Saturday, February 18, 2012

I got my hair cut short today, reader. Not as short as I'd threatened, but still short enough that it swishes from side to side as I walk and so loose tendrils tickle my ears.
I've wanted to get my hair pixie short for a while now, but that desire was warring with my affection for the hair I've grown so painstakingly, so I compromised and settled for a bob. I like it. And the whole experience was so fun, with S beside me for moral support. We gossiped and the hairstylist went snip-snip and in no time, I looked totally different. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Twenty four

Two hours and twenty eight minutes left reader, before I turn twenty four. It's high time I wrote one of those reflective posts, no? It's become a habit of mine, one that extends to New Year's Eve, festivals, anniversaries, and often just Monday, to stop and take stock of my life and write a moody piece about it. 

The house is silent just now. Panda is sitting beside me, staring suspiciously at the heater. I can see the reflection of its red coil in his eyes. It's cold, but bearably so, I suppose. This winter must've toughened me.

Twenty four, reader. It doesn't feel awfully significant. Next year now, you'll catch me panicking about turning the first corner. This year I'm remarkably resigned, and secretly rather proud of my resignation. 

A year older and finally a little wiser, I think. I learnt some rather painful but valuable lessons this year. I made a lot of decisions that I really hope are the right ones. For the first time in a long time, I find I'm at peace with myself. It's a flimsy peace, but I've learned not to question it too much. It shall get fortified slowly. 

That's a lesson that was particularly hard. Patience. For a long time, I felt like I was sitting around waiting for my life to happen. Then I realised I had to seize the reins, and make it happen for myself. So I tried that and got upset over and over again. I carried on with more guts than gumption, but it finally occurred to me to stop and figure out what I was doing wrong. This driving stuff is hard. But I have faith that with time, I'll get better at it. 

And right there is another lesson. Acceptance. I used to scoff at faith. I had very little patience with the devout and the unquestioning. But sometimes, I learnt, you need to hold on to something, be it something as ephemeral as a belief. Things will get better. You will figure out the answers. This life stuff does get easier. What choice did I have but to believe? And I found that by simply choosing to believe, I felt better and worked harder. It's totally self-fulfilling. 

It is a very wonderful world, isn't it reader? There is so much to see and admire, so much to laugh at and wonder over. I'm thinking right now of the story a very dear friend related to me about Wen, the Eternally Surprised. 

 “Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.” - Terry Pratchett, in Thief of Time. 

Words to live by. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I'm cold today reader, and I can't seem to warm up. I'm sitting with a heater on my side and feeling a little like Two-face. One side of my face is hot and my skin is reddening, while the other is numb. I switch the heater from side to side, every half hour, and I suppose I should be grateful that half of me is warm.
The winter has been long this year. There were foggy days when I couldn't see more than ten feet ahead, and cold nights when only conversation kept me warm.
I'm so tired of winter. I wish spring would come. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Today's been a long day. I'm tired but I can't seem to fall asleep just yet, so I thought I would write to you. I tried for a while but for the life of me, I couldn't think of anything cheerful to say. So instead, I went through my old drafts and dug this out. I wrote the piece below sometime in November last year, I think, but never posted it, I'm not quite sure why. Still, better late than never.

Today, I feel... caramelly. You know, like a pot of boiling caramel. The surface of it is still, with just a lazy bubble here and there, that swells slowly and bursts in slow motion and then you smell butter and sugar. But there's so much going on below, and if a chance spatter catches your arm, it stings godawfully.
I boiled and stirred, poured, chilled and cut, and quickly fell into a rhythm. These little suckers are addictive, especially if like me, you enjoy the feeling of your teeth gummed together, even down to that moment of panic when you wonder if they'll ever get unstuck. Of course, eventually they do, and the caramel is gone, just leaving a faint memory of butter. And then you have to do it all over again, because it can't have been as good as you remember, can it? Can it?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's just me and the dog tonight. Salad for dinner. A tangle of greens enlivened with roasted peanuts and bright, pucker-inducing lime juice.
The dog prefers bread and milk. What does he know.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Goodness, reader. I just re-read that last post and realised, I'm getting awfully dramatic, aren't I? I must check the tendency. I thought up that outrunning my demons line as I ran and it cheered me up to no end.

