Thursday, May 02, 2013

How to dress 'modestly' and preserve Indian culture.

You must be aware of the rapes happening in Delhi. Or in India for that matter. We are proud of our culture. We are proud that we may be having the largest number of male chauvinistic pigs in the world. We are proud that we as women, cannot walk alone in the Capital safe. We as women cannot dress 'provocatively' nor speak out our minds. Because guess what, any man on the street can take one look at us, grab his crotch and rape us. 

To avoid all that problem, we do have a solution. 

My patented 'Keep-yourself-from-being-raped-Dress'. This costs almost little. We charge extra for cutting out a hole for you to breathe. However no holes will be cut out for your eyes, as even one glimpse of your eyes could make a potential rapist go mad with lust. In addition you may use wires or steel cables to tether the dress to yourself so that even HurricanE Sandy cannot expose you accidentally. Alternatively you could nail the dress to your body a la-Jesus style.


Friday, April 05, 2013

My Malayali-half's anguish.

It is only recently that I got interested in Kerala’s culture and stuff. Not that being called a ‘Madrasi’ in Gujjuland did ever make me 'feel' Madrasi.
However digging back into my family's history, I found a lot of interesting stuff. How my mother’s family originates in a place called Thalassery, a British stronghold, where they probably traded in spices, from where they ran to Ponnani when Hyder Ali attacked it. In Ponnani the family ‘got into the warehouse business’ which as I understand has something to do with constructing warehouses and probably leasing them out to the Company. Anyway Hyder Ali’s atrocities against the Nairs which included forced conversions into Islam and deportation to Kanara forced my ancestors to flee to their present place near Shoranur. I’m told that we had an elephant in the house since it was a sign of affluence. I still have memories from my childhood where the lower castes while talking to my paternal grandmother would not cover their upper body, stand with their arms folded across their chests as a mark of respect and talk in low voices, and move out of the way when we passed them. Of course those customs have vanished since then.
Some old stuff from the ancestral house revealed wooden parasols used to shield the Nair women from being ‘looked at’ by outsiders when they went outside as well as daily-use objects like ‘bhasma-kottas (baskets containing holy ash, hung outside the houses for anyone entering the house) or huge wooden containers used for storing grains or even mud-houses for hens. These things have been replaced by modern appliances and utensils and I often see myself digging into wooden chests or dragging my hands across the walls in long-shut rooms trying to read the stories etched on their surfaces. Waking up to the smell of smoke from burning wood in the kitchens, sleeping to the swish-swish of wooden hand-held fans, while outside the fragrance of jasmine and paarijatam pervaded the night, mixing with that of ripening mangoes and jackfruits. It was easier in those days to believe that all was indeed well with the world and that as long as we cared for Mother Nature, she would take care of us too. Now going back into the long-locked rooms of my memories, I pull and pull at moments spent in bliss, climbing mango trees, chasing hens, riding buffaloes, tagging along with the cowherds that took our cows out to pasture, bare-footed, being bitten by red ants, sitting next to the cows and calves in the cowshed cooing sweet-nothings into their ears, jumping into the stream to cool off on hot afternoons, walking 2 kilometres to the nearest auto or bus stand, luring the pet dogs to hide under the dining table so that the vegetables on my plate would find greedy takers, lying on big rocks in the rubber estate only to be scared by scorpions and other creepy crawlies, trying to milk the cows and get kicked in the process, hunt for snakes in the grass with puffed-up-chests only to run screaming into the hands of the nearest adult on spotting one..….

Yet it is more and more difficult to connect those days with the present. The disconnect is so jarringly obvious that I shut my eyes to stop them from pouring out. And as time passes, these memories get more and more difficult to pull out, refusing to come out from their spider-webbed, dusty long-forgotten corners of the mind. 

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Vishwaroop - Movie Review

Cast: Kamal Haasan, Rahul Bose, Pooja Kumar, Andrea Jeremiah and Shekhar Kapur (in a guest appearance)

After reading so much about the controversy around this film, MOH and I were in a desperate situation where we totally HAD to see this movie even in Russian! We did not get the Tamil version's tickets, but managed to grab the Hindi version before the censor board ate it up.

If India sends this movie to the Oscars, at least the jury will feign some interest in watching it instead of puking at the usual kachra we keep force-feeding them :p Of course it is not Oscar worthy because it is an out-and-out action film and there are definitely better films out there.

Which reminds what are those folks protesting against and why are the other folks banning it? The protagonist is a Muslim who stakes his life for his Hindu motherland - how do they ignore this crucial staring-in-your-face fact and go on to protest against some one-liner (or whatever political fiasco is being played) that apparently offends a particular religion? How can any religious faction WHETHER Hindu or Muslim or Christian tell us what to watch, read or wear?

Anyway, back to the movie - India arrives on the International scene with this truly Hollywood-ishtyle choreography. From the point of view of a terrorist organization, I'm pretty much impressed with the details Kamal has paid attention to - the nitty-gritties of costumes, dialects, gestures, quotes from the Koran and general mannerisms of terrorists, effeminate-men, serious-officer etc, not unlike Dasavataram - he flits between characters with utter ease and perfection. Though post interval, the movie slightly dragged, all the blazing guns and chases more than made up for it.

Of course I disliked the part where, in the end, the wife realizes she loves her now feminine-turned-masculine husband (and all the while I'm quivering in my seat, hoping that she does not flash her mangalsutra and give some dramatic dialogue of how 'yeh-bandhan-nahi-tutega-blah-blah' or a drop of blood from his wound will fall on her hair-parting or wherever).

There were brilliant scenes - Kamal reciting aloud the namaz before he is to be 'killed' or an effeminate Kamal teaching kathak to his students or the sudden fight he starts in captivity, the sarcastic one-liners etc etc. I can only imagine the research the team must have done, and the sets they must have thought of in their minds. If you could put together numerous news items from across the globe - relating to the activities of the LeT or such terrorist organizations, you could make a movie out of it. 

