Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Once in a while I have a thought that begs to be shared so pitifully that I force myself to sit in front of this here box and attempt to pull it bodily out of my brain. Alas, often my skill will not allow it to be done, and at other times it is my laziness at fault, and so I'm stuck with tens of drafts that I will never complete as long as they're sitting there unpublished.
Here they are, then. With dates attached. I think I might just keep adding to them as I go along.

My city has become a menagerie of shouting people.

wts txt spk? is dat whn u tlk lik dis? i cant do it 2 wel........its tuff to think of ways to shrtn the wrds apart 4m removing vowels dammit a relapse.
But that's text speak, and I want to talk about the postrophe. Lynn Truss wrote an entire book about it, but I don't care. How do perfectly intelligent, erudite, well-read persons end up confusing its and it's?

What's the likelihood that there'll be an entire book on text-speak soon? Very high, I'd say. People talk about it all the time. Mostly the ones talking are the ones bemoaning the loss of sensible spelling, and I've read at least four newspaper editorials on the subject.

I'm not doing
What I can't get around is the staggering amount of apostrophe abuse around. I don't think I'll be able to say it any better than Lynn Truss, so I shan't try. I will just choose one certain little annoying trend I've noticed in

I can't understand its and it's, though. Some of the smartest and best read people I know make that error. It's horrendous. Its horrendous.
I hate the way it pulls you up right in the middle of whatever you're reading. Inexcusable, in my opinion, especially when they spend their time poking fun at people with poor grammar and then turn around and say "whatever" when you point the error out to them yourself....
I mean, don't you read whatever you've just written before you post it???
Damn, some people are stubborn and stupid.
3/18/07 9:07 PM

Something that was brought home to me the other day was the fact that far too much depends on appearances. How much do we change by walking down the street proclaiming we can do as we want, wear what we want, say what we want? Perhaps not as much as we aim for.
The truth is that the way you walk says so much more about you than the clothes you wear. Unless, of course, you're wearing something designed to be so eye-catching that it detracts from everything else!

Is there a line that "decent" girls should not cross? Yes. There is. But it isn't the same line for everyone. My idea of clothes I will not step out of the house wearing are different from those of my sister, for example.
Just the other day, I watched a young man at a traffic signal pull out a comb and style his hair into something closely resembling a bush of some sort, but he seemed exrtremely pleased with the result. So that's my line. Wear something that makes you look good.
Something in colours that complement. A cut that accentuates. Be pretty.
3/29/07 7:04 AM

My boss thinks women should protect themselves from male eyes.
He asked me about Blank Noise. "Why do you think men do those things? It's because of the way women dress! Between a woman wearing a miniskirt and a woman wearing a sari, who do you think is more likely to be molested? If you don't respect yourself how can a man respect you?"
"Men and women are made to attract each other", he says. He thinks women can prevent harassment by covering themselves up. "If you wear a burkha", he says, "then you're completely protected."
There was something so entirely disturbing about the way he told me this; the manner in which he posed it as a self-evident truth shocked me so much; that I found myself unable to defend my position at all.

Is it a male conspiracy, this celebrating a woman's freedom to deck her body? I do not know. Perhaps men do go along with women's rights because they think that they will get a chance to see more skin. But then again, women should be able to show their skin even if they know men will look.

What do we ask for, with the clothes we wear? Respect? Attention? Flattery?
Does it make a difference?
What we wear should reflect where we're going, what we're doing, what season it is. I think the question of poorly dressed does not arise as long as you are dressed to fit the occasion. Isn't it rude to attend a wedding in shorts, for example? It isn't about covering yourself, or being decent. It is about fitting the profile, about looking as though you belong. And as long as we are part of society, it is necessary to make sure we respect the boundaries that circumstances demand.
The only thing that's changing is the idea of everyday wear. What is it appropriate to wear, if you're not doing anything special? One wears shorts or jogging tracks to walk in the morning, to go to the gym, to play tennis. One wears a sari to a wedding, one wears formal clothes to interviews. One wears jeans to construction sites. We dress sensibly as long as we know the boundaries created by societal norms or dictated by comfort and common sense.
What happens with a regular outfit, though? What are you "allowed" to wear when you're out on the street on an ordinary day? Things that send the wrong message? Who decides that? I think each of us do. What I think every woman must do, in my opinion, is to look at herself once before she leaves the house. Stand in front of the mirror. Lift your arms, bend over. If your clothes stay where they're supposed to, and you don't expose any more skin, any fat, any hidden parts that were covered when you were standing still, then you're okay to go.
If you do expose those things, well, then, you're just not well dressed.
The women on the street I find badly dressed are the ones wearing things that don't suit their figures. Tight shirts showing tires of fat. Low pants that fit so poorly you can see underwear when they sit down. The beautiful thing about a salwar kameez is the fact that it suits anyone if cut properly, and the main reason we wear clothes is to be comfortable, isn't it?

I have rules about things I would not wear in public. I will not wear something that reveals my nipples, because of the fear of titillating the man on the street. I will not wear clothes that display cleavage, because of the same reason. I will not wear clothes that show my thighs above the knee, because I believe shorts or short skirts absolutely do not flatter my figure.

The mental thumb rule for me, then, is this: do not draw attention to any one part of your body as a part belonging to a woman. Not unless your objective is to do so. People attach to all outfits a purpose for wearing them. Why would you wear shorts? Or display cleavage? Why would you? If you have a reason, and one can see that reason, then i think no one can question or comment on your choice of dress.

This is just so much patriarchal rubbish. :( I'm a brainwash.

I once promised a friend I would write a post about the misuse of punctuation

I've been wondering lately about how limited all forms of expression are when compared to the real thing.
How do you describe in words the exact tilt of someone's head and the lilt in their voice and the way you feel when they smile to punctuate?
6/3/07 6:05 AM

My sister has a friend who used to call home and ask to speak to her.
She would say, "Hello, is MySister'sName there?"
My mother would later rail and rant over the loss of politeness in the young, and I? I would agree with her.
Lately, though, T has been wondering about boundaries and the way people follow rules in different places. T has been wondering this as she works in an office on the grounds of a traditional Muslim house. How true that it is only
Do we treat other people the way we hope, in our heart of hearts, to be treated? I submit that it is a more than distinct possibility in my own case. After all, do I not give every new and old friend the benefit of the doubt, and their space, and hugs whenever I feel like they need some? Butyes!
It's not really a solution to anything, though. If everyone went around treating everyone else the way they wished to be treated, no one would get treated the way they wanted to be treated.

There is a microphone in the house now.

I don't like it so much.

I think the real problem with writing with Squid Piss™ on Dead Trees™ is that

Brad Bird's The Incredibles has a line that might have struck me more if it hadn't been as oft-quoted as it was - "Everyone can be super. And when everyone's super, no one will be."
And again: "They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional..."

I have watched performances by people who are disabled or autistic or children, and I never until recently questioned that a chance had to be given to those less privileged. Do we really value quality so little that we celebrate effort more than achievement?
Does all achievement have to be weighted against opportunity and upbringing and situation? When put like that, of course, it sounds a stupid question: the very basis for academic equality in the best institutions is based on that weightage.

It strikes me, however, that it is only in the field of education that merit speaks for itself - the concrete proofs of your excellence are valued as they ought to be. It is in the fields of the performing arts that the distinction has become blurred - where the mediocre gets more recognition than the
I had an adventure today. It was only a small adventure; minuscule, really; but I've been stuck indoors so long that anything out of the ordinary excites me...
I went for a walk today. I wore my brand new pink reebok sneakers (I know, I know. Pink sneakers. But they're new.)
And I sat there on the stone wall and wrote a letter. With a little lizard in it.
10/10/07 6:16 PM (this is a special day.)

the so-strangest thought
i have had one of those, i have.

Bear with me. My theories are often based on little more than random burblings of my mind when tired or hungry or travelling or some such, but they are usually interesting theories and this one...has promise.
I feel as though I have been...putty. Malleable,
12/18/07 11:38 PM (this is when the heart broke)

P.S. It is very nice to have three adventures in two days and then stay awake until five a.m. reading. :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

another "night at café"

Sometimes I think the things I say are far more powerful than they appear - insofar as their effectiveness in attracting the Irony Gods™ goes, anyway.
As anyone who's been following the blog (yes, yes, I mean that one poor person who has the RSS feed) knows, I borrowed a book from someone's home in another city a while ago. Then, this morning, I made some rather pompous allusions to my tendency to entertain empty hopes. What more did I need? Nothing, that's what.
Voilà! Instant karma.

