Saturday, December 20, 2008

Joyful Tidings

I can’t believe this. Christmas is coming in 4 days, and I am totally unprepared. Of course I could always argue that point with myself because I am not going home for Christmas and will be stuck in the office until as late as midnight on Christmas Eve. Sounds like fun, huh? I know. I am sooooo looking forward to it.

But even though I won’t be home for Christmas, I will be there for New Year. I can hear you say “What kind of madness is that, going home after Christmas?” The kind of madness that happens when you cannot take a leave until after Christmas and any kind of blackmail, begging, threats or bribes won’t work with your boss. The kind of madness you deserve when a procrastinating fool like you books her leave after everyone else does and have to settle with taking leaves on weird dates like Wednesdays, half a day in Tuesday, and after Christmas. Sometimes I’d think of hitting myself in the head for procrastinating, but I would put off looking for the stick to hit myself with until the next day, and so the madness continues.

Let’s change the subject. Weddings. I have no idea weddings were so expensive with so much to do and so many small things to take care of. I thought people just bought a couple of rings and a nice dress and food to feed the guests and that was it. I discovered how wrong I was. I’ve spent the last four Saturdays running around looking for rings, a nice dress that I can wear without getting frostbite in the cold January air, shirts and ties for the groom and the male members of my family, matching jewelry for the female members, decorative items, gifts for the couple, toys for the kids, and a thousand other small things. And I am such an indecisive person I’d spend the whole day roaming around without buying a single thing, and going home and thinking “Maybe I should have bought that one” and when I go back the next week the dratted thing would not be there anymore.

My younger brother is getting married in January. Trust me when I say this - There’s nothing like the marriage of a younger relative to make you feel old and ancient. So without any invitation or initiation from me I have been elevated to the post of the “cranky old unmarried elder sister”. Nice feeling, I tell you. You should try it some time, you won’t be disappointed.

I should get going now. It’s one in the pm and I have to revise my shopping list and set out for another perilous trek in the jungles of the marketplace.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


What a dark, depressing day. The newspapers are full of blood, death and destruction. There is an air of sadness everywhere. The Mumbai terror strike has effectively halted the festive spirit that had begun to creep in on us. To make things worse, we’ve been having terrible weather this past week, dark cloudy sky, and light showers almost every day. The only thing I hate more than a cold winter day is a cold, rainy winter day. All plans have come to a screeching halt. I don’t think I would ever step outside this weekend, temporary hibernation for 2 days. I would drink endless cups of tea, catch up with my reading, listen to 80’s songs, order pizza and watch movies until my eyes pop out.

These days it seems like everywhere I look, I see sadness. I didn’t mean to sound so pessimistic but that’s the way it is. I called up home and was told there was a death in the community, the tenth this year. I used to think death was something that happened only to other people, to other families. But now I realized it can happen to me, to my family. My father had a mild heart attack last week and when my sister called me early in the morning I was immediately filled with fear. Fear of something that I cannot name, fear that completely took over all other emotions, fear that gripped me and made everything look bleak and dark. Looking back, I think it was the fear of losing someone dear, someone who has been there all my life; fear of being left alone, fear of having to start a new chapter. Fear of the unknown future. Fear of having no one to turn to. Fear of having to make all the decisions myself. Fear of being the grown-up.

I am scared of death. Of dying. Of not existing anymore. Of losing everything we have worked so hard for in that one moment when our hearts stop beating. Let me also admit that sometimes I’d think “what if I don’t go to heaven?” What if nobody remembers me? What if this is the end of everything?

Sometimes I’d doubt the existence of heaven. I know I sound un-Christian and non-believing but this is something I’ve thought about a lot. What if we were wrong all along? What if everything ends as soon as we die? Or what if Hindus and Buddhists were right and our lives get recycled over and over again until we attain perfection? What if my actions and deeds today influence the form I will take in my next life? What if I could only be freed from this cycle once I am sinless and pure in thought and action? What if everything in this life and the next depends on my karma? Is everything predestined, written in the stars?

Then again my Christian roots would come to my rescue. I have seen with my own eyes people who came back from the dead, listened with my ears the stories of their tour of heaven, read their description of the glory of God and of heaven, and would once again realize that yes, this is it, this is the real thing, this is what we are living for.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What was that again??

A thought struck me this morning. I was drinking tea when suddenly I thought of something someone had told me, or was it some proverb or something? Can't remember. But I remember thinking, "This would make a good blog post," and not doing anything about it. One hour later here I am, trying to write it down but couldn't remember anything or what it was all about.

That’s me. Forgetting easily. I know I will remember it sometime later, but my brain probably decided this is not the right time because nothing strikes me now. Maybe my neurons are not properly aligned. Maybe there isn't enough spark to kickstart the recollection process.

I’ve always had this habit of overestimating my ability to remember. If I see or hear something great, something that I would need later, I never bothered to write it down for later reference. I would instead think “This is nothing, how can I forget something as simple as this,” and would later be racking my brain and looking for clues and asking the people around me “What was it that I wanted to remember?” and would time and again make a complete fool of myself.

So I tried to learn from my mistakes and bought a small notebook that I carried with me everywhere. Sometimes I would jot down some stuff. But the irony of it is, I never forget the things that I had noted, I just had to think of my little notebook and immediately the stuff pops into my head. And if I don’t write it down, it’s practically guaranteed it will get lost in the recesses of my memory. But I’m only human, and like any imperfect human being I don’t always whip out my notebook every time I encounter something noteworthy - laziness being the root cause - and so greatly increase the risk of forgetting.

If later in the day, or week, or month, or even year I remember that thing I wanted to write, I will let you know.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

To Winter

Have I told you lately that I hate you? Have I told you there’s no else below you in the ladder of my favourites? You fill my life with darkness, take away all my sunshine, increase my troubles; that’s what you do.

Oh yes, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s definitely you. I hate, loathe, despise, abhor, dislike, detest you and anything to do with you. See, you have even made me run out of synonyms. I am quite the indecisive female but when it comes to hating you there are no second thoughts, my views are firm and concrete, my opinion unchanged. No one could make me change my mind on this one; I stand like a stone. Years may come and years may go, people may flit in and out of my life, but you will eternally remain my enemy number one.

Let me tell you a few reasons why you will never climb the charts:

1. You are cold and heartless
2. You make my skin dry and withered
3. You turn my days into nights
4. You terrorise me in my baths
5. You make me wear layers of clothing like a refugee
6. You urge me to make New Year resolutions which you know very well I will not keep
7. You push me out to crowded market places where I am surrounded by thousands of smelly feet
8. You are cold and uncaring
9. You make my lips chapped
10. You make me dress up and go out
11. You take great pleasure in reminding me that I am not getting any younger (but who is??)
12. You turn my fingers and toes into little frozen sticks
13. You make me buy shoes which I will wear only once
14. You remind me, more than ever, that I sleep all alone
15. You make it obligatory to go out and socialize with people I cannot stand
16. You make my bones numb
17. You are cold and merciless

Maybe I should run away from you, emigrate to Australia or some other country in the southern hemisphere and re-emigrate here some time in March, kind of like the birds. Come to think of it, don’t you think they have it awfully easy? The birds, I mean, not the Australians. They don’t have to worry about medical check-ups, global financial recession, wearing fashionable clothes, or ingrown toenails. The most they worried about would be some other birds stealing their eggs or occupying their nests. If they feel a chill in the air all they have to do is hold a community meeting and presto! off to warmer climes. And they all look out for each other, flying in V-shaped or such other formations so that everyone gets equal draught of air. They don’t sow, nor reap, yet the Lord provides for them.