Maybe I am reading too much into it, but what the hell I walked out of the cinema with a contented smile :) Tamil directors have always been brilliant, this is just one more feather in their cap, of course barring the fat lady :p

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I are Tagged....I you tag...

I have never been one very enthusiastic about being tagged or tagging others. Somehow all these years of being a rebel, protesting against 'this-is-the-way-to-do-it' rules and being used to people gravitating towards me and not the other way around, has led to me believing that if people like my writing, they will come to me, no matter what. How wrong I am. I am still queasy about joining blogger platforms because I find that it is expected of me to leave comments on their blog, praise them, tag them to have them come to your blog. I am more comfortable contributing to a blogger's pageviews and leaving appreciation only if I feel so. I know I need to change and go out there and completely interact and party with fellow-bloggers if I ever hope to be read by a wider audience.

This tag comes to me from The Fool at Lucifer House Inc, who was one of the first bloggers I 'met' back in the days when my blog had 2 or 3 meaningless posts. Luckily though he did not block me out and instead let me read his wonderful blog, which (this is the first word that comes to me, when I describe it) is VERSATILE. No matter what he chooses to write - poetry, fiction, current affairs - it is very easy to see that a lot of research and meticulous 'thinking' on his part goes into each of his posts. Not that his command over langauge helps. Whenever I am on the blog-o-sphere, I make it a point to read his posts, many of which do help me to redefine the limits, not change, of my beliefs. 

Category 1: Your most beautiful post: That would be Dialogues - Part 1, where a French woman, intoxicated by India, reveals her adoration for her Indian husband, my ancestor. I have imagined this dialogue based on what little I have heard of their relationship.

Category 2: Your most popular post: Based on audience interaction it would be That Last Night... and based on views The Journey - I have ignored posts on current/social issues. 

Category 3: Your most controversial post: Definitely my post bashing Satyamev-Jayadev.....I wish I could reproduce my FB page where fans of the show took up a random battle cry and charged at little lone me. 

Category 4: Your most helpful post: posts are almost always stirring up quiet people, and being a staunch opposer of all those self-help books out there, I do not write 'helpful' articles, but yes on retrospection, I would say the post wherein I described the characteristics of a Gemini girl to help a guy I knew, understand his Gemini girlfriend.  I had people from halfway across the world requesting me to write about the other sunsigns, because this post made them so easy to analyse their Gemini partners :D

Category 5: A post whose success surprised you: I could mention the post that garnered the most views or comments, again, but for my successful is when a sad write-up produces grief in  my reader, which is my intention - that is, to make my reader feel exactly what my character feels. Therefore Stolen berries.... would be most apt for this category. This was my first attempt at writing tragedy and readers became totally depressed. Per se, that was a success.

Category 6: A post you feel did not get the attention it deserved: I do have three or four posts that have received no views or comments, however Unanswered Prayers would be correct for this category because thinking that people would be bored by my fascination with suicides/deaths in all my posts, I focused on an old woman's loneliness, which surprisingly had no takers. 

Category 7: I am really proud of this poem: I'm not really a poem person, since my idea of a peom is anything written in verse form. I am uncomfortable with the myriad rules of syllables and breaks and all that applicable to peotry, but I have dabbled in my version of poetry and of all of them, I think I'm really happy with Maternal Love.  

Now that I have to tag five blogs and pass around the 'goodness', I am worried. With my tendency to overcrowd instead of having favorites, I can only mention blogs here that have totally gripped me. As a reader I look for that 'I-am-hooked' feeling in a post, which I feel, comes only with a master's command over vocabulary, sentence construction and choice of words. Long, complex words turn me off, as does shoddy grammar. 

The five blogs below are a delight to read and I hope they get the attention they deserve. 

1 - Wildflower - Did u call me a tragedy queen? Wait till u have read her. There is nothing like the magic of her words, the complex simplicity of her language, to make me long for more. I could read her blog all day and still ask for more. Her almost-zero interaction with her readers, I admire, because it fits my opinion of 'Readers will come to u, if they want'. 

2 - Sandyspeak - Sandeep is the guy to watch out for. Some years down the line, if he decides to tie up his shoes and come out with a book, he will storm the publishing world and explode it with his totally top-level writing. His thrillers are racy, pulsing and will make ur jaws drop. 

3 - Sadiya Merchant - Her blog is correctly described 'peppy with a punch'.....It is entertaining, silly, laughable, and cute all at the same time. I wonder why she has stopped writing like me ;)

4 - Enchanta4U - My idea of a pink-balloon-filled-mushy-heart-filled-diabetically-sweet blog is this gal's blog. Complete with violin-wala song, this is the blog that is so cute u could cry. As much as her blog is cute, her writing is deadly and somehow we kept stumbling on co-incidences until we agreed that we are soul-sisters. It is so uncanningly freakish to know that many things that she wrote could have been taken from my life and many that I wrote could be an exact replica of some parts of her life. 

5 - Abhyudaya - The very thought of his blog makes me laugh. His cartoons are so funny, I wish I could have more of them to accompany my morning newspaper and tea session. Totally enjoyable, and recommended daily :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


She paid the taxi-guy ten bucks more. She was always generous when she was happy. Like today, when she had decided to celebrate her new-found singledom by travelling. The station was crowded as stations always are. But she minded not. A spring in her step, a buoyancy in her movements, not in the least helped by those glasses of wine she had gulped down earlier in the day, while shedding tears over her wasted years. No, not to dwell on that, she pursed her lips and made her way to where the Luxury-on-Wheels train waited. Gleaming metal, garish colors, it was exactly how Bollywood depicted royalty in their trashy movies. Not that she minded this either. All she wanted to do was get away from her past, her almost present and look forward to freedom. She felt like an inmate released from a prison, well that was what it was, then, she was sure. She bought two cans of Red-Bull to go with the KFC ZingKong box she had bought on the way.
She looked around at the milling passengers of the Luxury Train. There were only two Indians, herself and another guy. She decided then and there, looking at the software-type-look on his face, to avoid speaking to him at all costs, and turned her face away with a scowl as soon as he waved at her in a fit of enthusiasm.

