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.

Wednesday, July 25, 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.

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.

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.

Saturday, May 12, 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 :/








Friday, May 11, 2012

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) - Hindi - movie review

(This movie review was written by me last year, but since I had this sudden burst of idea that once my blog was on the public search lists, I must put up the reviews too, I have copied it out here. My FB account is more or less like a blog with all sorts of debates, criticisms, discussions storming it, so it just makes sense for me to paste from there)

Director : Zoya Akhtar

Main cast - Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar

We did think it was apt to watch this movie today. After all wasn't it about friendship? But I came away with mixed reactions. And I won't mince words now.

Firstly on the conversation part it seemed like one of the impromptu road trips (local ones) that I take with select friends in my own way.
Secondly it was too long. I mean how long can you stretch perfectly normal connverstaions between 3 friends?
However, and this is a big However, absolute paisa vasool since u now don't need to go to Spain. Though they did not cover the beach at Barcelona. 

Or did they? Sorry, I was too busy watching Kat....She looks DIVINE and absolutely kissable and thank God they paired Hrithik opposite her. 
(And yes they knew she was absolutely kissable, so they did manage to fit a 2 sec lip-lock scene in). But the director kind of treated Kat n the other Spanish gal, like some use-n-throw pens, which I did not like much, maybe they were there just to up the glam quotient.
There is an Unnecessary scene of Farhan n the Spanish gal in bed, since he is shown having the hots for Kat (who should take diction classes from Sonia Gandhi).
An un-needed angle of Naseerudiin, they could have made it intellectual if they had shown Farhan doing it over the phone (the conversation with his father, I mean).
But But But if u did take away these, then what would be there in the movie? Nothing except it would have looked like u were watching NatGeo, Animal Planet, TLC and Discovery all at once.
And yet, I loved the fact that a Bollywood movie was so classy, so classy in its treatment of the Smooch.
And is there or isn't there a foreign hand in the way they captured the Underwater World? If there isn't, kudos to the guys behind it.
Watch it for the adrenaline-filled, heart-in-your-mouth filming of the Sky-diving, Tomatina and the Bull Fight scenes. All the 3 have been in my Things-to-Do-Before-I-Die list since schooldays, but now I'm absolutely panicking.
And yes the fun banter between the 3, especially their antics is cute n funny. Watch it also for the fact that Hrithik, whom I usually do not prefer either in the face or the body dept., looks like a Greek God.
While, paling in comparision, Abhay looks and talks a little 'girlish', but his dimples will make sure u don't notice it.
Farhan is cute throughout, except when he is crying.

In fact, there is no acting skill required here because the whole gang is just doing what it does everyday - hanging out with each other, verbal parries, witty remarks, fun-banters.
Overall a film commendable, watchable, clean and cute. You might feel just a little bored, especially some time after the interval, but the Bulls will bring back the smileys. 

Though not exactly close to Dil Chahta hain or 3 Idiots, ZNMD is a film U must watch, atleast once, for that 'goodie-goodie' feeling.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Aamir's Satyamev Jayate - FB ranting.


I was quite surprised when , on logging into FB on Sunday evening, I saw quite a few updates from people (who have never bothered to ever comment on anything of importance) looking like this -


       I was aware of the show, but did not see it on TV because we are not subscribed to the Hindi channels here. Anyways, but looking at these reactions, I assumed the show was worth something, and watched the episode on YouTube.  

