May 30, 2005


What kind of a world are we living in when one has to think twice before handing the courier guy a glass of water because one is alone at home and will have to open the door to do it? It is 40 degrees outside and all warmth is fled from the world.

May 29, 2005

Meeting Your Match

While Amrita Thapar is going through the "swimwear" round, The Times Of India has organized "swayamvars" throughout Delhi today. At various appropriate locations, Malayali, Andhrite, Bengali and Punjabi prospective brides and grooms can check out each other, with family in tow. It is a remarkable effort on the part of this selfless organization to promote holy matrimony among people of similar backgrounds, for these are the only kinds of relationships that can last, no matter what these brainless youngsters of the twenty-first century think.

So I am putting on sequined red salwar kameez and going with mummy and daddy to Laxmi Narayan Temple in Lajpat Nagar, with my degrees and horrorscope in a pretty Nalli Sarees paper bag, and we will meet nice Punjabi boys there. Mummy is also carrying hamper with my needlework sample and a dabba of rajma prepared by me this morning only. Dad is carrying bank statement and Income tax return papers. I am not taking sister because she is prettier and in any case she has to wait till I am married. God willing, my brand new hubby and I will carry the hamper in our Maruti van at the next swayamvar when we go to parade her.

Ok ok. Now I am getting late. The beauty parlour lady is waiting. I have appointment. Wish me luck. Bye.

May 28, 2005


I was cleaning up my mailbox today, and randomly reading old letters before deleting them all. This poem by Faiz peeped out of a letter dated March 15, 2004:

Farz karo hum ehl-e-wafa hon, Farz karo deewane hon
Farz karo ye dono baatein jhooti hon afsane hon
Farz karo ye ji ji bipta ji se jor sunai ho
Farz karo abhi aur ho itni, aadhi hum ne chupai ho
Farz karo tumhe khush karne ke dhoonde hum ne bahane
Farz karo ye nain tumhare sach much ke mai-khane hon
Farz karo ye rog ho jhoota, jhooti preet humari ho
Farz karo is preet ke rog main sans bhi hum par bhari
Farz karo ye jog bajog ka dhong hum ne rachaya ho
Farz karo bas yehi haqeeqat baaki sab kuch maya ho

May 26, 2005

Meme Tootoo

Deepak passed me a musical meme, and Beethoven might have done it himself for all I know. Gulp. This law of keeping memes going had better be a sacred one, or I am making a fool of myself for nothing.
I am about as musically inclined as a deaf frog with tonsillitis. Most of the music I listen to is because it comes free with my favorite lyrics. It is a malaise that, with some help, I could perhaps remedy. Anyways, here goes:

Total volume of music on my computer: 0MB. I listen to tapes and CDs on my music system.

The last CD I brought: Bazaar/Umrao Jaan. I’d been borrowing the CD from my Bong neighbor while I was in Pune. Needed my own copy to salvage self-respect. In an interview on Doordarshan, Khayyam was recently reminiscing about the composition of these songs, and it was a pleasure to hear him speak.

Song playing right now: None. The sound of clothes being washed by the maid. Slam Blam Squish. I love the squish part.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me: This should be the easy part:

1. Is mod se jaate hain: From Aandhi. Gulzar/RD. In reshmi raahon mein ik raah to who hogi, tum tak jo pahunchti hai, is mod se jaati hai.

2. Tujhse naraaz nahin zindagi: From Masoom. Gulzar/RD. Zindagi tere gham ne humein rishtey naye samjhaaye. Mile to humein dhoop mein mile, chhaon ke thande saaye.

3. Jeene ke ishaare mil gaye: From Phir Milenge. Prasoon Joshi/Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Meri lau hawaon se jhagad ke ji uthi. Mere har andhere ko ujaale pi gaye.

4. Ik haseen nigaah ka: Maya Memsaab. Gulzar/Hridaynath Mangeshkar. Teri neeli aankhon ke bhanwar bade haseen hain. Doob jaane do mujhe, yeh khwabon ki zameen hai.

