Sunday, June 29, 2014

Are you kidding me!

On taking another test on the Internet, I discovered that my spiritual power is 'Joy'. (

What is this mind of yours, Mukta? What is it?

Oh this is just perfect!

I am in a perfectly foul mood today. Drove a couple of friends to Darios at KP where I had a waffle with French Vanilla syrup. The sunlight was dappled on the white and purple linen, the air humid but pleasant. A large, beautiful peacock resplendent in indigo and purple and gold perched on a tree. Several people clicked it. The friends decided to walk around Koregaon Park but I had to get home to finish work. Work - that thing that I can't concentrate on anymore and that is giving me a knot in my stomach.

Anyway, I came home and still felt foul. I called up my mother and had a fight. No. I called up my mother to have a fight. Bu she is a very worthy contender who fought back and told me to just quit the job and write the book and be done with the whining. I hung up. Called up someone else to have another fight but she was happily making purchases in Fab India. Not nice to disturb people in the middle of a shopping spree so I told her that I'd call her and argue with her later. She said okay. We have an argument scheduled at 9 p.m. tonight.

Hemmed and hawed. Grumbling, I went out and bought milk. Then I sat down to work. Couldn't. Then I took a quiz on Psych Central to just check whether I was depressive. My score indicates that I am currently suffering from severe depression.

Isn't that just beautiful!

Don't know what that means but still...

Pageviews of the blog crossed one lakh. :-)


I'd gone to watch a film called Hola Venky last night. It was an open air screening on the terrace of the Season's hotel. (Pune really is the city for anything open air.)

The film by Sandeep Mohan is about a software engineer who for some reason meditates on his groin. He lays down, puts a jasmine on his groin, forms a triangle around it with his fingers and meditates. On work, he travels to San Jose where a certain incident occurs. As a result of this, he has to confront a few things in his head, heart, and the bit that is worshipped upon.

I intend to write about this movie in a fair bit of detail at some point. I quite liked it even though there were parts that puzzled or bored me somewhat. And there are references to coding as motifs that I couldn't quite get but I think overall, the film worked.

Anyway, what I found more interesting was the story behind the movie. Sandeep's first film, Love Wrinkle-Free, had a run-in with the censors and wasn't released. This second film is made in response or as a reaction to the first film. Sandeep takes this movie to smaller places that will let him exhibit him. That way, maybe 20 to 30 people watch the movie which according to him, is better than a small film getting released in a PVR with some obscure timings. He shot the film within 10 lakhs, over the course of three weeks, and with a crew of 3 people. Apart from the couple of leads, no one else is a professional actor. There was a QnA with the director after the film - a section I am usually very fascinated with and wary of. If a piece of communication needs to be explained after it has been communicated, then I don't know how effective that piece has been. But the best part of this QnA, I think, were the questions from the audience. I think the movie has a larger appeal for men - if not appeal, then certainly a stronger connect. There was one person that commented on a particular scene - a scene that I especially had found a little trite. But his comment did made me think - maybe its not easy for men to be men either. And it's comments like this that make you connect with the other people who have watched the movie - beyond the seetis and taalis, I guess. (I remember feeling so alienated when I watched Gangs of Wasseypur - what were they all clapping and hooting about? I didn't like the film.)

Anyway. it was a good experience. It was a heartening one. It's like what Salman Rushdie had once mentioned in one of his earlier talks - that the battle in the new age (as was evidenced by Sandeep Mohan's encounter with the censors) will be about who gets to tell the story. So much power-mongering, so much clapdown because your story is offending someone somewhere, so much insistence on pushing forward one version of a story - so, who, ultimately gets to tell it?

That evening, under the stars, one storyteller got his chance. That's something.


Saturday, June 28, 2014


Brown rice keeps me hungry. This afternoon, had two large helpings of masala rice made with brown rice and a side dish of cabbage and soya chunks. Still very hungry. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

What I think about it today

I will just put it down straight and simple, without qualifications and sidebar statements like this is my opinion and there are always exceptions and things like that.

I think marriage makes you small and keeps you small. You stop thinking of helping people, contributing to society, taking care of your friends, tending to weaker people in your extended family unless they can directly contribute to some aspect of your marriage. If someone is dispensable, then marriage will be the reason and the scissor to snip it off. You invest so much money into buying land and then using that as an excuse to discriminate against people who well, might rent that land or property. You invest so much energy into rearing children that you become extremely risk-averse. Marriage and the resultant family seems designed to make you myopic in your outlook. Maybe that is its chief virtue. That the short-sightedness feeds into this myopia of my home, my wife, my husband, my kids, my lookout - this myopia then feeds into the notion that selfishness is legitimate. You will have kids and a spouse and will do what you can to provide for them but you will think nothing of seeing other people, mostly not married, left in the lurch to fend for themselves. You will not let your children play with a certain group of kids and stop them from playing with another set of kids. You will forget years of friendship because your spouse may not get on with your friends to avoid confrontation. Any battle for change will be someone else's because you will want status quo maintained at any cost.

