worrying.

Questions I am afraid
I have no answer to.
Don't come! You are never welcome.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


She was staring. But it was a vacant stare; the eyes – they rested on some random object while her
mind was busy processing something. She had a very solemn look on her face, which waxed and
waned in intensity. One minute she looked like she was going to relax – well almost; for the very
next second her cheeks would tighten, her forehead creased with worry lines, her eyebrows crinkled
and her lips tautly drawn. What was bothering her?

Well at least he had something to keep him occupied to get through the boring session.

Come to think of it, her face isn’t extra-ordinary, but there’s something nice about it. In fact, lots of
things. Her eyes, beautifully lined with kohl; her nose, straight and long; her lips – thin and a healthy
pink; her hair – long and flowing, like a black cascade; the tiny bindi centered between her well-
shaped brows…

There she was, doodling away in her book; not paying attention to the session of course. She looked
up. And caught him looking at her. He continued to stare. She tried to avoid his gaze. She would
look here and there, only to check on him the very next instance – his eyes would still be on her. She
fiddled with the pen, kept pushing her hair behind her ears, checked the time every few seconds,
pretended to write something – to no avail. She was disconcerted by him staring at her. He started
deriving some amusement from this game they were engaged in. A few minutes later, he suddenly
noticed a quiet resolve on her face. And then she stared back. So that was her game plan; to beat
him at his own game. She seemed determined to shame him into defeat. And she continued to
stare; almost taunting him to do the same. A dare, or so it seemed; but little did she know him.

If she thought that he would retreat by the challenge, she was sadly mistaken. One must never
question the depths of a man’s shamelessness. Far from being cowered by her might gaze, he in
turn started enjoying the attention she paid him; he looked like a puppy who got a bone. He returned
the favour too – he stared at her with increased intensity (if such a thing was possible).

She didn’t give up. Strands of her hair flew over her face, and yet she didn’t make a move to remove
them. He took in that sight with admiration – she was growing more appealing by the minute; her
penetrating gaze holding his – moments where nothing mattered. Only she existed in his vision; and
he in hers.

How long did it last? A few seconds? Minutes? It seemed like eternity though.

She gently lowered her eyes. And she broke out into a smile. She lost the game; or maybe won his

There was the enigmatic smile – where was she hiding it all along? It felt like a thousand suns had
risen on her face. The girl with the worry lines had vanished! It seemed like someone else had taken
her place. He was floored by this new persona. There was more to her than what he saw. And he
liked it.

She appeared more relaxed from then on. She would take quick glances at him, sharing warm
smiles every time. They, who were engaged in an open stare contest until a few minutes back,
were now indulging in taking sneak peeks of each other. The bell rang. The lecturer wrapped up
the session and walked off. The crowd stood up, eager to disperse. She quickly packed her bag.
She walked till the door, and turned back, smiled at him one last time before walking off. He was still
seated – a wide grin pasted on his face.

Me? I walked off after an enriching session on how the human mind works.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Will the real SRK please stand up?

He arrived as the lad with an impish grin and a boyish charm. His first release, Deewana turned prophetic – he became the iconic crazy and passionate lover. He defied norms when he chose to be the antihero instead of the archetypal hero. He might have lost the leading lady on screen, but instead won the hearts of millions in the audience. The hysterical mob of women who still swoon and scream at his arrival exemplifies the extent of his influence. He became a self-made superstar; the Badshaah of Bollywood, they call him. And why not? He is just living up to his name – Shahrukh (which literally means ‘face of the king’)!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Finger Lickin' Good

Among the many things stereo-typed as South Indian, the one that’s gaining maximum ground (or already has) is that we eat with our hands. Not to forget how a curly-headed, ‘Aiyyo’-spouting Shahrukh made a complete mockery of it, with his spaghetti-with-curd routine in his (very forgettable) dud Ra.One. Oh yeah SRK, you thought that was being funny. I think when the movie bombed, the joke was on you!

Friday, March 16, 2012


Some I come across like the rose petals I once placed in an old book. Once cherished, once dear. As I accidentally chance upon them, they remind me of why I had left them there. They are now withered, dry and only a shadow of what they once were. But there lingers a fragrance; I smile as I take the dry petals – ready to fall apart. The very sight evokes thoughts which I like to revisit. I place them back and close the book. I am sure that I’ll come across them again; accidentally, of course. And I’ll still smile – however tattered the book; however dry the petals. The fragrance will live.

Some are like the cookies a Mother places on a shelf, out of reach from her child – well not quite. Tempting thoughts, seething desires. My head puts it on a high shelf; my heart tries to reach. And I’ve to blame my head; why place it out of reach (tempting me to try?) and yet so low (that I will get it, anyway?). At the end of it, you give into your heart – it reaches for the cookie; the very temptation you were trying to avoid. You know you will regret it, but you reach for it anyway. Like the Mother who will feel sad at the disappointment of her child, my head relents to the heart.

Some are like the files you save into the remotest and most random folder in your computer. You furiously click, navigate the various paths and keep it away, hoping that you will forget the way back to it. And yet, you will find yourself, somehow searching it up, revisiting them – although it only gives you pain. Again you move it to another folder – somewhere into the maze that is the system. But never do you Shift+Del. It might reach the Recycle Bin – but you will restore it, anyway. A pain you hold onto.

Memories – Exasperating. Exhilarating. Depressing. Defining.

That’s why they confound me. 

Thursday, March 08, 2012

How 'Online Smart' are we?

