November 30, 2004

Trash Lit.

There is a big trash can across the road from my office. I suspect most domestic garbage finds its way there daily. I have a phenomenal view of the trash can’s insides from my seventh floor office terrace, where, like a self-respecting employee, I spend a lot of time.

Close to the trash can lives a family of dogs. Mamma and her four precious (and precocious) darlings. They live on the edge of a busy road, and I count the pups every evening when I head home to reassure myself that they have survived their foolhardy trips across the road. The scrawny things chase me till I turn and glare at them, at which point they run equally fast in the opposite direction, their floppy ears dancing to the tune of their frightened yelps. I am determined not to get emotionally involved with them, but I stand and watch this scene nonetheless.

Every afternoon, a snowy white mule appears from nowhere and makes his way to the trash can. The mule has a bushy tail, which some aspiring hairdresser has trimmed to resemble a series of tiny hair pyramids, one above the other. So PunkTail comes by for lunch, stays for high tea, and lingers on for dinner at his favourite junk food joint.

My lunch break is not complete till I see PunkTail beginning to dine. Every evening, I walk past that Ceaseless Feeder and marvel at some people’s ability to stay so slim after eating so much! I envy PunkTail his hairstyle and metabolism!

I had smiled and said nothing when a friend of mine had told me that when one lives alone, one creates an artificial family for oneself. Now my comfort depends on seeing a mule, a bitch, and four pups everyday!

November 26, 2004


Granny. Prude. Call me whatever.
I have major problems with the line in the song from “Murder” that says
“Kabhi mere saath, koi raat guzaar”
It’s a lovely song. Very good lyrics set to great music and rendered by a phenomenal voice. But this line rankles me to the very core of my narrow-minded being.
“Aur ji, kabhi chai shai peena aa jao,” is how many Punjabi conversations end. I sense the same casualness in Monsieur Hashmi’s proposal to Madame Sherawat.
Mutual consent is not good enough a reason for me to tolerate this line, which strips a relationship of all its emotional baggage and leaves behind a skeleton that I cannot deal with.
I have a problem with the bachcha log who sing this song, because they subscribe to the ideology without analyzing it.
Whether it is because of my warped notions of decency, or my priggish upbringing (I hate both those words), I wish this line had not passed the Censors.
I also realize that I am the only one who thinks this way about the song.

And Happy Birthday Papun dada.
I’m not calling you up because I am really ashamed of the fact that I forgot.
To think I was talking to you last midnight.
I can either dig a grave and bury myself alive, or make you dinner sometime.
Your call.

November 25, 2004

My Playlist Today

Koi sab jeete sab koi haar de
Apni to haar hai, yaar mere
Meri zindagi mein aaye ho aur aise aaye ho tum
Jo ghul gaya hai saanson mein who geet laaye ho tum
Dostaana naya naya…naya
Raahein wahi puraani
Nazron mein ho guzarta hua
Khwabon ka koi silsila
Nazron ke teer mein basaa hai pyaar
Jab bhi chala hai yeh dil ke paar
Kaisi hai yeh rut ke jisme
Phool ban ke dil khile
Ek baar tujhko jab baraste paaniyon ke paar dekha tha
Yun laga tha gungunaata ek aab-o-shaar dekha tha
Kabhi kahin lag jaye dil to
Kahin phir dil na lage
Khushiyan aur gham sehti hai
Phir bhi yeh chup rehti hai
Koyi fariyaad tere dil mein dabi ho jaise
Tune aankhon se koi baat kahi jo jaise
Banjar hai sab banjar hai
Hum dhoondne jab firdaus chale
Tu hai aasmaan mein
Teri yeh zameen hai

November 23, 2004


When I remember what I have done
I block my thoughts
And shut my eyes tight
And cover my eyelids with my palms
And my palms with my knees
And the whole with a blanket

But the blanket is covered
With a sticky sense of guilt
Which oozes through the layers
Reminding me it is useless
To try and shut out
Something that is within


This weekend, I was at a cyber café with a webcam, and my mom was online at home. The result: Me tying away furiously and mom not responding. She was busy gazing fondly at her daughter who’s been away for a month. Karan Johar music playing in the background completed the family reunion.

I was reminded of a scene I had witnessed at a neighborhood cyber café last year. It was Holi, which meant it was also exam time. Exams for me meant running away from home to catch up with my old friends online every afternoon. Sharing the tiny café was a family - parents and two daughters – crowded around a PC where they were chatting with their son/brother in the US. Sonny boy had a webcam.

“Dekh raha hai! Hans raha hai!” Daddy was gushing in running commentary fashion.

