30 December, 2007

The car in front of me said "Singh is King".
I think this a befitting winner of the last-post-of-the-year contest.

23 December, 2007

Wheeeeeee

Its that time of the year again.

Christmas is a sneeze away. New Year is around the corner. People are making fervent party plans. Holiday budgets are being charted out. There's a nip in the air and the sun is a poor excuse for well, itself. The traffic light vendors are hell bent on selling me badly stitched Santa caps. The radio can't stop playing "Jingle Bells" rendered by different artists. Winter means you have an excuse to glug down innumerable cups of coffee. Khan market is like a page out of a fairy tale - all lights and cheer. The laughter hangs around enveloping me.

Yes, I have bought my diary, one activity where my punctuality and enthusiasm is impeccable and rather startling to most onlookers (people don't understand how/when/why/what I actually write in it. But then people rarely approve of anything I find remotely satisfying. For the record, I write in it with well BINGO! A pen/pencil/crayon/charcoal/blood. Come on. That's the how. The when is usually the time I am excessively groggy, in a semi-stupor: right before bed. The why and what, which are presumably the more interesting questions are the ones that beat me too).<---- that bracketed monologue went on for forever.


No, I havn't decided on resolutions yet and a cynical conscience is whispering in my ears that maybe at last I am too old to believe that they will actually work (for the record, my nail-biting habit has been kicked through resolutions circa 2002). I went through a jaded list like:
  1. Take time out to do things I want to.
  2. Be kinder to people who are generous enough to be kind to me.
  3. Blah blah yaaaaaaaaaaawn....

But before I could finish that, I yawned, which is never a good sign when you are embarking on a new thing. So next year onwards, resolutions have been scrapped.

And so another New Year is beginning. Time to start afresh. That's the beauty of a brand new January. Clean slate. Sharpened pencil. Phew. Its one of those bugging "beta this is a turning point in your life" years. Friends are getting flung apart. New friends will/may be made. Internships are begining. Jobs will be sought. I'm upbeat.

What did I learn so far?

  1. Help can come from the most unexpected quarters. And whether you believe it or not, help actually helps. It was a revelation to me.
  2. Washing away guilt is never easy but you live and you learn. And "They" are speaking the truth when they say that you can feel as good/bad as you let yourself feel. So quitting feeling oh so pooh pooed about what was handed to you at the life/love/lollipop mela.
  3. Spontaniety is the best state to be in. Its invigorating, its interesting and it makes you laugh. How many other things can claim to do all of the above?
  4. Being terrified of letting people in is ridiculous. But letting go off it? Incredulous.
  5. It is only in our times of dire need that we remember God. We are pathetic. But then that's why we are humans.
  6. Growing pains are painful but hell they are brilliant teachers.
  7. Cynicism and pessimism are different things.
  8. I am still phone-phobic. Boo hoo hoo.

Year sum up?

"I wanted to cry but the tears wouldn't come" ~Scorpions

Happy holidays people!!

14 December, 2007

Overkill

it still hurts.
she watches wide-eyed
the scathing sarcasm
the guilt ridden reproaches
the bleeding wounds
the dry eyes
taunt
the selfish worries.
days gape disdainfully
as she shuffles away
cowardly
whimpering away from standing up
pathetic in her pose.
laughter rings loud
it mocks
ridicules
challenges.
she quivers
in anticipation
of what is thrown next
a ridiculous lie?
a lonely thought?
a half-hearted memory?
a wounded word?
she pleads for amnesia
a song plays in answer
derisively
brokenly.
memories part ways
the fork in the road
is twisting in her side.
what if
the game is that
of tit for tat?
she crumbles
in terror
the thought pierces her
its pointless overkill.

Question 12

What goes around comes back around?

Fickle feelings

irritation
anger
stubborn nonchalance
uh ok if you say so
what really?
interested
on the spur of the moment laughter
hoot
unbridled joy
jaunty
bah
feather weight floating
lost
wondering
whimpering
jealousy
ferocious
tearing
shaking it off shrug
faraway
screeching silence
lonely
reminiscing
sadness
yearning
wrap your arms around yourself pity
strength
crazy
wide-eyed eager
old

03 December, 2007

dilli darshan

Twilight was winking at us
an unbridled moment away
a chill lit up the evening
the black shawl came out to stay

an eagle drank the dewdrops
that adorned the grass's feet
over wonderous words and shrugged shoulders
two silly souls decided to meet

red sandstone stood patiently
as death does us receive
a bench was wiped reluctantly
shoes kicked off with glee

the wintery evening grew on
the lovers entwined, untamed
their haste at once ugly, at once music
flowed unharnessed - prisoners unchained

ivory caressed ebony jealously
her hair spilt onto his arm
he kissed her violently, cruelly possessive
embraced her - less good more harm

and our sniggering souls mimicked
the lovers' passionate ballet
the sordid souls who bragged of life and love
thought up tales of stale cliches

time ticked by in its unhurried way
savoured by those it touched yet lost
the four went their separate ways, their diverging lives
an illicit affair was all the enchanting evening cost



Some days turn out to be very interesting. They are hurricanes of arresting things happening all the time. Your senses are alive, you are stimulated to tickle your creative juices into a cocktail. You feel light and feel like hooting at the world and its methods. And since days like this waltz in once in a blue moon, they deserve to be turned into poems (however rotten they may sound, to the characters, everything is a melody)

28 November, 2007

Train(ed) thoughts

"We can restore what has been shattered." Tikkum Olam, Kabbalah
~Richard Gere, Bee Season.

I tried not to look too hard for you, in case I found you.

There are some people in who's eyes you just want to be right.

"Why does everyone think conflict is always bad?"
~Julie Delpy, Before Sunrise.

