The year so far...

Started with a bang, still reeling from quitting a stable academic job and a part-time source for a career switch that comes like once in a blue moon, I had to convince myself more than my people that I am doing the right thing. I did not know if what I was doing was all great and sensible and where I will be headed for is purely hazy and horizontally blinding.
Corporate, the more said the lesser, Madhur Bhandarkar tried his lil' best to show us,forgettable movie it was!
Two months zoomed past, lots of lethargy seeped in with the freebies and the flexibilities. The bubble burst for some of my friends.A lil' bad I felt and the continuous friction of egos and skills is the baggage.
My M.Phil. results came thru' and I missed the Ph.D thing by a whisker, the consolatory pep-talk was I am way too young for this now, I should be reading and writing papers and the like.
I was collecting butterflies and cooking stories for self-preservation. Dad used to wonder what is it that holds her attention, the span is painfully small and short!!

Came to another city in less than 2 months and so far, my achievements/no-achievements are...
from 2 suitcases to ... grin grin
-from lodgings and food from one cot to one apartment with friends...
-from being a lethargic loser( all potential geniuses are) to an average performer for the world...
-watched so many movies and wrote countless reviews in the mind...
-have taken up writing somewhat seriously, let's see how long and how far I can pull this one :(
-earned a lot of friends, acquaintances from maids to scavengers!!
-added 10kgs to my frail frame,my constitution is not at its best but look-able :)
-have not written a single poem this year which is not me at her poetic spontaneity!!
-retention of my basic wry sense of humor, I still cannot tolerate (p)sycophants(...grrr)
-have learned to forgive and not forget :)
-have made so many resolutions for short term goals
-my childhood seems far from over
-losing track of time is a regular phenomenon...everything is so timeless and frozen :)

...and I am going home for a long vacation with a big mind and a firm heart to take all the brickbats and bouquets, if any from friends and family, students and acquaintances, ex-colleagues and neighbours and also, the little gods and goddesses who I promised to come and meet them when they answered my prayers without me having to keep fasts and rituals.

I love 2007 for what it is, made me a year younger in deciding between insanity and senility, who is a better match??


Girls, ladies,women and shopping

Not to say it is a pet discussion but this is a Freudian challenge why girls love shopping and splurging.I never figured out myself.
I have see 3 generations of women at least who have astoundingly similar waves and fits of shopping.
My paternal granny loved trench coats and high heels, the fact she never wore them is another story but she loved hoarding them by the dozen.And also, shiny leather bags and pouches. With senility such things get a bigger utility value, and grand children can have a windfall.Her heels were chosen and carefully picked by Mom, stylish and elegant, no frills and stuff. After grandpa's death, she never enjoyed shopping as much but loved her quota anyway.It became a routine in the house whenever Mom took the name of shopping, granny used to sit her thru' painful minutes of detailed description and fuss.
Each year, one box of clothes and stuff was added.When she was alive, we got some and after her death, they all went to charity...Dad and the Brahmans believe you should never use anything that belonged to the dear departed.

Mom is a picky Saggitarrian with a Piscean finish who married a Libran with a Taurean attitude.She is not a big spender, she loves her royal stuff that she buys keeping in mind her daughters,heirlooms in waiting.She is a welfare person, not the kind who would make Dad feel the pinch about a dent in his pocket. She is an occasional shopper but she makes sure she does it well, Dad remembers it for a really long time,sometimes albeit grudgingly.

My sister is a brand person.She loves hep stuff and does not care a dime if it costs anyone a bomb or whatever.She gets what she wants, not the persuasive kinds but her sulk says it all.She is not a habitual spender, so her folks won't mind her occasional splurge.

Yours truly is a big time big spender, I do not need an occasion to buy something. Books, ear-rings and clothes, not brand specific but feel good, trendy kinds. I should be kept away, at least 300miles away from any shopping zone and blah blah.I am a compulsive spender and I am happy.People cannot understand why I shop mad.There are others who are madder and bigger shoppers.

For one, shopping is therapeutic and diverting.
It is also a big guilt trip for the self and a point of conflict for the person footing the bill.It could be suicidal also.
Shopping increases your fallen IQ, product knowledge and whims.Shopping gives a certain glow to your flushed face(due to carrying the baggage home) and makes you go over the moon and fall on the earth violating the 1/6th gravity funda.
Shopping is an anti-depressant, when you are low and feeling terrible go to Archies at least, it will make you feel better.Pick up the cards, read the messages, nod your head in agreement and not-up to -the mark kinds.
When you happen to fight with someone/anyone (it could be your folks, spouse, boyfriend,sibling or friend) go to the vegetable market. If you do not have money also you can still ask the price of potato and cauliflower.
I do not recommend/prescribe going to a mall coz whatever I might pick up is under tremendous duress and stress so there is a bigger possibility of me not liking the stuff later on courtesy the nagging feeling that I picked them up when I was off the handle and it has negative vibes and blah blah.
The best form of shopping any day is window-shopping, try the shoes and the clothes, act big and pricey and give full points to the person attending on you and come away with the 15mins of fame literally.Keep telling yourself that you are a princess and you deserve better beautiful-ler things and these things last only an ephemera.
Shopping raises your self-esteem and is a big moral boost. Guys to men will never understand.They prefer hanging around and loitering aimlessly in the by-lanes and other lanes, probably eye-ing a pretty young thing, it comes for free you see!!And when you have the dough to spend, do you need any more reasons than investing in a risky future?

Wabi sabi

They say the lack of a flaw is also a flaw. Perfection is to die/kill for but what about less fortunate im-perfectionists who are not destined or inclined to maintaining that little harmony with perfection.

For many, waiting for the right person and moment has left them with gray hair and fairly wrinkled skin and lost time.We all have our perfect frames. We forget to note that the perfect one is illusive, it's a fallacious chimera promising us something only to force us to compromise with the best alternative.Some make do, some whine and the rest have no idea whatsoever is going on.

For quite a many, compromising with less than good/nice situations and people with the hope of improving/improvising has left them with a bitter taste in their mouths, a nagging sense of dissatisfaction and ah,if only I waited sorts!! But the religious lot that they are, adventure comes seldom easily to them. They fear God, society, their past ghosts and effort.

