Monday, 29 December 2008

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Frost on the rooftops this morning.

Makes me want to head straight to the high street sales and get a fabulous new pair of gloves.

Friday, 26 December 2008


Having fancied Herself a maharani in all matters amourous, and kicked many a hapless suitor down the stairs and straight to hell, She now finds herself in the throes of the most callous n'er do well in all the land. He sleeps - sleeps!! - and peacefully at that!! - as she tadpaos herself to a shrivel, and only has to raise one sleepy, Scottish eyelid and look at her to confuse all her thoughts, scramble her soul and set forth a tremor through every cell.

What a wretched, devilish nuisance, she thinks to herself. I should go away! I should abandon him to his peaceful pillows and his football and his.... his... silky cheekbones. I should break them before I go!! Not for nothing was She once called the Queen of Sheba. And here she is now: from princess to puppy in one flash of a kiss. Shee.

But then he opens one eye and looks at her typing and shifts lazily amongst the pillows and says, almost inaudibly, awwwww... stop that racket and c'mere.

Bah. Grownups. Men. Princes. Whatever his affliction, I once had it. Calm, controlled, no trace of mad urgent rushing desire. And here she is now; she's had palpitations for 2 years while he sleeps all through the night. Peacefully. And chuckles after kisses instead of falling gloriously to pieces alongside her. Boff. Why can't he fall apart at the seams like me?! Why do I want to make him?!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

First Christmas at home with The Man, the last two having been spent making tearful long distance phone calls and vowing, next year, next year.

We trudged home with a black Christmas tree. Shiny black papery leaves. He sits now in the drawing room, full of black and gold baubles. On the stairs there are golden twinkly lights and burnished gold tinsel. Inside a golden box at the base of the tree, amidst the wreathes and wreathes of black and gold tinsel, there is a huge amount of chocolate, and a fat, black, glossy tree-book. For the rose-cheeked bookworm-prince who loves having tree-books and creature-books and star-books and all manner of other books. In the kitchen, a bottle of Schnapps and a bottle of wine.

Quiet day at home, full of firsts.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Betrayals in war are childlike compared with betrayals in peace. New lovers are nervous and tender but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire.

Micheal Ondaatje.
The English Patient.
Italy in the russet sunset, burnished gold tipped with dusty pink and faded green, like the spine of an ancient leather hardback. We stand at the edge of a stone balcony overlooking... what.. that pinkgold emptiness, all the way to the mauve horizon, where the moon is bringing her tide of silver. There is a statue of David behind me. Not at the Academia, this one is a bronze replica and he stands in the empty golden aura above Florence, echoing that same faded green in the muscles of his back, his legs. Spires and cathedrals and hillsides on the horizon peeping in the spaces between his limbs.

There is a dinner party later and I am wearing a red skirt and there is a rose behind my ear. I still haven't outgrown this: for dinner parties, a skirt and golden shoes and a red rose. The essential evening outfit. I meet a brown eyed Egyptian tonight who the Americans in my party giggle over. I get nudged in his direction, we kiss outside the tent. My parents inside, laughing over some forgetable hillarity floating their way through the party. We have half an hour together. We spend it kissing and looking at Florence twinkling in the darkness.
Five years later we meet again and I we have two days which we spend in my tiny university room.
I should have left it to the lily pond, to the twinkling lights, and never looked back.
I will never see him again.

The first night in Italy I stand at the hotel balcony and look at a midnight blue sky with the sillhouettes of olive trees and a molten crescent silvering a wedge of sky. The hotel wallpaper is velvet blue. Faded. Satin to the touch. Roses everywhere, on every table, as if someone has stepped from a burning desert into an English garden and become deranged with the delicacy of the pink there. Every table in the lobby, along the corridors, in the restaurant, in every bathroom, by the telephone. When it is dark I slip out of a long sleep and find myself walking these corridors alone, feeling, strangely, as if my grandmother was nearby, her heart tripping just as mine is - nay, because mine is - at the pink, the blue, the moon, the olives, the roses roses everywhere and with their honey scent. The scent sticks to everything and I cannot remember Rome without also recalling roses - climbing roses, tea roses, old roses, every shape and size, pink, deep pink, rose. Everywhere except the jasmine garden behind the hotel, which is tapestry, wrought in blossoms, of the night sky. Deep stone walls with wave upon wave of star shaped flowers, coloured like the moonlight.

Even now, I just have to turn over in my sleep or fall into a daydream or shut my eyes and I tumble back into Italy.

I will always remember this.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Collage OR: More bloody bleeding heartedness.

My body's on fire, my heart is on fire, My body's on fire, now my heart is on fire, and I'm losing my sanity, Be mine, be mine, My body's on fire, now my heart is on fire, My body's on fire, now my heart is on fire, My body's on fire, nown my heart is on fire, and I'm losing my sanity, Be mine, be mine.

From David Gray's Be Mine.

Uh huh.


Mar mitna hai, hamme,
Ishq mein.
Grow the fuck up.


Honestly there is something so damn childish about my angst, it barely befits the word.

Possible PhD Proposal

Calculate, on a scale of 1 to 10, Tara's mood on any given day,
1 is Dark, abyssal despair and
10 is cinnamon scented bliss,
using an as-yet-unknown function between
x = The amount of time, in minutes, spent doing her hair
y = The amount of time spent in impulse visits to the High Street
z = The amount of time spent staring vacantly at Blogger, Facebook, the Independent, or out the window, in the hope that something will happen, writing will magically appear or the PhD will fucking finish without my having to analyse my own data that I spent months collecting but can't fucking face.

Monday, 22 December 2008


If my grandaunt were still alive, she'd scorn at me for being an overly sentimental fool.
If my grandmother knew what I love, she'd laugh with me and cry with me and angst with me and touch my cheek the way she always did.

From The Far Pavillions:
The whisper of dry grass and casurina fronds stirring in the breeze. The hoot of an owl and the scutter of some small nocturnal animal foraging around a clump of pampas. The chirr of a cricket and the flitter of a bat's wing and from somewhere very far away, the sound that is the night song of all India - the howl of a jackal's pack.
p. 309

Read it!!

Middle Name

A feeling of dread, anxiety or anguish.
1944, from Ger. Angst "neurotic fear, anxiety, guilt, remorse" from O.H.G. angust, from the root of

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Round Number I've-lost-count.

I know I've said this before, but let me say it again, since hardly anyone is listening anyway.

Desire is the root of all evil



Theme Song.

Que sera, sera;
If it happens, I will come to India.
And if it doesn't,
We'll part ways;
I'll stay here,
You'll go far.
Que sera, sera.
Up at six, having slept 15 hours straight (only waking once to turn over, kiss him deeply and long and then drift back into the stars). She feels rested and can smell the air outside even through the closed window. It's fresh. But too cold to stand in, even with warm pyjamas. The birds are wide awake and there's a riot of them outside.
She walks through the house, switching on lamps, opening the front door to get a whiff of that freshness. She makes toast with cheese - a childhood ritual breakfast, unshakable. And a mug of tea. Tea, not coffee. There is no lemongrass, alas. But there is still freshness in the air and birdsong. Even, for a brief second in the darkened parking lot outside, a prowling cat for company.

What is different:
Not much, even halfway across the world. The essential elements have been brought within me: the morning air, the mug of tea, a cat's quiet company, birdsong.
This, I now realize, is how I make myself at home; it has very little to do with the exact point on any map. Collecting the impressions of a morning, I'm oriented. Hello Earth, I'm home.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Truly Scary

I was leafing through an old article on Arundhati Roy in the Guardian and a vague sentence about "increasing fascism" in India caught my eye.
It's a sentiment I've encountered briefly before too, and for some reason I felt like chasing it.
I googled 'The rise of fascism in India'.
And lo and behold, 146,000 results. The first one being a report with the exact same title.

