September 30, 2005


Being in a college with seven thousand students is an overwhelming experience. And a college that is spread over a dozen buildings right in the middle of the city, with so much individual character and yet so little, is a maze through which I shall never figure my way.

It’s great to see how you can group seven thousand people using various filters, and come up with interesting results. The Gender group is a bunch of peppy young women whose education nobody on the planet is willing to subsidise. The Media group is a bunch of very very loud people in black clothes. The Accounting and Finance group is an illustration of the portent that between them, the Chinese and the Indians will soon take over the world. The Indian community will lapse into Hindi to make racist comments and will turn back to look at people kissing on the road. The newspaper committee will take notes assiduously. Ok. That’s a LOT of generalization. I’m sorry. But most of it is true.

Must get hold of a camera and start posting pictures. One of my friends has a digicam and is low on enthusiasm, so I think I should buy her lunch one of these days.

Two weeks, and I’m already losing touch with my friends back home. I even wrote them long emails, but they did not respond. And my mailbox at the reception is empty. Of course I get handed a lot of letters in this country, but they are mostly French.

September 27, 2005

Ram Ram!

God could not be everywhere, so he made chocolate mousse.
The Devil HAD to be everywhere, so there was pork gelatin in the mousse.
Five packs of the stuff now have to be given as a gift to the knock knock kid.
Hope the sixth one does not come out in reverse gear tonight.

Ram Ram!

God could not be everywhere, so he made chocolate mousse.
The Devil HAD to be everywhere, so there was pork gelatin in the mousse.
Five packs of the stuff now have to be given as a gift to the knock knock kid.
Hope the sixth one does not come out in reverse gear tonight.

September 26, 2005


  • I live next to Shakespeare’s Globe and yesterday I saw “The Winter’s Tale” in true groundling fashion, with my elbows propped on the stage. I can now die a happy person.

  • I can spend the rest of my life walking by the Thames (and even if I do that, I will not lose one gram of weight, thanks to the cheese and potato pie I had for dinner tonight.)

  • That text in parentheses reminds me that it is very easy to lose pounds in the UK. I’ve been losing about £15 every day since I came here.

  • There are people playing bagpipes on the road, people juggling while perched on a unicycle, people sketching the London Bridge, and people taking pictures of the Thames with their cameras perched on dustbins. All these people exist on the twenty-minute walk to college.

  • There is a notice I saw on the fire exit of a building today. It said: “This door is alarmed.” I wonder why. The city as a whole is pretty unruffled.

  • I’ve still not learnt how to be social and make friends. Now I am an international failure. :-)

  • I am ancient, a “feminist”, a non-party person, and am not looking for a boyfriend. That is not really an exciting profile, so I can expect to be reading by the Thames even at the end of the term.

  • The woman in the room next to mine is listening to a Kumar Sanu song. Do I really WANT to make friends here?

  • I’d rather be walking along the Thames than blogging right now.

In other news, the “knock-knock” kid did knock, and so I have someone to bug if I am willing to suspend my disgust. And oh, a big hug to the character who thinks that knocking someone means killing them off. Blessed are the Innocent, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Yours forever, Inky.

September 21, 2005

Hostile Hostel

Am living alone on the eighty-room third floor of the hostel tonight. Shudder Shudder.

What is more scary, though, is the assurance of the friendly Indian guy on the seventh floor that he will "knock me" tomorrow morning.

Stop laughing. He's here on a scholarship.

September 20, 2005

Change of Plans

Am no longer marrying a taxi driver at Heathrow and setting up a Dhaba. Now I am marrying a doctor in Liecester and setting up a takeaway joint. But this has to wait till I get my degree. Off to London morrow!

Quick Fact: In Liecester, you can buy a car for UK500 and then pay UK4 an hour to park it. They aren't even trying to find out where they went wrong!

September 17, 2005


Raah pe rehte hain, yaadon pe basar karte hain
Khush raho elhe-watan, hum to safar karte hain...
- Gulzar

This blog is being handed over to Inkyji Londonwali. Insha Allah you will hear from her soon.

September 16, 2005

Self Portrait


If this poster moves you to charity, my email ID is on the Profile page. All currencies are welcome.

September 13, 2005

Movie Review: Salaam Namaste

After sitting through horrors like Kal Ho Na Ho (In which Lillette Dubey was the only “ho”. Sorry. PJ.) and Main Hoon Na, I am weary weary scared of watching movies produced by Yash Chopra/Karan Johar. But I went for Salaam Namaste (SN). And did not regret it. (At this point, Rash leaves to book tickets, and Parmanu rushes to the Asian store for the DVD. Am not talking to both these people, because they saw Mangle Pandey).

