Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Card games

Today, we sat around in a circle and played cards, A, S, G and I, and for a little while it was like old times, like they hadn't all moved away, like nothing had ever changed or could. Reader, I have a confession. I don't really like playing cards. As my companions will readily tell you, I really suck at card games anyway. But I still play, because I love spending time with them and they love cards. We played one game, then one more, then another, easily losing track of time as we slipped back into old modes of talking, old jokes blent with new stories. They've been halfway around the world, I've been here.
I messed up game after game and we laughed at my clumsiness. I lost G (unluckily doomed to be my partner in several rounds) several points and she grew quite exasperated, albeit affectionately so. There was no time for nostalgia, during our busy, funny game. It was only when I said goodbye to them and shut the door on the chilly night air that it hurt, a little. Ah well, I shall see them again tomorrow.
It's New Year's Eve. What plans, Reader?

Monday, December 21, 2009


Has it already been two days since I last posted here? I'm so sorry, Reader. First I was busy being coddled for the mildest of colds, then I got to baking in earnest, to the exception of all else. The result, a caramel cake that oozed salted butter caramel on being squeezed, iced over with a poured chocolate ganache and dusted with sugar sparkles. The cake was in honour of S's birthday and was greatly appreciated. I could barely taste a bite though, I seem to have developed a temporary revulsion to all things butter. That tends to happen to me on days when I've spent the previous day baking batch after batch of brownies, three apple pies, several batches of caramel, and stirring an unnaturally orange moong dal halwa that dripped ghee.
I seem to have precious little left to show for my labours though. It is all gone now, just a few depressed looking brownie crumbs left. And that makes me happy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sick at home

At home, even falling sick is awesome. A combination of several late nights and early mornings left me with with a raspy throat and a rather watery nose this morning. All I had to do was cough once in front of Amma, I was immediately coddled, besieged with offers of besan halwa and sour plums, wrapped up warmly and propped up before the TV and my word on what we would watch was law.
I feel almost regretful that my mild little throat infection departed by evening. It should have lingered around longer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Memories and pie

A came over today. We sat on the swings hung under our Banyan tree and tried to see how high we could go. We baked apple pie and ruined a sponge cake. We talked and reminisced and laughed and it was lovely. Apple pie and memories make a glorious combination. It's not a culinary revolution, but it's warm and comforting, like the company of an old friend. There's something so comforting about apples slowly simmered in caramel dusted over with cinnamon. The raisins we shook in grew soft and plump in the oven.
It wasn't perfect, the crust was a little tough, but we didn't care. We ate it with strawberry ice cream and scraped our plates clean.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Today, I stood in a cloud of cinnamon.
Reader, I dare you to find a better smelling cloud. I was powdering the cinnamon to spice the apple milkshake I was making for K. When I opened the food processor this fine brown dust flew all around me and I just stood there and breathed.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hot chocolate

I'm back home Reader. It all happened very suddenly. One moment I was pondering what happy moment I would tell you about today and the next, I was packing my bags and my heart was singing.
I reached home by around 11 in the night and surprised Amma and Appa. It's humbling how happy I could make them. Then K threw a tantrum, so I stood in the kitchen at midnight and boiled milk for hot chocolate. It was when I watched the chocolate make brown swirls in the white milk that it all sank in.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I went on a trek with R today. We woke up for it at 5:30 am, I stepped on a snake, got a giant blister and cussed a great deal. But it was all worth it, because we got to see this:

More photos on R's blog.
Edit: All photographs were taken by Ravali. She's totally awesome. I myself am sorely lacking in the artistic department.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The movies

I was feeling a little lonely today, so R and A took me to watch a movie. We watched a movie called Rocket Singh, and Ranbir Kapoor makes for a totally adorable young Sikh boy.

I don't know about you, Reader, but I watch movies very rarely. And the ones I do watch are the fantasy type, the sort that are impossible in normal life, that require a suspension of reality, What are movies but a means of escape: to lose yourself in a fantasy land for a brief period of time When the credits finally roll, I take a deep breath and walk out the door marked with the green Exit sign. And when I'm walking out, sometimes it's gleefully, when the movie has inspired me to try something new, to apply something gleaned from it to my own life. And sometimes it's reluctantly, like I need more suspension time, like three hours weren't enough. But those realistic movies, the ones that try to imitate real life, I tend to avoid them like the plague. I get quite enough reality, thank you very much.

