Dec 30, 2009

Make laws, make rules, create memory loss

All around me, when I see someone littering, or spitting, I hear some convent-educated, well-fed voice go "You know, they should make a law against this. And fine all those who do it. Like in Singapore" (or London or any other phoren countries). Someone else goes, "Laws won't make a difference, we should create awareness." And I think, will ANYTHING work? For what has to change primarily is mindset. People have to get conditioned to think differently. And to tell someone, 'Hey whatever shit you are thinking, you are wrong' is not easy. More so, to get someone to believe you without punching you in the face.

Most people would get angry at being questioned. Humans as we know are conditioned as a species to live with the thought that they are the most superior beings. Now they apply this theory to compare themselves to other humans too is just a natural outcome or side-effect. So telling them that what you are thinking is just retarded, old fashioned and simply stupid will just get you a red nose and a black eye, maybe some abuses.

So, as it turns out, I know many people who belong to that 'I am always right' category. And well, I have tried, and tried. "You know, bell bottoms are seriously out of fashion". "Mushrooms ARE vegetarian". "Drinking milk does NOT cure all diseases." and more serious topics too.

Just like them, we have those all over the world. Take for instance the perennial Mumbai local ladies compartment traveller who thinks - So what if I stamped on your foot, you are no one to scream. Or the rickwala who has a sticker saying 'Spitting spreads TB' on the back of his rickshaw and some red liquid in his mouth. And then there are the elderly who will be all gung ho for secularism but throw a fit if anyone in their family decides to tie the knot with someone outside their religion. Blasphemy!

So, what can we do then? I think there is no option. Laws and rules will be their, maybe be enforced but no one will be willing to follow them. You can't change thinking. But of course you CAN create memory loss *evil glint in eye*.

Comic book villains, where art thou?

Dec 26, 2009

The spirit

I like festivals. But as much as they have a religios relevance, I don't like that. I like festivals independent of religion, custom and rituals.

I believe every festival has a soul to it. It has an individuality and a personality, just like you and me. And that is what I like about each festival. Holi for example, is colourful and loud and gets easily drunk- carefree and oblivious to the world around. The kite festival on the other hand prefers to speak very little, and yet makes its presence felt through the burst of colours dotting the sky. Diwali for me, is loud, garish, fun-loving and exuberant. It is that nice, sweet aunty next door who loves flowers in her hair, and always makes good food for you.

Christmas. I love the Christmas personality- the Christmas spirit. For me, it is like this tiny fairy with transparent wings and tinkling anklets who goes around sprinkling magic dust on everyone. Yes, quite fantastic, but well, I actually feel that on Christmas. As much as it is a religious festival, for me it has hardly any religious significance. I just the love the way everything looks, the way people behave and all the cultural modes and symbols floating around that time of the year. The icy cool nip in the air, the red and green and white fluttering all around, the white lights twinkling like stars from every house. And cakes, and carols. It's just rhythmic, a festival of music and merriness. Everything in Christmas has a musical quality in it. From the Ho, ho, ho's, to the bells in your window, to the 'Merry Christmas' greetings.

I like Christmas. And what I like is I don't have to be Catholic to like it. I don't have to go to church to celebrate it. I can still put up a tree and decorate it. I can still walk around with a Santa hat and exchange presents. And it still makes me feel as much a part of it as anyone else. All I have to do to feel what they call the Christmas spirit is walk around and look at the simple decorations on people's windows- not the store or mall or street decorations, but the home ones.

And I can feel myself dancing to the rhythm of the festival.

Dec 18, 2009

Anjaana raasta

I just had this sudden urge of writing in Hindi. So I began:

Galiyon ki mehek mein huye aise mashroof
Ke sadakon ka pata hum bhool gaye,
Fiza ki madhoshi mein kho hi gaye,
ke lamhon ka pata bhi bhool gaye.

Saundhi mitti ki khushboo bichi,
Aankhen moond hum kheeche chale,
Oas ki boondon se baatein karein,
Hariyali ki chadar par daude chale.

Patli si sadak bhi chhut gayi,
Khushi khushi hum gum hi gaye,
Neeli chadar odh, hare bichawan par,
Thake tab do saans late gaye.

Raat ki surrati hawa suni,
Mausam jaise dharti se kare baatein,
Meethi yeh boli mein aise khoye,
Ghar wapas kaun jaana chaahe.


My critic avatar

I saw Avatar recently, and I came out with mixed reactions. The much awaited movie was both much more and much less than what I expected. And I realised, I mostly had one line reactions to it:

- Effects 10 yrs ahead of their time, and a story 10 yrs behind its time gives a movie that lies in the present.

- Before I could say How, all I could say was Wow!

- The movie lover in me was stunned by the level of filmmaking. The critic in me cried out for some story at least.

- This movie defines our present state: Humans are the villains, we sympathize more with aliens than with our planet, we are always out to take what is not ours, destruction is just a daily norm and heroes or miracles are just fantastical.

- Sci-fi is just human stories and love tales told through blue or green bodies.

- Filmmakers take ten years to make a movie that shows trees falling down and nature being destroyed through special effects, and the world beats them at doing so in real time.

I will keep adding to the list as and when I come up with more. And you are welcome to add on.

P.S: A friend who accompanied me claimed that the aliens were copies from our Lord Krishna who was also blue skinned, and the name Avatar proves it. This is her theory. What's yours?

Dec 2, 2009


I fly by
past my dreams
oblivious to the shooting stars
as I stare at the little boy
who carried a basket of laughter on his back,
I look at his 9 coloured rainbow
as he rubs his crayons on the sky,
and paints the trees blue
I find my dreams rushing back
I find them flavoured with dew
Looking at the stars for the first time
I make a wish.


Nov 24, 2009


Set along the Konkan belt is a little village called Ganapatipule.

It's an hour's drive from Ratnagiri. When you set off from the dirty, messy streets of Ratnagiri, you will definitely not expect what you get when you are half way through.

But before you set off, make a trip to the Ratnagiri fort. It is best to make the trip early in the morning (that is when our train arrived), because then the heat gets so annoying, you won't be able to enjoy the sights. The fort is quite boring in itself, but it is the view that is striking. The blue clear sea down below, and the mountains in the distance- breathtaking. Sit in one of the 'windows' and lose yourself in the beauty of your surrounding.

Then begins the hour long journey to Ganapatipule. The sights begin when you are driving through the mountain roads. It is a wall of mud and rock on one side and hold your breath- almost virgin beaches with blue waters on the other. The greenery around, the peaceful atmosphere and looking down on the white sand and blue water, you won't believe you are just h
alf an hour away from a totally different civilization.

Reach Ganapatipule and you have every house turned into a lodge. Not that there are way too many houses at that. You have little restaurants serving thalis and little else, and some of the more 'grand' ones that serve 'Panjabi' cuisine too. The roads are hardly cemented except in a few places, and you will like walking below the trees on the mud path to the beach. This walk in itself is quite pleasing and the instant you start, you know you are in another dimension altogether. Away from your daily rigmarole.