 20 minutes into the episode and the cynic in me came to the surface. It looked very very much like 'acting' - Aamir's tears, preachings, expressions, sighs, gasps - looked completely unreal. Atleast while grieving women were narrating their painful experiences, he could have, atleast here, been himself. 
       Anyways Satyamev Jayate was talking about an evil that has leeched itself onto the socio-economic flesh of our country, and there is no letting go. However I am not going to delve into the figures and the data and the whole huge discussion about female foeticide.
       Also, the show kind of heaped all the accusation on the in-laws and the husbands. I expected to hear what the latter had to say - Why they think a 'daughter' is a burden and should be 'done away' with. Sometimes, it is also the mothers who do not want a girl-child being born to them. Albeit, I assume these cases will be few, I hope so, Satyamev Jayate should have brought in that angle too.
       The whole issue is why did people start noticing ‘the abominable crime of female foeticide’ only when Aamir came on TV? Hasn’t it been practised in front of our eyes for years? Haven’t all of us heard atleast one instance about this? This is like a downright insult to every activist out there who has been working to stop ‘female foeticide’ for ages and running pillar-to-post trying to educate masses. And yet, atleast Aamir did this, instead of choosing to be some judge or seller of condoms in some retarded reality show or commercial. I was surprised that there was no talk about any of the money being diverted to help these cases? But why should I be? Since when has Bollywood ever bothered much about the ‘ills in the society’?
       Now that he is earning 3crore per episode (??!!), he has usurped Amitabh and the others. Success, finally. So in the end, I’m glad that ‘people’ started ‘FBing’ and ‘Twittering’ just because they cleaned their ears on Sunday evening and heard Aamir on TV!
       In the end, while he unashamedly requested his country men to donate money, never once did he say that he would contribute 2 rupees from his own personal fund. What a shame! Oh but I forgot, he is supposed to be making money, just like any other Bollywood star. Funny, this coming from me, because I LOVE Aamir Khan for his integrity, his movies and his not being 'common'. Unfortunately, this image is starting to crumble.
       All I’m scared of is that now Aamir will be the beacon of a ‘do-good-er’.Like my brother said “Aamir Khan would scoop up dirt off the ground with a spoon and eat it and people will be applauding it as an original display of spatial coordination. He is out to make money, and more pertinently, upstage Amitabh on TV since only Aamir is left out in that medium and everyone is reacting as if female foeticide is a story broken by him.”

       I remember when months ago, I had talked about ‘female foeticide’ on my FB status, I mustered about 2-3 likes and 2 weak comments by friends. Oh, and some comment about whether I hoped to be the next freedom-fighter of India. Or something on those lines. Again, just because I criticised the show, people said (more like, 'FB-ed') that atleast he was doing something instead of just updating my FB and my Blog pages! And to think that while they were leading their mundane boring lives, waiting for their next salary day, their next party, their next gift, their next holiday, I was getting my hands and knees dirty working at animal-rescue shelters, orphanages and the 'teach India' campaign. Surely I have 1% more right than them to discuss about social problems then, if you insist on a barometer for measuring my karma? Well, glad that these people have woken up just because a grotesquely huge amount of money was traded, labelled ‘Social Issues’ and served with a sprinkling of Bollywood and a soaking of Tears.
       I hope we see some solutions to the ‘cases’ discussed here. Some ‘real solutions’. Not the nonsense like the Madhya Pradesh Govt rounding up doctors. Which I am sure, is just an ‘instant maggi-2-min-noodles' reaction to the show. I hope we see ‘people’ (made up of You and Me) not stopping at making noise and Status messages, and instead really doing something, anything about the problems faced by India. Did I just hear u sneer and ask me what ‘I’ am going to do? Since I am a nobody, and since no one is paying me 3 crores to ‘act’ for 60 minutes, I will continue doing my small ‘efforts’ and leave you to either ‘think’ or ‘act’…

Anyway no one is going to invite me to meet Aamir on the SJ set. Why? Because of the reasons mentioned here!!!

       At the end of it all, I really hope 'Satyamev' really 'Jayate'.

       Meanwhile this is what was happening on my FB home page…..

ME Amused at the huge web-crashing reactions Satyamev Jayate is garnering. Though the cynic in me wonders why everyone is reacting as if Female foeticide is a new thing. Hasn't it been going on under our very noses for centuries? Also all those Crores of rupees being pumped into the show and out, makes me cringe. But at least I am glad Aamir, in return for his 3 crores, for every episode (?!?!) is talking abt some social issue instead of choosing to become a judge in those stupid reality shows where all u have to do is say 'mind blowing' and crack cheap jokes.
19 hrs ago. 7 like this.   