So it turns out the Gem of a Boy is in Bangalore. Not that he called to tell me - I had to find it out through other channels. He finally did call me (after his sending me an email confessing he'd lost my phone number and another from me furnishing him with it) this evening. I'd been expecting the call for a day and a half, and had wonderfully witty things all ready to say. Then, a moment before he called, someone else asked me for my phone number, and when the phone rang I was caught all unprepared, alas, egad, ecod! Still, hellos were said, suggestions of a meeting were made; I'll call you back, he said. An hour or so later (during which i called him to ask if anything was actually going to happen you see it's late already and i need to make plans and arrange transport etc), he did. He was meeting a friend of his at Koshy's later, would I care to join them? I'd put my shoes on already, so I said yes, of course I will, what a pleasure whee.
So I wrapped up the present (shhh it's still a secret) and combed my hair and checked my bag for my umbrella, phone and wallet. Ready! I thought.

Then I had to call him back to find out what he looked like (he does not have a photograph of himself anywhere on the internet). I have a goatee, he said. I told him all the waiters at Koshy's had goatees; that wasn't enough to go on. You like adventures, don't you? he said. He sounded rather irritated at having to receive all those calls, so I shut up and hung up and left the house.
It was half-past-six. We were to meet at half-past-seven.

The moment I'd stepped out of the house, my phone rang.
My parents, who (oh my, did i forget to mention?) were out of town, were calling to check up on me. I walked back up the ten steps I'd walked down, opened the door and managed to walk all the way to where my sister was watching television and hand the phone to her at exactly the right moment in the conversation. The truth was avoided, the parental worries appeased, and I finally got out of the house at a quarter to seven.
Thus, boys and girls, I was late leaving the house.

The next thing I did was in all probability the only intelligent thing I did the entire evening - I decided to take the bus anyway. I had a pleasant time on the bus, for once - a place to sit, a nice conductor, a knowledge of exactly how I was to get to where I was to get. I got off roughly two kilometres from my destination; the nearest stop to it, in fact. I walked along, alone by the light of the moon, and my head cooled to alarming degrees as I passed great trees along the parade ground walls. I thought a couple of interesting thoughts about trees and temperature and weather and climate, some about shady characters smoking by the side of the road, some more about the fact that I was twenty minutes late; and then I was there, hurrah!

But you see, it's Christmas Eve. And I hadn't considered, in my wildest dreams, that the interior of the restaurant would be dimly and murkily lit by a large number of candles that made it impossible to tell one goateed gentleman from another, or that I would spend the next forty minutes alternating between sitting outside and writing sad things in my journal and taking turns around the interior of the establishment (with my cheeks burning and to the accompaniment of a constant monotone of my god is there anything more embarrassing could there possibly anything as embarrassing) staring at the faces of people inside.

Let us dwell, for a moment, on the phone call I made, halfway through my waiting, to his residence to find out from his sister what he was wearing, and, oh god, what he looked like:
He has a long face. And he has a goatee, but also a bit of a beard. <--I suppose she meant the length of the goatee? Who knows. Hopefully I will find out tomorrow
And... he's a little bald -

You mean in front? says T, because she's thinking that now she'll have to go in and start staring at the backs of people's heads...

I should have stood at the door and shouted "Firstname Lastname!" so that I'd know where he was. People would have smiled and I would have embarrassed him, hopefully, and then it would have been a show and everything would have been all right and tight. But then I got distracted by all the holiday cheer and the smells of families and the intimate candle-light and the thought that I was out there because of a lie two lies all lies; to meet two people I'd never seen before in my life.

Sigh. So I left and caught a bus, and then another bus; and I got home all in one piece, thank goodness.
Perhaps this was my Christmas Miracle.

You owe me, Mister Man.

all my pieces broken

However hard I try to convince myself that I am prepared, in every way, to face eventualities I tell myself I expect, the chances are that I will end up shocked anyway. Or jarred. Disconnected from myself and bereft of my moorings.
The truth is that as much as I hope (or despair) for something, I always put in that little catch, that clause that thinks it may not happen after all. However studiously I prepare myself to be let down by something (usually something I tell myself I shouldn't have trusted in the first place) there is a little part of me that will continue to cling to the hope that the fall will not, in fact, happen, that something will happen to turn things around:
perhaps i'm wrong
; perhaps these vain hopes are not so vain; perhaps they are founded not on wishful thinking but on some signs my subconscious picked up that my waking brain didn't; perhaps things will work out in the end; it could happen.

Does it mean optimism or stupidity, that secret hope? Because it is a secret, or at the very least unacknowledged - something I will not admit to until the tears come to prove it was there.
And then I will sigh, and call myself stupid, and I will pretend that I learnt a lesson from the entire experience. Perhaps I do. I just don't seem to remember them later.

(and then i go, and do it all over again)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

old blue letters in spite

Because of course I lied. I do that, sometimes, to make things easier on a person. It's lying for a good cause, I say, but then they're all from the same mixed bag of deceit, so what odds? It's funny how hard it is to put into words exactly what you feel, because what if you say too much, or too less, or, God forbid, the entirely wrong thing? One wishes not to drive away good company, but then one does it in spite of oneself. One is me, in case you were wondering.
And it's odd what you can do with letters that you can't when faced with a real person. Perhaps it is that letters are easier than live conversation, because you can hide behind a flow of words that twist and turn to suit your whims. We did have nice conversations, though, didn't we?

And it's odd that we have never spoken, isn't it? And a minute on a phone, or an hour of introductions - they don't count, really. Those are just excuses for occupying the same space. And it's funny because of all the people I ever found, you were the one most easy to write to. You were the one made me most prolific; the one to whom I wrote the most, the one about whom I wrote the most. Perhaps it's just as well. Perhaps I don't need to talk to you. Perhaps I won't sit across from you in a coffee house, or walk with you all around town, or sit with you on terraces in the middle of the night. Perhaps we'll never talk. It's okay, really, because I have other people to do those things with, don't I? But I still regret the dancing.
And papa Santa.

But of course there's no reason for writing beyond the writing itself. Like an over whelming urge to reach out and touch someone who, for a long time, occupied space in your head. There's no sense to anything at all anyway. And being myself never got me anything or anywhere, even. As long as I'm writing I can impress them, but then I talk, and it's as though all the things I need to believe about myself I don't; and all the things I do believe in are all the wrong things; and in the end I'm just not what they were looking for. How do you sell yourself with only the truth?
It doesn't work that way, does it?

And certainly it's true that a person who can find nothing better to do with her time than write pointless drivel to people she'll probably never meet is slightly insane. But then, where's the fun in being sane, anyhow? Poetry is so much easier, because you don't have to say anything. Letters are always the hardest things to write. Especially because you know exactly who it is who's reading all those words you're pouring out.
Every letter I write is different. I could copy a letter out and send it to a dozen people, and I would have to edit each one just as I edit the address line. That's the wonder of people when you pay attention, you see.
The fact that they are all somebody else.

Perhaps it's just perversion, the need to write to people, at people. Perhaps it's cruel to send people disconnected snatches of thought and call them letters, but what's the point of sticking to a structure when all you get in return are the same old sentences from everyone anyway? What's the idea with a set of instructions that tell someone exactly how they have to react? So this morning I wrote to four people and told them nothing, narrated no incident, revealed no theory. I said no hellos and I asked no questions and I sent no signals.
And this is where I find my fun.

my darling
how long has it been? i can't tell - it seems as though i found ways to get along without you too long ago. i thought of you yesterday, could you tell? it was unexpected, like ghosts and blasts from pasts forgotten and people leaping out of corners screaming boo. i'm sorry i never said a proper goodbye. it just seemed time to let go, and i never stopped to think about it. yesterday, i thought it had seemed the time because of all the substitutes i found (like cheap margarine, baby, nothing compares to you) but today something happened to turn that thought on its head and out the window. will she always follow me, that awkward fat bespectacled unlikable clumsy girl? will she always stand like a silent spectre, ready always to leap out and say, remember! remember all you were and weren't, remember remember remember remember. i didn't realize that the only laughs that really hurt are the ones unexpected. i didn't realize i'd learnt it already. how can anyone learn so many lessons and never know all she knows? i cannot remember, for example, where you came from. not to begin with, anyhow. nor why. i still miss you, sometimes, on the lonelier days, when the current conversationalist is absconding somewhere. we didn't talk much, though, did we? anyway. if ever i find someone with whom i could sit for as long in companionable silences like the ones we shared, i'd count myself lucky. this letter don't make sense. the one i wrote first made me cry. it said things like fat and ugly and stupid.
above all stupid. stupid and stupid and stupid, and the things people say, even when they care.
i'm a clown, dear d, did you know? a clown, yes, i have that big red rubber nose, so you'll laugh at that and miss the real joke. and that joke is me. who knew?
i wish you were here. oh, i do. i wish you here.
might as well wish you were real, while i'm at it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

your word shaker

Once in a while there is a book that you will begin at midnight to help you fall asleep but will stay up until half past three to finish.
The Time Traveller's Wife was one.