Oh. And welcome back to the other home.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Mumbai Airport

Is empty.

And I have Rs. 100 in my pocket, but many many pounds.
I looked from start to finish for a bookshop to buy White Tiger and find a MediaMart sales counter at my gate.
It costs Rs. 395 and they only accept Indian money.
The exchange counter is ages away.
I imagined reading it on the flight.
I have an hour.
What to do?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


'My' country:
I had (and still have) so many questions about the use of that phrase that I could scarcely mean it when I said it. And when I returned this time around, I actively felt a resistance to calling it that. But that's the way one falls in love, isn't it. Or at least it's the way I do. Fuck off I hate you until the very last minute, before a sudden sharp shattering fall straight (if it can be called that. It is anything but.) into desire.

But somehow when I look around at it, when I let it just just come from within me rather than from some idea of what I am supposed to feel, I sense an incredible thing:
This is my country. I am Home.

And travel I will - and must.
And have adventures in foreign lands - as a matter of principle, I will collect as many of these as can be contained within me.
And live with M. in a vine-encrusted, sky-kissed white house with warm golden light flecking the snow outside the window.
And complain, every time I come back - more and more and more, incessantly.

But bringing together all the thousands of little things that I've seen and heard and felt and touched and smelt and listened to and lusted after and rejected and been repelled by, is that tiny wordless feeling somewhere that I suppose could be called roots.
A gut-level connection, for better or worse.
And that, my friends, is how you can suddenly come home to visit your parents and realize, at 26 (far too late?) in a far deeper way than just saying it - This is home. Or at least where I came from. Apni zameen.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Bapu Zanzad*

Was my friend.
He was also - Very well loved and respected in his village. Noted for being amongst the friendliest and most honest men anyone had ever met - which, evidence my last posts, is really hard to balance, at least for me! He was a great tailor. There should have been a sign outside his shop: Will sew, darn, mend, alter, snip anything. Fast.

His shop was extremely humble. Empty except for a sewing machine, two plastic chairs and a long trestle table on which he cut his cloth and ironed the clothes with a huge steamy iron that should by rights require a weightlifter to operate. On the wall opposite his machine was a faded old picture of Mumbai - where he'd spent some time as a younger man.

He was in his late 40s.
He finished his work one day, walked home, and slept peacefully after his dinner. When he woke up at six, he went outside, and one minute he was there, the next he'd gone. I suppose that is something.
He left a wife and a son and his shop and many many friends.

We spent many hours talking when I was there for my fieldwork.
He said I was a guest in his village, and insisted on buying me a cold drink.
He asked me many questions about my life in England. The size of the houses, the state of farms, the habits of the people ("Is it true that they really don't wear any clothes?!") and about whether I was happy there. When I was there, did I miss home? Did I still think of India as my country? Are the streets really very wide? Is it true that there isn't a monsoon?! My goodness! No monsoon? What do they eat? ("Crap", I said to myself.) Do you still keep in mind everything that you learnt in this country? How come you speak Marathi? Which is more difficult - Marathi or English? If I learnt English, could I do anything? Why did the English make everything happen in their language? Isn't ours better?
And so on and so forth, through the hot summer afternoons, over a Pepsi and under a whirring ceiling fan.
When you come back, (not If. When. He knew, even if I didn't, that I'd be drawn back to this place) can you please bring me some pictures of where you live?

One day, when I was sitting at his shop, the village drunk swayed in, took a look at me and said something obscene - though of course, I was never told what exactly he'd said. Mr. Zanzad drove him out of the shop. Called the chai-wallah from the tea stall next door. The milkman from across the road. The gram sevak from outside the grocery store. And they hounded him back to his house.
The next day, he said "No one will ever bother you in this village. You can go where you like. And if you have any problems, see me. Or the Sarpanch."

When I returned for a day visit this week, there were huge posters ouside his store and just outside the village gates, announcing his sudden demise and full of good wishes for him and his family. Everyone I met mentioned what a great guy he was.

I suppose I could be accused of being too bleeding-hearted. At the slightest excuse. But somewhere, I feel... Ouch.
It feels trite to say 'loss'. But I am trying to measure what was lost. It also feels odd to say 'My friend'. But he felt like it. Even though it was just two weeks of chats across the space of a room but really across the biggest divides. I so wished to see him. His open smile, his laughing eyes, the enthusiastic wave. Someone to talk with, a friend in a faraway place who made me feel so welcome. I miss him.

*not his real name.

Early morning at home

Smells of:
Very fresh air outside - even if you're still inside.
Fresh coffee.
And the subtle creature-smell of the warm, furry, purry, orange, bewhiskered cat curled up asleep next to you.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Old friend across the abyss.

And because I didn't shamelessly spew enough venom last night, here's some more.

Thou art so lovely.
And Polished.
And probably - no, definitely - perfect.
At work, at play, at sex, at clothes, at boys, at games, at driving, at learning, at reading.
You've read all the correct books and are suitably disappointed by The Latest Big Thing because - well - that's so much cooler and cleverer than just loving it!!!
You're cleverest of them all.
And you redefine Type A. You kick.ass. All.The.Time.

Don't you?

Divergent paths were, for us, fated.
It's in my blood: A-negative.
And though we're old, old friends and I love you (I really do. Or last night would have been farewell), I sense you see me now only through You. And I see you through my own blinding screen of stars.
When I think of home, you will always be there. And long may 2am phone calls persist. And if anyone hurt you I'd kill them. And when we've stopped fighting about this we will probably put down the phone and drive over to each other's houses and hug and cry like we always do post-fight. And everything will be fine. But between 'Hmm' and 'Wow!', may the twain n'er meet. (WHY aren't you letting me dig you out?! Is hmm really a nice place to be??!? Anyone?)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Burning Bridges Smell Sweet

I should have admitted this years ago, but have only now grown up enough to say:
1. Dude, the reason I fell asleep when we were watching The Godfather was because I was bored. Out of my mind. At the gore, the faux 'cleverness', the 'hard' 'strategy'. But most of all, at your constant breathless faux anticipation.

2. Similarly, Guy Ritchie does nothing for me.

3. David Beckham is not hot.

4. I hate it when you say 'I know Tara' with such confidence - Maybe Tara is perverse, but you certainly didn't know about points 1, 2 and 3, above. Evidence: your reaction when I told you.

5. *sip sip on my Cosmopolitan.
How come you turned into such a corporate rat? When did you forget enthusiasm (and replace it with very shrill screeches of Yeeeah Man!!! when your football team wins)? When did you start to think that you 'need' 25 pairs of shoes 'just in case' (... there is a serial shoetheif around??)? Why do you still not know or care or ask what the fuck I'm doing for my PhD (I know: because my 'real life' will only start post-thesis when I start earning and therefore this is not worth your time.) And last - h.o.w. do you and me have a normal conversation after this when you want to 'just chill man, I've had a hard day at work', while for me 'I am still whirring - as we speak - and cannot for the life of me, be sated by any of the things that excited you tonight.

They say the best mirror is an old friend, but hell, I hope like hell when I look there I see nothing of myself.

Buddhaesqueness be damned...

Thursday, 11 December 2008


4am. Alarm goes off.
Too anxious about PhD work to sleep.
Too anxious about PhD work to work.
Lie under the blanket in a half-daze until 6.
Consider the amount of time being wasted and spiral into panic.
Freeze underneath blanket until 6:30.


