Thursday, December 09, 2010

High up in the Sky

It is a "my-breath-rushes-out-and-my-heart-skips-a-beat" experience. To rise through a dull and misty fog on an overcast, dark day and suddenly glimpse heaven. I have done that, with my nose pressed firmly to the tiny window, which invariably mists over with my afore-mentioned rushed-out-breath. That precise moment when I rise right above the clouds as they hang there in mid-air, in suspended animation, as if they are mighty surprised to find a non-cloud in their midst. When I am gently speeding past the fluffy landscape of clouds and wondering if they will indeed be as soft to the touch as they appear, it makes me feel so tiny and yet so blessed, like I am special :)
This time around it was an even more special sight. Moon mania is all very well, but lately I seem to have been captivated by the sun. Watching the sun rise, its blinding brightness and its warmth seeping into the clouds, making them seem translucent, making them come alive, was a delight!
The glaring, glowing sun, the black and golden clouds and the cold blue skies are like a study in contrasts. There are of course times when the clouds have been angrily thunderous, just waiting to spark and roar, while the sky looks darkly blue and black. Yet they are wondrous, in all their savage beauty. They never frighten me, because they never intend to do so. They just are. That is something to learn. To just be. Yourself. Alive.

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious.  
And why shouldn't it be? It is the same the angels breathe.  
~Mark Twain

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quicksilver thoughts

Is it the season for ups and downs? For mercurial flashes of temper followed by even brighter sparks of good humour? It is akin to riding a roller-coaster with all brakes inexplicably nonexistent. So many inputs. Friends' troubles, my emotions and their unpredictability, people's reactions and their predictability, my frustrations, and eventually better perspectives and the chance to laugh at it all.
Is it always essential to live life at full speed, rushing headlong into everything even while envying others their calm and undisturbed tempers? It means that I love with all my being, I hate with all of it too. I laugh, cry, shout, scream and react with my head and heart all jumbled in between. This way is exhaustive but fun. Perhaps it beats the 'consider, pause, observe, contemplate and then react' kind of situation. But it sure leaves me drained. Of energy, of spirit, of strength. I need to then phase out, withdraw and replenish.
Everything just has to be intense, extreme. It makes me long for Zen-like calm. Someday I hope to achieve that. Serenity, Tranquility, Peace. The ability to remain completely motionless, in mind and body. 
Till then, here's to madness and the whirlwinds. To the waves that come and go. To the winds that blow everything away. To rains that crash down with thunder, yet leave all behind them, clean and green. Here's to living every moment to the fullest and knowing that the tears and the laughter shall mingle, and together shall make life seem kaleidoscopic, filled with umpteen fleeting designs and colours.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tales of Tales

Some memories are precious indeed ... and so many of mine are immersed in the pages of long beloved and much treasured books. It is well nigh impossible to pick only a few books from the many that I have fallen in love with. Yet, having decided to relive my first experiences with atleast a few books, here goes ...

A. A. Milne's 'Winnie-The-Pooh' was a childhood favourite. Of Pooh coming down the stairs upside-down with Christopher Robin every morning and wondering if there wasn't any other way down the stairs even while banging his head on each stair. By which time they would generally be downstairs already so it wouldn't matter any more and they would be ready to set off on a new adventure. Pooh's immense love for honey, Eeyore hunting for his lost tail, Piglet and Pooh's friendship and their fascination with Roo and Kanga, Owl's apparent wisdom, the entire Rabbit family and oooh, the Heffalump! Tra-la-la, tra la-la, Tra-la-la, tra la-la, Rum-tum-tiddle-um-tum, Tiddle-iddle, tiddle-iddle, Rum-tum-tum-tiddle-um. And best of all, aai telling me Winnie-the-Pooh stories over and over again when I was too young to read ... ensuring that I fell in love with the characters and imagined them in my own rich, fantasy-filled world every time I did read the stories myself.

Another book I remember being absolutely in love with was Gerald Durrell's 'Rosy is my Relative'. It was so engrossing that it became utterly impossible for me to keep the book down and I had to finish it in one go. It is mighty difficult to pick a favourite scene ... Adrain's surprise at being bequeathed a drink-loving, yet gentle-tempered elephant. The myriad characters he encounters on his journey to the sea-side to sell off Rosy. The ballroom escapade with Rosy pulling down the chandeliers and the pantomime disaster. The court room scenes with the lawyers and the jury and the judge all confused and yet plodding along...  Adrain's love for Samantha, Rosy's love for drink and everybody else's love for utter bedlam made for one of the best reads in my life ever!