Ok, back to the point. I hate you because you are cold and have turned me into a blathering birdbrain.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I went to a bookstore yesterday with the intention of buying Ian McEwan's Atonement, having watched the movie the night before. It was a nice movie. James McAvoy as the wrongly accused young man was simply delicious. And the story was, what’s the word I want, tragically endearing. Very Shakespeare. I haven’t read much Shakespeare but didn’t he write all those tragic, lovers dying in the end kind of stories? Or was it only Romeo and Juliet? Whatever it is, Atonement was very touching, leaving you all sad and moody and asking why did they have to die, why is it so unfair? Well, the bottom line is, it was kind of haunting in a pleasant emotionally distressing way.

So I went to the store and located the book. I sat there for about half an hour reading it, it was good. Well written. But I didn’t like the cover (too filmy although I wouldn’t mind having a picture of James McAvoy anywhere) and so I didn’t buy the book. There were a thousand other books that screamed from the shelves “Read me, buy me, take me home!!” so I ended up buying The Kite Runner.

I went home, opened The Kite Runner, it looked good. But I didn’t read it because I am currently reading Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones-The Edge of Reason, and I need to finish this book soon because I was in the middle of Jane Smiley’s Moo which I abandoned halfway to read PG Wodehouse’s Something Fresh.

But Atonement still haunted me. I regretted not buying it. So what if the cover is filmy? I told myself, the contents of the book still remain the same, the story unchanged. I will go back next week and buy it, I concluded.

The point I am trying to make here is, am I the only one, or do you also have this habit of reading many books at one time? My bookshelf is full of books which I haven’t finished, books I haven’t even started reading and some which I have given up reading. Take for example Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. I bought this book on 28th July 2007 and I am stuck somewhere in the middle. Well, that’s more than a year ago and if I didn’t finish reading something within a month of its purchase it usually means (a) I was too busy to read (b) I had some other books to finish first, or (c) It simply wasn’t interesting enough for me. Most of the time it’s almost always (c). I bought this particular book only because it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and I am gullible enough to believe that anything shortlisted for an award this huge must be good so I should read it. But I didn’t like it at all. Maybe it was way beyond my grasp and I just wasn’t smart enough to figure it out. Or maybe it was too literary.

Another regular Booker customer I couldn’t figure out at all is Salman Rushdie. I borrowed The Satanic Verses from a friend and when she took it back a year later I had only read a couple of chapters. Another friend gave me Shalimar the Clown and after two years I still haven’t gone beyond a few pages. Midnight’s Children I haven’t read though (or attempted), but I hoped it would be good; after all didn’t it win the “Booker of Bookers” prize? (There I go again).

Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez. Date of purchase: 16th November 2004. Pages read-maybe 50. Dust collected on cover-a couple of inches.

Do you also buy books you never read? I am quite impressionable when it comes to books. Big names and famous authors always attract my eye in bookshops. If it’s something that everyone is reading it immediately gets added to my list of books to read. I also tend to judge books by their covers (a huge mistake) and by their titles. Cutesy names and funny sounding titles catch my attention more easily and I’ve ended up buying some books with the best of titles but with the worst content.

But the bright side of this multiple reading? One can never get bored.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

American Sweet Corn

I don't know how to make lots of money
I got debts that I'm trying to pay
I can't buy you nice things, like big diamond rings
But that don't mean much anyway
I can't give you the house you've been dreaming
If I could I would build it alone
I'd be out there all day, just hammering away
Make us a place of our own

I will write you a song
That's how you'll know that my love is still strong
I will write you a song
And you'll know from this song that I just can't go on without you

I don't know that I'd make a good soldier
I don't believe in being violent and cruel
I don't know how to fight, but I'll draw blood tonight
If somebody tries hurting you

Now that it's out on the table (it's out on the table)
Both of us knew all along (knew all along)
I've got your loving and you've got my song

I don't know how to make lots of money
I don't know all the right things to do
I can't say where we'll go, but the one thing I know
Is how to be a good man to you
Until I die that's what I'll do

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A few good lines

To all the people who had ever applied eyeliner I dedicate this post.

Congratulations to all those who are professionals of this beautification technique. I salute you masters who in a matter of seconds could dip that small brush in that small pot/tube and on taking it out apply a perfect thin line on the edges of your eyes. I admire you experts who with the flick of a wrist could go from plain-eyed-Janes to smouldering-eyed-Carmens. I envy you champions who could at the last minute whip out that little tube and be instantly made-up. I honour you heroes for whom this little kit do not pose potential threat and possible humiliation. May your names be etched in stone all those who excel in this deceptively simple mission.

I was a young girl when I first got acquainted with this little make-up tool. “It’s quite simple,” said my sister, “Stand near the mirror, tilt your face upwards, look down but don’t close your eyes, then draw a line outwards as close to the eyelashes as possible, don’t blink, let it dry, and there you’ll be, beautifully made-up.” How hard can it be? Everybody’s doing it so it must be quite easy, I naively thought, and proceeded to beautify myself.

I positioned myself near the mirror, did a reverse Princess Diana, and drew my first line. I was pretty nervous; my hands shook badly, and I ended up with eyeliner all over the eyelids. Washed it off, and got ready for a second round. It went as badly as the first time. More than a decade and third, fourth, fifth…..nth rounds later, I still cannot draw a perfect line. When I’m lucky I do manage to come out with a fairly good line but it usually takes lots of hard work and lots of removing and re-drawing.

A typical eyelining session of mine goes like this. Arrange the face close to the mirror, check for shaky hands and ceiling fans and stray hair, and after making sure everything is ready dip the brush into the pot/tube. Start from the inner corner of the right eye (the right eye always come first for some reason) and go outwards with one stroke. The line is almost always perfect. Wait for a few seconds, and then work with the left eye. This is when the trouble always begins. Since I’m right-handed and I always start from the inner corners, I find moving from right to left a bit difficult (if I was a Greek or an Arab I may not face this problem). And my eyelashes, short as they are, keep on obstructing the path. So I developed a solution: I’d put my hand perpendicular to my eyelids, hold the brush horizontally and draw. It is a terrible solution; I would say it’s not a solution at all, because when I do this my hands get shaky and my eyelashes usually end up getting all the eyeliner. Back to the same old m.o., and somehow I would manage a line. The line would be very crooked, and I would have to make a few corrections here and there. When I’m satisfied with its appearance I would then look at both eyes and invariably would discover the left line is thicker than the right line. So back to the right eye, to add a little thickness to the line. Sometimes I would succeed in making both the lines equal, sometimes I would not and have to keep on adding a few lines here and there until I came out looking like a surprised raccoon with a thick black spot over its eyes.

