Thursday, 13 December 2007


They fought until they were tired. He then said, I have nothing left to say to you.

He turned and walked away, but threw over his shoulder, Don't forget to set the alarm...I have a flight to catch.

And she muttered, Yes I know. I still have your goddamn suitcase to pack.

Hey hon!

I watched you that day through the lens of my camera. You were whistling a tune I could not hear.

You didn't know I was there of course, you didn't even know me. You were kicking little stones on the gravel path as you walked, occassionally side stepping a puddle - although your jeans were dusty and frayed and you didn't look like the kind of guy that cared.

My kind of guy, I mean.

Unspoken conversations were lingering in my head. I could tell you all you asked me. And if you didn't, I would tell you anyway. I would watch for a sign you were growing impatient. And then change the topic, just like that, hoping you wouldn't notice how urgent I had been.

Just a day more, I would tell myself. Then I will change my world. Get a life.

And till then, let me stand by my magazine stand, old seller exasperated for he knows I only pretend to browse.

It's safer this way. If I peek and don't enter, I don't get hurt.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Foggy nights, old lights

When I was a different me, and they were different them, we danced together one magical evening.

One of us had turned cook, and I sampled ten dishes made from the same three ingredients. All ingenously different.

The other was talkative that night, and had us all laughing. In the two years I had known him, he had never spoken that much.

I forgot I had been crying that evening because everything was so wrong in my tiny world, put on a worn out song, and pranced giggling around the dining table.

I am listening to the same song right now. We are happier I guess, but somehow, I can't help but feel a little jealous of the me that had been.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

If wishes were horses

This month saw me behaving most peculiarly. Snapshots from two glorious weeks in India:

J and I atop camels in Jaisalmer, J arguing furiously with the locals who now demand more than what we had previously agreed thinking, does he really have the upper hand when he is sitting on top of their camel in the middle of the desert?

Astrologer in Mount Abu who predicts two marriages, one affair with a married man and two children for me. This could be warded off through wearing an opal though.

M and his friends jamming at midnight. Sounds of the Beatles and many more well loved songs filling the air. Feeling wistful and not knowing exactly why.

Ashtami morning at Maddox Square, bejewelled ladies in splendid silk sarees. Me in a dusty blue kurta from Fab India, minus even my customary earrings, desperately asking friends where I might be able to buy a pressure cooker.

Nabami evening at N's house, loving the Lau ghonto, surprised to discover the sour taste wasn't intentional. The whole family hunting for antacids afterwards.

Taking bends at 180 kmph at 4 in the morning on deserted roads in Kolkata where I am literally jolted out of the blues that have gripped me for the last one year.

At some point I made a wish to an invisible shooting star. As it turns out, I got exceptionally lucky that day.

Monday, 24 September 2007

I once saw a counsellor. She told me I analyze things too much.

Constantly evaluating and re-evaluating motives, actions and thoughts of myself, those that I know and sometimes even strangers has been almost an incessant occupation for me. It's partly to do with being observant. But mostly it was because I enjoyed being able to predict what a person would do in a given situation.

(Mind you, I constantly managed to baffle myself with my own actions)

Frequently, this habit plunged me into despair. That's not why I am calling quits though. No, what has stopped me short - finally - is a simple realisation.

I don't think one can ever completely dissect the human mind. Even if I were to devote my entire life to it's study, why people behave the way they do can never ever be critically and scientifically broken into fragments that fit neatly like a jigsaw puzzle.

Perhaps the reason I became such a champion of amateur psychoanalysis, was simple self preservation instincts. If I could predict human reactions, perhaps I could also control them. And that would save me a lot of grief.

Needless to say, that has not happened.

Instead of growing wise, witty and wonderful, I have detected growing signs of hair loss and what seems like peptic ulcer.

Why A wrote a mail to B that was mildly flirtatious when both A and B were actually in serious relationships has been of greater concern to me than A, B and their respective partners put together.

Hence, I have now decided to practice the following with immediate effect:

1. To keep my nose firmly out of others' affairs, I shall rediscover other hobbies. When I am tempted to observe and deduce, I shall play Brickbreaker on my Blackberry instead.