22 November, 2007

18 November, 2007

midnight melodrama

He moulded his angel
of wisps of hopes
and threadbare letters
each surface
a ripple laughing on water
the curves
a resplendent orchestra
each strand of hair
strings of music
but she sat alone
on her pedestal
where the winds blew so cold
even heartbeats
lost count of time
frozen tears
melted good intentions
her hair :
writhing snakes
strangled the very face
they adorned
she ached at the cracks
in the wretched farce
he didn't blink
as he dreamt her through
its never too late
still too early
never too right
nor too wrong
but then why is
even perfection not enough?

Cross-posted here

14 November, 2007

Rasmai ramble

I am on my way to my village. Yes yes the same tucked away and forgotten dusty little hamlet I keep harping about which lies in an obscure piece of land between Mathura and Agra. Its diwali weekend. I am bunking college. My microscopic family is managing to find itelf together in the same place at the same time. I am happy happy. A drizzle is making its presence felt.


Driving out of saadi dilli is a pain. If you do manage to see through the haze, the traffic stretches out many kilometers long. Everyone wants to get onto the Delhi-Agra highway? Unbelievable, even for a person saddled with an imagination of my proportions. So we are sandwiched between 1) boisterous Punjabi family where laughter is pouring out through every possible orifice and 2) Haryana roadways bus where sprays of vomit have painted the side of the white and blue bus. Its one of those sites, no matter how many times you see them, they disgust you.


Phew we are out on the highway. Another interesting breed of tranport catches my attention. Trucks of monstrous proportions have colonized the highway. Horns: pleading, vicious and wonderous begin a one-sided conversation. The mighty one does not relent, hogs the fast lane, spews out unimaginably black fumes and has "jaane bhi do yaaroon" painted on it rump. Desperation sets in, we swerve to the left and overtake from the wrong side. Aah the road stretches out tantalizingly in front of us. We settle into our seats feasting on the dusty landscapes that make up rural India at this time of the year: rows of potato fields as perfect as kitkat bars, a hint of yellow in the mustard khet, a few babool trees breaking the monotony of the horizontal horizon. Colourful dhabas line the roads, weirdly lettered signboards scream out their gastronomic delights in a jolly manner.


The journey falls into the rhythm of dodge the motorcycles, overtake from wrong side, drivers are deaf so don't blow horn, whoosh past the overloaded tractors and don't pay heed to people asking for a lift. And then we turn in for Mathura. Goodbye to the comfort of the smooth highway. Bumpity bump. Welcome to the potholed pockmarked pimpled road system that is integral to the soul of U.P. The luggage groans at the ridiculous way the car is swerving. Any attempts of sleeping/lolling/sitting in one position have been abadoned. Now one is jostling with rickety jeeps, tangas, phatphatiyas that make more noise than they cover distance, tractors and god knows what for space on the road. A fishy looking group of men have blocked the road demanding a road tax. We look at them with the practiced withering look of mathura-vaasis. They are adamant, so are we.


"Tax toh bhaiya dena hi padega".

"Kis cheez ka tax? In gaddhon ka? In sadkon ka?"

They are miffed. We realise a sense of humour is not the right thing to flaunt at this particular moment in time. Reluctantly they remove the barricade. We zoom past so happy with are victory that we miss the monster speed breaker in front. Damn.


After the experience of Mathura (this city does not know what traffic lights are, cows and pigs have more space than vehicles on the roads and ofcourse every tout in the street tries to milk you for money playing up the holy place factor till you want to never hear of god again and just run away) we turned off to the Raya road, another hellish drive of bumps and holes. There are these long and I mean LONG patches of road metal lying about in this lackadaisical manner, forgotten by people, suspended in time, cornered by the greed of a line of corrupt somebodies. The tires groan in utter displeasure and we grin at our foolishness of hoping the roads would have improved by now at least.


We turn into the last bit of our journey. Cars and buses have given way to bullock carts, cycles and people walking on foot. There are two fellows running in their banyans, shorts and canvas shoes (its a common site here - many village youngsters train to become jawans in the army and physical toughness is the most important criteria). There is a rich silence talking to me. And then I was rewarded with the most interesting contraption any road has ever witnessed. It is called "jugaad" a beautifully crafty word which fits this little engineering genius perfectly. It is usually a motor from a pump set or tractor set up on a body made of wooden planks. The driver's seat can be anything that can provide a surface which can seat a bottom from a crate to an upturned bucket or an old can of paint. The jugaad lives upto its name: it is an assemble of useless things which are thrown together to make up something that is just about useful. Its rickety backside can accommodate a load of upto 12 people if fitted in gravity-defying positions that one usually sees in DTC buses. It is fascinating to see this noisy vehicle start up, load itself and push off. The way it moves, you'd be very brave to go within a mile of it. Its amusing and inspiring at the same time. Necessity is the mother of invention? Grandmother too if you'd ask me.


The lastest stretch is a kachha road. The dust off the roads mixes with the aroma of freshly laid out dung cakes. A chulah is lighting up somewhere, a puddle of patchy puppies, eyes still closed are seen lying in the mud, a girl in a pink salwar-kameez is chewing on a green guava, there's a cricket match going on in the maidaan. The ball is slightly torn at its seam. Its dusk, the temple bell rings, the pokhar (village pond) has a solitary duck tracing a pretty pattern on its surface.


We reach home. A volley of black and white fur hurls onto us. Through the excited barks and crazy tails we discern a shapeless flurry of happy dogs. Could I help but laugh?



31 October, 2007

Question 10

Differentiate between:

A person who is selfish and one who is self absorbed.

23 October, 2007

Park Parody I

This is how where I found myself today. Sans keys, locked outside home, with a newly-discovered tantalizingly close park throwing eager invitations out to me. Armed with a book I am supposed to review I bravely went and sat down on one of the ornate benches.
But the as the park came alive before my eyes, I couldn't peel my eyes away from the scene unfolding infront of me. Little children ran around in their characteristic Brownian motion, creating havoc wherever their tiddly feet pattered around. Harassed mothers threw furtive glances at smug mothers-in-law who crouched gossiping in little huddles.

