Saturday, December 12, 2015

"I was thinking.. Does it ever occur to you that I am sometimes thinking?"

Mom's a bit of a prodder. No maybe I am putting that wrong... she prods..a LOT. I had this protrusion growing underneath my tongue when I was a kid and that worried my parents.  It was a friend to me, till it made it increasingly difficult to eat and then I got operated on to remove it... and here's the thing though, before I'd gotten operated mom had single-handedly held me down and chopped it off with a pair of scissors...and it was somehow legit because she is a doctor. And then it grew back again. Haha.. Tongue Protrusion (TP) 1 Proddy Mother (PM): 0. We'd become friends despite all the pain and trauma...TP and I. Sometimes I run my fingers underneath my tongue just to feel for any traces of its return...

The reason this is all coming back to me now is because this stupid thing that happened to me while waiting for some kachoris on a lovely Saturday morning when I had to go to work(this is how I use an oxymoron in sentences now). There were these men already placing their order at the counter, I was behind them...among these men was a school girl (I know because she was in her uniform). And mom kept prodding me to go and hand the coupon over and I stood there and asked her to go and sit in the car(she wasn't even going to eat from the shop). Because there was something so sad about a mother prodding a 26 year old to skip the line and get her damn breakfast while the school girl watched with interest...she probably thought I was younger than her (doesn't help that I am inordinately short). 

I remember standing there feeling like a complete loser because this is what my life has come down to. Will I ever be able to relate to adulthood the way my other friends do? you know the ones, who leave home, stick it out on their own. 

So TP had taken the form of adulthood now. My mother had taken it on herself to chop it all off...

After the operation, I had overheard them in the hospital bed.. why did you promise her roller skates S? she can hardly move around after this. Look at you being all irresponsible. Can we even afford roller skates now?) 

I keep getting these flashbacks now, like a bad movie reel of birth..trauma..despair and hope.. Can't help reflecting on the choices that we're handed and sometimes allowed to make on our own, every day of our lives. 

The people we meet...their stories...their's intent of all this chopping and prodding is love, is protection...ruthless protection.That's why I can't hate her for it...despite all the pain it causes me.

But it's so damn hard,it's the saddest and hardest thing in the world...this living.  I've been going around with that lost feeling I lost something. I'll be thinking about something and then I'll look distractedly at my palms and realise they are clenched into fists...fists desperately trying to hold on to this shell of what I call my life...its little world of safe actions repeated routinely like all of that matters and adds up to something.

But here's what I find incredible...that so many of us have these moments of quiet desperation and nobody knows...and despite it all..we put our brave faces on and soldier on...don't we? We make friends, we learn to forgive, we try not to let the past get the better of us...


Sometimes we find those roller skates in unlikely places...waiting patiently... and maybe instead of shying away, we allow ourselves to forget, everything, for the few moments that we let ourselves...roll. 

Source: Pinterest

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mail From Germany

She was woken by a bell
In quick successions it fell 
On her ears like a bad alarm 
But it was from next door by an insistent arm. 

The door did not open sadly. 
The bell ringer went on with it madly. 
She wondered if someone had died
Locked in with the hopes life had denied. 

She gave up on sleep and climbed out
Smoke curled  out sadly from the teapot's spout 
"There's a mail from Germany,
 They want to amputate his leg from below the knee." 

Her mother looked frail with her morning cup 
There were tears welling up. 
"He is not interested in world politics anymore, she writes
"But news from his beloved family, do apprise." 

"Reply to that mail please, " her mother insists
 "I couldn't do it, it's breaking my heart in bits." 
  She replied like a well oiled machine, 
  Her heart had stopped working bathed in pain's sheen. 

She watered the plants and noticed two flowers 
That had started blooming in the late night hours 
A prayer for the suffering was planted in each 
I'll water this every day, till peace is within their reach. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I am Getting Hate Mail For This - I Know I Am

I just had an epiphany. 

You know how when relationships end and there are these gifts you exchanged that you don't quite know what to do with? So if I were to draw a disturbing analogy- Children are kind of like those gifts in marriages that don't work? And I know just that sentence where I compared children to things warrants years of therapy to me but that's the awesome part about having an anonymous blog-  you can get away with saying almost anything. 

In fact I thought about it hard, you know. Why is it that I can't share the fact that I have a blog with my friends or family...and it's because this is that only space where I can be so utterly myself without having to worry about what they would think about me. I don't write here so I could get famous or hound people into believing I have an awesome kickass life...but it's because it lets me admit embarrassing truths about myself that I would prefer no one I know, know. 