The other day, I was surprised to see a status update on Facebook. So yes, a zillion inconsequential things appear on one’s timeline, but this took me by surprise. Or was it shock? Or disbelief? Or was it a sense of confusion?

Here was a person announcing his father’s death (I am sure, quite promptly) on FB. Now I was very uncomfortable when I saw this. I don’t know about you, but FB is the last thing that would be on my mind if I were in his place; forget announcing this news to all and sundry over there. To give him the benefit of the doubt, let me add that his father was a well-known artist and hence, he probably decided to let a wider audience know of it. But really? An FB status update saying ‘my dad is no more’ is the LAST thing I expected to see (okay, no – there are far weirder stuff going on there). And what’s more, there were 70+ odd comments on it and idiotically enough, one ‘Like’. Thank God there was only one!  But I’d really like to ask that one person who ‘liked’ this post – what’s there to ‘like’ about someone losing his father?

I’ve always believed that we haven’t quite learnt how to use social networking sites. No one’s discreet about what goes up there – some really personal honeymoon snaps and/or crazy party pictures that people have uploaded (among others) drove me to this conclusion. I am not saying that one must fabricate one’s online persona so that it appears ‘cool’ on FB; it’s another thing that people are doing it to perfection with no instructions! But then, you must know what is okay to be seen and what’s not. I’ve also seen many girls (yes, ‘girls’ not ‘women’ – because they’ve not obviously grown up!) post how they miss their ‘better halves’ (probably he’s away on a trip, or she’s away from home). I mean, really? If you miss him, then you need to let him know that, not the rest of the world! And it’s anybody’s guess that phones exist, and they are already talking – but hell no, we need to know that she’s missing him oh-so-much. Give me a break!

I deviate – but not by much. There’s another phenomenon I’m not comfortable with. And that’s posting ‘RIP’ on a person’s FB Wall after he dies. I am sure you are also familiar with this. I had a senior pass away, a month or more back. And then I saw his wall being flooded with the ‘Miss You’, ‘RIP bro’ and the likes. I fail to fathom what this kind of solidarity is supposed to mean. Bereavement, I thought, was an intensely private experience. I am sure that you are sad at his demise, but is it essential to make a display of it by putting up such statements on his Wall? Is he going to read it? What purpose does it serve? If you need to offer any condolence, what you really need to do is go out there and offer some to his parents/relatives; if it means that much to you. Not mark a commiseration of sorts online.

I don’t know where this is headed, but I only wish people were a tad more sensible and sensitive, especially when it comes to personal tragedies. I still believe that some parts of our lives are sacrosanct. It’s for only us to know and for us to decide whom to share it with. Maybe collectively, we haven’t reached that place, where we know how to deal with things online – but I wish it was sooner.
P.S. I know, lame title. I couldn't get anything sensible to express what this post conveys. Suggestions?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Digging Deep

A casual discussion with a friend today and memories of this revived a latent thread of thought in my head.
We know a host of different things about different people in our lives. They know a host of different things about us. And in all probability, our parents know us the best. But is it true, the other way around? How well do you know your parents?

I mean, really? As far as I know, I know my Mom as ‘my Mom’. What was her past like? If not down to the minute details, do I know how she was – or what shaped her thoughts? What did she aspire to be? (She keeps saying she’d have loved to be a lawyer)

Now that I am over my turbulent teenage (and its share of ‘crushes’) – I wonder, did she also ever like somebody? Have an infatuation? Fall in love, perhaps? Given that she went to an all-girls school, I doubt she had the opportunity; but did she? Was she a romantic? What did her friends think of her? What kind of a person was she at school – nerd, geek, the meek or the bold? I know she was a real sporty person. She was known to have a ‘serious’ façade; and then she made a great friend. And this girl was so happy to know have discovered a sweet friend in Mom, that she wrote her a poem dedicated to her, and gave her a pet name!
One day, during a casual discussion my uncle mentioned how Dad used to go to the paddy fields and enjoy playing flute – and for a minute, I couldn’t believe my ears! He used to play flute? What other talents did they have? Were they into singing or performing arts? (One thing they both agree – they weren’t into writing or anything remotely literary, and are surprised that we do!)

There are some things our parents don’t talk to us about; there are some things we don’t talk to our parents about. It could be the financial situation, familial problems and rifts, matters of the heart, or a discordant marriage. We end up remembering and piecing information from others or from what we see – later when we come of age, they probably discuss or we try to understand; else, it still remains a mystery in patches. And we do the same – after we ‘come of age’ we don’t discuss certain things with parents. It could be our new found habits (say, drinking, smoking or drugs) or our relationships (and allied activities!). I remember, as kids we used to report right to the colour of our teacher’s sari to Mom. In a couple of years, it became ‘It was as usual’, if Mom asked ‘So how was school today?’

Just as we piece our parents’ lives – they do piece ours, in some ways.

It is not intentional – some parts of their life remain hidden because it never came up. Or they never felt the need to discuss it. Time changes things, and so does our changing age (and theirs). There’s a part of them, their lives, we’ll probably never know. And there’s a part of you, or your life that they’ll probably never know.
And even though I may not entirely know who they were, I could still try. That’s why when we cozy up with Mom on lazy afternoons, tightly hugging her – we gently cajole her to talk about herself. She very vividly describes her childhood, how it was to live in a joint family. About her marriage, how lonely she felt in Dubai, how she raised us and how life has been for her. Sometimes I think I should document it somewhere; make a story of her life. For now, I am busy unraveling it. One page at a time.


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