Showing posts from April, 2015

Lonely Hearts

Hehehehe! Cheesy title. Well, today's blog letter is L and I thought I'd dish up a good playlist whether your heart is lonely or not. 

Back during my assignments abroad, it was a general shit-hits-ceiling scenario on most days. The only window of peace was the late night radio stations. Irrespective of the city one was in, there’d always be a late night slot on some frequency for those wallowing in unrequited love, or those who loved and lost. I think these programs aired around 11 in the night on weekdays and went on past midnight. The playlist was comprised of the usual suspects – but it was the RJ who made the phone-ins more interesting...oh the voice... viscous honey gliding on the airwaves. Returning at an unearthly hour to a cold, dark apartment after a crappy day at work really sucks. I’d always turn on the radio even before I got to the heating. I loved the way the voice of that unseen RJ banished the stone-cold silence, and made the alien flat feel like home.    
Well, …


I held my niece for the first time on her first birthday. We studied each other warily. Inky black eyes returned my stare. All I could register at such close quarters was a tight shock of curls and a drooling mouth that was always trying to find things to chew. I guess all she could register was my nose. She patted my face with her chubby fingers, tested her grip on my already weak hair, tried to chew through my mangalya and finally settled down to using my lap as a trampoline.
My sister nonchalantly said Hamsa becomes hyper during sleep-time. Sure. By then I could not feel my thighs. I saw Hamsa staring intently at my ears. No, I shook my head. ‘Nononononononononono,’ she replied and finally did manage to nip a bite. Order was restored after a teething spoon was given to her to chew.
Lunch was announced and Hamsa was now taken over by other laps and ears. As I neared the dining area, I felt unusually light. Maybe Hamsa had beaten out some calories off me with all her jumping, I thoug…

Janice Litman Goralnik nee Hosenstein

Okay, I’m probably a bit of a loser for this psychoanalysis of something as innocuous F.r.i.e.n.d.s of all the things. Sure, I love the six of them as much as the next fan – but I probably love two characters a pinch more than the main protagonists – Janice and Gunther.
In particular, I love Janice’s character for her freshness; she’s remarkably uncomplicated; loud, boisterous and unapologetic who stakes claim on whatever god is around quite vehemently. And who would not want a friend with an infectious laughter?
But here’s the thing – whether intentionally or unintentionally, the makers of Friends have revealed a universal truth. If one is ‘good looking’ in the conventional sense, then being weird is cute. We love Phoebe’s quirky weirdness. We love Monica’s OCD. We quite tolerate Rachel’s dumbness. But let’s say you are not the conventional beauty; then people can point at you and laugh at your weirdness.
I think one should be lucky to have a Janice in their lives. Janice-like charact…

I Am Vertical

(Excerpt from Collected Poems - Sylvia Plath & Ted Hughes)
I am vertical by Sylvia Plath
But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.
Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and the flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them --
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.
 - Sylvia Plath (© 1960, 1965, 1971, 19…

Hello World

‘Hello World!’
If you've touched a computer for the first time in the early 90s – you’ll know what those two words mean.
I saw a computer for the first time in my life in high school. We had an option of taking up Economics or Computer Science. Economics was out of question...I’d taken a look at the textbook prescribed for Economics – small print, fat book, no pictures nothing. Just text, text, text. So I took the only other unknown option. The text book for comp science for high school was a slim, glossy volume. It had pictures of an abacus, a pencil sketch of a sour-looking Charles Babbage and some grainy black and white photos of huge mainframes. Cool, I thought, I can handle this. At least I can score some marks and make up for the ones I would definitely lose out whilst trying to prove some theorem, or getting the volume of a cylinder wrong. I mean I flipped through the pages. I saw BASIC, BASIC everywhere. There – it was just the basics, I thought. No big deal.
And then the c…

Gravity Fan Club

No, I’m not talking about the movie. I’m referring to the actual gravity. The force that makes your feet stick to earth. And as of now, I suppose I’m the only member of this fan club (in my age group at least :) ). Wanna join?
Back when I was a kid, there’d be days when all the friends in the street would discuss seriously about stuff we’d read in our mythologies, about our gods and demigods. (Guess now we'd be labelled as 'saffronised'). We’d discuss the mechanisms of the Pushpakavimana – Ravana’s flying city, piloted by thought. Yeah – you could just think in your mind about your destination and the Pushpakavimana would go on autopilot and steer you through. You’d be free to lounge about in the pool, drink madira and party with the apsaras. We believed wholeheartedly that there was technology back then to fly this way, and somewhere along the way, something cataclysmic occurred, and we perished, only to be reborn, all that knowledge lost...or at least out of grasp. Today …

Fog Tales

Have you ever stood in open air, with the fog curling at your feet? It cloaks everything in silence; your pupils, devoid of colours, dilate. You can feel the tip of your nose and ears going cold as the fog seeps between your hair strands. You feel the damp clutch at your throat, pouring into your lungs. You see your breath, vapour dissipating, one with the fog. You cannot move. There's stealth. There's mystery. There's seduction. 


The concept of Ego is something that has troubled humans from the time we’ve formed civilizations. Questions on ego and identity have formed the basis of philosophy and, to a large extent, psychology.  It is interesting to note that ancient philosophers across the world spoke of immortality of the soul, and this permanence of the soul became the core for many cultural and religious philosophies. For example, Plato, way back in the 3rd or 4th century BCE, wrote a treatise ‘On the Soul’.  In this, he records his teacher, Socrates’ discourse about the soul. Central to this idea is the notion that the soul is imperishable.  In India, gurus like Madhvacharya, Ramanujachrya and Shankaracharya shaped Hindu philosophy that guides many of us even today.  The core of our philosophy is once again the immortality of the soul, in contrast to the perishability of the physical body.
This central idea further gave birth to the Dvaita and Advaita philosophies. Madhvacharya advocated the Dvaita philoso…

Dessert Trance

If you grew up in a traditional South Indian family like I did, you’ll probably agree that sweets were meant for ‘occasions’ – mostly festivals. The reason I emphasize South Indian is because I know there are belts that have jilebis for breakfast. I mean, on one of my early visits to my husband’s Bengali home as a new bou, imagine my gawking surprise (and delight) at being presented with a plate of shingaras (samosas) and jilebis for breakfast.  Anyway for South Indians, the end of a meal is signified by curd rice – or rice mixed with yoghurt, a dash of salt, and consumed to the accompaniment of a pickle.
Even in weddings that lay out a smorgasbord – with peni and chiroti and payasa and boondi ladoo as sweets – it all ends with majjige anna or curd rice. Probably the coolness and the acidity regulator in yoghurt helps settle down all the spices and sugar consumed all through the meal. In the weddings I’ve attended as a cynical teen, watching people consume food off the traditional pla…