The beach is a haven in itself. Clear blue waters and almost white sands, unpolluted by plastic and other human remnants. If not for the Coconut water shacks lining it, or a few bunches of pilgrims on one corner of the beach near the temple, it would resemble the virgin beaches that were spotted all along our journey.

Sitting in the water all day baking in the sun and frolicking among the waves, we just didn't realise how fast the time passed. There could have been so much more we could have done like cycling down the roads or hiking a little to nearby places, discovering new beaches - but all we
did was turn into water buffaloes. But that too was great fun!

Back to the place... There is also the Ganapati temple. Not quite small, it is better to visit the temple either early during the day or about an hour before sunset. It has a hillock which is holy and you can walk around it. That is a holy Hindu ritual called Parikrama. It't not the holy part that is good here, it is the scenery you encounter while walking around the hill. On one side is greenery and the other side holds a brilliant sea view. Even during the night, you may not be able to see the waters, but the pinch in the air and the chilly winds will make you feel wonderful.

After the walk, you can probably lounge on the sea, gazing that the endless number of stars. This view is impossible from a city. Whats more, you can even spot more than a few shooting stars. Watch the sky, peer into the darkness, feel the cool sand beneath you or breathe in the slightly salty, slightly chilly sea breeze. It will all feel therapeutic.

As for food, I recommend the local thalis at least once. But if you can't digest Maharashtrian food, or coconut in your preparations, there is a garden restaurant which serves almost everything. There is also the MTDC restaurant which I personally did not have the stomach for. Though the MTDC rooms are splendid if you have the budget. They command a great view of the beach.

All in all, Ganapatipule is one of those escapades that you go to when you have a nice long
weekend, and don't want to tire yourself out. Sit, chill, sunbathe (or burn like I did). But remember, if you want beer, you may have to get your own from somewhere. 'Cos this Ashtavinayak-temple-housing-village mostly doesn't have any.

Here's a picture log of my Ganapatipule trip, beginning from Ratnagiri station.

Nov 8, 2009


Sirhane padi thi ek palak
Ho gayi woh pawan ke hawale
Jhonke sang jhoomi, na hosh ka pata
Poochti khud se, kaun hoon main?

Ek choti si harkat,
ek lamha bana kahaani,
par alfaazon se bandh na paaya woh,
ek itihaas jiski rachna hai bas mann mein hi.


Oct 8, 2009

The hippie at heart

I strongly believe I was born at the wrong time. No, I wasn't born way ahead of my time, I was born way after it actually.

I think I belong to the 70's. Really.

The hippie age. The flowers, the madness, the free spirit, the loud junkies - it's all there in me. I love to dress like a hippie. I am as eccentric as one (or so I have been told). I refuse to bow down to rules like one, and I love randomness. It just seems right to have been born in that age. Yeh ok, I don't like their haircuts, but then again, if I were born then, I would have liked it.

And to top it all off, all the ideas I have for ads come back to me with 'This has already been done and it won ____ and _____'. So my ideas also belong back then!

At least if I were born in the 70's, it would be less of hearing 'This has been done before'. :D

Oct 2, 2009

Movies take from life, Life takes from movies

Since the inception of cinema, filmmakers have always been fascinated with one concept- love. They can never get tired of courting and romance, undying and unconditional love and victory of love over evil. Romance is this Yash Chopra's tulip field and walking in the moonlight, and life always gets the scope of 'happily ever after' only after you find the 'one'.


This utopia had been built from human minds, probably from experiences, expectations, imaginations. Slight exaggerations initially, and then the butterfly
effect- masala upon masala upon spicy dreamy masala. Movies took from life and put them up on the larger than life screen to share it with more lives.

And it all began right then. In the 50's. When movies began to show lives and how they should be.

Since then, romance remains the walk in the moonlight, stealing glances at each other, chasing each other playfully and what not. In people's minds, and expectations.

And now, the wheel has turned. Now movies define life. You look at Shahrukh or Salman or Richard Gere or James Marsden (27 dresses, my fav :D ) figuring out new ways to impress the girl and you want that to happen to you. You see them running around New York or Bombay with flowers and you dream of the same, and get disappointed if that doesn't happen.

I have seen many girls (and guys too) follow movies and live in utopia. I have seen the signs of the movies followed by the disappointment of real life.

That is when a question arose in my mind. As happy as the movies make us, if they make us hate our life, are they actually worth it?

Sep 7, 2009

Etiquettes at theatres and theatres

Theatre- technically it means that magical place where a bunch of individuals enact a story right before to take you to another world. Colloquially, it is the magical place where a story with song and dance is weaved and recorded and played to you again and again and again.

And I have encountered both these last week, with varied experiences.

At the Prithvi theatre, I went to watch Confessions- a play about stories, murders, abuse, psychology and a lot more disturbing things. Long as the play was (2 and a half hrs!), it never felt that long. But the best part was in the second half, when there was a sudden power cut. The entire place was enveloped in darkness and it was utter silence. I can actually imagine the panic that the actors must have felt. And then as we are wondering, out of the black we hear the voice of one of the actors addressing the other 'Do you want me to continue? This may take a while. It happens here often.' And the play continued.

For a moment there, I thought this must be a part of the play. But then I saw many members of the audience switch on their phones and use that light to illuminate the stage. It was some sight as the play went on. And for once, none of the cast members would o a shoe at the audience for switching on their mobile phones.

The other theatre was a movie hall where I went to watch Quick Gun Murugan. No, I am not posting a review of the movie. If you want one, ask me and I will send you one individually.

When you go to a movie hall, the security checks make sure everything is in order, and well scanned. But they miss out one crucial thing- your feet.

No no, I am not talking about whether you have smuggled bombs and popcorn inside. I was nicely watching the movie, and suddenly I smell something wierd. Funny, I think. I assumed they cleant the movie halls regularly. It must be the guy next to me. Thinking so, I tilt a little in the opposite direction.

The stink though remains. That is when I realise, Dude... its not the person next to me, its the one BEHIND me. Yes, his/her feet were stinking. And in a movie hall, with the seating on steps, you can't even escape. I don't know how accepting it is to just get up and point out to a person that their feet stinks and would they please keep it to themselves, but I had half a mind to do so. They were distracting me from the bullets cutting into two and the yellow-orange-green-pink cowboy outfit of Murugan!

But unfortunately I never got to find out how the person would react to being told his feet stinks, as my friend, for fear of being embarassed by a wincing nosed me, dragged me away to another seat.

Well, that was one etiquette broken and one desperately needed to be followed at a theatre and a theatre.

Sep 1, 2009

I am a complex pigment

It's time for some narcissism! For all those who keep asking me what my name means, well, I decided- lets ask Google for its version.