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Post 26/11

When the dust settles, when the heat goes off and the lights come on, we're going to finally see who's to blame. All the blood on our hands will give us away.
In the land of karma, we're blaming everybody else and passing the buck.

Burning the midnight oil and assorted notes.

11:30 pm on a Sunday night. Working on PhD.
Relief from the tedium comes from:
Road noises (rickshaws - someone is going home on a peaceful eveing),
Passing traffic, (especially trucks - someone else is working, and harder than me)
and an orchestra of crickets in the garden (the magic garden, is alive and awake with song always).
Miss him.
More than anything, anywhere.
Studying be damned (no!). I hope he comes online. I could stay up all night talking to him even if I was dropping with exhaustion. And right now he is just home from taking pictures up the river. God, I want.
Energy: Where is mine gone??
Shopping at your favourite store: Is overrated, especially if you're doing it with a grumpy mother. (Who this time, did not tell me to turn around and walk away - but instead, almost did it herself. I think we shall avoid shopping together as a mutually enjoyable potential activity and practice macing each other in the garden instead. Still, love her.)

Thursday, 4 December 2008


*deleted post.

Much too full of oneself.

Cotton harem pants, pink halter top. Barefoot on the garden steps, painting toenails. Red red red. Frangipani behind ear. Coffee cup steaming nearby. Watching sunrise, cat for company. Silent bluegreen screen of neem trees raintrees ashok trees peepal.

Somewhere in the haze at the back of my mind:
Damn it!! Where is M. when I've got languid-seductress just right?!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A Sapling's Plea

Why so impatient?
As a child when I laughed and screamed, I remember you lifting me into the air and throwing me into the clouds
Our joy shouted, screeched, swayed wildly into the sky.
Your branches always sheltered; but they also let light seep right in.
But now:
My roots should have growed deeper, you say
And the wild swaying and sashaying should have stopped
Your branches too large to toss in any wind,
you've grown above storms
but also far, far above me
Can't you see though.
I'm still light green and I still dance in the breeze.
Still free.
Won't you concede your peace just a little bit,
and dance again with me?

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


This evening, I saw I saw:

- Two old friends. With the first one, she's the same, but we have changed. We still loved getting a cup of coffee. With the second, she's different, I'm different, we're different, I love coffee, she hates the stuff but we're soul sisters anyway and she is coming over after work to sit.

- 3 different levels of pink in one sunset: The light of the clouds furthest from the horizon - bleached pink ice against a pale mint sky. Then, the light of silvery fire painting the lower horizon. And much closer, much much closer, the golden flame of fuchsia coloured frangipani constellations clustered amidst thick swathes of shiny emerald leaves.

- My mother and father, sitting at the table, looking tired.

- My reflection in the mirror, looking like I have a long way to go before feeling as tired. So what's my excuse today?! :P

Monday, 1 December 2008


Total cost of food/drink/outings/transport/household expenses for the past one week in India: 0
Total expenditure of emotional energy: ∞

Word(s) of the day

Lost to the English language, I believe, but fondly catalogued at The Phrontistery
Beat a path to it!
aeipathy n : continued passion; an unyielding disease.
filicology n : study of ferns.
inocciduous adj : of a star, never setting.
isangelous adj : equal to the angels.
igniparous adj : bringing forth fire.
ficulnean adj: of fig tree wood; worthless.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Two(?) solutions(?) to two(?) different(?) problems(?)

We need to consume! Show the bastards they haven't taken away our will to live (read: spend)


Dying of consumption (read: therefore, (we) "must now give way to a renewal of saving and investment. That's the best hope for economic recovery..."

Are these solutions or soothing ointment for a burn?
Are these two different problems or just aspects of the same one?
Are they problems or just natural outcomes of our globalised, interconnected, parochial global village?

Saturday, 29 November 2008

An evening on the couch in front of the TV

NDTV 24X7. 14:38 GMT. Random questions raised by some of the news flashes on the bottom of the screen:
(On which, by the way, I think the words 'Breaking News' have been running for a record 3 days. Come off it now. Too much live news = no real new information.)

- Mumbai Police: Terrorists between 18 and 28 years old

When did the youngest start training? At 16? When did he start swallowing whatever poison so fills you with hate? At 15? 14? Younger? Was he born with it? Or just born into an inevitable trajectory? (And therefore, aren't we all complicit even if he is entirely to blame?)

- 183 dead, over 300 injured in Mumbai attack

It's not the number; it's the fact that there was a Finn, Israelis, Indians, Englishmen, Americans, chefs, karate teachers, a food critic, businessmen, students, doctors, lawyers, receptionists, commuters, backpackers, millionaires, wives, husbands, lovers, friends, relatives, with things to say and do and forgive and be forgiven for and people to meet and people to leave and travels to take, books to read, walks to take, a life to live. It was people who travel by over packed l0cal train to work and people who fly across the world for business meetings. It was people who grew up in small co-operative societies in quiet towns and people who had a silver spoon in their mouths all along.
People who never speak across the divide died in the same room.
183 people gone means an unknown number of individuals in 183 families grief-stricken and an unknown number of friends circles grief stricken. An attack of this nature means everyone with a TV, newspaper or pair of eyes is deeply unsettled. The dichotomy between 'direct' and 'indirect' effects seems too crass to make at this point. We can, however, say that we observe the insidious and sinister ripple, ripple, ripple that highlights the connections between us all.

- 'Terrorists planned to kill 5,000 people'
(I'm really not sure how they - either the terrorists or the media arrived at this figure, but I'm guessing it's just approximate?) One is too much. One terrorist giving up his or her (err.. curious - have there been any female terrorists?) life, one victim being robbed of his or hers - is too much.

- R.R. Patil / Mumbai Police: Terrorists had college ID cards
Ah, this pricks, for some reason.

MANJULA BAI: "This is all Pakistan's work, isn't it"
"I don't know."
"I do. It was written in the newspaper this morning."
I didn't ask, but I should've: What if my newspaper said otherwise? Would our newspapers fight? If the newspaper said it was actually little green men (ahem), would their faces suddenly turn emerald?

Vikram Chandra on a panel asking 'How we can win' against 'the Terrorists': If you were given a blank piece of paper, could you write on it, onetwothree, these are the things that we should do.'
Wow. Is there really one 'we' versus one 'them'?
My sister wants to know "...who are we REALLY fighting???"
Here's my list of things we need to change (not fight):
- Our own prejudices and pigeonholes
- Our purchasing decisions
- Our public services and infrastructure which are about as inclusive as the eye of a needle
- Our inferiority complex as a country: we can't even call this the worst attack we've ever suffered. We have to qualify it by saying it's "our" 9/11. We have to suggest that we have something like the US Department of Home Security because 'they' could 'successfully' prevent a terror attack since 9/11, so why can't we. They haven't fought terror, dudes, last inkling I had, they live in constant fear.
- Our tendency to point a finger at everyone but ourselves. We're a democracy. Ideally, this means rule of the people by the people for the people. An informed (not necessarily literate) polity. And above that, a concerned and united polity. A polity who cares sporadically will sporadically be shaken and shocked sporadically, their only option at that time being to throw their hands up and blame two constructed 'thems': the terrorists and the politicians. We're the polity in the politician. Pick a paper and read it and be curious enough to follow up stories that grab you. Volunteer, to teach someone to read. Smile at a stranger. Resist at every turn being reactionary (says a blogger), or angry before you're curious, or knee-jerk before you've considered what's going on and why. Change your mind every time you find yourself forcing someone into a pigeonhole just because of how they live, who they pray to or what they wear or what language they wear.
It's not easy, and I haven't done it yet.
But I have a feeling that no amount of money, guns, Homeland Security or NSG commandos can
protect us from our neighbours and vet our friends and flush our restaurants and give us a good night's sleep. We need to win this first in our own hearts and minds, even if they win battles against urban guerrillas in our hotels.