There are a fortunate lot who have the best things in the world and still stray. Not that there is anything wrong, rather everything goes wrong from there.When all things are right, Murphy's law comes in as the villain. So you have adultery, tempestuous liaisons and cuckolded acquaintances, yoga classes and weight loss programmes.

What defines perfection for someone is relatively something else for another. Seers have advised us not to run after the bubble, it does not last long enough for us to sulk. To be contented is the mantra.
The Buddha identified for us that the root cause of suffering in this world is desire and desire is contagious just like the common cold.

Often, we find his girlfriend not pretty enough and her boyfriend not worthy enough, this couple is fabulous and my gay friend the best mix of a great spouse in the making.And, we also put our best foot forward and imagine endlessly we would have done a better job, the reason being...passing a judgement is so damn easy. I don't know what the thrill is of poking noses in others' affairs and bitching, but all of us do. I don't know what ardent peace we derive but we gossip and malign mortals.I seriously do not know why and why we love to belittle follies and foibles that we don't commit, is it because I am infallible or is it because it did not happen to me?
Whatever is the case, we are a ruthless herd who loves to be a sadistic audience.

The Japanese have taught me Wabi-sabi, to be happy with imperfection, to appreciate beauty in a sore flawed form and to love my worn out shoes and faded dolls.Unconditional acceptance is a huge risk not like the bullion market risks but that's the prize for the price you pay for immense faith in yourself and in the unknown.
So, I forgive myself for all my little failings.
I seek forgiveness for all unintended failings on my part and any misleading provocation.
I overlook all not-happening sick incidents and processes with the knowledge of the Buddha's discovery.
I have never felt this secure in my existence.Tomorrow does not worry me and the day after...
I love my ungainly gawky walk, I adore the nasty pet peeves of my near and dear ones, that is what makes them special.
I love the bad positioning of the mole on my face, let's treat that as a beauty spot, tho' the astrologer said it brings bad luck to me and I will be in eternal sorrow. I think the mole makes me a good chatterbox and a pleasant lover of food.
I love my not-so-good luck, it has given me fairly good things in life to me- health,wealth and happiness for 100 bucks!!
I love my friends even when they make unforgiving mistakes coz someday I might do the same.Our primal instincts are so damn similar, that's why we are friends.
I love this life, I may never have a chance to thank again.


Ma turns a year younger

I have never missed wishing her the 1st, and today...grin,grin :D I forgot about it!!!!!
I recovered in good time, from midnight until 9:30 a.m. I was only that late!! Ok, she might have expected a call from 6:30 am onwards but she knows I do not call in haste or I am not the kind to call someone straight from sleep mode, things do not register you see!! So, she knows I must be caught in the morning ablutions and getting ready to go to work and gobbling my breakfast, I did!
She probably thought I must be dying to call her and to tell you the truth, I am afraid, I did not think of her when I was chattering away with friends at the table.
I came to my desk, was super excited about everything but remembering her birthday,pathetic I am!!
Oh, thank my blessedly forgetful memory I sprang from my chair and screamed to myself, "How could I!"
Sprinted to the pool table and sat down on a settee, balanced a red exercise ball on my legs and dialled home...tring tring...tring tring...
"Give the phone to Ma..."
"...happy birthday to you!"
"Thank you, how are you?"
"Arey, you only asked me this yesterday na before sleeping, Mama!"
"Achha, listen..don't forget to take a sweater or a shawl to your off site and please, do not go anywhere close to anyone drinking, see, it is not nice.You are a girl."
"Arey Ma!!!!!!!!"
" I am fine and don't worry about me, I can take care of myself."
"What are you doing?"
"Preparing shrimps and white gourd curry,"
...blah blah, my college Lab assistant Kong Ivy passed away yesterday, Bunty had her farewell party, Guddu is on study leave and Ma never finishes her stories.

She apparently made Papa a philosopher, that is what Papa says about her.I so much enjoy their love affair until now, almost high school and straight out of a movie!!!

She fell in love with the man I love the mostest in the world and she got him too.Ma believes blindly in him even when there is a point of difference, it's unconditional and you cannot challenge. And, I have seen my hero fidget and trying to hold his tears over phone informing me of some surgery she had to undergo. Those were moments I felt oh-so-helpless and useless, at times.

She always felt she has not done enough for us, I beg to differ.She always feels she is not good enough, she can be better.Ma, I cannot tell you enough how much you are the best gift to me.Sometimes, I weep in the quietude of solitude for all my callous unreasonable behaviour and your extreme tolerance.I am sorry if I did not hug you as I was leaving home because I am not strong enough to see you cry and smile in my tears.

You are the reason for everything that I am.

You are the reason for Papa to be my hero.

You are the reason why my phone rings 4 times a day.

You are the reason for a thousand things that my life means.

Happy Birthday Ma!!

I am singing

After travelling in the "ji madam" cab and a good 8-hr sleep, I had an epiphany.I must sing.
I practiced for about 90mins for the carols.Why I did not go all these days, the lesser delved, the better.

Yesterday, I thought Bohr was very angry with his friend for not singing and going to the carol/choir practice. It did not take 2 mins for me to realise that but to execute,well...yes, a full 3 and a half weeks. Call it cantankerous behaviour or whatever, it was not very long for me to give up that and go for the kill, I went to sing and I felt relieved that Bohr smiled a beatific smile.

I have a weekend to die for, literally. It's a Christmas rush, and oh!how I love it!

Last Christmas

The phone rang and rang, finally he picked it up, "Hello, who is this?"
"Who is this? You are dead, happy b'day can you not recognize my voice?"
"Oh m-y G-o-d!You?!"
"Yes, me!"
Blah blah blah...and the dim retrospect, Bohr is coming, Biang and also...

R- wanted me to pick up stuff for his aunts and mom and all,ok! I am coming, give me an hour or so, come and pick me up from college, done?

We took the cab to the big market, they call "Iew" and we picked up 3 pine branches to make the X'mas tree and who will decorate? Ah, Jeff and Alan can take care..
We managed to put that in the dikki of the Maruti 800 cab we took, by the time we reached his home and we realised our load was very big, lots of packets of silk dharas, and beautiful cashmere shawls,befitting the occasion and the X'mas tree.