So if you’re one of those talented individuals who could effortlessly draw that simple black/blue/grey/whichever colour line without batting an eye, please remember it’s no mean feat. As long as there are people like me who sometimes have to resort to covering up the botched line with eyeshadow and for whom the eye pencil (especially the sketch one) remains the greatest invention since sliced bread you can always keep that head held high, with that perfectly lined eye visible for the whole world to see.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When I see you smile
I can face the world, oh oh,
You know I can do anything
When I see you smile
I see a ray of light, oh oh,
I see it shining right through the rain
When I see you smile
Oh yeah, baby when I see you smile at me
nice song, what?

Sunday, September 21, 2008


It comprises 70% of the earth, up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. None of us can live for a day without drinking water in some form. The first thing I do on waking up is grab the bottle of water near my bed and inhale a few drops. But this is not an essay on water and its many uses (wrote that way back in school 20 years ago). And no, I am not going to write about the Kosi and the Mahanadi and Hurricane Ike and floods and disasters.

We live in a flat where we get water 24 hours a day, you may think that’s not a big deal but out here it is. Water is scarce, especially during summer. One of the first things we always ask before renting a house is – is there 24 hours water supply? And it’s almost always mentioned in ads too (eg- flat for rent, 2BHK, car parking, 24 hrs water). It’s terrible living in a house where you have to get up at some odd hour of the morning (7 AM comes to mind), shake off your sleep and wait for the water to make its glorious entrance through the pipes. Then fill all the buckets and barrels and whatever containers you have, and trudge back to bed. It will never make it to my top 10 list of fun activities. Not even the top 100. So imagine my joy and rapture when the watchman came yesterday evening and announced that due to some problem with something, was it the water pump or the tanker I’m not so sure now, from today onwards the water will only come twice a day, at 7 AM and 7 PM. We got up late this morning and woke up to a dry tap. Luckily I had filled a few buckets last night and that took care of our washing up, but doing anything else was out of the question. Sunday is usually the day I clean house, do my laundry, and cook. With no water in the house I could do none of the above, which is why I am sitting here now writing this, waiting for my 7 PM deliverance.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I opened my latest bank statement and found enclosed the leaflet that usually tags along. It was a four page thing, some kind of marketing/mail order thing by the looks of it. I turned to the last page and read the Terms and Conditions. What I read stumped me. Not the terms nor the conditions, but the language used. There were about 20 points in all, each point as bewildering as the next. The first point went thus:

The facility (hereinafter referred to as “Facility”) is open to all residents of India holding a valid and existing *** Bank (hereinafter referred to as “Bank”) Credit Card (hereinafter referred to as “Card”) in good standing (hereinafter referred to as “Customer”)………

After five minutes I advanced to the second point:

The facility offers the customer the opportunity to purchase products offered solely by so-and-so-scheme (hereinafter referred to as “Products” and “So-and-so-scheme” respectively) listed in the Website (hereinafter referred to as “Website) annexed herewith for a price as set-out therein and the customer shall be required to make payments from their respective Card for the Products in the manner as provided therein.

Ten minutes and two points later:

Under the Facility, the Customer may place and order for any number of Products (hereinafter “Order”) from the Website. The payments by the Customer would be charged on their respective Card(s).

A quarter of an hour later:

In case of replacement of the Product, all the cost of the courier or any other charges in relation, thereto, would be borne by the Customer.

Hours later:

Octroi charges (as applicable)…..

I didn’t know what Octroi meant, so I looked it up and was informed “it is a local tax collected on various articles brought into a district for consumption.” And I had thought it had something to do with the number eight.

Much later:

The Facility shall be subject to usual force majeure events and on occurrence of any such event….

Majeure? I looked it up again.

"Force majeure (French for "greater force") is a common clause in contracts which essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as war, strike, riot, crime, act of God (e.g., flooding, earthquake) prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract."

What I understood from it all was, I could go to a certain website and buy the products listed there with my credit card at discounted prices (which I have no intention of doing so). Local taxes extra.

Well, my point is, why do banks and other financial institutions enjoy confusing us so much? Life is hard enough as it is without having our brains muddled by such mumbo-jumbo. The average man on the street will never understand that kind of flowery language. Give me clean simple language I can read and immediately understand, language that doesn’t require having to put an unnecessary strain on the gray cells.

I hereinafter rest my case.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

come to me

before my bones get old and feeble

before my eyes die out and shut me in

come while the sun is high in the sky

before darkness swallows me

before night comes to claim me

come while the candle is still burning

before it dies and hope fades

run to me while you still have strength in you

before your knees give out and

you have no one to run to

here I am waiting for you

standing here looking for you

won't you come to me, my love?

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Mechanics of Moving

Moving is such an unforgettable experience. You have to leave a house which you have grown to like, and move to someplace new, some new locality, sometimes with people you hardly know. Some people are lucky enough to have lived their whole lives in one house, while some move from town to town, sometimes to other countries, and there are people like me who move around a lot in one city.

Over the last four years I have lived in 10 different houses, and moved 11 times. That’s an average of four point eight months at one house. The shortest stay was two months at one house, and the longest was one and a half years. I have been kicked out because of unruly behavior (mostly loud music and too many people coming and going), parted ways with people due to irreconcilable differences, moved during the monsoon, rode in the back of a police truck, lived in a supposedly haunted house, and even swapped roommates at one point of time.

I never planned or wanted to be so nomadic, it just happened. I particularly remember one apartment into which we moved on the 30th of December. The next day being the New Year’s Eve, we invited some friends over, and at around midnight things get a little bit out of hand, what with some people singing, some shouting, and some just being weird. The neighbours couldn’t stand it anymore and pounded on our door, and a shouting match soon followed of which I was an active participant. (Same neighbor complained our cooking was too “smelly”) The party broke up shortly; and a couple of months later we moved.

I remember one year when we moved during the monsoon. All our stuff got wet, my books were curled, our mattresses got soaked and heavy, and clothes turned multicoloured. We had nothing to wear for a few days.

And there was this very big old house where we stayed for almost a year. In the beginning things were hunky dory, the landlord was very nice (as all landlords are). As time wore on, we discovered the plumbing was fitted before Tipu Sultan. The electricity meter was equally ancient and our bills were astronomical. Added to that was an eternal debate between us and the other tenants as to who will pay the water bill (it had been unpaid for a loooong time before we came into the picture) and nobody wanted to pay for something which they didn’t use. The landlord was completely useless, he would tell us to settle it between ourselves and make himself scarce. Finally we also left the house with the water bill still pending.

I remember one time me and my three girlfriends moved. Our new house was just a kilometer away, and we being cheapskates that we were didn’t want to spend money on auto and decided to walk. We loaded our stuff into an auto carrier, but the driver needed guidance. So what we did, I and the other older girl, we made the two younger girls sit on either side of the auto driver and sent them off. We had a dog then, and one of the girls carried it. Since they were younger than us they were in no position to argue, and so they drove off, all the while cursing us. They had never forgotten that episode, and still mentions it every time the subject of moving comes up in our conversations, and they had never forgiven us.

