Monthly Archives: October 2008

Boys In The Water

If you’ve been in Mumbai and not taken a ferry ride from the Gateway of India, you should…go jump into the (dirty) water!!!!! And there you might catch a glimpse of the humanness underneath the gritty mask this city wears.


I saw these boys splashing about between the ferries parked (anchored?) near the steps leading down from the Gateway to the water. All the ferrywallas yelling did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm.


 Afloat on a makeshift raft of a discarded plastic bag stuffed with heavenaloneknows what (cork? discarded plastic refuse? thermacole?), they splashed about, three on one while the fourth lay afloat, peaceful in his solitary swim.

Post-Diwali Blues – Sneezing, Sparklers and Sweaters

The day after diwali. *Sniff*

No, I’m not mourning the end of a holiday. I’m just exhibiting the signs of being a casualty of polluted air-breathing (in an already polluted city, how E!Extreme is that?) That should probably be *SNIFFLE* instead. There, then.

Yesterday I told her,

This is lovely weather. Isn’t it lovely weather?

No, it isn’t. It should be December.

Nah, I don’t like the cold. I hate layering up. I love my singlets and sleeveless tees too much!

Par tum to nanga bachcha banta hai na, that’s why!


40 degrees in the sun but I’m feeling all trembly inside. There’s a teensy-weensy fireball (I wish I was a spaceman..) lodged in my throat and my eyelids feel all hot when I shut my eyes. So I shake out my freezing-AC emergency pullover.

Today is an emergency of another sort. I need a hug but in the absence of it, a sweater will do. I’ll see you on the other side of this crazy week.

Shoes & Sandals


Because companionship is such a complex thing.

(Thank you for a lovely week!)


is a two-way street
with a lot of potholes
and not enough speed-breakers.

If you do manage to make it down the street, it’ll likely not be in one piece.

Well, minus some expectations at least.


Smooth Traffic & Funny Mails: Thank You, Mr.Thackeray

Raj Thackeray was arrested yesterday. Ho hum, so what else is new?

I woke up to the news channels airing footage shot hours ago, of the MNS chief being escorted into the police van at Ratnagiri and a few fancy-looking maps showing blinking dots in the areas of Borivili, Andheri, Dadar and Worli.

Violence has erupted in parts of the city.

…the TV anchor informed me over my breakfast. And..

MNS workers have been protesting the arrest. This comes in the light of the weekend attack on the railway examination centers to protest under-representation of Maharashtrians in the test.

I was still yawning, glued to the television as I was. And then I snapped the set shut, got ready and left for work.

The roads were not empty. They were the way a civilised, metropolitan city’s roads should be. Vehicles running at least 2 feet from each other in parallel lanes, a few stray pedestrians crossing only during the traffic signals, short signal wait-times, no undue honking. My normal 45-minute commute took all of 20 minutes. Thank you Mr.Thackeray for giving us one day of normal commuting.

People came into work. But of course. No, I’m not going to go on about the resilient spirit of Mumbaikers, our courage, our bravery etc. I’m no braver than the next person. All I am, is practical. Between floods, riots, bandhs, public transport strikes, communal clashes, infrastructure breakdowns and politico arrests, I have a job to do. And every day brings a new reason to not go to work. Yet, we do. That’s not courage, it’s just acceptance of the way things are.

From the last time this happened, I figured the media was just creating a hullaballoo as usual. No one who goes out in this city everyday really believes the news channels anymore (and certainly not a certain Dilli-based channel which thinks that Mumbai starts and ends at Churchgate and that Tardeo and Juhu are far-flung railway stations). Sure enough, come evening and I had a smooth commute back home as well. No, I did not spot any blood on the streets, no slapped-around taxi drivers, I did not get pelted with stones and the city seemed no scarder than usual.

If anything, the highlights of the day were how people chose to deal with the chaos. My Little Lord received the following email from HR:

Dear All

Due Unstable environment with regards to Raj Thackeray arrest, management has decided that all associates can leave by 4.00pm.

