Wednesday, August 31, 2011


(Image source:

I come back to you. Yearning to learn. Wishing you'd love me like I want you to.
I want to think these lines are for me, but I think they are of a story - not ours.
A story is what we make of daily words, actions and whims. I wish you were a part of me. Something I could take out of my ragged bag, and stare at and dream.
You don't know it, but you have me in more ways than you can imagine. Your words surround me, as perhaps mine do you. An exchange of melliflousness goes on all day, everyday, unseen, unheard.
I survey the words you write, wishing they were your fingertips, gliding over my skin.
I wish I could sit by your feet and gaze upon your countenance, savouring every drop of honey that falls from your lips.
I cannot love.
I wasn't asking for love. I love you, the part of you I see from a distance. You are not mine, I do not wish to be yours. I am not worthy of such feeling, nor the passion that you bring.
I wish you would fall in love with me though. Over and over. Chide me, push me away. Guide me. Be my mother, my soulmate, be mean to me, perhaps even throw me into the fire, to see me come out scathed, hurt
and aching for your concern.
I wish I could be a lot of those things too.
I wish to be a moth, no I am a moth, and you are a source of light. I yearn to be near you, knowing it'd hurt so much when I reach, but perhaps that undying need might get quenched when my body and soul burn away into nothingness.
Say not such things, dear heart, for the mouth with which you utter these gems is precious; you are precious.
You might have to leave... Back to everything you hold dear. I shall let you go, I just need you to know that you envelop me with your deep red love, a love I took upon myself to feel. Your fragrance lies heavy upon every step I take, you are with me, by my side, your words encircle my senses every time I take a breath.
I love an idea of you. I hope you do too.
I do.
I hope there's a dull ache somewhere in your heart. That is all I wish for.
There is an ache - not dull, but sweet. A sweetness that will have me coming back for you, for us, for this.

(Co-written with @nelsonnium)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The supermodel

(A Guy Bourdain fashion photo. Image source:

She was a natural at the supermodel hunch. Years ago, when a depressed, aging ramp queen had showed it to her, she had copied it perfectly. She knew she was perfect even now, as Raphael smiled and clicked away. The makeup had always been thick, but perhaps never enough to mask the emptiness of her spirit. Her hunch half enveloped that ever widening hole in her soul.

"Look into the camera," Raphael roused. He distracted her. She was comfortable in her skin, but she didn't like the way he undressed her - she felt vulnerable. She moved her arms above her head and delicately stepped back, staring directly into the lens. That circled darkness spoke to her, she identified with its soul-less eyes. She gently moved her fingers to her lips for her next pose and felt the cracks appear in her facade. She tried to look deeper into the lens, hoping her eyes would meet with his.

"Wonderful," Raphael said, and continued to click, oblivious of her pain and longing. He was unseeing now, as he had been through the five years of their professional relationship. His perfunctory greeting of "Hello Jasmine" stayed unchanged. It seemed cold, even cruel to her - a calculated distance designed to singe her with indifference.

Every night she'd retire to her boudoir, where portraits he had shot lined her walls. She loved his intensity, his affair with the camera. Oh! How she longed to be held the same way. She wanted to be moulded into any shape of his desire, his longing. She wanted him to lustfully forge her into any shape. Just as long as he held her. She wanted to be desired. Her mascara trickled down her cheeks in despair, she lifted her hand to wipe it away. Just then the doorbell rang.

She ran up to the door in hope, and opened it to nothingness. Raphael was her neighbour too, and she always hoped he would drop in, if only to ask whether the mailman had come by. But he never did. He hadn't come now either. But there was an enormous envelope at her feet, with her name on it, in Raphael's familiar hand.
Nonchalantly, she tossed the envelope on to the dining table and retired back to her bedroom. Why couldn't he see her hope, her longing, she wondered. "Jasmine, pretty pretty Jasmine; you need to come out of your shell, show the world your beauty!", Raphael's words echoed in her head from their conversation earlier today. Tomorrow, she thought, she'd tell him everything. She'd be beautiful to him, for him.