Facebook Note To Everything In General

How to fight the sadness and fear that only comes afterwards??
Here's the insiduous, sinister thing about terrorism: It works even if it doesn't personally shatter you by darkening the world just a little bit, unsettling you before you have a chance to steel yourself. And when you feel like that, beautiful things do not lift you, they just wound. Smiles pinch. A beautiful day, a beautiful store, your mother buying duppattas, a little boy running around (God, I so want a child. God, I am so NOT having one - how do you protect and raise it in a world such as this?!). All these sights and sounds strip away that silly defiant veneer of rage and you feel naked and sad and utterly exposed. The world was shaken just a little bit and your insides rocked as well.


While it was all going on, I was defiantly happy. I felt that they could not would not should not take away our lives and joy and capacity to trust and love and jump and scream and be silly, be creative, take risks, love fearlessly, travel fearlessly, learn about the world, love the world, fly.
I still feel this way.
But today, standing with my mother in the store, I was dismantled completely for a minute and thought I'd burst into tears. For no reason. Just.
You see, a necklace did it.
I was standing next to the counter and a stream of glass beads captured the grey blue light of a pre-rain sky. And they clinked gently against each other in the breeze of an opening door and they swayed when I touched them and their light changed; grey, blue, grey, blue, grey, grey, blue, blue, blue, green, blue.
And I forgot to fuel my smile, I was distracted.
And when they stopped swaying, I got a glimpse of my insides before the steel smile came back up. I saw broken glass and grenades and shrapnel and splinter wounds and stress fractures and gunshots and torn curtains and ripped hearts and uneaten meals and days and days and days of some people just seeing grey grey grey blue blue blue.

Still. They're not getting one tear out of me. Yet. Until another necklace or another friend or another bomb dismantles me.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Thank you, God.

Everyone I love is safe.
M. is in his little Scottish village, curled up with an evolution book and a hot water bottle in a warm house with his parents.
Neither my sister nor I were there. We very well could have been - at my insistence.
Shiv was in Andheri and nowhere near the attacks and actually picked up his phone when I called.
My parents didn't go to visit my Uncle who was in hospital, because they'd have dined in the area. There.

For this, I am grateful.
And for my gratitude, I feel guilty as hell.

If I - the most withdrawn person in my high school class, the person with a tiny group of friends, who doesn't go out much and certainly doesn't have 200 friends on Facebook - now knows two people who died, then everyone knows someone who died.
If not yesterday or the day before, then a while ago, somewhere else, sometime else.

Two of the chefs at the Taj were known to me, one of them was a school-time buddy. His grandmother taught me and my sister yoga when we were little. We'd get teased by him, and chased around the parking lot. I never saw him much after, and I won't see him ever again now.
I don't suddenly remember him fondly because he's gone: I just remember that I knew him once, and now there is no chance that I can look back and say: Hey! Remember when...!?!? Wasn't that fun?! His parents travelled to Mumbai in the morning when they heard he'd been shot. Halfway there, they heard that he'd passed away (such a MiddleEarthish phrase - what's it doing in this Hell?) I can't imagine getting bad news on the Expressway. You can't even stop the car! There's nothing but hills and valleys. I wonder if they heard on the ghats. I wonder who was driving. I wonder if his mother cried, or screamed, or if her years and years of yoga have taught her to be Buddha-esque, or if maternal instincts or love transcend Buddha-esque-ness.

So much to say, so much to think, nothing to do but sit and stare numbly at the TV (am resisiting, for many reasons) or out the window, or at disgusting Facebook and news sites.
The world feels cardboardy. Stale and inflammable and so fragile. I can't breathe. I don't want to let them do this to me. The only thing to do is make a conscious attempt to enjoy the coffee this morning. Play with the cats. Smile. Drink a Scotch (or two, last night, with family. Best evening I've had at home so far. We huddled around the TV, drinks in hand, cat on the sofa with us, aunts, uncles, cousins, Papa (who dozed off in the middle! Wisdom? Age? Both?), Mama and I. We watched, we even found things to laugh about (Tara! Is that a Scotch?! Are you a man or a mouse! Fill your glass!!) Text M. Tell him how much I.. you know. Look at the leaves. Take in their greenness. Fetishise every small tiny pretty, peaceful and loving thing and raise that act to an artform, make a martial training schedule of it, as pervasive as an in-breath.

God. Home, home, home.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Five Minute Postcard.

Heat and dust.
Golden fields with stacks of hay.
A hundred birds in the garden.
Green bamboo outside my mother's bedroom.
Drongos, bee-eaters, robins, bulbuls, parakeets and mynahs all aglow and a-wing, flitting on the wire fencing around the fields.
Light and leaf shadows, light and wing shadows. Green and darker green and brown. Pink and blue and gold. Butterfly wings, moth wings. Dragonflies and wasps and bumblebees. Birds and damsel flies and midges.
Ten types of tree in every window frame. Babbler calls and parakeet screeches and a dozen different small, intricately painted birds. Wing shapes all different, all silky iridescence in the sun.
So much life.
Wish you were here.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Rage --> Petulance --> Silent Temper Tantrum

The Mall with it's plastic trees. And its inelastic idea of happiness. Was where my mother decided, unwisely, to challenge the scowl on my face as we passed Guess: Why do you look so stressed? We're out! Can't you just be cheerful now?!!
I swear to God, I was fine until she said that.

I am sorry to report that ten minutes later, I simply walked away. She said I should just go. I didn't protest. I didn't even feel. I just turned.

I'm sorrier than I can say that this is the result of training. Solid, cold, relentless training. Which I should never have allowed.
But hey, full circle. My mum on the phone, appalled that he said 'JUST GO!' and I went! today told me to JUST GO and I simply turned around and walked away. First I checked I had cab fare home, then I went to Benetton, then to buy some makeup, then got into a cab and just went home and watched a movie. And said a normal Hi!! when she came back.
Full circle.
Thanks mum, thanks M. You've both made a callous bastard out of me.


* Name: Tara.
* Birthday: In the middle of the monsoon sometime. But I believe it was a rain-soaked, sunny morning.
* Birthplace: A place with parakeets and lemongrass!
* Current location: The place with parakeets and lemongrass. But constantly turning towards the Man at home. Soon, soon, soon. Can't wait.
* Eye color: Brown
* Hair color: Darker
* Height: 5'5"
* Righty or lefty: Righthanded centrist
* Zodiac sign: Roar :)

* Your heritage: Am still developing it. It's a big world out there, I'm trying to grasp all of civilization in my arms and call it mine.
* The shoes you wore today: Barefoot at desk. White Dorothy Perkins canvas tennis shoes to get my hair done.
* Your weakness: I have many.
* Your fears: Don't get me started. Being homeless: which, right now, would mean I need both homes, God. I'm sorry if that's greedy - but I'm stretched across the world, don't snap me please.
* Your perfect pizza: Is thin-crusted and eaten in a Roman piazza, with a glass of red wine. Oh, and a fresh tomato-basil salad.
* Goals you’d like to achieve: Being fearless.

* Your most overused phrase on AIM: It used to be LOL. Now, it depends what language I'm speaking, which depends on the person I'm speaking to, which depends on my mood... Blahdiblah. I have none, I guess.
* Your first waking thoughts: M.
* Your best physical feature: Dunno anymore. I used to the most beautiful princess in the world. Now, I'm not so sure.
* Your most missed memory: I can't have it if I've missed it, can I?