Moving day usually finds me waking up earlier than usual, and since stuff had to be packed would usually trot over to the nearest store to get some empty cartons. Sometimes somebody else would be sent . I would spend the whole day with a pair of scissors and a marker in my pockets and a roll of brown tape worn on my arm. The packing itself is another activity that requires much specialization and expertise. You cannot just grab whatever is within sight and stuff it inside a box. Breakables at one box, with a large “Breakables” written outside. I have so many books I usually label the boxes as per the shelf from which the books were removed (“Right Side Top”, “Middle-smaller ones” etc). And we usually have lots of stuff which we never use but didn’t have the heart to throw out, like the revolving lamp that we got at Christmas Gift Exchange, the statuette with the broken head that somebody had unsuccessfully glued back on, the picture frame that never held a picture in its lifetime, the magazines that were opened once and then stacked a foot high, etc etc. Clothes and personal stuff usually occupied a couple of suitcases, and there would be lots and lots of boxes, every box coming with its own label. “Plates & Glasses”, “Etc” “Stationery”, “Cassettes & CD’s”, etc. Mirrors are never packed; they are always carried in person. Kitchen utensils go inside buckets. Some boxes have moved so many times you have to wonder which is the right label, you would find “Textbooks” crossed out, and then “Shoes” written on a corner, yet another corner would be labeled “Etc”, and there you’d be, packing “Bibles & Albums” in it.

And then there was that time we moved to a nearby house, just a stone’s throw away. We moved in the evening, and before moving had cooked and eaten lunch. Some of the food was left over and since we didn’t want to or throw it away, carried the utensils in hand and walked to the new house. Stingy we were, or should I say practical?

On moving day we usually make lots of phone calls. The owner had to be called and notified, the broker summoned, friends called over to help. Arguments always happen, almost always with the auto drivers. The new house had to be cleaned, and unpacking takes forever. At the end of the day we would fell into bed, exhausted and drained. And a couple of months later we would do it all over again.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Story of Birth

It was a hot day in May. The sun shone fiercely, blinding the Pearly Gates and all the inhabitants within with its dazzling brilliance. The angels and archangels and all the other sundry heavenly messengers flapped themselves with their wings to cool themselves. God was bored. He had answered all the prayers, performed all the necessary miracles, saved all the lost souls and was looking for ways to beat the heat. He looked down at the world, scanned it west to east, and found nothing peculiarly interesting or extraordinarily unordinary. Suddenly His attention was caught by a small family of four. The father was posted in a remote village and had taken his wife and two children with him. The wife was young and homesick, having travelled so far away from her mother and siblings, whose welfare she constantly worried about. The children, aged four and two, were too young and too preoccupied with making friends and discovering the place to worry about anything else. Looking at the mother, God understood her loneliness and the empty days she tried to fill with housework and other trivial stuff. He decided to give her another child."This is the perfect way to spend the summer, a project I always enjoy."

To the archangel Michael He said: You are my most trusted deputy, so you will protect this baby and see to it that no harm comes to it or its mother. You will bestow upon it all the powers that it can possibly possess, be it mental or physical or emotional powers.

To Gabriel He said: You will give this baby the ability to love, teach it tolerance and gratitude.

To Jophiel He said: Illuminate this little one with wisdom and perception.

To Raphael He said: Teach this child how to heal itself, how to be truthful, devoted to the right things and most importantly, how to be peaceful.

Everyone had questions.
Michael: Lord, is it going to be a boy or a girl?
Gabriel: Will it be special, gifted, or just a normal child?
Jophiel: Will it be beautiful, ugly, or ordinary?
Raphael: Will it be loved?

But it is the Lord's prerogative not to let anyone know His plans, so all these questions were answered with: You will know when it is time to know.

May went by in a steamrolling wave of heat and humidity. June was dry and never ending, although by the second half of the month the days had become a bit shorter.

The Lord summoned Michael and asked him, “Michael, how are we progressing with the baby project?”

Michael replied,” Lord, there is famine in Africa, tension between India and China, and America is as hopeless as ever. I just don’t have the time to think about a baby right now.”
So be it, said the Lord.

July heralded the monsoons in some part of the world, and summer had just begun in others, while for some it was the middle of winter. By the time August rolled around, flood and intense heat had already disrupted the normal flow of life. People were homeless, starving, and dying of unmentionable diseases. The angel Gabriel was too preoccupied he couldn’t find time for our family of four. He looked at them, saw that they were fed, clothed and sheltered, and then turned his attention to the less fortunate families.

The Lord was happy with his good work.

September found Jophiel visiting the North Pole to check on Santa Claus, handing him a long list of gifts for every child in the world. The factories had to be inspected, the working conditions of the elves, the quality of gifts manufactured, the health of the reindeers, the mechanics of the sleighs, and a thousand other little things kept Jophiel busy well into October.

It was winter, and our little family had just moved to the city, the father having been transferred there. They were lucky enough to find a house just adjacent to an aunt’s house. Things were fine.

When November announced its arrival with snow and biting cold, it also announced the beginning of the busiest time of the year at the heavenly abode. Raphael was extra busy that year. A huge percentage of the elves had suddenly quit the job and migrated to the South Pole without giving any notice. With Christmas looming near and the workload piling up, replacements had to be found quickly and without delay. The remaining elves had gone on strike, demanding less working hours with an increase in pay. On top of which Santa had decided to retire and a replacement had to be found who would be willing to join as soon as Christmas got over. There were interviews to be conducted, trainings to be arranged, meetings held with the Elves Union, and there was also the farewell party for Santa. Raphael barely got any sleep, having to work around the clock, rushing here and there, while the mail from children kept pouring in, asking for toys and gifts and other things.

By some miracle the angels were able to get through the Christmas season without any major mishaps, disasters or unfortunate incidents. When January made its appearance a huge sigh of relief came from the heavens. Things were back to normal, well, almost normal. The baby project was still pending.

The Lord summoned his four deputies.
“Angels,” He said, “It’s been seven months since we started the baby project, and we haven’t made much progress. In another two months from now it will be time for it to be delivered to its parents, who are eagerly waiting for its arrival. Don’t you think it’s about time we started tightening our wings and devote all our time and energy on making this baby the perfect baby it should be?"

So the angels got to work, with extreme dedication and concern. In a flash, January was over.

February of that year was uncharacteristically dry. There was water shortage everywhere, and our little family suffered greatly. Water had to be fetched from the well which was quite far, and it was only with the help of neighbours and relatives that our family was able to survive. They were grateful to the Lord for His help and support.

On the last week of February, the mother experienced some labour pains. A taxi was summoned, and a mad dash to the hospital was made. Once at the hospital, the pains stopped, the doctors pronounced it as a false alarm, and they were sent home.

The next week was spent in a state of edgy expectation and nervousness. Every upset stomach was examined and closely observed, every abnormal pain scrutinized lest it be another false alarm. On Saturday morning the mother was hit by a fresh wave of pain, and another dash to the hospital was duly executed. The doctor examined her and announced it was the real thing, that the baby was coming any minute. The minutes became hours, and the mother bravely endured every contraction, every jolt of pain, patiently waiting for her baby to arrive.