Her suitcases were settled in her coupe. Unfortunately because she booked at the last minute, she would have to share the coupe with another passenger. She prayed aloud asking God to not make the disheveled-geeky-Indian guy her 'partner'. The coupe door opened. She turned around to find some white-guy in a red tee and cargo shorts trying to fit through the door, not that the door was narrow or anything. He thrust one leg inside and placed down a knapsack with a thud, which landed on his foot. Releasing a string of curses, he turned at that moment to look at her, suddenly aware that there was someone other than him, there.
She gasped as a flicker of recognition ran across his face, then dimmed. She too thought he looked familiar. There was something about his green eyes that made her stare at him open-mouthed.
Unable to place each other, both went back to doing their own thing.
While he was settling down, she studied him. His muscles strained under his tee, and she wanted to reach out and touch the whiteness of his well-formed calves.
'What the fuck', she said aloud to herself.
'Excuse Me?', he said, looking at her, and again, there, that glimmer of recognition.
'No, not to you, I was just muttering to myself.' she smiled showing him her pearly white teeth.
She was glad she had put in all that effort to dress up. Not that she needed to. At thirty-five, she still had a body that was the envy of her friends. No matter how much she ate, the fat showed in only the right places. Suddenly she felt sexy. Maybe there was some chance, after all. This was it, her life was starting now, right now, from this moment forward. She was going to do exactly what she wanted. She was going to flirt and party and live her own fucking life, the way she wanted to.

Dinner was served in the resto-lounge and she sat alone, looking out of the window at the glimmering lights passing by. More wine, followed by desserts was all she had. She looked for her 'roomie' but did not find him. He seemed to have come alone. He was attractive, no doubts about it. He did look middle-aged, but like her, had a trim body. She shook her head and returned to her room, suddenly remembering the KFC package. Her co-passenger stirred from his berth and poked out his head out of his blanket. 'How was the dinner?' he asked.
'It was good, if u like Indian food that is' she answered, inspite of the huskiness the wine gifted her voice.
'I do, I have stayed here for more than a decade', he smiled, sitting up with one arm around his pillow, one leg dangling.
'Really? Where are you from? I mean, why would you stay here?' she sat on the couch facing him, her legs placed on the foot of his bed.
'Austria, but my mum shifted to India because she thought it would keep me away from all the bad things the Western World apparently has. Well it is a long story'...he chuckled.
'Who is in a rush?' she chuckled.
'Some wine?' she offered, pointing to the bottles on the table.
'Let me', He rose and poured out a glass for each of them.
'Can I tell u something? his finger drew patterns on the glass. 'U actually kind of freaked me out. I felt like I knew you, I thought you were someone I used to know once.'
'Oh My God! Did you? Because it felt like that to me too! I thought I recognized you but I was sure I was mistaken..'
They looked at each other, their eyes unblinking, as the recognition dawned on them.
'Oh My God. Oh My God. Oh My God.' She jumped up from her seat, toppling the wine bottle, thankfully empty.
'It can't be. It can't be' he whispered.
Stunned silence followed the revelation.
What a small world, she would have thought, had she been not so shocked. But for her past to return after twenty years was something she would never have thought of, in her wildest dreams.

The images came rushing to their eyes. Their minds went out to their days at school when stolen moments alone gifted them the memories they had held onto, tight, all these years.
It had to be Destiny playing a game with them, It had to be Fate.
The shock turned to happiness and then to embarrassment, as they relieved the memory, both in their own minds, of how they had separated. Pressed by circumstances and by their own fears, they had let go of each other, only to torment themselves with their hidden yearnings. She was not sure of him, but she had thought about him often. Sometimes she found herself dreaming of him making love to her. She had wondered what it would have been like, had they been just a little grown up, had they met when they were grown-ups. They would probably have given it a shot. Their relationship that is. The silent questions whirled in their heads until they, both at once, blurted them out, tossed them out like blabbering fish.

'I have looked for you, and found your Myspace profile, and tried to access your pictures. I was not sure if it was you, because you look so different now.' He cupped her face and spoke earnestly. 'Look at me', he said. 'Look at me, and tell me you never forgot me'.
The hug they had indulged in a while ago felt starkly hot. She sank her face into his chest, onto where his heart beat, wildly while her own thumped. She was not in a train, a moving train anymore, she was back in school. Back to when she had only discovered her womanhood, and so had he. When he himself was in a school uniform, stealing glances at her whenever he could, passing on small gifts to her stealthily, avoiding the watchful eyes of their teachers and friends. When their first kiss felt like nothing they had ever felt before, and nothing they would feel ever after. Nothing mattered now. Nothing.

He enveloped his arms around him. She felt safe. Warm. Loved. As this feeling of peace gave way to a hot throbbing deep inside her, she felt his body tensing. She pulled him closer to her, almost throttling him in the process, afraid that he was going to pull away. He stiffened, then relaxed, and now brought her body ever so close to his own. As his hot mouth closed over hers, she wanted them to fuse together, melt in their passion, wash away their lust into nothingness. She felt his manhood acknowledging her presence and trembled as her stomach gurgled when she felt someone splash water on her face.

She looked up to see her co-passenger holding a glass of water in his hand and offering her a tablet.

'Are u allright? U have had too much wine I suppose?' He smiled as he pointed to the empty bottles lying on the table next to her bed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Best Friend.

       She is my new best friend. I love everything about her. To tell the truth, I USED TO love everything about her. But I no longer do. I'm scared now and racked with guilt. There is no single moment that I recall, no single moment that I recall ever being free of her obsession. You see, she is obsessive to the degree of killing me, if I so much as even think of other things. No fantasies, no smiles, no happiness. These are the things I agreed to give up when she approached me for friendship. I was too naive then. Far too naive to know how cruel she could be. I wish I had the guts to ask her to leave. But I'm a coward. A fool.