“Hai mera Munna! Kitni door chala gaya!” Mom was chanting, all the while dabbing her eyes with her pallu.

“Mom is crying”, the daughter typed. “Kyun bata rahi hai use?” Daddy chided. “Dad is scolding”, the faithful scribe reported.

“Kitna dubla ho gaya hai Munna”, mom remarked. Scribe informed her brother about his weight loss.

Munna refused to admit he had lost weight. He stood up and twirled in front of the webcam to prove his tubby point (Ok. By this time I was slightly craning my neck above the partition. Do you blame me?)

“Hai ram baith jaa! Nazar lag jayegi” Mom exclaimed.

“Yeh kaun si shirt pehni hai bhaiya ne?” the other sis demanded to know. Color Plus, Munna responded.

Mayhem ensued. “Holi pe Color Plus! Nayi shirt! Kya karta hai munna?”

Scribe was torn between typing out the message and reminding Mom that there was no Holi in the US in the middle of the night.

“Aadhi raat ko office mein kya kar raha hai Munna?” the weight of time-conciousness unloaded itself upon Mom. “Khaana khaaya?”

“Pizza khaaya” Munna said.
Brainless Munna. Whoever tells one’s parents that one had pizza for dinner?

“Hai Ram!” Mom’s heart cursed Italy. “Hum yahan paratha khaa rahe the aur tu pizza kha raha tha?”
High five Munna, man! You’ve done it!

“Kitna kaam kar raha hai Munna. Ghar jaa ab,” Mom advised. Badmaash Munna is not working, just chatting Aunty ji, I felt like reminding her.

“Chalo ab hum bhi ghar jaate hain.” Dad had had enough. “Gas waala cylinder lekar aata hoga.” If there is anything mothers worry more about than their children, it is LPG supply. Mom promptly got up, scribe logged off and the family departed, Mom still wiping the corner of her eye.
“Kitna dubla ho gaya hai Munna.”

November 22, 2004


Beginning in my trademark pessimistic style, and invoking my personal God of all emotion for the purpose:

Chhod aaye hum, woh galiyan
Jahan tere pairon ke kanval gira karte the
Hanse to do gaalon mein bhanwar pada karte the
Teri kamar ke bal se nadi muda karti thi
Hansi teri sun sun ke, fasal paka karti thi
Chhod aaye hum, woh galiyan

This place will get much happier soon. I promise!

November 18, 2004

The Most Evil Invention of Man

No, it’s not the nuclear bomb. It’s not the differential calculus. It’s not even remix albums. This is the evil-est-most-estmost thing that man has invented. It’s the Spartek tile. I say man instead of humankind on purpose: no woman can have invented it.

Anyone who knows what I am talking about will instantly know why. All those who don’t will not understand till Spartek flooring invades their lives.

It invaded mine the day I opened the door to my rented apartment. The bright pearl-coloured floor cheerfully reflected the sunlight and welcomed me to my room (pronounced doom). I was sold. I agreed to pay exorbitant rent for the magic hat house with the Spartek flooring.

Some rub-a-dub-a-scrubbing later, all traces of cement, dust, and other closed-house deposits were eliminated. I smiled at the floor and it smiled back at me. (I am not clinically insane. I smiled at the floor because I was happy and the floor is the only available thing to smile at in an empty house.)

Then my cupboard arrived. As two very exhausted (six floors up by the staircase) guys dragged it in, the floor registered indelible records of the cupboard’s progress down the hall into the bedroom. Black streaks across the pearly tiles. The bed arrived. The fridge arrived. The table arrived. Scratch scratch scratch. The pearly tiles did not miss a single detail. They furiously took notes.

It was not too bad, though. At the end of the day, they were still mostly pearly despite the scratches, like wounded soldiers returning to happy homes.

The next morning, the floor turned tyrant with a vengeance.

Scene One: A strand of hair falls off your head. The pearly floor takes note. Calls in reporters for a press conference. The next morning, a picture of the strand of hair appears in all leading dailies (English and Marathi).

Scene Two: One fleck of chilli powder decides not to be cooked and escapes from the spoon. The CBI knocks at your door. Satellites have picked up pictures of a red speck on the pearly tiles and beamed them to Interpol.

Scene Three: You step out of the bath onto a footmat. You proceed to place your bare, squeaky-clean foot on the floor. Suddenly sirens are blaring in all directions. The floor is screaming above the siren sounds. You look horrified. The footmat has not been washed for a whole day. So it is dirty. So you have left a brown footprint. So the floor will kill you now.