The next day, on a beautiful Sunday morning, the baby was born.The angels peered down from the heavens and looked at the proud mother with the baby.
Michael said: It’s a girl!!
Gabriel smiled and said: She’s special!!
Jophiel sang: And beautiful!!
Raphael was pleased: She will be greatly loved!!

And so I was born.

The angels crowded around the Lord, awestruck and fascinated, humbled by the knowledge that He works in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Picture this

Yesterday I received out of the blue an email from a visitor of my blog, whose identity I will protect (because I’m such a good person). He said he took one look at the blog and after 2 seconds left the place because it was too “empty”, he said. Empty? I echoed at him. Yes, empty, he re-echoed. You blind or what? I volleyed. What me blind, have you known a blind man surf the net and send emails? He re-volleyed. Then how come you said my blog is empty? Didn’t you see all those posts? I shot back. I saw those posts all right, I said it was empty because there are no pictures of you or anything else, was his final reply, because I didn’t deem the conversation worth continuing after that.

I don’t owe him or anyone an explanation for not peppering my blog with pictures, videos, etc. Why isn’t there anything else except old boring posts? some passers-by might wonder. Why indeed? Why, for that matter, does the sun rise at the east and not at the west? I know I am making a mountain out of a molehill but the tone of that email was so discouraging, so condescending that the Amazon in me woke up in rage. Well, not exactly rage, but maybe something close to it, maybe seriously annoyed, or should I say a tad incensed?

But seriously, don’t you think I should act my age and let the poor blighter be with his opinion? After all, don’t we live in a free country? He was just voicing his (insignificant) opinion and here I am, fretting and worrying about nothing, nothing at all.

Oh, and the reason I don’t put up pictures? Because I don’t want to.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Honey I burned the dal

Today was just not a good day for the dal. I woke up, opened the fridge and saw the leftover dal from two days ago. I threw it out, and decided to cook a fresh pot. I duly measured it, washed it, and cooked it in the pressure cooker with just the right amount of water. Then I drifted elsewhere. First to drink my tea and read the newspaper. I checked the dal, it showed no sign of being cooked. Let's give it some more time, I thought, and went down to speak to the watchman about our electric bills. The watchman was nowhere to be found, and I sat down on his chair waiting for him and watching the residents come and go. When he finally made his appearance and after we discussed the stuff I went up, and witnessed a small crowd (most notably the small kid next door) gathered outside our door. The smell of something burning hung heavily in the air. I opened the door, rushed inside, and the kitchen was full of smoke, the pressure cooker turned the colour black. I switched off the stove and dunked the cooker in water. The smell was unbearable. Opening it I discovered I had reduced the dal to part slushy dal, part black gravel. I scooped out the parts that were salvageable and ate some of it at lunch, and although I don't think they would throw away food I told myself the kids had eaten the rest of it because when I came home late at night the bowl was empty and there was no sign of salvaged dal in the dustbin which I know is being overtly optimistic but the next time I cook dal I will remember to stand by it and won't let anybody hurt it.