She couldn't sleep that night in eager anticipation. Visions of Raphael undoing layers of her clothes and her soul swam in her head. She tossed and turned a hundred times over wondering how best she could reveal herself to him. She mentally picked her favourite Versace LBD to wear tomorrow. But her mind would not ease. Restless, she walked to the dining table and opened the envelope. She thought it would be the usual proofs of the fashion shots taken by Raphael earlier in the day. But it wasn't. With the thick sheaf tumbled out pictures of her glorious nakedness; tumbled out years of voyeurism, admiration and worship through the lens of the man she had always desired. And there was a note too.

 Her fingers trembled. Did she really want to read the note? Was she ready for him to confess her feelings for her? Her head spun with all the questions. She wasn't sure. He had been her escape for many years now, she watched him closely. But not as closely as he watched her, she thought. She felt violated, but she liked the feeling. She knew he loved her now; she could feel it. Slowly she open the note and read it. Her body froze, her lips quivered, she let the note drop to her feet.

She wondered what he would have said about the suit. She thought the colour didn't suit him at all. The suit looked a little oversized too. She wondered which of his family members had chosen that suit and given it to the undertaker. But his face was handsome as ever...
She was roused out of her reverie by the priest's solemn voice. She was roused to the truth that Raphael now lay quietly in a satin-lined box, his bruised blue neck hidden under a stiffly starched collar. He had chosen to confess, and he had chosen to go. Confessions she would never forget. Her mind replayed the happenings of last night for the zillionth time. She remembered being frozen, she remembered running to his door, she remembered howling, she remembered white hot pain searing her heart, she remembered calling 911 and she remembered reading and rereading the letter, till every word had inked itself upon her soul.


That night after the funeral, she dressed up in her favourite LBD. She had to try to come out of her shell. She had to try to show her beauty to the world. She applied another thick coat of makeup and looked at the mirror. The note stuck to the mirror looked right back at her. That was all she had of Raphael. The only time, he ever truly spoke to her. She picked up her purse and her priced note and went to Raphael's favourite bar. Midnite. She took her seat at the end of the bar, lifelessly. She didn't know any of these people, yet she knew they were judging her. "Scotch, on the rocks and keep 'em coming," she told the man behind the counter. "Rough day?" he asked. She opened her mouth to speak but said nothing.

Five o clock the next morning, when the last of the bar's customers were leaving, they noticed that famous supermodel bundled on the floor in her black designer dress, a glass of whiskey spilled nearby, and shook their heads. What they did not see was a crumpled note in her hand that read,

"Dear Jasmine," the note had simply begun. "I only wish to repeat what I have always said - you need to come out of your shell, show the world your beauty. I've lived in my shell for long, with only your beauty for company. I stayed and watched from a distance for fear of contaminating your divinity. I lived in the wretched pain of loneliness, loving and longing, because you were always so achingly delicate. I was afraid I would break you. But your imploring eyes impaled my soul today. I cannot stay away now, but I cannot come close either, so I choose the easy way out.


(Co-authored with @LilMissIssues)

Monday, August 29, 2011

The renewal

(image source:

Wisps of her hair, caressed his arm. His eyes seemed so deep, he held on to her and she lay on his chest. The knife still in his heart.
She licked clean a trickle of red as it flowed down his chest. Warmth and salt.
She knew he was forbidden but it felt so right. He hated her. She restrained him, she made him feel complete.
And slowly his hatred of her turned into something she hated. He said his heart felt love; she knew his heart must be stopped.
For she stopped loving him a long time ago. She stopped breathing him in, all she was, was his aura. His soul.
And when she wedged the deliberate knife into his heart, she was set truly free.
She smeared his blood on her hands, rubbed it all over her face, her body. She felt new.
He had served his purpose. There were new hatreds to find, new loves to kill. Renewed, she left in search of new vulnerables.
He lay there, his hate and love for her pouring out of his heart. She ventured into the darkness, exactly where he met her.
(Co-written with @LilMissIssues)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Passion play

(Image source:

The curve of her back guides him to places he needs to explore.
He looks in reverent fascination, as his hand is led to distant, unknown temples of pleasure.
His lips can't get enough of the taste, his fingers always reaching out, digging into her flesh, showing her his hunger, yet leaving no marks on the temple of the deity he worships.
She is pleased with his longing, pleased with his tender touch that belies the violent passion that strains at the leash. She lets him dig and she lets him claw, feigning indifference, teasing.
Her fingers dig into his back, leaving tiger claw marks, she asks him to take her, yet pushes him back to watch his need to be in her, knowing every second she makes him wait means more urgency, more passion in every move he makes.
He struggles against her hands that hold him back, and gently pushes them back and reassures her writhing body by whispering into her ears, beseeching her to give in to his need.
She nods vaguely, hoping her signals would be mixed, but he is beyond seeing. He wants. He badly, madly wants. She knows. She gives in.
Warm, audible breaths.
They move to a rhythm, then to no particular tune, always falling in sync, their bodies as one, a lustful, loving, sweaty unity.
And then rain, relief and tears. Uninhibited, unguarded, unafraid sheddings to witness and whet this unbridled play of passion.
She quivers and falls back, and gives in to the impending explosions in her head, and goes into a place unknown, yet darkly red, throbbing and familiar.
He knows of her story and he knows of her pain, but he lets the tears flow, he lets the storm pass. He knows she turns to him for the calm. She always does.
He strokes her head for hours; strokes till the pain of her past is gone, strokes till the love of now returns.
She feels loved, she feels strong. She gets up and leaves, unbreaking the sacred silence of their ritual.
He looks on, but she does not turn around, secure in the knowledge that he will always be there and waiting.

(Co-written with @nelsonnium)

Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss: Impressions

As a Hindu and someone, who takes a deep interest in spiritual/religious/occult studies, Dr. Brian Weiss' super bestseller Many Lives, Many Masters offered me nothing I did not already know. Perhaps 13 years ago, when the book was published, it was an eye-opener to the largely wary Western world, but Indians have always known and believed in the theory of rebirth and karma.

What surprised me, though, was the startling similarity of the ideas in this book and the basic tenets of most ancient Indian scriptures. I've recently read books on similar topics by Swami Vivekananda, his contemporary, Swami Abhedananda, and more recently, Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik's book on Hindu mythology, Myth=Mithya and the ideas are fresh in my mind. The ideas of karmic debt or rnanubandhana, choice of body for rebirth, a nether world or an 'intermediate space where souls stay', the progeression of souls through multiple human births, and the ultimate goal of a soul being merging with the Supreme One are some themes that occur repeatedly in Catherine's (Dr. Weiss' patient whose past last regressions is what this book is about) recall material, and are really similar to what Hindu scriptures talk about.

If the contents of this book are any 'evidence', since it has been written by a 'scientific' practitioner, it proves right most of our Vedic and Vedantic literature. The messages of love, compassion, trust and humanity revealed by the 'Masters' of afterlife via Catherine are exactly what our seers and sages have been preaching since time immemorial. And why only Hinduism? Every religion of the world teaches the humankind these lessons. Today, if a money-driven society, steeped in dissatisfaction, turns to books like these and to ancient spiritual literature to find peace and fulfill the original purpose of the soul, it is only natural.

The book is good for beginners & sceptics, and Psychology & Psychiatry professionals, but for those who already know that death is not really the end of life, it will only be an affirmation of their knowledge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got A Life by Kaavya Viswanathan: Impressions

"D.E.L.I.B.E.R.A.T.E. The book has deliberate written all over it."  
"This is the kind of book you buy only pirated copies of."

A few chapters into How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got A Life, and I had decided that my review would start with either of these opening words. I had heard about the book (although I didn't remember the hows and whats) and had picked up a copy from the second-hand bookseller when I saw it. I hadn't Googled it as a policy for a fear of bias, but while looking for an image of the cover of the book on the Net, I stumbled upon some rather unwholesome facts about it. And now the only opening word I can think of for this book review is: *headshake*.

As if the book wasn't bad enough, it turns out to be one accused of some serious plagiarism as well. Now I not only have Kaavya Viswanathan's writing skills to snub, but her taste in books too. I can imagine her poring over endless chick-lit novels, marking carefully the paragraphs she fancies and enventually modifying it a little before shamelessly copying it onto her manuscript.

The sin of copy-paste apart, the book is still lame and someone tells me it was once on the Crossword Bestlesser list and I wonder how. Every line reads like a concerted effort to be funny or emotional or both. Sure no one forced me to read a teenage novel by a teenager, but how a book bearing mostly designer fluff, sprinkled with some show-offy Physics can do so well (at least before the plagiarism charges) is beyond me.