"Who is going to drag this?"
Well, well, No Harry met Sally stuff, the tree was ushered in great fanfare, decoration started right away! Don't you dare make it look like a balloon tree! We are anyway late in putting it up.What about the khlur? Khlur in Khasi means the star.

Now what? cakes and pastries...Mei (mom in Khasi)has baked quite a lot but we still need to collect the rest from Caramel and Reen's. One more trip to the shop and we had a skirmish deciding which cake and pastry, anyway, we got home some decent stuff,nothing beats Mei's home-made baked ones.When the aroma travels from the kitchen all over the house, it is pure heaven and happiness, the mess in the kitchen nobody minds :)

"Are you coming for the 11o'clock English mass tomorrow? Don't give any excuse, Mei has taken out a lovely dhara for you."

"I will see, you know...I have to visit a few places before that. Try and understand, please."
"Ok, come for the family lunch, at least...please, Julie and Papa will be there too."

X'mas day was fun, all the hugs and loves, Koka (grand-pa in Assamese)wanted me to taste red port wine, it's holy he tells me, my share went straight to the holly tree outside.We all danced for a while and by afternoon, R- was out and singing nice Sinatra love songs, a little embarrassingly though, especially in his new Reid n Taylor suit, the shirt was my X'mas gift, the suit from his parents.

I came home early and slept, the pulav prepared in beer did its magic, was I imagining? No idea!

The previous evening I was dancing in the carnival, amidst lots of food and psalms.It was a dry day,there was something in the wintry air that I felt. It was telling me something that it is probably my last Christmas with my friends. Make the most of it, I failed to embrace the message.

This year, Bohr passed away some 3 weeks ago on Children's Day, just like the child he is, sweet and affable, always smiling.

I remember singing carols very early in the year, maybe in June or so and I was chided that it brought ill-luck, only if I had known then...

This Christmas, I am not singing carols for Bohr's sake.
Wish you a peaceful Christmas Bohr!

A monk who has nothing to sell

When he was very young little did he know that he was going to leave what others around called his homeland. That's what childhood does, everything is so golden and eternal, nice and warm, all you can think of is mangoes, playing in the dust and coming home in the evening just when the birds are flying back to their nests. Wash your feet and briefly pray to the guardian gods before you retire to the light of that oil-lamp burning bravely to keep Lakshmi in the house.

He was all of 14 when he left home and came to videsh, away from home and family, mother, father, dada and didi. All he remembers is the copious tears his folks shed as his rick disappears into the curve of the road. A frail little boy leaving home and life to a rebirth.He does not remember his name that his parents lovingly call him or the affectionate names his didi calls him when he is sad and sulky and throwing tantrums.

Death of an innocent romantic.

What the teenage years can do to you!! You know your constitution is changing, revolting at times and you get repulsive with the tempest in your mind and heart. At an age when most teenagers sail through an enviable golden maze, my little friend was ordained to be a priest. The elders blessed him in his new birth, he had to shed all the trappings of his past life-paap, punya, maya, karma, etc. Shaved his head and shed his clothes for the divine robes, the sacred thread and praying beads thrust in his hand, tremendous peace and calm in his visage,
a monk was born, Sadananda was born.

The child died a valiant death, crying helplessly, stoned to eternal silence by the worldly intervention by the learned divine.Poverty of the human soul and also, our welfare economics could not save him. His father was going to marry his sister to some old widower, dada works as a day wage-labourer and ma and baba will go to Brindaban to beg and wait for moksh and serve Radhe. What will you do? I will go away to God, He brought me here, to Him I return.He does not know if it is a brave decision.

I met him in one of my visits to a monastery.He sits at the main prayer hall, at the book corner.
He loves to read, not particular about choice, just about reads everything. Says a namaskar/hello to visitors, takes the subscription and gives directions to visitors from meditation room to washroom. Smiles at bratty kids which parents forgot to discipline somewhere in their immersing love and affection. Elders throw a volley of questions and the frail soul has learnt to handle them with ease and panache, benign smile intact.

I take 2 books and ask him, " Please prepare the bill, "
He replied, " Whatever you wish to donate..."
"Fifty rupees?"

"What do you do?"
"I study and work..."

The air reverberated with two tiny voices chattering away in this big hall of prayer and mediation.He thought I was a Buddhist.

Incense filled the air, the smell of ghee lamps in the air and in the process, the monk took my phone number on the visitor's subscription book promising to call me for any event they have in the future.Like a diligent enthusiastic visitor, I took all the pamphlets for my knowledge bank and read all that was available in the gallery.

I was out in the open, saw a glorious view of the city, beautiful because it was lit. Took a picture for keepsake with Sadananda. He was very thrilled. In his excitement, he asked me my age, aha!

"How old are you, boy?"
"I am 18...left home when I was 14."

"Ah!I am not 18,"

He called me the next day.Small talk, I don't know what to speak to him besides asking how he has been, what he did and if he had dinner.

"We do not have dinner,"
"Oh,actually...I am having dinner with a friend,"
"How are you?"
"I am fine, thank you."
"Ok, I will call you up sometimes.Thanks for calling."
"Shubh ratri."

So the phone calls came and went, some attended and some not, deliberately! He asked me,"Didi, were you busy?I was not well, fever and cough."
"Oh, I am sorry, how are you now,eat well, take more warm clothes, your two-piece yard is not enough, please take a shawl."
"Yeah, I was out of station...I left my cell at home...umm, I was in a meeting, I was busy..."
The little man assured me, he will call when I am not busy.He also told me how he missed his sister, she used to take care of him when he was not well.

I said, "I will call you,na.."
"No, didi, I will call you."
"No problems, take care and feel good, you will feel better."

I have to go visit my monk friend who is in search of his didi.

Drivers-the good, the bad and the ugly

I was going home the other day after an average day, got a decent cab and the driver was "ji madam" kinds, sweet disposition!