Most importantly, at a subliminal level or a conscious thought-process, you will believe that anything other than a married life is a diminished existence. And you will have no cause to introspect or dissect it because your insecurity on this matter is well cushioned by the world around you.

I feel this way today. Marriage and an open heart do not go together.  


Can anything bind more strenuously, more naturally, and more enduringly like a love story? Untold but understood.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Papa's birthday

It is my father's birthday today.

My father.

I haven't written about him so much in the past. I think it's's probably because...well, maybe not so much this or that but just...

There possibly isn't any real answer to this. What are my earliest memories of my father? That he introduced me to the sea. I had held his hand at Juhu beach as a little girl when we were wading into the sea one night and I thought I could walk over to the moon over that sheath of light that shone on the waves.

When he took me to the docks early in the morning to see ferries and wharfs.

When we would picnic on the tiny beach in Aquaba and against an orange and pink sea, he would try and teach me math.

When we went to Egypt by ship.

When he, despite my resistance, made me read Moby Dick.

When he got me the most precious storybook that, for better or for worse, I have scripted my love life on: The Little Mermaid.

In college, I often wondered why my father would ever like me. I was certainly not smart or wise. I was not into selfless living or compulsive giving. I certainly did not think that my country really needed or could benefit from my sacrificing anything.

But my father - he filled me with questions and then, with every story and every book, he filled me with answers.

He really is the person then, who truly has given me everything.

Happy birthday, Papa.


A Carlos Castaneda moment

While washing dishes, I noticed a peach hibiscus in full bloom. Every petal was fanned out to the edge of its openness.Yesterday, it was a tight bloom shutting out everything around it.

All of us...our days are subsidized by a very generous infinity.

963 more days.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

car silence

a new song changes the weather outside - so much so you hum - slowly, incessantly. when you step outside the car to cross the road, you don't. you smell the earth, you feel the breeze, you step back to feel the swoosh of a whizzing car, you linger with that new song you heard in the silence of the car. it hangs like a scent, light sweet smell in the hair, like lavender shampoo. then cool breeze again. gentle.

the weather changes the song inside - so much so you hum - slowly, incessantly.

song was 'tears go by' by rolling stones. its 964 days today. 'tears go by'.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Today my sink is filled with dishes from a meal shared with friends - some suddenly made, some slowly tiptoeing around my life for a while. At some time during dinner, I listened to stories of a man who ran with a bear for a few seconds in his life. Outside the moon shone and inside, our little group of uncertain, unlikely hunter-gatherers listened to tales in a circle around an imaginary fire. The primitive mood of storytelling was palpable.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Couldn't find my car keys this morning. When I rushed out for yoga class, I stepped into a world that seemed to be set up for a soundtrack of some sweeping, romantic film where, against the montage of childhood photos, the lovers reunite in their seventies. It was cool and windy. The trees were grazing against every possible terrace. Buildings looked a little browned in pretty vintage tints.

If I wasn't running late, I would have just walked to the class instead of hopping into a six-seater auto later.

There's a tiny dirt road opposite my building one can cross to get to the main road. There, in one of the courtyards of a house, I saw a happy Labrador playing with a child who was gurgling loudly and from what it looked like, was very unwilling to wear her nappy. She noticed me, as did the  dog, and both seemed to be really glad to see me. As if I were some long lost friend. Maybe I was. Maybe everyone who is out there a little aimless enjoying great weather with no other agenda besides being aimless and enjoying great weather is a friend to each other. I stopped and spoke to the two of them across the gate. Then I left for class.

Reached on time.

Friday, June 20, 2014


In your eyes, a 'once upon a time. In your smile, the 'happily ever after'. In your goodbyes, a fairytale that almost was.

(On looking up and seeing a luscious swathe of grey and then it passes on with no rain.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014


So unwell and nauseous today. Retched and eyes stung. Throat burned. To feel better, skipped lunch and ate some vanilla ice-cream. Two cups, in fact. By the time I had come back to office, the soft peaks of the tops of the ice-cream had squished a little. They soothed, nevertheless.

What also soothed was the memory of something I had read months ago - a Zen phrase, I think - snow in a silver bowl.