A complex red organic pigment containing iron and other atoms to which oxygen binds.
1. (Science: biochemistry) compounds of iron complexed in a porphyrin (tetrapyrrole) ring that differ in side chain composition. Haems are the prosthetic groups of cytochromes and are found in most oxygen carrier proteins.
2. (Science: prefix) haem-, eaning relating to blood.
Origin: g. Haima a ring like structure found in haemoglobin giving it its characteristic red colour.

With random definitions like these, no wonder I love my name!

P.S.: That is not the meaning my Momma told me :)

Aug 17, 2009

Books and more books

What with inflation and all, as much as I would like to, I cannot buy books instead of dal and rice. So, in times like this, where the barely-there-salary goes into other things, I resort to free e-books for my mental hunger. And I thought I must share with you two sites that I absolutely love:

This one allows you to download about 5 books every 2 weeks and has the most amazing collection.

Here, you can read all the good stuff online.

There is also, but it is a little tedious.

So, while I sit back and have my fill, now you do that too.

Aug 14, 2009

In a hurry

I always seem to be in a hurry for everything. I just can't wait.

I was in a hurry to be born and came a month early. I started talking really really early, cos I couldn't wait to explore speech.

I was made to start school earlier than the rest, the result being I have always been a year younger than almost everyone in my class.

And this impatience has followed me everywhere.

It has resulted in a constant need to stay busy. And mind you, not with the same thing. The impatience has also brought with it quick boredom as a package deal, which means that I need to keep doing many things- constantly. I need to drown myself in a surge of activities.

As much as I crave for free time, the moment I get it, I start looking for something to do. Activity just makes me happy.

The impatience also shows itself with people. Have you ever gotten bored with people? I do. Regularly. In a way, maybe it is like a 2 year old, whose attention span is limited to a mere few seconds. In order to sustain the attention, something really interesting has to come up.

This is also the reason why I keep inventing excitement for myself. I turn even the smallest thing into something to look forward to in my head, and that preoccupies me. I try and extract meanings out of nothing, just so that I have something to be enthusiastic about.

Is that good? Maybe not. But sometimes yes. At least, my adrenalin continues to rush at the pace I want it to, even if it is due to something not entirely factual.

The point of this post? I don't know. I needed something to do.

Aug 13, 2009

Here is an old ad i found on Flickr, and i really had to post it:

Aug 12, 2009

A strange kind of immunity

I just attended a funeral today. Of someone quite close to me. And that had me think about death.

Well, you know how our body becomes immune to many things with the course of time? I realised I have become immune to crying at funerals. I may shed a silent tear, but just a drop. I cannot sob, wail or express any sort of emotion on the outside. It is a straight face that walks about handling responsibilities, chores, calming people and taking care that nothing else goes wrong.

How? I guess it is the fact that I have seen way too many deaths when I was young. Being the eldest in the family, I was close to even the distant relatives. And be it my granduncles, by great-grandmother, my grandmother and grandfather and eventually my own father - it was a surge of deaths before I was even 12. At my father's death the immunity took over. I haven't cried at a funeral since.

I have seen some acquaintances and some close friends pass away. Still no tears. It pulled at my heart, but it was dry sorrow.

There is another thing I cannot do. I cannot touch a dead body. I just can't go too close to it. It's not like I am afraid, neither am I overcome by grief. I just can't. The feet do freak me out, frozen and pale. But something else in me, I don't know what, keeps me away, like an invisible shield. Who knows?

And somehow I prefer it. I prefer not publicly showing your sorrow, not wailing out loud in front of people. I always have. It just attracts unnecessary sympathy, it just makes you the centre of attention.

Isn't it better to just let your grief phase out on its own? To let your mind understand the sorrow and learn to deal with it? If it is sorrow due to death, I believe it's a silent and more strong respect to the one who is no more. And if it is any other reason, it just keeps your life where it should stay- with you.

Aug 11, 2009

I just walk past reality sometimes

I am currently reading a magical realist novel. I recently watched an absurdist play that was all about the blending of that fine line between what is real and imagined. And I am forever confused on whether I am real or just an alter ego of some other more 'real' self. (Yes, this does happen when I am entirely sober)

It's strange but I have this habit of suddenly switching off. Literally. I switch off when I am just sitting down, or writing, or walking on the road, or even during conversations. I just stare blankly somewhere, and then its random thoughts bobbing in my head, popping in and out.

There are times when I have wondered how objects got names. Like why did a car get named car. I mean, the word 'kaa-aar' sounds more like a bird. Some little bird who flies really high and swoops down suddenly. 'Hey, a car just flew past and shat on my shoulder!' Now that sounds right doesn't it?

It is very much like a macho guy named Pinky or something. Someone else had a strange epiphany and gave him the name, that now is stuck.

At other times, I have imaginary conversations. I invent situations, and then invent reactions, and my reactions to those reactions. What is the point of this you ask? Really?

Then there are times when the illusions just invade concrete, tangible reality. Reality that could break a few bones (or probably it did). I am walking, or suffering another mode of transport, and everything seems to become hazy. Remember those dreamy, blurred effects in Bollywood movies? Yes, exactly those, sans the foreign locales, expensive clothes, background score and silly dances.

So, coming back to the point. The not-so-picturesque scene becomes blurred, and it seems like everything is moving at a slow pace. It seems like nothing around is real. And that I am just experiencing some time-space warp. Maybe with a click of my fingers, I will reach a nice beach, basking in some pleasant sun with a cool drink in my hands. The poisonous fumes of the bus next to me at the signal detoxify my vision.

I wonder. Is this life really the life we are living? Is it just one monotonous, routine-plagued alter ego of something else? Or is this real and is the lucky alter ego busy having its fun? What harm can a little talking-to-yourself-dreaming-on-the-road do? It's just like adding some dream sequences to the movie of your life. After all, you are the filmmaker and the leading lady, right?

Jul 9, 2009

Blast from the past

I love the rains. On most occasions. But after being deported to Andheri east for work, my romanticised 'South Bombay' picture of the rains has been washed away. Literally and otherwise. My love for puddles has been replaced violently by a desperate search for dry ground. The immunity of the city has been so badly attacked, it seems that soon the island city will be an 'underground island city'.

And as I reminisce of how I usually felt very poetic during the rains, I am left thinking of how poetry would be in this scenario. Imagine if Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley, with all their creative and poetic juices intact, were born in Bombay - the present.

An example of a Shakespearean sonnet 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day', as I see it now:

Shall I compare thee to a rainy day?
Thou art more dirty, making me asphyxiate:
Rough winds do shake the umbrellas we take,
And smoke and grease hath leave me no breath:
.... (and i skip to the last 2 lines)
No longer men can breathe or eyes can see,
No long lives left, only choking, suffering and misery.

Maybe, the cynical Eliot would be more fit in these times. His Waste Land is quite apt, with some minor 'tweaking', as we say here in Ad Land:

July is the cruellest month, breeding
Instects out of the dead land, mixing
Smoke with gutter, stirring
Dull roads with acid rain.