I don't know if I'm making much sense right now, Reader, I'm rather tired and confused. I realised this movie-watching fact about myself only today, as I sat in that darkened theater, reclining on my 180 degree seat. Oh but, whatever the movie: surreally fantastical or viscerally real, one really can't reflect too hard on it when reclining on a plush velvet sofa that at the press of a button rocks you to and fro at an almost reclining angle.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The absence of pain

"Joy is not the absence of pain," says Ayn Rand. I say, pshaw. I'd been having a splitting headache all day, Reader. The kind that makes even smiling feel uncomfortable, the kind where you want to lie curled up in bed, your head wrapped in pillows, desperate for sleep or oblivion. Well, I finally fell asleep at eight, which is why I'm up now, at 3 am and annoyingly perky. My headache's gone, I have lots to do and I'm happy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I was walking on the pavement along IIT’s main road today, playing this game ‘Crazy’ on my cellphone. It’s one of those battleship style games, where you have to eliminate blue moles with your cannon. I find myself curiously addicted to it. So when I felt a spattering of water droplets, the first place I looked was up. I hadn’t expected rain. Turns out, it wasn’t rain. It was an impromptu fountain from the very holey rubber pipe that had been left to water the grass beside the pavement. I stood there in that gentle fountain for a minute, eliciting curious glances from passersby. It felt good.

I remembered how K and I used to make fountains with the water hose while watering our vegetable patch in YOL. Race, our dog, would run wildly about, trying to dodge our fountain, digging up all Amma’s carefully planted peas in his frenzy. I remembered Holi celebrations past where R and G and A would hose me down till I lay on the ground covered with grass and mud, begging for mercy. I remembered giggling madly as we dropped water balloons on the heads of people walking below, on our street in Delhi.

Then I glanced down at my phone and found that the blue moles had killed me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cherry Red

Who says happiness can't be packaged. In this case, it came in the form of a small golden tube in shiny pink casing, that smells like raspberry jelly and is filled with Shade# 352, Cherry Red. I've wanted to try red lipstick for nigh on two years now and yesterday, finally I took the plunge. Reader, did you know how many shades of reds there are out there? I most certainly didn't. There are reds with blue undertones and orange highlights, glossy reds, sparkly reds, matte reds, liquid reds. A red for every skin tone. Cherry happens to be mine.
I wonder if I'll ever have the courage to wear my red lips in public. Still, I'm wearing them now, while typing out my report to you, sneaking occasional glances in the mirror. Perfectly happy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No Reason

Must one always have a reason to be happy? Because today, I'm happy. I've been smiling a lot and not just because of that hilarious episode of The Big Bang Theory that R and I watched in the morning. I've tried analyzing it, but I'm not sure yet why I'm happy. So, I think I'll just go with the flow today.

It's a lovely day, the sun is just setting and the banyan tree outside is alive with roosting birds. R and I are about to embark upon an expedition in quest of eye makeup and water chestnuts. I have several essays to write when I return and perhaps a day long expedition to Pune to plan. I'll be up half the night, staring at this white screen. It's a nice life.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Thanksgiving and Chennai

Dear Reader, I don't know if you've given up on visiting this space lately. You had every right to, I've been terribly neglectful. I've been busy and the last few days have been a little hard so I turn back to you again. I realize how selfish I sound and I'm going to try to make it up to you by finally telling you all about Chennai. It's a post I began writing up a while ago, but only today finished. But first, there are several wonderful people I wish I could thank over and over again. I don't know if all of them will even read this blog, but I need to do this anyway, so I never forget how lucky I am to have them in my life. Call it my own little Thanksgiving if you will, which true to form, comes several days late.

So thank you to A, who left everything to be with me and to P for sharing her so unselfishly. To R who called and texted and always said the right thing and to V for being so nice, just like he always is. To G who scolded sense into me time and time again (she never gives up on me) and N who I must state, looks absolutely adorable in a formal skirt and R who always has far more fascinating things than placements to talk about. To A for the promise of black and white cookies and K, whose phone call meant more than I can say. To Amma, Appa and Ken, you folks are my rocks, and since this is creeping into dangerously sentimental territory now, to all of you, too many to name, who are far too good to me. I don't deserve you.
On to Chennai then.

