Friday, November 19, 2010

India Today

1.) Babus cannot impersonate war widows for too long.
2.) It's a colourfully vibrant and awe-inspiring spectrum. The two G's could mean gaffe (the whole episode) and gallows (for it remains to be seen whom). And we're all poised for 3G. We're so gullible.
3.) The news about America saying, "LOL, we were just kidding" about the UNSC permanent membership promise has been given the cold shoulder. We trust Obama even if he's taking his policy of change a bit too seriously.

Friday, October 08, 2010


Sometimes I wonder
If my life is a dream
And everything I value
I am making up

Sometimes I fear
that I will wake up
Realise there was nothing
Or worse, that the dream will continue

I know I'm tiresome when I get all wondery. I know all this sentimental nonsense is making you want to bury your computer in an unmarked grave and forget the location. But I can't help it. Bear with me.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Minor Irritations of Daily Life

There are times when you think all's well with the world, when you can't think of any grudges you have against anybody, when, in short, you are feeling on top of the world; and suddenly something strikes you and all your happiness evaporates: in my case, that something is grammatical and spelling errors anywhere and everywhere including, horror of horrors, in print.
Some sad examples:

The present's...packaging?

Thankfully, they don't teach English.
Proof-readers! Where are you all?
That spelling is a criminal offence.
Why don't I think that news is very good?

P.S. : It is true that these signs depressed me at first. But as soon as I had decided to put this up here, I kind of started looking out for them. :P It's fun.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


If I remember correctly (and I am too lazy to get up, open the book and check, so forgive me if I have got this all twisted) Osho said something about Picasso being a horrid painter because he vomited out all is madness into his paintings and therefore the paintings were madness personified. I am mentioning this because this blog post is going to run on similar lines: I am going to write everything I feel right now, and I am going to feel better after writing this. Writing a candid diary is no use because you never can be sure it won't be read; and if you have to be cryptic, you might as well make your writings public. So that is my justification for this piece, and in any case, the reader is strongly advised not to read further.

I feel vulnerable, like I am rope-walking, and if I am not careful, I might fall any moment. Don't you have this feeling sometimes that you have narrowly avoided disasters, and if you let your guard down for the tiniest amount of time, you might ruin everything you have? Like not being able to feel carefree, ever?

I know I have friends; I know I am loved. Yet I feel I am very close to dependence, or am already there. I am wondering what happened to the whole detachment philosophy I have been living under for so long. Will there be things that will be so frightening that they will make my life meaningless? I know it is within me to remain independent, mentally, not to need anyone to keep sane. But what if it all changes?

That's it, those are all the bad things I am feeling. The good things are that my life is a lot better than I ever thought it would be, but naturally, I want it to be still better. I see a very good future ahead, and lots of smiles, and lots of fun, not to mention success.

Life is good. Now.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle;
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.
Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel;
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass (And What Alice Found There)

Tweedledum and Tweedledee have been fighting over their rattle (which is also known as heaven on earth, incidentally) for a long enough time. They each have been claiming stake to its shikaras and its lake relentlessly. Let's hope that Nature in the form of a rather watery crow, which spells danger for both Tweedledum and Tweedledee, brings them back to their senses and makes them forget their, ah, quarrel. Unite against a common enemy, or at least cower together before it. Save your necks and run.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Waiting is Like Water

The water
Is ever-moving, flowing
Breathing life
Into a river.
Looked at from miles away
By an impassive eye,
The water is still
And the river is still
Like movement is unreal,
And the waiting is like water.

The rock
Is steadfast, immobile
Giving shape
To the river.
Looked at from a broader spectrum of time
By a knowing eye,
The rock is moving.
It is being eroded
By the water
And hope is like the rock
And the waiting is like water.

Yet the water cannot be stilled
Unless I am impassive
And the rock cannot be eroded
Unless I know
I choose to be impassive
And I choose not to know.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Writer's Block

When It comes and It hits you
And you feel all but creative
And your outlets for expression are but few
That is when opportunity knocks.

And you drive her away
You ignore her, offend her
Half-wishing she would stay
And make your work easier.