May 25, 2009

Public opinion - once in 5 yrs?

As we are fresh from elections, again I turn to the same topic. Here is an interesting bit I found from an article by Noam Chomsky. Chomsky is known for his propaganda theories and plays the cynic quite a few times. That can be good at times as it makes us think about the world we are in, and whether do we actually follow our own mind? Read on...

Can a Democrat change US Middle East policy?
Noam Chomsky
Khaleej Times, April 3, 2008

Recently, when Vice-President Cheney was asked by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz about polls showing that an overwhelming majority of US citizens oppose the war in Iraq, he replied, "So?"

"So -- you don't care what the American people think?" Raddatz asked.

"No," Cheney replied, and explained, "I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in public opinion polls."

Later, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, explaining Cheney's comments, was asked whether the public should have "input."

Her reply: "You had your input. The American people have input every four years, and that's the way our system is set up."

That's correct. Every four years the American people can choose between candidates whose views they reject, and then they should shut up.

Evidently failing to understand democratic theory, the public strongly disagrees.

"Eighty-one per cent say when making 'an important decision' government leaders 'should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will help them get a sense of the public's views,"' reports the Program on International Policy Attitudes, in Washington.

And when asked "whether they think that 'elections are the only time when the views of the people should have influence, or that also between elections leaders should consider the views of the people as they make decisions,' an extraordinary 94 per cent say that government leaders should pay attention to the views of the public between elections."

The same polls reveal that the public has few illusions about how their wishes are heeded: 80 per cent "say that this country is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves," not "for the benefit of all the people."

So I ask, do OUR opinions count? More importantly, how many times do we care to voice it?

The other side of our democarcy

As the election hangover now settles and blurred visions finally get clear, here is something I recently read this article which quite jerked me out of my dream too. I got thrown back into reality as it is.

The demolition of a Gandhian ashram in Chhattisgarh: Politics and Play
- Ramachandra Guha

In the early hours of May 17, while the rest of India was asleep after an election conducted honestly and won fairly, a massive contingent of police and paramilitary descended on a Gandhian ashram in the interior of Chhattisgarh. They woke up the sleeping social workers, and gave them exactly one hour to pack their belongings. The Gandhians were then escorted outside the ashram that had been their home, thus making way for the bulldozers that had been sent to demolish it. The machines were supervised by some 500 men in uniform, variously owing allegiance to the Central Reserve Police Force and the Chhattisgarh state police. Over the course of that Sunday, as the rest of India was considering the consequences of the election just held, the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram in Dantewada was razed to the ground. The office, the training hall, the staff quarters, even the tubewells — nothing was spared.

In the summer of 2006, I had myself eaten several meals in that ashram in Dantewada. Its founder, Himanshu, is a sharp-eyed, well-built, and forever smiling man in his late forties. Originally from Meerut, he was inspired by Vinoba Bhave and Nirmala Deshpande to devote his life to the adivasis of central India. In 1992, he moved with his wife to Dantewada to fulfil his calling. He recruited a group of local boys and girls, and with their assistance worked on bringing education and healthcare to the adivasis.

By the time I visited the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, it had established a solid presence in the district. Its campus lay in the little village of Kanwalnar, about 10 miles from Dantewada town. Ringed by mango trees, the ashram contained a set of low, modest buildings where the members lived. From this home in the forest they ventured out into the surrounding countryside, to work among the Gonds and Koyas and Murias of the district.

The activities of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram would be reckoned by most people in most times to be uncontroversial. But these are dangerous times in Dantewada, with a civil war raging between Maoist revolutionaries and a vigilante group promoted by the state administration and known as Salwa Judum. In this war, the tribals are caught in-between — so are Gandhian social workers. No one living in the district of Dantewada is now allowed to be neutral, to condemn even-handedly the barbaric acts of the Naxalites as well as the barbaric acts of the Salwa Judum.

As a consequence of the civil war, more than 50,000 tribals in Dantewada have been uprooted from their homes. Some left voluntarily; while many others were forcibly displaced by the Salwa Judum or by the Maoists. These refugees live in camps strung along the main road, in leaking and unstable tents, and without proper access to food, water, and means of employment. Many victims of the civil war fled across the border to Andhra Pradesh, where they live in equally pathetic conditions.

After months of living in this way, some tribals asked that they be allowed to return to their villages, so that they could live in their own homes, and close to their lands and their livestock. While the state wanted them to stay on in the camps, the villagers were encouraged to go back by the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram. Thus Himanshu and his co-workers set about rehabilitating those adivasis who wished to have no more of life in the camps.

The pretext behind the demolition of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram is that the campus has ‘encroached’ on government forest land. The Gandhians, on the other hand, insist that they built on revenue land acquired legally and with permission from the local panchayat. The case is currently being heard in the local courts. Rather than await the court’s verdict, the district authorities uniliaterally chose to demolish the ashram, in what is very clearly an act of vindictive retaliation against the refusal by these Gandhians to wholly condone the support to the Salwa Judum of the Chhattisgarh state government.

As it happened, four students from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore were visiting Dantewada on the weekend of 16/17 May. They were thus eye-witnesses to the ashram’s demolition. One scholar I spoke to said that the sub-divisional magistrate directing the operations, Ankit Anand, was particularly belligerent. When a student weakly protested, Anand commanded the police to have him silenced. The boy was taken away, beaten up, and asked to confess that the good Gandhian Himanshu was (a) an agent of the Naxalites; and (b) running a prostitution racket.

It was surely not an accident that the state of Chhattisgarh chose the very weekend that the election results were being declared to carry out this savage act of retribution. Who, at a time like this, would care about a violation of democracy in a remote and inaccessible corner of the country while the world was celebrating the victory of democracy in India as a whole? For this writer, the juxtaposition of these two events was powerfully symbolic. For I have long argued that India is a ‘50-50’ democracy. In the formal, institutional sense of holding fair elections contested by many parties, allowing freedom of movement for its citizens, and nurturing a free press, India is indeed democratic. But in other respects, it falls short of the democratic ideal. Kin and caste play far too important a part in politics and governance. Levels of corruption among politicians and officials are unacceptably high. The autonomy of the judiciary is somewhat compromised. The use of force by the State is often capricious and arbitrary.

Even in safe and (mostly) peaceable places like my hometown, Bangalore, one can occasionally encounter the dark side of Indian democracy — as in tax officials who take bribes, or politicians who fill in common waterbodies and sell them to private builders. But it is in the conflict zones of Kashmir, the Northeast, and central India, that the State shows itself at its most unappealing. To be sure, there are extenuating circumstances, such as separatist movements and revolutionary struggles. But to explain is not to apologize. One must condemn the violence used by the Naxalites and by the Kashmiri insurgents. One must yet insist that the Indian State, our State, be held to a higher order of morality and accountability.

