Sunday, November 18

Buri Nazar Wale, Tera Muh Kaala

1.Okay, really, like WTF?!  All this while I've been going on and on like a miserable fuck and no one even thought to tell me. Y'all suck. I want to make you guys pay, but I'm guessing you already have. Anyway, enough. New rules. Until Something Really Happens, no boys on the blog.

2. 45 days. 18 books. Eight behind the required run rate. I have to finish the reading challenge, dammit. It's the only thing I decided to do this year. If I don't, I'm going to bin all my resolutions for the new year. Okay, I have to say it. I'm just so, so sick of reading on the Kindle, dear reader. I just want to hold a real book. which smells of paper. has a cover. and which I can spill things on. which looks different from the previous or the next book. which I can put next to my pillow. and sleep.  Can someone gimme a bunch of those, please? Pleaseee?

3. Now, this is not really on the list but am I the only one that thinks Daniel Craig = dopey eyed construction worker/self-mutilating monk from Angels & Demons. Oh, and Skyfall?! "The Best. Bond. Movie. Ever." "Dark, supple, and punctuated with moments of unanticipated visual brilliance.Are you kidding me?. I'll take Home Alone 3 over this cheap, campy joke, thank you very much.

4. On the work front, I'm waiting for a Good Thing to happen.  If it does, it will change everything.  I'm pretending like I don't really care but I do, dear universe, I really, really do.  Can you conspire to make it happen? Before the end of the year, if you don't mind. I'm aging by the minute here.

5. Inspired by Jughead and the Dark Lord, for the first time ever, a weight-watch ticker. Hit The Golden Number by 31st December.

PS: "Until Something Really Happens."  "A Good Thing." "The Golden Number." Why am I talking like this?  All in good time, my friends. All in good time.

Tuesday, November 13

All or Nothing

Today, I did something I'm rather proud of.  Something the stubborn, passive-agressive me of six-months ago would never done.  I was fair. I was just. I talked. And, I listened.  I won't pretend it was easy. Losing a friend. But I did it anyway.

I'm still a little underwhelmed. But I'm told that's what happens when you go with a plan.

I admit, I always overestimate people I like.  I think them the smartest, the coolest and the nicest.  Again and again, I give them every benefit of doubt. I think no less of them when they've wronged me.  Short of murder and rape,  I forgive them pretty much everything.

So, the only thing that can make me truly dislike them is them.  When they do things even the idiotically-loyal-me cannot overlook. Still, I hope.  I wait and wait for them to prove me wrong.

When they still don't, one day, I switch off.  Take them off my radar.  Call it a day.

As I did today.

I said my goodbyes. Found my closure.

Now, I move on.

Thursday, October 25

Thanksgiving comes early to Castle Grouchy

Thank You, The Great Indian "Oktoberfest" --  It seems I can like beer after all which has made me think about ALL the other things I've written off all these years (neatly labelled under "HATE") but should now try again. Pigeons? Math?  Driving? Relationships?

Thank You,  my very expensive and very gay hairdresser for inquiring if I am particular about the length of my hair and not waiting for me to reply before you chopped off my inglorious tresses. I wanted to hit you then, when you shouted across the floor, "Thanks for letting me go all the way!" but in hindsight, I'm a happier girl today. Every one's been complimenting me on my new look. Someone even said I was looked very pretty. ("Just like Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory") But still.

Thank You U.N Summit, for keeping me occupied and out of office for the soul-suckingly boring month that is October. For extracting from me a pound of flesh. But more importantly for making me meet Nadir. When you slipped into my hands the Prime Minister's speech in full sight of the rest of 'em, is the moment when I fell a little in love with you, heart of my heart. Why did you have to be married? Why?!

Thank You, Smurfette for that weekend.  All the luxury indulgence was much appreciated.  The morning after however was one of the scariest experiences of my life, courtesy of which, I'm going to be abstaining from aqua vitae for a long time to come. Oh, and maybe from bath tubs too.  Because this is a family oriented blog (Dafuq), I can't recount the sequence in detail.  (Just know that I almost did an Elvis and that you are very lucky I'm still here.)

