Thursday, August 21, 2014


Only the sensitive survive.


Returned from Orissa. That place is a paradise made out of terra cotta, I think Terra cotta and gleaming metal-carved temples. And green paddy fields and little ponds that lay perfectly still and reflect every tiny cloud in the sky and every leaf on a banana tree.

I have a sense that something big is happening. Let's see.

Monday, August 18, 2014


A nice cup of coffee means different  things at different times. Tonight it means a quick, dark, no-milk brew in a hotel room as I pack for my return tomorrow. It means trying to get all that warmth in my hands as I hold the cup...or stop and sip intermittently while I pack the shells and silver filigreed earrings that I picked up for a friend. A nice cup of coffee tonighf means smiling at the rich, full times I have had. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

916, 915

Went to Puri and had a glorious time. This time, I really liked visiting the Jagannath temple, Last time, I had visited over 15 years ago and I had been so put off with the priests that I hadn't visited since. But this time round, I felt like going, And there was a time when I felt overwhelmed - the red and black structure, huge trees, the scent of incense, raindrops in the wind, and the earth red and rich...even before standing in front of the deity, I felt so blessed.  And then there was Puri which was magical!

Friday, August 15, 2014

917- Holiday!

Traveled to Bhubhaneshwar today and it has been solid good so far. Met up with my cousins and had a massive lunch. Followed by a long, deep nap that songs should perhaps be wrotten about. Then some chitchat in a beautiful garden moist from afternoon rain with strong ginger tea.

Love, love, love the food here.

Also, traveling with my parents after so feels good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

918 - drifter, are you?

You are sitting on a hill-top and look at the sky. It may be blue, it may be grey, or sometimes, even green or pink or a candy-swirl of many different colours. You look at clouds. Moving, floating, inching towards god knows where – seemingly directionless but actually, not. There's a quiet, sure, solid deliberation and a surrender to something deep and invisible. It's heartening. To look at clouds and see how they move – and one wonders at a world where being 'a drifter' is a bad thing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


It didn't rain much this morning. But I did spot, in the building compound, a tree heaving with a cluster of raw papayas. They were so green, so new. Around the time I spotted them, they were drowned in a  puddle of sunlight. I hunted around for my tab to get a picture. Meanwhile a black cat, with its silken fur and nonchalant stroll and its tail moving like a drunken comma, came and sat under the plant. And looked up. And purred. My tab, however, was out of charge.

A pretty sight it was, though. 



Today, after yoga I went over to a friend's place in Baner. It's a really pretty apartment and his girlfriend and he have set it up beautifully. Bright colourful sheets and mattresses on the floor, a large wooden table by the side, and huge windows through which light from a muffled moon streamed in. The kitchen's stocked so neatly with little stuff-teensy black containers with sauces, large earthenware plates, and just a couple of wine glasses.

I love this part of setting up a house - having bits and pieces you will build regular days with...a cushion you will prop against looking at a guava tree, jars with sugar and coffee, mismatched tablemats that will be brought out for fragmented, so fitting. Like lego pieces. Bit by bit, they will stick and something will get built.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Sunday was spent looking out at the rain in a papier mache world. Trees and hills slicked on with a brush, a pond somewhere varnished, pulp of a world gone by now recreating something else -a day, a season, a mood.Why should a world be any different from a craft project?

922-food and film

Tonight, a friend and I cooked dinner and watched a film on her laptop. We made a thick carrot and coriander soup, garlic bread, and a side of lightly fried and strongly spiced beetroot and mushrooms. It's our new  project now- to learn to cook some dishes well.

The soup is very simple. We chopped up 4 medium-sized carrots and broke of the stalks of the coriander. These were put in a pot of boiling water. There wasn't too much water, though...maybe half and inch more than the level of carrots. To the water a little salt, a smatter of chopped garlic and a little black pepper powder. After the carrots were properly softened and the taste of coriander had infused the broth, we pureed the mixture. Then we put the puree to boil again, adding some more water and butter. When it bubbled, we sprinkled coriander leaves and turned off the gas. So, soup was done.

The garlic bread was made on tava as I don't have an oven.We buttered the bread on one side and added chopped garlic on it. The tavaa was also heated and smeared with some butter. Then we took the bread slices and put them on the tavaa, the garlic side down. The bread slice needs to be pressed into the tavaa so that the garlic cooks and sticks to the bread. After that side is done, the slice is flipped over and the other side is toasted. So, that's the toast.

Mushrooms were real quick. They were chopped coarsely and sauteed in mustard oil. To this, meat masala (from Everest), salt, and little chilli powder was added.Cook until tender and coated with the spices. Then, mushrooms off the gas.

