Wednesday, December 31, 2008


For every book lover in India, the year 2008 was punctuated with lots of delights and disappointments. With as many as 17 indian authors making their debut, the indian writing scene has never looked this better. (at the last count, it was 17, apart from two debutante authors from our neighbouring countries. please let me know if i have miscalculated the number).

The highlight of the year, undoubtedly was, Aravind Adiga winning the Booker Prize for his debut novel, 'The White Tiger'. The book captured the imagination of the younger generation with its dark, real and stark portrayl of urban India. Inspite of receiving a lot of flak frommeminent writers, Adiga's book remains one of the most widely read books of 2008, and one of my personal favourites. A must read.

In this time of "techie lit" spawned off by Chetan Bhagat, 2008 was no different. Karan Bajaj, Mainak Dhar and Durjoy Dutta (with co writer Maanvi Ahuja) made their presence felt with 'Keep off the Grass', 'Funda of mixology: what bartending teaches that IIM doesn't and 'Of course I love you till I find someone better' respectively. Needless to say, all the books did well, though personally, I found Karan's book a lot more sensible and a worthy read.

The year also saw a doctor turned writer in Anirban Bose, out with his first novel 'Bombay girls, Bombay rains' based in a medical college. (a nice change from IITs and IIMs). As far as the content is concerned, well read it for yourself.

As many as four bloggers (yes you heard it right) made their debut on the publishing front. Meenakshi Madhvan Reddy with 'You are here' (, Preeti Shenoy with '34 bubblegums and candies' (, Meenu Mehrotra with 'Lilacs bllom in my backyard' ( and Novoneel Chakraborty with 'A thing beyond forever' (
Highly recommended out of these from my side is Preeti Shenoy's book for its simple realistic content and easy language.

Advaita Kala's book 'Almost single' was easily one of the breeziest reads of 2008, as was Anuja Chauhan's 'The Zoya Factor'. Both books are on the best seller list and are slated to be made in to movies in the near future. Anita Jain's 'Marrying Anita' reminded me of Kavita Daswani's book 'For matrimonial purpose' considering that the protagonists in both books are over 30, single and looking for a life partner. I found Anita's book a little stale.

'Homespun' by filmaker and writer Nilita Vachani and 'Dowry Brides' by Shoban Bantwal are two books which i have still not managed to read and are high on my priority list.

Bubbles Sabharwal, an eminent Delhi based theatre personality also released her book 'Tomorrow's Promise', a story stemming out from a personal tragedy. And since we are talking about famous people, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's daughter, Daman Singh also unveiled her debut novel 'Nine by Nine' this year.

Not to be left far behind in cashing on the thriving indian publishing front,, world's largest matrimonial site, unveiled its member Ravinder Singh's debut novel 'I too had a love story'. The book, based on real life incidents ,talks about finding love online and internet marriages.

From across the border, London based Paistani coloumnist released his first book 'A case of exploding mangoes' a satirical novel centered around the events before and after General Zia ul Haq's mysteroius death in the 1980s. Its a beautiful book with an amazing blend of wit and humour.
Tahmima Anam's 'A Golden Age' is a poignant saga of a Bangladeshi woman and her struggles during and after the war of independence of 1971. another brilliant debut of 2008. It will surely tug at your heart strings.

2008 has truly been the year of debutantes.

Monday, December 29, 2008


The other day my sister and me were remeniscising about our school days and how different our childhood was from the newer generation - our children.

In the eighties and nineties, there were no 24 hour cartoon channels plaguing the television. World wide web, mobile gaming and play stations were all a near impossible phenomenon.. Kids like me used to play. I mean really play requiring physical exertion. And we used to read comics.

During long summer vacations, comics were our source of entertainment to pass those idyllic afternoons; comics captured the imagination of an entire generation unlike today where being members of popular social network sites, sending scraps and even blogging are a standard norm.

We grew up on a staple diet of American comics like superman, hulk, richie rich and of course everybody's favourite, Tinkle. Just talk to anybody from my generation and they all will have some or the other story to narrate related to that wonderful comic. It was a comic where learning met fun. Tinkle was the brainchild of Anant Pai - scientist by education and a story teller by vocation. "Uncle Pai" as he is fondly called even today, gifted us a tool which was nothing short of a miracle for us as children.

Tinkle had its soul within Indian culture and folklore. It had amazing characters in funny short stories that had morals and fun. Tinkle was a comic with a lot of substance, packed with lot of colorful characters, each representing a slice of life. Who can forget characters like :

Suppandi - the incorrigible fool whose uncanny ability to get into trouble made him a favourite. He is an endearing and lovable fool who moves from one mishap to another changing masters by the dozen.

Shikari Shambhu - the dumb witted hunter who is anything but a "shikari". He is the only hunter who deserves to be encouraged by the Wildlife Conservation Society. This hunter relies heavily on luck and coincidence which makes him quite funny.

Kalia the crow - the supremely intelligent crow who is the nemesis of chamatka (fox) and doob doob (crocodile). with him around, nobody fears an attack from these two. (by the way, I always wondered if chamatka and doob doob were ever able to fill their stomachs with kalia always there)

Tantri the Mantri - this evil minister can put all our politicians to shame when it comes to grabbing the "kursi". His never ending plots to topple Raja hooja never succeed, but nevertheless he is a fun character sending out a message that evil never wins.

Other memorable characters were Raghu - a school boy with all the aversions associated with school, Anwar - a smart boy similar based on lines of Dennis the menace, Little Raji - similar to anwar, Ramu and Shamu - twins who always work out plots together to get out of trouble.

Apart from these stories, sections like "Tinkle tells you why" answered the most weird questions from children. Anu Club was like a educative club in school mixing science with everyday life. The magazine also encouraged children to write by putting up sections like "It happened to me" where children were encouraged to send in true life incidents. (I sent my experiences a couple of times too. it doesnt matter that they never got printed. Thats the reason i got myself a blog!!!!!) Quizes and crosswords completed this entire package lovingly devoured by children across every strata of the society.

Tinkle was an essential part of my growing up. As a child, I was a big sucker for this comic and no matter what I wanted my dose of it.

Today when I see our children hogging on an ample diet of cartoon network and pogo, I feel sorry for them. For they will never know the anticipation of waiting for a comic to arrive at their doorstep every fifteen days. But I guess comics like Tinkle aren't enough brain candy to compete with electronics. And that makes me wonder if I would have been any better had I'd been born two decades later. Well, thank God for small mercies and oh, thank you Uncle Pai.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


We met with a fury of fire works that was so wonderful ! Yes the intenseness of our sparks were there, and there was even more than just the sweet flavors of the flesh. Our phone calls were learning moments in between the distance of our hearts. Our excitement was a calling of our souls to a friendship that was truly blended in the heavens.

Deep thoughts and rewarding talks felt from our hearts sent a streaming craving of exhilaration that this is the true merger of two lonely hearts. Our moments together was a gratifying study of our longings and dreams.A satisfaction of a touch, a kiss and the joyous feelings of being together. A growth of love and friendship was nurtured and blended into something more than just special.

The desire was built and fashioned into a true feeling of wanting to becloser so we could be nearer our wants to fulfill. Promises to talk and share our inner most feeling were made not just as lovers but also as friends. The sparkle of letters of love nurtured our feeling towards our longings of being together, and our dreams were so pleasurable.

Then came the night so cold and dark, a email saying we are not right for one another. Totally against what we had promised each other. No talks or reasons why just don't call, write or come by. So a deep rip in your heart and with tears in your eyes you ask yourself what did I do? Why am I alone after surrendering my heart? You try and win them back with flowers and notes from your inner feelings. Yet you've been scared before, so you're a step away from completely admitting defeat. Is this really the relationship you had? Did you only think you knew this person? Knowing in your heart there is something your not being told. So you begin to the blame yourself for this, as the mountain of hurt crumbles you into a reclusion from this love. You try and find a new person to take that place, someone who will be true in their words and their feelings. Yet are you ready for that? Do you feel the same excitement from a call or when you hold his hand? Are you really attracted to him? Waiting for time to heal all, when will it come?

