Sunday, December 20, 2015

511, 510, 509

I had a terrible headache last night. Terrible.Massive. It felt like there were hands just pressing my skull to squeeze out any kind of mental life. My whole head hurt and felt pringly. Pins and needles. There was some fever. In fact while driving back from work, late at night. I was swerving this way and that but reached home safe. Thank god.

Once home, I first collapsed on the sofa. Then went to the bathroom and puked. And then collapsed on the bed. Then went to the other bathroom and puked some more. Then collapsed on that bed. My friend, who is the healer in Delhi, Jagdeep Kaur, had once told me that when you are facing any kind of problem, especially an ache of some sort, you breathe deep. It didn't help immediately but I had slept off until the next round of nausea hit. This time, after throwing up, I washed my face a million times, I think. Splashed cold water and then hot water and then cold water and then hot water again. This also helped. Then I got hungry. Warmed some rice and pitla (it's a kind of curry made with gram flour and curd). Simple fare but nice.

Then I slept for nearly 15 hours.

I woke up with the head still throbbing but I was so tired of sleeping that I stepped out for a walk with my friend. We went to Natural and tried Ginger and Honey ice-cream. It is so so so good! And now, I still have the headache but it has subsided considerably.

I am typing this out in the balcony. It's a cool night and I have wrapped around me this really soft muslin scarf in black-and-white that Ma had gifted me. There's a candle lit and the flame's doing it's dance and the light traipses all over the copper body of the Kali statue. She is so beautiful. Sometimes I even forget that I have that statue but then I flick on the switch and there is, all resplendent and strong. I am also sipping hot chocolate that I made for myself.

It's a lovely, gorgeous night.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Nine more days until my last day at the job.

I have no plans but I have some ideas on what I'll do next.

Maybe I don't have many more days in Pune although I would like to finish the rest of my 512 days here - just to see if I finish any kind of unfinished business here.

Not sure what's in store.

Just that today, while breaking my head over a rather tough piece of assignment, I thought.

I thought that even on days that I didn't write, I still existed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Yesterday involved stopping for ice-cream on the way home from work. Then a late night drive with a friend to a cemetery. Ice-cream was insipid. Cemetery was not.

Monday, December 14, 2015

514 - driving off

My wallet was stolen four years ago. I lost my driver's license with it. So now I drive around without one. But I am really careful and break no signals or drive rashly or anything. If I see a police car on the road, I take a by-lane and wait there until it passes. If I see cops on the road, I behave really well. Not that I wouldn't do any of this if I did have the license but I try to avoid anything that will get me on the radar.

What this has meant though that I can't drive in other cities and I can't go on long distance drives. But this Sunday I just got fed up with feeling so constrained so I drove down to Bombay. This was the first time I was driving on the highway by myself and it was just so glorious! Given that the decision was spontaneous, I wasn't carrying any cash when I drove off from my house but my sweet little car, music, sunlit roads and mountains and clouds that somehow seemed so much more mystical from the driver's site.

I stopped at the Food Mall to withdraw cash and had a leisurely cup of coffee and drove off again.

I think for the first time, I really enjoyed I felt it to be a very softening experience. (I like driving through cities late at night or to KP any time of the day.) But this was beautiful, like an unknotting of something deep inside. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