Thank You, Smugface and NYT,  for killing every desire I've might have had for you both.  I never want to date anyone whose name starts with V. Ever. Ever.

Thank You,  networks of the world, for giving me back BBT, Grey's, Merlin, Vampire Diaries and everything else, now I have something to do while I wait to grow old and die.

Friday, September 7

Speaking of doodles

You whistle right about now.

This is what I'll do if you leave me in a room with a pot full of black paint.   And it's called creative liberty.

Saturday, August 11

The said trip


So, it seems that I might have been a little angsty the last time around.  But here am I, dear reader!  Five shades darker, eight pounds heavier and ten degrees happier. Because that is how, crazy, stupid, impromptu trips make me. 

This is how it happened, dear reader.  There I was, during the last week of July, contemplating matters of the heart, wandering through life listlessly. Having resigned myself to the boring birthday weekend looming ominously ahead with nothing to look forward to, I was as usual pretending to work, trying not to sleep when the call came. "Listen. I know it's last minute. But I have like a week to go before I join work. Do you still wanna do the trip?" she asks. Heh. Did I want to?  The next week, I'm filling out leave forms, wrapping up at work, throwing clothes into a rucksack and running to the bus stand.

After this point, many many things happened. I remember little. So I resort to chronology and notes from the iPhone. So, humor me.  Okay? Okay. 

Day One

I try to sandwich my bag into the overhead compartment. Like me, its curves seem to preclude it from sitting anywhere prettily. I'm on the verge of throwing it out of the window when I feel a swatched hand reaches past me and glides it in, as if to show that's how it's done . Even before I turn, I know I'll regret it. He's tall and dimpled. And now, he's flashing them and smiling down at me. I hate him. I wonder if his is the empty seat next to me. No. He's the one in front. So he leans his seat into mine and starts to read. Bright Shiny Morning, I find out. 

I'm seated next to a woman who looks uncannily like my grandmother. I dismiss it as a tragic coincidence until she starts to talk. And confirms it. I check my phone obsessively. Maybe Smugface did say goodbye. But no, no new notifications, Apple informs me mercilessly. Aunty is still talking about the temples I must visit. I fall asleep.  

It's a rainy, green, morning. Aunty is still talking. To her husband on the phone. Something feels wrong.  My feet are bare. My shoes are gone. I'm flapping around like a headless chicken. I've woken up Swatch. Aunty is trying to comfort me by touching me inappropriately. Swatch's standing over me again, smiling. He's retrieved my shoes. I feel like throwing them at him. But I smile back like I'm Cinderella. 

There's an ominous silence. Aunty has stopped talking. She's looking at us look at each other. She doesn't like it. She waits until he sinks down in his seat. And tells me about me. How gullible I am. How trusting I am. How boys only want one thing. How I should never talk to one. Never even make eye contact. I can see Swatch tilt his head so he can hear better. He's smiling that smile again.  I hate him. 

Aunty's still talking. 

The bus stops and I reach for my bag. But Swatch gets it before me. I give him a dirty look. He grins at me. Aunty is tapping her foot, making her disappointment known. We get down. He's waiting a few feet from me. Aunty's husband has come. But she looks at Swatch and decides to wait until Aghori comes to fetch me.  He's looking serious, tapping on his Swatch as if to say "your move." I pick up my bag and walk towards him. Past him. 

Onwards to detox. 

Day 2


We are sitting with our feet dangling high over the river. It's sunny one minute and raining the next.  It's misty and windy. And, freaky. It's perfect. Everything in our damp, little alcove rattles as a train passes overhead.  We sit and talk. She tells me about Falooda. I tell her about Smugface. I don't even have to explain. She gets it. Then, it dawns on me. I'm here. With Aghori, my travel sister. 


Eat at the Udipi temple, Aunty said. So we packed and ran. Completely sure we were going to miss the daily meal. But we made it just in time. Never was there/nor will there ever be Sambar rice or Payasam I'll love more. It's decided. I'm marrying a Kannidaga. If god wills, maybe the temple's poster-boy who stole my heart. 