Its been months now and you still feel the pain and lonely abandonment of this love. You see them one Sunday at a store and you walk up and say Hello. Turning and looking at you, feeling their disdain. It takes two for a strong love, the deep devotion can never be from one.Hurts may never heal and answers may never come yet the tears still ask for a reason why. So you write your feelings to print and hope for a divine closure of this wounded love.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Dear Santa,

Well, it’s that time again. I am sending you my list of all the really nice things I would like for Christmas. I know you are on a budget too (considering the recession all over the world) so you can’t bring everything, but I know you will bring the best ones.

so here is what i wish for this christmas:

  1. to be 18 again so that i can do college all over and undo all the mistakes i made in my college days

  2. to be able to get rid of my moodiness. i get stressed easily and can be really mean specially with people i love the most. so a way to get destressed will be a great gift for me.

  3. to be sprinkled with "innovation powder" on all over me or at least my brain (if there are more people wanting it and its scares). i sure need some help with fresh ideas for my blog

  4. my parents to be relaxed and be granted everything they want. they deserve it for putting up with me the whole of last year when i did not even remotely resemble the daughter they had raised.

  5. a "snore cure" for my boyfriend. i dont know how he can sleep through all the noises he makes.

  6. naturally straight hair. my curly, wild hair which refuse to sit down is the bane of my life. i pay the hairdresser a fortune everythime to make my hair look like it has been combed.

  7. want to put some weight. i've always been undersweight. i dont want to be fat but if i could actually fit into my trousers without a belt, it would be a plus.

  8. wish for a visa stamp on my passport. any country will do.

  9. that we have peace on earth, differences can be sorted out, that tolernce could reign. (internationally and in my drawing room) that all wars could be stopped.

  10. wish i could discover an alcoholic drink that doesnt give me a hangover. i am sick and tired of wasting my sunday and feeling rotten all day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I have always loved these spreads in fashion magazines where celebrities share with us what they keep in their purses. Its kind of taking a little peakinto their lives, their inner self. The things you carry in your purse can provide a window into your soul.

What myriad things are co existing in your own private purse universe (real or imagined)? What's there because you love it, or because you need it, or even because someone special gave it to you?

So here is baring my soul :

My new hobo purse is like a bottomless pit because it has no pockets and everything is swimming inside.

My bag is truly my world. It contains everything I need and maybe a few things that I dont. Some medicines, gum and mints are a direct giveaway of my profession (I'm a dentist by profession in case you didn't know). My ipod always saves me when I dont want unwanted conversations with my travelling companions, and my htc P3400i always ensures I'm never away from blogging. My plastic zip pouch is my tool box and contains every kind of stationery you can think of. Debit and credit cards complete my purse and needless to say i do carry a fair amount of cash. Lots of keys without a keychain is a standard norm since hostel days. Sunglasses is a must as is make up (you never know when a handsome patient can invite you for an evening out.)

A small note given to me by someone special holds the most coveted place in my bag. Whenever I read it, it not only reminds me of those beautiful memories but also manages to bring a smile on my face, no matter what mood I am in. Guess this says I'm an emotional person.

So what does my bag says about me?????
To an outsider my bag is a disaster area, but to me it is an organized chaos. Many people told me that my bag symbolizes my hippie - vagabond self image (since, I'm not settled in life. I beg to differ though).I think my bag and its contents symbolizes a woman who wants to do it all. I'm working on a system of organization but haven't quite mastered it. For me, my bag's disorganization is a sign of creativity. My bag is me and is a personal style statement. I wouldnt trade this for any chanel, christian dior or louis vuitton. (its an entirely different story that I cannot afford one.)
So what is in your bag and what does it say about you?
Do drop by and let me know.

Monday, December 22, 2008


I was not even aware that Preeti Shenoy is a blogger turned author when I picked up her book at Crossword in Kolkata. (thats where I live and had heard nothing about the book or its launch or the author.) I bought the book for two reasons : One, I'm really into indian writers these days and second, the title intriguied me, almost coaxed me to buy the book.

Well, the book was just what I had ordered for myself after a hard day at my dental office. I would sum it up as the indian version of "chicken Soup for the soul" series which i love and the only non fiction books i ever read.

34 bubblegums and candies is all about life - its ups and downs with joys and sorrows all strewn in to relish the journey called life. Each incident/ story evoked a reaction - a tear (my special friend), a laugh (vegetable balls) and even a jolt (please hug me - i'm just like you). Every reader will be able to relate to some incidents in the book. It could, as the author herself states, happen to anyone of us. What seemed candy to Preeti, could well mean a bubblegum for me.

The language is ver simple, just like our daily conversations. Its a light easy read, a feel good book. The book's strongest point is that it is absolutely non preachy. It does not tell you what to do in a particular sutuation, but rather says just be yourself. Read this book in one go and you would not be disappointed. It will bring a smile on your face just like it did on mine.

A wonderful book, no doubt.

P.S. this piece is not a review. just a heart felt rambling, thats all.


Why do people leave us???
The definition of relationship is the contest between two necessities….one whose necessity ends first, leaves first.

After I broke up for the first time, my life nearly reached a dead end. Today, years have elapsed and after more failed relationships, life seems just about ok. I have broken my head over them, analyzing, contemplating, reaching conclusions and then deciding no this is not the reason, there has to be something else……Nevertheless, no amount of reasoning can erase the pain of a broken relationship. I read a lot of self help books, trying to figure out things in my head, I have relived all of them in my head and I gave myself a lot of time to get over them. This entire exercise made me realize a few things which I’m penning down right now:

-Men are not nearly as complicated as I'd like to think they are.

-If a guy really wants me and wants to be with me, there is NOTHING that will keep him from trying to make me his.

-I don't need to ponder why I'm not good enough or why he doesn't want to be with me. There are plenty of men who would happily watch him leave.

-When I stop making excuses for the men I'd like to be with and see the men they are--they're somehow not nearly as desirable.

-If a man really wanted to be with me, he would never be too busy for me. I would be the brightest part of his day.

-Men are never too busy to get what they want. If they aren't making extra time or taking five minutes a day to call--I am not one of the things they want. That simple.

-I deserve a phone call.

-Guys tell me what they think and feel even if I don't want to believe them or listen. When a man says, "I don't want a serious relationship," he means it and I need to get the hell out of there.

-"I don't want to go out with you anymore," means just that. Nothing I say or do can change his mind.

-Everyone wants to be loved and needed, not just me, by the person who just broke up with us.

-Breaking up means not seeing them anymore, which also implies not seeing them naked again.

-Should he ever try to get back together, I need to remember: This is the man who looked me up and down and took full stock of me and all my qualities and looked into my eyes and then told me he was no longer in need of my company and no longer wanted me.

-There's somebody out there who is going to be so happy that I didn't get back together with my ex.

-Yelling at him or doing bitchy things will only temporarily make me feel better. I'll regret it in the end.

-No matter how strong your feelings are for somebody, if they can't return them the same--those feelings mean nothing.

-It feels really noble and romantic and dramatic to wait for someone you love to come back. It IS a waste of time though.

-If I wanted a jackass, I'd buy one.





Oh my god. It feels so good to read that. You guys have no idea.
This was for me. It was to make ME feel better and perhaps other people too.

Friday, December 19, 2008


People give reasons for everything in life. Why they love, why they hate. Reasons for losing weight, reasons for gaining weight. Why you should believe in God, why you should not believe in God. Hope you get the drift!!!! Why do we give reasons for everything we do or we dont do? Why are we defending ourselves each time for every action of ours? Anyways this is not meant to be an introspective, thought provoking post. So lets leave the heavy duty questions for some other day.

I'm sure many of you are thinking what am i trying to say or actually write in this post. is there a reason for this post? Yes, you bet. There is a reason why i'm writing this post. I am compiling a list of topics on which people gave reasons - some reasons going upto the figure of 237. i swear there was a post where the writer gave 237 reasons for loving somebody. Well, to each his own. The list is in no particular order of importance, some topics are thought provoking, some are bizzare and some are plain stupid.

P.S. read it at your own risk!!!!!!

here goes:

  1. reasons why people believe in god (well, heard about conditioning?)