And that's where you, Reader, should probably step in and say- er..those things are called journals, not public blogs that you share on Twitter every week.Don't pretend you don't want Readers. 

And I would say, ouch, I haven't thought this through. I guess I like expressing my secrets creatively? and maybe that's why I think people wouldn't mind reading them? 

Or maybe all of this is all in my head, and no one really cares what I do with my secrets. So yeah. Here I am. 

This was not what I meant to write though...I meant to write something that has nothing to do with embarrassing epiphanies and now I don't know how to link these two things together and it's making me angry. 

I get very angry these days. Mom says it's PMS and I need to be medicated but I just reminded her it can't be PMS cause I just finished being leaky. And she said the P stands for Pre and Post both. (she was just fucking with me, I totally knew it doesn't. Honest.) 

So anyway, pretend all of the shit written above doesn't exist and this is where the post starts: 

Mom's ancestors wanted a better life for themselves so they kind of dispersed all over the world and now she has cousins who are confused Indians. They visit us and try to embrace "Indian-ness". They get it wrong every.time.  and it's funny for us to watch them try. I guess that makes us Mean but we've been laughed at when we traveled abroad, so we're even. 

A cousin came over from London. She's really very sweet and talked about how she was coping with diabetes by taking Taichi classes. Obviously no one knew what Taichi is so she suddenly decides to demonstrate on the landing on her way out. And my mother can't hear properly so she mistook her cousin's "let's go" (as in let's do this) with "let's leave" and mom starts stomping off towards the exit, which would have been fine if there were many others watching said cousin do the taichi, but it was just mom me and my aunt. So I call out to mom to come back and mom walks right up to the cousin in the middle of her taichi pose because obviously mom thought she missed something cuz was saying. 

So there they were. Mom and cousin. Doing a weird taichi dance. And I remember looking at them and feeling a little glad that we came from this generation- totally messed up but adorable. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

What Makes Up For My Lack Of Aesthetics

There's a black and white picture of mom. Apparently it was taken in a proper photo shoot, with all the lights and equipment. Baba dabbled in photography quite a bit when I was growing up.

The result was a happy one. You could see the garnet chain shining on her neck and her ears studs- she has always been the no danglers only ear tops kind of person. "My face doesn't allow me to be a dangler girl," she quips. 

There is an outpouring of warmth and charm from her twinkling eyes and her laughing mouth which has parted to reveal almost fang-like teeth- the corner ones. I have them too. There's so much love in this picture, not just in the eyes of picturee but also of the picturer...I have a blog and these are the best new words  I can come up with- boring if I were a reader. Guess it's awkward for me to describe love between two people who don't see face to face anymore. Or maybe not awkward at all.. just incredibly sad, you know, to see love dead. 

Someone laminated that picture, after the wars and battles were long over and the scars had started to form over the wounds...
"This is the kind of picture that one would expect to have garlanded after I am dead," was mom's rejoinder. She has always managed to carry off depressing and funny with great elan. 

We didn't quite know what to do with the picture. So we let it rest against the mirror on our dressing table :"just for the time being, till I figure out a less embarrassing place to hang this up in," winced mummy. 

It's stayed there, ever since. 

Makes sense to me anyway...every time I walk up to the table to dress up...I look at that picture, nod to myself and say "that's beauty-  That's the kind of beautiful you want to be." 

And no Vogue column could ever come up with more worthwhile advice. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Getting In The Way

A mellifluous strain of an old romantic song drifted in from somewhere and he found himself wanting to hold her hand. So he did in that cramped space of the auto rickshaw...he reached out to her and she was taken slightly by surprise because she wasn't in that auto...her mind was somewhere else wandering as usual..and yet this tender soft gesture...was coaxing her back to the present. And she found herself smiling sadly at him. 

"I am a quitter," she whispered to herself more than to him, "I will quit on you eventually," she said a little louder.

"That's the beauty of transience, " he said reassuringly "everything must come to an end" 

She shrugged, "true, but I will quit on you like I quit on everything else. I will push you away, even if it killed a part of me. I will find some weird logic to justify my actions and kaput! I'll be gone, even before I'm supposed to." 

"Were you always like this?" he asked with a teasing grin.

"I like to think not," she found herself gently resting her head on his shoulders. There was a faint smell of cologne and mostly just his gentle breathing. 

"Who broke your heart?" his voice was closer that empty auto they had somehow managed to create a microcosm-  their little transient world. 

The answer came to her in seconds..."I did." 

They didn't speak after that. 

She found a soft ball of tears forming in her throat, constricting it ruthlessly. So she let out a tiny gasp and let the tears flow. She still had his unsure hand in hers. She eased her fingers, one at a time, away from his and asked the driver to slow down. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Theory - A Fevered Soul

I have a theory.