Day 3  


I'm weary to the bone. If I have to sit in a bus one more time, to have one more man lech at us, to not be allowed to think about peeing, I'll kill myself. But we have to. We have to head on to Goa this evening. But I'll think about that later. 

Our "shack" is an unapologetic euphemism for shit. Its only saving grace is that it (literally) opens out onto the beach.  Which, by the way, didn't look like much last night. Still, until it's time for the train, we are going to walk along the shore.  We walk the > shaped stretch, waiting at the fisherman's cove (the tip), entirely unprepared for what lay on the other side.  

Bear with me, dear reader. How do ones explain stepping into a Monet? The feeling of being the sole person on an island? To walk in the sand, lie on rocks, sleep under blue sky, swim in the sea,  feel like the warm lick of the sun on your skin,in this universe that's all your own? To do as you wish. To not see another face for a few days? To have the voices in your head switch off. To simply cease to be?  

Laugh at me all you want. But its true. Near this tiny temple town, on this beach, my soul comes to rest.  

Day 4 


None of us seem to have the stomach to travel some more. So we throw anchor at Anjuna, the very place that Aghori and I so dreaded last time. The beautiful lantern-filled places are gone. So are the markets. With them, the crowds. So we find a nice inn by the beach with a fancy restaurant next door that serves great food. And spend our time climbing up and down the rocks to the beach.  And later, sit by a tiny shack on the top, overlooking the sea, feeding sparrows, fending away crows while stuffing our faces with hot vada-pav and mirchi bajji.  

Day 5


It's my birthday today. We are at Titos or Mambos or some such. I can feel the thrum of the music in my bones. But I don't dance. I'm sitting outside. Answering calls on autopilot. "Thanks so much. I'm still in Goa. Ha ha. Yea, its great. No, quite sober actually. Listen, I have a call waiting. But I'll definitely catch you later. Thanks for calling. Means a lot." I do this over and over until I begin to sound like a broken down record. Smugface saves me even that. Sends me a text instead. I throw the phone away.  But then, I forget it all when Aghori and Falooda do a  YMCA style Happy Birthday gig for me and I suddenly feel a rush of love for them. Given a choice, I wouldn't be any place else.  

But I have to say it. I am melancholy. 24 sucks.

Tuesday, July 31


Inspired by this

You are sitting a safe distance away from the wall.  You have been sitting there for a while, taking in the air, waiting for the rain to come.  From time to time, you look at the wall and remember. The last you tried jumping, you didn't fly. You fell. And hurt yourself. It took you all this time to pick up the pieces and glue yourself together. Now, you are slowly beginning to mend, resemble a bit of your old self.

Then there he comes. Tempting you. Teasing you. Luring you into trusting him.  He shows you dreams of flying. Says you should jump together.

You tell him that you don't want to jump. That it's painful. And it hurt you. And everything. He promises it will be okay.

So you ignore all the warning bells in your head. The sickening blackness in your gut. You throw caution to the winds.  Walk to the ledge and look at him. He smiles reassuringly.  So you take a breath, count to three and take the plunge.

You are on the floor again, smashed into a thousand pieces. Just like last time. You look up and see him still up on the roof. Why? You want to know. It was for you.  So, I could protect you, he says.

You laugh, until your insides hurt. Until you can feel no more. Until the blackness takes over. Until it starts to rain.

Until it's lights out in wonderland. 

Sunday, June 24

Inner Peace

Okay, so I'm really not supposed to be doing this.  I'm ten hours past the deadline for filing my story and fast approaching crisis mode. "All the time you spent in the slums will all be for naught. Concentrate, concentrate, focus, ho hum," I tell myself. Except my head, like  all the people I know, won't listen to a word of WHAT I'M SAYING. 

This was NOT how it was supposed to be, dear readers. 

Jughead and I, perpetually on self-help missions, have just finished Day 5 of  the Zen-You-Will-Be-Mine course.  Not cry. Not be passive-aggressive. Not get involved. Not be affected. Be happy, shiny, people.  That was all. By now, we were supposed to be well on our way to inner peace.  But no.  