* Pepsi or Coke: Diet Coke
* McDonald’s or Burger King: Neither. But McDonalds fries once, were all I could manage to eat out there without feeling sick. So I guess McDonalds.
* Single or group dates: Skipping the date and making out instead.
* Adidas or Nike: Not into sportswear.
* Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Nestea sitting at Dorabjees with college friends.
* Chocolate or vanilla: c.h.o.c.o.l.a.t.e.
* Cappuccino or coffee: cappuccino. But here's the odd thing. I detest the froth. *Gag gag, chokesplutteryuck!

* Smoke: QUIT!! I never will know how I did that.
* Cuss: Unfortunately, I don't know yet.
* Sing: Hell yes.
* Take a shower everyday: Does fieldwork count? If it does, obviously cannot. If it's civilized savagery we're referring to, then yes. I think.
* Do you think you’ve been in love: Em, yes.
* Want to go to college: Am.
* Liked high school: Hated it.
* Want to get married: Debating, still.
* Believe in yourself: Debating, still.
* Get motion sickness: Not unless I really don't wanna go and someone is making me. (An unpleasant family vacation in Thailand springs to mind. But I was ten. Hopefully, have greater self-control now. Not to mention poise :) )
* Think you’re attractive: Hm. Some days.
* Think you’re a health freak: Yes.
* Get along with your parent(s): Yes. But not today. Today, we had a fight and I am sulky.
* Like thunderstorms: Oh God. Yes.
* Play an instrument: Wish to play the piano, to make my grandmother in heaven proud. But I fear I am musically inept. Or maybe I just had a bad teacher. (Can I blame all of my failings on the crapness of my high school experience like forever??)

LAYER SIX: In the past month…
* Drank alcohol: Yep.
* Smoked: Nope.
* Done a drug: Lurve, sweet lurrrrve. *slur.
* Made out: As above.
* Gone on a date: Yep.
* Gone to the mall: As a matter of fact, that was the scene of today's fight (as above). I made a rapid exit. But watch this space for more on malls. Thanks, Meme goddess, for reminding me!!
* Eaten an entire box of Oreos: We only get the little packets at the Spar on the top of the hill at my (other) home. But I have eaten a whole one of those. Somehow, I don't think that is the quantity you're referring to.
* Eaten sushi: Nope. Someone offer to take me on a date to a sushi bar.
* Been on stage: Nope.
* Been dumped: Nope.
* Gone skating: I am going in February.
* Made homemade cookies: No. God I am sounding like a boring hag type.
* Gone skinny dipping: Sadly, it is too cold.
* Dyed your hair: Next week.
* Stolen Anything: Sanity. From meditation class. I have a feeling stolen sanity doesn't last long. Fingers crossed.

* Played a game that required removal of clothing: No
* Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Piss drunk yes.
* Been caught “doing something”: Not yet :) We're good at hiding.
* Been called a tease: Oh yes.
* Gotten beaten up: 7 years of Karate. You can't not have.
* Shoplifted: Not yet. Perhaps this recession will provide the necessary incentive.
* Changed who you were to fit in: I wish I could, sometimes, honestly. It seems I do not have the required switch or lever or whatever.

* Age you hope to be married: 30
* Numbers and names of children: Hmm. Something exotic yet not strange. For instance Ivan and Tara are good. Stalin and Lenin (I know someone who knew someones with these names! For real!) are not.
* Describe your dream wedding: I am still dreaming it up.
* How do you want to die: Dancing. Happy. Loved.
* Where you want to go to college: Where I go right now.
* What do you want to be when you grow up: Happy.
* What country would you most like to visit: Afghanistan. I think I might have been there in a past life. I have a fraction of a hint of a ghost of a memory: Sitting outside a shack / waiting room / village train station under the glow of a naked bulb. Empty landscape and immense sky. Few stars. Darkness. The sound of a dog barking in the distance. Cold, fresh night air. Waiting - the bus, or a companion, or eternity. Who knows.

* Number of drugs taken illegally: Nil zilch nada zero.
* Number of people I could trust with my life: 4
* Number of CDs that I own: I own a boyfriend with 31,000 songs
* Number of piercings: 3.
* Number of tattoos: I wanted one on my foot. My Dad said no. I dont think I will ever outgrow the instinctive 'nomeansno therefore snap to attention! response in time for me to get a tattoo before I start getting wrinkles. Does that matter? Not even a teeny tiny one? Reeeaally? Aww c'mon!! Right. No then.)
* Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper:
* Number of scars on my body: I have yet to count. Old karate wounds, old playground wounds, fieldwork scratches, cat scratches, mozzie bites galore.
* Number of things in my past that I regret: Zero.

As seen at Medusa's blog
The perfect landscape is not a sweeping panorama of hills and sky. Its' the view from the window at home. Home home. The place we're reluctant to revisit, but where somehow, something inside goes quiet, peaceful, still. No flapping.

The view from the bedroom window of such a place, preferably early in the morning. With 6am light. Greyblue with a promise of gold. That fat blanket of mist sitting on the vegetation. Parrots screeching. And a mug of hot tea, with lemongrass from the garden.

This is life.

Monday, 24 November 2008


Beardyman smiled at me today, for the first time in years.
The short story? At our last meeting, he was a first rate jerk. Something seems to have changed - which is always nice to see. Especially when coming home increasingly implies seeing all the nice things have gone away.

The long story?
Well if you insist!! Settle down with a cup of chocolate and listen -

Beardyman started out by being rather nice, actually. But even the Orcs were Elves once, so apparently one's beginnings are never indicative of anything.
Beardyman used to drive my dad to and fro between his chores. Bank work, to market to market, to friends houses, to haircuts, to hospital, to doctors visits and back home. He worked with Stalwart Chowkidaar, and the two of them used to sit outside the gate on the watchman's bench and read the paper. In between his to and fro-ing, he'd sit by the neem tree and smoke, or talk to the doggies or burp his way through his tiffin lunch. He loved to spray the lawn and mow it and water it. The gardener and him nudged each other past the flowerbeds every day, trying to claim a piece of the earth to tend.
Beardyman liked it when I straightened my hair and told me good Indian girls would rather die than have curly hair like mine (what crap).
He hated my temper, which he thought I should quell by eating less spice (I hate spicy food) and talking to Brahmins more often (what the fuck about, he never said).

Beardyman drove my mother up the wall asking for Diwali Bonusses the size of his Mangaal Pandey mucchi (Which, confusingly, he grew right after Lagaan. The picture up there is a tribute of sorts.)

Beardyman was also:
1. A raging alchoholic;
2. A raging religious fundamentalist. Hindutva first last and inbetween.

Things got out of hand when Beardyman began giving me lectures about how Brahmins should rule the world (this coming from a gentleman with 'OBC' on an ID card in his pocket - flashed at regular intervals to all and sundry). When he told the Stalwart Chowkidaar (a devoted Muslim) how only Marathas should be allowed to get jobs in and around the city. When he started getting Stalwart into trouble. When he started taking his shirt off and sprawling, drunk, by my mother's car every afternoon, and lying there until 4 and 5 and 6pm. He always looked pissed off. He snapped at me if I asked him to drive me to a store. I snapped back. That didn't end well for me that evening :) The temper he was always telling me to get rid of was no match for his.

One day, Beardyman crossed the line and we decided to put his touching fiddling around in the garden, his conversations with the doggies, his ability to get one to a meeting fifteen minutes away within five breathless gear-shifts and his wife's excellent (spicy) pickles aside.
We sacked Beardyman for being bitchy beyond belief to the rest of the staff about his whole Hindutva agenda. No place for that in a civilized household, we decided.
Either you stop this at once, or you go.
He went.
I thought him reprehensible: "If that's how it is here, then I'd better go, because I will not work with anyone of (*insert execrable religious taunt here)'s jaat. Fuck you, I thought. That's going to mean that you don't work here any more then.