And it's going to sound very elitist.

But I believe that the world has a strange way of sifting souls... of seeing what's working and what's not...and then combining it in proportions that it thinks is best. For example a "new" soul may have a little bit of Sinatra, a touch of Christie, the grace of Hepburn and such like... a whole new soul altogether...but with little bits and pieces that light up with familiar bits and pieces from the past....maybe we find matches in others with others who journey with us through life..."soulmates" we call them. 

But sometimes there are those sad moments of disillusion when you say:

"That is not it at all, 
That is not what I meant, at all" 

Because somehow we always perceive a person as one suits us better to sum them all up. At certain stages of life one part of the soul is probably more dominant than the rest and due to one sad incident or several we leave that part with the people they connected with and allow the other parts to speak...mould into us... 

Some of these combinations "work" and the rest are probably reserved in a soul "conservatory" to be summoned when the world needs some of it. The world must have needs too right? Just like us, except I always imagine the needs of the world are more abstract and geometrical for some reason- A piece of cheese on a string of gold and other such strange demands. 

It's a fear that my obscure soul will be kept in the conservatory sooner rather than later. It's not a fear as much as it's a niggling sadness that won't leave me because I have to wonder if there'll be a second chance? And even if there were a second chance why would I pin everything on it rather than the one I have now. Heights of procrastination I right? 

And what really is the tipping point? What sends your soul off the edge to the conservatory? It's been a week of strange dreams, of running away from them and sometimes....never wanting them to stop. Dreams must be like the beacons right? The way your soul communicates with your mind? Shows you what you really want...and all you can do is run. Hah. 

This Diwali, I wish you better running shoes... ones that guide you and eventually take you to exactly where you belong. 


Thursday, November 5, 2015

~Sigh~ Need To Get This Off Of Me- It's Being A Leech

Can I just say...if you are a person, you are entitled to enjoy basic things in your birthday, your time with your family, your weekend etc. 

 And if there are silly less important things getting in the way like propriety...or timidity or just your head feeding you thoughts like "I don't deserve this" ...then please please the whole wide world a massive favor..ignore everything and do. Stop thinking and just do...say...act.. on your instincts. 

And you really would be doing the world a favor you know: when you don't speak your mind, when you constantly put others before yourself- assholes are born..especially at your work place.That's when people who have a certain level of authority assume that it's okay to mistreat you and take you for granted just because you don't have the degree or the requisite qualifications to do the work that they're doing.  

I appreciate the phrase "bitches get stuff done." but let me just point out here, there's a world of difference between being a bitch and being mean(or an asshole). To me, being bitchy is about acting out during stressful times, calling people names, ignoring the "correct way of doing things" because you have reasons to back you up (motivations stem mostly from assuming this is for better outcomes in the long run). Being mean is a different story altogether: it's a permanent's an insidious, twisted way of thinking that reflects in everything you say or do and how you judge people and look at the world and you're so blind with self importance that you forget how to treat people like people-that's being mean and there's no cure for being mean because you don't feel apologetic about it in the least. Because that's who you are. And you fart rainbows apparently so nothing could ever be wrong with you.

I am  very fortunate that I understand what's correct and what's not and draw the lines hard..where they need to be drawn. But I really believe somewhere in the education system or the academic world we are doing things terribly wrong because the objective somehow gets translated to "let's generate a bunch of docile, exploitable mechanical bunch of people who will do anything to abide by what the Boss says and worship them like mini Gods" .

Every day I look at people and I am attracted to the beautiful science that is human behaviour. Where do they draw the line? Where do they say "this far and no further".. I understand there is the aspect of culture that comes in... the boundaries differ from country to country- from one job to another- from one person to another...but boundaries That's the funny thing about this whole thing... we must advocate for ourselves for what is rightfully ours and there's no judicial system to see us through the assholery we face every day. Instead I have to get back home and rant about it to the harmless people reading this blog. Probably harmless. I don't know anymore...because I am losing faith...a lot. 

This is an appeal to you. Yes you with the heady concoction of power and authority that you carry around with you like it's your birth right. You have no idea about  the changes you can influence. Don't be petty, don't misread silences and the lack of defenses as signs of how charismatic you are...they're just scared to speak out. They're scared of "what other people are thinking" They're scared that they will disappoint their family. They come to you with a dream of doing good with their lives. Don't trample over that and diminish the work that they do,simply because you think you can. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Noises and Voices

The week has been one of self exploration. 