Another thing that's been cheering me up lately is this pot of pansies, next to the main gate of the colony. I pass them every evening on my walk/run. They're big. The biggest pansies I've ever seen, coloured a brash yellow with deep purple hearts. And there are more of them every day. 
Today, I loaded two albums of Sara Bareilles' onto my iPod, pulled on my running shoes, and called for a very very excited dog. The shadows were lengthening when we set out, and the evening was chilly and lonesome. Because I run with a very distracted dog, I usually run in fits and spurts. We set off in a mad churn of legs and paws and then suddenly grind to a halt when Panda smells something interesting. It works for us.
Today though, I was impatient with his stops and leisurely sniffings. I dragged him along grimly till he finally caught on and matched me, bound for stride.
We ran round and round in mile-long circles, as dusk turned into night and the streetlamps came on. And I learned that if you run fast enough, you can outrun your demons, for a little while. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm thinking of a summer day last year, when my cousin, N, was here on a visit. N is the least talkative of my cousins. Usually, she just smiles while I chatter on, slightly hysterically.
It was a Sunday morning and we were headed to the Adventure Island. The Island is an amusement park way up in the north of Delhi. N loves rollercoasters. I wanted to prove that I was brave. We marched out to the metro station at nine in the morning, draped in cotton scarves, hatted and sunscreened up. We reached the island by ten, and were almost the first ones there. N was excited and it was infectious.
We'd worked out a plan of attack so we could go on as many rides as possible before it was time to return home at five. We picked a ride called the Tornado first, which was a giant spinning roundabout to which chairs were attached with metal chains. You sat in a chain and as the Tornado spun, your chair would shoot outwards and turn, so you were sitting almost parallel to the ground and screaming your head off. I certainly did. N was laughing.
We went on ride after ride, and on each I screwed my eyes tighter shut and squealed louder. I was slightly green when N led me excitedly to the rocking boat. The boat didn't just rock, it also rose about thirty feet high and then spun round and round several times, turning you upside down. I told N to go on without me and stood on the side, trying to control my weirdly churning insides. The boat operator was particularly sadistic, and laughed up at me while he left them hanging upside down, thirty feet in the air. N got off afterwards and told me she wanted to go again.
I joined the line with her. I'd made a promise to myself a few years ago to always try everything once, and to never allow myself to have regrets. I know what it's like to play something over and over in my head, and wish I'd been braver, done something different. I didn't want to regret my cowardice later, over getting on the ride. So I climbed on beside N, held on to my seat's arms tightly and closed my eyes. I forced them open briefly while we were hanging upside down, just so I wouldn't regret not looking later too, and then closed them tightly again.
I stumbled off that ride, insides churning wildly and was later, quietly, miserably sick. I thought about it today, and I realised that I don't remember the sickness or even how it felt to hang upside down, thirty feet above the ground, with the blood rushing to my head. All I remember is my pride. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The most important thing in the world

Appa and I were talking today, about the telecommunications industry, the 2G spectrum scam, the economics of the whole thing and about culpability. Big, important, very cool sounding stuff. He was doing most of the talking, because I know very little. I was listening intently. And beside us, a little dog was getting very very impatient. 
He began by chasing his own tail round and round and round, till he was a black and white blur. I did my best not to watch him and focus on appa instead. 
When he tired of that game, he trotted up to us and barked, shrill little barks. Even without a language, he communicates very well. I pushed him away. Optical fibres were being discussed. Then Panda escalated. He jumped up on me and began scraping at my arm. He does not respond well to being ignored. I finally caved and took him out. 
We stood outside in a patch of winter sunshine, with sparrows hopping about around us. It was then that I realised why it is that I love this little dog so much. He puts things into perspective, no? His demands are peremptory and insistent, and always make me laugh, so comical is his seriousness. The rest of the world could wait, while Panda chased the sparrows. 

Friday, February 3, 2012


I'm afraid I am become such a cliche, reader. You and I are the opposite of fair-weather friends, no? I come here exactly when I need comfort or simply, unburdening. I write to you in half-sentences and subtext and leave here quite pleased at my own cleverness. I don't know if anyone out there is listening, and it really doesn't matter. I talk anyway.

This blog, I realised today, has become exactly what I intended. A place that makes me happy, and maybe makes some of you happy too? When I read through my older posts, after I'm done cringing at the syntax errors, I remember those sharp stabs of joy I used to feel. They're more muted now, when they're from memory, but they exist. Nostalgia doesn't always make you sad. It can bring joy too.

The past few days have been... hard. So I turn to this white place which is my little corner of the interweb, and I talk to you. I also listen to an awful lot of Leona Lewis, luxuriate in the romance of the sadness I feel, and laugh a little at how silly I'm acting.

Laughter is good. I laughed till my sides ached today, at Panda. He was really excited about our evening walk, and reared up on his hind legs as is his wont, to paw me and urge me to tie my shoelaces faster. Today, his leg slipped and he fell on the floor, hard. He bounced right back up, don't worry, and I'm still chuckling when I think of the expression on his face. He's such a happy dog, and some of that inevitably rubs off on me.

You're probably going to see quite a lot of me in the next few days. I plan on going back to my old format of remembering the things that make me happy each day. And I'll do my best to ensure that not all of them involve Panda.

Until tomorrow then.