Durrell's 'My Family and Other Animals' and 'Birds, Beasts and Relatives' were enjoyable too, not just because of his unintentionally hilarious family but because of his descriptive style of writing. Strawberry-pink villas, forests full of olive trees, loud Greeks and their love for life, food and wine ... Corfu came alive in Durrell's books and his friends, mother, brothers and sister made his animal adventures even more exciting and lively. I am sure the puns in his titles were absolutely intended. He introduced me to phrases like 'deliciously sick' and 'forests that chirped and came alive' and I have been a Durrell fan ever since.

Enid Blyton's books ... Malory Towers, St. Clares, Five Find-outers, Famous Five, The Magic Faraway Tree, and umpteen other awesome books were the stuff that kept me sane during school holidays. A book a day was the norm and I am so thankful that there were good lending libraries in the area I grew up in ... and that my parents were ardent book lovers too, always believing that a book was of course the best gift ever! Blyton's stories have a charm, and though many have criticized her writings for their orthodox style and the implied anti-feminism or discrimination, I do not believe a child will ever be negatively affected by her stories unless an over-smart grown up tries to prejudice the young reader. Her tales are simple, imaginative and full of life. Harry Potter came along much later; magical stories for young adults have been around for far too long before J. K. Rowling wrote her books.

Classics such as Hitchhiker's Guide, Jane Eyre, Mill on the Floss, David Copperfield, Pride and Prejudice, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and so many others have all been on my book shelf at some time or the other. Later I found John Grisham, Arthur Hailey, Jeffery Archer, Ayn Rand and its been an ongoing journey of discovery. Every visit to a book store brings the realization that there is so much I have never read! Over the years, I have forgotten the names of some of the people who introduced me to each new genre. But they enriched my life and made sure that as long as I can read books, I shall never be lonely here. Novels, short-stories, autobiographies, travelogues, diaries ... so many forms of writing. Sometimes I wish that life could be a long long summer vacation and I could just curl up in a comfy chair and read, with no regard for the passing of time and the oh-so-important work and life that constantly await us.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


IISc Marathi Mandal rocks at the Ganeshotsav One-act play Competition organized by Maharashtra Mandal, Bangalore!
We had put up a play at the Competition this year (16th September 2010). It was the first time we participated at this event.
There were five of us on-stage and an incredibly awesome team back-stage and it was a seriously thrilling, exhilarating experience!
And like dark-chocolate-mouth-watering icing on a super-delicious cake, we won the top prizes in all categories except script-writing since that we had borrowed (though it was wholeheartedly modified a lot with creative inputs from Anirudha, Anup, Shantanu, Pramod and poetic contributions from Amrut). Three cheers for the original script writer though!

1. Best Drama (One-act play) - Artificial Intelligence
2. Best Director(s) - Anirudha and Anup
3. Best Actor (Male) - Anirudha
4. Best Actor Runner-up (Female) - Jahnavi
5. Best Supporting Actor (Male) - Anup
6. Best Sets/Background - Madhumita, Nivedita, Vishal, Siddharth, Atul, Bharat, Nagraj
7. Best Sound/Music arrangement - Abhijit, Shantanu, Amrut, Harshawardhan, Siddharth
8. Best Light arrangement - Ravi

This has been one of the "funnest" times ever! Hip Hip hooray!
आवाज कुणाचा? आय. आय. एस सी.चा!

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Stage

Dark spaces everywhere,
Muted whispers in the air.
Faceless entities floating around,
Anxious flutters all abound.

Bells ring, curtains are drawn.
Flood of light ... the play's on.
Charged spaces, myriad characters,
A story told, amid tears and laughter.

Captive audiences, 
Fleeting emotions.
Of stolen glances, 
Actions and reactions.

Silences that speak aloud
Faces that talk to the crowd
Real and unreal converge,
And all my worlds seem to merge...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A matter of trust

Returning from an errand, I met a rickshaw-wallah the other day, who set me thinking. Upon being told my destination, he was full of questions. About my place of study, where I come from, whether the courses are difficult, the accommodation, the campus, the admission process, the composition of the student community and so on. I was a little reluctant to answer his questions and evaded them in what I thought was a skillful manner. You don't go around divulging personal details to absolute strangers, do you?
Having managed to try and give monosyllabic answers for most of his questions, I was almost patting myself on the back when he turned around and apologized for his inquisitiveness.
"Madam, my son an engineer. He study here, but now job in Pune. Good job. Very proud. Hard work, you know. I want him to study more. So asking you. Sorry, madam if you don't like it."

I was ready to dig a hole through the floor of his rickshaw and allow the earth to swallow me up, metaphorically speaking. What kind of person had I turned into if I had allowed my essential niceness to be swallowed up in the safety drill!?!