Oh and it hasn't been a smooth ride. At all. I fell! quite literally, while stepping out of a meeting. We were at a Government building, recently done up in  swanky glittery marble  floors (there might have been a glow sign for the Department board, I  kid you not). So there I was, floundering on my knees (which are still ouchy btw) when a Minister steps out and he is very confused because he thinks I am paying my respects by doing the traditional pranaam by touching his feet. He confuses me for a petitioner and strides past us while my Boss helps me up to a couch and the cop standing guard, nearby, watches with a building sense of anxiety. He probably thinks there's going to be voices raised any second. 

 I do not like being the centre of attention in this way, but there are few things one can do when one's stars are aligned in a let's really embarrass this sad wimp of a girl this week kind of way. There have been many more instances but I shall not recount them here, mostly because it is agonising for someone who has been brought up on healthy doses of shame every day. 

This is something I am working through at present. 

I guess learning to laugh at myself and remembering that people are seldom really thinking about me as much as I think they are, helps, partially. Also, there are going to be accidental mistakes and revelations almost every day. There are a dozen ways of listening to what a person is saying and what they are hinting at. And I might be reading the messages wrong and a dozen other things could be misinterpreted (I am super psychotic that way). 

But if you constantly let everything get to your head, your voice and your purpose gets crowded out. So from now on, I lower the volume of what's going on outside...and tune in... to the flutter and the buzz that we constantly ignore or get distracted from. Listen to won't make sense all the time...but really.. what ever does? 

Patterns and things. I kept it black and white because it's more fun
 if you let your head decide on the colours

PS. On a more tangible note, aren't phones supposed to auto-lock themselves after a phone conversation is over ? Instead of flashing your private whatsapp conversations in your Boss's face after she's done talking to someone on your phone? I already have enabled the lock screen mode but clearly it isn't helping! In my head I have set fire to a Samsung factory which happened to have only that one dude who came up with the shitty model I am using. Because I am kind like that. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

This Is Unusual Coming From Me

Pujo  has prowled through the thicket of doldrums and is finally here! I shall not wax eloquence on the glories of the upcoming  4 days. If you have read earlier posts you'll know that it isn't the favourite time of the year for the family. There is pandemonium, there is utter madness waiting to unfurl. 

Friend:  I don't hear from you anymore. Where have you disappeared?

Me: In crowded streets and unmoving tracts of traffic...noise and lights :) 

I didn't have a choice. Work forced me to see commute at 7 in the evening- the peak office hours as they call it. I spent hours stranded in a bus... The official pujo starts Monday. But the streets are busy with eager beavers, unending shopping sprees,  groups of youngsters jostling for a quick tick of must-view pandal locations. 

And somewhere in between the seeing and the observing, I found myself quietly making my way into one of these must see pandals, of partaking the excitement of guessing the theme...of marveling at the simple fact that this one was air conditioned...who would have ever thought...and taking that customary first shot of the first viewing of the Goddess and her family- 2015 

That's when I thanked my city...for making me feel like a tourist...for infusing a sense of awe and wonder and for unfolding little bits of wisdom- Kolkata is literally all dressed up and has nowhere to go in the next days to come...and she never once sighs in impatience...not once. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Vashti- 'Hate and Murder and Madness Incarnate She Stood'

What do you do when you feel restless, annoyed and helpless beyond measure?

You cook a simple fried egg and cheese sandwich. I know it's not a genius solution. But there's immense cheering up potential there, especially if you're trying to turn into a pseudo veg person who eats fish but no meat. 

I tell everyone it's because the monk said it helps with handling anger issues. And then they raise their eyebrow and say "But you don't have anger issues." (the you is in italics because they know my mother's best friend is rage, so I couldn't possibly be my mother's daughter...I must see sense? ) And then I have to grin and not talk about all the horrible things I do when I am angry because no one likes to see cracks in things they thought were perfect or beyond flaw. 

No one likes cynics. I would be a cynic if I said, "yeah I do actually. I hurt people. I hurt myself. And in the throes of anger, I have taken reckless decisions that have affected my life in the worst possible ways." I tell them..."No I know, and that advise isn't for me per say, the monk was speaking's just something I thought I'd know..I need to lose some weight anyway." 

And then they sit back, watch the show instead of worrying about how much of it could ever be real...

Mr. Gottardo Is Doing It Right

I am celebrating a milestone you guys- I bunked work! Yay! This is a big deal. Because I have always done this thing where I've worried about how my actions would be interpreted?  So I'd end up taking the "correct" road. 

Celebrating Alessandro Gottardo 

But life will always try to hoodwink you into missing the treasures...the good parts...they're there but they've been hidden in a look-harder-look-different kind of way.

Friday, October 9, 2015

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons..."

