Thursday, April 21, 2016

Frailty of Life

When a little dice rolls,
The mighty fall.
A mere speck of dust,
We are, that's all.

Like strings on a puppet,
Pulled up to dance.
When the curtain drops,
There's no second chance.

Why fight, why feud?
For what this mindless strife?
Many would kill
To live our small life.

Ashes don't speak,
Their stories are told.
In the past tense,
For generations to hold.

At the end of the road,
Everything loses meaning.
Like slipping sands of time,
You've left us yearning. 

How do we let go?
In us, your memories are rife.
Hanging on to its shards,
Such is the frailty of life.

--For Periamma

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Quit Quitting

Over 10 years ago, when I wrote my first ever post, I was a naive and hopeful idealist. I was hyper--in a good way, I hope--but very driven. I was a college kid, unaware or oblivious to the big bad world. I used to think everybody makes too much of a deal of 'you don't know how it is in the real world'. I used to believe, like everything else, I will figure it out. 

My writing was what you would call childish, dreamy-eyed and filled with exaggerated exclamations, loud and colorful. That's not always a good thing. I quit being yuppie.

But 10 years hence, I am alert, aware and not living in the bubble of idealism. That bubble burst as soon as I realized that journalism, the kind I was getting into, is a business. And it was heartbreaking. My blinders were off and I did not like what I saw. I quit being an idealist.

Of all the things that I could have chosen, I picked something that did not come naturally to me. In fact, it was on the other side of the spectrum of what I could do: Technology. I didn't know what I was getting into but I knew if I took the plunge, I would at least discover something new, if nothing else. I gave myself the benefit of doubt. I quit being a naysayer.

Sometimes at work, as in life, you have to do things you don't believe in. Like writing for customers not readers, like glorifying something that's as dull as dust, like learning grammar from people who can't spell their own names. You have to shift your principles to another part of your brain where a small voice says, 'it's just a job, don't take it so seriously'. Grudgingly, you learn to do that. It takes a while but you get there. I quit being stubborn.

In spite of quitting everything that defined me, when I didn't get what I deserved, when ideas were thrown out of the window, when beliefs were banished and when your efforts didn't make a difference, you know that its time to hang your boots. I quit quitting. 


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Would to Will

My fingers caress a lonesome flute,
would a soulful note they play?

Those pretty, bright, shiny dancing shoes,
on my dainty feet would they sway?

A mighty sword in my gentle hands
would it swish down to slay?

A drab canvas on a starry night,
would my strokes see the light of day?

When the carpet rolls and the curtains raise,
would I know what I need to say?

When I wish to write an ode to life,
would my muse give my words away?

Between a could and a should
and a vulnerable would
I will, I hope and pray.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Some Random Crap 3

I should make this a habit instead of a one-off. There was a time when my thoughts and the corridor that leads to my laptop used to coincide. I used to think just to write. My blog meant introspection in words. I used to update it like people update their Facebooks and Twitters. 

But today as I sit and type this out I feel strange. Because I haven't been blogging or writing enough for that matter, it seems like meeting someone I have ignored for years. I feel reluctant, weirdly shy and at a loss of words.

But my random crap by design--to use a very collegey phrase--is crying out loud for randomness. 


Kolaveri di. True, I heard it only after the whole world had downloaded it, made a million versions and moved on to other temptations. I quite like it. It's super peppy and I love humming it. But is it worth the hype? I don't think so. But people who know me will say that  I don't think anything is worth the hype.  


Did I want to do journalism cos I wanted to change the world--I really thought I could, really--or because I liked writing? I dont know, but I think it was because I dont know how to do anything else! I feel a little lost between what I want to do and what I am doing. And then I suddenly want to be somewhere else doing something else instead of fighting deadlines and getting stuck in a time warp. 


I've learnt that no matter where you work there'll be some madness. And a world of shit. It depends on how much shit you can take. And have the guts to let go of something you have created. Because after a point of time, cribbing about things that are not going to change wont help a fly.


I went to Kashmir. :) It deserves a post, wont waste words here. But this needs to be said: It'll blow your mind away. And all those problems of the world that burden your tiny shoulders feel irrelevant. 


I have traveled quite a bit in a year. But haven't had the time to blog about it. And that's a pity. Dubai, Hampi, Coorg, Lepakshi and a million stories between them. Wish I could write about them all.


I had written half of this post many moons ago. In all its randomness, it needs to see the light of the day.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Tying the NOT

I am quite disturbed. And I know only one place to rant: Here. I dont want to get married. I will, when I feel like it. Simple? Not really.

My family seems to think its their duty to get me married off. It's my right to choose who and when I want to marry. I dont live in Afghanistan.

There's a ceremony going on in my house as I write this. Primarily to get me a groom, because apparently I am not getting any. Luck isn't on my side or I am not fortunate enough which is why marriage-god has been evading me. So I was asked to hold some flowers--and say stuff like "Please find a boy for me quickly," or "may I get married soon " --offer it to the nine planets to get me married off quickly.

Every situation, every gathering, every outing is based on this one thing: When am I getting married? When I am tying the knot? Its none of anybody's business. But mine.

 I am not able to digest being treated like I have a disease. Is my not wanting to marry such a big problem?

Every morning I have to garland Lord Ganesha--I have been doing this for the last two days. I dont mind doing it just like that, but I was asked to do it for 45 days to get a groom quickly. Am I nothing if I am not married? What the hell has age got to do with marriage? Yes, I am in my late 20s but that doesn't mean I should get married just because I am getting old.