We are exchanging notes on boys. Like giggly, teenage school girls.  "Don't let that boy get close to me. You have to make sure of it," I text her. "We won't get any guy come close. Even if they hold your hand," she replies. "Even if they make you laugh?" I ask. "Even if they play Scotland Yard and all the interesting board games,"she says. "Even if they make your heart race and put butterflies in your stomach," I pose. "Even if they are all you think about in a day," she vows. 

I know, I know. Cribbing about boys is just about all the action this blog seems to be getting these days.  But..but...I'm trying dear readers. It's a bad time to be young and single, this.  Especially when you work all the time and have no life to speak of.  Speaking of, I need a new job.  In a new city.  With weekends. And a coffee machine. And an office boy. And a paycheck that'll last me a month. 

Also, I need to go to the gym.  At least to collect my shoes. Before the subscription runs out.

And, I need to find a way to cheer up Mad Prof. 

And oh yeah, go finish that story now. 

Not to forget, I need to find Zen. 


PS: Stay tuned, I promise to narrate tales of action and adventure next time! 

Tuesday, May 29

critical mass

From a person who used to write all the time, I've now become a person who reads ALL the time. If you were to come looking for me, you'd, more often than not, find me with my face buried in my kindle. Reading at the breakfast table, chomping on cereal. Travelling to work. Eating lunch at my desk. At the gym. Back home. Trying to fall asleep.

It's the reading challenge, yes. But its also more. Sticking to one thing, anything for an extended period of time is not something I'm very good at. So the project represents commitment and conviction and tenacity and discipline -- for all of which there's a desperate need in my life. 

But that it helps me lose myself most effectively is probably really why I'm doing so well at it.  

When I'm not reading, I notice then, that times have been grim. All sources of inspiration have dried up. Winds of change bring little excitement. Burning bridges have become easier than bridging them. Return of feelings. 

A trip is in order. 

Sunday, May 13

Why I'm going to die alone

For her birthday, I planned to give Pink Panther, a thick wad of ecru business cards with the title "Professional Heartbreaker" embossed on them.  I didn't, lest she sends me back a pack that reads "The Other Woman."  

On Tuesday,  Smugface and I watch Avengers.  Condescending. Insufferable. Patronizing. Narcissistic. Single. Eligible. Smugface.  Nothing happens. No frisson of interest. No excitement. No fun. We talk a bit, mostly coz we are sitting next to each other and because its break time. 

Then there is Cuba. On Wednesday. With his obsidian eyes and unkempt hair sticking out at all angles and his wicked wit and his dry sarcasm and his whistling and his calm and his...everything.  Him, I can't stop laughing with. Him, I tease mercilessly. Him, I have inappropriate thoughts about. Him, I want to know more.  Him, who, I find out after every other creature on middle earth, has a girlfriend. 

On Thursday. Time to detox. The weather's perfect. Azure sky, smell of rain, green everywhere. Decide to skip the gym (for the second week in a row). Go to walk in the park instead. Almost immediately, I run into Dark Lord.  Stupid. Self-absorbed. Insensitive. Friend of first order. Dark Lord. Our talk is forced, perfunctory, stilted. He's leaving, he tells me. I can't respond. Or reciprocate warmly. He walks away. I walk on. Time passes. Slowly, the calm begins to set in. Thoughts recede. The aching black gloom begins to lift.  A smile starts to form. No sooner, a tap on my shoulder.  It's the Surgeon. Distinguished. Suave. Fun. Married. Surgeon. We fall into step. An hour later we're still talking. He says we should do this again. I smile. He texts. I ignore. Detox. #epicfail. 

Friday arrives bright and sunny. Nothing can bring me down. Still, I choose the most non-threatening option -- Junkie. Hippie. Boho. Nihilistic. Funny. Junkie. The movie is a dud. I'm zoned out. Junkie wants go to drinking.  I don't. I want to crawl into a hole and stay put. Instead, I put up a bright, happy face. He can tell. It seems everyone can tell. So he brings me home.  

Saturday, go to work, come home. Read. Not go anywhere. Not meet anyone. 

Sunday,  Repeat. No incidents. Relief. Bedtime.  Phone rings.  