There was some more of that spice remaining in the pan so beetroot cubes were cooked in that. Water was added until the beetroot was real soft and the water had dried up. Beetroot gets a beautiful glaze after you are done with it, so it makes for a pretty side.

Then we watched Lost in Translation, which I love. I was watching the film for the first time but I had read the script before and watched some of Sophia Coppolas interviews. I remember loving, absolutely loving the script. The movie does justice. The scenes are so delicate, so membranous almost. And I love that the first and only time that Bill Murray smiles in the movie is at the end, when he says goodbye.

Friday, August 08, 2014

923 - up the hill

This morning, the trek up the hill was really nice! I think the legs are getting stronger. I was able to sprint a minuscule distance. The best part, as always, is when we reached a little plateau and in the distance saw a little opening in the sky and a pool of fluid sunlight flood over the city. The city itself remained a diffused grey. Where we were, though, the brown earth shone. It was wet and rich with this fresh, full scent. The grass was an electric green. So, basically while the rest of the world was swept across with a grey, soft palate, we stood on a chunk that was seeped in psychedelic colours. The green grass looked positively electric. Like, if you touched even a tip of a blade, you'd have current course through you.

It reminded me of a scene from 'Taking Woodstock' by Ang Lee - especially the portion where the boy (the main character) takes acid for the first time and the shots of the world as he sees it - undulating, churning, shape-shifting whirlpool of colours and sensations.

This was one of those days where a 'Good Morning' actually meant something. 

924 - reading by candlelight

It feels Victorian, right about now. There's no light, I am under a thick, beige quilt, and there's a stout candle on the night-table. A steady flame burns and a sturdy wick lets it. In this pool of mellowness, I start reading Donna Tart's Goldfinch. I just started and a little into the book, there is description of an art exhibition.  It's vivid, soft, and lovely...that paragraph melting into the story like watercolour itself.
Some nights become muses for dawns that may or may not turn out to be artists.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Thursday weirdness

One feels a little unmoored on tackling tasks at work without a to-do list.


Yesterday began and got over. Finished reading Gone Girl.  Went for yoga. Had a cup of daal for dinner. Then slept.  A day goes by like a hurried sketch in charcoal, which you crumple and throw away in the end.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014


Had fever yesterday. So stayed home from work. In between states of wooziness, I was reading 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flinch. It is such a great book! The thriller of course, well, thrills. But the breakdown of Nick and Amy's marriage - with its teeny nastiness, deep cruelties - the kind that is inflicted through silence or tuning off or going to bed seething but not saying anything about it - that description feels uncomfortably close.

Ego and its poisons. That book, from what i have read until now, catalogs that beautifully. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

929, 928, 927

There was a trip to Bombay. In the pouring rain, through crowded roads, and ghats so misty that one imagined the rolling hills to have done some heavy breathing. My school friend, who I had reconnected with a while ago, had made sheer khurma for me for Eid. She'd frozen it and I had been dreaming of this all year. I am not joking. There is sheer khurma and there is the sevaii kheer. Most people make the latter and call it the former. But they are different. When I was growing up, my neighbors would make sheer khurma with very little vermicelli. It was light and frothed really well with dryfruits. It was rich and flavourful but also liquidy and light. I haven't eaten that sort of sheer khurma in a long while. As one can imagine, the build up was really strong. But my friend's dish was sublime. It really was. It was so brilliant that I maybe heard music and saw dazzling streams of stars or something.

Also visited another close friend at Goregaon West. Now, maybe it's because I visit Bombay and not live there, everything about the city feels so easy. Hailing a rickshaw, handing over a hundred-rupee note and getting change back,  having the auto-rickshaw fellow not make a fuss about taking a U-turn. I soften when I have that experience. Somewhere I know that is not always so. It wasn't like that for me all the time either. But in that downpour, I traveled from Sion to Jogeshwari, from Jogeshwari to Goregaon, from Goregaon to Juhu, and then from Juhu to Vashi without feeling hugely inconvenienced. I wonder if I am just able to do a whole lot more there.