The woman has dark circles under her eyes. She frets and impatiently chews he nails. She seems in her early forties but appears much older. She jumps up when the receptionist calls out 'Mrs Linner' and almost dashes against the desk on her way to the door.
The doctor looks up from the giant desk, behind which he is seated. Immediately his eyes are clouded with pity for this weak yet strong woman.

"I'm just so tired, Doctor. I'm just so exhausted. How can I help her if she refuses to see reason?"

"You need to deal with it, minute by minute, day by day, month by month. We have been supporting her for all these eight years. At least you cannot quit on her, not you of all people. Susan, I know this is hard, but You have to keep going. There is only so much that these medicines and therapy can do. Only so much."

"How I wish. How I wish." She sighs and clasps the doctor's hands. He puts his hands over hers. They are old friends. He can only do so much, after all. She follows his instructions for the new medications and takes the prescription. He has added some new pills and replaced Valium with another. 


Mum is back from Mr Roth's. He is a gentle man and doing all that he can. But I know it is of no use. He doesn't know it is now a war between us. It is either my friend or me. She is strong. I wish I had never got into this mess. But it was Kate Moss that did it. And Victoria and Angelina and Paris and Cheryl and all the millions of beautiful women on in Paris and Milan and Munich and Amsterdam and everywhere. 
You would understand if you saw me grow up. Even though my initial years were centred around huge tables laden with enormous amounts of food, the house over-run with guests each day, every day; a laughing Mum and Dad shushing us and piling our plates high with all kinds of eatable stuff, Even though any other kid would have exchanged her best stuff with me to be brought up in a house like this, filled with love and all things nice and wonderful, she would never have know the agony of being called names at school. 'Dumpling', 'Mattress', 'Fatass', 'Hippo' were names that gnawed at my insides, hours after school, in the nights, making me stay awake for long hours, crying silent tears into my pillow, gasping for breath because the grief just mashed my heart into a pulp. Not being able to walk like the others, not being able to avoid doubling over with sheer breathlessness after a two-minute walk or run, not being able to fit into pretty little dresses like my eight-year old classmates. Even now, I can relive every single taunt, every single jeer from those days. And only my best friend stays by me. Then how can I push her off, just like that, tell me.


Mrs Linner is inconsolable. Mr Linner holds her throughout the ceremony. It is mercifully, brief. The coffin is being displayed for the guests to say their final goodbyes. Inside is the skeleton of a gal who was once beautiful and lively. Skeleton. Because Amy's body is only a heap of bones. Her gaunt face stares even with the eyes closed. The skin pale and white, like chalk used to whitewash walls. Her skin is transparent and you would think it would split open if you looked for a while too long. Her elbows and knees jut out. Her lips are already black and her mouth a black hole with tepid breath and rotting teeth. Who is this gal? The guests wonder. These guests who have seen her transformed from a healthy adorable child into the pitiable, tiny teenager lying in this coffin. Some of them think, Death was a tad too long in the coming. And Amy should have been mercifully put out much earlier. However all is as the Good Lord insists. However they cannot but help shudder to think that something as evil as this could exist in their midst. 

The eulogies are read. The farewells said. The goodbyes offered. Mrs Linner insists on sitting next to the coffin the whole time. While it is lowered into the ground, she flings herself upon it. 'Forgive me. Forgive me, Amy, for I could not help you', she cries pitifully. Mr Roth is there too, teary-eyed. 


I was scared when the lid closed. I wished I could comfort my mother. I tried to get up and hold her, but I could not. Something stuck me to the coffin bottom, glued me to it. I could only peer at the faces of the persons who looked in. Some gasped, some shuddered, some cried. But they all loved me. That much I knew. I was scared again when the earth closed around me in my little box, but then suddenly as soon as all the mud was around me and I could no longer hear it falling over, I felt a deep peace come upon me. When I woke up I was here. In this beautiful open place smelling of a thousand flowers in full bloom and the green grass and moss and dew, with a hundred birds chirping. I can go to my special window and look down at Mum and Dad and see them hobbling along on their grief-laden feet. I no longer feel pity for them. I find that I'm incapable of feeling anything except a tremendous feeling of calm and lightness. I know they will join me here, when the time comes. 

I'm peaceful and alone. 

My best friend of nine years, my possessive friend, the one who killed me is no longer with me.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Great Expectations.

       'That is him. That is himmmm!' - Malati called out. She clutched her handbag tight and brought up her hand to where her heart was. It beat wildly. Loudly. Her magenta suitcases fell down on each other, tumbled and collapsed like a house of cards. But she did not notice. They fell about her, while she mouthed 'That is him'.
'What nonsense' - Reena snorts. 'That was ages ago. At least now toh forget him.'
'But I know it is him....Here, go and ask him." Malati implored.
'It could be him, Reena, What makes you so sure it is not?' - piped up Latifa.
'Arrey you gals are really mad!!'  - Reena retorted.
'Seriously Reena, sometimes you are such a snob. Delhi suits you very well. Now forget him, Malati and let us get on with our lives. Where the hell is the taxi-stand?' - Latifa was irritated now. The sweat trickled down her face.

       'Bhaiyya - Park Hotel chaloge?' The taxi driver spit out his paan, and grinned at them.
'This must be what Yamraaj looks like'.....Reena whispered. The other two giggled.
Reena could pass funny comments with an absolutely serious face. Only Reena.
'It is sooo hot, I don't know why we had to come to Goa in this heat? Couldn't you have chosen a hill-station, Malati? - Latifa grumbled.
Malati laughed - 'Why a hill-station? Why not the Alps? We have been planning to come here from a year now. I could not wait anymore. And remember this is my hen-party. So no frowns. Paste your best smile. We will get drunk and have the best time of our lives.'
Reena and Latifa pretended to be unimpressed and looked out of the window. Malati laughed. They joined in.