Why is it that we are taught to not trust strangers? We are born with the ability to look at the world like it is full of the most innocent and beautiful people. It is as we grow up that the prejudices set in, become ingrained in to our psyche and we turn into suspicious, small-minded adults! I hate the fact that the minute I see a stranger staring or a slightly different/weird looking individual walking by me in a slightly lonely locality, the thought immediately crosses my mind that this person might mean some harm and I should be ready to face anything. I should be careful, mindful of my own safety and so on.

And then the guilt crashes in. That such thoughts come visiting. Perhaps they are important in today's world. But that human beings have lost such faith in others of their own kind is disturbing. It is not fair to the other person or people. I would hate it if anybody thought such awful stuff about me for no particular reason. I would hate it even more if perfectly innocent people who just happened to be around, minding their own business, or perhaps even wondering if I am a safe person while passing me by, could look into my head and read my thoughts.

It is sometimes difficult to follow all the rules of this world. At least in the present day and age...
What are we always told about strangers right from the time we are kids? DON'T talk to strangers. Strangers can be bad, can be cruel, can mean trouble. Stay away from them. Very important life lesson indeed. Especially when one considers the statistics about crimes where children and women more especially, and even men in many cases, are the victims. Strangers can indeed be dangerous, at times.

But when is the "no strangers" rule supposed to be eased a little bit? At what age is one supposed to be grown up and able enough to judge people, especially strangers? Because every new person is a stranger and many might turn out to be people you could treasure, awesome people. And doubting them to begin with does not make for a happy time ahead, in fact, might mean driving away the very people who might be meant to travel the roads with you...

Somehow we need to strike the perfect balance between staying safe and away from harm even while being good human beings, who trust and judge correctly. That, I believe, is the essence of all that growing up, maturity and wisdom. Perhaps life and experience teaches you this, it is not something you can learn in a class or from a  book about morals and values. This might be why our parents and grandparents seem so much wiser. They have seen, lived and learnt, a process that takes patience and time. But having to live in a fast-forwarded world today, where we have so little time to invest in wisdom, we forget to learn. Perhaps every now and then, I ought to stop and think for myself if I am the kind of person I like. Then I might yet end up the kind of person I could like if I ever met myself as a stranger...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Constant Change

Change is supposed to make life more interesting. Change is necessary for life. Change is good. Change is the way of the world.
Seasons change and each one seems to enthrall me.
Winter with its bone chilling cold and the pleasures of snuggling under blankets or the stylish layering of colourful sweaters and scarves and hats. It brings along the Festival of Lights and heart-warming sweets and and the Christmas spirit and the New year.
And then, before you even know it, Spring has crept up upon you and the world is a riot of smells, flowers and colours and chirping birds and myriad shades of green everywhere you look! At times i wish i were a painter and could capture the feelings that arise within me and put them down on paper with just a brush-stroke!
Even while the birds are yet singing their songs and the flowers are still peeking out, Summer announces itself with its sweltering heat and constant sticky sweatiness and sweet, cold long drinks and ice-lollies and unending ice-creams and the squeaking of the fan spinning at full speed.
Summer showers remind me of the fact that there is yet an entire lovely season to look forward to. In India, we call it the Rainy season :) I simply rejoice in the rains. If i were a poet i could write something about the rains watering my soul and so on...
The dark grey clouds sweeping into the blue skies majestically, the expectant stillness of the air, the rolls of thunder and a stray flash of lightening and then the first sweet raindrops. How many of you have stood still and just spent a moment inhaling the scent of the first rains as they hit the dry parched earth? I am sure you will agree with me that it is perhaps one of the most enticing smells ever! And then the sheets of water cascade. The pitter-patter changes to relentless thundering and i wish that the seasons would never change...

I have often wished that i could willfully choose some changes and completely wish away others.
I love my life as it is right now, the predictability of certain things, the routine, the responses of the people in my life, the people themselves! We always take so many aspects of our lives for granted. The family we are born into, the places we have lived in, friends, home, the choices we made, the freedom to make those choices, our right to self-involvement, everything! But then i would never be able to experience the differences that the changes bring along, the new experiences. Twelve months of rain would perhaps bore me. It is the fact that winter and summer and spring and rain come and go that they seem so interesting. Like having something to look forward to. So here's to wishing for a lifetime of changes and the joy of looking forward to each as if it were a new adventure :)

Friday, June 18, 2010


It feels nice to be surrounded by people who always like me or at least seem to do so. People who say nice things, think i am sweet and charming, who promise to be there for me if i shall ever need them, albeit, in the future. But the danger is that, i get used to all this "niceness". Even while knowing that it probably is not all real. So much so that, when a person that really cares stops me on the way and hands out a few home truths, my ability to listen and understand seems to have disappeared. Apparently too much of the good stuff makes me "highly sensitive"! Criticism becomes difficult to handle if one has gotten too used to praise and flattery. Even when the chiding and the good advice come from sane, sensible people that I know really care for me. Only because they never show it in the over-the-top way that seems to be the fashion today.