5. Chhupa lo yun dil mein pyar mera: Majrooh/Roshan/Hemant Kumar/Lata Mangeshkar. It’s from the film Mamta, and practically nobody has heard it. My all-time favorite romantic (?) song.

Passing the baton on to:


Read this somewhere today. The author definitely had me in mind:

"u know shit about love. even if love jumped
and bit u in the arse u wouldnt know. so stop talking
about it."

May 25, 2005


I never thought of Sunil Dutt as a phenomenal actor. He was always too much himself, from Birju in Mother India to Babuji in Munnabhai. I was always fascinated by his love story, and his marriage to a woman who was, is, and will always be remembered as another man’s love.

Her death, and the subsequent turmoil he went through because of his son, did not shatter the man. He remained dignified in a way few could have managed. Today, where Amitabh Bachchan and Gulzar are seen rushing to his residence, Manmohan Singh is also making an appearance. Throughout the day, the media has been capturing every famous face that has been seen offering condolences to the Dutt family. And though it is a day when people are expected to say good things about the departed soul, one can feel that neither the onscreen performers nor the offscreen khadi-clad ones are putting in any effort to praise Sunil Dutt.

They say that dying in your sleep is the best gift God can give you. And for having borne so much so gracefully, it is a gift Sunil Dutt justly deserved.

May God give us all the courage and fortitude to face with dignity what life throws at us.

Rest in peace, Mr Dutt.

May 23, 2005


This morning I woke up at six-thirty and decided to go out for a stroll. The biggest adventure of my life this fortnight. As I stepped out of the house, I realized that even at this early hour, there was to be no respite from the heat in this city. Escorted by my mom who wanted to hold my hand in case I fainted (love you mom), I stepped out on to the road, and realized how memory wipes out tiny details no matter how hard you try to remember things you left behind at home.

There was a swarm of orange insects on the road. Hundreds, thousands of freaky orange bugs that had never been seen until about five years ago. Each summer, they appear in larger numbers now. Furiously walking about the road, and flying in slow motion about waist-high. Walkers and joggers have already crushed a considerable number of them, and the road is splotched with orange pulp. Those that are alive are scuttling about in a great hurry.

These insects disturb me a lot. They look like the products of evolution gone awry in a world polluted beyond redemption. They remind me of everything that’s wrong with the world, and of everything that I’ve done to add to the wrong.

Further into the walk, I saw the weaver birds. They’ve built their nests in a palm tree planted by a farmhouse owner at the entrance of his home. The tree is as comfortable as palms can be in Delhi, and the nests hang precariously from dried and yellowing palm fronds. The birds used to build their nests in another, more suitable tree in a vacant plot nearby, but that tree is gone. One dust-storm over the next couple of weeks will bring the nests to the ground. Love’s labour lost.

One driving school car crawled past. A nervous young man was putting his whole weight on the accelerator. He left the sickening stench of half-burnt fuel in his wake. I felt like picking up a stone and smashing the car’s glass.

Mom said I looked tired after the walk. I did not argue.From tomorrow, I will do what I need to retain my sanity. I will walk at night.

May 21, 2005

The Big O

Is Omnipotence. The ability to watch whichever television channel you want. Seventy channels jostling for your attention and the remote control established securely in your vicinity. A whole TV to yourself. And one press of a red button aptly named “power” can take you into seventy different lands of: poop.

As a visitor into television land, my only question to the world is: why ain’t there nothing to watch on TV? If Negar Khan makes that mousy man win another round of roulette on any channel, I will scream my yellow lungs out! If Mallika Sherawat does not stop carrying her mammaries around like boiled eggs on a breakfast tray on EVERY news channel, my liver will soon sustain permanent damage! And when I said I looooved Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, I did NOT mean I wanted to see the movie three times a day, every day! And WHAT happened to Monday laughs on Star World? How many sets of crazy teens and hassled parents am I supposed to keep up with, apart from my own home situation???? Chugs says the Simpsons are his favourites, but you know what? They’re all yellow. Yellow ain’t funny to me! No sir! Yellow ain’t funny at all.