Reality is a question of perspective; the further you get from the past, the more concrete and plausible it seems - but as you approach the present, it inevitably seems more and more incredible.
-Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children

Oh Reader, I have so much to tell you! Let me begin at the beginning. I must admit, this time I entered Chennai with a good deal of trepidation, my memories of last time seemed almost too good to be true and I was misanthropically suspicious of them. But it was lovely, lovelier than I remembered. But I'm getting ahead of myself. The beginning.
My flight took off from Mumbai airport, which I reached after a particularly harrowing auto ride. By the time I reached the airport, I was more than glad to leave Mumbai- with its polluted air and choked roads- behind. I watched from the airplane window as the thousands of twinkling yellow lights of Mumbai bled into the night, turning it curiously red. Then as we rose higher and higher, the red faded into black and we were away.
I went home first- Amma and Appa were away at a dinner party when I reached. I was all alone in the big white house. It felt strange. Then Amma came in and hugged me and I felt home again.

The next morning, I went to the Mahaveer Institute of Technology, a name the students abbreviate to 'MIT', which lay in a village 40 kilometres and a dirt road away. I gave the TOEFL at MIT, feeling curiously self conscious when I had to air my views on Mumbai to a dusty looking microphone. On the bumpy ride back, I had a great deal of time for thought and I felt my worries for the future leaving me one by one, bump after bump. The rest of the weekend at least, was mine.

So we took the night train to Chennai. It's been a while since I was on a train and it was fun, the clatter of the rails forms a rhythmic accompaniment to thoughts, investing them with the sort of circularity that makes the airiest of thoughts profound. From the window, I watched glimpses of peoples' lives: children playing, a ceiling fan turning, a woman laying the table, like a movie reel with the rails for background score.

I turned in soon in the middle berth and thought about that ancient Chinese form of torture, where they imprison a person in a room neither wide nor high enough for him to ever stretch out completely. We reached Chennai by eight in the morning and the platform was bustling. I heard loud expletives in Tamil and smelled coffee and sweat and jasmine. Prabhu Anna was there to receive us and he was as entertaining as ever. He's the liveliest of my cousins, guaranteed to have anyone in splits within moments of meeting them.

(Reader, I'm going to change tack slightly now. I just realized that if I give you a blow by blow account of everything I did, this post will take forever, and you, who don't know my cousins, will be bored quite silly. So instead, I'll just give you the highlights, shall I?)

So there was Patti, who seemed happier than ever before, to see me. It came as rather a shock to me that my very presence could make someone so happy. She held my hand and wouldn't let go till I was called away. Then there were my cousins, Krithika Akka (the bride whose engagement I was there to attend), Ambika, Kripa and Aru, who did their best to teach me four Tamil songs in less than an hour and never smiled when I stumbled. There was curd rice and sevai, to be eaten with my fingers, off a banana leaf and godumai halwa and therati pal, childhood treats I've sorely missed in Mumbai. There were glimpses of Chennai, mostly gathered from the window of a car as we drove past: billboards selling kanjeevaram sarees stiff with gold lace, men in veshtis, their foreheads smeared with ash, a bullock cart holding up the traffic on a highway and everywhere, familiarity. Try as I might to deny it (and I have tried, several times) this place is familiar. There's a place for me here, even though I've never really lived here, even though I speak the language stumblingly, at best. I understand now, what Appa told me of the ties of blood. They've withstood all the ill treatment I've given them. So I wore a purple saree and a bindi without being asked, wore jasmine strands in my hair and I was a Tamil girl for a day. No amount of rebellion can stand up to love.

The next day, I scrambled desperately, for more images, more memories, to get my fill and keep me going when I returned to another, far more alien metropolis. I memorised the feel of the sun, burning down in December, and the golden ceiling in Ananda Bhavan, I read the newspaper listings of music concerts longingly and wore the golden earrings that Patti gave me, proudly.

Too soon, it was time to leave and I promised to return soon, very soon. As my flight rose over the city, I pressed my nose to the window and caught my last glimpses of the city: buildings and bullock cards, colonies and parks, then hundreds of toy-like houses with crisscrossing roads. We rose higher and higher and flew through a cloud and Chennai disappeared beneath me in a puff of white smoke. We kept rising, above the clouds that were whipped into fantastical formations like the airiest of egg whites whisked by the wind.