But your elders were right
When you were a kid, they
Told you hardwork was might
Creation was never on your agenda then.

Then opportunity, the vile woman
Goads you, mocks you, teases you
And you'd very much like to run
Never have to think your way out of It.

Then you turn sly
You appease opportunity
Coerce her to ally
And churn out a poem.

Because it is laughably easy
And very satisfying
To rhyme a-b-a-c
And not sound too lame.

Stubborn Confusions

Anyone who's been reading this blog for a decent amount of time and thinks I am not a member of a group called Spelling and Grammar Nazis is a nitwit. I'm not even apologizing for my seeming lack of manners, I am so mad. I discovered there are still some things I am confused about, and I am actually thinking of announcing a reward for the person who clears my doubts (though whether it will be a used pair of slippers or my old, out of order keyboard remains to be decided).

First: Why is it Mother's Day and Teacher's Day and Father's Day? These are days for all mothers and all teachers and all fathers; shouldn't the apostrophe be after the 's'? Or not? Why not? (I'm pretty sure I have you stumped there)

Second: Is 'okay' an adverb? Or rather, can it be used as an adverb? "Did you get home okay?"--isn't there something terribly, terribly wrong that jars like a note out of tune? Or not? Maybe not. Then again, maybe.

Third: Why don't we get rid of the rule about split infinitives? Word's style check makes some of my sentences look awkward. Split infinitives are fine. Language evolves. Not that we should add LOL to the dictionary, though. Most people don't even bother to capitalise that.

That's all that's bothering me right now. I will remember something I have forgotten soon enough, (hey, what an ambiguous sentence; remember soon enough or forgotten soon enough?) and I will have to create a new post. Dash it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

NO, I did not fail. YES, I am taking Arts.

Call it a black sheep, call it an underdog, call it The Road Not Taken: there is no escaping the fact that for the majority of people inhabiting India, taking Arts after tenth grade is distasteful, something to do when you have no option left, or when your marks (or grades, bless CBSE) are unmentionable.

Once you get used to this prejudice, though, and you learn to accept it, announcing your decision is actually quite fun. The politest reply I have ever got (excluding replies from people who actually know me) is "Don't tell me!" followed by a horrified stare. The most innocent one was, "But why?" and a look that suggested I had an answer that would solve all their doubts, that I wanted to do something out of the world. But after I shrug and say, indifferently, "I like it", they are just plain incredulous. "You like History? Alien." Except it's human History I like, in addition to languages, Economics, Political Science, Psychology and all the rest of the stuff. The very names of the subjects make me jump up and down in excitement and I can't wait to start studying.

People like friends of friends and aunties, who ask you what you intend to take for the sake of making conversation, find it either very unnerving or a closed subject when you mention Humanities. It's like the very stream is taboo.

I'm not writing this to enumerate the various career options Arts offers, or to bombard readers with examples of people who made it big "despite" taking Arts. I'm writing this simply to record my observations. There have been people, with the best of intentions, no doubt, who have tried to dissuade me. I have tried to be dissuaded, and have failed. I love Biology (the whole of biology, mind, don't go around getting narrow-minded ideas), but I love Arts more. And I don't even like Physics. I positively dislike Chemistry. And Maths, well, I don't hate it. I just don't like to practise. In other words, I'm lazy.

I don't have a well-charted career plan ahead. I am as clueless as the next man, possibly even more. But then life hardly respects your plans. All I can say in my defence is that if the world ends in 2012 (and it most likely will, if only due to global warming or an asteroid or an alien invasion), I will have studied subjects I enjoy studying.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Magic Cauldrons

If I talk about fantasy (punning's really not my thing, so you can stop saying, "Aha! I knew she wasn't Little-Miss-Innocent!) anymore, I risk being called an obsessed, repetitive keyboard-wielder who thinks she can type meaningful sentences. So I'm talking about magic. Magic cauldrons, to be precise. Containers in which you can add eye of eel, scale of dragon, liver of frog and fingernail of rat, stir it a bit, and hey! Here's Conglomeration of Success, which you can drink up at leisure and strut around town with your head held high and without a care in the world, except maybe the nagging question of which publisher you would honour with the manuscript of your autobiography.