I have been on a run of poor luck with cabbies for close to 3weeks;I had a nightmare of a driver for the morning pick-up,ugh!! This guy comes in a dilapidated Sumo/Mahindra?Bolero ramshackle, very very late, surpasses records of all girls who do cakes and pancakes for make-up and denting/wenting! He never informs us that he has arrived and worse still, he is on the phone eternally!So, if we try to call him to find out if he has arrived we actually have to take the lift on the 3rd floor, in the meanwhile, keep trying his phone and still try from others' phones as well and reach the ground floor and run up to the road and look left, right and away, oh there you are! Sometimes, we are early, yes after 8am, all of us are early and sometimes we are on time, coz it's 8am anyway and he is there.
"Bhaiyya, missed call kyun nahin diya?"
"Madam, ek minute, please, phone mein... "
Aaaargh!! Kya hua, gaadi kharab ho gaya..aa raha hain..
Oh gesse!!Now what!!
On the road, he imagines we are in some action sequence, drives abominably fast, touches 60km/hr and on more than one occasion, he has tried to throw/toss all the occupants!! I believe in Zen philosophy, ask him to calm down, we are in no hurry, if that helps,if at all!!
No, he screeches frightfully and is always on the phone, one hand trying to dramatically steer,drive and what not!
We all ended up shouting, the phone dropped from his hand,mind you dropped,not slipped.A mail and a couple of follow-ups and calls ensured HE was not coming/showing his face ever again.The next sequence if he was around was an accident, battered faces with pieces of glass smithereens dangling and a broken limb or probably lives lost and no insurance against those lives, even those left behind do not benefit in any paltry form, sad na...

Bad and Ugly.

We got a new cabbie who does not know half the roads of where we stay. He dropped us some 10mins late,but never mind,safe and in a single piece.We played guide to him today, now he has learnt by heart the road that leads to home and office in optimum less time.He does not take calls while driving, rejects all incoming calls(maybe because I was watching him or he was stringently instructed not to take calls by the Transport Supervisor, whatever), makes us listen to 91.1FM and is very docile in mannerism.


Ok, so coming back to the "ji madam" one, he took off, asked me where exactly I need to be dropped, they all do, it's part of their job. I say what needs to be told and realise, I am the only occupant. Not that, I was scared but yeah, some weird feeling of having no one to talk to for the next 15mins, I can't live without talking!Either I talk or someone else, so I asked him if his car stereo has a radio also, "nai madam, naya gaadi hai, install nahi kiya" "oh, ok, koi baat nahin, chaliye"
So thoughtful of him, he struggled while driving very slowly and got his earphones attached to his Nokia phone and put on the radio for me on loudspeaker and asked me,"madam, radio..."
I was genuinely pleased, Thank you, sir, smiled and I was going home, we laughed at a couple of jokes on air and I enjoyed the songs as much as he did. I thanked him after I reached home and wished him good night.


The next morning, I got a call from my weekend cabbie, spoke to me in decent English, boy, was I amazed and pleasantly surprised!I gave him the buffer time to go do his work/errands if he had any from home and I asked him to come in the evening!Again, I was travelling alone but we dropped a guest at some guest-house.The guest lacked some basic civil etiquette, 1st he gets a lift, it was a request from the Transport supervisor, I could not say no, coz the guest house was on the way, and 2nd, I can totally understand what it is not to have a cab for yourself, and you depend on the goodwill of others.He gets very hyper when his right turn came.
Driver intervenes and says, "madam ko drop karte hain, fir sir aapko..."
I interject, "koi baat nahin, chaliye sir ko drop kijiye, zyada durr nahin hain."Guest is all smiles and blushes, nervous that he is!Not well kept or lit roads, after dropping the guest, we make small talk, roads are bad and all that, hmm and kinds, where do you stay, did you eat anything,blah blah??Radio City was our noisy companion and we did not have to struggle much to maintain status quo.I finally signed the log book and before I could thank and him, he said, "good night madam!"
Ah, that's something!


Amar, Akbar and Anthony

More often than not, the 3A's contemplated running away from everything as an answer to all their nagging extensions. They get proper attention and are among the rare privileged few to have done things together from attending seminars to setting any place on fire, metaphorically! They got jobs at relatively the same time and quit from them at the same time.There is something very funny and quixotic about all these incidents but the tendency to get bored oh-so-easily cannot be missed, that has been a major shortcoming in all 3 of them :(

As pro-feminists, they been responsible for snubbing all prospective smooth talkers and responding in stylised Urdu shayri which puts to shame all the collected limericks of the so-called.One A does not know Urdu as much as she loves to pretend to understand the nuances of it, but she manages to do the same with her limited vocabulary in English, the only language which allows her to be idiosyncratic and more idiosyncratic.All 3 do not appreciate people who try a little too hard, that is competition and they hate competition coz they don't like to be rats, competition is for rats :)

They have major adjustment problems and the solution is nowhere to be seen, the 2 A's are very protective of the youngest A and think of that A as a wild child who flies off the handle at the drop of a hat. This A passes judgments at the snap of a finger and she dotes on them selectively and exclusively, thanks to her non-availability of time.

Akbar loves to be a mendicant, she gets a tremendous kick by playing the under-privileged, it is so amusing to see her modesty and honesty at that effort and how she moves in elite circles, learn as you earn and earn as you learn, that is for you, dear lady!! She overthinks too much, already thinking is painful enough.I admire her idiosyncratic sense and her ability to identify with anyone of her ilk, not all of us can do that!

Anthony used to be a sheltered naive good girl, good girl she still is but no longer naive. She kicks ass with detailed elegance and a long silence before the storm is enough warning for you. We are a mutual admiration society- we call ourselves Boho-chics, how much Boho we only know.She thinks I am a wilder side of her, maybe she is right. I imbibe a lot of things from her, her sense of judgment and choice is amazing!She is my numero uno!!

Amar is the wild child who is a good girl at home, very obedient and fearful of her father. She talks crap all the time, people think she is intelligent, maybe they do that to humor her or fan her ego which by far is the largest in the universe!! She is a bull-dozer of the highest order, loves to bully and destroy her opponents and potential ones with a murderous fury of her non-stop chatter. She knows how to hide what from whom and for how long. She is an emotional fool.She is thinking all the time, what and why, please refrain from asking, it's hazardous to all kinds of health.

For you A's...