       In their room, the first thing they did was order food 'wine, cheese, beer, whisky, and spicy 'kuch-bhi'...
Reena said 'That fellow seems decent. He lowered his gaze while we were ordering'
Latifa playfully rapped her head 'Of course he lowered. You are wearing the smallest skirt in the whole world. Decent it seems.'
By the time their order was delivered, they had showered and dressed. They attacked the wine with gusto, hardly eating anything of the spicy 'kuch-bhi' which turned out to be a non-veg platter and the Goan fish curry-rice.
'What is the plan? Dekh Malati and Latifa, I don't want to see any churches-temples-mosques. If you want to go, jao. I am fine with lying on the beach and admire the sunset.'
'Arrey even we are not interested in doing bhajan-kirtan here. This is Goa, not Vaishno Devi. Latifa, you take the camera, and Reena you take the cosmetics. I will carry the clothes.'
They sauntered down the stairs to the reception. It was while turning their keys in at the counter that Reena pinched Malati.
'Ouf, bitch. That hurt! What did you do that for?' Malati asked turning around to see Reena's mouth wide open. She was pointing at the doorway, at the valet opening the doors of cars.
'That is him. You were right Malati. That is him!' Reena stammered.
Latifa whistled.
She put her arm around Malati - 'Look. This is your hen-party. You can like, totally do what you want. Call him. Now. And ask him to bring his friends over. We can watch you having all the fun. Quick'
Malati shook her head from side to side, horrified - 'But I can't!! I'm getting married next week!! What makes you think I would want to see him. Now?!'
Reena muttered 'This one will remain a fool all her life. I will call him.'
While Latifa and Malati whispered to each other, Reena walked out and flipped out her mobile phone. While she spoke to the person on the other line, Malati and Latifa were exchanging sly looks and devilish grins.

       'Maluuu! I'm sooo glad to see you! What brings you to Goa? And must say you are still a stunner!!'  Karan winked and smiled at Latifa and Reena. 'You too ladies! How many years has it been? Five-six?'
'Only three years, Karan. You still forget things too easily. We are here for my h.....' Malati was just about to utter the obscenity when Latifa and Reena spoke aloud together 'Promotion party...'
'Yeah, we are here for my er...uh...promotion party....'Malati cooed, regaining control. 
'Why don't you join us? Do you have some friends with you, to keep Latifa and I company, while you admire Malati?' Reena fished. 
Karan furrowed his brows - 'Not friends, but I can bring some people over. What are you gals doing tonight? Tito's tonight, around 9ish?
'Perfect - Yeah that would be great. So we will see you tonight then' - Latifa replied while Reena blew him a kiss and Malati smiled.

'Don't tell me you are wearing thaaaat, Malati? This will be last free-night of your life and you will NOT be dressed like a behenji tonight.' Reena admonished Malati. She snatched the green dress from Malati's hands and threw it into the corner. Rummaging in her own bag, she produced a red slinky tube-dress and threw it in Malati's face. Latifa grabbed at it and looked at it, delightedly. 'Yes, THIS is what you should wear. Reena is right. I have just the perfect shoes to go with this' she scampered off the bed and sat by her suitcase.
'Whatever gals, What would I be without you two drama-queens in my life?' - Malati said. She turned to the mirror. 'Curls or Straight? Winged eyeliner or simple? Tell me gals. I'm going to make him go mad.'
The other two rolled their eyes.

       'Are we too early? I can't see him anywhere.' Malati looked around,
'Arrey tu bhi na. D'u think he is standing here with a coconut tree growing out of his head, just so you notice him?' Reena growled. 'He will find us. Give him some time. Let us order our drinks.'
After some 12 large glasses of vodka, neat, on the rocks, had passed between them, a mobile rang. Malati searched inside her tote bag and produced the still ringing cellphone. 'It is Karan' she said.
There seemed to be a lot of noise in Karan's background. 'Where are you gals? What are you wearing. I can't find you in this crowd.'
'We are outside the disc, just to the right, where the tables are put up. We are right next to them. I am in red, Latifa in magenta and Reena in black.' Malati offered helpfully.

       'There is your ex-flame, Malati. Jump him. And remember no regrets. And not a word of this outside' Latifa instructed. Serious, Reena and Malati nodded.
Karan was dressed in a body-hugging white vest and jeans. He slung a blazer casually in one hand and held a drink in the other.
His jaw fell open when he saw Malati, but he soon looked away. Malati was confused. This was so unlike him. Their relationship had been incompatible, but when it came to lust, both were equally insatiable. They were complete opposites of each other in all but that. The break-up was inevitable as both were head-strong, stubborn and impatient. Their tempestuous relationship had to end and surprisingly it was Karan who had offered to part on an amiable note.
'Malati, Malati?' Latifa was shaking her.
'Where were you lost? We are talking to you and you are sitting there with an open drooling mouth.' Reena said, tugging at her arm 'Let's go and meet Karan's friends. Chalo, Chalo.'

       His friends comprised of three guys and two women, none of whom Malati recalled seeing when Karan was courting her. The men were dapper and handsome and seemed friendly. But the women looked over the new-comers and offered no greetings. They were dressed in expensive clothes and in front of them Malati felt she and her friends looked sluttish.
Malati offered her hand to one of the women and introduced herself 'Hi, I know Karan from a long time. We were friends in Delhi'
The woman smiled coolly.
Her icy gaze bore into Malati.
'I'm Natasha, Karan's wife. I have known him for four years.'
Malati stared.
First at Natasha.
Then at Karan.
His eyes seemed to implore her. His ears turned beetroot red.
Reena pinched Mitali's arm. 
Latifa pretended to brush off something from Malati's hair and whispered 'Not a word' and turned to the Natasha with a grin, asking 'Is that a Chanel you are wearing, um? '

Friday, July 13, 2012

Half Broken Things - Morag Joss - book review

This Scottish author won a Silver Dagger Award by the Crime Writers' Association for this wonderfully dark psychological thriller. 

Jean is an elderly house-sitter, just asked to leave her job. But not before she finishes her last assignment of taking care of Walden manor, a secluded country home. 
Michael is a petty thief who steals church artifacts to get enough cash to buy tinned soup. 
Steph is the abused pregnant girlfriend of a brute, who one day gives in to her impulse and runs away from her boyfriend. She runs into Michael and asks him to help her. A reluctant Michael lets her stay at his dingy apartment.
(I actually don't want to tell you this meeting, but this situation is so amazing that I cannot NOT tell you!)