Or maybe you could throw in hair of maggot, colony of plasmodium with a dash of decayed spring onion, shake the whole thing and gulp it down to be fully hit with the effects of Draught of Don't-Give-A-Damn. Following which you can smile at disapproving looks, dismissively nod at betrayal and ignore attempts made to make you famous as 'The Girl Who Never Stopped Crying."

However, magical cauldrons do not exist. Which is why imagination is so important. One must imagine one is drinking up Stir of Security or Potion of Peace or whatever it is that one wants. Whether you can actually feel the effects or not depends on how much you believe in your own magic (if you don't, drink Broth of Belief).

But do I much like the taste of eel-eyes? I don't know, never having tasted something so revolting, and I'd rather not try. Ditto for rat fingernails and maggot hair and all the rest of the trash. I don't even like to imagine the taste. I'd much rather stay miserable, oh yes. Alternatively, I could get the success for myself and stop caring myself. I don't need a cauldron. I have my own, and it's called people. I get this odd feeling of everything being all right with the world when I see people around me. The best part is, people don't want spring onions, decayed or otherwise. They just want you to exist...and be happy. Essence of Happiness, anyone? Put in people, lots of love and care, and smile at everyone.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

How fairy-tales lost their charm

As a child, fairy-tales fascinated me for only one reason: the evil stepmother. Cinderella had one, and so did Snow White. Sleeping Beauty was cursed by an evil witch, and so was Rapunzel. The wicked old woman was omnipresent, and I was intrigued by her. Now, however, I pity her. Her position is so understandable. She doubtlessly must have been a beautiful young woman once, earning all the admiration and, possibly, whistles. Way past her prime now, he only people who look at her are the servants, and that’s probably because they’re expecting a raise (silly them). Adding insult to injury, an impertinent young girl steals all her thunder. Every living soul is gung-ho about her; the King’s messengers can’t stop staring at her; and she’s perfect at every darn thing, including scrubbing the floor and growing her hair. As if these were not reasons enough to hate the so-called heroine, her family keeps getting in the way. Cinderella’s father died without writing a proper will, and you can’ blame her stepmother for keeping everything for her sadly ugly daughters, who were almost certainly discriminated against by their stepfather. But does anyone mention that? No. Cinderella is beautiful, you see, so she’s the wretched lass and she’s always right. End of discussion.
Sleeping Beauty’s parents did not invite a very accomplished enchantress for her birthday, and she was rightly angry. Rapunzel’s father stole carrots (or was it rhododendrons?) from the old woman’s garden. Surely forced imprisonment is no more a crime than thievery is? And surely an innocent little curse is not supposed to have such ramifications? The most virtuous ladies from Hindu mythology kept doing it (the cursing, I mean) and it always turned out to be for good. Not so for the poor fifty-something women of fairytales. Unfair, I cry myself hoarse.
I have strayed from my point. Which is, I recently read a fairytale. It was called The Prophecy of the Stones, and some of it did feel lifted straight from Harry Potter. But it was published in 2002, much before Rowling introduced the concepts that were similar. Be that as it may, this was traditional fare: ancient prophecies, lost identities, knights in shining armour, insurmountable evil et. al. I must consider the fact that it was written by a thirteen year old (originally in French). Very, very laudable. For once, the world of fairytales seemed desirable, not because of the knights, but because of pre-written destinies and happy endings. It feels so nice not to blame yourself for anything that happens and stoutly say, “It is written, and it’s all for the best.” Easy life.
Wait, there’s an anticlimax. Along comes a book called Eats, Shoots and Leaves, and all my starry-eyed dreams seem lowly and idle. Because, guess what, this book is about punctuation, and it’s very funny. It actually comes with a—gasp!—punctuation repair kit that includes stick-on commas. In an age when “your” and “you’re” can be freely interchanged (Bhagwan, uthalo), and when saying, “She went their” does not call for a death penalty, this is just what you need.
Lynne Truss, the author, says, “While other girls were out with boyfriends on Sunday afternoons, getting their necks disfigured by love bites, I was listening to a quiz [on the wireless] called Many a Slip, in which erudite and amusing contestants spotted grammatical errors in pieces of prose. […] Around the same time, when other girls were attending the Isle of Wight festival and having abortions, I bought a copy of Eric Partridge’s Usage and Abusage and covered it with sticky-backed plastic so it would last a lifetime.” Soul sister. Tweak that a little for me and it becomes, “When other girls were watching Dill Mill Gaye, I was reading Eats, Shoots, and Leaves.”
I suddenly see my destiny—climbing up signboards with whitening fluid and a permanent marker, and damaging other people’s private property. If I do get caught and am tried, I will look the judge in the eyes and say, “It is written.” Maktub.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Why I will miss Delhi