The Book Thief is another.

I don't write book reviews, as a general rule. I don't write them for the simple reason that nothing I say can ever quite capture how special a certain book is, or how much it means to me. Nothing I write will come close to capturing the wonder that is stored in those pages that keep me, for a few hours, from thinking of all the stupid things I think of when I worry about the world and all the things in it.
They write it so much better than I can hope to. Why bother talking about it except to say that I am more grateful than I can say?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

soon you'll know about the persian cats

We've been in Chennai for the weekend - mum and I. We went in our car, with one driver to go and another to return; and had two half-days to call a visit. On the way a road was being widened, and the buildings gaped open like dolls' houses in old television shows:

On Saturday the Rabbit and the T ate unhealthy fried things and sat on the sand at Elliot's Beach until half-past ten. They sat there until all the lovers had gone home and the dogs had wandered away because there was no food forthcoming. They lay on their backs on the seashore and got sand in their hair and sang along to songs by the light of stars that the Rabbit kept thinking were aeroplanes
(look, the orange one is flashing and moving)
but the orange one was only Betelgeuse, and all it did was twinkle at two foolish girls wishing for brighter futures by the sea.

On Sunday, the T had adventures!
(And she is very sorry she didn't see all the nice boys she'd promised to visit; but she hopes they'll all drop in when they move to Bangalore for their jobs.)
Someone I know from Some Blog lives in Chennai. His family does, at any rate. He lives in forn parts. Now once, when he had been to other forn parts from the ones he lived in, he purchased a book, which he then recommended to the T. "I'll bring it for you the next time I come to India and lend it to you when I come to Bangalore", he promised, all generous-like. That was to have been December, and the T was perfectly happy with the arrangement.
But suddenly the T was to be in Chennai when the Someone was not; but the Book was in Chennai at the same time as the T! So she got Someone's sister's cellphone number and the home address, which happened to be very close to where she was staying in Chennai. Weekend surprise plans!!!
yeah, you could come and pick up the book if you want
Oooh! But. That'd be weird

would it? But you're weird. :)

hmph. thanks a lot.

The plan was this: I would land at my aunt's house on Saturday, call Miss S, and then run over and pick up the book. All straightforward, yes? Except that I forgot to recharge my phone and had to call his sister from my aunt's home phone, which she decided not to answer because she figured it was some random person calling to waste her time.

Sigh. So T was stuck without a book and very pissed off until she went to the beach and got high.
She got back with sand in her hair, did a Facebook search (yay Facebook!) and sent some messages, and then went to bed.
On Sunday, she left the house at ten past eight in the morning to "go for a walk". What she meant was, "He's given me that address; he's got another think coming if he thinks I won't be checking it out." She walked down a large number of roads looking for 8th Cross street. She passed 7, went down 11, came out on 13, which then turned onto 14; and she realized she'd gone all around the park. So she asked this helpful gentleman on a bicycle, and he pointed her in the opposite direction.
But naturally, said T.
And she went down to the street she was supposed to go down and she found legends that said No 9 (Old No 5). Old Number what! said T. He didn't say anything about Old number and she turned around, and there was the number, with the name, and T said, "I think I might need to sit down." She walked up and down the road for half a minute and pretended not to look at the house, and finally decided to just walk home. She took the scenic route back, which in T-speak does not mean that she got lost, but rather that she found the short-cut with lots of trees that came out opposite the street her aunt's house was on.

Before she went home she went to the beach and stared at the sun, and the beach looked something like so:and T thought to herself that having her nose prickle with sweat and dust blow in her face was not quite as horrible when there was a warm bath to look forward to just a couple of minutes' walk down that-a-way.

(Later, of course, there was a Facebook message replied to, and a drive in the car; and tea in a wonderful old house, and The Brass Bottle, and many coincidences and "it's a small world after all" and an invitation to an arangetram and a "gem of a boy"; but I think it's better if I end it this way, yes?)


Friday, November 30, 2007

irony omigosh

I never get things done on time. When I do, it's rarely to my satisfaction. I have problems with time management. It is something I keep planning to wean out of my system, but I haven't figured out a fool-proof method yet. Guilt only gets me through the day before my deadlines.
Meanwhile, I have an unexpected extension and I've taken on a little more work than I had planned previously. Will it work out? Will I do what I'm supposed to?? WILL I KILL THAT FAT TOAD OF AN EVALUATOR????
Stay tuned to find out.

Here is a development - I know a person with no humility.
I don't know why I didn't see it before; I've spent enough time with him before. It was only tonight that I discovered what it was about him that rubbed me the wrong way entirely. And now I look to see all the people I like least - and they are all arrogant. Some of them with more right that others, of course
What strikes me as ironic (is it, Alanis?) is the fact that I might have turned out like that myself... Sometimes I try to remember incidents that might have changed the way I looked at myself and at the world, but I'm rarely successful. I do know that I was once more confident, and more oblivious to others' feelings, than I am now. But how does one weigh what might have been?
Have I gained in empathy what I lost in confidence?
Is it a fair trade?
Am I allowed to ask that question?

Tonight was a night of revelations. I've always known that I never let people in because I was afraid they will hurt me. Tonight I realized that wasn't entirely true: I don't let people in because I fear they will misunderstand me - and in my heart that is the bigger crime.
I don't believe people are capable of making an effort to understand someone who does not show what she needs seen.
I don't trust you to like me; any of you. I don't trust you to understand me.
Do I have so little belief in human intelligence?

Am I really that vain?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

advisory: disturbing content

I have a new phone; it was a birthday present.
(My birthday was a week and a day ago - the 20th of November. Make a note, will you?)
It plays music, has an FM radio and takes pictures.
My sister took a picture of me in one of those pre-programmed frames. It was a clown; I think it is funny.

Yesterday I had an imaginary conversation with you; it was about me. I said, "Yes, I know. I like taking pictures of dead animals I see on the street. I don't see what the problem is - they're dead, aren't they?"

Today, the power went out at home around eleven. The sister went out to check if the lift was working, because if it was, that would mean the power had only tripped in our apartment and not in the entire building.
She came back inside screaming and crying because she'd seen a dead squirrel caught in the wires in the lift shaft.
Why did it have to be right outside our house?


I won't lie to you - I took a picture of that animal. I hate when animals die because they stray into the path of bulldozing human "progress"; but a dead animal is something that my fingers itch to document. I took that picture even as my guts rolled and my stomach clenched.
I fear there might be something wrong with me.

I won't be putting up that squirrel picture any time soon.
Road accidents are not public entertainment.

That, however...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

too much information

I was staring at the sky
Just looking for a star
To pray on or wish on or something like that
I was having a sweet fix
Of a daydream of a boy
Whose reality I knew was a hopeless to be had
But then the dove of hope began its downward slope
And I believed for a moment
That my chances were approaching to be grabbed
But as it came down near
So did a weary tear
I thought it was a bird but it was just a paper bag

Hunger hurts and I want him so bad, oh it kills
Cuz I know I'm a mess he don't wanna clean up
I've gotta fold cuz these hands are too shaky to hold
Hunger hurts, starving works when it costs too much to love

And I went crazy again today
Looking for a strand to climb
Looking for a little hope
Baby said he couldn't stay
Wouldn't put his lips to mine
And a fail to kiss is a fail to cope
I said honey I don't feel so good
Don't feel justified
Come on put a little love here in my void
He said it's all in your head
I said so's everything but he didn't get it
I thought he was a man but he was just a little boy

Hunger hurts...
Hunger hurts...
Hunger hurts...

