Sunday, October 31, 2010


Reader, looking back on my posts, I find that mentions of a certain black and white pup have become very regular, and indeed for those who don't know him, perhaps quite tiresome. The thing is, Reader, a few months ago, I went through a pretty dark phase. It was the sort of thing we all go through, at one point or another in our lives, but for me it was of obsessive importance, because you see, it was my life. I turned into the sort of person I never wanted to become: self pitying. So when Panda came along, and wriggled his way into my heart, I finally had someone other than myself to think about and it was providential. However, I don't think I managed to get rid of my demons, I simply succeeded in transferring them, to him.
In him, they take  a far more vicious form. Indeed, quite often, he seems almost possessed. Why just last night, I pleasantly anticipated spending the evening reading a book, lingering over dinner, chatting up a few friends. Instead, I rescued a cushion and yelled at Panda, mourned my chewed up headphones and yelled at Panda, chased him around the house and stubbed my toe, wiped up muddy paw prints and yelled at him some more, nearly turned deaf by his barking at imaginary noises and when I finally collapsed, exhausted on the bed, watched him chew a giant hole in the bedspread, too defeated to protest.
He can be absolutely angelic for hours on end. Right now for example, he's curled up beside me looking impossibly virtuous, but I know that in another couple of hours the whole cycle will start again. People, the internet, trainers, all tell me this is a phase, that it will soon pass. But I'm having a deepening conviction that I'm grown too old for this.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My happy place

Reader, I've only been working two weeks, yet my days somehow seem to have acquired a sameness. Don't get me wrong, my routine is pleasant and I am content, at least for now. But I can only tell you so often about how big Panda is growing, how he leaps up, tongue out, his whole body vibrating with the eagerness to greet me, after a long day at work. I can't tell you about sunrises too often, even though each one I've seen has been different and memorable. But wait, I don't think I've told you yet about our dear, misshapen kitchen.
It has far more counter space than anyone needs and too little width for two people to stand and work beside each other with the slightest bit of comfort. But it has lots of fully stocked cupboards and my own dear old pots and pans, which I didn't realize I had missed until I caught myself caressing a bowl. The kitchen is shaped like an L, with the counters running down both sides. Since Amma and I are the only ones who cook and we both don't like spreading ourselves out too much, most of the counter remains black and gleaming, just the way I like it. Our familiar old four burner stove is on one corner, and Amma and I are constantly constantly claiming the space before it,. it is prime real estate. Since we've come here I've cooked puddings and sauces, made chutneys and chappatis and once, a sambhar that Appa said was better than Amma's.
All the while, Panda spreads himself out as wide as possible at the door, making me trip over him several times a day. He always lies there when he sees me cooking, he knows he will be fed illicit scraps.
I'll be telling you more about my culinary adventures soon, on my other blog, but for now I just wanted to tell you about my kitchen. Gleaming counters, the smells of spice, and dog. I think I've found my happy place.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Preserving joy

I'm not big on photographs, Reader. But as you might have noticed, what I am big on, is words.
I've done this once before and I'm going to do it again. My days have been full of moments, when I feel a sharp stab of joy, for an instant, and then it fades and I'm left empty. But very soon after, I can't even remember what I felt joyful about, and I feel a sort of sadness, for what I can't remember.
Not today, Reader.

My day began early, at 5 am, actually when I woke up a very sleepy pup. He didn't want to get up and instead lazily licked my hand and rolled over onto his back.

Then we went out in that eerie glow that is the light of the morning and the air was crisp and cool. We were alone on the road, everyone else asleep.

I remember the precise moment of dawn, when suddenly the dim light turned into a glorious radiance, that I would've missed if I had as much as blinked.

There was Panda stalking through foot-high grass, it must've seemed elephantine to him. With a tread like an explorer, he set a panicky field of moths aflight, as he walked.

There was the smell of the sambar I made for breakfast, a heady mix of spice, boiling merrily on the stove.

There were more, Reader, but I can't tell you just now, I need to be going, as the impatient pup tugging on my arm tells me. But I'm glad I could tell you of my moments, at least of a few. If there was a way of bottling happiness and preserving it for the future, this would be it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Ah Reader, I think I'm rediscovering the joys of an honest week's work. And now that my weekend is finally here (Yes, I get only Sunday off) I don't feel guilty anymore for looking forward to it. No matter how much I gripe and laze, work does make me happy... eventually...
Now I'm going to go drown all my newfound convictions in a sea of dissipation. See you Monday!

