Tuesday, December 31, 2013

That's the way it is

Some things went right,
Some things went wrong,
As always, though,
They did go on.

Happy New Year, everyone! May our move along the continuum continue to be wonderful!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Eve...the night before had to be named after a woman

Came home late from work. Close to midnight.  Had a big meal of masala chawal, daal, and spicy mixed vegetables. A friend called.  Wished me Merry Christmas. Spoke to him for an hour. Another friend called. Christmas greetings and observations on Dhoom 3 were exchanged. 

Then, I thought I should wish Merry Christmas to this sweet, cheery living space that this house is. So, I made some chai, dragged out whatever tinsel and netted, glittery stuff I had, and started decorating. Will do some more by and by.

But wanted to stop, share, and wish you all a deep, abiding Christmas.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dinner at the Zodiac Grill last night

Nearly two decades ago, I came to know of this fancy restaurant where the dishes listed on the menu had no price. Where, for one full year, people paid whatever they deemed fit. My father would take me to his office at Nariman Point and would sometimes go to the Taj Mahal hotel for business meetings. I'd hear about  power lunches and important discussions and all that. From the very first time I started a job and had some money, I had always dreamed of taking my parents to this ultra-plush place where the service was considered to be the last bastion of perfection by the French and the cheese souffle so sublime that it had won awards and all that. But mainly, I have always wanted to go there because even though I've been to five stars since and dined at other luxe places, nothing had ever captivated my imagination the way Zodiac Grill had. And last night, I dined there with my folks. It's not that I couldn't afford the place earlier...I guess I never before believed that I could ever afford the place. It was a dream like flying over the moon and I liked having a dream like that.

Yet last night was magic. Zodiac Grill is a small, cozy place, with a dome on which the Zodiac is studded. The plates are white and gold and teeny, delectable amouse bouches come in pretty white china. They serve you sorbet between courses to cleanse your palate and the cheese souffle is very worthy its recommendation. It's been on the menu for 24 years, we were told. To me, it was more than a meal. It was just this love that I have always felt for Bombay and its glittering harbour. For the loving freedom that my parents have poured into me. For the slow, stoking of aspiration I have felt with dining here - a wish I have nursed for so long without getting hasty or impatient about it. (Very uncharacteristic of me.) For all the burn that a Salman Rushdie novel about the city gives me. For the Arabian Sea beyond. For the recent rampage that happened there. For the gentle lessons of my father, "Your business is to carry on." For the constant reminders of my mother, "You will always afford whatever you think you are worthy of."

When I made the reservations at Zodiac Grill, they asked me, "Are you celebrating something important?" I'd said no. But the meal was beautiful, my bonding with my parents excellent, the experience so memorable, and all of us so happy.

At Zodiac Grill last night, I think something important was celebrating us.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

As I drove past the gate today

A shadow of a large man with a knapsack in his hand loomed over stray petals and leaves that floated in a puddle.

For a strange second, the world turned sepia. The world became a place filled with explorers. And that place where everyone explored, no one traveled. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013


The way the moon looks sweet and at home in the sky. That tiny little jar with a possibility of friendship.  A petaled decadence on a coffee table. In the distance, a sea with a dissolving silver day. With everything perfect.Bandra.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Plans for next year

What to read:

Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Chaos by James Gleick
Female of the Species by Lionel Shriver
Course in Miracles by Helen Schucman
Luka and the sea of stories by Salman Rushdie

What to cook:

Eggless cheese souffle (microwave option)
Besan curry
Caramel custard
Pasta and aubergine in white sauce

What to master in yoga:

Tree pose, at least 2 minutes
Warrior poses, at least 1 minute
Suryanamaskar, at least 100 times by Diwali next year

So far, that's the plan.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why are you Anonymous?

Sometime ago, I had written about a typical evening I'd spent in Chicago. An anonymous commenter has asked me, "Did your friend f you to your heart's content?"

So, Anonymous, here goes: I can hazard a few guesses why you asked me that question. Maybe you genuinely want to know. If that is the case, then thank you for taking such interest in that aspect of my life and looking out for my well-being. Or maybe you got jealous or felt badly about your own life. Some rousing anger rumbled in the pit of your stomach and you thought that this post, with its quiet celebration of Diwali, was fake and maybe I deserved to be brought down a notch. But why did you choose to be Anonymous? I do not think that posting anonymously is necessarily cowardice. In the same post, another anonymous commenter has put in a sweet remark. You could be that same person. I'd bet though that you are a different person. But coming back to my earlier query – what did you gain by the anonymity? If you had put in your name – Rahul or Frida or James or Amy – would it make a difference? I don't know you. Maybe I do know you. Maybe we meet somewhere nowadays or have known each other at some point and then had a falling out. You could have picked out a fake name. Do you think that would have helped to protect you? Protect you not from litigation or surveillance but from taking things bitterly and personally, all the things that I write here? I know you will come back to this blog to read my response to your comment and I know that you will read this post. Perhaps you will even reply to this – either anonymously again or using a name, real or fake. But all the while that you read this, you will take this post personally. You will feel the bile rise up your throat and your face will singe with anger. You will lash back. You will take this post to heart and while you choose to be anonymous, you will remain exposed. People around you may wonder at why your expression became so dark or why your fist clenched so suddenly. Your voice will possibly quiver because you will feel oh so let down that this mechanics of being anonymous did not amount to anything. Maybe, being anonymous, you will tender an apology or continue to be glum because your question remained unanswered.  Anonymous, I know that you are not a coward. Or let me correct that. Maybe you are but that's not why you are Anonymous. You chose to be Anonymous because you are ashamed. You were ashamed right at the moment you typed out that line and maybe changed 'fuck' to 'f'. (The discretion is duly noted, by the way). You are Anonymous because maybe you wanted to be in denial for a little while, to hold on to a notion of yourself – that you can't be so bitter or harsh or judgmental or abrasive or just so low. You are not that petty person who can actually hold a person's happiness against her. If you had given yourself a name, any name, you think you'd have been associated with that act indelibly. But Anonymous, you were misguided. You are still associated with that act. That commenter of that the crude and petty remark was you and you know it. You know it despite that attempt you made of sidestepping onus by leaving out your name.

You are Anonymous precisely because you take things personally and to heart and need validation and seek protection from all types of perceived attack. And that is exactly what will happen now. You will cringe at this post, you will get distracted from whatever else you are doing and whoever else you are talking to. You will think up bad names to call me and probably put them down somewhere in the comments section. All this while, the Anonymous handle, will play you for a fool. What good this anonymity? The one that was supposed to shield you from whatever would come your way.

So, Anonymous, I get you. If I'd done what you did, I'd be ashamed of myself too. But maybe I wouldn't have been Anonymous. Because, you see, being Anonymous conceals the name, not really the identity. That's right there in the comment you wrote. The one that you want to be dissociated with but that gives you away…to yourself.