I was cleaning out my junk the other day and came across this piece I wrote almost five years ago. I had written it in one of my countless notebooks, and it was by sheer chance that I discovered it, and what a discovery it was!! I thought of putting it in English, but feared it would lose its flavour, and it would take too much thumbing of my English Bible. So here it is, unabridged, with the same old title, spelling mistakes and all.
Atirin Pathianin lei leh van a siam a.
Abrahama chu mi thuawih thei tak ani.
Tin, Abrahama chuan, "Lalpa, Lalpa, nangin engatinge mi tihduhdah ni?" a ti a.
Lalpa chuan, " Ka beramte chawm rawh," a ti a.
"Ka pu, khaina engmah I nei si lo a."
"Israel ramah hian nang lo pawh hi Baal hmaa la thingthi lo mi 7000 lai ka la nei asin."
"Lalpa, I thu ang zel ni rawh se."
Tichuan Abrahama chu a thova, sebawng no chu a talh ta a. Amaherawh chu a u a rawn haw a, a rawn lungnilo ta em em mai a. "Uite pawhin an pute dawhkan atanga tla te chu an ei thin asin ni," a ti a. Abrahama chuan,"Chhiahhlawh tam tak I nei alawm, I duh leh tir ta che," a ti a.
Nova chuan, "Hetah eitur engzatnge in neih," a ti a, a naute ho chuan, "Ka pu, bawmrang 12 chiah kan rut," an lo ti a.
Nova chuan, " Chhuak ula, kawtthlerah te, daiah te kal ula, pachhia te leh hmeithai te va sawm rawh u, ka inah eitur a tam si a," a ti a.
Tichuan an chhuak a, sabengtung no thlun chu an va hmu ta a, an phelh a an kai a. A neituin a lo hmuh chuan, " Kha kha engatan nge in tih," a lo ti a. An zinga pakhat chuan, " Ka fapa hi a thi a, a lo nung leh ta anih hi, a bova kan hmu leh ta a nih hi," a ti a, a tlan a, a ir chuktuahin a fawp ta ngawih ngawih a.
Chutih lai vek chuan chumi bialah chuan tam nasa tak a tla a, zanah Josefa mumangah Pathian a rawn inlar a.
"Josef, tho la, u nupui hual Mari hruai la, ram ka la entir tur che lamah chuan kal rawh. Tichuan I tan a tha anga leiah hian I damrei bawk ang."
"Mahse Lalpa, naupang mai ka la ni si a,tawngkam te ka thiam si lo va. Ka nu leh pa ka va vui phawt anga chuan ka kal ang e."
"Rintlempa, miin khawnvar halin hrai hnuaiah an dah ngailo, a dahnaah an dah zawk thin. Nang do chu kei mi do an ni si a."
"Engtin nge ni ang Lalpa, zankhuain leng kan deng tawh a, sangha pakhat pawh kan la man si lo va."
"Mut thlahlel suh, I lo pachhe dah ang e. Tho la I awngphah la la, ke in kal rawh."
A tuk zing khua a lo var chuan Josefa chu a han thangharh a, an thlunna khaidiat te chu amahin a lo inphelh vek mai a. Tang vengtu chuan chu chu a hmuhin a hlau ta em em a, a lu ah vut a phul a, saiip puan sinin khawlaiah a thu ta reng mai a. Chutih lai chuan Jerusalem atanga Jericho kal tur khualzin hian a rawn hmu a, a khawngaih ta em em a. Leiah chil a chhak a, chirhdiak chu a mitah a hnawihsak a, " Tikhan kal la, Siloam dilah va sil rawh," a ti a. Tang vengtu chu zuang zuangin leh Pathian fak chung zelin ama in lamah kawng dangah a haw ta a.
Fehrehsan a lo ni a, Paula chu a ril a lo tam ta em em mai a. Lalpa chuan a khawngaih a, choak te hmangin chhangper a pe a. A han ei zawh chuan Paula chu a lo harh ta sawt a, a thleninnu hnenah chuan, " I belh neih zawng zawng tiruak vek la, I thenawmte bel ruak pawh va hawhkhawm ang che," a ti a. Chu thu chu a hriat veleh a thleninnu chu a tlan vang vang a, " Enteh u Pathian beram no khawvel sual kalpui tu tur saw," a ti a. Mipui an lo pungkhawm ta chiam a, Pathian an fak a.
Nimahsela Isaka chu a lo tar tak em avangin a khawhmuh te pawh a fiahlo zo tawh a. A fapa Jakoba chu a kova, "Ka fapa, I pa thupek pawm la, I nu zirtirna te chu hawisan suh. Tichuan in thiltih that te an hmu anga, in Pa vana mi an chawimawi thei dawn nia," a ti a. Jakoba chu a chhuak a, Pharoa in lam panin a kal . Tlangval hausa tak mai hian a rawn bia a, " Enteh, talent nga min kawltir kha, talent nga dang ka dekchhuak e," a ti a, a sawi a. Jakoban chu chu a hmuhin a lungnilo em em a, Pharoa kaihzavengtu hnenah chuan, " Ngai rawh ka hrilh a che, nangin ar a khuan hmain vawi thum mi phat ang," a ti a. Vengtu chuan," Kei leh ka chhungte erawh hi zawngin Lalpa rawng ania kan bawl dawn ni," a lo ti a.
Tin, chumi ram vekah chuan beram vengtute an awm a, zanah an beram ho an veng a, phulah an riahchilh a.Lalpa thlarau chu an chungah a rawn awm a, an zain tawng hrangin an lo tawng ta a. Puitling pawh sangnga lai an ni a, an tam em avangin kawngkaah chuan an lut thei lova, inchung atan chuan damlo chu an khaithla ta zawk a. Damlo chu kum 12 chhung thiput tawh a ni a,a bula mite chu a zawt vel a, " Ka duhtak kha in lo hmu em? In lo hmuh chuan hmangaihnaah ka uai zo ta tih in lo hrilh dawn nia," a ti a.
Chu thu chu a lo hriatin Heroda chu a thinrim ta em em a, Mosia chu a kohtir a. Mosia hnenah chuan, "Ka hnenah kum sarih dang thawk leh la, tichuan Aigupta ram pum hotu ah ka siam ang chia, I hming pawh ka tiropui ang," a ti a. Mosia chuan parva chu a thlawhchhuahtir a, a thlawhbo hma chu a en reng a. Heroda hnenah chuan, " Ngaiteh, van inhawng te ka hmu a, Pa Pathian ding lama Mihring Fapa thu pawh ka hmu," a ti a. An vela mite chuan, "Uaiin an rui anih hi," an ti a.
Tin, Mosia chu Areopagi lai takah chuan a ding a, thu a sawi a:
"Sim rawh u, vanram chu a hnai tawh e. Ngaiteh u, thing tin bulah hreipui an dah ta, a then a leh za te, a then a leh sawmthum te, a then a leh sawmruk tein an lo rah ta. Mihring hi chhang chauhin an nung lo. Tuisik chauh in mi ni tawhlo la, I pum a lo that zawk nan uaiin tlem te in tel ang che. Ka rawn zin hnuhnun bera in hnena ka thuchah che u kha lo hrereng ang che u. Ka nun hian Lalpa a chawimawi e, ani chuan thil ropui takte min tihsak a, a hming pawh a ropui ani. Amah tihtute chu thangthar thlengin a khawngaih zel thin."
Tin, heti hi a ni a, Lal Davida hnenah Pathian thu a lo thleng a, " Naute leh a nu hruai la, Aigupta ramah tlanbo rawh, Heroda chuan thah turin thupek a chhuah ta si a," a rawn ti a. Davida chuan a sipai zahotu chu a kova, a beram duh leh beram varte chu thliar hrang vek turin thu a pe a. Sipaizahotu chuan, " Nangin ka chungah eng thuneihna nge I neih le? Hmanni lawkah Aigupta mi I thata I phum lai kha ka hmu reng che asin," a lo ti ta mai a. Davida chuan, "Ngawi la, awm hle hle rawh," a ti a. Sipaizahotu chu a chhuak a, kulh kawngkaah a va thu ta reng a. A inngaihtuah a, " Ka tho vanga ka pa hnenah ka kal teh ang, a inah chuan eisenloh a awm si a," a ti a, a pa in lam pan chuan a kal ta a. A pa chuan a lo hmu a, a hnenah chuan, " Ka fapa, uaiin hi a sen kak laiin en suh ang che," a lo ti a.
Tichuan lei chung zawng zawngah chuan ni sawmli leh zan sawmli chhung ruah a sur a, fatir apiang chu tihhlum an ni a. Judai ram chu nute tap thawmin a lo khat zo ta. Elija chu Karmel tlangah chuan a chho va, a fapa chuan, " Ka pa, khawiahnge kan halral thil hlan tur chu," tiin a zawt a. Elija chuan " A hming chu Johana ani" tih a ziak a, vawilehkhatah a lei chu phelhin a awm ta a, Pathian fakna hla sain khawlaiah saruakin a lam ta a. A nupui chuan a lo hmuhin a lo zak ta em em a, a hnenah chuan, "Sihal ten kua an nei a, sava ten bu an nei," a ti a. Elija chuan, "Miin khawvel hi a pumin nei sela, a nun chan si sela, a tan enge sawt ang?" tiin a lo chhang let ve thung a. Tichuan Elija chu kum sawmriat dang a dam leh a,a damchhung zawng chu kum za leh kum sawmsarin a ni. A ni khatna chu.