What also calms my trembling system is the thought of writing fiction soon.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fiction: Family Tied

I was seven years old when my mother drove me to the hospital to see my father one last time. The accident had been quite bad but my father had lived long enough to meet us. He held my hand and said, "Take care of your mother.  Grow up and be strong. "

Mother had then taken me outside the room and left me waiting on the cold, steel bench. I waited until she went in to sit beside my father and cry. Her eyes were swollen, especially the right one where he had hit her that morning. He had missed hitting her straight on the eye, though.  After my father had walked out the door, I heard my mother cry and roll on the floor. She made these strange sounds, "Unff! Unff!" as she stuffed lots of pills in her mouth still rolling. When she saw me by the kitchen door, she spit out all those pills on the floor, making it dirty. Some of them even rolled under my fire engine. She rushed over and hugged me tight. I could feel her drool and tears soak through. All this made me feel a little icky but I knew my mother needed to hug me then. After a few minutes,  I freed myself and went to clean the floor.  My father had spent all morning mopping the house and I was sure he'd be really upset if he saw this mess.

As it turned out, he never walked in again.

At the hospital,  I peeped in to ask my mother to take me to the bathroom. She was crying hard and my father looked very weak. He may have even been dead by then and no-one knew it. Later, the doctor told us that my father was dead and we had better go home, make arrangements and come back later.

I sat in the front seat and even put on my seat belt, the way my father had shown me. My mother always forgot. She looked at me and now her face was very swollen.

She asked me if I understood that my father was dead.

I told her I understood. 

She asked me why I wasn't crying.

I told her I didn't know.

She slapped me hard and screamed that my father had loved me so much. My face hurt but I still couldn't cry. So I didn't. Again,  my mother hugged me with one arm, the other one on the wheel,  and told me that she loved me. I told her to wear her seat belt.

We didn't go home that evening, though. We stopped by at the National Park, where my father used to take us  often. There was a very high hill that I used to climb with him, on his shoulders. From there, you could see all the lights twinkling in the city and all the little boats and big ships on the ocean. My father would point out a house down below and tell me that that was our house. If the moon had to break, it would fall on our house directly. It would crash through our roof and the next day, we would be the only people who would see the moon while eating breakfast.
That evening, though,  the moon was not out. Still,  when I looked down the hill,  I could see the city. I felt like crying then. My mother was sitting on a patch of grass, rocking back and forth. She was making some strange sounds and sometimes she rocked faster and faster before slowing down. I watched then I sat down next to her. After some time, she called me and made me stand in front of her. Her eyes darted from side to side.

Then she pushed me down the hill.

They say that my mother had become insane and that's why she killed her son. At least, that's what her lawyer said to get her out of trouble. But I think that she killed me because she didn't want to live with my father anymore.

These days, my mother works in a shop far from home. She doesn't take pills and even keeps the floor clean. Today,  as I sat next to my mother, I saw that she had put on her seatbelt as well. She can take care of herself, I think.

Still, I will be here to take care of her.

Because my father told me to.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

That mood, that kind of books that I want to read

The sun is smiling today. It really is. I had just stepped out for a chilled ginger ale and the roads are wet with sunlight, if you know what I mean. Large papayas in orange, yellow and green are stacked on flimsy, wooden tables of juice stalls. Blossoms in orange and yellow swish about like colourful clouds tethered to trees. It's a very innocent, baby-like world I seem to have woken up to. I feel like reading 'Wind in the Willows' again. A nice, large hardcover with illustrations. Also, I'd like to read 'Where the Wild Things Are'. Again, a proper hard-cover with Maurice Sendak's excellent works of art.

A nice day it is. 

Monday, June 09, 2014

On leaving Bombay

I leave for Pune tomorrow. And I leave having yet another insight about why I feel this kind of guttural love for Bombay...why, indeed, when I am very happy in Pune, why...when I know I may not come back, and why...when it can dull and stifle me within seconds of being in it. Probably because no matter where all I roam, every step is somehow taking me home. I will meet my mother there, my father there, my early days in the turn of a road, my first lessons in the shimmer of the sea. I will meet, at long last, even though its brief, that part of my life which is mostly lost and hugely forgotten...that time, that mood, that space, that magic...that this is where it all began. This is where I began.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Pretty evening

This evening was very, very gorgeous. The sky had thick, soft grey clouds spread across like mousse. On one side, outlines of hills smudged in seamless sketches into the horizon. Behind a shifting continent of grey, a sun was setting. The sky, just where the sun was, was a pale lilac and it spread to the east in very hushed tones of purple. A friend and I were on the top of the office terrace taking all this in. We felt the coolness in the air, the drizzle on our face. Suddenly a tiny black bird with a glossy crest and a bright red breast flew in, chirped a while, and flew away.

It was good and peaceful. Sometimes you turn up at work and get rewarded in the strangest ways.