This is to do with an article that I read in the Times supplement yesterday about commit-phobics(CPs).Shrinks give funny reasons about someone not committing; about the Alpha male, the lesser said the better and the article veered around women being CPs.
Interestingly, I am confident that I don't have any of the supposed reasons to be phobic about commitment. Yes, I have some of the traits that closely resemble the clinical case of a CP. Does that make me a CP, anyway?
I deem myself academically established, good enough to get a job which takes care of my needs and also others'.I am blessed with some very good friends who genuinely love me, scold me and know their limits when it is family vs. friends and even if they are physically not around all the time, there is no moment I don't remember them.All my idiosyncrasies, stupidities and whimsical nutty stuff go to them 1st and to the trash can, if they deserve to be there. Some of them are a tad possessive about me and my time. I've made them wait for 2 hours and more in rain and shine, ditched them for greater and better things like sleeping and watching TV in the 11th moment(i know, it should have been 'hour'). So, I 'm committed to them, God!I want the same set of friends every life that I have to live until I attain Nirvana.
So, I'm not a CP.
I have a fantastic family, no extensions included, no cousins fit in here.It's Papa,Mama,Bunty and Guddu.They are my life lines for whom the more said, it's still less.
Papa is a hero for me despite the untold miseries he has seen in life, for making me this tough .I promise to complete his vision.
Mama is my friend, elder/little sister and my junk-box for everything, the most punctual Mama who calls me up 4 times a day!!
Bunty is my granny re-incarnate, little sister who is a darling bully!!
Guddu is my adorable bro who is my adopted son, my weakness!We fight the most, I have lost count the number of times I cried and the poor thing had to come and say sorry to me in front of the Khandaan!!
I am committed to my family.
So,I'm not a CP.
My books, I love them and love them in dust and silverfish, the smell of new books, the pungency of old books whose pages turn yellow with time.I don't love books for a reason but I just love them .Papa keeps threatening he will sell them or give away to some ruddi wala, can you beat that, not even a library!!I love running my fingers over the rows of books on the shelves, study-table and in the boxes and blowing the dust, just shows how much I take care of their upkeep ;(
I blow my money in more and more books, I read them or not is another story, but I love to own them, not the run of the mill kinds or pulp fiction, just plain good reads, a little thought provoking and a collector's rare find!!
I'm committed to my cause.
So, I'm not a CP.
I wish to own a pet but I don't have the time he/she will require, not fair,right? My folks think I lack discipline and pets are champions of discipline :)
Ok, I'll commit to a pet sometime later when I have time, but all of us have 24 hours, what's the problem? There lies the solution.
I'm committed to my garden back home, I ask Mama about my roses, chrysanthemums,my herbs and the potted greens indoors and also, the lucky/not-so-lucky bamboo shoot.
I'm committed to my shells, I keep adding one more to my collection everytime.
I'm committed to morning walks with Papa, the fact that I don't enjoy them that much in the morning is more than made up by the fresh as a daisy disposition I carry the whole day.
Enough said, I'm not a CP.


Matheran actually concluded

Packing started as much as we unpacked, we retired tired and weary. I just discovered that Luqman and Vardhman got sweet bhuttas for Ramya and I in the afternoon walk, :) don't ask what happened of them!!
Next morning Vardhman and Luqman came to wake us up,before that Supi tried her little best to wake us up, us maane Ramya and I, no avail :) we loved our sleep too much, Supi left the room, I remember bolting the door and jumping into the warmth of my bedsheets and blanket, rainy weather,early morning, what better way to enjoy sleep!!
At around 6, V and L in the same wake-up sequence or different, I am not aware of ,did come up the wooden flight of stairs and asked us about the already aborted plans of morning walk!! I went back to sleep and woke up only at 9:30 or so.Ready to leave Matheran, all set!!
Checked on my fellow travellers downstairs, still half asleep and Vardhman and Luqman also went off to sleep!!Somuda and Supi got chikkis and had breakfast, :( I was hungry, we made do with noise and the excitement. Luqman got the big plastic raincoats for the horse-rides and a dainty swan umby for himself.
We got the final whistle to check out by 11 and reach Neral Station by a given time on horse or no horse.We looked quite a bunch, all in Google gear and all, we bargained and set off at 100 bucks per horse per person with load and horse-mahout. The road was not all that it looked horse -friendly, my lessons in horse-riding are like rudimentary, the balancing and the stirrup and the reins, which directions and the patting are how much i know,seriously!!
His name was Good Boy, nice tawny handsome boy, very calm and ok with new riders, his owner thought I actually knew riding at how I held the reins, only if he knew that I knew that much only.I did all the possible acrobatics of turning around and saying hi/hello to all my fellow travellers back and behind, it was so much fun, GB tolerated all my nonsense and suddenly he began to trot briskly, oh my god!!
I applied the 1st principle, be calm and talk to the horse and pull the reins, and lo! he stopped and went about his way, that 10kg on my back was a pain, but the trot was lovely!! I said bye to all the remaining monkeys I met on the way, the birds and the insects, they behaved nicely with me.
At the market, I attracted unnecessary attention as in "Woh dekho, Chini mem, itni acchi tarah se ghoda pe baithi hai, kya baat hai!" Ok, I dint like that,uhuh!At Neral, I handed over my umby to Ram, farewell my yellow and white umby :( :( :(
The cab-ride was too too good, the dales and the green cover, Mallik took some really nice pics and we left the place with some nice memories. At the train station, Ram, Krishna and Gowtham disappear to have vada -pav and leave my umby at the shop conveniently, and I realise that after taking the train :( :(
Luqman fed us with lovely bhuttas again.
We played shoe-shoe in the platform, everyone stopped to watch the game esp, when you have a " foreigner" playing the game. Trains came by and left,the hawkers dint sell their wares but watched us with great intent, probably a new game for the National games, tee hee!!
The return journey was pleasant, we passed Khandala and the tunnel ride turned us to children, we screamed at the top of our voices and ate a lot!
I made a lot of new friends and we did some candid talk and reached Hyd early next morning, said our byes and dint want the journey to end there!!
Office, Office calling all of us, each with a tale and albumful of memories and pictures.
Till then,


Matheran concluded-1

Our lodge is a beautiful one, away from the general array, it overlooks the courtyard if you can call one, the swings and the walking area, the pool was away, so no sight of any nymph and Eliot's morbid men who plunge to kill the hangover after a good drink in the trickle of a bugging rain which is so Matheran -specific!!Our room was the deluxe bedroom on top, we had to climb a flight of steep wooden stairs to get there, one step you miss and you land on your derrière which can be pretty painful and dangerous if you have water and monkeys around. Caution, caution!!