Zan a mutnaah Samuela chuan amah kotu aw a hria , "Samuel, Samuel" tiin a rawn ko va. Samuela chuan, " Lalpa thu chauh sawi la, ka bawih chu a dam ang," tiin a lo chhang a.
" Samuel lo chhuk rawh, vawiinah I inah chaw ka lo ei dawn"
"Mahse Lalpa, chhangper panga leh sangha pahnih chauh a awm"
"Riltam te chu an eng a thawl e, an la tlai dawn si a"
Samuela chu a thova, khawnvar a chhi a, a khumhnuai chu hmunphiahin a phiat a. A duli tihbo chu a phiatchhuak ta a, pawnah a tlanchhuak a, "Mi lawmpui rawh u, ka beram bo chu ka hmu leh ta e." tiin a au va.
Behliang mun hun a lo nih chuan Ruthi chuan Boaza hnenah chuan, "Mi mutpui rawh," a ti a. Boaza chu a tlanchhia a, Sidon ruamah a biru a. Ruthi chuan Boaza puan a a pawhthlak chu kel thisenah a chiah a, Potiphara chu a entir a, " Enteh, I fapa chu ramsa ten an sehhlum ta," a ti a. Potiphara chu nasa takin a lo lungngai ta a. Ani, a chauh phah hial a. Samuela chuan, "Hemi zat chiah hi maw in ram hralhna chu?" tiin a zawt a. Ruthi chuan, "Aw, hemi zat chiah hi," a ti a, leiah a tlu a, a thi ta nghal a. Potiphara chuan, "Thlan thar, tuma la zalhlohna ka nei a, chutah chuan ka lo zalh ang e," a ti a. Nimahsela a ruang chu Jezreel khaw pawna ui te chuan an ei ta mai mai a.
Tlai lam a lo ni a,thiandun pahnih hi Emau lam panin an kal a. An ril a lo tam a, buhhmuna mi buh chu an lova, an ei ta a. Pharisaiten chu chu an lo hmu a, Puithiam Lalber Kaiapha hnenah an hruai a. Kaiapha chuan, "Tihtak meuhin, tihtak meuhin ka hrilh a che u, khawvel hi a chakna te chawpin a boral mek a ni," a lo ti a. A ni hnihna chu.
Solomona chu a finna avang chuan a hmingthang em em a, nupui 300 leh hmei 700 lai a nei a. Nimahsela Rakili chuan fa a hrinsak theihloh avangin Rakili bawihnu Leaii chu a mutpui a. Leaii chuan fapa a hrinsak a, a hmingah Absaloma a sa a. Absaloma chu a lo lian telh telh a, a lo fing deuh deuh a, Pathian duhzawng ang zelin a awm a. Sanghawngsei hmul puanin a inthuam a, a kawngah savun kawnghren a hreng a, a chaw chu khaukhuap leh khawizu a ni. A nu leh pa chuan tempulah Puithiam Elia bulah an awmtir a, puitling ho zingah thuin zawhna khirh tak tak te a zawt thin a, mi zawng zawngin mak an ti em em a. A thenin, "Mosia a nih hi," an ti a, a thenin, "Elija kha a lo tho leh ta a nih hi," an ti a. Galili ram pum chu a lo mangang ta em ema. Mipui chuan, "Krawsah khengbet rawh," tiin an au rual a. Solomona erawh chuan, "Rul thlahte u,thinur lo thleng tur hi hlau rawh u, ni hnuhnungah te chuan thil rapthlak tak takte a lo thleng ang," a ti a. A ni thumna chu.
Tichuan Saula chu Damaska khaw dai a thlen chuan eng nasa takin a rawn chhun a, leiah a tlu ta a. Aw ring tak hian, "Chungnungberah Pathian ropui takin awm rawh se, lei chunga a lawm mihringte hnenah remthu leng rawh se," a tih hi a hria a. Saula chuan, "Eloi, eloi, lama sabakthani," tiin a chhang a. A han hawi chhuak a , a mit a lo del ta vek mai a. Levia chi mi pakhat hi a lo kal a, a rawn kalpel mai a. Puithiam a lo kal leh a, ani pawh chuan a rawn kalpel leh mai a . A tawp berah Samari mi hi a lo kal a, Saula a hmuh chuan a khawngaih em em a, a puaninah a hruailut a, a sanghawngsei chu tui intur a pe bawk a. A hnenah chuan, "Tangka leh rangkachak pek tur che engmah ka neilo, nimahsela I hming chu tun atangin Paula lo ni tawh rawh se," a ti a. Saula chu a han meng a, a mit a lo var a. A lawm em em a, a beram rual zinga mi hmelhem lo a thau tha ber chu halral thilhlanah Pathian hnenah a hlan ta a. Pathian chu a chungah a lawm ta em em a, "Ngai rawh, I thlahte chu vana arsi zat khi an ni anga, leia tiauvut zat hi an ni ang," a ti a. A ni lina chu.
Ringtu ho chu Marka nu inah an inkhawm lain kawngka kik ri an hria . Nula pakhat Rodi chu hawng turin a va kal a, Petera a ni tih a va hmu a,a hnenah, "Tangka sum ngainat hi sual tinreng bul a ni," a va ti a. Petera chuan, "I vanglai hian I siamtu hrereng rawh," tiin a lo chhang a. Tichuan an za chuan Pathian fak chung zelin naute leh a nu chu an kalsan a. Nimahsela lawnga an chuan lai chuan thlipui nasa tak a lo tleh a, lawng chu a pil dawn ta mai a. An vai chuan an hlau ta em em a. Petera chuan, "In bungraw thenkhat kha tuiah thlak ula, lawng hi a zang deuh anga kan pil dawnlo nia," a ti a. An bungrua chu an thlak a, mahse lawng chu a la fawn nasa em em reng a. A tawpah chuan Jona chu an paih a, tuifawn chu a reh ta a . Jona erawh chu nghapuiin a lo dawlh a, nghapui kawchhungah chuan ni thum leh zan thum a awm hnuah nghapui chuan a luakchhuak leh ta a. Jona chu a han hawi a, a piah lawkah chuan thingbuk alh hluah hluah mahse kang miah silo hi a va hmu a, a hlau ta em em a. Pathian aw a hria a, "Sodom leh Gomorra khuate chu hrilh rawh. An sualte an sim loh chuan mei leh katin ka tichimit vek ang," tih hi.
Jona chu a thova, Bethani khaw lam panin a kal a. A kalkawngah chuan Ethiopia mi tilreh a hmu a, a hnenah chuan, "Mihring tawngte leh vantirhkoh tawngte in thu sawi mah ila, hmangaihna ka neih si loh chuan ka tan engmah a sawt lovang," a ti a. Mi tilreh chuan, "Tutenge ka unaute chu?" tiin a zawt a. Jona chuan, "Hmangaihnain a dawhthei a, ngil a nei bawk thin," a ti a, a chhang a. Bethani khua a va thlen chuan hmeichhe pakhat a hming Ludi puan senduk zuar inah a va thleng a. Ludi chuan hriak rimtui alabaster in a ke a lo silsak a, a samin a hru a. Jona chuan Ludi hnenah chuan, "Hmangaihna a uang lo va, a chemawilo lova, fellohnaah a lawm lova, thutak erawh chu a lawmpui thin," a ti a. A ni ngana chu.
Buh chi thehtu in a lovah buhchi a theh a. A lo to chuan a kung chu a lian em em a, a zarah chuan savate an fu a, a hlimah chuan ramsate an chawl bawk a. Chumi phairuamah chuan Nebukadnezzara chuan milim lianpui mai a din a, mi zawng zawng mahni pianna khuaah hmingziak tura kalvek tur tih thupek a chhuah a. Tin, lal thu chu an hria a, an kal ta a. Khawchhak lama arsi an hmuh kha naute awmna zawn a thlena a din hma loh zawng an zui zel a. A hma lama kalte leh a hnung lama rawn zuitute chuan, "Lalpa chu a ropui e, ani chuan Pharoa sipaite lakah min chhanhim ta si a," tiin an zai a. Thusawi reng reng leh tawng reng reng a awm lo va, an aw chu benga hriat theih a ni lo. Tichuan a vawi sarihna atan chuan Jericho kulh chu an kalhual leh a, tawtawrawt chu an han ham veleh kulh bang chu a rawn chim thla ta vek mai a. A thenin kalkawngah chuan an puan an phah a, a thenin ramhnuaia mi chhawl satin an lo phah bawk a, an au rual a: "Aw kulh kawngkate u, inchawisang ula, ani, kawngkhar hlunte u, inchawisang rawh u," an ti a. Thlarau in a tawngtir ang zelin tawng dangin an lo tawng ta a. A ni rukna chu.
A ni sarihna a lo thlen chuan Pathian chu a chawl a. Pathian chuan a thilsiamte chu a en a, tha a ti em em a.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lost and found