Manicured Mother: "Honey don't wander into the bushes. Come play with Momma my poodleywooshiewoo. There there don't play in the mud and soil that frock."
Petted poodleywooshiewoo:"Boohoo..."

Saasuma 1:"Meri bahu kehti mumma attache kahan le ja rahi ho? Maine kahan tu kaun hoti hai poochne waali? Mera ghar hai, main jo chahoon le jaoon."
Saasuma 2: "Hai re! Bahu raaj chala rahi hai! Tere ghar mein! Line mein rakh. Meri ne aaj kaha kya bana rahi hain mummyji. Ajeeb baat hai. Ab khana bhi bata ke khana padega?"

Meanwhile a nebula of smudgy toddlers are playing "ring a ring a roses". Bossy girl butts in trying to clasp any available hand to join the circle. Everyone retaliates. Snotty, wannabe-Dhoni boy sees the commotion and from far away smashes his plastic ball for a perfect shot, squarely on bossy girl's bossy arse. She runs off,"Mummy mummy, Dhoni ne mujhe maara, ball se" (fake tears make way for the entry to boohoodom). Dhoni is made to apologize, which he does in an insolent arrogant manner. I get the nascent whiffs of a Bollywood love story here.

Saasuma 3 arrives and asks me to shift. I scoot to the other edge of the bench, my book in tow. Here I meet Old Nanaji massaging his joints. He speaks to the universe in general, me in particular. "Beta don't read in this light. Aankhein phodni hain kya?" All psuedo attempts at reading were now put to rest. "So beta where do you stay? What do you do? Padh rahi ho kya? You must wear something warmer, mausam ka koi bharosa nahi hai dilli mein." Unnervered by his concern and weird fixation at looking at me top to toe, I go back into Saasuma comfort zone.

Fat ladies walked briskly around me. Boys rode cycles in the grass and were told to get lost by the aunties. Kids played, uncles were chanting the hanuman chalisa in a corner, two girls giggled past, avidly gossiping, the trees sighed sleepily, dusk was setting. The proverbial dog had not yet entered my ephemeral haven. I found myself at the risk of actually finding one of the girls in her polka-dotted frock and two bindis on her cheeks for "rouge effect" as she put it distantly cute. The missed call came. Keys were here. My book and I walked away from the laughter and gossip, bitching and sobs.

As I entered the galli, the galli stray lifted his black and white head. Seeing it was only me, the weird girl who never said anything more interesting to say than hello, he looked up at the stars as they winked in their sky of black.

18 October, 2007

Question 9

Teacher evaluation forms in my college are anonymous. They make for some very interesting reading.
Why is anonymity so alluring? Its like an incurable itch. Given the free reign of wearing a faceless mask, people to go great lengths to make their voice heard. Everyone suddenly has something to say. And that too with conviction. I fail to understand why it is so difficult saying what you have to while in your own shoes. Why? And don't tell me its to avoid bias. That's bunkum.
Considering all the anonymous comments here I'm sure someone will have an answer.

Climate change gets a "nobel" voice

"The IPCC got it despite the students of Teri university," he said with a smile and the mob of young boys and girls pursuing their Masters cheered in frenzy."

Times of India, refering to Dr. R.K Pachauri's statement after hearing about IPCC winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

12 October, 2007

Voiced vices

butterflies flutter over strained strings
their nimble feet powdering
within earshot
of a shuddering melody

fingers, their bloodied tips
mellifluous in execution
flit gently, caressing
the bitter metal harshness

there is a lilt in her song
the notes tap dance
thoughts skip carefree
wind: flirting with a blade of green

then thunder pounds
a fissure rings aloud
storms rise, subside
spent fingers drip fatigue

a sorrow burdens the air
the pain rips shredding notes
a hair-lined stickeats into metal
grief gouges itself a niche

an orchestra of emotions
washes over
spent
I cover my ears


It is rare that I manage to find the time to realise how utterly "uncultured" my cluttered little life is. It is rare that after realising this I do something about it. It is rare that my next step becomes indulging in western classical music, an area where my knowledge is abysmally low. Wednesday was one such day. I made myself to go to a violin and piano concert performed by a duo from Switzerland. Was it worth it? Was it uplifting? Was it a waste of time? Was it not? If anything it made me realise music is a universal language. Brahms or Jay Z, everyone is just yearning to tell their story. Be heard. The only difference is that some people are saying more interesting things than others.

05 October, 2007

Jai Jhalmuri


"Jhalmuri" (jhal = mirchi/chilli + muri = puffed rice)
a papercone full of firey chillis, pungent mustard oil and scruffy fingers

Muri is one of those easily-forgettable, falling-off-the-map kind of nondescript places. It was my first proper venture into Jharkhand and I looked forward to it with a gusto everyone around me found completely unwarranted and unsettling. The manner in which I managed to find projects in farflung areas baffled all. My family wrung their hands in despair as harried wellwishers rattled off tales of naxalite horrors. M, (my "expedition partner") and I shrugged nonchalantly. One's got to do what one's got to do. Period.



After a week of another set of utterly worthless exams, I looked forward to some Jharkhandi respite. The trip began. With an ill omen. Some days just don't go right. The India-Australia match got washed out. The auto guy tried to fleece us thinking we were not from Delhi (that's a new one). AND we missed our train. After a dhakkemaar journey in a snail-paced, fungus-infested train, we finally reached Muri.





bashfully, the skies kiss the emerald expanse

As I got off the station, I was struck by the common-placedness of the rickety little town (yes i have this annoying habit of making up words when I can't find the right ones). Had I expected Jharkhand to be a new land? With different people peeing along the tracks? Different calamities facing them? Different trees and birds? Different houses lining the roads? Different potholes in those roads? Different smells? As the days passed by, it sunk in. No matter where you go, the essential being of a people is the same.
The trees will rustle in the wind. Dogs will stretch their paws, yawning the days away. Cows will eject humungous piles of dung. The mud will smile each time the rain tickles her. People will make small talk about the weather, no matter how many fields they have ploughed or how many daughters they have left to marry off. I will miss my mother and not be able to remember the last time I hugged her. The clouds will pout into unexpected shapes against the blue blue sky. And children will ride their bicycles through all the puddles.
--------------------------------

I find myself on a train again, rattling away from this land of the obscure to a land where obscurity is one thing you strive too hard to get.