So I’m watching Pogo and the Disney Channel. Non-violent animated fun for cerebral ages 0-4. My kinda TV. Bob the Builder speaks very good Hindi for someone from his topographical location. So do his trucks. Catch them if you get a chance.

Update: Someone with the TV IQ of Stephen Hawking points out that it's the "petite" Sanober Kabir, and not Negar Khan, who makes mousy man win roulette. Thanks for the correction!

May 18, 2005


If you’ve seen “Kaal”, you must remember the owl with yellow eyes that pops on screen whenever something stupid is about to happen, which is every two minutes. I look like the yellow-eyed owl these days!

How crazy is it to believe that the illness you are afflicted with is a result of the suffering you caused someone who did nothing to deserve it?
I’m totally with the Total Liver Function tests and stuff, but there’s a nagging doubt that all this is because I caused serious misery to someone.

Too weak to think straight or post coherently. Back soon, Insha Allah.


May 15, 2005


Mom’s full time occupation now is to provide fruit/juice/bland food/rasgullas (sterilized by boiling and re-cooling) to her ailing child. Helping her in this mission is a variety of maids, who are auditioning for a position in our household these days. A new specimen presents herself everyday, and gets hell for not meeting mom’s stringent standards for maids, as laid down in the “Complete encyclopedia of excellent maid conduct”, published by my mom in fifteen volumes of three kilos each.

And with that I earn a one-way ticket to hell for my devilish digs at mom at this juncture.

So anyways, one Bong maid turns up one day to work in our house. The next day, she does not show up (offence punishable by immediate termination vide Law 13a.34.f.) Later the next day, she turns up and mom screams as soon as she opens the door:

“What has happened to you! You look ill! You have a fever! Your eyes are yellow! You have! Omigod! You know what you have? What is it called in Bangla when you have fever and yellow eyes?”

The maid said groggily, “jaundice”.

For the record, I have nothing to do with it. She’s had it longer than I’ve been in the city. And in any case, passing on debilitating diseases to the maid is punishable by death in my house.

May 14, 2005

The John Dis Diaries

So I'm getting used to the fact that I am now in Delhi. There are five FM radio stations! (And it's 98.3FM, not 93.9FM) And the newspaper is full of crime stories. And outside the window there is a building, not a forest.
And even though there are four rooms in the house now, everyone is in the living room yelling at the top of their voices all day. And dogs sing songs outside the window all night.
I have books, music, cable TV, internet, cellphone, family and friends.
I'm lovin it!

May 12, 2005

Meet John Dis

Apart from the constant urge to puke my guts out, I’m quite enjoying this jaundice thing.

It began with Chugs, and Ma, and all my Pune friends fussing over me as I progressively sank into fever and malaise. It was confirmed by a chap who is my absolute sweetheart now for having drawn blood from my elusive veins painlessly in the first attempt (in case I am too wonky by the time I get there for my next test, remember I need to ask for Javed.)

And gigabytes of sympathy and advice have been pouring in. everyone thinks a fortnight spent sleeping at this stage is a good idea, and that’s what I am doing. I’m consuming more fruit, juice, and rasogollas (sterilized) than five diabetics could in their dreams. I’ve been quarantined, so I’m not missing the obscene amounts of personal space I’ve left behind in Pune.

More details later, I can feel myself slipping into sleep.

May 10, 2005

Rang De Basanti

When we reached home from the airport, we parked the car under the amaltas tree. Even at night, I could see the beautiful bunches of yellow with which the slender branches were laden.
The first thing that mom unpacked when we got home were the alphonso mangoes she had purchased in Pune, and the fragrance of the yellow fruit was intoxicating.
The next morning was cloudless, and warm golden sunlight permeated the house and lit up the freshly painted cream coloured walls.
Sis showed off pictures she had clicked of a sunflower field. Bright blossoms smiled at me from the photo album.
Ok enough of the gushing. This is not a celebratory entry.

This evening I was diagnosed with jaundice.

May 08, 2005


So then my Mom came over, and packed my world into thirteen bags, and scooped my pathetic, semi-solid self into a spoon, and brought me back to Delhi.
I am home.

May 04, 2005