Have you ever found something that you’ve lost, something precious and valuable to you, something which you’ve given up hope of ever finding again? If you are like me who tries to keep track of each and every small piece of junk that belongs to you, a lost item, however worthless it seems, is a cause of sleepless nights, a ceaseless frown on your brow, making you lost in thoughts when more important things are happening around you. People often ask, is something wrong, what’s on your mind, what’s bothering you…and words to that effect. And what could you say, my favorite shirt is lost in the black hole of the washerwoman’s laundry pile? I lent my beautiful shoes to a friend and it’s been six months and she has no intention of returning it and I don’t want to ruin a friendship over a pair of shoes but I wish I could wear those shoes just one more time before their lifetime is over? Nobody wants to listen to those sad little stories that don’t affect them directly. We live in a busy, selfish world.

So there you are, occupying that small space, seemingly happy with your daily routine, a fake smile pasted on your face, but with that niggling thought always present at the back your mind: where are you, will I ever find you again, I have a wedding to attend tomorrow and nothing to wear. You spend days sulking, moping around, uncommunicative, and needlessly worrying over something that is beyond your control. People whisper and tiptoe around you. But suddenly one day it comes back to you, it gets returned, or it was hidden in a small corner all the time. You know the feeling of relief and happiness that floods you, no more waiting, no more wondering where it might be and who it might be with, it has come back to you and you couldn’t ask for more. You may even feel like calling your friends and neighbors together and saying “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The virus infected zombies came, leaping over cars and scaling the walls with a frightful nimbleness. Hungry for blood, they would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. Their equally mad dogs came on their heels, barking with a ferocity that reminds one of hell hounds. I sat there mesmerized, immobile, waiting with fearsome anticipation for them to break through the windows, through the skylight and the ceiling. The bombs planted around the building had been detonated, the floodlights had been turned on, but still they came, hundreds of them, hairless and half naked, their green veins clearly showing through their cadaverous skin, their mouths open from which came forth terrifying screams, their blackened teeth horribly disgusting. The doctor locked himself inside the basement examining room with the thick glass door, and sensing this, the zombies came down the steps and gathered near the door, all the time emitting those horrendous screams. They tried to force the door open, but it wouldn’t budge. The leader of the group then threw himself at the door, hitting it hard with his head. Not a crack. Frustrated, he launched another attack; still no crack.

Earlier, in a behavioral note the doctor mentioned that the zombies had completely lost all human reasoning, and I wondered what intelligence was working in them now that told them the glass door will break if you hit it hard enough. The leader had not given up his assault, and his perseverance was showing some results. There was a small crack. Knowing that it was only a matter of minutes before he succeeded, and urged on by the smell of blood and human stench, he increased the intensity of his attacks. The door cracked slightly open, and for the last time the leader gathered all his strength and energy, and hurled himself forward. I stopped breathing.


The door flew open, and I executed a squatting high jump on my bed. I knocked over the laptop, and fell down on the bed screaming in terror. My two inmates who came into the room looked at me like I had suddenly blown a few fuses and lost a few nuts. When I had settled down and quieted down a bit they asked me the question they had in mind.

“Where does the sun rise?”

“In the east.”

Eyes rolled, foreheads were slapped.

The question was rephrased.

“In this building, which side is east?”

I was flattered they had come all the way from the next room to ask me this obviously important life-threatening question, never mind that they had interrupted me in the middle of a movie that I was so engrossed in. So I abandoned all previously executed actions, and concentrated hard trying to figure out which side is east. I thought about the mornings, when the sun comes charging through the windows, and decided that that direction was east.

“This side is east,” I pointed towards the window.

“Then where is south?”

Some people are so dumb. I faced the window, and explained, “Front is east, back is west, left is north, right is south.”

They seemed satisfied with my answer. But I then had a question for them. “Why this sudden interest in geography?”

“My mother said if you sleep facing south you’ll develop insomnia.”


They left, and I resumed watching the movie.

The zombies had already broken down the door, and the doctor had blown himself up along with them. There was nothing left but smoke.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The morning sun forced its way through the thick curtains, tiptoed across the room and pounced on my sleeping form, making me come to life slowly and grope for the water bottle I kept near my bed. I sat up groggy and half asleep, the ceiling fan gently blowing on my much too warm bed, and I could feel the brightness even with my eyes still closed. I did not have to look outside my window to know that at 10 o'clock on a summer morning the sun is already blazing, ready for another scorching day ahead. I fell back in bed, not yet ready to face the day, my unfinished dream still playing in my head. I knew exactly how the rest of the day would go- the warm tap water, the burning road, the cab ride, the sticky car seats, the hot air assaulting you from all directions and the sweat and stickiness that followed, the air conditioning in the office that's always a bit too cold and the thick air that embraces and suffocates you the moment you step outside. But I also knew that after reaching home at the end of the day, and after taking a long cooling bath and getting into bed, I'd think to myself "How much better this is than the freezing winter" .

Monday, January 14, 2008

Yesterday I popped into a cosmetics store, one that I frequently haunt, to buy face cream. I knew exactly what I wanted, I also knew the price and the shelf where it was displayed. The only thing I needed to do was walk in, claim the thing, pay for it, walk out. So very simple, or so I thought. I entered the store, and was immediately attacked by a Customer Service Executive who I personally felt put on too much makeup and that purple lipstick looked absolutely disastrous on her.

CSE: May I help you ma'am?
I: No thanks, I'm fine.

I took a few steps and realised that they had rearranged the shelves a bit. I looked around in bewilderment when came to my rescue another extremely helpful CSE.

CSE: Are you looking for something ma'am?
I: Yes I need so-and-so cream.
CSE: Please follow me.

So like a sheep I followed. Just my luck that there were three other CSE's milling around that shelf, probably gossiping. The moment I picked out my cream one of them immediately suggested that I take the bigger bottle because it was good value for money and I would only benefit from it. I politely explained that I usually do not go for a big bottle because I like changing bottles every now and then and when the small bottle is finished I can always come back for another. She shut up. Then one of her helpful colleagues asked if I need this cream, or this lotion, or this sunscreen, to all of which I said no. I walked away, when yet another CSE informed me they had this new product and would I like to try it on? No no no... I glanced, merely glanced at one shelf where they put all these facewash stuff and one more CSE told me they had an excellent facewash for oily skin (by looking at my shiny face I suppose). I felt suffocated.

I went to the cash counter to pay for my cream, and the cashier asked me to fill in the feedback form. I happily filled it in, mentioning that although the staff was very helpful and knowledgable I didn't appreciate being followed around the whole store like a murder suspect (and it was not such a big store).

I came out and the sun was shining, and I felt free and liberated.

I guess it's true, too much of anything is never good.