I shouldn't be allowed to have the time to write here. But it's Friday night and I'm screwed anyway so my exam tomorrow can suck it.

Here's the thing though? I had thought all along that the exam was on Sunday. Until my super busy doctor friend asked me what plans I had after my exam got over on Saturday and I'm like And then he's all... didn't you say it was on the 10th? Pretty sure 10th is a Saturday, Stupid. I'm paraphrasing here, but wtf me? People are going out there doing whatnot.. and I can't remember days of the week and dates correctly?!

So there I was having a panic attack because I had suddenly lost a day AND the Boss had asked me to work this Saturday. What the fuck am I going to do? (because I couldn't tell her I had an exam to sit for...that's another blog post altogether)

 So I whatsapp sourced the problem.... and everyone said "Break a leg!" That would have to be it then... "I slipped and fell in the bathroom, Boss."

Have I mentioned that I am a terrible liar? I agonised and cried over the fates....

Also the mother was missed. She is in Goa again... twice this year over a period of two months. Coolness is definitely not a genetic trait I see.

The soothsayers were being oddly cryptic today
Last weekend was indeed dramatic...the worst kind of dramatic. I am not ready to talk about it in prosaic terms...yet. 

Anyhow...the weirdest thing happened and the Boss said I wouldn't have to come in tomorrow after all..

This incident has to be the best metaphor of my whole life. And I should probably get back to the books now, instead of thinking about metaphors, life and other unimportant things....I suppose. 


Thursday, October 1, 2015


Everything is annoying me.

There is one asshole in my office. I should probably practise gratefulness and say thank God there's only just one. 

But I've been in this annoyed frame of mind for quite some time now. And this has mostly to do with the fact that I'm being asked to do certain things at work that makes me feel like I'm being taken for granted. I may be completely off the mark here but that's why I wish there was a weird work-life balance guide because I clearly suck at it. 

So maybe I need to make a list of things I am looking forward to help me get through this: 

  • Long weekend ahead (there might be a possibility that I have to work on Saturday though? Shush little voice, let me soak this in) 
  • October is here! The weather, the friends coming to town with the Pujo just around the corner and a general sense of festivity... (I never was a sucker for the Durga Pujo crowd. It's maddening, there's a reason why me and mom would pack up and leave Kolkata at this time...OMG it's like I'm not even trying) 
  • My Garden. Yes. I water plants every morning...the first thing I wake up...and some of them are doing very well. Others are going to get showered with love this weekend. 
  • Furiously Happy is available in India from October 7. Nirvana :D 
  • I am getting a haircut this weekend. Forays shall be made into adventurous territories :p 
  • We are probably getting new furniture. (WTF me?) 
  • I am mentoring kids for a business fest. (This I am really looking forward to.) 
I really need to shut up now. 

But that's life right? It can't all be funny and awesome with jazz hands alerts... your best bet is to find the good parts, shrug away the anger and... 

PS. I was on this long bus ride home and a lady boarded the bus with a huge package. Turned out it was Kans grass.  And the grass flew everywhere spreading it's gossamery whimsy all over the bus. I thought she needed it as a prop for a pandal but she said she'd found it in an abandoned plot behind her office and she just wanted to take it home and decorate. As simple as that. 
A Scene from Pather Panchali. One of my favourite books ever. Kans Grass in the background

So when I go out in the crowd during the madness that is Durga Pujo...or just any kind of crazy gathering really, and feel like I am losing my head, I will think back to this woman and how we're all carrying our awkward packages not because that's our job but because sometimes it's what we decorate our lives around. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

"What do people do when they aren't working?"

I blame the long weekend for the suddent onslaught of posts I am subjecting you to.

Get ready for a play by play of exactly how gloriously I spent my Friday. I'll tell you why I feel need to do that though. It's because of something my Boss said last week. We were planning to leave home early in anticipation of raucous festivities on the streets in lieu of a Pujo and she said "What do people do when they aren't working?"

So here goes...

Maybe they take that pending guitar lesson. Learn how to tune the strings. It's fascinating. 

Maybe they go out and watch a good movie Boss...and spill popcorn all over their black t-shirt and eat a lot of popcorn even after the movie is over because why not? and because cheese dust. Yum. 

Maybe they also binge on dirt. The good kind. 

Chicken and tequila stuffed in potatoes...because that is apparently a thing..who knew Boss..who knew?!

Maybe they unexpectedly bump into has-been ancient Hindi soap stars who smile at them kindly and they feel weepy because soap star suddenly reminds them of a part of a life that is so dead right now.

Yeah. Just when the evening couldn't get any weirder
Maybe ...just maybe Boss they speed past empty stretches of streets that they only know as being  jam packed blocks of frustration that separate their home from their office.