Coming back to SN, I freely forgive Preity her shrieking and Saif his visibly advanced age. They are cool, and so is everyone else. The stupid teaser on TV is regressive; the movie is not. Living in is cool (of course, all cool things happen Utopic surroundings where Mummyji and the Big Bad Samaaj - MBBS - cannot reach: in the Forest of Arden if you are Shakespeare, in Switzerland if you are Yash Chopra, and in Australia if you are Yash Uncle’s prodigy.)  Any filmmaker who PAYS ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE THINGS AND TREATS EACH SCENE AS IMPORTANT deserves our money and our encouragement. Even if he rips ideas off Hollywood.

Can’t say too much without giving away the story or spoiling the fun, so go see SN. You have my blessings. If you have too much Pepsi, go pee during the songs. There are four useless ones.

September 12, 2005

Roadside Shayari

Dil se nichode hain aansoo par phir bhi yeh saste hain
Baadal to maheene bhar tarsaa ke ik baar baraste hain

Got drenched in fabulous rain today.
Coming up: Movie Review: Salaam Namaste

September 11, 2005

Viva la Vivah

Met a friend whose parents are worried sick about getting her married off. Her complicated extended family would rather hinder than help, and between her mother’s desire to have her married off in Delhi and her astrologer’s orders to see her married this year, the situation is a mess. To top it all, no advertisement has been placed in a matrimonial column yet.

Since I was staying with them overnight, I offered to write the advert, and everyone co-operated and the blasted thing was ready in an hour. I kept casting sidelong glances at my friend, and she did not cross over from mildly hostile into livid, so I guess she did not mind my interference. Insha Allah, the ad will appear in next week’s papers (don’t bother replying if you’re the sorts who reads this blog).

Opened the matrimonials section of the paper this morning to see if I can find a suitable match for her. Headed to the Punjabi Khatri section directly, skipping my regular favorite: the cosmopolitan section, which has the funniest ads. There are a good 50 eligible mundas willing to sacrifice their lives and happiness. They’re looking for exactly the kind of girl she is. They’re fabulous packages: all handsome, all rich, all well-educated, all from status flys (I love this expression). Horoscopes will cause ninety percent of them to be rejected. (Digression: I recently matched my parents’ horoscopes online, something their parents had neglected to do. They scored 10/36, and the “passing mark” is 18/36. They now conveniently blame their late parents for yoking them together). Those who make the cut will be rejected because they are shallow people or because their cars are too small, or their houses too big.

I thought the decision would be easy for normal, middle-of-the-road people. But no. Kaun Banega Meri Saheli Ka Pati seems to run on and on like an Ekta Kapoor soap!

September 10, 2005


I’m seeing teasers of movies and programs that will be telecast on TV after I’m gone. It feels strange.

A whole lot of things are happening for the last time before I go. It’s a death of sorts.

I’m dreaming the strangest of dreams every afternoon. Through them, I am realizing who are the people and what are the things that matter to me the most. I’ve become addicted to my afternoon nap because in this strange way, it gives me clarity.

Every time I have fled home in the past, it felt like a temporary break. This time I have a premonition that nothing is ever going to be the same again.

And yes: I have lost all my friends and loved ones to that stupid game I wrote about. Why did I have to post that link?

September 08, 2005


Anyone who clicks this will be found dead in his/her seat for lack of nutrition and fresh air, and for having resisted the urge to go to the bathroom far too long.
Also, your friends and loved ones will probably never talk to you again.
Remember, you have been warned.

Javedakhtar Stuckinmyhead

Saare sapne kahin kho gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

Dil se tanhaai ka dard jeeta
Kya kahein hum pe kya kya na beeta
Tum na aaye magar jo gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

Tumne humse kahin thi jo baatein
Unko dohraati hain gham ki raatein
Tumse milne ke din to gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

Koi shikva na koi gila hai
Tumse kab humko yeh gham mila hai
Haan naseeb apne hi so gaye
Hai hum kya se kya ho gaye

And if one's own supply of blues ain't enough to make it heartbreaking, some Iyer dude will indelibly link himself and his truckloads of woe with the song! No thanks man!

September 05, 2005

The Argument

Why did I get into a battle with the lady mentioned in the previous post? Well, she works for an organization that does ghost-work for people. I do not wish to get into the details, but people pay to get work done and pass it off as their own.

I casually remarked that this kind of work was inherently dishonest and based on treachery. It caters to a department of life that many, including me, hold in some esteem, and is not something I would like to be found cheating in. I went on to joke that if I made it my career, I would probably make it a lifelong source of income by blackmailing my clients after I had quit the job. (Ok. I am a Changeling.)