We met a bunch of monkeys near our door and shoo-ed them like shoo-shoo, go away boys and girls!! Small puddles of water everywhere, yayy, we have a room!!
The disaster only began, you wont believe all our bags got heavier by 3 kilos because of the rain water that seeped so happily!! either we were naive not to pack our clothes in plastic bags or we were dumb not to expect rain!! or both!!
So, the unpacking was an agonizing experience, all of us looked like drowned rats!!Everything in my bag was not spared save some unmentionables and my toiletries, the picture in the room is well, like this,
3 girls who switched all the fans on to dry their clothes from the bag and outside the bag, no electricity and no hot water, no country coal iron,no what more, :( :( :(
The room was damp-ish, were we imagining or the room was actually cold?? switched off the AC, tried to keep our trekking shoes in suspension so that the water runs down and the shoes get lighter, the exhaust of the AC was slightly helpful, thank god for small mercies!!
Took pains to hang/peg our clothes in every possible place, including the fridge door and TV, tried to get the dryer guy to dry our damp/wet clothes, he will come in the evening, :(
entered the bathroom, spacious slanting like the roof, I thought, but good when I just thought that was some private space, the monkeys broke my reverie and outside the commode window, touching the roof, I can see my lesser fortunate ancestors screeching!! I waited for them to disappear.
Ramya enjoyed some sleep in her unchanged train attire, Supi went shopping for some essentials, wore fresh wet clothes and asked us to be ready for breakfast at 11:30 am.
Looked presentable, went downstairs to check on the male Hakunas, the situation was even worse there, thick heavy jeans oozing with water and jackets and tees gone! How much can you squeeze water from already wet clothes to make them wearable, but body heat is also something, I reckon, ready for breakfast??
Breakfast was pleasant and we gulped quite a lot, travel plans announced and also the social bit.
Hakunas decided to travel/explore on our own.

Let me mention this before I forget, this is to do with Gowtham's new talent of remixes. He happened to hum a song from Dil Chahta Hai and the 2nd verse went wrong, he was trying to recover that badly but no luck for quite sometime, not to say that his efforts were not genuine and sincere :)
He happened to share umbrella space with me, when I found his notes going to rapper Akon's Lonely song!! That's blasphemy, of course now he knows the song by heart!!

We got plastic raincoats for 15 bucks and hats to act as rainguards, very Mexican in cut and taste!! We trekked for almost 2 hours. Echo point is breathtaking and also, an old bungalow full of moss and lichens before losing our way ,courtesy Luqman and coming to the lodge for lunch, lunch was forgettable, coz after that, I was very de-motivated to travel in a weather which was my usual fare in Shillong daily during the rainy season.So, Ramya and I decided to give the slip and acted very pricey, we managed also!!
We slept the entire afternoon and watched TV, can you beat that??!!! We had lot of similar tastes and views about so many things, bitched a little too much, at least I did!! and the near horrors of the trip!!
Sometime at 5:30-6 in the evening, Suparna came back, exhausted in the rain-walk and snoozed and Krishna came to give us company chatting.The dryer guy came, cajoled him to taking all our clothes and return them by 9pm that evening, he fleeced us bountifully, but musibat ke samay mein gadha ko bhi baap banao.Pardon the not fitting idiom!!
Lot of PYTs in the pool, our male Hakunas also had their voyeuristic moments :) when we find out something happened to Mallik, Gowtham and Ram, now what?? So Krishna fed them with brownies, stale or not stale, let's not get into the details ;)
Gowtham is also very accident prone, btw!! He and the rest used to tease me and my bag, potli baba ki bag, that bag had medicines and all the 1st aid he required for himself and also a couple of others, ahem ahem he offered help very gallantly. Seriously,they all looked all so duh! Somuda, Ramya and I went to the male bastion to check on the seriousness, Ram looked in some kind of stupor, not actually induced but the brownies did it!So, Ram, the photographer had himself locked out coz his roomies left for a walk and he was there, lying on a small diwan, absolutely knocked out by a brownie, zzzzzzzzzzz!
Mallik tried to look controlled but you can't hide for long, the brownie gave him a royal ache!!
Gowtham probably resigned to his fate that such things happen to him only, haha!!
Some newfound friend of Vardhman is also amongst us, I especially don't like the person concerned's awwwful presence, big pseudo-moofat he is!!So, before these guys assume it's a food poisoning case, I give my gyan on the presence of rum in the brownie preparation, the chap does not like me or my two cents, he makes the mistake of opening his mouth and saying something that is not very Kiran happy or worthy!! I was not in a barraging mood, so I spared him with a gentle but snide remark on his ignorance and his geographical limitations! He has never spoken to me after that :D, he did try to make amends at some other time, but a royal ignore is hard to miss and if it comes with an arrogant dismissal, it's worse!!
I get worked up pretty fast and after that to ward off unnecessary nuisance, we hit the dance floor and jigged a lot, Ramya and I danced and danced, Supi slept and slept!
Never saw the guys dance so much and yeah, the moves were scary!! ;)
Retired to sleep with a pledge to wake up early for a possible walk to Lake Charlotte. I refused giving my umby to some insignificant soul and my dried clothes came back, yay!!

Matheran continued...