A few months later, he resurfaced. Poisoned with drink, with a liver and kidneys that had had enough of him and his afternoon bottle.
We took pity on Beardyman and assisted as much as we could through his hospital. My father delivered his SternDoctor lecture: ONE MORE DROP OF THIS STUFF, and you WILL die.
Ji Sahib, ji, sahib, trembled Beardyman, drugged to his gills and taking no notice of the caste or creed of the staff around him (at last count, one Parsi, two Muslim residents and one Hindu nurse helped to save his life).
But Beardyman cannot drive any more. He used to have two jobs to be able to afford to keep his family going (and his drink no doubt). He came over today - to collect my father's shirts. He's started a laundry shop and has hired someone to do the ironing. Rs. 15 a shirt.

But something has changed again: he no longer has that angry scowl all the time. I said hello to him as he stood in the kitchen, folding a big pile of my dad's shirts. His smile was enchanting. How are you, I said. Oh fine, he replied. I feel so fresh. You know your dad saved my life.
Hm.. I hope you've given up on the stuff now? Finally?
Yes, yes, 100%. More than 100%.
When he left, Stalwart Chowkidaar opened the gate for him, and Beardyman smiled.

I smiled too. Good for him. I'm not saying he's changed his mind completely about hating so much of the world that he has to scowl at it all the time. But a big smile sits in place of the scowl now. However that happened, I don't care. I'm glad for him. I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I know who genuinely feel "Fresh!!" How fantastic :)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat."
- Lily Tomlin

What is the word for when you said it, you thought it up, you swear!! and then you see it on your google news as if it were the plainest thing in the world to know - she thought, it not you!

Sometimes I honestly believe human beings think and connect and share ideas - hell, we have whole conferences! - just by unconscious telepathy.
Like today. I was at a meeting where 3 other people said they'd already set out plans for exactly the same thing as I'd already been thinking! A year ago!
There is a lesson in this:
When thou thinkest something and you think it is a good idea,'t.delay.

There is also a corollary:
It's about the idea, not you.
So concentrate on how great it is that lots of people share your idea, it's moving forward because someone amongst you had the balls to roll with it first, so you should now roll up your sleeves and get to work, contribute and make sure you all pull it off.
Unfortunately, at this rat racy stage in my rattish life, my first reaction is simply to pout, stamp my feet on the playground and say But but it's MINE!! *grabs fabulous MINE idea out of impostors greedy grasping paws.

Hmphfffff. Ego. Must meditate more.


Day One of PTJ (Part Time Job) number 2.

The tasks themselves are easy enough. But let's just say, I can see why people who work in corporate offices seem to thirst for weekends, parties, sex, booze anything anything anything exciting luscious lifegiving fragrant wild or just plain alive.
A lot of this job (mine, at present, I mean) involves reading loads of corporate crap (it doesn't relieve the tedium that it's in a second language which I also find excruciatingly boring).
The stuff is soul sapping.
Someone made X which they invested in Y, partnering with Z for ---- (*insert fantastical sum here) profit, which will benefit ------ people (*insert either: Precisely Zero OR, if you're feeling social-responsibility biting hard at your backside, another fantastical figure).
What nonsense. Seriously. Who cares!?! The moon is out. The vine leaves are glowing in the streetlight. There's a walk to take up the high street (mundane Spar visit, but is sounding positively throbbingly exciting compared to this 'reading'), love to be made, articles to read and major decisions to make: Should I take this pair of jeans to India or that. Should I kiss him now or after dinner or both. Perhaps we should take a walk late at night and sit on one of those benches by the river with an icecream (like in high school, but with no Should I buy a Vogue magazine this month or resist - in the name of paring down - again.
Is this job worth the pittance it pays and the activities it costs?


22:58 update:
Job done, mission accomplished, that wasn't SO bad. Just quite bad.

Monday, 17 November 2008

For post-its.

To love is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
- Emily Dickinson

There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time!
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, 16 November 2008

He is a daydreamer (quiz below)

The daydreamer and the idealist went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green boat.
This explains a lot. Mostly, it explains why I am so bewitched.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

In lieu of a camera,

Here's a picture of my day.

A walk around Colchester at noon. Pub lunch wherein we sat at a tiny table tucked away right at the very back, invisible to almost everyone. Good, wholesome babies-about-town, we ate fish and chips, lots of salad and downed big pint glases of orange juice. Very healthful all around. Wilkinsons next, where Bryan Adams was crooning something or the other about nights to remember, and where we bitched about everything in the home/furnishings department. Nesting season approaches, it's just around the corner of the next birthday, I can feel it. Yikes. Then a walk down the back path and a sharp turn into the park. Two firsts:
Instead of just waltzing through, we sat on a bench. And we saw, we saw:
- Seagulls whirling above the walls of the castle
- A starling, singing it's heart out on the weather vane
- Packs of 13 year olds. Apparently this is the hangout de jour. And apparently it is de jour to either couple up (tightly) or hide your head in shame. All of them, shiny happy people in love, all over each other. Poor sweethearts. I wanted to warn them. Lucky kids! I think I am constatly trying to return to that 13-year-old-love feeling myself.
- Squirrels. Up close and personal. They took nuts out of Mark's hands. I will always remember this: The boy looked like a blushing-cheeked wood spirite in the sun. He was croutching on the side of the path, holding out almonds and pecans and walnuts and hazelnuts and they were taking them out of his hand. I tried it too but got scared at the last minute. They made me wait for ages before getting up the nerve to approach me. They just ran up to him and took the nuts out of his fingers. People were stopping to watch. My pink cheeked woodsprite in the sun, feeding squirrels. The only thing that prevents it from being nauseating is: I saw it.

A day for tiny joys, billowing up against each other, the kind that send you to sleep with a soul strained full of smiles.
Thank you, universe.


Your result for The Lover Style Profile Test...

The Liberated Lover

64% partner focus, 62% aggressiveness, 80% adventurousness

Based on the results of this test, it is highly likely that:

You prefer your romance and love to wild and daring rather than typical or boring, you would rather pursue than be pursued and, when it comes to physical love, your satisfaction comes more from providing a wonderful time to your partner than simply seeking your own.

This places you in the Lover Style of: The Liberated Lover.

The Liberated Lover is a wonderful Lover Style, and forms the kind of free-thinking, sexually-exciting, self-confident lover that society once condemned but that a liberal-mind cherishes and exults. The Liberated Lover is a treasure to find, though it can sometimes be difficult to do so because they are often already engaged in relationships or are in high-demand if "in the market."

In terms of physical love, the Liberated Lover is possibly the most thrilling and demanding of all, with the one potential drawback being that it is possible to feel 'overmatched' at times by their prowess and selfless giving. Given trust and understanding, and the right lover, the Liberated Lover can be a delight in bed.

Best Compatibility can probably be found with: The Exotic Lover (most of all) or the Carnal Lover, or the Suave Lover.


If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback! Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in the following:

Nerds, Geeks & Dorks

Professional Wrestling

Buffy the Vampire Slayer



Take The Lover Style Profile Test
at HelloQuizzy

Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...

NBPS - The Idealist

Nature, Background, Big Picture, and Shape

You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on the hidden treasures of life (the background) and how that fits into the larger picture. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to ponder ideas and imagine the many possibilities of your life without worrying about the details or specifics. You are in tune with all that is around you and understand your life as part of a larger whole. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.