  2. reasons why people make stupid decision (coz they are stupid!!!!!)

  3. reasons why people dont read ur blog (coz there's nothing worth reading on it)

  4. reasons why people give up (coz they just do.)

  5. reasons why you cant organize everything in your house (coz you are unorganized)

  6. reasons why people fail to earn money online (they earn it offline, i think)

  7. reasons why people come into our lives (they just do. i wish they would ask before coming)

  8. reasons why your home isn't selling (you are not trying too hard)

  9. reasons why you are not finding a job (i dont know)

  10. reasons why people dont get wealthy (life is unfair, what to do)

  11. reasons why people run away from home (heard about honour killings?)

  12. reasons why people lie (ummm.....i'm still thinking)

  13. reasons why people read newspapers (a little bizzare, i agree)

  14. reasons why people fall in love (its a chemical reaction, they cant help it)

  15. reasons why its great to be a guy (its not.the writer is an mcp)

  16. reasons why i never visit a rich person's house ( i dont know what to write)

  17. reasons why india sucks at olympics (too many of them.)

  18. reasons why people blog (to irritate readers with these kind of posts)

  19. reasons why men love women (do you really need reasons to love women?)

  20. reasons why people hate ekta kapoor's serials (ha, ha, ha!!!!!!)

  21. reasons why people have sex (well, to procreate)

  22. reasons why people kiss (topic no.21)

  23. reasons why i would rather work with computers than people (computers dont answer back)

  24. reasons why you lie to your therapist (he/she would know what a creep you are otherwise)

  25. reasons why people act mean online (coz they are spineless)

  26. reasons why people should buy a stainless steel sink (i am stumped)

  27. "real" reasons why people have sex (what do we say to this now !!!!!!!!!)

  28. reasons why i dont want to be a mom (finally, sensible use of web space)

  29. reasons why people fail to achieve new year resolutions (simply because they are not achievable, yaar)

  30. reasons why you should not tell your partner that you have cheated (do people really need to know reasons for this one)

  31. reasons why you should get divorced (coz you want to start living)

After making this list and reading some really weird stuff, i have realized that people do tend to take advantage of a particular medium . There is actually so much crap on the net. its unbelievable. Please let me know what you think about this. Inclusion into this list is welcome and highly appreciated.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008




Breakfast on a monday morning is usually a very sombre affair for me, considering that i nearly always drag myself out of the bed after previous night of revelry. but on 15/12/08, Monday, 10:00 a.m. my toast flew out of my hand as i saw, the president of USA, Mr george Bush dodging shoes in a press conference. I stared and started rubbing my eyes (my eye liner and mascara totally forgotten) and stared again. yes sir, it was happening and our 24 hour news channels who thrive on such stuff had a gala time replaying it over and over again.

Mr George Bush, while addressing a press conference, was suddenly greeted by a shoe being flung at him. Not once but twice. A bizzare incident no doubt. But equally amazing was the way Bush dogded and ducked the "weapons" hurled at him. He showed remarkable restraint and even displayed that incorrigible nerdy side of his when he said, "all i can tell you was that it was size 10". well, thats Mr bush for us!!!!

Now coming to the man who dared to boot Bush. He is a relatively unknown young man by the name of Muntazer al Zaidi, working in Iraq.As he flung his shoes, al Zaidi shouted in Arabic, " This is a gift from the Iraqis. This is a farewell kiss, you dog." The man was pinned down and dragged away from the room while he kept mothinh obscenities against our Dubya. Last heard, the young man was cooling his heels in the jail and was being interrogated.

Well, I am too shocked even to comment on this. I mean how often have you seen heads of state being greeted by shoes? I cant think of any. And to be honest, its a little difficult to digest. Hurling shoes at anybody is considered an insult in the Muslim world and I'm sure pretty much the same all over the world.

What could have prompted the young man to take such an extreme step?Could it be the continuous bleeding of the country that was once Iraq? Perhaps an illegal war searching for some apparent weapons of mass destruction? Atrocities at Abu Gharib jail? Mindless killings of innocent people? Need i say more? The man has not only displayed his angst publically but has also managed to draw attention to the plight of ordinary Iraqis, their anger and resentment at the outrageous war ravaging country. I hail the youngman for his guts but I wish he could have found another way to express his anger.

It sure sucks to be Mr George Bush at this moment!!!!!!
Check out this video. its really hilarious!!!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Another bollywood celebrity made his debut as a talk show host on the telly. Well, you may ask, what's new?????And I say very solemnly, nothing new. The new talk show "Oye, It's Friday" hosted by director, producer, actor (whew!!! no wonder there is so much of unemployment in India) Farhan Akhtar could be best described as a tasteless cocktail borrowing heavily from all the earlier talk shows on the idiot box.

The premise is nothing new, the jokes are stale, guests are repetitive and Farhan Akhtar is no Karan Johar. Not even Farouque Sheikh or for that matter even Shekhar Suman.

The show starts off with a bunch of crude jokes followed by the entry of the celebrity guest. There are numerous crass takes on advertisements which are quite distasteful in execution. The acts in between were really interrupting the flow of the interview which was nevertheless non existent throughout the show. The host neither possessses the gift of gab nor the simplicity to focus the attention on the guest rather than himself.
Its a rather pompous show where Farhan Akhtar clearly wants to hog the limelight. After seeing the show, I was clearly of the opinion that he could be at this moment, be best described as jack of all trades master of none. Stick to direction, dude. You are best behind the camera. And Farhan, as a sincere fan, a small request - don't ever sing again!!!!

A disappointing watch overall.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Search engine Google has released its India Zeitgeist, a look at what indians have been searching for the entire year on the web.

The results were not surprizing though I must confess that one result managed to make me fall off my chair. One of the most popular search in "how to" is how to get pregnant???? Can you actually believe it ??? I mean in a country of billion plus and increasing, are we actually trying to find ways to get pregnant??? Rather we should ask google "how not to get pregnant" and beg it to give us a crash course in use of contraceptives.

Sania mirza has toppled the iconic sachin tendulkar from the list of most popular sportsperson of the year. Well, lets not even talk about this. Ms Mirza's increase in popularity is directly proportional to her decrease in world ranking. Do we need to say more???? And to top it all. she has actually been conferred an honorary doctorate from a university in Chennai. She is now Dr Sania mirza and i'm almost on the verge of tearing my hair apart. (i am a doctor and i have spent 5 years getting those two letters in front of my name) Thats why they say, life is really unfair.

Mahatma Gandhi and Raj Thakeray are the most searched politicians for this year. I mean can Indians get more contradictory than this?

And finally Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav has all the reasons to smile and gloat. Take a look for yourself.

Fastest Rising
1. youtube
2. orkut
3. katrina kaif
4. cricket
5. irctc
6. facebook
7. genelia d'souza
8. beijing 2008 olympic games
9. sixth pay commission
10. ipl

Most Popular
1. orkut
2. gmail
3. yahoo
4. google
5. youtube
6. yahoomail
7. indian railways
8. rediff
9. cricket
10. katrina kaif

Top searches on Mobile
1. orkut
2. yahoo
3. waptrick
4. gmail
5. games
6. katrina kaif
7. rediffmail
8. yahoomail
9. namitha
10. google

Top Bollywood Celebrities
1. katrina kaif
2. aishwarya rai
3. salman khan
4. hrithik roshan
5. kareena kapoor
6. shahid kapur
7. deepika padukone
8. shahrukh khan
9. mallika sherawat
10. genelia d'souza

Top holiday destinations
1. goa
2. kerala
3. kashmir
4. dubai
5. singapore
6. australia
7. london
8. shimla
9. switzerland
10. manali

Top 'how to' searches
1. how to reduce weight
2. how to kiss
3. how to earn money
4. how to get pregnant
5. how to learn english
6. how to gain weight
7. how to play guitar
8. how to create a website
9. how to impress a girl
10. how to tie a tie

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


At the outset, lets make one thing very clear:

This book is definitely inspired from the life of Mr Charles Sobhraj and the protagonist is not as imaginative and fictional as the author would like us to believe.