Friday, October 1, 2010

This and that

I went to Delhi's Chandni Chowk today, Reader. The whole street is one glorious oxymoron. It's a study in contradictions, where the old and the new jostle each other daily and everything is swathed in an all-enveloping sea of humanity. I saw sweet stores that had been in the same place since the seventeen hundreds and fast food joints. I saw temples and mosques and a town hall. I asked a rickshaw puller for directions and nearly collided with a BMW while crossing the road.
It was a very very interesting afternoon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Silent company

I have a new favourite time of day, Reader. Every morning, Panda wakes me up at around 5 am by the simple expedient of jumping up on the bed and sitting on my face. I take him out, bleary eyed and shuffling while he prances about, offensively cheerful. After we come back in, I collapse back on my bed, which he takes as a signal for commencing round two. He proceeds to chew on my hair till I cover my head with a blanket. He then chews the blanket. When he tires of it, he sniffs around the room, looking for other things to chew. He has little or no discretion when making his selection, one day it's my handbag, the next it's my cellphone and every so often, it's my computer's power cord. Semi-comatose though I am, my subconscious wakes me as soon as it realises he's being too silent. Yes Reader, I'm awakened by silence.

By 6 am I'm wide awake and it's light out. We run out of the house together, scaring squirrels and mynahs. I draw my energy from him; when he's so impossibly cheerful about being outside at dawn, some of it rubs off. After we've expended out initial energy, we meander. Panda sniffs delicately at flowers, which sight amuses me endlessly. I address my remarks on the morning and any minor epiphanies I have to him. He makes for a very good listener. We meet other people walking dogs whom Panda proceeds to jump at them, his whole body quivering with friendliness. After exchanging pleasantries we walk on, and Panda keeps looking back till he gets his leash tangled with my legs.

Our walk lasts for an hour, Reader, and it puts me in a good mood all day long. I think of all the silly things he did every once in awhile during my day, and smile.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Oh Reader, I do love it so here. I'm in Delhi and there's grass here! And there are trees, lots of them, in our very backyard! And the other day, I was laughing as I watched a half grown black and white dog chase clumsily after butterflies when I heard a thump on the roof above me. I ran out and looked up to see a peacock there, Reader! It had the loveliest cobalt blue neck and it wasn't the least bit shy. It made my day.

 For the past couple of weeks, I've been happy almost without trying. We finally have our own kitchen where I can cook with my own familiar old pots and pans.I have the dearest little room with a corner especially for my veena and giant windows that keep it alight with sunlight all day. There's a perfect corner next to my bed where Panda curls up and sleeps, whenever he's not eating or playing.  Panda is thriving here, he's made friends with all the local strays and escapes whenever we leave a door open, to go out and play. And I've been writing, Reader. I've actually felt like it, after ever so long.

The only snag is that I don't have an internet connection there yet, so I can't talk to you as often as I would like. But that will soon be remedied.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Sun

Reader, I've been silent a long time, I know. The thing is, I come here time and again, begin to type and then stop, because I don't quite know what to say. It's a constant conflict I have: where to draw the line? I'm here to share my life with you, but how much is too much?
So today, finally I decided, no explanations. Our relationship is such that we don't need them. We share happiness, not sadness. So today, I'll tell you what made me happy. It's been raining cats and dogs in Mumbai, a dreary, grey sheet of rain that seems almost diabolical in it's timing. It waits Reader, till I think it's safe to sneak out for a few minutes, and then catches me unprepared and drenches me gleefully. But today, the sun won the battle it's been fighting for the last three months, with the clouds. It shone out, triumphantly and I went out on the terrace, to bask. There's light again around me, coulors are brighter the geese in the pond outside are loudly and untunefully happy. I am happy too, because I am leaving here soon. Very soon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Reader, I'm here because I want someone to talk to. It's ironic isn't it, how doomed this conversation is, to being one sided. I have dozens of friends, several close ones, yet I turn to this blog, this white and blue somewhat impersonal space, whenever I feel the need to be real, to confess, even if it be in half truths and metaphors.
Whenever I enter into a conversation, Reader, I feel a need to define its scope in advance. Even if it is with my closest friends, I memorize topics we might converse on in advance, so that we may never be at a loss. Silence is frightening. The same isn't quite true for me and you, I think, though I'm often scared of what all I reveal here. I came here, not knowing what to say, so I type to fill the emptiness. I've been having a tough few days of it and I'm tired of telling myself that my problems are trivial compared to those others face. My problems are my own and of paramount importance to me, if to no one else. If that makes me selfish then so be it, I'll get over it soon enough. I'm tired of talking of my problems now though, fascinating as the topic is.