I might know what is good for me, the problem is, what is good is not always comfortable and happy-go-lucky. It pricks and hurts and exposes my flaws. Makes me not like myself for a while. And not liking myself, not being happy with the person i am is terrible. It keeps haunting me... have i really turned into a so-and-so kind of person? On the other hand, questioning myself helps. Keeps me grounded. Tries to not let me get a balloon head or become terribly hoity-toity! Most of the times :)

Do you also believe that it is way more important that you be able to like yourself, really know that you are worthy of something or someone... more important than all the lovely things the entire damned world might think or say about you?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Saying it right

When you decide to say sorry, it only makes sense to do so if you do it right. That is, you realize you have completely messed up and you need to apologize big time, but if you do it in a half-hearted fashion, or with conditions attached, then it is absolutely pointless!

I have met people who have said their sorrys even while stressing (ok, perhaps just hinting) that they are still in the right and that they have the complete and full right to mess up, yet are saying the words because it is the expected thing. Back off! You just don't have to say sorry that way. It is useless. It makes no one feel any better. You are still upset because you think the situation is forcing you to apologize and  you are not making the other person feel any better since they can always tell your feelings are not genuine! So it is far far better to just shut up, get over the hurt feelings either way and then come back later and say a real sorry that you mean and that comes from your heart. Not one to save your face or just patch up or just because somebody else thinks you should say so.

And mind you, it is not easy to let yourself become so vulnerable and actually be able to get those words out. I think if you can't do it right face to face, it is perhaps an option to show just by your actions that you have realized your mistake and want to make amends. That gives the other persons some time to think too. But whatever the situation, the very minute you realize you are actually in the wrong and you have been able to at least see the other perspectives, you ought to make those amends really quick. Like asap! It makes you feel a whole lot lighter, better, happier :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This and that...

Here is a list of stuff I love, on either side of the or ...

Fireflies or fairy lights
Passionate moments or everyday romance
Succinct short stories or long engrossing novels
One bosom friend or many acquaintances
Everyday internet chats or a day of face to face silence
Saving face or letting go and laughing at yourself
Risking and losing all or safe no-risk ways
Long summery days or sweet winter nights
Joys of solitude or loneliness amongst crowds
Telling a lie to comfort or telling the truth and then offering your shoulder
Drenched in the rain or being dry under a shared umbrella

My favourite one, and currently the most difficult:
Hit the gym or grab the chocolate :D

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rainy quotes

Its been pouring down all evening and I am drenched. Drenched in rain, in happiness, in mad laughter and that slight twinge of sorrow just coz I cannot capture this moment in time and send it along to far away places. Are you ever too grown up to stop loving the rain? I hope not, ever!

Doesn't everybody have their own memories of rain? Memories of coming back from school splashing through puddles, of paper boats and road side rivers, of aai making a delicious hot snack even while scolding you for getting all wet, of riding the scooter with baba through streets flooded with water. Nursing cups of steaming chai while watching the rain streaming down glass panes, of two people sharing one umbrella. Of train rides, mountain sides, tea gardens, beach trips with the family. Watching the rain pelt the sea with gigantic drops, waves rising and falling, almost as if the sea were in torment. Of trees swaying and winds whistling. Hailstones. Thunder and lightning. Peacocks in their glory, albeit, at the zoo. And later, the glistening droplets left behind on leaves, the chocolatey-brown muddy water, the squishy canvas shoes and dripping hair and dresses :)

Rains are good, they nourish the earth. They nourish my soul. They can cause havoc. And yet can bring along so much joy. Either. Or. Everything seems to be a case of this or that. Two sides to the coin. Depends upon which side you are looking at right now :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Slow down you crazy child...

Its been a mad rush. A good rush, one that gives me a high, yet crazy, out of control, like being on a roller coaster and being pushed down a smooth granite mountainside with no brakes, no hand-holds. Just the speed, thrilling yet frightening. Do I make sense? Moments when I need to stop and look. Not just at the world inside my head, but at the myriads of people talking. Try and make sense out of them, let their voices filter in and their faces come into focus.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The very first photo I have ever uploaded to my blog. A collage of campus places and the seaside trip with the family. This was just an experiment. Eventually hope to put up a travelogue-type post. Hopefully. Pictures of places look good, but I think a picture becomes a little more interesting if there are people in it. Sort of enhances the character of the photo, lends it a story and time. Perhaps coz people age and though places do too, they do so rather slowly... the passage of time can be observed better if one knows the people in the picture. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hello Hi Goodbye!