You should try it some time Boss. Put your windows down, don't worry about the hair. Crank the music up and just....ride. 

PS. If I am the last person to watch Everest then this is a little redundant..but if not...please do. It's beautiful heart breaking and everything a movie should be. 

PPS. I don't know if my blog should have a trivia of the day thingy but there's this semi precious gemstone called Iolite. And it's of a unique blue black shade that reminds me of Dr Who a lot...and I know Sapphire is supposed to be my birthstone but I am adopting Iolite. It's me in a stone(nut)shell. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy Everything Should Be A Real Holiday

Yesterday was good. 

My teachers were so surprised and happy to see me. I think my school's a bit like a woolly mammoth. The moment you think all the warmth and glow of the world is extinct, you go to this refuge of an island where teachers will look at you the way they used to when you were a kid. They will remember the good you had  compared one of them to Halle Berry and how she always remembers that when she's having a hard time. They will look at you and tell you, you are brilliant. And for a second or maybe longer, you believe them too. 

I this. 

Today a friend is back in town faking a sick leave because she's been irritated with work in general. I totally understand and I thought of getting my old batchmates of college together as an impromptu reunion. So far 2 people have confirmed. And that's okay. Sometimes all you need is a kind word to get you through the rest of your life. 

 I am sharing gratefulness and kindness in this blog today..

I am so grateful that you stop by. Thank you. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Shining My Light guys! I am going back to school tomorrow and you're probably shrugging this off with a "meh...what's that to me" right now and I understand but this is a really big deal  so don't be a dick okay? School was to me what the railways were to really remote disconnected places in ancient times. As a kid,  just when I had started to accept that my life would suck forever, school happened, learning happened, friends...that feeling of being part of something bigger happened. And I would have said there was no looking back...but that phrase never made sense to me. Looking back is important I say. 

Also that whole phase was probably the golden age of my life. I have absolutely no trepidation to admit that high school was the peak for me and life after that was an absolute  downward spiral...something that I have only recently started to tackle and recover from. 

It's annoying that 2015 is almost over because I am not done with 2015. There is work, extra curriculars and bajillion other things to do but it gets tricky for people like me who suffer from decision phobia. And before you say that it's not a real thing, let me just confess I haven't yet decided if this is a really real or unreal thing either okay? All I know is that I have changed my whatsapp dp at least 20 times this month because I couldn't decide on one.

It's a little anti climactic therefore to announce that I am going to school tomorrow to speak at a subject fair to help 10th graders decide if they want to take up Economics as an elective in senior high. I know. I have been laughing ever since I got that call from my Econ teacher asking me if I would do this. is going to get very confusing for everyone concerned..

I have been reading up a little bit about school as I have been so out of touch. One of my favorite teachers in now the Vice Principal and I didn't even know! Also our school website is totally updated. All very surprising revelations. Couldn't have been prouder though. 

So this year the theme our school is following is "Shine Your Light" (this is also a new idea...we didn't have themes when we went to school...I suspect because we would do everything opposite of what the theme asked us to observe...we were one of the most notorious batches ever) and when I read it the first time I was thinking flash lights because you are lost in the woods and about to get murdered by a serial killer. 

And then I breathed a little and thought of that mellow Sunday light that gently falls on simple every day things...somehow making them stand out of the mundane...and that's the kind of light I'd like to shine...the vague stream of flighty dust particle light that you see through tiny holes in quiet dark places. That light? is kind of what school means to me and I really hope I don't muck it up tomorrow. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Q: What's sadder than leaving?
Ans: Overstaying your welcome.

It's way past my bed time. I am sitting in a dejected heap in front of the monitor. Deadlines are whooshing past me as we speak. 

I need a holiday. Maybe two. Or a billion. 

Source: The Oatmeal 
I have a lot to say here, but I feel like it's as pointless as shouting through a locked door while holding the keys in your own hands. 

Absolutely pointless. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

"If You Light A Lamp For Someone Else It Will Also Brighten Your Path"

Hello Monday. 

I get that you must come at me with a vengeance, to prove some sort of a point. Not quite sure about what that point is. Although I am pretty sure it involves conveyor belts, awkward running shoes and an errant Frisbee...maybe?

But I hereby relinquish all my weapons to you. 

Instead I offer you this: 

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo 

In case you are wondering, no I haven't converted to Buddhism. I have been visiting a Japanese monastery close to my house,  for the past couple of days. It irks me that there's been this bit of haven all this time and I never knew of it. 