Chandni

(By the way if you come across a person only a few shades away from black, with a tan that would put a golliwog to shame, you may have run into a certain me)

23 September, 2007

Question 8

How does one resolve the contradiction of being an animal lover and a non-vegetarian?

21 September, 2007

pitiful pride

the wounds unravel unhealing themselves
they are her pain-laced threads
the needle stitches an ugly irony
piercing her in, she shrieks in dread
an uneasy calm ebbs in and out
in torrid feverish waves
she writhes and closes weary eyes
pain her master, she his slave
she mutilates herself and tears apart
one wretched thought a time
and all I feel is pity
self-wallowing
all-encompassing
whining
pity

16 September, 2007

Birthday bashing and bukhaar ki bimari


It was Roosi's birthday.

We bashed her with these weird-brown-bordering-on-obscenity-cylinders that Cafe Coffee Day passes off as cushions. It was a "maar saale ko" moment.

I managed to get smacked with cold+cough+fever = horridest illness. Ugh. Some splendid days have silly endings.


05 September, 2007

Business As Usual

People around me are busy falling in love. They have little time for anything else. Entwined hands are falling over one another in their eagerness. Smile-soaked lips are mumbling sweet nothings. Dreams are conjuring themselves out of whims. The sky seems blue, the flowers so red. Oft-repeated anecdotes seem sweeter the third time over.Weariness no longer is a word.


The stray dog at the bus-stop stretches his muddy paws and dreams his little dream. The conductor plays his little madam-ye lijiye-seat-flirt-grin-heh-heh-see-you-tomorrow game. The leaves look brown under their coat of dust. Deadlines continue to keep dangle tantalizingly close. A butterfly flies through the traffic. The monsoons stick to their strike this season.


Me? I'm enjoying finding myself in the middle of inexplicably idiotic situations. As usual.

30 August, 2007

Question 7

Sometimes your life seems to be converging into a series of blahs. Days seem insipid, your mind is in a constant state of queasiness, thoughts assume a diahorric quality. Are we meant to be happy all the time? Or is suffering shoved onto us to make realisation sink in? For us to know just how lucky we are to have some nanoseconds of glee? Is this feeling of ultimate degeneration part of the larger picture?
When can I see the picture? Who draws that picture? Why wasn't I invited to draw too? And do not say cause you can't draw because looking at the way its shaping up, I don't think anyone who has anything to do with it is an artist. Why do some sunny days feel so cold? Who gets to answer all this? And why don't I ever seem to have any answers?
Is oscillating from sunlight-shimmering positivity to the hollows of negativity normal? Ok who decides what's normal? Surely not the same moron who's making that picture. That brings me full circle.
Everything IS blah.

20 August, 2007

Eye to I

---
Go on discard her
a moribund thought
an eggshell in your omlette
a raindrop in this drought
---
we walk on dead end roads
and stomp through open ended tales
we wallow in self pity
as we race those slithering snails
---
she is the gouge in your soul
she is the insipid dream
she is the sadistic laughter
straining to hear you scream
---
do I need shout louder
your mind is an avalanche of tears
don't make me spell out
each of them scathing fears.
---

12 August, 2007

Loony lessons


Guess what I realised the other day? I've been on a non-stop roller coaster of learning ever since I was me. Be it the alphabet or 8 times 7 is _____ or how to put my hands through my sweater without letting the sleeves of my shirt bunch up, its been an incessant inflow of "stuff" into that convoluted grey jiggly mass of brain. And there's no stopping it. So, though you people have enough of your own learning to do, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to torment you into sifting through some of my own nuggets of wisdom.

I've learnt that I am happiest when I have a good book and a mug of coffee with me (yeah apple juice in summer will do just fine).

I've learnt that try as I might (and I HAVE tried), I will never understand what motivates girls to diet. My mantra: Have food, will eat.

I have learnt that no matter how old I get, I will never ever grow out of sties...yes those rotten things that come up in your eye (contrary to my mother's theory of them being a direct result of constipation, they are actually due to infection. Thank you).

I have learnt (in an incredulous oh-my-god-really? way) that I can survive without the internet. There are no such things as life-changing mails.

I have learnt that the hulabaloo about relativity is not over hyped. Think. The presentation you have to give tomorrow and have been going on and on and on about, will soon be over. Two weeks later you wouldn't even remember it. Ten years down the line you'l be battling bigger problems like poop-soaked diapers and half burnt dinners. Twenty years hence, you'll be busy putting up a brave face to middle age. Thirty years later...oh my imagination faints at the prospect of such remote time frames. That presentation tomorrow? Does it even figure in the greater scheme of things? We are just insignificant pimples on the rump of some ant floating across the Milky Way. So if you think things relatively, get used to the idea of being a blip, an inaudible squeak, a nothing of earth-shattering consequence and life becomes so much more simple.

I have learnt that although it seems exceedingly hard to believe (me being the lazy baboon that I am) I love walking. Especially in the mountains.

I have learnt that the vulnerability of old age in my loved ones scares me.

I have learnt that guys are good at the mushy stuff. Girls? Are not.

I have learnt that the following are the golden steps to cooking bhindi (lady's fingers):

1. Wash bhindi
2. Dry properly
3. Cut
4. Cook

Any other, ANY other, yes ANY OTHER sequence of steps (especially starting with 3 and then going to 1 will lead to sure disaster in the form of a gooey lump of ogre-coloured mush.

I have learnt that board games are fun. Always.

I have learnt that sometimes I enjoy wallowing in self-pity. Then I shake myself and get on with life, in a hair-out-of-face-sleeves-rolled-up way.