So many people. 
So little time. 
So much to say. 
Silence divine.

Old friends, old expectations...
Changed people, broken promises.
Some laughter, a little sorrow.
Everything shall be gone, by tomorrow.

Why is it so difficult
to say I miss you?
Why is it easier
to pretend you love the new?

Goodbyes were already said.
So why did you return?
To haunt me and taunt me.
To laugh as my heart burns.

Partings were never easy
But they get harder every time.
And yet meeting once more seems far better
than to part for ever and ever this time.

Forgive the bad rhyme, but prose just sounded way more stilted and trite than this. There have been so many goodbyes, so many "catch-you-laters" in the last year or so that one might think that it shall get easier the next time. But it just gets worse. And I know that there shall be many more in the years to come. Still, a thousand goodbyes are way better than to never meet all these people again. Love you guys!

Monday, February 08, 2010

To let go and yet love so much...

I miss this lady who was strong and wise and fun and all things warm and wonderful. My grandmother. She has been gone a month now yet in my mind she lingers on. Sentimental do you call me? But really, on a day to day basis, I do not wallow in sadness and despair... nor does anybody else who loves her. Simply because that is not the way to be. If a life has been well and fully lived, you cherish the memories of that person and go on with the rest of your life with the utmost zest. What does hurt and hurt bad though is that sudden moment in time when I think of her and it strikes me anew that someone I love is never going to be mine anymore... those half-written but never sent letters, those many conversations that were yet to be had, old stories that I was going to listen to some day. Stuff I want to tell her... so many times to come in my life that I want her to know, to be there with me all through. And it is only at those freakish moments that I cannot help but let the tears fall. At all other times, I am strong. Some things you just gotta learn to live with and smile through because the person you are thinking of deserves all those smiles :)

She was an amazing lady. If a gal needed a role model, she would have been the ideal one. Not that she would have pointed herself out as a perfect person. Constant improvement, constant progress, constant effort. Determination and the strongest and most resilient will I have ever come across. So much wisdom gathered through a lifetime of experience. Makes me wonder if that is the way of life, to learn all along and yet to take a lot of it along with you. She was a teacher and her students must remember facets of her that I must have never seen. To me she was this person that was tied in with this place.  A place that felt like home always. Maybe because I spent a while growing up there. Being her eldest grandchild made me feel selfishly special. Like she would always love me that little bit more than everybody else. 

For me, that she was a wonderful human being is manifested in the fact that she brought up her own children to be some of the finest people I have ever known. Incredibly loving, strong, sensitive, yet upfront and honest and each unique. That she let each one of them be the independent person they could be, never let them be fettered and still made sure there were strong bonds between them... tells of the person she was. No wonder my grandpa loved her so much! Never a person to let anybody take her decisions for her, she took in the best of all the worlds she could visit and created her own best version of it. It worked well enough for her. Or so it always seemed to me.

There are so many facets of this lovely lady who has been an important part of my life... her teaching, her experiences, her people, her plants and the mad love she felt for them... this list can be unending. So much I can say, and yet so much I don't know about her life. I realized only after she was gone that there were so many people in her life, so many untold tales, and they are probably lost to me forever now. It is funny how one person can have been enmeshed in the lives of so many others... may be that is the essence of being a human being. You must reach out and meet new people, let them into your life and become a part of theirs. That way, you live just one life but you get the experiences of so many... Like living a million lives all at once.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Here and there...

I have decided that I would rather have the journey than the destination. Reaching some place has come to mean farewells and separations, tears and sad tidings. Atleast so it seems lately. The anticipation of the "traveling" phase seems far better than the actual "reaching the place". Not that all travels have made me feel this way. There have been some that made me feel right on top of the world. Its just right now that the time does not seem right. Though this too shall pass...

Have also realized that the only way to be a good speaker, one who is heard and whose words and thoughts are noted by the audience, is to be a damn good listener. If you listen to people, understand what they are trying to tell you, only then shall you know what is the right thing to say at a particular moment.

Also, have you ever thought about the fact that when you were born, the world was a place wth no restrictions, no impossibilities, no limits? It is as you grew up that people told you about rights and wrongs, about rules and dos and don'ts. It is perhaps essential in order to maintain a social structure and order. But it is saddening when you think that this means putting limits on dreams, creativity and all that could have been.