SB - Like we needed a showoff perfectionist actor to show us how female kids are killed. This has been advocated in talk shows and articles as long as I can remember!
18 hrs ago · Unlike 1
SB - If he wanted to make any difference socially, he would do this show free of charge!
18 hrs ago · Unlike 2

ME - ‎@SB - Absolutely. Therefore the first 3 minutes or 5 minutes where he gives that bullshit about 'feeling for people', sorry, does not go down my throat. If he really felt so strongly about it, he would do it for free or atleast divert a large amount to helping such women.
17 hrs ago · Like

GS - i think its not the cause they are happy to see our own oprah winfry in a male form :P
17 hrs ago · Unlike 1

RH - Shilpa, its not about knowing. Its about supporting someone who thought of bringing in a change. What happens, nobody knows. People are intolerant these days. Whole nation stood up for Hazare ( I will refrain my opinion about him ;) ) , then why not this team. Everyone of us wants change but none of us will be the change. So I think the team is doing a good job. Atleast trying to. We have to just hope that they do bring in the change :)
16 hrs ago . Unlike 2
RH - I have to agree with Sabeena though :)
16 hrs ago · Like
ME - ‎@RH - Yes, even if it took 5 minutes of Aamir Khan to stir them ;P
5 hrs ago · Like

ME - To all - I'm so happy that while SRK and AB are selling chaddi-baniyan-condoms-gutkha, this one atleast pimped himself for a social issue.....But I just hope people realize and accept that 'AAMIR DID NOT UNCOVER THE CRIME OF FEMALE FOETICIDE ON 6TH MAY 2012'........
5 hrs ago . Unlike 2

UM - He has highlighted an instance which a heightened one. And took his star power to make people realise that its high time to do something about it,.. its amazing how people find ways to make money, AAMIR did well,.. & ya v r glad that atleast this reality show can give some positive to soceity,.. others just suck us emotionally to make money..!!!
2 hrs ago  · Unlike. 1

VN - shilpa madam, i dont agree with you at all, he has done very good job, if you have seen whole episode, he has also given solution and lastly he has given letter to rajasthan cm to act on sting operation created by some social activist...lots of thing were eye opening like most of this abortion is done by educated family, not by poor people...hat's off to aamir khan for his afforts...
17 hrs ago  · Like

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Delayed Reaction to an Incident in a Mallu Hotel in Bangalore.