2. I will no longer search for and believe in signs. So, if you interact with me on a day-to-day basis, please be direct. If you want me to attend to you, say so. Hit me on the head with a book. Tell me, loudly and clearly, what you want me to know. If in doubt, repeat.

3. I will no longer worry about why people I feel let down by, did what they did. I shall believe in a logical reason for it - while being otherwise nice people, they were ****heads at that point in time. I should know, I have been a ****head myself, plenty of times.

I can almost picture some of my friends regularly subjected to midnight meltdowns sagging with relief. Or holding their breath worried it's too good to be true.

The beauty of it is, other than a passing mention, I simply don't want to care about that anymore. So you see - it's working!

Sunday, 2 September 2007

A cynic? Me?

A movie I saw yesterday was a little too close to my heart for comfort. This disillusioned chappie writes travelogues on haunted hotels. Yes it's 1408 I am talking about. And he writes them to prove to the world there is no such thing as a ghost. He believes in no heaven or God ever since his little daughter dies of cancer. I understand that. But what prompted me to lose my faith?

I don't have an answer to that.

Yet, some things still affect me. When I see a little girl smile conspiratorially at her brother, I grin too. When I see an otherwise practical woman talk for hours with her long distance boyfriend and the obvious love between them, I get a warm fuzzy feeling as well. But these are few and far between.

Somehow, over time, not much surprises me. And that's not a good sign.

I want to give the starry-eyed me a chance. Because life was much more fun then. And while I am scared of getting hurt, I guess I am much more scared of never getting hurt again.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Some days are just like this

When I think a lot. When disappointments threaten to turn into despair. When realisations strike me that must be shared, or at the very least, scribbled somewhere, if only to be read later and laughed at.

So, my big thought:

When I make a friend, I invite that person into my life. To see me in all my moodiness and whimsical behaviour, to know what makes me tick. I learn in turn. About what brings a frown or a laugh. And what must never ever be said.

Perhaps that is the reason why, when a friendship goes astray, I feel like a little part of me is gone as well. That although I will certainly move on, an irreversible change has just occured and a gap in my otherwise neatly chaotic world has been created which can be filled perhaps but never perfectly.

I think sometimes, do the people I have lost feel the same way? And in a twist of circular logic, do they wonder if I wonder about them?

Sunday, 12 August 2007

A Wing and a Prayer

12 D laughed. He had dropped his bite-sized melon chunk again. Next to him, 12 C, smiled in exquisitely polite amusement, picked up his own chopsticks and twirled around a plastic tea cup for good measure. "Guess it will take me a while to get the hang of this!"

In front of me, a smooth chignon head bent down to offer colouring books to a suddenly interested toddler.

I was 9C. Aisle. Belted in and alone with my thoughts.

Looking outside, I felt strangely subdued. I was in the presence of something that belittled my worries and mocked my fears. No matter what my inner turmoil, what was real - was what we were surrounded by. Intense pure light. And a canopy of comforting whiteness. This would never fundamentally change. I knew that. But never had that awareness washed over me like it did right then.

9B turned out to be an art historian. The rest of my little journey was spent in happy nothingness.

Monday, 18 June 2007


There is a tribe of women, a particular bunch of us, slowly growing in number and with a voice no longer a soft hum. Their positioning is a bit murky. Confusion defines the mindset. Yet all along, these are women easily identifiable - you have only got to look.

A readiness to smile, and talk - really talk. They are open and forthright, unassuming and blunt.

They are travelling round the world, often "alone". But they also locate a temple in parts of even Wales and wistfully recount how the ruins of an abbey looked in dappled sunlight.

They are strong in purpose, curiously stubborn, yet they remain gentle and soothing - feminine to the core.

They can talk "boy speak" and "chill out" - perhaps, with a lit cigarette and even the occasional drink (or two!). But then you mention heartbreak and you still see the pain, somewhere, behind smiling eyes...

I know some of these women. From small towns and pigtails, they have defied all expectations and chosen to lead their own lives, on their own terms. Some of them are spectacularly successful, all of them are achievers. And yet, no one really knows them. For how can you define someone who won't fit in nicely in one of your predefined slots. But next time you suspect you've just seen one, look for the signs ... you could just be meeting, one of us ... :)