There is something about the drums beating to the tune of the chant of a quiet, kind monk, who later turns around and explains his prayers to you. He talks of nirvana, kindness and peace in a reassuring, friendly voice. 

On my first visit, I remember stepping out into the immaculate garden outside and wanting to weep for the peace that I felt in my heart...after so long... 

And all I can hope and pray for all of you is you feel it too.... Look beyond the harsh words that people find so easy to hide behind, look beyond the pain that you know your heart can't bear anymore and hold somebody's hand. Hold it like you'd hold a friend's hand. With understanding, with love and with strength. 

Let's  put our weapons down. 

I realise that our smartphones and tv sets and computers have created a superb illusion of us being a part of the world in a we're- alone-but-not-so-alone way...which is wonderful except when we replace that with real human connections. We blank out the obvious things and people that are right in front of our eyes...crying out for a bit of love...

It pains me to know I have done the very same things. Looked at someone and thought "this person is never going to get me, why bother trying to make a connection...I have way cooler friends I can whatsapp and they'll even think my jokes are funny. Screw you person staring at me like I'm an alien." 

I've been steadily wooed by being the only worthwhile way to connect to a peer. My feelings have always been distorted since forever..I am trying to step out of that way of thinking. Connecting to people have so little to do with the flutter in your belly and so much to do with the twinkle in your eyes. ( okay don't quote me on this one, I think I'm getting a tad carried away :p) 


I leave you with my little vision of hope here...something that's keeping me afloat

...and I am passing it on to you, world. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cause I've Got Things I Could Talk To You About

What do you get when a wildflower and a poet fall in love? 
There'll be the wild beat of the drums. 
Puppet shows. 
Laughter, joy and the kissing away of sorrows. 

"You will never have to be alone," he said. 
"As my muse you shall travel the lengths 
 Of this beautiful land. 
 I'll keep you close to my heart," the poet conjectured and  held fast her thorny hand. 

The wildflower blossomed.
Collected pretty things. 
Never to be worn, to be silently oohed and ahead at. 
Akin to the awe the poet harboured; 
To a life that togetherness promised. 
The possibilities glimmered 
The way the sea catches the sun  
In every crease and crevice of a wave. 

What do you get when a wildflower and a poet fall in love? 
A family. 
Puppet shows. 
Light and shadow performances at the day's close. 

Magic. And pets. 
And pillow forts. 
That  eventually tumble....

All the king's horses and all the king's men 
Couldn't put their home back together again. 

The wildflower hardly recognised herself. 
But she couldn't drift away in the wind. 
Wouldn't let her float away with her kind. 

The poet tackled life
With another steady wife. 
This has been a heady dream, indeed it has, he admitted. 
But a poet needed someone to keep him grounded. 

A normal wife who wouldn't demand. 
Be happy with the daily grind.
A son who will hardly see 
The world from his shoulder clutching on his neck,  giggly.  

He would read about the wildflower though
In a quiet corner of a secret alcove. 
It would be an afternoon of discoveries. 
Of "I wonder what" and similar mysteries. 

Impatient, he would send a pigeon across the city
"Where are you? " the pigeon would coo. 
Into the ears of the fragile duo. 
They would weep and let go 
In their own quiet ways. 

That's what happens when a poet and a wildflower fall in love. 
There is thunder, there is rain
There is a general sense of agreement in the firmament 
Till you flounder and find your soul scratched up, beaten and asunder. 
So... You let go and weep
For the parts you thought were yours to keep. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

In Loving Memory of Dadu

I think of Dadu often.

He’ll  seep into little daily inconsequential things and sometimes wander off unnoticed. Because that’s how it is with thoughts right? 

He moved in with mom and I,  essentially putting an end to the brilliant privacy castle that I'd built high in the air. I’d barely been 13 for a few months, moved into a new apartment and hadn’t even gotten accustomed to the tantalizing possibilities of having my own room. “I’ll just put a fluffy rug, throw in a few cushions …who needs a bed. This is going to be one hell of an exciting place.” I had thought naively. Then mom asked me to be "practical":  a bed, a table a night lamp followed...and dadu promptly moved in with a thank-you-good-slaves-that'll-be-all air. 

“It’s not fair, why can’t he just live at his own place with Dida. All my other cousins don’t have to deal with giving away their whole room to their grandfather.” I wailed…and I let the resentment build and bubble in me.

Grandma didn't seem to have a problem with this arrangement. "He needs a steady doctor's supervision M, he couldn't be in better hands."  she told mom. 