The plot is simple. Opal Mehta's Harvard dreams force her to change from geek to glam overnight. Following her family's strange POA, Opal goes from being nerdy to popular to joke stock and back to being an academic heroine before finally getting into Harvard and landing a boyfriend. The book has been written in a painfully over-the-top manner and one can't be sure if it is meant to reflect the raging hormones of the writer/character or her lack of skillful restrain. Perhaps if Kaavya Viswanathan had, ahem...borrowed a little less and written a little more, the book would have been genuine, just what Opal Mehta wants to be.  

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Myth=Mithya - A Handbook of Hindu Mythology by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik: Impressions

I almost got into a fight with a friend over this book yesterday. I stood up for the book, in the way we stand up for things we like, and more importantly, agree with. The last few days of reading the book have been immensely enjoyable; one, because it is a subject that really interests me, and two, because it has been written so unpretentiously. When my friend said that this book has been widely criticised for a singular and narrow view, I was almost certain that the academics were angered because the language and the content of Myth=Mithya is not froufrou (something the academics have zealously maintained for years). He says the book cannot claim to be a 'handbook' when it doesn't take into account all interpretations of popular mythological lore. Perhaps he is right. But in a country where local shades add so many colours to a story, can *any* book claim to know and contain all?
Dr. Devdutta Pattanaik's book, Myth=Mithya may not be a know-all and tell-all, but it definitely qualifies as a superb book. Although the author says, in his note, that the book need not be read sequentially, I did, mostly because I found it unputdownable. Divided sensibly into three sections, the book lays down stories and their interpretations about Brahma-Saraswati, Vishnu-Lakshmi and finally, Shiva-Shakti. The sections follow the creation-preservation-destruction plot, and offer big and small lores illustrating the points.
The book began to impress me right from page one, and its three-page introduction is one of the most impressive ones I've ever read. Dr Pattanaik explains with such authority and lucidity the difference between objective and subjective truths, that between mythos and logos, between sat and mithya, and thus the difference between the exaggerations and the objectives of mythological stories. Apart from the beauty of non-lofty, non-pedantic and non-showoffy language, the book is also pleasantly non-judgmental. The author lists many a story and the customs associated with it in a matter-of-factly way, never once pronouncing whether these customs/traditions are good or bad. Many 'interpretations' I've read before have succumbed to a personal stance.     
I've also learned, with this book, a great many nuances about everyday names, symbols, and stories associated with Hinduism. I didn't know, for instance, that Yama was born as Vidur, that Skanda and Kartikeya were the same god, that Lakshmi's counterpart was Alakshmi and that there was a place beyond Narak called Put. The book offers many such mythological tidbits, their whys and wherefores and some wonderfully compiled tables and that makes Myth=Mithya a good read. I recommend it strongly to anyone interested in the subject. It may not be a complete handbook, it definitely is a handy one.                   