Yardley:  "You really should go out more, you know. Or you'll die alone. Really. Can you please just meet this guy, he's just your type." 

Me: "Is he single?" 

Yardley. "No, but I swear you guys are meant for each other."  

Wednesday, April 11

Epic Moment at the Gym

Day 3 

Me: I was told someone will take down my measurements today

Trainer: Oh, but we have to do that before the work-out. So come back tomorrow. 

Me:  Alright, thanks. 

Trainer: Btw, are you here for weight gain or weight loss?

Me: (Laughs)

I laughed for an hour. Me going to the gym to put on weight. Wouldn't that be something?  

Monday, April 9

Of Sky Lanterns, Gym Diaries & Stupid Boys

Oh, hello there.  Trust you have had a good day? Yeah, mine was fine too.  The weather in the evenings, yes, so agreeable.  What news from my end?  Ummm...let's see

* So, you know how you watch Tangled and then fall in love with sky lanterns?  Yeah, that happened to me. Ever since, I've been plucking random people off the road and asking them if they want to go to Loi Krathong with me. Just when all hope seemed lost, the festival came to me. No, really. Thanks to the Guinness-record bug that seems to have bitten gultis recently, we had, what is probably the country's first sky-lantern festival take place last month, yes, here in sleepy hollow! I went. I saw. I died. And, went to heaven.

If and when I marry, there will be lanterns. Hundreds and hundreds of them.

* Sometimes, I start my workday by catching the latest release at the movies. Then I go to a restaurant of my choice and work my way through their menu, with the chef at my service. Afterwards, go to talk to a documentary filmmaker. Or an author. Or a bartender. Depending on the day. Then, maybe go to an art show, or a play, or a party I've been invited to. And then, write about them all, just like how I would here.

On these days, I forget all the weekends I don't have, holidays I don't get to take and the money I will never earn.

* So, I go the gym now.  That is to say, I skipped two days, and went one day in the three days since I signed up.  But I paid for three months. So I suppose I'm to go. I can already tell the cross-trainer is my mortal enemy. So is that girl with the matching black-and-pink nike sweatpants and her beatific smile and her straight hair and her pesky bottom and her Rockyesque workout regime. Who I'll tell you more about in the coming days. (What do you think about a series called the Gym Diaries?)

Now, I'm all underdoggy. So it only follows that in three months, she's going to get owned. Yeah, we are all about healthy living and positive energy.

* I promised I'd write about the relationship-that-wasn't and the interest-that-be. Last things first. The interest that looked so promising even last month seems to have lost his sheen. Maybe that's what happens when you go out too times and nothing ermm... happens.

In hindsight, its obvious that the relationship-that-wasn't, was never meant to be. The other party was indeed faultless. However, to avoid misunderstandings of this nature, my ingenious mind has come up with the most brilliant solution.

Going forward, I'm going to hand a neatly-written 'please note' note to all interesting males of my acquaintance. It will read

Please note: Should you have any affections for the author of this note that go beyond the definitions of platonic, you must declare your intentions at the earliest opportune moment in no-uncertain terms or hold your peace forever and continue to behave impeccably never allowing even a hint of these feelings to be detected. If you choose the former, but happen to be shy of disposition, you can avail the option of using the unique code in the scratch card provided. During usage, the code word must be accompanied by air quotes to be applicable, so as to avoid any needless confusion or untoward mishaps resulting in unwanted bodily contact or public humiliation for either/both parties. 
Due to the sensitive nature of this communication, kindly burn after reading.  

Yeah, you are right. I should go sleep.

Sunday, March 18

The Things I didn't tell you

It seems that I was determined to sound depressed the last time around, because I sure didn't tell you about all the unforgettable things that happened to me last year.  Like how I lost my iPhone. In an auto. On my birthday. And how roaringly drunk we got afterwards. How I got my first-ever cigarette scar, courtesy Bor. In the same party.

