30 December, 2007
23 December, 2007
- Take time out to do things I want to.
- Be kinder to people who are generous enough to be kind to me.
- 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?
- Help can come from the most unexpected quarters. And whether you believe it or not, help actually helps. It was a revelation to me.
- 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.
- 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?
- Being terrified of letting people in is ridiculous. But letting go off it? Incredulous.
- It is only in our times of dire need that we remember God. We are pathetic. But then that's why we are humans.
- Growing pains are painful but hell they are brilliant teachers.
- Cynicism and pessimism are different things.
- 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
she watches wide-eyed
the scathing sarcasm
the guilt ridden reproaches
the bleeding wounds
the dry eyes
the selfish worries.
as she shuffles away
whimpering away from standing up
pathetic in her pose.
laughter rings loud
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
memories part ways
the fork in the road
is twisting in her side.
the game is that
of tit for tat?
the thought pierces her
its pointless overkill.
03 December, 2007
28 November, 2007
~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
14 November, 2007
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".
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
23 October, 2007
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."
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 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.
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
Times of India, refering to Dr. R.K Pachauri's statement after hearing about IPCC winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
12 October, 2007
05 October, 2007
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.
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.
23 September, 2007
21 September, 2007
16 September, 2007
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
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
20 August, 2007
12 August, 2007
28 July, 2007
12 July, 2007
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
waltzing with restless strands of hair
17 June, 2007
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.
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
30 May, 2007
25 May, 2007
15 May, 2007
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
25 April, 2007
22 April, 2007
18 April, 2007
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
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
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
01 April, 2007
31 March, 2007
27 March, 2007
21 March, 2007
17 March, 2007
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
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
09 March, 2007
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.