The Perception Personality Types:


Take The Perception Personality Image Test
at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, 13 November 2008

The Hobbit

Okay, the opening lines are tacky as .... as.... anything that Tolkien would revile (sorry, guys, but seriously: Every End Has A Beginning!?! Come on.) But that said: Whoever thought of mixing the LOTR clips with Requiem for a Dream... is genius.

Here. You only decide.


The stars are as soft as flowers, and as near;
The hills are webs of shadow, slowly spun;
No seperate leaf or single blade is here -
All blend into one.

No moonbeam cuts the air; a sapphire light
Rolls lazily and slips again to rest.
There is no edged thing in all this night,
Save in my breast.

Dorothy Parker

First time I heard this: Watching Autumn in New York and watching Winona Ryder's hands sweep her glass bead curtains, swish swish this way and that. I couldn't find the poem anywhere, but the opening line stuck stuck stuck. I thought it was by Emily Dickson - because she was obsessed with Emily Dickonson in the movie. But I just found out that it's Dorothy Parker, and here's the complete version. So lovely. And at the last line, you feel whatever is stabbing her in one short sharp shock, all tinged with the blurry midnight blue she has painted. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Consider the following set of rather illuminating statistics on the subject of crying, compiled by the Independent (see here). Apparently, the practice has theraputic effects second only to modern medicine. And here, evidently, is how 'we' go about it:

20% of bouts of crying last longer than 30 minutes

8% go on for longer than one hour

70% of criers make no attempt to hide their crying

77% of crying takes place at home

15% at work or in the car

40% of people weep alone

39% of crying occurs in the evening, the most popular time compared with morning, afternoon, and night (16, 29 and 17 per cent respectively)

6-8pm is the most common time for crying

88.8% feel better after a cry

47: average number of times a woman cries each year

7: annual number of crying episodes for a man.


The last time I cried was this evening. I was amongst strangers (why is this SO conducive to honest displays of spectacular and soggy emotion?) and we were watching a documentary film. There will be no review here, because it is too recent, too raw and more than anything else, completely redundant. Those who will appreciate the experience, will find their way to it. Those who will not, will either never encounter it or come away as unscathed by the film as any possible review. Oh - and the documentary I'm on about is Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion. Watch it with friends around you.

Anyway - so - I was watching it this evening. And at more than one point, I found tears streaming down my cheeks. And I realize now that I made no attempt to mop up, as it were. Now that I see the statistic (which of course, is subject to all the 1000 caveats that each definitive number is subject to), I am surprised at myself. For some reason, it seems shocking. I did cry in public - volubly sniffing and choking back further tears - and made no attempt to cover up.

On the other hand, as if by design, expressly for this post, M. came home after being a chance witness at a quite horrific sounding road accident. I hugged him and waves of (rather perverse?) relief washed over me. And not a small amount of misplaced but retroactive panic - are you really ok? What happened? Wait - you're sure YOU'RE okay? I felt the tears welling up. I choked them back immediately, gritted my teeth and just squeezed his hand and said 'I'm so glad you're safe.'


Monday, 10 November 2008

Because blogger cannot pfft....

... one will use it to announce:
1. Targeted CVs really kick serious butt
2. Wearing a coral coloured sweater to an interview might be regarded as risky in some situations, but when interviewing for a student-ambassador position, it works almost as well as the targeted CV.


I got the job!!!!

(I applied for a job, I interviewed, I got it. Now be happy for me.)

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Whine and the world whines with you. Grow up, and you're alone.

Grr pfffft humphh bof.

An indicative, though by no means exhaustive list of reactions from 'friends' re. Project Touch Stars:

- Drama Queen (hello! All I said was: "Hee!!! Do you know how amazing it is to be able to cook one dish sans having to hold fire extinguisher with one hand and frying pan in the other?!" - Because let's face it, if you've been cooking that way before, it represents.. dunnoo.. infinite improvement?!)
- Mad woman (In response to : Do you ever have moments when you wonder - wow: the world is, like actually, really fucked up?! And doesn't it make you mad as hell?!)
- Accha, good for you. ("I'm medidating twice a week." "Accha, good for you." "Hmm. What's with all the inspid responses?" "Dunno yaa... good for you.")

Here's a suggestion:
When you say, No really, tell me how you are, I haven't heard from you in ages. And I answer emphatically and tell you I've been doing tiny things that I love and I'm feeling nice about my life and myself, and I seem to be more resilient than ever, don't pfft at me.
I shouldn't have to be resilient to wet blanket friends, should I?
Here's a question, rhetorical as always, vague by necessity:

I am easily distracted.

I have not been distracted for two years.

Is a BIG chaotic distraction headed my way,
(Worse) Have I (*gulp) grown up??

Midweek (ahem!) restock.

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
- Marie Curie

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Oh fantastic fabulous cover!

The best ones give you writers block.

What is the word for the lover you thought was The love but wasn't?

And when you figure out what to call him, how do you begin to say sorry?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

My election moments

In Greece

The top three remember-forever election moments from Barack Obama 2008:

1. Historic both politically and personally - I stayed glued to my laptop all night, drinking 'American Cola' (seriously - when you're too broke to drink Coke, just how broke are you exactly!? - still, it was good stuff) and writing my first lecture, toggling between .pdfs and the huffington post, NY times, the independent,, the guardian.... Around four, we were both done. And I settled down to listen to his acceptance speech and burst into tears.

2. Running between my 'office' and the Man's room every time a state turned Obama, and saying, 'PENN!!!!' and 'NEW YORK!!!!!' and...'OHIO!!!' Sitting on the Man's lap and watching the electoral vote cross.... 200.... 230.... 270... 300.... and onwards and upwards.

3. Standing, dazed and happy at the bus top this morning, freezing cold, and seeing one of my old professors - a self-confessed and extremely proud socialist - running (he is past retirement age) with a big smile on his face, towards the bus. We smiled and both immediately knew: 'You didn't get any sleep, did you!!'
Him: 'It was astounding, wasn't it?' (Oh yes, dude, it was)
Him: 'It's a changed world'.
It may not be, it may just be the buzzzzzzzzzz speaking. But it certainly felt like it in that moment. And what was especially touching: He said it so enthusiastically, with so little caution or restraint. If I had said it that way, people would probably give me the old 'Awww, so naive, so young. Stupid, they're all the same' speech. I'm so glad we were miles away from any such people on that bus ride. The pair of us giggled and gossiped about each YouTube clip we'd seen through the night, all the way from Debenhams to campus. When someone older acts as if the world is young again, it's so... touching. And inspiring. If he can spot it too, perhaps I am not entirely alone in being mindlessly and needlessly happy?

(Please, Gods of Hindsight treat with kindness).

Ladies and Gentlemen: Barack Obama is in the White House.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s sister celebrates Obama

Both images from The Huffington Post.

Ten second later edit: OMG the moon is (almost) exactly half dark, half light tonight? Synchronity, how I love thee.

pps - I think I am now all wired out. In precisely two minutes, I shall fall asleep in my bowl of soup. 'Night.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Sunday, 2 November 2008

I can't seem to stop today.

Here's another one.

Is this greed?

I came from the greatest love story I know.
And I want to equal it in my own life.

It's not enough that it's already in every cell, every drop of my physicality comes from the something chemical they share.

I want to recreate it.
Would this be too much of a good thing for one human being? To start and end with cosmic love?
Or perhaps once you start like that, it's always with you, but in much more intangible sense than I would like.

And is it even possible?
Does like attract like, or do opposites attract?

I have no doubt whatsoever about the authenticity of the beginning.
This is true, even if it is the only true thing I will ever stake my life on: My mother and father are every great love story, sung and unsung. With all the glorious pathos, all the reverberating passion and every drop of sacred bliss.
I came from this.