I have learnt that loud, garrulous families turn me off. Just as self absorbed aunties and their oh-my-dear-sons, manicured dogs, raisins in Indian sweets (read halwa, kheer), people who ill-treat books and new fangled pokemon/pikachoo cartoons do.

I have learnt that compliments are tricky fellows. I NEVER know how to deal with one. They have a way of turning your sincerely happy response into impolite modesty or nonchalance.

I have learnt that being honest with myself is the least I can do. For myself.

I have learnt that I'm going to be in this cycle of learn-forget-slap-forehead-relearn-aaah-that-was-it for a long long while.

Chandni

28 July, 2007

Oriya oracle -III

did the wind flirt this way when I spoke to him last?
did the rain splatter riddles around my feet?
did you cajole them to put on this little tapdance
to will my mouth into a smiling treat?
---
I had heard stories about how tragically uninteresting Bhubaneswar would be after Delhi, how utterly moronic I was to actually choose to go there and how frustratingly humid the weather could get. Two months flew in a jiffy and on the last day I was sadly counting the hours left in the city I had grown to love.
Simplicity is one of those things that makes you feel its presence most when its absent. Like love. Or money. Or food. Bhubaneswar was simplicity personified. From the blood soaked volcanic soil to its restaurants (most with names staring with Maa). From the rickety buses to its kind, inquisitve people. From its broad roads to its Big Bazaar fixation.
Anyway, the oriya oracles are over, the pangolin watching is through (and how I miss those scaly dears), days of experimental cooking and fervent Indian Idol viewing is done. I'm back in the bustle that is Delhi. A lot browner, a lot happier and definately a lot calmer. Anyone off for a long trip to an unknown land? Count me in.
---

12 July, 2007

Oriya oracle - II

Its been more than a month here. My pangolins lay listless all day, wrapped in tight bundles, sleeping their days away. One humid afternoon, on my walk back from the zoo's nocturnal house back to the main entrance, I realised my dear pangolins need immediate christening. They lie around wallowing in their annonimity while the handsome tigers have names like Raja, Heera, Diana etc. And so in the name of the good lord I, Chandni Singh, devotee of all things pangolin, now present thee:

Pedro, the lone male of the pangolin fraternity at the Nandankana Zoo. He's a fiesty chap who in his overenthuiasm got clawed and nipped by the demure female we tried mating him with.

Punky, the female in enclosure 84. She's the one who clawed poor Pedro. She's the one who sleeps wrapped around a tree trunk all day, flitting away flies with her flippant tail. She's the one who's got the teeniest cage but does she complain. Naah, not Punky.

Pingo, the female in the nocturnal house, mother of Pedro and famous for burrowing her way out of her enclosure when she was expecting him. She was caught and re-installed in her quarters but her better half still roams the wild jungles.

Pansy, the pregnant female in the captive breeding centre. She's a voracious digger and is carrying a little fellow whom I've pre-christened Pesky.

And is all in this edition of the Oriya oracle, which has very limited editions as it is obvious.

Take care, people.

04 July, 2007

monsoon melodrama

the clouds are so heavy with their grey grief
they stoop to kiss the dirt
a fickle wind whooshes around
waltzing with restless strands of hair
a drizzle of tears splatters forth
promising a thunderous encore
the earth gasps and sighs at the sweet agony
of being thrashed and carressed by the rain's playful wrath
my teacup teeters at a melodramatic edge
as salty threatens to entwine with sweet
a clutter of wishes escapes the heart
a yearning that summons you out of nowhere.

17 June, 2007

oriya oracle

I had made up my mind about autorickshaw drivers. They rode where they wanted to, when they wanted, if at all they wanted to and ofcourse at their own sweet pace. They fleeced you, honed your haggling skills till you felt as used as a dish cloth, promised you an aggravatingly exhausting conversation about how the auto fares had not been updated since the Crustacean era and how hapless their pure souls actually were.

Then I came to Bhubhaneswar, the templed capital of Orissa. Five girls. Uknown city. Means of transport? Autorickshaws of course (one well meaning well-wisher called them the "unreliable mass transport system" which was not suitable for "simple girls" like ourselves). Ha. Simplicity is CERTAINLY not my middle name. Whoever heard of a Chandni Simplicity Singh? Ha.

Cut to the actual situation. Five girls. Various limbs and keratinous portions flailing out of one rickety three wheeler. Ya ya hair (biology students like using big words to prove they know too much, e.g. did you know that the sound you hear while cracking your metacarpophalangeal joints is because of the air bubbles popping in your synovial fluid?) . The auto driver is positively appalled at this un-ladylike behaviour of incessant chatter at an incomprehensibly high decibel, the literal falling out of one girl from someone's poor lap to the externalities of his previously unvoilated steed and ofcourse the way these weirdos try to communicate in their hindi-english-bengali (thanks to one bong babe) language. The sign language, inspired by oft played dumb charades resembled over the top histronics that would put any actor to shame. Hell we were good. And we managed to get our point across.

But the brilliant part of the whole auto experience this system of "shared auto". You could travel from one place to another in fares ranging in miniscule denominations (Rs. 3, Rs. 5, Rs. 8). Wow right? But no no no. Not so fast punk. There was a catch. You'd have to be willing to share your exclusive chauffeur driven auto with any Mohanty, Pattnaik or Misra that walked along and was travelling in the general direcion of your destination. Not bad right? Cheap travel and the delightful opportunity to meet the knight of your dreams in a rickety auto..aaahhhh the fertile soil of my imagination always manages to spring up some muddy, heavily romanticised illusions.

So whether the weather played spoil-sport or the food tasted the same everywhere, or the men were no eye-candy, Bhubhneswar won where it mattered the most. Its "mass travel system" rocked.