something to read

515: The needy part of being human and on having taste of one's own medicine


So we know by now that, at times, people may not be ready for or want to be in a relationship. Sometimes those people feel pressurized - societal, parental, peer, and maybe even internal. That is not correct but I reckon that a person who may feel that way will find some degree of compassion somewhere.
What I find odd is the reverse. That if one is actually keen on being with a partner, then the guy who may want this is desperate and the girl who may want this is needy. If the person displayed the same focus in the pursuit of a sales target or topping a class or becoming really fit or whatever, that same focus and clarity is applauded. Or if it's a little excessive, then the person may be asked to rethink the strategy or tone down the zeal but the person sure as hell isn't dismissed for being 'needy' or 'desperate'. What makes it so crazy to be acutely focused on being ready to nurture a certain kind of human connection?
I have also been one of those who used to dismiss off the ones looking for a relationship as being...weak, you know? Or weird - like a member of Amway or something. I never called anyone needy or desperate but I am sure I told them that I was fed up of them or that they should be more independent or stronger or self-sufficient. Wonder why I did that? Because all of us are strong. If need be, we will all tackle the death of a parent or a loss of a job or a midlife crisis or a health concern without having someone to stroke our hair in bed. We'll all do that. But if one really really wants it, what makes that person needy?
My theory is that it reflects, perhaps, our own helplessness in the face of the uncertainty of fate. Our helplessness and our own trivialty. And no one likes feeling that way. I sure didn't like it. That's why I judged. And that's why I am sorry.
If I judged you and we are no longer in touch and you are reading this, know this - I did not judge you as weak because you were...I judged you as weak because of the fear that I might be.
And for the ones who judged me similarly, know that I forgive you. I was there where you are and I did what you did and hopefully, we'll know better in the future.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Another pal had dropped in last night. He’s doing his own business and seems to be doing well. And by that I mean, he’s fit. I think that, for me, it’s a pretty good indicator of where you are in life. He’s in shape so I’m guessing whatever hours he’s working is leaving him with enough time and cash to stay healthy and enough good sense to make that a priority. Anyway, we had dinner and he asked me if I wanted to join him because I apparently showed signs of being good at business (which is something no one had ever told me before.) Anyway, it’s odd the way he sees me and I’m a little wary of doing business with friends, etc. But he told me about this book ‘The Cash-Flow Quadrant’ by Robert Kiyosakithe same person who wrote ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’. I’m not sure if I’ll ever do business but I do want more time and enough money to get as much time as I’d like. So, let’s see. Maybe I’ll read the book.

Speaking of reading, I just finished reading 'Bird by Bird' by Anne Lamott. It's a short essay on her musings on the writing life and the importance of having a buddy from who feedback can be expected and relied upon. It's quite nice.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015


A friend had come over for coffee last night. Among the many things we talked about, he quoted Carl Sagan, “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create a universe.” I loved it.
He recommended Robert McKee’s ‘Story’. Although it’s a manual for screenplay writing, he mentioned that it might help me with plot my stories as well. I ordered a hard cover version from Amazon which will reach me in the New Year so yay!

We discussed ‘Signature of All Things’ by Elizabeth Gilbert and just how marvelous she is. She is. She really is. Her work has some kind of patient unknotting, you know, that is difficult to articulate. It is a beautifully plotted book.

I bought a packet of ‘thetcha’ which is a very, very delectable chilli and garlic paste you get in Maharashtra. It’s had as an accompaniment with chapatti and stuff. I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s just that I’ve always had it when it got made in my friends’ houses and stuff. But now that it is available in a friendly packet that I can pick up from a store and have it whenever I want, life is good.

I bought Maggi and had it at midnight. With a generous dollop of the thetcha in it and a spoonful of rice. (I like a rice and noodle mix.) Maggi is so wonderful. I missed it so much. It felt like the return of true love.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015


Last night two friends came over. We sat in the balcony and opened a bottle of whiskey and I had a lot and I felt really bad, sad, and crappy today. But last night - was nice. We had lit three candles in the balcony. It was really pretty. I don't have too much recollection of what exactly we talked about but somewhere I just felt that there is too much information. Too many thoughts. Too much thinking about the thoughts and sharing those thoughts and changing those thoughts and then thinking about the change and whatever else. At some point, I slept in the children's room. The guys slept in the other bedroom - the one that was messy because it had all my clothes piled up on the bed. The poor guys had to clear all that to find the bed and then sleep on it.

It was quite nice to wake up in the morning and to find the bed cleared.

But I am done with whiskey, I think. Done with drinking. It is just not suiting me anymore.

Mom is better at times and not so good at other times. I think I was hoping the whiskey to numb this uncertainty. (I know, rookie mistake.) But never mind. I'll stick to Red Bull.


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

521, 520, 519

Saturday night I slept next to my mom, very acutely aware of her breathing. I tried to sleep with a whole lot of nonchalance because I know that when I get anxious or agitated, it can really affect someone next to me. But I was listening to every inhale and every exhale very very keenly. Somewhere scared that it may stop.

Early in the morning, though, Ma was very unwell again and she vomitted. But then she slept really peacefully. The fever broke and it seemed to be better the next day.

Yesterday I returned to Pune and visited a pal. She has a really sweet labrador pup called Eli. I played with him a little bit. Actually not so much played as petted him while he scarfed down his food. Then just as it was time for me to leave, he came by with something grey and scruffy. I was told that it's his toy and he brings it out when he wants you to play with him.