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

An interlude

(Image from

..."Drat! Like a man, I ought to have taken my chances," he said half joking, half flirting.
"You are still a man, and there are still chances," she said, half challenging him.
Their chance meeting and the impulsive coffee date was taking a rather interesting turn. She had a dinner to cook, he had an office to go back to. But the currents led them elsewhere.
"It's time for the adventure to begin then, ma lady," he bowed, feeling every bit like the man he'd found again. She tittered rather loudly, drawing stares from the young cafe crowd. She looked down and then up at him. He stood there smiling, and she knew it was her turn.
"Let's have an affair," she chuckled, "this ring has been sitting heavy on my hand for quite some time. And this bag of vegetables too."
He guffawed. "Sounds like a plan. You carry the same cross as all of us do," he said. "I need a story too. I'm done with status quos, much like you."
"Come, then. There is a change in both our post-lunch plans," she said, and led him to her car.
She motioned for him to sit, took the wheel and drove. Driving and some more and then some more. Over smooth turns and rough ones, over gurgling brooks, past barren scapes. Like their life. She kept driving till a piece of wilderness inspired her to stop. He sat quietly, storms raging within, wondering at the end of this journey, marvelling at the fire driving her, and now him. The tyres screeched in protest as she rammed the brakes.
"What now? What chances are you taking, now that they are yours to take?"
He smiled. He couldn't believe they were doing what they were doing. He played along. "Let's rebel," he said, "It's old hat for you, but still... Whaddya say?"
She smiled back at the recollection. "Yeah... That was a time. I haven't broken rules in a long time. So yes, let's. Let's rebel..." she said. Through her charade of excitement, he could see a sadness creeping into her eyes. He noticed she was drifting. "...let's rebel, because life is short, and happiness elusive. I thought I was happy because I chose my life. But I'm not. Are you? Will this little rebellion against our status quos give you happiness? Will it make me happy?"
Though they hadn't met in years, he knew where she was coming from. They had exchanged many frivolous details about their lives in the coffee shop after so many years, but the songs of the heart were only emerging now. He knew there were many little stories of unhappiness beneath the surface, underlining this moment. He felt united again with her, in his unhappinesses. He remembered the boundless joy that had once bound them and silently mourned its loss.
Smiling sadly, he nodded and said, "We're booby trapped. Not that that hurts. What does is the clipping of the wings we were so proud of."
She faced him, then kissed him, then sighed. "Yes. We grew up and the wings were gone. This world is a sorry place. The love has gone too."
He looked away. The landscape appeared misty. Was it his eyes? He held her face close. "You think so? I think I still love you. Don't take that away."
"Yes, I think so. And I'm not taking away anything. I'm only asking for a story in the earnest. A story without lies; a story without love."
"A story without love? How, my love, are we to have a story without love? You leave me helpless," he said and noticed the mild exasperation in his voice.
"Oh, come on, must you weigh us down again? Weigh us down with an old, pointless, hurtful love? Let's aim for a higher or a baser deal."
"I'm not sure what you mean, but will a 'different' partnership mean more to you now? And how can I, we, be different? How different can a man and a woman be when put together?" he asked quizzically.
"What I want is a mate of the spirit, or a mate of the body. You know, let's be partners in a spiritual quest or let's just have sex. Leave my heart alone. I can't deal with any more posing and pleasing. Let this rebellion, this secret, this affair be spiritual or animalistic."
He was surprised and looked it. "You really have grown up. You had once worshipped love."
"I changed my mind. Love is one big fucking lie," she said.
He put his hand around her waist saying, "I'd argue, but time's flying..." He then pulled her to him with force that was only his. Their lips met in a violent force. He was being himself, his old self again. And yet he wasn't. It was a strange yet familiar moment to them.
As the past hurtled past her eyes, visions of their younger vulnerable selves swimming past her consciousness, she let him kiss. She kissed back, and tore at his clothes and his flesh seeking satiety, seeking happiness, amid that wilderness. She focussed on his skin on hers, her focussed on the goosebumps, she focussed on the stirrings between her thighs. An old, familiar surge of love hit her - love that had once bound them, love that had given her pain. She closed her eyes, and mumbled a "No", as if willing love to go away, and continued to kiss him. A misty haze of past-present, love-hate, moral-amoral surrounded her.
The haze enveloped him too. He wanted to own her without wanting her. He let her body dictate his senses; the way they had when they first crossed paths. He was now a savage animal, shorn of all senses, all things beautiful and tender. She joined him in his abandon...
Later, as they lay spent, the stereo of her jeep belting out shameless youthful pop music, she sighed a 'Phew!' "That was nice, and I feel strangely fulfilled. Call it happiness, should I? But you and I know it won't last..."
She trailed off again. "...Nevermind, what makes you happy?"
He smiled, shook his head and ruffled her hair. "I stopped searching for happiness. Like love, it is an impermanent illusion. And it mostly hurts... Now I just be. Take what comes my way - good or sinful. No guilt. I stay happy knowing I followed my heart. Like I did today," he said and turned to face her.
"You did good," she said, "I think I did too. Our changed post-lunch plan has made me happy," she winked.
He winked back.

(Written in collaboration with Nikhil Deshmukh @red_devil22)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Giver by Lois Lowry: Impressions

I do not read children's books. I think I stopped reading them when I was still a child. Harry Potter, LOTR, and the works have never been part of my bookshelf. Fantasy fiction has never been my thing. But I am glad I read The Giver.  I liked it, probably, because it isn't a children's book in the traditional sense of the word. It is more like a book for adults, who like to read kiddie-style fiction, like my husband - Viren. That's how the book has now got into, our bookshelf.

