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.