There's a group on Facebook called "Once you have lived in New Delhi, you cannot live anywhere else in the world". While that may not be all true (there are Delhiites who go gaga about Canada and Florida)and I can live in pretty much any part of the world, I have to admit I am going to miss Delhi. Because there are some things you won't ind anywhere else in the world, at least not in so pronounced a way, so definitive of a city.
These are just some of the things I'm going to miss (in alphabetical order, none of them is in any way more important than the other):

1.) Cycle-rickshaws
2.) Delhi Metro
3.) India Gate, Red Fort, Qutab Minar, etc. (the fact that you can go centuries back in History whenever you feel like it)
4.) Oxford Bookstore
5.) Parathe wali gali (Chandni Chowk)
6.) Punjabi (mixed with a plethora f other languages like Awadhi, Bundelkhandi and whatnot)
7.) Sarojini Nagar, CP, Dilli Haat, DC Janakpuri, Lutyens
8.) Schools which are more like meeting grounds for abuse-experts, models and people with (alleged) connections in the underground, despite everyone's insistence that they are 'temples of learning'.
9.) Stuck-up, pretentious and happy people (yes, that is praise).
10.)Tagging on either 'ji' or an expletive to every other word.
11.)Velapanti :P

Then again, who can rival Mumbai?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

And the award goes to...

What do I do when I am bored sick of Troublesome Trigonometry and Quirky Quadratic Equations? When Loathsome Linear Equations and Creepy Co-ordinate Geometry make me want to renounce the world and try to attain Nirvana? Of course, I put down my books, but what after that? No, I don't wait for the Oscars or the Filmfare awards. I give out my own awards! One clarification: These awards are not being given out to people, so consider your hopes of getting the award for "My Classiest Friend" or something similar as already dashed. How I love being a spoilsport! These awards are for the best and worst lyrics of all time.

Category: Most strikingly noticeable
Winner: Saanjh Dhale (Suresh Wadkar)
It says: Jugnu ka pat odhe aayegi raat abhi
Nishigandha ke sur mein keh degi baat sabhi

Category: Closest to reality
Winner: Main Pal Do Pal ka Shayar Hoon (Kabhi Kabhie)
It says: Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon
Pal do pal meri kahaani hai
Pal do pal meri hasti
Pal do pal meri jawaani hai

Category: Weirdest (yet fun)
Winners: a) Paisa (De Dana Dan)
It says: Hai sona bangla car bhi soni aish bohot dil karta hai
Mujhe ek baat ki samajh na aaye dil tere pe kyun marta hai
Ab jaan nikaalegi tu meri kya niyat hai teri
Main baarish kar doon paise ki jo tu ho jaye meri

b) Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji
It says: Bewajah baaton pe
Aiwein gaur kare

Category: What every depressed person should be singing
Winner: Chor Bazaari (Love Aaj Kal)
It says: Dekhke mujhko hansta gaata
Sad gayi ye duniya sad gayi

Category: Most quoted on Facebook
Winner: Hey Ya! (karthik Calling Karthik)
It says: Tumhe kaise main bataun, kya main paa gaya hoon
Tum jo mere saath ho
Mujhko duniya mil gayi hai, zindagi badal gayi hai
Tum jo mere saath ho

Category: Divine
Winner: Jashn-e-Bahaara (Jodhaa Akbar)
It says: Mulaqaton mein hai jaise ghul si gayi tanhaai

Category: These rocked Tenth B
Winners: a) Jaane Tu Jaane Na
It says: Tera mujhse hai pehle ka naata koi
Yun hi nahin dil lubhaata koi
Jaane tu...ya jaane na
Maane tu...ya maane na

b)Pyaar Hua Iqraar Hua (Shri 420)
Pyaar hua iqrar Hua hai
Pyaar se phir kyun darta hai dil (courtesy Shailendra!)