Then, two hours later, we descended and the night turned from black to red as it bled back into thousands of twinkling lights.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just to say hello

Reader, I've been travelling, I still am. Heading to Chennai in another hour and internet connections are hard to come by. So I thought I'd better pop in to say hello and to tell you I haven't forgotten you(as if I ever could). I'm writing it all down though and when I get back, I'll tell you all about it. There's so much to tell!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Reader, I was promised a meteor shower. It is to peak at 3:12 am, but I should have been able to see signs of it from 10 in the night. It's 2 am right now and my eyes are half closed already. I went up to the terrace in the hope of seeing perhaps a few streaking meteors (and I chuckled a little just now when I typed 'streaking'), but all I saw were a few peacefully twinkling stars. There was a pleasantly chilly wind though and the coconut trees nodded at me in a friendly manner. 
I used to lie flat on my back on the roof of our house, look up at the night sky and try to think of nothing. I remember being frightened. The sky was so big, I felt so small. Night sounds seem so eerie, even the chirping of a cricket or the rustle of a tree. And of course you think of all this when you're trying to think of nothing. But I felt awe too, at the majesty of the night, at how endless it seemed and at how lucky we were the live in the certainty that tomorrow, day would come again. 
Tonight, I remembered how I used to feel lying alone for hours on the roof. It took so little to make me happy then. I never had to question anything, never make any choices or decisions. For a few minutes, on that terrace, I felt that way again. 

An apology

Dear Reader, I'm so sorry that you've been coming here these past three days and not finding anything. I have been silent, I don't quite know why. It was, I suppose a combination of ennui and an absence of a keyboard at the right place and the right time.
I've had periods like there quite often lately, where I'm outwardly quite normal, but I feel an almost crushing ennui, an absence of any sort of creativity, and it really pulls me down. This time though, you brought me back up again, very soon. Your messages and comments and calls, asking why I didn't post, they touched me more than I can say. So thank you Reader, you are very wonderful.
I can't promise that I won't be gone again, I don't quite know what I'm fighting with yet. But you, you have the power to bring me back.

PS: I did take some time to remember the happy stuff from the past three days and I've organized those posts in chronological order, beneath this one. Soon, this silence will just be a memory.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I love to write, Reader. I'm not very good at it yet, but I will be some day. So today, after a long time, I really wrote. I sat at the coffee shop (it's become a favourite spot for me now) in my little corner, sipped at a ridiculously pink drink and typed, haltingly at first, but soon, in flow. 
I'll tell you about what I wrote, soon. It came out very stilted and imperfect, but it was a start. I wrote for two hours till my battery gave up. Then I walked all the way back to the insti because I couldn't find an auto driver obliging enough to take me. I waked past garbage dumps and tall buildings with the laptop strap bruising my shoulder, and I was happy.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The perfect ride

I travel by auto maybe ten times a week. It’s almost always fun. But this morning, I had the best auto ride of my life. I was alone and it was ten in the morning. Mumbai was just waking up. A lovely breeze was blowing and the sky was still overcast. I saw a father teaching his daughter to ride a cycle and remembered my first time, when Appa held on to my carrier and promised never to let go. The road was very bumpy and the auto careened dangerously. It had rained the previous night, not enough to make puddles, but just enough to make all the roads black and shiny. I passed a bakery that smelled of baking bread and for the first time, noticed the pretty blue flowers blooming on all the hedges of Hiranandani. All too soon, it was over.