How ten days later, we -- Jughead, Pink Panther and I -- went to Coorg with a tempo traveller full of crazies to the back of beyond and returned so traumatized that Jughead and I can never again sleep in a house with wooden walls. How on the same trip, we tried curing Jughead out of one of her (many, many different kinds of) paranoia --vertigo -- by luring her onto a very-safe looking bridge across the river, until a bridge on the other side collapsed right in front of us.

And, how as compensation for that horrible, horrible trip, I went with her to (what was) my favouritest place in the world, Pondi via Chennai. How it was a trip of many firsts -- first time I went drinking with Mad Prof. That we drove down to Pondi. I got drunk in daylight. I went to a spa. I got a body massage. I saw Rue Gomez in action. I got a lap dance. And for the first time ever that I had so much fun in Chennai.

I want to tell y'all about the many, many, other awesome things that you missed. But I'm afraid its once again that time of the night, I should spend sleeping. Especially considering that I put in over 12 hours at work today and am expected to be back there by 8 o clock tomorrow.

Oh, oh, but I can't leave without telling you about the best part of last year -- my trip to what (will remain) my favouritest place in the country (for the foreseeable future) -- Dharamshala.  Momos. Monks. Ice-capped mountains. Blue fingers. Red noses. Crimson Robes. Walks. Treks. Smokes. Woolens. Quiches. Ganaches. Lasagnas. Chocolate cheese cakes. Green cafe. Norbulingka. Ian. And, Aghori. She is, and will forever remain, my travel person.

I notice I didn't say anything about JNU and CP and Metro and Delhi, Dark Lord and Gurgaon, but if you know anything about Mc Leod, you'll forgive my oversight.

So there.  If this year proves to be even half as much fun as the year past, I'll be a happy soul.

Amen to that.

Wednesday, March 14

The Dark Mark

Hello. Trust y'all have missed me?  Now, now, no need to get excited and all. Nothing monumental's happened. I haven't received the Pulitzer or become a housewife. Yet. I want to claim I am a much, muchier me now but truth is that I'm much in the same place that we left off last.  If anything, I'm a little more subdued, a little less impulsive and a whole lot more boring.  In fact, that's part of the reason why the voice of my head went quiet. I'd feared it dead but recently realized that it's still there, only, I haven't given it much to say.

Oh, there have been changes alright. I rejoined the ranks of the employed. Scandalizing almost everyone of acquaintance, I joined a tabloid intent on building itself a seedy reputation. But of course, all that changed with the arrival of Fedora, who has transformed it into quite something. I now worry that it's so futuristic, it's not very viable. So yeah, that means that I might soon be out of a job once again. 

In other news, for the first time in the post Blue Shirt era, I found myself teetering on the verge of a relationship. For a variety of reasons, it didn't happen, for which I take as much responsibility as I appropriate the other party.  And, as practical and clinical as the decision was, it has left me with a lot of emotional jetsam that I am still collecting to dissect at leisure. But more on that at a later date. 

If around this time, you are suspecting the role of a lousy ghostwriter, I can comprehend why. If this is the real me, where is my trademark wit, my brilliant sense of humour, my incisive comments you ask. And what is with this ridiculous register?  Okay, so I can explain. One, it has something to do with the fact that its 3'o clock in the morning. Two, has to do with the number of Victorian movies I'm watching. Three, I'm sad. 

No, not about the aforementioned ahem..interest. Because suitable replacements are being tested for the post, one of which even looks very promising, which is also something I'll reserve for a later date. 

It's the gaping vacancies in several other stations in my life that are causing me grief. I lost Yoda this year, the only person in my family I've ever considered worthy of association, which I'm finding impossible to get over. Then there are an unprecedented number of positions in the inner circle that have opened up. 

Amen and I, who I thought were inseparable, have drifted apart. Assy and I, with whom I thought I had conquered the odds, has moved off to the land of lilies. Dark Lord and I, who have always stayed close despite distances, have become strangers.  Bor and Paro (who I just discovered) have left for NZ. And now Jughead, who is my veritable soulmate, is moving away to Mumbai for a new job. 

Leaving me with well... no one, really.  I guess, that's why I am here. It's back to you and me against the world. 

So time to rejoice all my imaginary readers. Grouchy is back.