Now coming to the book:

The protagonist of the book - Johnson Thhat/Edward du Monde (call him what you like) is born to a Veitnamese mother and an Indian father who are not exactly the picture perfect parents. A disturbed childhood, a rocking adolescence leads him into the world of crime which seems to be his true calling in life.

Johnson's life from Veitnam, to France, to India and Thailand and back to France and his promotion from petty street crimes to murders followed by dizzying crimes involving global network forms the central premise of the book.

The book heavily borrows events from Charles' life right from earliest Bangkok killings, poisoning of French tourists and his 20 year stint in Tihar jail to avoid an extradition to Thailand where he could have "faced a firing squad".

The character, Johnson Thhat, is a man of razor sharp wit and intelligence who does not show any kind of remorse for his crimes. He is a dark character with an amazing charm and an ability to get away with almost anything, however outrageous maybe. (just like our very own Charles Shobhraj)

Now somebody should just ask Mr Dhondhy one thing - sir why did you not contact Charles Shobhraj and written a duly acknowledged biography????? Well, the answer clearly lies in the last pages of the book, which virtually swept me off my feet. Mr dhondhy reserved his best for the last and not for once did he lose his pace in the last few pages. Well done, sir

A highly recommended book because of the sheer wit the author shows in the end of the book. Paisa vasool, guarantee

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Black loved white. They united in the palette of life. But as fate had it, the canvas of life turned this union into grey streaks.

As civilization moved ahead, life started changing the shape of its trajectory from a plain to a twisted one. One day, God decided to send all its purity in the form of a life on earth and so White was born.

Seeing this, Satan thought of challenging this creation with his best and the intensities of satantic charm was shaped in the form of Black on earth.

Flowing on two different paths, Black met White and their respectivecharms captivated each other like clasped fingers.

Life started rolling further, dancing to the tunes of natural creativity. The painters, God and Satan, rejoiced the success of their creation from the abode above.

Then came that day when love oozed out of Black and White and they enticed each other to melt and mingle like colors on a palette. The union was divine.

Dry leaves glowed with green life, dull earth shined with silvery spirit. But Black and White, unaware of the magic, simply swirled and swam in perpetual passion. The wild love that slept in the natural bed of roses woke up to a storm,when one day White realized that he was not mundane and the darkness of black spoiled his pristine clarity.

Black felt small and heavy inside. The tears that rolled over her cheeks went on to mix with White and gave birth to Grey.

White couldn't bear the pain of impurity and left Black in death-like haste. But Black couldn't leave Grey, as she could find a lot of black in the little love - the same darkness that covered White from the public eyes and locked in her heart when she first fell in love.

Grey grew up with Black. He loved Black and also White yet couldn't find White around to express his love and respect for his creator.

And this pain led to unhappiness that made grey the color of sadness. Grey could never find acceptance from White, but the hope kept him going... He still opens eyes every morning and waits for that artist of life who could caress him and paint a happy life, all in shades of grey.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


For many of us, the best times in our lives have been times spent hanging out with our friends. Though that kind of fun can last upto a certain time, plain friendship can never invoke the feeling of it-was-the-biggest-day-of-my-life feeling. That feeling can be brought on by a special someone, it could be your partner, spouse, boyfriend or some other object of one’s pointed affection. It is this affection and focused love that we search for throughout our lives.
Here is a typical situation.

A 25 something girl is bored of being single. Her parents are threatening to start seeing. She hates the idea of an arranged marriage. But she cannot see how she can have a love marriage without anyone in the horizon or any means of meeting anyone new with a busy work life. What do you think happens? Someone in office says he likes her and irrespective of the fact that she despised him till then, she starts considering. Or else, nothing like that happens and she finally gives in to the idea of inserting an ad in the newspaper or So far so good! No harm done. After the proposals start coming in, there is a problem. A meeting is fixed. She meets the guy. She has no reason to say No. He is decent, but nothing that she would go head over heels for. The painful part is that there is nothing to consider either. Unless you can keep meeting the guy and there is no pressure whatsoever from any party, you can make the decision like you would, if he were some friend of your best friend’s brother. But the situation here is different; itis like the placement day at a good MBA college. Spot offers are used to lock-in the candidate. Now if you think all this sounds scary, let us see this from the guy perspective.

He is a 26 something wondering how all the good girls are taken by ugly excuses for human beings. He is not the type who believes in modern-looking-internet-marriage-brokers. He wants to meet someone, check her out, see if she would mix well with his friends, his mom and if she looks good in different outfits. But the only outfit he gets to see her in is a traditional one lest the girl is judged as modern. Now again, he has no reason to say No or a Yes. He is silently wondering how she will white water rafting with him. But some wiser person tells him that all women change after marriage and he says Yes. Of course, they both realize that it is a great decision they took and live happily ever afterORThey realize they should have taken their time to find someone who really gets them.

Either of these scenarios is possible. The problem is that there is no solution for this age of single men and women. Dating services are looked down upon as desperate measures and women will never get their image tarnished by such things. The solution to their situation happens to be the age old practice of matchmaking. If only, the old uncles and aunties could be replaced by young friends who actually knew the two of them. But that is an impossible thing as very few people know so many people and they are always busy getting to know (other) more people.

So we surrender ourselves to this and hope for the best. You never know your prince charming might just leap across from a matrimonial site and maybe just the person you have been searching all your life. Or he maybe just the same creep you have been avoiding all your life. I wanna keep my fingers crossed.

P.S. I empathize with all those who undergo this. I could be just one of them.

Friday, December 5, 2008




Raj stood in front of the door as his mother attacked from behind it;banging and screaming away as her anger rose. Raj knew how high her anger could rise and most of the time, knew how to control it, but he didn't want to know if there was another level to her madness. . .nor did he want to be around long enough for that. But that really didn't matter, because if his mother were to break downthat near unbreakable door, then she would probably find one of the most horrific scenes ever witnessed by a mother.

She would find her son covered with blood; pieces of brain matted his hair, spilling blood and water down his back. They weren't his brains, of course, and nor was the small head that he held clutched by its hair in his right hand, as a bloody machete was held by the other.

Across the room sat his girlfriend, who smiled at him as he stood by thedoor, holding it back. She made a kind of snicker and moved toward him. She then went to the floor and crawled to him like a snake, then wrapped herself around his legs. “Ohhh. . .I love you baby!” she said, digging her nose into his calf.The decapitated head's jugular brushed across the top of her head, covering her own with more blood. (Ohhh. . .I hate you with all of my guts!) “Uh. . .yeah, I love you too babe.” He said, looking down to her crimsontainted head. (You don't know what love is!) “You did it again. . .yes, that's right. . .you did, didn't you?” sheasked him, looking up with her innocent eyes, looking into his killer eyes. (Uhhh. . .just another minute and I will scream!) He dropped the machete and bent down to stroke her soft, wet hair.

She purred with delight (disgust) and wrapped herself tighter around his leg. He then got to his knees, rolling the head gently near the bed, and looked into her eyes with all of the love (hate) in the world. “You know I did this for you right?” he spoke softly, ignoring thebanging that still went on outside his room. (Goddamnit, why do I keep doing these things for you. . .I wish I could. . .I could. . .) “Yeah, I know. Would you do it again for me?” she asked him. (Hmmm. control.) “Y. . .Yes.” he answered, bending even lower to kiss her face. Shelicked his lower lip in response, rather feline-like. Her glowing green eyes looked even deeper into his own, probably searching for the truth. (Oh my God, she's doing it again. . .I want to skin her. . .right now, yeah.. . .)

The screaming and ranting still went on as the two sat huddled togetherbeneath the door. Then she motioned to the bed and he followed her as she crawled again. He got on the bed with her and sat, looking at her. And then the door finally broke down. Raj Sharmas' mother broke down the door with all her might and flew into the bedroom to find a scene of absolute horror. She screamed and screamed even louder, looking at her son and the thing on the floor. Then she looked to who he was sitting with. A single bloody cat sat on the bed, looking up at Raj with wonderingeyes. He looked back down at her with both love and hate filling his eyes. His mother looked back to what was on the floor and knew what it was. It was a severed cat's head.