Fiona Apple - Paper Bag

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

it's my birthday.

yes, it is. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

almost twentythree

Please beware of them that stare
They'll only smile to see you while
your time away
And once you've seen what they have been
To win the earth just won't seem worth
your night or your day
Who'll hear what I say?

Look around you find the ground
is not so far from where you are
The dumb to the wise
For down below they never grow
They're always tired
and charms are hired from out of their eyes
Never a surprise

Take your time and you'll be fine
And say a prayer for people there
who live on the floor
And if you see what's meant to be
Don't name the day or try to say
"It happened before."

Don't be shy you learn to fly
and see the sun when day is done
If only you see
just what you are beneath a star
that came to stay one rainy day
in autumn for free
Yes, be what you'll be.

Please beware of them that stare
They'll only smile to see you while
your time away
And once you've seen what they have been
To win the earth just won't seem worth
your night or your day
Who'll hear what I say?

Open up the broken cup
Let goodly sin and sunshine in
Yes, that's today.
And open wide the hymns you hide
You find renown while people frown
at things that you say
But say what you'll say
about the farmers and the fun
and the things behind the sun
and the people round your head
who say "Everything's been said."
and the movement in your brain
sends you out into the rain

Nick Drake - Things Behind The Sun

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I love stories. They are my escape from the world: from boredom and loneliness and panic. It is the simple story that I love the best - the one where everything works out in the end and everyone gets exactly what they deserve. I have always hated betrayals and misunderstandings - in books, in films, in television... Every story with a twist in its tale must end with the triumph of the worthy, the earnest, the good. I think, sometimes, that the kinds of stories I find myself most drawn to are the ones that end the way I wish my life would turn out - with justice for all. It shames me that I cannot, in my own life, judge people as they deserve to be judged.

It seems to me as though I choose, consistently, the wrong kind of person to place my confidence in. It is as though, even after twenty-three years on the planet, I still have no idea of how to choose a friend for all the reasons that I truly need a friend. Perhaps there is supposed to be a difference between the kind of people you admire and respect and the kind of people you love - it is just that my head cannot tell the difference.
In my head the people who are the most important to me are the ones who make me think, and wonder, and question - and so I become enamoured with them all: the smart people; the talented people; the people who are destined to make this world a brighter, bigger, more interesting place. They are the ones who make it worthwhile to wake up in the morning, the ones for whom it is sensible to give up your time, your energy, your heart. It is as though your life becomes better simply because it is lived in the outer circle of their influence.

It is hard - to find myself so often in this position, where I have misjudged and attributed to a person qualities of kindness and goodness that he or she does not have. To imagine affection and fondness where there is none. To expect attention and concern when I have no right to. To see a kindred spirit where none exists. If I am to be ruled so decisively by my emotions, what chance do I have to survive in the bold, bad world?
It has been eight years since my first introduction to the wonderful world of duplicity, and yet I continue to make the same mistakes again and again. I recognize the syptoms each time, even as the disease progresses; and each time I think this time will be different. There is no cure - I am doomed to eternal blind optimism - I will persist, until I die, in the delusion that all people are truly as wonderful as they appear to be.

I will always tell people just exactly what they mean to me, and they will always care not one whit.
Why is desperation so utterly despicable?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

let's make it out, baby

I have occasionally made the mistake of reading certain authors whether or not my brain was ready to receive them - either because I was expected to (or expected not to) or because other people were (or weren't) reading them.

It is only when I read them again - older, and hopefully wiser - that I see much of what I missed the first time around. Certain opinions change - the degree to which I agreed with Rand, for instance. Other authors - Austen, Dickens, James - only improve with age. Perhaps it is the maturity one acquires with time that allows one to appreciate such authors' reading of the human spirit.

I know people who have consumed entire libraries by the time they left high school, but -
Surely sooner is not always better?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


We're all made of quarks. In a lucky few, that's quirks.

I wish I'd said that.

Monday, October 8, 2007

you mean "foreign"

I know he'll never read this, but still...
I am a pedant sometimes.


Edit: Someone told, and it's fixed now. Here's the old version.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

covert operations

Perhaps a week ago, I read in a newspaper an article that advised its readers to find new ways to make friends. The suggestion was that the readers go out and strike up conversations with people they met on their city's public transport. Accompanying this charming article (that included such tips as "try smiling pleasantly" and "comment on the book the person is reading") was a tiny picture of some commuters on a shiny metal subway train.
Now, I do realize that the people who put together the Lifestyle sections of daily newspapers often do not have enough celebrity gossip to go around, but I do wish Indian tabloids would stop printing such articles lifted directly from the non-Indian papers where they were originally featured without even checking that the content is relevant.

Not that I have a problem with making new friends, mind you. I'm all for it; I do it all the time. The problem with this charming suggestion, however, is that the writers have conveniently forgotten to actually imagine the type of public transport that their average reader might take.

It is not very hard to think of the problems that might accompany an attempt to chat up the person nearest to you on an average BMTC vehicle. The very first obstacle to finding a person to develop a lifelong friendship with is the fact that it is very unusual to actually find someone who speaks the same language you do, let alone speaks it well enough to carry on an entire conversation. The other obstacle lies in the way uninvited overtures of friendship are viewed by most people: the women think you want their money, and the men think you want their goods.
(haha, I made teh jokes)

The best way to travel, therefore; and in such a manner that you avoid stares from greasy men and fat old ladies alike; is to pretend you have absolutely no interest whatsoever in your fellow human beings. If you can cultivate a great interest in something no one else can see, so much the better. Develop a laugh you can use: be amused at your surroundings; intrigue everybody!
It is, after all, preferable to be stared at in curiosity and envy than in disapproval and lust lechery.

Edit: This is not a suggestion on how to make friends. This a suggestion that will help you get through your evening without unpleasant incident.

In my opinion, anyway.

Monday, October 1, 2007


It is the end of the world and I cannot tell anyone.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

tummy achin'

You know it ain't easy
For these thoughts here to leave me
There's no words to describe it
In French or in English

Well, diamonds they fade
And flowers they bloom
And I'm telling you

These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
They've been knockin' me out lately
Whenever you come around me
These feelings won't go away
They've been knockin' me sideways
I keep thinking in a moment that
Time will take them away
But these feelings won't go away

Citizen Cope - Sideways

Saturday, September 29, 2007

and some wisdom...

That, m'dears, is the third molar that was removed this afternoon from my upper left jaw. Note the three roots and their perfection. Most molars at the back of the mouth have one great big root (or at the most two) and my having three perfect roots means the following:
a. I am very unusual. Yay, me!
b. I have a very good dentist. That's some delicate twisted tissue we got there.

When I walked back home I stopped at the medical store to buy my pain medication, and the teller happened to catch a glimpse of the tooth in my fist. (Oh, all right. He caught a glimpse because i 'accidentally' showed it to the snooty lady standing next to me. What? she was staring at my poor swollen face!)
First he asked what it was, and then he wanted to know if it was made of plastic. I showed him the blood and pointed out my extended cheek, and he was suitably enthralled.
When he was writing out the bill, he asked me to show him the tooth again.
I felt like the bearded lady.

I awaits me some ice-cream now.

Monday, September 24, 2007

lowering reflections

It is a huge blow to the ego and self-esteem to find out you resemble, in all the ways that matter, a sixteen-year-old in your teenage sister's class for whom she feels nothing but contempt...

High school is very cruel, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

eventually phone calls

I have always been one of those people (I assume there are such people) whose lives seem to be spent more in their own company than in anyone else's. I do not remember that it was a voluntary decision; all I know is that I woke up one day and realised that it was so.

The tendency to sit in dark corners and construct imaginary conversations is, however, relatively new (though still of long standing - probably dating back to my discovery of myself as a real person, some time in the eighth standard). It was the time I first realized I wanted friends and thought I hadn't any, and was dimly aware that I was neither prepared nor able to put in the effort needed to be part of a 'gang'.
I resorted, then, to rewriting my life in my head, because of course the reason I was unhappy was not because I was timid and shy and naïve and choosy in the matter of the company I kept, but rather because I was somewhere surrounded by people who could never understand or appreciate me as I deserved. And so I dreamed day-dreams to remove the sour taste of loneliness from my mind. The place I usually chose for my ruminations was my bed; and not necessarily at bed-time - I retreated to my room whenever bruised in spirit and ego, and pretended my life was entirely other than it was. (and perhaps this is the reason I love Montgomery's Anne so much, because she knew how to step out of her own life into her own head)
In these day-dreams I was always smarter and wiser and altogether more noble than I felt my real life persona to be. In these day-dreams I braved plane crashes and earthquakes and all manner of other disasters and always won the love of the most handsome and dashing male of the piece by being a down-to-earth earnest honest-to-goodness heroine.