Out of the Blue

Reader, I’m sorry I didn’t get back in time yesterday to tell you about my evening. We went out to dinner, a farewell dinner of sorts because G is returning to IIM for another couple of grueling months. We went to ‘Out of the Blue’ and talked for hours in the candlelight. More than anything the place has nostalgia value for us, G had written about it just that morning and we all wanted to go back there and feel that way again. I had the sun dried tomato risotto and nicked fries off everyone else’s sizzlers. We talked for hours, only pausing to eye well dressed women and make snarky comments about them.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Reader, sometimes I feel very old. I remember a time when there were no supermarkets. When you went to the local kirana store when you needed supplies and chatted with the Uncle behind the counter as he took down your goods. They had their own charm. But now, you're confronted by rows and rows of gleaming shelves lined with product after bewildering product in a vast maze of choices. I remember entering my first supermarket, Ratnadeep in Secunderabad. Reader, I was terrified that I'd get lost in there and held on tightly to Amma's hand throughout.
Eventually though, supermarkets went from terrifying to fascinating in my mind. Isn't it wonderful how inventive people can be? That there can be a hundred different sorts of chocolates on a shelf, each distinct from the other, that people come up with newer and cleverer marketing gimmicks all the time, which I invariably fall for, that you can stand in a vast, tiled room for hours and hours and make so many choices!
I've exhausted my supply of superlatives right now, but you must've figured out that I went to a supermarket today, by now, Reader. And it was as much fun as I remember.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Defying Gravity

I heard this song early this morning and I've been listening to it over and over again ever since.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Truth

Reader, I apologize for yesterday. I was sitting in front of a computer all evening. I could have posted. I should have. But I was ashamed. I had nothing to tell you of. No quiet little moment of joy squirreled away to tell you about later. It was wet outside, so I stayed in. I lay tangled in my sheets for hours, trying to think of nothing and succeeding. I bestirred myself in the evening, pretty much to go out hunting for sustenance and a moment of joy. I spoke to friends, listened to music, ate, drank and searched. I smiled several times yesterday, laughed out loud too; washed my freshly trimmed hair and flipped it about from side to side before the mirror. But I went to bed at 2 am, dissatisfied with the way the day had turned out and too ashamed to face you.
Today will be better. It has to be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Oh Reader, today, the morning was so lovely. And to think I almost missed it. I had only one class today and seriously contemplated bunking it. A, R and I had stayed up late talking for hours and hours.( I ought to mention here, how lucky I am to have friends like them. The sort with whom conversations are effortless and silences comfortable.)
Still, I woke up in time and went and was immediately glad. The class itself was very interesting, but the walk there was my happy thing for today. The last of the sticky, October heat passed last night and the skies were preparing for one final deluge before winter. The wind was swirling about the leaves the trees had shed, and clouds gently shaded the sun. It was exciting weather, the weather of change, if you will.
Tonight, I will pull out my thick blanket, snuggle in it and fall asleep, listening to the rain. Tomorrow, I will wake up to winter.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Oh Reader, I strongly suspect that I am extremely shallow. Today, we went to Bandra and went to boutique after boutique and looked at shoes of all shapes and colours. Finally in Sole to Soul, we were permitted to enter a tiny, secret little chamber, in a corner of the first floor. And Reader, that must be the place shoes get to go when they've been very very good. It was covered in black marble, and lit very flatteringly, with a luxurious red sofa right at the center. It smelled of incense and leather, that shrine to footwear. And heels, toweringly, frighteningly high heels surrounded us on all four sides, beribboned and belaced, in all shades of the rainbow.
I didn't buy any of those shoes. You don't buy the idols at a temple. You just look and worship and are happy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Splitting from sweetness

Reader, I messed up. I'm sorry. I couldn't get to an internet connection in time to tell you about yesterday, so I'm posting now, nine hours late. Here goes...

Today I travelled back to Mumbai, back to old uncertainties, old worries, and familiar territory, after two glorious days of blessed respite. Home was especially lovely, with a November drizzle, sightings of smart young gentleman cadets, cauliflower patches and smiling, much loved faces. I didn't want to leave. "What am I going back to?" I kept asking myself. I had no answer, Reader.
I returned to the insti after that too brief respite, and made a resolution that, this time, things would be different. It's the same resolution I've made on ever ride back home for two years now. I'm cynical of my own promises now.
What has changed this time? I have a new haircut... My hair is shoulder length now and doesn't need combing anymore. The first stage of my project is done, I have a great deal of free time on my hands now. Life and career decisions are looming up with almost frightening speed and now I have to confront them. But most importantly, this time around, I have you. You're like my daily confessional, I feel purged when I leave this space; this cool white space that is my little corner in the world.