i remember reading randomly some honcho's book, Freakynomics or so and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and i had The Seagull story, spoilt for choice that i dint read any!! Vardhman's i-pod played some ok-ok songs to kill time, my boogey friends-some retired to a quick nap, others played Bluff and some just sat and watched what others did. Dusk came by and it was time to get some snacks from the platform, the train slowed and people ran in and out with packets of ready takeaways, vada pavs and hardened pooris, not bad!! Vardhman and Luqman did their bit and we also acquired a Ludo board and we welcomed on board 2 other Googlers and many more, Soumyajit( from now onwards, Somu'da) and Suparna( Supi/Sups will do)!!We played ludo and the instant Bong chatter was infectious!! By late evening, they came to our area and we pledged to stick by and blah blah!!
Ramya was capturing everything live, she was kinda lost as a seasoned traveller, too many kids around, she would say!! I always admired her fashionista sense,glad to meet you, girl!! She was the latest to our dormant team needing a name, Hakuna Matata was born albeit some hiccups :) and also, the credi goe to her for stamping that name to all of us!!
Until then, we have only begun assessing each other and like, we will get along, anyway, no choice!! But things changed with the ghost stories and the genies and the adorable first crushes!! ;) I would be killed if i told each story here, of course that i am harassed for the reverse crush tale of mine is another story!! I have the goalkeeper fixation and the English teacher and god knows, how many more names??
All in all, some 13 of us were huddled in 3 seats and Ram kept sentry and what befell our other travelling friends, we don't know, we dint hear any snores or mores!!
At 2 am in the night, we get down to have tea in one of the rarest train halts, it was raining and the air was cool and the cricket chirped!!Our guys, now we know them by that name, were caught smoking and the guy on duty was so damn honest that he refused to accept our bribe of 200 bucks!!Anyway, that matter got over sooner or later, who wants to fight in the night??
We were waiting for daybreak, Somuda dint allow anyone of us to sleep, but the girls and Krishna managed!! And i remember shouting some rubbish at their attempt to disturb me in my sleep, even 90mins of sleep is a matter of envy!!!
3:30-4 am, Ram woke me up saying destination ahoy, get up!! Took control of my senses and there is an eerie thrill in getting up that early, coz i forgot what early morning looks like. Freezing station, dirty staircases and running for loos and the waiting room to brush our teeth!!
Took the local train from Neral to Dasturi or the other way round, don't remember ;(, wet seats, thenkfully, no leaking roofs, no doors, wind blowing by the kph, shiver shiver!! Took the wind on my face and the chilled dew-rain, feels heavenly, really heavenly!!my eyes kinda longed for this wet monsoon feel, Shillong just reminded me of her :)
At the station, we took cabs on hire to climb a long winding hill and saw lovely dales and waterfalls till the point where we walk some few kms on foot or horses!! it was punishing for me, coz i was not equipped otherwise, my umbrella was the most useless thing i ever carried besides my slip-ons :( and sneakers, god help me!! regretted not going for contact lenses even if that meant some snobbish observation that it is cosmetic vanity:(
the walk from there to our resort was breath-'taking' and my feet just enjoyed the cuts and the hardniness of the red soil and the toy train tracks, fair feet, whitened and paled into paler, translucent mobile souls, what else could i ask, i was happy, i let go of my famous Mary Poppins umby as Jeanette calls and walked on and on, the umby however was a bone of contention between Gowtham and Krishna, the criterion of decision being who ditched whom and whatever??
We walked and talked, my slip ons came of twice, Luqman doubled up as the problem solver, Somuda and Gowtham and i,Ram captured all the pics that his camera could accommodate!!We reached tired and greeted by our original species in their native natural suit, monkeys are a common feature in Matheran, they watched me beat water of my hair and boy, they were frightened by a better specimen ;)
We grabbed the room keys, Me, Supi and Ramya in one room and the guys, let them figure out!! but all in one block, that was the deal, see you at breakfast!! dear departed/retired to our hovels

The much awaited Matheran update

so, it goes...i sign up for our company's summer getaway weekend trip amidst strangers and employees.i knew faces but not people. the only other person that i could somewhat bank was my IT POC, Luqman.

asking for a half day leave from my manager and team lead was the lastest and the latest thing i did on the 3rd of August 2007!! i did try persuading some, including my manager,no luck!! work!!work!!work!! not that i worked any less ;)

i took the cab to the Begumpet station with 3 others, C .Anooradha,Vardhman and another sweet Googler who reminded me so much of a friend in Delhi.ahem, please pardon my amnesia...i met her today in the Christmas choir practice, just can't remember her name, so due apologies ;(
we travelled for 10mins or so with none of us volunteering to break ice, anyway, the two ladies had mutual conversation...always the first among equals, probably i had some random loud soliloquy and that's about it, we spoke, asked the usual where from and what else besides name...well, all in all..tried to be Googly, quite successful, i must say!!
we alighted at the station, and surprisingly, the 4 of us stuck by and stood as a group, initial bonding, you see and small conversation!!and, i tolerated the uh-oh presence of another Googler(read Ram, a friend now) just behind me.i did try to catch familiar faces :)

flashback!!! i just had a nightmare of sorts when i was signing up for the rooms ala 4girls in a each room kinds!!for the 1st time, i hated my name, its unisex nature rebuffed all females and probably scared them and most of my female travelling companions must be wondering my liberal impudence to share the room with them :(
i was pushed from quite a few rooms and better still, clubbed with some guys ;) ewwwwww!!
finally , i took refuge in a room wic had 3 girls already, emailed them to tell them that they better not kick me out of their room sign-up and bla bla...whew!! i met them at the station finally, saw them , relieved!!

the routine announcements and in 20 mins we boarded the train, sleeper class and lot of activity,bartering seats,shuffling,berths and all that,omigod!!i was in the middle of absolute chaod and corny jokes, wic would take me 3 years to laugh!! i dreaded my worst nightmare was coming true, why the hell did i come!!!!

Luqman came to the rescue, asked me to join his gang of techy travelling companions, i find among others Vardhman and also, Ram and Krishna,the others being Mallik and Gowtham. the routine hi hellos, Mallik had unruly hair and a braided hair slide to keep his clinic all clear locks in place, don't know if that was fashion, style or laziness!!ok, this dude is a reckoning chatterbox, wont comment much but he did try to ruffle feathers by trying to play cute,Gowtham was following a close second with all the not asked for comments.Luqman saw all the colours of the rainbow and Krishna hugged his bag of Google goodies and Ram was flashing his how many memory cards Olympus camera, Vardhman was laughing in the new found familiarity.There was a bearded old guy in the aisle seat, he was totally enjoying the young blood around. yes, wat was yours truly doing??

to be continued...