Category: What Were They Thinking?!
Winner: Jhagde (Ishq Bector and Rakhi Sawant)
It says: Tera Dakku Daddy kade warrant
Teri mummy badi blunt
Utton tu vi mare current

Jab tu mere ghar vi aandi
Meri maa se tu lad jaandi
Tu tho meri meri meri meri meri meri
Tu tho meri band bajandi

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ve[i]l-la Wars

"If you don't want to lift the veil, don't vote". Ground-breaking as it may sound, the Supreme Court ruling has not even the most remote significance towards secularism, as many people, including the man I worship, Jug Suraiya, seem to be suggesting.

It is just a matter of security and identification, and as such shouldn't be opposed by anyone. Getting a photograph clicked is not a big deal, and the guy at the polling booth isn't a predator. Then again, the decision should be left to the woman concerned to be made. No matter what Muslim groups say (and most of them are in favour of the court ruling), the decision is ultimately the woman's.

As for France, their decision is simply a violation of human rights. The hijab is not always forced on women, and individuals have the right to wear what they like, without being dictated by the government. Not being a Muslim myself, I really can't tell, but a suggested reading is "Does My Head Look Big In This?" by Randa Abel-Fattah.

Friday, February 12, 2010

You lose, Mr. Darcy...

The first time I read Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen didn't seem like the wonderful writer I had heard her to be. I was, after all, 11 at the time. Apart from the fact that I didn't get much of her sense of humour, I really didn't understand what was so great about Mr. Darcy.

Then I saw the movie (with Aishwarya, I remember), and was bowled over. I saw all the chivalry Darcy was known for, and resolved never to criticise Jane Austen again.

A few days ago, I read Sense and Sensibility. It is one of Austen's lesser known works, but it is much better than Pride and Prejudice. Don't get me wrong--Pride and Prejudice has its very own place in every girl's heart. But Sense and Sensibility is much more...sensible. Or perhaps "realistic" is the word I'm looking for. It has no perfect gentleman Mr. Darcy, no just-enough intelligent Elizabeth Bennet, and no super-rich suitors. It has just ordinary characters, and though Elior is too patient sometimes, Marianne Dashwood's character is the best-drawn. It showcases all sorts of human hypocrisy and folly, and Austen's place in my list of "Best Authors of All Time" is reserved. I am currently reading Northanger Abbey, and I must say it is the best satire written during Austen's times. Highly recommended.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Here I go...

People have been telling me to blog; people have been telling me not to blog. That's just how people are: always contradicting each other, and leaving me in a confused state of mind. That's my favourite state of mind, in case you wanted to know (different people, different wants). Blog posts are supposed to be either funny or intelligent or (if Wodehouse started blogging) both. You don't know who Wodehouse is? I banish you from my purely Wodehouse-loving territory! Go and read some boring blog about a woman ranting about how her kids don't listen to her or something...

However, if we started talking about how blog posts are supposed to be, don't be surprised to know that I DON"T care how they're "supposed" to be. If you know me, or if you are risking your sanity in going forth and getting to know me, you would be content to read whatever insipid and uninteresting things I post here.

Then again, my heart's not completely in this. I have the Board exams to worry about, and somehow I can't think of them without simultaneously thinking about the oft-used phrase "Bhaad mein jaye". I shouldn't talk about exams, though. I didn't start blogging to talk about examinations. Certainly not. I swear I didn't. Really.

Parting warning: expect sarcasm, raillery and venom from me in future posts. Toodles!
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