This morning, I ate a custard apple from the tree in our garden. It was sun-warmed and had split through the centre, unable to hold in all its sweetness anymore. The parrot who I'd beat to it stared at me with very reproachful, beady eyes as I smelled it, sighed and dug in.
I hope I never forget how lucky I am.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Today's been busy, Reader. I've been trying to bake all day, but just when I got my butter softened, Amma made me go shopping, and then just when I had my dry ingredients sifted, it was time for lunch and I had to clear down. Then Appa came home and he, Amma and I had a long cose. Then I had to attend a function in the evening and then it was time for dinner. Remembering all the tall promises I made back in Mumbai, I finally settled down to bake in earnest at 10 in the night. The house was silent, everyone else asleep. I sifted and stirred, whisked and tasted to my heart's content. Finally, I popped the last batch of cupcakes into the oven and looked around. The whole house smelled of spice and chocolate. I was dusted over with flour, had a chocolate smear on one arm and two slightly burnt fingertips.
I wasn't sleepy yet, indeed  was rather peckish, but nothing in the fridge tempted me. After messing about with butter and cocoa and cream and chocolate for hours, I really didn't want anything the slightest bit rich. Finally my gaze alighted upon the oranges Amma bought me today, that I had callously stuffed into a bottom shelf to make room for my glossy confections. They looked promising, they weren't chocolate.
I juiced a couple of oranges into a bowl, impatiently, with my hands, and squeezed a lime in for good measure. Then I poured the juice into a glass goblet (I like doing things in style), straining it through my fingers. Finally I took a glorious, puckery sip collapsed into a chair and started to tell you all about it.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I spent two hours today, watching onion rings melt into a bubbling cauldron of butter till they became sticky and brown and quite unlike themselves. My first attempt at making caramelized onions was undeniably successful. At the end of two hours of watchful stirring, I had a pot full of brown, translucent onion strands to pull out while still burning hot, admire against the kitchen light and eat with my fingers like spaghetti. Hopefully, some of them will last the night and through to tomorrow morning, to accompany the pastry crust I have chilling in the freezer right now. But I have my doubts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Some days, you have to sift desperately through, to find moments of happiness, some days you get such an abundance, you're left almost breathless. Today, I could have sung and danced, Reader, all evening. I was coming home. It didn't matter that my flight was two hours late, or that I finally reached home exhausted and half starved at nearly eleven in the night. I was coming home, leaving everything else behind.
My times at home lately, have been times of suspended animation, when I abandon all conscious decision making to my parents and surrender myself to brief moments of almost helpless childhood. I refuse to make the simplest of decisions, what to wear, what to eat, when to wake up, and instead am simply content to be. It works for a while, but really, it simply isn't making the most of the whole home experience, is it?
So this time, I'm resolved to do things a little differently. I'll be foodblogging again over at Colours, meeting old and very beloved friends, and trying to make every minute count, before I have to go back.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Reader, I must admit, I was going to come to you empty handed today. I spent all of today in a funk, trying to do work but miserably failing. I even went to the coffee shop in the evening, hoping a change of scene would inspire me, but contemplating all the cheerful humanity about me only made me more gloomy.
So I returned and unwilling to be alone, drifted into a friend's room. So it began reader, a conversation on a series of fascinating topics including Edward Cullen and Jennifer Garner. Wingmates came in one by one and our talk expanded to include them all. Then we ate paranthas, warm in their foil wrapping, torn off hastily and dipped into buttery dal, still talking, frivolously, delightfully.
I finally said good night and came here to tell you all about it. Just like that, I bounced back.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Where I reveal my macabre side

Reader, I have a confession to make. You aren’t going to like it. I am finding myself surprisingly amused by incredibly offensive dead baby jokes. True, I don’t really like children, but I certainly don’t want their gruesome deaths. I simply like them to leave me alone. I find the Yo Mama jokes extremely offensive, I defy you to find one that will elicit anything other than a frown from me. Why then, did I chortle when I read this? I blame A, who put me on to them in the first place. Still, I haven’t completely sold my soul to the devil yet. Number 10 shut me right up.
You will be relieved to know, dead baby jokes aren’t the thing that made me happy today; they left me too disturbed at my own macabre sense of humour for that. It was this review that I read afterward, which come to think of it, is pretty ruthless in its own way. Still, I hope to write that effortlessly some day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Coffee Shop

Today, I sat in a coffee shop, drank a strawberry shake and worked on my laptop. I felt very JK Rowling, even though I was only making a presentation, not writing a bestselling children’s novel. People came and went around me, talking, laughing, drinking coffee and eating cake. It smelled like fresh yeast and coffee and Bryan Adams sang of the Summer of ’69 from the speakers. 