There is nothing cliche about this.
Whatever they are (and they are so much), they are not superficial in any respect. They're the real thing. I've watched them. Objectively and not. You can't help but be moved. It takes a certain degree of deadness to be immune to their glow. You'd have to be the sort who can sit on the edge of a storm and as it dances around you, do your nails instead of exault and play in the wind.
I am not the second type of person.
Possibly because of them.
(Thank you, guys. Thank you.)
The effect does not dull with exposure. It sharpens. Isn't that a good indication that it's the real thing? It gets better as you go along? It is always different, yet unchanging, always surprising, yet full of comfort. It is always moving.


As to what the end will look like.
One approach would be:
You already seem to be on your way! Look what's sitting on the other side of the room as you type this! The Man! And you're capitalising the M.!

The other would be:
You cannot know.
This scares the living daylights out of me. I would prefer if it didn't. But it does.

A wonderful togetherness

Is effortless.
Like this:

You set the alarm for early morning and decide to go up the hill to the Spar, before sunrise, and get a takeaway coffee while the beautiful dreamless man (insomniac, incurable) wraps up his night. You picture walking up the street in the dark, sniffing out the coffee. You want to surprise the girl behind the counter: No, I'm waking up, not going to bed. You want to see if the homeless guy at the street corner is asleep and if he's not, you'd like to say hello. You fall asleep, dreaming of the day that's going to begin in this way, and you're awoken, half an hour after the alarm you slept through, to find takeaway coffee from the Spar steaming on your bedside table and those arms around you, waking you.

And you wonder:

Ip dip dip, my blue ship....

Desire is the root of all evil



Versus is a dirty word.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here's to being able to make a wish, will it true and be proud that there's still a little bit of wizard in each of us. And more than a little bit of the witch in some of us. Underneath the business suits and the piles of books and the cobwebs of high streets and Christmas shopping and deadlines and dread, there are still memories of magical forests, and dragons and winged princesses and flight. If you've ever said the words: I wish, it's still there inside.
Happy Halloween! Here's to explosive, brilliant magic.
May your cauldron bubble over.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

I muse, therefore I am.

When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

I remember when I first read this book. Cover to cover on a friends' bed in boarding school. Possibly the darkest time of my life so far, with the promise of happiness a very very faint glimmer far below the horizon. I'd like to think that this was one of the most beautiful things I encountered that year. And I didn't know it then, but I'd read and re-read this many many times in my journey from then to now. And I'd use it as a float, as a foothold in the rockface. As a tiny flame, trying to light a big enough fire to burn away the cobwebs, the dust, the rot that boarding school put into me. (Yes, it WAS that bad. No,I would NEVER do it again. Yes,I am glad I did it once. But once was enough.)

And having read it a hundred times since, and looking back from then to now, I can see crystal clearly, that it has not 'replaced' my thinking (I've always disagreed with that phrase. It neglects completely neglects how fluid the mind is), it has certainly given me a lens I would not have used before.

And that is:
If this is happening, forget for a second how uncomfortable it feels and ask yourself: What has made it happen? Why am I here, is there some magic I need to extract from this? This 'thing' is pushing me deep down, but can I use it to climb higher up? Can I, in other words, become an alchemist turning anything I can think about into gold?
Is alchemy simply understanding + imagination?


That song has seeped into my dreams!

Swept up in a wave of love, swirling love.

Turned around in my sleep this morning, early early early, and looked straight out the window. Pink tinged clouds and a bird, flying straight into them. For a split second the walls of the room, the frame of the window, they all disappeared and all I could see was the sky, that bird, the green of the vines and that pink, pink, pink. From somewhere within the cloud, the pink of a rising star. Inevitable, that rising. At least that is one thing.

And God said, Let There Be Light.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


"If you're not fearful, you're crazy."
JPMorgan Chase's chief executive, on the fear factor among credit card lending

We have, as I see it, reached a breaking point in our society, our civilization, our journey on Earth, when it is completely realistic to be shit scared about the state of the economy rather than happy to be alive on Earth.

I do not wish to discuss the caveats involved, though I am aware of them. I lack the words to adequately contrast what I think is realistic and this whole other world view where economic signals are now life signals, where the prospect of cutting back fills people with existential dread, where the vibrant, desperate joy of living is somehow naive, worthless, crazy.
Hell. I must be batshit crazy. Because I'm concerned, yes, for those people for whom cutting back means cutting your chances of any sort of health, comfort or security whatsoever. Am I scared in general? No, man. I am not.
Go ahead and call me crazy.

A question

The desire to be moved. To seek it out.

Does this make me naive, or just addicted to feeling alive?

If this doesn't make you cry...

... you really need to go out and find something to be blown away by.

So beautiful, so beautiful.
Even if surreal imagery isn't your thing. The music.. the music...

To do before 30: Bold most of these.

Bold = Done.

1. Bought everyone in the pub a drink

2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain (Do hills count?)
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula (FOR FUCKS' SAKE. NO.)
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten my own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars
21. Changed a baby's diaper
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip Does a daylight skinny dip count?
38. Taken an ice cold bath
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Rode on a roller coaster
42. Hit a home run
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer
49. Visited all 50 states (In my own country? No. In the US? No.)
50. Loved your job for all accounts (Substitute: 'my work')
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country (I do not recomend unless you have a dishwasher proof heart)
55. Watched wild whales
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe (Travelled. Am still bolding it. Because it was fabulous. And I don't think it could have gotten more fabulous.)
58. Taken a road-trip
59. Rock climbing
60. Lied to foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice
61. Midnight walk on the beach (Ditto as for dancing with strangers: one dishwasher-proof heart required. And a safe beach. Something tells me Baga was not a good choice, but it seemed right at the time...)
62. Sky diving
63. Visited Ireland (Scotland)
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Benchpressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to “Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theater
80. Done something you should regret, but don't regret it
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken (I don't think this is technically possible.)
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn't have (There are people who haven't done this?!)
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy (It made ME dizzy. Same thing?)
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office (Define 'sex'.)
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Rode a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on (Silk. But ethics prevents us from splurging on the death of would-be moths. Creatures that could fly should not end up fried and sewed into blouses... sigh.. or curtains, or those black boxers, or.. anything at all...)
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
105. Got flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug (Luuuuuurve sweet love. Should be banned, I tell you, it makes you crrrrrrrrrrrraaazzzzzzzy, whhoooohoooo!!)
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off I do NOT recommend this. (I do.)
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently (I don't think this is a big deal for most Indians. But hell yes. I speak four: English, Hindi, Marathi and Tara).
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
125. Read - and understood - your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
132. Called or written your Congress person
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over (College halfway across the world count?)
134. ...more than once? - More than thrice?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
140. Wrote articles for a large publication.
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone's heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job . (laid off. salon went bust. it wasn't my fault. i will maintain this forever.)
148. Won money on a T.V. game show
149. Broken a bone (oh jesus. yes.)
150. Killed a human being (oh jesus. no.)
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Rode on a motorcycle (Are there people who HAVEN'T done this?!!)
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (Uncle's backyard, shooting Sprite cans laid out on bricks.)
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
157. Rode a horse
158. Had major surgery
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
164. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states (visited lots of countries, do not want to measure by US states as am not US)
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi
171. Had your picture in the newspaper (Does a college paper count?)
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime (zis is first one, but I figure I'm young)
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
177. Changed your name (it didn't last)
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school,
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them
183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch!
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196. Dyed your hair
197. Been a DJ
198. Found out someone was going to dump you via Blogger
199. Written your own role playing game
200. Been arrested

From here