Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Night and day

Hello Reader! I've missed you! It is warm in Chennai; a sweaty, sticky warmth like a very close hug, where if you take a deep breath, you can smell the unique smell of the city. I stepped into that embrace just about a month ago, and it was comforting after the icicle that was Delhi. It smells of the sea here, and in the evenings, when the jasmine buds open, they add their own heady perfume. It smells of the ghee frying dosas on a thousand stoves each morning, mixed with the incense burning in the temple down the street.

I watched the Republic Day parade this morning, and felt proud. It was very nice to watch it on telly, on a balmy Chennai morning, sunk deep into a sofa. It was very easy to feel patriotic. I had planned to attend the parade, but well, I had to move to Chennai. I remember the night I walked down Rajpath alone. It was lit here and there by gaunt, gloomy looking streetlights and the papads a seller was waving at me looked ghostly. There was only one man selling soap solution; he would blow through a tiny loop, surrounding me with bubbles that burst as they touched me. There were many people there, wearing devil's horn hairbands that glowed redly in the dark. I stood at the Amar Jawan Jyoti and wondered what it felt like to actually give your life for your country, not just talk about it.

That road was busy today, ringing with the sound of a thousand marching boots. And I watched and sank deeper into the comfort of my sofa.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It is Lohri today. In the hostel, the girls will dress up this evening, in a flurry of borrowing and bright colours. They will light a bonfire, more smoke than fire, and dance around it, clapping their hands. The one amplifier we bought, during my third year there, will blare out popular Hindi songs, some of which will no longer be familiar to me. There will be boys, standing apart, awkwardly. The seniors will watch from the first floor corridors and sometimes shout out encouragement. Everyone will munch on damp popcorn and sugar. They will dance till the fire burns down and their eyes are red and watering, from the smoke.