Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Things to do

We are a generation obsessed with lists.
A decade and a half ago, we started watching countdown shows. Today, we upload wishlists and download playlists. There's nothing in our lives that can't be listed out. In serial numbers. From 1 to 10.

There are lists of places to see before you die and movies to watch before you die. There's a Hollywood movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson that proves you're never too old or too terminally ill to do the (10?) things that you want to, before you kick that big blue bucket.
There are even lists of the hottest lists in the world.

Now, I like lists. But, my lists usually don't go beyond 3 items. And they rarely have permanent occupants. One month it's Falafal and Andy Garcia. The next, it's Guntur idli and Mohanlal. I am fickle and faithless. Listwise. With 'to do' lists, it's another story altogether. Reality check. I can't get much done. I will never sprout seeds in the little pots, I will never drop a coin into my piggy bank and I will never learn to operate an online banking account. But then, as a curiously titled movie that comes out later this year (Dasvidaniya..something) reiterates, there's more to life than the mundane.

So, I'm making a list. It's not titled. It's not complete. It's not for 'before I die' or 'before i'm born again' or 'before i wake up tomorrow'.
It's for me. Period. So, here goes.
1. I want to paint something that noone will believe I painted.
2. I want to own a houseboat.
3. I want to visit the Victoria College Campus, where my parents fell in love.
4. I want to be three inches taller. Permanently.
5. I want to go to Disney Land. Twenty years too late maybe. But still.
6. I want to learn flair bartending.
7. I want to run a cheese boutique, a shop that sells only little black tops, a coffee shop called Fudgeberry and a Breakfast Bar called......well, I don't know yet.
8. I want to...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Ouch is good.

It's a pair of strappy bronze stilletos in a shop window and 142 minutes on the dance floor.

It's the first scratch on your new car. So you don't have to wait anymore.

Ouch is a frank opinion. 'Yes, you are a total idiot. But I love you.'

It's a phonecall. A little late. 'I'm sorry your dog died. Ten years ago.'

Ouch is what's left, when you forgive and forget. And a fist in your eye, if you ever dare forget.

It's meeting a better human being. And keeping a waxing appointment.

And holding a hand. But you don't really know whose.

Ouch is letting someone you love rip your heart out. And returning the favour. And laughing about it for the rest of your life. Together.

Ouch is incomplete repentance. Ouch is photoshopped suffering. The choreography of existence, one semi semi-painful second at a time.

Ouch is a scalding hot bowl of soup. But you can wait for it to cool.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I want to be the rat
that was late for the race
I want to be the cat
that hates milk
I want to be the soul
that got lost on the way
I want to be the worm
that loved silk
I want to be the rain
that never left a cloud
I want to be the tree
that ran to Spain
I want to be the question
I want to be the doubt
But most of all, I think
I want to Pink.
Just Pink my whole life away.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm only one month old at Mindset. But there are some questions that popped up in my head even before I turned a week old. Some of them I have answers for. Some of them, I don't. Some of my questions are downright silly. Some of them are dead serious. But above all, there are two questions that never cease to confound me, chill my spine, make my life seem worthless until I am reborn, enlightened or both.

Q. No. 1 Why does Yadamma never give me tea?

Q. No. 2 Why does Bundu suck?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Give a dog a good name

A recent snack food advertisement recently brought to light the disturbing fact that not every dog's name is 'Tommy'.

What? Really? I mean....are you sure?

Who are you kidding? I meet a lot of self respecting dogs everyday. And I must assert that very few, in fact precisely 3.25 % of them are actually called 'Tommy'.

In fact, a more familiar canine epithet is in fact, 'Brutus'. Big snarling Alsations, whimpering little Poms, you name it and its name is probably Brutus. Go a little way off and you'll find barking armies of Caesars, Junos, Rubys and Motis. Moti! Now that's a doggy name straight out of Bollywood. Moti is the superdog. The dog that can drive you with its left paw to the hospital while giving you a back rub with its right. What would a movie climax be without a blood stained Moti barking heroically in the background. In fact, I remember an old hindi movie where a Motidog (it's almost a breed by itself) enters a courtroom, tongue out and panting, to deliver a key piece of sniff worthy evidence.

Anyway, while naming your best friend isn't always as all consuming a task as naming your baby, i'd say give it some thought anyway. There's surely more to your dog's life than being just another 'Tommy'.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Anger is a beautiful word. It's an even more profound emotion.
It's an emotion most people cant hide and don't hide. Heck, they highlight it. And in its altruistic expression, much of the world we know is born.

I love to see what anger can do to a person, sometimes for a person. Some men wear their anger like a military haircut. Ruthless, unforgiving but deeply flattering to those with the hairline for it. Some women wear it like an expensive perfume, in potent but miniscule doses that hint at danger without ever suggesting it. Of course, there are those who rant and rave. The breakers of fine bone china and the slammers of doors. But the universe is oblivious to their anger. Then, there are those who will pour their anger into works of art and song and all that la di da. But really, anger deserves more original expression. Vent it not.