It has been perhaps two years since I last saw my imaginary hero, and it is not because I have come to my senses and realized that living in dream worlds does not really make for real-life successes. It is, I think, because I found I liked my life and myself better than I had previously realized.
So now I restrict myself to sitting in the dark or out on my little balcony staring at stars making conversation with people who are actually in my real live life at the moment. And sometimes they are imaginary conversations that I create; and the people aren't really real people at all - merely constructs of humans made up in my head around the ideas of people I know.
I smile and cry over these as much as I ever did over all my burning buildings and sinking submarines and alien invasions.
I'm to assume this is an improvement.

Friday, September 7, 2007

my right foot; a brief yet tedious history

When I was six years old, I got fitted out with my very first pair of glasses. By the time I passed out of school, I was wearing the equivalent of a pair of small telescopes on my eyes. Having a pair of glasses that fell off my face at slightest provocation due to their weight and without whom I was nearly blind meant that I tended to avoid strenuous sports in favour of tamer and more elegant pursuits; the kind where the chances of, e.g., me getting hit in the head because I couldn't see to defend myself (at least, the chance of getting hit in the head literally...) were fewer. *

I compromised on this tragic scenario by walking. Walking was a way to keep moving without the fear of bodily harm, and this appealed to me. (I am not a fan of bodily harm.) I walked a lot - to school and back, to the houses of friends, up and down stairs - everywhere I could, really.
When I was fifteen years old, however, I took a wrong step and fell down the stairs in my house.
Yes, really.
Slipped at the top of a flight, slithered down, and landed on the side of my right foot, twisting it to a crazy and unnatural degree. (it was perhaps the only time I actually remember screaming in pain.)
The ankle was in a cast for two months, and the ligament was never the same again.

A few years later, in my second year in college, I twisted the foot again. (There was an incident, sometime between the two aforementioned, involving my left foot as well. It featured such salient points as a game of basketball with the neighbours, a hole in the ground, and a wildly swollen foot. Also a cast and a scrape on my leg when the attendant used the electric saw carelessly; but I digress.)
It still counted only as a sprain, but the previous injury had left my ankle prone to injury at the least twist, and not noticing a change in levels a step while running around strange buildings surely counted as one.

After that, I had mild aches in my foot for a long time, but assumed it was because of all the walking I was doing - to and from bus stops; between bus stops, around the college campus, around sites... I had frequent visions of acupuncture, Ayurvedic oil massages and amputation, and finally did visit a renowned chiropractor. He, however, put me on to a series of painful and seemingly meaningless therapy sessions that emptied my parents' pockets and did nothing for the foot. Besides, he never once told me what he thought was wrong with my foot, and I just cannot trust doctors who do that.

This year, my foot returned to the forefront in splendour and glory. On April 29, I took a step forward and my foot took a step down, and the confusion in gravity proved too much for the ligament, which promptly tore again. This time I was in a cast for a month. It was large, heavy and orange. Here is a picture.
Once the cast was off, I was adjured to walk around with my foot in a bandage and put as little weight on the ankle as possible. And all was fine and dandy, and I limped gamely around town; going so far as to run behind buses and skip merrily in public; until the foot suddenly began sending me alarming signals of pain on an almost daily basis.

Finally, after a few months of tying the foot up in new and interesting ways, we visited another doctor who then introduced me to my new pet medical term - sesamoid. With the little that the doctors shared and some perusing of articles on the internet (yes, i know, i know. but still) I figured out that my medial sesamoid is either bipartate or fractured.
This makes for fun times and daily physiotherapy and plenty of pain and a constant, passionate desire to shoot myself through the foot.

And now I am on the verge of my next appointment with the doctor to find out if I need a cast, or a bone scan, or (oh, help) surgery. Hurrah for modern medicine!

* I did eventually get corrective eye surgery, which meant I could no longer hide behind the glass and was exposed to the world and boys might want to ask me out etc but they never did. But now I can run without fear.
Unless I am
a. running because of fear,
b. still in possession of a broken sesamoid bone,
c. wearing loose clothes, or
d. wearing tight clothes.

Monday, September 3, 2007

cat lady

I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to unravel the mystery that I believe my mind is. The unfortunate side-effect of this is that I spend a lot less time on the more important things in life, i.e. studying, working hard, making a name for myself in life, planning my future. ( :( )
On the other hand, the upshot of all this deep thinking has led me to make some rather stunning discoveries as far as humankind are concerned. (They all seem to be discoveries that people have already made generation after generation through time, but when has that ever stopped someone from trying to find something out for their own dear self?)
Here is the latest I've wrapped my head around: my elders aren't really all wiser than me. Sure, I always knew they were probably less equipped to deal with the emergencies of life e.g. how to create a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of grandchildren, but I'd always assumed they were wiser than me, see? Because that's what I was told. It is what I was brought up to believe. Teachers, parents, grandparents - they all know better than us because they have (oh holy whisper) experience. They have seen life. Their advice is to be carefully considered before you make any decisions in life at all.
And now I spend more and more time around elders in the family and out of it, and I listen to all the things they say to see if anything makes sense, and I find that the wisdom of our elders is a myth that I believed in only because I was far too naïve to do otherwise.
Alas, the sad truth is that adults are often just older, uglier, more wrinkled versions of their misguided childhood selves. And it is galling to have to bow and scrape before them in mockery of respect merely because they are older than I am. And yet I will, and I do, because anarchy solves nothing.
I'm just going to make damn sure I'm a wise old woman and not a prattling idiot, is all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


How does one measure exactly how much of a failure one is?
Does one look at every one of the people one studied with and see where all the others are? Does one compare jobs and relationships and the number of extracurricular activities they are all involved in? Does one take a long hard look at ones (one's? ones?) existence and realize that one has, for the price of being a pleasant and likeable and easy-going human being, given up every talent and every aptitude to settle for an obscure unquantifiable useless resource?
One is a failure.
One can no longer sing, write, speak or act worth anything. One is no longer better than anyone at anything. One is, in fact, a talentless and unskilled muffin who is content to spend her life marvelling at mundaneness like a fat retard.
One has no job, no dream and no future. One has no ego.
One wants to die.
One wishes to fade away.
Oh, wait. One has done that already.

out of town

back next monday

Friday, July 27, 2007

ladies and gentlemen

Some day I will wake up in the morning and treat the day as mundane and ordinary and not worthy of wild, passionate interest. Some day I will walk through my life on tiptoe, without ripples and without messes. Some day I will grow old and grow up and grow smart. Some day I will believe, as Manu says, that life is a "spiral of despair, and your only hope is piling one distraction on top of another, and hoping that your massive heap of delusion doesn't collapse before you die."
Just not any time soon.

Perhaps maturity lies in recognizing the everyday as ordinary, perhaps it does. Perhaps it is the greatest sign of my immaturity, this tendency to revel in incident and accident and coincidence. Perhaps it is true that a twenty-something female in a big city cannot afford to go through her life with eyes open and heart open, inviting everyone she meets into it.

There is a part of my brain that recognizes this, that sends me the customary warning signals every time I do something abysmally, shockingly stupid and reckless. There is a part of my brain wired with every ounce of cynicism culled from my wise mother (don't talk to strangers, avoid eye contact, don't reveal any personal information!!!). There is permanent commentary that dogs my every move, that stares in horrified fascination as I agree to lunches with people I have never seen, and strike up conversations with strangers, and stare at a man on a bus in an attempt to shame him into giving up the seat he is in (fun fact from T's oh-coincidental universe: actually had a pleasant conversation with aforementioned, and ended up on the same bus as him the day immediately after. this is irony.)
There is a part of me that knows in chilling detail all that could go wrong, that imagines scenarios where strangers follow me home, to work, into dark alleyways. There is a part of me that has imagined, in technicolour blurs, all the things strange men can do to unprotected females. There is a part of me that realizes I could be robbed raped killed every time I leave myself vulnerable, open, accessible.
And yet.
And yet.