Let's talk of the weather instead then, shall we? That's a safe topic. It's rainy here in Mumbai, wet and humid and green. I wonder if it's just as rainy in Hyderabad. I wonder if Panda is cold, if his fur is silvery with raindrops. I love the smell of wet dog. I would rub him vigorously with his towel at the faintest sign of dampness and he would do his best to chew the towel to bits in the meantime. It was a little game we played. I hope he's dry right now, I don't want him catching cold. I miss him, Reader. I miss him terribly.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Lying Down in Reality

Today, for the first time in a very long time, I felt happy. I felt like the man in the poem. I was sitting on the stone steps at the back of our house. It was dark outside and moths were dancing about the one dim yellow bulb over my head. In my lap was, trustingly asleep, one very fat, silky puppy. His name is Panda.

Reader, I haven't been happy. Not for a long time. For ever so long I took happiness for granted, as something that just existed in my life and didn't require much attention. I didn't notice for a long time, when it was gone. When I finally noticed, I still doubted myself. I was well fed, well clothed, reasonably successful, and popular. I've lived a charmed life and have people who love me and whom I love very dearly. It seemed almost selfish of me to feel discontented. But it didn't pass. So, I began this blog, to try to remember that feeling, of "lying down in reality". I couldn't keep it up. My days blended into each other, all sluggish and blurry. I lacked the energy to go out and seek that feeling, the one I couldn't even remember anymore. I wondered if it even existed.

Finally, when I couldn't take the wondering anymore, Reader, I took a break. From my life in Mumbai, from the people I knew there, from Physics, and from you. I spent two months, dancing, singing, teaching, and reading. I found Panda at the Blue Cross shelter. He was a tiny bundle of fluff, shyly waiting for his turn to receive a pat from me. When I picked him up, he sighed and nestled into the crook of my arm, warm and trusting. I couldn't let go. 

Now, I feel like someone waking from a long and disturbed sleep. I feel tired and lethargic, but the sun's rising. My two months are up and I'm living on borrowed time. I have to go back and face the responsibilities I abandoned. I don't know if I can do it, Reader. I'm scared. But I go back with the memory of tonight, of how it felt to have Panda on my lap, warm and alive, of how I watched him admiringly, stroked his velvety ears and tickled his whiskers and he never once woke. I love him, Reader, because he trusts me to take care of him, because he comes running when I call and flings himself against my legs, because he chews my slippers when no one's watching, but has the grace to look guilty when he's caught, and because whenever I sit on the verandah steps he climbs onto me, curls up in my lap, and promptly falls asleep.

That feeling exists, Reader and it's worth fighting for.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The perfect number

When it comes to exams, one might just be the perfect number. It is midsem week and I had one paper today: Quantum Computing. I did have a Humanities paper as well, last week, but that doesn't count, does it?
I remember frantically mugging for papers with A and G, at the last possible minute, memorizing formulae using mnemonics and no common sense, sitting cross legged on a mess table and explaining Thermodynamics, and gigglingly trying to decipher sleepily scribbled notes. There was none of that this year, I was alone. All the juniors were mugging and the hostel was unusually quiet. I procrastinated till the very last minute, but managed about three hours of cramming and went alone to the department I wrote the paper and submitted it with a flourish, ten minutes before time.
Now, at the end of my college career I discover that I quite like giving papers. Or perhaps, I like giving one paper, in the middle of a long week of inactivity. It's comforting to know that not all my brain cells have died, given the idleness they've been subjected to. It's gentle fun to me mucking about with equations, this is after all, what I once thought I'd be doing for a career.

Last things

Reader, I'm sorry for the absence of posts, I've been having net problems. I have however been faithfully recording my happy things for all the days I've been gone and you'll soon find them all below, if you're interested.
Today, I had my last mid semester exam: Quantum Computing. I studied in earnest for it, for about three hours, desperately missing A and G. The three of us used to have such fun, studying for papers together. We'd bestir ourselves to collect notes nearabout midnight, passionately debate the relative merits of plain salted potato chips and mad angles, try on jewellery, gossip, and do pretty much everything besides study. It didn't seem right somehow, to write my last midsem without them. Still, it's done now and I'm heartily glad.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Twenty Two