With Warm Regards,
HR Manager

Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 4:11 PM

My colleagues were far more prompt and shot off the following (very convincing) mail:

There is a slight issue here at the Mumbai office. Due to some political issues there is absolute civil unrest and the city is at the brink of riots breaking out. The team will need to rush home. Im not sure if we’d be able to make it to the call today.

* So I’m jaded and cynical. Go read the full story here.

First Date

What makes a good first date?

  • Zero awkwardness
  • Lots of laughter
  • Meaningful conversations (even if they go across different time-zones!)
  • Smiling – sweet smiles, secret smiles, silly smiles, wicked smiles, shared smiles, smiley smiles

What makes a great first date?

Hoping there’ll be another.

I got it. 🙂

Things I Wrote At Sea

Yes, I did think of the world that makes home – friends, blog, work, people – a lot. I promised myself I wouldn’t blog or worry or stress or do any of the things I normally do, while on vacation. But two measly days in, I found myself reaching for my pen and notebook. I couldn’t help it anymore than I could help thinking, I realized. When I stop writing, I’ll stop being. So here goes nothing – my scribbles from my two weeks away. There’s a lot more where that came from. Thank you so much for reading.

It is the knowledge that you have someplace to come back to, that makes travelling delightful.


Does distance really make the heart grow fonder? If you care for someone, aren’t they in your thoughts, often, alive and well? And conversations and meetings are just taping sessions for records that may be played over and over again for years and years.


Romance has been lost, this is true. Waiting as a concept exists no more. There are no long, yearning waits for people long absent. There aren’t any waits for news, patience the only alternative to insanity in a world of dangers and no returns. We don’t wait for letters to be delivered, for people to come back or even long-distance calls to be put through. Everything is available, yesterday. And there’s nothing left to wait for. Isn’t that supposed to signify the end of life?


Two men flirted with me today. A Greek, suave, confident and smooth – conversing easily without slicking it and holding my interest in his gaze. And a Turk with a broad smile and a mischievious wink, his intentions perfectly clear, his gaze entirely appreciative. I was wearing shorts.So my body draws attention. I love it myself but my face leaves me short. Never mind, I’ve gotten used to thinking that my assets lie elsewhere. But when they change, stay assets no more, what will I do? Will I remember my own adage that there’s no greater beauty than a body that can perform every function that it was designed to? Legs that hold me and carry me places. Hands and fingers that do…so much. Eyes that see, read – the most wonderous gift of all. A body that runs near perfectly requiring little aid and only some care.

I stay beautiful as long as I can do all that. And as long as I can remember that.


Sometimes it is nice to just be by yourself, not because you don’t like other people but simply to experience yourself every now and then and see what other people see…and what they don’t.


What bonds people together? A common need – like vegetarians huddling together on this adventure of non-vegetarians? Or a shared past – classmates, colleagues, neighbors, playmates? Shared interests like books, music, photography, wine, travel? Similar demographics – neighbors, religious communities, parents of school-going children? And yet we labour under the delusion that relationships are about compatibility or love.

It seems like we select the most convenient people we can and mold ourselves to fit the association. Human beings are enormously flexible.


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

I’m back!

Two weeks touring two countries. This is the first time I’ve been away from the blog for so long and I can’t even remember when I was ‘offline’ for such an extended period. It was good, all good.

Tarun says, every blogger needs to do this every now and then. As he predicts, I’m brimming with ideas and inspiration right now so The Idea-smithy is going to see a rush of posts soon. For the time being, I’ve got too many thoughts knocking about in my head, a myriad of impressions and experiences and I’ve got to figure out a way to put them all down. I’m thinking they’re like a thousand splendid butterflies and fireflies zooming around and I’m running around with a net trying to catch them all down.

My Blog Stats show me that the readership hasn’t suffered in these two weeks, which is deeply flattering (and heartening) for any blogger. *Sigh* My bloggy-baby is growing up and can stand on its own without my help now! I just want to say thank you to all of you. It sounds cheesy but in this day and age of instant clicks and flash media, it is exhausting to keep up. I’m so glad you’ve stayed interested in my writing and ideas and let me have the break I needed.

There, now I’m bouncing back in full form so more posts and news to follow!

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