The truth is that quality anger is really hard to come by any more. What with political correctness and appropriate public conduct and all that, potential angry men and women are a dying breed. They prefer to hide behind glowering eyes and polite sniffles. Barbed words, frown lines and cold shoulders are commonplace. But give me a really really really angry human being anyday. All the world warms up to a fire. But no one has any use for smoke.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Roses smell sickeningly sweet. The smell of chocolate makes me hungry. Petrol and diesel both give me a high. But then, so does paper. And the insides of cars that have been parked too long in the sun. And ashtrays and expensive leather.
On rainy days, the smell of wet earth and all that jazz is just great. But I wouldn't go to sleep with a clod of mud on my pillow, would you? And perfume...perfume, oh dah'lings perfume!
Yeah sure, I've got a mini artillery of those bottles. Some are gifts, some are occasions, some are memories, some are mistakes and some are routine.
But what I really breathe for, frankly, is that very sexy smell of clean.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Al Pacino effect

The first time I watched Scent of a Woman, I was 12...maybe 13.
The second time, I was 21. The years had made all the difference.
I was ready for the Al Pacino effect. More specifically, the Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade effect.
Of course, one watched Scarface with the appropriate amount of interest and bowed respectfully to Michael Corleone. But nothing, absolutely nothing prepares you for your first encounter with Frank Slade. Hooaaa! Here goes...


(Ok, for those of you who are at mental age 12 and can't appreciate Al Pacino yet, there's hope. You will grow up....someday. The real man may be dead by then. But the tango will never end. )

Monday, May 26, 2008

sunscreen - a love story

He was tall. And she was short.
He could pronounce big words. She fumbled with small ones.
He dreamt about saving the world and changing mankind forever.
She dreamt about pretty clothes and surprise parties.
But they both loved to talk. And they both loved to walk.
So they walked and they talked. Alongside. Sometimes, hand in hand.
Soon, she learnt a bit about rationalism and Nietzche.
And he learnt to tell mauve from pink.
And she confessed that she was a bit of a writer.
And he confessed that he'd never read a book.
Along the beach in hot summer afternoons.
Meandering through traffic and grey avenue trees.
In the absence of a single whiff of breeze.
He walked. And she walked in his shadow.

I'd rather watch a K serial than...

...watch God T.V.
...watch my hairy neighbour cook breakfast in a towel
...watch a Justin Timberlake video with my niece/nephew
...watch Leonardo Di Caprio die in the Departed
...watch Leonardo Di Caprio die in Blood Diamond
...watch Leonardo Di Caprio die in that big movie about a big ship sinking
...watch Friends reruns (honestly, ohmigod...there i said it)
...watch my wedding video with the superbad special effects
...watch people discuss K serials

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A short biography...

His dad was stoned when they brought him home from the hospital. His mum didn't care.
They looked at his face and laughed loud.
"Look at my son. He looks like a cloud of shit. No. he looks like a pile of poop."
"Birdpoop honey" His mum crooned the words in his shrivelled up new born ears. "Birdpoop."
And the name stuck.
He grew up to be a devastatingly handsome teenager. But he never got a date.
He washed himself several times a day. But he never felt clean.
He got several jobs. And lost them. You don't lie on your resume.
He thought of calling himself Alfred. Or Allen. But the day he was going to fill the forms, his mother died. And her last words were 'Birdpoop'.
The last time we saw him, he was hanging from his neck in a tree, wearing boxers and a crown of pigeon feathers.
He didn't have to leave a suicide note. He only signed his name.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tell me your password.

I remember that conversation like it was yesterday.

Two of us 13 year olds who thought we were spice girls, sprawled across a bed pretending to be studying. Books flung into far corners, we talked about the cute guys at school, the cute guys on TV, the cute guys in our heads, and occasionally, about girls who were 'total pains'.

Then it was secret time.
You first. Me first. No. Yes. Please. Please...if you're really my friend....sheesh.

I had my hand in a bucket of cheese balls. My feet hurt from trying on her older sister's high heels. I didn't believe going back home was an option till I'd mastered Lesson No.4 The Nervous System. And then, she popped the question.

So, why can't you tell me your password. As if i'm going to check your mail.

Well, if you're not going to, why do you want to know.

You don't trust me?

OK, then you tell me your password.

You first, then I.



I don't remember her fighting with me again. But then, I don't remember her talking to me again either. You know what they say. You can't share your french fries with just anybody. Ditto for passwords.

Spot the writer

Words, like clenched fists, come sooner to some of us.
We call ourselves writers. We are baptised at the altar of the interschool competition, lionized by our parents and teachers alike and looked at with an equal mixture of awe and suspicion by the lesser beings we meet everyday. We write essays about world peace and poems that become routine drawing room conversation. And then one day...some of us grow up.
We realize that out there, it's a world of investment bankers and Indian idols. A cruel world where a man with a fountain pen had better be signing a cheque. We hold in our writing guts and pretend to be rock stars and english teachers, cardiac surgeons and well, 'copy' writers.
But every once in a while, when the world is looking the other way, the masks fall, the curtains part and we stand revealed. Somewhere, somehow, in wordy prescriptions, in passionate love letters, in long long long smses and 250 slide power point presentations, we allow ourselves to be immortal. We are writers again.