So you tie up your hair forever and stop cooking and throw out the footmat. And you lie crouched in bed all day, youre guts churning in fear as you look at the agarbatti on the table, which threatens to catch the breeze and deposit its ash on the edge of the table…

Nuclear bombs, differential calculus, and remix albums I can understand. Why anyone would unleash Spartek tiles on the world baffles me.

November 08, 2004

Ups and Downs

I’ve used elevators at an average of twelve times a day in the last couple of weeks: which makes more elevator rides in fifteen days than in the rest of my life. Back home, the only time I took an elevator was at a mall or a fancy hotel. The staircase is just fine for daily purposes. But here I work and live on the sixth floor, and twelve trips up and down the staircase would spark off an internal race between weight loss and respiratory failure.

So I use the lift. The lifts have iron doors that keep on yelling and screaming like something out of Harry Potter until you close them. And the time difference between the door closing and the lift jolting into action most rudely is about 2 nanoseconds. You have to take a deep breath and close your eyes and be prepared to die as you close the door.

Elevator activity begins at 5:30 in the morning and ends at 12 in the night. All this while, the creaking and groaning of the poor elevator echoes in my unfurnished living room. The office elevator sings out its woes loudly, so that no meeting, phone conversation or any kind of work distracts staff from listening to its complaints.

In my head, I need to put up a warning sign: “Do not open the door to the elevator shaft if the elevator is not on your floor. “ When I am preoccupied, I get out of my house and try to open that door, and would probably plummet down the shaft if the door opened easily. I rarely check to see if the elevator is at my floor. I’m living dangerously.

Anita and her Harsh Tourists have to abdicate in favour of this one. The sign outside my building’s elevator says: “Sterling Elevators. Mr. Hate”. Inside the elevator is a warning message: “Do not stick your hand. You could loose it.” Someone call up Mr Hate to find out where I should not stick my hand. I do not want to loooooose it.

November 02, 2004

In Hot Water

My love for hot showers is well documented on the blog. I am a bucket-hater and cannot conceive of dipping my soapy fingers and a suspect mug into a suspect bucket for a bath. I want a shower. And a hot shower. Even if it is summertime. I like coming out of a bath transformed into a boiled egg.

Showers are your personal rain, and better because they are hot, and even better because they are at your beck and call. They are good for crying in, because to your tears, they look like company. The catch is the plumbing.

There are two kinds of plumbing. Simple plumbing is when you clap your hands in glee if water comes out of a tap. That is enough to make this world an earthly paradise for you. Complex plumbing is when you can adjust exactly how hot your hot shower is. Tingling, Tepid, Lukewarm, Warm, Hot, Milind Soman, Scalding, Furnace.

It is as different as vada pav and caviar.

Whenever I leave home, I am afraid of losing my hot shower privelege. When I got my new flat, one thing was clear. Running water was to be available only for four hours a day. There were no taps, let alone showers, in the bathrooms.

Taps were installed. Instant geyser and fancy water mixer was installed, while I inwardly wept hot showers of tears at the stupidity of complex plumbing in a waterless house. The plumber said that if I opened the tap a teeny weeny bit, I could get a trickle of tepid water. I wanted to throw the plumber out of the sixth floor balcony.

It was raining when I got up this morning. I shivered at the thought of a cold shower. I recoiled at the thought of the bucket and mug. I decided to play with the instant geyser.

Ok. I can’t control it anymore. It worked after some manipulation and I got my hot shower. I am so happy that I don’t care that the bathroom is flooded and I need to find the plumber to repair it tonight. I got my hot shower. I’m missing home a lot less today!

November 01, 2004

Buying Curtains

Me: Cotton ka curtain material hai?

Curtain Guy: Hai na madam.(I look at the variety the shop is offering. Big, small, and medium checks ONLY)

Me: Stripes mein nahin hai?

Curtain Guy: Stripes?? (I live in a village)

Me: Lambi dhaari hoti hai na, yeh to sab chaukor dabbe hain…

Curtain Guy: Cotton mein to sex hi milta hai madam.

Me: Kya?

Curtain Guy: Cotton mein sab sex pasand karte hain.

Me: (Choking on laughter) Achcha.Curtain guy: Kitne saare type ke sex hain…aapko kaisa mangta hai?

Me: (To meself: Mujhe oxygen cylinder mangta hai)

Somehow, I manage to choose the material.

Me: Ab yeh seedhe line mein sil ke dena… dono curtain ke checks line mein hone chahiye.

Curtain Guy: Sex se Sex milaa ke denge madam.

My living room and bedroom are quite “sexy” now. Sadly, curtain guy did not match sex to sex.