She first tried to convince me that since the service was being offered everywhere, it was not wrong. Sis and I insisted that everyone doing something does not make it correct. So the lady then said that if we are to be so moralistic, we should apply it to every area of our lives… never pay a bribe or “toe a line” to get anything done.

I beg to differ. I think we should choose our battles against the system of corruption. It is all very well to resist paying a bribe to get a phone connection one week early. It is foolhardiness to stand in a Haryana police station refusing to pay 50 bucks to get that FIR that is essential to save your ass in case a terrorist has got hold of your lost cellphone. Paying 250 bucks to the university for 5 extra marks in your revaluation is a crime. Making your mom stand in the queue for a duplicate marksheet because the lazy window clerk does not unnecessarily bully people with grey hair is intelligence.

Is getting a letter of recommendation to a university ghost-written by a professional the same as getting your mother to knit a sock for your SUPW homework? I am sorry, but I do not think so. I consider the letter of recommendation to be a document that should represent my worth correctly, and the stupid SUPW sock as a minor irritant forced upon me by a system that thinks I have time to knit stuff between preparing for my board examinations and retaining my sanity.

The lady went on to say that she had never ever paid a bribe and led a difficult life on her own terms. I replied that under those circumstances, her choice of a profession was even more starkly incorrect.

At this point she lost all respect for me. And she told me so in very eloquent language.

I did not argue further, but left the room.

So that’s that. Say something if you want to. And if you have lost respect for me, thanks for having had it in the first place.

September 04, 2005


I realized today that I live in a skewed world where everyone is young. There are no babies who need to be managed, no children who need to be straitjacketed, no middle aged people to be consulted, and no elderly people to be respected. Of course my parents are around, but Dad calls Mom “Murder” and she answers “Yo man!” so I categorize them as pals, not parents.

One of my teachers from school (she is Mom’s friend) came over for lunch today. I got into an argument with her. It ended quite bitterly, with her being very disturbed about the way I talked. I refuse to believe that my point was not valid, but perhaps the way I talked to her was not appropriate. She told me in no uncertain terms that she lost all respect for me today.

I realized with a shock that I have been shooting my mouth off indiscriminately for years now, because I am surrounded by people with whom I can get away with anything. Somewhere down the line, someone must have tried to teach me manners and etiquette, but they failed miserably. Most young people dismiss my blas√© behavior as an attitude issue, and those who don’t tolerate it slip out of my circle of acquaintances. So I’ve got this complacent feeling that all I’m saying is right.

This was a wake-up call. I do not wish to earn the respect of this lady back. But I need to rein in that vicious tongue of mine, before I cause serious damage.

I’ve always maintained that people who say “it’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it” are just making their last feeble jab after losing an argument. Apparently it is not so.

Mend thy ways Inky, mend thy ways now.

September 03, 2005


Was dragged to the cinema hall by the partially-educated fully-unemployed youth of my country to see “Iqbal”. Despite the rave reviews, I had my reservations. Anyone wishing to pelt me with stones is welcome, but I do not like Hyderabad Blues or Rockford. Kukunoor redeemed himself with Teen Deewarein, but I had assumed that was a flash in the pan.

No Sir! The man knows how to make a movie. A simple story with a handful of well-sketched characters and a predictable linear plot: that is the newest recipe for magic!

Don’t shake your head because you cannot figure out what part of the country the movie is set in. Don’t bother with the run-of-the-mill songs or the slight inconsistencies in the plot. And don’t burn the theater down because you see a crumpled Indian flag lying on the ground (Patriotism is not about yelling Mangal Mangal to wake up sleeping audiences ten minutes before they can walk free again).

Watch out for the acting. And the little touches that make you smile and wipe an occasional tear off your cheek. Watch a glamour-free world where women wear clothes and men do other things than trying to get rid of those clothes. Watch a movie about cricket that does not assume you are equally obsessed about the game. Watch the determination and triumph of a single spirit light up many lives. Including yours.

September 02, 2005

Back From Hades

At 3:45pm this afternoon, I died momentarily. I was in a half-sleep, the kind you are in when you’ve suddenly woken up from your siesta to scold you sister and warn her not to touch your “resting” laptop, and then gone back to sleep. In this half sleep, I was sitting in a caf√© in a corner seat with glass walls on both sides. Suddenly, I was pulled out of my body through the top of my head with such force that every un-epilated hair on my arm could feel pain of a most intense but non-excruciating kind. And there was white light everywhere. I tried to breathe but I could not. I could no longer feel my limbs but kept getting pulled into the white light. And a clear voice told me that I was dead.
But then the power went off and I woke up alive, feeling suffocated.