Thoughts of sending Raj back to the Institution filled her head immediately. “What in the HELL is going on!” she shouted. “You know you're notsupposed to be here, Raj! Why'd you have to leave, you were getting better!” She was referring, of course, to his stay at the NIMHANS Mental Institution where he was supposed to be, but had apparently escaped earlier that night. The white band was still around his wrist.

He paid no attention to her, and continued to stare at the one thingthat controlled and loved him: his pet cat Lolita. Raj's mother put a hand to her forehead and used the other to steady herself; she felt like fainting. Raj looked to his mother. “Felix had to die, Mom.” Raj said solemnly, looking over to the feline head that rested against the foot of the bed.

Monday, June 16, 2008


My job often takes me on the road, more often than not. In the days when I am travelling, my laptop is my lifeline, the one constant in my life. I can often be seen at local wireless cafés, typing away, working on a project while chatting with friends. Being online, having these conversations, brings a certain sense of normality and constancy to my life. Every day for two hours, I log on – the same people are there, and we talk, as if we were in the same room, as if I am at home and they are a couple of blocks away and we could go for coffee at that instant if we wanted to. I could even attend meetings through instant messaging systems, and lead a somewhat grounded life. Internet had brought this into the otherwise unpredictable life that I lead, and for that I will always be grateful.

My present trip was definitely one of my least memorable ones – I had gotten an assignment that had sent me to the middle of nowhere, where the weather was terrible and the night life lacking. To make matters worse, I had a bad case of insomnia. After trying vainly to sleep the first two nights, I gave in and went to yet another café. Better to be tired but satisfied after a good night's worth of work than tired and frustrated from tossing and turning. And, hopefully, the working would tire me enough to get a couple of hours of sound sleep.

At the counter, I ordered something new. I always tried something local that I couldn't have anywhere else – another quirk I have. With my mug of candied coffee (I wasn't so sure anymore I'd be able to catch any sleep, with the amount of sugar I calculated my drink to contain) I sat at the far corner of the café. It was my preferred seating arrangement, as I could keep an eye on the occupants of the room and daydream if I was hit by writer's block.

A woman was sitting in front of me, facing to my right. I smiled at her as I sat. She smiled back. Something struck me about her, something that touched me – yet I couldn't define it. Has it ever happened to you, an unexplainable connection to a perfect stranger, the urge to confide everything in your heart to someone you don't even know, that perfect understanding between two people who logically can't know what the other is feeling or thinking?

I opened my laptop and opened up my music player. I slipped on my headphones and started the music before opening up my work file. After awhile, feeling her eyes on me, I turned my head. Sure enough, she was looking at me with a slight smile. I slipped my headphones off.


"Hi. What kind of music are you listening to?"

"Just some ambience trance music – gets me in the mood to write."

"Would you mind putting it on your speakers? The café's radio is down, and the silence is killing my inspiration."

I unplugged my headphones; the soothing yet upbeat music filled the air between us. "I hope you like it."

"I am sure I will."

"If you happen to have a blank CD on you, I could make you a copy of my favourite ones."

"I'd appreciate it," she said, slipping a CD that was on the table towards me.

We exchanged another comfortable smile and both of us set to work.

It was oddly soothing to have someone else at my side, working on a piece, while I was working on my own. The double sound of keyboards being tapped on in a rhythmic fashion set the tone, and both of us worked non stop for an hour before I realised just how in sync we were.
She typed at the same speed I was; she would pause exactly when I paused; we'd both smack satisfyingly on the enter key at the same time and lean back at the same time. We'd both rub the bridge of our noses at the same time. It was uncanny, and if she hadn't been wearing a wedding band, I would have seriously considered asking her out.

At one point, she raised her eyes towards me and smiled. "I haven't worked this well in a long while."

"Me neither. We might be meant to work together."

"Maybe. Are you a writer?"

"A journalist. You?"

"An aspiring writer. I'm an accountant."

"A writer and an accountant. Impressive."

We both glanced at our screens at the same time. We both felt the need to stretch out the good spell of writing as long as we could. In common, unspoken accord, we went back to work without saying another word.

I looked up again after a long while. My coffee was long gone; so was hers. I offered to get us some refills, which she graciously accepted. I was back in a flash.

"What are you working on?"

"A book."


"Yes, but loosely based on real life."

"What is it about?"

"A young girl living in the hills"

"Are you the young girl?"

She smiled. "Yes."

"How long did you live there?"

"Seven years. My father is a nurse, my mother a doctor. My sister and I were born there."

"How old is your sister?"

"She's my twin."



"I have a brother. He's older than me, but we look so similar that people often mistake us for twins."

"Do you have any pictures?"

I nodded, bringing the file up. I turned the laptop towards her, and she leaned forward to look at the pictures. As I was recounting yet another family anecdote, she turned towards me with a smile and my world tilted. In this light, there was no way of mistaking the faint outline of the bruise around her eye for anything else.
Something in my eyes gave me away; her smile froze and melted. "I fell down a flight of stairs," she said.
We just looked at each other. I knew she was lying, and I could tell she knew that I knew.

"How badly did those stairs hurt you?"

She shrugged. "I just broke one rib."
"How often do you fall down the stairs?"

Her eyes rested briefly on mine before fluttering away. "Not as often as I used to. I seem to have found my balance."
"How often?" I repeated.

"Once a month, sometimes more."

The anger I had vainly tried to control crashed through me, unrestrained and wild. I hid it – it's not what she needed. "What are you going to do about it?"

"I want to change stairs. I don't like these ones anymore."

"Can you afford to?"

She looked at her laptop, tears filling her eyes. "Not yet."

I waited.

"I need to finish this book and get it published," she whispered.

Now I knew why she was typing so fiercely. This was more than writing, more than getting thoughts and emotions on paper, so much more than an expression of her inner self – it was her way out.
"I will help you," I said.

"Stairs can be hard to change."

"That's why you will need a friend."

She suddenly smiled. "I don't even know your name."

I laughed, startled. "And I don't know yours."


"Rishi." I put my hand out and waited patiently for her to accept it. "It's very nice to meet you."

"You promise to help?"

"Yes." But although I knew I was doing a nice thing, I felt guilty; my intentions were not selfless at all. I couldn't help but wonder and even hope if she'd leave her husband for me. I knew it was a terrible thought to have, but it wasn't like I was breaking them up or anything. After all, he was the one beating her.

She nodded. "Thank you." She turned towards her laptop as I turned towards mine; the writer in each of us was begging to find release in the words and sentences whose outcome we could control on our laptops, a world that we create and can manipulate however we wished it. We commonly turned our attention to our work, finding in it a soothing release Meha soon shattered with three simple words.

"I love him."

The statement, out of the blue, shocked me.

"How can you, after the way he treats you?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. I just do."

"Are you going to leave him?"

She nodded. "I can't bear to live like this anymore. But I love him."

"Meha... I want you to promise me that however much you love him, you will leave him. You can't stay with him – he will destroy you."

"I will leave, there is no doubt about that. I hope he will see the error in his ways and repent."

Although I had known it was coming, it still shocked me. "Do you think that could happen?"

She shrugged again. "Anything could happen."

"Don't raise your hopes up. People don't change overnight, and not that drastically."

"What if he does?"

"What if he doesn't?"

"You aren't helping."

"What do you want me to say? You want me to lie to you, to tell you that your husband will change and become a devoted man, when I know very well that the chances of this happening are quite minimal, or non existent?"

But I knew what she meant. I wasn't helping her – I was helping myself. Instead of looking for a solution for her, I was looking to further my own interest, which was to have her leave her husband as soon as possible so that I could pursue her myself. It pained me that she wanted to stay with a man who didn't treat her the way she deserved.

Then again, was I treating her the way she deserved? Instead of treating her like the adult she was and helping her the way she wanted it, I was treating her like a child, making her decision for her that she shouldn't be with the man she vowed to stay with through better or worse. I might not be a wife beater, but I certainly was not being respectful of her.

"The help I need is to find a way of making my marriage work, not of terminating it."