Jean, meanwhile is so upset by her bleak future, when she will no longer have a job, that she starts to believe Walden manor is her house and slowly takes possession of the house and all the things in it. She even goes so far as to believe that she has had a son in the past whom she has given up for adoption. She places an advertisement in the papers looking for this non-existent son. 

Michael chances upon the ad, and comes to meet her. He realizes that she cannot be his mother, yet when he sees the opportunity to live off on this old-woman's fortune, he pretends and makes about as if he is the son. This is a clinching moment in the novel. The silent acknowledgement by both of their taken-for-granted future together as mother and son unravels their doom. Needless to say, Steph is soon accepted as the 'son's wife' and therefore 'loved daughter-in-law'. Steph starts working as a baby-sitter in a nearby house.

Yet how long before they can continue this utopian existence, this lie they are living in and how long before reality asserts itself?

The owners are soon going to return, and the priest of the church from where Michael had once stolen a statue is in the village.  

These two threats set rolling the wheel of doom, that none of them can stop. The end is explosive. Silently explosive. 

The language is beautiful, her use of similes is delightful. The whole time you are reading this book, you want to disbelieve every word in it, yet you are drawn further and further into the book; you want to spit at the characters in disgust because of their fraudulent ways, yet you are drawn to cry for them in pity. 

Absolutely wonderful. 

Monday, July 09, 2012

" 'Fat' Aishwarya Rai Hahaha" - Sorry, was that meant to be a joke?

There is no shortage of idiots and morons in the world is there?

I am no fan of Aishwarya Rai. Even though I have admired her 'beauty' (I mean let's face it, even 500 kgs of botox can only go so far as to improve your looks. She is blessed with natural beauty and if she enhances it with Botox it is her life, her wish.); I have never felt she has had any acting skills, any versatility with regards to her expressions; and maintained my opinion that she over-reacts and is a 'borderline-drama-queen' case. However like 'the two-sides-of-the-same-coin' adage, I will give it to her for her beauty and absolute amazing way of 'brushing-off' flak from her critics.

But this post is not about Botox treatments she has taken. 

It is about her 'fatty' pictures. Seriously? 'Fatty'? 

Unfortunately that is what people are calling her. Actually you should not even heap these trash-cans in the people category. But that is what a public figure like her would undergo. Every breath they take, every word they utter, every gesture they make, every fart they release ends up being butchered, examined, analysed by the Idiot-brigand until an equally idiotic verdict is drawn.

I was absolutely angry to see these 'activities' of my FB friends keep jamming my 'news feed' page. 
XYZ watched 'fat-Aishwarya-video' on 'Stupid-News-network'
ABC commented 'she is so fat' on 'Aishwarya-Rai-Fat-Photos page'
LMN shared 'fat-Aishwarya-picture' on her FB page.

This has just given me a chance to block such un-evolved species right off my subscribed-to lists. 
So I, wanting to get to the bottom of the mystery, climbed onto the Internet bandwagon and looked for her 'fat' pictures. These are what I found.


Then I checked out the video that was being watched so fanatically by my FB friends - As expected it was made by some third-class Idiot. Elephants trumpeting in the background music, Selective bites from Salman Khan's totally-unrelated interview, Kajol's pictures to show how 'ugly' Ash is compared to her....waah, waah, top class wala video hain bhai! And these below are some of the millions of 'critic-comments' floating around, many by anonymous people because they are apparently too ugly to put up their profile pics....

"Ok after six months that weight isn't considered "baby weight" anymore. That's no excuse anymore."

"From beginning of her Career (she had lots of men friends ) Ashwarya used to eat birth control Tablets .That's why When Ash started to rest & stopped to eat Pills ..She has became Fat Like OX......"

"elephant sound is awsomme background music, shudve had some cow music to lol"

"This is disgusting. She needs to remember that she is a public figure, an actress and an endorser of many cosmetic brands. She definitely cannot afford to pile up the kilos like this. Why can't Indian women be like Hollywood beauties who have given birth and gone back to their slim figures within a month?"

All right, I am not even going to put any more 'geniusy' comments like these here....My stomach is hurting with all the laughing...

The funny thing is, in India, we have never associated beauty with being skinny. The concept of beauty in India, in all the years of its existence has always been 'voluptuousness' as many of the sculptures on our temples or paintings from centuries ago show. And the idea that 'skinny-is-beautiful' only came after our recent association with the 'Glorious-West' aka 'Hollywood'.....Since when did Angelina Jolie (5'8" and weighing 105 pounds??) and Victoria Beckham become ideals of beauty in Indian minds....I'm laughing so hard here!! Hey wait a minute, is Victoria a woman? Whaaat? Seriously?


OK, and what is with us folks? We criticize Ash for being stick thin in Dhoom2, we criticize her for putting on weight, we criticize her for her plasticky-glam-doll look, we criticise her for going de-glam....seriously we are so muggle-headed we can't make up our own minds?!

Btw, there are some more women (actresses) who might be 'fat' by 'our standards'....But looking at their confidence, one can say, they are definitely not 'ashamed' to be 'fat'...

 Sizzling Namitha

Yes, Ash is 'fat' by the standards set by skinny people. Yes she is definitely not size zero. Yes, she has breasts and an ass and gorgeous curves all over her body unlike the Man-Chesters going around with puny hips and bony arms and ribs so sharp they poke you in the face.

She has had her fair share of success. She is a 'Woman-on-Top', she has had a beautiful baby, she is a Mother, she eats what she wants when she wants and does not give a shit about your pathetic whining and trashy 'OMG, you are so fat' comments. Actually she is spitting at you right in the face by flaunting her new, beautiful body. Her husband adores her, her parents love here and her in-laws respect her, and you mean nothing to her.......! Hahaha!