       No idea why some Non-Mallus come into a Kerala restaurant and say 'Arrey u make this in coconut oil? I dont want it.' If I was the hotel owner I would add Pig-shit to their stupid order of 'Bhaiyya, normal aloo paratha bana do, groundnut oil mein.' and serve it to them with a fart. I dont go to a Punjabi hotel and say 'Shit, sarso ka tel...chhheee!'....or to a Kannada hotel and say 'Chhhee, raagi mudde tastes like mud.' or to a Gujarati restaurant and say 'Oh God, they put sugar in everything!'
       I am not partial to any cuisine. If I am in Tamil Nadu, I want to eat Tamil food. Same with Maharashtra or Bengal or Rajasthan. Right now I am in Singapore and we love savouring the local cuisine. We do not like all dishes, but everytime that we are out, we order a new dish. If we don't like it, we remember the name so as not to order it next time. We dont sit and crib and tell Singaporeans to stop making local food and serve us with food from our Indian kitchens. Simple.
       Did they go to sleep at night and on waking up in the morning, discover themselves in Kerala? Probably they were illiterate to not have read anything. Kerala is known as the land of coconuts and spices and bananas for no other reason than this. That these products grow in plenty here. Obviously when people settled here, they made use of the natural bounty. U don't need Darwin to tell u that unless u are living proof that he was wrong about his evolution theory. Coconut oil is used for cooking. Coconut oil is used on the hair. But obviously Keralites are not retarded enough to use the same bottle for both. If u don't like the fact that coconut oil is used for cooking, please travel with ur own gunny sacks of whatever oil u are using.
       Again yes, Kerala rice is different. The grains are big but softer than boiled rice. We don't need to polish the grains as long as they look like rice. But THIS DOES NOT MEAN that we cannot grow basmati rice on Kerala soil. The land obviously is one of the most fertile in India. We can grow live babies too!
       Also yes the Sea is generous to us. We eat seafood. A LOT. But it does not mean that EVERY family eats fish morning, noon and night.
       Neither does the fact that people drink Toddy, mean every man living here drinks Toddy.
       Again we use banana and mangoes and tapioca and jackfruit a lot - in our curries, in our kheers, in chips. But we don't eat only these four things. Kerala is blessed with a lot of vegetable and fruits most of which grow in our backyards.
       And yes again, we wear white. For the simple reason that it is so tropical and humid that we cannot go around in gaudy gold embroidered red synthetic dresses and do our work at the same time. The men wear 'mundus' NOT 'lungis'. There is a vast difference between both. It is the same for Tamilians. They also wear 'mundus' not 'lungis'. And they have an angavastram on their shoulders. Reading forwards and joking is all right. but laughing in their faces because they do not wear stuffy jeans like u is another matter altogether and I am always surprised why one of the natives does not just punch u in the face.
       For some reason I am unable to fathom, most foreigners are so much more open and interested in Indian culture and cuisine while thay are on vacation in India.
       The Retards above are not only limited to ordering food. They travel to places outside India and crib 'Arrey, there is no home-made paneer available. Arrey tamatar mein Indiawala taste nahi hain. Arrey these people eat only bread. Arrey this. Arrey that.' I mean yes it is a little uncomfortable to to be uprooted and we do want our old clingy comforts around us, but still. How can someone travel to a new place and NOT be interested in learning about the history, the customs, the cuisine, the local people? How can someone want to sit in the comfort of their house and say 'No I do not want to know anything about this new place I am in!'?
       To someone like me, That is pukish.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Look not See. Listen not Hear.

I hide my grief
sarcastic FB updates
make all of you
with my self-deprecating humor.
You come running
to me
when you are sad
asking me to cheer you up.
You invite me to all your parties
I'm the life of any party
you say.
You 'like' all my
and say you miss being with a
like me.
Not even once did you ask
'What is wrong' all those times
my throaty laughs
ended midway.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

That Last Night.