I didn't respond; whatever I had to say wasn't going to help the conversation. Once again, the writer in each of us sought the release of words, and both pounded furiously on our keyboards for a couple of minutes.

"You're right," I said a few minutes later, my eyes glued on my screen. "I am not helping you – I am helping myself help you."

I could feel her gaze on me, burning through my flesh. "Thank you."

We wrote some more for a few minutes. At least, she did – my fingers were poised, frozen, on my keyboard.

"I wish I had met you before my husband."

It was a bittersweet moment. "So do I."

"Maybe, one day..."

She was wavering, when she had been right. I couldn't let my own weakness bring her down. "Maybe. But this isn't the time and place to discuss it. You are married to a man you love, and although things don't look too good, you might be able to salvage it. I have wireless internet access at the moment – why don't we look up support groups in the area?"

"Thank you," she whispered, tears gathering in her eyes.

I couldn't resist – I reached up and wiped her eyes. "Don't cry. After the storm, there is always sunshine. Sometimes it just takes a little longer to come out."

She nodded. "But it will."


I don't know what is going to happen. It has been six months since I met Meha, and all the time that we spend together, on the phone, by email or in person, has only made me like her more. I don't know how this is going to end. She still loves her husband, and he has been seeking counselling. She moved out of her house for the last four months, but she and her husband are talking about her moving temporarily back in.

However this finishes, I know that it will be for the best, because I am not helping her for myself. It is hard for me; sometimes I just want to grab her and run, brainwash her into forgetting about her husband and staying with me. I know I could do it – I can see it in her eyes, questioning herself, wondering what life with me would be like. But it has to be her decision. She has to make it without me interfering. She asked me last week if I was in love with her, and I answered her truthfully – I was definitely attracted to her, and could fall in love with her given the right circumstances (read: if she wasn't married). It's all up to her now – and I hope that whatever she decides, we will both be happy.

Until then, I will continue touring the sub Indian continent with my laptop, trying out different coffees and meeting new people, living life out of a suitcase while restlessly pursuing an objective even I can't name.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I ease back into my seat, making a slight farting noise and attwenty-five years old, I still blush defensively. M.F. Hussain's Starry Night hangs on the wall to my right, alongside a proudly framed master’s degree. Dr. Sen asks which one person I think knows me best. The toilet does, I tell him. I mean, I guess a toilet isn’t a realperson but it does have a mouth and it is forced to take shit all throughout its sad existence just like a real one... Dr. Sen keeps silent and after a long awkward pause I shrug to myself and continue.

My classic design, pearl white toilet with universal 16-1/8 inch rimheight, large water surface, powerful, quiet flushing by Hindware, and tiny seashells etched around its base, really knows my life story. Yes, I must’ve been two when I flushed down my old pacifier, just out of curiosity. What came of that was I got some harsh toilet training for the next few months, my mom thinking I was showing her my ‘readiness.’ Dr. Sen lets out a bored “humm” and I half expect him to drone on about Freud and ask if people consider me anal-retentive. Thankfully he doesn’t. Well, I go on.

Needless to say I soon became a regular acquaintance of my toilet. Our first emotional ordeal together came when I was in kindergarten. The goldfish I’d won from the school carnival had died from starvation. Two weeks later (during which “Goldie” was frozen in a zip-lock bag and me, frozen in denial), I was finally prepared to face his funeral. As Mom flushed Goldie down, my toilet gave many respectful moments of silence and even let me cry on its tank of a shoulder. Over the next couple of years many things took the windy, circular pathdown that toilet: my cousin’s toys, stolen candy I realized I couldn’t finish before getting caught, bad drawings of the rainbow (the colors were all out of order, my dad had criticized), raw cauliflower stuffed into a napkin from dinnertime, B complex vitamins, and countless bugs I got tired of watching trying to doggie-paddle out.

Then when my parents separated I took it upon myself to do away with her wedding ring. The echo-ey clinks it made against the toilet bowl were celebratory. Mom and I, we both knew she knew what had happened to it; I think she was grateful. I was ten or eleven when I first tried out a tampon. I snicker with myself, wondering what Dr. Sen's thinking. I had no idea what they were for, but I knew enough from Mom to end uptossing one down my pants, walking around with it for awhile, then flushing it and getting another one. A good deal of time passed before she found out what I was doing, but for that while I was a grown-up and the toilet was a witness. Jr. High, a couple report cards had to go down, but with an especiallydrawn-out hiss, my toilet totally agreed that those certain teachers actually were horribly unfair. By my high school years I had trust in my toilet (though it did give me a case of potty-mouth one year), so I confided in it one night, asking for advice about my boyfriend. The next morning, it gave me truly the clearest advice I’ve ever gotten since then: that dear toilet allowed a good-sized rat to crawl out from it. I remember standing there as the rat shook his wetness off, Mom screeching like a wild monkey behind me, and thinking Yeah, he is a rat, isn’t he? I’ll break up with him tomorrow.

I stop and attempt to crane my neck back to check what Dr. Sen is doing. His jaded gray eyes stare back at me, eyebrows raise, and the personalized pen he’s holding swings back and forth sternly, motioning for me to turn around. I’m getting annoyed and honestly, bored of this. I take in a deep breath and sigh; I recite the rest to him. So, when I was nineteen Mom died in a car accident, I kept the house and married some old guy—that would be Dhruv—to help pay the bills. Then I wanted a baby so I flushed all our condoms and pills down the toilet. Next were the various pregnancy tests I had to keep secret. An accident and nine months later, I’m nagging him to quit smoking, and down goes ten packs of cigarettes. That took countless flushes; my toilet’s quiet flush feature was even wearing away. And he hasn’t even quit. Anyway, I suppose all my life I’ve been hiding the truth from myself, crippling myself to never be able to face anything, rejecting all I slightly dislike away and down the toilet with a comforting flush. I mean, is the toilet really my best friend, my only friend? Do you think I need to stop this before I let my entire life go down the toilet? Help!!!!

I twist my neck back again and see Dr. Sen checking his tacky goldwatch. “Well, your hour’s up—I’ll be vacationing for the next two weeks, here’s my business card, and you can make a second appointment with my secretary anytime.” He smiles and nods sympathetically as he says this, like he’s doing me a favor. I stop by Spencer's Mall on my way home. I pick up four bowl-freshener discs(mountain spring scented), a Warmlet brand seat heater for Rs 4500, a pink furry seat cover accessory, and oh, a brand new plunger too. I know it’ll be hard on my dear toilet to take in two bodies, even if one of them is child-sized.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The only right thing which seems today is to let you go.

I know its right, my mind says so. Its wrong, my heart says so.

I'm not clingy, i'm just needy.

You never realized how your words stung.

But now there is nothing more left to say.

My heart bleeds but i have to say goodbye.

I never thought this would end.For me this was for keeps, no matter how trying the circumstances were.

But you are too fast paced for my fragile thoughts and heart.

I've been broken into thousand tiny little pieces. I will never be able tp put them back and mend my heart.

But from today i'm going to try to mend my life. I will not let it shatter like my heart.

You ruled my heart and broke it. I will not let you rule my life and ruin it.

Its obvious i will miss you and all the time spent with you, all the "firsts" that i've done with you.

I'm never going to be the same without you.

I'm incomplete but never the less i'm alive.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I`d rather be a failure in something that I love than being successful in something that I hate.

Women are gutsy and glorious. And this is just the start.

The continuous juggling between work and home can be tiresome. Sometimes I wonder where it all comes from, but then the heart speaks and reminds me whats worthwhile.
While reading through this book “Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul” I was amazed at the continual challenges working women face.

Despite demanding jobs, selfish husbands, difficult people and growing responsibilities, working women press on, conquering each day and making every moment count. In this way, I found they better their own lives, and in the process touch the lives of countless people they meet.

Most of the times I feel I`m trying to imitate a superwoman, miss fix it but am I one? I keep asking myself. What was it that I wanted in life? I concluded after reading this book that all I wanted in life was to achieve that delicate balance between professional and personal lives. This book gave me the comfort that I am not alone and that the bumpy road I travel is paved with love, laughter and inspiration.

