October 26, 2004


There’s this thing. I need to know if it happens to everyone, or if I am a freakshow.
The thing is that sometimes, quite often actually, something makes me start crying. Silent tears fall against my cheeks like the rupee against the dollar. There is no perceptible sound, but the tip tap top of the teardrop as it leaps off the tip of my chin into the rest of the world. Slowly my eyes turn red. And my eyelids become swollen. My nose feels uncomfortable and hot, and wonders whether it should join in mourning the unknown corpse.
This is not the strange bit (if even this is strange, please don’t tell me, I have a weak heart). The strange bit is that people around me do a fantabulous job of pretending not to notice. They ask me questions and I turn my face towards them to answer. I can hear the tremble in my voice, and they can see the dampness of my chubby cheeks. But they keep talking like everything is ok. I don’t know if I could do that…
When I am done crying, salt deposit on my cheeks acts like starch. I can hear cracking sounds if I try to stretch my mouth into a smile. I hate to think Ma will misunderstand why I was crying today. I hate even more to think she’ll understand exactly why.

October 24, 2004


They sent me back loaded with gifts, and did not let me pay. AGAIN. Anita, Rash, Bips and Exile are nice people in their own way, but the truth is that they do not have EARS. You can protest but they don’t LISTEN. You can threaten them, but they don’t CARE. They probably thought I would be too scared of carrying out my threat, but I am NOT. Here are all their real identities EXPOSED.
Anita: Someone called “Rodricks” never mentions a church? Hold you breath while I tell you that “she” is actually Harsh Tokas! A Haryanvi Jat who’s spent his whole life in Rewari. He’s a senior reported for “the paper”: Punjab Kesari. “Anita” has never been to Mumbai or Calcutta! Some fragile female called Priya Shah and portly babu moshai called Anup Chatterjee do the ghostwriting for the Mumbai and Calcutta entries respectively. Anita/Harsh has five traffic inspectors in the family, so do not buy the stories about getting lost in Delhi. He never lets the rest of the gang meet alone, or we’d have figured out why we still hang out with him. Most noticeable because of his bright nylon shirts and love of Dal Makhani, Harsh can be contacted at 9810576435.
Rash: After successfully managing a vada pav chain with husband P (Short for Prajapati)in Mumbai, this lady now runs the worst restaurant in CP: Rush Hour (If these words ring a bell, refer to her old blog). The magazine is a cover-up for serving the worst food in human history. Five criminal cases are pending against her and P (short for Padmanabhan) for food poisoining. Three puja pandals in Gurgaon reported goonda activities by her and P (short for Parmeshwar). With their multiple identities and underhand dealings, this couple can be contacted at 100 (unless Harsh bails them out).
Bips: Her real name is Ekta Kapoor. Need I say more? Yes. Ektaaaa Kapooooor had lunch with us today. Except she called it kunch. She’s too busy to meet us, but apparently it’s good for her image to hang out with our type. Call her for a role at 98110KKKKK.
Exile: Fifth and last Jew of Delhi. Reported to stalk women and ask them if they are Jewish and would they marry him to propagate the race? Tourist guide specializing in the Himalayas. Arranges for booze and hash and suchlike at a minute’s notice. Listed under “useful but dangerous” in police records. Call 98112AS_IFSo there you have it! These vengeful people will now splash my beer and cigar pics all over the Internet. But I had to do this. It’s for the general good. And oh, thank you all and I’ll miss you.

October 21, 2004


Once a year, people pay taxes. Once a year, birds take up holiday packages and migrate. Once a year, I get my hair cut.
Today is that day of the year. I oiled my hair with industrial lubricant (oiling also happens once a year), and marched off to one of the “beauty parlours” near my place. One wash and cut, please.
There was some coconut-breaking and flower-sprinkling as my divine footprints graced the place I rarely deign to visit.
First up, the wash. Conducted in a chair that I will call the spondilytis-inducing torture-contraption. Three shampoo and rinse routines later, I was pretty sure I had little hair and no spinal cord left.
Then the cut. The owner of the parlour cut my hair herself. Four of her assistants stood in a silently reverential semicircle around us. Two minutes into the cutting, I felt like a patient on the operating table with a master surgeon taking a lesson in all vital organs-removalectomy. I begged for the radio to be switched on.
“You or We”, she asked. I wondered if I had dozed off and she had asked me to edit a sentence in the meantime. “Eh?” was my lucid reply. “U-cut or V-cut????” she asked. “You cut”, I said. Why should “we” cut? I am the one paying!
My hair has not been pulled, twisted, and pinned with such sadistic force in a year. My eyes popped out when the parlour lady asked why my hair was falling. “Because you are determined to yank it all out with your vice-grip and don’t tell me you were NOT grinding your teeth when you pulled the last time, you horrid freak”, my heart said. “Because of the weather”, my tongue mumbled.
In the history of haircutting, it is a noteworthy fact that the electricity goes off five minutes before my hair is due for blow-drying. I then walk out with wet hair, and a promise from the parlour that they owe me a drying. Last year’s is still due. I’ll have to grow another head to encash them both this time.The electricity is back. I am off to get my hair curled bimbo-style. If you hear someone singing “I’m a Barbie girl” maliciously, you know it’s me.


Today people are celebrating ashtami and navami (thanks to the warped lunar calendar, some people are celebrating Holi also). For years, ashtami and navami have stood for the sacred ritual that raises the festival from its temporal confines to cosmic heights: the kanjak.
If there is anyone who is not drooling already, kanjak involved aunties and uncles inviting nine little ladies to their home, washing their eighteen feet, serving pooris, chana, and halwa, tying a sacred thread around nine wrists, and giving the nine eager beavers a coin each. So as long as you are a little girl (exceptions are made for boys if they are godawfully cute) and people around you are the festival-observing types, it is heaven on earth.
I remember when Sis and I used to dress in our pretty clothes and join our friends to visit the aunties who had invited us over. We would take out plates along, so that we could carry back the goodies that would not fit into our tummy. (Mummies of little girls love kanjak too. It means there is no need to cook breakfast for anyone!) We would get our feet washed, giggling at the sight of portly uncles bending to perform this weird ritual. The number of sacred threads around the wrist was a status symbol. We would merely nibble at the food they lovingly served, making sure we have space in our tummy for the next house visit. Shiny coins were handed out, and we would mentally calculate how much more loot was needed for a bottle of Campa Cola and an icecream. We would thank our hosts profusely for furthering our noble cause of hedonism.
Six or seven such visits would exhaust us, not to mention the portly bending uncles and poori-frying aunties.
My folks were too radical for hosting a conventional kanjak. All the gang knew that when all the poori-chana-halwa hogging was over, it was time to go to Hek’s house, where auntie would hand out chocolates. No thread, foot washing, or coin-bribing. Straight-to-the-point chocolates.
Today, bunches of raggedy children are roaming around my locality. Daughters, and sons, of maidservants, labourers, watchmen etc are ringing doorbells very persistently and demanding to be fed. After getting the goodies, they vanish without a thank you. They are throwing plates and wrappers all over the staircase, despite being asked not to. Food served as prasad is lying half eaten on the floor. It’s a regular Halloween, but with a lot of litter. I am missing my kanjak.

October 07, 2004


Raat gyarah baje
Amma ke saath sair pe nikli

“Koi jo tumhein samjhega
Wahi tumse shaadi karega
Bachpana chhod do ab”

Haarsingaar ka phoo
lHaath mein kuchalte hue
Maine kuchh nahin kaha

Ghar aake dekha
Haath peeley ho gaye hain