Anyway, good days. August has begun really, really well.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

930: That shade of purple (Fiction)

They sat on a purple sofa that was slightly askew. He didn't mind it as much as he would ordinarily have. After all, she was gracious enough to have invited him over. Wait. Not gracious.  They had spoken on the phone a couple of times and she had seemed nice enough. She at least showed some  interest in him and not his salary or whether he had a house…his 'own' house, that is. By that most women seemed to mean a house that she could share but his parents would have nothing to do with. It had been so long since he'd been on this matrimonial trail. He could actually trace the evolution of this conversation. There used to be a time when the woman and he'd be in the intimate darkness of a car. They'd have met a few times earlier and laughed and watched movies or gone for walks. Then just as he would re-arrange his biases such that it made space for a future, this conversation would come up. And he'd get this slightly bitter taste in the back of his throat. "No", he wanted to say. "It's not my 'own' house. I dragged myself into a dead-end job to pay for it. I didn't buy that great guitar because the EMI would cut into it. I swallowed my pride in the company of my 'entrepreneur' friends for being a conventional rug-rat and living with my parents while they lived out their dreams in rented apartments. All that made me angry and resentful. And I took it out on my parents every night when I'd shove the food and turn up the volume of the telly and not talk to them. No. It's not my "own" house and it certainly won't be yours."

Now, the 'own house' discussion would come up soon after "hello".

This girl hadn't asked him that, though. She'd asked him to come over to her house in the next city instead. At first, this did strike him to be a little forward. She lived by herself. And this match was arranged, so to speak. Somehow, in the way she'd said, "Come over then", he'd sensed escapism.  He wasn't sure if they'd be compatible but he had driven four hours to find out. So far, it hadn't been a total disaster.

Her house had been a mess but the food had been excellent. Mushroom with haleem masala was a first for him. But it went excellently with the brown rice. Most of the furniture was tilted or skewed. Her clothes were weird. Or 'eclectic', as I think she called them. She was nice looking enough. But that strange, untamable scent that came off her body when they'd hugged that afternoon was funny.  Actually, it was not. He doubted whether she'd ever have the maturity to stick to or commit to anything unpleasant. Although, why he thought marriage with him would be unpleasant, he didn't know. He was being eccentric. No, wait. Weird.
She had a tiny garden in front of her kitchen. "They're pretty weeds", she'd explained why she hadn't bothered with uprooting them. He got a little irritated. Sure. If you got ditzy, anything is 'pretty' enough to just leave it as it is. Maybe the garbage clearance staff should tell her once, "Oh but miss, look how your trash has all these primary colours. Let's leave it here."

But there were a few tiny bulbs strewn around and she'd also lit a half-used vanilla scented candle. There was a cup of whiskey for him (she didn't have the right glass) and a cup of green tea for her. They shared a wedge of carrot cake he'd brought over and after a long time, he felt a sense of something getting calm inside of him. A knot that stayed lodged in the middle of his chest…it seemed to be rounding off the edges a little. It was nice, he thought, looking around. Maybe he should have invested in a house with a garden.
Almost delicately she broached the subject of why they were meeting. What kind of girl was he looking out for? What kind of life did he want for him and his wife? Children? His take on fidelity? He liked that she was coaxing out his responses and not demanding them out of her. He liked that this conversation was happening without a timer.

It was close to midnight now. He really had to get back unless…unless she insisted he could stay. Her invitation was there, of course. Her insistence on the matter would make the difference.
They got up. She asked him if he'd like more cake for the road. Or a thermos of strong coffee maybe. They entered the living room again and he collected his things. As she filled a thermos with black coffee, she turned and asked him, "Do you really want to marry?"  He looked in her eyes and saw her answer. No.
And there was that again.

That slight rise of bile. That irritation with free-floating types that had made a lifestyle of being lost, clueless, and irresponsible. She'd never ever take a home loan, he thought.

He tried to get the edge out of his voice when he said, "Yes. I'd like to."

Then, just before he left, he straightened the purple sofa.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

931 - What I found in translation

Outside, it poured fast and thick.  Inside the car, I listened to my happy songs. They are songs from 'Yeh jawaani hai deewani.' I love Badtameez Dil and listen to it every day. Friends make fun of me, family is exasperated,  but I love it. When I drive to work with this tune filling up the car, I feel like I have my face shoved in a large cloud of candyfloss. I am filled with cheer and a large, prickly, tingly amount of it. On a break from that song, though, I was listening to another number from the same movie, "Via Agra." I didn't like that song too much but warmed to it after seeing the picturisation. Still, I found it trite and silly, manufacturing jollity where none existed.

Today, though, I had to translate a line from the song to a friend who doesn't understand Hindi. That line translated to, "Your skirt is a fluttering, wandering rumour." (Udhti, phirti afvaa hai tera ghaagra.) Suddenly, that song shone a little bit for me. There could have begun the spinning of sugar, right about then.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


Everybody wants to be so damn special.  Well, we are not. Not much difference between one another. We are much too similar times just as crappy, at times just as happy.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

933 - Could there be a connection?

It seems as if there haven't been too many great horror films or too many great love stories in the last few decades. Could it be that as we lose our ability to frighten, we lose our ability to move someone with matters of the heart?