Trying to convince the rest of my brain to follow any of these wise instructions feels to me like kicking a small and confiding puppy. It is as though I'm trying my utmost to retain that part of me that persists in believing that good things will happen. I have so much trust in the world that it seems unbearably cruel to break it when it remains so resilient to all that it faces.
Oh, I am aware. Aware that one day I will realize the hard way that the world is not a nice place. Some day I will learn through bitter experience that it is probably not a good idea to stare at a gentleman on the bus until he relinquishes his seat to me. Some day I will discover that strangers do not, in general, turn out to be pleasant people at the end of a long day. Some day I will stop marvelling at the wonder of other people. Some day I will stop remembering the kindness of strangers. Someday I will stop hoping and agree in entirety with that part of me that expects only pain and misery and heartbreak.
Just... not yet, please not yet.

I want to know. In the end, if I die hoping, against all evidence and in spite of always expecting the worst, that the world is a wonderful, beautiful, hopeful place, is that so very bad?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

on strangeness

Weddings are such unexpected places, aren't they?
I don't mean the kinds of weddings where you're related to half the invitees and remotely connected by a number of familial ties to the other half (not to mention the fact that you are probably eligible to be married to most of the single gentlemen present. :) Erm.) Those weddings are wonderful if only because they bring home extremely forcefully the immutability of families and traditions and the fact that any more than two old ladies together equals a dissection of past, present and future that will mesmerise and terrify and leave you wishing you never turn out like your grandmother.
No, I do not mean that kind of wedding. I mean, rather, the kind of wedding where you wander in with feelings of great trepidation, holding the colourful invitation in front of you like a shield; the kind of wedding where you walk around the reception hall and are slowly but surely overwhelmed by the feeling that you recognize absolutely nobody present, and you cannot find the bride, who is in all probability the only person who actually knows you were invited.
The few forays you make into discussions reveals that everyone present is either Bengali, or Oriya, or worked for Wipro at some point of time in their life. Which is when you walk up and down an edge of the hall in as discreet a manner as possible (getting in the way of all the waiters), muttering to yourself about how you shouldn't have come and do i know *nobody* here except the bride? and how am i supposed to get home *now*? until you run into people you know, and suddenly there are things to talk about and you feel less like a great gaby in a sari.
And then you greet the bride and groom and you run into a number of persons you haven't seen in years and make a few new friends and end up with nice boys flirting with you.
Probably. :)
And the day ends in DC after dessert, which is the way all good days should end, yes.

Meanwhile, I would like to give thanks for the amply padded posterior that saved my spine from permanent injury during my undignified tumble down a set of stairs yesterday on the way to my exam.
Yes. :(
But nothing was broken, not even any bones, so yay.

When somebody says at the end of a viva, "You didn't make a view? Birds-eye view... Such a nice project, you don't want to show it off?", you know the review has gone well, do you not?

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I feel...
expectant. As though something wonderful is about to happen. Sparkly.

Oh, I lie. That is how I felt two hours ago. As I headed home from the office. Now, however, there is a wedding reception that I will not be attending because of traffic and other animals, and I feel an extreme sense of bitterness at the world and all inhabitants.
Boss B was married today. I missed his engagement ceremony, and now I missed his wedding. Very tragic and shameful and rather unforgivable, no?

(all happy post-thoughts later)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

grown ups

The question is not whether I am right, but rather whether it is right to try and find answers from others. Is it not strange that someone who does not believe in the power of a holy man to tell her how to live her life will happily take advice from ordinary people?
The mistake I make, perhaps, is in thinking that others are wiser than me. The mistake I make is in assuming that something is true only because lots of people say it is.
Does that not make sense?

There are things I must realize on my own, and decisions I must make. Hoping that someone else will show me the way to do that is foolish. There are always things we can learn from other people, always. The things we learn, though, are not the things they tell us.
(I learn more from words not said. Do not you? I feel as though words are just so much illusion - they give you nothing but new confusions and new ways to say things that mean the same and not. They are tools we use to hide what we really feel. How is obscurity worth more than clarity?)

I am the age I am. I have been alive for twenty two years. that makes me an adult, you say? Why does it? My being any age does not mean I will behave (or think, or feel, or speak) the way you (or you or you or you) think I should; purely because of the fact of how long I've inhabited this space in and around my body. It does not even mean I should.
The things people forgive each other may be what makes them wise. There is nothing but stupidity in prejudice and arrogance and bigotry, so how can tolerance not be wisdom? And if someone cannot not forgive me a moment of selfishness or doubt or fear, it reflects not my immaturity, but theirs.

Doesn't being your self mean you decide what that actually means? How else am I wise one moment and not wise another? Or patient one day and impatient another?
Being mere words (mature, responsible, selfish, cruel) that other people will find easier to understand makes you less than you are.
Is what I think, anyway.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

weekend guests

There is a code of conduct that parents expect from their children, isn't there? there is certainly a pattern of behaviour that my mother expects from me unconsciously, or subconsciously; and it seems as though I rarely seem to live up to that code. It is not a conscious neglect on my part, rather it is my determination to always behave the same way in all circumstances. Is that so wrong?
As long as I am within the four walls of the house, and as long as I am outside the house with sufficient distance between me and my parent, I am a terribly model child. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't have a boyfriend. I don't spend too much money, I rarely come out late without a call home first, I don't stay out at all hours of the night.
The problem arises, of course, when my mother and I occupy the same pace and time with anyone not in the nuclear family, and incidentally, always someone who happens to be extended family or close to that. Why this should be, I have no idea. And then there are fights and recriminations and I end up crying about what a weird inhuman non-person I am.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

talking analogies

If I were to imagine it, it would begin with the balance. The scales. The accounting.
(backlog, bank balance, accumulation)
And if I were to imagine it, I would have a plan written out for me; my fate, my destiny.
I see it as... plans. Perhaps - of a house.
But then, I think, it seems more. More than a plan - a concept. A hint of a house, a wish of a house - basic spatial arrangements - a requirement, an instruction, a brief. Flexible.
And when I imagine it, the purpose of life is to get this house built. And keep it built.
So I will find people who will help me with the blueprints. And the materials. And the curtains, furniture, windows, carpets, paint, wallpaper... And the plumbing.
And when I imagine it, I find someone somewhere with whom plans overlap so that we can build our houses over and beside and inside and outside and through each other's.

Hmm. Analogies are really very unwieldy things. Because now I'm thinking neighbours, and countries and walls and fences and apple trees in the garden; and I'm thinking maintenance and home loans and who will mow the lawn after the house is built; and frankly, frankly - this analogy can be carried a long way. Pretty boring way, too.
I just thought it up because I could. Isn't that the best reason?
Life as a House. Somebody already even made the movie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

more mondays

When a day begins in the middle of a three and a half hour long phone conversation that will be remembered for a month, you know it will be a good day in spite of itself.
Nine hour workdays would not be so bad if you could spend them all reading SPOON when the boss is in the room and spend the rest of the time with your head pillowed on your arm with drool dripping onto your sleeve and your mind somewhere and somewhen that your body cannot follow.
Even an hour and a half of drawing and a slightly painful site visit can be offset by a walk to the park, a child in the grass, a squirrel in a tree, and a soothsayer in your face offering to tell your future.
And when it is set in conjunction with a letter you carried around just so you could post it in public, and ended up handing to the man in the mail van just as the afternoon pick-up was to be effected, then you know the day is one for the history books.

I could have done without the people, though. Everywhere I went yesterday, I saw them. There was a time I could be sure to surprise a pleasant reply out of a stranger on the street with a smile and a secret, but suddenly every time I step out of the house all the faces I see are closed, and all the eyes I glance into are dead. Perhaps being away for too long has removed people from the background, but I cannot ever remember so many missing persons wandering my city.
Traffic was a nightmare and lunchtime was heartbreak and the park burned at me till the soothsayer came by.
It weighs heavy.
Does having more humans mean less humanity for each?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

not in the refrigerator

The most addictive thing about the internet is the fact that at some point, being online becomes as automatic and as natural as breathing. I don't really have to talk to anyone, or message anyone, or email anyone. I don't even need to do anything online, see. No need to read blogs, or browse sites, or search for information, or do the wiki.
The only thing I need is to be there. I sign into gmail as soon as I switch on the computer, not because I'm desperately wanting conversations (well, at least, not all the time) but rather because I want to be available for any that happen by. I want to stay connected.