Over the past few years, the government of Chhattisgarh has had a particularly undistinguished record in this respect. The burning of adivasi villages under the government-sponsored Salwa Judum has been documented in a series of independent reports. Then there is the unconscionable incarceration without bail of the respected social worker and doctor, Binayak Sen, on the very flimsy charge of carrying a letter from one Naxalite to another. Now comes this savage act of retribution against a group of law-abiding, peace-loving, and utterly non-violent Gandhians.

Supporters of the Chhattisgarh government deflect such criticism by pointing to the fact that the chief minister of the state has won a series of elections. But democracy does not begin and end with the counting of votes. Those elected to political office are sworn to uphold the rule of law, and to honour the ideals of the Indian Constitution. This holds true at the national as well as provincial levels. It applies equally to Congress-led governments as to Bharatiya Janata Party-led ones. So long as incidents such as the demolition of the Vanvasi Chetna Ashram occur and recur, India will not count as much more than a 50 per cent democracy.

May 18, 2009

Young is as young sees

The youngest democracy in the country is now shedding its white hair. And boy am I glad! For the first time in 22 years, I am interested in politics. I am hooked onto news channels, and I am reading every single political section of every single newspaper I can get my hands on.

The action in Delhi has my heartbeat racing, and I can find myself with an opinion, a voice, for the first time. I am critiquing, I am supporting, I am turning into an active citizen.

What is it that has made me change my interests?

To say the truth, I don't know. I can tell you though what I did like.

A prospective young cabinet for this young democracy. The reigns of the country are in hands that yet plagued with arthritis, heart attack, etc etc.

A 38 year old scion of the royal family of Indian politics taking huge decisions, emerging victorious at them, travelling 87,000 kms in the Indian heat instead of TV advertisements to make himself known to the masses, being humble enough to say someone else should be PM, and being determined enough to insist on having his way with the redundant politicians...

Other young leaders supporting this spirit rather than turning it into a war against personal ambition. The likes of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sachin Pilot supporting Rahul's initiative and bestowing full confidence.

The people of the country believing in this rather than sticking with parties that still promote religious fanaticism and engage in propaganda that divides the nation into tiny fragments. The people have finally begun to use a mind of their own rather than let the leaders think for them.

Maybe the country is going to witness a different era. Maybe I am just being too optimistic. There is definitely a flipside and I know about it. But what is different is that I simply don't feel like playing devil's advocate right now. I just feel elated at this change of things, and it makes me feel that we have hope now. I feel like casting my vote, cos now I feel that my vote does count... WILL count.

I feel empowered. More than ever.

May 8, 2009

How to identify the Gujritius homo sapiens (GHS)

This certain species originated in the West Coast of India and belong to the Indo-Aryan race of homo sapiens. With the advent of globalisation and human export though, these creatures can now be found in every little remote country there is, including that little country stuck in between Egypt. There are a few sure shot ways of identifying this widely found species:
  1. They are collective animals. They will always be found with almost their entire clan. If on a rare occasion you do chance upon a lone GHS, you will see him befriending (or scares) other clans and species aggressively.
  2. Their vocal chords are differently developed to speak at louder tones. They are incapable of whispering, mumbling or muttering. Even at a distance of 5 feet, they will be found using their full vocal capabilities to beckon each other.
  3. Not quite unlike cows, they have a primary need to keep chewing. Their food chambers are located outside their body through and they will always be found with some edible items on their person. While travelling, if you are out of food, you can rely on them to have some stored at all times.
  4. They are characterised by a peculiar form of dance movement. They are sure to perform the same when you play music of any kind, as the clan gathers in a circle and dances around.
  5. Their currency comprehension and value recognition capabilities are quite low. As a result, they have their personal judgement of a value of an item. You will always find them fighting to obtain the same at a lower price, and at most times, they exasperate the vendor enough to gain their way. Something obtained free of cost of course holds most value for them.
  6. Although they travel in clans, they readily include anyone from the same species. In fact, they are always on the look out for fellow GHS, and will go all out to find one if there is.
  7. Be wary of swallowing their food if you are allergic to sweetness. If you are not, you can identify a GHS in an instant by tasting simply a morsel. Their sugar consumption level far exceeds that of an average homo sapien.
  8. A social event or a wedding is actually a meeting ground of potential matches, and you will find the elder of the species discussing prospective matches at all times. No young GHS can hope to be spared of this custom of inspection at any event.
  9. If you spot meat, be sure not to find a GHS in that area. GHS are herbivores and avoid any meat consumption. But the younger of the species have begun adapting to meat eating patterns.
  10. Lastly, even the most unlikely GHS will believe in exploitation of resources. They use the available resource to the optimum and then find a way to go even beyond it.

Statutory warning: If unprepared and unarmed, stay within escapable distance of a GHS.

May 1, 2009

the fight for survival will end

The world is suffering from bombing, wars, terrorism, propaganda, insensitivity and swine flus.

But I recently chanced upon the worst of all these that is sure to bring the world to its ultimate doom.

The loss of innocence.

We had a still shoot in office for a certain ad. And models were being auditioned for the same. This is something told to me by a colleague.

A kid was being auditioned. And he was spoken to as we would with any four year old. He answers back as would a 16 year old! Talking about being a 'professional' and with no hint of the cute innocence that you crave for returning to after you grow up. What will these kids want to go back to once they grow up?

The world has started withering at birth. And the fight for survival has reached its peak. It's gone from killing of bodies to the killing of souls. The killing of living, and of enjoying life. Now I think the cycle will get over as the fight destroys it all and it begins from the beginning again.

I await the beginning of life. I await going back to being a single cell.

Apr 12, 2009

The premium on boyfriends and birthdays

Well, I had my birthday recently, and actually I should be the last person saying this. But well, even the last person has a right to say :)

And I thought. Among all that hype and self-created excitement, among the Ooohs and Aaaahs and Oh cooooools, I thought - don't we place too much of importance on birthdays? And boyfriends?

I mean, yes we were born on this day. Celebrate, be vain, feel happy. But is it THAT important? As excited as I am, I always have this certain gloomy feeling on the day. This emerges from the fact that it is no different from any other day and I am disappointed. Maybe, for the kind of madness I expect, it turns out, this could be on any other day too. The sky doesn't turn purple, the trees don't start singing for me, and I don't end up having a million followers just for that day. It's as normal as normal can go.

And moving from birthdays to the other half of the title of this post - boyfriends.

Hey, i am totally in favour of them, i wouldn't mind one now and then either. Nor am I asking you to let go off yours. I am just noting down my observations. I may be guilty of the same, who knows...

With boyfriends, it seems like there is some compulsion. I see people go to no end to arrange a surprise for a one month old boyfriend and forget birthdays or anniversaries of childhood best friends. The irony - they break up the next month. So that sets me wondering, is the concentration of effort in one direction actually necessary? Is it so necessary to sweeten a relationship in this way in the beginning for it to last? Or is it like a colleague put it - 'because there is the possibility of sex involved'. Crude yes, but possible probabilities. Nothing wrong or right again, but it makes one wonder.