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 26; the 26th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'That Last Night'.
Saturday – 15th June 2013.
       The last memory she had of him was him chomping her breasts. She flinched. Then turned and looked at the body beside her. His snoring had always turned her stomach upside down, not to mention ruin her sleep. He was drooling in his sleep. Now the damned bed sheets would stink at that particular spot. It brought up a wave of nausea and she almost gagged. She was sick of him to death. 
       The unpleasant part was that it had nothing to do with the drool. She was sick enough to want to smother him with the pillow. But he was strong. It would never have worked. Unless she pretended that they were playing one of his kinky sex games and she would have to tie up his feet and hands to the bedpost. No, no. It would be all too easy for the police. What with the marks on the ankles and wrists, and the forced suffocation, they would unravel her so easily.
'There has to be some way to end this'.
       That night was the last one she wanted to spend together with him. That night was the last one she wanted him to touch her. But she would have more such nights. She knew. She knew that, that last night would be the beginning. She sighed. And tried to go back to sleep. But instead, the tears came. First as sniffles, then sobs. Little racking sobs which she shovelled into her pillow. Shovelled into, burrowed into, along with the snot and the grief. He must not wake up. She did not want to speak to him. Not now. For just some more time she wanted to be alone. She flung aside the sheets and rummaged for her slippers.
Saturday – 22nd June 2013.
       Groggily he called for her. His brain had just started to tune in to the sounds and smells of a Saturday morning. The coffee grinder whirring. The toaster tick-tocking. The juicer spitting out the seeds and rind. The weekend was here. A smile played on his lips. Wasn’t she just going to be surprised today! He had planned an impromptu dinner at The Regency tonight. He would tell her to wear the Mauve dress. Maybe with the brooch he had gifted her last week. And he would lead her by the arm and everyone would wonder how he could be so lucky so as to possess such a beautiful woman. His little own trophy wife. His little dirty mistress.
       Stifling a yawn, his eyes wandered to the framed photographs on the side table. And the portraits littering the wall. Regret clouded his mind. And guilt. And shame. He had been too rough with her that night. It was not that he wanted to. But when he saw her naked, the rage claimed him. Gnawed at him until all he wanted to do was to leave his mark on her. Disfigure her. Brand her a whore and parade her around. But he loved her so much. It was all because he loved her so much. He knew it. And she did too. That he would never be able to stop loving her. Her whimpers excited him and her screams filled his mind with fantasies for days together.
       He called for her again. “Darling, I am awake.”
       There, he could hear her faint answer from the kitchen at the back of the house. Not clear enough for his sleep-muddled ears to catch perfectly, but enough for him to know that she was coming to him. A rustle. A movement behind the curtains and she appeared. Freshly scrubbed. Smelling of lavender and soap. The serving tray in her hands. 
“Here is your coffee.” She said through gritted teeth. 
What was it about her that made him look up at her, warily?
“I have something to tell u”.
‘Not a baby. Lord. Not now.’ He prayed inwardly. He detested the little monsters. Whimpering, pesky little maggots. He had no time and no inclination to subject his house to their attacks.,
“What is it?” He flicked his tongue over his lips. And she would remember many a day later that he looked like a lizard eyeing its prey.
“I do not want to stay with you. Now now. Not ever.”
He flung the coffee at her. It soaked her silk robe. Burnt her skin.
“What the fuck did you say?”
“I said I cannot live with you.”
       He punched her in the face. Her nose bled. She clawed him. Across his cheek, she drew her nails.
       He was screaming. Incoherent. Flinging aside the tray and the sandwiches and whatever he could lay his hands on. Stamping on her face and hands. Kicking. Mouthing obscenities.
       She would have to endure this. She had to cry. Now. She had to feed his anger. Make him do the exact things she was scared of. The exact things she wanted him to stop doing to her.
       For some more time. Some more days. Just a matter of some more days.
       Her senses shut down. She swam out into the black salty sea.
Saturday – 13th July.
       He flung aside the sheets and looked around bleary-eyed. It was afternoon. Christ, he had slept all through last evening and the night and till noon! He called out her name. She did not answer. He waited and called out her name again. And again. She did not answer. He limped out of bed and made his way to the kitchen. She was not there. then he made his way to the balcony. Neither there. Nor in the living room. Nowhere. She was out. He gnashed his teeth.
       The bitch had not woken him up. Nor told him before leaving. He went back to the kitchen and started to make coffee.
       He had just settled into his armchair when the door bell rang shrilly. He placed the coffee mug on the table. The bell rang again. And again.
“One minute. I’m on my way”. He wanted to punch the idiot in the face. Whoever it was. But of course he could not do that. He was a gentleman. At least everyone knew him as one.
       He blanched when he opened the door. It was a cop. No, cops. Almost a team. And there! There stood his wife. Almost unrecognizable because she was dishevelled and dressed down. The black spot around her left eye, the remainder of last night's coupling,  throbbed with a life of its own. Her split lip gorged red. The purple bruises on her cheeks glared at him. Where was her make-up and what the fuck was wrong with her?
“I assume we can come in, without waiting for you to invite us?” The inspector tapped on his chest with his baton.
Stupefied, he let them in. He let the men walk into the house. His wife started to follow them. “What is the meaning of this?” He whispered, grabbing her arm.
She looked at him. She smiled. It hurt her to smile, but she did.
“Ask the camera fitted on the AC vent.” She spat at him.

He knew. She knew. And now the police knew too.  

That last night had been the beginning. And the end.

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