amby valley is like beverly hills apparently, 12 kms away. good for drives amidst the quiet table mountain/plateau effect, lost in the misty fog and the wild yellow flowers.
even bhuttas and chai come for a price,truly!!bhuttas cost 15 bucks each and tea for a sip is 7 bucks, but refreshingly a nice find in an otherwise deserted stretch.
the evening never saw the promised bonfire, the wood was kinda not readily available and the plywood planks would not help us either, and to help/worsen things we used up a diet coke can of petrol to start one but the reverse of where there is smoke, there is fire did not happen much to our disappointment, so the bonfire...
some of us laughed our hearts watching honeymoon travels for the how many'th time and some others enjoyed a talk under the starry sky amidst the few number of palms, a handful were seen going to the market for a bottle of beer and a lot of them played bluff and some great souls slept after a grand bath.
i was glad i made the trip despite the ticket disaster, saw a lot of capacity and patience in most of us and also, the mean side of some of us.yes, it was a good review time for myself, coz i had plenty of me time despite being in the crowd and it felt kinda good to gently ignore the shortcomings of so many of us and also, to accept each creation, male and female, that it is anyway a manifestation only, can't get more complex than what it is already.the good sleep i had that night was relieving coz indian idol had made me sad.i found out there are greater cacophonies in this world actually than crows, these girls can just about kill you with their remixed version. see, singing is for people who love singing not for those who love to seek ATTENTION, whew!!a couple of friends threw some coins to prevent them from further singing
Getting seats,then the assurance that your team members are with you , then the solace that we can enjoy our food and probably catch 40 winks?? actually, the food mela began in the GC, just that we threw our weight most generously and the guys there must be wondering from which zoo did we come, remember Madagascar??
the sleeping bit was a little annoying,i fear the death of some mortals, i am sure in the next realm of existence/non-existence, they na...too bored to finish the tale :}
the resort is good given the khandala trappings, nice pool, water area, and a sweet courtyard kinda concrete lawn.
30 mins of freshen-up time took an hour and 15 mins for the GUYS!!! each of them thought he is the next Aamir Khan with or without Rani Mukerjea, so the look and the whatever ;)
got a natural jacuzzi treatment at the waterfalls, the slimy boulders in and outside et al..Gujju thali in a different end of the town, lot of monkeys to provide us the obvious bit of awe that we actually are their descendants, Darwin, thou is really great!!
from there, some more places, lots of sunscreen and vada pav n bhutta. i also got 3 flutes of varying shapes and sizes, just loved the mere hoot of the flute, my housemates are surely going to throw me out of the house ;)cute ones, they are
amby valley calling...

Khandala visited- part 1

7pm- we reached the Begumpet station amidst all fanfare and food from TGIF, missed the caricature bit tho'!!little did we know what was in store for all of us!!we all became caricatures of chance, actually!!
a major communication gap landed us with 10 confirmed seats and 35 no-seats, instead of 45 confirmed seats and 10 cancelled tix, oh no!!simplification went really awry, bigtime :(
it was a test of nerves, as in how many of us were actually (not merely mentally) prepared to take the ordeal.
the railway minister would be really proud of us, we lodged 20 people in the 10 confirmed berths and the rest, some 18 brave hearts made our way to the lousiest, busiest,dirtiest, filthiest,stinkiest and whatever into India's most famous railway human zoo, otherwise known as general compartment and i won't say i was shocked or anything, i asked for it. every station was a glimmer of hope for us, some good Samaritan would vacate his/her seat and we get transported like rice sacks there.finally made our way into decent space after 90mins, less fortunate ones were sent back and some clueless about who is where and therefore, ended up spending the entire night there, and the hide and seek game with the TT is the most trite thing we have ever done!! :)

mixed bag

ho hum,woke up before the alarm, getting the ablutions right is so important, i packed and unpacked my stuff at least 3/4 times just to get economize space.
S- was watching me with her delirious morning sleepy eyes, probably the thought sinking that i will be gone in less than 24 hours, she looked so cute :)
i was racing against time to get my morning purrfect, but missed the yummy dosas and the kokum chutney...had to make do with good ol' cornflakes and healthy fruit ;)
V-my crazy friend, we had high tea together, she is a feisty lady who is paranoid about so many things(i have lost count, actually!), it's time she woke up and shook herself from her midsummer slumber, i will take her shopping, she will wake up with the bills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;P
las la bonita, no salsa lessons, late dinner, late nite chats and early morning rush :( afternoon, me and my new home, with my new family, hehe!! so much shopping left, and bank balance just diminishing by the minute, me and my spendthrift ways, have to do something about it :(
good weekend, i should have cleared a lot of clutter by Monday and lots to write about, keep inspiring and spread cheer :))
क iran (trying to sign in my signature) yayyy!!! succeeded

a day after...

don't know how many of us watched TV to listen to 52 secs of जन गन मन. It is 6o rocking years with a lady president in tow,wow!! not a pseudo-feminist, just pro-woman and not anti-man either!! Just felt good and gooder, as in better and nicer :)
back home, as usual the magpies enjoyed more freedom than rational self-thinking creatures, the city was clamped down with curfew, it was raining and all working/non-working students, teachers, office-goers, biz folk, cobblers, coolies, road-side tea hawkers, and also, hawkers had a forced holiday...some could have gone fishing and caught up with their tuitions and the rest could have earned one more day's shillings.
here i am, did nothing major or significant, took a pledge to educate/ literate the daughter of the cook of my present lodgings. The idea is as convoluted as my sentence, hope i can achieve that, she knows one language and i know quite some, the problem is there is no LCM, forget HCF :(
trying to cut down on my sleep, which is quite an appetite in itself, hehe!!

saffron,green and white...a day before

it's been ages i saw a live march past,with the biggies taking salute and the sacred yard unfurling and the crushed flowers streaming in the misty air of an early august morning to the sound of the bugle.then 52 seconds of solemnity...lots of doves flying,sweet fragrance of mogra and marigold,dahlia wafting in the air and sweets waiting to be distributed.
now,lived an odd quarter of a century..seen more holidays than independence days, me rephrase...bandhs and curfews,flags looked good in govt.buildings and universities and VIP cars,today i see festoons,balloons and mini flags of patriotism all over,all around...everywhere and just everywhere...i love my office space today :)
suddenly,everyone is so full of national josh,you can see the saturated and spontaneous feelings of desh bhakti,naah,i am not getting cynical,i just love to see all of us being so nice and nicey on the eve of 15th aug,why can't it be like this the rest of the year??
is progress affected when you are nice and nicey,don't know!!at least,let's stop being pseudo-nice,it's better to be indifferent,honesty still is the best policy in moderation.let's re-inforce the pledge where all indians are my brothers and sisters,yeah actually...
happy independence eve