I'm twenty two, Reader. It had to happen. A whole year older and not a whit the wiser. Still, I did manage to do quite a few of the things on my list. As for the rest of them, serves me right for not giving myself enough time, but I do have the whole of twenty three to do them in.
I seem to be invested with an almost unrufflable placidity. K calls it cow-like, but then brothers will be unflattering. I prefer to call myself chill  (I wonder how much longer I can get away with slang, before I become too old and lame to use it.) I do wish though that I could rile myself up on my failings and bring myself to do something about them. So far all I've managed is gentle chastisement; I can't bring myself to be harsh to myself...
It was a lovely birthday. A, S, R, G and I had dinner last night and excellent conversation. Then I came to the wing and proceeded to get smeared with cake. I fell asleep smelling like chocolate frosting.
The morning was spent quite.. um... placidly. In the evening Amma and Appa came over expressly to wish me, and I felt very loved.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Oh Reader, I was so determined not to be a cliche this Valentine's day, and yet, I ended up writing poetry all morning. I'd been selected to participate in the Poetry Slam of the Kala Ghoda festival and I admit to you freely, Reader, poet I am not. So I cussed my way through some muddled verse in the morning and went there anyway, because the experience would count, wouldn't it? Besides, it'd give me something to tell you about when I returned.
The festival was lovely, albeit extremely crowded. Serves me right, I suppose for putting off going there till the very last day, along with what seemed like most of Mumbai's population. By 6 in the evening, I found myself in the lawns behind the David Sassoon library, nervously correcting my scribbled verse. We were on stage soon and some of the other contestans were really quite incredible. I quaked to go up after them, but my last year's experience did give me some assurance. I ended up placing second and meeting some very wonderful and talented people.
S was there cheering me on and doing lots of his own networking. We ended up dining at Leopold's cafe, before I sleepily boarded a train home. Single Valentine's Days can be pretty awesome too.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I had my second-last midsem today, and my last one in the Convo hall. That hall is the first place I went to when I came to IIT. Amma and I sat in a back row and I was distracted by the pigeons that fluttered above us, narrowly missing the lazily turning fans. Since then, I've written countless examinations there, sung on that stage, watched some incredible shows and danced in the pit.
I'm only beginning to be struck by the countless "last things" I'm going to do these next couple of months. College is almost over and it's time to grow up.
I'll be there one last time in August though, when I go up on stage and receive my degree.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Up and down

A, N and I decided to go for a run today. We took the lakeside route, it's a road that hugs the curve of the lake, offering perspectives at every angle. I find it calming to see such an expanse of emptiness, it's a rare sight in Mumbai. Sunset is the best time to go, it's really quite glorious then, what with the sun leaving a bright orange trail, as if marking the spot where it is to return tomorrow.
There are a set of steps leading down to the lakeside and it was when we saw them that it occurred to us, that it would be good exercise to run up and down them. So we did twenty sets, giggling and panting all the way, and we quite missed the sunset.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ice cream at midnight

Today we had a PAF meeting. I've said this before, PAF time is my favourite time of the year. And I can feel it all over again, the same excitement from years before. The meeting was all the way across the campus, in H13, but it didn't seem to matter. I had excellent company and was almost sorry when we reached our destination. After the meeting, K and I snuck out, leaving the juniors to negotiate who was giving whom a treat. We stopped at the ice cream parlour on our way back though, for a little treat. It was fun licking our cones, in the chilly night air.

Another Day

Yesterday was good to me Reader, one of those days when you go to bed tired. I have very few of those in fifth year, come to think of it and it's not a good thing. It was a normal sort of day, I didn't do anything very much out of the ordinary and no particular moment stood out. It was one out of hundreds of other days, passed by and soon forgotten. But I must've done something right, because I went to bed not guilty or uneasy, but contentedly and I slept dreamlessly.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Windy day

The weather's been quite glorious today, Reader. I do love a windy day. I love watching as the wind churns up fallen leaves and sets them dancing madly, I love standing up to the wind, testing my strength against it and I love it when it whips away my words as soon as they're spoken, carrying them off. It's only on windy days that I wish my walk from the hostel to my department was longer, it seems almost a crime to go indoors and not emerge till it is dark and the wind has blown itself away.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I'm back, Reader. I think what I need is a routine. Every evening, 7 pm, post on blog. Something I can stick to. Otherwise I wander away from here and don't return for weeks on end.
It's February now and I don't quite know where the winter went. It seems like just yesterday that I was curling up in bed, pleasantly shivery, but now I already have my rickety fan on as fast as it can go. This is also the month I turn twenty two. Twenty two isn't a particularly significant age, I suppose. I firmly hold that all birthdays after twenty one are simply depressing. I look back on my year and wonder what on earth I've achieved. (I know I should've already done this on New Year's, Reader, but I was too busy partying then) I made a list over the weekend of things to do in the nine days left before I officially turn a year older. It's a rather scandalous list though, so I don't think I'll tell you about it here.
I do love though that my birthday comes in the spring. There's such an air of possibility around. I don't think anyone can be depressed for long in the spring. Why, just today, an adventurous squirrel clambered onto my windowsill and snatched away a hunk of bread almost from my fingers.
I'll spare you the long introspection today Reader, I still have nine days left to complete it. Wish me luck on my list!