:)
Candni

PS: I am in a sweaty little cyber cafe, minus laptop, with a keyboard that has a congenital enemity towards typing "" ..... "h" so any mentally debilitating tortures due to the post above are all your fault. (I ave ad to read troug te wole post inserting "h") bahhhhhhh...ughhhhhhhh hee ha ha

03 June, 2007

Orissa oggling

Pangolins or scaly anteaters
I'm off for two months going to help these guys breed. Happy summers.

: )

30 May, 2007

it ends tonight

will you hold me for as long as it takes hopes to shatter
a heartbeat to get breathless
murmuring tales in its contorted way
hold me
as pieces of me fall unanswered
the gods laugh as I tremble on the floor
tears well up a multitude of mirrors
the sheen on my murky flaws
People dance around
hideous grins obscure the faces
as my woe riddled soul
collapses into puddles
today the gods conspire
heaven is a sodden shade of brown
the bitter taste makes me smile
the old shrivels up
it ends tonight
I laugh aloud

25 May, 2007

Question 4

True or false?

Are God, horoscopes and the weather just good topics of conversation?

15 May, 2007

Paper caper

The kabaadiwala (junk dealer, house to house collector of all things paper, plastic and any bottles that have, at any point in time, held the slightest promise of holding anything remotely alcoholic in nature) came last sunday. The job of giving off old newspapers, bargaining for increasing the rates from Rs. 4/kg to Rs. 5/kg, finding other old paper and plastic etc etc has always been reserved for my esteemed efficient self. As I was getting the newsprint weighed this time (in a sleep-riddled nightsuit, because sundays are no-bath days in my blissful little world) I realised what a paper freak I was.

Ever since forever, I have spent entire afternoons, yes the long hot summer ones which are tantalizingly unending, cutting up old magazines, papers, cards and whatever else. I used to fanatically collect pictures, letters (like A, B, C ,D you dud), articles, recipes and quotes, paste stuff in my diary, construct elaborate cookery books, make "today's no reason and so" cards, create utterly uselessly nonsensical scrapbooks blah blah. I was a true paper raper, with the maid perpetually horrified at the garbage I'd manage to create in a matter of a few hours. When I was away at boarding, she used to ask my mother with fearful, cowering eyes, "Chandni didi ghar kab aa rahi hain?" Because that always, without doubt, meant extra cleaning. At the ripe old age of whatever I am, I still find it the most energising and yummy thing to be doing on a lazy afternoon.

Put me in a stationery shop. And I will tell you what heaven is about. Seeing paper of different textures, sizes, shapes, running my hands through bouquets of pencils, watching each crayon blush a different colour, fiddling through shelves of diaries, notepads, feasting on chart paper and all the messy fingers that they are going to be violated with. Trying out a pen on the little notepad kept at the counter, watching a kid choose his first geometry box with ill-concealed fascination, a harried board student pick up a bunch of sample papers, an old man getting his favourite pen some ink...its leaky but still..

And the only place that tops heaven? A bookshop of course. One can just walk through shelves, strolling through words like a long-lost thought, munching through people's work, a nibble here, a mouthful there and a big gulp some other place. Books with white paper, glossy paper, frayed yellow paper, hardcover, paperbacks, backboned, spirited, claustrophobic...the variety is humungously overwhelming and weirdly the choice only makes you look forward to it, not shy away into the oblivion of a "this or that". And when you take me into a book cum stationery shop, I acquire the consistency of plasticine, a puddle of drool, a maleable ductile little pigtailed girl, a complying obliging soul ...its like magic.

Paper? There is something positively pristine about a sheet of plain paper. It ignites you to elope with your imagination, fall in love with an unknown sentence, lose yourself in a jungle of wordless wonders. (jungle ? forest? black hole? vacuum? what?) It makes my fingers tickle with anticipation...will it be a doodle or a poem today? A letter or a story? Will it end up crumpled in some tear-sodden place? Will it find a corner in my diary? On my blog? In a letterbox? The unadulterated joy, sheer bliss of writing with a sharpened pencil on paper is unparalled...ok now don't look SO worried, yes yes yes I HAVE heard of chocolate and sex...

And the hilarious irony of it all is that this is the first post I have written directly online, without the comforting intervention of paper to spill the beans on.

03 May, 2007

this one's for you

* * *
smiles lose their way on her lips these days
in a breeze of bewilderment she nimbly sways
her heart shhhushes her mind as it clammers on
she won't listen today, she's a quirky song
impatience tugs, boredome itchs
she briddles and bellows at the prophetic witches
its not too late, she was so wrong
but isnt love a heart-soaked two-edged prong?
buried ghosts resurrect themselves once again
she struggles as the armour crumbles with pain
he indulgingly smiles at her foolish floundering feet
she learns her lessons like a shameless cheat
the silence stretches forth she whispers somehow
need I say aloud what you already know?
* * *

25 April, 2007

Question 3

Note:Answer both parts of the question. No choice.

a)What IS the hulabuloo over good looks?
b)Are they as overrated as I think they are?

22 April, 2007

Is raat ki subah nahi

she's fading into the obscurity of her endless thoughts
a pit of
hissing snakes
torrid storms
silver linings
sobbing maidens
sly pranks
loud chatter
air
caustic claustrophobia
try as she might to come to an end, a conclusion,
she falls
further
into the vacuum of too much
where the silence
and
the noise
battle with treacherous swords
leaving her distraught
in shreds
groping
for answers
to a lost cause
to a won war

18 April, 2007

summer the bummer

Yes its here. Beating down with its signature ferocity. Delhi summer - a cruel counterpart of its much applauded cooler cousin - dilli ki sardi. With the summer here its back to the rigmarole of trips.