Here is what she has to say to all the 'fat-haters'!

So in the end whether she is 'fat' or not, she is having fun all the way, comfortable in her body, while you are wasting your energy. 

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Two Minutes

I had written this for the Blog-A-Ton contest this month, but could could not post the entry due to some nonsensical reasoning by my mind - and I also thought I had written it half-heartedly - anyway here it is :)    

       I try and try, yet I cannot remember anything from that day. Hazy, unfocused images come swooshing into my face and disappear. Voices, too. I cannot make out what they say.
Now when I think of it, I wonder if the signs were there. If, that morning, I had worn the shoe on the wrong foot, or if I had worn Rick's trousers instead of mine would I have noticed? If the clouds had hung about smiling and showered coal tar on my salt-and-pepper-hair, would I have seen it as a sign of something that would happen? Whether, Nice or unpleasant, something was about to happen?

       Rick is here. He has brought me grapes again. I have no idea why, even after fifty-two years of our marriage, he still forgets that I dislike grapes. I just cannot stand them bursting open in my mouth, the seeds grating against my teeth.
But as always, he has brought me grapes and I will say 'Rick, I don't eat grapes' and he will offer a surprised expression and say'Oh, Elena, I forgot. Well, looks like I will have to finish them off now'. This dialogue is one of the thousands of dialogues we indulge in. Through all the years of our wedded bliss, we have rehearsed and perfected the art of continuing our life of togetherness, interspersed with such simple scenes of domestic bliss. Kissing each other goodbye every morning before he is off to work. Patting down the couch before we sit in a place that has been vacated by the other. Brushing our teeth together in the bathroom. The regular taken-for-granted things we indulge in everyday. Funny, how I remember all this and yet nothing of that day.
Like I said, were the warning signs blinking on and off like the lights on a truck on the road?

       "Are you better now dear", Rick asks me, kissing my cheek. His papery lips on my skin, a faint sour-sweet smell masked under the minty freshness of his Denari-lime-mint toothpaste, his wheezing, grinding old-man voice, his crinkled eyes - every single act, scent and taste of this man
I have carried within me.
"Much better, Rick Thank You. Will you please tell me what happened? Why am I here?" I ask.
He pats my shoulder as if I am a 20 year old silly giggling girl and not a seventy eight year old lady. He knows it is no use to keep things from me. He knows this much. I would pry it out of him. I would beg, cajole, threaten but in the end I would have what I wanted. Hadn't he fallen in love with me all those centuries ago for the same reason?
'You must rest, Elena. You must not get so worked up. It is most important that you listen to me this time, won't you, dear?'
'No Rick, you know I would not let you in peace. Please tell me why I am here on this, oh, vile dreadful-smelling bed when the whole of London is out celebrating the new year! Hooked onto all these wires, and I am sure looking like a witch for all I care. The nurses won't let me have a mirror. Oh Rick, Do I have cancer or something dreadful? Is there a mole growing out of my nose with a hair growing out of it? Answer me Rick!"
He smiles and shakes his head slowly from side to side. This is the sign I have been waiting for. The sign I know, my husband makes, just before he gives in to me. That is what marriage gifts you. The ability to read every step, every gesture, every word that your spouse will take, make and utter.
I wait. Looking at him with beseeching eyes.
"Do I have a mole growing on my nose, with a hair jutting out? Oh, I would die, if that were the case. Rick, I wish I could feel my face, but the nurses have obviously given me too much anaesthesia. We must complain. Why? I have never heard of a place where the patient does not feel anything for a week. A weeeeek! Rick! A weeeek! You could stick a cactus on my face, or a snake on my head and these hands would go over them and not feel a thing. Damn this place"
He looks at me for a long time.
He wipes away a tear from his eye.
I have seen the tear but I pretend not to notice it. That is how it has been with me. If I ignore it, the problem is not there.
Rick has always been the emotional one. A stray mongrel would bring out tears from his eyes faster than you could say 'Cry'! That is what I love about him. We have come such a long way. Growing old with him has been the most beautiful part of my life. I know for certain, that we would never leave the other alone even in death. Were Rick to die first, I would simply follow him. Or vice versa.
"Please Rick"....Now I pout my lips like I used to do when we were new lovers, ripe with passion and life and love and vitality. Those times seem so many ages ago.
He looks for something in his coat pocket. Then in the other. Now he has his hands in the inside pockets.
"Tut-tut" I say, impatiently.

       "How are my love-birds doing?" A cheery voice shouts out from the door. The doctor is here. I like him. He is a thorough gentleman. A honest chap. He walks over to me, looks at the whirring-bleeping-machines next to my head, pats my cheek and says 'You will be beautiful in no time!"....
I blink.
He blinks too. And realizes his mistake.
"Er...I mean, Elena, you will be walking and pottering around the house in no time"
But it is too late.
"Elena.....Elenie...."Rick pats my shoulder again.
I brush his hand off.
He knows.
I pull off the wires. The machines scream. It is like a million ambulance alarms going off at the same time. The doctor catches my arm. I will not stop. I am determined to find out the truth behind this charade. I push open the bathroom door.
I stretch on my toes and look into the mirror.

       The watch was just what Rick would have liked. It was an old-timer pocket model with a gold link-chain hanging from it. I had been looking for days now. To get the perfect gift for him this season. It is one of those inexplicable whims old people give way to. A sudden notion that we could vanish from the face of this earth as simply and as instantly as an ant is crushed beneath out feet. Before the Grim Reaper came for us, we would make the most of what we had. Time would slip away like sand through our fingers and one day we would be lying in a hole in the ground with regrets heaped all around. I did not want to go like that. Not me, no sire.
So I had planned to blow some money on Rick that day. I walked into Piurottes's with a steely determination and poked around until I had found it. I had just the right watch, the right gift. Perfect for Christmas.
       In front of me were a bunch of boys, the new age kinds, smelling of whisky and expensive perfume. The Beverly-hill types with outrageously rich parents who gave them the license to run wild. What kind of parenting skills were in vogue nowadays, I frowned in disgust. Back in my days, a slap would be just what kids like these needed. Throwing their cash around without putting in any effort to earn it. I waited for them to scoop up their expensive gift-wrapped items and holler and shout their way out of the store.
I opened my purse to pay the pretty cashier with the sing-song voice.  
"That will be three thousand three hundred and ninety pounds, madam. Thank You." she had announced.
       I handed over the cash to her, and drummed my fingers over the glasstop while she counted it out. By the time the machine had printed out the bill receipt, the watch was gift-wrapped and ready for Rick.