It was nice to leave my room, see people I don’t know and will probably never see again and hear snatches of their conversations. They talked and smiled, most of them busy in their own lives. I wonder if they’re happy. That’s a question I often ask nowadays. Life is too short to not seek happiness in it every moment. Then again, isn’t a quest for happiness by its very definition contradictory?

I don’t know. All I know is that today, sitting at that corner table, sipping an unnaturally pink milkshake and typing away on my tiny laptop, I was happy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Jane Eyre

Today, I didn’t do anything in particular. It was what I’d call an unremarkable day, the sort of day I’ve had thousands of, which I forget as soon as I go to sleep in the night. The sort of day that isn’t particularly worth living. I can’t remember a moment today when I was really happy, though nor was I particularly sad. It was a day when I existed, I didn’t live. I don’t want to spend any more days like today. I woke up, I ate, I studied, I talked to people, I sent out a few emails and eventually went to bed. I could’ve conjured up a moment of happiness from somewhere in there, I suppose, for the benefit of you, dear reader. But the whole point of this blog is full disclosure, the ups as well as the downs, so I’m not going to pretend a happiness I couldn’t feel. 

PS: I’ve decided to adopt the style of Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre in this blog, where I address you, reader, personally. My favorite line in that entire book is the last one, “And so, dear reader, I married him.” Such a simple sentence, but one I’ll always remember. Like I, by simply reading the book, became a valuable part of Jane’s life, a friend and confidant. That’s how I feel about you, dear reader. I can’t do this alone.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I had a great deal of work to do today. In my optimism, I set an alarm for 4 am this morning and went cosily to sleep, intending to get an early start on the day. When the alarm rang, I woke, but in that half-conscious state between sleep and wakefulness. A chilly breeze blew in along with the night sounds, from my open window. All was dark and silent and my bed was very very cozy. I turned off the alarm and slowly, oh so slowly, drifted off to sleep again. 

I think I shall make a practice of waking myself halfway through the night, simply for the pleasure of drifting back to sleep all over again. I slept for two hours more, blissfully, guiltlessly. I had to scramble the rest of the day, to catch up. But it was worth it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Return to Reality

Today, I went for dinner to a very swank place. I wore expensive clothes and R, bless her, weathered a cold and fever to come over and iron my hair and give me the perfect handbag to match my swank looking outfit. I felt good, driving up in a car and clattering down a marble hallway in my high heeled shoes, to a swank dinner with some amazing people. I did my best to converse intelligently while trying not to drop my fork or let my heels sink too far into the manicured lawn. I played with my ironed hair all evening; I’m not used to it being so straight.

Finally, around midnight, my hair had begun curling again and it was time to leave. I came back to witness my room in utter disarray, with jewelry, clothes and makeup strewn all around. I changed back into t-shirt and sweats, grabbed a broom and proceeded to set it back into order. I couldn’t bring myself to tie up my hair though. As it curled back to its natural state in the humidity and I sorted earrings while the clock showed 1 am, I was happy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pleasure and Pain

Today, I went to the beauty parlour and had my eyebrows shaped. I must confess, I didn’t even know people’s eyebrows could be shaped till I came to IIT. Only in 2nd year, and then on R’s insistence, did I first visit a beauty parlour and pay for the privilege of having someone pull out my eyebrows,  hair by hair. A visit to the parlour leaves me unfit for public display for at least three hours afterwards, as my skin turns bright and very noticeably pink after even the mildest threading.
Still, I do it month after month, because as I discovered in 2nd year, hairy eyebrows are gross. It’s amazing the amount of things you can have done to yourself at a beauty parlour. Torture aside, I really love my visits there. It is such an entirely female place. The one place when you actually talk about your defects and insecurities with your appearance and people, kind people, help you correct them or cover them up. 