Some times I'd grudgingly accept the perks of living with  dadu. I didn't have to make trips to mama bari for the daily lessons in English,Bengali and Mathermatics that he used to guide me with. He was just a room away scribbling in his notebooks and diaries( I can never look at a diary without thinking about Dadu now, he would meticulously fill in every little detail that was asked for on the first page of the diary), tinkering with his precious wooden box of homeopathic medicine. 

"God is great and kind to all" he'd write on pages after pages after pages. 

He'd ask his attendants to get Kachoris and jalebis every Sunday.... treat all of his students to biryani or Chinese and call up everyone and check on their health. Bills and bank work,insurance and other strenuous paper work were promptly entrusted on him, as he'd carry all that out with robotic efficiency when he wasn't stabbing away at his typewriter about the latest developments reported in the newspapers;  expressing polite enrage  to the Prime Minister, the President  and other important people  who wouldn't even bother reading the first sentence. But there was something so hopeful about watching him write so earnestly...  He’d mark the columns in newspaper in red and ask me to read them and write a passage on them."Translate this for me D" would be his constant game with me. He'd enunciate sentences in English or Bengali and I had to do the needful. I would express annoyance at best, ignore him at worst. "BORING" I would think to myself. 

He'd take incessant strolls around the house. Stop at my door, stare at me hunched over a book or trying to mug up some lesson or the other.  "All work and no play makes D a dull girl" he'd say repeatedly "Arghhh...go away! stop staring at me like that" would be my rejoinder. And he'd smile, make a slow turn and walk on...

There were times his face would darken though  and he'd stare gloomily with big round eyes at my mother for having doled out another unfair set of rules in his  increasingly thickening rule book. He'd want to get out of the house. Mom wouldn't let him. He was getting unstable and had begun to fall often. He didn't see that about himself. He was still the strapping young Air Force officer who worked hard and took life with a smile. 

Everybody loved him. There were visitors almost every day. And later when he lost the ability to speak much they'd just come, sit, stare and smile at him. 

He would smile back. Always. Pink gums and eyes sparkling behind heavy spectacle frames. 

I had got through with my college applications and finally cleared admission  to option 2 on my wish list. Came home and mumbled the news to him thinking he won't be able to make sense of it. His hand shot up, took my hand firmly  into his and shook it for one long minute. My head went back to that day he helped me with a Bengali essay in Grade 3. "What do you want to do when you grow up?" I had no idea (still don't actually) and dadu had said "write  I want to pursue higher studies at JU..." and there I was 9 years later doing exactly that. 

I knew he'd say "Congrats Manu," if he could. 

I just wish I hadn't been such an asshole to him you know? Because I was trying to numb out so many things. I was trying to numb out how safe it felt to have him around. How wonderfully reassuring it felt to have him silently watch me just doing random shit....and the fact that I was so glad that he was living with us. So glad that I got to learn from him. So very glad…

Now when I have to deal regular assholes every day, I remember how I’d behaved with Dadu and I tell myself that maybe they’re on autopilot like I was. That they aren’t alive they’re just living. It’s easier to be an asshole when you’re only just living. 

I have learnt to forgive myself so I am better placed to channelize kindness and be calm in the face of a storm...the way dadu would patiently wait for me to translate a whole sentence badly and then correct it and listen to my inane arguments on why I am right and he's wrong. 

And I can only hope that Dadu remembers the good parts and forgives the rest.

I am sorry Dadu. Love you always. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I have been advised to use bullets to sum up varied subjects under a Broad Heading... and That's What I Am Doing In This Post.

  • Things that you will totally get if you grew up in a Bengali Household:

            "Have you locked the doors?, " her mother asked.

             "Yes," she replied feigning confidence.

              The lizard called out three times.

              Then it must be true, mother thought, and went soundly to sleep.

[There is a saying that goes if a lizard calls out three times after you have made a statement then it must definitely be true. But every time I hear that saying I always think of an evil dude who made lizard puppets just to mess with people's head or something] 

  • Haters strike harder when proven wrong. Hunters in the woods, looking for vegetation they may pass off as meat and shake their fists triumphantly in the air. 

        Don't listen. 

        You won. 

         Fair and square. The rest is just white noise. 

         Blank it out and remember Love. :) 

         Goofy old love: 

  • And in other news I have had the rare occasion of actually enacting the naked dream. You know the one where you go to work and you suddenly realise you're naked? Well that almost happened today, except I was MC ing for a concert and and my blouse popped open? And by blouse I mean the itsy bitsy one you're supposed to wear with a saree ~sigh~ My stomach is aching just thinking about that whole situation...I actually had to go on stage at that very instance I realised that I had only the pallu to hide behind ...and I am going to pass out from sheer trauma if I write about this even a bit more. So I shall stop here. Maybe later...when I might just start to find all of this funny.