       I pottered out in my excitement and had just started to cross the road when a voice hollered behind me "Mrs. Smiiiith!!! Mrs. Smiiiiith, you forgot your wallet"......In the two minutes that it took me to turn around on my unsteady arthiritic legs and reach the curb, I was subconsciously aware of a whirring sound, the screeching of brakes, the shouting of boys, the horrified looks of passers-by and the doorman's expression of horror.

photo credits : 
photo credits:

Friday, June 22, 2012


There is a lump in my throat and a black hole in my heart.
Both I have conjured for this moment.
You are leaving and I am glad.
Yet, you do not know
That I am going to be dancing with joy
Once you step out of that door.
So here I bid you farewell and send you off with mutterings of 'May God keep you happy'.
For everyone's entertainment we hug, kiss and shed tears.
Though the tears are Genuine, this is an Act we have put on.
For you too are Happy to leave.
I see to it that all the stuff you will carry with yourself is sent ahead of you.
Thence when you arrive at their place,
you will enter with your head held high and chest puffed out.
Proudly with eyes brimming with tears of joy,
your mother-in-law will display you too
next to the
artifacts from the immense dowry I have sent with you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

For my brother.

For all the times I carried u in my arms singing stupid make-up-your-words-as-you-sing-along-lullabies until you wriggled out,
For all the times you caught frogs and I pleaded with you to set them free,
For all the times we traded a thousand insults with each other, as we did bites and scratches and kicks and screams, until Mum spanked us both;
For all the times you tagged along with my gang, and I with yours until we grew up and wanted our own space, 
For all the times we woke up Mum from her afternoon nap playing Housie and Superman under the TV table,
For all the times you broke all the beds in the house pretending to be a grenade-launching-army-commander-attacking-pakistan,
For all the times we conversed in our secret-sibling-language and laughed and laughed until our tears flowed,
For all the times we acted silly, gesturing, mimicking and generally fooling around,
For all the times we snitched on the other to Mum and Dad,
For all the times we sang out loud 'Haiyya-Haiyya-Ho' in trains,
For all the times you scratched my back and I yours,
For all the times you puffed out your chest and tried to look menacing to the Romeos down the road,
For all the times we finished each other's food,
For all the times we hid our favourite books from each other,
For all the times we made secret pacts and bribed each other to ask for gifts from our parents for the other,
For all the times we did a million different things together and not together and bickered and loved and slapped and kissed,
For all the times I will remember until my heart is ready to burst with pride and admiration and pure love for you - Here is a Happy Birthday Wish.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The last of the Embers

This Flesh
you, O Novice,
just Seared
was already
from last night's horror.
Pray tell, what you shall do
when I am but
a handful of ash?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

11 reasons why I will never be invited to the Satyamev Jayate Show as 'audience'

Why would Aamir Khan be unhappy, even scared to have ME on the show?

1) I would probably scowl and make loud 'tch-tch' noises every time he makes those bug-eyes and says 'Acchha' WHILE the guest tells him his/her dukhbhari story. Sorry, but uske saath jo hua hain, uske liye 'Achhha' seems so out-of-place!

2) I would probably shout across the hall 'aap iski jagah hote to...?' every time he asks the guest 'aap ko kaise laga jab a) Aapke pati aapko chhod kar chale gaye? b) Aapke bachhe ko maar dala c) Aapke sasural waalon ne aap ke upar acid chhidka? d) Aap ne suicide kiya?'

3) I would probably pinch my nose shut every time he puffs his cheeks and blows out air when he actually wants to sigh.

4) I would probably hand out my Kara wet Tissues (Aloe-Vera) everytime he pokes his own eye to squeeze out the tears hiding at the corner.

5) I would probably sneer and snort loudly every time the audience says 'Kya, educated log yeh sab karte hain?'

6) I would probably stand up and ask 'Aamir - all this is fine, but please can you ask the villain also to come and present his views? The father who made his wife abort a daughter and is now regretting it and has adopted two girl-children? Or the husband who stood up against his parents and said he would marry only if they agreed to a no-dowry marriage?'

7) I would probably stomp my feet in frustration and demand why the faces of the dowry-demanding husband or the abortion-karne-ke-liye-force-karnewale-in-laws are blurred?

8) I would probably, unwittingly tell him that on my FB page and on my blog, I have made some cynical, critical comments of Satyamev Jayate and his 'acting'.

9) I would probably wait till the part where he says 'send SMS and cheques to raise money' and demand of him 'Why can't u donate 3 rs from ur 3 crore rs fees, instead of asking us to do it? U are one of the best actors in the industry, u and ur wife have always genuinely helped out with social-awareness programmes, then why not donate some money here?'

10) I would probably jump up and ask 'Have u written that letter to the Rajasthan CM?'

11) And when the producers call the security guards and order them to bundle me out of the hall, I would probably shout and say 'I have always admired u Aamir, but don't know why, it feels like U are acting here too!'

And then all the people who 'found out' in the month of May 2012, that we have 'female foeticide', 'Child abuse', 'dowry-traditions' going on in our country, will probably understand what I am trying to say and rescue me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My conversations with Siri :/

So there I was, absolutely bored and thinking of a way to kill time, when I thought of Siri. Actually I sat on the phone and the 'round' button got pressed activating her. It is a little frustrating because she is a female in this country so I really cannot compare her responses to a male Siri, but it was fun while it lasted.
Here are some screenshots from my phone! 
Please note these are actual questions asked by me :/