I once decided to go a week without signing in, because I felt there was too much time being wasted merely in the exchanging of platitudes with people who lived in the same city that I was in, and conversing for hours with people whom I'd never met and was likely never to meet, either. I went almost six days before I broke down, but I did manage to stay away, see. The difference was that it was my decision, yes? Not some faulty electronic modulator-demodulator that decided to die on me and leave me stranded high and dry with a game leg and no internet connection.
The last three days have been hard.
Hard enough to get me calling people on STD numbers from the landline because of how much I missed talking to them. Hard enough to have me watching television to drown out the whining voices in my head - especially the ones cursing international time zones. Hard enough to send me out of the house and hobbling towards a neighbourhood internet parlour and one glorious hour of internet.
Yes, I'm addicted, yes I am.
I just missed being able to reach out and touch someone.
It's just that... once you've been connected, how can you possibly bear not to be?

Monday, June 11, 2007


It isn't for myself that I feel it. I can take everything as a lesson now. I have done lessons for a long time; turned guilt and shame and embarrassment into something to talk about.
And now, again, again, again. I stand here where I stood twice before, and I think about my mother. I want to tell her there's nothing she could have done. I want to tell her I make my own mistakes. I want to tell her this means nothing, nothing. I want to tell her these things because I fear she will tell me the reason I failed is because I didn't listen to her. I fear she will be disappointed and hurt and, oh horror, ashamed.
Oh, it's the truth. But what was the reason I didn't listen to her?

Perhaps it was shame, the fact that I could not show my work to anyone until I had tried to solve every last detail, as clumsily and ham-handedly as I usually do anything. Perhaps design as a process does not work for me because I do not want to let people inside my thought processes before they are unravelled to my satisfaction. Perhaps design as a process does not work for me because I have no skill, no patience and no creativity.
Perhaps I waited so long because I was afraid of dismissal and ridicule and disappointing somebody. Other people's high expectations of yourself are hard to comprehend when you have none for yourself.

Perhaps I am never ashamed because I expect nothing from me.
If you were ashamed of me, would you say?


Only for my mother.

Friday, June 8, 2007

brief interlude of bewilderment

SO the submission's on Saturday, and I'm working very very hard to finish things on time.
All this post is for, is to wonder about the wonder that is the internet.

All hail people who post so that others can find solutions.
I love help forums. I love the internet. I love Google. All hail the internet. All hail Google.

And I was only online to send some files to a person.

Sigh. :(
I have the heartburns.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

forgotten episodes

A surprise comment today reminded me of old times and old boys. It saddens me a little to realize that I no longer remember in vivid detail every moment of those four (? five? three?) days back in January.
I do remember lots, though, if I think about it for a little while. I remember the concerts in the OAT. The surprise meetings of old friends. The long walks with past classmates. The discovery of new company for coffee talk. The loss of wallets. The giving of presents. The misjudging of people. The forgiving and the forgetting.
Plays. Poems. Midnight quizzes. Drunken messages. Skirts. Mosquitoes. Broken shoes. Borrowed shoes. Dawn walks through the woods. Buses. Whose Line is it Anyway. Elocution. Boys. :) Daily Crossie. Crossie finals. Finishing last. Missing singing. Pompous people. Prejudice. Damp grass by moonlight. Staircases. A cat on my lap. A mattress on my shoulder. A monkey on a railing.
Unexpected wins. Unexpected friends.

Saarang 2007.
It was a time.

at any other time

I love you more than I should
So much more than is good for me
More than is good

Oh the timing is cruel
Oh I need and don't want to need
More than I should

I am falling, say my name
And I'll lie in the sound
What is love, but whatever
My heart needs around

Oh my sheet is so thin
So I say I can't sleep because
It's so very cold

Oh but I know what I need
And if you were just near to me
Would you go...

I am falling, say my name
And I'll lie in the sound
What is love, but whatever
My heart needs around

And it needs you too much now

Trespassers William - Lie in the Sound

Monday, May 28, 2007


Does anyone else get miserable this time of year?
Clinically depressed, I mean.
I want to know.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


The most important thing about imaginary kisses is the fact that they need to be imagined.
I cull from scenes in movies, and scenes in novels, and the way a friend will describe the first time she made out with her boyfriend in a seat of a movie theatre. In my loneliest moments I string them together in fits and starts, and I construct disjoint details of lips and teeth and tongues, stubble and nose and fingers.
(and chins and cheeks and hair and eyelashes)

It's strange, imagining. You can pay attention to just whichever specific part of the experience you want to - knowing that you need never have annoying smells or sounds or unexpected laughtracks; body odour and halitosis and inappropriate music. You can use replay and rewind and fast forward and lose all the boring parts whenever you want to. You change location and setting and weather; clothing and shoes and hairstyle. You can be taller, shorter, thinner, fatter; simultaneously, separately, in a matter of moments!
One wonders if porn allows those without imaginations to develop some fantasies of their own.

One also wishes... to try the real thing.
It's as though the skin is easily imagined with (someday i will wonder more about this. it is an idea i like), but the rest of the senses take some doing. Sounds are not too hard, tastes are harder, and smell is the hardest of all.
The eyes? Oh the eyes are always closed. Why, but, that's how they do it on TV!

for j. for the inspiration :)

Okay, and because I'm now imagining. waist. and hips. and jaw line. and ears, neck, nape.
the exploration of asymmetry. chest and shoulders and arms and palms. walls and water and outside. shoulder bones and collar bones and backbones. right down to the base of.
thank you for details.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I told someone the other day - I cannot write fiction.
I have tried, sure. I have tried, but not very hard. I have tried, but there has never been that spark of imagination in me that makes for the truly wonderful stories. I cannot see them in entirety, the stories; the stories like complete bubbles, free to coalesce with others outside and inside and beside. I can think of nothing new, nothing, and it is not just in the writing.
(what is anything worth if you have nothing new of your own to offer?)
I do tell stories well, though. I can tell you stories I know. Stories I imbibe and refashion to make them, in my head, lighter or snappier or more interesting.
I can make things read well.

I just cannot write them.

I won every inter-house creative writing competition in my school. Perhaps it was because of my flair for words.
(I do have one, don't I? I do, don't I? Oh, someone please say yes.)
My stories weren't ever original. They were, almost all of them, stories about mysterious and malignant dark forces à la every trashy horror story I'd ever read or watched. I always used themes from things I'd read, or seen, or heard. People say all art is imitation, but I couldn't write without themes. I couldn't write a story unless I had a boundary within which to fit it - a first line, a last line, a title. I needed hints, or I didn't know where I was going.
I want to believe this does not make me any less of a person, I do; but I can't. What is the use of anything if you can't imagine? What is the use? People who cannot write can think of stories that have so much potential that I burn with jealousy and futility and impotence.
All I have ever imagined has already been in here. So tell me.
Why bother wonder at all?

ports for tempests

I hold you in my hands
A little animal
And only some dumb idiot
Would let you go

I hold you in cupped hands
And shield you from a storm
Where only some dumb idiot
Would let you go

But if I'm one thing
Then that's the one thing
I should know
Can anybody find their home
Out of everyone
Can anybody find their home
Lost in the sun
Can anybody find their home

Keane - Sunshine

Monday, May 21, 2007


The cast, dears, is off.

The ordeal involved hobbling, a saw on fibreglass, incompetence, and pain.
But there was nothing a band-aid couldn't fix; and the cast is off, yay.

Now I have to be even more careful, ugh.

Please hope someone is watching out for me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

later letter

If I had my way this would be in paper and pen and pencil, because that's what I've been thinking of all day - paper and pen and pencil; and molecules of myself that go spinning out into the great unknown never to return to me unless you will it so. Did I not send them to you, molecules of me in paper and pencil and ink?

I wrote to people in the last week without a thought for what I was writing beyond the fact that I was writing to them and today I cannot remember a word not a word except that I think I told someone I loved him.
Perhaps it is better this way, when the words I write out of my pain and joy escape from me forever and ever and not a word remains to mock me with memories of my own stupidity. Perhaps the letters that will mean the most to us will be the ones we remember in spite of ourselves; without any records or copies or memorandums - the ones that we will remember, perhaps remember all wrong, except for that one perfect sentence we slaved over for two minutes.
Then again, perhaps we will not remember them at all.