Anyhow, The Giver is a good book. More so, because it reminds one of George Orwell's 1984. A controlled society with little or no freedom makes for the background of the book, where the protagonist - Jonas - lives with his family unit. A painless society of safe choices lives under some strict codes, follows a dreary principle of 'sameness' so that there will be equality, and is bereft of 'useless' things as emotions and music and art and colour.

Jonas is chosen to be the community's next Receiver (of memories) at the age of 12, just like all other children are assigned their respective occupations for life, and goes to be an apprentice with the current one (The Giver). He receives from his teacher memories of things and feelings he has never known before, and life changes for him. He forges a deep bond with The Giver, learns some terrible secrets about the community and about life outside the community - Elsewhere. He begins to believe that things must change, and he and The Giver hatch a plan that will set them free from the burden of centuries of memory.

The Giver poses an intriguing view of a society minus the things we so take for granted. It also makes us ponder upon the importance of memories, a life without any abberations, and the scope for the humane aspect of humanity in a 'perfect' society. How worthy would life be without pain or joy or love?

Apart from the plot, the book is also striking in its lucidity. That such complex ideas, about a world completely different from ours, could be conveyed with such easy precision, is amazing. But I suppose simplicity of language is a prerequisite of writing children's fiction. The more I grow as a reader, a writer and a human, the more I am awed by, and understand, the power of simplicity. The author, Lois Lowry, obviously knew what she was talking about.

However, the book failed me with its ending. A forced denouement, as it were, pushes the protagonist to the edge of Elsewhere (the real world) with promises of joy, and leaves behind a great many loose ends about the life he has run away from. The author has imposed a sense of heroic on the protagonist, just because it must be done. But there was, perhaps, no other way to end what was so beautifully begun.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Chuck says...

I am not the one for posting quotes on my blog, but I've not encountered such honest questions in a long, long time. So, here's preserving them for posterity, for every time my mind needs a swift kick in the nuts.
WARNING: If you are reading this, then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fineprint is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think everything you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity, you will become a statistic. You have been warned.  


Friday, August 05, 2011

English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee: Impressions

There's no such thing as fiction. A writer can write only about himself. In essence, at least. One can only go as far as masking a few names and tweaking a few situations. With every line of English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee, long before I Googled him, long before I found out that he was in the IAS like the protagonist August (Agastya), I knew he was writing about himself. Such clear, wondrous thought streams are impossible to write, if a person has not lived them. Such delightful journeys through loneliness and solitude are impossible to describe, if a person hasn't taken them. Such beauty cannot entirely be conjured. It must pass through the smelter of personal experiences. 

English, August is a charmingly irreverent book, among other things. It is refreshing in its curse-rich stream of consciousness writing, is educative and poignant all at the same time. It often talks in the manner of soliloquies, with a generous sprinkling of philosophical insights, without sounding lofty. It is funny, yet contained, enthralling the reader with the many anecdotal details of how the Indian Administrative Services functions. It is also a book, which has made me very curious about marijuana.

The story revolves around 24-year-old Agastya Sen, IAS, who is also Ogu to his relatives, August to his friends, Sen to his colleagues, and a disgruntled young man from the 'generation that doesn't oil its hair'. The book is full of these endearing little concoctions, and each brings about a genuine smile. Agastya, a man of Bengali-Goan parentage, educated in convent schools, the son of an IAS, follows in his father's footsteps and is posted in the quaint little town of Madna after he becomes an officer. What he cannot follow is the supposed glory a 'prestigious' job like this brings. Dreary office hours and painful social obligations later, he escapes into his private world of marijuana, music, musings and masturbation. In his room in the government guest house, he alternates between liking and disliking his restlessness, reads Marcus Aurelius and the Gita. He makes friends, passes desultory days, and insomniac nights, searching incessantly for an identity and some meaning in his life and values.