Trips to the parlour. Getting waxed an innumerable number of times till the bagfulls of money drowned down that losing battle against all surfaces hairy and the pain incurred becomes one incoherent mass of bewilderment. I fail to understand the obsession with smooth hairlessness that captivates every female fancy. Its expensive, barely lasts a week or two AND is painful. But I'll have to vouch for the satisfaction quotient that transcends all. Mere men will not understand the pure bliss of a smooth arm (dreamy look). We women inflict ourselves with horrendous tortures (read makeup, high heels, waxing blah blah). I thought we were extremely foolish to do so because the people who matter (or are at least supposed to matter, i.e. guys) don't really notice any of the preening. I thought so until a few weeks ago. But hell they notice and that's where this turns into a vulgar nightmare (Did he see my arms that day? Did he notice my beautiful moustache? He surely couldn't have seen my hairy legs - wasn't it dark? ) But let me not digress into hairy horrors and subsequent tales of woe.

Trips to the corner shop. For another bottle of sunscreen. A mindlessly weird invention.
"Madamji more the SPF more the protection"
(and the price ..baah)
I religiously decide to splatter myself with liberal amounts of the gooey stuff the entire summer. Two seconds into the sun and I am brown as a nut. This time a profusely sweating brown nut with sunscreen making me feel like a lathered sud. And I'm shining like a brand new coin, glistening madly in the sun. Ughhh.

Trips to the loft (yes it IS a trip when you have to pull down bags and suitcases of summer clothes and replace them with winter woollies). This trip has a happy ending because at the end of it you find yourself sipping a cool drink, wearing your favourite pair of shorts. Aaahhh freedom :)

Trips in the bus.
Q: What's worse than sweating in a DTC bus?
A: Being pushed into another person's sweatiness.

And inspite of all this I prefer summers to winters. Why? Search me for the answer. I'm still busy wondering.

15 April, 2007

Himalayan hiatus

Mountains overwhelm me. Their colossal beauty, imposing, awe-inspiring and soul-shrivelling all in one tremulous moment. The past week I have been hiking in the Himalayas. The Great Himalyan National Park, Sai Ropa, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh, to be geographically accurate. Was the trip nice? Ofcourse it was. What do you expect when a bunch of friends are together on a week long holiday? That too after their exams. Was the trip fun? Yes, bonfires every night, song and dance routines at the drop of a hat...what more could you want?

But as I sat down to write this, I was at a loss of words. Incidents didn't narate themselves. Pranks and jokes didn't move me in any particular way. What was it that sprang up with utmost clarity? The quiet moments of solitude I spent with the air, with the silence, with the green huddles of grass, with the Tirthan river that perpetually splashed its beauty into the days.

gushing waters sang silent memories
ebalming my tiredness
I shrugged as it whispered
a tale to my lone soul

The trek was long and at times awfully tiring (30 km to and fro). But the relief and achievement of reaching Raula (our camping site) was nothing compared to suddenly stumbling upon a stream after walking a stretch in the scorching sun. Quaint rickety brigdes framed gurgling waters, restraining their mirth so skilfuly. Washing your face with glacial waters is refreshingly pleasing. Fatigue and freshness merge into a heady heartbeat.

And then there were the flowers of course.

pools of blood red
shadowed my steps
rhodendron carpets
weaved joy around my weary footprints
brown oak leaves swallowed
the red wine blossoms
feet crushed those martyred souls
into the black sodden earth

The trip was peppered with cranky people grumbling about walking, aching muscles, food, bathrooms, hot water etc. But did any of that matter? When you could get up to the sound of thrushes whistling through pine needles? When you could relish maggi at the local shop with a bunch friends playing chinese whisper? When you could watch the butterflies flitter over apple blossoms, seeming as if the flowers had taken wing?

And to top it all we went rappling and river crossing. Doing things out of the ordinary is always exciting and we certainly had a great deal of fun. The best part of the trip was the electronic sabbatical. No internet, no phone, no TV, no World Cup (let me not get carried away into THAT train of thought). Surprisingly I didn't really miss any of it. Just me, nature and a splatter of friends. Sheer bliss.

Taking a break is worth it. Especially if it entails a walk in the mountains. The air ripples with a magic dust that is hard to shake off. If I listen hard enough, I can still hear the gurgling waters.

05 April, 2007

Mooning over her dawn

The day is closing its weary arms
in a humble defeated bow
to the darkness creeping upon it
with the stealth of a friend for a backstabber
gnawing from the front
---
The moon she alights: quirky , all smiles
cherubic in her guise of white simplicity
she quivers with anticipation
the night beckons
with sheafs of urgent darkness
wolves howl echoes to the winds' ragged breath.
---
In her stolen silent light,
the ugly revel
thwarted in daylight, set free
by the pitch murkiness of a night
feeble footed bats
pesky scrambling rats
wide-eyed owls
snarling wolves
lovers entwined
figures distorted
as shadows play
rude games with her light.
---
She stares below
condescending
haughty
anguish highlighting dark blotches
where ebony fingers tarnish the ivory.
---
She fervently awaits
for her light-bathed knight
for whom golden hues dance
for whom her light pales in a sigh
for whom holding her breath
prolongs the agony
of another love-washed wishful night
---
Dawn cracks,
she reigns him in by the fragile thread of flattery
he is the king of dawn
the slave of the moonlight
he blooms as she fades
ending the darkness
and her night of glory
she blushes into oblivion
reveling in his triumph
as he rides in, supreme,
a sore second to her charm.
---

01 April, 2007

"happy birthday to you"