We prostrate after and during every big ceremony. It's respecting elders. But the elders are biased. When my cousin and I prostrated they said "Get married soon!" but when my brother did they blessed him thus, "Do well at work, may you get promoted!"

Well, I need a promotion too!! I want to do well at work too.

There's too much anger inside me right now. I am tired of this marriage business like its the only thing that defines my existence. There are other people in my family, like my cousin in Mumbai, who's two months older. Nobody is bothered about her marriage, why? The don't have an answer.

I decide when I want to share my life with someone, let someone enter my private space. I love myself too much to give up this freedom to choose just because the world wants me married.

Some more marriage talk and more jokes about it, and I'll lose it.

This post is going to hurt my family but their actions are hurting me.Each passing day.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Out Patient Department

So here we go again. I've clicked on the new post tab millions of times in the past, not knowing what to write. But today I know what to write. And that comes after paying a flying visit to a few inspirational blogs. And a hospital.

I hate hospitals. They are depressing places. People hope to get back healthier, less wealthier and none the wiser. But it does teach you a few lessons:

1. Don't take anyone or anything for granted.
My paatima has been with me since I was a minute old. I am on the wrong side of the 20s and she is about 60 years older. She is always there when I get back home from wherever. It feels like home only when I see her. Yet, sometimes, I and the rest of my family--knowingly or unknowingly--have ignored her existence.

Until she had 8 large stones in her gall bladder. She had jaundice, UTI and all of life's complications. But she got past them all. And we got past them all too.

2. Money isn't everything. But sometimes it is.
The Doc said, "We need to mover her to the ICU. Your costs will shoot up like anything." Nothing moves without showing the greenbacks. Hospitals and the medical profession, like everything else, is a business. And profit is the bottom line. Somehow, unfairly, we expect docs to just do their jobs and not expect anything in return. But the doc we had was the best that come. He was honest and seemed like he knew what he was doing. And he did know. When I looked at the bill, which had put a price against oxygen (nebulizer) I realized, even breathing doesn't come free.

3. You've got to fight. For what you feel is right.
For hospitals, every patient is just another broken piece that needs fixing. Your time is of no consequence. There is absolutely no mercy for inefficient people who think they are doing a favor but forget we are paying them to do their jobs. On the day of discharge, billing took three hours and the junior doc came at EOD to give patient summary, That should have happened at 1 o clock when discharge orders were given. I waited for two hours, lost patience, gave them a piece of my mind and it all happened in half an hour. Just because they are the hospital, they don't have they have no authority to announce my time of death.

4. Family Counts. And your loved one.
You might be of no use but when everyone is together it makes a world of difference. I realized that the pain and the burden reduces to a dot. When family and extended family forget their feuds and stand together, even the silence, helps. And to have a loved one caring for you, it seems like everything will be alright. I never acknowledged it as much before.

5. Small pleasures are big.
Every small improvement in paatima's reports was equal to getting an unexpected hike (which I actually did). The laughs and joys we share in times of crisis stay for the rest of our lives. Cos they are so rare that you cherish them.

Hospitals are depressing places but everybody--including the patient--who steps out of the OPD is never the same again.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Not a Penny More

The guy came rolling our LPG in and thumped the bill in my hands. He was short, a little stout with a thick moustache, and doubly arrogant. I said aloud, " 360". He said "375". I was a little confused now. I looked at the bill in every angle possible, upside down, the behind, the front, up, down, everywhere. But there was no sign of the mighty 375.

I said, "The bill says Rs 360.55. Where is the 15 Rs you are talking about?" (Did they just attach VAT for cooking gas in the budget?) What was I missing?

The guy by now was getting irritated with me, he said, "Bill is 360, my money is 375." It was my turn to get miffed. "Doesn't the agency pay you? I am gonna give you 360 and nothing more. You came in your gas van, used the lift to haul yourself up. And there are wheels under our LPG holder. Nothing was any cause of inconvenience," I said, with all the control I could muster.

He got irritated again. "Its delivery charges."
"Says who? The bill doesn't say delivery charges: Rs 15."
He laughed, probably the first time in a million years. "Madam, 375 beku."

I walked to my room, got my wallet out. No cash. I checked my jeans I had 400 and some change. Gave him Rs 360.55, signed the bill. He was really miffed.

I said,"I am not giving you anything more. Please leave."

And he did.

This happened just twenty minutes back and I am so angry that I am shaking. When I told my dad he wanted extra, he said, "Don't fight with these people, what if they don't come? Thats' how its done, give them the money and be done with it."

Why? Isn't that corruption?

I refuse to pay. I refuse to pay auto guys one penny more than the meter and all my friends know that. They, and now B, say, "Its ok, lets go, otherwise they wont come. I'll pay the extra.."

Why? Isn't that corruption?

The point is, we are scared. Scared that we wont get an auto, we wont get a gas connection, we wont get admission, we wont get our passports, we wont get a phone connection, we wont get this, we wont get that. If we don't give, we wont get.

That's how it is. This is how the system works. Really? Who made the system?

So what do we do? Don't go down without a fight. Simple.

If you think it isn't, consider this: The people of Egypt ousted 30 years of terror in two weeks. For them, Mubarak has been around forever. They could have said, "It's all over the Middle East. This is how the system is, there's nothing you can do about it."

But they didn't. Because they decided to fight.

Giving the money is the easy way out. Of course, it happens everywhere. But that doesn't make it right. We need an Egypt against the auto guy, the gas fellow, Raja, petrol prices, food prices, inflation, government and everything that's wrong.

I just mailed Lok Ayukta. I am not giving a penny more.