Another instance would be spending time. Family and friends are with you all your life. And sometimes when it comes to choosing who to spend your time with, you pick the new lover. Spare time can be left for the other people.

I may be opening a Pandora's box with this post here, and debates, comments, criticisms, pointing out my faults, everything is welcome. But one thing cannot be denied, there is definitely a premium.

Mar 30, 2009

The balance

I was lying in bed yesterday, trying hard to fall asleep, when the play on lights on my ceiling lit up certain thoughts in my mind. It had been a tiring day, shopping and having some mad fun with friends. And then coming home to find my cousins and uncle there, waiting for me. Some family time followed. And when I later speculated, it seemed like two different worlds for me.

On one hand was my mad gang, English speaking, totally modern, always up to some craziness and with their own worldview that would be constantly discussed, debated and thrown on the table.

On the other hand was my typically Gujju family, thats no less when it comes to zest and fun and madness. But it is madness of a different kind. It's more constrained.

Both have warmth, but of a different kind.

And I realised somehow that was one of the better days of my life. A day that I enjoyed. And it was not bcos of any special thing I did, or anything different that happened. It was simply cos I managed to have 'balanced fun'. I experienced two different lives in one day, and I realised I need them both. Taking any one of them from me would leave me restless.

We all are on a constant quest for balance in life. On all fronts. We seek it in every sphere, and everything we do.

And I found a balance in that day. Correction: I found THE balance in that day.

Mar 18, 2009

Time-travel in a split second

Sleep in your mother’s arms once again. Experience the first rain. Discover the secret cave behind your house. Feel the snow between your fingers.

Invent things that haven’t yet been invented. Or fly in a plane without leaving the ground. Lie among tulips as you watch the birds. Live on the moon for that little while.

Fast forward or rewind. Freeze time and play with it.

Jump back to that moment. Or create one you imagined.

Forget the world. Find the world.

Bring life into one moment… a moment of escape.

Mar 16, 2009

Life @ 10 km/hr

Escape. To the little bylanes while zooming on a highway.
Choose the diversion, even when the road ahead is wide open. Take the sudden left turn down the mud-track. Steer away from long roads to travel at 10 km/hr. Discover your own road, and follow the scents and sounds.

Escape. To unknown places some afternoon.
Jump the fence, and reach strange yards. Climb a tree and look at the world down below. Fly a kite on the hill no one goes to. Lie down in the hay with your dog.

Escape. To find life in everything.
Compete with the wind to laugh out loud. Splash in the rain while on your way to work. Walk slowly and follow the snail. Smell the leaves and wave at the trees. Wink at the stars. Lie in the grass and stare at the sky.

Escape. To take a day off from time.
Forget your age and run in the park. Eat all you can. Leave a boat in the stream nearby. Find shapes in clouds of places far away. Watch the sky change colours through the day. Sing with the birds. Dance without reason.

Once in a while, walk slowly through life. Once in a while, escape the ordinary.

Mar 14, 2009

Don’t grow wings. Learn to fly without them.

Sometimes, when a room feels stuffy, all you need to do is open the window.

Just like in life.

All you need to do is break free. Just like a little kid, trying to break free from his inabilities, to try and reach his favourite toy. Like a tree swaying with the wind, trying to break free from the ground.

Break the permanency of routine. And be the vagrant ray of light that winds its way through darkness. Be the whiff of scent that leaves its flowers to mingle with the air around.

Be the little drop of water that trickles down unknown roads to find its puddle. Be the moonlight that finds a way into the most reticent corners of earth. When you are the tired traveller in the heat, be your own valley of flowers.

When looking for an escape, don’t look around. Create one within you. Leave your mind blank for a moment, and let all thoughts escape you. Don’t go looking for the answers to life. Make up the most interesting answers yourself.

Close your eyes and reach your heart. Don’t run away to look for a haven. Find your paradise right where you are.

Let a moment of change enter every second. Let a smile escape when moods are sombre. Don’t wait for wings to sprout so you can fly. Escape to your paradise anyway.

Mar 12, 2009

What the bookshelf MUST have

A must read for book lovers, and a checklist for 'Litters' like me - here are a few lists of the best books of all times.

This is a list by The Guardian. I find this list one of the better ones since it incorporates writers from all parts of the world. Quite a collection I personally would love to own:

  1. Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, (b. 1930), Things Fall Apart
  2. Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875), Fairy Tales and Stories
  3. Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817), Pride and Prejudice
  4. Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850), Old Goriot
  5. Samuel Beckett, Ireland, (1906-1989), Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
  6. Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy, (1313-1375), Decameron
  7. Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina, (1899-1986), Collected Fictions
  8. Emily Bronte, England, (1818-1848), Wuthering Heights
  9. Albert Camus, France, (1913-1960), The Stranger
  10. Paul Celan, Romania/France, (1920-1970), Poems.
  11. Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France, (1894-1961), Journey to the End of the Night
  12. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spain, (1547-1616), Don Quixote
  13. Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400), Canterbury Tales
  14. Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904), Selected Stories
  15. Joseph Conrad, England,(1857-1924), Nostromo
  16. Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321), The Divine Comedy
  17. Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870), Great Expectations
  18. Denis Diderot, France, (1713-1784), Jacques the Fatalist and His Master
  19. Alfred Doblin, Germany, (1878-1957), Berlin Alexanderplatz
  20. Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881), Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed; The Brothers Karamazov
  21. George Eliot, England, (1819-1880), Middlemarch
  22. Ralph Ellison, United States, (1914-1994), Invisible Man
  23. Euripides, Greece, (c 480-406 BC), Medea
  24. William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962), Absalom, Absalom; The Sound and the Fury
  25. Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880), Madame Bovary; A Sentimental Education
  26. Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain, (1898-1936), Gypsy Ballads
  27. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Colombia, (b. 1928), One Hundred Years of Solitude; Love in the Time of Cholera
  28. Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia (c 1800 BC).
  29. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832), Faust
  30. Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852), Dead Souls
  31. Gunter Grass, Germany, (b.1927), The Tin Drum
  32. Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil, (1880-1967), The Devil to Pay in the Backlands
  33. Knut Hamsun, Norway, (1859-1952), Hunger.
  34. Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961), The Old Man and the Sea
  35. Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC), The Iliad and The Odyssey
  36. Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906), A Doll's House
  37. The Book of Job, Israel. (600-400 BC).
  38. James Joyce, Ireland, (1882-1941), Ulysses
  39. Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924), The Complete Stories; The Trial; The Castle Bohemia
  40. Kalidasa, India, (c. 400), The Recognition of Sakuntala
  41. Yasunari Kawabata, Japan, (1899-1972), The Sound of the Mountain
  42. Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece, (1883-1957), Zorba the Greek
  43. DH Lawrence, England, (1885-1930), Sons and Lovers
  44. Halldor K Laxness, Iceland, (1902-1998), Independent People
  45. Giacomo Leopardi, Italy, (1798-1837), Complete Poems
  46. Doris Lessing, England, (b.1919), The Golden Notebook
  47. Astrid Lindgren, Sweden, (1907-2002), Pippi Longstocking
  48. Lu Xun, China, (1881-1936), Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
  49. Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC).
  50. Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt, (b. 1911), Children of Gebelawi
  51. Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955), Buddenbrook; The Magic Mountain
  52. Herman Melville, United States, (1819-1891), Moby Dick
  53. Michel de Montaigne, France, (1533-1592), Essays.
  54. Elsa Morante, Italy, (1918-1985), History
  55. Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931), Beloved
  56. Shikibu Murasaki, Japan, (N/A), The Tale of Genji Genji
  57. Robert Musil, Austria, (1880-1942), The Man Without Qualities
  58. Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States, (1899-1977), Lolita
  59. Njaals Saga, Iceland, (c 1300).
  60. George Orwell, England, (1903-1950), 1984
  61. Ovid, Italy, (c 43 BC), Metamorphoses
  62. Fernando Pessoa, Portugal, (1888-1935), The Book of Disquiet
  63. Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849), The Complete Tales
  64. Marcel Proust, France, (1871-1922), Remembrance of Things Past
  65. Francois Rabelais, France, (1495-1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel
  66. Juan Rulfo, Mexico, (1918-1986), Pedro Paramo
  67. Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan, (1207-1273), Mathnawi
  68. Salman Rushdie, India/Britain, (b. 1947), Midnight's Children
  69. Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, Iran, (c 1200-1292), The Orchard
  70. Tayeb Salih, Sudan, (b. 1929), Season of Migration to the North
  71. Jose Saramago, Portugal, (b. 1922), Blindness
  72. William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616), Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
  73. Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC), Oedipus the King
  74. Stendhal, France, (1783-1842), The Red and the Black
  75. Laurence Sterne, Ireland, (1713-1768), The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
  76. Italo Svevo, Italy, (1861-1928), Confessions of Zeno
  77. Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745), Gulliver's Travels
  78. Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910), War and Peace; Anna Karenina; The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
  79. Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500).
  80. Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  81. Valmiki, India, (c 300 BC), Ramayana
  82. Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC), The Aeneid
  83. Walt Whitman, United States, (1819-1892), Leaves of Grass
  84. Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941), Mrs. Dalloway; To the Lighthouse
  85. Marguerite Yourcenar, France, (1903-1987), Memoirs of Hadrian
Here is BBC's top 100 books list. This concentrates highly on British and American writers, with some others included here and there:
1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

P.S: Budday coming. Ask me which ones I don't have and you'll know what to get me :D

Mar 6, 2009


Well I have lots of guys say they don't gossip. And then I have known and experienced most of them gossip to no end. And then they say, why should we gossip? We have better things to do. So well, because I don't have anything better to do, here are a few reasons, why guys are better gossipers than girls:

  1. Hey, if underwear can be shared, why not ‘information’!
  2. Active imaginations and forgetfulness are the markers of a genius. So who can blame them if they allow their imagination to run on facts and then forget the actual ‘information’ along the way?
  3. The stomach should be used for storing food not ‘information’. If any ‘information’ enters, immediately evacuate it to make way for more food.
  4. It’s just a technique to avoid another World War. If everyone knows everything, there will be no secrets, and hence no secret weapons of mass destruction. Right?
  5. The policy: Say it all when you are sober, so that you don’t have anything to blurt when you are drunk.
  6. The world is too boring. Distractions are necessary. And if there is an interesting distraction somewhere, let everyone benefit from it.
  7. Live in the present. Why imagine what happens in the future when you can sit with a smoke and a beer at the beach now! What can such ‘minor information’ do to the future anyway?
  8. There is no jealousy, no your-shoes-are-better-than-mine, or your-assests-are-better-than-mine between them. All ‘information’ is therefore equal, and everyone has a right to it.
  9. An attempt at serving the society. It’s important to stand united and educate one and all. The aim is to achieve 100 % literacy.
  10. Girls are too busy thinking of ten reasons for everything. So the guys have decided to carry on the mantle.

Feb 26, 2009

The vagrant wind

The whoosh of a wind as it swings past my ear
Whistling a tune, pleasant but unclear
A huge bag slung on its shoulder
The fuzzy fog trapped inside.

Hopping past the meadows
Ignoring the trees that beckon
Brushing the flowers with a touch
Scampering away merrily, grinning to everyone.

A tinge of mischief hidden beneath its folds
Spurts of giggles every now and then
Sprinting across as you look away
Sneaking away to the corner.

In the lands far and near,
As it explores what we so fear,
Rings a hollow laugh, a merry cheer
Left behind by the vagrant that swishes past.

Feb 25, 2009

Verbal Obfuscations

I may be no activist or Gandhivadi. Of course I have lied in my lifetime. But, one thing I do believe in, is speaking your mind.

First lemme straighten things. By speaking up I do not mean go out and proclaim your love for Communism in America, or walk into the Sena office and deliver a speech in Bhojpuri. When I say speak up, I mean be straightforward.

In the easiest sense, this is to avoid all hypocrisy, double facetedness, and speculation. I am a believer of 'a spade is a spade and lets make it clear that its a spade'.

But then, if I believe it, doesn't mean the world should eh? I am not Hitler or Bin Laden.

Now getting to some aftereffects. It's like one big capsule. You have to have the courage to swallow it, it may be bitter, it may not taste anything at all, but in the end it will mostly cure. It may have side effects too.

Side-effects: People not being used to straightforwardness take it in the wrong sense. I have had people suddenly change their behaviour towards me and become rude and arrogant. I simply believe, these are people who can't handle the truth. They don't appreciate frank attitudes and would rather have someone bitching behind their back than in front of it.

It may also get you into trouble. But what the hell!

Cure: You don't have the burden of hiding something all the time. What is, is out there.

It's lighter to travel through life with less of this burden I believe. You are more free, more worried about your life rather than trivial, unimportant things. And most important, you know people like you for who you are, and not for something you seem to be.


Feb 16, 2009

Things and your mind

My most recent discovery:
Getting your mind off things is not the same as getting things off your mind.

We are usually good at just one of these two. It's simple logic. If you can get things off your mind, you wouldn't feel the need for the former. And if you are indulging in the former, well, that's just because the latter is not happening.

To get things off your mind, you need to achieve a certain level of detachment - somewhat like achieving Nirvana I say. You have to 'rise above the earthly' and realise that the particular 'thing' is not that important. Considering you have your entire mind focused on that one 'thing', this can be a bit of a problem of course.