English, August is essentially the story of a man on a journey - as story of all of us on our respective journeys - trying to attach some purpose to it. If you like Indian English authors, and do not mind the title that is designed to mislead/attract a Western audience, get hold of it. It is a wonderful read, with characters so likable, that for days after you've finished reading it, you miss their company on the bus ride back home.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


This is my 100th blog post, and for lack of profound titles (or perhaps a need for 'keeping it simple, silly'), I decided to call it 100. But the lack of profundity also extends to my life, and there's nothing I particularly want to write. But because this blog has been a great punching bag, a friend, a diary and a canvas among other things, I feel obliged to write this commemorative post. I should probably have waited till a wave of inspiration grabbed my gut and spouted beautiful words, but I am in a hurry. I am nearing the end of a book, and will need to record my impressions of it. This blog won't let me reserve my 100th post slot, so I've decided to write. And because when I am full of nothing else, I am full of myself, this post will be about me. A 100 odd facts, ideas, delusions, prayers, loves, and stuff about me in no particular order. This is who I am as on August 2, 2011 (aged 28 years, 11 days).
*Afterthought: I will also be able to throw this post at the faces of people (recruiters, I mean) who smile patronisingly, and say, "Tell me something about yourself."

1. I am editing a feature on laptops for Which? Right Choice magazine at Hill Road Media, Bandra. I know very little about laptops and am wondering when I'll get a chance to eat at the famous 5 Spice restaurant across the road from my office.

2. My current Twitter handle is @stormyaffairs. It's kind of corny, but I like it. Reflects my many passing fancies. I also have stuck to a certain DP for a long time. It's a painting of a hot woman from a vintage Coca Cola ad.

3. I like Chicken Chilly (or Chilly Chicken if you please) a lot. A LOT.

4. There is a picture of Lord Krishna on my desk. I've wanted to keep one for a long time. The picture is of the Madhava idol in the ISKCON temple in Mayapur - the place where my love affair with Krishna began about 15 years ago.

5. Jishnu, my son, is nearly two-years-old; his birthday is in September. 2 years seems like such a short-long time.

6. I have a Sony Ericsson Xperia touch phone now. Stupid it is. The touch feature irritates me to no end.

7. I don't listen to music anymore. Not as much as I used to, at any rate. The noise allergy got me when I was pregnant.

8. I hate telephonic conversations. An online chat for me, any day. Long, heartfelt emails, even better.

9. I seem to have developed a sweet tooth, especially of the dark chocolate variety.

10. And mind you, never ever buy me flavoured chocolates. Mint and orange and what-you-have flavours in chocolate are sacrilegious. I like chocolate-flavoured chocolates the best.

11. I wish I could tell everyone to not be parents, because it is one shitty job, but I don't/won't because I know all  about social pressures. I succumbed to it too.

12. I love the person that my son is, but I hate being a mother. I hate more still women who like/claim to like motherhood. But I know there are these virtuous, mother types and the world needs them.

13. Those who have their pitchforks out, wanting to ask me "What kind of a mother are you?", my answer is, "A terrible one." So, STFU.

14. My ideal weight is always 5kgs away.

15. I like gold rings.

16. I am aloof.

17. I am hardworking.

18. I have an invisible sense of humour.

19. I have no secrets.

20. That book, 1984 by George Orwell, has occupied a big fat space in my head.

21. Diet pills aren't doing me any good, but I continue to take them anyway.

22. Will I have another baby? NO. Not even if it means earning a few million dollars or finding a cure for cancer or achieving world peace.

23. I want to buy a house in Bandra, Mumbai. Any millionaires wanna adopt me?

24. I am terribly ambitious.

25. Dieting has become a way of life, because exercising isn't.

26. I have another blog. It's called I make fun of people's clothes here. It is quite the opposite of my holier-than-thou Twitter persona.

27. I generally mind my business, and expect the whole world to do so.

28. Latecomers and stand up comedians irritate me.

29. Cooking isn't something I like to do, but if my son asks me for something, I think I'll oblige.

30. Reading is a great love, but writing a greater one (I think).

31. I haven't drawn/painted in a while. I miss it.

32. I miss flirting too. Marriage is a great social dissuader.

33. Cream crackers, IMHO, are stupid. Just as everything else that is healthy.

34. Viren, my husband, is a nice guy. Keeps me grounded.

35. I have the nicest in-laws in the planet. I am blessed.

36. I like Indian English authors, except that Rushdie fellow. Too effin' pretentious, or I am too dumb for him. Most likely the latter.

37. Vikram Seth, on the other hand, I could marry.

38. I could also marry Sufi music.

39. Jishnu speaks a great deal now. Makes adorable little noun-verb-noun sentences. He's been a quick walker, quick talker. I wish he were a quick all night sleeper too. Sigh

40. I like Hindi songs, from Bollywood. (You can snigger all you want).

41. I also like that Tender Coconut flavour of Naturals ice cream. The Bavarian chocolate variety by Baskin Robbins comes a close second.