So today, I went there, read a fashion magazine and had Pinky, my favourite beautician, shape my eyebrows while I winced. It helped that Pinky winced in sympathy with me, each time. Then she rubbed cream into my forehead and told me how delicate my skin was. Flattered and sore, I was happy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where I get my geek on

Today, I sat on a stool in the electronics lab and sorted out resistors with a multimeter. I remember feeling disappointed when I first saw a resistor. It looked so different from the zigzag lines we drew in circuits, its brown, cylindrical body looked so commonplace. I forgot my disappointment soon though; things in real life are rarely what we imagine them to be. (And now, I can’t believe I made a philosophical statement based on the appearance of a resistor. How geeky am I?) But really, even though things are not what you picture them to be, it’s unfair to be disappointed in what they are. Very often, they are even better. (I defy you to extend the resistor analogy to this point.)

I love working in the Electronics lab. It has been the one place, these past few months, when I could smile and pretend I was fine and I actually was for a little while. When I did work and felt useful. So I sorted resistors and chattered, happy to be there. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


There’s an impudent black crow who picks through my dustbin each morning. He caws at me reproachfully whenever he finds I haven’t thrown out anything edible. He then proceeds to overturn my dustbin before moving on to the next one, and no amount of arm flapping or shouting discourages him for long.

This morning, I woke up before him to finish a report and caught him in the act of daintily picking out all my trash and flinging it on the floor. Feeling my stare upon him, he looked up and for a moment, I was subjected to a very disapproving, beady, black stare. Finally, he seemed to reach a decision about me, shook his head and proceeded to ignore me and fling out yesterday’s apple core.

Today, I was judged by a crow. 

Monday, October 26, 2009


Technically, my happy thing for today happened on Sunday itself. After watching Julie & Julia, R and I browsed about Shoppers Stop and I bought myself a gorgeous choker. It has a startlingly blue pendant, with silvery veins radiating from a heart of pearl.

After coming back though, distracted by work, I put it away. I took it out only just now, wore it and preened before the mirror. Who says you can't be shallow and still be happy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Pleasure of Anticipation

I've been wanting to watch Julie & Julia ever since I first heard of the movie in May. Through my internship, I read Julie Powell's blog which in turns amused and inspired me all summer. I especially remember her proclamations, "I am Julie, hear me roar!" which would always make me smile.

So when the movie finally came to India, on October 23rd, I had to go watch it. Friday wasn't good, we had a wing thing planned. So after staying up till 6 in an intense cack session with the wingmates where we sampled sparkling wine and sang along to Aerosmith, I was up at 9 again, to take on the movie.

I had my popcorn, R for company and Meryl Streep with the rounded shoulders and fluty voice of Julia Child. There is so much pleasure in anticipation. Watching Ms. Streep proclain, "Bon Apetit!" I was happy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


This morning, I walked back from the department at my usual pace, pondering the idea I'd just had for my new blog. I wondered what my first post would be. This is a blog about happiness, born from the realization that it is something to be sought and won, not something that will simply fall into my lap. That being said, it is very easy to achieve.

So I slowed my steps and looked up to see the trees meet over my head. Thick branches diverged from the main trunks, each splitting into countless little twigs that looked black in the morning sunshine as it filtered through the leaves. The two trees from either side of the road formed an arch over me, so that I couldn't see which branches belonged to which tree anymore, rather like I was inside a giant emerald heart, with the branches like a system of arteries reaching for sunlight.

Then I thought, how lucky are trees? They live on sunshine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lying Down In Reality

I’m a keeper of sheep.
The sheep are my thoughts
And each thought a sensation.
I think with my eyes and my ears
And with my hands and feet
And with my nose and mouth.
To think a flower is to see and smell it,
And to eat a fruit is to know its meaning.
That is why on a hot day
When I enjoy it so much I feel sad,
And I lie down in the grass
And close my warm eyes,
Then I feel my whole body lying down in reality,
I know the truth, and I’m happy.

-Alberto Caeiro

I read this poem yesterday and it's been in my head ever since. It made me realise, I haven't felt this way in a while. I haven't felt happy. For a while now, I've simply been existing, not living. This poem reminded me of how I used to feel when I stopped for a moment and looked at the sky, or when I spoke to a friend for hours about life and ambition, or when I went to sleep, warm and contented. I want to feel that way again.

So this blog, where at least once a day, I write about something that made me happy, even if for a moment. The only rule is, that it can never be the same thing twice. I'm beginning today, let's see how it goes!