Going through this book I found that because of working women like myself, the world is a wonderful place. I know the skills, the mental energy and the physical stamina it takes to accomplish all that needs to be done in a day.

When I was asked to review this book I was terrified because being a working woman myself I did not want to be biased against women who are homemakers. I did not want to exalt myself as a woman who could juggle both work and home and belittle those who were full time mothers. But as I breezed through the book the words of Winston Churchill came to my mind; “ There is no doubt that it is around family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created and strengthened and maintained”. This book is a celebration for all the women who balance their work and home each single day and never complain.

I`ve often heard women say that, “ Instead of learning to organize my priorities, I`ve become comfortable with panic”. We working woman have to deal with a lot, at work, at home, with our companions, colleagues, friends, relatives and children if some of us have them. At the end of the day, do we have regrets? We might, but this book taught me that we need to stop looking at work as simply a means of earning a living and start realizing it is one of the element ingredients of making a life.

This International Women’s Day lets celebrate womanhood- professionals and homemakers. Gift your best friend this one. Its sure to bring a smile on her face just like it brought on mine.


Part 1: A Caller

The sound of the doorbell was in shrill contrast to the soothing piped music playing in the house. Gayatri opened the door to see a boy of about 18. He’s not much older than a kid, Gayatri thought. “I am Jai.” “Yeah come on upstairs”, gestured Gayatri.

She led him into her cozy bedroom. There was something about this kid, Jai, which warmed him to her. He reminded Gayatri of herself, years ago. “Well,” said Jai, taking in the well laid out room. “What now?” He seemed like a decent boy. He was obviously doing this for the first time. He didn’t seem like the kind to seek out a prostitute. “Do you really want to do this?” Gayatri couldn’t help but ask. “No, I don’t. I am here because I lost a bet with my friends”. Gayatri felt like pulling him by the ear. A wager, indeed, what next?

Gayatri had always followed one rule. Never seek to learn your client’s reasons. Just do your job and forget about the whole thing. But now she thought she should stop Jai. Tell him he didn’t need this sleazy one night stand. “Let’s talk- I want to know you better,” tried Gayatri. Once she got him talking though, there was no stopping him. He was doing his B.Tech from a reputed college and turned out to be a really good student. Both of them intuitively clicked and it didn’t take him long to find out that Gayatri was from Lucknow. She had lived with her mother who was a prostitute. Her mother had forced Gayatri into the same profession. She came to Bombay on contract with a company executive and later, chose to stay on in this city which seemed so much more like home to her. There was a place for every kind of person here and she felt like she belonged. Gayatri sensed the honesty in Jai`s voice, as he spoke of his family. In his clear, steady gaze, she felt the youthful zest for life and the enthusiasm to achieve. The belief that thing always changes for the better. She wished she could tell him, she had been there before and knew they never did.

They had moved into an adjoining room now and Jai exclaimed at the paintings adorning the walls. “These are something. Why have you kept them locked up in this room? You should hold an exhibition. A lot of people would want to buy these. I should know, I have been around paintings all my life.” The sharp “no” that Gayatri uttered abruptly shut him up. Gayatri`s tone kept from prodding further and he was musing about her sudden negation of his suggestion, when he saw Gayatri hesitating before the bedroom door. He caught her look and smiled. “I don’t think we’ll need to go in.” She had been right. He was not the kind…Gayatri walked Jai up to her front gate. “It was nice talking to you…maybe you will like to drop in once in a while…..” Gayatri let the last few words trail away in the wind, as she realized the absurdity of her request. A quick wave and he was gone. Gayatri closed the door and leaned back against the nice, cold wood. For the first time in many years, she felt revitalized.

PART 2: Spring Blossoms

She was adding the finishing touches to her new oil on the canvas, when the phone rang. “Gayatri?” she was surprised to hear a strangely familiar voice ask. Before she could ask who it was, the caller said, “It’s Jai.” Surprises never cease, Gayatri thought as she tried to organize her thoughts. “I am free for an hour or so. Can I come over?” a client was due in half an hour. “Sure, come over. I am free all afternoon.” This was too good to be true. Finally, someone wanted to meet her not for sex, but for conversation. They decided to go out for walk, and that day forged a relationship both would cherish in their own way, for a long time. Their meetings increased in frequency, on weekends, when Jai didn’t have lectures, in the evenings. They shared a lot of things in common. Both liked the same kind of music, the same food and movies. Jai refused to believe her when she told him she was 30. And for once she was not apprehensive about unmasking herself. She felt like free never before. But she was careful never to let her reality touch their relationship. She never spoke to Jai about the kind of people she slept with. The deep wounds inflicted by half a lifetime in this hated profession were kept well hidden under her new found happiness. She was happy with him and saw no reason to mar his joyful zest with her sob stories. Gayatri became the anchor Jai was looking for. As a friend, a confidante he made her privy to all his deepest, darkest secrets. Over the next two years, Gayatri treated Jai to dinner at his favorite restaurant when he graduated with excellent grades…shared his frustration when application to a university in the US was rejected. Jai brought up the topic of her paintings quite often. “I think you should display them publicly. Why won’t you do it? I can arrange it for you, if you want me to. You’re good; you shouldn’t deprive the society of your work. You don’t have to earn your bread the you do, the proceeds from their sales would be more than sufficient.” He hadn’t anticipated the strength of Gayatri`s feelings about this. There was no changing her mind. “I will never put them up as an exhibit or for sale. All my life, I have sold my body, my soul…there’s no part of me today that’s not for sale. Except these. My paintings. They are the part of me that’s still untouched, pure. I want to keep it that way. Please don’t try to take this away from me…Gayatri`s voice wavered and Jai promised her he’d never ask her again. “Dinner’s on me tonight!” Jai`s exuberance was contagious. “So I guess you got the job,” said an equally excited Gayatri. She was referring to a job with an MNC, Jai had coveted for long. “I knew you would get it.” Over dinner, Gayatri sensed he wanted to tell her something. “Out with it now,” she told him midway through their meal. “Okay, here goes….I love you.” He waited to get Gayatri`s response. When she remained silent, Jai went on. “I have been in love with you for the past one year and I can’t think of anything better than to have you with me always. I was waiting for this job to materialize, so I could tell you this.” Gayatri felt tears pricking her eyes. She loved him. How could she allow him to ruin his life? Her past would always haunt them. And she was 10 years older than he was. No, she had to be firm. “Jai, you don’t understand. This isn’t like you think it is. You love me, but in quite a different way than you think you do. I will always be with you. I will be with you and the girl you’ll choose to marry one day. You’ll meet her someday soon and then you’ll know what I am saying is true.” Jai just shook his head, all the confidence of a 23 year old speaking for him. “I am sure about this. You’ll see for yourself.”

PART 3: Autumn leaves

It was two years since that night and the memory of Jai`s words remained as fresh in Gayatri`s mind as if it had been the day before. They continued just as they had been. Jai never brought up the subject again. He didn’t need to. Gayatri could see in his eyes. His love for her was real. And as the months passed, Gayatri found herself melting. Maybe, she thought, just maybe Jai was right. Perhaps this was the silver lining to her dark cloud. Perhaps it was never too late to make new beginnings. She felt her spirits soar high, unfettered in the autumn skies. She would tell him tonight. She would tell him that she loved him too, when he called her. He didn’t call. The next day he apologized. He was calling from the airport. His flight to Delhi was due in 20 minutes. “I can’t talk right now. I have plane to catch. Surely you can tell me what you want to later? Yes, I am sorry I didn’t call last night. I was in a meeting. That’s when it was decided that I should go to Delhi. Some urgent work has come up….”his voice trailed away as he glanced at the flight schedule. “I have to hang up now. I’ll speak to you later. Bye.” The sharp click of the telephone left Gayatri holding a buzzing receiver in her hand. Well, she couldn’t have told him over a public telephone. She would tell him when he called from the hotel. “When did he say he’ll be back?” Gayatri couldn’t sleep. She hoped Jai was fine.