See, I've been thinking. Is a relationship that is entirely electronic better than ones you have in real life because of all the ways you can remember it; and all the ways you will never never need to? For I cannot remember when I first wrote you, or when you first said hello, or when you first asked to get in my pants. I cannot remember, but I can find out. I can find out when, and what, and quote; and I can calculate the number of times you said any of the numerous stupid things you said and draw pretty graphs of proportion if I wanted to.

Do we say the things we say to each other because no one will never know unless we tell? Because passwords protect but letters can be found by anybody? Is that why the blog is like an alternative - a public private personal letter that any random person can find; one of those interrupted stories that people stumble across in old apartments - overlapping edges of lives that remind you of things in your own? Is that why it tugs at the heartstrings so to read of someone else, someone like you, doing the things you did or the things you want to do, falling in love and falling out of love and doubting and believing and winning and losing and living?
Perhaps it is. I like to think so. I like to think of all the stories I've read here in this place; the ones I've loved; as windows into lives of people not very different from me - people who could have been my friends, or my sisters, or my soul mates. We all look for soul mates, after all. I've just found some for myself, see, all accidental-like.
Lucky, lucky me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

better letter later

Being stuck in the house all the time does not make for much adventure at all.
It might if I were in Misselthwaite Manor and wandering along lonely passages and finding semi-orphaned relatives on moonlit nights; but it turns out I am in a cast and hence reduced to hopping around the house with a cane à la House. Sure, one could make valid arguments for reading all the books cluttering up the bookshelves that I haven't even taken close second looks at, but let's face it - I no longer read as much as I used to. I have become addicted to real life. And sitcoms. But those are real life, no?
One day last week I wrote a Person™ a Letter. One of those Dead Tree with Squid Piss Thingys™. And then, when I asked my father for stamps, he accidentally unearthed a sheaf of something surprising - twelve blue Inland Letter Cards, bought back in the day when Inland Letter Cards cost only 75 paise.

Sending an Inland Letter Card today costs Rs. 2.50.
I know because I sent some. In fact, I sent four.
I'd have sent more, only there weren't any stamps of denomination below Rs 5 when my sister went to the post office, so I steamed the stamps off postcards instead and wrote as many letters as the stamps could afford. It was a fun project.
So was, in fact, the actual letter writing itself. Sitting at the dining table after midnight with the injured leg propped up and the trusty cane close at hand; with sheets of actual honest-to-goodness postal stationery waiting to be mutilated by hand-wielded writing instruments... Perhaps the excitement of actually writing a letter (an inland letter! on blue stationery!) overshadowed the joy of communication, but not for long. The first letter was all about the letter writing and about the inlandletter and perhaps it used the word "blue" rather often, but by the time the fourth letter was written I was hitting my stride.
I have grown too used to emails, and the instant gratification they afford; the perfect spelling and unambiguous legibility. I have forgotten the wonder of scribbling and scratching and trying to get the words just right without aid of copy and paste and delete.
And I really really enjoyed sending letters with all those little doodles in the margin.

So if you received a letter from me, today, or tomorrow, or yesterday; well, then - write me back, huh? I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. And I promise the post title if you do. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

fits just right

Bye bye baby,
don't be long.
I'll worry about you while you're gone

I'll think of you in my dreams.
You'll never know just what you mean to me.

Ivy - Worry about you

Sunday, May 6, 2007


Being injured is entirely annoying. For one thing, you're so dependent. I don't like being dependent. Especially for entertainment. I disapprove entirely of entertainment that isn't teaching me things, and spending an entire day trying to sleep and continuously complaining about the pain in the foot and the pain in the head and wishing for company and watching nonsense on the television leaves me feeling limp and useless. Plus it was SATURDAY and people all over the planet were doing fun, constructive and dangerous things in their lives while I lay around wishing for phone calls, yes Marcie, I'm talking about you. And no bus rides, neither. No bus rides!!! And yesterday was pineapple. :'(
So at the end of the day, I spent a couple of moments mentally calculating the amount of time I had effectively wasted through the rest of the day - 24 into 3600 24 threes are 72 so twice that is 144 so add them and that's 864 and two zeroes 86, 400 seconds! And my mental arithmetic is not that bad, after all, I say.
However! Last night I dreamed of coconut trees and there was a mongoose. This is new and interesting, and so I'm telling everyone. Mongoose dreams, I mean to say! Must have some deep psychological meaning, no?
Plus the mongoose ran away.

Okay, I need to get out. GET OUT. And people are sending me useless virtual hugs and kisses. And no one is coming to visit, aargh. AARGH, AARGH.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


where are we supposed to go from here? emergency? it isn't an emergency? casualty? perhaps, but only of my own clumsiness. and how long do i have to wait here among all these people whose blood is all on the outside instead of where self-respecting blood should be?
wheelchair, downstairs, elevator to the OPD. forms to fill, and cards to fill, down stairs, down stairs, but Father, I am not 23 yet, and who's listening?
doctor, it has been two hours since I got here and an hour since the X-ray and the upstairs downstairs, is there nobody with this girl, and where is the man with the plaster cast? i have eaten my stale idlis in my hot sambhar while Father stood by smelling of smoke and am i surprised? and where? where is my bandage?
i have read all the charts, sister, and i have redesigned the administrative block, and i am dying for a bit of construction paper and a pair of scissors and could you get me some tape with that? and i watch you wrap those instruments in cloth and i ask, sister, are those to be boiled and you nod yes; i doubt you understood me, but you smile prettily, congratulations.
and sister, sister, o Nurse? see, i can see that run in your stocking.

it's up to three hours now, doctor, close to three and a half, and why must i pay an entire month's salary for a cast in fibreglass that will not even give me a canvas on which to get people to spout drivel to show their love for me, no substitutes i bet you get a hefty commission doctor, but so it goes so it goes, and i spend half my Sunday being ignored in a hospital and the other half being ignored at home
(no, i will not apologize.)
and Coventry is not such a bad place to be if you have the internet and a phone.

Really, it's not.
So. Someone call me, please?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

nothing could come between us

A couple of weeks ago, the newest neighbours were locked out of their apartment without a key between them. So it was that in the middle of the night we had an extension cord plugged into our hall point and the sound of drilling above our heads. Today they came over to charge their new digital camera because.. okay, I'm not precisely sure, because I was asleep in the afternoon, but when I awoke there was a camera plugged into the computer.
Also, the long sibling and I were just invited to a DVD party at the neighbour's next week. Monday, to be exact. I was also invited to bring along a boyfriend. Sob, if only!
Herewith is an open invitation to any young gentlemen who would not be averse to spending an evening with me, my sister, the neighbour and the neighbour's husband. Your primary role will be to tilt the gender balance closer to the middle and provide company to the last mentioned.
Call me if interested. :D

I like people.
They make life infinitely worth it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

building thoughts

Architecture is perhaps the most unexpectedly rewarding mistake I ever made.
I could imagine a life doing something else, struggling less, worrying less, panicking less. Perhaps I could. I could imagine a life where I entered college fresh from school to do something I actually had a chance of being good at - literature, mathematics, engineering, law, journalism. Perhaps I could.
People who knew T in school always said, architecture? in the tones of people watching chickens swimming. T was talented in school, yes. She was smart, and she loved to learn, and her English was the stuff of legend. But I preen, and I wanted to talk of architecture.

I could imagine some other field where I would learn more about life, and people, and words that sell ideas. I could imagine a field where I talk to a person in Hindi, another in Kannada and a third in English; all within the same four walls; as mediator and arbitrator and umpire. I could imagine some other world where I would be responsible to each and every one of those people, the one held accountable, the one in charge...and still, in all probability, the one who gets the least return for her investment.
Perhaps I could, but I doubt it.
I wonder how many other fields require you to be at once responsible to everybody. And I mean everybody. To the client - to get the job done on time, within budget, as per specification. To the contractor, the carpenter, the plumber, the electrician, the mason - to get them their drawings, their instructions, their money.
To yourself - because that's the point of design, isn't it?
I fear I will never be a great architect. I fear I lack the vision, the skill, the willingness to spend three days on a single room. I have dreams of buildings that I cannot draw and I talk about spaces that I cannot see, and it breaks my heart. I have ideas that I do not put down on paper because I am too lazy, too afraid of the work any design entails.
I see people around me who talk of architecture the way I talk of writing, and I wish for the least fraction of that passion.
If I could design the way I write, I'd be a happier architect. Not better, not necessarily. Just...happier. I'd be happy just to try.