So those were the last three days.

Saturday, December 05, 2015


Today I woke up with a strange sense of well-being. It evaporated rather quickly on seeing my help sweep the floor that suggested she had some affection for dust and didn't want to see it go. But on the whole, it was a good feeling when I woke up.

Later in the day, I'll be going to Pune to be with mom. And I was just thinking about it Some months ago, there was so much grief that I didn't know what to do and how to handle it. At that time, my mother helped me immensely. Today she is unwell and I have broken up. There is sadness now too but it feels different. Like this too will pass.

It's like you first learn a coping method. Then you have to apply it in a seemingly more difficult situation. Then after you have been tested and you make the cut, hopefully, that situation never happens again.


Thursday, December 03, 2015


Pune has started to feel stifling now. I am very grateful to this city for allowing me to live a beautiful life drenched in peace and quietude. It perhaps was the closest I could have come to being a hermit, in the circumstances that were handed to me. In fact, during my second stint, I did believe that there was some unfinished business here and so I had to come back. I also felt exiled from Bombay and Delhi was no place to go. So, yes, Pune. Pune was the bandage I wrapped around my heart and being and it was good. But now, I think, it is not serving its purpose any more.

I don’t know but what is it with the women here? Why are they always going on and on about age and getting older and what else is there in life and clothes and colors that don’t suit your skin tone if you get a particular age or whatever. Sometimes, the best thing that they find about me is that I don’t look my age. (I look younger…and apparently that is supposed to be a good thing.) But I am not sure if I got the memo on what a 36 year old should look like. Or be like. These women are much younger – they are in their 20s or early 30s and yet…that fear, the judgment of age is just really tough to take. I don’t know…people say Bombay and Delhi are very superficial cities where only looks matter. But I suppose I just met very different people. Where wearing a bright pink nail-polish was still okay if you weren’t 24 years old and no one really gave a damn. I may be wrong and it may be projection but there is a tendency for women (or men too) to get really bitter here. This reminds me of something an Ayurvedic/ Homeopathic doctor had once told me – that the weather in cities like Pune and Bangalore is such that any ailments are drawn out in their fullness, especially related to skin and bones. So, a skin allergy will be worse here than in Bombay (even though the latter city is more polluted) or a bone problem will be more acute here (even though Delhi may have more extreme climate), etc. So even though one may suffer here, it’s a good thing because then the core reason for the ailment can be treated.

Not sure if that is accurate but maybe it’s the same for mental and emotional discomforts also. I think this city has shown me more emotional upheavals than anywhere else I’ve lived. Also, I don’t know. I can’t connect with the people here. Especially the women. I would like to. I would love to. But…off and on…we talk and it’s nice and then…all that distance.

I don’t know. Even though I really just want to get out of the city, I still feel some unfinished business here. I don’t know what that is. And until I figure that out, I ought to figure out a way to live here with peace and joy. Who knows? Maybe something more needs to be drawn out to be mended and healed. Maybe something more needs to be sandpapered for me to be kind. Because this much is sure - more than any other place, I have felt the need and the calling to be kind in Pune.

Fingers crossed that it will all be good. In the end also. In the meantime also.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

524: Lifetimes

At work, there's a new girl who sits next to me. She somehow regards me as more capable than I am so today she asked me a banking related question. And banks, for all I know and care, could be like mauve piglets frolicking on the moon. But it turned out that I did know the answer to her question so I might be finally growing up and becoming worldly. 

Then she asked me to play a game. We both gave each other 5 words and/ or phrases and we had to write something about it. These are the words she had given me: Lake, A sky full of myriad stars, Tentative, Serendipity, Summer night

What I wrote

It had been a lifetime
Of give and take
Of sipping serendipities
From the frozen lake

That’s how he was
How he wanted to live
Waltzing between certainty
And things tentative

We’d shared so many love stories
Like myriad stars that flock the sky
The story we share now had begun
On a summer night when he’d wondered ‘why’

Why we met as strangers
Around a frozen lake
Yet became each others’ destinies

With a lifetime of give and take

526, 525

How does one remember to be kind?

Last night, I went to Koregaon Park with a friend. This morning i got news that my mom is very unwell. I have come into work - late. There's some stuff piled up and I can't focus on anything. Sometimes it is so crazy that it is very hard to even figure out what is going on.

I think you just really have to take it one moment, one task, at a time.