Jai didn’t call up the whole month. It wasn’t like him not to call her for over a month. Whatever could be the matter? “He’s probably just busy.” She chided herself. He said this was a very important break for him. One that he had had his eyes on for a long time. He’s probably working himself all out for the project. Anyways there was nothing she could do; she didn’t have his Delhi number. All she could do was wait. And wait she did for she had to tell him the news that would change their lives.

“It’s me. You busy?” It was Jai. “I was painting. Where are you? When are you coming down to Bombay?” now that she had heard his voice and knew he was fine, Gayatri could afford to sulk a little. “You are? You could have called. I would have picked you up at the airport!!!” he was calling from his house. He’d already been in Bombay for a day. “Hey, cool it. Ab phone kiya hai na…Why are you so angry? Are you free around lunch time? It’s been ages since we met.” “Sure, usual place.” Hell, she couldn’t even stay angry with him. They sat on marine drive, feet dangling, and the salty spray of the sea in their face. Gayatri let herself drown in his talk. This afternoon, she’d make him happy. He’d waited so patiently for her to tell him that she loved him. Gayatri also felt he had changed somehow. He seemed suddenly grown up. Mature. She laughed at her thoughts. He’d only been away for a month. What could have changed? “You were right,” Jai broke into her thoughts. “Huh?” she hadn’t been paying attention. “You were right that time in the Coffee House. About you and me. I love you and I love Megha.” Megha? Gayatri tried to fit this piece into the jigsaw. And as the words sank in, her world turned clockwise in slow motion. He seemed not to notice her expression of disbelief and misery. “I met Megha in Delhi. It wasn’t love at first sight or anything. But as I got to know her, I realized what you had told me was true. I love you in a very different way from Megha.”

And as Jai told her about Megha , Gayatri knew that autumn had set in her life even before spring could make its presence felt. She knew there would be no one like Jai ever in her life again. She couldn’t see Jai with another girl and Jai would never be hers.

That was the last time Jai and Gayatri met or spoke. She went back to the solace of her paintings, to a life of anonymity, never to let anybody else hurt her emotionally.

Part 4: Life comes full circle

There was chaos all around. The chief guest was just about to arrive and Gayatri was just making sure everything was in order. She had finally decided to hold an exhibition after a lot of coaxing from her agent. Gayatri had started freelancing some years back and the response had been tremendous. However, it had still taken her five years to do it. Today, her thoughts were just full of Jai. She never forgot him. She was just wondering what would he say if he saw her like this.

The exhibition started and the response was just as expected, astounding. As she was circulating amongst her guests, she saw someone looking at one of her paintings very carefully. It was her favourite painting one which had not been put for sale. It had the moment when she had met Jai for the last time. It captured the longing of unfulfilled love and she had not expected anybody to understand that moment.
She came face to face with Jai after nearly 17 years and what a moment it was. Jai had been frequenting exhibitions of all first time artists in the hope to see Gayatri somewhere. Hers was the only face that was scanned amongst the thousands of people he met at such exhibitions. Jai had almost given up his search for her when he tried his luck for the last time when he came to this gallery. As they faced each other, no words were needed as Gayatri melted in his arms even as everybody looked on. It was always meant to be. It just took them two decades to know that they were made for each other. Life came full circle as they went back to the same room where they met for the first time.


Stark, if you think I am
and stark, if you think my words are,
then starkly let me admit,
that my love is equally stark.

Starkly, let me also say,
A damn I give to the stark blabbers,
I’m stark raving mad about you,
That’s what, I starkly say, is all that matters.

Stark naked like a new born,
my love starkly lies in front of you,
Starkly, it looks into your eyes,
and says, I’m stark, but I’m true.

My heart’s bloody stark interior,
laughs at my love that’s starkly sitting in,
wondering about its stark future that lies ahead, and
the stark abnormality that has crept in.

This is something which i am right now. STARK. My state of mind is as confused as this and i'm searching for a way out of this mess.Just when you think life is looking up a bit. something comes along the way making you bogged down and out. Meloncholic is what i can call myself today. I just hope it does not last long. I hate myself when i get into these moods of mine.Hoping for some comments to make me a little chirpy.


The other day, not so long ago, ahem , actually yesterday , i was updating my profile on orkut. When i hit upon, "from my past relationships i learnt" i was like, wow thats a neat one. Never paid much attention to it anyway when i was creating my profile.But now that it set me thinking, I can really think of so much that my relationships taught me. So here they are in no particular order:

-Love is not enough in a relationship

-Communication is priceless

-Relationships take a lot of energy from everyone, and sometimes they just arent sustainable.

- Sex is often a canary in my relationship. Decrease in sexual intimacy always spells doom.

- There is nothing to understand when you break up. Just walk away with as much of your sanity intact as possible

- Nobody deseves abuse (physical/verbal/psychological/emotional).

- If someone changes in a big way right after you get into a realationship, start thinking how to break up. He/she is not the same person you thought you knew.

- Some things are worth the possibility of a broken heart (I've been thru it, I know it, for sure.)

- "If you really loved me...." means I (the speaker) am an asshole trying to get you to do something thats unhealthy for you.

- Playing together is essential, so is working together.

- People are not projects nor goals. Dont try to achieve them.

- If you are somebody's second choice, dont bother ( I truly believe in this).

And i'm still learning. Even though i'm not in a relationship right now, everyday i learn a lot seeing my friends, my colleagues, my siblings. Each day all of them learn something new in their relationships. Its an ongoing process. I've seen people changing overnite, people cringing, people obsessing, people pining and what not have you. So all you guys and gals out there, let me know what you learnt from your relationships. Waiting for comments.


I fall to piecesEach time I see you again
I fall to pieces
How can I be just your friend
You want me to act like weve never kissed
You want me to forget,
pretend weve never met
And Ive tried and Ive tried
but I havent yet
You walk by, and I fall to pieces
Each time someone speaks your nameI fall to pieces
Time only adds to the flame
You tell me to find someone else to love
Someone wholl love me, too, the way you used to do
But each time I go out with someone new
You walk by and I fall to pieces

Monday, January 14, 2008


This was the topic of discussion in this week's episode of 'We, The People'.

These are very trying and testing times for the urban youth. In today's age, when every individual is pressed for time, blogs provide an ideal way to express oneself. However, a virtual world is still that. Its not real and the expressions are just one way most of the time. But nevertheless, blogging has reshaped the way we look at the internet. It has singlehandedly given people the space for expression, breaking all the barriers and shackles, all the norms followed in the society.

Although the bone of contention was whether blogs should be regulated legally or not, the participants were more eager to discuss their reasons for blogging, whether blogging can ever replace journalism, whether bloggers are professional enough that they should be paid for what they write. An important point which came up during the duscussion was how much are the bloggers willing to reveal of themselves. In the process, are they undermining their privacy? One of the participants openly claimed about her desire for sex on her blog. Another one unabashedly declared that he is a gay on his blog. I interpret this as a way to disclose something personal about oneself behind the disguise of a digital device. Isnt it so much easier to say i am a gay knowing that no harm is going to come my way?

Then this brings us to the next important point on malicious and spiteful comments. How is one going to control that? How can one regulate the hate posts which are directed at the blogger and not the post? The most nastiest and spiteful comments as- Jhoomur Bose of IBN. Com- said ALWAYS come from anoynomous bloggers. These kinds hide behind the virtual world to vent out their anger and frustration at the world. These basically constitute of spineless creatures who are too scared to have an alternative opinion thrown at them.

Now the question, should blogs be regulated or not. The virtual world is too large to have a control over it. It would be nearly impossible to regulate the contents when most of them are free, require no registration fees and are merely looked upon as devices to express yourself. But then what abouth the instigating and inflammatory ones which lead to what is known as blog wars in the virtual world? I feel a certain amount of credibility should be accounted for just like it is in the case of print and electronic media. However the final word should remain with the individual blogger. It is upto us- bloggers- to use this medium as responsibly as possible. Just like in real world, words can make or break you, so it is in the virtual world. Curbing the medium is not the solution, using it with a sense of accountability is certainly one.

Just a last word on the power of communication:
Manya Mannes
IndiBlogger - Network of Indian Bloggers
Visit to discover Indian blogs India Counts