42. I have no friends.

43. I am still addicted to Twitter, and for a darned good reason too. I've 'met' such wonderful people there. I wish I knew them in life.

45. I've been married for about 3 and a half years now. Marriage isn't as bad a deal as people make it out to be.

46. Destiny and karma and faith are all for real.

47. Anything to do with cult attracts me.

48. I like to study religion and cultures. I think it has to do with an innate human need to know why we do what we do.

49. Don't take me to a South Indian restaurant if you're trying to impress me.

50. Don't send me flowers either. I think they are a waste of money.

51. The only job I really enjoyed was the one at Pune Mirror. I still miss the place and the people.


53. I'd like to be a cute, snooty newsreader some day, or a pompous ass fashion editor.

54. I'll try to not do the deciding for Jishnu. But I'm afraid the obsessive Bengali mommy blood might be too much to cope with.

55. I used to smoke. I thought it was fashionable. I still think so. But I don't smoke anymore.

56. I don't thread my upperlips. I'm petrified.

57. I hated school and my younger fatter self.

58. I've studied in girls institutions ALL MY LIFE. Like from KG I to MA II.

59. I don't feel close enough to anybody to miss them.

60. The past is just that for me. How people remember small, insignificant things is beyond me.

61. The waist size of my jeans is 30. Has been so since I was in class V. The first pair I bought was a size 30.

62. I've had one monster of a boyfriend, and an angel too. And so many in between. But I married the sanest.

63. An occasional beer and port wine drinker I am.

64. There is no such thing as too many clothes.

65. I hate maths with a vengeance. Always have. Was a terrible student in school, much to the dismay of my parents. But I did win a gold medal in English at the University, and was second topper too in my BA. That was the greatest poetic justice of my life.

66. Achievement, in the traditional sense, means a lot to me.

67. I am a law-abiding, if indifferent citizen.

68. Cricket and most other sports bore me. I can endure a little football on TV though.

69. Politics, the state of this country, and other matter grave are too taxing for my little brain.

70. I regret doing that MA in Clinical Psychology. I wish I had stayed in the arms of my beloved English.

71. I have a good, shapely bum.

72. I wish I had smaller boobs, a sharper nose and bigger eyes.

73. I dread small talk.

74. Never done drugs.

75. I feel no love for animals.

76. Fountain pens are nice. I haven't written with one in ages.

77. I want to send Jishnu to army school for some years of his life. Rigorous army training make men, men.

78. I tried to write a novel once. I abandoned it; it abandoned me.

79. Sex is overrated.

80. I don't generally feel sorry for or give alms to beggars. But I did donate Rs. 5000 to Red Cross after the Japan earthquake. It felt nice.

81. I can have Maggi more often than most people.

82. Amitabh Bachchan and Daniel Craig are sexy.

83. I haven't slept well for nearly 2 years now. A good night's sleep has become something of a fantasy.

84. I don't respect money enough, but I want lots of it.

85. The only car I've ever wanted to buy was a Maruti Gypsy.

86. I do not hoard things, except maybe books and junk jewellery.

87. Giving up is easy. Things, people - both.

88. I could be mean to a person if it involves free chocolate mousse and chicken sizzler.

89. I am a non-practicing ardent Hindu. More so because I married a catholic, I think.

90. I am a practicing cynic.

91. I sing well, and a career in it would have been nice. But I never cared to finish my formal training.

92. I got my first Valentine's Day card and my first period at 13.

93. Umm... my one favourite movie is 'Meet Joe Black', although I can also watch 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' again and again and again.

94. I heart bags.

95. But I am not a shoe person.

96. I chose the name Jishnu for my son. I heard it first in the movie '15 Park Avenue'. I found out that it means victor in Sanskrit. But one day, during my pregnancy, I discovered that it could also be a wonderful phonetic combination of the words Jishu (Jesus in Bengali) and Vishnu. A perfect symbol of my son's mixed parentage/heritage. So Jishnu it was.

97. My dad had cancer once. That was the closest I have been to death.

98. I cannot stand wet bathroom floors and toilet seats.

99. I love myself, to the extent of a superiority complex.

100. I love Krishna.