29th March '07
____________
There is this bus load of people on their way to Chandigarh (Pinjore actually). The entire bus is fast asleep.
____________
Time = 3:30p.m. Hot. The sun has become his mean alter ego that he reserves especially for Indian summers. Its dry and still, bumpy and dusty all rolled into one sultry afternoon. Three backseaters are not able to sleep. What do they do? They sneak in a cassette through the conductor to the bus's broken down (khatara is the word) player. Its got Backstreet Boys and N Sync on it (:D). Glee. Mega glee. The threesome - Roosi (hapless drummer with two Bisleri bottles as drum sticks), Choosi (blumbering lead singer who knows no lyrics) and Isoo (lead guitarist cum vocals backup cum harmonium piano flute sitar player) assemble their band. Now begins the fun. They sing at the top of their voices, create a racket and generally fall all over the other slumbering members of the bus.
___________
Time: 4:45p.m. The bus is awake, full of cranky, angered people wondering where all the noise is originating from. they turn towards the dregs of the bus. The band grins, eats Bourbon biscuits, decides to name itself the Borbouns (or "Born Bonds" eeeewwww ha ha) and rocks on. Mission accomplished.
_____________
30th March '07:
_____________
Time: 7:30 p.m
_____________
The bus nears Delhi - back home from a long journey. Six particularly enthusiastic maniacs are screaming their lungs out from the backseat. Asoo, Isoo, Choosi, Roosi, Misoo, Maisii. As the bus turns in towards its destination, the six sopranos decide to sing a song the entire bus can sing together. Something that would shake the other 23 people from their lethargy and perpetual mode of sleepiness. They rack their brains, scratch their chins, hum all the songs they can think of, juggle through anything remotely musical they can imagine and finally hit upon THE song. The song everyone knows.
The trip ended with the sonic six singing "Happy Birthday To You".
______________

31 March, 2007

Question 1

Fill in the blanks:

The world is made up of two kinds of people _____________ and _______________.

27 March, 2007

bashing the blues...poetically

She is stretched across contradictions
threads of sanity pulling either way
hell threatens to engulf, to break free
heaven beckons, a teardrop away
- - -
will the lady allow herself
the comfort of memories so withered?
would she rather threaten "now" to collide
with her. bitter,war-paint smeared.
- - -
she gasps in mouthfuls of pain
brokenly breathes in that smell
of her soul breaking into mirages
collapsing into a shell.
- - -
yearning, bruising, she opens those eyes
will you hold her this one last time
she lies there torn, demanding pity
proudly begging you to hold her right.
- - -
What is it about memories that always makes me sad? Happy ones remind me of all the good times and how I miss them, sad ones wring my tears dry. Either this is one of those times when the pessimist in me wins the battle and does all the talking or its just one of those unfathomable ways my mind works. I guess everyone is allowed to be cranky/ weird/ pitiful/ unhappy/ generally pathetically wasted once in a while.

21 March, 2007

gender bender

what's it with girls and

compliments
kajal
tantrums
clothes
food
friends
chatting


what's it with boys and

...
...
...
...
...well girls.

17 March, 2007

litter spitter

Someone asked me a weird question the other day. "Are you a literary person?"
Am I a literary person? I don't believe I actually gave that question the few picoseconds of my attention it got. And to think I'm writing an entire blog entry on it? I must be beserk.

Is being literary gauged by the number of books one reads? The number of poets one admires? The number of debates one does? The number of stories one writes? Isn't all of the above sheer bunkum? The illiterate truck-driver who spews out obscenities a-mile-a-minute is literary too. He uses his words not to glorify, not to explain, but to emphasize, to express. And expression is the fundamental need for which words were invented in the first place. Words have always held me spell-bound, their inexhaustible richness, intricate dynamics, nuances, their fascinating way of arranging into strings of moulded thoughts, enveloped lives.

When I see a jalebi tail of a stray dog, I am happy to be alive, to be able to share his joy, if only as an audience. I want to spread it. Words rescue me.

A friend confides - we whisper - conspirators of utter silliness, giggling our way through harmless tales. Words juggle along our waves of suppressed laughter. Shared and enjoyed.

I write my thoughts with sharpened lead pencils in words which creep into my mind. I sing songs with words I love. In the absense of the words, the hum is even better, just as our shadows are more intriguing than a mirrorred reflection.

What is it about words that capture our souls? You read a beautiful poem and revel in its richness. A good book promises many pages of unadulterated infinitely superior pleasure.

And you ask me if I am literary? Who isn't? Does such a thing as an "un-literary" person even exist?

12 March, 2007

lawless love


Let her be the breeze
on your tear-stained cheek
let her be the sunbeam
for your sodden dreams
let her waltz through your thoughts
to a quirky tune
let her embrace you
the light of a moist moon

even when she prays for you
she flatters herself
to believe she has the power
to protect.to destroy.to love.to cherish
she ekes out happiness
from her miserly existence
narcissism casts an ugly shadow
over a pathetic tiny ego


I happen to have no idea whatsoever about where this came from. I was going through my diary and came across some lines I'd written long ago. Things in my head and those on the page suddenly coalesced to make some sense. Its a convoluted kind of poem. It just highlights that love is the most selfish emotion a human can experience. I am not against the concept of love...hell no I'm not. Its just that when people say love is about giving yourself away, about doing for another person, about seeing that certain somebody smile, the hypocrisy of it irks me no end. The other person? You love someone because of the way they make you feel about yourself, the way person you are when with them, the way you see everything through rose tinted glasses, the way you laugh and feel comforted with them. But there's no harm in that surely. Thats where the beauty of love creeps in. Its perfect to flaunt your selfishness. Its endearing to be possessive and protective. Its pretty to care for someone in an utterly selfish manner, its actually the ultimate form of self-indulgence. Its the one place where being anything other than yourself doesn't count. Yes that definately has to be the best part of love.

:)

10 March, 2007

queer questions

why is the sun so bright today
why do the flowers sing along
where is everybody buzzing to
as my heart plays a broken song?
* * *
someone's feeling
really really really low
why o' why
how would I know.

09 March, 2007

Once upon a time in a GIS class

He drones on and on
toneless and grey
my mind nods along
a galaxy away.
He mumbles shiftily
and tugs at his tie
someone burps aloud
dormant I lie.
He talks to his face
I to mine
he teeters along
a perfectly crooked line.
Pencils trace lazy doodles
jokes filter through
a guffaw breaks out promising
to send sanity astrew.
my eyes wide open
my brain closed shut
my imagination decides
to go out for a strut.

Okay I did write this in my rubbishy GIS class.
And yes the poem is silly, but what do you expect from a semi-sleepy GIS hater.
I hate my GIS teacher and he's my H.O.D.
Well GIS happens to be Geographic Information System.

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