The first one obviously is easier (Proving why I usually end up using that). Read books, tell yourself you have become fat and go to the gym, blow your phone bills, drown in work and then drown with stress, write mindless blog posts, etc etc.

What's my point here?
I was just writing a mindless post to get my mind of something :)

What's wrong with Vanity?

So, lets get this straight. We come alone in this world (unless you are one half of a twin, or multiples of that), and we die alone. That's cliched.

What is not cliched is the fact that we live alone. Yes yes, we are around people all the time and relationships are the most important part of our life, etc. But relationships are not life. People are temporary. Your life is what you live... alone.

So if that is the case, what is wrong when you think about yourself? What is wrong in you making yourself happy, or you talking about how you feel, or you expressing your opinion? Hell, if you won't, who will?

I always believe, the only person who cares the most about you is you alone. So why stop? Why deprive yourself of the love that you deserve? Yeh sure, I do love others. I love my friends, family and all, but I don't discount myself.

Yes I am vain. I won't hesitate in saying that. Cos well, I do love myself a lot. After all, how long can you live with someone you don't love to death?

Anyone has a problem with that? Maybe you never loved yourself enough then.

Feb 14, 2009

A few (read: many) uncanny things that will make you wonder how quirky (or jobless) I am

(Read at your own risk. My advice: skip this post)

1) I don't like biscuits. The only ones I can eat are Pure Magic chocolate and Monaco. I am not very fond of bread either.

2) I get bored of anything and everything very very easily. This also includes people. Sustaining my interest is tough. Which is why I get restless so often.

3) I wanna learn to ride a bike.

4) One of my biggest dream is to go backpacking all over the world. With minimal luxuries, living in the wild and exploring. Maybe on a bike. And scuba dive, and river-rafting, and mountain climbing. And I believe some day I will.

5) I love being a drama queen. Strangely, it makes me feel like i am free somehow.

6) I secretly wish I was acting in theatre. But I get weak in the knees at auditions. I have also secretly wished I had learnt contemporary and Latin dance. :)

7) I will go to jail for mass murder if I try to sing in public.

8) I like collecting books, movies and music. Wait, make that LOVE collecting.

9) I make very good coffee. And experimental food.

10) No male is allowed in my bathroom, not even my brother. I can sense it if he has even stepped into it. I can't stand a dirty bathroom.

11) I can be quite an organisational freak at times. I have to keep things in order, make lists, etc. But again, I can be quite messy at times also. (check my cupboard for proof).

12) I talk to plants, animals, myself, everything. I once tried talking to snail. But it crawled away.

13) I love water - the sea, the rain, swimming. And the breeze by the sea. I can walk/sit/stare by the sea for hours without saying a word.

14) I have got the weirdest compliments from people. One guy once commented - 'you have a very bright back'!

15) I love saying PREPOSTEROUS with a Brit accent. I break into accents or voices while talking to people generally. For no reason.

16) I have been the eldest in the family and youngest outside of the house, wherever. This is one of the causes for my split personality.

17) I like writing little notes to friends now and then. Saying thank you's or anything I feel.

18) I sometimes wish I could be mean.

19) I don't like blonde men. I prefer Latinos. They look really hot I think.

20) On the menu, I'll always look for the item with the most vegetables in it.

21) I can get very very shy at social events and parties.

22) If you call me when I am asleep, I will talk to you, but never remember the conversation the next day.

23) I love babies and kids. Be it animal or human. I have had half hr long conversations with street kids and beggar kids in the train.

24) I sing and dance for myself when I am alone.

25) I like the way it feels in high heels. After 2 hrs though, my feet don't support that feeling.

26) I have laughed continuously for 10 mins without knowing the reason.

27) I am very impulsive. Which is why I get a lot of afterthoughts. I may probably think of 35 better things about myself AFTER i publish this note. But I can also get unbearably practical at times.

28) I write better in verse than in prose. And i love metaphors and analogies.

29) I am a movie buff. But I can't watch horror movies. No matter how lame.

30) I love surprises. Though I haven't ever got one.

31) I love my first name. And I absolutely HATE it if someone calls me Hemlata. Though I love the way it confuses people.

32) I am very secretive, especially when it comes to what I am thinking or feeling. There is probably a side to me which even my closest friends don't know.

33) But I always prefer to speak my mind about what I think of someone. If I am angry with someone, like someone or dont like someone, etc, I will let that person know.

34) I like coloured pens. I used to write all my notes in different colours.

35) I always wished I could play volleyball and basketball. And regret that my school never had any of these.

36) I have a chatpata tooth. At least once a day I get a BAD craving for something chatpata. I don't like sweets that much. I will pick Pineapple cake to chocolate cake anyday.

37) As much as I say I hate too much mush, I am a total softie inside. Gimme flowers and I will sigh to no end. I am a total romantic at heart.

38) I have strange tastes with men. I run away from lovestruck puppies, and mysterious guys will always intrigue me.

39) I love my independence, and I will fight to defend it always. But I also like chivalry.

40) I dream that someday, someone loves me so much that he protects me not cos I need it, but he wants to. As much a tomboy I am, I know I will turn into a total girly girl then.

41) I can't paint my nails. I try, and have to sit with nail remover by my side, always.

42) I hate pigeons. They are stupid, silly and full of shit!

43) I find jeans a very uncomfortable piece of clothing. I'd pick skirts and Chudidars anyday.

44) I get angry very fast and cool down very fast. But if someone has really hurt me, I won't get angry. I will just stop talking to the person forever. And I have actually done that.

45) I love bright colours. To no end. My least favourite colours would be greys, mehndi green and browns. And I can never have too much of white.

46) I have a thing for men with slightly long hair. Better still, curly.

47) I have a mad shoe fetish. Though I don't have money to indulge in it yet. Someday I will have shoes in all colours.

48) I dread watching a movie alone.

49) I have a habit of plucking my eyelashes out at intervals. I have no idea why.

50) I love the few glow in the dark stickers in my room. I also love the way the streetlight dances through the curtains on my cupboard at night while I am falling asleep.

51) I have a strange habit of reading anything an everything... from hoardings to stuff written on the back on ricks, etc etc.

52) I feel a constant need to stay busy and have more on my plate than I can handle. I will never stay happy if I do only one thing. Which is why, even in college, I was into everything possible, and every society that would take me :)

53) I am easily amused by little things, even small whistles and kids' toys.

54) I am a tomboy who wishes she was girly. But again, I love being a tomboy too. Don't ask me, I don't understand it either.

55) Time and again, I feel like picking up my bag and running away to some far off hill or beach.

56) I get strange urges to bite people often. I have bit people's fingers and hands when I get that itch.

57) I trip on Blueberry Cheesecake. And the awesome Wild Berry Iced Tea at Candies.

58) When I am in a serious mood, you won't be able to remember if it is the same person who was going so mad. I call it my extremes.

59) I love it if people call me weird. Or eccentric. Or crazy. Well, that quite proves why they say it too.